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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Discoverer 56: new indie findings

New dose of great discoveries for your listening pleasure!

PUPS. Had several options among to choose from, but friend TVM's Jeremy Jensen just let me know that Rose Melberg has a new band! So first goes first. The indiepop heroine (Tiger Trap, The Softies, Go Sailor, Brave Irene, solo, etc) has started a Vancouver based trio called PUPS (or it's Puppies?). Their first release is a split tape with Movieland on Green Burrito Records, released just two days ago (name your price on their bandcamp). Six tunes that sound like a slightly edgier version of Melberg's usual magic compositions, but equally shiny and addictive. A must, of course!

Wonky Doll and the Echo. First Greek band that reaches my inbox? Hailing from Athens, this oddly-named quartet, formed in 2010, then recorded their first promo that December. Many local and national performances followed, crystallised with the arrival of "Pleasant Thoughts" on September 2012. Nine hypnotic and flawless songs bringing us back to the 80's. A solid blend of post-punk, new wave and indie rock that flirts with synths and retro electronica as well as goth sounds. Think on The Cult meeting Echo and the Bunnymen. Icy atmospheres, ethereal guitars, gloomy vocals... and a lot of talent and promise.

The Choo Choo Trains. Meet Emma, Catherine and Veronica, my latest music crush. Active since 2010, they come from London, UK and their first release, a 17 tracks tape, came out in April of 2012, making them achieve some sounding reviews. Now it has a follow-up in the 7" EP entitled "I Choo-Choo-Choose You!" out this February on Manic Pop! Records, with some hints on a forthcoming album. They define themselves as "girl-guide shoegaze" from the heart and soul. But this is a twee-pop delight mixed with some lo-fi attitude. Irresistible charm coming from the fragile vocals, the whispered stories of the lyrics and the colourful melodies that shape their sound. Band to love.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

"Hitchcock", zero suspense, dull biopic


Biopics can be a real torture or, when memorable, a fantastic excuse to discover or re-connect with the film's subject. But there's a third "category", which is usually the most common: a movie that leaves you completely indifferent. Not annoying, but really insipid. "Hitchcock" could be the perfect example. Reminded me to "My Week with Marilyn". Take a cultural myth/icon and put it on an unsubstantial movie.

In this sort of films, it doesn't really matter if you are a fan or a hater, because there's not a real attempt of offering any insight of the biopic's character. That is the case of "Hitchcock". Worse, this film doesn't want to talk about the way Sir Alfred Hitchcock approached cinema, being labelled as the "Master of Suspense" (not me). Doesn't aim to show his peculiar relations with her cast (particularly women), wife, or studios. Doesn't pretend to offer any real tension or obsessions. It's just a expensive tv movie, suitable to anyone. Entertaining enough to keep you going, but nothing else.

"Hitchcock" biggest failure is the lame plot. The whole movie is focused on the director's battle to make "Psycho". Yep, director Sacha Gervasi probably believed that having such a movie classic (not for me) as the plot's subject he didn't have to care about the screenplay. Wrong. From the very beginning we are in front of a game of incoherencies, plotholes. Gervasi chooses a supposedly very dramatic scene that should justify why Hictchcock needed to do "Psycho"... forgetting that before that moment all we had was a triumphant director presuming of their latest success, "North by Northwest". Gervasi gives Vera Miles a shot, on which we assume there was a very "special" issue regarding her relation with the director, then her character gets almost abandoned. I could go on. And the nightmarish scenes on which Alfred "lives" inside the novel that inspired the film are ridiculous.  

With such an empty script, what keeps the movie alive is the marital/work tension between Alfred and his wife Alma. Not because it has any particular strength, but at least it does have coherency and a very solid actress, Helen Mirren, carrying the weight of the film on her reliable shoulders. The rest of the impressive cast does what they can. Good actors on secondary roles like Toni Collette or Michael Wincott have very unrewarding lines. Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh and Jessica Biel as Vera Miles have barely no space to be more than mannequins. On a side note, its a crime that two of the most beautiful actresses look that unattractive on screen. 

