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- FILTER Magazine
We Love You...Digitally
Hello and welcome to the interactive version of Filter Good Music Guide. We’re
best viewed in full-screen mode, so if you can still see the top of the window, please click
on the Window menu and select Full Screen View (or press Ctrl+L). There you go—that’s
much better isn’t it? [Mini stretches, yawns, scratches something.] Right. If you know the
drill, go ahead and left-click to go forward a page; if you forget, you can always right-click
to go back one. And if all else fails, intrepid traveler, press the Esc key to exit full-screen
and return to a life more humble.
truth, justice and
Interpol
Coachella
#17 • May-JuLY ’07
Travis
Patton Oswalt
Queens of the
Stone Age
Keep an eye on your cursor. While reading the Guide online, you will notice that there
are links on every page that allow you to discover more about the artists we write about.
Scroll over each page to find the hotlinks, click ’em, and find yourself at the websites of
the artists we cover, the sponsors who help make this happen, and all of the fine places to
go to purchase the records you read about here. Thank you for your support of this thing
we call Filter. Good music, as they say, will prevail.
— Chris Martins and Pat McGuire, Editors
Letters, inquiries, randomness: [email protected]
Advertising and suchlike: [email protected]
We get a lot of mail here at the Filter offices—some good, some bad,
some…well, completely unclassifiable. Send us something strange and
you might see it here.
There are certain things in life
that are better to accept outright
than to question. Like hats made
to look like Philly cheesesteaks.
Instead of getting stuck in the
specifics surrounding the arrival
of this heady hatwich, we quickly
donned it and made for the
airport, assuming the felt strips
of meat would double as the key
to Liberty City. Sadly, we were
rerouted to Wisconsin where we
were doused with melted cheddar.
Thanks Rasta Imposta!
IN THE GUIDE
You can download the Filter Good Music Guide at filtermag.com. While there, be sure to check out our backissues, the latest of which features the Arctic Monkeys,
Lou Reed, the Fratellis, Aesop Rock, and Explosions in
the Sky. With so many of our friends and good music fans
heading to Indio for Coachella, we’ve given this issue a
summer festival slant. If you find yourself in the California
desert, keep an eye out for the Guide; we’ll be there with
enough sunscreen for everyone.
ON THE WEB
Go to the freshly relaunched filter-mag.com for music
news, mp3s, magazine features, extended interviews, contests, staff picks, album and concert reviews, and the worldfamous Filter Blog (insider information, offhand opinions,
album previews, etc.). To stay abreast of news and events
in your town, sign up for the Filter Newsletter, delivered
weekly to your email inbox. Cities serviced: Los Angeles,
New York, Seattle, Philadelphia, Dallas, Chicago, Miami, San Francisco,
Denver, Boston, Portland, Austin, Washington D.C. and London.
AT THE STANDS
Out now: Filter Issue 25 – “Wilco Survives.”
Things are falling into place for Jeff Tweedy.
He’s spending time with the family, helping out
around the house, and playing cherry music
with his band. Here, in light of Wilco’s fantastic
seventh LP, Tweedy sits down with Filter to
discuss the prior storm and the clear skies ahead.
Also: Leonard Cohen shares the wealth of his
hard-earned wisdom; Canadian songstress Feist
lets us in on the secret of laughter; and Beastie
Boy MCA interrogates punk rock greats the Bad
Brains. Furthermore: we pay respect to Pulp, go a round with the National,
rediscover Blonde Redhead, and admire the unusual artwork of Bill Callahan
(Smog). Plus: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Ira Glass, Philip Glass, The Harder They
Come, Love of Diagrams, Great Northern, Klaxons, Fog, Kurt Cobain About a
Son, and a special treat from FOUND Magazine’s Davy Rothbart.
Contact us
[email protected] or 5908 Barton Ave., Los Angeles, CA, 90038
Publishers
Alan Miller & Alan Sartirana
Editors
Chris Martins & Pat McGuire
Art Director
Eric Almendral
Editorial Assistant
Colin Stutz
Editorial Intern
Cameron Bird
Scribes
Cameron Bird, Andrea Bussell,
Bryan Chenault, Phil Eastman,
Benjy Eisen, Kevin Friedman,
Esther Ginn, Liam Gowing,
David Iskra, Patrick James,
Cord Jefferson, Shane Ledford,
Robbie Mackey, Nevin Martell,
Jack McGrue, Jeremy Moehlmann,
David C. Obenour, Patton Oswalt,
Beau Powers, Anthony Rayborn,
Lin Riserson, Bernardo Rondeau,
Sam Roudman, Colin Stutz,
Louis Vlack
Marketing
Samantha Barnes, Stephen Barr,
Mike Bell, Samantha Feld,
Penny Hewson,
Eric “Vizion” Jones, Torr Leonard,
Jose Vargas
Thank You
Heather Bleemers, John Brown,
Rene Carranza, Eric Frederic, Mom
and Dad, Martins and Vlacks, Marc
McAlpin, the Oakland Bay Area, Baillie
Parker, McGuire family, Bagavagabonds,
Melissa Moore, Andrea LaBarge, Adrian
Martinez, Wendy & Sebastian Sartirana,
Momma Sartirana, the Ragsdales, SC/
PR Sartiranas, the Masons, Pete-O,
Rey, the Paikos family, Chelsea & the
Rifkins, Shaynee, Wig/Tamo and the SF
crew, Shappsy, Phamster, Pipe, Dana
Dynamite, Christian P, Lisa O’Hara,
Madelyn Hammond, Philip Rivers, Robb
Nansel, Daniela Barone, Pam Ribbeck,
Asher Miller, Rachel Weissman, Brill
Bundy, Julie Almendral
Advertising Inquiries
[email protected]
West Coast Sales: 323.464.4775
East Coast Sales: 646.202.1683
Filter Good Music Guide is published by Filter
Magazine LLC, 5908 Barton Ave., Los Angeles
CA 90038. Vol. 1, No. 17, May-July 2007.
Filter Good Music Guide is not responsible
for anything, including the return or loss of
submissions, or for any damage or other injury
to unsolicited manuscripts or artwork. Any
submission of a manuscript or artwork should
include a self-addressed envelope or package
of appropriate size, bearing adequate return
postage.
© 2007 by Filter Magazine LLC.
all rights reserved
filter is printed in the usa
filter-mag.com
cover photo: Sumner Dilworth
THE FILTER MAILBAG
hl`bj`cm\i%Zfd
Your Guide to Innovations in Entertainment
Deluxe
Album Art
Saves the CD
Remember when albums were big ol’ cardboard squares of interactive art you could
mess with while takin’ in the tunes? You
could peel a Warhol banana slowly and
see, or tug down Mick’s Sticky zipper
like millions of groupies before. Plopping
down some hard-earned cash for an hour’s
worth of music felt good then. Now, with
downloading hindering record sales, innovative musicians are turning to visual art to
give the stingy market purchase incentives.
