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The Album Leaf

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Arab Strap

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Papa M

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Little Annie

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Mono

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Morr Music Winter Tour

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Explosions In the Sky

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The Triplets of Belleville


Released last year to limited distribution, this feature-length animated film is finally coming around to more theaters, thanks to some award nominations. Although it's considered a French film, with production in Belgium, Canada, and the Czech Republic, it screams of Montreal. Who else would openly admit to heavily soaking in the music/pop/art cultures of both the French and the Americans (re-performing the mmusic on various musical non-instruments) while blatently poking fun at each (without being completely degrading)? It's a semi-musical semi-surrealistic culture clash, with a linguistic mix of French and English, void of subtitles. (They're not necessary anyhow.) An old woman and her grandson live together in France, enjoy old Vaudville-like (from the fictitious Bellville) musical productions on the TV, have a cute dog, and the grandson is a bicyclist. But, during the Tour de France, something awful happens and it's up to the grandmother, dog, and the aging Triplets of Bellville to do something about it. The adventure is fun, the tunes are catchy (while almost completely nonsensical), and the animation is something to be enjoyed on the large screen. It's also a bit of a tribute to older cartoons in a few ways: most notably that old Looney Tunes cartoons weren't always just for kids and Disney films of yesteryear had both tragedy and a moral. The quirky animation and bouncy tunes are something most definitely to be experienced on the large screen as to be fully appreciated. (Don't leave during the credits since there's something afterwards too!) Due to its short length, animated shorts are appearing with it across the USA. For those as lucky as I was, the theater showed Destino, a short begun by Salvador Dali and completed recently, as Disney was originally planning to use some of the surrealistic adventures in a series of Fantasias, which were never completed. A number of famous Dali paintings come to life with a retro soundtrack which is absolutely out of this world. Once again, the big screen experience is truly breathtaking.
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Magnolia Electric Co.

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Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings

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A Northern Chorus

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Edward Ka-spel, The Silverman, and Nicoletta

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Numbers

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The Ex

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Mogwai

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Wolf Eyes

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Black Dice

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Bardo Pond

October 18, 2003, Manchester, UK
October 21, 2003, Birmingham, UK
October 22, 2003, Bristol, UK
October 23, 2003, London, UK
October 24, 2003, London, UK
Bardo Pond are the greatest heavy psychedelic band in the un-USA. It had been four years since they last played in the un-UK, so I wasn't going to pass up the chance to catch as many dates on their tour as possible. The good news if you missed them this time is that they're going to be back next year, as Foundation have asked them to play at All Tomorrow's Parties and plans are being hatched for a headline tour in the same spring time/space. Mega props go to Mogwai, men of good taste, for inviting the ten-legged Philadelphian artnoise group for a trip around this island. It was such a joy to hear manipulated feedback noises welling up to ear splitting crescendoes from Michael Gibbons' pedal rack as we walked into Manchester Academy that we were straight down the front waving our arms in the air and going crazy at the edge of the Pond much to the bemused consternation of baby Mogwai fans who seemed confused that anyone should react to music anymore positively than standing still balancing a little backpack.

The band played a set mostly comprised of tracks from their awesome On the Ellipse album, but also taking in that old Lapsed favourite "Tommy Gun Angel," a whirlwind elegy to the passing spirit of singer Isobel Sollenberger's dog. Drummer Ed Farnsworth was absent at a friend's wedding so Mogwai's drummer filled in and did a sterling job considering the minimal time he'd spent playing with the Pond. The set grew denser and assumed sunlike gravitational pull with the final slow skullfuck "Night of Frogs." Mogwai were OK too. I missed the Glasgow show so that I could listen to over three hours of hilarious anti-Bush cabal rants from Jello Biafra, who made me realise that the world is even more fucked up than I'd thought. You thought Cheney and Rumsfeld were repulsive motherfuckers? Just wait until the Terminator and the Wolfman decide who lives and who dies!

