Song Of The Day: Esther Rose – Blue On Blue

Posted on by Paul in Song of the Day | Leave a comment

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Photo credit: Sarah Danzinger

Esther Rose‘s You’ve Made It This Far was one of my favourite discoveries of last year. The New Orleans-based Rose caught my attention with the lovely tunes collected on that album such as “Lower 9 Valentine” and “Handyman” and definitely impressed when I caught her opening for Nick Lowe and Los Straitjackets back in September of last year.

Rose pays tribute to her former tour mate on her upcoming EP My Favorite Mistakes, a collection of covers from the likes of Lowe, Roy Orbison, Hank Williams and Sheryl Crow, whose “My Favorite Mistake” provides the EP with its title.

My Favorite Mistakes is out May 29 via Father/Daughter Records. Check out Rose’s version of Nick Lowe’s “Blue On Blue” below.

Random Indie Tournament: THE FINAL FOUR

Posted on by Ricky in Everything | Leave a comment

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Here we are, the Final Four

I would say 3/4 of the bands were heavy favorites, with Interpol benefiting from a weak bracket. Are they the underdog? can Carlos D and Paul Banks pull off the upset? Probably not. Still, here we are.

Let’s take a look at the favorites – in doing so, I’ve asked a person to vouch for each band

The Strokes

“Easily the most influential band of our time, The Strokes set the tone for indie rock’s sound of the 2000s, so much that they’ve often felt like a foundational part of our lives – we all have memories of dance parties, road trips, and backyard barbecues soundtracked by their iconic tunes. As a result, they’ve become the only indie rock band that transcends matters of taste. If you’re voting in this poll, odds are there’s at least one or two (or five, or ten) Strokes songs that hold a very special place in your heart. No other band from this era of rock is anywhere close to being as universal.”
– Anonymous

LCD Soundsystem

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“In 2011, I was there. Sort of. I went to New York City and attended a Strokes concert at Madison Square Garden, a show that was scheduled the night before LCD Soundsystem’s big farewell show at the same venue. At the time, I wasn’t an LCD Soundsystem fan so I didn’t bother trying to get tickets to that show (which I would later experienced on the big screen in their documentary, Shut Up and Play the Hits). That may be one of my biggest regrets in hindsight: seeing the Strokes during their Angles era while missing out on LCD Soundsystem at their peak. (I say this as a relatively big fan of the Strokes, by the way.) Years later, LCD reunited and I ended up catching them twice, both times among the best concerts I’ve ever been to. In a time when New York City’s music scene was overtaken by skinny jeans-wearing hipsters, James Murphy (a man who declared that he was losing his edge on his debut single) dared people to dance — skinny jeans be damned! LCD songs are classic rock anthems, dance numbers that will always get people excited on the dancefloor and the embodiment of a 2000s sound that they absolutely dominated while every other act in this bracket was busy vying to become the next breakthrough rock act.”
– Anonymous

Arcade Fire

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Here’s Gary’s take
“As usual, I was late to the party. 2005 was no different. It was after I had moved to Toronto, on my way to a weekend tour in Montreal, when I first heard Arcade Fire’s debut album Funeral, released in 2004. I think my ears must have exploded 50 times over as Neighborhood #1 Tunnels sound-tracked that Greyhound ride. As they weaved their melancholy and defiant brand, I keep thinking about Zorba the Greek, and how wonderful it is to hold these two in the same thought congruently, never skipping a beat. All the while that fucking bus skip over potholes like some dead gopher that failed to find cover from rifle bullets in some no-name prairie. Big sounds, fast ideas, tempered anger, and universal nihilism. That is what I always find comforting about Arcade Fire. From Antichrist Television Blues (in “brackets”, no less!), Rococo, Keep the Car Running, or even Rebellion/Lies, you will never find a minute of khaki beigeness. Dressed in high-gothic musical styling (or was it Victorian?), they are always transportive even if you can’t make out the cutting social and domestic commentaries. And once you do… well, that’s going to need another whole new paragraph.”

Interpol

We couldn’t find a human to vouch for Interpol, but our favorite celebrity dog BACON had something to say!

RUFF RUFF GRRR RUFF RUFF ANTICS RUFF RUFF AHRRRRRRRROOOOOO Obstacle 1 RUFF GRRRR GRR ARROOOOOOOO RUFF GRRR RURR SLOW HANDS RUFF GRRR

Can’t argue with that one.

Last but not least, what would a race be without a heart felt concession speech!

