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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Discoverer 107: new indie findings

Our Discoverer Series adopts a dreamy and evokative style for this rainy weekend, enjoy!

Lily and Madeleine. Let me introduce you to the Jurkiewicz sisters. Hailing from Indianapolis, USA, their natural and graceful talents started to buzz around the Internet in early 2012, when they uploaded some tunes as well as cover songs to YouTube, just for fun. Among the ones watching was producer Paul Mahern who, with the help of songwriter Kenny Childers. teamed up with the sisters to release debut EP 'The Weight of the Globe' in January 2013. Single 'In The Middle' again hit heavy YouTube and Reddit, grabbing the attention of Asthmatic Kitty Records. The label quickly signed them & issued the EP on 10'' in June while the duo re-entered the studio to record their self-titled debut, out that October. Prolific & hard-working, now Lily & Madeleine are back with sophomore album, 'Fumes', released a month ago. Surprisingly confident and mature despite their young ages, their songs, just have that rare, perfect combination of sweetness, fuelled by the mind-blowing blending of their voices, with a haunting hint of mystery and darkness. It's all quiet and harmonic on the surface, but the clouds are about to come... Affecting and immediate lovable music.

Dianas. Another duo, this time based in Perth, Australia. Singers-guitarists Nathalie Pavlovic & Caitlin Moloney, helped by Ashley Ramsey on drums, joined forces in late 2012, after several adventures in another combos. They quickly came out with debut EP '#01' that November, followed by single 'Cruelty/Origami', out in Hot Violet in August 2013. This year, they released another EP, '#02', in February, and just now, the digital single '1.000 Years', that seems to be anticipating a full album on the final stages. Expansive & free indie-pop, Dianas have a quite unique sound combining dreamy atmospheres, swelling guitars and whispered, ultra-soft vocals. Intriguing and addictive music to follow closely.
Parrot Dream. And we end with a Chilean-North American quartet based in New Yok. Formed a year ago, since August we can enjoy their first release to date, 'Set Sail Someday' an EP made of six tunes, out on Beast Discos, that you can freely grab at their website. Something you should do as fast as you read this words, because the foursome has all the charms and tunes to knock you out. Warm and lush dreampop, subtly wrapped in synths and layers were guitar lines and the lovely vocals of Christina Appel just melt naturally like the sea and the horizon. Here comes the most gentle autumn. Embrace the dreamy sundown.

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Bloodbuzzed Jukebox 33

There are no "Black Fridays" for us: only Fridays with great music, thanks to our TOP TEN playlist series. Along with our recurrent new discoveries like Cafuné or the Spanish indie-pop sensation that is Neleonard, there's a very special one. The original mix of R.E.M.'s debut single. The beginning of the legend. Enjoy it and remember is also available at our Blog's soundcloud page. Join Us!

Direct links to the previous Jukebox weeks
Week 1      Week 8        Week 15     Week 22     Week 29
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 6      Week 13      Week 20     Week 27 
Week 7      Week 14       Week 21     Week 28

Welcome to the Jukebox!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

These Go to 11: interviewing Wild Balbina

Keeping Galizian indie power! Second time in a row interviewing a great band from that region (coincidence or signal there's something going on there?). This week we have the pleasure to count with the answers, riot grrrl style, of Marta González from our dear Wild BalbinaThese Go to 11! 

Marta González, Wild Balbina
If you are a regular follower of this blog you already know that we are fans of Elefant Records. So, last year, in one of our regular checks of their always exciting roster we had the pleasure to discover Wild Balbina. Coming from Vigo, they formed in 2010 when Antía Figueiras and Marta González moved on from their initial covers combo to a real band after recruiting V. Zapata. Local buzz followed until 2012, when they released the EP 'Eat Tacos' and became a most promising act to follow. In 2013 the group became a quartet with Miguel Binachi and now, with this year's release of the excellent mini-LP 'Sisters Before Misters' they are a complete reality, something also showed live, as we recently saw them supporting the fundamental Comet Gain. Youthfulness, energy, electricity, freshness and an addictive mix of garage, riot grrrl (they also run the feminist-cultural fanzine Typical Girls), surf, C86 and noise-pop sounds. Here we go!

