Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The ShowHawk Duo


Alice Park, Bath 2014: Tribute to Daft Punk


Tron Kirk, Edinburgh 2013: The Anthem


Street Performance, Bath 2013


Edinburgh Festival Fringe, 2012

Monday, July 21, 2014

Spoon - "Inside Out"


Wikipedia:
Spoon will release their eighth full-length album, They Want My Soul, on August 5, 2014. It will be their first record released by Loma Vista Recordings, after five records on Merge. It was mixed by by Dave Fridmann. Heard above, "Inside Out" is a patently dreamy affair, setting singer Britt Daniel's raw cry to a shimmery score and a locked electronic groove.

In 2009, the review aggregator Metacritic ranked Spoon as its "Top overall artist of the decade", based on the band's consistently high review scores between 2000 and 2009, amongst other factors.

Monday, July 14, 2014

2014 FIFA World Cup: Finals

Germany 1 : 0 Argentina
Mario Götze, who had been a late substitute for Miroslav Klose, took a ball over his shoulder from Andre Schürrle and volleyed it home in the 113th minute to beat Argentine keeper Sergio Romero.

''It's an unbelievable feeling. I don't know how to describe it. You just shoot that goal in, you don't really know what's happening,'' said 22-year-old Götze. ''And then at the end of the match, having a party with the team, the whole country ... it is for us, a dream come true.''

With the win, Germany became the first European team to win a South American World Cup, ending a hex that had stood for 84 years. It was also the third time that the Germans had ended Argentina's World Cup hopes -- and possibly the cruelest. But just as the best two teams at this World Cup ended up in the final, the best team won it.

The state of play in the first half -- Argentina absorbing some manageable German pressure and then pushing forward with limited numbers to pose a threat on the break without sacrificing solidity -- worked well enough. Gonzalo Higuain even spurned a glorious chance when Toni Kroos played a poor ball back to Manuel Neuer. All in all, the opening stages of the match suited Argentina well.

Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella opted to make a change at halftime and threw Sergio Agüero into the fray to replace Lavezzi. Agüero is a superior player when fully fit, but he proved the wrong choice in this game. His arrival reduced the numbers in midfield and tempered any efforts to use the wide areas.

Kroos’ miss rather summed up the work in front of goal for much of the day. Höwedes somehow turned a header onto the near post from six yards on the stroke of half time, while Higuain, Messi and Rodrigo Palacio all wasted opportunities to give Argentina a tangible foothold. The first team to create and then take an opportunity always loomed as the likely winner.


Germany ultimately managed to procure a goal of considerable quality to decide the game. Schürrle carved out a modest amount of space on the left and served an inviting ball to the near post. Götze – the third and final German sub – collected the cross on his chest with his first touch and then swept it inside the far post from a tight angle after 113 minutes.

The late bit of magic decided a final with fine margins between the sides. Argentina defended well and kept its shape impeccably, but it failed to produce a shot on target in 120 minutes. Germany enjoyed most of the possession without doing enough with it for long stretches, but it summoned that wonderful sequence to ultimately decide the affair. The extra bit of quality eventually separated the teams on the day and wrapped this tournament with the best team in Brazil holding the trophy.

Lineups

Germany: Manuel Neuer; Philipp Lahm, Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng, Benedikt Hoewedes; Christoph Kramer (Andre Schurrle, 32), Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos; Thomas Müller, Mesut Ozil (Per Mertesacker, 120); Miroslav Klose (Mario Götze, 88).

Argentina: Sergio Romero; Pablo Zabaleta, Ezequiel Garay, Martin Demichelis, Marcos Roja; Javier Mascherano, Enzo Perez (Fernando Gago, 86), Lucas Biglia; Ezequiel Lavezzi (Sergio Aguero, 46), Lionel Messi; Gonzalo Higuain (Rodrigo Palacio, 78).


Lionel Messi didn't win the 2014 World Cup, but he still came away with gold: The Golden Ball. The Argentine captain was named the best player of the tournament by the FIFA Technical Study Group ahead of Germany's Thomas Müller and Netherlands star winger Arjen Robben.

The Golden Glove award for best goalkeeper was less controversial, going to German netminder Manuel Neuer, while the Golden Boot was stats based: The honor for top scorer was claimed by Colombia's James Rodriguez, who finished with six goals.

More information:
» The Guardian: Final Meeting of Two Golden Generations
» Bloomberg: Messi Fails to Win One Trophy He Really Wanted
» New York Times: Qatar's Bid for Soccer Respect

Thursday, July 10, 2014

2014 FIFA World Cup: Semifinals



Germany 7 : 1 Brazil
Germany routed Brazil 7-1 today to reach the World Cup final, handing them its worst loss ever and breaking the hearts of millions of Brazilians.