And of course, Anthony Hopkins as the "great man himself". Well, he looks like a perfect caricature of the man. You can put all the prosthetics you can, gain weight, and perfect voice and mannerisms as much as you can. That will only mean a fantastic recreation of the person's aesthetics. But you still need a direction, a purpose, a turmoil to get the character alive. Hopkins tries, and as the gifted actor he is, he saves dozens of scenes... but it's still an artifice. He is the epitome of the whole movie, pointless, weak, lifeless. Doesn't harm, but save it just for killing time.  

SCORE: 5/10

Friday, March 29, 2013

"Village Green", as gorgeous as indiepop can be

Village Green 

Let me introduce you to the Village Ten Collective, a trio of wonderful bands: blog favourites The Very Most, recently discovered intimate pop geniuses Adam and Darcie, and new amazing finding Canoe. Released just a couple of weeks ago, the album is composed by six songs, with each band covering one tune from the other two. The result is a little indiepop delight. Each cover sounds unforced, completely natural, the result being extremely cohesive, coherent, honest, and what's more important, haunting.  

First song is Adam and Darcie's "Take Them All Away" covered by our beloved The Very Most. If you read this blog (thanks) you should know what Jeremy Jensen is capable of doing if he dreams a melody. Now think what he can do with a gentle paced, charming melody made by craftmanships Adam and Darcie's. Wonders that is. A cheerful, expansive, joyful tune that could fit perfectly on any TVM release.

Then is Adam and Darcie who covers Canoe's "Drip, Drip, Drop", turning the mellow and intimate folk-pop affair the tune seems to be on an unexpected epic voyage. Warm guitar lines and Darcie's voice rising above. If you don't get moved you're deaf, sorry.

And the first round of covers closes with Canoe's covering The Very Most's "Dodged Ev'ry Bullet Pt. 1" (what a cool title). Subtle and delicate, the song is transformed into a pastoral number that slowly grabs you.

Our imaginary side B opens with TVM again, now adapting Canoe's "The Caspian Sea". Right now might be my favourite of the lot, with these vocal twists, the simple but flamboyant chorus, and the irresistible upbeat rhythm once the guitars arise. Tune its followed by Canoe's take on "Never Been a Pilot" from Adam and Darcie, which is definitely a grower, with a mind-blowing guitar shimmering in the middle of it.

And closing the mini-album we have Adam and Darcie version of TVM's "You're in Love with the Sun". The original is already magnificent, but the lovely couple from Provo makes the tune their own. Intensity, that feeling of closeness with the listener, that rare feeling of being invited to a very private party. It's the ideal finale for an album that seems a celebration of three bands that share friendship and a genuine love for the music they play. Everything fits, even the beautiful artwork by Marta Tortajada is perfect. As gorgeous indiepop can be.

SCORE: 7,5/10  

Listen below and grab it while you can!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spanish Indie 12: suggesting the best national acts

More Spanish "alternative sounds" for your listening pleasure!

The Birkins. Can you mix British pop with French chanson, Americana and some experimentation and not being indigestible? Can you recall bands like The Beautiful South and Stereolab at the same time? This impressive quartet hailing from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria can, gracefully. Formed in 2008, after winning, in 2009, the nationwide Heineken Greenspace contest, they signed with our recurrent friends from El Genio Equivocado and released their S/T debut album in 2011. Now they are back with their sophomore release, "Châteaux en Espagne", out since Feburary. Classy and diverse indiepop. One final advice: don't miss the chance of seeing them live if you can.

Niño y Pistola. Veteran band from Baiona, Galizia, for our second proposal. After two demos (2003 & 2004) they released "Como un Maldito Guisante" in 2006, recorded fully live. Hailed by critics as the "Galizian from Liverpool", they returned with "Culebra" in 2008. Then came their band reinvention, releasing under a new alter ego "Niño y Pistola as Arthur & The Writers" in 2010. And out now we have "There's a Man With a Gun Over There" as Niño y Pistola again. A conceptual album that is a superb homage to all the American music heroes: Neil Young, The Band, Dylan, Byrds, Buffalo Springfield... FOLK-ROCK in big capital letters.