When riot grrrl went danceable
1. First record that you bought (be honest)
Talking in general maybe a Laura Pausini’s cassette, I don’t know! Talking about vinyls the first one was 'Feminist Sweepstakes' by Le Tigre.

2. First and last concert you have attended (be honest too!)
The first one was when I was a child because my family and I used to go to some free shows that in summer are still celebrated in our town, Vigo, at a spectacular natural-concert hall, Castrelos. There we could see Depeche Mode, Leonard Cohen, Patti Smith, Emir Kusturica, etc, and yes! some glories of the spanish’s pop as Sabina, that maybe was the first one. The last one was in London in October, Acrobat + Brain Washington + The Mvp’s at Buffalo Bar which we have read that maybe will be closed :(. Sorry for the length of the answer!

Blonde ambition, take 47...
3. Guilty pleasure (song/band you shouldn’t like but you do, yes, it’s the embarrassing question)
'What you waiting for?', Gwen Stefani, a diva.

4. Most precious music item you own (collector mode on)
The Spanish edition of 'If You Knew Suzi' by Suzi Quatro (1978).

5. Favorite lyrics (not yours)
So many but I may choose only one, 'Disarm' by Smashing Pumpkins.

Kat & Kurt, smelling like teen spirits...
6. Musician/s you would like to meet (should be alive, for obvious reasons, but you can choose a dead one too)
Kathleen Hanna and Kurt Cobain.

7. Favorite artwork album (not yours)
'I love Delaware' by Drop Nineteens.

The Riot Grrrl's  "Bible"
8. Books or movies? Depending on your answer recommend us one (trick: you can choose both) 
Both! A book: 'Riot Grrrl Collection' by Lisa Darms, a good brief of the contents of the fanzines belonging to the movement. The film: 'Hausu' by Nobuhiko Obayashi.

9. Release (of yours) you are most proud of
'Spit your love'.

10. What does it mean indie for you? (yes, the “serious question”)
Indie is something pure that come up of somebody without the influence of a third person (that obviously can offer money in return of); and that’s done for not only satisfying other people as well. Any music style can be indie.

11. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I’m not sure of the answer of this one, I don’t usually think about that kind of stuff!

Zillion thanks Wild Balbina!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Indie Anthology 53: essential songs

Oops! I kind of forgot this section of the Blog, but here we are, back with our Indie Anthology, paying tribute to one of our mighty indie-heroines, thanks to the documentary on Sarah Records. Of course, I'm referring to the great Amelia Fletcher. So, ready for a trip to heaven?

Song: Atta Girl
Artist: Heavenly
Year: 1993

Sure, if this section keeps going, Marine Research and the fundamental Talulah Gosh will have a spot here (most probably Tender Trap too). But the first time an Amelia Fletcher tune made the click with me was 'Atta Gil'. The breaking waves, that long, mind-blowing guitar intro, announcing the arrival of a storm that breaks before the first minute. As a matter of fact is Cathy Rogers who sings the first part of the tune, but despite hers and Amelia's voices are sweet, there's a rage and pain that can't be hided, ready to be spitted into a rapid-fire combination of vocals. An unrequited love tale that turns into something much much bitter. Punk, that is. Amelia blasts "I don’t need you or your attitude/and can’t you just forget now that you ever knew me" and one clearly sees how, while mainstream pop goes the other way around, this courageous woman has been putting substance into what looks like fun, unabashed pop during all her career.  

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Bloodbuzzed Jukebox 32

Today is Friday, so it's time for a new round of our TOP TEN playlist series! This week we have a really diverse selection, in what regards to styles & careers the bands have. You'll find veterans coming back like Gang of Four or The Popguns, popular acts like She and Him and and our trademark new discoveries like Pretty Sad, Chirping or The Hills Around. So please press play and enjoy the ride! And, of course,  it's all at our Blog's soundcloud. Join Us!

