tue 07/07/2020

Los Angeles

Album: Sparks - A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip

Apparently a freaky, brilliant novelty in 1974, Sparks have proved eternally invincible: the synthpop duo template, glam and disco avatars, chasing the pop grail across the globe as their latest mode hit the local chart mark. Lightly worn resilience...

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Perry Mason, Sky Atlantic review - low life and hard times in Depression-era LA

Rather like David Suchet’s Poirot, the world will always think of Raymond Burr as the doughty defence lawyer Perry Mason, whom he played in nine TV series and 26 TV movies between 1957 and 1993. But Burr’s Mason existed before the age of the prequel...

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Echo in the Canyon review – California droopin'

Echo in the Canyon is a lamentably thin documentary about the vibrant folk-rock music scene that flourished in the bohemian Los Angeles neighbourhood of Laurel Canyon from 1965 to 1967. Though it features priceless vintage footage of the Beach Boys...

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Banana Split review - likable if essentially timid romcom

Is friendship mightier and more durable than sex? That's the proposition put forward by the engaging if ultimately cautious Banana Split, the Los Angeles-set romcom in which two teenagers become friends unbeknownst to the long-haired himbo boyfriend...

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Album: Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - The Mosaic of Transformation

A singer-songwriter of somewhat mystical bent, originally from a forested island in the US Pacific Northwest, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith really came into her own when she discovered vintage synthesizers. In particular, her masterpiece, 2016's EARS,...

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Album: Fiona Apple - Fetch the Bolt Cutters

Fiona Apple simmered in the LA sun for eight years to make this record, mostly holed up at home since her beloved dog died and she stopped drinking. Rather than polish the result to a sleek gleam, this is an album of trailing threads and percussive...

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Album: Thundercat - It Is What It Is

Alongside the man he calls “the other half of my brain”, Flying Lotus, Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner sits near the heart of Los Angeles’ fertile, genre-busting scene, helping to link Kendrick Lamar’s righteous rebel rap, Kamasi Washington’s spiritual...

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Album: The Weeknd - After Hours

Let’s talk about “Blinding Lights”. What a sleek single, like an escapee from the acclaimed soundtrack to the film Drive, a polished riff on mid-Eighties synth-pop, ripe for 21st century dancefloors, one of the songs of the year so far, all topped...

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Pretty Woman: The Musical, Piccadilly Theatre review - not so pretty, actually

It’s not so much that Pretty Woman: The Musical isn’t much good, which it isn’t. More to the point is that this West End replica of the recent Broadway musical of the 1990 film feels utterly superfluous: a gloss on a popular romcom that...

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Oscars 2020: a 'Parasite' love-in caps a night of firsts

The 92nd Academy Awards saved its surprises for a final stretch that saw Parasite make history as the first foreign language film ever to win the Oscar for Best Picture, pipping to the post the presumptive favourite, the World War One drama 1917 (...

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The L Word: Generation Q, Sky Atlantic review - is the new Word as good as the old Word?

The L Word originally ran for six seasons between 2004 and 2009, and its then-revolutionary depiction of the lives of a group of lesbians in Los Angeles won it both a fanatical audience and acclaim for its game-changing content, exploring such...

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Blu-ray: Black Angel

Waking at a pivotal moment in Black Angel, alcoholic songwriter-pianist Marty Blair (Dan Duryea) momentarily mistakes his new professional partner Catherine Bennett (June Vincent) for his estranged wife Mavis Marlowe (Constance Dowling). Each is a...

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