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Archive | November, 2014

2014 Austin Essentials: Volume 3

November 26, 2014

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Well, here it is, the third and final volume of my 2014 Austin Essentials.  In total I’ve shared 65 local acts over the last three days (Volume 1 is here, Volume 2 is here).  Hopefully you found some new stuff!  Enjoy.

PS – If I missed anything (and I’m sure I did), feel free to ramble away (or just scold me) in the comments.

:Roger Sellers – Steps:  Roger Sellers is not a DJ, but he does craft some particularly good electronic music.  Primitives is the title of his latest album.  Grab your headphones and go give it a listen.   Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Ghetto Ghouls – Simple C:  Ghetto Ghouls’ self titled debut is a furious effort that punk fans have been all over for most of the year.  Oddly enough though, I think the best song on it is actually this plodding album-closer.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Pollen – Not A Test:  Pollen were just getting going last year, so it’s not really a surprise that they took a nice-sized leap forward in 2014.  Their self titled EP features four rather good garage pop tunes.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:The Ghost Wolves – Gonna Live:  Carley and Jonathan Wolf are the duo behind The Ghost Wolves, and their latest album, Man, Beast, Woman, is loaded with quality bluesy, garage rock tunes.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Holy Wave – Wet And Wild:  You’re doing something wrong if you’re a psych rock fan (in Austin or anywhere else) and you don’t adore Holy Wave.  Seek out their latest album, Relax.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Megafauna – Time To Go:  Fronted by the versatile Dani Neff, Megafauna have a sound that’s big, loud and a lot of fun.  Don’t be afraid to let the album Maximalist rattle your walls.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Chipper Jones – Scout:  A new favorite of mine this year has definitely been experimental rockers Chipper Jones.  This rad song comes from a cassingle that was released via local label Graveyard Orbit.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Love Inks – Shoot 100 Panes Of Glass:  Back in September Love Inks released Generation Club, a nice effort full of minimalist pop tunes.  Listen to it and I promise you’ll fall in love with Sherry LeBlanc’s voice.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Night Drive – Young Rivals:  If you’ve been waiting to get something immensely dance-worthy out of this year’s Austin-centric list, then this gem of a single from Night Drive is for you.  Have fun.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Pure X – Heaven:  You know, somehow I’ve still never managed to see Pure X live.  It’s weird.  Anyways, Angel is a beautifully constructed album that’s really easy to get lost in.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Molybden – Woman Who Left Behind: Singer/songwriter Molybden has a fantastically solemn voice, and I hope her upcoming full length gets released early in 2015.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:John Wesley Coleman – The Love That You Own:  I’m forever a fan of John Wesley Coleman because he once wrote a SOTO theme song for $10, but you should applaud him for The Love That You Own, which is the album he put out on Burger Records this year.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:East Cameron Folkcore – In The House Everything Dies:  East Cameron Folkcore really worked it in 2014, and I don’t just mean around Austin – the band toured Europe and played CMJ.  They also put out this snarling single.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Jonly Bonly – Too Many Things:  SOTO’s resident super punk fan Dan was all about Jonly Bonly this year.  The band is fronted by Jason Smith (formerly of OBN IIIs) and their debut, Put Together, is one you should own.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Emily Wolfe – Swoon:  This year Emily Wolfe played ACL and released a very solid EP titled Roulette.  If you love sultry voices, then she’s the one for you.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Other Lovers – Let Me Go:  Other Lovers are a folk rock/country/whiskey-fueled act that spent 2014 really honing their craft.  Hoot is the sort of album that will make you move even when you don’t want to.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:She Sir – Condensedindents:  Go Guitars is the name of the rather enjoyable dream pop effort that She Sir released this year.  They’re apparently already in the midst of putting together a follow-up, which is exciting.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Ruby Fray – Photograph:  K Records artist Ruby Fray, who accurately describes her sound as witchy chamber folk, released her sophomore LP, Grackle, this year.  You should listen to it.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:The Clouds Are Ghosts – 54:  This nicely textured track is a favorite of mine from The Clouds Are Ghosts’ Fractures.  Slap on some headphones before you hit play.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Whiite Walls – June 9th:  Whiite Walls followed up last year’s teaser tracks with a disco-enthused self titled EP.  It’s a total must-listen if you’re looking to softly dance the night way.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Gloves – Hot Checks:  Dance punk isn’t exactly a big thing in Austin, so I appreciate that Gloves are giving it a go.  I think this particular track of theirs is super catchy.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Holiday Mountain – My Body:  Holiday Mountain are total sensory overload, and I love them for it.  Here’s hoping their new album gets released soon.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Feral Future – No Means Nothing:  For those of you who like your punk rock to be both loud and loaded with a worthwhile message, there’s Feral Future.  The band’s debut, Haematic, is a good one.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Orthy – Night Touch:  If you didn’t indulge in Orthy’s E.M.I.L.Y. EP earlier this year, then you need to get your act together.  It’s a really well crafted electronic effort.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Basketball Shorts – Candy Boys:  If you ask me, Basketball Shorts are Austin’s version of Diarrhea Planet.  Get on their bandwagon.  The Houston Sessions is the name of their latest release.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