Leading the pack are a trio of visionaries:
Beck with The Information (stickers enable
purchasers to conceive the cover), Bright
Eyes with Cassadaga (hidden images abound), and Arcade Fire with Neon Bible (featuring
flipbooks and a lenticular cover). Zack Nipper, the artist behind Cassadaga’s unique design—art
related to the album’s theme is visible only through an included Focal Decoder—views album
art as an important way for musicians to communicate their ideas. “This record has layers of
meaning—some are apparent on the surface, others take time to come through. We wanted to
use the artwork as an extension of the music.” Focally decode and see. SHANE LEDFORD
Slacker’s Internet
Radio On the Go
Internet radio that conforms to the user’s inner playlist
is no epiphany, but Slacker Radio has a master plan to
beat all. Starting at Slacker.com, music fans can choose
a genre or artist station, then modify as they go. Like
Dinosaur Jr’s “Feel the Pain”? Punch that cute lil’ heart
button while it’s playing and the song will go into regular
rotation. Can’t stand Carrie Underwood? Hit the “ban”
button and she’ll never return (the free service allows six
bans per hour). Both majors and indies are well-represented, the quality is top, and songs come complete with
cover art, artist profiles, reviews and photos. But true
innovation comes when listeners leave home. Slacker’s
soon-to-be-released Personal Radio device uses WiFi to
connect with Slacker satellites and beam in pre-made
playlists. Subscribers to the premium radio service, in
addition to enjoying ad-free listening, will be able to
cache their favorite songs into the device’s library. Better
yet, a forthcoming car kit will take the entire production
on the road. LOUIS VLACK
filter good music guide
Your Guide to Innovations in Entertainment
VBS.TV:
Spike Jonze
& Toxic Zones
Direct to
Homes
Generosity is not a virtue usually associated
with mass media, but the folks at VBS.TV
(Vice Broadcasting System) are doing their
part to chip away at that stone-cold image.
Taking cues from their own personal innovation (“Dos & Don’ts & Friends,” the “Toxic” series which focuses on poisoned locales
around the country, “Shot by [Richard] Kern”) as well the pioneering work of Al Gore
(Current TV, anyone?), VBS broadcasts free Web-based television with a constant refresh
rate. Spike Jonze lends his talents as creative director, whittling down user submissions
into a quality database of political, cultural and arts reporting. As the news cycle shrinks,
VBS is holding out hope that the egos of cable-news pundits follow suit, paving a way for
a broadened TV-on-the-Internet audience. CAMERON BIRD
Make Your
Own MP3
Player With
MOTZ
In a nutshell, the Koreans have done it again
by inventing a digital media player that can
fit inside of a nutshell. The MOTZ DIY
Music Box is a spartan mp3 player designed
for embedding in everyday objects. From
your average household knickknack (like
a match box) to just about any creatively
modified outdoor paddy whack (…or, say, a
walnut) the sky’s the limit for where you can
stick this doodad. Hell, they even thought to
include a cut-to-fit wooden box perfect for
minimalists, the creatively handicapped or
back-to-basics arts and crafters. The MOTZ
is USB 2.0, comes with a Li-Polymer battery
and 256 MB of memory, and sells for about
$40 U.S. COLIN STUTZ
filter good music guide
Relive SXSW at
Grouper.com
Whether you missed South by Southwest altogether or are
still reeling from the excitement weeks later, wouldn’t it be
nice to (re)live all those scintillating performances you did
or didn’t get a chance to see? Well, Grouper.com’s got your
number. In case you didn’t get the memo, DirecTV hosted
and broadcasted live three days’ worth of performances
during SXSW, each artist featured—from the Annuals
to Lee “Scratch” Perry to Peter Bjorn & John—playing
an hour-long set while Matt Pinfield and Abby Gennet
interviewed music personalities (including a Filter editor)
between sets. Now, this content is all available free-ofcharge (natch) and for your viewing pleasure on Grouper.
com (which essentially functions like YouTube). An equally
compelling argument for both getting your ass out to the
very next rock show to hit your town, and never having to
leave the house again. Colin stutz
good music guide filter Travis’
Guide to Glasgow, Scotland
By Patrick James
Expectation is tricky business. For instance, one might expect the members of Travis—a band who in
recent years was beginning to seem as invisible as their 2001 album title (The Invisible Band) suggested—to be a
rather solemn lot. But not in the least. Drummer Neil Primrose is as earnest as his timing is true, and singer Fran
Healy is, well, quite the “head-first” personality (read on).
Also a bit startling is the complete and utter finery of their new record, The Boy With No Name. Having recorded upwards of 40 songs that they whittled down to 11 essentials, Travis return warmer, bolder and better than
on almost any album yet. The warmth, in all likelihood, comes directly from their hometown of Glasgow, Scotland,
a city that, per Neil, is “less full of bullshit than any other place in the world.” He and Fran were kind enough to
share their thoughts on the city that’s nurtured some musical greats: the Jesus and Mary Chain, Franz Ferdinand,
Belle & Sebastian, and, of course, Travis.
Glasgow’s Best…
…place to find a kilt?
could ever match that soul.
Neil: Sauchiehall Street. There are about four kilt shops
right in a row down near the art school area.
Fran: That street is the center of my Glasgow.
…hangover cure?
…stop for a spot of Scotch?
Neil: We’ve always gravitated toward the places which
are a bit scummy. A great spot just down the street from
the art school is the Variety Bar. It is pervaded by a clientele of bums and drunks.
Fran: Ah, right. By that he means artists.
…means of feeding artistic creativity?
scarlet page
Fran: The Glasgow School of Arts is a brilliant place.
Three-fourths of the band went there. I saw Belle &
Sebastian’s first ever show there. I was expecting it to
be the shittiest thing ever—because I know Stuart, and
I thought, “His band will be rubbish”—but I was so, so
wrong.
Neil: The best thing in Glasgow is the re-modernization
of the Kelvingrove Art Museum, in the middle of a big
park which bears the same name. A good way to spend
a Sunday is to go to the park, go into the museum, drink
coffee and look at all the dinosaurs.
filter good music guide
Neil: Scotch pie [filling: mutton] and a roll with brown
sauce and a can of [Scottish soft drink] Irn-Bru, then a
Mars Bar to finish it off. That generally cures most hangovers. It certainly stops ’em from getting worse anyway.
Fran: If you’re American you’d probably be disgusted
by that. I recommend steak pie supper from a chip shop.
Though it actually makes you feel ill afterward, while
eating it you feel like you’ve died and gone to heaven.
Ten minutes later you feel like you’re coming down off
the worst acid trip.
…proprietor of haggis?
Neil: A place called Peckhams. They do meat and vegetarian varieties. The best company that makes haggis,
though, is McSweens.
Fran: My God. There’s this place called The Ubiquitous Chip that’s been there for like 20 years. Haggis is
much healthier than steak pie. Maybe have it for your
next meal after the pie—it’d be a lot like a colon blow.
I keep mentioning that “end” of things. Neil’s sensitive,
but I like to dive in head-first.
…venue?
…reason to never leave?
Neil: The ultimate gig in Scotland is the Glasgow Barrowlands, housed above an old weekend market. It’s
an amazing place that’s got fights unlike anywhere else
you’ve ever been and when people jump up and down
the whole floor bounces. It’s kind of like the Fillmore
but far more grungy. Loads of character.
Fran: The first gig I saw there was the Cramps in 1989.
Fucking amazing. I still have the ticket. I saw Rage
Against the Machine there and I left the venue thinking
“I don’t want to be in a band anymore.” I didn’t think I
Neil: If you meet someone in Glasgow, I guarantee in
10 minutes you’ll be talking like long lost friends. It’s
such a warm place.
Fran: I remember thinking Glasgow was very small,
like a village, but it’s the biggest city in Scotland with
a few million people… Oh no [pausing to look up the
number]…huh, it’s 655,000. Well, they killed a lot of
people to bring the number down—bombed them. The
population has been drastically reduced since the new
mayor came to power. Fascist. F
good music guide filter By Sam Roudman
photo by sumner dilworth
Interpol is not a rock band. It’s a band, certainly, but hardly in the whiskey-pounding, Harley-revving sense of the term. Rather, the members of Interpol more closely resemble a committee of well-attired
Norwegian anthropologists than they do any brawling
gang of guitar-wielding ruffians. And their music—as
thoroughly kempt as its four conjurers themselves, with
its mechanically intricate rhythms and vaguely morose
pronouncements—could never succeed at arousing the
dumb beer commercial triumphalism to which so many
seem to aspire.
