Movies aren't all dreary and eerie at this film festival. A few are pure
comedies, and so far, I've caught two, neither from these United
First, "New Kids Turbo," a Danish delight about five slackers with
mullets who are too lazy to get and/or keep a job, and welfare checks
just don't support their beer-swillin' lifestyles, so they decide to
stop paying for anything anymore. Not only does this attract the
attention of the authorities, but the idea catches on with the
recession-weary populace. Politically incorrect slapstick ensues, and
the jokes are lobbed at rapid fire. The quintet of rude, crude losers
breaks several rules of things you should never do in movies (i.e. kill
the dog), but they get away with it and have you laughing all the way.
Nothing gets lost in the translation.
And then there's Japan's "Karate-Robo Zaborgar," equally as silly and
satisfying. This one's both an update and a spoof of a kiddie
live-action series from yesteryear, à la "Ultraman," so the approach is
both reverent and respectfully raunchy (think "The Brady Bunch Movie").
It's about the love story between a man and his fighting, transforming
robot, and all the enemies they fight (or attempt to) along the way. One
of them is Diarrhea Robot, so named because of ... well, you'll see
when this hits USA DVD before long. —Rod Lott
Watch Girls’ J.R. White show off his directing chops.
So Girls’ second full-length is out, to much gushing from … well … everybody. After seeing the video for “Honey Bunny,” add this critic to the long list. A few lyrics that Chris Owens sings while stealing a Corvette and picking up a pretty girl (Hannah Hunt of the band Dominant Legs, his real-life gal-pal):
• “I know you love me, for all the reasons everyone hates me.” • “They don’t like my bony body, they don’t like my dirty hair.” • “She really loved me, even when I was bad.”
Watch a freaky new video from soon-to-visit Norman indie act Twin Sister.
On Oct. 14, New York boy-girl indies Twin Sister and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart will play at the University of Oklahoma. Both bands create dreamlike sonic landscapes, but while TPOBPAH skew more toward distorted rock, Twin Sister indulges in lush, sense-defying, alternate-reality dream-pop.
Check out this video for “Kimmi in a Ricefield,” off their debut album, “In Heaven,” which comes out today. Expect a positive review soon.
Doesn't that make you want to live there? It does, right? And lucky for you, I have a hot tip on an amazing brick tudor home from 1929 that is looking for a new family. It's potty-trained and everything.
The Detroit band talks Wayne Coyne, hip-hop beats, pop radio and Pitchfork.
The three best shows I saw at this year’s Austin City Limits Music Festival were two obvious choices (Kanye West, Arcade Fire) and one dark horse I’d pinned a lot of hope on. That band is Detroit’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., and the duo’s Sunday-afternoon set showed off their flair for garish styles, fun-loving melodies, twinkling electronic textures, falsetto harmonizing, bubble machines and straight-up rock ’n’ roll. Also, they tossed Popsicles to a thankful crowd, heat-exhausted by three days of loud music in the Texas sun.
With those antics – the names, the games, the showmanship, these press photos – it’s hard to tell whether or not Daniel Zott and Joshua Epstein have their tongues wriggling in their cheeks. Luckily, I had the chance to chat with them the day before their set, and the guys seem as genuine as the homegrown, preservative-free cheese I bought at Forward Foods during my lunch break yesterday.
My verdict: They’re ambitious, quirky guys who record weirdly lovable music and are nostalgic for a time when physical media was more important and radio stations crackled with music that was beautiful and challenging. But I’m rambling now. On to the chatting:
Zott: So what’s up with Wayne Coyne? He gets to do whatever he wants on a major label, and everyone loves him. It’s weird.
Epstein: He has like, three houses, right? Right in a row?
OKS: It’s actually four. He’s expanded. I think they’re all back-to-back, and connected by the backyard. It’s just a gigantic compound.
Epstein: That’s so weird.
OKS: It’s in the shady side of Oklahoma City, so the houses are probably pretty cheap. He’s spent a lot of money remodeling and redecorating them.
“Nothing but Our Love” at ACL 2011
Epstein: That’s awesome. Is he part of the community?
