The self-titled debut of Friendly Fires was the choice of yours truly in PopMatter’s 2008 Slipped discs selection. Since then, the band has released an electro single (“Kiss of Life”), a split with the likeminded Holy Ghost! (not to be confused with the incredible ‘ardkore era Holy Ghost Inc.), submitted a Bugged Out mix, collaborated with Azari & III, and remixed Phoenix. All of these signs point to a more electronified Friendly Fires, but their lead single to their forthcoming Pala sounds like much of the same rock-band-as-stadium-ravers thing that defined their debut, though they’re perhaps more credible heirs to the “nu-rave” tag bequeathed upon the Klaxons (but who’d want that attacheed to them?). Nevertheless, the band has made this entertaining montage of acid’s second summer of love to go along with that single and somehow it begins to make sense.
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Dizraeli’s new track (with his band, the Small Gods), takes a breather from his usual frenetic political diatribes, slowing down his trademark spit-fire delivery in favour of a more meditative approach. Opening with a flush of baroque strings, “Million Miles” explores a moody soundscape of nocturnal paranoia and fever-dreamed eroticism. Over a rhythm built equally of hip-hop sampling and jazz riffing, Dizraeli levels rhymes of sex and death amidst a haunted wash of ghostly vocals floating in the musical ether above the groove. It’s a new direction for the artist who opted for slams and jams on his previous outing, Engurland (City Shanties), injecting his arty, rough-hewn brand of hip-hop with a coarser blend of live instrumentation. It’s like an emotional apocalypse of sound and poetry.
New Yoork outfit Hooray for Earth traffics in laptop pop. When it comes to videos, however, these dudes throw down like Peter Jackson. Their latest LP True Loves drops June 7th via Dovecote. In the meantime you can get your HFE fix via this epic, Young Replicant helmed video for the album’s title track. Any clip with horses in it just demands your attention.
Project Nim, directed by James Marsh, gave us a very different insight into the study of language. Mr. Marsh directed the academy award winning Man on Wire, and we were genuinely excited about anything new from him. This film is about the notorious experiment in the ‘70s to raise a chimpanzee in a human environment and teach it sign language. Let’s just say that the best thing about this experiment was the name given to the chimp (Nim Chimpsky), both a pun on and an intended refutation of the dominant linguistic theorist of the time, Noam Chomsky.
There are several great things about the film, however. One is the wealth of archival footage providing what looks like a satire of the liberal ‘70s. Nim is raised for a time by a hippy family in a brownstone on the upper west side, dressed in groovy outfits, given tokes off a doobie, occasionally breast fed, and generally allowed to run free with the other children of the era. He gets caught up in various love triangles and self-serving lifestyles of the students teaching him language.
People speak. People with degrees study speech. The fact that human beings possess language and their tendency to reflect on that fact constitute a defining characteristic of the species. Two very different films revealed light and dark aspects of homo loquens. Anne Makepeace’s We Still Live Here won the Full Frame Inspiration Award. We went to the film because we had barged into Ms. Makepeace’s cab on the way from the airport and she convinced us to check it out.