Tag: The National

Films about family #Mistakenforstrangers and #thelegomovie

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Over the last two weeks I have seen two films. Thats good going for me, normally I get to see a 5 or 6 childrens films and 1or2 non family friendly films a year in the cinema. And generally it ranks in this way

Aardman films, rare quality with humour and delight.
Pixar films, very good generally.
Big films, (christopher nolans batman films, lord of the rings series, etc.) usually good towards very good.
Other childrens films, usually bland to ok with notable standouts, cloudy chance of meatballs, the first shrek, frozen and tangled. But normally not great.

So with great pleasure I have to report seeing two movies with asked questions of me. Questions which both made me laugh, made me think and asked me to evaluate myself against my perceptions of who i am.

First up was the lego movie.

It started well with a psychedelic style sequence within the first ten minutes, marking out that this isn’t just a lego sales pitch (of course thats part of it). As a movie it is quality, it is well scripted, well designed and features several changes of pace that seemed just right for the movie. The producers of the movie did a the similar trick with the cloudy with a chance of meatballs series of movies. Special mention must go to an unexpected end sequence. It is perhaps the strangest and most satisfying part of the film. It puts the film back into perspective and sks questions of those watching, and left me wondering How i act, and where i think things are. As a film the whole thing can be read many ways, and I am concious that I read into it, and yes it pressed certain buttons for me, but as a satifying movie experience I liked it immensely.

The second film was Mistaken for Strangers, shown as part of the Glasgow Film Festival.

What can I say about mistaken for strangers. First despite it being a film about a rock band on the cusp of superstardom, it isnt really about the band. The band provide the backdrop and the most of the soundtrack but its a wider stories about brothers, and family. Following one brothers attempt to work on a year long world tour. its in thetrailer that thing may not work out as well as expected. Beyond this it is very enjoyable, and really funny. Very funny indeed. In the same way you don’t have to be a sister to relate to the charactors in frozen, you dont have to have a brother to get the questions this film is askin,. or see the humor in this film. It was really good and I really enjoyed it.

Both these films have asked me questions about who I am, how I relate to others in my family. Both have been part of an enjoyable process to ask these questions and I suppose thats what art should be, something which asks you questions and allows space for the consideration of answers. For that I am truely thankful to both films.

Music I like, from 2013.

I know its already month 2 of 2014, but I guess its time to work out my favourite music of 2013. (Yes I was deleting the 2013 playlist that gathers all the new music i heard in 2013 so i can start a new on for 2014.)

I find I listen to less music than I used too. I am also slightly less generous with music as a result. I want more quality, less filler. I am unwilling to spend too much time with something which my initial reaction is no. I think i am reasonably open to new music, and hearing things that I haven’t heard before. And I did find some great music last year. But when it comes to trying to get a top 3 albums it is strange how a couple of artists seem able to consistantly hit a sweet spot in my ears, or in case of the number one album my soul, instantly becoming part of my unconscious soundtrack. Adding to the songs which come to mind when I am just being. Anyway heres some thoughts/recommendations…

The rules.
All music is in unless I have heard it before (a brief radio soundbite doesnt count!). So if the album was released in 1956, but I have never heard it, that album is eligable for the 2013 competition.

The notable runners up

The Beast In Its Tracks by Josh Ritter
If You Leave by Daughter
New Siberia by Anje Duvekot
Voyageur by Kathleen Edwards
All good records, but not in the top 3 of this year. For various reasons.

Joint 3rd place.
CandDThat’s What Happens by chas & dave
Chas and Dave’s new album features a roster of star name playing with them, and their trademark harmonies and displays an knowledge of the history of british music, (thesong Lonnie D is a tribute to Lonnie Donegan and his role in brining rock and roll music to the UK). Unlike alot of Chas and Dave music, this album doesn’t allow them to be too far into normal Chas & Dave territory. Part of this has to be due to the part producer Joe Henry played in the making of the album. it is warm, familiar while also showing restraint and a striped down accoustic feel which allows the voices to do alot more of the work. It is a great album.