Yet nonetheless, the four now find themselves almost
a decade into a career in which they’ve received a host of
accolades commensurate with that same big-time, highfive, power-chord rock success—that sense of “making it”
to which they appear so uninterested, or perhaps so wary.
Interpol has released two critically obsessed-over albums,
played to fans adoring them in 55 languages, and are now
signed to Capitol, one of the largest and most storied record labels in the world. This spring and summer, they’ll
be playing the majority of the Big Time Rock Festivals;
taking their mysterious and enamoring obliqueness from
Coachella to Osaka; and releasing their as-yet-untitled
and ravenously anticipated third album.
So by most measures, Interpol have been fantastically successful. But for guitarist Daniel Kessler, all the
exterior signifiers of his band’s ascendance are nonstarters. Discussing this with him, it’s clear that Interpol are
neither rejecting nor agreeing to any interpretation of
their work or place in terms of whatever else is occurring. They’re true to themselves, autonomy-conscious,
and playing their hand close—just like any good band
should. In speaking to the Guide, Daniel is façade-free
almost to a fault. But his quiet judiciousness belies a
vital truth about Interpol: they’re here to make great
albums; all else is irrelevant. 8
12 filter good music guide
There is no mystique.
There is only truth, justice, and
Interpol
good music guide filter 13
Interpol
You have quite a few festival dates coming
up. Does playing to a huge audience alter
your live show?
Not really. Truth be told we haven’t played in so long
that I can’t really say. It’s a whole new era when you
take a break from a tour and you take a break overall;
you start writing and you record and so forth, and your
creative side takes over your existence in a lot of ways.
We haven’t played a show since October 2005, let alone
a festival, so I can’t really tell how it’s going to be. We’re
not gonna be playing the bulk of the new material because it won’t be out for awhile, but we’ll play some.
Has the live show changed over the time
you’ve been together?
I think so. You get a lot more comfortable. We spent
our first four years or so in New York City just playing
shows at all the clubs. That was a really good thing for
us, as we weren’t paid too much attention and didn’t
really have much of a fan base.
How was the recording of this record different from the first two?
This is the first record we did in New York City, so
that’s a big change. Turn on the Bright Lights and
Antics were recorded and mixed in a house studio in
Connecticut—we lived there, and that was a great experience. But after the lengthy touring we’d done, we
really felt like this record should be made in New York
City and wanted to be there.
Did being in New York color the album?
I don’t think so, really. Our approach was still very similar. We enter the studio with the songs pretty much
written and arranged as they end up on the record.
Paul’s always writing vocals, moving things around. We
had the keyboards playing as we wrote.
I think another pretty big difference from the first
two records was [producer Rich] Cosey, who is great at
what he does. We came into the studio with the same
mindset we always come into the studio with, but if we
wanted to capture a certain sound, he was really great
at capturing that. He has different ways of getting it.
What about your switch from Matador to
Capitol?
We had to make a decision, essentially. And Matador is
probably my favorite record label and they’re all great,
great friends of ours, but we had to make a decision.
Would you agree that Interpol has a mystique?
I don’t know. I think developing a mystique isn’t some-
thing you can try to do. Maybe there is one, but I don’t
really think about it…I don’t know, truthfully. We kind
of just do what we do, and we get together and we write
as a band.
We don’t think about the parameters of a rock
band, or about what the media is saying. Once you
start worrying about what people are thinking, your
focus gets lost. We just keep it simple. Even in interviews, I try to answer all the questions but I can’t go
to situations that are uncomfortable and that don’t feel
like me. In a way I think we’re actually extremely honest—we don’t say things for the sake of saying things,
we don’t answer things for the sake of answering them.
We just have to be true to ourselves. Once you say
things that aren’t true to yourself, it’s kind of a bad
feeling. You feel cheap.
A lot of these potentially compromising situations—with press or web chatter—are a
product of your success. How do you manage
to insulate yourself from such situations?
I think it’s pretty natural. When you’re inundated with
this kind of stuff, you have to turn it off. For me, not
reading is a good thing to do. But I don’t mind doing
interviews. All I can say is that I’ll be honest in that
moment, but after that it’s out of my hands—what
more can I do? It’s pretty simple, overall: We don’t
need too many people in our ears.
But regardless, you’re still a large band,
even to the point where other bands are
taking elements of your style and becoming
successful with them. I saw a bumper
sticker recently that said “Interpol Wants
Revenge.”
Is it really important that people say things like that?
It’s fine that that bumper sticker exists. I think it’s
funny, and then I don’t think about it any further. We
didn’t join the major leagues of the rock and roll world
to have to pay attention to what’s going on out there.
No, we’re artists and musicians—a collective. We make
our own decisions, take our own path. Everything else
just flows in and out. It’s not really my business.
Given this natural progression, is there a specific something for Interpol to accomplish or
is it more about putting out quality work?
I think it’s quality work, in a way that pleases us. Getting deeper and deeper into our creative process. It’s
really not a master plan, but you kind of hope that you
can keep progressing. You can’t really say where you
want to be until you get there. F
“We’re artists and we
take our own path.
Everything else just
flows in and out.”
14 filter good music guide
good music guide filter 15
Coachella
Casserole
A letter from
Patton Oswalt
Hey Filter. I was so flattered you asked me to write something for the Guide about Coachella. But I’ve been so busy
with my new CD Werewolves & Lollipops coming out on
Sub Pop in July, plus a can of peas I’m planning on cooking,
that I asked my Aunt Ori, who does our annual family
Christmas card, to write this for me. Take it away, Ori…
ach the 2007
one. And, as we appro
ery
ev
r
fo
ar
ye
n
fu
estation is nearly
It’s been a 90 percent Festival, and Grandma Feeny’s bot fly inf
ts
Ar
Coachella Music and
100 percent fun!
be bringing
shaking hands with
be
on
so
’ll
we
ry Chain are going to ’s festival.
,
Ma
red
d
cu
an
s
su
Je
the
n,
nt fu
s year
Speaking of 100 perce summertime good-fun surfing vibes to thi
Aunt Ori said,
’em
cy
ll
un
Te
bo
re!
y,
nn
Ma
su
rel
their usua
ig J” and Ma
“B
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wi
ri
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on
Catch a wave and go
from all the
tow, and need a break ones to see
in
“Hang ten!”
ren
ild
ch
th
wi
al
le
festiv
Comedy, take the litt
If you’re at tending the
saw at our
of the Comedians of
we
o
s!—
gh
wh
,
lau
nts
d
Pa
an
h
ac
s—
Pe
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pta
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cuss word
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lik
g
if she’s anythin
t there’s sure to be
Peaches! I don’t know Blast, but with an adorable name like tha , celebrate Haln
! Or
church’s Arbor Day Fu Ask if you can have a taste of peach pie
.
fts
cra
d
sing-alongs an
bought at IKEA (you
ostface Killah!
loween early with Gh herself after this adorable notions shelf I
s that makes you
Björk, besides naming uple to shop there, believe me!), sings song
t
y co
re belt. And she’s jus
don’t have to be a ga seashell on a magic groundhog’s adventu
ly
Bil
er,
ov
e
t. Move
think she lives in a we ladies twanging away at this year’s fes
ted
u can bet there’s
en
Yo
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tal
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ny
All
ma
one of the
Youth, and Lily
nic
So
e,
us
ho
ine
W
th all these self-acy
Joel—here comes Am ious covered dishes prepared backstage wi
delic
going to be a lot of
Arctic Monkeys
bill!
the
on
n
g, tells me to mention
rin
tualized wome
nose
a
s
ha
d
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lfr
My nephew, whose gir y belated birthday, Nelson!
od time,
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De
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y
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Gosh, I don’t know wh d stay upwind of Willie Nelson’s show or thing or two
a
an
,
s
ck
ow
blo
kn
n
i
wear lots of su
na high. Aunt Or
is slang for a marijua
a “pot” high, which
and Jesus in his
about a thing or two. Oswalt, tell him to lay off the President
le. And if
n
tto
an
ut being me to peop says “SuFi
tho
And if you see Pa
wi
es
jok
y
nn
fu
t plenty of
shirt that
comedy skits. He’s go cool, very hip (despite his eyes rolling) Ta
ing
.
ar
him
we
r
buy that fo
you see him
s nice of Aunt Ori to
Forever,” tell him it wa e!
