Archive | December 2006

Real Star Constellations on the Wii

This is great… get the weather on the Wii and find where the stars should be!
[here for more]

Albums of 2006

1. Billy Talent – Billy Talent II

Billy Talent return with a what I can only say is a kickass album. I think I must have spent most of my morning commute recently having this (or the below) on. It is a great album that is full of energy and is really useful to wake one up. I think my favorite, incidentally the first track I had heard off this album, is “Red Flag” which has an insane drum beat going through it. I feel for the drummer who must be shattered after playing this. There are also some very interesting guitar rifts in this and the singing is actually singing (there is a bit of shouting but not much!). I can only hope to catch them live sooner rather than later.


2. My Chemical Romance – The Black Parade

A great follow on from their last album “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge”. It has some interesting subject material, well if you can call the story of a young man who’s in hospital dying interesting. I’m not sure I would buy into their whole black parade crap, sounds a bit of a stunt to me but damn this is a great album. It has some wonderful guitar work throughout
it and I would say it is a bit of a mix of an album and unlike their last ones doesn’t die a short death (I felt Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge has some great songs in it but died quickly in the quality after you got away from the singles – “Helena” featured as my 5th favorite song of 2005). Like the Billy Talent album it can be found high up on my winamp and ipod most played lists. I have to say I am hoping this album really helps them learn to perform better live.
They aren’t bad but Gerard Way’s singing is taken over a bit by shouting which from this album can’t be done.


3. New Found Glory – Coming Home

New Found Glory are an American pop punk/melodic hardcore band but are definitely more melodic in their latest album. It has a slight emo twist to it, but most American bands at the moment seem to. A combination of interesting guitar work, vocals and some damn good guitar work keeps you interested the whole way through. The title track “Coming Home” is one of my favorites and it alone is worth a listen but I think my favorite would have to be “Oxygen”.. but that could just be me being sentimental with my girlfriend. I saw them perform most this album live at the Birmingham Academy and wow they do it justice.


4. The Academy Is – Almost Here

The Academy Is are another American band… there are quite a few on this list, maybe I identify with American music more than British at the moment – not sure if I like that statement… anyway…. some high pitched (at times) singing and nice melodic guitar work has given the academy is a great collection of songs on their debut album. Nice to listen to, nice to relax to – great to see live.


5. Boy kill boy – Civilian

I had only heard of Boy Kill Boy by name until I saw them play live (well I think I must have heard their singles on Kerrang Radio) at the Soundstation Festival
here in Birmingham City Centre…. They played a good set that day and then went on my list of albums that I had to listen to. I wasn’t disappointed when I got to listen to them. They are a quite indie in sound, a proper British rock bands not like the above Americans. I think my favorite track on the album has to be the rhythmic “Civil Sin”.


6. The Automatic – Not Accepted Anywhere

I recently saw this Welsh band at my Guild of Students… was a great gig. The album it self is pretty stunning and very memorable for many reasons, not including the obvious “whats that coming over the hill…..” … yes, indeed, it is a monster. A nice combination of pounding tracks with some high pitched screaming vocals in the background means you can not stop yourself from bobbing along to the music. If there are a couple of thousand of you watching them play live at the Reading festival it can get a bit more interesting…


7. Angels and Airwaves – We don’t need to whisper

Another American band… this one was created by former blink-182 and Box Car Racer guitarist/vocalist Tom DeLonge so they sound quite a bit like Blink… they have a bit more of a political (war based) feeling to them. I had the prvilage of seeing them as support for the Foo Fighters at Hyde Park earlier this year and they put on a good show in the heat of the summer.


8. Lostprophets – Liberation Transmission

Lostprophets are a Welsh rock group and “Liberation Transmission” is there third album. This one definitely gets me jumping and even moshing. From the first track “Everyday combat” you know what to expect.. that is some fast action packed music that makes you just want to jump around.


9. The Killers – Sam’s Town

The Killers return with a rather good second album. So, so many bands put out shite second albums.. the killers haven’t fallen into this trap but it does feel slightly more of the same electronica rock at times but it is still damn good… though I think they are missing one really really outstanding track on this one though “When you Were Young” does stand out as the best track on the album


10. Muse – Black Holes And Revelations

I’m slightly dissapointed in Muse, this is far from their best it is at worst a bit of a rehash of older material without much inspiration though that is slightly harsh and I do like it, I didn’t at first but it grew on me. This album is really all about the “Knights Of Cydonia”….


