Jan 18, 2011

My Playlist January 2011

Nach langer Zeit mal wieder der persönliche Senf zu guter (oder auch nicht so guter) Musik.

A Skylit Drive - Wires... and the Concept of Breathing (2008)

(What a say-nothing ordinary record cover...)

Ich habe mir die Mühe gemacht, mal zu untersuchen, was die heutige verlorene Generation von "Emos" so zum Schwarzfärben ihrer Haare und zum Kajallinienziehen inspiriert... Und ich bin auf diese Band (u.a.) gestoßen. Für alle, die Coheed und Cambria auf der zweiten Ebene der Turbine Blade vermisst haben. Hat Claudio Sanchez Geschwister? Oder machen seine Kinder schon Musik? - Zumindest vom Phänotyp her (glücklicherweise?) nicht auszumachen.
Ich zitiere mal die deutsche Wikipedia (dies ist kein wissenschaftlicher Artikel, also geht das): "Die Band ist bekannt für den einzigartigen, hohen Gesang von Michael Jagmin und den dazu im Kontrast stehenden harten Screams des Bassisten Brian White [...]" Das lassen wir mal unkommentiert stehen. Oder doch nicht. Unsere schnelllebige Gesellschaft erlaubt es jüngeren Generationen wohl nicht, die Wurzeln ihrer musikalischen Vorlieben nachzuvollziehen. Ach, und außerdem ist es "experimenteller Post-Hardcore", tut mir leid für die Fehleinschätzung oben (das Label "Emo" ist wohl negativ besetzt?).

Würden A Skylit Drive wissenschaftliche Texte verfassen, hätten sie in jedem Fall ein riesiges Plagiatsverfahren am Hals. Und wer weiß - vielleicht haben sie Glück, dass sie nicht noch eine Anklage dafür bekommen, dass sie einen Vorstimmbrüchigen hinters Mikro geklemmt haben.
Nichts daran ist neu, natürlich, aber irgendwie geht die Mischung doch ab, und ich mag dieses Falsettgefitsche und -gekritsche irgendwie. Für die nötigen Rasiermesser sorgen ein paar wohlgestreute Shout-Einsätze mit Doublebass-Gewitter und der okkasionelle Pathoseinsatz (Track 11 "Ex Machina"). Meine positive Einschätzung rührt sicherlich zur Hälfte aus Nostalgie, aber es gibt mit absoluter Sicherheit schlechtere Kapellen. Ich würde sogar sagen, A Skylit Drive gehören zu den besten 10% im populären Emo.

Anspieltipp:  Track 12 "All it takes to make my hair grow" - Oh, Verzeihung, es heißt natürlich: "... to make your dreams come true"
Schmucke Jungs auch, lange Haare sind wohl wieder in und zeigen, dass sie eigentlich mit Metalmilch aufgezogen wurden... Aber nein, Metal ist ja eigentlich doof, sexistisch und kennt keine wahren Gefühle. Nur die Haare, die fetzen. Wenn man sie durch die Luft schleudern kann... Werden eigentlich mittlerweile Emo-Castings für neue Boygroups durchgeführt?

A Strange Isolated Place - Reflection on 2010

A very nice ambient mix from London. Here is their home page.

  ASIP - Reflection on 2010 by astrangelyisolatedplace

You can download it for free, this is the link to the post.

Marvin Gaye - What's Going on (DJ Friction Extended Disco Mix 2011)

Very cool mix of a great song.

  Garvin Maye - What's Going On (DJ Friction Extended Disco Mix 2011) by DJ Friction

More nice soulful Re-edits by DJ Friction (formerly collaborating with successful German Soul/Hip-Hop Act Freundeskreis) here.

Pianos Become the Teeth - Old Pride (2009)

What a monster of a record!!
I really think I've found a new favourite band in the genre of emo with screamed vocals. This band emits an incredible energy and features an astonishing drummer! The screams are perfect, very emotional and melodic (no Orchid- or Cease Upon the Capital-style screaming). The music is not as hardcore, but could be described as 'post-rock', meaning long songs with complex structures (think of Envy) - I've read them being described as 'ambient hardcore'. Is Pianos Become the Teeth a band which might be able to turn this into something that gets popular with the average listener of emotive music? -- Perhaps the next record (due soon in 2011) will tell. I for my part cannot wait. (Promising new song, New Normal, is on their myspace.)

On the moment together with Suis la Lune my favourite Screamo band. On tour in Europe with the aforementioned in March/April. Watch out for them! Best package deal in years!
Here's for an impression of the raw energy and superb drum play:

The Word Alive - Deceiver (2010)

A revolution in sound! Something you've never heard before! The definition of the shape of rock music to come!
Kidding, of course.
However unoriginal, this album is fun to listen to. It features a drummer like a machine, some nice metal guitar licks, and a good proportion of clean vocals and shouts. Definitely one of the better metal-core records, its greatest advantage being the pure pop appeal of the choruses. In one and the same song one can swing fists pretending to mosh-pit in one's bedroom, and shout pathetically one's emotions in stadium rock pose.
Broadly comparable with As I Lay Dying, but The Word Alive put more emphasis on pop melodies and clean vocals, without missing out on the metal aspects. Good and highly marketable mixture. And yeah, half the band looks like they were being casted into a metal boygroup.

Miss May I - Monument (2010)

Yeah, I confess to listening a lot of metal-core lately.
But The Word Alive and Miss May I simply put two very good records out in 2010. With that thick a production, great guitar riffs, double bass thunderstorms, and the occasional hymnic melody like the sun rising over a field of war, this is just what I need from time to time. It may not be the most sophisticated of music, but sometimes it seems there can be none greater. Further than that, there is not much to say that is much different from above (read 'The Word Alive'), except perhaps for my impression that Miss May I look less casted than The Word Alive. But I have not investigated either band's 'long-standing' rootedness in any 'local scene' or anything like that. For now I am simply enjoying the kick their music is offering.

