Oct 012007

In The Beatles’ song “Across The Universe”, the chorus relates to us: “Nothing’s gonna change my world”. In the verses, everything seems to be swaying and moving, (words are flying/endless rain/drifting through/restless wind/limitless, etc.). Julie Taymor’s second big film as a director (her first being the movie Frida), is about the world changing also. Changing around its characters, and in a big way. Depicting another Vietnam-era epic fictionalizing a storyline sadly paralleling our own generation’s current events–and possibly making this picture just a little more poignant in the process for its timing, even if it is a romanticized version using Broadway-esque Beatles’ songs to tell the story.

Each scene in the film is practically bridged together by song, which is one of a few negative things that I will note about Across The Universe. The storyline seems abrupt, and bumpy at times, fed to us song by song, as if they had glued a huge music video together to make a movie out of it, which is –I’m assuming, in making a movie using all Beatles’ songs –how I imagine they envisioned it (perhaps). A scene about The Detroit Riots, although matching the time period, seems pulled out of nowhere, and added in simply to make more use of a song, because the film’s story mostly takes place in NYC.

Evan Rachel Wood (Thirteen, Running With Scissors) and newcomer Jim Sturgess (UK TV sitcom and series mostly) play “Lucy” and “Jude”; two star-crossed kids who fall in love. Jim, fresh off the boat from Ireland, and Lucy (whose boyfriend *spoiler alert* gets killed earlier on in the film during a tour of duty in Vietnam), who plays the pat younger doe-eyed sister of big brother “Max”–incidentally new best-friend to Jude, are stuck between the politics of war, and the youthfulness of being in love in a turbulent time (sounds cheesy, right?). Like Jude and Lucy, most characters in the film do have a Beatles-related name: Sadie (sexy modern cougar/singer/landlady), JoJo (sexy guitarist/Jimi Hendrix-type character), Prudence (yes, they sing “Dear Prudence” to Prudence), Dr. Robert (played oddly by Bono; weirdest quote award ‘masturbating crocodile tears’ or something of the sort) and UK comedian Eddie Izzard as Mr. Kite – which is actually one of the more interesting parts of the film beside the major scene where Lucy’s brother Max is inducted into the army to the tune of “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”.

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Aug 182007

jennifer gentle

This interview and post is dedicated to Mr. Mod and Mr. Ismine, whose Italian ties precede them this summer! Enjoy Italy to its fullest, whenever you are able to visit it, my friends!



Catch them live:
TUESDAY AUGUST 28TH @ The Vacuum (Philadelphia PA)
2nd and Tilghman {Google Map!}
wsg/ The Soft People, The Dodos & Birds of Maya

Please enjoy the following email interview with Marco Fasolo of Padova, Italy’s fantastic psych-rock band Jennifer Gentle!

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Jul 082007

Saw Berlyant’s purchase of Plurb’s Three O’Clock on fireworks night, and then ran into this video after work late tonight through another friend (completely coincidentally) and thought of sharing it with my fellow Townspeople! Another great link I was sent, http://chocoreve.blogspot.com if you haven’t seen it first – enjoy your Breakfast With the Beatles, your breakfast in the afternoon, and have a great Sunday, guys!

Jul 022007

Did you know that as of this March, a group in Japan was awarded as the current record holders of the World’s Longest Concert? Beating out Canada (who held it since 2002) in the Guinness Book (to my own chagrin). On Thursday night, when The Fiery Furnaces played, the audience was put to the test for almost an hour and 45 minutes of original concert material. For an indie band, that’s kiiind of a long set – especially when you’re not expecting it.

Sparks; in a pensive mood. I would expect a long set from Sparks.

With no breaks between songs when your band sounds more like a melodic Trenchmouth or Red Red Meat fronted by a not less interesting Patti Smith or PJ Harvey, it can test your fortitude and rock n’ roll strength to stay interested – and I like to think that I’ve got a pretty good attention span. Double drummers, and lots of on stage action almost trick you into believing that the momentum and excitement could keep up with itself, but all that just falls to the background once it goes way past the hour mark – even the encore is mixed in with the regular set to “save us” from waiting for them to come back out on stage (we are told).

Is it possible that the band may have exceeded even their own expectations in length? Is it simply a practice in showing us who’s The Boss? After seeing Yo La Tengo‘s live show again earlier this year (not having seen them since the mid-90s), I was lamenting to a friend that I really liked most of the band’s set, but that the actual length of the show went on forever! He completely understood, having seen Yo La Tengo many times himself in recent years, what I was getting at:

Should experimentation take the live stage or go back to the garage?

