Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Music Review: Woods - At Echo Lake



"As the saying goes, the weird get weirder. But while this may more or less prove accurate in day to day life, in the music world, quite the opposite tends to be true (hell, even Ariel Pink is making waves this year). This is once again evidenced by New York-based psych-folk troupe Woods, who—after a handful of willfully tossed-off full-lengths and the odd 7-inch—return with their highest profile and most committed release yet, At Echo Lake. Thankfully, most of the band’s familiar hallmarks are still present: barely-tuned acoustic strumming, frontman Jeremy Earl’s eternally nasally vox, and a (slightly less noticeable) layer of lo-fi ambiance rubbing up against hand manipulated tape effects courtesy of G. Lukas Crane (this band’s equivalent of Animal Collective’s Geologist, apparently). What they’ve got here in spades that heretofore had only been nonchalantly hinted at—particularly on their little heard and tellingly titled 2007 effort At Rear House—are, oddly enough, actual songs. Three dimensional, verse/chorus/bridge-type stuff. “Rain On,” from last year’s charmingly lackadaisical Songs of Shame, tightened the band’s formula considerably and resulted in a breakthrough on a couple of levels. And thus it seems to have been adapted as the jumping off point for this more composed and confident follow-up.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

2010 Cannes Film Festival Winners



Not sure if anything could have possibly made me happier this morning, but sometimes it pays to hope against hope as it were. In something of a triumph for hard art cinema, Apichatpong Weerasethakul's ridiculously anticipated new film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives has taken the Palm D'or at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. The upward trajectory of his Cannes prizes over the years had me believing this could be the year, but even still, there seemed to be many other well-liked films that would have been somewhat more universal in selection (say, Mike Leigh's Another Year). Also, in lieu of my second preference (Certified Copy) taking either of the top two prizes, the jury graciously awarded the film's star, Juliette Binoche, as the Best Actress in competition.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Essentials (Music): The 1990s


