Sunday, January 25, 2015

"Birdman", There's No Business Like Showbusiness

Birdman (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Can't really say what were my expectations with 'Birdman'. Praise was unanimous and the idea and cast highly promising, but I'm not among the fans of director Alejandro González Iñárritu, a risky and brave filmmaker that, in my opinion, frequently crosses the fine line between bold ambition to reach excess, grandiloquence and megalomania ('Babel', 'Biutiful'). But here it is: with 'Birdman', Iñarritu has reached a fantastic, at times mind-blowing balance between scope and format, between visuals and technical direction packed with a powerful story.

Black comedy? A dark satire on show business? A merciless account on this fake, social-media, techie, empty era where art is supposed to be tweeted? You name it. This is an up-to-date, very modern farce, a state-of-the-art version of 'Noises Off!' on which we are invited to see how yesterday's actor Riggan Thomson (brutal performance from Michael Keaton), once a very popular, iconic movie superhero tries to mount a Broadway play, on what it seems his last attempt to gain reputation, relevancy, respect and... also some direction on his chaotic life. But there are many, too many issues to deal with before the opening night arrives. Some have to do with the actors involved in the play, their egos and own traumas, some have to do with the crazy affair theatre seems to be, and the biggest, hardest ones, have to do with Thomson's head. While his family & career drifts away, his mind is not helping.. at all. The 'Birdman' is willing to fly again.

The amount of issues happening on 'Birdman' could had easily been a bit too much but, somehow, Iñarritu manages to reflect the doomed, frantic days before the play without loosing punch or pulse. It's an aesthetically addictive movie (it gives the fakey feeling it has been filmed in just one-take) and it keeps you surprised with its twists and turns. But there's also time to confront the audience with some questions about the role and meaning  of art in this ultra-quick, fleeting and cynical era; about acting; about addictions, fame, self-doubt, fear and human miseries. The script is sardonic, explosive, a bit cruel and clever without preaching. Iñarritu talks about emotions in a very specific universe he does know well (filmmaking) and is able to transcend it to talk about human obsessions. Bravo.

If the script is poignant, performances are mostly outstanding. As I said, Keaton is amazing, but he's not alone. Edward Norton is stunning in his role of Mike Shiner, the beyond-intense egomaniacal Broadway star Thomson's needs to work at the very last moment. And Emma Stone (these eyes, OMG) is haunting as Sam, Thomson's troubled daughter, rebellious and vulnerable, at first a cliche character that turns to be one of the most captivating and complex of the entire film, having some of the most striking lines (the "you don't even exist" verbal fight with her father) . Naomi Watts, Zach Galifianiakis and Andrea Riseborough are also excellent on their supporting roles.

Just a few minor things make me rate 'Birdman' a bit lower than it would deserve. One is the annoying music. I understand it might have something to do with the inner voices and evil inside Thomson's head but it's insufferable. Another flaw are some superficial-secondary stories that are dropped without notice (the pregnancy issue). And finally, the shocking but unsatisfying final scene (no spoiling). Whatever the case, 'Birdman' is a must-see tour-de-force of a movie.  

SCORE: 8/10

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Bloodbuzzed Jukebox 38

Here we go again! Another week and another round of our TOP TEN playlist! This time we have focused only in new, most exciting discoveries! Yes, ten new bands & sounds, from slight electronic rhythms to "our" trademark indie-pop style. And as always, you can hear them at our  Blog's soundcloud page.

Direct links to the previous Jukebox weeks
Week 1 Week 8  Week 15 Week 22 Week 29 Week 36
Week 2 Week 9 Week 16 Week 23 Week 30  Week 37
Week 3   Week 10 Week 17 Week 24  Week 31 
Week 4  Week 11 Week 18  Week 25   Week 32
Week 5  Week 12 Week 19   Week 26   Week 33
Week 6  Week 13 Week 20   Week 27   Week 34
Week 7   Week 14  Week 21  Week 28   Week 35

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Primavera Sound 2015: first impressions

Primavera Sound Festival 2015's line-up unveiled! The show was quick and the videogame used to reveal the band names was a funny idea, (although a bit too easy?).Hipsters/posers were quite ok compared with previous years (except when the food arrived, the animal instincts appeared no matter how cool you dress) and the overall feeling was a pleasant one. Thanks to the organisers

But let’s go to key question. What an impressive line-up they have gathered! We are extremely happy they have followed our advice (kidding of course) and prepared an almost riot grrrl stage (by the sea perhaps?) on Friday with The Julie Ruin, Ex Hex and Sleater-Kinney. Amazing. Now please no overlaps, at least on Friday.

