I still feel submerged in mossy water from the final scene of this one. It seems to be a recurring preoccupation of mine, but if there’s a better use of song in film than the remake of Tears for Fears’ “Mad World” in the closing scene, I can’t remember it. The entire movie is a strange and sweaty feverdream, but when the movie settles into its denouement and Gary Jules’ elegiac piano begins to play, everything stops for me. After watching it last time, my wife asked me what that song was I kept playing over and over last night while she was trying to sleep. Thank God for DVDs.
A quick re-visit to Derek’s original Twilight Singers post from a little while back.
I saw the Twilight Singers last night. Let me just say - hallelujah! The show totally kicked my ass. They played for over two hours. First set was basically straight-up Blackberry Belle, with Black Is the Color of my True Love’s Hair thrown in for a laugh. And it sounded great - the band are super-tight (and sport super-fly threads) and they do this great between song interlude noodling thing. Plus Dulli was on superb form - cracking jokes, smoking like a chimney and just being all cool and sexified (although his paunch is veerying rather close to the spare tire zone). Set closer, The Zombies summer come-on classic ‘Time of the Season’ nearly made my knees buckle.
But the second set - holy smokes! It was pretty much an hour plus of the Ipod on random covers set. They did a note-for-note tribute to ‘Hey Ya’, plus ‘Dancing Queen’, ‘Layla’, ‘Rhiannon’ and even some frigging Darkness! And if that wasn’t enough, my contact gave us the sweet after-show party hook-up. Hung out, chatted and even met the bass player’s parents. All in all - a tip top night.
I asked Billy to recommend me a film to watch, and he said Casablanca. “I don’t like old things” we chorused, me pleading, him mocking.
“You’re spoilt,” he explained. “You’re like someone who can only eat spicy food, curries and chillis. I bet your tomatos have to be sundried. Apples! You only like sharp, astringent apples that make you curl your face up. You’re like that with food, with films, and with music too. The gaudy sensations of the 21st century have overloaded you; you can’t deal with normal things anymore!”
And it’s true. I’m hyper-accelerated in my sensory demands. I can’t listen to old stuff anymore, or even anything that sounds old, particularly. Anything that even approaches antiquity needs to be overblown to compensate (Rufus Wainwright!), the flavours familiar but layered on so bloody thick that they become rich and indulgent and sickly, because otherwise I can’t taste ‘em. I’m like a synaesthetic baby. Even my beans on toast need accentuating with cayenne pepper. Maybe I need to detox?
I blame Peter Jackson and Mouse On Mars. And the indian takeaway down the road…
Sometimes it’s nice to get away from the ever-running stream of pop music to which I listen. On Saturday night, my wife and I went to see the Minnesota Orchestra put on a trio of pieces by Russian composers. I’ve long been a fan of everything Stravinsky, so I was expecting his brief Symphony of Wind Instruments to be the center of the evening. Instead, I was bowled over and left weak-kneed by the performance of Shostakovich’s Concerto in A Minor for Violin and Orchestra. The violinist was absolutely dead-on in key with Shostakovich’s wintry hesitation and seemed to fall with the weight of gravity into the piece’s more frenzied moments. Easily the centerpiece of the evening, I had to rush out and buy his Fifth Symphony the next day. Now, the week has started, and I’m back to my Tom Waits at the office. But Shostakovich proved such a well-tailored companion for a wintry Saturday eve. . .
Checked out Kilian’s review of thickfreakness before catching their live show last night at Northumbria Uni.
They sound nothing like their records at all, they switch it up by about 100%, its rawer, messier, noiser and it really does sound like 3 other guys are on stage with them.
Listening back to their cds after the gig we weren’t even sure that they had the same vocalist on stage (obviously they did), so much more alive was his performance and that they had got some buckeye flahead in to sing on the LPs.
Amazing track on the ‘Lagos ‘70′ comp. The guitar on this is what “I Heard Her Call My Name” would’ve sounded like had Lou Reed’s shock therapy been given by secret police making him stand in a puddle with the cables crocodile-clipped to the scrotum instead of at a relatively clean and pleasant American nuthatch.
I was listening to NPR, paying close attention to the static and kind of ignoring whatever was being discussed. For me, the crash didn’t have a sound. But it must have made a sound, a terrible sound. I’m in a state of shock and thing that calms me is the sound of the CT. It’s this delightful humming, just humming…
I’ve been told MRIs have a great panging sound. Anyone have any medical sound anecdotes? The humming was so calming.
Whilst doing this week’s top 40 thing, I’ll be watching the World Darts Championship final over the internet at the BBC’s site. Suggest you do as well. Starts 6PM GMT. Bear in mind also that given my luck with streaming stuff off the internet previously there is a very good chance it might go to wank, and the top 40 thing will feature an even higher amount of swearing than usual. Thus, we all win.