Aunt Or—err, Patton Oswalt is a writer, actor and card-carHave a fest-tastic tim
rying member of the Comedians of Comedy, who are appearing
Aunt Ori
at this year’s Coachella festival. He can currently be seen playing
Spencer Olchin in King of Queens, and will soon be heard as
the voice of the animated rodent lead of Pixar’s Ratatouille.
16 filter good music guide
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Slacker is a trademark of Slacker, Inc. Actual online experience may differ from photo.
The Chairmen of
the Bored
Opposite: Nick Frost, Simon Pegg. Above: Pegg.
Hot Talk with
the Men of Hot Fuzz Americans never seem to tire of lowbrow
entertainment, as is demonstrated by the neverending barrage of straight-to-video Chuck Norris
and Van Damme testosterone fests. As a transatlantic response, Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and
Nick Frost create intriguingly kinetic comedies that
borrow from the brainlessness that rattles around in
our dollar bins. In 2004, the trio’s Shaun of the Dead
simultaneously satirized and paid homage to the
zombie B movies of yesteryear. With Hot Fuzz, they
take on the canon of contemporary Hollywood, parroting the dizzying panoramas of Bad Boys II and
the camp of Point Break. The film centers around a
London police Sergeant (Pegg) who gets transferred
18 filter good music guide
By Cameron Bird
to the outlying village of Sandford, where he teams
up with a Popsicle-loving police constable (Frost) to
straighten out the town’s weirdos and miscreants.
Today, in the wooded courtyard of the uppercrusty Chateau Marmont hotel on Sunset Boulevard,
Frost sips orange juice from a glass without ice
cubes, while Wright and Pegg exchange quips about
cell phone ringtones. The group is just about done
with a vertigo-inducing U.S. promotional tour and
they’re understandably uninterested in any standard
sort of discussion. Naturally, we oblige. What
transpires is a fine collection of nonsense that offers
a rare but true glimpse into the restless minds that
have given us so much irreverent brilliance.
So, speaking of ringtones…what’s your poison?
Have you ever picked up?
Simon: I use Bluetooth to transfer songs from my computer to my phone.
Edgar: And you have different music for different
people, don’t you?
Simon: Well, my current ringtone for everybody is the
CTU [Counter Terrorist Unit] noise from 24.
Edgar: Would that be what I’ve got?
Simon: Yeah, that’s what you have. When Nick calls me
it’s a Devo track.
Edgar: Why don’t I get any special music?
Simon: You get CTU just like everybody else.
Nick: When Edgar calls me, my phone says, “Don’t
pick up!”
Nick: I have never picked up my phone. [To Edgar]
What do you have on yours? R2D2?
Edgar: I have one of those 30-second instrumental
bridges from James Brown’s Live at the Apollo... The
one where he’s walking out on stage with a gown.
Simon: If you go through your iTunes and put the
songs in order of length, you’ll have the shortest songs
at the top. They make terribly good ringtones.
Edgar: It’s always a good geeky thing to do.
Switching gears here, what are some of your
favorite bad action movies?
Edgar: Well, the DVD cover for Silent Rage adver-
good music guide filter 19
Left: Edgar Wright. Right: Frost and Wright savor the Guide.
tises the film as Chuck Norris versus a super-human
killing machine, so…
Simon: The weird thing about that film is that it’s almost good, but it ends up just being bad. It flirts with
being good.
Edgar: The only cinematic crime you can commit in
my mind is being boring. If a film is entertaining in any
regard—whether it’s shit or not—it’s worth watching.
Tarantino’s really good at taking out the great bits in
bad films. He makes it worth watching a 90-minute film
for one really cool bit in the middle. And in a film like
Silent Rage, which is really terrible, there’s one scene
that makes you sit back and say, “Wow, that Steadycam
shot is pretty amazing.” There is no tradition of B movies anymore, but there still are B movies like Out for
Justice, which was a top-grossing film when it came out
in 1991. It’s like 80 minutes long and perfunctory in the
way it’s put together. It’s basically about brains being
smashed.
Nick: Have you ever walked out of a theater?
Edgar: Only once. We were editing Hot Fuzz and the
power got cut and none of us knew when it was going to
come back on, so the editing staff went to see Operation:
Stormbreaker. Even though I didn’t need to go back in
the middle, I thought, “I’m not too sure about this” and I
walked out. It was just lame. But I’m also a sucker. I don’t
know why, but I don’t like watching good films on planes.
Like on Virgin, they give you a really big selection, but if
it’s good, I don’t want to watch it like that. So I end up
watching Employee of the Month or Epic Movie.
What’s an uncontested great action flick?
Simon: Well, Bad Boys II is almost so good it’s bad. It’s
so proficient at what it does.
Nick: But when we say “bad,” we mean baaaaad, like
phat.
Edgar: It’s like the naughty version of Freebie and the
Bean. Many people would consider it to be absolutely
obnoxious and yet it’s almost because it went out of its
way for critics to hate it by being irresponsible and wasteful with money that it ends up being kind of brilliant.
Nick: Like a double comedy ball-busting.
20 filter good music guide
What about the original Bad Boys?
Simon: I always get that film and Men in Black II mixed
up because in the end it becomes the same. At the end
of both films, he puts the lady in the room with all those
fuckin’ worms. It’s the same scene!
Edgar: Did you know that in Spain, I, Robot was called
Yo, Robot? The billboard really made me laugh.
In Germany, Vin Diesel’s The Pacifier was
renamed Der Babynator.
Edgar: The babynator!
Nick: Babynate this!
[Simon is whisked away by his publicist]
Edgar: Simon’s like Wesley Snipes. He only turns up
for three hours a day and gets his stunt double to do
the rest.
On that note, one last serious inquiry: What
are your favorite potential human-animal
hybrids and why?
Nick: Ah, the famous man-animal question.
Edgar: You got anything?
Nick: I dunno...a man-hen? I’d like to see a chimp-human too, a hu-man-zee, but that’s actually already happened.
Edgar: Really?
Nick: Yeah, it walked on two feet and smoked. It was
weird as fuck.
Edgar: I’d like to see a man with two mice for his ears,
and he could also have little exercise wheels.
Nick: Well you know, that what’s Princess Leia was hiding...head mice.
This could’ve been the one question that
stumped Sinatra.
Edgar: Frank, if you’re listening, if you can hear us,
what would be your favorite human-animal hybrid?
[Pauses] He would have a combination of a Jack on the
rocks and a lady, a sort of woman’s body with a drink
for a head.
