Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Songs from Today

1. Miserable - Lit
2. Today, More Than Any Other Day - Ought
3. Rapt - Karen O
4. On My Fingers - Iceage
5. Cleopatra - Weezer

Maleficent Is an Interesting Version of the Classic Fairy Tale

I have never seen Sleeping Beauty.  There it is I said it.  It was a Disney movie I never had any desire to watch and so when I brought home Maleficent staring Angelina Jolie I had little knowledge about the story besides the fact that Maleficent was the evil witch who put a spell on sleeping beauty.  As a result, I got to view the film with fresh eyes and found it to be an interesting take on the old fairy tale.  The focus is entirely on Maleficent as we learn about her backstory and magical home.  While princess Aurora is a character, she feels more like a side note.  A chapter in the story of Maleficent whose relationship with Aurora’s father King Stefan goes back farther than expected.  Perhaps the best aspect of the film is seeing a classic Disney villain portrayed as the heroine, villain and victim.  We sympathize with her and seeing the events unfold from her perspective allows the viewer to form different opinions about the original story.  All major characters are present including Prince Philip and the three fairies (though their names have been changed for some reason).  While the film has its dark moments, it’s overall an uplifting tale with a standard Disney happy ending which makes it enjoyable for both children and parents.  I was skeptical at first about Jolie who is so recognizable I thought it would take away from her performance.  While it was initially difficult to get past the fact that you’re staring at Angelina Jolie in a fancy costume, she eventually gets it right and you find yourself focused on the character and not her (something I find she has had difficulty with in past films).  I won’t give away too many aspects of the film beyond the core plot elements everyone is aware of because the areas where the story deviates are what make it such a unique adaptation.  I would love to see Disney continue in this vein and see other classic tales like Snow White told from the perspective of the villain.  It not only gives a different point of view but breathes new life into a timeless classic.

The Foo's Announce North American Tour Dates

The Foo Fighters have been busy this year. Their new album Sonic Highways is out now and in case you haven't heard anything about it, was recorded in eight different studios in eight different cities across the country.  The making of the album has been chronicled in an eight part mini series on HBO under the same name and has brought the American rock band back into the spotlight in a huge way.  Dave Grohl had been speaking about a world tour to support the new album and series but had yet to announce North American tour dates until yesterday.  The Foo's will play 29 shows across the country supported primarily by rock duo Royal Blood with the exception of their July 18th show at Fenway park where Grohl has asked local Boston underground heroes Mission of Burma to open. Tickets supposedly go on sale in three days on the 22nd with a heightened focus on getting tickets to fans directly so as to avoid hiked prices from scalpers who buy large amounts of tickets and list them on sites like StubHub.  So get in line, pick up the phone or go to the Foo Fighters website to get tickets because they will no doubt sell fast and if you haven't already seen the Foo's live it is not something to be missed.  With shows averaging three hours long, you definitely get your moneys worth and Grohl always has a few surprises to throw into the mix.  The band exemplifies modern rock and roll and if you're a fan of the genre, this is a show you simply must see.  Check out full details from Rolling Stone below.

Foo Fighters North American Tour Dates

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Song's from this Morning

1. Peaches - Presidents of the USA
2. Ruby Soho - Rancid
3. Porch - Pearl Jam
4. Shut Up - Blink 182
5. Where Did You Sleep Last Night - Nirvana

We are the Best! Captures the Essence of Punk Rock

I am a huge fan of independent films.  I love watching a movie with no A list actors and feeling so absorbed by the subject matter.  You believe and relate to the story so much more when you aren't staring at the face of Brad Pitt or Seth Rogen.  No matter how fabulous an actor is you will always know that you are in fact watching them perform.  With independent films however, we get the opportunity to really feel the authenticity of the subject matter.  Such is the case with We are the Best! A Swedish indie film about three young girls growing up in Stockholm during the early part of the 1980’s.  Bobo and her friend Klara are punk rockers and thus are outcasts.  Their hatred for their parents, school, and society is matched only by their fervent loyalty to each other and their adulation of punk music.  The film focuses on the two girls as they navigate the stresses of rough home lives and the constant battle that is public school.  However, after signing up for the communal band space at their local kids center, the two decide that they MUST start a band.  Soon they recruit a new friend named Hedwig.  The quiet, introverted, and religious girl is a sharp contrast to Bobo and Klara but the three soon become inseparable as Hedwig teaches the other two about how to play music.  The film is part coming of age tale, part music documentary, and part love story.  It’s incredibly hard to capture the spirit of something like punk rock.  To capture what it truly means or the effect it has on some people’s lives is supremely difficult and We are the Best! does a masterful job at showcasing the essence of punk through the the lives of these three girls.  Adolescence is a tough time for everyone and normal issues like boys, teachers, and parents are present throughout the film.  The difference is that the movie manages to show how punk is not only an escape for these girls through the music and style of nonconformity, but also how it is in and of itself a state of mind that allows you to do whatever you want.  Capturing the true DIY spirit of the genre, We are the Best! manages to avoid clich├ęs and assumptions about punk while delivering a message we can all relate to: being young can be hard, but that shouldn't stop you from defining yourself the way you see yourself.  It shouldn't stop you from being what you want to be.  And that is what makes the genre and this film so wonderful.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Today's Playlist

1. Next of Kin - Alvvays
2. Sweet Pea - CHILDBIRTH
3. Miami - Against Me!
4. Psycho Killer - Talking Heads
5. Intergalactic - Beastie Boys
6. Teardrops on My Pillow - Dum Dum Girls
7. The Beauty Process - L7
8. Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam - The Vaselines
9. Would You Be Impressed? - Streetlight Manifesto
10. Bad Attitude - Articles of Faith

Alvvays Crafts Incredible 80's Infused Indi-Pop

Canadian five piece Alvvays (pronounced Always) has caught the indie world by storm with the release of their eponymous debut this past July.  The album is some incredibly ethereal and melodic indie pop and successfully redefines a genre which has been done to death these days.  Lead singer/guitarist Molly Rankin’s voice is unlike anyone else in the world of indie music today.  Her lyrics are both complex and accessible allowing you to hear what she’s saying and understand where she’s coming from while leaving a little open to interpretation.  All nine songs on the record are hits with Molly’s voice and guitarist Alec O’Hanley’s riffs as the focal point.  The guitar play between the two works masterfully and creates an infused and haunting style.  The 80’s influenced
soft rock sounds brought to the table by keyboardist Kerri MacLellan fit masterfully with O’Hanley’s surf rocky hooks and the steady simple drum beats of Phil MacIsaac which keep a similar tempo on every track.  Lead off song “Adult Diversion” will get stuck in your head for days and is one of the best on the album.  The single “Archie, Marry Me”  follows and is a perfect example of the sublime melodies present on the entire LP.  Other notable tracks include “Next of Kin” in which the narrator sings merrily about leaving her love to drown in a river with a chorus of “If I had known he couldn’t swim, we would never have gone in”.  Lighthearted track “Agency Group” brings the focus to the bass and drums while still allowing Rankin’s voice to shine through as the guiding light.  The slow, lullaby-like “Dives” precedes the fastest track “Atop a Cake” which starts pushing the soft indie pop of the other songs into rock territory which is refreshing after the mellow, almost euphoric sound of the rest of the album.  Alvvays is currently touring and had a recent stop in Boston where I missed what was hailed as an impressive show.  Live, the band sounds just as good as on their record and brings an energetic passion to their leisurely tunes.  Definitely check this band out and give the CD a listen.  The songs instill a warm fuzziness that makes you smile and relax.