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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Foggy Ruins Of Time Best of 2008-Top 50 Songs TOP TEN MIX

I think some people may have been confused about the top 50 songs list. It is in alphabetical order. I know some of you may hate that, but hey that’s how I roll.

However, I realize fifty songs is a lot to track down. So to meet you dedicated readers halfway here is my TOP TEN songs of 2008 IN ORDER to d/l and enjoy as a mix.

You better enjoy it.

1. “Thus Always Horses”-Tinyfolk
2. “Can’t Believe it (Feat. Lil Wayne)”-T-Pain
3. “Anywhere I Lay My Head”-Scarlett Johansson
4. “Cocaine”-Gang Of Virgins
5. “Pygmalion”-Withershins
6. “A Wonderful Year”-Let's Whisper
7. “Let Me Love You”-Candle
8. “Shower”-Watercolor Paintings
9. “I'm On a Talk Show”-Chris Zabriskie
10. “Now Thats What I Call a Circuitous Conversation”-Jaw-Zizzle

Top 50 songs of 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

James Eric's Traumnovelle is out now!

James Eric one of the sweetest and most hardworking musicians/artists out there has released a new album today just in time for those Christmas Blues. It's a real treat.

Just go download it now!

James Eric's Traumnovelle

Promotional Video:

James Eric on Myspace!

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Lorimer Sound: Greetstreets (2008)

Chicago’s The Lorimer Sound has released such a good little EP on Wee Pop! Records that I haven’t been able to review it.

That’s not true, but I have been listening to Greenstreets for about two months now and I feel like words aren’t necessary, but I’ll try my best.

The first song “Brooklyn Bound” sounds straight out of the 50s or 60s with its surf rock/girl group (even though the band isn’t all women) appeal. It is a ray of sunshine and an incredibly catchy tune. I have the tendency to clap along with this song. It’s a really damn good song, and the guitar and organ solos are no less orgiastic and enthralling.

Although one may be quick to accuse The Lorimer Sound of staying too close to their influences I don’t know if really matters in this case. I’m sure we’ve heard the down-by-the pier rollicking of “Block Party” a million times before (even that wacky drum solo in the middle), but it’s still great no matter who’s doing it.

The rest of the tracks blend into each other in a good way. Greenstreets is the kind of album that you could leave on repeat and it would feel like one endless summer to your ears. The Lorimer Sound of has definitely captured that sound.

The Lorimer Sound-"Brooklyn Bound"

The Lorimer Sound on Myspace!
Wee Pop! Records

Foggy Ruins Of Time Best of 2008-Top 50 Songs

Mac Paint program ftw!

I exponentially listen to more and more music each year and this year proved to be overwhelming, but also exciting.

I really tried to get this list down to thirty, but while hacking away arduously I looked up and realized I was only down to around forty-five. So screw it I’m doing top fifty songs.

Some of these fifty songs represent the best song of the respective artists’ release and some represent the song I listened to more than any other. Some overlap. Either way these fifty songs captured my imagination and inspiration more than any other songs this year.

(note: In alphabetical order)

“Anywhere I Lay My Head”-Scarlett Johansson
This is probably the number 1 song I identify with most this year. Its atmosphere was perfect for my walks back and forth from campus in Wellington, New Zealand or the rainy mornings I spent in Tokyo, Japan.

“August 4th”-Madeline Ava
Acapella songs are really hard, but Madeline Ava makes it seem so darn easy. The first line is simply exquisite.

“Bigger Than Yours”-Girl Band
A collective of sweet gals from Santa Barbara (including Watercolor Paintings), this song is so freakin’ sexy, and funny. The harmonies are incredibly sweet.

“A Bird And A Wire”-Morgan Enos
Lyrically this song seems beyond little Morgan Enos’s years, but I hardly think anyone cares. It’s a beautiful piece of poetry and the words sound delightful.

“Campus”-Vampire Weekend
It was hard to pick just one Vampire Weekend song for this list, but I like this one because it's about school and that is basically my life right now.