Direct links to the previous Jukebox weeks
Week 1      Week 8        Week 15     Week 22     Week 29
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 5      Week 12      Week 19     Week 26 
Week 6      Week 13      Week 20     Week 27 
Week 7      Week 14       Week 21     Week 28

Welcome to the Jukebox!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

These Go to 11: interviewing Linda Guilala

Keeping the love for Galizian bands! Discovered this year, and loved them at Indietracks. So we are extremely happy to count with Linda Guilala answering our questionnaireThese Go to 11! 

Ivan Juniper, Linda Guilala 
Linda Guilala, pop in the middle
 of the storm
Hailing from Vigo and born from the ashes of Juniper Moon in 2005, Iván and Eva began their new project propelled by their love for electricity and old, bizarre Japanese sci-fi movies. A year after, the duo came out with their first self-produced demos, grabbing the attention of Spanish radios. In 2009 their debut album 'Bucles Infinitos' arrived on Elefant Records, followed in 2011 with 'Paranormal' EP. This year, and transformed into a trio, the group has released another EP, 'Xeristar', out since March. A tremendous example of noise, electric shocks, very few boundaries, shoegazing blasts, and a fond love for iconic bands like My Bloody Valentine, Black Tambourine, Pale Saints or The Jesus and Mary Chain. Storms and dreams shaped into fantastic songs. Here we go!

1. First record that you bought (be honest)
'In Utero' by Nirvana.

A-HA, couldn't be more 80s than them
2. First and last concert you have attended (be honest too!)
Although I'm not sure 100%, I think it was Manta Ray in the 90's, at Cafe Edesa Theatre in Ponferrada. What I do remember is that it cost me 300 pesetas, a drink included. The last one is Musculo, the band that played with us in our last concert. Lately, we play a lot in Linda Guilala, so the concerts that we see are the bands playing with us.

3. Guilty pleasure (song/band you shouldn’t like but you do, yes, it’s the embarrassing question)
My guilty pleasure is A-HA.

4. Most precious music item you own (collector mode on)
This is very complicated, I value a lot my first "pressings" of The Vaselines. 

Antonio Galvañ,
love makes noise 
5. Favorite lyrics (not yours)
My favourite lyrics are the ones from the album of Family and Antonio Galvañ from Parade. Usually, I don't like much the typical love songs and that sort of stuff, I think they are pretty rubbish, drivel. Although I have to admit that I have some songs like these in my own repertoire.

6. Musician/s you would like to meet (should be alive, for obvious reasons, but you can choose a dead one too)
Alive, David Keegan. And dead, Ian Curtis.

7. Favorite artwork album (not yours)
That's indeed complicated to answer. I like a lot almost all The Stone Roses 7'', but you know, that's today and tomorrow could be another, completely different thing.

Cinemascope's sci-fi
8. Books or movies? Depending on your answer recommend us one (trick: you can choose both) 
'Forbidden Planet' is my all-time favourite film, and in a more experimental context, 'Pink Narcissus' from James Bidgoog.  

9. Release (of yours) you are most proud of
None, I never hear Linda Guilala nor any of my other groups, Because I suffer a lot hearing them, and I always find all sort of defects.

10. What does it mean indie for you? (yes, the “serious question”)
Sure it's serious for me, very serious. I'm indie, and I'm proud of it. I have no problem of saying it openly and confront whoever prostitutes the term. It's a way of doing things and a way of life. I try to get involved in as many "indie" things as possible: I schedule concerts, record and collaborate with groups and I always do it with the same spirit of independence and self-sufficiency. Above all it's about being faithful to the things I believe.

11. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Well, I see myself doing exactly the same. Playing in some band, looking for second hand albums, strange films and B-movies, collecting Tin Toys and, above all, listening a lot of music and being happy about it.
Zillion thanks Linda Guilala!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

'Beautiful Noise', shoegaze me

Beautiful Noise
Beefeater In-Edit 2014, Chapter III

The third documentary seen at this year’s Beefeater In-Edit was another easy choice. To my knowledge 'Beautiful Noise' is the first-ever documentary made on shoegaze/noise-rock of the late 80s-90s. Must-watch, again.