Les Atxes. Discovered at the Minifestival de Música Independent, this band from Barcelona was born in 2008, first as the shared project of guitarists and singers Marc A. and Marc M., and then as a powerful full group after recruiting three more members. After many gigs and rehearsing, in 2011 they came out with a self-titled mini-album, when they combine their passion for the 70s' NYC scene with the more primitive elements of garage, as well of little hints of post-punk and traces of Spanish folk-rock. An eclectic combination that turns out to be incredibly fun, particularly live.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

"Independientes", 20 years of Spanish indie


Are indie lovers and endangered species in Spain? With my deepest regret, I believe so. But despite being few and struggling, we are not alone, and we had a history behind us. That's what Independientes (Independents) shows. And I would add offers, because this documentary, directed by Jose A. Rueda and produced by La Fabriquilla De Creación Audiovisual is available to watch for free on youtube (see below). Excellent idea and proposal to start with, don't you think?

And Independientes has many attractions for the viewer. As an attempt to dissect how the national indie scene was created is clear and up to the point. There's not a lot of digressing and Rueda let the musicians and relevant actors do all the talking, answering his sort of fundamental and broad questions: is there a Spanish indie scene? how it was created? what does it mean being indie today?, etc. It's always a pleasure to hear and see people like Julio Ruiz (Radio 3 will never be thanked enough), Antonio Arias (Lagartija Nick), Nacho Vegas or Antonio Luque (Sr.Chinarro), among others (including half of Los Planetas, Lori Meyers, Maga, etc). Down-to-earth and really wise people

Some of the questions, in particular the latest ones that refer on what means being indie are the most controversial and interesting, showing also the singularity of the Spanish case. Take the example of Los Planetas, the most famous and pivotal alternative group in Spain. They signed with a major virtually since the very beginning of their career, but did that affect their music? Or take a more recent case, also used on the film: Vetusta Morla. Their music is (ok, arguably) on the mainstream side, but they opted for self-producing/releasing mechanisms, achieving one of the biggest successes in recent history of Spanish music.

But the modesty of the rockumentary is also a bit of a curse. With barely one hour of film it can't help but feel incomplete. It's all about alternative pop-rock sounds, missing many styles and bands who would have been relevant for the documentary. Some very important labels are also excluded from the film footage when talking about the first steps and the evolution of the independent scene. The same appeals to the present times. Independientes just poses the debate on the Internet and new channels for reaching fans. But there's so much that could have been added on that: small and emerging labels, the music venues, new bands, live music versus selling records, Festivals... Aww, the documentary should/could last seven hours!

Anyway, that sort of last criticism is quite unfair for Independientes, a movie that has to be praised just because of its mere existence. But we do want a second, third and fourth chapter!

SCORE: 6,75/10

Watch the documentary here! (it's in Spanish, sorry)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Indie Anthology 27: essential songs

Back from a short mini-vacation and what's better than returning to posting that recovering our Anthology? The rescued song today was an attempt to prove I can also write about cheerful songs, and a band that has just comeback and deserves its fair share of vindication.

Song: Tonight I Have to Leave It
Artist: Shout Out Louds
Year: 2007

Folks, that's what I call a hit! Imagine a world where people wants to enjoy really good music and not the awful amount of shit that saturates tv, commercials and radios. In that ideal world, Tonight I Have to Leave It, would have been the soundtrack of 2007's summer, and a mandatory tune to dance on every single disco with some taste. The indiepop "Swedish factory" did it again. Think on The Cure (that voice, that melody) hitting the dance floor unabashedly. Think on that rhythm and that drumming finale. In an ideal world, Shout Out Louds just offered the quintessential joyful, vital tune ready to make you smile and shake you.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Trouble Will Find Me.. with The National

Ladies and gentlemen, the wait is almost over!

