Monday, October 20, 2014

"Wild Tales", I came for my revenge

Wild Tales (Relatos Salvajes, Spanish Original title)

Pretty great expectations (an intriguing and disturbing trailer, excellent reviews) and the will of following the path successfully taken with "La Isla Mínima", moving for a little while from the indie stuff, made us choose "Relatos Salvajes" ('Wild Tales") as our next film. Not that lucky this time.

There's nothing exactly wrong with the film, to be honest. Just that, in my opinion it fails short, at times quite short, from what it promised. For starters, it was labelled as a twisted, very dark collection of comedic episodes. But with few exceptions, laughs weren't that abundant. Yep, I know violence does the trick for many. Again I left the theatre of feeling disconnected with the majority of the audience and the moments where they explode in guffaws.

Second, and as usually happens with this sort of episodic films, not every chapter of the six shorts linked by one single subject, vengeance, works at the same level as others, with a couple of them being close to mediocrity. Better to proceed one by one, so I can point flaws, but also virtues.  

Opener and shortest “Pasternak” is a more than fine introduction to the theme of the film. Director Damian Szifron condenses with brilliance what it could have been a silly sketch/joke, ending the tale before it gets too long. Don't want to spoil for you, because it would loose all its immediate impact. But have you seen that Simpsons episode where Bart and Homer get into a spaceship hoping they have saved themselves from the Planet imminent destruction but soon realise they are sharing flight with a very peculiar bunch of famous condemned people? Think on a more mundane but still improbable situation involving a pretty pissed person named Gabriel Pasternak.

First let down is “The Rats”, in which a waitress realises her sole customer is the monster who ruined her family life. It's far from being original, and all the fun is reserved to the laconic one-liners of her working mate, the cook proposing the deathly revenge in the name of all the s__ of a b____ out there. Also average, although flawlessly filmed is the next piece “Road to Hell”. This violent short is also classic in its concept. A wealthy young businessman (Leonardo Sbaraglia) is driving his Audi when he clashes with a redneck Peugeot driver. It seems a minor little incident but soon turns out to be an absurd trip to hell. Unfortunately, it's quite predictable.

Luckily, "Relatos Salvajes" is rescued by its two following numbers, both with a clear social comment included. “Bombita”, probably the best of the lot, has an excellent Ricardo Darin as Simon, a very common man with the exception of an unusual job. He gets extremely (and brilliantly portrayed) burnt-up by this capitalist, merciless, fake system. Until he says enough and puts in practice his knowledge to perpetrate his revenge. What a revealing piece. Even more serious is “The Bill”, where darkness leaves very little to zero space for humour. It's the deepest and more ambitious in scope short of the lot, one where Szifron wants to denounce privilege and power, saying that money is able to buy everything... and sometimes that is also a problem. What a missed opportunity the rest of the movie doesn't live up to these two stories.

Final chapter “Till Death Do Us Part” uses and, in my opinion, forces, all the jokes we have already seen at movies with a wedding. Yes, Szifron pack it with a flamboyant talent and an actress (Erica Rivas) that is so credible in her no-holds-barrier-anger as the humiliated bride Romina. But all the mess and chaos is pretty empty.

Half of the movie excels, the other half pales by comparison. I get that the "mad as hell" idea of the film can be rewarding and (that's harder for me) exhilarating for some of the audience. Plus the film is visually impeccable and, being objective, entertaining. Sadly, I think the director put something more enduring and rich in a couple of his stories. But that's only 1/3 of the movie. 

SCORE: 5,75/10

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Bloodbuzzed Jukebox 27

After two weeks without our TOP TEN playlist, we come back with a pretty diverse selection of bands. From the pop-punk style of The Pretty Greens and the agressive new material of September Girls, from the folk pop music of Lily & Madeleine to the retro-pop of Souvenir Stand, from Wild Balbina, the Spanish indie band proposal of the week, to the cover of 'Tire Swing' from Kimya Dawson by Kingsley Be Brave. As always, it's all at our Blog's soundcloud, so please Join Us!

Direct links to the previous Jukebox weeks
Week 1      Week 8        Week 15     Week 22  
Week 2      Week 9        Week 16     Week 23 
Week 3      Week 10      Week 17     Week 24
Week 4      Week 11      Week 18     Week 25
Week 5      Week 12      Week 19     Week 26 
Week 6      Week 13      Week 20
Week 7      Week 14       Week 21

Welcome to the Jukebox!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Hunting night with Boutade!