“Can’t Believe it (Feat. Lil Wayne)”-T-Pain
OMG I love this song. That’s the only way I can describe this tune. T-Pain is at the top of his game and nobody can fuck with Lil Wayne. Slightly melancholy, no joint was hotter this year.

“Careen”-The Diggs
I don’t really know any other songs by them, but this song rocks so much. I can’t even tell if the lead singer is a guy or girl, but that doesn’t really matter. The mood is perfect.

“Cocaine”-Gang Of Virgins
The best version of the song, Rob and Max truly have created an awesome piece of thoughtful psychedelia. The end hits me the most.

“Crazy”-Your Yellow Dress
Carrie has a gorgeous voice and here it truly shines. Alex’s production is top notch. I love everything about this song. It’s catchy and very pretty.

“Forest of Legs II”-Redbear.
Although I am not in love with all of Hollywood Taoism, this song is fucking great. The song froths and bubbles explosively along with changing time signatures and propulsive drumming. Haunting is the only proper way to describe it.

“Geography”-Thao with The Get Down Stay Down
Vivian Thao is like Cat Power only with a sense of humor. I love the way this song bounces along and nobody pronounces “abandon” better than she does.

“Gila”-Beach House
This song is a behemoth. Buoyed along by a dusty organ line and lighsaber-like guitar licks, Victoria Legrand’s vocals are stuck on permanent reverb in this cavern of despair.

“The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations On A Shaker Hymn)”-Weezer
This song is so ridiculous it hurts. This song is so epic it hurts. I know Rivers Cuomo would appreciate these sentiments.

“I Dream Of Antarctica”-Existential Hero
I think this song surprised everyone. I really love it. The song is all about a atmosphere and going to the Antarctic Center in Christchurch, NZ solidified my desire to visit that desolate continent on the bottom of the Earth.

“I Hope...”-James Eric
Leave it to James Eric to make a beautiful song with hope in the title. Really James, you inspire me so much. The ending is hilarious, poignant and really sweet.

“I Tried To Die Young”-Marc With A C
This is Marc’s most well written song. It is so relevant and so telling of this day and age it should belong in museums. However it's probably better that it’s in our hearts instead.

“I Will Not Apologize (Feat. Porn and Dice Raw)”-The Roots
The keyboards are as dirty and grimy as the words themselves here. This song makes me want to fuck shit up. I feel tough when listening to it.

“I'm On a Talk Show”-Chris Zabriskie
This song flows. Initially not my favorite, it has become so thoroughly ingrained in my head I can’t imagine a time without it. I am constantly humming this song. It’s a great song in the pantheon of minimalism.

“I've Been To A City”-Prince Edward Island
Captures the feeling it describes perfectly. One of the most satisfying songs of 2008.

“Just Do It”-A Drum And An Open Window
Although I was disappointed with their new album, this song definitely hits some high marks for me. The drumming is so sure-footed and the harmonies are their best yet. Very inspiring stuff.

“Let Me Love You”-Candle
I love the way the words fly off Kevin Coons’ tongue that work in tandem with the finger-picking acoustic guitar. And when the keyboard line comes in, goddamn what a pretty song.

“Let The Beat Build”-Lil Wayne
This song is so full of joy it’s ridiculous. I love it love it love it. This is why Lil Wayne is the greatest rapper alive.

“Liquid Dance (ft. Palakkad Sriram & Madhumitha)”-A.R. Rahman
I have no idea what’s going on in this song, but it’s probably the best representation of the kind of schizophrenic Bollywood/techno/hip hop music on the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack.

“living in an abandoned firehouse with you”-Manipulator Alligator
This song is beautiful pure and simple. I don’t know how this song was made musically, but it feels so right. My favorite Magnetic Fields cover.

“Love You Always Forever (w/The Anchorites)”-SFIAS
It is hardly a cover, but it is probably the most amazing thing I’ve heard all year. It swallows me whole and I’m fine with that.

“Monochromatic World”-Secret Owl Society
Secret Owl Society knows how to make a song. This piece is no less than brilliant, brimming with emotion and a fleeting sense of nostalgia. It surprises me again and again.

