Friday, October 30, 2009

Album of the Week, 10/30/09--"Family" by Le Loup

Two wonderful things happened to me this past week: I fell in love with a three-speed cruiser at KLUNK's bike shop, and I discovered  Le Loup. Now I have both a new bike and a new favorite band. Bike love and band love. It's been a good week. Let's celebrate it with the Album of the Week.

First of all, don't be fooled by the image of bearded indie minimalists sitting fireside: Le Loup wanders far outside folk's ring of fire, expanding its borders to incorporate African rhythms, Renaissance counterpoint, middle-eastern drone, and Appalachian banjo.

Keyboard/banjo player Sam Simkoff formed Le Loup in 2006 in Washington, D.C. He soon recruited other members, including computer geek extraordinaire Christian Ervin, drummer Robby Sahm, guitarists Michael Ferguson and Jim Thomson, and bassist Dan Ryan. The band's debut album, The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations' Millennium General Assembly (2007) earned them comparisons to Arcade Fire, Animal Collective, and Yeasayer.

For their latest, friendlier-titled release, Family (September 22), Le Loup favors real instruments over the computers that dominated their first album. They pulled a Justin Vernon and retreated to a North Carolina cabin and Sahm's basement to record without mundane distractions and tap the primal energy underlying their live shows—first capturing the organic sounds of their instruments before treating them with various effects. The result is a swirling cacophony of building textures, group vocals, and world beats, spirited along by Simkoff's plucky banjo.

See what you think. "Sherpa" is slow to start but soon takes off up the mountain. Have patience.
(I'm partial to "Grow" myself.)

"Saddle Mountain"


"Forgive Me"


At first I thought, Oh, great, another mushy, multi-vocaled band. But somehow Le Loup manages to transcend the aimless wandering of other neo-folk groups. Each track on Family is nothing short of majestic: rippling, expanding, and transforming, the songs mutate from campfire sing-along to fiery bacchanalia. I didn't expect to like this album as much as I do, but Le Loup howled at my back door, and I let them in. Sometimes bands, like banana-yellow bicycles, choose us.

And finally, check out our very own Columbia Missouri Cycling Cooperative (COMO Cyco) for full details on Saturday's MidMO BRR. I'll be heading to Rocheport by Schwinn myself in a gloriously half-assed costume. A spooktacular Halloween to all souls...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

White Rabbits at The Blue Note, 10/29

If you've lived in Columbia for any length of time, you probably know all about White Rabbits, a band pulled from our university's very own magic hat. Here's where I confess my out-of-towner (even though that's really no excuse) ignorance: I actually DID NOT know about White Rabbits, living under a dark and obstructing dunce cap as I apparently do. (I actually DO know about white rabbits, having had one as a pet, but Oscar never shredded a guitar—just spinach leaves.)

If you suffer from a similar peaked hat of shame, you can easily educate yourself by going to see White Rabbits when they shake up The Blue Note Thursday night. They'll be playing in honor of KCOU's 46th birthday, along with Suckers and Glass Ghost.

Here's what I discovered: The six-member band formed in 2004 when frontmen Greg Roberts and Stephen Patterson met at Mizzou. After relocating to Brooklyn in 2005, they released their first studio album, Fort Nightly, in 2007 and followed it up earlier this year with It's Frightening. They've played David Letterman and been featured on NPR's World Cafe—nothing to sneeze at for a couple of former Missourians.

White Rabbits once described themselves as "honky tonk calypso," although recent reviews suggest they've mellowed a bit under the influence of new album producer Britt Daniel of Spoon and new practice-space mates The Walkmen. They've scrapped some of the ska and moved into more mature territory, throwing in slower-paced songs and still managing to throttle along with singles like "Percussion Gun."

It's going to take me a little while to see what I think of these guys. I'm not blown away by their percussion gun, but I haven't done my research yet...