Being a film student, I feel a gripping need to write up my ten favorite movie theater moments of 2003. Rather than staying within 2003 releases, I’d rather talk about my favorite theatrical experiences (this includes older re-releases and old prints shown at my campus theater).
1. Lost in Translation – Passé now before it knew it had a chance; Coppola’s film sucker punched me, especially with “Sometimes.” This movie angers me in a way simply that I know it must be a no-brainer for my tastes.
2. Blue Velvet – Shown on campus to a full crowd, perhaps giving David Lynch the sense of humor that we all knew was there, but only a packed theater can really achieve.
3. Martin Arnold shorts – A couple shorts of Arnold’s visual scrubbing to scenes in classical Hollywood. Don’t miss the chance to see these, as they get screened quite infrequently and are amazingly entertaining.
Link to Martin Arnold web-site: http://www.r12.at/arnold/
4. Blood Simple – Sucking you in with the windshield wipers at the opening, Blood Simple never lets go. The scene with Dan Hedaya and the ceiling fan bring back wonderful glimpses of Barton Fink.
5. Chungking Express – Reissued by Tarantino on DVD a couple years ago, this is Art-House in all the fractured glory.
6. Repo Man – Perhaps the Reagan satire still hits closer to home than we think. Harry Dean Stanton steals the movie as Emilio Estavez’s mentor.
7. Spellbound – The documentary which blurred the line of mockumentary into straight-lined narrative. The parent-child relationships are captivating, taking a strange cross-section of America.
8. Alien – A film that makes the theatrical experience necessary, Alien was captivating when re-released. My experience with Alien happened earlier in the year at the Music Box in Chicago. With an appropriately dirty print, the Nostromo (spaceship) never looked so scary. Once again, Harry Dean Stanton steals the show (or at least a couple key scenes).
9. Bad Santa – Although many probably were shocked by Kill Bill’s gleeful violence, Bad Santa was the stinker I needed from a Weinstein brother, the Coen Brothers and Terry Zwigoff, which gave my holiday season a nice tinge.
10. Matrix Reloaded – And, to speak of stinker (in the bad sense of the word), Reloaded provided the greatest ending of my theater experiences. Walking out of the theater, I’d never seen so many stunned faces at the Wachowski Brothers mayhem (yes, the joke was on you and me).
Well, I succumbed to the hype. I finally bought Blackberry Belle, and after listening to it three times through and waiting a few days before listening again, I’m still lost on the furor behind this one. Several songs seemed to almost snag me, but overall I was pretty blase about the melodies and instrumentation. Is it a grower? I began to wonder if this was sort of a free-pass record, fawned over and adored by fans of Greg Dulli and/or the Afghan Whigs but not really enjoyed on its own merits (I’m feeling kinda ripe with vitriol this morning). Now, certainly, I don’t expect anyone to lay out exactly what they like about the album, but I wanna hear back from adorers of this one. Shoot straight for the knees. . .
Here’s a fun masochistic game for list-making junkies: name some of the consensus, indie rockcrit-approved best albums of 2003 that you never actually got around to listening to b/c you were a) trying to lead an actual normal life or b) listening to Hail to the Thief for the 3,758th time (maybe that was just me). Anyway, fess up, hipsters: were you frontin’ on that King Geedorah or did you actually cop that shit? Surely not all of you made it through A Silver Mt Zion? Seriously though, I just quickly scanned the top 20s of my fellow staffers and found quite a few relatively high-profile albums that I never actually heard, and in the interest of full disclosure I thought I would reveal them, so that you all can bask in my ignorance.
M Ward - Transfiguration of Vincent
Belle and Sebastian - Dear Catastrophe Waitress (never cared for ‘em)
The Unicorns - Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone?
Exploding Hearts - Guitar Romantic
Saturday Looks Good to Me - All Your Summer Songs
Soft Pink Truth - Do You Party?
Justin Timberlake - Justified (only heard the singles)
Death Cab for Cutie - Transatlanticism
Twilight Singers - Blackberry Belle
Luomo - The Present Lover (I really do feel bad about this one, Joe’s review really made me want to get it)
Kevin Drumm - Land of Lurches
John Cale - Hobo Sapiens
since i don’ have a list from last to revise, i thought i’d post the albums that just missed my top twenty for this year. the order isn’t nearly as set in stone as my top picks.
21. tv pow & gene coleman - at the renaissance society
22. blood brothers - burn piano island, burn
23. vertonen - the ocean is gone, the ship is next
24. xiu xiu - a promise
25. jason lescalleet - electronic music
26. new pornographers - electric version
27. young people - war prayers
28. john wiese & tim koh - scrubby bubby
29. deerhoof - apple o’
30. kinski - the air above your station