As happened last year, we’ll focus on the “middle class”, although my better half will strongly push for seeing The Black Keys and The Strokes (huge question marks on the latest one), which looks, as always, interesting, diverse, and with a lot of potential. DIIV, Eels (finally!), Spiritualized, Patti Smith, Torres (YEEES!) and a huge list of well-known (like Belle and Sebastian) and recently discovered names (Twerps to name one)… If we are lucky with the overlaps, this edition could be simply spectacular.

So, honouring the Blog’s tradition, here’s our traditional rough (we don't have the timetables yet) “paint & colour” version of the line-up with our first impressions on the bands we are willing to see. Promising, right?

CONFIRMED ARTISTS FOR PRIMAVERA SOUND 2015
27th-31st May

ALBERT HAMMOND JR. • ALT-J • AMERICAN FOOTBALL • ANDREW WEATHERALL ANTONY AND THE JOHNSONS • ARIEL PINK • ARTHUR RUSSELL INSTRUMENTALS BABES IN TOYLAND • BAXTER DURY • BELLE & SEBASTIANBEN WATT  BENJAMIN BOOKER • THE BLACK KEYS • THE BOHICAS • BOREALS  BRAND NEW • CARIBOU • CHEATAHS • CHET FAKER • CHILDHOOD  CHRISTINA ROSENVINGETHE CHURCH • CINERAMA • DJ COCO  D.D DUMBO • DAMIEN RICE • DAN DEACON • DAVE P. • DEATH FROM ABOVE 1979  DER PANTHER • DIIV • DISAPPEARS • DIXON • DULCE PAJARA DE JUVENTUD  EARTH • EARTHLESS • EELS • EINSTÜRZENDE NEUBAUTEN  ELECTRIC WIZARD • EX HEX • EXXASENS • FERRAN PALAU  FOXYGEN • FUCKED UP • FUMACA PRETA • GERMA AIRE  THE GHOST OF A SABER TOOTH TIGER • GIANT SAND • GREYLAG • GÚDAR  GUI BORATTO • HANS-JOACHIM ROEDELIUS • HAR MAR SUPERSTAR (dj set) • HEALTH • HISS GOLDEN MESSENGER • HOOKWORMS • THE HOTELIER • IBEYI  ICEAGE • INTERPOL • JAMBINAI • JAMES BLAKE • JESSICA & THE FLETCHERS  JOAN MIQUEL OLIVER • JON HOPKINS • JOSE GONZALEZ • THE JUAN MACLEAN  JULIAN CASABLANCAS+THE VOIDZ • THE JULIE RUIN • JUNGLE • KELELA KEVIN MORBY • THE KVB • LAS RUINAS • LES AMBASSADEURS  LES SUEQUES • LOS PUNSETESLOST TAPES • MAC DEMARCO • MARC PIÑOL • MARC RIBOT'S CERAMIC DOG • MDOU MOCTAR  MIKAL CRONIN • MIKE SIMONETTI • MINERAL • MIQUEL SERRA • MOURN  MOVEMENT • MY BRIGHTEST DIAMOND • NANCY WHANG (dj set) NELEONARDTHE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS • NUEVA VOLCANO  NÚRIA GRAHAM • OCELLOT • OMDOUGHT • PALLBEARER • PANAMA  PANDA BEAR • PATTI SMITH & BAND perform HORSES • PERFUME GENIUS  PERRO • PHARMAKON • RATKING • THE REPLACEMENTS • RICHIE HAWTIN  RIDE • ROCIO MARQUEZ • ROMAN FLOGEL • RUN THE JEWELS  SALVAJE MONTOYA • THE SAURS • SHABAZZ PALACES • SHELLAC SIMIAN MOBILE DISCO • SINGLE MOTHERS • SLEAFORD MODS  SLEATER-KINNEY • SOAK • THE SOFT MOON • SPIRITUALIZED  SR. CHINARRO • STRAND OF OAKS • THE STROKES  THE SUICIDE OF WESTERN CULTURE • SUN KIL MOON • SUNN 0)))  SWANS • THEE OH SEES • THE THURSTON MOORE BAND • TOBIAS JESSO JR. TONY ALLEN • TORRES • TUNE-YARDS • TWERPS • TWIN SHADOW  TYLER THE CREATOR • UMBERTO & ANTONI MAIOVVI  UNDERWORLD dubnobasswithmyheadman live  UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA • VIET CONG • VOIVOD • WHITE HILLS  YASMINE HAMDAN • YOUNGHUSBAND • THE ZEPHYR BONES

