Creating a home-made Deftones: Greatest Hits

Posted by Chris Philpott on Friday Nov 23, 2012 Under Music, Ramblings

One of my favourite bands, since I discovered them back in the mid-1990s, Deftones have now released seven studio albums – the latest of which came out last week, titled Koi No Yukan. It’s their second album without original bass player Chi Cheng, and it’s their best album to date (even counting the stuff Cheng did).

Anyway, I’m now looking back on the seven albums, and I’m thinking: if you took three tracks from each album, you’d have a pretty kick-ass collection of 21 fantastic Deftones tracks. A home-made Greatest Hits, if you will.

So here are my picks for three songs from each album – I’ve tried to consider which are the most popular tracks that should be included, but I’ve also picked a few favourites as well. Let me know what I’ve missed out in the comments, below.

Adrenaline, 1995
1. 7 Words
2. Engine No 9
3. One Weak

7 Words was the breakout hit for the group, while Engine No 9 has continued to be a live favourite. Meanwhile, One Weak was the first Deftones song I ever learnt to play on a bass guitar. I love that song. To this day I use the opening bass riff as a sound-check.

Around The Fur, 1997
1. Be Quiet & Drive (Far Away)
2. My Own Summer (Shove It)
3. MX

Be Quiet & Drive is easily one of my 3 favourite Deftnes songs ever, while My Own Summer is probably their most famous track. Meanwhile, MX is one of their most brutal tracks and a personal favourite (though I could’ve also gone for Dai The Flu, Around The Fur and Headup).

White Pony, 2000
1. Change (In The House Of Flies)
2. Passenger
3. Digital Bath

Change and Digital Bath are two of the groups most famous tracks. But Passenger is my favourite song on White Pony – the guest spot from Maynard James Keenan is perfect, and the melodic nature of the song is a great example of what Deftones has always done well.

Deftones (Self-Titled), 2003
1. Minerva
2. Hexagram
3. Lucky You

It’s probably their worst album, but still there are some goodies here: Minerva was the lead single and a strong track, while Hexagram is brutal and shows off Chino Moreno’s range. Meanwhile, Lucky You is a great example of Deftones musical range and penchant for experimentation.

Saturday Night Wrist, 2006
1. Mein
2. Beware
3. Rapture

I’m in the minority, but I loved this album: Mein is a good Deftones track with a nice Serj Tankian guest spot, Beware is a fantastic song that shows off Moreno’s voice (and the bands “wall of sound” style), and Rapture is very much a heavy fore-runner for their two latest albums.

Diamond Eyes, 2010
1. Diamond Eyes
2. You’ve Seen The Butcher

I actually found it hard limiting myself to three tracks here: the title track is a near perfect Deftones song, You’ve Seen The Butcher is brutal and dynamic, and CMND-CTRL is just a brilliant heavy metal track, complete with odd time signature.

Koi No Yukan, 2012
1. Tempest
2. Leathers
3. Rosemary

It’s still pretty new, but I’m loving these three tracks: first single Tempest is affecting, Leathers is just amazing, and Rosemary might end up one of the groups best songs.

What do you think should be included on a Deftones: Best Of album?

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REVIEW: Homeland 2×08 “I’ll Fly Away”

Posted by Chris Philpott on Wednesday Nov 21, 2012 Under Ramblings, TV

Warning: Do not read this if you haven’t yet watched the episode.

I love James Poniewozik’s intro to his review of this episode:

So on the minus side, Brody has been abducted, helicoptered away, his loyalty
under suspicion, and dragged to account before his terrorist master Abu
Nazir. On the plus side, he really did seem like he could use a vacation.

I think my favourite moment among all the shots we got of Brody having a full-scale meltdown, was one of the first: troubled wife Jess shoutily suggests that Brody just explain to the CIA that his daughter is more important, to which Brody screams “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t!” – a half-blood curdling scream, half-feral (to use another reviewers choice of word) yelp that made me sit up and take notice that, wow, Brody is really going off the deep end. And while later scenes (the curled-up-in-ball-in-the-hallway shot, reminiscent of the first few nights at home, or the nervously wandering the streets with hands buried deep in his pockets) might have been a little more cliche, albeit well-played by Damien Lewis, it was that first scream that stuck in my mind.

Also, I think the less said about Brody & Carrie’s raucous hotel make-up sex, the better … though I did love poor Saul’s “dear god, why do I have to listen to this” face.