Oh, and while we're at it, you have to have a look at these two great kids covering all sorts of metal stuff in their parents' (?) living room - if not, they must have a really weird taste in art. Just look at the fancy pictures on the wall. The furnishing is actually hilarious in relation to the kind of music that is being played within it. I love the pure irony of it. Metal is born in the safest of families.

Maybeshewill - Not for Want of Trying (2008)

The monthly (daily?) dose of instrumental postrock.
Maybeshewill are one of the better outfits in this growing niche. And they are not American (ought to like this for the simple reason of cherishing diversity) but from Leicester. Occasional use of samples and electronic music definitely fits in well with this kind of music. Also, they seem to have quite an ethical and critical political position, at least some of their songs feature very interesting and sometimes telling spoken word parts, best illustrated perhaps in the amazing video that somebody did for the song 'Not for Want of Trying'.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1nrtRLhvuQ (no embedding possible)

Although I've been listening to both their full-length records a lot recently, I will introduce 'Not For Want of Trying' here especially for its gorgeous song of the same name. A new album is announced for this year, and this is definitely something you should mark in the calendar. The band is touring Germany in February.
This nice song, 'Co-Conspirators', was featured on their second album, 'Sing the Word Hope in Four-Part Harmony'.

Maxence Cyrin - Novö Piano (2010)

Something very different to the above. I heard his cover of the Pixies' 'Where is my mind' very often on French Radio fip, and it is just a wonderful interpretation of a wonderful song. There is no instrument as wholesome and pleasant as a piano, no effects needed, no strings attached (sic).
Besides this song, on the record you will also find interesting fresh interpretations of 'Around the World' (Daft Punk) and the more recent hit 'Kids' (MGMT), mong others.

Jan 9, 2011

Movies to watch in 2011

Here is my take on movies I am looking forward to seeing in 2011, in no particular order. You are welcome to comment and make suggestions!


Looks like a great indie movie with one of my favourite and one of the most underrated of actors in it, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Brick, 500 Days...) who plays a pot-smoking metal-head.
There is no trailer to the movie, it's only got a clip on the homepage, but it sure sounds great. Oh, and Natalie Portman is in it, and it was directed by Spencer Susser (short film I Love Sarah Jane).

Pirates of the Caribbean – On Stranger Tides

Yeah, I know, from indie to...
But the first three movies have been great fun, and you just gotta love Cap'n Jack Sparrow. Trailer looks awesome (might it be for the "addition-by-subtraction" of the-other-two-main-characters-whose-names-I-forget? - Anyway, Penelope Cruz is a surefire upgrade over Keira K.),


Same combination (Gore Verbinski + Jonny Depp) in anime, fun, and the West. Looks really fun,

especially considering that this is Jonny Depp acting for real, not smart-ass animation technology,


127 Hours

I didn't like Danny Boyle's last film, this bestselling pseudo-Indian fairy-tale with the bonbon-sweet ending (despite featuring Freida Pinto aka the most beautiful face in recent film history). But this one here looks like an engaging story coupled with an academy-ripe performance by James Franco. The trailer features one of the very best rock songs recently written, Band of Horses' The Funeral, and perhaps that was the last tiny detail that got me totally enamoured with this movie. Gotta watch it!

True Grit

The annual dose of Wild Wild West. The real reason to look forward to this one, however, is its being directed by the Coen brothers. With Jeff Bridges and Määäätt Dääääimon. Trailer does not show that much yet, but it's supported by Jonny Cash, raising coolness levels by 200%.


Simon Clegg and Nick Frost, need I say more? This is going to be hilarious British humour by the Superbad-director. About an alien and lots of geek-stuff. Trailer.

The Tree of Life

Terrence Malick, Brad Pitt, and Sean Penn. Looks highly artistic, symbolic, and meaningful, might be heavy... Trailer

Battle: Los Angeles

Alien: Invasion. Unoriginal story, but looks like it is finally possible to combine explosive action with decent scripting, something like Transformers without Tourette and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Twilight - Breaking Dawn

Just kidding. Although it is good we have those kinds of movies, so we can read entertaining reviews.


Two major reasons: Javier Bardem and Barcelona, Trailer. I'll just quote imdb: This is the story of Uxbal (Javier Bardem). Devoted father. Tormented lover. Mystified son. Underground businessman. Friend of the disposed. Ghost seeker. Spiritual sensitive. A survivor at the invisible margins in today's Barcelona ... Uxbal's story is simple: just one of the complex realities that we all live in today.

Red State

Something for the scientist of religion in me. "A group of misfits encounter fundamentalism gone to the extreme in Middle America."

The Way Back

imdb again: "A young military officer (Sturgess) leads an escape from a hellish gulag in Soviet-occupied Poland during WWII. Making a pact with six companions, the group embarks on a daring mission across Asia to hopeful safety in India." With Colin Farrell (whom I consider an actor since Bruges).

Essential Killing

Vincent Gallo as an escaped prisoner in hostile environment, his usual enigmatic self. I don't especially like the movie's name, though.

Jan 2, 2011

Sounds of Stockholm - Doc

Beautifully shot doc on some of Stockholm's musicians. Darn, these Swedes are just awfully talented!

Sounds Of Stockholm from valerie toumayan on Vimeo.

Jan 1, 2011

Piece of Poetry - You still roam these floors

You still roam the floors

Of my past and memories

And I feel like a haunted house


But if an exorcist were to make you go away

I’d beg you to stay

I'd lock myself up

And not let you leave

I’ll become a prisoner of the past

In my own head

I do miss you that bad

(November 2010)