23 November 2009

Oh, Animal Collective!!!!

Radiohead and Animal Collective: two bands I can really count on. For different reasons, but they do have the one big reason in common: THEY ARE ALWAYS AWESOME.

Ever since Sung Tongs came out in 2004, Animal Collective has followed the pattern of: release LP, release EP, release LP, release EP. And by EP I don't mean singles (although they do that, too), I mean EPs: little baby jewels that aren't full-length albums, but are not just records of tossed-aside B-sides. Not only that, but every year there's something new:
Spirit They're Gone, Spirit They've Vanished LP in 2000
Danse Manatee LP in 2001
Hollinndagain Live LP in 2002
Campfire Songs LP in 2003
Here Comes The Indian LP in 2003
Sung Tongs LP in 2004
Prospect Hummer EP in May 2005
Feels LP in October 2005
People EP in 2006
Strawberry Jam LP in 2007
Water Curses EP in 2008
Merriweather Post Pavilion LP in 2009
It's still 2009, but MPP came out in January and leaked on Christmas 2008. Which makes one wonder about the next EP . . .
Oh but here it is!! Fall Be Kind. Digitally out now, for real real out December 8th.
Does it sound anything like any other EPs or LPs they've done? Not really. Hints of Feels and MPP, but it's clearly it's own thing. This is one of the things I can count on Animal Collective for: always changing. Don't get me wrong, I think there is a place for a band that can consistently make good music without changing up their formula too much. But how much Animal Collective changes but remains AWESOME, ALWAYS, ba-lows my mind.
What I'm saying is that if you have ANY brains or want to remain/become my friend, it's pretty imperative you sink into Fall Be Kind. I'll break it down a little for you:
1. Graze - A.) Perfect opener. B.) Avey Tare and Panda Bear both sing, which I love. C.) THERE ARE PAN FLUTES.

2. What Would I Want Sky - A.) Did not cut out intro that they played live when I saw them back in June, but they did clean it up and make it even better. B.) Has first ever licensed Grateful Dead sample C.) Has one of my ALL-TIME favorite Animal Collective lyrics: "I should be floatin,/But I'm weighted by thinkin."

3. Bleed - A.) Avey Tare's voice goes nuts and it's BEAUTIFUL B.) Panda Bear does something I love: becomes a crazy/sorta scary angel voice that haunts the background of Avey Tare

4.) On A Highway - A.) Maybe one of the most coherent Avey Tare songs (lyrically) B.) Sweet sweet sweet breakdown C.) Has the line "Jealous of Noah's dreaming" which is JUST CUTE.

5.) I Think I Can - A.) The Panda Bear show


20 November 2009


Photo used for Hanes' 50/50 Crewneck Sweatshirt:

Is a prop so necessary that you have to make it . . . a fish bowl?

18 November 2009

Do not watch while eating

These three things are hard:
1. Finals
2. Being sick
3. Watching Salò

So I'd be willing to go ahead and say that all three at once is triple-hard. And it's true.

I first saw Salò in high school for more or less the same reasons I read Lolita in 8th grade: I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Lolita was beautiful, mesmerizing, forever rewarding. Salò made me vomit. Literally.

It's not a bad movie. The director, Pier Paolo Pasolini, was an excellent director and extremely smart. He knew exactly what he was doing and he did it better than anyone else before or since. And I am including in this:
Alfred Hitchcock, for Psycho and Rear Window
The Creators of The Blair Witch Project
Tod Browning for Freaks
Gore Verbinski for The Ring
Michael Powell for Peeping Tom
Michael Haneke for Funny Games
. . . among others. These are all great films. Scary, moving, thought-provoking. They all, in some way or another, have to do with watching. The consequences of watching, of being a voyeur. Haneke gets pretty meta with it, but they're all, in a way, a statement on the role an audience plays. That is, if these terrible things happening on screen are so terrible, why are you watching it?
With Salò, Pasolini took that idea and made a movie that is the ultimate test in how-much-can-you-standness.
Rape, murder, eating feces (own and other's), eating food laced with nails, nipples and penises being burned off, tongues cut out . . . all of this is in Salò. And I mean IN Salò. In front of you. Pasolini doesn't turn the camera away when he's supposed to. You want to watch what he produced? Then fine, you're going to fucking watch it.
It's brilliant, the way he takes film to a new level this way. So smart. And after 34 years no one's come close to touching him. And it lends itself to feminist film theory, which focuses so much on scopophilia, of voyeurism, of women being watched by men. Which in turn lends itself to be a perfect candidate for my final paper in Literary Criticism, which is why I proposed this topic, a feminist critique of Salò, to my professor weeks ago to much enthusiasm.
And it's why it's so hard to write. I'm sick. Whatever I have, a cold I think, has made my gag reflex go berserk with sensitivity. I can't watch Salò for more than ten minutes at a time without salivating in preparation for vomit.
Which makes this paper particularly difficult. In 24 hours it WILL be written. It WILL be turned in. Finals WILL be over. I WILL be free for weeks.
But right now, I'm just being mad at Pasolini and trying to write about Salò from memory as much as possible.