The merits of the film are many. Eric Green has created a relevant film from ground zero, working alongside producer Sarah Ogletree during almost a decade through their company HypFilms. Considering the DIY origins of the documentary (funded by a Kickstarter campaign), it's a great achievement they managed to arrange so many interviews with very big music names. But even more important than that, they have been capable of offering us a very solid and coherent work. It's clearly a work of passion for music.

The rise-disappearance-revival of shoegaze is well documented on the rockumentary, thanks to a straightforward chronological line but, foremost, by the huge bulk of interviews. From Cocteau Twins to Chapterhouse, it's hard for me to remember who's missing in the picture (although my dearest one, the great Rachel Goswell, is not interviewed). There are in-depth cuts with Cocteau Twins' Robin Guthrie, The Jesus and Mary Chain's Jim Reid & Bobby Gillespie, Slowdive's Neil Halstead, Ride's Mark Gardener and Andy Bell, or My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Shields, among many others. But there's also space for music giants like Robert Smith, Trent Reznor and Billy Corgan. Extremely impressive. The greatest moments are reserved to Reid and his controversial relation with fame/frustration for the band's lack of sales, and the unresolved war between Alan McGee, boss of Creation Records, and Kevin Shields. They were both right.     

So, the story of late century 'wall of sound' and musicians looking to their sneakers is the tale of a bunch of musicians who tried to subvert rock traditions without leaving guitars, looking for new sounds, atmospheres and introduce melody within the noise trying. Experiment and feel. They were ahead of their time, but they didn't find the success they were hoping for (Ride were the closest ones to achieve commercial support), so the pretty spontaneous movement faded away... until the digital era rescued them. 

Unfortunately, 'Beautiful Noise', except some situations like the ones referred before, lacks poignancy, debate, insight. Bands are utterly praised then simply glorified (can't put all bands in the same bag), and so is the revival (same applies). Besides, the film has too many minutes of empty visual fillers. We get it, it sort of connects with the ethereal, elusive music, but it's kind of lame. The overall feeling is that we are watching a formal, very correct but a bit monotonous documentary. The movie does makes a beautiful noise, but it's subdued.

SCORE: 6,25/10

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Discoverer 106: new indie findings

Our regular Discoverer Series make three new amazing stops just for you this weekend!!

The Ocean Party. Back to Australia to introduce you the music from this quintet of friends, who originally met in high school in Wagga Wagga, but didn’t become a band until years later, when they all found themselves living in Melbourne. After a drummer change in the line-up their self-release debut record 'The Sun Rolled off the Hills' appeared in 2011. Extremely prolific band whose members still find time to enroll themselves in multiple parallel projects like Velcro, Aleks and the Ramps, Kins, etc, they have been publishing an album each year: Social Clubs in 2012, 'Split' on 2013 and latest, 'Soft Focus', out this autumn via Jigsaw & Spunk Records. Majestic guitar-driven pop tunes, a foot in the 80s glorious indie-pop penned in their continent and another in bands like our beloved Real Estate. Most accurate band-name in years for this jangly-pop sorcerers. Not to be missed.  

The Courtneys. Hailing from Vancouver, this all-female trio formed around 2010, although their first live show didn't arrive until a year later, and their first release, the tape single 'K.C. Reeves' came out in April 2012, followed by another great one, '90210' in December. Both tunes were featured in their self-titled debut album, out in June 2013 via Hockey Dad Records. Two more singles have followed this 2014, 'Lost Boys' and 'Mars Attacks', which makes the almost impossible for this blogger: and indie-pop tune with a rap section that actually sounds amazing. It's just the latest example of a band that invites you to smile, have fun and enjoy the ride: early ’90s indie-rock and a mind-blowing talent to come out with an instant-catching melody. You are invited to Jen, Sydney and Courtney's party, one you are going to enjoy!
Pretty Sad. A trio with pretty few references on the Internet, precisely the tool that makes this band a reality, as their members are scattered throughout Scotland, Denmark and UK. The tunes of Victoria, Luke and Maxim got the virtual attention of our dear friends at Shelflife Records, who now present their digital debut, a self-titled EP with three wonderful tunes anticipating a hopefully 2015 full length album. Dreamy, ethereal indie-pop full of gorgeous guitar-lines, soaring vocals (instant crush with Victoria's voice, I guarantee you) and bubbling drums. Three perfect tunes that have completely disarmed us. We need more please!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Spanish Indie 21: suggesting the best national acts

The section devoted to national discoveries returns! And as a every great comeback deserves, we do it in full form, thanks to our three favourite local labels and psychedelic vibes!

