March 2010

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Tahiti Boy and The Palmtree Family
Editor’s note: I have to be on a plane in about 7 hours, so I’m going to rely on Terrorbird Media’s description of Tahiti Boy and the Palmtree Family:

It seems like we’re all waiting for a story these days, some dream to escape to. A tale told by the fireplace with its heroes and villains, a That’s-all-Folks kind of ending and a piano playing I’m Dreaming Of A White Christmas with the whole family around it. Tahiti Boy dreamt that dream and turned it into Good Children Go To Heaven. Here’s how the story goes.
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By this point I would think that everyone who reads this site knows of my love for Those Darlins. Frankly, I’ve written about them so much now that I’m having a hard time coming up with new ways to explain how awesome they are. So let’s just let their music do the talking for me, shall we?

The ladies were cool enough to do a session for Laundromatinee, playing a few tunes behind the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Check them out as they blow through their classic country-fried southern punk:

“The Whole Damn Thing”

Three more videos after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Michael Cera in Scott Pilgrim vs the World

How many of us can relate to falling in love, only to find out that the object of your affection comes with a little baggage. Scott Pilgrim can. In Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Micheal Cera’s title character falls deeply, madly in love with Ramona Flowers, but she comes with a catch. In order to keep her he must defeat her seven evil ex-boyfriends. Yoink. Check out the trailer for this unique movie:

Also, SlashFilm has 66 high-res photos from the film, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World comes to theaters August 13th.

I’m back from the longest break I’ve taken from this site in over three years, and I bring a gift of reconciliation. It’s a cover that is SO much better than the original that it even comparing it is like saying the Mona Lisa is more artistic than a pile of dog shit. To make up for my three-day absence I give you the incomparable Pomlamoose covering Lady GaGa’s “Telephone”:

And, because I love you, and I genuinely feel bad about leaving you alone for a few days, here’s Pomplamoose’s even better cover of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies”:

I’ll admit, I’ve heard of ChatRoulette, but I can’t say I’ve ever actually tried it. The basic concept is that you get online with your webcam and get paired with random people. And you chat. Or show your boobs. Or whatever. This guy chose to compose and sing songs about the people he was connected with, on the spot. And he did it really, really well. Check out this video of him making new friends (and possibly enemies), and generally being the funny, musical dude I wish I was:

Ben Folds apparently liked the idea, and decided to pay homage to it. So he decided to do the same thing, live, during a concert in Charlotte, NC. Awesome.

Follow me here: David Byrne and Fatboy Slim got together to make a concept album about Imelda Marcos, the former Philippine first lady who is best known for having a shitload of shoes. That’s already a little odd, right? They the pair collaborated with singer/songwriter Santigold for the first single, “Please Don’t”. The song’s video is cobbled together from news footage of the exiled Filipino, and it’s strangely fascinating. Check it out:

via StereoGum

Who doesn’t love The Evil Dead? Sam Raimi’s 1981 classic is one of the great masterpieces of the horror B-movie genre, and set the tone for countless other (mostly less successful) films. And it introduced the world to Bruce Campbell!

Filmmaker Lee Hardcastle decided to pay homage to the classic, and created a condensed version of it. He managed to smash down all of the action in the film to 60 seconds, and recreated it in clay. As it turns out, claymation is a great way to keep the low-budget charm of the original. Check it out:

Most people, yours truly included, think Bob Dylan is one of the great songwriters of the 20th century. People are far more split on Dylan the performer. When you get someone with the incomparable voice of Nina Simone to sing a Dylan song, odds are most folks will appreciate it. So here you go. Here’s Ms. Simone performing “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues”

via BoingBoing

Jeff Bridges as Bad Blake in Crazy Heart

I’m a fan of country music. Real country music. Not the fake plastic stuff you hear on most “country” stations these days. Music that tells stories of life on the road, stories about trains, stories about love and loss. Music sung by men and women who have spent their lives travelling the country, collecting tales for their songs and living life to the fullest. Music that’s soaked in whiskey, steeped in blues, and drenched in heartbreak.

So it stands to reason that I would enjoy a movie that follows an old country musician while he plays out his career in tiny bars, in remote places, to dwindling crowds. And I did. A lot.

Jeff Bridges plays Bad Blake, a country legend whose star has faded and fanbase has aged. He’s been married four times. He drives a beat up old pickup truck. He’s an alcoholic. In other words, he’s a living country music cliche. His agent books him a tour of the Southwest, playing dive bars and bowling alleys. He’s eeking out a living, doing the only thing he knows how. Something he once loved, and maybe still does, but something he doesn’t seem fully engaged in anymore.

Since Crazy Heart is a modern independent movie, it’s safe to assume there is some grand epiphany and some major changes in his life. Both happen, but neither is handled in a trite way. The story is solid, the acting good, and the characters well-sketched. But, for me, what made the movie was the music.

Jeff Bridges and Colin Ferrel do an admirable job singing and playing guitar, but what really impressed me was the songs. T Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham wrote original songs for the film, and they are universally good. “The Weary Kind” won the Oscar for Best Original Song, and it is certainly deserving, but my favorite was “Fallin and Flyin”. The opening line of the chorus, “It’s funny how fallin’ feels like flyin’ for a little while”, sounds like something Hank Williams, Sr might have written. The songs are simple, straightforward, and everything that’s good about country music.

At one point in the film a reporter asks Bad Blake what current artists are “real country”. He dodges the question, but the implication is clear: Bad Blake is real country in way not many current artists are. And that’s a real good thing.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Canadian indie rock band Said the Whale
Canada is very big right now. Despite the fact that their Winter Olympics lacked snow, and their women’s curling team choked in the gold medal game, they got a ton of positive international exposure. My guess is that British Columbia will have a bunch of new folks coming to visit in the next few months, and hopefully they’ll take the opportunity to check out the local music. One of the bands they should really see is Vancouver-based quintet Said the Whale.
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