Just a quick post to remember you tonight is the night: Boutade's presents their long-awaited debut album, 'The Best Hunter'. Indie-rock facing the abyss, guitars lines built from the heart, songs from the ones who drowned, but finally learnt how to get out of the water. Come join us at Razzmatazz! 


Listen to the record and convince yourselves!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

These Go to 11: interviewing Doble Pletina

Back to groups in our interview series. This week, we are lucky to have Doble Pletina, one of our favourite national bands submitting their answers to our questions. A quick and straight one, but full of pop brilliance anyway. These Go to 11!

Doble Pletina
Doble Pletina, the only tape deck
revival that makes sense
The Barcelona band started in 2010, originally as the duet formed by Marc Ribera and Laura Antolín, once the peculiar covering band Abrevadero called it a day. The buzz about their knack for pop melodies and their witty lyrics started to roll, in particular after releasing 2011 slow-burn hit 'Música para cerrar las discotecas'. After three singles between 2011-2012, in 2013 they released 'De lo Concreto a lo General' via Jabalina Records, crystallizing all the promise into a irresistible pop reality. Smart, fun, intimate and accurate music. Anthems for extremely good-tasted, sensitive and a bit shy pop lovers. Here we go!

Indeed the devil came & together
they went to the disco
1. First record that you bought (be honest)
Jaume: Dover 'Devil came to me'
Marc: Mc Hammer 'Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ’Em'
Laura: UB40 'Promises and Lies'
Francina: Spice Girls 'Spice'

2. First and last concert you have attended (be honest too!)
Jaume: First concert: S.A. (Sociedad Alkohólika) / Last one: Moodoïd
Marc: First: Smashing Pumpkins / Last: Los Ganglios
Laura: First: Elton John / Last: Los Ganglios
Francina: First: Els Pets/ Last: Daniel Lumbreras

Surprise! Not the song about a monument
3. Guilty pleasure (song/band you shouldn’t like but you do, yes, it’s the embarrassing question)Jaume: Hummm… maybe a TV  theme? (Professor Poopsnagle's Steam Zeppelin)Marc: You want us to confess something like 'Agapimu by Ana Belen' or 'Ella o Yo by Rocío Jurado', right? 

4. Most precious music item you own (collector mode on)
Jaume: The Pocket Piano Midi! It's so playable that sometimes I fall asleep freaking out with it in bed.
Marc: A couple of singing saws.

Your average wind instrument...
5. Favorite lyrics (not yours)
Marc: Dory Previn  'Doppelgänger'

6. Musician/s you would like to meet (should be alive, for obvious reasons, but you can choose a dead one too)
Jaume: Yo la Tengo

7. Favorite artwork album (not yours)
Jaume and Marc: Spark’s 'Propaganda' is unbeatable.


High school's mandatory read

8. Books or movies? Depending on your answer recommend us one (trick: you can choose both) 
Francina: Books AND Movies! I’m reading 'Mirall Trencat' now (my third consecutive Mercè Rodoreda’s book). The last movie I watched that I would recommend is 'Under the Skin'.
  
9. Release (of yours) you are most proud of
Marc: 'Es innegable'.

10. What’s does it mean indie for you? (yes, the “serious question”)
Jaume: A dead tag, like “punk”. 

11. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Marc: Hopefully still making songs
Jaume: Under a bridge...

Zillion thanks Doble Pletina!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

"Marshland", Criminal Spain

Marshland (La Isla Mínima, Spanish Original title)

I wanted to get out of the "indie world" for a second, that's why we ended watching 'La Isla Mínima' ('Marshland' as it has been titled abroad), a Spanish crime movie. Excuse me if sounds like immodesty, but what a fantastic choice we made.

Director Alberto Rodríguez has created a deeply solid (kudos to scriptwriter Rafael Cobos), engaging and visually fascinating genre movie. It moves at a very peculiar pace, hypnotised by the strange marshlands of the Guadalquivir river. The space is vast, boggy, scary and isolated. The light and weather its extreme, from heartbreaking colourful to muted and bloodcurdling. So is the people that lives there. Better said, tries to survive.

In this very peculiar environment, two young local girls disappear in September of 1980. And two homicide policemen from Madrid are sent to resolve the situation. The case assigned seems to be some sort of punishment. For Pedro (great Raúl Arevalo), a young, fresh-from-the-past of the dictatorship regime, convinced democrat, because he went too far on his critic of the military stratum, still too powerfully present on the country. For Juan (extremely absorbing and powerful performance from Javier Gutiérrez), for completely the opposite reasons. He's part of the past, a very sombre past, so better move him away from the capital and the arising new era. They couldn't be more poles apart. And the tension between the two couldn't be more evident. "The two Spains" have to work together to resolve what it quickly turns to be a brutal, repulsive crime. One where everyone is hiding. Because everyone knows.   