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2014 Austin Essentials: Volume 2

November 25, 2014

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Hey!  Here we are with the second volume of my 2014 Austin Essentials.  Dive in.  But don’t tire yourself out, as there’s still a third volume coming your way tomorrow.  Enjoy.

:Alex Napping – Weak Knees:  Alex Napping popped out of nowhere this year and instantly impressed.  Their debut, This Is Not A Bedroom, is the kind of introspective indie pop that college me listened to too much of.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Hundred Visions – You’re Gonna Cut Me Loose:  The fuzzy garage rock ways of Hundred Visions have been on point in 2014.  You’d be crazy not to check out their sophomore album, Spite.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Flesh Lights – Just About Due:  My passive appreciation of the punk trio Flesh Lights ended with Free Yourself.  The album features some great songwriting.  And it rocks.  If you’re into that sort of thing, of course.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Sweet Spirit – Let Me Be On Top:  It was a bummer when Bobby Jealousy called it quits, but at least Sabrina Ellis, who is one of Austin’s most dynamic performers, quickly landed on her feet in Sweet Spirit.  Eventually the band will officially release an album and make the world a better place.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Shivery Shakes – Hold On:  Shivery Shakes put out their debut full length, Three Waves & A Shake, this year.  You pretty much have to listen to it if you consider yourself a fan of indie pop.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Gentlemen Rogues – Mocking Love Out Of Nothing At All:  Jennifer, SOTO’s purveyor of local music, was adamant that this slice of power pop from Gentleman Rogues make the cut.  Look out for a new album from the band soon.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Grape St. – Wallpaper:  Last year Grape St. released the excellent A Date With You, and just recently they followed it up with the equally fantastic Free Stuff EP.  The band just can’t miss!  They’re a must-listen for fans of jangly garage rock.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:The Sour Notes – Cutthroat:  Earlier this year The Sour Notes put out a really solid album (their fifth overall) by the name of Do What May.  It’s worth your time if you dig hooky indie rock.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Ramesh – The King:  For those of you that don’t know, Ramesh was once a part of Voxtrot.  His debut solo album, The King, is a well crafted alt pop effort that features a lot of great vocal work.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Coeds – Sensitive Boys:  I haven’t seen Coeds play and this is the only song of theirs I’ve heard, but that’s not stopping me from being into the duo.  Make a note to keep an eye on them and their synthy ways once 2015 rolls around.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Young Tongue – Heavy Metal Thunder:  Once known as The Baker Family, Young Tongue have a sound that’s a pleasant mixture of indie rock and pop.  Recently they released an album titled Death Rattle.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Jess Williamson – Snake Song:  Jess Williamson spent 2014 fully establishing herself as one of the best singer/songwriters in Austin.  If you haven’t already checked out her album, Native State, then you should do yourself a favor and seek it out ASAP.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:A. Sinclair – Shiny Things:  Indie rockers A. Sinclair (formerly known as Frank Smith) had a nice year.  They signed with Dangerbird Records and churned out a good album, Pretty Girls, for all to indulge in.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Boyfrndz – Design:  When it comes to experimental rock in Austin, not many can compete with Boyfrndz.  Their sophomore LP, Breeder, is a daunting, but rad listen.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:OBN IIIs – No Time For The Blues:  OBN IIIs are a loud, good ole fashioned rock n’ roll band, and their latest release, Third Time To Harm, is further proof that you should be giving them all of your attention. Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Spray Paint – Rest Versus Rust:  Many would argue that Spray Paint are Austin’s premiere punk act, and I think I’d have to agree.  Their album, Clean Blood, Regular Acid, is one you need to hear.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Polio Club – Poison The Well (Demo):  I just recently came across Polio Club, and I’ve already pretty much worn out the demos on their Bandcamp page.  I’m looking forward to whatever is the post-punk act decides to do in 2015.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:The Wolf – In Waves:  SOTO’s own Dan said that I should include psych-rockers The Wolf.  He’s apparently a big fan of the noisy, distortion-filled sound that’s all over their latest release, Ride.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Christian Bland And The Revelators – Brian Wilson:  Back in September Christian Bland (of The Black Angels) released his third album, The Unseen Green Obscene.  Naturally, it’s a gloriously hazy psych rock experience.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Scuare – Mind States:  SOTO’s own hip hop expert Leah recently recommended Scuare to me, and he’s been firmly on my radar ever since.  This song in particular is pretty fantastic.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

