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Monthly Archives: February 2008

My 3rd Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings gig was just what I expected. A joyous hour and a half of funk, soul, and plain old good vibes at the Hi-Fi. Not a bad way to spend a Wednesday night.

Things kicked off with CW Stoneking. I have to say I just don’t get it. I like cranking out my Robert Johnson CD’s every now and then, but I find something just very off-putting about a a baby faced white Aussie guy doing 1920’s blues. All power to him though I guess, cause we here in Melbourne seem to dig him.

But not as much love as for Sharon Jones. Melbourne just adores her and her kick-ass band the Dap-Kings. 4 nights sold out at the Hi-Fi, with a 5th at the Gershwin Room just announced and already close to a sell out as well (so get in quick). Considering Sydney didn’t even sell out a whole show, we can clearly see which city has musical taste (although this isn’t a forum for Melb v Sydney shenanigans… it is no contest). But this love is all for good reason.

I first saw her a couple years ago where she played a show with the Black Keys. My mates Jerome and James got me onto her LP’s, but once you see her live once, your head will explode and you will go to as many gigs as you can. I don’t think it matters if you are an indie kid, music snob, or 50 year old casual listener… you can’t not love Sharon Jones. Halfway through the first track every guy and girl in the room has fallen for her. She kicked off with one of my favourites, Genuine, and then proceeded to funk up the rest of the night with tracks from all 3 albums, including the newey 100 Days 100 Nights. The live version of Answer Me was just a massive funk highlight that really complemented the more soulful LP version. The Dap-Kings were super-tight.

No need to go on much more… it was a great fun show. I don’t think anything can match the first time you experience a Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings soul revue, but there will never be any doubt you won’t go away beaming. Plus I got a big hug from the lady herself as I was leaving and a “Love ya!” scribbled on my LP. How cool is that?

… muttler

 Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings

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Man… I wasn’t expecting that.

I love the last few Okkervil River albums, and you my valued reader will know I had The Stage Names in my top 5 of 2007 (from which the timely Oscars-ish quote in the title comes from). Not having seen them before I was looking forward to this gig, thinking I would get a nice melancholy night of folky-pop-rock. What I got though was the full rock show. Sure there were moments of stark beauty, but with a great sounding 6 piece band, Will Sheff put on the show. He is really an awesome, charismatic front man.

But we all know Okkervil River has always been about Will. You just have to listen to the bonus disc of demos from The Stage Names to know that his voice and an acoustic guitar are the heart of the songs. The energy he has on stage though takes the whole Okkervil River band experience to another level. Kicking off with The President’s Dead, and heading into a track from Black Sheep Boy (who’s name escapes me) I thought the band was peaking way too early. But no… Will and co. kept the energy up for the next 1hr 40. For a relative newby like me I was treated, with most of The Stage Names and Black Sheep Boy getting a guernsey, and a smattering of old-gold kept for the encore, including the Okkervil River Song. The crowd held a fair reverence for these early tracks too which made for quite the singalong.

So really great stuff. I like being surprised at a gig. You think it will be good, and ends up great. Much better than vice versa (sorry Sonic Youth).

… muttler

Okkervil River

Well, I was on the money for the most part. The only two I missed were Best Picture and Supporting Actress. I was so happy that No Country For Old Men got the gong… I picked Atonement in trying to second guess the Academy. Should have just gone with what I thought. Supporting Actress was the surprise of the night, with Tilda Swinton coming from nowhere to win. Even she looked shocked. So if I was a betting man I would have come out way on top last night.

Overall I was happy with the outcomes of all the major awards, and even the minor ones for that matter. Thankfully Enchanted didn’t win an Oscar for Best Song. And Jon Stewart did another good job… the right balance of cheeseball and the odd biting quip.

Here’s hoping 2008 is as good a year for movies.

… muttler

 

Coens Clean Up
No Country for Gold Men meets Goldfellas
(see what I did there? ha! that is terrible!)