“Nine Cocktails (before we set sail)”-Jacob Borshard
The black humor in Jacob Borshard’s songs is so adorable and it’s in full force here. I always smile when he sings, “A little bit crazy is all right.”

“Nom De Guerre”-The Lonesome Architects
This song is so folky, bluesy, soulful and truly joyful. This song is a classic already.

“Now Thats What I Call a Circuitous Conversation”-Jaw-Zizzle
This song brings a smile to my face. Seriously, this guy has an unpretentious flow and great beats. The sampling is hilarious, well; the whole song is so much fun.

“Poor Directions In Rabbits Blood”-Adam Faucett
I played two shows with Adam this year and this song is just so pretty and the ending cuts right through me.

It’s only a demo, but I think it was meant to be this way. I really love this song. It makes me feel miserable, but I don’t care.

“Rest”-Patrick Ripoll
This might be the saddest song of the year. I don’t know how one can feel more despair than Patrick does here. It’s almost painful to listen to, but I listen anyway.

“Robocop”-Kanye West
Probably the “happiest” song on 808s & Heartbreak, the strings are so happy for what Kanye’s singing about. It is weird, but I really like how silly it is on one level.

“The Sea In San Diego”-Iamb
Ross says he doesn’t think this works live, but here it feels really real. I can imagine this as part of a film soundtrack and once the banjo kicks in, it’s a really inspirational number.

“Shower”-Watercolor Paintings
For a while I was afraid Rebecca’s lyrics were getting too cute and distant. Then she had to go and prove me wrong. This is probably the most emotional song she has written and I can’t get enough of it.

“Souled Out!!!“-Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band
The title itself is worthy of praise. Conor decided to ditch the Bright Eyes moniker this year and make a set of songs filled with lots humor and heart. This song is the best of them.

“Spaces Between”-A Kit Fox
There is so much earnest desperation in this song. He reminds me of me back in the day. I really dig this song a lot the more and more I listen to it.

“Start A One Man Band!”-Mexican Kids At Home
This song rocks harder than anything else this year. Stomping rhythms, steady marimba and fierce guitar, Mexican Kids At Home know how to bring it.

“Strawberry Swing”-Coldplay
Another disappointing album, but in the ashes this song shines through. Breezy, whimsical and romantic, it’s very sweet.

“Temporary Tattoo”-One Happy Island
I know the metaphor is silly, but the music is so melancholy and the melody so perfect I have become obsessed with this One Happy Island song.

“This (old) House”-Linguistic Banter
I love this song so much I covered it. Written at fifteen by Grace Noel Glasson, it is smart and melancholy and whimsical all at the same time. And if I am correct this was her first song!

“Thus Always Horses”-Tinyfolk
Can everyone just tell me to shut up now? This is probably my favorite song of 2008. I’ve listened to it way too many times it isn’t funny. It is the best Apocalyptic R&B-tronica song released this year.

“What Do We Do Now?”-The Just Joans
This song is one of the other saddest songs of 2008. The samples reinforce the general feeling and at this point in my life the sentiment is all too real.

“Whatever You Like”-T.I.
Sorry I live in a vacuum. I know lots of people find this song annoying, but fuck you I like this song a lot. The beat is hot, the bass engrossing, the tone chill and T.I. is totally coasting in a good way.

“When It Breaks Our Bones”-Jon Crocker
This song is amazing live and is no slouch on The Dust Will Settle. It is Jon at his most passionate. The album version has these great circus interludes that really add to the atmosphere of the experience.

“A Wonderful Year”-Let's Whisper
I’ve been throwing the word “sweet” around like there’s no tomorrow, but seriously Let’s Whisper have it in spades and this number is catchy and great. No cynicism allowed here.

“You Can Do Better Than Me”-Death Cab For Cutie
This song is over the top, ridiculous and really great. Never has there been a better use of sleigh bells in music than here. It’s saccharine, sarcastic and awful, but feels very true.

“Your Ghost”-Ryland Bouchard
Hushed and slightly off-kilter, former Robot Ate Me dude gets even quieter. This song is not of this world; ethereal and fleeting.

