CFP: The Legacy of Radiohead's 'The Bends' 20 Years On [Deadlines: 29 Jan / 12 Feb]

 
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Monday, Sep 14, 2009

The Toronto International Film Festival, now in its 34th year, is a massive media gongshow that takes place in my hometown, right around the corner from my house. I get to bike to my first screening in the morning. I take lunch breaks and meet my wife and son for little walks between movies. I don’t have to sleep in some weird sterile hotel room, staying up late because I get to watch TV in bed which, for some reason, I always seem compelled to do. I don’t have to eat every meal at fast food joints (which means I don’t yet feel like a bag of dump, though all I have done for three full days now is sit in a dark room). And, finally, I can share in the whole, admittedly intoxicating, irrepressible thrill of seeing stars as they walk down my streets, the streets I’ve been walking along past nobodies and whocareses for my whole life. I mean, if I saw a celeb in New York, would that be weird? But, when George Clooney or Jennifer Connolly comes sliding by, all graceful and elegant and not-quite-human, I dunno. It just feels, electrifying. Is that lame? Probably.


Truth is: I haven’t actually seen celeb one this year. (Last year, I did way better. I even chatted with Tim Robbins. Well, the truth is that I actually had an astoundingly unnecessary conversation with him since the poor guy was just trying to get a drink and I accosted him, all 5’8” of me, and he, who is much closer to 18 or 19 feet tall, had to lean down so far he was basically assuming “the position” and looking for all the world like a big storky bird bending over to pluck up a teeny worm (me), and all so that he could be polite to this random dude who felt the unstoppable urge to waylay him. Also, I bumped into a guy I recognized from a car commercial.)  Instead of star-annoying, I have actually been watching films this year. As I sat down to write this, your first instalment of a five-part series of reviews and randomness from your humble(ish) correspondent, I had already sat through 12. By the end of the ten day festival I will have seen about 30. Dear God.


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Thursday, Sep 10, 2009
Logan Square Auditorium, Chicago / Words and Pictures by Kirstie Shanley

Shoegaze has evolved.  It now includes a lot more fun!  The Pains of Being Pure at Heart have just enough etherea and shimmer as a supplement to their ripe indie pop hooks with a bit of twee pop thrown in for good measure.  It’s truly impossible not to dance when you’re listening to their self titled album or seeing them live. Their blissful offering is heartfelt, as their name suggests, and delivered in a way to ensure that you know sincerity is behind all the catchiness.


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Tuesday, Sep 8, 2009
Words and photos by Mehan Jayasuriya.

Last Thursday night, I trekked out to northeast Washington D.C. to watch David Bazan perform in the living room of a row house for a crowd of 30 kids. It was easily one of the most intimate, powerful performances I’ve witnessed in a long time. Bazan might no longer identify himself as a Christian but it’s hard to avoid religious metaphors when describing his solo shows: he still delivers his songs like sermons, belting them out with his eyes squeezed shut and his head cast back toward the heavens. Though he focused mainly on songs from his latest solo release, the excellent and deeply personal Curse Your Branches, he reached as far back as Pedro the Lion’s 2002 album Control, introducing that record’s penultimate track, “Priests and Paramedics” by lamenting the fact that Americans don’t spend enough time contemplating their own mortality (“It’s a very healthy endeavor”). And in classic Bazan style, he found plenty of time for between song banter, discussing politics, the ethics of music downloading and Radiohead’s In Rainbows with the crowd throughout the evening (he even managed to turn in a surprisingly solid cover of “Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box”). Unfortunately, Bazan’s house show tour has now concluded, though he’ll be embarking on a full-band tour starting next month. For those who missed the house shows, we’ve embedded a recorded webcast of Bazan’s Brooklyn solo performance below (courtesy of Brooklyn Vegan).


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Monday, Aug 31, 2009
30 August 2009 - Le Poisson Rouge, New York / Word and Pictures by Thomas Hauner

Robert Glasper’s album release party was a study in the dynamics of contemporary jazz.  Flexing the genre’s malleability as well as his own, Glasper showed off his abilities as both trio leader and experimental hip-hop group collaborator.  As he often does on his new album Double Booked, Glasper would either seize each ensemble’s melodic reins or demurely diffuse his harmonies into the underlying cadences, as led by drummer Chris Dave and bassists Vicente Archer (acoustic) or Derrick Hodge (electric) depending on the outfit.  In fact, Glasper receded too regularly into the background while playing in the trio but it’s a tendency whose success depends on taste.  For fans favoring the Experiment, it allowed Dave to take commanding solos that inverted the possibilities of his small kit.  For fans favoring Glasper’s prominence, there were never enough moments of aleatory but refined solos.  Everyone, however, appreciated Glasper’s disarming approach to both sets (one with each setup.)  Not unlike le Poisson Rouge’s own dressing down of classical music and jazz, it was a reassuring approach to an ostensibly imperious art.


Tagged as: robert glasper
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Tuesday, Aug 25, 2009
12 August 2009 - Le Poisson Rouge, New York / Word and Pictures by Thomas Hauner

How long does it take to set up a bunch of drums, some keyboards and two amps?  Apparently, at least an hour.  The wait between opener, the Phenomenal Handclap Band, and headliner, Friendly Fires, was spectacularly long (longer than either’s actual set) but fans were rewarded with two stellar, albeit stylistically different, sets.


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