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2014 Austin Essentials: Volume 1

November 24, 2014

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It’s taken me a couple of weeks, but I’ve finally manged to get my 2014 Austin Essentials list all perfectly hammered out  And by perfectly hammered out, I mean “I’m pretty sure I got 91% of it right.”  Anyways, it’s 60 or so bands long and it’s divided into three volumes (part two is tomorrow, part three is on Wednesday).  In case you’re wondering, my only real “guideline” for the list was that the artist must have put out something new (no re-releases, man) in 2014.  So, get to sampling!  I hope you find some new local stuff to love.  Enjoy.

PS – For the sake of not making the list even longer, I left out super familiar names like Spoon, And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, The Black Angels, Shakey Graves, Balmorhea, Ume, Quiet Company and I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness.

:Major Major Major – God Doesn’t Want Us:  Throughout 2014 Major Major Major have been increasingly impressive.  Their shows are a blast, and then there’s also the way the duo can’t seem to write anything that isn’t infectious.  Look out for their debut full length next year.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Abram Shook – Coastal:  I really love Abram Shook’s Sun Marquee.  The album is one of those pop efforts that’s both wonderfully crafted and super accessible.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Tele Novella – Trouble In Paradise:  Tele Novella spent much of the year further establishing themselves (singles, videos, lots of shows), and I think 2015 is now set to be a big one for them.  Jump on the bandwagon now.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:The Dead Space – Behind The Wall:  The Dead Space’s Faker is probably my favorite Austin album of 2014.  It’s a fantastic collection of post-punk tracks.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Magna Carda – Every Weekend (Featuring Olivia Applegate):  Magna Carda are no longer just one of the best hip hop acts in Austin, they’re one of the city’s best overall acts.  Here soon they’re releasing an album, and I can’t wait to check it out.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Dana Falconberry – Palmless:  Dana Falconberry and Jim Eno (from Spoon) crafted this song together for a Record Store Day release.  I want a lot more of the same.  Please.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Borrisokane – God Doesn’t Want Us (Major Major Major Cover):  Borrisokane’s Versus Project (a box set that features them and a variety of guests doing covers and original tunes) is probably the most ambitious thing that popped out of Austin in 2014.  Check it out if you haven’t.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Letting Up Despite Great Faults – Wrapped:  Neon is the name of Letting Up Despite Great Faults’ latest (and maybe final?) album.  You should pick it up just so that you can own a physical copy of this absolutely stellar song.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Summer Salt – Sweet To Me:  Phil and Eugene (from the now defunct Yum) are two-thirds of Summer Salt, a retro pop act with a knack for providing rather hooky, breezy tracks.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Otis The Destroyer – You’re The Wealth:  The Couch are no more, but that’s OK because some of its former members started the equally loud and glorious Otis The Destroyer.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Equals – Glistener:  If you’re a fan of instrumental rock, then Equals’ Tracts is an album that you need to seek out.  I’ve been jamming it for most of the year.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:BLXPLTN – Start Fires:  With music that’s all at once danceable, mosh-worthy and inspired,  BLXPLTN are an Austin band that has dominated in 2014.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Future Death – Basements:  Future Death play like maybe there really won’t be a tomorrow, and I like that.