The National have just announced their sixth album will be out on May 20th and its called Trouble Will Find Me. Here's the tracklist:

Trouble Will Find Me
01 I Should Live in Salt
02 Demons
03 Don't Swallow the Cap
04 Fireproof
05 Sea of Love
06 Heavenfaced
07 This is the Last Time
08 Graceless
09 Slipped
10 I Need My Girl
11 Humiliation
12 Pink Rabbits
13 Hard to Find

Not too amazed by the cover (a bit too distressing for me) although it somewhats suits the intriguing and Nationary title. Way more excited by Matt's comments on the album:
For the past 10 years we'd been chasing something, wanting to prove something. And this chase was about trying to disprove our own insecurities. After touring High Violet, I think we felt like we'd finally gotten there. Now we could relax-- not in terms of our own expectations but we didn't have to prove our identity any longer."

So yes, a very special day for Bloodbuzzed, the countdown has begun! Here are two videos to keep the buzz going...

Lola = I Should Live in Salt (rumour says)
Prime = Graceless (rumour says)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

"Once Brothers", friendship, war and basketball

Once Brothers
Hard to think about something more dramatic and depressive than the civil wars on the former Yugoslavia. As a teenage naturally attracted to history and politics, I remember the need and will of being informed about that horrible conflict taking place at the heart of Europe and where mankind showed one of its ugliest faces ever. But I didn't know that many years after that tragedy ended, I was going to be so compelled by another take, intimate and very special, of the (his)story.

As a basketball fan I remember, vividly, several games from Drazen Petrovic and Vlade Divac as part of the incredible national team of Yugoslavia as well as their respective individual careers. As a Barça supporter, Drazen became the enemy being the star of Real Madrid, but it was impossible not to be mesmerized by his unparalleled talent, while Divac was always a personal favorite as part of the latest era of Magic Johnson's Lakers, plus the center of one of the most spectacular squads never played on the NBA: the Sacramento Kings. But I didn't know about their intimate bond, a friendship that together with Kukoc, Radja, made them unbeatable and brought them to the NBA, on a time European players where an exotic thing. And I didn't know about how their relationship ended either, when the war came.

"Once Brothers" is gripping, to the point of making unnecessary the gross outlining from ESPN channel (part of the “30 for 30” documentary series). The drama is the story. I do want to believe Americans are sensitive enough to understand the madness and nonsense of war to need the reinforcement of the drama with tricks like music or overcharged lines of script. Luckily the human tragedy here is too compelling to ruin the documentary because of bad direction choices.

Because "Once Brothers" is striking, utterly sad and deplorable, using the case of elite basketball players to explain the personal tragedies that war brings. Friends torn apart due to circumstances beyond their control. The love for a flag (hope that one day mankind will understand a flag is just a colored cloth) and a silly gesture on a moment of emotional burst transformed Divac and Petrovic into national heroes in Serbia and Croatia, therefore enemies while civil war exploded back home. Ethnic tensions that weren't a problem before surfaced to help ruining one of the most true and precious things we have: friendship.

Directed by Michael Tolajian, is quite remarkable how intimate the film aims to be. As a matter of fact, this is the personal voyage, emotional and physical, of Divac, also narrator of the documentary. From his perspective, we see all the meaningful places: the snowy Serbian town where he was born, the gym where the Yugoslavian national team trained, the hotel in L.A. that was his first home in the States, to Zagreb today, where Divac is still the enemy or at least a real stranger (that walk is so shocking, one of the highlights of the film). It serves well the purpose of explaining that friendship was never restored, because we all know how Drazen was killed in a car accident on 1993, just when he was achieving stardom recognition on the NBA (is also deeply touching to see how they supported each other when they were at NBA, immigrants isolated from home, specially Drazen, who had difficult seasons), and how Divac has ever come to terms with the death of a friend before they had a chance to reconcile.

Surfing the net I have realized how some wounds will never be healed. The hatred speech, from both sides, is still easy to find. The accusations and insults to Divac are recurrent. Same can be said about Drazen. Heroes and villains depending on which side are you on. Well, maybe is true. Maybe Divac made an anti-Croatian political statement with the flag on purpose. Maybe he was extremely naïve about the then exploding conflict and Drazen had reasons to be angry. But what I can see on “Once Brothers” is a grown-up man, 7 foot tall, sincerely trying to repair the bond with his friend, regretting all what happened. I also see/hear a young and then a grown-up Tony Kukoc explaining how Croatian players were intimidated, by their own friends and relatives, of the consequences of not severing all ties with Divac. Same applies to a puzzled but wise Dino Radja, admitting the fear and the damage caused as a result of it. These collection of revealing moments are better than any history lesson or detailed account on the conflict, showing the human face of the tragedy caused by war.

