Skip navigation

Monthly Archives: March 2008

Just a quick one. The Raconteurs webstore has a new Rob Jones screenprint up. It is not for a particular gig, but just one to celebebrate the launch of the new album. Unlike Rob’s other posters this one is an image of the band, but if you know his work, there is always heaps more hidden in there, and this looks like no exception. It appears as though there is lots of imagery there in the background. It is an edition of 420 (big by usual standards) and has 3 types of metallic silver ink, plus a translucent white on black paper. Knowing how he uses the metallic inks, this will look great in the flesh… mine is ordered and will be on its way soon.

If you like it buy it quick as Rob Jones’ work is hard to get hold of these days. $35 is good value.

… muttler

Dagnammit Jase, you beat me to it. Good review though… the prawn analogy was nice!

Well, let me start by saying if you want the unbiased review, then Jase’s is the way to go. But for what it’s worth, here is the Tweedy-worshiping version.

I LOVE Wilco. It must seem that I either love everything or hate everything to you readers. But I guess I only try to write about things that I have a strong opinion about. Anyway, for me I think Jeff Tweedy (probably along with Jack White) is the best music artist in the world today. I say this because I want my review to at least wear its biases on its sleeve.

Last nights gig was MAGIC. Last year Wilco returned after what seemed like forever, having skipped touring A Ghost Is Born here. Because of that I went to both Melbourne shows as well as a road trip to Sydney with my friends Shayne and CC. Those shows were great, with the second Melbourne night being my pick. But all 3 of those just got blown out of the water.

The 5 night residency Chicago Wilco have done recently was amazing luck for us. What it meant is that the set last night was an amazing mix from all albums. And that led to the magic. I do sympathise with Jase about not recognising songs. Me, I knew and could sing every lyric to every song last night. It was like Wilco had bumped into me before the show and asked “Matt? What songs do you want tonight?”. Sure there were are a handful I would have liked that didn’t surface, but when a band draws from so much material and comes up with an almost perfect set, you have to love it. But then in reality they could play a set of Bon Jovi covers and I would probably still get off.

Highlights? Firstly MY song. Well, not for me specifically, but on their website I requested Summer Teeth (the song) and last night I got it. Woo! So maybe it was for me. Let’s assume it was. And I am sure that they really must have actually read the requests as Jeff made specific mention about my comment, and also my mates CC and Shayne got ALL their requests too, including some slightly more obscure ones from Summerteeth (the album).

Other highlights were the opening salvo of Misunderstood then Reservations, all the Summerteeth action, and especially the absolutely rockin’ encore with Casino Queen, Red Eyed and Blue, I Got You, and Outtamind (Outtasite). But the second encore finish of The Lonely 1 was the icing… just gorgeous. The sound was actually spot on all night (being in front of the sound desk is certainly the place to be).

So I didn’t want to gush on, but alas I have. Sorry. You were warned at the start of the review.

… muttler

P.S Oh, The Drones were cool too. I have seen them so many times now. They are definitely the best Oz band around these days. A new track which was nice, as well as my fave Cockeyed Lowlife of the Highlands. It just makes me want to see them in a sweaty pub again sometime soon.

(Photo from wilcoworld.net)

So has the Raconteurs (I am not going to call them the Saboteurs sorry… who actually here in Oz does) experiment worked? For those that missed my post the other day, the Raconteurs decided their album Consolers of the Lonely was done and have rushed it out in just on a week to avoid as much torrenting etc as possible.

Well, yes and no. No in that it was up on torrent sites over the weekend (apparently iTunes released it in their store over the weekend?!) Yes in that it lets Jack White-o-philes like me go into giddy excitement and heavy salivation for a week. But the big No to the experiment is that I couldn’t buy it in a store today. I thought my luck would be pushed being here on the opposite side of the world. But no one knew what I was talking about in the stores.

How am I reviewing it then? Did yours truly do something a little naughty? Nope. I had to fork out for a download via their website. Yeah, I was annoyed. But I can deal with forking out $17 now and picking up the LP when it hits stores.

So, how is it? Trying to ignore all biases, it… is… freaking awesome.

I really dug their first album. A couple of songs were a little slight maybe, but there were some crackers in there that made you think “hey! this is actually a really great BAND”. What this album does is say “hell! this is an AWESOME band”. And, man it rocks out hard.

What is really getting me is that they have such a strong identity as a band now. There is a real cohesive element to this album. The first was pretty easy to pick Brendan’s songs from Jack’s, but this is quite difficult. Not that the first album sounded like a White-Benson vanity project. But there seems to be a lot more vocal interplay in this one and the band is just right on it. If there is a more rockin’ track than Salute Your Solution then 2008 will be a very rockin’ year.