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Genuine Leather – The Enemy:  For those of you that love clever pop tunes, there’s the Genuine Leather album Losers.  Snatch it up.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Phil Ajjarapu – Sing Along Until You Feel Better:  SOTO’s own Jennifer made sure I included Phil Ajjarapu on the list, and it’s not hard to see why – the guy has some really good pop songs in his repertoire.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Lowin – Heave Ho:  Sara Houser’s soaring voice is now front and center in her own band (and no longer as part of The Couch), and the results so far have been pretty great.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:SHMU – She’s Leaving:  Sam Chown, who is also one half of Zorch, is the man behind SHMU.  Give the guy a listen if you like experimental electronic pop.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Pompeii – Blueprint:  After a solid five years or so, Pompeii finally rallied up a new album.  Loom, if you ask me, is fantastic and totally ended up being worth the wait.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Growl – Jackie:  I don’t remember many local music convos this year where someone didn’t excitedly bring up Growl.  This song is from a compilation, but you should also spend some time with the band’s EP, No Years, that was put out back in January.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Crooked Bangs – Ce Type:  This year Crooked Bangs put out this attitude-laced gem (it’s from a split with Houston’s Secret Prostitutes) and played Fun Fun Fun Fest.  Solid.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

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Movie Breakdown: Horrible Bosses 2

November 24, 2014

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People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing led us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

The mildly funny Horrible Bosses gets a sequel!  Wait.  What?  Why?

The Reality:

Even with the terrible Dumb And Dumber 2 and the truly awful Sin City 2 up for consideration, I think the clear-cut winner of 2014′s “most unnecessary sequel” award is Horrible Bosses 2.  I mean, it’s not as though the first film is a classic or something, so who the hell requested a second entry, and how do I thank them?  Oh yes.  That’s right.  I actually want to thank them.  Because despite being loaded with nothing but crude, insensitive, classless and stupid jokes, it totally cracked my shit right up.  Everyone involved is clearly having a ton of fun, and there’s a loose, infectious energy constantly present throughout the movie that’s difficult to not get caught up in.  I can’t say it’s for everyone (especially if you prefer “smart” comedies), but if you’re down for a good ridiculous laugh or 20, then don’t hesitate to seek out Horrible Bosses 2.

The Lesson:

Second time’s the charm.

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Weekly Movie News Rundown

November 22, 2014

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Time for your weekly movie news update!  Below you’ll find a slew of sentences meant to provide a brief glimpse of what’s been going on over the past week in movieland.  If something leaves you desperate for more info, then my advice is to do a little extra research on one or all of the following fantastic sites:  Latino Review, Dark Horizons, Ain’t It Cool News, CHUD and/or JoBlo.  Read on!

Channing Tatum may direct Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock.  It’s said to be about a troubled high schooler who intends to kill his best friend and then himself.

Terro Rossio (Pirates Of The Caribbean) has been hired to update Steve McQueen’s Yucatan.  Robert Downey Jr. is currently attached to star in the film that follows salvagers looking for Mayan treasure in the Yucatan Peninsula.

Bryce Dallas Howard is reportedly close to signing on for the remake of Pete’s Dragon.

Penelope Cruz has joined the cast of Zoolander 2.

Rumor has it that Tom Cruise is wanted for the Highlander reboot.  If he were to sign on, he would play Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez.