Green- Definetely seeing them. Absolute must
Orange- If there are no overlaps (in particular with the green ones), I'll be there for sure
Yellow- Curious about it/"on research mode"

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Bloodbuzzed Jukebox 37

With a slight delay, but still within the weekend, here's our TOP TEN playlist series! We have combined the usual amount of new discoveries (some of them about to appear on the Sunday's series very soon) with beloved names like Sharon Van Etten (surprising new song, although it's true we heard in her last concert in Barcelona), Skittle Alley (we have the pleasure to present their new single this week, don't miss it!) or a great new tune from Father John Misty's new record. You can enjoy the selection at our Blog's soundcloud page.

Direct links to the previous Jukebox weeks
Week 1   Week 8     Week 15     Week 22   Week 29   Week 36
Week 2    Week 9     Week 16    Week 23  Week 30 
Week 3    Week 10   Week 17    Week 24  Week 31 
Week 4    Week 11   Week 18    Week 25   Week 32
Week 5    Week 12  Week 19    Week 26   Week 33
Week 6    Week 13  Week 20    Week 27   Week 34
Week 7     Week 14    Week 21    Week 28   Week 35

Thursday, January 15, 2015

These Go to 11: interviewing Minifestival

Our first interview of 2015 is a double, quite long (thanks, much appreciated) and special one. We have the bosses of the oldest and (inaguarbly) one of the best Festivals held in Barcelona. Of course, we are referring to the Minifestival de Música Independent de Barcelona,  which this February celebrates it's 20th edition. We are extremely proud to have Carles Lafuente and Xavier Guillaumes answering our questionnaire. These Go to 11! 

Carles & Xavir, doyens of indie in Barcelona
Carles Lafuente & Xavier Guillaumes, Minifestival de Música Independent de Barcelona
The Primitives, Amor de Días, Standard Fare, Nick Garrie, Luke Haines, Mark Gardener from Ride, Antonio Arias, Damien Jurado, Dot Allison, Chris Brokaw, Damon and Naomi, Clem Snide, Darren Hayman, The Trash Can Sinatras, The Clientele, Tender Trap, Sing Sing. We're just naming a few. What do they have in common, aside from being great artists/bands? They have formed part of the Minifestival de Música Indepdendent de Barcelona, a music institution not just in Barcelona but in the whole country organizing, for 20 years now, an indiepop festival with an incredible good taste and an incorruptible independent ethic. The gigantic task of promoters and music activists Carles and Xavier has to be vindicated and celebrated, that's why having them answering the questionnaire is so special for us. Oh! And needless to say, we'll be there this February, eager to see bands like The Close Lobsters, The School or Linda Guilala, among others and congratulate them for one of the most impressive labours of love with regards to music done in our country. Here we go!


