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by Donal Mosher

17 Feb 2010


Dark figures before bonfires in open fields. Vampires that may or may not be Halloween costumes. Animals with an extra-sentient malice in their toothy snarls… These are glimpses of “The Birthday Party”—works by Scott Daniel Ellison on display at the Clampart Gallery in NYC. These small, folk-style paintings bring together imagery from Scandinavian folklore, heavy metal, and contemporary horror to create a landscape where satanic, or at least decidedly pagan wickedness seems to be the natural state. Viewing Ellison’s work one gets the feeling of being drawn into the logic of folktales and pulp supernatural, the familiar plot line of accidentally witnessing the occult and being caught in its’ machinations. As the title of “The Birthday Party” implies, this is a world where social rituals are transformed into dark magic and seemingly innocent encounters are full of dire implications. 

Ellison is also a musician and the complexity that comes from the meeting of his visual and musical output enhances both. The folk elements that infuse his paintings with menace take on a gentler, more melancholic tone in his songs. Sweetened by guitar, banjo, and sharp harmonies, his lyrics shift from mythic imagery in pieces like “Northern Girl” and “Strange Weather” to the down-home domestic in “Raccoon Song”. In his song “Wilderness”, he asks that his heart be taken “downriver in a dug-out canoe… to a bonfire that burns the whole night through.” After viewing the works that make up “The Birthday Party”, the lyrical, traditional mood of this song is haunted by that vaguely Ozzy Osbourne figure in fringe, skulking by the flames in the painting “Bonfire”. It’s this uncanny tracing of the interactions between folk form and pop reference that makes Ellison’s vision a rich and relevant addition to the contemporary, rural gothic genre.

Scott Daniel Ellison – The Birthday Party is on display from Jan through Feb 20, 2010 at:
Clampart Gallery
521-531 West 25th St
Ground Floor
New York

Songs by Scott Daniel Ellison available on iTunes or from Beatrice Records.

by PopMatters Staff

17 Feb 2010


Lots of great highlights from the Brit Awards last night in UK, which was a truly star-studded affair with the likes of Jay-Z and Lady Gaga, plus some actual Brits like Lily Allen, Dizzee Rascal, Florence and the Machine, and Robbie Williams.

BRITISH MALE SOLO ARTIST
Dizzee Rascal

BRITISH FEMALE SOLO ARTIST
Lily Allen

BRITISH BREAKTHROUGH ACT
JLS

BRITISH GROUP
Kasabian

BRITISH ALBUM
Florence And The Machine, Lungs

BRITISH SINGLE
JLS, “Beat Again”

INTERNATIONAL MALE SOLO ARTIST
Jay-Z

INTERNATIONAL FEMALE SOLO ARTIST
Lady Gaga

INTERNATIONAL BREAKTHROUGH ACT
Lady Gaga

INTERNATIONAL ALBUM
Lady Gaga, The Fame

CRITICS CHOICE
Ellie Goulding

OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO MUSIC
Robbie Williams

BRITS HITS 30
Spice Girls, “Wannabe/Who Do You Think You Are”

BRITS ALBUM OF 30 YEARS
Oasis, What’s The Story (Morning Glory)

Florence and the Machine and Dizzee Rascal

Lily Allen

Robbie Williams

Jay-Z

Lady Gaga

by Alex Suskind

17 Feb 2010


Songwriter Dale Hawkins, who passed away on 13 February, penned this blues song back in 1957. Since then, classic rock staples like Creedence Clearwater Revival and the Rolling Stones have covered the track.

by Sarah Zupko

17 Feb 2010


There’s an intriguing Haiti benefit coming up this Thursday in Los Angeles centered around PopMatters #1 film of 2009, Inglourious Basterds. Quentin Tarantino and the Weinstein Company are partnering with Upper Playground to present “The Lost Art of Inglourious Basterds” from 6:00-9:00pm. Artists were commissioned to create 13 limited edition posters that will be signed by the director and sold for Haiti relief. Only six reproductions of each poster will be made, so these will be highly collectible indeed.

The gallery will be open to the general public from 6p – 9p on Thursday February 18th, 2010 at Upper Playground Los Angeles located at 125 East 6th Street in Downtown LA. The installation will remain up for four (4) weeks. Attendees will have the opportunity to purchase the limited edition prints for $300. The prints are only available for purchase at Upper Playground, Los Angeles. Phone orders and web orders will not be accepted. Prints will be sold on a first come, first serve basis. The purchase of prints will be limited to one per buyer.

by John Lindstedt

16 Feb 2010


For about a year, acclaimed director/ Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Science of Sleep) had a peculiar offer on his website: for $99.95, one could get a personalized watercolor portrait by the director with the purchase of his music video collection DVD. You could’ve sent the director just about anything (movie blog FilmDrunk sent in a photo of a transvestite), and you’d get it back in impressionistic strokes. Granted, it may have taken a half year to actually come in the mail, but he’s a busy guy, and it was well worth it (mine is above).

Unfortunately, the offer is currently out of stock, but it’s been resurrected from hiatus in the past. In the meantime, you can check Gondry’s “portraits of the week” in his Flickr photo stream.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

A Chat with José González at Newport Folk Festival

// Notes from the Road

"José González's sets during Newport Folk Festival weren't on his birthday (that is today) but each looked to be a special intimate performance.

READ the article