VVThe Future will destroy you by Viva Voce The Future will destroy you is a magnificent album of modern rock songs. Anita and Kevin Robinson, the husband and wife Duo who make up the band, have an uncanny knack for creating songs which are at once modern yet classic. I had lost track of them since their 2009 album Rose City on Barsuk Records. Concious of this this year i did an “I wonder what they are doing” internet search, discovering this delight of an album from 2011. Its a great rock album with a strong set of songs. I really like it album.

2nd place
The NationalTrouble will Find Me by The National
well what can I say about “Trouble Will Find Me”? On first listen I wondered why it seemed restrained and calmer than the earlier albums. They are a band on the cusp of becoming a stadium-filling act and en route to the top 5, why produce an album of non anthemic, non stadium music. I am not sure I have answered that question yet. But I find it interesting that on the bands next tour on the UK this summer, their next gig in Scotland will be at the Usher hall. not the Hydro or the SECC. I have seen then twice live now and, thanks to the popularity of youtube, I have seen a couple of live concert performances since this albums been released. The new songs sound unlike tradional stadium rock, but they stand up to the large crowd experience. They draw the crowd in and provide a set of songs which a set can be built upon and accessorized with material from earlier albums. Its a brilliant album in many ways, and one that get under the skin, with seeming anthemic feel to almost all the songs. I think this album will live long in my subconcious. It is very good.

1st Place
otRMeet Me At The Edge Of The World by Over The Rhine. Lets get it out of the way. Over the Rhine are my favourite band currently. They seem like they speak to me even though I doubt the albums are written with me in mind. This album is awesome. It is the second album they have done with producer Joe Henry (yes, he has two albums in my top 3!), and the same stripped back sound, that I found with Chas & Dave, is also in effect here. The songs are georgous and beautiful.
Its number one because last year it solidified with place one evening when I had a cold. I went to bed early. I fired up my bedside radio which can connect to my NAS device. I scanned my music collection and settled on this. as I lay there and dozed and woke up, and slept this album was well perfect. it was intimate, it was overwhelming in delightfulness. In that hazy time getting the music right is a real struggle. get it wrong and it will bug you and put you off an album for life. make it right, and well, you have an album for life. This is the best album that I heard in 2013 without a doubt. Great work.

Laconic Hegemony vol 3 – mixtape 2010 – 16songs

laconic hegemony

Laconic Hegemony vol. 3 is available for you to download.
Laconic Hegemony is a mixtape which i irregularly make up and give away to my friends. Volume 3 is record of 16 songs which i think remind me of of 2010. I doubt it will win the 16 best songs of 2010, but 16 good ones, in a neat selection.
It lasts for about an hour and features lots of people who you have never heard of, and some you have, inc. The National, Richard Swift, Foals, Shearwater, Anais Mitchell etc.

consider it a new year present…

::[[click here to get it]]::

::[[click here]]:: for a pdf tracklisting

P.S.i made it using a virtualDJ thing on the computer so if the mix is a bit off. Sorry.

Best album of 2005 (marking 10 years of music)

As part of thinking back and remembering things on the cusp of moving into 2010, I am trying to work out what to put on my iPod and what not. so what follows is a brief look through the best albums I got in the year 2004 and a top 3 with some witterings on why i like things you will probably not like!

From 2005 the year Ellen MacArthur sailed very fast, Live 8 saw Pink Floyd on stage together again, and Coldplay made my the walls of our flat shake.
the contenders in alphabetical order;

  • The Chemical Brothers – Push The Button
  • Courtney Pine – Resistance
  • Daniel Barenboim – Chopin : Preludes and other Piano Works
  • Jenny Lewis & the Watson Twins – Rabbit Fur Coat
  • Kevin Max – The Impostor
  • Martyn Joseph – Deep Blue
  • My Morning Jacket -Z
  • The National – Alligator
  • Over the Rhine – Drunkards Prayer
  • Sufjan Stevens – (Come on feel the) Illinoise!
  • using a completely biased methodology of what did I listen to most then, what do I listen to now and think is pretty good and just what rocks my world, the top three are

    number 3
    TheNationalAlligatorzJointly My Morning Jacket – Z & The National – Alligator
    I couldn’t split them. Both American rock bands, both with awesome albums which I loved. Both are great live, both are albums i keep on returning to often. I don’t know how I could separate them to be honest.
    Seek out – both albums. they are very good.