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May 312007

In July of 2006, I had a near-religious experience. I had the chance to visit an exhibit of one of my favorite photographers of all time; Barrie Wentzell. Barrie was the principal photographer for one of the UK’s most established music magazines between 1965 and 1975 — The Melody Maker. He’s shot everyone from Basie to Barrett, from The Kinks to King, to Lennon and Ono, Ross and Little Richard. To me, these are photos and portraits that take on a personal edge, mood and character of their own.

When I walked past all of the photos in the gallery that I’d only previously seen in books and on the web all of these years, and flipped through his entire catalog of available prints in the hushed silence; I was in awe past anything that I’ve ever felt. These pictures and the stories that I felt must have been behind them were moving and thrilling to get up close to. Having them all in one room at once was completely overwhelming – like being alone with ten of your favorite musicians and having them all to yourself. A friend who was curating the exhibit was kind enough to get Barrie to write me a note on one of his posters for the exhibit (I look over at it now on my wall).

Pete Townshend and Towser (C) Barrie Wentzell

I’m pretty excited to be able to do an interview with someone who’s work is magical and inspiring to me. I’m not sure which photo is your favorite, or if you even have one, but I thought I would put it out to the Hall to see if anyone had any good questions that they’d like to ask Barrie as well when I get the chance to finally speak with him in the coming weeks. I look forward to your responses!

May 222007

Doors’ drummer John Densmore borrowed a great catch quote in his article about a permanent stance of his on greed (that of his bandmates), and continuously having to veto the use of The Doors’ songs for commercial pursuit gains in a past written article for The Nation.

john densmore
John wrote: “Vaclav Havel had it right when he took over as president of Czechoslovakia, after the fall of Communism. He said, ‘We’re not going to rush into this too quickly, because I don’t know if there’s that much difference between KGB and IBM.'”

John Densmore (The Doors) – Article – Riders On the Storm

Is there really any difference between selling your music and selling your music? Wink, wink – right? Is it selling out, or rather, is it just about getting an artist’s music heard and having fun with a “product”?

I have to admit that I have mixed feelings myself when I hear a band I love’s music on the ‘ol boob tube or in a “spot” on the radio. The silliest being The Zombies’ ‘Time of the Season’ being used for Tampax (smirking aside) of all things, and the awe of new and old commercials by hipster-label companies using Pink Moon by Nick Drake (Volkswagen), or Revolution by The Beatles (for Nike, a Yoko OH-NO-YOU-DIDN’T production) and You’re Gonna Miss Me by The 13th Floor Elevators (for Dell). Someone’s already even put together a whole best-of compilation for the songs that have been used to sell certain products, I’m sure – making money off the money makers, so to speak.

Townsman Ismine was so good as to remind me, that while I was writing this – I had to at least make sure that I included The Who Sell Out – and how could I not? The album with its ideas squared firmly around early AM radio ads utilizing catchy music-filled jingles to sell a product. Commercialism in music at its youngest and maybe finest. As if they were daring you to: use our product to sell yours!

She ripped her glittering gown / Couldn’t face another show, no / Her deodorant had let her down / She should have used [insert your choice of deodorant here please – I prefer “Secret”, because it’s made for a man but… well, you know]…

However, what I’d really like to talk to you about today, is BEER. When Mr. Mod originally brought up the article for Motorcycles In Rock, I was already thinking of Beer In Rock. I didn’t know where it could go, and I’m still not even sure that it’s a worthy topic. But, well – here I am.
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May 032007

robot digits

The afternoon I received my Hear/Factor CD was a jubilant one. The envelope had a business address on it, and I routinely (and sometimes randomly) get CDs in the mail from friends, so there was still the suspense of who this one could be from. When I opened it up, there was only a CD inside, a cut out paper listing prog-rock bands like Mahavishnu Orchestra, (put in to up the suspense was my third guess) and a white CD envelope, with the title on the blank CD being “DON’T FEAR THE DIGITS!” scrawled across it – ‘Oh God, a chain letter in CD form!’ were the first thoughts that popped into my head!

It wasn’t until further scrutinizing the CD that I noticed the writing on the back with the actual tracklisting and Hear Factor written on it; I was immediately intrigued. I had no clue who any of these bands were, let alone why there were only 10 tracks appearing on a full CD, 3 of them by different artists, and one a full album (I was guessing).

What had I gotten myself into (click)?

NEW! Here are two more tracks to see where I’m at: this one and this one!

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