Albums »Bang Bang Rock & Roll

by Art Brut (2005)

If you described Art Brut to me: tongue in cheek, hip, indie, in the same art wave boat as Franz Ferdinand, I’d probably tell you I wasn’t interested.

But songs kept popping up on shuffle and every time I’d be loving if and wondering who it was.

The catchy tunes with Eddie Argos’ stecato speak/ singing are infectious and they manage to be humorous without being cute or obnoxious.

Bang Bang Rock and Roll seems to be universally adored by critics and I agree with them.

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Posted on January 9, 2012

Songs »It’s Just Like Christmas

by Low (1999)

True, Low’s Just Like Christmas is far more Midwest-indie than my tastes tend to run – and I can vividly imagine it as the soundtrack to a precious, folksy Volkswagen commercial, but it’s undeniably, a sweet Christmas ditty.

Very nice to see new, catchy compositions for the Holiday are being written not just as an after thought to make money but artfully and with genuine heart.

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Posted on December 24, 2011

Songs »Here’s Where the Story Ends

by The Sundays (1990)

I was sitting in Mike’s apartment and suddenly – flash! I was twelve years old again: I was zoning out with my cd walkman, watching the rain from the back seat of my mom’s car and thinking of poetry about, hmmm let’s see, 7th grade, maybe it was Ralph Lowenstein Danny Jendral I had a crush on? (How soon we forget.)

Anyways – all it took to transport me to those olden days, where bands still looked like hangovers from the 80’s, was The Sundays hit, Here’s Where The Story Ends (now how long has it been since you heard this one?). It holds up pretty well, much better than similar artists like Cranberries and Belly in my opinion.

And since I am so old that kids these days now only know Star Wars as 3D animation on Cartoon Network, this ballad will be new to many of you younger folks, so do enjoy kids – maybe it will make you zone out with your iphone, watching the rain and thinking about poetry about the boy or girl you have a crush on.

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Posted on August 24, 2011

Songs »Have You Forgotten

30 Day Song Challenge – Day Three: Best Song With Which to Wallow in Your Self Pity:

Have You Forgotten”  by Red House Painters (1996)

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Posted on May 3, 2011

Songs »California (All The Way)

by Luna (1994)

I love how music can touch you deep down and take you back to a person that you once were.

Luna’s California (All the Way) is one of those songs that will always be associated in my mind with my Junior year in college. While it doesn’t take me back to the specific memories (which boyfriend was breaking up with me at the time, again??) it does transport me to a very certain feeling.

I can close my eyes when this song comes on and see a warm afternoon outside my apartment on Arnold Street in Providence filled with all the optimism of the young and cocky and all the insecurities of the young and barely experienced.

As for the song itself, I was introduced to it by an old friend, Peat, back when mix cd’s were still given as gifts.

Even if the song holds no sentiment to you, it’s still very lovely.

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Posted on February 1, 2011

Songs »America’s Boy

by Broadcast (2005)

I have to admit, as a person generally wary of indie rock, I was not completely familiar with the complete works of the band Broadcast when I learned that the lovely and talented lead singer Trish Keenan died from pneumonia complications.

It’s such a tragedy to lose anyone so young, but particularly sad when you realize they had so much more surely to offer the world with their talents.

Over the years a few of their songs have made my itunes library thanks to friends’ mix CD’s etc and one of my favorites is the beautiful political pop song, America’s Boy.

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Posted on January 15, 2011

Movies »Days of Being Wild

directed by Wong Kar-Wai (1990)

Wong Kar-Wai, whose cinematic voice is all his own, brings to the screen quiet moments in time rather than sweeping plots in Days of Being Wild. The moments certainly stuck with me, as I’ve been trying to find the movie again since I saw it years and years ago.

Set in Hong Kong and the Philippines in the 1960’s, Wild is sumptuously shot by Kar-Wai collaborator Christopher Doyle with what looks like a hazy memory filter. The fashions here are eye candy too and I swear it looks like Muccia Prada must have just viewed this movie before her Fall 2010 season.

The attractive cast is also great to look at, including China’s biggest stars like the lovely Maggie Cheung and the dashing Leslie Cheung. They fall in and out of love in this study of relationships, manipulation, sadness and desire. It’s doesn’t sound like much to explain what happens, (someone leaves someone from someone else, someone gets sad…) but there’s something haunting about the whole affair.

An all around gorgeous movie, which unfortunately looks like it was transferred from VHS for instant netflix, Days of Being Wild sounds amazing featuring lilting, mid century tropic instrumentals.

Considered inaccessibly art house by many, this was not a hit in its home country despite an all star cast. Still, many consider it to be a pivotal film in Hong Kong cinema.

