Saturday, December 31, 2011

Frank's Favorite Albums 2011: Girly Indie Electro-Dance Pop Edition


Yeah you heard me, girly indie electro-dance pop. A genre I am embarrassingly well versed in.  In my pop music fantasy land these two artist are on the radio 24/7 instead of Ke$ha, Lady GaGa and Nicki Minaj. full disclosure I did enjoy that Super Bass song I never ever listen to any radio other than NPR so I get to be a little pickier about how I get my pop fix. Like most other fields this year, not many standouts, but these two are more than enough for me.  


Class Actress - Reapprocher
October 18 Carpark Records

This album is cool as ice. Heavy on the synths and sultry vocals the debut from the Brooklyn duet have released one of the best synth-pop albums in a good while. Each song is clean and efficient, with front woman Elizabeth Harper's confident and crisp delivery doing what good dance music does, creating an emotional as well as physical connection with the listener. Nothing on Rapprocher steers outside the lines of traditional dance pop, but this can be excused when the music is as as good as it is here. Despite the hero worship the whole album manages to feel contemporary.

  Hopefully their sophmore release will lead them to a more unique product, building on the many strengths of Rapprocher. Kind of like what happened with the following artist.



LIGHTS - Siberia
Last Gang Records

This is the second album for Canadian lap-top pop ingenue LIGHTS following up her debut The Listening. The Listening had strengths such as the songwriting (for the medium) and her voice, but was marred with production vying for a commercial sound via auto-tune and such.

Siberia tones back and dirties up the production letting the vocals do most of the work while providing a dark counter point to her youthful delivery.  I recommend purchasing the vinyl because staring at the cover while listening greatly enhances the experience.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Frank's Favorite Albums 2011: Nice Singing/Songwriting Brah Edition


Here are a couple albums by dudes that write and perform their own work. I bet there are some good chick albums too if you check back later.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Frank's Favorite Albums 2011: Vacation Away Edition


It's that time of the year again where critics line up to show you how much more they know about art than you and then end up picking Arcade Fire as their #1 album. This was a pretty shitty year for music but there were a few bright shiny parts as well. I will be making these post periodically without rhyme or reason (well maybe some rhyme) until the end of the year or until I have ran out of stuff I liked. Each post will be grouped together by some sort of banal theme.

This first post's theme is...Time for a Vacation! All three of these albums I put on frequently when I needed to escape into their musical getaways as the pressure of non-vacation world became too much. So allow me to be your guide through a tropical retro paradise, a fictional California town suspended in the 80's and finally a peaceful resort of indie soft pop delight.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Last Ten Movies I Watched 12/3

They do this in the fancy movie magazines I read.

Stardust Memories - Woody Allen - 1980



Potiche - Fracois Ozon - 2010



Cave of Forgotten Dreams - Werner Herzog - 2010
Our Idiot Brother - Jesse Peretz - 2011
Director Jesse Peretz was the original bassist for The Lemonheads. WTF?
The Lady Vanishes - Alfred Hitchcock - 1938
Woody Allen: A Documentary - Robert Weide - 2011
The Exterminator - James Glickenhaus - 1980



Lolita - Stanley Kubrick - 1962
Paths of Glory - Stanley Kubrick - 1957
Page One: Inside the New York Times - Andrew Rossi - 2011


Monday, October 31, 2011

Frank's Five Favorite Horror Films

October. As the leaves begin to turn so do Americans stomachs as they plow through the back catalog of go to horror standards. As with most of my other personal preferences, these films I have chosen to share with you are not ones you will find on most lame critic's list. Don't get me wrong I do love some of the standards (Rosemary's Baby, Suspiria) but I thought you might be looking for something different to throw in between Paranormal Activity viewings. The six films included here are some my favorite horror films, ones that I come back to every year at this time, and Christmas as well.



Possession - 1981 - Andrzej Zulawski

Driven by a scenery chewing performance by Sam Neil as a family man whose wife, played impeccably by Isabelle Adjani, may or may not be having an affair with an other worldy demon. The story plays out like a traditional infidelity drama until Adjani's character begins a sexually charged epileptic fit amid daytime traffic. As her finger nails begin to bleed and the milk like vomit propels from her mouth you know the "other man" might be working with a little something extra. Great physcological drama with some old fashioned monster movie scares as well. The creature in the film was designed by the same team that created E.T. Go figure.