Nick: He’ll have a tits and Coke. F
Queens of the Stone Age
Usher in a New Era By Liam Gowing
From the foundational “robot rock”
of their self-titled debut, to the drug-fueled and wildly
eclectic Rated R, to the sprawling, drum-heavy rawk of
Songs for the Deaf to the tight, textured Lullabies to
Paralyze, Queens of the Stone Age have always been
about constant change. Forthcoming fifth album, Era
Vulgaris—recorded by the sole constant of singer-songwriter/guitarist Josh Homme, drummer Joey Castillo
and multi-instrumentalists Troy Van Leeuwen, Chris
Goss and Alain Johannes, with a little help from Mark
Lanegan—is no exception to the rule. Sounding at once
like everything Queens has ever done and a near-total
departure, it’s a strange sonic journey through headily
dissonant riff-rock and gypsy-metal psychedelia full of
groggy moans and curdling falsetto whispers. On the
verge of a new tour, Homme briefed the Guide on his
smorgasbord recording style, his fait accompli approach
to the release, and the significance of Era Vulgaris.
I initially had a three-record idea. It wasn’t cast in
stone—more like stained glass. The fourth record was
kind of an amalgam of all of them. And it was very dark
because the time frame was very dark. I think it ended
a phase of something, you know? It kind of cut the lead
jacket off of us. And I think this new record is like…
A new Era for Queens?
were like, “Surprise! Our record’s almost done.”
the jerk-off thing.”
You didn’t want any label involvement?
You’re referring to “I’m Designer.” Seminal
track. What’s that about exactly?
Well, they do their thing and we do ours. And they
should do their thing, and we should do ours, you know?
I mean, if they knew how to make records, they’d be in
bands.
Yeah. It’s very modern for us. This is what we sound
like when we’re thinking we’re modern. The goal was
to get to a spot where you can play anything you want,
and you’ve brought the audience with you. You have to
move slowly—some bands move too fast and people
are like, “What the fuck?” This is the first record of,
“We’ve made it there.” We’re at the musical Hometown Buffet. You know that restaurant? It’s gross. But
there are all these options.
So what was the reaction
when you played the album
for them?
Totally.
About a year ago. We spread it out. We’d do a month on
and then take a month off.
Your tour manager mentioned that the album
was more than halfway finished before you
even told the record company about it. Was
that part of your strategy?
Each of the last albums had a really strong,
unique vibe. What’s this one all about?
Yeah. Everyone’s so serious with the record company.
No one ever jokes around with them. So we wanted to
do a surprise party for the people that work there. We
So when did you start work on the record?
22 filter good music guide
[Laughs] They were stoked on the
songs and a little scared of how it
sounded. Because it’s very dirty.
Everything’s like, “arrrgh-grrrrr.” Everything sounds like it just woke up,
like, “Uhhhh [groaning], what’s up?”
It’s a metaphorical flinging. It’s our version of “My Generation” in a way, without the Who being there. ’Cause
I think our generation is unsure of a
Five Best Rejected lot of stuff. And they don’t want to
have jobs in a coal mine. They want
QOTSA song titles
to have more rewarding and artistic
“No Fried Zucchini”
jobs, which I totally understand.
They have this feeling like, “Money’s
“Put a Flag
the root of all evil… but I actually
Wherever I Point”
need some, if you have some.” It’s
“To Silence the Sucking”
like gluttony-bad, or gluttony-rad, I
dunno. And I think it’s alright to be
“The Horse You
undecided. I certainly am.
Rode in On”
5
“White Powder
So our generation—Gen-X,
to the People”
And also, I figured out how to not
Gen-Y or whatever—is living in
get censored. I asked on the last rean era of indecision?
cord, ’cause I hate getting that parental advisory stick- It’s Generation Vulgaris. It’s our era, what we have in
er. I figured out that you can say stuff like, “I’m going common—being kind of stuck in prolonging your adoto go home and jerk off,” and they can’t do anything lescence and your thought processes, and questioning
about it. So there’s a lot of stuff there that the record everything. And I think while you’re deciding, you have
execs were like, “Well, that could be a single except for to sample everything. We’re playing that party. F
good music guide filter 23
One-Liners:
a miniature take on selected Filter Magazine reviews
...........................................................................................................................
(Go to Filter-Mag.com or pick up Filter Magazine’s Spring Issue for full reviews of the albums covered here)
Elliott Smith
New Moon94%
Kill Rock Stars
Two discs spanning ’94-’97 offer insight
on the humble and heartworn Smith we
loved best.
Thee More Shallows
Book of Bad Breaks87%
Anticon
A drunken stage-dive into the orchestra
pit of the L.A. Philharmonic.
Ryan Adams
Easy Tiger86%
Lost Highway
A cathartic dedication to all American
kids who went to bed, then woke up in
their early 30s.
Rufus Wainwright
Release the Stars93%
Geffen
Enough Broadway bombast to leave
you teary-eyed, utterly inspired and
applauding like a beautiful idiot.
Stars
Do You Trust Your Friends?85%
Arts & Crafts
A “friendly experiment” in remixing
Stars proves that trusting loved ones
has its benefits.
Dntel
Dumb Luck91%
Sub Pop
Postal Service pedal-pusher calls up
super-friends and gets super freaky with
ambience, IDM and techno-pop.
BrYan Ferry
Dylanesque84%
EMI/Virgin
Roxy Music frontman forces Dylan
songs to do his emotional bidding; most
succumb gracefully.
Björk
Volta90%
One Little Indian
Björk shows her inherent pagan with
the support of dizzying African rhythm
and Inuit undertones.
The Cribs
Men’s Needs, Women’s…82%
Warner
As with new Chuck Taylors, squeaky
clean sheen is no replacement for
scuffed and rough.
Cornelius
Sensuous90%
Everloving
Cornelius’ Space Mountain Mindfucker! Pregnant women and short
dudes ride for free.
he Horrors
T
Strange House77%
Stolen Transmission
Sketched by Edward Gorey, dressed by
Mary Quant... If only we could judge
this band by appearances alone.
The Clientele
God Save the Clientele89%
Merge
Joy and disarming sweetness prevail;
Clientele gains a percentage point.
brakesbrakesbrakes
The Beatific Visions67%
rough trade
Forced-sounding follow-up fails to
evolve; same schtick, different day.
Dinosaur Jr
Beyond87%
Fat Possum
D.J return with a triumphant mix of
face-melting fretwork and merry-butmessy melody.
24 filter good music guide
FILTER
ALBUM
RATINGS
Dungen
Tio Bitar92%
Kemado
Perfect acid rock dug out of the damaged
but brilliant brain of Timothy Leary.
91-100%
81-90%
71-80%
61-70%
below 60%
8
8
8
8
8
a great album
above par, below genius
respectable, but flawed
not in my CD player
please God, tell us why
Music,
etc.
...........................................................................................................................
Bright Eyes
Cassadaga91%
Saddle Creek
A lesser-known American religious
movement, Spiritualism, centers on
the belief that it’s possible to communicate with the
departed (and, likewise, that death itself is not an end).
The most prominent Spiritualist community today
is in the Floridian town of Cassadaga, and while the
movement’s principles have given Conor Oberst something to sing about (“Clairaudients,” “Four Winds”),
the title of Bright Eyes’ latest release references a
perfect metaphor for the album as a whole. The old
Oberst is dead (get over it, girls), replaced by a more
highly evolved artist (with filtered piss and refined
vinegar) who can channel music from other times and
places. On Cassadaga, classic sounds are resurrected
in a satisfying swirl of country, gospel, cinematic pop,
and of course, electro-folk. BENJY EISEN
The Nightwatchman
One Man Revolution76%
Epic
Tom Morello is pissed. Resurrected
from the rubble of Audioslave’s breakup, rock’s resident wah-wah enthusiast has decided it’s
due time he recorded his never-ending political frustrations…acoustic style. But with an annoyingly selfcongratulating pseudonym and a sound reminiscent
of that hippie musician who lived across your dorm
and only ever listened to Bob Marley’s “Redemption
Song,” the Nightwatchman’s socially conscious songs
are muddled by liberal clichés, redundant guitar
work, and downright mediocrity. PHIL EASTMAN
The Boggs
Forts90%
Gigantic
Brooklyn’s Boggs (Jason Friedman plus
friends) make a generous offering of
their debut, Forts. It’s a curious album colored with
strained dialogue and urgent poetry, the words in total
giving the feeling that something nearby is in danger
of breaking very soon. The music follows this striking
haphazard path, crashing, jangling, pumping and
bumping on its way to something bright and great.