Franz Ferdinand

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Here is our photographer, Elizabeth Isles, showing some Franz Love

“Ricky asked me to write him a paragraph about Franz Ferdinand, should they make it through to the next round of this attempt to amuse ourselves and pretend that any of our opinions matter within a universe hurtling toward its inevitably fiery end. I said I didn’t expect them to make it through, but that I would write him a paragraph anyway because I am that much of a disciple of the church of Franz Ferdinand. Like, I even own a copy of Blood – the dub remix of their third album – on vinyl. It’s unreasonable.

I could go down a rabbit hole of reasons for why they are my faithful number one band, but my biggest argument in the pro-Franz camp is their live show (which is a sad thing to think about given the current circumstances, but I digress). This owes a lot to their stage presence, but also to the fact that they write hits! hits! hits! for the dancefloor. Maybe not chart-topping hits, if we’re talking in technical terms, but by golly do they know how to maintain a tempo. An investigation of their catalogue over the last 16 years reveals an absolute bounty. May I point you in the (chronologically released from their five albums to-date) direction of: “Michael”, “The Fallen”, “Ulysses”, “Stand on the Horizon”, and “Always Ascending”. I remain endlessly thankful that they’re still making music, and I like to think that they’ve managed to influence the cultural atmosphere and musical direction, in their own understated way. They don’t take themselves too seriously and don’t stir up much controversy, but they’re still really good at what they do! What a nice story. My heart swells with pride.”

CLICK HERE TO Vote

Song Of The Day: The Beths – Dying To Believe

Posted on by Paul in Song of the Day | Leave a comment

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It’s important these days to cling to whatever it is that might bring a little joy to your day. And since the release of their debut album Future Me Hates Me back in August of 2018, The Beths have brought me a fair bit of joy with their music.

The New Zealand based four piece write songs that could best be described (as I did in our coverage of the band for SXSW 2019) as “feel good jams about feeling bad.” The band’s blend of poppy, upbeat melodies with more introspective lyrics is a winning combo, and one which has kept me coming back for more – at last year’s SXSW, I caught the band live on three separate occasions and would have gladly seen them even more over the course of the week if given the chance.

Future Me Hates Me has definitely been one of my most listened to albums of the last couple of years, so to hear that The Beths have a new album on the horizon was very welcome news. That album, Jump Rope Gazers, is out July 10 on Carpark Records. Check out the video for lead single “Dying To Believe” below.

Locked-down SXSW Review: Homecoming -The Journey of Cardboard (Yuko Shiomaki/Anna Thorson Mayer)

Posted on by Gary in Everything, Reviews, South By Southwest | Leave a comment

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With the cancellation of this year’s SXSW, many of the films scheduled to screen there were suddenly left without a platform. In lieu of a proper screening, several of the short films officially selected for the 2020 SXSW Episodic Pilot Competition have been made available to screen via Vimeo. Below we review one of those films, Homecoming – The Journey of Cardboard.

Unlike the Mona Lisa or those fucking shiny balloon dogs that look like the Bean multiplied itself while rollicking in its daughters’ metallic-colored piss, your overlooked life is just as important in the daily struggle of our planet. So, where you came from could theoretically matter. And if a lack of narration from Henry Louis Gates Jr. over your ancestry is the high-water mark of failure in your life, consider the trillions upon trillions of other inanimate objects that are similarly un-celebrated. Yes. You are as useless as I myself, and will be sorted right below CARDBOARD, of all things, in the grand Excel spreadsheet listed by decreasing importance.

Except that cardboard, unlike you and I, has a newfound voice. To honor the origins of something as profound as a grapefruit carton, a Japanese reclaimed-cardboard wallet maker tries to bring his material back to its Floridian hometown for a “blessing” of sorts. Replace Dr. Gates’ baritone with that of a contemporary graphics artist dosed with a penchant for ultra-specificity, and the transformation from Finding Your Roots to a very Japanese documentary short is complete. Fuyuki Shimazu’s celebration of the mundane is not unexpected in the age of sub-sub-sub-reddits. Enveloped by oceans of potential knowledge, we are almost encouraged to diversify and become passionately focused in one thing and make irrelevant everyone else’s interests. Only, when you dig further, you find that “someone else is ALSO and ALREADY interested in this shit!?” So we reach for combinatorial esotericism: “Only I am expert on the turquoise crane hawk in the cliffs north of Tonga AND the blue hawking crane of Eastern Seychelles”. This isn’t, of course, a commentary on this short, which is warm and reverent.

But on a facile reflection: should he switch to making cardboard face masks and ventilator bellows, will it make us appreciate the world even more? When the universal units of gravitas have changed, you quickly find everything soaring or crashing on a tornado of an Excel list, which is an indication of how important the list really was in the first place.