Cause I’m sick and in my bed, your gonna get two posts today. I know, it’s crazy, right? Get over it, guy.
Justin Vernon, aka Bon Iver, has came from nowhere to become one of my favourite artists of all time. Most people are familiar with the story behind the making of his incredible debut For Emma, Forever Ago, wherein he locked himself away in a cabin in the woods after a particularly difficult break up and recorded a stark and beautiful album on his own. The album connected with me so much that he now resides in that special area I reserve for only my most important artists: one where I spend hours raking the internet for scratchy demo’s, alternate versions and Japan-only bonus tracks. And I have had some luck.
Before he took the moniker Bon Iver, he recorded an album under his given name and distributed a couple hundred copies around Wisconsin by himself. It is a quite different animal to For Emma, in that he hasn’t properly grasped the use of that devastating falsetto that has become his trademark. On Ring Out, he sounds similar to Jeff Buckley in that the song features just a strummed electric guitar and his voice, pushed up front in the mix. It has the same immediate confessional style that has permeated all Justin’s work, one of the many things he shares with my favourite artist ever, Elliott Smith.
Once finding success, Justin proved what a lovely dude he is by going back to the school he attended in Wisconsin and performing with theEau Claire Memorial High School Jazz band, of which he used to be part. He helped the school sell out a huge venue and played a number of covers as well as a couple of his own tunes for good measure. He also wore a pimp-ass white suit, which I don’t need to tell you is quite awesome. I dig his voice propped up by brass and a big beat. Check it:
Take a listen to these tunes and see what you think. If your feelin’ it, holla back in the comments!
It’s taking over my life. I am Batman. When I got to the Batcave I came a bit.
2. Brand New’s brand new album Daisy has leaked. Is it any good? In a word, AAAARGH! Which means yes. To the fans who wanted more Deja Entendu and less The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me: tough luck. On first listen, the dark, grungy feel of their last LP continues unabated, and the album is all the better for it. It’s hard to believe this is the same band that made Your Favourite Weapon.
I’m not gonna post any songs cause it’s not fair on that super-sensitive soul Jesse Lacey. But if you want to hear the tunes, they are not hard to find. The Hype Machine is a good start.
3. Frank Turner, a man I have waxed lyrical about in the past on this blog, released his third album, Poetry Of The Deed this week.
I’m in the process of downloading it just now and i’m psyched. The Road was a great lead single and was supported by a fantastic video which documented Turner’s batshit insane attempt to play 24 gigs in 24 hours. Somehow he managed it, using what I can only assume is some Jedi magic. Check it out here. Make sure you watch the ‘Making Of’ too, it’s great. Find that here.
4. Randomly stumbled upon this video of Bon Iver performing Skinny Love in Paris.
What makes this video unique is a simple element: it is shot from behind the performer. This seemingly basic switch makes the viewing experience totally different; as we see how the people react to the flow of the song. It’s a beautiful setup in a small room with candles and all that jazz, but the best part is watching the kids just getting into it. We actually don’t get a look at Justin’s face whatsoever. And listen for the drummer’s harmonies: dude is rocking a Prince style falsetto.
5. Been watching a few Golden Era Simpsons episodes recently. Rocked the one with John Waters today, and totally forgot about this scene. All you need to know is that Homer is afraid of gays, and believes Bart is becoming one. So, naturally he takes him to the most testosterone-fuelled workplace he can think of. Hilarity ensues:
6. The Guild – Do You Wanna Date My Avatar?
You may recognise Felicia Day from the infamous 13th episode of Geek Overlord Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse. Before she got that sweet gig, she wrote and starred in The Guild, an online comedy for gamers by gamers; if you have any knowledge of game-chat at all then you will get the myriad tech gags that are the shows lifeblood. Other non-game-specific geek references abound in a similar style to it’s clear forefather, the show of a generation; Spaced.
Do You Wanna Date My Avatar? is an advertisement for the upcoming third season, available on YouTube. You don’t wanna miss it!
Very rarely is it the case I leave the cinema as happy as I did after seeing 500 Days Of Summer. Essentially a film about a relationship that doesn’t work out, it really made me reconsider the romantic comedy genre; and proved to me that Judd Apatow isn’t the only guy in Hollywood capable of making films that deal with love in a modern, non-ridiculous manner.
