Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Did you hear? Bats in the Belfry - In Bloom

The greatest feeling comes after finals are over. Instead of falling asleep---which is what you should do, considering your punk-ass is running on Rockstar and Doritos---you start to play guitar. You've neglected it in the last month, and the chords come difficultly at first---not to mention, it is hot in your dorm room. The college will not install AC for whatever reason---a choice that's alienating potential students---and it is making these new songs you write sound sluggish. If not sluggish, then slow. You cannot top 100 BPM, but you've found your voice and some simple melodic lines that please you, and you've called in your buddies for backup. Your vacation record is in the works.

In Bloom
 by Bats in the Belfry is evocative summer music that defeats the ridiculous notion that music needs to be technical or showy to be good. Basic but tasteful guitar playing anchors the affair. Kellen Shipley---Bats in the Belfry's mastermind---projects his voice as if into an empty gym or humid night. His harmonizers come in at all the right times. Shipley eschews the lo-fi recording techniques employed by his peers and retains his amateur charm in this way. By not hiding in murky production, Bats in the Belfry achieve the timelessness that comes from recording onto tape (which I assume they did).

So what influences are there? Of course,
In Bloom means Nirvana, but Bats in the Belfry don't share Nirvana's penchant for rhythmic pummeling and misanthropic lyrics. In fact, the lyrics sound heartfelt and unironic. It's a welcome diversion from tongue-in-cheek indie bullshit, and it calls to mind the powerful Galaxie 500. The music is there too. You ought to be listening to Galaxie 500. 

In Bloom
first appeared as a cd-r on Rover. Labelmates to Sean McCann and Horse Marriage. Why are cd-rs cool? Help needed, mind cannot grasp the appeal. Edition of 100, sold out. As a result, limited access and few listeners. That should change. On the other hand, it was fun to research a mysterious band for once. Bats in the Belfry were a welcome surprise. 

Get it here!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bad Movie Society - Nic Cage

If it weren't for Nic Cage, 1993's Deadfall would have been on a Fred Claus level. Dig writer/ director Christopher Coppola for a moment. When he's not Ali G'ing hard on his imdb page, he's creating pieces of crap such as Deadfall. Plot needed serious resuscitation. Cliches abounded. Just festering work, really. 

On the other hand, Cage turns in a maniacal performance as con artist Eddie. Channeling Frank Booth in the worst way, Cage mumbles, then yells, and then fights his way to an untimely death in a deep fryer. Viva la fuckin' France, man. Please help me find his Deadfall highlight reel on Youtube.

Then there was Know1ng. Yes, it's spelled with a 1. Completely unacceptable film about the world's end. Mix The Da Vinci Code with Signs with third-rate sci-fi, and you've got an abomination replete with time capsules, psychopathic-soothsaying dead grandmothers, and a race to save the movie's children. Cage's performance is subdued in comparison, but that doesn't mean Know1ng is worse. It's a better film than Deadfall. Deadfall is classic 'dear filmmakers, don't do this ever' fodder. Pure WGN sports rain-delay material. 

Bringing Out the Dead should have been better. Martin Scorsese directed it. You know him because he's awesome. Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, Casino...need I go on? He's the man, and yet, his '99 film about Cage as a desperate NY ambulance driver is confusing and uninspired. 

So we haven't had much luck with minor Nicolas Cage, and yet, I want to see Wicker Man badly.