The Wackness

So now it’s time for 90s nostalgia. Hurray.

“It’s the summer of 1994, and the streets of New York are pulsing with hip-hop and wafting with the sweet aroma of marijuana—but change is in the air. The newly-inaugurated mayor, Rudy Giuliani, is beginning to implement his anti-fun initiatives against “crimes” like noisy portable radios, graffiti and public drunkenness. Set against this backdrop, Luke Shapiro (Josh Peck) spends his last summer before college selling dope throughout New York City, trading it with his shrink (Ben Kingsley) for therapy, while crushing on his step daughter (Olivia Thirlby). Famke Janssen, Mary Kate Olsen,and Method Man round out the cast in this edgy, bittersweet, and funny coming of age story.”

You read that right – Mary Kate Olsen is in this film. But you only see her about twice in the trailer, so it’s not terribly dangerous to your health.

The music is really good!

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Concerts a emporter

I first stumbled on this site thanks sort of indirectly to zatandad, who, on one day sometime around ad’s birthday and the new year, I went over and they were all like “YOU HAVE TO WATCH THIS VIDEO AND LISTEN TO THIS GUY WHO WALKS AROUND AND PLAYS HIS TRUMPET ON THE STREET”.

That guy was Beirut’s Zach Condon, and I quickly got obsessed with the trumpets, the drums, the violins that make up his eclectic Eastern sound. The walking in the street thing, as it turned out, wasn’t completely his thing (although it really does fit the nomadic gypsy vibe he has) – it belongs (if such a thing can belong to someone) to the people at Blogotheque (yes they’re really French) who film bands who swing through Paris. They take these bands, who are forced to strip their music down to the essentials and walk around Parisian streets entertaining/weirding out Parisian folk.

The site is a bit hard to navigate cos it’s mostly in French, but if there’s an indie band you like and they’re relatively known, you can bet they’ve strummed a guitar through Paris and it’s on film 🙂 And it’s a really awesome way to check out new music – it’s such a nice, fresh way of watching a group perform live without the shakiness, darkness, general mayhem that are live shows on YouTube.

The Beirut-Blogotheque relationship is pretty special cos the French guys travelled all the way to New York to film every song off the Flying Club Cup album in New York. You can see all those videos here.

Apparently there have been some copycats, and I know one of them is called the Handheld Shows but I couldn’t find anything on Google. If you do, let us know.

Bonus bonus: The reason I was thinking about Zach Condon this morning was because of this guy – Merz. You probably don’t care that Coldplay likes him, but check him out anyway!

More things to depress you

Pixar

This. Is an office.

Threadless

This… is also an office.

Three Rings

Ok. You can sort of see why I want to kill myself right?

This site has some photos of the most beautiful workspaces I have ever seen. It makes one philosophical to look at them: are beautiful offices only a symbol of the pointless efforts that humanity makes to mask the meaningless drudgery of their materialistic, money-chasing lives? A hopeful manifestation of the human spirit’s struggle to surround itself in beauty even in the dullest and most dire circumstances? Or is it just capitalism’s way of ensnaring you with its gilded cages and cheap promises of free gourmet cafeterias?

You think about it, while I look through the recruit ads.

Bon Iver

I heard a track from Bon Iver for the first time last year but I wasn’t completely blown away. Then today I listened to a recording of him performing live at South by Southwest and I suddenly liked it. So I went and listened again to a few tracks from his album, For Emma, Forever Ago, and I realised why the discrepancy — he sounds much better live than on the CD.

Bon IverHe’s big on the falsettos, so you might not even agree with me on that if you don’t like falsettos. But I think his voice has a raw, gritty and vulnerable quality that makes his live performance quite visceral.

Bon Iver is really just one guy named Justin Vernon. He wrote For Emma, Forever Ago, his debut CD, while holed up in a cabin in Wisconsin trying to exorcise some inner demons. I think the concert recording captures the darkness, misery and anguish really well, while the album sounds too… clean.

Listen to the concert recording here.

John Hegley

John HegleyThe Guardian calls him “quintessentially English”, but that shouldn’t turn you off from John Hegley just yet. He writes very endearing, funny poems about dogs, potatoes and other things that generally make you happy. I first found out about him through The Guardian Unlimited Books podcast, where he read this:

In the embrace of my glasses

I openly accept my vulnerability

And affirm my acceptance of outside help.

As well as providing open acknowledgement

Of the imperfection in my eyesight,

My glasses are a symbolic celebration

Of the wider imperfection

That is the human condition.

In contrast, contact lenses are a hiding of the faults.

They pretend the self-sufficiency of the individual

And minister onto the cult of stultifying normality.

They are that which should be cast out of your vision.

They are a denial of the self.

They are a denial of the other.

They are a betrayal of humanity.

Link time: You can read 22 more poems here, and listen to him perform some more poems here. (As far as I can see none of the poems are duplicated on the two sites.) You can also listen here to the Guardian interview that I mentioned above, in which he also turns a daily news story  about the UK education system into a song and sings a poem about two gay bus drivers. That should brighten up your Monday somewhat, I hope!

A Nazi film

Listen to Mark Kermode’s rant against The Hottie and the Nottie. It is infinitely more entertaining and insightful than the film.

The Hottie and the Nottie Ok I can’t believe I just corrupted the sanctity of this website with a still from this film.

Anyway go listen to Kermode here. You have to have Real Audio installed.

Choice quote:

“The way it demonstrates that beauty is on the inside is that the Nottie goes to a plastic surgeon and is eugenically changed into a Hottie. And then the horrible, creepy guy who loved Paris Hilton in the first place, discovers that he might actually fancy the Nottie — but only, only after she’s had intense plastic surgery. So clearly, this is a Nazi tract.”

And that’s not even the best part of the review.

Want a depressing weekend? Here you go!

True story: I listened to Feist’s version of Lover’s Spit in its entirety on Wednesday morning while waiting for the bus … and afterwards I felt really, really bad. Like, want to feign sickness, go home and crawl into bed kind of Feistbad.

Which, of course, means that Lover’s Spit is a very GOOD song. I first heard the Broken Social Scene version a year back, then again when I went for Mosaic. But the Feist version hit me like a fat brick when I watched Half Nelson.

See – one paragraph, three other things you should check out.

Listen here.

(The antidote to that Wednesday morning gloominess was Vampire Weekend –> you will definitely see/hear more of that band on this blog soon. Heh heh.)