Led Zeppelin \nHow the West Was Won \nAtlantic \nIt's pretty safe to assume that if Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham had never formed Led Zeppelin and set about interpreting blues music with such ferocity then today's music scene would be a whole lot blander. \nBetween 1969 and 1979 the band released a total of eight groundbreaking studio albums. It wasn't until last month, however, that a truly definitive live album hit record store shelves. \nWhile 1976's The Song Remains the Same and 1997's BBC Sessions attempted to bring the majesty of Page, Plant, Jones and Bonham's stage presence to living rooms neither really hit the mark. \nHow the West Was Won does all that and a whole lot more. Compiled by Page, the triple album contains tunes from two of the band's 1972 concerts in Los Angeles. And it is the first release of live recordings of Led Zep at its zenith. \nPage has tried to fit nearly all the band's most memorable moments into the three-disc set, which includes a selection of both short and long numbers and of course plenty of solos and interplay between Page and Plant. \nAlthough the 25-minute long Dazed and Confused and the 23-minute long Whole Lotta Love are true wonders of modern rock and demand full volume, the band's real mind-numbing virtuosity is more noticeable on the shorter tunes. \nFrom Immigrant Song to Black Dog and onto Dancing Days the sheer power and unabashed energy of Page's guitar, Bonham's drums, Jones' bass riffs and Plant's vocals go straight for the throat. \nDigitally re-mastered and without any annoying bootleg fuzz it doesn't get much better than Led Zep's How the West Was Won. \nYeah Yeah Yeahs \nFever to Tell \nPolydor \nHitting the scene in the wake of the Strokes-led New York garage rock revival, the Big Apple based art-house trio the Yeah Yeah Yeahs released its self-titled debut EP to much localized underground acclaim in 2001. \nSuccessful US-wide tours supporting Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, the Strokes and the White Stripes followed shortly thereafter. \nWithin a year the trio had conquered the hearts and minds of America's arty garage scene. Thanks to a rise in popularity of US underground music in Europe, the combo successfully crossed the Atlantic last year, where it repeated its earlier success. \nHaving built up a strong following in both the US and Europe the band and its stylishly sexy new wave sound was snapped up by Polydor, on which it recently released its full-length debut, Fever to Tell. \nBalancing noise and melody with a sound reminiscent of late 1970s new wave, Fever to Tell manages to be both raunchy and experimental while refusing to sound pompous. \nThe underlying theme of the album revolves around some kind of screwed-up sexuality or another. In order to create the mood, Karen O, Nick Zinner and Brian Chase employ rockabilly licks and riffs, basic bar-E, dub and some fashionably off-key noise. \nThere's something for everyone on Fever to Tell. Tunes such as Date with the Night, Tick and Black Tongue see the band toying with rock, Pin is bouncy pop, and the finest moment, Y Control, is gritty-chic new wave at its off-key finest. \nStereophonics \nYou Gotta Go There to Come Back \nV2 \nBack in the late-1990s, Wales' Stereophonics, comprising Kelly Jones (vocals/guitar), Richard Jones (bass, and Stuart Cable (drums) were considered the greatest thing since sliced bread by the record-buying British public. \nThe band's early days might have been spent in the shadows of the other Welsh band, Manic Street Preachers, but when the combo's 1997 debut album, Word Gets Around, was released it quickly dispelled any notions that the Stereophonics was just another bunch of Nicky Wire wannabes. \nLong dubbed purveyors of "meat and potatoes rock," the band's fifth and latest album, You Gotta Go There to Come Back, sees the band in less starchy mood and setting out to prove that South Wales does in fact have a whole lotta' soul. \nBlue Man Group \nThe Complex \nLava \nLong before the Blue Man Group became international television personalities thanks to a string of popular commercials, Matt Goldman, Phil Stanton, and Chris Wink were fixtures of the New York underground performance art scene. \nFormed in 1987 the group was a regular in Central Park and some of the better-known East Village art spaces. In 1991, the trio premiered their production of Tubes and won an Obie Award for its originality. \nMaking their audio debut in 1999 with the aptly titled, Audio, the trio spotlighted specific Blue Man-made instruments and made forays into avant-garde pop. \nThe group's second album, The Complex, is somewhat different from its predecessor. Offering listeners an awesome earful of original rock, dance and pop as well a couple of truly fantastic cover versions. \nProviding the lyrical content for the blue guys' latest venture are a host of stars including Dave Matthews, Gavin Rossdale, Josh Haden, Peter Moore and Venus Hum to name but a few. The addition of instruments ranging from electric guitar to a Hungarian cimbalom ensure that all the tunes, originals or covers, are more than simply percussive musical-mayhem. \nFeaturing 14 tunes, the album is a mishmash of vocalized harmonies and instrumentals, the latter of which includes the tunes Above, Time to Start and Piano Smasher, that sees the Blue Man Group in fine percussion-loaded form. \nIt's the Blue Man's versions of Grace Slick's drug tinged White Rabbit and the Giorgio Moroder/Donna Summer disco classic, I Feel Love, however, that really makes The Complex complete and proves the Blue Man Group is far more than simply a TV advertising executive's wet dream.
Scott Saulters wasn’t sure if his film had just taken one of the two top prizes at a recent film competition. Although Saulters has been in Taiwan for 15 years and is proficient in Mandarin, the award ceremony for the inaugural “Bi Tian Iann” (眯電影) short film contest was conducted entirely in Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese), a language he can’t speak. “I thought I heard it, but I didn’t want to look too excited,” he says. Despite his limited command of the tongue, Saulter’s entry, Wu Yu Tzu (烏魚子, mullet roe), took first place in the amateur category of the
Since its launch in 2014, the Taiwan Season has increasingly become a “must-see” at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. So, when this year’s three-week Fringe became an early casualty of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Chen Pin-chuan (陳斌全) was determined that the Taiwan Season must continue in some form. Chen, director of the Cultural Division of the Taipei Representative Office in the UK, says that he and Taiwan Season curator and producer Yeh Jih-wen (葉紀紋) had been thinking of ways of growing and adding value to the season anyway. The crisis and the cancellation of the live performances brought those ideas forward as
The Taiwan of yesteryear was dominated in whole or in part by the Dutch, Spanish, Qing Empire and Japanese. But is the Taiwanese name for a popular edible fish derived from the Portuguese language? Cheng Wei-chung (鄭維中), an associate research fellow at Academia Sinica’s Institute of Taiwan History, says yes. The fish in question is the narrow-barred Spanish mackerel, which was listed in early 18th century Qing local gazetteers as Taiwanese specialities alongside milk fish and mullet, according to Cheng’s paper, “Mullet, narrow-barred Spanish mackerel and milkfish: Multiple contextual developments of three certified seafood specilaities in Taiwan, from the
In the regular drumbeat of arrests of alleged Chinese spies, one case last month stood out. It did not involve the US or another rival of China, but Russia, whose security services accused a prominent arctic scientist of selling classified data on technologies for detecting submarines. Meanwhile a court in Kazakhstan in October convicted the Central Asia nation’s preeminent China specialist of espionage, a move widely interpreted at the time as a warning against increased meddling by the superpower next door. Both men maintain their innocence and if China is spying on Russia, Moscow is surely doing the same. Even so, the fact