Come see White Rabbits with Suckers and Glass Ghost at The Blue Note, Thursday, October 29. Doors open at 9:30.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Indie Rock Coloring Book

The Yellow Bird Project is a Montreal-based nonprofit and all-around arbiter of cool whose goal is to unite indie rock artists with charitable causes by asking them to design t-shirts for the rest of us—with proceeds going to multiple charities.

Even better, they now have an indie rock coloring book for only $10.

Matt Berninger of The National puts it best:
"This is the greatest coloring book since coloring was invented. I've decided to have kids just so I'll have somebody to give this book to."
But I actually want this coloring book all for myself.  You get to color Broken Social Scene's complex maze, shade Bon Iver's enchanted water supply, and scribble on MGMT's wacky playground. Teach your favorite kid what it means to color outside the lines, or just have fun with it yourself.

The Yellow Bird Project even has a theme song by The Tallest Man on Earth.

"Yellow Bird Project Theme Song"

(The Tallest Man on Earth is a Swedish folk singer who may well be The Coolest-Voiced Man on Earth.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cassette from My Ex Available Tuesday, 10/27

Fans of Rob Sheffield's Love Is a Mix Tape rejoice! A new book about mix-tapeology comes out on Tuesday, October 27. Cassette from My Ex: Stories and Soundtracks of Lost Loves, edited by Jason Bitner, co-creator of FOUND Magazine, compiles 60 tales of lost loves and mix tapes from a mixed bag of writers and musicians, including Rob Sheffield, This American Life's Starlee Kine, The Magnetic Fields' Claudia Gonson, Blender Magazine's Joe Levy, The New Yorker's Ben Greenman, Mortified's David Nadelberg, etc.

If you're still holding on to a mix tape or two without holding on to your tape deck, you probably know what it is to love the memories behind the plastic. I keep a small stash of my favorite mix cassettes—labeled such colorful phrases as "Pitch the Baby, Summer 1993" and "Hecate, 1994"—despite having no way of playing them these days: just looking at the sloppy handwriting on the labels is enough to hit rewind... if I ever wanted to relive the time I threw up at a party listening to Siouxsie and the Banshees' "Kiss Them for Me."

Indie Imps

(Justin Vernon as Garth) brings you It's an Indie Halloween! If you need costume ideas or a good laugh, check out the site for pictures of well- and lesser-known musicians in costume, both now and many harvest moons ago. You can see My Morning Jacket as the Ghostbusters and John McCauley as a ripening California Raisin, among others.

The Swell Season Local Shows

Thanks to an anonymous poster last week for the heads up about upcoming Swell Season shows. You can catch the duo in Kansas City on November 30 at the Uptown Theater and St. Louis on December 4 at The Pageant.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Macabre Music Monday

It's the week before Halloween, which just so happens to be one of my favorite holidays. I've always been attracted to the off-kilter, especially when it comes to music. Who doesn't like happy songs about tombstones and werewolves and coffins and severed heads? I've been dying to unearth some of the sinister sounds of the season... and so I present you with a Halloween list of 13 ghoulish tunes.

1. "Fresh Blood" by Eels

(Mark Oliver Everett of Eels)

Hombre Lobo, Eels' latest album (released June 2, 2009), is Spanish for "werewolf." See picture above. Enough said.

Watch for the wolf man howl around minute one.

"Fresh Blood"

2. "They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back from the Dead!! Ahhhh!!" by Sufjan Stevens


A lovely choral ode to zombies... sort of like a placid, brain-dead indie version of Orff's Carmina Burana.

"They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back from the Dead!! Ahhhh!!"

3. "Graveyard" by Chad VanGaalen

(Chad VanGaalen)

Death is okay! Graveyards are fun! Let's dance and sing!


4. "Halloween Song" by Evangelicals

"Halloween Song" is more fun than pop rocks, wax lips, and sugar sticks in a treat bag. It comes complete with ghost "oooo-ing."

"Halloween Song"

5. "Shankill Butchers" by The Decemberists

There's nothing like lulling your kiddies to sleep with tales of the Shankill Butchers and their sharpened knives. Mind your mother's words, indeed.

