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Category Archives: David Bowie

Now Streaming On Shudder: Nicolas Roeg’s ‘The Man Who Fell To Earth’

David Bowie starred in quite a few movies during his career, including Labyrinth, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, and Absolute Beginners. Perhaps none is more metatextual, however, than Nicolas Roeg’s 1976 film The Man Who Fell To Earth.

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Holiday Gift Guide 2016: Comic Book Collections Part 2

klausLast week, we highlighted a number of trade paperback comic book collections, perfect gifts for friends and loved ones (or yourself) this holiday season.

If you haven’t already, you can check out that particular list right here.

But maybe you want to kick it up a notch this month.

Maybe you’ve got a special someone that really only likes hardcover books on the bookshelf. Or maybe you’re looking to find something that carries a slightly higher budget than softcover collections.

No worries. This week, we’ve got your back.

Here’s the second installment of our Holiday Gift Guide: Comic Book Collections!

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Biff Bam Pop Remembers David Bowie

David Bowie

Andy Burns: I saw Bowie three times – the first was at a 2,000 seat club in Toronto called The Warehouse. He was touring Earthling, which I thought and still think was a fantastic album. Seeing him that close was amazing. A few years later, he was second on the bill to Moby for the latter’s Area 2 festival. We leaned against the stage at a giant amphitheater. We were closer. The third and final time was an arena show, and I was far away. I didn’t love it, though. It felt too much like a greatest hits show. But it didn’t matter. In the end, it doesn’t matter.

We all have our favourite David Bowie. Mine is the one I’ve listened to since 1993, when Black Tie, White Noise came out. The first Bowie album I bought. Jump, They Say, was about his brother who had committed suicide. I bought every new album after that. I loved OutsideI Have Not Been To Oxford Town. Little Wonder on Earthling. The title track to The Next Day. I could go on. But I’ll let the music speak for itself.

Robin Renee: David Bowie turned my teenage isolation into an inspired knowing that I could be all I wanted to be in life – creative, queer, bold, outside the box in any and all ways possible. As an artist and as a being, he was, and always will be, my most profound influence. One day I could write something more intellectual on the myriad ways Bowie expanded and shifted the trajectory of modern rock, multimedia, and fashion, but today this feels all too personal, and I have no more words. There is just love, deep gratitude, and the near numbness that precedes grief.

JP Fallavollita:David Bowie, the artist, has passed away, leaving behind an ever-lasting influence over music, fashion, film, art and pop culture. I welled up when I heard the news. So much of what I listen to or see has his fingerprints, heavy or light on it. Whether it was his performance on stage as Ziggy Stardust or the Thin White Duke, or on the screen as Major Jack Celliers or Jareth the Goblin King, his work, his life, was always a modern love; ours timeless. There’s another star brightening the night sky. Play his records. Listen to his songs. Never wave bye bye.

Less Lee Moore: Like many people my age, I can’t think of a time when I wasn’t listening to David Bowie. It started with “Space Oddity,” a song which terrified and fascinated me in equal measure, and it never really stopped. In 1998, I gained an entirely new appreciation for the Bowie mileu thanks to Todd Haynes’s brilliant film Velvet Goldmine, which quite literally changed my life forever, as well as increasing my already massive adoration for the man himself. Like everyone else, I was surprised and delighted by the release of The Next Day in 2013, which quickly became one of my favorite albums of the year. And here we are with the new album, ★, yet another triumph in a lifetime of triumphs, and it’s glorious and beautiful, just like the man who created it and even more so when you consider the circumstances.

“It’s funny how beautiful people are when they’re walking out the door.” — Mandy Slade, Velvet Goldmine

Glenn Walker: Last night’s news of David Bowie’s passing hit me hard. I was devastated. Many of you know I’ve been seriously ill for a month or so, but I’ve been making forward progress and trying to be positive – but this loss was a physical blow and crushed my spirits. I loved and love Bowie, he was a favorite, an idol, an inspiration, and the man marked my life.