1960s1970s
1980s • 1990s • 2000s
Borbetomagus / Snuff Jazz (1990)
The Breeders / Pod (1990)
The Chills / Submarine Bells (1990)
Cocteau Twins / Heaven or Las Vegas (1990)
Codeine / Frigid Stars (1990)
Incapacitants / Feedback of N.M.S. (1990)
The KLF / Chill Out (1990)
Ride / Nowhere (1990)
Pale Saints / The Comforts of Madness (1990)
Pixies / Bossanova (1990)
Sonic Youth / Goo (1990)
Sun City Girls / Torch of the Mystics (1990)
They Might Be Giants / Flood (1990)
American Music Club / Everclear (1991)
Fugazi / Repeater (1991)
The Jesus Lizard / Goat (1991)
Massive Attack / Blue Lines (1991)
My Bloody Valentine / Loveless (1991)
Nirvana / Nevermind (1991)
Pixies / Trompe le Monde (1991)
Primal Scream / Screamadelica (1991)
The Orb / The Orb’s Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld (1991)
Sebadoh / III (1991)
Slint / Spiderland (1991)
Superchunk / No Pocky for Kitty (1991)
Talk Talk / Laughing Stock (1991)
Aphex Twin / Selected Ambient Works 85 – 92 (1992)
Beastie Boys / Check Your Head (1992)
Boredoms / Pop Tatari (1992)
The Dead C / Harsh 70's Reality (1992)
Earth / Earth 2: Special Low Frequency Version (1992)
The Jesus Lizard / Liar (1992)
PJ Harvey / Dry (1992)
Pavement / Slanted & Enchanted (1992)
R.E.M. / Automatic for the People (1992)
Sonic Youth / Dirty (1992)
Spiritualized / Lazer Guided Melodies (1992)
Sugar / Copper Blue (1992)
Unrest / Imperial f.f.r.r. (1992)
Tom Waits / Bone Machine (1992)
Archers of Loaf / Icky Mettle (1993)
Bikini Kill / Pussy Whipped (1993)
The Breeders / Last Splash (1993)
Eric’s Trip / Love Tara (1993)
Fastbacks / Zücker (1993)
The Flaming Lips / Transmissions from the Satellite Heart (1993) 
Fugazi / In On the Kill Taker (1993)
Girls Against Boys / Venus Luxure No. 1 Baby (1993)
PJ Harvey / Rid of Me (1993)
Mazzy Star / So Tonight That I Might See (1993)
Melvins / Houdini (1993)
Morphine / Cure for Pain (1993)
Nirvana / In Utero (1993)
Liz Phair / Exile in Guyville (1993)
Saint Etienne / So Tough (1993)
Seefeel / Quiqui (1993)
Slowdive / Souvlaki (1993)
Smashing Pumpkins / Siamese Dream (1993)
The Spinanes / Manos (1993)
Stereolab / Transient Random-Noise Bursts with Announcements (1993)
Yo La Tengo / Painful (1993)
Aphex Twin / Selected Ambient Works, Vol. II (1994)
Bark Psychosis / Hex (1994)
Beck / Mellow Gold (1994)
Frank Black / Teenager of the Year (1994)
Jeff Buckley / Grace (1994)
Brainiac / Bonsai Superstar (1994)
Built to Spill / There’s Nothing Wrong with Love (1994)
Codeine / The White Birch (1994)
Disco Inferno / D.I. Go Pop (1994)
Guided by Voices / Bee Thousand (1994)
Jawbox / For Your Own Special Sweetheart (1994)
Low / I Could Live in Hope (1994)
The Magnetic Fields / The Charm of the Highway Strip (1994) 
Nas / Illmatic (1994)
Pavement / Cooked Rain, Crooked Rain (1994)
Portishead / Dummy (1994)
Rodan / Rusty (1994)
Sebadoh / Bakesale (1994)
Shellac / At Action Park (1994)
Shudder to Think / Pony Express Record (1994)
Stereolab / Mars Audiac Quintet (1994)
Sunny Day Real Estate / Diary (1994)
Superchunk / Foolish (1994)
Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 / Strangers from the Universe (1994)
Underworld / dubnobasswithmyheadman (1994)
Velocity Girl / ¡Simpatico! (1994)
Weezer / Weezer (1994)
The 6ths / Wasps’ Nest (1995)
Bjork / Post (1995)
Fugazi / Red Medicine (1995)
Guided by Voices / Alien Lanes (1995)
Lilys / Eccsame the Photon Band (1995)
