It's coming down to the last days of Summer, folks! Lamentable I know, though I imagine some in California feel differently. Best to our brothers and sisters out there in the scorching West. Getting as many late afternoon dips in as I can before it gets too cold again, and I've been power-watching True Blood episodes like good drugs -- good V, mayn! Finished season one last night, and being one who's had his share of communions with the occult underworld via some of the ugliest redneck dives in and around North Texas, I've found plenty of congruities between TB and my own experiences. There's nothing quite like the rural south for good storytelling. It's ripe for a little pulpy reimagining. I think Alan Ball and his people get it like I do. Also have extremely high hopes for David Simon's upcoming Treme, which deals specifically with two of my favorite subjects, New Orleans and music.
A few more movies I dug on this Summer:
District 9 - Inventive, brilliantly realized scifi that plays like Franz Kafka rewriting The Fly as Bradburyian social commentary. Love the concept. Love the aliens. Love the shit blowing up all over the place.
Ponyo - Yet another fantastical animated masterpiece from the studio that brought us Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Howe's Moving Castle, etc. For me the defining scene in this beauty is the image of a little girl--who until very recently had been a little fish--running as fast as she can atop an undulating bed of ocean waves that are literally alive, propelling her to her destination. Long live Hayao Miyazaki!
Bruno - A fundamentally misunderstood movie. In Borat the butt of the joke is us ugly (but mostly well mannered) Americans. In Bruno the butt of every joke is Bruno himself, a paragon of witless bad-mannered Eurotrash and loud, in your face homosexuality. He's a proud stereotype and in many ways the obvious result of a pop culture overly fixated with itself and precious little else. Borat wants to find "the real America." Bruno wants his own show on the E Network. I LOLed most of the time.
Inglorious Basterds - I don't think it's cool to like QT anymore. I'm pretty sure that liking Eli Roth is a sin punishable by death, but gods help me, Hostel 2 was pretty good! True, the first one sucked, but 2 was a gruesome enough surprise, as was Roth's "characterization" of the baseball bat wielding Bear Jew in this one. Yes, some of these scenes seem endless. Yes, Tarantino is obviously sending a love letter to his adoring French fans who see him as a god on par with Jerry Lewis. Yes, the dialogue is laboriously pitch perfect in tone, tempo and execution. He's still an action master. He's also one of America's best working builders of suspense. The scene in the basement pub is potent. Cool bonus bits to rope in film geeks: the inclusion of Henri-Georges Clouzot's suspense classic Le Corbeau on the theater marquee early on, a movie produced in France by a German production company during the early months of the occupation. There's more to the reference too, but I'll stop there; the inclusion of a Leni Riefenstahl mountain girl movie on the same marquee a little later on. Same deal. Google that shit! It's still too long, Quentin.
Finally made it out to the Wasted Words house in Arlington recently where I got an earful of some fine local sounds coming from multiple parts of the sonic spectrum. Though new to thine ears, both opening acts caught my attention. The first set was a one man electronics/drums progressive explosion that goes by the name Collisi. The next, a guy/gal duo called Wu Fru De Lu Vs. Space Dragon Killah (it actually rolls right off the tongue!), sounded like early Animal Collective gremlins lost in the electronic forest. The plunderphonic industrial ambiance of Welby (Mark Church's solo thing) provided an undulating current of processed drones and obscure samples that had me thinking Negativland With Wound. The tectonic sine-wave manipulations from the always dependable Church of the Apoclypse provided a slow-crawling bass rumble that literally had paintings falling off the walls. Really like the new direction away from the drone doom of earlier releases into pure dark matter.
What about The Mike Gunn? They're probably the most criminally under heard Texas psych punk group in my collection, and that kind of sucks because if you like The Melvins, Butthole Surfers or even Comets on Fire you probably owe it to yourself to at least hear these guys someday. Here's a sweet article from Examiner.com that helps to illuminate just why they kicked much ass on their own (stoned) terms and definitely deserve to be acknowledged as more than just Tom Carter's old band, though they're that too. Almaron is the shit!
Ever heard of AMM? Bet you have. They're possibly the most influential group on what's come to be known as free noise. Keith Rowe is their guitarist. He also performs solo and in collaboration with other like-minded musicians, which makes this epic interview from All About Jazz essential reading for anyone with even a passing interest in experimental improvised sound.
Here's one more interview with another Womblife fave, the incomperable Sir Richard Bishop of Sun City Girls fame and beyond. He goes a few rounds with Mark Prindle, delving deeply into magic and sound (two more of my favorite subjects!). Plenty of great interviews and reviews to be read at Prindle's page. I highly recommend the micro-reviews too for further LOL inducement.
More hippie-syke reviews imminent!