In a masterful work with only, very minor and superficial details that are questionable but doesn't really affect the cohesion of the film, 'La Isla Mínima' is capable of keeping the needed thriller tension (no spoiling) while is offering much more to the spectator. The intrigue is powerful and well developed. But in a very subtle way, as the movie develops, Rodríguez is dissecting a town and a whole country in a crucial time of its recent history. And his perspective is poignantly dark and strikingly revealing. The lack of values that drives the country to this perennial state of corruption, lies and negligence, resides not only in our past. But basically it's in US. The clash between the two mentalities is a terribly depressing one: it's a lost battle from the very beginning. Completely biased due to the human reaction against violence and vile crime. But also due to fear of losing opportunities (job promotion, chances to get out of town, easy money) and desperate attempts of achieving unconscious dreams. The result? A whole system of empty words about democracy, rights and dignity that masks A "do whatever it takes to achieve your goal and get away with it". Even supposed "good guys" become monsters in order to chase another one. The most disturbing parade, one in which justice is pointless, as it will never arrive to the top of social pyramid. Does it sound familiar to you?   

We left the theatre with an uncomfortable feeling in our stomachs. Sure, we discussed about the resolution of the thriller. But mainly about how Spain's democracy has fall short, very short of it's promises. All because too many abject human beings are still ruling the place. And the wheel keeps turning around. Very powerful movie.

SCORE: 7,75/10

Friday, October 10, 2014

These Go to 11: interviewing La Fonoteca

This week the guest answering our questionnaire is an hyper-active music promoter/defender with a magnificent poppie taste, kind of an ubiquitous spiritual leader of all things indie in Barcelona. We are referring to Miguel Atienza, also known as "La Fonoteca Barcelona man". These Go to 11!

Miguel Atienza, La Fonoteca Barcelona
Mr. Atienza, man in
music charge
La Fonoteca, born in 2008 as a website, is a platform with the main purpose of promoting and disseminating Spanish music inside & outside our borders. What began as a "Spanish Music-pedia" keep quickly evolved and expanded its activities, organizing concerts and releasing almost music (a set of ten vinyls to date) and an editorial reference. The aim is clear and true: spread the word on emerging bands and vindicate Spanish rich music legacy. Miguel leads the permanent headquarters of LaFonoteca Barcelona, created in 2011, establishing an exciting music dialogue between Madrid and Barcelona. He's the man behind several releases and many gigs in our city, with bands so indispensable as, to name a few, Doble Pletina, El Último Vecino, Las Ruinas, Linda Guilala, Gúdar, Grushenka, Les Sueques, Bananas, Alborotador Gomasio, Prisma en Llamas y Atomizador. Truly a man of music. Here we go!

1. First record that you bought (be honest)
I think it was The Who's 'Live at Leeds', or maybe one of Led Zeppelin. My early years as music buyer mixed 60's and 70's classics with Brit-pop records. I was a real fan of Oasis, for example.

Once, they ruled the world...
and it wasn't that bad
2. First and last concert you have attended (be honest too!)
The first concert I went, I mean paying myself, I believe it was one of Los Piratas. The last one has been Trapece, a group formed by members of the Moving Pictures, they merge pop, jazz, bossa... A really beautiful concert.




Making waves
3. Guilty pleasure (song/band you shouldn’t like but you do, yes, it’s the embarrassing question)
Who hasn't sung out loud Rocío Jurado's 'Como una ola'?...

4. Most precious music item you own (collector mode on)
I'm going to say my copy of 'Snowball' from The Field Mice. It's one of my favourites and is quite hard to find, so I'm excited to have a copy.

5. Favorite lyrics (not yours)
As my English is pretty bad I have always paid more attention to the lyrics of Spanish bands. Some of my favourite composers are Manolo from Astrud, Carlos Berlanga, Fernando Alfaro, Joan Miquel Oliver, Lolo from Hazte Lapón or Carlos from Los Lagos de Hinault, among many others. The last great discovery has been Sagrado Corazón de Jesús. Their lyrics have captivated me.

Tim Gane, the genious
alchemist of sounds & ideas
6. Musician/s you would like to meet (should be alive, for obvious reasons, but you can choose a dead one too)
I would like to meet Dan Treacy, despite he seems to be pretty sick. I wouldn't mind to talk about politics with Tim Gane either.