Mouse on Mars / Iaora Tahiti (1995)
Mr. Bungle / Disco Volante (1995)
Oval / 94diskont (1995)
Palace Music / Viva Last Blues (1995)
Pulp / Different Class (1995)
Radiohead / The Bends (1995)
Red House Painters / Ocean Beach (1995)
Red Red Meat / Bunny Gets Paid (1995)
Ruins / Hyderomastgroningem (1995)
The Sea and Cake / Nassau (1995)
Slowdive / Pygmalion (1995)
Swans / The Great Annihilator (1995)
Scott Walker / Tilt (1995)
Aphex Twin / The Richard D. James Album (1996)
Beck / Odelay (1996)
Belle and Sebastian / If You’re Feeling Sinister (1996)
Belle and Sebastian / Tigermilk (1996)
Brainiac / Hissing Prigs in Static Couture (1996)
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds / Murder Ballads (1996)
Chavez / Ride the Fader (1996)
Current 93 / All the Pretty Little Horses (The Inmost Light) (1996)
DJ Shadow / Endtroducing… (1996)
Heatmiser / Mic City Sons (1996)
The Olivia Tremor Control / Dusk at Cubist Castle (1996)
Polvo / Exploded Drawing (1996)
R.E.M. / New Adventures in Hi-Fi (1996)
Stereolab / Emperor Tomato Ketchup (1996)
Tortoise / Millions Now Living Will Never Die (1996)
Walt Mink / El Producto (1996)
Weezer / Pinkerton (1996)
The Wrens / Secaucus (1996)
Biosphere / Substrata (1997)
Bjork / Homogenic (1997)
Built to Spill / Perfect From Now On (1997)
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds / The Boatman's Call (1997)
Daft Punk / Homework (1997)
The Flaming Lips / Zaireeka (1997) 
Hum / Downward is Heavenward (1997)
Modest Mouse / The Lonesome Crowded West (1997)
Mogwai / Young Team (1997)
Radiohead / OK Computer (1997)
Sleater-Kinney / Dig Me Out (1997)
Smart Went Crazy / Con-Art (1997)
Elliott Smith / Either/Or (1997)
Spiritualized / Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space (1997)
Super Furry Animals / Radiator (1997)
Amon Tobin / Bricolage (1997)
Yo La Tengo / I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One (1997)
12 Rods / Split Personalities (1998)
Air / Moon Safari (1998)
The Beta Band / The Three EPs (1998)
Boards of Canada / Music Has the Right to Children (1998)
Boredoms / Super æ (1998)
Destroyer / City of Daughters (1998)
Godspeed You Black Emperor! / F♯A♯∞ (1998)
Herbert / Around the House (1998)
Mark Hollis / Mark Hollis (1998)
Massive Attack / Mezzanine (1998)
Mercury Rev / Deserter’s Songs (1998)
Neutral Milk Hotel / In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (1998)
Refused / The Shape of Punk to Come (1998)
Silver Jews / American Water (1998)
Elliott Smith / XO (1998)
Spoon / A Series of Sneaks (1998)
Squarepusher / Music is Rotted One Note (1998)
Sunny Day Real Estate / How It Feels to Be Something On (1998)
Tortoise / TNT (1998)
Blur / 13 (1999)
Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy / I See a Darkness (1999)
Built to Spill / Keep it Like a Secret (1999)
The Dismemberment Plan / Emergency & I (1999)
The Flaming Lips / The Soft Bulletin (1999)
Gas / Königsforst (1999)
Godspeed You Black Emperor! / Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada (1999)
The Magnetic Fields / 69 Love Songs (1999)
MK Ultra / The Dream Is Over (1999)
Smog / Knock Knock (1999)
Super Furry Animals / Guerilla (1999)
The Olivia Tremor Control / Black Foliage: Animation Music Vol. 1 (1999)
Tom Waits / Mule Variations (1999)
Wilco / Summerteeth (1999)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Music Revew: Frog Eyes - Paul's Tomb: A Triumph