“14 Forever”-Stars
We’ve always needed a rallying cry for immaturity that didn’t involve the words “fall,” “out” and/or “boy”. This is it.

“123456 Pokemon”-Lemon Demon
The creator of Potter Puppet Pals apparently makes music. This song is random and silly, but with just enough feeling to get stuck in my head and make me laugh.

Phew! That was a lot of work. I wish I could give you a link to every song, but that’s a little unfeasible at the moment. The links below should help for the not-so-mainstream artists and DIY musicians.

Join me sometime next week for the top 20 albums of 2008.

CLLCT for most of your DIY/Lo-Fi artist needs

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I Believe In Harvey MILK (2008)

MILK, the new Gus Van Sant film about assassinated gay activist and 1977 San Francisco State Supervisor Harvey Milk, is anything but conventional.

The film starts off on a rocky foot quickly skimming through Milk’s failed attempts at gaining office in San Francisco. I think maybe if Van Sant and screenwriter Dustin Lance Black had spent more time on just one or two events leading to the ’77 win the beginning might have played smoother. A small complaint aside, seeing Harvey Milk’s transformation from an inspired go-getter to an enrapturing delicate leader is fascinating.

And as everyone has already stated (skeptics and fans), Sean Penn gives a phenomenal performance as Harvey Milk. He really is quite beautiful here. The way he interacts with his friends and enemies, tenderness and humor, makes me wish I could have met the man himself. Sean Penn becomes the engrossing personality and all ego and vanity are thrown out the door.

The film hops and skips a long through Milk’s trials, but really hits its stride when the passage of Prop 6 (The ability to fire teachers based on sexual orientation) looms ahead in 1978. Milk tells his boyfriend Scott Smith (a wonderful James Franco) that these fights are bigger than him, bigger than their relationship. Scott can’t take the neglect so he leaves. Milk was a man (a hero) who suffered greatly for the cause, but he took it all in stride and with a smile.

The battle becomes more than just cries against Anita Bryant (a homophobic hate monger and former pop star) when off-balance San Francisco State Supervisor Dan White (the extraordinary Josh Brolin) starts to become obsessed with Milk. He watches him constantly on television, invites him to his son’s christening, tries to make random deals with him and in one truly chilling scene White, drunk and late for Harvey’s birthday, confesses some very creepy thoughts and pathetic assertions. White seems to be an embittered ex-lover, jealous of Milk and his popularity. Dan White wasn’t a ridiculous homophobe, just a lonely man who didn’t know how to communicate. And that’s the tragedy.

As glorious as the victory was in 1978, Milk knew that they needed to keep pushing forward and I think the power of MILK is in how contemporary this all feels. This is no dusty biopic lionizing Milk and his achievements. MILK is a rallying cry through the words and images of the man. Harvey Milk was a kind man, maybe too kind, but regardless you can feel his spirit here alive and full of wisdom.

I can’t even imagine where we would all be today if Milk was still alive; at least we still have his message and his words, “You gotta give ‘em hope.”


Harvey Milk's last words on tape

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Get Interrupted In Rachel Getting Married (2008)

And the best movie of 2008 done in the shaky cam style goes to the Jonathan Demme directed Rachel Getting Married (Sorry Cloverfield!).

A few days before Rachel (an impressive Rosemarie DeWitt) is set to be married her troubled sister Kym (a transformative Anne Hathaway) is released from rehab to attend. As much as Kym wants to return to a normal life, her past actions bubble up to heated moments between everyone in her family; her father Paul (a tender Bill Irwin) tries desperately to keep it all together.

Shot in a “family movie” shaky cam style, Rachel Getting Married manages to make the now begrudged form into something fresh and interesting again. The camera chases Kym as she fast-talks and indecisively let’s loose during some inappropriate but understandable times. During a pre-wedding dinner, the cameras hand-held nature increases the tension tenfold than any static shots could induce.

I must spend some time talking about Anne Hathaway here. She loses herself so purely into the role. Half the time I didn’t even know it was her. It isn’t that she so much sheds her good girl image (she did that in Brokeback Mountain when she showed her tits), it’s that none of her past work or personal life come into play. She is Kym and only Kym here.