Technicolour pop
1. First record that you bought (be honest)
Carles Lafuente: The LP of Rocky Sharpe & The Replays with the song 'Rama Lam Ding Dong', followed by Tino Casal.
Xavier Guillaumes: At 8th grade I bought 'ET' OS by John Williams with the money given to me for my birthday... but if we are talking about pop music, it was the 'Urbi et Orbi' by Duble Buble, on cassette.

2. First and last concert you have attended (be honest too!)
Carles: My first concert? I guess that it was one by the high school band which I declared myself manager and line-up designer (high school parties...great times!): Teo & The Pipos. The last has been Morrissey's concert in Barcelona. A dream come true.
Xavier: First, Duble Buble, at Torre de Les Aigües' inauguration party, around 1987. Last, the jam session that ended the reopening party of LA CAPSA at el Prat. Regrettably, I don't attend many gigs... Last one I sadly missed was Fear Of Men at Primavera Club.

Ms. Imbruglia, the girl with the "Torn" on her side
3. Guilty pleasure (song/band you shouldn’t like but you do, yes, it’s the embarrassing question)
Carles: The truth is that I'm not ashamed about my musical tastes, they are quite diverse. I grew up listening music that my father or my aunt listened, and I recognize the value of songwriters like Serrat, Lluís Llach or Raimon, and also I enjoy like a child with (Nino) Bravo or Camilo Sexto. We have to keep in mind that I'm almost 50 years old.
Xavier: Natalie Imbruglia.

4. Most precious music item you own (collector mode on)
Carles: I'm incapable of choosing one specific thing. My house is full of magazines, books, CDs, LPS, videos, DVDs....and fanzines, lots of fanzines. And many of them with a sentimental meaning...
Xavier: The single 'Beattles and Stones' by The House of Love with a precious poster inside.

Joan Miquel Oliver, Balearic Islands' surrealism
5. Favorite lyrics (not yours)
Carles: My favourite lyrics are the ones by The Smiths... Back then, and after a tough task of translation with the Collins dictionary, they seemed written for me.
Xavier:  Most of the songs of Joan Oliver with Antonia Font. Also Nacho Umbert lyrics. I remember his record 'Adiós' with Paperhouse reingratiated with lyrics written in Spanish on a period of time on which I much preferred songs written in English although many of them I didn't understand. Talking about the present edition of the Minifestival, I like the effective simplicity of 'Lo Siento Mucho' by Linda Guilala.

6. Musician/s you would like to meet (should be alive, for obvious reasons, but you can choose a dead one too)
Carles: There are plenty of artists that I would like to meet. Obviously, Morrissey. Also I have to say that thanks to the Minifestival I was able to meet another one of my idols: German Coppini.
Xavier: LUSH, although the drummer is dead.

Hatful of Hollow
7. Favorite artwork album (not yours)
Carles: I know that I can be a little bit repetitive but I have to say the 'Manchester quartet' again. 'Hatful of Hollow', with that picture of the group inside. I got the black glasses, the stripped shirt and... I even copied the hairstyle too.
Xavier: 'Lovelife' of  LUSH, especialy the singles of ''500 (Shake, baby shake)... in fact almost all albums published by 4AD during the 90s.

8. Books or movies? Depending on your answer recommend us one (trick: you can choose both) 
Carles: As it happens with music, my movie tastes are very heterogeneous. From auteur cinema to the most truculent Z series. And although I know that I shouldn't say it, this Emule thing makes everything reachable. Unfortunately, there is not enough time to see as many films and now there are also several interesting tv shows to see. My favourite literary authors are Paul Auster, Boris Vian, Oscar Wilde (wow, what a coincidence!). I have to admit that I don't read many books lately (when I was young I devoured all that passed through my hands). The main problem is time and magazines (of music and cinema). Also, the evil invention of Internet and tablets have also stolen time to the cinema and the literature.
Xavier: A classic, 'The Apartment' by Billy Wilder, and a indie film of 90s, 'Simple Men' by Hal Hartley.
Miracles for Sale fanzine
9. Band you have brought to the Minifestival that you are most proud of
Carles: All the bands that act at the Minifestival provide us a great joy. We always count with a band of 'our time', from when we actively began to be involved with music. This year, we could highlight Close Lobsters, a mythical indie band that have been insisting several years until finally they have gotten away with it and they will play at the 20th edition of the Minifestival. That the bands are willing to play considering how little we can offer them in return make us so proud.
Xavier: Buffff...Luke Haines or The Trash Can Sinatras or...