Thursday, October 27, 2011

My application for the open position at The Observer

Dear Village Voice Media
         cc: Dallas Observer

I am inquiring about the position currently open at your paper in the Music section. I believe I would be an ideal candidate for the position because I am all about house shows and keeping it real. I have included a review which I believe makes my case.

There seems to be a sense around town that Sarah Jaffe's latest release Suburban Nature just might be the thing to send her beyond the DFW scene. Following in the footsteps of Norah Jonesand St. Vincent, two artists who I think anyone could confidently say have "made it." After spending some time with Nature, I have some reservations about Jaffe being the chosen one to close the commercial trifecta some are hoping for.

My critique of this album is almost purely based on the merits of it's songwriting. The music is all very boring, predictable and very polished. This isn't great, but it doesn't have to be a deal-breaker for me, especially when it comes from an artist whose centerpiece is the lyrical content. I am a big believer in the idea of the songwriter being our modern day poets. While this is hard to say in public without coming off as overly pretentious, the security of the blog-o-sphere offers me the freedom to say so. Of course there are the great songwriters that are known world over, but I also believe that nearly every town, especially those with colleges in them, potentially breed singer/songwriters of great worth that don't see the light of day outside the city limits. I am sure that your impatient ass already looked down to see the rating and know that I do not hold Jaffe in this category.

My overarching argument would have to be that the album is damn boring. There is no point on this recording where Jaffe does anything that makes her stand out from the previously mentioned troubadours playing coffee shops across America. If the album's production wasn't so pristine, maybe the music wouldn't sound so distant. Having some grime around edges can help us believe you aren't just a contempo-folk bot. The illusion of intimacy can be pretty easily attained. Instead, every song sounds like it was written for one of those mix CDs that you buy along side a double latte at Starbucks.

Each song on Suburban Nature is a mini-ode to heartache with Jaffe (or her characters) as the protagonist. Music of this nature lends itself to an intimate relationship with the listener. I have to say that I'm not too comfortable in the part that Jaffe wants me to play. You know those friends that are ALWAYS getting fucked over by their significant others; always ready to play the part of the lovelorn ingenue done wrong by some beautiful apparition? I know that when your heart is broken, it is hard to see past the immediacy of those feelings, but must you always be the protagonist? Ms. Jaffe, were younever the one to fuck up? She is asking the listener to be a sympathetic friend to unload her problems on, but I felt more like the jilted ex-lover wishing she would stop complaining and accept the finality of our failed romance.


There are parts of the album that I did enjoy. "Vulnerable" works, because she tries to tell a story and doesn't rely on abstract "woe is me" songwriting. "Summer Begs" is another highlight where Jaffe does show that she can at least begin to paint a scene. This is achieved by giving us the details and nuance of a love gone wrong. Instead of just myopic self-reference, we get some semblance of characters the listener might care about.

As I said before, I have been known to be won over by singer/songwriters that share similarities with Jaffe. The first thing that pops into my mind is an artist with local ties: Ladel. The two artists share many similarities as gloomy female singer/songwriters. Ladel's songwriting, while a bit more dramatic than Jaffe's, still has an earnest quality to it that the songs on Suburban are missing, that being wit or self-reflection. Always the martyr in the ways of the heart, Jaffe's musings might be comforting to those who always find themselves on the sharp end of the blade, but for the rest of us bloodied-hand individuals, there isn't much to relate to.

This might work as a cathartic experience, much in the way it does with Mark Kozelek's work, but I had trouble sympathizing with Jaffe. The songs never do anything beyond the "boo-hoo my heart is broken" schtick. Of course there are other more recognizable artists (Julie DoironCat PowerShannon WrightMirah) that I found myself longing to listen to while trudging through this album.

Is it unfair for me to assume that this is the market that Jaffe is attempting to break through to here? I think that anyone who has followed her the past couple years (which, if you follow the local music scene, it would have been hard not to) can see that it would be a fair assumption that she has those particular stars in her eyes. I wish that more acts in the area had the dedication and career-minded focus that Jaffe has, and you can't say it hasn't worked for her. I just have a hard time believing that this is going to the album to take her from selling out coffee shops to the Granada theaters of Anywhere, USA.


1 1/2 of 5 




Peace,
Frank Phosphate

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cuckoo Retrospective


Tonight we bid a fond farewell to one of the most dynamic acts in the area along with two of the nicest people around. Cuckoo Byrds aka Time Bandits aka David & Lisa have been a positive life force in the Denton community since they opened up business on the square in 2007. Even though their time to depart has come, their spirits will be with the town for years to come. Be sure to check out Cuckoo Byrds final performance in Denton tonight at Rubber Gloves along with Violent Squid and Slackbeat.