SCORE: 8/10

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

"Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You", killing Holden Caulfield

Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You- Peter Cameron

Marketing is lying. Advertising is all about cheating. And that does include literature. Yes, I know I sound infuriated. I am. This is not going to be a merciful review.

Critics have saluted "Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You", Peter Cameron's latest novel as "one of the all-time great New York books", a "comic gem" and the (here it goes, hear the drums rattling) perfect modern version of "The Catcher in the Rye". Now that's what I call advertising a book, don't you think?

Of course, "Someday..." is not what the ads say. To begin with While reading it, I couldn't help myself but thinking on how soon we were going to see a film adaption of the book, directed by the responsible of Little Miss Sunshine or Cameron Crowe... and while preparing this review I realized the screen version already exists. It’s understandable; the book has all the ingredients to be considered a potential “cool” film (even the indie ticks abound) but without losing any cross-over appealing… meaning without having any substance. Because, being honest, to me, this book is rather pointless, seriously empty.

I’m very sorry to say that “Someday…” is full of cheap tricks and bad writer resources. To avoid a tiring monologue or a book of young adult introspection, Cameron uses a psychiatrist. He also has an oracle character, James’s Grandma. Someone has even pointed out that it’s her own version of Holden Caulfield sister Phoebe. My goodness. Of course parents are divorced and odd, and her sister is dating an older married man. There’s even the shadow of 9/11 there. If Cameron quickly refuses to use that factor for the story, then why do we have that conversation? And then we have the resolution of the book, of course. I won’t spoil the “revelation”, but what gives sense to the erratic behaviour of main character James Sveck, that justifies the whole novel, is really lame as an argument. Comparing that to Holden Caulfield is offensive.

As a character, James Sveck is another main “concern” for me. He is just irritating, not fun (the only funny thing to me was the housing thing). But aside from that, he is completely untrue, like the rest of the characters. James thoughts and words are the ones of the author, not the ones from a heavily confused 18 years old kid. He is supposed to be extremely smart, to the point of being obnoxious. He talks about Denton Welch and architecture, and has really boring obsession for objects and brands, but he doesn’t know what alopecia means (just an example of incoherency).

I do believe “Someday…” is just an attempt to make a little novel (short, that’s another one of the few positive things) that fits ideally under the Young Adult label, of a kid looking to grow-up in a world that is confusing to him. It does aim to have a moral lesson (another “issue”): James will survive and grow stronger. Take life as a constant lesson, some of them are painful, but you will learn anyway. That might be a rather enlightening conclusion (it looks like a bland self improvement book to me) for a teenager to read, but to salute this as one of the best books published lately is ridiculous.

SCORE: 2,5/10

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Discoverer 55: new indie findings

If facebook allows me (what a couple of weeks in that sense), here's another dose of new music proposals for you!

Daughter. This London-based trio began their career in 2010 as the solo project of Elena Tonra. After recording a ‘Demos EP’, she joined forces with guitarist & music classmate Igor Haefeli. A self-released four-track EP, "His Young Heart", came out in April 2011, with drummer Remi Aguilella completing the band soon after. Later this year "The Wild Youth" EP was released, transforming the buzz into an unstoppable "band on ascent". Something that "If You Leave", Daughter’s debut album out now, is going to confirm. Atmospheric, depth folk-rock with a fire-powered rhythm section that embraces Elena's fragile voice, Daughter is cathartic music fated for greatness.
Slowness. Formed in San Francisco in 2008 by Julie Lynn and Geoffrey Scott, the band had their first proper release in late 2010, with the EP "Hopeless but Otherwise". After touring the States, the duo became a trio with Scott Putnam on drums. Then the three gathered on studio to compose their debut album, "For Those Who Wish to See the Glass Half Full", out now on Blue Aurora Audio. Eight tunes that resist labelling. Indiepop with knock-out melodies infused on drones, shoegaze always aiming for the light, atmospheres full of harmonies... Mind-blowing music.   
Pale Spectres. Thanks to the wonderful from Little Treasure Records I have had the pleasure to find this indiepop band from Paris. The quartet became known on the blogosphere past year with their song  "Better Than Love" included on a compilation record from Cloudberry Records. Now they are ready to confirm the blasting impression with their debut EP "Helen Of Troy", just out now. What a little collection of gems, four jangle pop wonders with crystalline guitars and delicious melodies. Among the best heard so far on this 2013.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Stop Awful Covers 9

