Wednesday, October 1, 2014

"God Help the Girl", the hipster musical

God Help the Girl

Me and the musicals, chapter 25.

My relation with musicals has been an excruciating one. The vast majority of them are...umm... how to put it politely, ridiculous. Annoyingly shallow, empty films with never-ending choreography's and little-to-zero worries on the script, which are usually lame. And although that's not the case with 'God Help the Girl', it's hard for me to consider it a triumph.

For sure, it's an ok movie, with gorgeous music (couldn't be any other way? We are talking about Stuart Murdoch) some charming visual/music numbers and wonderful aesthetics (if you are into that contemplative-clothing-advertisement, 110% hipster look). There are occasional sparks of brilliance, in the form of witty one liners and some funny conversation about music. Plus, of course, it has Scotland in the background. Special vibes.

But being completely honest, is that what makes a film worth praising? I have my doubts, which mainly are addressed to Murdoch’s script. He has the ability of putting many feelings in the songs, something he has proven for almost twenty years now, but what happens when there's no music? It might be just me, but 'God Help the Girl' suffers, at times, quite painfully, when actors have to deal with words and situations. And not because they aren't trying. Emily Browning is convincing as the fragile but at the same time determined Eve. Olly Alexander is perfect as James, the smart-sensible-shy-but a bit snobbish guitarist. And Hannah Murray is the carefree, lovely loony Cass, the last vortex of the triangle involving romance, friendship and a wonderful bunch of songs. And THE GENTLEMAN, the great Neil Hannon, has a fantastic tune too!

No, the problem is not the acting. In my opinion, 'God Help the Girl' has an awkward tone and an even more odd balance between the story of Eve issues, a pretty serious drama, and the story of of creating a (very hipster and yes, utterly talented) pop band while dealing with friendship-romance. Sure, it all sums for a coming of age tale, but the contrast makes the movie feel a bit strange & disjointed from scene to scene (or from scene to song). The overall feeling I had is that I'm in front of a long videoclip (quoting the words from Antonio Llarena from my beloved When Nalda Became Punk). It's a nice one? Well, the music, for the most part, is wonderful, and each time there's a song, the movie achieves a level of grace... that almost evaporates once the music is over. Besides, it kind of annoys me the amount of importance the aesthetics have. I get the costumes are connected with the songs they are playing but to that extent? It makes "God Help the Girl" look like the poppiest verision of an H&M advertisement.

So, me and the musicals, chapter 25? Probably among the best musical soundtracks... but far from the best movie.

SCORE: 6/10

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Discoverer 102: new indie findings

Finally having a weekend relaxed enough to prepare a new chapter of our Discoverer Series. One pretty heavy on guitars, enjoy!

Ex Hex. Already posted about them on a couple of Jukebox posts, so the expectations were extremely higher. Something understandable when you know this is the new project of the great Mary Timony from Helium, Autoclave and Wild Flag, along with Laura Harris on drums and Betsy Wright on bass. Hailing from Washington D.C, the power trio assembled in 2013, played a handful of shows, released the limited 7" 'Hot and Cold' on Merge Records, backed with two additional tunes, before heading into the studio in the spring of 2014. The result is 'Rips', a flawless album of pure, unapologetic, ridiculously pleasant indie-rock. A slap in the face to every single critic and/or pedantic hipster. Because in the end, this is what music should be, or make you feel: a fun as hell, smiling, shaking, liberating experience. It comes out in a couple of weeks and, needless to say, it's an absolute must.

Radical Dads. Formed by Robbie Guertin (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah), Lindsay Baker, and Chris Diken, who met in college in late 90s, and formed the band in 2008, after reuniting in Brooklyn, NY. Debut 7" 'Recklessness' arrived in 2010, followed quickly by album 'Mega-Rama' and 7" 'Skateboard Bulldog' in 2011. Another single, 'Torrential Zen', came out a year later, while 2013 saw them releasing sophomore LP 'Rapid Reality' and another 7", 'Creature Out'. The combo continues with their prolific career, now presenting a tape called 'Cassette Brain', out on Old Flame Records in early October. Energetic blasts in the form of intense pills of indie-rock devoted to the 90s (Pixies, Sleater-Kinney, Sonic Youth), channelled in Baker's powerful Baker's and a tone of guitar lines. Radical love.

Feature. And yet another trio, the one formed by Liv Willars, Jen Calleja and Heather Perkins, this time coming from London, UK, and active since 2011. Initially a duo (Liv & Jen), they debuted in October 2012 with EP 'Memory', a 5-track release to freely grab at their bandcamp or in limited cassette format via Cazenove Tapes. In May of 2014 came their second EP with 'Culture of the Copy' out in Tye Die Tapes and now as a trio they return with 'Tourists' EP, a 6-track split release with Slowcoaches taken from their upcoming tour, including 2 tunes plus a cover of Wire's "Mannequin". Raucous, distorted, raw punk combined with sweet-sounding vocal harmonies. Mandatory feature.

