Christmas List part III
Posted by seamus
On 2009-12-22 12:37:48

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Can you believe it's been three years? Fred and Lunchbox have grown into strapping young gentlemen and I've gone from broke, alcoholic musician to... broke, alcoholic musician in a band. Anyway, here's this years Christmas list:

1. A new computer.
2. A new wardrobe.
3. A new guitar.
4. Ableton and a controller.
5. Tickets to a show.
6. A digital camera.
7. Airfare.
8. Art.
9. An adventure.
10. A new hookah.
Pictureplane at Club 156
Posted by seamus
On 2009-11-15 16:09:43

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Even with snow packed thick across the roads, fans of Pictureplane and Hollagramz trekked to Club 156 and danced late into the night. Both local dance acts, the hometown crowd was overwhelmingly excited about the heavy bass lines and meticulously arpeggiated beats. In the Denver/Boulder area, dance music is taking off and these two are poised to make a splash.

Hollagramz brings a beat with obvious dub influences, but hooky melodies and clever arrangements. Best of all, he actually plays many of the parts. It looked like most of the bass lines were being played live, while a sampler and computer handled the rest.

Which is pretty much the same as Pictureplane. My one objection with his rig is the use of an ipod on his tracks. Although he does play a microKorg on every track, there's something about having a back beat played by an mp3 player that bugs me. I know it's not much different than a sampler, but the aesthetic is enough to turn me off. I'd love to see him integrate an MPD and chop up his tracks a bit more for some more active musicianship on stage.

Musically, Pictureplane is doing something innovative and interesting. Analog riffs and gratuitous use of samples create a backdrop over which heavily verbed vocals (ala Animal Collective) are stacked in layers to create a thick, flowing texture. Most of his songs start a bit thin and develop into larger and fuller, and by the end, the vision becomes clear. There's real beauty here, but some editing could go a long way. Vocally, in particular, there is a noticeable gap in the quality of his recordings and the live versions. Still, he's a young act and he's on the right track. Watch for him to climb the pitchfork ladder in the coming year.



Ghostland Observatory at the Ogden
Posted by seamus
On 2009-11-13 14:09:10

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A lot of people are making great music today. Performance has come to be the meter by which a band can be fairly judged, and no one has more stage presence and sheer amplitude than Ghostland Observatory.

Three words: Mother-fuckin' lasers.

You have never seen lasers like this. Red, green, yellow, blue, white, pink, teal - colors you didn't know lasers could make. They spray across the ceiling in intricate designs, leaving sprawling cascades of crisp color in the haze. When I saw them at Coachella last year, they had something like 8 of these fantasy machines, but I can certainly say that in a venue like the Ogden, two were perfectly sufficient.

But the lights aren't all to be admired. There's only one way to put this: Aaron Behrens can fuckin' sing. His range adds texture; his intensity breathes life into the cold, digital back-beat created by Thomas Turner.

Making music this good with only two people isn't easy. Making it look good on stage is even harder. Behrens and Turner have perfected the art of making the most of what you've got. They take a simple idea (lasers, for example) and make it something so much bigger (16 million color lasers brighter than the surface of the sun). Forget what you know about stage presence - Ghostland is redefining what it means to be a performer.

Watch Ghostland Observatory

Art Brut at the Bluebird
Posted by seamus
On 2009-11-07 15:42:09

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Thanks to my friends over at Donnybrook, I had the privilege of attending Art Brut last night. This show was so full of awesome that my teeth are still tingling. It was a relentless hour of shred laced with singer Eddie Argos' scathing lyrics and commentary on popular culture (which apparently no longer applies to him).

Because of Argos' distinctive vocal style and clever lyricism, the musicianship of guitarists Ian Catskilkin and Jeff Future has gone overlooked when I listen to their records. As it turns out, they're certifiably brilliant. Both the movement and changes in their songs as well as the licks they layer them with are innovative, powerful, and perfectly embody what rock and roll is meant to be. Not to mention their onstage tommyrot - of the highest caliber, let me assure you.

Another dose of spectacular came from openers Surfer Blood. Haling from West Palm Beach Florida, these pitchfork-inspired indie kids combined the vocal styling of Cursive with the melodic sensibilities of the Apples in Stereo. Their stage presence wasn't quite at the level of Art Brut, but their sound was interesting and entertaining and I expect we'll be hearing more from them in the next few years.

This was my first time seeing a show at the Bluebird, and I must say, it's a helluvah theater. Similar in decor to the Boulder Theater, it has the authenticity of age with the acoustic quality I expect from more modern theaters. That I didn't see Phoenix there this summer (or the Michael Jackson dance party that broke out after the show) is a goddamn shame. (Oh and it turns out the band joined in the dance party fun - FML).



Surfer Blood:


Links
Surfer Blood on myspace.

Shaun White has a private half-pipe. What else would you expect?

It seems there's a holy war brewing between adherents of pastafarianism and followers of the Invisible Pink Unicorn.

Last year's Red Bull Soapbox race was pretty epic. Rumor has it there's a sidecar race planned for this year, but I don't have details.
The Fourth Kind Movie Review
Posted by seamus
On 2009-11-05 11:03:55

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What's the most thrilling part about the new alien abduction movie The Fourth Kind? Looking at Milla Jovovich for an hour and half.

There is nothing frightening about this movie. If anything it's an exercise in suspending disbelief, and by the end, I couldn't do it anymore. I can't imagine that the people behind this film expected as many laughs as this movie provided. How it got through test screenings and remained a thriller instead of a comedy I cannot understand.

The premise is that during the course of a sleep study in Nome Alaska, a researcher and her husband discover some inexplicable abnormalities. Participants report similar experiences involving a white owl that wakes them in the middle of the night. Eventually, after a long and arduous process of rigorous scientific discovery we're left with only one possibility: aliens.

The integration of "real" footage and the viral marketing campaign's use of fake news stories that corroborate the plot of the movie are really the most interesting part of this film. I'm sure some people will be convinced, but from what I heard as the audience left, it's going to be an uphill battle.

For those looking for another Paranormal Activity kind of experience, I'd recommend seeing the Michael Jackson movie. As for The Fourth Kind - save your money.