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Archive for the ‘Recommendation’ Category

John Hughes passed away yesterday.

Holy shit!

He was only 59!

Double shit!

“I can’t believe it. They fucking forgot my birthday!”

I am not embarrassed to admit that I have watched Sixteen Candles something like three zillion times. That’s a conservative estimate. And not just on-in-the-background watching, but with rapt attention. Just a perfect movie through and through.

I wished I had Farmer Ted’s confidence. He wasn’t really a farmer; he was just a geek who didn’t buy into his own geekness. And I bought into mine big-time. Farmer Ted talked a big game. Fake it ’til you make it, contrasting Samantha’s fear of going after the object of her amorous feelings — the to-die-for Jake Ryan.

Then there were the brothers, Bryce and Cliff, played by John Cusack and Darren Harris. Uber-geeky with their headsets and goggles, they’re Farmer Ted’s henchnerds, and they steal pretty much any scene they’re in.

Whatever happened to that John Cusack, anyway? He seemed to have some promise.

Anyway, I’m not here to analyze the movie or tell you about it. You know it rules. I know it rules. Let’s pay tribute to Mr. John Hughes by watching one of the best scenes right here:

Rest in peace, John Hughes. Thanks for one of my all-time favorite movies.

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In my wee pre-“indie” years from about 1989 to 1994 I was on the border of being unhealthily obsessed with the label 4AD. I fanatically admired their aesthetic, their catalog, Wolfgang Press’s cover of “Mama Told Me Not To Come”. These folks, after all, made such albums possible as The Pixies – Doolittle, Lush – Split, Throwing Muses – The Real Ramona, and The The – Burning Blue Soul and on and on and on.

If you think you’re new to 4AD, or not totally familiar with their work, you’re probably wrong – check out their recent catalog and noteworthy releases – it’ll blow your mind

But then my love for 4AD faded … occasionally events like the signing of M Ward or Camera Obscura to recording or distribution deals had me applauding politely on the inside inside hoping that 4AD would again become the force that molded young music minded minds with their eclectic and fascinating acts…and then, The Big Pink happened, boasting the auditory grandeur of the 4AD heyday. Even old stand by visual genius, Vaughan Oliver, the graphic designer for such albums as Modern Englishes “After The Snow” and The Pixies’ “Doolittle” is responsible for their cover art. Also?, co-mixed by Alan Moulder late of Creation Records (JAMC producer… Ride and My Bloody Valentine mixing fame! :dies:) (also mixed by Rich Costey, who’s done some Interpol stuff and maybe some other stuff- but ALAN MOULDER YAY!)

Current video obsessions “Too Young To Love”

and “Velvet”

Current song obsession is available via their website – “Dominos”

Their debut album “A Brief History of Love” releases in the U.S. September 15th…get excited.

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I saw art-pop band Flotation Walls a few weeks ago at PA’s Lounge with friends St. Claire, who have known the band since their high school days in Columbus, OH.  St. Claire’s lovely lead singer had told me good things about the band, but I had already decided that I wasn’t going out to the show.  Luckily a solid text message guilt trip broke through my shownertia (See what I did there??? Brilliant.) and I made it out.  Their live show totally blew me away: you can read all about it here.

090725_Flotation_Walls_Band

I purchased their album, Nature, at the show, and haven’t stopped listening to it since.  It’s a masterfully produced, lush, layered album; it’s dynamically varied, brilliantly arranged, and totally unique.

090725_Nature_Flotation_Walls

The album opens with the life-affirming “Sperm & Egg,” which starts out as a lilting, French-café style waltz in which frontman Carlos Avendaño sings sweetly about impregnation.  The track expands to include cymbal-heavy textural drums and one of the album’s constant choral motifs.  “Sperm & Egg” segues into “Worms,” a frantic, sample-heavy electronica piece about death. The song ends with a choral track and moves into “Kids, Look at the Waves,” an elegant acoustic-guitar based love song with an unexpectedly strong bridge.  The fourth track, “The Flickering Projection” is one of my favorites on the album.  Structure-wise, it’s more straight-ahead than the preceding tracks, but the dynamics keep it totally interesting, and the backing choral tracks are expertly deployed to gorgeous effect on the catchy-as-hell chorus.

