Posts Tagged ‘LCD soundsystem’

The Lodger: Director David Ondaatje‘s debut is loosely adapted from Hitchcock’s 1927 silent film about a ‘Jack The Ripper’ copycat killer. Ondaatje gives The Lodger a routinely modern twist by throws plenty of false climaxes, both run-of-the-mill and unexpected, at us. The visual elements are also far grittier than these types of films normally lend themselves to, thanks to nifty cinematography from David Armstrong. Actress Hope Davis (with whom I’m having a cinematic affair) as the hapless patron of the lodge and Alfred Molina as the obsessive detective deliver on so many levels that we can ignore Simon Baker‘s ineffectual brooding as the title character. Two other things that didn’t quite work for me – Philip Baker Hall darting in and out as the generic Captain Smith, grimacing perhaps a tad too unnaturally, and the predictable ending. Everything else deserves a thumbs-up in this suitably atmospheric Hitchcockian thriller.

Pig Hunt: I have the softest corner in my mind for low-budget horror films that scream bloody murder. It is adorable how they make us curl into a foetal position, letting our mind escape from recurring group hugs that define our lives, careers and breaks in sobriety. It is also heart-warming that there are film-lovers out there scraping together money and questionable talent to scare the shit out of other people. Like many other gory backwoods thrillers turn out to be, James Isaac’s Pig Hunt could be an extended metaphor for the socio-political hierarchies that govern every aspect of our world; so if you’re into that sort of thing, you may find sly references to misogyny, established religion and if you’re drunk, oedipal complexes too. Mutilated emus, a machete-wielding maniac, nymphomaniacal pot cultivators, and a monstrous wild boar that makes Russell Mulcahy’s Razorback look like Babe lost and hogtied in the city? The show goes on. And how.

Greenberg: These comedians have become infatuated with playing caricatures of their publicized persona – Adam Sandler in Funny People, Patton Oswalt in Big Fan, and that creepy guy, to an ostensibly lesser extent, in Pauly Shore Is Dead. Even crappy action stars have embraced it (spoiler: this intro is a waste of time) and gone on to make fun of themselves (JCVD and My Name Is Bruce). I assume Ben Stiller was going for something similar in Noah Baumbach’s Greenberg, but I could be wrong. Actually, Roger Greenberg isn’t very different from characters that we’ve come to associate Stiller with. Domesticated, empathetic, dorky and infatuated with delusions of grandeur – traits that don’t mesh very well with the character’s existential despair in this film. Sort of like Chris Cornell’s Scream album that toyed with hip-hop. I can appreciate the deviance from normalcy but uh uh no thanks…it’s just too weird. Thankfully, the film’s zanier and more admirable bouts of melancholia lie in Rhys Ifans‘ droopiness and Greta Gerwig‘s gut-wrenching facial expressions, both of which, are spectacular as is the soundtrack provided by James Murphy (front man, LCD Soundsystem). Now go watch Oswalt set the bar incredibly high in Big Fan.

The Losers: Sylvain White is the genius behind I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer. We definitely know what he did the summer of 2010. He made an abortion of an action flick.

American Splendor: Harvey Pekar died last week, so let’s spend a minute in obligatory silence as I pray to the distraught geeks in the sky for his soul to keep. In case you don’t already know, he was a iconic comic book writer and legendary cultural nihilist. His autobiographical comic series detailed the tortuously funny bits of his life as a file clerk at a Veteran’s Administration hospital in Cleveland. In Berman and Pulcini’s biopic, Paul Giamatti is very believable as Pekar. It is evident that someone has done proper research. One of the details I really enjoyed was the way Giamatti lets his eyebrows do most of the talking as did Pekar in so many of his interviews, especially on Dave Letterman. In addition, a special mention to the cameos from his real-life friends and their splendidly spaced-out, interstellar stares; with friends like these who needs copies of Hitch Hiker’s Guide. All said and done, a notch below the utterly cool crankiness of Terry Zwigoff’s documentary on Robert Crumb, but a tremendous water pistol salute to the man nevertheless.

Splintered: Vincenzo Natali‘s extended love letter to Spielberg’s epically bad film about cute aliens is no longer the odds-on favourite to win my ‘wasted storyline potential’ trophy for 2010. Director Simeon Halligan could have gone about a million other ways with Splintered‘s storyline and still had me thoroughly engaged. While the first 15 minutes promises vicious creatures of the night, creative dismemberment and a wee Welsh lassie’s descent into hyper-realistic madness, the rest of the film has some of the flimsiest excuses for bloodshed. He mucks things up further by paying zero attention to group psychology during moments of crisis. At times, I wasn’t sure if the guys were being stalked and attacked by unseen evil or frantically seduced by their pregnant cousins; a strange mix of disgust, euphoria and fear. Some of dialogues are so absurd that we might soon have a ‘Godzilla vs Splintered’s Script’ straight-to-DVD classic on our hands. Holly Weston‘s passive hysteria in the last frame as she walks towards a close-up angle is a thing of beauty, but everything is such a chore to endure.