Here I have compiled some of my favorite videos captured by our own VJNODAD.



Sunday, May 1, 2011

Frank Politics - Interview with Sloan Callen, District 3 Denton City Council Campaign Volunteer Sloan Callen


One of the great things about being C.E.O. of your own blog is that you are not restricted in the range of content you wish to cover. Politics is something I am interested in, at a local and national level, so it is something that I would like to cover here.

This may manifest itself in a blow hard opinion piece or an interview like the one you are about to read. Denton City Council elections are coming up with early voting set to begin Monday. There are numerous issues facing the Denton area that has some younger citizens up in arms. Luckily there seem to be at least a couple of candidates who are representing those positions.

To find out what exactly those positions are I spoke with  Sloan Callen, a volunteer for District 3 candidate Mike Sutton. I wanted to find out not only what issues he felt affected Denton County most but also why he decided to play a roll in the candidates bid for local office.

Have an issue you want to talk about? Send me an email frankphosphate@gmail.com

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Show Alert/Interview - Crocodiles/Sleepy Sun/White Hills/Tang Lung - Rubber Gloves Sunday



There was a time not so long ago when Denton was the place for up and coming bands to stop through instead of DFW. Any given week if you checked Rubber Gloves or Hailey's websites you would find an often healthy selection of "hip" bands whom were obviously on the rise. I think I saw Of Montreal at Gloves three or four times? But those times seem a distant memory. All of that business has moved to our big sisters to the south, where I don't believe they receive the attention/attendance that the bands need as up and coming acts. Yes, we may not have as much money as Dallas or Fort Worth, but we are much hipper, which is what really gets people out to the shows. 


I was speaking last week with Rubber Gloves owner Josh Baish about this topic, which obviously affects him. I am not saying that Gloves still doesn't have great shows on a constant basis because they do. Local bookers do you a good job of getting local acts in and the occasional bigger name touring band. Most of those touring bands tend to be ones that  already have a history with the club, which is great, but what about those bands of tomorrow today?


Perfect example of the type of show I would like to see more of is happening this Sunday night at Rubber Gloves. This show was booked by Natalie Dávila whom you may know from her time booking at the now defunct Majestic Dwelling of Doom and more recently one of the forces behind 35 Conferette. The show is a little bit pricier at $10, but well worth it. I am hoping that the tide can start turning back in Denton's favor and away from places I can't walk to. I asked Natalie about the future of her booking and this show inpaticular, here is what she had to say. 


FP: Why have you decided to stick with the booking gigs post DOOM? 
ND: Well, booking opportunities just kept falling in my lap… Baish opened up Gloves to me and has subsequently taught me a great deal about this business, as far as venue specific booking is considered. I was also approached by the NX35 beast and spent the last 8 months getting my life turned upside down. At the end of the day, it was worth it. I have been fortunate enough to get to view the world of booking from a few different angles… DIY booking, venue booking, and festival booking. All of which are so completely different from each other and all of which have their own unique problems. The business itself is rather fascinating… getting to peek behind the curtain and see how tours come together operationally. Suffice it to say my experience in this business has all been rather serendipitous. I’m just along for the ride. 

Is this booking venture official? You have a catchy title yet?

I will probably focus more on making it “official” after summer when I have the time to do so. I don’t have a name yet… Spune was already taken… so I was thinking about Spluge instead…

Most of our readers are probably familiar with Crocodiles, can you tell us a little about the other acts on the bill. 
Sleepy Sun is a big ole band from San Fran… with six members or so. I think compared to most psych rock outfits they show more restraint in their performance. Now that isn’t a bad thing… I just think they will prove to be well-crafted stoner rock. White Hills is a loud ass band hailing from New York. My friend Dustin Anderson caught this band live at SXSW and said it was a really powerful show, so I decided to check them out and see about bringing them to Denton. Their label, Thrill Jockey, has quite a few solid acts- stuff like Fiery Furnaces, OOIOO, Future Islands, etc. etc. Their sound is very space-y, atmospheric, definitely psychedelic and heavy. This is the band on the bill I am personally most excited about seeing, except for maybe Tang Lung… haven’t caught them live yet but I know they are going to kick ass. The DFW area lacks bands like Tang Lung… their myspace boasts some really interesting and promising recordings… their sound is reminiscent of Sonic Youth and Slowdive, but ultimately with a really fresh take on dreamy-psych rock. And I can already tell they are going to be really loud live… and that’s always a plus. 