This film is all about interrupted moments of life. Moments don’t rise and fall like traditional film structures; arguments get deflated, laughs turn to tears and catharsis is short lived. There is a scene when Rachel starts to call Kym out on her attention grabbing behavior, but before Kym can call out Rachel on her manipulative attitude, Rachel announces she’s having a baby. Similar moments like this happen again and again reminding me of the fleeting nature of emotion.

Props to Jenny Lumet (Daughter of the great Sidney Lumet) for creating a tightly wound screenplay that for its particularly loose nature stays incredibly focused and hits home in all the right (if sometimes uncomfortable) places.

Jonathan Demme, the ringleader of it all has made a finely crafted piece that never feels cliché, melodramatic or forced. Anne Hathaway has given a powerful performance and her fellow castmates never back down either. Rachel Getting Married is an intimate film that shows how subtle dramatic and joyous moments play out in real life with friends and family.


Rachel Getting Married on IMDB

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Year In Review: Tinyfolk 2008

This is a segment I hope to do once a year where I pick one artist I really admire and trace their journey through that respective year.

Naturally for 2008 I chose Indiana’s Tinyfolk, Russ Woods and (sometimes) Meghan Lamb.

It’s no secret the praises I sing about Tinyfolk and how much coverage I have allotted to them, but trust me when I say Tinyfolk is the most interesting DIY act out there right now.

2008 was a unique year for Tinyfolk, chock full of releases, but only one true album. Is this indicative of changing times? Does the album format even work anymore? I’d like to think so, but Russ’s interests came in little bursts of Garageband folk, cataclysmic R&B, schizophrenic electronica and by the end of the year stripped down ukulele pop with all of it wrapped up in a nice Post Easy Listening bow.

So let’s do this release by release with a bit of other news thrown in for good measure.

Valley Forge (February 2008):

Released in hardcopy (still never got mine!) on Sanitary Records in March, this split with Manipulator Alligator is most directly a follow up to 2007’s Bill. The songs display a beginning obsession with the Mac’s Garageband program and use its tools to bring on the weirdness in a fun, if solemn way. “Valley Forge” uses a standard click track with Tinyfolk’s signature baritone ukulele to weave a tale somehow relating George Washington and the film Hustle & Flow. One of Russ’s first instances of sampling appears on “On Fire” to a frightening effect. “Golden Fur” recaptures if not trumps the epicness of Bill with its stomping rhythms and harsh guitar playing. The split ends tenderly with a reading of a poem (I can’t remember the author) and it’s terribly pretty.

Jack’s Broth (March 2008):

As I wrote in my original review of this teaser EP, Jack’s Broth is in many ways an exorcism of everything before to prepare us for Sic Semper Equis, his next album. “The Antelope” follows in the same tradition as Valley Forge with pitch corrected vocals and lots of minor chords. Meghan finally shows up again on a cover of “The Duke Of Earl” that is truly magic. Also on this baritone ukulele-free EP is two songs relating to the love life of Dumbledore the master wizard from Harry Potter. Both songs are delicate and “Before Our Beards Were Long” is really really sad.

Sic Semper Equis (June 2008):

There is before Sic Semper Equis and there is after Sic Semper Equis. My hyperbole praise of Tinyfolk’s postmodern masterpiece is probably irritating by now, but I still can’t get enough of it. “If I Was a Person,” a classical guitar prologue, quietly builds us towards the epic R&B auto-tuned “Thus Always Horses,” my favorite Tinyfolk song and one of my favorite songs this year. The song washes over you like a cold shower or a dive into a cold lake. Its imagery of panicking animals in response to Y2K is at once hilariously absurd and fittingly melancholy. The whole album straddles that line with songs like “Little Goat,” the “I told you so” animal in the forest, “The Forest Knows” a hip-hop exercise featuring Redbear. and Mike Lightening observing the total chaos around them and “Animals Are Stupid,” the other epic beast on the album that wraps up the story, but leaves us with plenty of questions to ponder.