Aries. Pending for many months, after reviewing the record at Indienauta it became mandatory. Behind the zodiac name hides the solo project of Isabel Fernández Reviriego, hailing from Bilbao but based in Vigo. Part of Electrobikinis and the memorable Charades, when the band called it a day, Isa keep working on new music. In 2012 she released debut LP 'Magia Bruta' on Bcore, followed by the digital free download of 'Grabaciones Varias' that same year. The bet was doubled with her sophomore album, 'Mermelada Dorada', out early this year on our dear La Castanya. Psychedelic pop, sweet, sunny, sensual, and evocative. Don't miss the hypnosis session summoned by this adorable & talented witch.
Muñeco. Hailing from Barcelona, Albert, Raül, Raúl (excellent taste, kudos to the families), Manel and Xoán started their instrumental project around 2010, first as a trio, then as a quintet since 2012, when they self-released 'Muñeco EP'. Well-received by critics, they toured Spain and got the attention of our most beloved label El Genio Equivocado, with whom released their debut album, 'Ocurre', this April. A kaleidoscopic feast of psychedelic, krautrock, space-rock and Manchester sounds. A sonic universe of their own that achieves genuine levels of greatness live, where their adventurous songs invites, impacts and overwhelms the listener.
The Hills Around. Coming from Castelldefels, Barcelona, the band, built by Luis González & Thierry Agulló formed around 2012, with first demos being heard in early 2013. This year, after being recruited by the perennial good taste of Discos de Kirlian, their proper first release, a self-titled 7" has just arrived this autumn. Three songs that sound, smell and feel like old-school guitar-pop. Melancholic, delicate, elegant, melodic to a quiet catharsis. Hear the echoes of the 70s and 80s, speculate with influences of the Go-Betweens or Roxy Music. But most importantly, let yourself drown on this trio of golden, eternal pop. More soon please!

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Bloodbuzzed Jukebox 31

It's Friday, so here's a new round of our regular TOP TEN playlist series! This time our selection has focused on new/recently discovered bands which, as a matter of fact, is one of the main aims (probably the main one) of this Blog, and a real pleasure to do. We love hunting in search of great music. Ten songs we are certain you'll going to enjoy. Heard them, have your say, and remember! It's all at our Blog's soundcloudJoin Us!

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

Welcome to the Jukebox!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

These Go to 11: interviewing Blooper

Coming from Seattle, this week we have the three members of Blooper, responsible of one of the EPs of the year, answering our weekly questionnaire.These Go to 11!

Wish all bloops would be like this one...
In 2011, Adriano Santi began Blooper as a solo project, releasing 'Ballard Avenue' EP. Quickly realising he wanted to assemble a full band, Darrin Ruder and Chris Quirk joined him and, as trio, they came out with 'Go Away' EP, published in May 2012. A year later, thanks to the extincted Manic Pop Records, they put out a 7'' called 'Long Distance'. Finally, this year, and with Chris Mac replacing Ruder, they've joined Jigsaw Recordspublishing the EP 'So Very Small'. As we have said previously, this EP is a real pop feast, an extraordinary mixture of power-pop, surf, garage and 60's vibes, driven by guitars and full of captivating melodies. Read it carefully & enjoy it. Here we go!