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Obscurity in art has died. There’s always this dude sitting in front of his computer under a glacier in Quebec who has some messed-up death metal / hip-hop version of that Lynyrd Skynyrd B-side track. I used to pride myself in flipping through the back catalogues of Landmark’s music section, hoping to find an Entombed album or that John Frusciante solo album. Hell, I even thought that merely purchasing Marilyn Manson’s Last Day On Earth entitled me to some sort of a cool status.

b0006u4uau01_sclzzzzzzz_Obscurity has died with the dawn of bittorrents and peer-to-peer technology. No longer are underground musicians shrouded in mystery with their albums falling prey to cobwebs and dirty fingers of ignorant cassette storeowners. They are available for your listening pleasure on mp3 blogs, torrent softwares, YouTube and such. And now inaccessibility to rare music exists in theory and it is more attributed to the laziness of people unwilling to scourge through music review websites and find reasons to persist with YouTube until they get what they are looking for. I have been obsessing about discovering new music ever since I read Mark Pytlik review of LCD Soundsystem’s Sound Of Silver on Pitchforkmedia and then promptly downloaded the blisteringly hip “North American Scum” on through the Hypem blog search engine.

soul_coughing-band-1994Much like LCD Soundsystem, Soul Coughing is another one of those brilliant rock bands that MTV never bothered to promote during its heyday. Led by folk savant Mike Doughty, Soul Coughing whipped up a frenzy of sound that borrowed as much from improvisational jazz as it did from razor-sharp alternative rock music. With Mark De Gli Antoni on samplers, Sebastian Steinberg on bass, and Yuval Gabay on percussion and drums, they even experimented with hip-hop and folk psychedelia. I first heard of these guys on the Spawn’s soundtrack album but it just didn’t cut the mustard for me. The song “A Plane Scraped Its Belly on a Sooty Yellow Moon” (in collaboration with Drum n Bass artist Roni Size) paled in comparison to the awesome tracks by Slayer, Atari Teenage Riot, Crystal Method, Filter and gasp, Silverchair. Soul Coughing’s debut studio album – Ruby Vroom – was an entire beast altogether. It was a maniacal collection of infectious grooves sprinkled with acoustic harmonies and sample-based loops of erstwhile legends such as Toots and the Maytals, Howlin’ Wolf and even the father of freestyle jazz – Thelonious Monk.

Screenwriter’s Blues” is probably the finest of the lot, with it’s spoken word stream of consciousness against a groovy horn section. As Doughty recites what seems to be an ode to the decay, decadence and dystopia of Los Angeles.

rubyvroomI am going to Los Angeles to build a screenplay about lovers who murder each other / I am going to Los Angeles to see my own name on a screen / Five feet long and luminous / The radioman says it is 5 am and the sun has charred the other side of the world and come back to us / And painted the smoke over our heads an imperial violet

Despite bearing close resemblance to one of Jack Kerouac’s LSD flashbacks through lurid suburban streets, the spectacular wall of funk sets the song apart from a horde of beatnik-inspired music. I have also included a remix of one of the songs of their last studio album – El Oso. “Circles” is a truckload of fun; the Propellerheads remix is even better. “I don’t need to walk around in circles, walk around in circles,” mumbles the singer as the post-Big Beat electronic duo weaves together a sea of sweet-sounding turntable jams all around it. It’s the kind of summer funk that Sugar Ray has been desperately trying to conjure up without sounding like absolute morons.

Wikipedia starts off its description of Soul Coughing as a band that “found only modest mainstream success, but had a devoted following and largely positive responses from critics…” I guess that is pretty much a fair description of most of the Indie bands out there experimenting their brains out, hoping that enough people will take notice. Too bad, not many out there pay attention to what the lack of fuss all about. Twisted irony, considering that finest works of art often end up escaping the mainstream radar of roving eyes and heavy wallets.

So today, I sit here, a victim of wanderlust and indulging in frivolity such as searching for the keywords “rare music” on YouTube and seeing what turns up. I almost feel as though I have formed a Faustian pact with bands such as Soul Coughing.

I feel a bit uneasy quoting Elton John but hmmm maybe “that’s why they all it the blues.”


Soul Coughing – Screenwriter’s Blues

Soul Coughing – Circles (Propellerheads remix)


Soul Coughing’s Ruby Vroom

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Hot Springs

The answer to the question no one bothers to ask. What would happen if Janis Joplin attacked The Strokes with a broken microphone? You could say that these good folks from Montreal are jumping onto the garage bandwagon. Oh well…same wine, sharper sound.

The Outlines

Soul music sticks to the brain like jam on bread. Not long enough to cause hemorrhaging, but just barely enough to induce your mind into a serene slumber. Having said that, The Outlines are not soul purists, not by a long shot. They also do funk, R&B improvisations and hip-hop that doesn’t stop until it crashes headfirst into jazz territory. Wikipedia calls them “experimental”. I think they’re cool.

LCD Soundsystem

Punk rockers who love to shake a leg or two often pledge their allegiance to – the overlord of the disco punk genre. Murphy’s pet project, LCD Soundsystem, make music that is perfect for brightly lit pubs. Throw in a few cocktails and you have a goddamn party that makes you want to dance after getting that first spiked haircut.

The Gasoline Angels

During the Seventies, weak production gave rock music a raw edge over its pop counterparts. Fuzz, feedback and distorted basslines urged our dads to salute all those who vowed to rock and roll. The music exploded with the frantic urgency of an out-of-control ambulance. These guys are channeling the ghosts of hard rock giants who could not step out of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s shadow. Give me a time machine and I’ll show you how to rock out with Gasoline Angels.

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