OKS: I see him at concerts all the time. There’s a venue in Norman called Opolis, where a lot of the smaller-name indie acts come through, and he’s there with friends and family at a lot of the shows I go to. He just walks right up to the stage, pulls out his phone and tweets photos. He’s checking out new bands and hanging around.
But on to you guys. One of the things I like so much about your music is that a lot of it’s textured with electronica — the little fizzly sounds that keep things going. How is that coming out of Detroit? It seems very different to me, from most of the music that comes out of there.
Music video for “Simple Girl”
Zott: You’re talking about the garage-rock scene.
OKS: Yeah, that’s usually what I think about when I hear about Detroit.
Zott: There’s that element, and we do have a rock element to our sound, but Detroit does have an electronic scene that’s really huge. It kinda started there.
Epstein: Yeah, techno music came from Detroit.
Zott: There’s a lot of bands doing that kinda stuff right now, and the roots are there for it. A lot of bands we like are electronic-type bands. It’s more natural than you think, there’s a lot of electronic tinkering going on up there.
Epstein: There’s a huge, underground hip-hop scene that’s getting notoriety also. I think hip-hop’s actually a big part of our music, too.
Zott: I’d say more so than electronica is a hip-hop type vibe. It’s a little bit warmer. There’s a groovier beat than a stale, 4-4 beat.
OKS: I definitely feel like – listening to you guys’ music – it’s more intimate and warm-sounding.
Zott: Yeah, there’s definitely some of that electronic texturing, but it’s Detroit to us.
Epstein: Well, the songs had to have “Summer” in the title, but I’ve always been a huge Pavement fan, so it seemed to be a pretty obvious choice.
Zott: And I hadn’t listened to them much. Usually when we do a cover or a remix or something like that, one of us has heard the song and the other hasn’t, so it makes it more fun because you can’t quite put as much of a spin on the song if you know it in and out. That’s really hard to do. I think we were able to get away from it because I wasn’t familiar. Josh kept the things that we needed to keep, but we also made it fresh.
OKS: Let me ask you guys about your album, particularly the Gil Scott-Heron cover, “We Almost Lost Detroit.” Did you guys pick that one out because you’re big fans of Gil Scott-Heron, or because of the hometown mention, or kind of a mix of both, or what?
“We Almost Lost Detroit” live on KEXP
Epstein: I think initially it was because of Detroit. We really liked the version we did. It felt updated, in comparison to the original. But also we really liked the sentiment in it. It sums up so much about our record, especially the name “It’s a Coporate World,” so it felt like we had to include it. It was just kinda meant to be.
OKS: Do you guys’ songs start out with words, or do you go melody first or what?
Zott: It’s different every time. I think the key is to keep it inspired and to avoid forcing anything. Sometimes Josh’ll have an idea and we’ll work it out, sometimes I’ll have an idea and we’ll work it out, sometimes we push something together, or sometimes we write a whole song and there’s no lyrics. Sometimes you need to make lyrics sound good. It’s different every time, I think.
OKS: If you guys had to record a pop album or a folk album, which one would you choose?
Zott: That’s where we’re kind of a mix. We want to be a pop band. We hate the idea that a pop band has to be dumbed-down — lyrically, sonically, chord structure-wise. It used to not be like that. “God Only Knows” was a massive hit worldwide, and that song has the weirdest chords in it, it has time-signature changes, a key change. It’s weird: It would never fly right now on pop-radio format.
God Only Knows:
OKS: It’s morbid, too.
Zott: Yeah! It was considered a beautiful love song, and it is. But it’s got these funky lyrics that aren’t typical love-song lyrics. But we think people can still digest that stuff, and people do. I’d like to write a pop album that breaks that rule. We’re just making music we love, that we think could be pop music and doesn’t necessarily have to be Top-40 radio. It can be complex. I think we’d do a pop record.
Epstein: To me, they both exist within me, and I don’t think I can separate them. I’ll still feel the need to write lyrics that are meaningful and challenging. You can do it. People just aren’t doing it in the Top 40 anymore. The system’s a bit broken. People at the radio stations want to keep their jobs. Radio plays a huge role to make bands visible to people who aren’t on blogs, who don’t seek out new things.