The "legendary" teen movie
1. First record that you bought (be honest)
Adriano: Nirvana - 'Bleach'
Chris Mac: Jon Cougar - 'American Fool' (tape)
Chris Q: 'The Goonies Soundtrack' (tape)

2. First and last concert you have attended (be honest too!)
Adriano: First - Guns n’ Roses when I was 11. Last - Allo Darlin’ and Zebra Hunt (we played with them)
Chris Mac: Honestly don’t remember my first (my parents frequently went to concerts), last one was a house show with friends (Iji, OK Vancouver OK, etc).
Chris Q: First was The Lemonheads; the most recent was Bob Mould, with Cymbals Eat Guitars
Guilty pleasure? Yes, indeed
3. Guilty pleasure (song/band you shouldn’t like but you do, yes, it’s the embarrassing question)
Adriano: I don’t know if this is bad but I listen to a lot of King Crimson and Yes sometimes.
Chris Mac: I guess the only band from my early teen years that I can still tolerate in small doses is Rush. Oh, and the first Tears For Fears album is still amazing.
4. Most precious music item you own (collector mode on)
Adriano: A first US pressing of 'She Loves You b/w I’ll Get You' on Swan Records - the Beatles’ first release in the US.
Chris Mac: Hard to say, with a collection of 15,000+ records/cds/tapes, but I might choose the 'Tomorrow Ends Today' bootleg lp from Primal Scream’s early (ie. good) period. Never seen it before, never seen it since.
Chris Q: Not a collector, sorry. I like my snare drum.

Introducing... Cheap Girls
5. Favorite lyrics (not yours)
Adriano: Can I just say Elliott Smith’s entire body of work? No? Ok, the lyrics to 'Waltz #2' by Elliott Smith then.
Chris Mac: I’m gonna cheat and say the entire discography of Cheap Girls, a band that I simply cannot stop listening to, and identifying with their lyrics.
Chris Q: I’m a stereotypical drummer with no memory for lyrics, so it’s hard to say. I do like that final section of Built To Spill’s 'Kicked It In The Sun', though.

The Sonic man
6. Musician/s you would like to meet (should be alive, for obvious reasons, but you can choose a dead one too)
Adriano: George Harrison, Link Wray, Brian Wilson, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, Elliott Smith.
Chris Mac: No one in particular. Anybody I’d want to talk to is approachable, but if I had to pick one who wasn't, it might be Thurston Moore.
Chris Q: Philip Glass.

7. Favorite artwork album (not yours)
Adriano: Anything Reid Miles did for the Blue Note label in the 60s.
Chris Mac: Nothing really springs to mind…
Chris Q: I grew up on tapes and CDs, and the artwork didn’t stand out there unfortunately.

Murakami's cat
8. Books or movies? Depending on your answer recommend us one (trick: you can choose both) 
Adriano: Both. My favourite movie is 'The 400 Blows' and my favourite book is 'Kafka on the Shore' by Haruki Murakami
Chris Mac: You can’t go wrong with 'Die Hard'.
Chris Q: Brazil + John Kennedy Toole’s 'Confederacy of Dunces'.

9. Release (of yours) you are most proud of
Adriano: I still really like 'Pike Street'.
Chris Mac: Probably 'Day Things Fell Apart' by Suretoss (my old band)
Chris Q: 'Shaky' is fun to play.

10. What does it mean indie for you? (yes, the “serious question”)
Adriano: Like any label that’s been around for more than a couple years, “Indie” has pretty much lost all of its meaning. There are “Indie” labels that pretty much operate like majors, “Indie” bands who make craploads of money… but I think as long as the sort of do it yourself vibe is still there, that’s indie.
Chris Mac: I’d have to say that anyone who does things for themselves - for their own personal pleasure - has the indie spirit. Anyone who forms a band/starts a label without the pretense of “making it big”.
Chris Q: What they said.

11. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Adriano: I don’t even know where I’m going to be in 10 minutes…
Chris Mac: Same house, same life. I’m very resistant to change.
Chris Q: Still playing music, probably still in basements and garages..

Zillion thanks Blooper!

“My Secret World”, one hundred Sarah Records

My Secret World. The Story of Sarah Records
Beefeater In-Edit 2014, Chapter II

Our second choice at this year’s Beefeater In-Edit was a no-brainer, a must-watch. I mean, a movie about the story of Sarah Records? On the first row without a doubt.