I love a musical surprise… someone you had no idea existed and no expectation to dig. First surprise packet of 2008 goes to Jay Reatard and his new album Blood Visions. I hadn’t heard of him before, and really only decided to give this a go because he is playing a double header with the Dirtbombs next month and also that my favourite record store Missing Link are going nuts for this.

Jay ReatardYou might not think it from cover, but this album is so much fun. This is garage-punk-pop at its most playful, raw, fun. Jay used to be in a band called the Reatards (hence the politically incorrect surname, don’t blame me) and has branched out. I can’t compare to their work, but I may have to delve back. Here we have 15 tracks in like 26 minutes. All rough as guts, but just great songs. I thought the Black Lips may have been my kind of band, but for all the kudos, I just couldn’t get into Good Bad Not Evil. This though had me with first listen.

So if the cover scares you off, don’t let it, definitely give it a crack. I can let you know about the Jay Reatard live experience in a couple weeks.

… muttler

P.S If my musical tastes are confusing you (ie reviews of Bjork and Jay Reatard in the same month), don’t worry… it confuses me sometimes too.

That line is from Kissability, off Sonic Youth‘s Daydream Nation LP. I bumped into a guy at last nights Sonic Youth Don’t Look Back gig that had made his own t-shirt for the occasion with that lyric. He was obviously stoked, as was I and my friends that ventured off to the Palace Theatre. For you Melbournites thinking “Didn’t the Palace burn down?”, yep. This is the former Metro with some refurb. And I have to say I dig it. Lots of good sight-lines for a short one like myself.

Anyway, the gig. Um, well, it was OK.

Daydream NationI don’t know what it was. Daydream Nation the LP is virtually perfect. And there was suitable abusing of guitars. But I don’t know, it was just OK. Silver Rocket was great, as were Lee’s trifecta of tracks. But overall I thought something was just missing. Kim didn’t look too into it at times… biggest (pedantic) disappointment was that she didn’t even start her bit of Teenage Riot properly!

My mate Craig thought it was a bit anti-climactic, and I tended to agree. Daydream finished and some Rather Ripped songs with Pavement’s Mark Ibold on bass got an airing (which are again, just OK). Highlight of the night was actually the seemingly impromptu real finale of Drunken Butterfly from Dirty that the crowd went crazy for. But up to that point I didn’t think the crowd was too into it either. Sure we all sang along at times, but, I don’t know.

So it was good, don’t get me wrong. Just not great… which is really what I expected. I wonder if the Twistability guy dug it.

… muttler

I am a very excited camper because tonight I am off to see Sonic Youth play the utter perfection that is Daydream Nation in its entirety. A review will be coming in a day or so.

Don't Look Back

It is part of the Don’t Look Back series that has been around a couple years, mainly in the UK, where artists play their (arguably) most influential album. I had the privilege of seeing the very first Don’t Look Back show in London in 2005, which was The Stooges playing Funhouse. That was an utterly amazing show… an album I adore by a band I never thought I would ever see (and the fact I was only in transit in London for 2 days and fluked that and Pixies shows made it two of the greatest days of my life). It actually adds something strange yet exhilarating to a show knowing what song is coming next.

So this got me thinking… what is my wish list of albums? Here are a few (I am sure I will think of more). I have included bands that are no more, but where (most) the members are still around to make it a possibility but thus not including sooo many other LP’s from artists no longer with us . I also tried to avoid albums from the last 10 years to keep the “influential” status. Here we go…

Pavement Slanted and Enchanted, Crooked Rain, or Wowee Zowee. I am not being fussy here… any of these and I would be in heaven (Brighten the Corners could get a run too, but the first couple have the extra special place in my heart)

Pixies Surfer Rosa or Doolittle. Again, not fussy… but I think Surfer Rosa has the edge.

Television Marquee Moon. An album I got hold of because I thought I “had to” and one I cannot live without. These guitar solos would be sublime live.

My Bloody ValentineLoveless. Now they are back together playing some shows, this is a possibility! That would be 45 minutes of ear melting bliss.

N.W.A. Straight Outta Compton. This is the most nostalgic of the bunch… I probably loved Public Enemy more but this is me being 18 all over again. It will never be the full crew, but it could come close.