People who read Pitchfork fail to realize that most people in the world don’t read Pitchfork. I was working with this band, recording a song, and they were like, “Pitchfork’s gonna love this.” And I told them they were idiots. Do it because you love, not because Pitchfork’s gonna like it. They’re just one opinion, anyways. Somehow they’ve managed to make people think they’re the authority.
I just think that, ultimately, if it were DJs playing the songs they wanted to play, like it was in the ‘60s, then we’d have a much more diverse popular music scene. People are hungry for good stuff. That’s how Phoenix became a Top-40 band. I think mostly probably because it was so different when it played on those stations. People were like, “Holy crap! What is this? It’s not Nickelback!” y’know?
OKS: So are you guys going to get to go around at the fest at all? Who are you going to see?
Zott: If we have time, we’d love to see Stevie Wonder.
Epstein: As a musician, it’s really hard for me to go to a show and just be entertained. And when bands can do that, I’m always so blown away. Like going to a Flaming Lips show: You feel like a little kid and you just want to cry. I learn a lot from them.
Zott: I don’t go to concerts, which is kind of a weird thing. I guess I’m going to have to make up for it now.
Epstein: I go to too many. I played with OK Go one time, and they said something along the lines of, “Everything we do, we try to be like The Flaming Lips.”
No ‘bigatory’ in ‘American Juggalo,’ just awesomeness.
En route back to Oklahoma City from Austin, Texas, this weekend, I listened to a lot of episodes of the “Doug Loves Movies” podcast that had been piling up on my iPhone. On one, host Doug Benson’s guests included two music podcasters who came armed with lists of their favorite “rockumentaries.” Among their tops were “The Kids Are Alright,” “Some Kind of Monster” and “Dig!”
I’d like to think if only they’d appeared several weeks later, they would’ve had “American Juggalo” on their list. Oh, if only!
Directed by Sean Dunne, this 22-minute nugget could be two hours and 22 minutes, and I’d still be riveted to every minute. Armed with two Sony EX3 cameras, Dunne attended the Gathering of the Juggalos, the annual festival held by Insane Clown Posse, either the most beloved or reviled musical act of our generation. He asked questions; he got answers.
Boy, did he ever get answers. NSFW alert: Very few do not use the word “fuck” in some form or fashion. (Example: “I’m fucked up on E and vodka.”)
The results are fascinating, and speak for themselves ...
The famed musical will beam to theaters live starting Sunday.
In all these 25 years, you tell me you never caught Andrew Lloyd Webber’s gazillion-dollar-grossing “The Phantom of the Opera” musical? Yeah, me neither. (I did catch the movie, though. Way later. On Netflix.)
Here’s our chance: Fathom Events brings “The Phantom” to Oklahoma City via a four-date broadcast at: • AMC Quail Springs Mall 24, 2501 W. Memorial; • Cinemark Tinseltown USA, 6001 N. Martin Luther King; and • Hollywood Spotlight 14, 1100 N. Interstate in Norman.
Boasting a cast of more than 200, “The Phantom on the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall” will beam live from London at 1 p.m. Oct. 2, and then show again at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 5, 6 and 11.
Duh, Yahoo!: Cain’s Ballroom is a great place to see a show.
Cain’s Ballroom is the reason I’m sitting here, in an office, typing about why Cain’s Ballroom is one of the best places on the planet to see a concert.
left, Wilco performs at Cain's back in the spring.
Wilco hit my beloved hometown’s hallmark venue during a hot spring night my freshman year of college. My friend Thomas and I drove the two hours from Norman to hear Jeff Tweedy (who wore a seemingly magical white suit stitched with roses) tell stories and sing some America’s finest avant-garde poetry. That night interlaced my love for the band, Cain’s and indie rock in general so tightly together into the fabric of my life that it sorta took on new meaning.
Well, Yahoo! News seems to agree with me today. It named Cain’s the ninth best place in America to see a concert, right up there with New York’s infamous Bowery Ballroom; the gorgeous Red Rocks venue in Morrison, Colo.; and even the Hollywood Bowl. Flip through their online photo gallery and see for yourself.