If nothing else, the second season of Homeland has given us a great example of a man being torn to pieces by his own life choices. Claire Danes’ portrayal of Carrie is great, we know that, but the emotional centre of this second season is Brody, a man who is being pulled in many different ways – by Roya, by Carrie, by Walden, by Jess, and now by Dana and Abu Nazir – and is having trouble keeping his head amongst all that pressure.

The question is what direction he’ll take next, especially now that Abu Nazir is back on the scene. We already know that Nazir turned Brody in a little under 8 years, while Carrie took a day or so to turn him back; now that Nazir is on American soil (and, if the promo for next week is anything to go by, taking his sweet time with him), where will Brody’s allegiance lie when he finally comes back to his family, and to Carrie?

Another fascinating episode of a truly brilliant season. I can’t wait for what happens next.

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Radiohead in Brown, Blue and Red

Posted by Chris Philpott on Thursday Nov 8, 2012 Under Music

Radiohead played Auckland on Tuesday night, and I drove down to see them with my girlfriend – my sister, a lifelong Radiohead fan, tagged along as well. They didn’t play too many of their “famous” tracks (the Karma Police’s or Everything In Its Right Place’s of their repertoire) and nothing from their phenomenal, one-of-the-nineties-best album The Bends, but it was an epic show – one of the greatest I’ve ever seen, of a band who seem endlessly creative and willing to dabble in any sounds they think might be interesting.

We were sat at the back corner of Vector Arena, second row back from the fence between seated and GA. The sound was great, our view was great – especially considering you needed to be as far back as possible to enjoy the stage, which changed colours and morphed shapes with every song, serving the show in ways that stages normally don’t contribute to a performance. Just brilliant.

For better photos, click here.

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Chris’ Holiday Journal, Part 4: Days 15-18

Posted by Chris Philpott on Thursday Oct 4, 2012 Under Ramblings

We landed in London in the middle of Sunday afternoon. This was my third visit to Stansted Airport, a large airport which has become a major hub in London thanks to the spread of cheap airlines like EasyJet and RyanAir. There are long queues everywhere you look, most of which are moving so slowly that you wonder if you’ll ever get through; luckily for us, flying in from Belfast meant that we could bypass customs, and we were quickly on our way to our hotel after picking up train tickets to Liverpool Street Station.

Our visit to the hotel was short lived on Saturday, as we had to rush out to a performance of Les Miserables at Queen’s Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue, just off Piccadilly Circus. There is a kind of surreality to seeing these noteworthy places in person that has been a recurring feature of the trip.

Les Mis was as good as you’d expect, but it was the sightseeing element of the trip that I was most looking forward to – so it was with great expectation that we embarked on a bus tour of London on Sunday morning. The tour took in most of the central London sights: Trafalgar Square, the Tower Bridge, the Tower Of London, Big Ben, and much more.

We first jumped off the bus at the London Eye, basically a large ferris wheel that sits on the shore of the Thames River
opposite the House Of Parliament; the guide told us that the Thames is pronounced “Temms” after a medieval king pronounced it
that way and nobody wanted to correct him. I guess it’s good (read: ignorant) to be the king.

The view from the London Eye is remarkable, providing a 360-degree view of the entire central city, and looking as much as 60-70 kms in either direction; facing one way, you can see as far as Wembley Stadium.

Following our short trip on the London Eye, we wandered past the House Of Parliament to Westminster Abbey, a majestic old building that was recently used to hold the wedding of William & Kate, then headed to a small pub called The Sherlock Holmes for lunch. The pub is built on the site of a hotel which features in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s seminal story The Hounds Of The
Baskervilles, and is full of Holmes memorabilia from the past century.

We hopped back on the bus again, this time disembarking at Buckingham Palace. Tickets to tour the state rooms of the palace were sold out a fortnight ahead, but we were able to get a good view of the front facade of the building. I’m no royalist, but even I have to admit that it was exciting to see Buckingham Palace in person.

From there, we headed to Harrods, an upmarket department store which sells every major brand you could care to name. For example, I touched a leather jacket by Gucci which cost around $1800 – afterward, I figured out that the jacket cost over nine times as much as everything I was wearing, every single item of clothing and shoes, at the time I touched it.

We saw a movie on Sunday night (the brilliant Looper, directed by Rian Johnson, which was preceded by nearly half an hour of advertisements and trailers) and I arranged to spend Monday alone, heading to the Natural History Museum in the morning (an interesting place, albeit geared for kids, though it was still exciting to see dinosaur bones) and the British Museum in the afternoon (I stood and stared at the Rosetta Stone for a good 10 minutes; an absolutely enthralling piece of history).