    number 2
    deep-blueMartyn Joseph – Deep Blue
    What an album. really what an album. Practically prefect songs in every aspect. turn me tender is possibly my favourite song form this decade. it constantly leaves me desiring its company and wisdom as I work out what this thing called life is all about.
    seek out – the album, it is quite wonderful

    number 1
    illinoiseSufjan Stevens – (Come on feel the) Illinoise!
    I love the songs on this album, the way some tracks last 40 seconds or so, and how some last 5minutes. the way the sparing use of orchestration, the grooves on some songs, the fact it is about one of my top 52 American states, the fact the production seems sparing to give each piece of music its on space. it is quite, quite brilliant.
    seek out – the whole album. it should get your attention.

    Karen by The National

    (Karen National eyeglasses, thank you google image search.)

    Karen
    from the album Alligator by The National.

    Karen, I’m not taking sides
    I don’t think I’ll ever do that again
    I’ll end up winning and I won’t know why
    I’m really trying to shine here, I’m really trying
    You’re changing clothes and closing windows on me all the time

    Well, whatever you do, listen, you better wait for me
    No, I wouldn’t go out alone into America
    Whatever you do
    Listen, you better wait for me
    No, I wouldn’t go out alone

    Karen, we should call your father, maybe it’s just a phase
    He’ll know the trick to get a wayward soul to change his ways
    It’s a common fetish for a doting man
    to ballerina on the coffee table cock in hand

    Well, whatever you do
    Listen, you better wait for me
    No, I wouldn’t go out alone into America
    Whatever you do
    Listen, you better wait for me
    No, I wouldn’t go out alone

    Without warm water in my head
    All I see is black and white and red
    I feel mechanical and thin
    Hear me play my violin again
    I’m living in the target’s shoes
    All I see is black and white and blue.
    Idle, idle, idle, idle, protect the nest
    Protect the title

    Karen, put me in a chair, fuck me and make me a drink
    I’ve lost direction, and I’m past my peak
    I’m telling you this isn’t me
    No, this isn’t me
    Karen, believe me, you just haven’t seen my good side yet

    Well, whatever you do
    Listen. you better wait for me
    No, I wouldn’t go out alone into America
    Whatever you do
    Listen, you better wait for me
    No, I wouldn’t go out alone

    Without warm water in my head
    All I see is black and white and red
    I feel mechanical and thin
    Hear me play my violin again
    I’m living in the target’s shoes
    All I see is black and white and blue
    Idle, idle, idle, idle, protect the nest
    Protect the title

    I must be me, I’m in my head
    Black birds are circling my bed
    I must be me, I must be me
    Black feathers are falling on my feet
    Idle, idle, idle, idle, protect the nest
    Protect the title
    [repeat]

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    St Vincent


    Yes I am going to see the goodness of St Vincent.

    No Not the island but the great singer-songwriter type woman. St Vincent. She has played with Sufjan Stevens, and sounds vocally a bit like Annie Lennox. The music is similar to pop indie sound of Sufjan Stevens, My Brightest Diamond and Feist.

    I got the album “Marry Me” in the sumer after the american release. It bears repeated listening and is a real good album.

    Should be a good night.

    Especially as she is actually the support. Headliners are The National. Now theres a band I am quite keen on seeing.

    if you are free you may enjoy an evening of music with The National supported by St Vincent, at Glasgow’s ABC1 upon the evening of the 2nd November.

    it will be great.I will be there. what more could you ask for.

    what’s that you say? The night would only be made better if rich was there as well.
    Ok then, he will be. It really will be a complete night where all your wildest dreams will come true!

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