On a few listens on the train, it might be say 2 tracks too long. But that it not to say they suck, just that toward the end there are a couple of tracks not quite as strong as the others. But that is minor. There is a constant vibe through the album that keeps rockin’, even when it gets a little more Nashville, which I dig. It is also nice to hear the live staple 5 on the 5 in official recorded form too.

This is certainly a grab it, regardless if you don’t have their other album or are a White Stripes fan. I actually think it may win quite a few fans outside the White Stripes realm if it can get some good airplay. This album makes me want them to tour even more now as it will be a monster of a full on hour-and-a-half rocker of a set.

… muttler

Michel Gondry Bias alert: I think Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is probably the most perfect movie made in the last 10 years.

Michel Gondry Counter-Bias: The Science of Sleep wasn’t really very good (good ideas, but not a great movie)

With that out of the way let’s tackle Be Kind Rewind, his newy.

I am going to start by asking if many of the film critics out there have even seen it or do any semblance of research when reviewing a film. First things, I have read all kinds of things about Michel Gondry. Did you know he wrote and directed Adaptation? Neither did I because it is WRONG. Did you know he wrote the screenplay to Eternal Sunshine? No? Well that was WRONG too (well, he was co-creator of the story, but didn’t write the screenplay).

Next rant is aimed at the critics about their reviews of Be Kind Rewind. Most I have heard or read like to take to task the implausibility of a key part of the story… the fact that a magnetised Jack Black erases all the tapes in the local video store. The problem doesn’t seem to be that he could be magnetised in the first place, rather that there is a store that just has videotapes. I ask again… did these critics even watch the same movie? First of all this is dealt with in the movie and the fact we are in a DVD age is a core part of the movie. Secondly, did these critics never scour old thrift stores looking for that elusive video that they had heard about but never seen? I know I did my best to find that bootlegged copy of Clockwork Orange back in the day.

So, all that out of the way, what did I think? Well, part of the reason for that ranting is that I actually really loved this movie. The main conceits of the film may sound silly but are handled really well in Gondry’s hands. Everyone in the movie is great (I especially dug Mos Def and Melonie Diaz is ace) and yes, the home-made renditions of Ghostbusters, Rush Hour 2 etc are very cool. Most amazing is a one shot (well looks like one shot) whizz through the “sweeded” versions of 2001 and King Kong amongst others. This is complete Gondry magic.

What I most love in this movie though is the subtlety. The whole premise of 2 guys and a gal making their own versions of movies could be really pretentious and an excuse for “oh, look at us… how funny is this”. But it is a device used quite sparingly to chart the new found success of the video store. The whole movie is not Jack Black and co. mugging for the camera. The conclusion to the film is really quite sweet too and had me and my mate Temp lamenting some days gone by.

So there you go. I don’t understand some of the hate towards this film as a one-idea movie that runs out of laughs. It is not all about the laughs, there is a bit more substance in there. Or maybe that is just the old-school movie lover in me remembering that movies USED to be made by people who loved movies, and not some computer in an office in LA LA land.

… muttler

No, the new Portishead album Third has not been rushed out online for a free download (discounting any leaked versions out there, but then it is not really free… a record exec cries every time a song is illegally downloaded). Rather we have a deluxe-o box set full of goodies available to buy.

I am super amped about the new Portishead LP. Their two studio albums and the live album still get a fair working out, even 10 years later. But should I drop 40 quid on a deluxe box not having heard the album yet? Hhhmmm… I want the vinyl, but I have to assume it will pop up as its own LP set. Do I need the P USB stick or the art print or the 12″ of new single Machine Gun? Part of me knows I am going to relent one day and just pull the trigger. Then it can sit with my In Rainbows set and look pretty while I spin the wax I guess. You can pick it up from http://www.portisheadshop.co.uk

Speaking of pulling the trigger, the greatest radio station in the world, RRR here in Melbourne, have been flogging the lead single Machine Gun as I am sure has every other half decent radio station in the world. So what is the verdict?

GOLD.

It sounds like Portishead but it doesn’t. You can’t mistake Beth’s voice, but musically it is dark in a different way. I don’t think the name of a track has ever been more apt. So this has got me even more excited for the album. It looks like it will make me poorer by 40 quid…

… muttler

Wow. This whole “we have a new album and it is out next week” schtick is catching. Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, etc have pulled the trick, and now we have The Raconteurs. Those of you aware of my White Stripes / Jack White obsession will guess that I have greeted this mornings news with quite a deal of excitement. Consolers of the Lonely is coming NEXT TUESDAY!

With The White Stripes off the road with Meg’s illness, Jack has obviously been able to spend some quality time with Brendan, Patrick, and Little Jack to get this album done. The e-mail I got from the Raconteurs crew say they are doing this so that it doesn’t leak out on the internets in a shoddy quality. It will be available in all the formats… LP (sweet), CD, digital, etc. Their intent is to get it into all stores by then, although I have a suspicion we here on the complete opposite side of the world may be in trouble, especially with Easter and all. Regardless I will be in my local record store next week just in case.