Teenage FanclubGrand Prix. I know most of you are wondering why this is not Bandwagonesque, but this is their classic to me. I will NEVER get tired of this album.

Radiohead OK Computer. Sorry… I know this is an obvious one. To be honest I listen to Kid A and The Bends more, but can you imagine hearing this start to finish?!

Beck Odelay. One of the greatest gigs ever was Beck in 1997 supporting this album. With the deluxe edition out I have been cranking it out again and yes, it is timeless.

DJ ShadowEndtroducing. His last album is not so great, but I saw him tour it live and it was amazing. So I can’t even imagine what Shadow could do with this end to end.

Neutral Milk HotelIn An Aeroplane Over The Sea. This I have only come to love in the last few years, but adore it, and I think enough time has passed for this to be classic. This is also a bit of a selfish request in that I never saw them play back in the day. Imagine the apprehension in knowing you will hear O’ Comely?

As mentioned I am sure I have forgotten something… but that is a pretty darn good start. Sonic Youth update soon.

… muttler

Call me sad, but I love the Oscars. I love getting angry at the nominations, avoiding the news all day, and then yelling at the TV when a movie I hated wins. But every year I follow the same ritual.

This year has been a little different. I actually think the nominations are right on for the main part. Having seen all Best Picture nominees, 3 I am stoked with (No Country For Old Men, There Will Be Blood, and Atonement), 1 I don’t mind (Juno), and 1 could be worse (Michael Clayton). Actor awards too I am pretty content with.

Anyway, here are my predictions. I must say/confess that I have not seen all the films (a lot though), so some predictions are gut, some are personal. But all are trying to preempt the Academy. I am going for their winners, not my personal selections. But I will let you know along the way.

So here are the major awards (and ones I have strong opinions about).

Best Picture: Atonement. Why Atonement if you my valued reader knew I thought No Country was best? Not sure actually. Something in my gut says they are going to give it to Atonement. I can’t explain. All the odds say No Country, so hopefully I will be wrong. Having said that, either of those 2 or Blood could win and I would be happy.

Best Director: The Coen Brothers for No Country For Old Men. Has this award ever gone to more than one person? We are about to find out. This will make up for No Country not winning Best Picture. Although I would happily let it go to Paul Thomas Anderson as well for Blood, the boys have to win this time for being shafted for Fargo all those years ago.

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis. No contest. I have seen all but the Tommy Lee Jones movie, and it is in the bag.

Best Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem. Never before has something been so certain.

Best Actress: Marion Cotillard for the Edith Piaf movie. I have only seen Ellen Page of all of these so going with intuition.

Best Supporting Actress: Ruby Dee for American Gangster. I have seen almost all these and although I think Cate Blanchett should win for her Dylan, I think sentimentality will prevail here and Ruby will win it.

Best Original Screenplay: Diablo Cody for Juno. I loved Ratatouille more, but Juno is a lock. Although I will scream if I hear the expression “the little movie that could” one more time.

Best Adapted Screenplay: The Coen Brothers. Another strong category that has my favourite film-making brothers come out on top. But I am also Cormac McCarthy biased here too.

and some other (kinda minor) awards…

Best Editing: Roderick Jaynes for No Country. It will be great if one of the best in-jokes in Hollywood wins (if you didn’t know Jaynes is a pseudonym for the Coen Brothers who will accept on ‘his’ behalf).

Best Cinematography: Robert Elswit for Blood. It was just the best looking movie all year (well, not counting Ratatouille… I wonder if an animated movie could ever be nominated here?!)

I wonder how many I will get right?

… muttler

I am going to forsake the 100 Words or Less review this time around. How do you do an almost 3hr epic like There Will Be Blood justice in 100 words? Especially when it is the Citizen Kane of the decade?

When I say Citizen Kane, I mean in the awesome, almost biblical, way. I don’t find Kane that watchable to be honest… I certainly appreciate it’s greatness, but I don’t really like it. But There Will Be Blood… man it is big. It looks big, big themes, and a massive central performance. And, most importantly, you are riveted right until the end.