Both leads Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt do great, understated work throughout. Deschanel is all huge eyes and cute smiles, while JGL really pulls out his comedy chops. The two actors have real chemistry and it shows. Deschanel has been waiting for a while for a role to really pay off for her and this could be the one. It seems like so long ago that my spotty 15 year-old self fell head over heels for her in Almost Famous. I watched on anxiously as she gradually built up her profile in films like Elf, Bridge To Terabithia and Yes Man. It’s awesome to see her finally knock it out the park with Summer.
And Gordon-Levitt? His next film is Christopher Nolan’s Inception. On. My. God.
Wes Anderson is a cool guy. Immaculate dress sense, quirky cool films and a good looking and well connected guy in general. I recently seen The Darjeeling Limited again, and loved it far more the second time around. In the past I felt that with the exception of Rushmore, he sacrificed emotion for stylistic quirks. And there is a disturbing lack of good roles for non-whites in his films too. But not anymore. I felt he really treated India with respect and managed to draw a tender performance from a vulnerable Owen Wilson (who tried to commit suicide soon after filming). Adrian Brody and Jason Schwartzman are both awesome also, first bring the serious and the second bringin’ the funny.
Also, Limited contains the funniest line in any of his films; spoken by the aforementioned Schwartzman:
Roll on Fantastic Mr Fox.
So…………Pukkelpop was great. Good music, good laughs, good weather. Musically, it was a success. The first day was a case of one great set after another; with Bon Iver making me feel emotional, Dizzee Rascal making me feel ghetto, and Maximo Park making me feel northern. Then the heavens opened during Deftones, before the ‘suprise’ act, Them Crooked Vultures, made everyone giddy. Especially me, even though I stood at the back of the tent, dripping wet and having lost my friends. I proceeded to walk about like a dick for two hours trying to find our tent (in the process missing The Offspring) until I eventually found my buds.
Finally, Faith No More blew everyone away with their awesome set which featured Mike Patton getting in VIP’s faces and a stagediver who leapt from a great height and missed the crowd completely. Crazy.
The second day was proving to be a little under-par as we were bored by New Found Glory and buggered off after two songs from Fight Like Apes (Sample lyrics: “You are like Kentucky Fried Chicken but without the taste“, “Lend me your face!” and “You smell like ham and taste like bile!”) until Eagles Of Death Metal charmed the pants of everyone with their hip-swinging boogie rock and a quick guest spot from the Desert Rock overlord Chris Goss.
Then we represented the big G by getting down the front for Glasvegas, who were simply phenomenal. James Allan was in rare form and everyone came away feeling stoked. More Scottish love was felt when we were pleasantly suprised by Snow Patrol being really cool. Placebo wrapped things up with an atmospheric, yet strangely anthem-lacking set. We then saw a few tunes by Kraftwerk before sloping off to bed.
My most anticipated sets fell on the Saturday, and the first didn’t disappoint. Florence And The Machine rocked the house big time with us and some Irish dudes dancing our white asses off. Next up, Klaxons were very good, with the most crazy crowd of the fest so far (that could have been because I was quite drunk at this point) and they pulled out all the hits, my highlight being a feral version of Magick.
Still riding of my beer buzz, we missed Fiddy but managed to check out N.E.R.D, which I can’t recall much of, other than a sexy-as-all-hell version of Lapdance. Finally, my big one: Arctic Monkeys. After deciding to go to the front and then stopping halfway, I found out the only major problem with Belgian crowds. People near the front tend to stand mostly still and watch the band, and if you try to squeeze past to gain access to where you can mosh or dance, they take offence and hit you. What the fuck? Where is the logic in that?
Anyway, the Monkeys played fine, but I thought that something was missing. They didn’t help themselves by loading the set with new material (almost all of the new album was played) and being very sparse with the older material. It was okay for people like me who had heard the leak of Humbug, but for everyone else there was no ‘When The Sun Goes Down’, ‘A Certain Romance’ or ‘Teddy Picker’. Also, they barely said a word inbetween songs and I got the definite feeling they would rather have been somewhere else. Ah, well.
All in all, a great festival experience and my personal best so far. Enjoy the tunes that soundtracked my time in Belgium! And please buy albums from all the artist I have mentioned!