10. What does it mean indie for you? (yes, the “serious question”)
Carles: To me indie is a type of music that in my case has become a way of life. Because it was as consequence of listening this music, 'rare, unknown for the majority', that I met my partner Xavi collaborating in his fanzine Miracles For Sale. Then we launched Marca Acme and finally we embarked in the adventure of Minifestival.
Xavier: The chance of being wrong but no businessman or investor tells you that you are wrong an how you should do things.

11. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Carles: In ten years, maybe we will continue as now... Trying to attract some brand to our project, so they give us carte blanche to sign (as Florentino*, referring to F. Pérez, president of Real Madrid Football Club), whoever we might want, but without any success... Being more realistic, we'll be working all the year to be able to add another edition to our track record...While we have health and the public respond we will stand up. Oh, and maybe in ten years we can bring some of those bands that now fill magazine pages...and that one day were an important part of the soundtrack of a few lives.
Xavier: Trying to organize the 30th Minifestival... and hoping to help that my daughter or someone else can begin projects like ours. And I would like to write again a fanzine when I retire!

Zillion thanks Carles & Xavier, thanks Minifestival!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Premiere: 'Love is Love' with Skittle Alley

Thanks to our dear friends Discos de Kirlian we have a most pleasant premiere for you today. The return of Skittle Alley! In a match made in heaven, the now full band leaded by French (based in Limoges) music activist Stéphane (more than a decade crafting pop gems on labels like Dufflecoat, Anorak, Jigsaw, etc), responsible of is teaming with the wonderful Catalonian label for the release of his latest mini LP, entitled 'Love Is an Action', out on January 26th. Eight wonderful tunes (sort of a concept record about love) honouring the best indiepop tradition, in the vein of myths like The Field Mice of Another Sunny Day, and beautifully arranged by producer Carlos René, who also contributes with a song.

Ready for a first taste of the album? Here's the magnificent opening track 'Love is Love', a burst of blissful jangle, with twinkling guitars and an eternal chorus. What an honour to premiere this gem! Don't miss it!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Happy Birthday El Genio Equivocado!

Today, we have a very special Anniversary party. El Genio Equivocado (one of the best Spanish independent labels, featured a dozen times at the Blog, and run by my Indienauta bosses) makes five years of existence. Many of you know what does it means. The enormous merit of surviving with a small music label in this perennial crisis context, in a country where people doesn't buy records. The huge achievement of having promoted/promoting several exciting and diverse bands each year despite the regrettable lack of support to culture from institutions (outside the mainstream). And, foremost, the genuine, unique way in which Rafa & Joan have done it: building a (disfunctional, but hey! we are talking about music) a family. Happy birthday El Genio Equivocado! Here's our little tribute in the form of a playlist with all the bands that have been or are part of its roster. Raise your glasses for many many more years to come!

1. Quan tornis demà - Aias 
2. No Bailes - Algora
3. If you were my captain - Big Summer 
4. El Abrigo - Blacanova
5. Tu Lado Salvaje - Burrito Panza
6. Perdido - Cómo Vivir en el Campo
7. Piel de Naranja - Grushenka
8. Salgamos de Aquí - Hans Laguna
9. La Unión y la Fuerza - Joaquín Pascual
10. Los Líderes Africanos - El Lado Oscuro de la Broca
11. Secundarios del Mundo Uníos! - Las Ruinas
12.  Ramon - Les Sueques
13. Orange - Mequetrefe
14. Días de Radio - Montevideo
15. Mcfly - Muñeco
16. El Espejo - Murciano Total
17. Uno de Noviembre - Odio París
18. Tout Cette Lumière - The Birkins
19. La Guerra Mundial - Wiggum
20. El Parque - Cosmen Adelaida