This Charming Man
Actor James Franco is a restless spirit. In case you hadn't already twigged it, the Related Stories column on the webpage that brings news of his newest venture is illustrative: "James Franco reads poems from his new collection"; "Inside James Franco's gay s&m documentary"; and "Franco writes empathetic New York Times op-ed on Shia Le Boeuf". You get the point. Franco likes to mix things up. His latest wheeze, Daddy's Let Me Get What I Want, is a Smiths-inspired music album recorded with actual Smiths member Andy Rourke on bass. This Charming Man isn't a cover of the Mancunians' first hit, but rather a reimagining of the song and an exploration of its universe. And surprise, surprise, the finished product is . . . not terrible. soundcloud.com/wearedaddy
Detroit v Everybody
Shady Records **
When a host of Motor City’s hip-hop luminaries (Eminem, Big Sean, Danny Brown, Dej Loaf) get together to toast their embattled hometown, it’s safe to assume the results will not be tourism board-approved. Gang-banging, trigger fingers and bleeding like Grand River – none of it would fly at Limerick City of Culture, that I can tell you.
A Perfect Christmas
Orphan Recording ***
Irish songwriters Eoghan O'Sullivan and David Graham outline various cliches they could do without this Christmas (snow, Santa, carollers), before unveiling their one wish: "Oh, won't you please come back to stay this Christmas." Any similarities to Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) are coincidental, we're sure.
TOBIAS JESSO JR
True Panther ****
If we take the singer/narrator at his word here, he’s a young piano player who pursues his dreams to Hollywood, gets picked up and spat out and – at the exact moment he realises he never wanted acclaim in the first place – composes one of the best songs he ever will.