11. Taking back sunday – Louder now

“What does it fell like to be a ghost?”, well taking back Sunday ask this question in the first track of the album…. this or Liar has to be my favorite on this their third album.


12. Panic! At the Disco – A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out

“The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide is Press Coverage” now that is an interesting title for a song isn’t it? I’m not convinced the song has much todo with the subject but it is rather good and probably my favorite off the album. This is a rock album but definitely has a dance feel to it with a couple of the track sounding like they should be played by some DJ at some stupid dance club… an a couple of them even have a bit more of a swing feel to them!


13. Tenacious D – The Pick of Destiny

The D come back with a film and some kickass, but disappointingly short, rock music. JB (if you don’t know who he is think of the film “School of Rock”) and Kyle Gass produce some stunning sounding rifts and magnificent vocals but I need more, more dammit more!


14. Snow Patrol – Eyes Open

Wonderful, great to listen to.. another great one by snow patrol.


15. Three Days Grace – One X

Three Days Grace are a Canadian metal band and this is there second album and it has a combination of melodic tunes and some grinding metal.


16. Arctic Monkeys – Whatever people say i am, that’s what i’m not

If you haven’t heard of the Arctic Monkey’s this last year then I guess you haven’t been on the dancefloor?

17. HIM – Uneasy Listening Vol.1

HIM are often referred to as a “love metal” but are probably better described as a cross between gothic rock and early heavy metal. They produce a nice sounding mix of metal and acoustic brilliance. I particularly love “In Joy and Sorrow” on this album, the strings are fantastic in the background.


18. Red Hot Chilli Peppers – Stadium arcadium

A two CD album by the kings of recent rock continues on their tradition of producing great and memorable songs, my favorite on this one has to be the title song “Stadium Arcadium”.


19. Au Revoir Simone – Verses of Comfort, Assurance and Salvation

Au Revoir Simone is an indie pop band from Brooklyn, New York .. a nice relaxed band that I came across as support for We Are Scientists (who’s album crap attack doesn’t make it in this list!). Great to listen to and have a nice mix of rock and electronic keyboard synths.


20. Mohair – Small Talk

Mohair are a band I was eager to get my hands on their album and I did after I saw them earlier this year. I caught them at the Birmingham Bar Academy were there wasn’t more then 10 people watching, which was a shame for them but did give me a rather cool experience. I have never spoken to a band at a gig before but this time I did, which was nice. My favorite on this album has to be “Stranded”…. nah, nah, nah… yeeeahh!


21. Yellowcard – Lights and sounds

My first proper date with Lizzie saw me see Yellowcard for the first time so they have a very welcome place in my heart this last year. Not just for this reason do they feature in my charts though. They are generally classified as pop punk and sound a bit like Greenday with a violin! I really do love the use of the violin.


22. Evanescence – Open Door

Their second full album lets Amy Lee loose with her stunning voice again, apart from this there isn’t much else that jumps out of this album, but her voice is enough.


23. Evans Blue – The Melody and the Energetic Nature of Volume

Quite heavy rifts define Evans Blue’s first release, strong vocals help this album into my charts… I wonder what they will have to offer in the future…


24. Blue October – Foiled

This band have been around for quite a while now but have become quite famous recently with the release of “Hate me” from this album. This is my favorite song off the album and is worth a listen to even if you don’t listen to the rest of the album.


25. Agent Blue – A stolen honda vision

Sex, drugs and rocks through your window, what else could you want? 🙂 I have seen this band produce some quite stunning gigs. The song I mentioned at the start is “Sex, Drugs And Rocks Through Your Window ” and this got up to number 5 in my single charts in 2004 so lets just say I was quite pleased to see them get an album out but due to the wait it really can’t have more than a passing interest this year, it is not an album that defines the year but is still a great one!