6. "Coffin Trick" by Atlas Sound

(Bradford Cox)

Bradford Cox is Atlas Sound. (You can read about the new album, Logos, at Colossal Youth.)

He tricks out his treats with experimental noise, and somehow it all works.

"Coffin Trick"

7. "October Is Eternal" by Of Montreal

(Of Montreal)

If there was a film soundtrack about techno glam poppers stuck in perpetual Halloween, it would sound like this.

"October Is Eternal"

8. "Ghost Song" by Patrick Wolf

(Patrick Wolf)

Patrick already has his Duran Duran costume all picked out.

"Ghost Song"

9. "Every Day Is Halloween (Ministry Cover)" by The Postmarks

(The Postmarks)

The Postmarks put their sweet-voiced stamp on a Ministry classic.

"Every Day Is Halloween"

10. "Remember Severed Heads" by CLUES


What's with the severed heads? I really haven't a CLUE.

"Remember Severed Heads"

11. "The Mummy" by Benji Hughes

(Benji Hughes)

With a name like Benji, you're pretty much born looking like a lost member of the Allman Brothers.

Don't get the mummy drunk.

"The Mummy"

12. "Devil Town " by Bright Eyes

(Conor Oberst, aka Bright Eyes)

Conor Oberst is an American alt rocker in Devil Town.

"Devil Town"

13. "Werewolf" by Cat Power

(Chan Marshall, aka Cat Power))

Cat Power sings to the moon in this chilly ballad for the lycanthropic.


Your suggestions for morbid masterpieces I'm missing?

Private Jack's Mannequin Show at The Blue Note, 11/8

Thanks to commenter Jane for the following tip:

Jack Daniel's is sponsoring a private show at The Blue Note on November 8 featuring Jack's Mannequin. All you have to do to get on the guest list (assuming there are still available seats) is visit the Jack Daniel's Studio No. 7 website, enter your birth date, click on "Columbia," and fill out an event registration form.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Album of the Week, 10/23/09--"Strict Joy" by The Swell Season

The Swell Season is upon us, and it is full of joy—Strict Joy, that is. Your favorite modest couple has returned with a follow-up to their folk classic Once. The new album, available October 27, promises to be full of quiet charm and understated warmth.

The Swell Season is Irish musician Glen Hansard of the Frames and Czech singer/pianist Marketa Irglova. After their last album earned them an unexpected Academy Award in 2008 for "Falling Slowly," the pair retreated from the acting arena and focused on what they love most—composing simple gems and playing them well.

The couple are now uncoupled. To mark the end of their two-year romance, they've written a series of swan songs as balanced as any on the previous album. Hansard's ragged vocals are tethered to Irglova's tenuous whisper in a sonic marriage underscored by layers of delicate piano and guitar. With unassuming dedication, they've spun more of the simple sounds we've come to expect. On the first track, "Low Rising," Hansard reenters Van Morrisson territory, sweeping us up in a rough embrace with tales of love's ups and downs. "The Rain" builds steadily from drizzle to downpour, while "I Have Loved You Wrong" and "Fantasy Man" shine a light on Irglova's lovely fragility. The bittersweet close of "Back Broke" shuts the door on what we hope will not be the duo's final album.

A sampling of tracks from Strict Joy:

"Low Rising"

"Feeling the Pull"

"In These Arms"

"The Rain"

The Swell Season playing "Paper Cup" (from Strict Joy) for NPR:

Much joy to you this weekend.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Weekend Shows at The Blue Note and a Dirty Projectors Playlist

(Gogol Bordello)

You can catch two strikingly dissimilar shows at The Blue Note this weekend: on Saturday, the recreational frat-pop of Ludo, with Ha Ha Tonka, Meese, and Without a Face, and on Sunday, the bizarre Russian mind rape of Gogol Bordello, with Apostle of Hustle.


(Ludo: Look at us... we're clever. We're f-u-n-n-y.)