Sony has dropped the Steve Jobs biopic.  Danny Boyle is still attached to direct.

Peter Berg is expected to direct Hunt For El Chapo.  It’s said to be about Joaquin Guzman Loera, who was once the head of the Sinaloa drug cartel.

Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas Buyers Club) will direct Amy Adams in a currently untitled Janis Joplin biopic.

Brendon Thwaites (The Giver) may sign on for a role in Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

Martin Campbell (Casino Royale) is reportedly the top choice to direct GI Joe 3.

Jason Reitman is set to direct a movie based on the article I Would Only Rob Banks For My Family.  It’s said to follow a Texas family who pulled off two bold heists before getting caught during their third attempt.

Paul Greengrass is set to direct a new adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984.

Mel Gibson may direct Hacksaw Ridge, which will reportedly detail the true story of Private First Class Desmond T. Doss, a soldier in WWII who refused to kill or carry a weapon.  Andrew Garfield is expected to star in the film.

Djimon Hounsou (Guardians Of The Galaxy) will reportedly replace Idris Elba as the “Merlin-esque figure” in Guy Ritchie’s Knights Of The Roundtable: King Arthur.

Keanu Reeves may star in The Panopticon.  It’s said to center around a man who receives a mysterious package that contains a pre-recorded message from himself that warns the world is about to end and only he can save it.  Tarsem Singh (The Cell) may direct.

Chris Pratt may star in Cowboy Ninja Viking.  The movie will reportedly follow a counter-intelligence agent with multiple personality disorders who is sent to stop members of his unit who have gone rogue.

For X-Men Apocalypse, Hailee Steinfeld, Chloe Grace Moretz, and Elle Fanning are the actresses being considered to play young a Jean Grey., and for Cyclops it’s Ben Hardy (East Enders), Charlie Rowe (Red Band Society), and Timothee Chalamet (Interstellar).

Josh Boone recently noted that he expects his adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand to span four movies.

Martin Freeman, Tina Fey and Margot Robbie are set to star in the adaptation of journalist Kim Barker’s comic wartime memoir Taliban Shuffle.

Melissa McCarthy is set to play Tinker Bell for director Shawn Levy.  No other details about the film are currently known.

Zach Braff may direct a remake of Going In Style.  The original followed a group of elderly men who, out of boredom, decide to rob a bank.

This Week’s Notable Trailers

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Hip Hop Hooray (Leah)

November 21, 2014

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Alright, Austin readers, we have a big run-off election going down on December 16, so you better get out and vote at least one more time this year – no excuses.  Also, if you’re at all involved in the music industry, fill out this survey to have a stake in the way the new council approaches live music.

Besides yours truly creating a custom party mix for this comedy show right here (come out!), there are a lot of good things to look forward to this month: a new Big K.R.I.T album, Thanksgiving, and giving thanks for a new Big K.R.I.T. album.  So, that’s nice.  And, here’s your mix for November.  Don’t get too crazy dancing and rip your headphones out of your ears by accident, because that is the worst.

SONG OF THE MONTH:

:Sugar Hill Gang – Rapper’s Delight:  Hip hop lost the amazing Big Bank Hank last week.  RIP.

NOVEMBER MIX:

:Magna Carda – Game Like Jimmy:
:Lifesavas – Government Cheese (Featuring Declaime):
:Cormega – MARS (Redeem Team) (Featuring AZ, Redman, Styles P):
:Vince Staples – Blue Suede:
:Lil Wayne – Gotti (Featuring The Lox):
:Wiley – On a Level:
:Run the Jewels – Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck) (Featuring Zack De La Rocha):
:Fashawn – Golden State of Mind (Featuring Dom Kennedy):
:Zeale – Forty Acres (Featuring Hyro Da Hero):
:Action Bronson – Easy Rider:
:Busdriver – Eat Rich:
:Statx – Space Trippin:
:AnnaLove x Cory Kendrix – Wax On (Payton Long’s WE DA BEST Remix):

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Stream This

November 21, 2014

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From the depths of the SOTO inbox, I present to you your weekly serving of the latest and greatest album streams and videos.  Enjoy.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

Please note that the majority of the streams expire as soon as the albums are released, so don’t wait too long to check them out.