After a quick stop in Piccadilly Circus to buy some new shoes and a few kitschy knick-knacks for people at home, I met back up with Mum and Jen for a performance of The Taming Of The Shrew at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Honestly, I think I enjoyed The Taming Of The Shrew more than I enjoyed Les Miserables; the performers, the way the show was done, and the sheer
experience of being in the unique Globe theatre was just a joy to behold.

The next morning we headed to Liverpool Street Station and made our way to an uncles place in the town of Rochford, in London’s South End – and that was our two-and-a-bit days in London. Another rushed visit, though totally enjoyable throughout. As with Belfast, I’ll have to make a note to spend more time there on my next visit.

I’ve only got a few days left at this point. Stay tuned for a final holiday journal over the weekend.

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Chris’ Holiday Journal, Part 3: Days 10-15

Posted by Chris Philpott on Wednesday Oct 3, 2012 Under Ramblings

So, how to sum up another eventful week?

I left you on a Sunday night, having enjoyed dinner with a staggering number of family and struggling with the reconciliation of my memory of family members and the reality of their current selves. Monday brought with it a challenge of a different kind: somehow reconciling my (admittedly vague) memories of the town I grew up in with the reality of that town in 2012.

Back in 1986, when I was a sprat of just five years old, my parents moved our family to the town of Ramelton, in Donegal – the northern-most county in the Republic Of Ireland (and recent winners of the All-Ireland gaelic football championship, as countless flags and posters around the county can attest) – where we lived until moving back to New Zealand in 1991.

Last Monday, we headed back to Ramelton, my first visit since 1991. My memories of Ramelton are vague; I only remembered sparse details about the town, most of which were geared around how I felt about the people and places than actual, tangible memories of the place.

And as a kid, I thought the town was a marvellous place, full of friends and places to explore and a certain fizzy drink named Football Special. Yet, as I arrived in the town, driving down the main street as my mind clarified its memory of the street layout, it dawned on me that the town wasn’t the magical place I saw through my childlike, rose-coloured glasses.

The reality is that its another small town which has been hit hard by the financial climate of the time, full of people who seem to be stuck somewhere in time. I can’t honestly say that I enjoyed my stay; the accomodation was first rate(thanks, aunty!), but the town didn’t seem to offer anything to either tourists or potential residents. At least the Football Special was every bit as good as I remember it, even if it is described as a ‘mixed flavour soft drink’ and the makers elect not to include a list of ingredients on the label.

Donegal is a beautiful place, though. Tuesday morning saw Mum, Jen and I driving across the county to the town of Dungloe (pronounced Done-low) to visit the grave of a recently-deceased uncle. We were pleasantly surprised by a lovely vegetable soup and afternoon tea, before visiting the spot where my uncle is buried – a surprisingly moving experience, both figuratively (the reality of death is something I haven’t had to deal with very often, thankfully) and literally (a fierce wind blew across the cemetery, so strong that Mum had to hold on to my arm at one point).

Dinner was a lamb roast with an older cousin and his amazing family. The cousin is something like 15 years older than me – and my only real memory of him is that I was always stunned that I could be 10 and have a cousin who was a full-grown adult. The meal was fantastic and, as with the rest of the trip, I was glad to find that I have so many incredible family members all over western Europe.

Wednesday found us back in Belfast and enjoying dinner with family there, then Thursday brought us to a bus trip around the streets of the biggest town in Northern Ireland – and a town with a truly remarkable history. Most people know about The Troubles, the conflict that has been at the centre of Belfast’s recent history, but I imagine very few (including me, I’m almost ashamed to admit) are aware of much of its past.

For example, did you know that Belfast earned the nickname ‘Linenopolis’ because it was, for a period from the 1870s through to World War 1, the largest producer of linen in the entire world? Or did you know that the conflict preceding The Troubles, which is largely perceived to be between only protestant and catholic factions, was actually between protestants and every other major religion, collectively referred to as ‘non-conformists’?

The truth of Belfast is that this is another case where the reality doesn’t match my perception. The Troubles are portrayed as a historical event, something that is now in the city’s past. Yet the motivations that drove The Troubles for so long are still alive in present day Belfast. They survive in the murals and flags that decorate the various areas of town. They survive in the stories being handed down from generation to generation. They survive in the fact that people are still cautious of going down certain streets at certain times.

But there is a definite sense that the town is trying to move on. For example, in order to populate a new arena, the city introduced an ice hockey team – the idea being that it was a sport that wasn’t already popular in Northern Ireland and could attract fans from both protestant and catholic communities (even if the team was unfortunately named the Belfast Bombers).