"My biggest fear approaching the follow-up to a supposed career peak is that the artist might extend the most appealing elements of their music in a less challenging, more predictable direction. Previously, this had never even seemed possible when it came to Carey Mercer and his seriously deranged Frog Eyes collective. That was, until 2007's Tears of the Valedictorian, an unqualified landmark and one of the great indie-rock records of the last decade. Here was a record that zeroed in on everything great about the Frog Eyes project—the sharp, twisting guitar figures, the stabbing keyboard lines, Mercer’s maniacal, unhinged yelp—and whittled it down to one singular, unforgettable experience. It would have been easy for Mercer to move closer to the middle on this follow-up, particularly with a cavalcade of high profile Canadian contemporaries not only championing his band, but pointing the way towards a wider audience. But to his immense credit, Mercer hasn’t given an inch. If anything, the resultant record is an even more idiosyncratic, more overwhelming feat of deranged lyricism and precision musicianship. And Mercer suffers no fools here, subtitling his latest work, Paul’s Tomb: A Triumph, with the year’s most accurate bit of well-earned narcissism.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ranked & Revisited: Orson Welles



As I was putting together my last "Ranked & Revisited" entry on Akira Kurosawa, I was left to ponder just which filmmaking career I'd next embark upon. I weighed a few options-- Bergman, Cassavetes, Imamura-- before I realized that I had seen all but a couple of Orson Welles films, a director whose career I find to be just about the most curiously fascinating amongst all great American auteurs. What's difficult, of course, when it comes to establishing a hierarchy of this sort-- not matter how arbitrary-- is the simple fact that very few of Welles' Hollywood films were seen through to completion by the man himself. In most every case-- the exceptions, of course, being Citizen Kane & Macbeth-- the films of Welles' Hollywood career were taken from him in the editing stage to be completed by a series of studio execs and assistants.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Podcast: End of Radio #23 - 'The Circle is Unbroken'



"For the latest edition of the End of Radio podcast, your co-hosts Jordan Cronk and Jon Staph single out ten of the most vital reissues of the year so far, discussing and playing selections from each along the way."

