...though I am not particularly proud of myself. Yikes.
Cemetery on Film has moved!
The new Tumblr place is here.
And now to explain myself. I really, really hate to uproot so soon after its initial conception, but Cemetery on Film has officially moved to a new space. The LiveJournal community proved to be an unwise choice for a journalism project, and thus I have relocated to Tumblr, a more accessible and convenient (for me) method of blogging. I have already moved all my old posts to the new space and posted a few newer posts. The Tumblog I have will house my journalism project but also will include much more. There will be more downloads, more art, and more artist reviews. And new additions include quotes, lyrics, thoughts, and, basically, anything inspirational.
As of right now, I am undecided as to whether or not the CoF LJ will remain. But so far the idea of updating posts into this LJ for the few followers I have is looking grimmer and grimmer. So this looks like my last post on the old LiveJournal. Again, I cannot apologize enough.
Just... yikes. I feel so annoying. >_<
I have not abandoned Cemetery on Film, if anyone was curious. My life has been very hectic lately and finding time for the things I love (which include writing for this journal) have been hard.
Rest assured, though, that I will be back in no time, with more frequent updates than I have been doing and some more variety.
March of the Zapotec/Realpeople Holland by Beirut / 2009
It's here, it's here! Okay, it isn't here. The new Beirut dual EP, March of the Zapotec/Realpeople Holland, is actually due to be released on February 17th, but being the overexcited votary that I am, I've used my mad downloading skills to snag a leaked copy (horrible, I know, but I've never been a fan of delayed gratification). I am, however, a huge fan of Beirut, and, regardless of whether anyone is interested or not, here is where I shall expend my ridiculous amount of fan girl bias and glee.
The new EP is a treat, a delectable little morsel of the rich, boisterous Balkan orchestra that is Beirut. But it really isn't much more. This release isn't startlingly fantastic or over-the-top, but it is Beirut, and it is a brilliant start to the new year. The first of the duo, March of the Zapotec, is six songs that demonstrate the gypsy genius of Zach Condon well, six masterpieces that put on display the weathered brass, three-four time, and subtle glamour of gypsy rags Beirut listeners have become all too familiar with. In the second, Realpeople Holland, there is an element of pleasant surprise. Perhaps to satiate those few who may choose to complain about Beirut's consistent philosophy of sound or perhaps not, this second half of the album features a five-tracked collection of synth-meets-the-Mediterranean goodness. Beirut explores an M83-esque territory here, layering strains of harmonious synthesizer with Condon's melancholy vocals and the vibrato of a lone gypsy brass.
Still, it doesn't even matter to me how well-received this EP is, by myself or anyone. What matters the most, I think, is that this band is still making music and still coming out with new material. This release shows experimentation and growth in an artist that has restored much of my faith in music. To listen to Beirut is to listen to something beautiful being done to the indie genre, a general mass of pretentious masochists who listen to their dull music for the sake of the "indie cred" it might earn them. Zach Condon, though, with his circus of caravan ecstasy, is just making good music, music so fun, so playful, and so dark that it would invite a chorus of bodies to fall like the Mediterranean waves it's inspired by in rapture with absolutely no hesitation.
This video of Zach Condon singing on a stairwell just blows me away. His voice is so surreal. Go ahead. Fall in love.
I don't think there is anyone who hasn't heard of M.I.A., British genre-breaking superstar of "Paper Planes" fame, but I still feel the need to document my respect for her here (as I listen to "20 Dollar" twenty times on repeat). She holds much more worth than her mainstream singles or fans accredit her for and leads almost a double life among music fans. She is easily accessible, on the radio, with enough na na -ing and nee nee -ing for her following of suburban teenage fans (who only know of her anyway because she was featured on a trailer for Pineapple Express) to sing along to. And she still takes respect from the indie perspective, a group of nerdy white guys wearing Pixies t-shirts swearing up and down that hers are the only two albums they own with any danceable quality to them. She brings the unlikeliest of music fans together with her sick, tribal beats that could coax the basic dance instincts in anyone and her ability to morph classic alternative rock samplings (think New Order, The Clash) into the fresh, socially political commentaries that are her infectious tracks. Though often described as just another hip-hop/rap artist, don't be fooled. M.I.A. bends the genre barriers effortlessly with injections of Bollywood disco, baile funk, dancehall, electronica, and reggae. With her hip-hop vocal stylings, smart sampling, and heavy infusion of percussive beats (with surprises, including marimba and steel drum), M.I.A. defies classification. She is out of mainstream rap's jurisdiction with raw, third world motifs. Still, M.I.A. does share one vein with rap. By making the uncomfortable things (this time diamond mining and slumlord politics instead of hoes and gratuitous violence) superbly danceable, she easily infiltrates the home of the middle-class American citizen with the things they refuse to be aware of. With the American culture (more accurately, the same crowd that Stuff White People Like poke fun at) grooving to the sound of gunshots and boogieing at the mention of bombs, M.I.A. has "put people on a map that [have] never seen a map". She is certainly no crime to music and, in my opinion, worth every bit of the hype.
Trash. Noise. Damaged. Raw. All choice words to describe avant-garde trio Dandi Wind, a post- new rave, art punk outfit hailing from Montreal and featuring Dandilion Wind Opaine on vocals, Szam Findlay on insrumentation, and Evan Pierce on drums. At first glance , Dandi Wind is bizarre enough. In the spirit of tribal markings and sacrificial fashion, Dandi Wind's aesthetic demands a different perspective. This is nothing you've seen before, nor is it anything you've heard before.
