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James Poole reflection

North American Scum, Slight Return

As LCD Soundsystem downed tools in early 2011, I shared some thoughts on how, as a band, they captured New York City. To me, they were as much New York as were Blondie, the Beastie Boys or The Strokes. I shared my thoughts on how they “left us an almost perfect body of work”. I […]

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James Poole recommendations

2015: Top ten albums

It’s been a quiet year for the freethinking movement; relocating from the US to the UK has knocked the arse out of any free time, and has put a serious dent in my ability to sit and write. It’s a shame, as 2015 has been jammed with outstanding music. This, the sixth compilation of my […]

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James Poole recommendations

2014: Top ten albums

I’ve been posting an annual ‘best of’ list for a few years now – this is the fifth run through. I can honestly say that this is the easiest year by far. That isn’t a reflection on the scarcity of good material. Rather, the ten albums listed below stand head and shoulders out there as […]

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James Poole recommendations reflection

Vote ACR for Brazil 2014!

In these days of global warming, political and economic turmoil, Orwellian government surveillance and the very real threat of a new Coldplay album, there’s one issue that has crept onto my radar today, and which stands head and shoulders above all else in terms of importance. Let me explain… The World Cup is drawing closer. […]

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James Poole reflection

The only band that really counts

It was 50 years ago today. The world changed. Just as Kubrick represented the evolution of man in 2001: A Space Odyssey, I can only assume that a black monolith was present in Liverpool at the dawn of our new musical age, with four lads caressing its veneer; four lads who would change simply everything. […]

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events freethinking bklyn James Poole

freethinking bklyn 140201

There have been a few phases for freethinking nights. I think it’s fair to say that freethinking bklyn is finding a groove. It’s a place where the classic soul of Aretha Franklin sits alongside Chaka Khan’s disco anthems. Where the Northern Soul of Dobie Gray is matched with an entirely different type of northern soul […]

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defining freethinking James Poole

The Police: a perfect fit for freethinking

I was born in 1975. This puts me at 11 years old when just about the most exciting news came my way. When the music video for a track that I didn’t know was incoming burst onto my TV set, I was jumping for joy, and reaching for the [record] button on my VCR. Looking […]

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James Poole recommendations

The return of Matt Deighton and Michael Head

2013 is littered with unfinished business. There’s much for me to write about that I have just not had the time to share. Like seeing the Pixies tear through an awesome set at Music Hall of Williamsburg (with a highlight as staggering as it was surprising: ‘Bagboy’). Or Janelle Monae lighting up the Apollo as […]

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James Poole reflection

London Grammar, striking a blow for the youth of today

I can’t bear arrogance on stage. It puts me right off even the most over-achieving band. Clearly, there are some exceptions, where the arrogance is so utterly deserved that you’d happily sit through an hour of self-indulgent introspection because the artist is so bloody good. Step forward, Prince. But, at the other end of the […]

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James Poole recommendations

2013: Top ten albums

In any other year, the 2013 releases from Laura Mvula, Disclosure or Unknown Mortal Orchestra may have made the cut for the ‘best ten’. But, 2013 was about as solid a year for music as you can hope for. Even a rejuvenated and frankly otherworldly David Bowie didn’t make the list this year. And, I […]

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events freethinking bklyn James Poole

freethinking bklyn 130927

Williamsburg may be a ‘hood with a reputation for the ‘quirky’. People don’t appear to bat an eyelid when a besuited bloke walks down the street playing a ukelele and singing to himself, or when a guy uses the bike lane for his unicycle. And so, in this ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ time of […]

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James Poole reflection

New Order – bridging NYC and MCR

Walk down any street in Williamsburg, and your odds of passing somebody wearing a Joy Division T-shirt are pretty high. Admittedly, I’ve done my time in helping this cause – but it does sometimes feel that Joy Division are the unofficial mascots for Williamsburg. I frequently make the point that New York and Manchester have […]