In the time that elapsed between Miroslav Klose scoring Germany’s second of the evening and Sami Khedira their fifth, Joachim Low’s side showcased the poise and skill that made them one of the favourites for the title right from the start of the competition. Yet they were unquestionably aided in their task by a desperate Brazil side that simply collapsed from within.

Brazil played without its injured striker Neymar, who had suffered a fractured vertebra in his lower back last Friday during its quarterfinal clash against Colombia. Brazilian captain Thiago Silva also missed the match against Germany because he received a foolish yellow card during the contest, which was his second before the semifinals.

Germany will play either Argentina or the Netherlands in the championship game at Rio's Maracana Stadium on Sunday.

FIFA:
A number of records tumbled in the Estadio Mineirao yesterday. 39 years had passed since A Seleção's last competitive home defeat, and that too came in Belo Horizonte. Peru were the victors on that occasion, beating the Brazilans 3-1 in the Copa America semi-finals. 76 years separated Brazil's first and previously only World Cup semi-final defeat - a 2-1 loss to Italy in 1938 - from this one.

The match itself provided a wealth of historical moments: it was Brazil’s all-time heaviest defeat (the last time A Seleção lost so heavily was in 1920, when they went down 6-0 to Uruguay), the biggest victory ever recorded in a World Cup semi-final and also the occasion when Germany scored their 2000th international goal.

The Germans have now reached an all-time record eight World Cup Finals. The Europeans are returning to the game's showpiece fixture for the first time since 2002 and will be aiming to win a Trophy they last lifted back in 1990.

Thomas Muller reached a milestone with his 10th career World Cup goal. With five goals and three assists thus far, Muller has a chance in the Final to become the first player to score and/or create nine or more at a World Cup since Diego Maradona (five goals, five assists) in 1986. Furthermore, he is just the third player to score five or more at two separate World Cup editions, following Teofilo Cubillas (1970 and 1978) and Klose (2002 and 2006).

The triumph was crowned by Miroslav Klose scoring his 16th World Cup goal - Germany’s second on the evening - meaning the 36-year-old pulled clear of Brazil’s Ronaldo, who was present in the stadium, as the tournament’s all-time top scorer. The Lazio striker set this benchmark eight years after Ronaldo, with his 15th, took the record from Gerd Muller on German soil. Klose achieved these milestones in his 23rd World Cup appearance, a haul that takes him level with Paolo Maldini on the all-time list and leaves him second only to compatriot Lothar Matthaus.

“It’s an outstanding achievement, I’m delighted for him,” Joachim Low said. FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter also offered his congratulations on Twitter: “Hats off to Miroslav Klose!”

Argentina 0 : 0 Netherlands (4-2)
Argentina advanced to the FIFA World Cup final after defeating the Netherlands 4-2 in a penalty shootout in Wednesday's semi-final at the Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo.

Neither side scored in 120 minutes of regular and extra time, with the tense, cagey match providing a stark contrast to Tuesday's other semi-final, which saw Germany rout hosts Brazil 7-1.

In the penalty shootout, Lionel Messi, Ezequiel Garay, Sergio Aguero and Maxi Rodriguez converted their spot-kicks—Rodriguez scoring the clincher off the hands of Dutch goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen. Meanwhile, Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero saved against Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder to secure his status as a hero.

The dramatic win sent Argentina into their fifth World Cup final, having won the title in 1978 and 1986. Alejandro Sabella's side will face Germany on Sunday in Rio de Janeiro in what will be a rematch of the 1986 and 1990 finals.



More information:
» Brazil 1:7 Germany FIFA Match Highlights
» Mashable: Brazil Woke Up to the Saddest Front Pages
» Brazil Fires Coach Felipe Scolari

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Death From Above 1979 - "Trainwreck 1979"


SPIN:
Back when Death From Above 1979 first reunited in 2011, drummer/singer Sebastian Grainger hinted that new material was in the works. After trying a handful of tracks out on tour in 2012, the Canadian synth-punk duo is set to return with their long-awaited sophomore album, The Physical World, September 9 via Last Gang. Monday night they shared the jittery first single from that record "Trainwreck 1979" on Zane Lowe's BBC Radio 1 show.

Paired with a similarly spastic lyric video of sorts, this new cut finds the band unleashing the same kind of dirge-y fuzz bombs that they were 10 years ago on You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine. In a recent interview with NME, Granger took a cynical approach to the band's reunion, saying that a new album came solely because fans have "been fucking asking for it."