Other albums that have inspired me this year but were released in the past are numerous but of most note are:
Dean Gray’s “American Edit”, I mentioned this at the end of last year and have listen to lots this year, a cover of greenday and various others or mashed up
Fallout Boy’s “From Under The Cork Tree”, if was released this year would have been top of the pile, its just great and really makes you wanna dance!
Something Corporate, both of their albums are great and a pleasure to listen to
Story of the Year, I saw them live and they really get me awake in the morning with some loud and often slightly shouty songs
The Network’s “Money Money 2020” – Are they Greenday? I don’t care really, I’m pretty sure they are but this is not the same as normal Greenday but it is still great and a bit different … I particularly like “Reto” and a couple of the songs have some suspect lyrics.. oh well
Anberlin, “Blueprint for the black market” and “Never take friendship personal”, two great albums that show the bands obvious musical talent “autobahn” is by far my favorite and I can spend hours upon hours listening to their music without realising it…
Brand New, Lizzie introduced these to me (she has introduced lost of bands to me) and they have had a part to play in my listening pleasure over the last year, their 2006 release didn’t make it into the top 25 but thats probably just because I haven’t listened to it much
30 Seconds to Mars, wow… I love this band, enough said.

Online on Christmas day..

The BBC have an interesting article up at the moment about “Is it OK to go online on Christmas Day?”… I say it is, of course it is, life goes on and without the internet I wouldn’t have found out that James Brown died or that Charlton FC have a new manager. Ok, this isn’t really important and I know that it isn’t but whats the harm in spending 10 minutes surfing and sending a few merry christmas emails? I know I am happy. So Merry Christmas to you all.
And here is the article []

Merry Christmas

A big merry christmas to you all, I hope that Santa is nice a busy for you…. (though he came early for me with Lizzie wink.gif)

my new toy

For christmas lizzie has bought me a rather cool new toy. Since we are both with our respective families tommorrow and we both wanted to see each others reactions we had christmas today. For her present i bought her a slr camera and a few smaller things. I got a well cool gift, which i am currently using to write this blog entry, a nintendo ds lite. Wow, this is so cool an i can see it revolutionising my day to day travelling cause as lon as i can get a wifi connection i can pretty much do what i want from it. mobile blogging is finally here for me. Oh and since it is christmas MERRY CHRISTMAS to you all, have fun !

A BIG upgrade

Oh yes I finally got arond to spending sometime on updating the backend software that powers this blog tongue.gif. I have decided to go with the latest version of movable type since I know it quite well. The old backend was a very old and heavily hacked version of this software, I liked it but I wasn’t able to use lots of the features I wanted to. This means that we now have trackbacks and comments again, which I am quite pleased about. You may also note that the layout of the blog has changed a bit, expect the rest of the site to change slightly with time to fit this and there will be a few small changes to the blog pages as well. I have quite enjoyed dong this and hope that it makes this boring little thing easier to digest. I have to say I really love some of the new features on here, will make my blogging more enjoyable!

Top Ten Stories You Missed in 2006

“You saw the stories that dominated the headlines in 2006: the war in Iraq, North Korea�s nuclear tests, and the U.S. midterm elections. But what about the news that remained under the radar? From the Bush administration�s post-Katrina power grab to a growing arms race in Latin America to the new hackable passports, FP delivers the Top Ten Stories You Missed in 2006. ”
Take a look at: []

Space Centre visit

Yesterday I and Lizzie’s family went to the [Space Centre in Leicester]. The place was pretty empty which was a bit suprising but not too, I guess one of the last weekends before Christmas means most people are out shopping. I have to say I really enjoyed myself and was much better than the last time I was there, well not including the NAM conference dinner!

Yes, if you can get a big enough bath Saturn will float for ya… and look at that giant space duck! 😉
My lunch, the astronaut pack…. including dairly lea sarnie!
Sunset over the Space Centre Leicester whilst at the top of the rocket tower.
beautiful lizzie in the diminishing sun
Me trying to move the micro-G thingy, I got one target.. woohoo and is the reason I got to be a Food Hygenie Officer…

Secret Worlds: The Universe Within

Get a feel for the scale of the Universe… and how small you really are [Secret Worlds: The Universe Within]

Recent Aurora

No I’m not going to actually be able to tell you I saw one cause it looks like I have missed out again as the maximum chance of seeing anythign was a few days ago when an X2 flare (see [] for what this means) hit the Earth. I have head reports of people in Northern England seeing variations of brightness through the clouds but no such luck here in Birmingham. It looks like there was a quite a lot of Auroral activity seen across the world though. Some pretty nice green aurora were seen in Northern Illinois (pics [here]) and many others have been posted [here] with some of the images looking absolutely spectacular.. I think that [this one] has to be my favourite though, wow!