My first exposure to Bowie, and also to the offensive gay epithet that starts with an F, was when I saw the “Little Drummer Boy (Peace on Earth)” duet with Bing Crosby originally air. I remember seeing him on “Soul Train,” and in drag and as a puppet on “Saturday Night Live.” “DJ” from Lodger (which I had on 8-track) was probably the first proper music video I ever saw, another field in which Bowie was a pioneer.

I remember vividly the first times I heard many of his songs. “Golden Years,” “Cat People,” “Station to Station,” “I’m Afraid of Americans,” “Let’s Dance,” “Sound and Vision,” and a dozen others all hold specific memories for my first listens. How many other artists or songs can one say that about?

This weekend, the weekend of both his birthday and death, was filled with Bowie for me. I watched him on “Storytellers” telling tales and performing for a small audience songs from his then-new album Hours. I also finally got around to listening to Blackstar, a fabulous collection.

And today I am crushed, numb, and indescribably sad. Rest in peace, man, I love you, you changed my life.

David Sandford Ward: When I woke up this morning, I read the words “David Bowie died!” in a
text message.

I understood the words; I could not, cannot, and do not understand
their context.

The sentence still doesn’t make sense to me.

My experience of the world has always included David Bowie, and I am having serious trouble contemplating a world where he does not exist. I feel I will struggle with this for a while. Unlike the loss of some of my other heroes (Terry Pratchett, Christopher Hitchens), I am having serious difficulty understanding that he’s gone as he has always been there. I remember my introductions to Pratchett and
Hitchens; I do not remember the same for Bowie as he was always there.

Always.

Andy asked us to include our favourite song, if possible. I cannot pinpoint it with such precision, so, instead, I’ll include something from Bowie’s goodbye:

Goodbye, David. We miss you; we love you. Thank you.

Daniel H. Reed: David Bowie’s spirit has quietly followed me in a number of crucial and random moments throughout my life. Most of the time, I didn’t even know he was there.

I remember a friend of mine from elementary school had a husky named Bowie with two different coloured eyes. At first I was too afraid to go near the dog, as he was loud and larger than myself. When I would visit my friend’s house after school the dog would bark and jump towards me with an incredible, supernatural force. It was definitely intimidating, but as time went on, Bowie recognized my scent. I remember curling up with him and watching a ton of movies together. There were times when I struggled to behave myself in class. I would lose my cool and it was hard to escape my head. Somehow, this majestic husky knew how I was feeling on those days and would nestle himself right against my legs to bestow a sense of calm that I would never forget.

Every time I hear David Bowie’s music I think about the dog as a reflection of his intangible greatness – one that channeled the mysteries of the universe in order to change the earth.

Amanda Blue: How do you say goodbye to someone like David Bowie? Where do you start? He became so many incredible people over the years, and so his spectrum of influence was massive. Though his musical career was obviously astounding, I personally found my Bowie connection in film.

Labyrinth was one of my many childhood obsessions, and (as anyone who knows me knows) Twin Peaks has become one of my many adult ones. So from Jareth to Jeffries, and all the songs, dances, music videos, and hilarious interviews in between, David Bowie had always just… been there. He was always doing something you needed to see and hear, and he was always being talked about (in a good way). The inevitable void that his absence will leave is currently being filled with messages of grief and concert reminiscence, but those things will taper off, and that lack of Bowie’s presence amongst and between us will be felt in a big way. I have no doubt about it. But as a child, watching the Goblin King spin those crystal balls as he climbed stairs that fascinatingly made no sense, and as a teen watching Bowie concert DVDs with friends, he had an influence. Without my even realizing it, I became a fan.