7. Favorite artwork album (not yours)
I will say the first that has came to my mind. I have always been fascinated by Belle & Sebastian's Tigermilk cover, with that combination between of innocence and sinister.

8. Books or movies? Depending on your answer recommend us one (trick: you can choose both) 
Luckily, in real life I can choose both, but in an hypothetical desert island, where I imagine that there wouldn't be any electricity, I would bring 'A Confederacy of Dunces' by John Kennedy Toole with me.
'Puente Aéreo' of exciting music!
  
9. Release (of yours) you are most proud of
The collection 'Puente Aéreo' where a band from Madrid and another from Barcelona share a 7''. We have published 2 volumes (Hazte Lapón + Gúdar and Univers + Celica XX) and we are really eager to start working in the 3rd one.

10. What’s does it mean indie for you? (yes, the “serious question”)
'Indie' is independent. Do it yourself, don't depend on the others. And if you do it yourself, you don't have to give any explanation to third parties.   

11. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I would like to have my own little label and release few but very special in limited runs. I don't see myself organizing so many concerts as I do now, but you never know.

Zillion thanks Miguel!

Monday, October 6, 2014

"Boyhood", a Life's Masterpiece

I'm still ecstatic a couple of days after watching "Boyhood". If you fancy this humble Blog just a tiny bit and want to follow my advice for once, please GO WATCH this film as soon as you can. If art imitates life, "Boyhood" might be one of it's most perfected versions. EVER.

Of course, it had to be Richard Linklater, one of the finest, more interesting directors out there, and the man behind the superb trilogy of "Before Sunrise" / "Before Sunset" / "Before Midnight", where he captured the story of two lovers over an 18-year span, each film catching up with them at nine year intervals. Linklater had used the risky equation real time passage = screen time passage and already excelled. In "Boyhood" he condenses the story of a family through 12 years but in just one movie. We follow fictional characters interact and grow in year-to-year transitions over 165 minutes of real time. A fascinating experiment and filming experience.

But as exciting and risky the filmmaking experiment is, the movie wouldn't deserve being qualified as a masterpiece just because of it. No, if "Boyhood" deserves to be forever praised is thanks to Linklater's eye to capture time's passing by through the eyes of Mason Jr (Ellar Coltrane), a 6 years-old-kid at the beginning of the movie and a confused 18 year-old teenager entering university at the end of the film. His life serves the American director to develop an incredibly brilliant coming-of-age story. One that is unique, as we see the actors aging while their tale also evolves. The form (the physical transformations of the characters) enhances their portrayals of the roles, so the transition from childhood to young adults is offered on screen like never before.

The result is deeply affecting to the viewer, as "Boyhood" tells it all: through road trips, holidays, wasted hours at home, classes, parties, dinners, birthdays and other special days we feel the little moments of joy and learning that conform life, the fears, the doubts, the struggle against circumstances, the clashes with reality, the triumphs, the let-downs, the tenderness, the laughs, the heart-aches, the difficulties of communication, and the looks & silences that reveal more that any conversation. Even the soundtrack (with Arcade Fire, Coldplay, Kings of Leon, The Black Keys, Dylan, Wilco) fits perfectly. Along with Mason Jr. we see his older sister Samantha (played by Lorelei Linklater, the director's daughter), his relentless mother Olivia (Patricia Arquette) and more sporadically but also crucial in his evolution, his separated dad Mason (Ethan Hawke). The bounds with each of them are extraordinary brought to the screen. And in my opinion, with maybe the exception of Samantha, who seems to disappear somewhat within the film as she grows, the performances of Coltrane, Arquette and Hawke are mesmerizing. 

The viewer becomes the most welcomed guest ever, being allowed to know a family in a way that makes any other movie pale by comparison. As I'm reading some opinions saying there's not a lot going on the film I'm just going to say: go to hell. Maybe your life has been an incredible adventure, but Linklater scores a gigantic goal for just picturing this family life without adding nothing too fancy or overblown, rejecting melodrama, or only including it in tiny little pieces (no spoiling), as every human being experiences. Instead, here's everyday life, with ups and downs and mostly, in-betweens. A simple story that is so blatantly relatable for the spectator it moves you in a way very few movies can. What a lesson. What a movie. What a piece of art. Ordinary life is fragile, fleeting, and worth living. Every life is a masterpiece.
   
SCORE: 9/10