When Benazir Bhutto was assassinated on 27 December 2007, her family was horrified but not altogether shocked. Indeed, they believed she was never quite safe in her homeland, Pakistan. According to Duane Baughman and Johnny O’Hara’s documentary, premiering 10 May on PBS, hers was a life of tumult and tragedy: for all her commitment to public service—elected twice to be Pakistan’s Prime Minister—she also felt compelled by a kind of destiny. In addition, Educated at Harvard and Oxford, a woman of great intellect and expectations, she was picked by her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, to succeed him as political heir (this being a departure from Muslim tradition, to hand down legacies to sons). Bhutto agreed to an arranged marriage as a means to navigate her career, only to have her husband Asif Ali Zardari, spend 11 of their 17 years as man and wife in prison. Indeed, she also spent many years in detention, as Pakistani military leaders sought ways to contain her. Sorting through Pakistan’s remarkably complex history, replete with strife, violence, and corruption, the movie posits Bhutto as a devoted mother as well as an embodiment of democracy—and so, hope and freedom. Her energy and persistence are revealed in archival interviews, adoring crowd scenes, and haunting images of her white scarf blowing in the wind. These conventional visuals are punctuated by lively music soundtrack choices (including Cat Stevens, now Yusuf Islam) as well as animated maps and other graphics, insisting on Bhutto’s unusual ability to cross borders, between past and present, east and west, personal and political.
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Moby’s only scheduled performance in the U.S. will be Thursday, May 12th at the Brooklyn Museum in New York City at 7:00 p.m. The evening includes an interview hosted by John Schaefer, host of WNYC’s Soundcheck and New Sounds, as well as a preview of songs from the new release due May 17th, Destroyed. There will be a screening of Moby’s self-directed/produced Be the One EP videos and copies of his new book of photography available, also called Destroyed. Tickets, which include Museum admission, are $10 ($6 for members). Seating is limited; advance purchase recommended through BrownPaperTickets.com.
A video for one of the new songs, “The Day”, was recently posted on YouTube. Directed by Evan Bernard and eyeball, the eerie hospital scene features Heather Graham, Moby’s friend and new neighbor in Los Angeles. Graham is seen as a nurse and then an angel conquering demons in a metaphysical battle of good vs. evil. It’s one of the few tracks from Destroyed that Moby actually sings on, with a sweeping chorus inspired by David Bowie and Brian Eno’s production of Low and Heroes.
There seems to be no shortage of spring holidays with meanings obscured long-ago by the excuse they provide for excessive partying. For Americans, it’s Cinco de Mayo. For Europeans, it’s May Day. For just about everyone, it’s St. Patrick’s Day. And for New York’s Buckwheat Groats (AKA Penis Bailey and Lil’ Dinky), it’s apparently Arbor Day, providing the excuse for a lot of things, only some of them even vaguely botanical. A sped-up new wave chorus, for example, with a blown-out, tree-sap-thick beat behind it courtesy of St. Louis producer Fatty Eisenhower. It also has hip-hop comedy that loves—and knows—its target. “Arbor Day Party” is as much an overstatement of party anthems as it is itself a great party anthem.
If it looks and sounds slightly luxurious (read: bacchanalian), it should, having been produced in part by Adam McKay/Will Ferrell’s Funny or Die after they saw the Groats making dinner and trolling for underage mallrats. Inspirational Verse: “Now it’s getting late, nitrous tank tapped out / Everybody blacked out / Looking like a crackhouse / People on the floor passed out with they ass out / DJ so high, he starts blasting Smash Mouth.”
Battles have just released the video for “Ice Cream” from their eagerly awaited new album Gloss Drop, releasing 7 June. Following the record’s release, the band will appear at Pitchfork on 15 June and in Madison, Iowa City and Denver in the days following.
No idea why 22-year-old Essex producer Laplux named this track after Playboy model and former Britain’s Got Talent host Kelly Brook, nor should I bother trying to figure out why the official video is edited together from Vincent Gallo’s The Brown Bunny, but his music seems to lie between hypnagogic evocations of soul and R&B and the Brainfeeder brand of choppy wonky hip-hop. Lapalux’s album Many Faces Out of Focus from Pictures Music has sold out of its (seriously) 50 cassette run, but it is available to download at various outlets online.