ALBUM OF THE WEEK ➡ Ariel Pink – Pom Pom

Two Inch Astronaut – Foulbrood
Flake Music – When You Land Here, It’s Time To Return
Your Old Droog – Self Titled
Gala Drop – II
September Girls – Veneer EP
Squrl – EP #3
Sunbeam Sound Machine – Wonderer
Cursive – The Ugly Organ (Deluxe Edition)

MUSIC VIDEOS

⬆ VIDEO OF THE WEEK ⬆
Run The Jewels

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Colleen Green

November 20, 2014

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I’m just about ready to completely enter year-end list mode, but before I do I want to share an awesome new one from Colleen Green.  The track is a sugary little number, and I think it might be the most accessible thing she’s ever done.  Maybe 2015 will be her year?  Guess we’ll see.  Enjoy.

:Colleen Green – Pay Attention:

I Want To Grow Up will be released on February 24 via Hardly Art.

Bonus Video:

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Movie Breakdown: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

November 19, 2014

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People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing led us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

“If we burn, you burn with us.”  Katniss has had enough of President Snow’s shit and is ready to take him down do just enough to setup next year’s Mockingjay – Part 2, the sure-to-be-amazing conclusion to the Hunger Games series.  Womp womp womp?

The Reality:

Let me start by saying this, Mockingjay – Part 1 does what it’s supposed to do, which is get folks ready for Mockingjay – Part 2, and as a Hunger Games fan I enjoyed it.  The film is a bit clunky and doesn’t really get moving until the last half hour or so, but my adoration for the overall story kept me from feeling restless or bored.  Also, there’s Jennifer Lawrence.  Goddamn she’s good.  Lawrence seems to revel in the pressure of having such an enormous franchise rest solely on her shoulders, and her Katniss is electrifying and an absolute joy to watch.

With all of that being said, it’s not possible to deny the unsettling taste that Mockingjay – Part 1 left in my mouth.  Frankly speaking, the film is a total cash grab.  There’s nothing in its two hour runtime that couldn’t have been trimmed down to be the first act of a single final entry into the series, and I found its plodding, setup-oriented approach to be disappointing.  In fact, the movie is so much of a non-standalone effort that I doubt I’ll ever willingly watch it again just on its own – I’ll just wait for the inevitable ultimate edition that will undoubtedly carry some ridiculous name like Mockingjay: The Complete Rise Of Katniss Everdeen.  I realize this isn’t the first time a franchise has been inserted into the maximum money machine (hey there, Hobbit Trilogy), but it’s always a disappointing when it’s as blatantly done as Mockingjay – Part 1.

See the movie because you know you want to, but know going in that anything of real importance in the series is still a year away.

The Lesson:

Setup movies are kind of a bummer.

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Movie Breakdown: Foxcatcher (Noah)

November 19, 2014

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People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing led us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

I don’t know if you could line up a more interesting story, with a more capable director, and better trio of actors. Every preview for this thing has been absolutely spellbinding and my only worry is that my own personal hype machine is working so hard that any film won’t be able to live up to its crushing force.

The Reality:

Foxcatcher is the most interesting, creepy, and beautiful mainstream picture this year. I haven’t seen everything yet, but I’m calling it now – nothing in the mainstream realm of Hollywood films is even going to scratch the surface of this film.