Here we go again, this is a nightmare that never seems to end... the disaster goes on and on. When selecting this latest chapter of the Awful Covers Series I had hundreds of horrible covers to choose among... Bad taste spreading. Please musicians, think about what you are doing to your art. Please stop...

Phoenix: Bankrupt!
Sure the nicest  cover of the lot, but the French band's new sleeve is seriously disappointing . Looks inviting to you? To me looks really boring...

Keaton Henson: Birthdays
Nothing to celebrate with that disgusting figurine on top of a cake.

 The Night Marchers:  Allez! Allez!
Where do I begin? Creepy, disgusting, lame, _____ (add your own).

Strange Talk: Cast Away
The more I look, the more I'm convinced the Empire of the Sun' folks  will appear anytime soon  from behind that .... well, thing.

Teen Suicide: Rarities, Unreleased Stuff, And Cool Things
Where do I begin, part 2? This is just ridiculous. Why someone would like to put out a cover like this one?

Comanechi: You Owe Me Nothing But Love
I think the band owes their fans an apology for that, too...

They Might Be GiantsNanobots EP
The idea, mixing  classic art with nanobots could have been curious (ejem)... but the results... are not. 

Eric Clapton: Old Sock
"Slow Hand" at his lowest moment. Same person who cheated Neil Young did it again.  

Friday, March 15, 2013

Hypnotized by Beach House

Beach House (+ Marquis Tolliver). Sala Apolo, March 13th.

Beach House at Apolo. Photo: Bloodbuzzed 
It was my second time watching Beach House live, but to me is like I have been in front of two completely different bands. The Fly Me To The Moon gig on July 2011 wasn't a bad gig. On the contrary, the place, the open air location without massification on a pleasant summer night was quite special. I also remember the visuals and the magnetic atmosphere created. But this past Wednesday at Apolo was something else. Something more.

Mr. Tolliver. Photo: Bloodbuzzed
And the start wasn't that promising. Beach House is now a "hipster" band without discussion. So occasional fans or people that just "have to be there" abounded at a extremely packed Apolo (sold out both nights). Of course, that means annoying people worried about their Iphone not about the music, and a usually pretty and comfortable venue transformed into an unreasonable sauna.

Besides, we have the issue of the support act, Marques Tolliver. Curious? Yes. Intriguing? Sure, for a little while, a guy that shows up with just a violin and his voice in front of an audience that doesn't have a clue about your music was something. But it quickly felt flat, seriously flat at least for me... and extremely short! 5-6 tunes and over! I can see his talents... but the songs didn't sound that impressive or even original. Let's concede the doubt of how a gifted musician like Marques might improve backed by a full band.

Scally & Legrand. Photo: Bloodbuzzed
Anyway, after an extremely long wait on which hipsters... sorry, people, fought to have the best possible position, Beach House appeared on stage. It was immediate communion with the audience, and the Baltimore duo, a trio live, didn't waste a second to focus exclusively in the music. And on a much more intimate distance, you can see the band really lost themselves into their songs. Victoria Legrand bursts of energy, with its shaking mane of hair, is one of the most iconic images music has given in latest years.

Setlist was nearly flawless, although that's not that surprising considering it was virtually reduced to “Teen Dream” and “Bloom tunes. Arguably the only low points of the gig were oldies "Gila” and "Apple Orchard", but the rest of the was a succession of dream pop hits, wonderfully played. Scally's guitar lines perfectly drawing melody lines in between the keyboards haze, and Legrand's voice, sometimes subtle, sometimes thunderous, always intense and emotional.