Occasional pit-stops are made for quiet moments, but
always as the platform for the next flailing foray. Make
no mistake: as the Boggs perfect their brand of eerie
bliss, we’ll be listening. LIN RISERON
26 filter good music guide
The Rakes
Ten New Messages81%
V2 [U.K.]
The skittering and jittering melodies of
Capture/Release are gone, and in their
stead: smoother, sleeker licks and a greater sense of
jaded cynicism. Though Ten New Messages lacks the
frenetic energy of the Rakes’ debut, the hip and sceney
will still be inspired to rush the dancefloor in order to
mope along to these moody, metropolitan sonic missives. Cheer up guys, the world’s not ending just yet.
Plus, how can you not smile when you’re writing a song
called “When Tom Cruise Cries”? NEVIN MARTELL
Blonde Redhead
2389%
4AD
With the arrival of 23, time, maturity and exploration wash over the
jagged guitars of Blonde Redhead’s initial artrock outcropping, shaping inaccessible wails into
delicate aural platforms that are simultaneously
light and moody. Through the tinkling guitars and
exacting drums of the brothers Pace, our ghostly
heroine Kazu Makino threads airy moans that hint
at a desire to shed some of the melancholic cloak
donned for Misery is a Butterfly. The end result is
a kind of low-flying elation that only these experienced noirists could deliver. CORD JEFFERSON
Handsome Furs
Plague Park84%
Sub Pop
While a self-spun press release cites
Scandinavian black metal as an influence
on this meager Wolf Parade offshoot, the statement is
falsified after multiple listens. Plague Park’s sandpaper
drum machines and dehydrated vocal melodies combine to form an often underwhelming shoegazer drone.
Nevertheless, once in a while, visceral hooks climb over
the Wall of Sound. On “Snakes on a Ladder” and “Sing!
Captain,” Beck-ish vocals kick through the façade of
slow and steady rhythmic pacing to reveal an emotional
potency hiding behind the often formulaic hum of
Handsome Furs. CAMERON BIRD
Wooden Wand
James & the Quiet73%
Ecstatic Peace
With each consecutive release Wooden
Wand, a.k.a. James Toth (and his many
backing incarnations: Vanishing Voice, Sky High
Band, and now the aptly titled Quiet) has stripped
his sound further and further down (even with production from Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo). Straying
from otherworldly acid jazz odysseys in favor of the
well-worn folk songwriter path, Toth’s fanciful lyrics
wander aimlessly looking for the home that they
used to find in an equally displaced musical accompaniment. It all goes to show that sometimes more
is…well, more. DAVID C. OBENOUR
book
Check the Technique: 88%
Liner Notes for
Hip-Hop Junkies
Brian Coleman
Villard/Random House
It’s a lot easier to be a rock
and roll geek than a hip-hop geek. Beside
the fact that the local library’s rock-to-rap
ratio is about as imbalanced as Chuck D’s
political rants-to-love ballads quotient, Elvis
Costello looks a lot better in specs than Fat
Joe. Thankfully we have Brian Coleman’s
Check the Technique, which expands upon
his previously published Rakim Told Me to
geek us out with even more insightful, hilarious and poignant “making of” conversations
with the artists behind 36 rap masterpieces.
LenzKrafterz, anyone? SHANE LEDFORD
Datarock
Datarock Datarock
83%
Nettwerk
If the first chorus of your record consists of screaming the line, “BMX is
better than sex,” then there’s a pretty good chance
you’re in the band Datarock. And, if that’s the case, you
owe the world an explanation: How in God’s name did
you manage to make shit like this sound any good? On
this double eponymous debut, what should be insipid
and vacuous becomes a beacon of electro-rocking
new wave glee. It’s a tongue-in-cheek rendering of a
what-the-hell-happened-last-night dance party, and it’s
halfway decent. PATRICK JAMES
John Doe
A Year in the Wilderness89%
Yep Roc
At a trim 35 minutes, there’s no fat
to be found on this album. There
is a grace throughout that highlights the maturing
troubadour’s craft with country shuffles, waltzes and
narrative gems. And Doe still rocks, as evidenced by
the opening track “Hotel Ghost,” a speaker burner
that hearkens back to the late ’70s at the Whiskey. In
a just world, this album would be the “new country”
instead of the lycra-spandex version that has infected
Nashville. KEVIN FRIEDMAN
The Mother Hips
Kiss the Crystal Flake79%
Camera
It may, initially, seem a good idea to
combine one part Matthew Sweet with
a dash of Pavement and a pinch of CSNY. Unfortunately
the result on Kiss the Crystal Flake is more akin to CSINY, the bastard cousin of everyone’s favorite procedural
drama. Vegas has showgirls, Miami has David Caruso,
but New York has…the chick from Providence? Original
ideas are groundbreaking, and some spin-offs find their
own voice, but most imitations, like the Mother Hips,
are just palatable but dull reconstructions of someone
else’s success. JEREMY MOEHLMANN
Pelican
City Of Echoes82%
Hydrahead
If you wanna get all ornithological, then
you’d have to say that Pelican is the
bird that shits metal pellets—the bird that doesn’t sing,
but certainly shreds. Like the last few eggs plopped, this
hatchling’s almost-live production spreads a chunky foie
gras over a main course of guitar sometimes raw, sometimes simmering, sometimes seared. Pelican’s instrumetal
might not fly as high as fellow travelers Isis (whose namesake was a damn fine bird), but there’s wingspan aplenty
here to ride out the storm. SAM ROUDMAN
book
Dear Diary84%
Leslie Arfin
Vice
Like, so, this book is totally
like a bunch of real diary
entries by this girl who’s
gone through all these totally
sucky phases in her life like
heroin addiction and liking all these boys who
totally don’t like her back and it’s like totally
entertaining on one hand but then when
you really like think about it you get super
bummed, like who would want to reveal all
their deepest darkest secrets, but then on the
other hand maybe that’s what makes it pretty
rad. Whatevs. Oh yeah, she totally interviews
all these people who she wrote about in her
diary too. ESTHER GINN
Alias
Collected Remixes87%
Anticon
The kick drum booms like the footsteps of a giant rumbling through the
cacophony of a foggy forest. The pacing and energy feel
like a steady march toward destiny. Add Alias’ trademark layers of synth, guitar and ambient noise until
each original (by folk as diverse as John Vanderslice,
Sixtoo, Arab Strap’s Aiden Moffat, the One AM Radio,
28 filter good music guide
Lunz, and Lali Puna) becomes so massive that it rolls
into oblivion. Alias’ touch may leave your ears ringing
and your balance off, but Remixes is well worth the
experience. JEREMY MOEHLMANN
Polyphonic Spree
The Fragile Army84%
TVT
Besides a few unorthodox gems, The
Fragile Army succeeds mostly at
retreading the sunshine-beaten path of the Spree’s
previous two outings. On songs like “Get Up and Go”
and “Running Away,” the 23-peopled collective projects
fleeting melodies that sound like a bunch of pop psychologists with a mean case of confirmation bias. The
baroque lyrics on “Light to Follow” prove to be one of
the album’s defiantly interesting moments, but these are
too scattered to offer much new to the casual listener.