Why? Because every truly single indie-pop heart needs to know about the Sarah Records story, the referential label based in Bristol with an adamantium spirit of independence founded by Clare Wadd and Matt Haynes. They created an immaculate, DIY label (oh my God, the story about the letters!), that overpassed it’s eight years of existence (1987-1995) to become a myth.

Director Lucy Dawkins chooses the most straightforward and didactic approach. She gathers with Clare and Matt and in a very logical order. The origins, the fanzines, the idiosyncrasy and attitude of the label... and every band that published with them in chronological order, covering the 100 7” limited releases Sarah put before going out with a bang. That choice proves to be a very coherent one, making “My Secret World” a very consistent documentary and a pleasant experience for fans, but also an excessively linear and, sorry to say, a bit boring film too, in particular for newcomers into the label’s world or for the ones that are not familiar with the bands.

What this rockumentary shows is that Sarah Records’ was a very small world. A relevant world full of indie-pop pleasures, but also shoegaze and punk flirts, twee music (funny how the interviewed bands refuse the adjective). A world with clear goals and a distinct way of understanding music. A world with a will to fight against the silly criticism (what a piece of shite were the music tabloids, I refuse to say magazines), sexism and misogyny, in my opinion the most interesting moment on the movie, would have loved that bit lasted much longer. But still a small world.

If you are a fan, you’re going to love seeing Blueboy, The Wake, Another Sunny Day, The Orchids, The Field Mice, Heavenly (awww Amelia Fletcher, why not a documentary about her), or “special” fans like music journalist Everett True or Jacob from The Drums, evoking their Sarah Records related memories, or just praising the label’s evolution. Not everything is wines and roses, but Dawkins is not interested on digging deeper on some of the “issues”. Something you have to respect seeing the direction of the movie. But if you’re not a fan, or if you’re not a die-hard fan, “My Secret World” can be just tiring. Whatever the case, a film that needed to exist. Plus a great excuse to listen several unmissable bands. At the end, that’s what makes a label memorable.

SCORE: 6/10

Monday, November 10, 2014

"Pulp", singing for the common people

Pulp: A Film about Life, Death & Supermarkets
Beefeater In-Edit 2014, Chapter I

Our first rockumentary at this year's In-Edit was a highly expected one. I could develop my argument properly, but just let's say that anything involving Jarvis Cocker interests me. Besides, the movie was receiving quite a lot praise, being saluted as somewhat innovative and exciting. Unfortunately, it doesn't fulfill the expectations.

For starters, Florian Habricht's documentary is not that shocking. It's an insight take on a final concert, in this case the last (hope we are wrong) Pulp gig after their most celebrated comeback. With the addition the show takes place at home, at Sheffield. While he approaches the band while they prepare for the show... and to say goodbye to play as one of the fundamental pop bands of the last twenty years, the director tries to dissect what means Pulp, and their music to their fans (some of them, quite quite hardcore fans), their hometown and it's common people.

I know, I know. That doesn't sound bad at all. And, despite its originality is dubious, it is fair to say that's not your average music documentary. And I agree some of the inhabitants of Sheffield interviewed are really genuine and/or deadly funny (freaks, venerable old women with a knack for humour, sensitive and fragile human beings). And they like to sing (the musical scenes where they singalong the band tunes are charming) But it's hard to see the supposed sociological depth or even the testament to a city and HIS band in an amount of jokes for hipsters (the one with the kids is particularly annoying). Entertaining? For sure. Enlightening? Ummm...

So, what we got instead? Several Jarvis Cocker' witty comments, in particular the ones looking/hiding from the camera while he talks about the pass of time and on the subject of fame ("it didn't agree with me – like a nut allergy" he sentences). Jarvis Cocker in diverse and kind-of-cool situations, the best one involving his concert wardrobe and aid kit, which is priceless. Few revelations from the rest of band members, including the über cool Richard Hawley. And a mind-blowing, absolutely fantastic concert footage. Is that enough? Well, thanks to Jarvis charisma and the great tunes, it is. But the best film of the Festival? Or the movie Pulp deserves? It just fails short for that...

SCORE: 6,5/10