He was someone who made it ok to be weird. He made it beautiful to be weird. He helped so many of us along the path towards finding and embracing ourselves, either directly through his lyrics or indirectly by his music happening to be playing in the background during a pivotal life moment (that of course you didn’t realize was pivotal at the time), or simply having a minor role in a favourite film. So in that way, he will live on in all of us. As long as we remember.

Luke Sneyd: David Bowie was a synthesizer. In the purest sense of that word, he pulled from everywhere, fashion, art, pop, funk, rock, disco, electronica (remember that word?). He pillaged rapaciously, but when all those influences melded together, when they were fed into the Bowie machine with its blue and green eyes and its angular brain and jagged melodies, what came out was always Bowie. Always unique. The influences were there, the diviners could find them, rods straining toward the ground, but the well that sprung from David Jones’s mind was deep as time and wider than the cosmos. Each seismic shift in his discography is another branch of history, music, expression being subsumed and reborn, ashes to ashes, funk to funky.

I only saw Bowie a few times, not enough, nowhere near enough. I caught the raucous return to theatricality of the bewildering Glass Spider tour in the late eighties, and the stripped down classicism of the Sound+Vision tour. Both shows were great, but it’s the records that speak to me, an embarrassment of brilliance across decades.

The irresistible transport of “Space Oddity” captured my childhood self early, and “Ashes to Ashes” whisped echoing in my consciousness, but it wasn’t until “Let’s Dance” that I really discovered Bowie, and discovering him dug deep. Individual singles that escaped the album catalogue, the superb dance with Freddie Mercury’s Queen in “Under Pressure” or the soporific angst of “This is Not America” with Pat Metheny.

The seventies records are an uninterrupted transmission of alien genius, and there’s so many releases I’ve adored since then. The NIN-scape of Outside, the alt-art scaffolding of Heathen, the otherworldly finality of his last gift, Blackstar. I sit amazed at so meticulously planned an exit. Watching the “Blackstar” video, with its collapsed astronaut stranded on the moon, you have to marvel at the incredible circularity of his career addressed with a subtle yet commanding pathos. Bowie knew it was checkout time and they were getting ready to clean the room. And he could still contrive, dying, to make a record powerful and challenging and riven with haunted emotion and intellect. Even more amazing, that’s only one facet of a vast cultural coalescence, the Bowie.net we find ourselves living in. There’s presaging punk, the birth of glam, white soul, gender-bending, the uncategorizable revolutionary sex-toy poster-being from another planet, the questioning, really just endless questioning, of what it is, how wonderful and strange, to be an outsider. Whitmanesque, Bowie contained multitudes. How remarkable, for us, to be alive for the Mozart, the Da Vinci of this couple of centuries in time. Shamanistic voodoo, skeleton in space, thank you David and sorry kids. You might have to wait a long long time till there’s someone new at the centre of it all.

Biff Bam Pop’s Holiday Gift Guide 2014 – Nothing Has Changed by David Bowie

bowie1

Folks who know me know I am a huge David Bowie fan, at every stage of the man’s career. I’ve even reviewed his last effort right here at Biff Bam Pop!. So, for the Bowie fan on your gift list, or if you’re a Bowie fan yourself (and really, who isn’t?), the grandmaster of rock and roll has released a unique new compilation for the holidays – Nothing Has Changed. Check it out after the jump.

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Another Take On David Bowie’s The Next Day

David_Bowie_-_The_Next_DayOur man Glenn Walker was immediately enamoured with the new David Bowie album The Next Day when he streamed it from iTunes a few weeks ago. Now the rest of the world had heard and started absorbing Bowie’s first album in a decade. As a longtime fan of the man, I have to say I’m more than pleased with The Next Day. It could be his finest work in decades.

Take a listen to the latest single The Stars (Are Out Tonight) and then read on after the jump!


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David Bowie’s The Next Day – First Impressions

bowie3Much like the surprise of David Bowie releasing a new album after ten years of quiet retirement, today iTunes surprised us all by live streaming The Next Day, giving the world a very special sneak preview. Here are my thoughts after a first listen.

