Thursday, September 28, 2006

Xenu, Save Me From This Wall Of Fire!

When someone is the sole survivor of, say, a crowded fiery building and claims that God was looking out for them that fateful day, what they're really saying is, at that particular moment, The Almighty Huzzah wasn't so interested in saving anyone else's life and, therefore, abandoned the unfortunate others to their pyro-infested passing. In other words, God knows I'm really good at praying. I imagine this is what Beck thought when he channeled L. Ron Hubbard before embarking on his new album The Information, thus giving him the power to smite his enemies on the Billboard Top 100. But will he be able to keep that pace on the charts with such boring trifle as We Dance Alone and Cellphone's Dead?
Thank you, but I'll stick to the fuzzy funky shoulda-been-hits of Itavayla (Children Of Tomorrow and Hyperborea, in particular), which effortlessly reach their magnificence by keeping their groove to the grindstone. I'd like to say they're better songwriters but it might just be they're more, I don't know, blessed.

Har De Har Har

There are times when multi-band performer Munly shoulders the tired-and-dull country/punk routine but embellishes it with a fresh, ragged pop approach (Chutzpa), and then there are those other times, when he's veering this close to the wretched excess of mid-80's roots rock bands, performing songs about mountain stills and hoedowns (Seven Warts On Pa's Belly). Throw in the occasional violin, and you've got the reason an entire generation grew up hating Camper Van Beethoven. On a further downside: songs about trains. On the upside: regrettably unique band photos portraying Munly as a skin-and-bones concentration camp victim.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Their Jeans Runneth Over

Has there ever been a better band name than Pissed Jeans? Well, besides Bathtub Shitter, of course. But their amusing monker isn't the only attractive weapon in the sonic arsenal of this Allentown, Pennsylvania outfit: with Boring Girls, they've found a way to write the world's first one-chord song. It basically plays itself. They'd like to teach the world to sing, in perfect monotony.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A Tricked Out Stingray

Here's what I think happened: All the creatures in the Kingdom we call Animal are able to talk clearly to each other, easy, and some alligator who was tired of being teased and taunted with pieces of meat and dangling babies passed it on down the line that it was time for revenge. Eventually, it reached Stella the Stingray, who decided it was time to teach this uppity Aussie that payback is a bitch. Another theory I possess: because His Funkiness The Pope-ster insulted the world's Muslims with his teasing and taunting, some Turkish Stingray terrorist is going to taunt and tease his ass during his visit next month, the same way the jocks used to tease and taunt the algebra prodigies at my grade school cafeteria at lunch time. The Turks are all, "We're going to kick your ass after school, your Eminence!". It's the same exact story, only way, way less violent and lacking a soundtrack. I would score this fight scene with Mazhar ve Fuat/Turkuz Turku Cagiririz and/or Uc Hurel/Hurel Arsivi, both taken from one of the latest in the Love, Peace & Poetry series, Turkish Psychedelic Music. How do you cry "Uncle!!" in Turkish? Be sure to visit The Crocodile Hunter website, which pays loving tribute to Irwin, offering dozens of pictures showing him as he harasses various wild animals in every corner of God's great land.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

When Hairy Met Smally

A Conversation Between Sufjan Stevens and David Byrne
Sufjan: What's your favorite episode of Sex & The City?
David: I love the one where Carrie can't get Aidan to have sex with her and she's wondering why he's holding out because, you know, men are dogs.
Sufjan: Is that the one where Miranda is rocking the Prada ankle strap in that awesome green shade?
David: That's the one, girl.
Sufjan: I've got to get me a pair of those. My favorite episode is when Charlotte is doing the guy with the uncut penis--
David: --and Samantha's ex is now a drag queen?
Sufjan: --with the Gucci white suede lace ups?
David: That one kills me every time!
Sufjan: It's between that one and the one where Charlotte is turning 36 and can't believe she's still not married. What girl can't relate to that?
David: I like watching reruns of that one just to catch glimpses of that Fendi purse Charlotte is using--do you know the one?
Sufjan: The pink one? That purse is so you!
David: I always wanted that purse but could never afford it.
Sufjan: Just like Miranda wanted to have a baby and couldn't figure out how to juggle motherhood and a career.
David: She sure figured out how to juggle all that with her Mission wrap skirt!
Sufjan: Those girls are so lucky to be able to live in New York City and afford all those great clothes and shoes...
David: (sigh) Some girls have all the luck...
Sufjan: (sigh) Yeah...
David: Yeah...(sigh)
Sufjan: (sigh)
David: So, have you heard any songs by Victoria?
Sufjan: No, not yet. Do you think any mp3 blogs will post anything by them?
David: Let's hope so.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Don't You Point Those Things At Me Unless You Mean Business, Mister!