Based on a true story, Foxcatcher tells the tale of mega-gazillionaire John du Pont (Steve Carrell in all his nose-prosthesis glory) who buys the talents of one broken former wrestling gold medalist (Channing Tatum) and his brother, and the strange and horrible consequences of his actions.  To say that this film is just a showcase for its amazingly talented cast, which it is, is to short change it. This is a film firing on all pistons. Tatum, Carrell and Mark Ruffalo (who plays the emotional heart of the film in Dave Schultz, the brother of Tatum’s Mark Schultz) act above and beyond what you’ve seen from any of them up to this point. If the world didn’t already know Tatum’s background as a stripper-turned-movie-star, hell, if this was his first film, you’d have thought that director Bennett Miller ripped a professional wrestler right out of his opening stance and cast him in the movie. Tatum is a brute in this film, a man entirely defined by his self-conscious need to be the very best. He is intense and angry and you see all of this in the way he carries himself. Steve Carrell steps out of his comfort box here to play John du Pont, an eerie parallel to Schultz, in that the immense amount of power he already has is undermined by his want of having what he could never have. Prosthesis aside, Carrell soars in this film, embodying du Pont with a mental confidence but a physical weakness that says everything you’d ever need to know. Ruffalo, a small but vastly important role, does what Ruffalo does best, he spins an everyman character into a genuine beating heart.  When this story plays out and the fate of Dave Schultz is finally revealed, you are a robot if you don’t feel wrenched apart. None of this would work if not for the minimalist score and the gorgeous, eerie photography by Greig Frasier. This film is borderline silent, leaving the weight of it perched on the shoulders of its actors and its visuals, and Frasier’s work stands out above the rest. Long, quiet shots; close-ups that highlight the odd, beauty of traditional wrestling; the color palette – everything comes together to create a world where only this type of story could work.

My only gripe about the film is that it grows listless in the middle, but even this seems to have a point. We watch these characters stumble into relationships and Miller makes, what I think is a fine decision, to let them slowly develop. It isn’t absolutely riveting, but it creates an atmosphere that the ending of the film draws from, and that’s enough for me, even if my mind wandered at points in the second and third act. This isn’t the best film of the year (though it is a contender) but it’s the film that most challenges what we’ve come to see as a Hollywood production.

The Lesson:

Money is evil! Burn your money!

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Ice Cream (Noah)

November 19, 2014

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You expect a certain sound when you hear of a band called Ice Cream. You expect the sound of summer, or maybe you expect bubbly, refreshing pop ‘n’ roll or maybe you just expect it to be a bunch of teenage girls in sparkly pantsuits dancing to a pre-recorded beat. Ice Cream is just about none of these. Yes, on their debut self-titled album, they jig about on the poppier side of rock ‘n’ roll and there’s a little bit of bubble behind everything they do, but this is messy, gritty rock ‘n’ roll pulled smiling from the back-end of the 60s. Even when the sound feels reminiscent of a garage rock version of David Lee Roth (Wild) there’s a little bit of lip curl and broken glass to drag it back to something with a little more attitude. Even more impressive, Ice Cream manages to ride the wave of fuzzed out guitar and dark sunglasses and still inject it with enough good times to make it entirely approachable. You’d be entirely happy to have this blasting out of your 8-track on a sunny day in the park or just as happy to be in a dark urine-smelling basement with these lads throwing it down for a crowd of tattooed audience members. This is the best kind of fun music, that kind that’ll make you shuffle your feet without the fear of looking like a moron.

The band’s EP is available for free over on their Bandcamp page.

:Ice Cream – Wild:

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Salim Nourallah (Jennifer)

November 19, 2014

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Dallas-based songwriter Salim Nourallah recently finished a new album, Skeleton Closet, and now he’s setup a PledgeMusic campaign in hopes that fans will help him release it.  Salim is one of my favorite songwriters and I’ve been a fan of his since a friend tipped me onto his work over a decade ago.  He writes intelligent pop songs that range from whimsical and funny to cynical and melancholy, and he draws from both classic (Beatles, Kinks) and contemporary (Jeff Tweedy, Neil Finn, Elliott Smith) influences to portray how many of us feel about life, love, family, relationships, and getting older.  He also puts you at ease during his live shows and draws you in for what feels like a chat between friends set to music.

Salim mostly plays close to home in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but he also occasionally tours with other artists such as Rhett Miller and Old 97s (whom he’s also produced). He’ll be returning to Austin on December 17 to play at Strange Brew Lounge Side (a top notch listening room).

