Moon King

January 13th, 2015 | Mp3 Posts | 0 Comments

moonking

Good news: Daniel and Maddy are finally getting around to putting out a proper Moon King album. Secret Life comes out April 14th on Toronto label Last Gang. First dropped song, the kraut-y “Roswell”, finds the band using the shimmering work of 90s brit-gazers Lush as a foundation upon which to construct their own temple of sound.

Anomie

January 9th, 2015 | Mp3 Posts | 0 Comments

anomie

90s-style indie rock. So hot right now.

And for the last couple years.

Philadelphia’s Anomie (Rachel Browne, also of Field Mouse) is doing it up.

Sheer Mag

January 2nd, 2015 | Mp3 Posts | 0 Comments

sheermag

One of the better ‘problems’ with living in New York is that there are a lot of good shows. And a lot of these shows sell out. This was not a problem I had in Toronto. There are a lot of good shows there but not as many people are into them…also there are just a lot less people in Toronto than New York…

Tonight there are amazing shows at both St. Vitus Bar in Greenpoint and Shea Stadium in Williamsburg. They both start at the same time. Their costs are relatively the same. Both feature four pretty awesome bands. Maybe the decision will come down to what isn’t sold out when I get there.

The St. Vitus show is being headlined by power-pop Philly peeps Sheer Mag. They’re making a strong argument that I should go there…Only problem is it’s harder to get to…

p.s. if somebody wants to guestlist me this decision will become A LOT easier…

I Remember Beirut

January 2nd, 2015 | Print | 0 Comments

beirut

The most obvious thing about Zeina Abirached‘s I Remember Beirut is that it looks a lot like Marjane Satrapi‘s wonderful Persepolis. The illustration style is essentially identical. It was also originally published in French. It’s a more personal, nuanced look at the Arab world told from the perspective of a young girl who grows up to become a sophisticated comic artist. Even the shade of blue on the cover is the same as the shade used for Persepolis‘ film poster. It’s like the publishers wanted people to think this was a sequel or ‘another in the series’ of Persepolis. And admittedly, that was part of why I bought it.

Alas, I Remember Beirut is not all that much like Persepolis. Maybe if it were longer and told differently, but it’s not. Rather, very true to its title, I Remember Beirut is told as a series of particular recollections from Abirached’s childhood in Beirut during the Lebanese Civil War. Some of these recollections are particular to the war and how it affected her family’s life at the time, like how she kept a backpack filled with everything she’d need (you know, like her Rubber Soul tape) in case they had to flee quickly, and how her family would heat the house with kerosene when there was no electricity or gas. Some are simply quaint childhood recollections of having a bad haircut or favourite songs or loving giant robot cartoons. From these recollections something along the lines of the ‘story’ of Abirached’s childhood emerges, but there’s no conventional narrative of which to speak.

beirut2

At 95 pages with a light emphasis placed on text, the comic is a breezy read, but enjoyable on its own terms. Perhaps one day Abirached will expand her recollections into her own actually Persepolis-esque narrative graphic novel (unless she already did in A Game For Swallows?). If she does, I’ll be a bit more interested in reading that.

Goodbye To Language

January 1st, 2015 | Film | 0 Comments

Adieu_au_Langage_poster

Lou Reed once remarked that anyone who got to side four of his double album Metal Machine Music was “dumber than I am.” The album was later covered in its entirety by the Zeitkratzer orchestra. Pitchfork thought their version of it was actually pretty good.

As a pioneer in experimenting with noise and feedback in music way before it was cool, Reed challenged his audience to accept his aural assault upon them as ‘rock and roll’, or art. But his ‘challenge’ was not the ‘challenge’ a teacher poses a reluctant pupil, but rather a challenge made with an active contempt for all those not up to it, and perhaps also all those pretentious enough to claim that they are.

Like Reed, Godard, working in his chosen medium, contemptuously challenges his audience to accept his visual assault upon them as film. The 84-year-old French director has been doing so for over 60 years now, and amazingly, still pushes harder and harder to ‘break’ his audience with each new film.

Goodbye To Language is differentiated from other recent Godard films (all of which seem to have only a passing, momentary interest with form, story, or even characters) by its use of 3D to add (literally) another dimension to fucking with the audience. Disorienting jump cuts, stuttered use of music that shifts from speaker to speaker – old hat. In our present 3D future, Godard can actually inflict discomfort bordering on pain upon your eyes, like when he has one eye remain on one image while the other eye’s image drifts somewhere else, both conflicting with each other in your visual field vying for attention.

Of course, Goodbye To Language is more than just Godard taking pleasure in subjecting his audience to newfound forms of visual torture made possible with the use of 3D cameras. It is that – but it’s also a Godard film, filled with beautiful imagery and (thankfully and expectedly respectable) disembodied poetry. It requires a viewer to be patient and ‘up to the challenge’ and is rewarding in its own classically Godard-ian way.

There are times though, when he is very distinctly daring the viewer to call it quits. He’ll demonstrate how beautifully 3D can capture the contours of a  naked woman’s form, as though you’d never realized how much you were missing out with simple two dimensional images of naked women, only to place this wonderful sight in front of a man shitting. Noisily. And why did Godard choose to film most of the film with a handheld camera waved around as if by a four year old trying out his iPhone camera’s recording feature? Was he going for an amateur feel or is this another aspect of his sadism, punctuated repeatedly by the most jarring segments of Beethoven’s 7th symphony?

Watching Goodbye To Language, you may ask yourself if this is really any good. If a first-year film student made this, would anyone care? Would it win prizes at Cannes too? Did Godard perhaps make this movie thinking, like Reed, that anyone who makes it to the end is dumber than him? Probably not, since there is clearly a firm hand behind the beauty of the film and its deceptively rhythmic flow, questionable camera work or not. Maybe like Metal Machine Music it is Godard just fucking with his audience, but it is also, at the same time, the kind of fuckery that is beautiful enough to be covered by an orchestra 30 years later.