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Music Review: Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma



"Behind the press-baiting hipster curtain of L.A.’s burgeoning lo-fi punk scene, there thrives a less heralded, more innovative, and potentially more vital collective of musicians working in an ethically similar though aesthetically opposed manner to what has traditionally been associated with Southern California’s underground musical output, from Orange County hardcore in the early-to-mid 80s to the currently thriving downtown Smell scene. These musicians inherently tend to work on the margins, crafting dark and ominous post-IDM instrumental hip-hop soundscapes, indebted to everything from the drifting pulse of classic ambient to the cinematic sweep of post-rock to the channel-whipped trills of modern dubstep, though they’ve consistently and impressively been carving out a distinctive niche all their own amidst an ongoing worldwide re-acquaintance with cerebral electronic music of all variants.

Friday, May 7, 2010

"Break the Bank Break the Figurine"

Unfortunately, this week's End of Radio podcast has been postponed due to some scheduling conflicts. However, we will be back next Friday, May 14th, with a selection of tunes compiled from some of the year's most vital reissues. So in the spirit of the show, here's a little something to stoke your anticipation.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Essentials (Music): The 1980s



1960s1970s
• 1980s • 1990s2000s
David Bowie / Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) (1980)
Elvis Costello & the Attractions / Get Happy!! (1980)
Lizzy Mercier Descloux / Mambo Nassau (1980)
The Feelies / Crazy Rhythms (1980)
Half Japanese / Half Gentlemen/Not Beasts (1980)
Human Sexual Response / Fig. 14 (1980)
Joy Division / Closer (1980)
The Soft Boys / Underwater Moonlight (1980)
Swell Maps / ...In "Jane from Occupied Europe" (1980)
Talking Heads / Remain in Light (1980)
X / Los Angeles (1980)
Young Marble Giants / Colossal Youth (1980)
Black Flag / Damaged (1981)
Blurt / In Berlin (1981)
Glenn Branca / The Ascension (1981)
Elvis Costello / Trust (1981)
The dB’s / Stands for Decibels (1981)
The Delinquents / The Delinquents (1981)
Brian Eno & David Byrne / My Life in the Bush of Ghosts (1981)
Gang of Four / Solid Gold (1981)
Daniel Johnston / Songs of Pain (1981)
King Crimson / Discipline (1981)
Kraftwerk / Computer World (1981)
Massacre / Killing Time (1981)
Meredith Monk / Dolmen Music (1981)
Mission of Burma / Signals, Calls & Marches (1981)
Television Personalities / …And Don’t the Kids Just Love It (1981)
This Heat / Deceit (1981)
Wipers / Youth of America (1981)
Laurie Anderson / Big Science (1982)
Bad Brains / Bad Brains (1982)
Elvis Costello & the Attractions / Imperial Bedroom (1982)
Brian Eno / Ambient 4: On Land (1982)
The Fall / Hex Enduction Hour (1982)
Flipper / Album: Generic Flipper (1982)
Jandek / Chair Beside a Window (1982)
LiLiPUT / LiLiPUT (1982)
Mission of Burma / Vs. (1982)
Nurse With Wound / Homotopy to Marie (1982)
Orange Juice / You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever (1982)
XTC / English Settlement (1982)
Bad Brains / Rock for Light (1983)
Danielle Dax / Pop-Eyes (1983)
Dolly Mixture / Demonstration Tapes (1983)
ESG / Come Away with ESG (1983)
The Fall / Perverted by Language (1983)
Daniel Johnston / Yip/Jump Music (1983)
Liquid Liquid / Optimo (1983)
Meat Puppets / II (1983)
Misfits / Earth A.D./Wolfs Blood (1983)
Necros / Conquest for Death (1983)
New Order / Power, Corruption & Lies (1983)
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark / Dazzle Ships (1983)
R.E.M. / Murmur (1983)
Violent Femmes / Violent Femmes (1983)
Tom Waits / Swordfishtrombones (1983)
Wipers / Over the Edge (1983)
Cocteau Twins / Treasure (1984)
The Fall / The Wonderful and Frightening World of... (1984)
Manuel Göttsching / E2-E4 (1984)
Robyn Hitchcock / I Often Dream of Trains (1984)
Hüsker Dü / Zen Arcade (1984)
Minutemen / Double Nickels on the Dime (1984)
R.E.M. / Reckoning (1984)
The Replacements / Let It Be (1984)
African Head Charge / Off the Beaten Track (1985)
Kate Bush / Hounds of Love (1985)
The Fall / This Nation’s Saving Grace (1985)
Hüsker Dü / New Day Rising (1985)
The Jesus & Mary Chain / Psychocandy (1985)
Meat Puppets / Up on the Sun (1985)
Mekons / Fear & Whiskey (1985)
The Pogues / Rum, Sodomy & the Lash (1985)
The Replacements / Tim (1985)
Rites of Spring / Rites of Spring (1985)
Tom Waits / Rain Dogs (1985)
Beastie Boys / License to Ill (1986)
Big Black / Atomizer (1986)
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds / Your Funeral…My Trial (1986)
Coil / Horse Rotorvator (1986)
Died Pretty / Free Dirt (1986)
Felt / Forever Breathes the Lonely Word (1986)
New Order / Brotherhood (1986)
Pussy Galore / Groovy Hate Fuck (1986)
Arthur Russell / World of Echo (1986)
Paul Simon / Graceland (1986)
The Smiths / The Queen is Dead (1986)
Sonic Youth / Evol (1986)
Talk Talk / The Colour of Spring (1986)
XTC / Skylarking (1986)
The Bats / Daddy's Highway (1987)
Big Black / Songs About Fucking (1987)
Butthole Surfers / Locust Abortion Technician (1987)
The Clean / Compilation (1987)
Close Lobsters / Foxheads Stalk This Land (1987)
The Cure / Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me (1987)
Dinosaur Jr. / You’re Living All Over Me (1987)
Drowning Pool / Satori (1987)
The Dukes of the Stratosphear / Psonic Psunspot (1987)
Pixies / Come on Pilgrim (1987)
R.E.M. / Document (1987)
The Replacements / Please to Meet Me (1987)
The Smiths / Strangeways, Here We Come (1987)
Sonic Youth / Sister (1987)
Spacemen 3 / The Perfect Prescription (1987)
Ut / In Gut's House (1987)
A.R. Kane / 69 (1988)
Beat Happening / Jamboree (1988)
Cocteau Twins / Blue Bell Knoll (1988)
Leonard Cohen / I’m Your Man (1988)
Galaxie 500 / Today (1988)
The Go-Betweens / 16 Lovers Lane (1988)
Mudhoney / Superfuzz Bigmuff (1988)
My Bloody Valentine / Isn’t Anything (1988)
Pixies / Surfer Rosa (1988)
Sonic Youth / Daydream Nation (1988)
Talk Talk / Spirit of Eden (1988)
The Vaselines / Dying for It (1988)
Beastie Boys / Paul’s Boutique (1989)
Boredoms / Soul Discharge (1989)
The Cure / Disintegration (1989)
Fugazi / 13 Songs (1989)
Galaxie 500 / On Fire (1989)
Killdozer / Twelve Point Buck (1989)
Mekons / The Mekons Rock 'n' Roll (1989)
Minor Threat / Complete Discography (1989)
Nirvana / Bleach (1989)
Pixies / Doolittle (1989)
Spacemen 3 / Playing with Fire (1989)
The Stone Roses / The Stone Roses (1989)
They Might Be Giants / Lincoln (1989)
Tragic Mulatto / Hot Man Pussy (1989)
John Zorn / Naked City (1989)