Saturday's show is all about supporting regional bands. Ludo is a pop-punk outfit from St. Louis, and Ha Ha Tonka hails from hilly Ozark country.

Ludo's 2008 album You're Awful, I Love You features the track "Love Me Dead," which I wouldn't be caught dead listening to, for what it's worth, and which you might recognize from a House commercial—or not: I don't really watch tv myself and don't know this band from a Weezer in the wall. I've gathered they have an annoying proclivity for yuk mongering. If that's your thing, and you like your Ladies Bare Naked, then by all means, unleash your Fountains of Wayne. Ludo is also known for staging "theme" shows in St. Louis and Columbia, such as HalLUDOween, Ludo Shop of Horrors, and Cinco de Mustache. Yuks galore!

On the southern rock side of the Ozark mountain, Ha Ha Tonka is promoting their soulful new album, Novel Sounds of the Nouveau South. They've been compared to everything from Kings of Leon to The Replacements, but you won't find yuks here ... just solid rock 'n' roll.

Ha Ha Tonka performing "Close Every Valve to Your Bleeding Heart" at Chicago's Q101 studio

Come see Ludo, Ha Ha Tonka, Meese, and Without a Face at The Blue Note, Saturday, October 24. Doors open at 6:30.


And now for something completely different...

(Gogol Bordello)

Punk gypsies from Eastern Europe? Lock up your women and children! Gogol Bordello are traipsing into town spewing glasnost and going all Vladimir Putin on your ass. Could they be a Russian Flogging Molly? Named after writer Nikolai Gogol, the band has not-so-secret plans to infiltrate the English-speaking world in much the same way Gogol smuggled Ukrainian culture into Russia.

The band appeared in Liev Schreiber's 2005 film Everything Is Illuminated; lead singer Eugene Hutz played Alexander Perchov, Elijah Woods' Ukrainian guide.

I'd rather milk a Siberian yak than listen to Gogol Bordello, but I do appreciate their wicked intent. If you want something different, load up on several glasses of Yakov Smirnoff and jump into the crowd.
Na zdorovje!

Gogol Bordello video for "American Wedding"

Come see Gogol Bordello with Apostle of Hustle at The Blue Note, Sunday, October 25. Doors open at 6:30.

A Dirty Projectors Playlist

Ah, social networking.... Everything is so damn accessible these days, including the friend lists of your favorite bands. A quick glance at Dirty Projectors' myspace page reveals a merry band of band-friends. This calls for a playlist...

Friends of Dirty Projectors

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

(Beyonce is also Dirty Projectors' friend, but I don't like it, and I'm not gonna put a ring on it.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Yards and Gods Compilation, Volume 1

This will be the first in a series of posts on the music of Yards and Gods, our local co-op record label. (If you recall, these are the guys who put on the snazzy Yards and Gods Ball earlier this month.)

(Ursus Arctos at the Yards and Gods Ball, courtesy of Colossal Youth)

Like a lot of people here in Columbia, I have a tendency to write off anything local as sub-par sub-pop, but there are amazing bands right here in our own humid, bluegrass-infested backyard. I've been checking out the Yards and Gods releases this week to see what kind of noisy mischief our gang of co-opers has gotten up to... and its a lovely, lovely ruckus.

I started with Yards and Gods Compilation, Volume 1 as a general intro to the collective Yards and Gods sound. Local Prozac'er Living in Misery already reviewed this album back in February and did a damn fine job, but I've only recently become aware of the label and the bands. I just read that Volume 2 is expected sometime this winter, so check out Volume 1 now while it's still the darling of its parents.

You get a wide variety of sounds on this compilation. Volume 1 starts with a growl from Ursus Arctos and a sucker punch from The Makeouts before drifting into star-filled ambience with Nonreturner and In Dark Trees. Palisades takes you by the hand and brings you back to earth for the second Ursus Arctos jam. By the time things turn inward again with the moody late-night delirium of Nonreturner, Palisades is there again to end things on a camp-fire note, gathering round for a hippie sing-along.