I hooked up with the Pond outside Birmingham Sanctuary and helped them load in the heavy amps. After a few drinks in a nearby pub it was time to soundcheck in a venue with vastly superior theatrical acoustics to the Manchester student hive. Asked if I had any requests, I went for the faster paced "Again" and the band finished the set with it at about twice the speed they played it last time they toured here. By now they'd revved up eight times faster than the sun and merged all the rainbow colours into one bright mass of energy. I had to shift from the direct trajectory of Clint Takeda's earth moving bass rumble as it seemed initially to be obliterating the rest of the band. Clint and effects happy guitarist John Gibbons seem to form the heavy bedrock under the Pond whilst the other three ripple the water into waves. Isobel pulls off the neat trick of singing and playing violin at the same time, and also blows melodies out of a battered old flute, to float above the sea of churning noise riffs and battering drums. Ed seems to have an ecstatic grin for every skittering beat he hits, like a child opening a gift box. Mogwai seemed a little more intense than in Manchester.

The Birminghum Police Farce must've been having a quiet night. A duty bound jobsworth cooked up a tall tale of the Pond van hitting another vehicle and pulled us over. Accused of "smoking cannabis" we were searched one by one ineffectually. Buying time by being awkward and generally taking the piss out of these clowns, I was asked, "Are you The Joker?" which was hilarious considering I'd just seen Killing Joke eight times. A trip to Stonehenge was aborted due to bad weather and bad timing, and Bristol was damp and dreary. But Bardo Pond effortlessly turned night into day, every heart a star. They could take you there even from the blurred balcony of the Corporate Rugby Player Pisswater Academy. Clearly it was time to head downstairs and hit the whisky! Fade into London Astoria, and the most floor shaking sets from the Pond. Mogwai had assumed monstrous proportions by now and every night seemed to widen their dramatic loud/quiet dynamics, bursting out with strobes. Bardo Pond needed very little light tricks to bring out the senses and flip the trip switch. The surprise finale was "lb" from Dilate which had Isobel animated like some Woodstock biker-rock singer transported through a sugar sci-fi grass vortex, leaning back to sing into a hand held mike. My friends all seemed to be more into Mogwai that night, but what the fuck do they know anyway?
8573 Hits

nick cave, "god is in the house"


As the cost of technology comes down consistently, it's puzzling to note that few labels are taking advantage of the marvelous opportunities before them. This is a fantastic example of a music DVD done properly, despite it being a few years after the album release of No More Shall We Part. Most of the material comes from that album, but considering other live videos available from the Bad Seeds, it serves as a fine addition to the library. Here, the Bad Seeds are captured at a concert in Lyon, France (2001). It just happens to be the last tour that Neubauten's Blixa Bargeld is supposed to perform on and here, he, along with Mick Harvey and Dirty Three's Warren Ellis are just as entertaining to watch as Nick Cave, himself. Cave may not quite ever become a household name but he is most certainly becoming a musical legend. Cave's ballads speak volumes and his stage presence is intense, much like an evangelical preacher. The experience of seeing the Bad Seeds live is so intense and dramatic, that it blows away all expectations from merely listening to the records at home. Even a lukewarm album can achieve a thunderous accomplishment as the Bad Seeds are all fantastic players and spend so much time touring. The concert is elegantly shot and edited with a good amount of inclusion of the entire group, and the sound is excellent. In addition, Mute thankfully decided not to hold back on this release and included all three music videos from the album along with a short documentary on the recording of the album. Coupled with the album and the experience is complete. I can hope that it's only a matter of time that labels will release DVDs like this WITH the CD of said album. (But in all honesty, expect it to be a Japanese "perk" for about 10 years before the rest of the world catches on.)
12051 Hits

Ulrich Schnauss, "Clear Day"

6 Minutes, Quicktime Streaming Video For those of us soaked in endless rain showers, here's a quick reminder of clearer days. "Clear Day" was filmed on a bicycle by Jon Whitney in May of 2003. The song can be found on Ulrich's second full-length album, A Strangely Isolated Place, due for release next week on City Centre Offices in Germany.

18385 Hits