For those unfamiliar, we are at the turn of the century, kicking off late 1800’s and moving through several decades as Daniel Plainview (a kick-ass Daniel Day-Lewis), small-time silver miner, strikes oil, sending his life on a new path. With son H.W., Plainview builds his empire up, however you can imagine the kind of man that he will have to become in the process. So it goes for the next few hours, up to a perfect ending.

So that is what I mean by Kane. I am sure that comparison is being made elsewhere, but it is the best frame of reference. Director Paul Thomas Anderson has been a favourite of mine over his last few films (Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch Drunk Love) but even I would never imagined that he could come up with this. In hindsight Magnolia is epic, just in a completely different way. Huge kudos to him. This is epic in the Lawrence of Arabia way. Special note also has to go to Johnny Greenwood from Radiohead for the inventive score. It has been a good year as well for music scores, with this and Atonement showing that you don’t need sweeping strings to sell the drama.

Oh, and if you couldn’t tell, of course Daniel Day-Lewis will win Best Actor… it is as much a lock as Javier Bardem.

… muttler

There Will Be Blood

jason (09:52 AM) :

muttler (09:53 AM) :
why don’t you watch the super-dooper quality one?

jason (09:53 AM) :
i don’t wanna

muttler (09:53 AM) :
http://movies.yahoo.com/feature/indianajones.html

muttler (09:54 AM) :
i was going to message you to say I watched it this morning

muttler (09:54 AM) :
it…

jason (09:54 AM) :
is it me, or does harrison ford seem uncomfortable with that one-liner

muttler (09:54 AM) :
is…

muttler (09:54 AM) :
CRAP

muttler (09:54 AM) :
i thought it was a very ordinary trailer

jason (09:54 AM) :
seems to be selling based on previous success really..

muttler (09:55 AM) :
yeah, but the new bits were a bit lame as well… not sure I like the jokey nature of it

muttler (09:55 AM) :
I think I am one of the few who thinks Last Crusade is the weakest of the movies

jason (09:55 AM) :
no, i totally agree

jason (09:55 AM) :
my mum likes the last crusade the best = can’t really say much more than that

muttler (09:55 AM) :
ha!

muttler (09:56 AM) :
Raiders was funny without trying to be… Last Crusade just tried way too hard

jason (09:56 AM) :
agreed

muttler (09:56 AM) :
having said that though it is still good

jason (09:56 AM) :
temple of doom was funny without trying also

muttler (09:56 AM) :
this conversation should be on our blog!

jason (09:56 AM) :
most of our conversations should be on the blog

jason (09:57 AM) :
the readership has dropped over the last week.. i think the link-ins are drying up

muttler (09:57 AM) :
we better get more topical…

It has been a slow start to 2008 LP wise. My time (as you my devoted reader of the Storm will know… ha) has been focused on gigs. But combined with that is that there has not really been any worthwhile new releases. The first for me is In The Future by Black Mountain.

In The FutureBlack Mountain are arguably the flagship of yet another Canadian music collective, this one out of Vancouver. Pink Mountaintops are in there too, but I am not digging them too much… Black Mountain is where I am at. Their self-titled debut was great. My mate Jerome passed it on and from the opening track Modern Music I was hooked. So here is the “difficult” second album.

But this doesn’t sound too difficult at all. It is clear that this was going to be an album of solidifying their sound and beefing it up… if not for the masses at least to expand their audience a bit. And that is certainly how the album comes across. Some tracks amp up the 70’s rock, others the psych. Some tracks are not exactly easy (a 16 minute track like Bright Lights never is) but if the odd ambitious Wolfmother fan was to give Black Mountain some time, then they would be way on board.

So yeah, I am digging it and rocking out. Not sure it is quite at the heights of their debut (yet), but it is very cool. Looking on my muttPod, this is the only 2008 album on there. Good work Black Mountain. And thanks for providing downloads of the tracks with the vinyl so it in fact can actually be on my muttPod without too much trouble!

… muttler