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Wimbledon: Djokovic Wins Five-Set Thriller Over Federer

"With seven Grand Slam titles to his name now, Djokovic moves alongside the likes of John McEnroe and Mats Wilander - 10 behind Federer at the top of the all-time list."
The Guardian:
Roger Federer, in the twilight of greatness, was hoping to outwit the new world number one, Novak Djokovic. He didn't miss by much, losing a five-set thriller 6-7, 6-4, 7-6, 5-7, 6-4. But he almost did it, he almost reclaimed the Wimbledon title and confounded those who can't understand why he chases the holy grail of another grand slam.

It would have been an eighth Wimbledon – his 18th grand slam, and he would have become the oldest singles champion at Wimbledon in the open era of tennis.

Now ranked number four, aged 32, and the father of two sets of twins, the Swiss master doesn't move as fluidly as he did. His drives don't always have the last word. His aura of invincibility – which required the rest to battle the man and his legend – left him some time ago. He chases with the pack he once led indisputably.

But he still has a sparkling array of shots, and he still has the most remarkable tennis brain. He has honed what already was a forensic serve, he cuts down on the number of long rallies. He seeks to curtail the attrition with a serve-and-volley game that conjures images of an era past. He has a bigger racquet engendering more power and fewer errors. He can only rue the passage of time and its consequences. But he has been willing to tinker, as he can and as he must, with everything else.

Against anyone but Djokovic, the 27-year-old Serb with almost mythical powers of resolve and recovery, it would probably have been enough. Federer began the match turbo-charged, pressuring Djokovic at the baseline and galloping to the net to cut off his returns. Djokovic seemed marginally stronger, but Federer took the set on a tie-break. Djokovic upped his game to take the second set 6-4 and then the third on a tie-break.

Djokovic powered his way to 5-2 in the fourth, and his victory appeared to be a formality. He moved to match point at 5-4. Federer blew it away with a 120-mile-per-hour ace. The older man flicked the switch to win four games in a row and won the set 7-5.

The crowd, including David and Victoria Beckham, shamelessly partisan, drunk on theatre, erupted into chants of "Roger, Roger!". Every Federer point was met with a wave of cheers. No animosity was towards Djokovic; instead a shared and vocal desperation to see Federer keep his mission on track; a collective wish to be part of history.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were as engrossed in the drama as everyone else. She placed her head in her hands as Federer double-faulted and lowered her head to her knees at match point. She reacted to one successful point by giving the former number one the thumbs up.

By the fifth set, the spectators had become integral to the show, cheering, imploring, oohing and aahing. Federer looked the fresher of the two; Djokovic crestfallen. For the second time in the match, he called for medical attention from the trainer to attend to his right knee.

At 3-3 Djokovic faced a perilous break point, but saved the game with a high-risk foray to the net and then won it.

Federer pushed and probed, Djokovic stood firm, both men delighting Centre Court with tenacity and athleticism and refusing to the last to offer certainty as to the result. Djokovic earned three break points on Federer's serve at 4-3. Federer swept them away. At 5-4, Djokovic gained another break point, match point. Federer slumped a forehand into the middle of the net. Over three hours and 56 minutes, the dream had come and gone.

His loss was tempered by support from the crowd and his young family. "I am disappointed not to have been rewarded with victory, but it was close. Novak deserved it at the end, but it was extremely close. Winning or losing, being in a Wimbledon final is always something special, especially when the match is as dramatic as today."


Because tennis is soap opera, Djokovic came to an extraordinary final with his own backstory. The new world number one – he began the match ranked second – has previously won seven grand slams, including Wimbledon in 2011. But he had lost his last three grand slam finals. Last year he added former Wimbledon champion Boris Becker to his entourage in an attempt to help him end that sequence, strategically and mentally. The wily German beamed courtside.

"This victory meant so much to me because it was against a great rival in terrific form on his court," said Djokovic, who, just like in 2011, ate a blade of grass immediately after winning the final point. "Also considering the fact I have lost three out of four Grand Slam finals. It was a huge test and a mental challenge. We were pushing each other to the limits. This one was extra special."

Later Djokovic elaborated on his victory: "This was the best quality Grand Slam final I have ever been part of. From the first point this was the best match. Roger played very well and showed why he is a champion and showed fighting spirit and composure in the important moments."

"I could have lost my concentration and handed him the win but I didn't and that is why this is very special to me mentally because I was fighting against him but also myself."

Referring to his celebratory meal of grass, he said: "There was as much grass as last time, so I ate some dirt too. But it was the best meal I ever tasted."



More information:
» The Guardian: "Noah Rubin offers US hope by winning boys’ title"

Saturday, July 5, 2014

2014 FIFA World Cup: Quarterfinals

ESPN:
Germany 1 - 0 France
In case you haven't noticed, Germany have become the new Italy -- right before your narcoleptic eyes. Like the Azzurri did so brilliantly en route to winning five World Cups, Joachim Low's boys have mastered the art of sucking the air out of a game once they've taken the lead. It may be mind-numbingly tedious to watch, but it's ruthlessly effective, as France found out Friday.