From talking to those who live here, it does seem like The Troubles will become a thing of the past; as our bus tour guide explained, protestant and catholic community members are increasingly finding that working together is a much better option than working against each other. Belfast is very much a city that seems hopeful and optimistic. I loved it.

Thursday night brought more dinner with family, while Friday took us to the impressive new Titanic Belfast museum, a dedication to the ill-fated ship which was constructed in Belfast but which focused primarily on the construction of the ship and the city’s role in its history (though I found the stuff about its sinking a little tedious; until you see everything laid out in front of you like this, its hard to understand exactly how much Titanic mythology pervades our society).

Friday night brought another large family dinner – as well as some cheap vodka, which I mixed with a bottle of Ramelton’s finest Football Special … with disastrous, vomitous results around 2.00am. But despite the sickly end to the evening, Friday night might end up being one of the highlights of the trip: chilling out with the extended family, having a few drinks with cousins, aunts and uncles, and getting to know everyone on a different level than I had already.

We’re all tied together by a common ancestry and, in a way, that makes us one and the same. But while this might have been a holiday highlight, seven nights in Ireland simply wasn’t enough to get to know everyone and catch up on the last two decades. And as I left Belfast, bound for London, on Saturday afternoon, I was at once struck by how much I loved my time in Belfast and my time with the family, and yet sad that I didn’t get to spend more time with everyone.

That is something I’ll have to remedy on my next trip over these ways.

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Chris’ Holiday Journal, Part 2: Days 6-10

Posted by Chris Philpott on Monday Sep 24, 2012 Under Ramblings

When last I left you, Jen and I had just visited the Louvre andthe Musee D’orsay. Here is what happened since …

Our visit to the Musee D’orsay (a converted train station which now showcases the creme-de-la-creme of French and European painters, including Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Monet) over, Jen (my sister) and I made our way to the Paris Austerlitz station to catch a train back to Limoges, a three-hour trip that would take us back to family and a few days rest.

Mum and Aunt Kate met us at the train station at Limoges, a city of just under 140,000 in central France, and we were whisked away to a buffet restaurant named Flunch. My new-found command of the French language was no more use here than in Paris – especially since my use of the term “command” actually means mumbling a few badly-pronounced French words (“uhh, je voudrais, uhh, steak?”) then clumsily explaining myself in a mix of English and hand signals.

Following a poor dinner selection (mostly my own fault given the language barrier), we made our way to the town of Eymoutiers, a village no bigger than Kerikeri in which an aunt and uncle own a large, gorgeous bed-n-breakfast type house that is a temporary home to nine of us.

As it was quite late when we arrived in town, I didn’t get my first real look at Eymoutiers until the following morning when I ventured into the town centre to check out the weekly markets. Eymoutiers is little more than a few streets of old stone buildings punctuated by small planters full of colourful flowers and a water fountain, but it has a charm which transcends its relatively-small size; beside the large-scale tourist attractions of Paris, Eymoutiers is quint-essential France. It’s quite lovely.

The town is populated by older folk, all of whom nod and smile as you pass them in the street, and is home to a handful of small shops. The only big-name store (a Casino “supermarche”) is on the outskirts of town, and the village centre is made up of a couple of “tabacs” and “patissiers” (dairies and bakeries, for the folk at home), as well as the usual bookshops, boutiques and real estate offices.

Thursday morning is also market day, and the village is full of folding tables covered in goods, with amateur salesmen selling everything from clothing to giant wheels of cheese, and watches to fresh vegetables. I’m hesitant to use the word cute, but it really is. I end up picking up a new watch at one stall, before heading into two separate patissiers for a croissant and a pain au chocolat.

For dinner, the family – made up of Mum, Jen and I, plus three pairs of aunts and uncles, and a Czechoslovakian friend of the family – head to a restaurant on the shores of Lac De Vassiviere, a man-made reservoir spreading over 10 square kilometres, that I’m told was designed by Nazis during WW2 but constructed after the war by local French workers.