Below is the cover art straight from their site. Looks like they are keeping the themes of their other cover art going. Although I wonder if they will still be known as The Saboteurs over here in Oz? And while I am at it… tour dammit!

… muttler

Wow… I have gone from 100 to 0 pretty quickly. 3 gigs a week has become a quiet patch. No new albums this week either. The almighty Wilco is next week. You will hear lots of gushing no doubt about that one given their recent Chicago residency where they played (just about) EVERYTHING in their catalogue. Normally I would have headed to Sydney to see them too, but alas, work prevents me.

Anyway, here is a posting a little more offbeat. Jason has told me about a great micro-brewery that lets you make your own beer. Yep, they offer the guidance and ingredients and you make it yourself, come back in 6 weeks and bottle. They are Barleycorn Brewers and you can read all about them here. It all sounds awesome to me and I am going to tee up a visit me thinks.

So here is the question. Can you name my beer? I was working on variations of “Muttler”. Simply “The Muttler” or maybe a “Mutt-Lager”. But they are all a bit boring and obvious. Do you, my one reader, have a good idea? You know what bands I like. Hell, you probably have my personality profile all mapped out. Name my beer please! If it helps I am thinking a kind of Asahi super dry type of lager.

Also suggestions for label designs are also welcomed. What good would naming a beer be if I didn’t put my own labels on? Get cracking!

… muttler

Rocketeer

I saw earlier this week via Drawn that Dave Stevens died on Monday. He was 52.

He was an incredible artist, notoriously critical of his own work, and probably most remembered for The Rocketeer and his “good girl” pinup art, particularly Bettie Page. Many others have said much nicer things already (Heidi MacDonald, Mark Evanier, Gilbert Hernandez), so I just wanted to add how much The Rocketeer meant to me. I would’ve been a teenager when the film version of The Rocketeer came out. Released only a few years after The Last Crusade, it felt in many ways like a continuation of one of my major childhood obsessions: Indiana Jones (the other being Star Wars.. Lucas owned my childhood). The film sparked an enduring interest in the 1930s and Art Deco that led me to another great obsession, although this time in adulthood: Raymond Chandler.

Rocketeer GN It also started a somewhat embarrassing fascination with comic movie adaptations (I have a pretty terrible collection – just ask me), and set off an early interest in the themes that Mike Mignola processed into Hellboy many years later (it wasn’t that much later, but I didn’t read a Hellboy comic until 2003 or so).

And that brings me to Dave Stevens: around that 2003ish period, I stumbled onto the comic pictured to the left right. It’s a collection of the original comics by Dave Stevens, introduced by the similarly period-obsessed Harlan Ellison. To his credit, it feels like something written back then – everything about it is a loving homage to the architecture, machines and sense of adventure of the period. In reading through the book you can see that Dave breathed every minute detail of it, and the film where he acted as co-producer and had a cameo as one of the journalists after the “Rocketeer” appears, was so incredibly lucky to have his support and keen interest.

I didn’t know Dave Stevens personally, but I’m grateful for what he gave me.

It was a good day the other week… I picked up the new Nick Cave album (another earlier post) and the new My Disco album, Paradise. Pretty sweet stuff.

If you have ever seen My Disco play, or have the debut album Cancer, then you know what you get. Hypnotic rhythms punctuated by urgent vocals and abrasive guitar. Paradise follows suit and is no surprise that it has Steve Albini at the desk. But this newey just has an extra assuredness that really grabs me. I guess when you have a 9 minute track where not that much happens you have to be self-assured.

But this is a great thing. I have had the album going round and round and I am really digging it. I get to the end and listen again. Not for the feint of heart, but let it dig its hooks in. One thing I wouldn’t have picked… this is a really great album to run to. I had it playing as I hit the road yesterday and man it got me in a trance. I wonder if they take that as a compliment? Either way it means it is going to be getting a fair workout from me.

Oh, they have a record launch at the Corner coming up soon too. Only $10 so good value.

… muttler

Beirut cancelled his/their show last night at the Corner due to illness. That sucks as I was really excited to see how they pull off the elaborate nature of the albums. Oh well. Zac… hope you are doing better. I will just have to get all the second hand reports from Golden Plains now.

For those of you who want a live Beirut fix though, go and visit http://www.owlandbear.com and their live downloads page. On there is a great live show from Nov 2007 that was originally broadcast on French radio. It is a great set and I imagine is what we would have got last night. Also this site is my favourite Wilco resource too as you will see.

Any live material you grab, make sure you go and buy all the albums by the artist!

… muttler