I'm partial to Nonreturner, which instrumentally reminds me of Gish-era Smashing Pumpkins and those teen-angsty days when black was my mental and physical uniform. (The live track is a gorgeous gloomfest of Thom Yorke delicacy.) But I also got red-riding-hooded into the forbidding woods of In Dark Trees, snaring myself in its gnarled branches of ambient sadness.

There's plenty of upbeat stuff here, too: Ursus Arctos keeps things revved-up and satisfies the garage-rock revivalists with a little help from The Makeouts and their blissfully Kinksy basics. Not to be passed over by either the garage rockers or the shoegazers, Palisades makes endearingly honest music, stripped down to organ-and-guitar soul.

Michael and Zach from Yards and Gods were kind enough to let me post as many MP3s as my ravenous horde desires, and so I'm sharing all eight tracks from the compilation.

Yards and Gods Compilation, Volume 1

1. "Autumn Ball Blues" by Ursus Arctos

2. "I Want Your Love" by The Makeouts

3. "Awash" by Nonreturner

4. "Some Summer Night" by In Dark Trees

5. "All This Could Be Yours and Mine" by Palisades

6. "Fanciest Glass of Water" by Ursus Arctos

7. "Food for the Wild Dogs (Live)" by Nonreturner

8. "Days of Wine and Roses" by Palisades

Be sure to check out all of the Yards and Gods releases. More Yards and Gods reviews to come...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pete Yorn and Alberta Cross at The Blue Note, 10/21/09

Pete Yorn and his healthy head of hair will be gracing The Blue Note stage this Wednesday night with Alberta Cross. I won't be at the show: I have a take-it-or-leave-it feeling when it comes to Mr. Yawn, excuse me, Mr. Yorn, and his music for the morning after. I realize I was also less than enthused about the Decemberists, and look how that show turned out. Still, there's something ridiculously Simon and Leslie about Yorn:

And hey, look who's sponsoring the show: our very own BXR. To all BXR fans, I mean no offense: I choose not to listen to Eric Hutchinson every five minutes, but if you want to rock, you rock, and if you want to roll...well, you roll.

Yorn is currently promoting his latest release, Back and Fourth (June 23), and just recorded an album, Break Up (released September 15), with buxom friend Scarlett Johansson, modeled after the breathy, orgasmic recordings of 1960s icons Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot. Do I smell baked brie? I can't get over the cheese factor behind this whole side project. Is it the overplumped lips? The overplumped hair? The overplumped egos? My own unwillingness to let poor Scarlett be anything but a sex-pot starlet in the average man's personal mental porno? There's something missing here, and it may be more than Woody Allen's financial support. In the video for "Relator," a strangely anesthetized Johansson murmurs her lyrics while looking like a dark-haired Bardot rip-off:


Johansson will not be with Yorn on Wednesday night. You will get Yorn alone... which may not be much. A friend of mine describes Yorn's last performance at The Blue Note as: "Yorn came out. He played his songs. He left." Apparently, you'd be wise not to expect a lot of personality in the set. Then again, Yorn wasn't making music with Scarlett Johansson back then, so maybe he is much peppier now.

If you like your rock worn and slightly puked-on like an old frat-house couch, you could do a lot worse than tap Yorn's music keg. Yorn is safe, he is solid, and his music sounds much like my friend's description of his show: he plays his music, and it isn't terrible, and it isn't great. It just is.

(Don't hate me because I'm prettier than you.)

(Correction: Don't hate us because we're prettier than you.)

Alberta Cross

Alberta Cross are new to me, so I can't unleash a bias blitz. Their debut album, Broken Side of Time (released September 21), features very basic blues-rock, but frontman Petter Ericson Stakee (he's half Swedish and English) made me listen a little bit longer to their myspace track postings. He has a great voice, not unlike a gravelly version of Band of Horses' Ben Bridwell. Their sound is a little southern-fried rock for my taste, but a clear, cutting voice always stops me in my tracks.