The Today Show hasn't been very forthcoming on this topic but Meredith Vieira has also joined as a sparkly new co-host. The only difference here is that, due to her puke-filled taste in music, she won't be saying anything or posting anything. If it was up to her, you'd be downloading files by Today Show Concert Series artists like John fucking Mayer and The Beach fucking Boys. Thankfully, my rampant narcissism dictates that I control every facet of this website, which means you'll instead be listening to Duchess Says, the new rebel-yell outfit taking France by hook and dagger via Black Flag and Rabies (Babies Got The). Make yourself useful, Meredith dear, and get me some ice for my Hot Toddy. If the cubes are stuck together, you can always break them apart with Matt Lauer's nipples.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Mein Leben ist Schei├čewelt

Sure, you could say the forthcoming long-player Visitations from Clinic is more of the same thing they've been doing since their inception, hoisting ever-so-slight variations of past tunes onto the unsuspecting public in tracks like The Seeker, Harvest, Tusk and Paradise. Then again, you could say the same thing about Disco:Very, the only blog willing to tell the same exact joke again and again in posting after posting. Once you give up hope of ever winning a Bloggie, you don't sit around wasting time worrying about staying fresh day after day...

I Tried To Pawn My Family Jewels But I Was Politely Told They Hold No Value

Sometimes you're just standing around, scratching your big hairy balls (or, if you're a woman, your firm perky breasts) and some song which had previously alluded you suddenly grabs hold of your imagination and slams it onto the city sidewalk (I usually readjust my rocks on public streets.) "Take me," it screams, "I am a catchy song you have failed to notice before! Use me to your satisfaction!" Such was my testicle-related epiphany when I finally heard Over and Over by Hot Chip on my iPod last week. This also happened to me last month with You Can Decide by Field Music. I'd heard these tracks before but never actually listened to them, in much the same way you hear Andre Rieu play his fiddle during those endless PBS pledge drives, but you're not really listening to him because you're too busy thinking, "Holy shit, does he really leave the house with that fucking hairdo?"

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I promise: only one more day of non-mp3-related postings. It's time for me to get all NPR on your ass as I offer my opinionated takes on the more noteworthy films I just saw at the 33rd Annual Telluride Film Festival:

Day Night Day Night (2006) An intensely focused young woman of indeterminate geography prepares--with highly ritualized precision--for a mysterious task, the purpose of which only becomes clear in the story's final act. Director Julia Loktev's skills as a video installation artist and documentary filmmaker serve to heighten the mystery and tension of her polarizing first feature film. Winner of the Prix Regards Jeune (Directors' Fortnight) at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival.

Babel (2006) From the team who brought us Amores Perros (screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga and director Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu), this wide-reaching story revolves around a random, almost accidental, act of bloodshed, connecting three disparate lives in Tokyo, Morroco and Mexico. A sprawling meditation on prejudice, communication and loneliness.

Severance (2006) All the conventions of slasher films are dutifully enacted and toyed with, as a UK office of employees embark on a weekend retreat of “team-building" excercises, getting picked off one by one by an unseen predator in an onslaught of pitch black humor. Director Christopher Smith's comedic gore-fest will have you hiding your eyes while howling with laughter.

Little Children (2006) Two emotionally and sexually frustrated spouses embark on a secret affair, with harrowing results. The long-awaited follow-up to Todd Field's acclaimed debut In The Bedroom.

Ten Canoes (2005) Longtime Australian filmmaker Rolf de Heer weaves Aboriginie folk tales and magical realism in his 11th feature film (winner of a special jury prize at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival), the first shot entirely (save for the narration) in an Aboriginal language.

Playtime (1967) This densley-packed comedy from Jacques Tati reveals fresh insights with every screening, but especially the two times I've been lucky enough to catch a rare 70mm print. While much is made of the film's pointed commentary on the encroachment of soulless modernism, I have always found the final thirty minutes or so (about the time the Royal Garden restaurant descends into gleeful anarchy, showing how humanity can overcome stilted physical barriers) to be some of the most uplifting storytelling in cinematic history.

Civic Life (2004) Filmmakers Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor allow their camera to gently swoop in, around and above the tableaus they arrange within various middle-class neighborhoods in the UK, reacting to and commenting on the suburban space surrounding the non-actors placed amongst the well-rehearsed chaos.

Remorques (1941) A rugged tugboat captain is forced to face the consequences after neglecting his long-suffering wife while finding himself falling for another woman. Stars the always-wonderful Jean Gabin, among many others.

The Lives Of Others (2005) Quite possibly the only film every audience enjoyed unanimously, screenwriter/director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's feature debut explores the effects of East Germany's sinister Stasi brigade as they conduct secret surveillance on citizens while struggling against a smothering totalitarianism.

Time didn't permit me to see The Page Turner (2006), Passio (2006), Dodsworth (1936) and The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On (1987). Instead, I wasted my time watching Infamous (2006), which tells roughly the same story as last year's excellent Capote, but relies more on making the diminutive author the butt of one obvious joke as he minces and sashays amongst the Kansas townspeople for the first third of the story. I felt as if I'd walked into an episode of the unbearable Queer Eye For The Straight Guy. While the 2005 film emphasized the somber, empty landscapes of the plains--mirroring the somber empty landscape of a killer (or a heartless conniving writer)--this forthcoming feature concerns itself more with getting laughs from Capote's kitschy bitch-queen theatrics. The most disappointing film I've ever seen at Telluride by far.