Do yourself a favor and check out a few of his previous releases on his Bandcamp page.

 

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Grape St.

November 18, 2014

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While I was really tempted to spend today rambling about the surprisingly rad new song from AC/DC, I figured it would be a better idea to indulge in some Grape St.  Why?  Well, there are three reasons.  1) They’re one of my favorite Austin bands.  2) I should have shared their super catchy singles when they were released in September.  3) They’re playing the next Side One Track One Presents gig and I want you to be able to sing-a-long throughout their set.

That about covers it.  Enjoy.

:Grape St. – Wallpaper:
:Grape St. – Free Stuff:

The band’s Free Stuff EP is out now in cassette form via Burger Records.

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Quickdraw: Screaming Females, Twist, Cotillon, Porcelain Raft, Christopher Owens

November 17, 2014

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Music!  Enjoy.

:Screaming Females – Ripe:  Damn.  This new one from Screaming Females totally shreds.  Crank the volume all the way up and then make a note to seek out their six full length, Rose Mountain, when it gets released on February 24 via Don Giovanni.

:Twist – Slums And Seaports:  Twist is Laura Hermiston (a Toronto-based musician) and Brian Borcherdt (from Holy Fuck).  There’s a lot of interesting things going on in this rather lo-fi tune of theirs, and I’m curious to hear whatever else they’ve crafted.  Supposedly, an EP is on the way.

:Cotillon – Before:  If you’re already compiling possible 2015 breakthrough acts, it might be wise to add Jordan Corso (aka Cotillon) to the list.  This is a moody, hazy gem, and I think his upcoming album could be a great one.  The self titled effort will be released on January 26 via Burger Records.

:Porcelain Raft – Closed Eye Vision:  Porcelain Raft want you to know they’re still out there, so they’ve released this spacious track.  It’s a quick one at just a minute and 35 seconds, so you’ll have to make sure you’re paying attention or it’ll pass you by before you know it.  This song appears to be a one-off effort.

:Christopher Owens – America:  I can’t seem to decide exactly where I stand in regards to Christopher Owens’ solo work, but I can at least for sure say I love this song.  I think it’s as intimate and sincere as can be.  No word yet on if this track will end up on some sort of official release.

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Weekly Movie News Rundown

November 15, 2014

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Time for your weekly movie news update!  Below you’ll find a slew of sentences meant to provide a brief glimpse of what’s been going on over the past week in movieland.  If something leaves you desperate for more info, then my advice is to do a little extra research on one or all of the following fantastic sites:  Latino Review, Dark Horizons, Ain’t It Cool News, CHUD and/or JoBlo.  Read on!

Daniel Bruhl (Rush) is set to play a villain in Captain America: Civil War.

Mark Boal (Zero Dark Thirty) has been hired to write the script for the adaptation of Uncharted.

Jai Courtney (A Good Day To Die Hard) is said to be up for the role of Deadshot in Suicide Squad.

Michelle MacLaren (Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones) is rumored to be the top choice to direct Wonder Woman.

Justin Lin may return to the Fast And Furious franchise to direct a two-part finale.

Rawson Marshall Thurber (We’re The Millers) is set to direct Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart in the buddy action comedy Central Intelligence.

Quentin Tarantino recently noted that he still intends to retire after his 10th film.

George Clooney, Julia Roberts and Jack O’Connell (Unbroken) may star in Jodie Foster’s Money Monster.  It’s said to center around a man who takes a stock picker hostage and threatens to kill him.

Jude Law is set for the main villain role in Guy Ritchie’s Knights Of The Roundtable: King Arthur.

Christoph Waltz may join the cast of the next Bond film.

Park Chan-Wook will direct Second Son, which is reportedly a sci-fi film set in a futuristic world where neural microchip implants can store one’s consciousness, leading to black market body-swapping.

Christopher Lambert has landed a role in the Coen Brothers’ Hail, Caesar.

Shailene Woodley has joined the cast of Oliver Stone’s currently untitled Edward Snowden film.

This Week’s Notable Trailers

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