This fact underpins something else that I’ve noticed about France: whether positive or negative, the French embrace their history. For example, rather than scrap plans for the reservoir and burying the fact that Nazis were involved in its design, the locals now wear that fact like a badge of honour. Local train stations bear plaques that identify them as sites where Jews were shipped off to concentration camps, and we saw these plaques at both Eymoutiers tiny station and the huge Paris Austerlitz station. In a weird way, this display of history is like that one friend who likes to show off his scars; “I got this one when I fell off my bike, and got this one when civil war nearly tore our country apart”. Hey, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

Friday morning starts slowly with a lazy breakfast, but around lunchtime Mum, Jen and I – accompanied by one of my aunts – head in to Limoges for a bit of shopping; I was after a new pair of shoes since the pair I brought with me turned out to be half a size too small and their temporary replacements had gotten more and more uncomfortable over two days. I was also after some item of clothing that would commemorate my time in France, settling on a Paris Saint-Germain soccer shirt (PSG were playing on a television in the restaurant where Jen and I had dinner on the Tuesday night).

After returning to Eymoutiers, we have a few minutes before a French couple, friends of my aunt and uncle who own the house in Eymoutiers, arrive for dinner. Wine is consumed, fantastic food is eaten, songs from all over the world are sung, and new friends are made. It all makes for a fantastic night.

Saturday is our day to move on, with Mum, Jen and I catching back-to-back flights from Limoges to Stansted and Stansted to Belfast. As we have only around 90 or so minutes, we can’t afford any delays getting from one flight to the next … so, naturally, Jen and I end up stuck in the queue for UK customs for 40 minutes (I know these people have no obligation to help us meet our flight, but it was ludicrous how slow they were processing the queue of international travellers), learn that we have to exit the arrivals gate then enter back through Stansted security for our second flight (a completely redundant process) and Jen gets pulled over by security to have her bag checked thanks to a rogue bottle of contact lens fluid.

Fortunately we made our connecting flight on time, getting to the gate a few minutes after final check-in but slightly before they had started boarding the flight. We were on our way to Belfast, Mum’s home town and a place I had visited many times as a child, but not at all since 1991.

If I’m being honest, I actually got a little misty eyed after my first site of land in Northern Ireland. I have so fewmemories of my childhood, and only vague impressions of the family I haven’t seen in 21 years, yet this is a place where I spent a good portion of my childhood – but the fact that the people and places feel so foreign to me now, to the point where I’m conflicted by the feeling that this should be a return of sorts despite not actually feeling anything, is a little overwhelming.

All of that changed, however, a few minutes after landing in Belfast. Mum, Jen and I disembark our flight and arrange a hire car, then meet an aunt and cousin down the road. And as I exited the hire car on the side of the road and went in for a massive hug from an aunt and cousin – neither of whom I had really talked to, much less seen in person, in over 21 years – and as I spied a blackberry bush on the side of the road, I was suddenly struck by the feeling that this was a place I belonged and these were people who were important to me, and who I was important to. It was a great feeling.

We followed the aunt and cousin back to the aunts house and met an uncle I hadn’t seen in just as long, saying our hellos and settling in to our temporary home, before spending the evening together catching up on two decades of life over a feast of Chinese food. It might sound silly, but it was blissful in its own way.

I awoke on Sunday morning to find that I had actually slept in quite late, so hurriedly got dressed and quickly ate some breafast before heading out with Mum and Jen to meet another aunt and uncle. Unlike when we arrived on Saturday, and I found that some deep part of my brain was able to remember where we were and remember that I had been there before, I didn’t recognise where we were going – yet, as I went in for another big hug and took in the smell of the house, I knew that the place (and the people) was special and important to me.

Later that afternoon, we met up with a large contingent of family – 17 adults and 11 children, by my count – for that most Belfast-ian of dining experiences: dinner at the hotel. As has been the case all through this trip, I found that the family members (and their partners) are a kind of kindred spirit; I can’t articulate it, but there is something that connects us beyond mere ancestry, subtle similarities that show themselves and that identify us as one and the same.

Yet, at the same time, dinner was oddly overwhelming – and not just because there were so many faces, old and new, to be acquainted and reacquainted with. While the older family members, the aunts and uncles, were much how I had remembered them, the cousins were a different story. For example, prior to this trip, one cousin existed as a memory of a ginger-haired 7 year old with a mischievous grin. Now, that same cousin is a 28 year old man with a wife, a job, and three kids of his own.

The challenge of reconciling the memory and the reality is a real shock to the system, one that I haven’t quite come to terms with just yet. Every family member I meet is at once a joy and a jolt; a joy to be reunited with someone who was once, and still is, so precious, and a jolt from the dream state in which they previously existed to me.

I guess that is just something I’ll have to get used to on this trip.

Anyway, that is enough from me for today – I have a few more thoughts on Belfast and the reality of the social situation here, as compared with the perception I had of Belfast and the social situation here, but I’ll save those until my next update after I get them in order and spend a few more days in this wonderfully interesting city. Until then …

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