Come see Pete Yorn and Alberta Cross at The Blue Note, Wednesday, October 21. Doors open at 7:00.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are

Spike Jonze's much-anticipated Gen-X indie acid trip Where the Wild Things Are opened this past weekend. I haven't seen it yet, but Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 68% rating, with the comment "some may find its dark tone and slender narrative off-putting." It's been a long time since I read the adventures of Max, but wasn't the book itself a bit light on narrative? I say bring on the monsters and the noir and all those squirmy "off-putting" feelings. Everyone knows this movie isn't really for kids, anyway.

If you happen to be a member of the target demographic—a five-year-old trapped in a thirtysomething body—chances are you'll appreciate the soundtrack, which features original songs by Karen O and the Kids. You might know Karen O as the flamboyant fashion-centric lead singer of art-rockers the Yeah Yeah Yeahs: famous for her performance shenanigans, she once fell off the stage during a show and had to be hospitalized.

(The aforementioned shenanigans)

On this soundtrack, however, Karen O has toned things down a bit, joining up with "the Kids" to bring you some hallucinogenic fraggle rock that might just annoy the ever-loving shit out of you or inspire you to ride your big wheel around the block with reckless abandon. If you shrunk the members of the Polyphonic Spree to tot size and gave them a whole bag of Runts candy, they would sound something like this.

(Karen O: She sings to your children... or the naughty child inside you.)

(A kinder, cuddlier Karen O)

"All Is Love" by Karen O and the Kids

"Hidaway" by Karen O and the Kids

Karen O's voice is magical. "All Is Love" is a bit teletubby for me, but there's definitely some whimsical fun on this soundtrack that probably compliments the film well.

Anyone seen it yet?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Album of the Week, 10/17/09--Twilight Saga: New Moon Soundtrack

Tweens rejoice! Your  favorite repulsively good-looking vampire friends are back—meaning faux-teen fodder for your Tiger Beat and some not-bad music for our iPods. The Twilight Saga: New Moon soundtrack is officially released Tuesday, October 20.

Sure, choosing it as my Album of the Week has a certain bloodsucking vapidity, but it's getting close to Halloween, and something wicked this way must come. It also happens to be a good collection of mainstream alt artists, ranging from the BXR-friendly Death Cab for Cutie to the lesser-known Band of Skulls. Having seen Grizzly Bear perform "Slow Life" live with Victoria Legrand earlier this month, I can vouch for this song with all of my still-beating heart. Thom Yorke and the Killers also contribute, and both tracks are solid, if not exactly inspired. Lykke Li and Anya Marina have the baby-voiced crowd covered, while Bon Iver (with St. Vincent) and Editors round out an all-star cast of indie superstars. 

As with most soundtracks, there's always the hope that this will be, like, the best mix tape ever. But we all know how hard it is to make a mix tape for someone else. It might end up stuffed metaphorically in a box, not to be rediscovered for ten years, like some lame mix tape from a wannabe friend. I think I need several listens before I decide yay or nay.

The tracks in order:

1. "Meet Me on the Equinox" by Death Cab For Cutie

2. "Friends" by Band of Skulls

3. "Hearing Damage" by Thom Yorke

4. "Possibility" by Lykke Li

5. "A White Demon Love Song" by The Killers

6. "Satellite Heart" by Anya Marina

7. "I Belong to You [New Moon Remix]" by Muse

8. "Rosyln" by Bon Iver and St. Vincent

9. "Done All Wrong" by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

10. "Monsters" by Hurricane Bells

11. "The Violet Hour" by Sea Wolf

12. "Shooting the Moon" by Ok Go

13. "Slow Life [with Victoria Legrand]" by Grizzly Bear

14. "No Sound but the Wind" by Editors

15. "New Moon [The Meadow]" by Alexandre Desplat

For the record, I've never read any of Stephenie Meyer's vampiric "masterpieces," but I've had the first two books sitting on the lower rack of my coffee table for months in an intimidating and ever-growing Pile o' Books to Read, along with the Nick Hornby Songbook. (I borrowed them from my ever-patient friend Rebekah. Sorry, Bekah... I promise I will get to them.) 

