April has been kind of a bore so far, guys, and because of that I should submit my utmost apologies. You see, I haven’t written this column in a few weeks because A) my marriage (thank you) and B) there’s barely been anything worth mentioning since I left. It’s hard to write about what you love when there is nothing to love out there. Okay, that sounded kind of dark and was purely unintentional, but you catch my drift . . . I just don’t care about Justin Timberlake so why should you? No seriously, I’m asking, why should you care about his “music”? I like sex as much as the next guy; I just don’t to listen to “sexy music” to get me in the mood. Call me old-fashioned, I guess. That being said, this week isn’t much better (sadly), but I couldn’t keep you hanging any longer so let’s dive in, shall we?
Old TiTs: Palma Violets, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Black Angels, Phosphorescent, This is 40
My pseudo-honeymoon (real one comes this summer!) brought me to the likes of Palma Violets and Phosphorescent . . . both mentioned here. It’s a wonderful feeling when you’re able to find albums in stores, instead of paying shipping/handling and waiting extra weeks. Thank you, Little Five Points in Atlanta. Both artists filled the gaping hole that is the drive home from Atlanta (5 ½ hours) and I’m forever grateful. Violets, as mentioned before, are a glorious, loud rock~n~roll band the likes of the Japandroids or early White Stripes. What I forgot to mention before, and I do feel foolish because of it, is that they’re a British band. Pretty important detail. Anyway, I played the album through twice, back to back, and the time passed with a fluid lucidity as a result. The album is great and I have a feeling that these guys are only on their way up. I fully encourage you to check them out . . . but only if you love rock~n~roll. Standout tracks are the entire freaking album!
Another one I picked up during my travels is the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s latest, Specter at the Feast. I’ve heard of BRMC over the years and have liked a couple of their tunes (Beat the Devil’s Tattoo, for example), but before this album I didn’t own any of their stuff. Released March 19, 2013, this marks BRMC’s seventh studio outing. Not bad. It’s a little heavier than I’m used to, but it certainly is not a bad listen. I don’t miss the $8.00 I spent on the album, but then again I’m not so sure my joy for them has grown any more than it already is. The album tracks are broken up into Chapters, which led me to give it a try in the first place, yet it doesn’t play out like the concept album I envisioned. Like I said, it’s not bad at all, but then again it’s not the Violets either. The physical CD case is laid out like a notebook which is really cool, but the concept of it is kind of lost on me. When I think concept album, I think Tommy or The Wall; this one sounds like music with no intermingling characters, depressions, or enlightenments – just good old fun rock~n~roll. I could be very wrong with that assumption and I encourage you to correct me if so. I’ve given it a few listens, but maybe a few more will fancy me to their direction. Standout tracks are Rival, Hate The Taste, and Fire Walker.
The Black Angels released their fourth album last week, Indigo Meadow, but sadly there is not triumphant war song like Young Men Dead (Passover album) or a stoned dream song like The Boat Song (Phosgene Nightmare EP album), in fact, the coolest thing about the album is the name of it. I listened to it on Spotify while at work and honestly felt kind of bored with it. This is a bit depressing to me being that the Angels are one of the many bands we’ll see in Atlanta in the beginning of May at the Shaky Knees Festival. I’m hoping that seeing them live will convince me they are a band to be reckoned with. I love the two previous songs I mentioned here and own their Phosphene Dream album, but even that one takes a bit of dedication to groove to. We’ll see . . .
Phosphorescent has been on my radar a lot lately ever since I discovered The Mermaid Song from his album, Here’s to Taking It Easy (how cool is that title?). I picked up the album released just before Taking It Easy, called To Willie and I was surprised, delighted, and ultimately left feeling a little dumb. You see, unbeknownst to me at the time, To Willie is an album dedicated to none other than Willie Nelson. Makes sense, right? Well not to me, not at the time, but I’m pleased to announce that it is also an incredible album. An album to drink to, to be sure, but a great one nonetheless. Hell, one of the tracks is literally called I Gotta Get Drunk, and if that doesn’t reveal something about the content of the album I don’t know what could. Every song is a Willie Nelson cover, which normally wouldn’t impress me or encourage me to listen, but given the fact that I’m not that bright when it comes to country music (in my defense, I don’t think the majority of country artists are that bright either) I went into the album like a child who wanders aimlessly into the middle of a crowded movie theater and . . . I digress. The album is great and the latest release, Muchacho, has been ordered and should be delivered to me in a couple of weeks. I will eventually own all of this artist’s albums and I will long enjoy them all. His songwriting is incredible and his voice is a delight also. I rate this Dude high on my music list and so should you.
And now on to movies, er the movie . . . This is 40 is a good movie done along the vein of Funny People (only much better) with some kick-ass music. For example, the wonderfully talented Ryan Adams performs at the movie’s end. Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann’s characters don’t stray far from the couple they played in Knocked Up so if you didn’t like them there, don’t watch this movie. I liked them and liked this movie. Although sort of depressing, I thought it was a realistic look at turning 40 while maintaining familial relationships; it could be a difficult process, but an inevitable one, so best to have a working idea on what to expect. There are a lot of cameo appearances as well as plenty of laughs AND Leslie Mann’s real boobs, so hard to go wrong with those accounts, drama or no. Megan Fox is a stone-cold fox in the movie and when you’re watching her, you nearly forget that she’s not a very good actress, nor a very good decision maker (when it comes to roles, ahem, Jonah Hex!). She wears not much else than a bra or bikini and that’s just alright with me. Her character plays well off of Jason Segel and Chris O’Dowd’s characters, so kudos Megan . . . should I say ‘kudos Judd’? What really delighted me from this movie though is the recurring LOST joke. Being a LOSTie myself, my ears perk up every time I hear an utterance of the phenomenal show and there are plenty here, including a couple of scenes from the final episodes. I’ll give this one an open-hatch rating.
