When I first saw Elisabeth Moss run rampant in the trailer for Alex Ross Perry’s Her Smell, I thought, “Okay, so after taking on Philip Roth in Listen Up, Philip, he’s made a veiled biopic of Courtney Love?’
We live in a truly bizarre time. Without getting into politics, isn’t it weird enough that O.J. Simpson’s ’90s saga crushed the critics as both a documentary and a primetime drama?—and that the riptide beneath the drama owes more to misogyny than to race? Time travelers from the ’90s would be shocked by what happened to the Kardashian family, yet might note that the attitudes towards women is at about the same temperature as it was back then—only way more trendy. That’s the bizarro-world twist: It’s trendy to talk about it, trendy to protest against it, and—even more upside-down—it’s trendy, in certain circles, to say that “grabbing them by the pussy” is no big deal. Time travelers from the ‘70s are laughing at us.
Who needs another rock band? Well, pretty much everybody, by the look of it—they just keep popping up in Brooklyn, the “Brooklyn sound” shows no sign of fading, and the kids moving here for college and starting bands show no sign of cutting it out, either. Which is by and large a good thing—most bands don’t make it, and almost none of them stay together long enough to produce more than a couple of good records, so keep ‘em coming.
The Britanys deliver simple, satisfying garage rock that properly pays respect to Iggy Pop, with vocals that are surprisingly mature, like singer Lucas Long must smoke a lot of cigarettes.
Annie Hart’s SoundCloud page says, “Putting all the synthesizers in my basement to good use,” which is a wonderful description of what she’s quite obviously doing—with emphasis on “good use.” Her low-fi, gossamer sound is like starched sheets stretched tight over brittle rock candy drum—resonant, tender, and not too sweet. The tendency towards fuzzy, underwater tones is cut by her clear voice that breaks through and pulls in the daylight.
Truly disturbing, truly difficult to watch, Michael O’Shea’s debut feature film The Transfiguration — an official selection at Cannes—features an aspiring young vampire, Milo, as he hunts victims while trying to keep himself alive in an outer Queens housing project, surrounded by gang members. If this sounds like a mashup of completely different genres, it kind of is—a de-slicked East Coast Boyz n the Hood crossed with a truly dark, disgusting modern Nosferatu—with a romance as uplifting as, say, anything in Caché or Damage.
Most Beautiful Island is that rare movie pitched as a “psychological thriller” that is truly a psychological thriller: the best parts happen in your mind while you’re watching it, as the filmmakers refuse to tell you what’s happening and you’re forced to assume the worst.
SXSW certainly isn’t for everyone– the crowds, the queues, the lack of available cabs, sure to leave any New Yorker squirming– but really, there’s no better place for discovering a whole lot of great music in not a whole lot of time. While the warm(ish) Texas weather was definitely a major selling point, the ultimate goal for yours truly (plus one talented photographer pal), was to catch as many bands as humanly possible. Despite the dark cloud of an early, unexpected tragedy (luckily, we were both fast asleep at the time of the accident), the festival re-gained its momentum. Over the course of four booze-and-BBQ fueled days, we criss-crossed Austin in search of some familiar faces. Here’s what we found. More →
At Baby’s All Right, Cultfever played an energetic set for an enthusiastic hometown crowd before setting off to SXSW. The Williamsburg venue’s backdrop, a mosaic of lit-up glass bottles, cut cheerful silhouettes of the band members. Lead singer Tamara Jafar leaned over the lip of the stage, looked at the people ten feet away and crooked a finger; on demand, everyone moved up. More →
At the Sailor Jerry Gypsy Lounge event in East Austin, Slothrust opened their set with the same song they always open with. Simply titled “Intro,” it’s a minute and a half of intimidating sound that boldly proves Leah Wellbaum is much more than a pretty face. The crowd head-banged as the band thumped through a blistering set, literally shaking the stage. More →