Click here for the rest of Days of Being Wild

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Posted on December 14, 2010

Albums »The Bends

by Radiohead (1995)

Let’s pretend we can drop in on me the Spring of 1996. You will find me listening to The Bends and feeling introspective. It was an album that had been released the year before but was only introduced to me on a soul igniting Chicago visit to life long and dear friend, Billy (Radiohead hadn’t made the rounds in Colorado Springs yet, where people were pretty much still hung up on Steve Miller and Led Zeppelin). It was a visit that found myself in puppy love, teetering on the edge of  semi independence into young adulthood, and finding that that world was going to be so much larger and fascinating than I could have imagined.

It was this, Radiohead’s love letter of cryptic moodiness that would be the soundtrack to those first steps towards someplace larger than High School. Which is probably why I don’t listen to the album all that much, even though it really stands up to the passing years as artful and lovely and much more sophisticated than it’s time of the mid nineties… home to Alanis Morissette and belly button piercing.

When it popped up on a random shuffle it was immedately transporting in the best way possible. I guess the me of now, about to embark on an unknown life as a mom can relate to the me of then that was about to embark on college and beyond. Both versions of me are romantically swayed by lyrics like “I keep falling over I keep passing out when I see a face like you”. Sigh.

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Posted on October 6, 2010

Movies »The Doom Generation (Worst Movie)

It's a painful thing to have gone through, watching The Doom Generation, and every time I'm reminded of it, whether by seeing that dumb looking kid's face or hearing the words Gregg Araki, it's like a flair up of agony. Come to think of it, not unlike the sensation one might experience living with a chronic STD.

This indie road trip to hell sits comfortably atop my mental list of the worst movies I have ever seen; even watching seconds-long clips on You Tube is supremely irritating and infuriating.

While I don't assume too many people are in queue to re-watch this piece of trash from a decade that brought us so many fulfilling edgy indies, I still feel obligated to warn you dear readers about its evil ways.

I'm reaching deep into the archives of terrible films because I was really good to myself this year and saw none of the movies topping early worst-of-2009 lists (no Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen for me) but I would like to bring up a few dishonorable mentions: like the fact that Jason Segel really creeped me out in bad ways in I Love You, Man and my friend Mike's prediction of what might truly be the worst film of 2009. It stars something called Travolta Williams.

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Posted on November 9, 2009

Movies »Born in Flames

born in flamesYou wouldn't necessarily think an independent, militant lesbian sci fi drama with spoken word poetry would in any way be a watchable, let alone an enjoyable cinematic experience, but the vibrant Born in Flames defied my expectations. Director Lizzie Borden tackles racism, sexism, and intelligent political theories in this, one of her few films that features a young Kathryn Bigelow (of Point Break directorial fame and heartthrob of my husband's) who's a bit awkward on screen, but most of the cast of quite beautiful and strong women are surprisingly natural as far as independent cinema goes (and we all know how it can go).

The plot is simple yet complex in terms of its ideas about socialist democracies and women armies. There's been a peaceful second American revolution, yet minorities and women are still disenfranchised and begin to take to the airwaves and streets to bring the system down. What it lacks in solid story structure it more than makes up for in dynamic energy. It features some great music, memorable imagery, and a devoted cult following – and it's available instantly through Netflix.

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Posted on June 22, 2009

Albums »House Arrest

house arrest ariel pink's haunted graffitiLiterally hard to pin point, Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti has the fuzzy lo fi sound of songs playing in the back of a memory – a memory of toddling years in the eighties, listening to mom's Beach Boy albums and much later making out in the back of a car with a shitty stereo distorting college radio over unbridled teenage passions – but then take all those memories and make them just a little bit vaguely creepy and you've got the sound of House Arrest.

Being blissfully unaware of the hype tacked on to the group – though I was quickly made aware by blistering hands folded, “jesus look at this hipster” attitude of pitchfork review, I just really like it. I like that it taps into the past, I like that it makes me a little dizzy and, Bryan Ferry help me, after finally seeing the band's photo I like that they channel the decadence and outer spacey, superficial pizazz of glam bands like Roxy Music.

I've been listening to the album over the past few weeks, and unlike more congealed and clean releases, I still can't pinpoint a single song that I love, it's more of a hazy amorphous cloud that, pun intended, “haunts” unexpected moments. I'll be walking down the street and bits of a weird melody pop into my head. I like it.

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Posted on May 4, 2009

Albums »If You’re Feeling Sinister

If You're Feeling Sinister by Belle and Sebastian This was the first Belle and Sebastian album I bought. I really hadn't listened to it from beginning to end for years until a few weeks ago on a long drive. They could have called it “If You're Feeling Sentimental” because this took me right back to my 21st birthday in Providence, which actually kind of sucked–which is probably why I was listening to a lot of Belle and Sebastian at the time.

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Posted on December 26, 2005