Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Le Cinema Rockiste: Rachel Getting Married

My fiancee and I went to the movies for the first time in a while this weekend. The selection? Rachel Getting Married, a Jonathan Demme indie flick starring Anne Hathaway
who already has the Oscar buzzards circling.

Decent movie -- dark, with disorienting camera work, with good but not great performances -- but normally not something I'd write about. I didn't do a lot of background research before we went (as I usually do), so I was surprised to see a) Robyn Hitchcock and b) TV on the Radio lead singer Tunde Adebimpe. Strong rockist cred there, but not surprising for the man behind the Talking Heads' Stop Making Sense and the recent slow, slow Neil Young doc Heart of Gold (and a crap load of other incredibly sweet non-Rockist movies).
The whole movie takes place over one weekend -- Rachel's wedding -- when the Hathaway charcter gets out of rehab to go back home and attend. Adebimpe plays her sister's fiance -- and does so with a nice warmth -- who also happens to be a musician. Consequently, all his musician friends come to the house for the wedding and proceed to cover the entire movie in this musical haze -- at a particularly tense moment Hathaway has to scream at a trio of dudes just jamming on ukeleles and fiddles in the living room in the middle of the day.
While other parts of the wedding are less than desireable, having Robyn Hitchcock play at your wedding -- even if it is some totally bizarre tune about Spanish tarantulas -- rates as what would surely be one of the coolest moments of a young Rockist couple's life. But I'll actually go so far as to say it's surpassed within the movie when it comes time to say the vows. Won't say what it is, but as someone who is inclined to think much about these things these days, it's a great moment -- sweet, geeky, a little awkward, quite memorable, and unwaveringly rockist.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Broken Social Scene @ The State Theatre in Falls Church

Rob and I braved the wilds of I-66 to catch the Broken Social Scene at the State Theatre in Falls Church on Wednesday.  We got there right as music was supposed to begin (8:30) but were faced with a line that literally stretched around the block.  And this being the suburbs, blocks are long.  I suppose the front desk folks weren't used to current hipsters, just ageing ones?  So we went in to Don and Clare's Beach Shack next door, an odd place run by clear Florida Gator fans.  They do have $2 PBRs though, which is something.  Anyway, the line died down and we went in a few minutes before everyone's favorite Canadian indie rock collective came on.  It was actually a much smaller lineup than I expected.  My only BSS experience was when a few of them joined The Constantines on stage in Minneapolis for a few tunes, and those turned into ensemble jam sessions where half a dozen people were banging tamborines like the world depended on it.  So it was with a mix of trepidation and excitement that we geared up for the set.  

It was, on the whole, pretty good.  There's a fairly simple formula:  if Kevin Drew's singing lead, stick around.  If it's anyone else -- besides whichever token female is touring with them -- it may be time to use the restroom, get another beer, or stand in the cold while your friends have a cigarette.  The band was touring behind co-founder Brendan Canning's new "solo" album, Something for All of Us, but the selections they played from it were just really dull.  I already talked about the best songs here, but I also liked "Shampoo Suicide" and "KC Accidental", the latter of which got a real rise from the crowd as they kicked into those opening notes.  "Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl" was nice too, but while I may be no musician, it seems like it'd be hard to mess that one up.  

They did a few songs of each of the dudes' solo projects.  I will only tell you that I will probably never listen to Sam Goldberg's Hawaii, but I made a mental note to look more into Do Make Say Think.  The show kept going on and on, and I suspect a number of folks took off to catch the last train back to DC.  We actually picked up a few stragglers ourselves, some clearly confused showgoers sitting on the corner of I-66 and Lee Highway, the hour nearing 1 am, wondering how the hell they'd get back into DC.  Obviously, cabs can be called, but it was still a real pain in the ass to have the show out there.  All that said, a decent venue with numerous bars, pretty good sightlines, okay sound, good beer prices, and free and easy parking.  Could've been worse.

Broken Social Scene - "Ibi Dreams of Pavement" (Live)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pete Yorn for John McCain

Singer-songwriter Pete Yorn supports John McCain.

The man Yorn has spent most of his career imitating (at times poorly), Bruce Springsteen, supports Barack Obama.

You decide.

UPDATE: Some loyal readers have pointed out that Pete Yorn may not in fact be a McCain supporter. We had received this information from a reliable source, but no real confirmation was ever received. We invite Pete Yorn to weigh in himself. And Pete, if you're reading this, please do know that I do enjoy much of your music, including large portions of musicforthemorningafter and Nightcrawler. So, Pete the Indie Rocker -- who's it gonna be?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Universi-Tees: Rockist Approved

Just wanted to point you to a Rockist-approved t-shirt site, Universi-Tees, with the hope that you'll maybe buy something or at least pass it along.  In the interest of full disclosure, the company is run by my brother and his friends, so I make no claims of partiality.  As of right now they have a number of college shirts as well as the one above, which in my opinion is both hilarious and poignant.  You only have a few more weeks to buy up the Palin ones before she returns to cultural irrelevance, or, as it's commonly known, Alaska.  All the shirts are printed on American Apparel t-shirts, so they're perfect for all you socially conscious and slender rockists out there.  


Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Broadfield Marchers - The Inevitable Continuing

Long time back, we "introduced" you all to The Broadfield Marchers out of my home state of Kentucky (they're from Louisville, but I suppose that's okay).  Lead singer Dustin Zdobylak was kind enough to send a copy of their latest Rainbow Quartz release, The Inevitable Continuing to yours truly.  We don't get a lot of records -- Yell County, if you're out there, I liked the disc and I still owe you a post and probably a show -- but we like free discs, and it's a good way to get on our good side and generate buzz amongst the dozens of people that read this blog each week.  

But to the record at hand.  The little press these guys have gotten has trumped their heavy GbV influence, which is undeniable.  Just take a look at the song titles: "The Thoughts of Simple Simon", "Sad Earth Maze", "When Cowards Stall".  To compliment the clunky Pollardesque lyrics, there are plenty of McCartneyisms and early Who references; the best of this bunch are pretty, driving, and laced with a touch of resignation and melancholy.  Or it sure sounds like they are -- it's hard to know exactly what "drowning, crowded marketplace / apocalyptic seagull" actually means. But nobody in they're right mind goes to crunchy pop songs for wordsmithing -- hell, like Guided by Voices before them, it's even more impressive that they can mold lyrics this weird into something this catchy.  

I could go on for a while but I'm trying to cut down on the length of my posts, so I'll skip to the highlights: "Amazing Wheels" is the archetypal power pop tune, soaring harmonies included; "When Cowards Stall" sounds like an old Syd Barrett demo; "Morning Heat Leader" isn't the most interesting tune, but the bass part's cool; "Sailing Fortune" takes you back the mid-90s stylings of the Posies and Superdrag; and "Panic Imposed" is their overt Big Star homage (think #1 Record, not Third/Sister Lovers).  And you may not have a heart if you can't enjoy the acoustic "Patterns of a Glance", which nods to the catchiest Elephant 6 stuff without all the extra whimsy.  

An early favorite for my best of 2008 list.

The Broadfield Marchers - "Grease of Freedom"
The Broadfield Marchers - "Amazing Wheels"
The Broadfield Marchers - "When Cowards Stall"

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fleet Foxes, Frank Fairfield - Black Cat - October 3, 2008

Having missed Fleet Foxes the two previous times they have been in town, I was quick to jump on tickets as soon as they went on sale. I kind of forgot about the show until G.H. posted about the $100 tickets on CL and I thought "Damn, gonna be packed." It was.

Frank Fairfield opened up the show with a ratty old banjo, looking like an Amish boy. He picked away on that banjo and mumbled some whiny lyrics into the mic. Then he picked up a fiddle and did the same thing. Then a guitar, then a banjo, then a fiddle and finally a guitar. I couldn't catch a single lyric that he spouted... He sounded like an old man on a porch in Mississippi, so I was taken aback when I discovered he is from California.

Fleet Foxes got onstage. Although they didn't play anything off of their first EP, they did play a cover (or two) and a new song (or two). Robin played an old folk song, "Katy Cruel," which has been covered by the likes of Jerry Garcia, Nick Cave and many, many more, that left the audience not knowing what to do with themselves. He then went into a song that I couldn't identify ("Nothing's happened but I think it will soon..."). Their new song, "Silver City," combined all of the aspects of their previous songs: driving staccato guitars, big toms, soft harmonies and a lot of "ooooos." Although the harmonies started out a little shaky, I really enjoyed it.

I know G.L. has commented on the staying power of these guys, but I think he is underestimating them. As long as Fleet Foxes keep putting out catchy, pretty music, guys will continue taking their girlfriends to the shows.

Fleet Foxes Setlist:
Sun Giant / Sun It Rises / Drops In The River / English House / White Winter Hymnal / Ragged Wood / Your Protector / Katy Cruel (solo, old folk cover) / New Song? (solo) / Oliver James (solo) / Quiet Houses / He Doesn't Know Why / Mykonos // Tiger Mountain Peasant Song (solo) / Silver City (new song) / Blue Ridge Mountains

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Obama Goes Stones over Beatles

Is this a deal breaker? CQ Politics writer David Nather describes a tension-filled affair just prior to the unveiling of the bailout package.

There's not a lot there, besides, obviously, Obama's untypically undiplomatic choice of the Stones over the Beatles.

Though I've never considered how he would respond to such a question, I'm not completely shocked. Just disappointed.

No word on how McCain would respond, but good money says he'd take "The Glenn Miller Orchestra" any day of the week. Hell, the guy probably thinks Pat Boone recorded the original version of "Tutti Frutti".

***UPDATE: Previously blogged about Meghan McCain shows either a very sharp grasp of irony or a Palinesque lack of awareness.  We'll let you decide which.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

We may be able to smell the patchouli from here

Phish announced on their site that they are doing 3 shows at Hampton Colosseum next spring.

GL and I have seen our fair share of Phish shows back when his hair was longer and nattier (true story), yet this is one weekend that you couldn't pay me enough to get on I-95.

Do they give tickets for driving on mushrooms?