Spree fans, however, shall rejoice. CAMERON BIRD
dvd
You’re Gonna Miss92%
Me: A Film About
Roky Erickson
Directed by Kevin
McAlester
Palm Pictures
The Roky Erickson story could
easily succumb to the hackneyed trappings of
stock music bios: Rock genius goes off the rails
and disappears into the haze of drugs and mental
illness. But freshman documentarian McAlester
deftly circumvents clichés in telling the tale of the
’60s psych-rock innovator and former 13th Floor
Elevators frontman. The narrative doesn’t suffer
under the weight of reverence for its subject, providing honesty and warmth that’s uncommon in the
age of sensationalism. ANTHONY RAYBORN
Socalled
Ghettoblaster88%
JDUB
The answer is yes. “Yes, an accordionwielding magician can assemble a cast
of Yiddish music authorities, Canadian Klezmer
superstars, up-and-coming soul singers and underground NYC rappers to make an album that masterfully weaves traditional Hebrew sounds into the
re-stitched fabric of hip-hop.” On Ghettoblaster,
Québécois quadruple threat (squeezebox, beats,
raps, magic hats) Socalled proves his chops, emerging
with his version of Wyclef’s The Carnival (replace
the voodoo with Jewdoo) and one of 2007’s sleeper
singles, “You Are Never Alone” featuring C Rayz
Walz, two soul sisters and a perky Western-tinged
bounce. Yiddyup! JACK McGRUE
Wheat
Everyday I Said a Prayer82%
for Kathy and Made a
One Inch Square
Empyrean
More than 10 years into their career and Wheat’s
latest album-with-an-excessively-long-title sounds,
well, uninspired. Departing from the driving emotional urgency of 2005’s Per Second, Per Second, Per
Second . . . Every Second, the Massachusetts trio’s
newfound love of meandering atmospherics plays like
a Broken Social Scene doppelganger dozing off in its
own sonic wanderings. It seems that Wheat no longer
raises a fist at life’s daily struggles. Their weapon of
choice may be a limp wrist. PHIL EASTMAN
dvd
South Park:84%
The Complete Ninth Season
Comedy Central/
Paramount
Tranny teachers, Jew jokes, handicapped kids with boners…no,
it’s not the Democratic National
Convention; it’s season nine of South Park. While
this set does lay claim to classic episodes “Trapped
in the Closet” (brilliantly blasting R. Kelly and
Scientology in the same breath) and the Emmywinning “Best Friends Forever” (Kenny’s video
game prowess must save Heaven from Hell), the
majority of the three discs is just the standard,
better-than-everything-else fare we’ve come to
expect from S.P. It’s not spectacular, but what else
are you gonna watch? SHANE LEDFORD
Wilco
Sky Blue Sky91%
Nonesuch
On Wilco’s seventh LP, Jeff Tweedy and
his compatriots emerge with a surprising
departure from the experimentalism that contorted the
tracks on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A Ghost is Born.
Going it without producer Jim O’Rourke, Wilco has
constructed their most straightforward release in recent
memory, which relies heavily on the inspired intricacies
of a full-hearted band. With a decent dose of Lennonlike inspiration, Tweedy’s songwriting is as sharp as
ever, removing Wilco’s cloud cover to reveal something
simply beautiful. COLIN STUTZ
Nine Inch Nails
Year: Zero85%
Interscope
At its core, Nine Inch Nails’ Year:
Zero is a paranoia-racked concept
record about totalitarian government. But as pointed
and insistent as Trent Reznor’s lyrics might be, the
muscle-bound misanthrope’s doggedness and anxiety
aren’t what actually sells the album’s dystopic future.
Instead, it’s the post-apocalyptic sonics, the industrial-strength bombast and buzzing bondage-core
that mightily sustains its frightening 16-track, onehour run-time. ROBBIE MACKEY
Pissed Jeans
Hope For Men92%
Sub Pop
Unholy fuck. This is the sound of brains
oozing out of ears, and a million razor
blades cutting a billion teeth. Pissed Jeans are riding the
booze caboose to Loserville, following the clangy coaches
of the Jesus Lizard, Nick Cave, Tom Waits, Darby Crash
and Bukowski. Their spit-talk game is decidedly upped
on this album, where songs range in rant and rage like
chunks of meat in a puke puddle. Take a whiff; it’s a
gutter-chugging disasterpiece. SAM ROUDMAN
Jeff Buckley
So Real: Songs from80%
Jeff Buckley
Columbia/Legacy
If you’re among the many who raise an
eyebrow every time a new Jeff Buckley release appears,
chances are So Real isn’t going to put your doubt to rest.
Songs from Jeff Buckley commemorates the decade anniversary of his death with a lackluster unveiling of two “rare”
songs: a Smiths cover and an acoustic take of “So Real.”
Since we’ve heard just about every incarnation of the other
12 songs by now (obvious Grace, Sketches and Sin-é selections) this collection is anticlimactic no matter how brilliant
Buckley’s songs remain. ANDREA BUSSELL
Bill Callahan
Woke on a Whale Heart88%
Drag City
Considering that he’s one of lo-fi rock’s
most brutally self-exposing troubadours,
it’s odd that the man behind Smog chose Woke on a Whale
Heart as the first album to carry the name on his state ID.
Employing a crisp album production to match his newfound focus on melody, Bill offers a departure from the
norm but nothing as introspective as the name-swap might
suggest. Immediately accessible and growingly catching,
this remarkable mix of Americana promises whistles and
toe-taps all around. DAVID C. OBENOUR
Great Northern
Trading Twilight86%
for Daylight
Eenie Meenie
It’s all about achieving balance for Great
Northern: male and female vocals; sincere intimacy
that’s epic in nature; confused sentiments pitted against
soothing guidance. On their full-length debut, the Los
Angeles quartet takes some very universal themes (hopelessness, addiction, escapism), stylizes them into songs
that tend toward the visceral and cinematic, and sets
about telling us that it’s all part of this crazy ride we call
life. Sure it’s coddling, but sometimes it’s nice to have
someone sing you that perfect lullaby. COLIN STUTZ
Nick Lowe
At My Age68%
Yep Roc
Nick Lowe once said, “Anybody my
age who worries about appealing to
kids is not only out of their mind, but in for a brutal
disappointment,” and he’s right. He shouldn’t concern
himself with impressing us, but it never hurts (sales) to
earn some of that ol’ twilight year cred. Unfortunately
At My Age doesn’t have the ironic swagger of Leonard
Cohen, and Lowe’s work with Elvis Costello just ain’t
enough. The lyrical chops are intact but the production
is far too dated. Great for flashbacks of shopping at
Sears with your mom, though. DAVID ISKRA
dvd
A Purge of Dissidents75%
Dalek & Haze XXL
Ipecac
That the once groundbreaking
graffiti artist known as Dalek has
become something of a one-trick
space monkey isn’t helped by this
collection of animated shorts. True, the simple 2-D
cartoons and monochrome color fills are in keeping
with Dalek’s style, but that style plays out here as
a sluggish, unironic take on Itchy & Scratchy.