Magic band live. Photo: Bloodbuzzed
Many songs stood out.“The Hours”, "Silver Soul", Zebra”, "Wishes" or the immense "Take Care" under the starry night created by the stage visuals (less striking that the ones used two years ago, but wonderfully merged with the songs). But it wouldn't be fair to just highlight some tunes. From opener "Wild" to closing "Irene", Beach House's gig has to be celebrated as a whole, as a unique cohesive experience, like a collective hypnosis session. Hypnotized by music. A wonderful way to escape from ourselves for a while.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

With Beach House tonight!

Big concert tonight, a rainy day with Beach House in Barcelona at Sala Apolo, presenting "Bloom", it couldn't be more approppiate (can't say really why but to me Beach House music and rain fits together incredibly well). Review on the gig coming very soon. To celebrate the concert, here's the wonderful short film recently released by the band and Pitchfork, entitled "Forever Still". Four tunes "Wild", "The Hours", "Wishes", and "Irene" filmed with the dreamy and isolated  landscapes of Tornillo, Texas, as a unique, haunting background. An intriguing, cinematic and captivating work. Really worth the watch, enjoy!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

"Early Fragments", amazing band rising

Early Fragments

Early Fragments coverI'm going to be honest from the very first sentence. I think I'm in love with this band. Now, let me correct that. I'm in love with this band. My expectations about their hopefully coming soon debut album couldn't be higher. But for the time being, this compilation of their first singles, aptly titled "Early Fragments" does justice to the magnetic sound of this blossoming band.

And that's despite its first song, "Seer", the only new on this compilation, might be the less impressive for me. Sure, it is a pretty, more than alright tune, with its ethereal guitar, spectral choruses and martial drums, but this is the only time that I have to admit I hear echoes of The Cranberries, something that some reviews have pointed out... and scares me.

But the menace quickly vanishes, as next comes "Mosaic".  Awww "Mosaic". Already rated it among my favourites tunes of 2012, so what can I say? It's pure pop perfection. There's a trace of post-punk (the gloomy video and the speaking/yearning voice also helps setting that peculiar atmosphere) and the 80s, but the gorgeous voice of Jessica Weiss and the jangly chords transforms it into an indiepop masterpiece. Same qualification for "Your Side", where Jessica plays with her singing, adapting it to the cascading guitar lines and the humming bridge as she wish, before the tune ends with a mysterious outro.

"Green Sea" is another stunning piece. Haunting verses and a dreamy melody that are propelled to that explosive chorus, with Jessica's killer voice seeming to appear out of the blue, from a very distant place, fuelled by these echoing guitars and voices. Its another fantastic example of Fear of Men's incredibly catchy, yet at the same time substantial, enduring, indiepop.

And we have just reached half of the record. "Born" ups the tempo with wonderful results. Immediate, carefree, lightweight and soothing, something that contrasts heavily with its lyrics about existence (birth and death), love and sex. "Doldrums" is also upbeat, but with a more obscure and poetic touch. Dream-pop with a cinematic quality but letting the guitars ring inside your head.

The last couple of songs are also stunning. "Ritual Confession" is the most straightforward tune on "Early Fragments". Direct, embraceable pop, with that colossal CHORUS (big capital letters are in order). Dying to hear this tune live. "Spirit House" is a bit more oblique and lo-fi, with guitars acquiring a bigger presence on the mix, urgent and crispier than usual. But it gets compensated by the vocals and its bombastic finale.

Sorry if you think this wasn't a very impartial review, but I just think I found a band to love unabashedly for ages. And this is just the beginning!

SCORE: 8,25/10

Saturday, March 9, 2013

101 Greatest Screenplays, really?

Casablanca gets the number one spot? Shakespeare in Love? Tootsie? Jaws? Jerry Maguire? Really? Are you kidding me? I find this list pretty ridiculous, offensive, to be honest. Even more considering the list has been created by the Writers Guild of America (WGA). I'll make mine (shortlist) in the forthcoming days. Revenge!, revenge!

87.8 1/2