New TiTs: Dawes, Kurt Vile, Hyde Park on Hudson
Not much in the way of releases today, but we’ll make do with what we’ve got: two albums and one movie. Dawes is described by Wikipedia as “an American rock band” and “Folk Rock” – I prefer the latter though. Obviously not a country fan as evidenced above, I am a Southern Rock fan, a Folk fan, and a Folk Rock fan. Along with Dawes, I’d categorize Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers, just to name a couple, as Folk Rock also. It feels like a new musical movement that’s ascending upon the United States and I’m all for it. Being the huge Bob Dylan fan that I am, I can’t help but to think he paved the way for the popularity of this new sound. Stories Don’t End is the third album by Dawes and I am looking forward to it (I shall own it later this day). I have their previous two outings, North Hills and Nothing Is Wrong, and I often recommend them. Standout tracks are When My Time Comes (Hills) and Fire Away (Wrong), if you haven’t heard them, do yourself and your ears a solid and download them. Take my word for it, you don’t even have to preview before you buy. Robert actually turned me on to When My Time Comes and I think he may have heard it from Pat, so naturally Dawes is common occurrence here in the Hatch. Fun Fact: they’re playing with Dylan in Ponte Vedra Beach (very, very near to Jacksonville) on Sunday, May 5th, alas I cannot and will not go due to the Shaky Knees Fest that same weekend. I’m not upset, mind you, but I have a feeling this will be an incredible show. Even if Dylan does sound shitty nowadays Dawes will knock it out of the park, or beach, without a doubt. I only recently found out that Dawes would actually front the incredible artist and it filled my heart with joy knowing that someone so new can be brought on by someone so old because of the music only. It gives me hope for the future.
Kurt Vile is another performer I’ll see at Shaky Knees. He’ll be an excellent, easygoing act in between the phenomenal Delta Spirit and Dr. Dog. His latest album, Wakin On A Pretty Daze (what’s with all these kickass album names!?!?!? Seriously, I’m about to lose my mind in awesomeness!) is his fifth as a solo artist and seventh overall. He is also a founding member of the incredible band, The War On Drugs (check out 2011’s Slave Ambient – it is simply astounding!). A busy dude, to say the least, but the world is a better place because of it. I was unaware of the correlation between he as a solo artist and the band before I did a little bit of research on him for this post, but apparently he has “quit” TWOD to focus more on his solo work. That being said, I liked and listened to the two at different times and fell in love with both. Both stemming from 2011, Vile’s fourth solo outing Smoke Ring For My Halo came out in March and TWOD’s Slave Ambient came out in August. This should speak volumes on my taste in music being that I instantly enjoyed Smoke Ring in early ’11 and Ambient in latter ’11. Now knowing what I know, it makes a lot of sense because the styling’s are very similar, but not in a bad way, more of in an extensive way. I’m guessing Vile left his trademark with TWOD because his influence is very noticeable. I won’t be able to find the CD here in Jacksonville (boy, I’m getting tired of writing that), but with any luck I’ll find at the Fest. Some standout tracks from Smoke Ring are the title track, Baby’s Arms, Runner Ups, and Peeping Tomboy. Standout tracks from Ambient are Best Night, Brothers, I Was There, and Black Water Falls, although I would suggest listening from start to finish, the entire album holds up tremendously well.
The only movie being released today that grabbed my interest is the Bill Murray fronted Hyde Park on Hudson. Not Murray’s typical fare, but it’s hard for me not to watch any movie he’s in. I respect the man to nth degree and he deserves my viewership. To be able to choose what you want to do in Hollywood because you want to do it is simply astounding. Hyde Park tells the story of Franklin D. Roosevelt and his love affair with his sixth cousin, Daisy Suckley during a weekend visit from King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. Like I said, not the typical Murray fare. Wikipedia has it listed as a “comedy-drama” but judging from the previews and plot synopsis, I’m guessing the comedy is few and far between. Robert and I had high hopes that Murray would be in Oscar contention for his performance, but then again, we based that solely on Murray not having an Oscar to begin with (obviously we both feel he should, if for nothing else, for his career as a whole). Alas, no such wish was granted and now we patiently await Murray’s next, undoubtedly awesome, role in Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. I’ll admit it’ll probably be a little while before I get around to watching this one, but feel free to beat me to the punch and let me know how it holds up.
Alright, guys and gals, that’s all for this week. Again, my apologies for not checking in more frequently, but I don’t feel I have a lot to work with. I hear Life of Pi is now at Redbox, so I’ll most likely be updating you on that one very soon. Next week marks the release of Django Unchained (LOVED IT!) with the amazing Christoph Waltz, but more on that next week. Have a good one out there and don’t forget to escape!