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by Sarah Zupko

14 Jul 2009

updated to include tour dates

Shonen Knife
Super Group
(Good Charamel)
Releasing: 25 August 2009 (US)

Japanese girl-pop/punk stalwarts Shonen Knife return to US shores with a new platter of tunes on August 25th. We’ve got the premiere of “Super Group” here for your listening pleasure. The women offer up catchy ditties born in the garage, but run through a bit of ‘60s pop gloss and riot grrl attitude. The band will also be playing a lengthy North American tour during October and November, appearing alongside Ty Segall, The Strange Boys, and JEFF The Brotherhood.

SONG LIST
01 “Super Group”
02 “Slug”
03 “Muddy Bubbles Hell”
04 “Deer Biscuits”
05 “BBQ Party”
06 “Pyramid Power”
07 “Time Warp”
08 “NaNaNa”
09 “Your Guitar”
10 “Jet”
11 “Evil Birds” (bonus track)

Shonen Knife
“Super Group” [MP3]
     

by shathley Q

14 Jul 2009

A long, cold dark.

In a moment spent with his recuperating girlfriend, Flash Wally West is reminded of his own limitations. In a panel interrupted by falling snow and the blue sheen of a hospital window, Wally and Linda are afforded a degree of privacy as readers are kept at a distance. Artist Paul Ryan offers an elegant counterpoint to paparazzi-invaded private lives lived in public view.

But as romantic as this panel appears, the dark and the snow form the central conflict of ‘Pray for the Dawn’. This is not a cherished moment of affection shared with a loved one. What Wally and Linda face in this panel is a moment of consequence, a moment of indecision before action is taken.

This panel’s elegance lies in Ryan’s skilful melding of a number of Flash- and comics-genre with the visual metaphor of layers apparent with the use of snow and glass. In the first sense, Ryan offers an inversion of the classic Editor’s Notes. Editor Paul Kupperberg’s footnote appears, visually distinct from other word-art in the panel. Yet nothing of the dialogue in the panel is actually linked to this footnote. In this way the act of reading itself becomes part of the story being told. Textually, the Editor’s Note functions in the same way as the snow and glass that interfere with the panel’s central image.

As the Note suggests, the threat of a new Ice Age is something that has already been confronted in earlier issues. Ryan not only references previous issues’ stories, but a specific storyarc that involves the classic Flash-genre of time-travel. Hurtling through the future and unable to return home, Wally learns of an impending global climate disaster (already history in the future). Armed with this knowledge Wally races back in time to confront Abra Kadabra, a 64th century stage magician who hopes to profit from this catastrophe. Again the visual layers of snow and glass elegantly remind the reader of the complexity of Wally and Linda’s story.

What remains at the heart of the panel though, is the romantic private life, kept at a safe distance from public view.

by Thomas Hauner

14 Jul 2009

Perhaps no individual musician better captures the spirit and attitude of James Spooner’s Afro-Punk Festival than Saul Williams. Though the evolving sounds of Brooklyn rockers TV on the Radio are routinely cited as the Afro-Punk movement’s musical vanguard, Williams’ idiosyncratic mixture of hip-hop, electronica, grime, spoken word and poetry, all delivered with a potent punk ethos, proved an exemplary cross-section of Afro-Punk. Earlier in the evening Janelle Monae delivered a lively—though verbatim—set of her space-age meets rockabilly music, complete with an interpretive painting. A free skate park, bmx demos, and graffiti murals were seamlessly incorporated into the musical portion of the festival, demonstrating the scope and vitality of the Afro-Punk scene. 

by Chris Conaton

14 Jul 2009

This time around, the very funny Gregory Brothers give us Congress debating climate change, reaction to Michael Jackson’s death, and of course, more of the amazing Autotuned vocal stylings of Katie Couric. As always, it’s the catchy, catchy music that makes the comedy really work.

by Bill Gibron

14 Jul 2009

Certain subjects lend themselves to specific sonic approaches. It’s part of the cinematic standard. When you hear that a movie is going to cover the formative years of a boy wizard, follow a group of novices into a dangerous wilderness situation, or deal with a daring aerial rescue of a group of hostages, clichéd aural answers start playing out inside your own personal product jukebox. You instantly imagine what the fantasy will sound like, suggest the sounds of a jungle primeval or a stunt-laced bit of derring-do. Of course, part of the magic inherent in motion pictures is the way said conventions are embraced, thwarted, or dismissed completely. There are occasions however when the unusual or downright odd tactic taken by a composer completely loses the meaning of the movie it is supporting. When that happens, the aforementioned magic turns middling, and then mediocre.

Luckily, that doesn’t happen within any of the three scores we are covering in this issue of Surround Sound. In fact, aside from a lackluster entry in a long running series, we have a couple of real compositional curiosities. Indeed, it always seems that the independent or outsider artists working in film today (or as part of the fraternity of the past) come up with a far more intriguing sonic display than someone hemmed in by the needs of a multi-entry big screen blockbuster franchise. Perhaps that’s why The Interior and Sky Riders feel so satisfying and why a certain Harry Potter has a hard time leaving an indelible aural mark. In any case, we can easily see where a certain sixth entry fails to fulfill its promise and how a couple of unknown quantities step up and deliver something unusual and quite memorable. Let’s begin with the most well known entry this time around:

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