A playmaking midfielder through his first four matches at the 2014 World Cup, Germany captain Philipp Lahm was switched to right-back against France as several of his teammates succumbed to a virus. The result was an immediate improvement in what had been a problem position.

Die Mannschaft's grinding 1-0 victory propelled them to their fourth consecutive World Cup semifinal. Given the cagey, risk-averse nature of the game, it was only fitting that the decisive goal was scored by a defender, Mats Hummels, and that it came from a dead-ball situation.

Brazil 2 - 1 Colombia
David Luiz, the newly-acquired Paris Saint-Germain defender, was an inspired performer for Brazil on Friday. Not only did he pass for high efficiency and win all of his aerial battles, but he also scored what proved to be the winner against Colombia. Moments after James Rodriguez had fouled Hulk, Luiz released a dipping free kick that beat goalkeeper David Ospina to the near corner.

As the Brazilian poster boy for this World Cup, Neymar had carried the hopes of 200 million countrymen on his back. It is the kind of impossible pressure that would buckle most mortals, let alone a 22-year-old whose build is only slightly more formidable than Victoria Beckham's. Yet through five games, Neymar not only held up under the weight of expectations, he flourished, scoring four goals while personifying what may be the last vestige of Brazil's inimitable samba-style soccer. Which is why the broken vertebra he suffered Saturday against Colombia is all the more ironic. And tragic.

Yes, it was the direct result of Juan Camilo Zuniga ramming his knee at high speed into Neymar's back in the 87th minute. But the bone-rattling tone was set 77 minutes earlier -- see: David Luiz barging into Juan Cuadrado from behind -- and would escalate into 54 fouls (31 of them by the Selecao). For that, Brazil has only itself to blame -- along with referee Carlos Velasco Carballo. Meek or near-sighted or both, Carballo badly misjudged the level of competitive fury on the field and handed out a mere four yellow cards.

Colombia's young, dynamic team possessed in James Rodriguez the breakout star of the tournament; his five goals before the quarterfinal, featuring a ridiculous swiveling screamer of a volley against Uruguay, were the most to that point in this World Cup. Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari knew: As J-Rod goes, so goes Colombia.

Bleacher Report:
Argentina 1 - 0 Belgium
Against Belgium it was Gonzalo Higuain who stepped up — the 26-year-old Napoli striker latching onto Angel Di Maria's pass and beating Thibaut Courtois with the single, accurate swing of his right foot.

Javier Mascherano was Argentina captain at the 2010 World Cup, and while it’s Lionel Messi who now wears the armband, the Barcelona midfielder continues to provide important leadership in 2014. It was Mascherano who called for improvement ahead of Argentina’s quarter-final showdown with Belgium, saying “The moment of truth has arrived. Now we have to maintain the level and get rid of the mistakes.” Then, in Brasilia, the 30-year-old smothered the likes of Kevin de Bruyne and Eden Hazard out of the contest while efficiently moving the ball upfield.

As jubilant as they were over La Albiceleste's 1-0 lead, they instinctively knew that an injury to Di Maria played havoc with their dreams of winning their first World Cup since 1986.

Netherlands 0 - 0 Costa Rica (4-3 in penalties)
Arjen Robben didn’t find the back of the net against Costa Rica. But he didn’t lose the slightest bit of pace or energy over the 120 minutes of normal and extra time, either. The 30-year-old, who has already developed a reputation for big-game performances, drove the Ticos defense crazy in Salvador.

Against the Netherlands, Costan Rican defensive midfielder Yeltsin Tejeda ran himself ragged mopping up his teammates’ mistakes, and he also made a vital goal-line clearance to prevent a Dutch winner in the second half. Given his showing in Brazil, it’s no wonder the likes of Everton and Fulham are keen to sign the 22-year-old Saprissa midfielder, as per Sky Sports.

Of all the heartbreaking ways for plucky little Costa Rica to go out of the World Cup, few expected it to be in another nerve-shredding tiebreaker. Certainly the Ticos themselves didn't anticipate losing in that fashion after going a perfect five-for-five from the spot in their life-affirming round of 16 victory over Greece.

The rest is World Cup history, as Newcastle's Tim Krul swaggered onto the field, all 6-foot-5 of him, and brashly informed the Costa Rica players not to waste their time taking their PKs because he already knew which direction they were going to kick and he would be there to smother their shots. Which, of course, is just what happened twice, ending Costa Rica's magic carpet ride.