Steel Magnolias (July 2008):

So what do you do after you’ve created a masterpiece? If you’re like Russ you say “Fuck it” and make your half of a split with Brother Bird into a bizarre series of electronica tunes that eschew most melody and traditional song forms for blips, bleeps and buzzes filled out by clever samples and lyrics that are probably more upfront than ever before. It really grows on you I must say. The lumbering “Is There Sex After Death?” one of the more traditional songs on Steel Magnolias is anything but actually. Necrophilia has never been sexier.

Catfood Shotgun Goddamn (August 2008):

Mostly comprised of Podcast theme songs, Catfood Shotgun Goddamn is a coming to the surface from the proverbial trenches dug by Sic Semper Equis and Steel Magnolias. “Ear Drugs Theme,” the new intro for James Eric’s Podcast, is a beautiful little song that samples the Golden Girls tv show of all things. The highlight and star of this album is Tinyfolk’s cover of the Hello Shark song, “Bubble Guns.” Truly one of the most melancholy techno songs, it has a fierce sense of energy and a linear revelatory follow up to Sic Semper Equis.

Look To The Sky!: Tinyfolkian Scraps (October 2008):

As it says in the name, Look To The Sky! is a collection of b-sides and offshoots even more random than Catfood Shotgun Goddamn. Tracing all the way back to 2005 til now, this collection works surprisingly well as an album. “Lost In Found,” an old school baritone ukulele Tinyfolk song provides a sweet contrast to the bumping and pulsing electronica, “Sleeper Sofa,” which in turn careens us into “Stay Poor,” a terrifying nightmare cover of a Real Live Tigers song. “A Terrible Crash (Magic Horses!),” seemingly follows up “Bubble Guns” with more techno beats, but it is more obtuse and a lot of fun.

The things we cherish are small indeed. (December 2008):

Things come full circle with this four song EP recorded on baritone ukulele with no overdubs outside on Russ and Meghan’s porch. The two recently got engaged and this EP, especially “Lunches,” Tinyfolk’s most touching song this year, is evidence of this in many ways.

It should be noted that throughout the year Tinyfolk appeared on several tribute albums (21 Love Songs and The Roaring Nineties), did a collaboration two song EP with Mike Downey together called A Football Fields and was a regular contributor to the monthly CLLCT compilations.

It seems in 2008 that with the release of Sic Semper Equis it would have been impossible to try and follow it up in any traditional form. So instead listeners were treated with a bevy of EPs and single tracks that experimented so wildly that the only place Tinyfolk could end up at the end of the year was back to where he started.

Funnily enough Tinyfolk, inspired by James Eric, just released Owling, a greatest hits album going all the way back to Russ’s first project A Pilgrimage To Save This Human Race.

So where will Tinyfolk be heading into 2009. Well rumors are afoot of a new album and a gig composing a student film. Little is certain in the Tinyfolk universe other than that it’ll be weird and pretty darn awesome.

Youtube version of "Lunches"

Best of Tinyfolk 2008:
"Valley Forge"
"Duke Of Earl"
"Can You Feel The Love Tonight?"
"Thus Always Horses"
"Is There Sex After Death?"
"Rabbit Washington"
"Bubble Guns"
"A Terrible Crash (Magic Horses!)"

Tinyfolk on Myspace!
Tinyfolk on CLLCT!
Previous Tinyfolk articles on Foggy!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Find YOUR True Love In Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

Simply put, Danny Boyle’s latest film, Slumdog Millionaire, about a young man who ends up winning a game show in order to find his true love, is an enrapturing, exuberant experience unlike anything in the cinema this year (or in general).

This film has a pulse. Slumdog Millionaire is a living breathing entity and we hold onto it for dear life from the very first couple frames. Jamal and Salim, two orphaned brothers, outrace police and racial infighting. They manage to escape the evil underground of child enslavement and they find themselves swindling rich American tourists all before the age of twelve it seems.

And it’s all a day in the life for a slumdog like Jamal (played in his oldest form by newcomer Dev Patel). Underneath that overwhelmed exterior (while being tortured-either in the hot seat of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? or by Mumbai police officers) is a survivor, a boy who grew up in the streets making the most of what was within his grasp.