1. “The Next Day” (3:51) Dance rock from the master, the title tune gives a twisted positive message through story, typical of Bowie. This is reminiscent of his late eighties to me, sort of “Dancing with the Big Boys” vibe. A proper title track, and even better for a single, if they do such things these days.

2. “Dirty Boys” (2:58) Jazzy and off-kilter, more twisting surreality in the lyrics, which harken back to seventies Bowie for me. Appropriately and oddly, this reminds me of an uptempo “The Laughing Gnome.” I like it.

3. “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” 3:56 We know this one, the first up tempo tune released in startling innovative video just last week. This is the Bowie we remember – familiar sounds spun in new and unfamiliar ways.

4. “Love Is Lost” (3:57) Again, we have that touch of the old done in anew way, definitely Bowie, yet refreshing. This is a relentless spinning groove

5. “Where Are We Now?” (4:08) The first tune released from The Next Day, on Bowie’s 66th birthday, surprising us all as we thought he had retired a decade earlier. It’s slow methodical ballad, that like “The Stars,” with an edge of the old looking back on the young and what used to be.

6. “Valentine’s Day” (3:01) This one strikes me as both old school, and most likely to be the pop ballad single, too bad it missed the obvious holiday mark a few weeks back. I bet we’ll hear this all over pop/rock radio next year in February.

bowie27. “If You Can See Me” (3:16) Wonderful staccato drums and background vocals highlight this upbeat track, one of my favorites.

8. “I’d Rather Be High” (3:53) Continuing the strong drumwork, lyrically this the Bowie of old, he’s talking about the world, and the madness in it, specifically the young men going to wars in the middle east. One of the strongest tracks on the album.

9. “Boss Of Me” (4:09) Great horn work on this tale of an unconventional love, but then again, aren’t all Bowie love songs unconventional. It’s a bit reminiscent of “China Girl” to me.

10. “Dancing Out In Space” (3:24) This tune is one that has a lot of early critics talking, but for me, it’s a’right. It’s a good song, don’t get me wrong, and it does spotlight Bowie’s vocal talents, but the odd repetitive undulating guitar rift kinda annoyed me after a bit.

11. “How Does The Grass Grow” (4:33) I like this one a lot more than the previous track, although some might find Bowie’s backing vocals as annoying as I found the guitars in “Dancing.” I think this one is my fave so far. It’s hard, it’s spiraling, it has strong vocals, crazy lyrics, and it’s just sooo Bowie. Love it.

nextday12. “(You Will) Set The World On Fire” (3:30) Such strong guitars here and a bouncy beat, this dance rocker has a lot of potential. One of my faves.

13. “You Feel So Lonely You Could Die” (4:41) This midtempo ballad grew on me, carried by Bowie’s strong voice and lyrics, creating melancholy mood beautifully. I am inexplicably reminded of Tim Curry coming out into the audience at the end of Rocky Horror. Don’t overlook this one.

14. “Heat” (4:25) Another ethereal Bowie ballad with surreal lyrics, haunting and melodic. Lovely and morose.

There are also three other songs – “So She,” “Plan,” and “I’ll Take You There” – bonus tracks on the ‘deluxe’ album.  I suppose we will have to wait to hear those tunes. David Bowie’s The Next Day is set for official release on March 12th, 2013. I am so psyched!

David Bowie – The Stars (Are Out Tonight)

nextdayRock god David Bowie surprises us again this morning. Just when we thought he was done and retired, he released a single and announced a new album on his birthday earlier this year, after almost a decade in self-imposed retirement.

And now today, we have a second release from the album The Next Day, a short film directed by Floria Sigismondi and starring Tilda Swinton. Ladies and gentlemen, here is “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” by David Bowie.

Wow. Smart, sexy, subversive. Even now, Bowie continues to shape and reshape the world of music and music video, pushing boundaries and opening eyes. Bowie is back!

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