10 November 2009

05 November 2009

terrors of my childhood

I've been sort of obsessed with this recently in that way that you can't help but scare yourself, like watching scary movies. I'm sure there's a logical explanation(s) for it, but it freaks me out.
In a roundabout way, thinking about being freaked out suddenly made me remember this memory that I honestly think I repressed in some way. It was of some movie that I had seen on TV and all I really remembered about it were:
A.) Bloody children
B.) Parents cradling their dead, bloody children in a school
C.) A mother was the one that came and killed the kids
D.) A bloody guy crawling around on a floor
E.) it scared the absolute fucking shit out of me.
I don't know when I saw this movie but I know I was young and it was at the height of my childhood nightmares and inability to sleep.
Thinking about that, I set out to find this movie. It wasn't that hard. It's Murder of Innocence. I just watched it on Youtube. As a movie, it sucks. Super dramatic music, weird editing, not the best ever writing (although, based on the real case of Laurie Dann, pretty accurate). But when it got to the end, when all the shooting starts, it still sort of made my heart drop in fear. As it turns out, I naturally remembered stuff wrong, as the shooter wasn't a mother of any of the kids and the scene that I seem to remember so vividly of parents cradling dead kids isn't in there at all, so I guess I made that part up in my head. But the bloody children in the classroom, the bloody guy crawling across the floor (which, when I watched it, was almost disturbingly accurate with the way I remembered it) were all there. And was still fucking scary.
The movie aired in 1993. In the later half of 1992, Pearl Jam's Jeremy video premiered. Because of my sister's obsession with Pearl Jam, I also had a weird 7 year old's crush on Eddie Vedder and liked (or at least pretended to like) their music. But that video . . . you all know the one I'm talking about, with the kid and the gun and the classroom and blood, absolutely scared the fucking shit out of me.
How did I see all of this somewhere between the ages of 6 and 8? I don't know. Probably sneakiness. I was always trying to sneak into watching stuff I wasn't supposed to, most notably Kids in the Hall and Jaws (that second one was a big fucking mistake, jesus). Sort of along the lines of my absolute determination when I was in sixth grade to see A Clockwork Orange, which I did see in sixth grade, and which was also a huge mistake. Now as a near 22 year old, I love the movie, think it's brilliant and funny etc etc. But when I was 12 . . . it was just a big scary rape movie.
In all, I'm really glad I watched that TV movie again. I was actually really scared to because it's late and I'm in the apartment by myself (as always) but I was sincerely hoping that it wasn't as scary as I remembered. And it wasn't, and it was sort of amazing to compare the filmed images to the images in my mind, from how spot-on my memory was to how I completely made up stuff.

It also helps to watch something scary like that with the lights on and Charlie snoring next to me.

03 November 2009

music goodies

I want to be cool and say something like "here's what I've been spinning lately" but that would imply that I'm either A.) really hip or B.) at least have some knowledge of how to use a record player (which I don't).
Either way, here are some good songs in modern digital-age mp3 format:

Christmas Island - Twenty Nine

Taylor Swift - You Belong With Me (WHAT. SUCK MY DICK.)

La Roux - Bulletproof

Au Revoir Simone - Shadows

Au Revoir Simone - Shadows
(Tanlines Remix) (both versions are awesome and sound completely different)

Washed Out - Feel It All Around

Neon Indian - Deadbeat Summer

Monotones - What Would I Do