The imagery is limited to a finite set: green
rodent-like aliens getting chopped and screwed in
various situations involving knives, eyeballs, fart gas
and spewed body fluid. Haze XXL’s semi-grating
soundtrack only numbs down the production,
dropping the viewer into a slow mire of repetition
and mild discomfort. LOUIS VLACK
The National
Boxer
90%
Beggars
Much of Matt Berninger’s charm lies
in his singing like he’s just woken up,
scratching his head while reciting wine-soaked ramblings from the previous night. That kind of wooziness
pervades from the opening moments and throughout
the Brooklyn-via-Cincinnati band’s fourth full-length,
trading some of Alligator’s bite for a more consistent
batch of gentle guitars and beautifully Sad Songs. While
Boxer lacks a knockout punch like last album’s 13th
round uppercut “Mr. November,” all scorecards still
have the National besting David Berman to remain indie
rock’s “Great White Mope.” BRYAN CHENAULT
Omar A. Rodriguez-Lopez
Se Dice Bisonte, No Bufalo82%
GSL
Being the lead guitarist and primary
composer of one of rock’s most polar-
izing acts means receiving a simultaneous bombast of
praise and condemnation—most recently in the very
literal form of piss-filled condoms hurled onstage
during a festival performance. Regardless, the Mars
Volta’s ever dexterous Omar Rodriguez-Lopez is back,
unrelenting as ever, blasting angular freeform solos over
Latin-melodied jazz fusion chaos. If you dig the most
meandering moments Mars has to offer, grab some
headphones and get weird. PATRICK JAMES
Black Moth Super Rainbow
Dandelion Gum85%
Graveface/Southern
Zombie robotnik dream-hop, anyone?
Boasting a sound as collage-y as their
randomly generated name, Black Moth Super Rainbow
hail from Pennsylvannia, though their woozy mixscape is
several light years beyond the Keystone State. This musty
montage of Telstar frequencies, vocoder languor, electronic
blear and various hissing plundered instruments—a wispy
pan pipe here, a crackling drum kit there—is basementgrade sampledelica that could easily score the scratch and
pop of vintage sci-fi prints. BERNARDO RONDEAU
Bad Brains
Build a Nation89%
Megaforce
After the resurgence of Bad Brains
reverence with last year’s documentary American Hardcore, and considering the state of
music/politics/society, it only makes sense for the OGs
to stage a triumphant return to save punk rock…again.
Produced by Beastie Boy and longtime Brains disciple
Adam Yauch, this isn’t your typical band-resurfacesfor-cash-and-makes-sub-par-record record. No, this is
the real shit—classic lightning riffage, hearkening dub
rhythms, and a perfectly insane H.R. and Co. following
the great spirit to hardcore heaven. Listen to this motherfucker loud, and listen to it often. BEAU POWERS
book
FOUND Polaroids88%
Jason Bitner
Quack!Media
With so much sampling in
art these days, it’s a wonder
it took so long for someone
to discover the easiest way
to start a media empire: by using other people’s
shit. Found Magazine is anthropology for our
generation and Polaroids is an homage to
that 20th Century fossil, a titillating readersubmitted collection of those white-bordered
rectangles rendered nearly extinct by digicams. Look upon grainy pics of strangers’
Christmases past, familiar vacant lots and
furniture discarded just like the ’roid depicting
it. Let your inner voyeur shine and your imagination do the work. PAT McGUIRE
ELVISO
cOSTELL
“THE MOST ORIGINAL VOICE OF THE
PUNK ERA .” “HIS DISCOGRAPHY IS A
STAGGERING LIBRARY OF CONFIDENCE
AND DARING: HIS ’78-84 RUSH OF
CLASSICS WITH HIS GREAT BAND
THE ATTRACTIONS.”
- ROLLING STONE
THE BEST OF
ELVIS COSTELLO
THE FIRST 10 YEARS
+ THE ENTIRE CATALOG FROM ’77-’86
L MUSIC
and a new compilation ROCK AND ROL
COMING
5.1.07
z WWW.ELVISCOSTELLO.COM
H
/
c 2007 Universal Music Enterprises, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.
Available At
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Imports: presented by
...........................................................................................................................
Arctic Monkeys
Favourite Worst Nightmare
Domino
Well, this is different. By the time the last
Arctic Monkeys album came out half the U.K. already knew
all their songs backwards. This time ’round, it’s all been
under wraps, and now first impressions suggest Favourite
Worst Nightmare lacks hooks to reckon with anything on
the debut. But it’s encouraging to see Arctic Monkeys
are no one-trick pony, and quite to the contrary, they’re
full of surprises. Here they mix indie soul (“Fluorescent
Adolescent”) and even Sinatra-isms (“Only Ones Who
Know”) with White Stripes-like low frequency (“D is for
Dangerous”). If the strength of the first album was in its
detail, FWN relies more on the listener’s imagination and
emotions, resulting in a topsy-turvy roller coaster ride guaranteed to give perception the spins. JOHNNY K
Polytechnic
Down Til Dawn
Shatterproof
Manchester’s Polytechnic don’t possess
the blackened threads of rock and roll DNA that they
should. They don’t war-paint their faces like Pop Levi
doing Darth Maul, and the nearest to “new rave” they
get is probably the local Laser Quest. Kicking off their
debut, then, with a track called “Bible Stories” certainly
isn’t the most unholy of rock commandments. But with
frontman Dylan’s awkward whining vocals somehow
complementing jangling guitars and perky melodies
(“Won’t You Come Around”) that mutate into the
powerfully melancholic (“Man Overboard”), Down Til
Dawn is one of the unlikeliest contenders for stand-out
album of the year. LISA DURRANT
Maxïmo Park
Our Earthly Pleasures
Warp
Our Earthly Pleasures is a lesson in how
to make a spot-on second release. It boasts all that made
us first fall for Maxïmo Park—exploding choruses,
punchy guitars, quirky subject matter—while exploring
the Newcastle quintet’s emotionally heavier side and
capturing their famously frenetic live energy. There’s
not one dud here, from the lusty riffs of “Girls Who
Play Guitars” to the tinkling, piano-tinged “Your Urge,”
the stirring strings of “Sandblasted and Set Free,” and
the pouncing attack of “Our Velocity.” Pleasures is a
glorious listen that affirm MP’s place as a true force in
modern music. CAMILLA PIA
Alberta Cross
The Thief and the Heartbreaker
Fiction
From the soulful heartlands of Sweden
and London comes Alberta Cross. Not—as you might
think—an old blues woman who spent her days working in
the field and her nights rocking on her porch, but a couple
of guys who met over a love for roots music and put a
band together. Theirs is a deliciously warm, semi-acoustic
sound, which soundtracks miserable stories sung cheerily.
The Thief is their debut, and it’s short and sweet, just the
way we like it. MARTIN KAHL
Fields
Everything Last Winter
Black Lab
“Song for the Fields” opens with a Wicker
Man-esque alt.folk—all shy and coy and faux-whimsical—
but then a switch is flicked and Fields unleash all hell in
a style more My Bloody Valentine than Bonnie “Prince”
Billy. It’s a motif carried throughout the album, the band
grasping that there’s no shame in tempering musicianship with solid hooks. No reason to question the merit
of future stadium-fillers like “Charming the Flames”;
it’s—whisper it, now—pop music for people who don’t
listen to pop music. JON-PAUL WADDINGTON
YOURCODENAMEIS:MILO
They Came From the Sun
V2 [U.K.]
Themission:abrandnewbeginning. This
record is armed with such shit-your-pants apocalyptic
digi-rock it’d be enough to blast any other Geordie
guitar band into outer-space oblivion. There’s danger in
being too clever though, and with YCNI:M’s first album
overshooting the heads of musical mortals, They Came
From the Sun is a (slight) change of tactic. From the
stadium-sized opening riff of “Pacific Theatre,” there’s
no mercy. “About Leaving” is an electro parade of sonic
blips, whilst the guttural strumming of “Translates”
sends every track that follows thundering along with
the intent to outdo. New pants needed. Mission
accomplished. LISA DURRANT
The Fly is the U.K.’s second largest circulated music magazine. Focusing on emerging talent, it’s the essential
guide to new music in the U.K. Subscriptions are available, priced at £40 for 12 months (11 issues),
by contacting [email protected], or online at www.the-fly.co.uk.
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