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Bloodbuzzed Jukebox 25

One more week, and despite some really annoying issues regarding our "new" apartment, we suggest you a new selection of our weekly TOP TEN playlist with the songs we have been enjoying the most lately. This is your chance to enjoy the music of: Angel Olsen (we are looking forward to see her live next week!), the return of our dear Ex Cops and Marine Life confirming all their promises, plus, of course, several new bands for you ears only. 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 5      Week 12      Week 19 
Week 6      Week 13      Week 20
Week 7      Week 14      Week 21

Welcome to the Jukebox!

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Indie Anthology 52: essential songs

The next song in our Indie Anthology it's also one of the most confessionals I have included in this section... But I guess it shows "the other side", a very human one too. Do you have a tune to reveal all the anger, also all the pain, you have been through? I do, I just didn't know it was going to turn that real...

Song: The Rat
Artist: The Walkmen
Year: 2004

The Walkmen

While I hope the "indefinite hiatus" the band has decided to take doesn't last that long (although it looks the other way, to be honest), 'The Rat', one of the his most celebrated, straightforward and unstoppable songs, still sounds as fresh, powerful, honest and blatantly mind-blowing as it was for me the first time I heard it. But that wouldn't telling the whole truth. Now every single word Hamilton Leithauser yells, no, let me correct, spits, seems to be sung in my name. Of course, I know my tale it's not about a post-break-up story clearly turning to a point between rage and being stuck. But yes, I have been stuck for several months, and I've been keeping all the fury in (call me civilised or call me coward), so Hamilton's voice is my silent throat, Matt Barrick's drums storming all over are my heart beats, and Paul Maroon's frantic guitar is my brain going back and forth all over. So here it is: dedicated to all the rats out there. Thanks The Walkmen for putting the words & music...

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Bloodbuzzed Jukebox 24

After one week without writing due to technical issues plus moving to another apartment, we come back with our weekly TOP TEN playlist with the songs we have been enjoying the most lately. This week you can listen to some exciting Spanish indie groups like Lavandera and Muñeco, our beloved Allo Darlin' or a song from four Irishman your probably know about and, despite being so unpopular in "hipsterland" nowadays, know a thing or two about creating perfect music pieces. As always, there are all at our  Blog's soundcloud, so please Join Us and enjoy it!

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 4      Week 11      Week 18  
Week 5      Week 12      Week 19 
Week 6      Week 13      Week 20
Week 7      Week 14      Week 21

Welcome to the Jukebox!

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Bloodbuzzed Jukebox 23


In this long weekend, at least for some of us, we don't miss the chance to present you our weekly TOP TEN playlist with the songs we have been enjoying the most lately. Perhaps one of the most eclectic selections, including the 60' influenced songs of Go Metric USA, all the bliss rock of Night School, the crafted songs of TOPS, the sweet, fun & playful rock of The School, or the fuzzed guitars of The Twilight Sad. So, what are you waiting for? There are all at our  Blog's soundcloud, so please Join Us and enjoy it!


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

Welcome to the Jukebox!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Indie Anthology 51: essential songs

We reached another Blog landmark: 50 tunes on our Indie Anthology. So number 51 had to be something special. Very special. So I decided to go even more personal, openly confessional (apologies if I get a bit cheesy) with next tune. Not just a great tune from one of my favourite pop composers of all time. Along with R.E.M., probably the reason this Blog exists...

Song: Instinct
Artist: Crowded House
Year: 1996

The first record I bought was 'Recurring Dream' the greatest hits compilation album Crowded House released as their (then) swan song. It's hard to believe today, but the record got quite a lot of buzz in Spain (there was even a TV ad) and radio airplay and, on a time that now seems ages ago, the video of 'Instinct', was frequently on programs like 'Los 40 Principales' or 'Sputnik' (check the vid). I got abducted by Neil Finn's masterful ability to create eternal pop tunes. Romantic but with a darker twist, funny, carefree (ok, sometimes a bit silly too) and power-pop numbers cohabiting with melancholic and moodier ones, not afraid of dealing with riskier subjects. Middle eight melodies capable of getting epic without crossing the annoying line, always with a fragment ready to reach you in a way you wouldn't want the rest of the world know. Can sadness be uplifting? Try Crowded House... Of course I ran to grab a copy to almost every album (try asking for Splitz Enz debut in Barcelona before the Internet arrived), lost single and book (first music biography I ever read in English). I followed Neil Finn's solo career and saw him presenting the lovely and surprising 'Try Whistling This' album in Barcelona, my first gig, joined by my father, who was really surprised how different his sons could be (my brother was into Depeche Mode then, 'Ultra' era). But then I just couldn't stop, so I went deeper, on his music style, influences and origins... then the Pandora's box opened: The Bats, The Verlaines, The Chills, but also Marr & Morrissey, and then... umm you pretty much have a clue of the rest if you follow this Blog. Although time has put Crowded House on a different perspective to me, I still would carry 'Together Alone' with me to a desert island, and I still have goosebumps every time I hear 'Distant Sun', 'Fingers of Love' or 'Weather With You'. To put it simply, Crowded House are my Beatles. "Your instinct can't be wrong"...