Friday, October 16, 2009

It Might Get Loud at Ragtag This Weekend

It’s been a slogfest of a work week. Fortunately, there are a ton of distractions this weekend, from the little Bluebird Fest of happiness to Citizen Jane. My hipster friend J. from work sent me show times for It Might Get Loud, which is playing at Ragtag this weekend. He’s already seen it twice and might go back a third time. I should mention that he and his wife are taking electric guitar lessons, so he’s really, really into the guitar; however, he highly recommends the film even for the instrumentally challenged.

In case you don’t know, It Might Get Loud is a documentary from filmmaker Davis Guggenheim (of An Inconvenient Truth fame) that brings together three guitar heroes from different generations: Jimmy Page, the Edge, and Jack White. I think I’m in the 3% of the population that doesn’t idolize Jack White, but I’m sure he’s a talented musician and can hold his own in the company of the other two. It might be fun watching him try, at least, or just observing the cross-generational fumbling.

Here's a trailer for the film:

According to J., the film contrasts White, who advocates build-your-own-guitar-from-barnwood-and chicken-wire rawness, with the Edge, who can't get enough of his geeky looping machines, with Jimmy Page, who is just, well, Jimmy Page. I had a bit of a Led Zeppelin addiction in high school—reading Hammer of the Gods and drawing "Zoso" all over my notebooks—so it's good to see Page get props. The film also gives you lots of guitar history along with the three musicians' bios before culminating in a rock 'n' roll summit on an empty soundstage.

I imagine there's some polite head nodding and annoying self-promotion from all three, but I'm also guessing there's a whole lotta love, too.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"Say My Name" at Citizen Jane, 10/16

This week's weather has been a Tim Burton film... gloomy, dark days that run together like so many Helena Bonham Carter characters. I find myself thinking like an Icelander: Hey, maybe if I drink more, I'll be happy. It's no coincidence that binge-friendly Iceland ranks consistently high on world-wide happiness scales. Icelanders may have days of unending darkness, but at least they're drunk and happy. Lest we in Columbia go the same route, we need a sunshine substitute to chase the bottle-grabbing blues (and Helenas) away.

(The week personified.)

Opening night at this year's Citizen Jane Film Festival features a film about female MCs: Say My Name. It might shake you out of your funk and hit you up with some of the booty-shakin' kind. Director Nirit Peled tells the tales of emerging and established female lyricists from the Bronx to London. These women fight poverty, war, and HIV in their pursuit of rap stardom, giving voice to gender, race, and class issues as they attempt to break into the music biz. You can watch this edgy documentary at 7:30 p.m. over at Stephens College's Windsor Auditorium.

Here's a preview for Say My Name:

Sure, you could drown your Friday-night sorrows in a pint at Broadway Brewery, but then you'd miss what looks to be an intoxicating documentary—and the Say My Name after-party at Tonic. Yes, for those of you willing to brave the Columbia club scene, such as it is—I have to confess, I didn't even know Columbia had a club scene—there's an event called "Mess Up the Mix, Mix Up the Mess: Ladies' Music Night" starting at 10 p.m. at Tonic.

(Tonic advertises VIP areas with personal bottle service. I mean, really? Who's poppin' the Cris with models in the VIP lounge in Columbia? But I digress... This is just not my scene, folks.)

In all fairness, however, this particular event looks to be non-smarmy. It's part of the film festival and features MC Lyte, Toyy, Chocolate Thai, and other rap gals showing their stuff after you've just watched some of their stories on screen. Sounds to me like a good way to see these ladies in person. I'm not a rap fan, but it would be admittedly cool sitting in a bar with MC Lyte on the mic.

(Come on, don't act like you don't know.)

Admit it: it's been a hideous week. However, you still have plenty of months ahead to become Icelandic, so put down the vodka and come to Citizen Jane.