But outside his reach is Latika, a girl who has crisscrossed in and out of his life so much that they simply must be meant for each other. We know that it is written, but I don’t think anyone in the audience really cares. I never have felt as much joy as when the two lovers finally get their chance to be together.

Danny Boyle once again proves he can take any established genre, (Horror, Sci-Fi, or children’s film) and in this case Bollywood, and transcend the established tropes while simultaneously honoring them. Trust me, stay for the credits, it isn’t the same movie without them.

What I look most about the movie is how every element explosively intertwines in service of the story. Chris Dickens editing style matches the chaotic, but defining nature of this modern day fairy tale. A.R. Rahman’s score assisted by Sri-Lankan rapper M.I.A. really capture the postmodern spirit of India today borrowing from traditional themes while injecting it with modern day pacing. Anthony Dod Mantle’s exhaustive cinematography is rough around the edges, but very precise at capturing all the details.

Some scholarly folks may be thinking, “OMG liek Danny Boyle is British, how can he reflect the day to day hustle of Indian folks?” Fact. This film is not as overly sentimental as some critics argue. This criticism originates from thinking that in order to be happy one must grow up in a white suburban neighborhood or have a lot of money. The reason that Slumdog Millionaire finds so much joy is because Jamal, Salim and Latika have gone through so damn much. This film deals with some truly tragic issues, but Danny Boyle and screenwriter Simon Beaufoy capture the hope that ultimately shines through.

Seriously folks, Slumdog Millionaire is one hell of a movie, why haven’t you seen it already?


Slumdog Millionaire on IMDB

Feel A Little Higher With Humboldt County (2008)

Humboldt County, written and directed by newcomers Darren Grodsky and Danny Jacobs is NOT a stoner movie. I repeat: if you were expecting another Pineapple Express you will be disappointed, but then enlightened if you decide to stay.

If anything Humboldt County, about a nearly failed med student named Peter (played with poignant precision by Jeremy Strong) who manages, through sleeping with a stranger (Fairuza Balk!), finds himself stuck in California’s lost coast, is like Garden State but Grodsky and Jacobs manage to freshen up familiar plot devices, remove the clutter and keep things spontaneous and reflective without all the gimmicks.

Peter was always told by his father to never “sit idly, there is too much life to live,” but it isn’t long before the pot gets to his head. Or maybe it’s life telling him to slow down for once and admire his surroundings. His stay with a former UCLA physics professor, Jack (an amazing Brad Dourif), and his family start to give Peter a bit of perspective on things he may have been too scared to think about due to his tyrannical father.

Humboldt County wafts and bubbles along at a meditative pace with moments that never overstay their welcome. My only complaint is an unnecessary death at the end. The film works well, if not better without it, because Peter, Jack, his wife Rosie (played delicately by Frances Conroy) and adopted son Max (Chris Messina) all endure deeper more metaphysical pains from their past and present. Smoking doesn’t alleviate these scars, but it allows for a moment to reflect. Something we all need.

In this modern world we all hope for salvation and in Humboldt County you may just find it.


Humboldt County on IMDB
Directors Darren Grodsky & Danny Jacobs' production blog

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Mp3 of the Week: “Can’t Believe It” by the very busy spider

The very busy spider is terry xiao out of San Leandro, California and continues the trend of cute girls playing ukulele who love hip hop.

BUT, what I really love about Terry and especially her cover of T-Pain and Lil Wayne’s “Can’t Believe It” is the level of earnestness on display here. There is no irony when she sings mournfully about the all the things she wants to do for the lover in question and as she hits the “ooh oohs” of the chorus everything falls wonderfully into place. The ukulele is especially breezy here and really sets a melancholy tone that is merely hinted at in the original.

Terry’s rendition is definitely one of my favorite covers of 2008. Check out the rest of the very busy spider’s stuff too; it’s as equally feisty and genuine.

the very busy spider-"Can't Believe It"

the very busy spider on Myspace!