And here I digress. Dandi Wind, though spectacularly unique, displays remarkable likeness to the punk pioneering of Siouxsie Sioux in the 80s. It is so much more than the brutally infused synths and vocal rhythms that remind me of the 80s. It is the parallel that forms between both of these female vocalists. Dandi Wind lies in close relation to the new rave stylings of The Faint or The Presets, but it is fresher, weirder. Her music takes more chances. Siouxsie pioneered an entire movement similar in the 80s, taking punk to new heights and giving it a new freedom that the Ramones could never indulge in or even understand. Punk had new life, new talent, a new complexity, and this changed the direction of alternative music once again. Today, alternative music has so many faces, movements like that one are virtually impossible, but Dandi Wind may be heralding a movement in her own facet of punk.
Dandi Wind and Siouxsie Sioux, too, are female voices I don't mind. And, certainly, you'll marvel this revelation upon hearing Dandi. Not but an ounce of female exists in her powerful voice, and if the listener didn't know better, she could easily be believed as male. Dandi screeches and barks with a subtle vulgarity, but, exactly like her 80s' counterpart, takes an exotic elegance with her. And, unlike her electroclash kin (cue ADULT.), Dandi's "trash" isn't unlistenable. I almost waver in calling her music "avant-garde", because, to me, the genre breeds a certain expectation of inaccessability that Dandi doesn't live up to (save the raw, unmixed version of "Mafu Cage". You have been warned). Instead, Dandi Wind thrives on that genre expectation and sends her music to thrilling heights, bending hardest on the levers of power and brutality. In the same sense, Dandi Wind isn't for everyone. She teeters on the ledge of listenability and one screech the wrong way would put off so many. She isn't for the faint of heart, but she is intoxicating to those whose hearts are bored of the faint.
Brian Viveros is, by far and wide, one of my favorite modern artists. This graceful provocateur paints his bludgeoned subjects wickedly, in rich oil tones and with his trademark limp cigarette hanging from each set of crimson lips. Viveros' art evokes a poignant, highly scabrous tone, but manages to maintain a beauty and defiance in the limp, beaten, and often naked form of a human being.
"Eye Snatch Her"
"Hear No Evil"
"Behind the Dirty Glass"
( ...and two more that are slightly more provocative that I love...Collapse )
This is one of the most innovative animated music videos I have ever seen. The borrowing of Max Fleischer's style of old cartoon is used brilliantly here, making the track even more delightfully campy than it was before seeing its visual counterpart. Also, gotta love Andrew Bird. I wish he was still touring with Squirrel Nut Zippers, but his solo work is going well and he's still very much alive in my music collection so I can't really complain much.
Distraídos Venceremos are seen here wreaking their own brand of artistic havoc on the streets of Rio de Janeiro.
The fifth is probably my favorite street installation of all time. I just love that it's an installation on a sleeping Brazilian hobo. Brill!
This is just one of the projects by a trio of artists who call themselves Distraídos Venceremos, consisting of Thais Simões, Barbara de Lira, and Antonia D'orazio.
Surfing by Megapuss / 2008
I am not a stranger to the weird and woolly ways of Devendra Banhart, one-half of the project that is Megapuss, a freak-folk-ish duet that "started off as a joke." Humor is abound in this premiere release (as one can tell by the oh-so-serious cover, sporting the two men naked and looking as, ahem, vagrant as ever), but talent remains the forerunner, as with any Devendra project.
The album starts in with a choir of lazy horns, and quickly turns into the driving folk rock atmosphere that floats through the cohesive registry of fourteen songs with ease and familiarity. Greg Rogove, Banhart's partner-in-crime here and also drummer of Priestbird, offsets Devendra well, often managing to mellow out his fellow folkster's sharp, warbling vocals, at least enough to not confuse Megapuss with Dev's own solo work.
The album benefits from its steady, and eventually predictable, library of fun interjections, playful guitar strumming, hand claps, pop-like melodies, and plenty of frolicking front and back vocals. But the album holds a few pleasant surprises as well. Among the etchings of bizarre humor and mewing lies real musical talent and, ultimately, a treat for the ears. "Adam & Steve," a track that establishes the distinct Megapuss sound best, features a morsel of electric guitar that isn't out of place in the least bit. And the boys manage a flawless aquatic atmosphere with "Surfing" while channeling a conglomerate of The Doors' best hits and The B-52s' "Rock Lobster" in groovy "Hamman". The album slows down beautifully in the last three tracks from its driving, classic rock-infused pop with Devendra's best hushed and raspy vocals over a soaring landscape of piano ("Sayulita" and "Older Lives") and ukulele (in "Another Mother"), ending it just as lithely as it began.
Further listens, however, heed the skipping of one particular track, "Chicken Titz". While I am not bothered by the obvious humor or dichotomous lyrics (I welcome them on any occasion), I am bothered by the echoes of a lame 50s summer ballad. Banhart fails to endear me with this track, much unlike glorious, 50s-esque "At the Hop" (from his solo album Niño Rojo). The three minutes and fifty-six seconds that is "Chicken Titz" doesn't seem worth a second listen, especially compared to the genius that Megapuss flaunts in the rest of the album.
And flaunt they do. As a whole, this album is a resounding success to freak-folkers and classic rock lovers alike. Megapuss proves that things can be seriously great when you don't take them so serious.
"Theme from Hollywood"
Hello! and welcome to Cemetery on Film, my aspiring, new (spanking!) music blog, hopefully a little less pretentious and definitely a lot less well-known than all the other music blogs out there.
I've been toying with this idea for quite some time now, and just today stumbled (or, more accurately, tripped) over some motivation to finally start it. I hope that I can eventually expose my favorites and inspire with my writing, but if I can't, that's okay, too. Just as long as I can enjoy this brand of music/art journalism and keep it going.
So, welcome! More to come very, very soon.