Even on tracks that are less existential in nature and more narrative, like the almost precious “Willis the Fireman” and surreal “Timmy Twofingers,” Flotation Walls exhibit a musical seriousness that gives the album real heft.  There are no throwaway tracks.  “Frozen Lake”, “Body,” and the lovely paean “I’ve Seen Death and His Tremendous Pink Eyes” are all gorgeous in scope.  The only comparisons that come to mind, at least in terms of arrangement, are the vast songscapes of Sigur Ros or Arcade Fire.  Nature is a big, ambitious album, and every track feels important.  My favorite is tension-laden track nine, “The Sky Ejaculates,” which starts softly and sweetly, breaks halfway through for a beautifully orchestrated interlude, and then cracks into a spare, powerful bridge.

The album closes tastefully with the quiet acoustic guitar and piano-based “Wet With Light.”  I was surprised, at first listen, with the subtlety of the final track, but I appreciate how calmly the album ends.  It feels complete; a beautifully conceived album from start to finish.

For purchasing information please see the Flotation Walls official site.

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I’m really into Metric’s latest album, Fantasies. Pitchfork dislikes it (I’m NOT linking there, because fuck ’em), but I actually find that reassuring.  One fun way to calibrate your taste with that of the hipsterati (see what I did there??) is to think of an album you really, really love, and then go see what they think of it.  Sometimes fun, frequently irritating.

Anyway.

I listened to “Sick Muse” last night in my friend’s car and it’s been in my head ever since.

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So that’s what makes a vole so good!

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Krautrock is an easily overlooked genre; most people will only recognize the name Kraftwerk among the artists that get grouped as Krautrock. But it is well worth exploring the surprisingly deep waters. The pulsating rhythms, the electronic experimentation, the often-strange lyrics, the crazy dynamics…

The three big names in Krautrock are NEU!, Faust and Can. NEU!’s members were in an early, pre-“Autobahn” lineup of Kraftwerk before splitting to become NEU!. Drummer Klaus Dinger created what became known as the Motorik beat, the very simple, mechanical-sounding and highly propulsive 4-on-the-floor beat that came to define NEU! and Krautrock.

The story goes that during production of “NEU! 2,” the band blew through their budget before completing more than half of the album. So they virtually invented remixing, filling the second side of the album with sped up, slowed down and otherwise manipulated versions of the tracks they’d already recorded! Here is “Super 16,” which ended up as the theme to the kung fu movie “Master of the Flying Guillotine”:

“Isi” is the wonderfully hypnotic piece of music that opens the album NEU! 75. Dig the motorik beat that drives the song:

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There’s a wondrous place tucked away in the foothills of Boston where dreams really can come true.  It’s the town of Dedham, MA, to some, a standard strip-mall-ish suburb showcasing capitalist giants such as Costco, BJ’s and other outlets whose products require a dump truck to transport.  To others, like me (who happened to grow up in the adjacent town) the home of hidden gems such as the oldest standing timber frame building in all of North America (!) , a storefront with the name James the Tailor, and the Museum of Bad Art.

Nestled in the sticky-floored basement of the until-recently-sticky-floored (and now very cool) Dedham Community Movie Theatre, MOBA is the place where anyone – anyone – can get their shot at stardom, where wings take dream, where some dude can paint “Reef Garden” and not be arrested.   Indeed, the painting’s description says it all:  “On a silent cue, one pulsating incubator bursts, hurtling an anxious and curiously aged little merman upwards to the unknown world above the surface. ”

"The dancer stares, hypnotizing the viewer. We find ourselves forced to stay -- feel the music or drown."

"The dancer stares, hypnotizing the viewer. We find ourselves forced to stay -- feel the music or drown."

Long a fan of MOBA (yet admittedly sometimes feeling like a shower was needed after a visit), I was delighted to see that the nation – nay, the world – is finally catching on.   Kudos ABC News, for articulating what many of us in the Boston suburbs have been thinking this week: Tehran Shmehran, the real revolution starts in a basement.

ABC News Video: Museum with an Eye for Bad Art

ABC News Video: Museum with an Eye for Bad Art


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