How did the show come about? 

Well I was too broke to go to Psych Fest so I decided to bring some of Psych Fest to me. I just started hitting up some bands (actually, their agents) that I knew were going to be routed this way for that event and thus this power bill was born! Denton will be the last stop for Crocodiles’ tour. 


What kind of acts would you like to see booked more in the area? 
I just want to see more range and diversity. This town is in a bit of a slump, but things are looking up. Bands are eager to play Denton; I just don’t think they are being sought out. This town has a good reputation on the national scale… people know there is a strong music community here. The //Tense// show that was at Gloves the other night is a perfect example of a strong, eclectic Denton bill. Brought to you by the tastemakers behind Discipline, that bill was solid gold and Denton needs more of that.


Rubber Gloves Site

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Insane Criterion Blu-Ray Sale at Amazon


If you are like me you are nuts for the Criterion Collection. My relationship with Janus/Criterion goes way back to the Laserdisc...good times. These are the lowest prices I have seen on some of these. It looks like most of them are out of stock with a 7-10 day wait time for mailing. Who knows how long this will last, all I know is I am going to be broke as fuck the rest of this pay period. An [x] indicates a title I am picking up, a couple of them I already own. Please feel free to share your purchases. Movie watching party?



$13.99
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button


$17.49
8 1/2
Breathless
Wings of Desire


$17.99
[x]Amarcord
[x]Army of Shadows
M
The Naked Kiss
Paths of Glory
Senso
The Seventh Seal
Shock Corridor
Still Walking


$18.49
Broadcast News
Fish Tank
Modern Times
[x]The Red Shoes
Sweet Smell of Success


$18.99
[x]Blow Out
The Double Life of Veronique
Kes
[x]Le Cercle Rouge
The Mikado
Topsy-Turvy
White Material


$19.99
Au revoir les enfants
Yi Yi


$21.49
The Leopard


$28.99
Yojimbo & Sanjuro


[x]$52.99
America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Frank Reviews - Somewhere - 2010 - Sofia Coppola

Why are you such an asshole? 

Throughout Sofia Coppola's latest mini masterpiece Somewhere our protagonist Johhny Marco (what a name) receives that cryptic question via text message. The sender's blocked phone number leaves the audience and Johhny guessing who(m) and what he did wrong. We soon finds out that Marco is  more than deserving of those blunt words for being a lazy, idle and filthy stinking rich celebrity. But he's not all that bad.

Somewhere could be consider a quasi-sequel to Lost in Translation. Both films center around a male movie starlet as they grapple with the hollowness of stardom and finding comfort in a non romantic relationship with the opposite sex. 

If you found Translation to be a boring exercise in the excess of modern neo-realism, substituting plot for pretty pictures and elitist pop culture, you aren't going to like this one either.

When the film begins you might question how and why you should empathize and not loathe Johhny Marco. The guy drives a loud car with a trunk in the front, has nubile twin blond strippers on call and one of the guys from Jackass is his best friend. Just as we begin to sympathize with Hitler (as a tragically flawed character) towards the end of Downfall, so do we understand the plight of Johhny Marco. Now, Marco is not a fascist dictator but he does embody the idle celebrity who we love to despise, envy and keep employed.

 Much in the same way Nicole Hollofocner uses the struggles of the middle-upper class to show the universality of human doubt and sorrow, so does Sofia with celebrity. At the core of the film we have a character who is ultimately unhappy even though he can buy anything he wants. While the whole "money can't buy happiness" line is nothing new, never before (outside of Antonioni films) has there been a cinematic representation of the banality that wealth and questionably gained status can bring. 

I appreciate relationships that are not normally seen in film, especially in American cinema. The father-daughter bond that is formed over the course of the film is the most satisfying one since Paper Moon and alot less creepy. It is through this unique bond between disconnected, unfit father and daughter that Marco discovers that he needs to make some changes in his life. Where Marco's eventual back turning on all that he is amassed could have been a cliche easy answer to the audience expectations, the relationship between the two is so honest and un-sentimental that the end comes from a place of discovery and not hackneyed expectation fulfillment.

Sofia wields a very heavy hand when it comes to the symbolism in Somewhere.  Every shot, even those that seem to linger past their time, is meticulously constructed to chart the emotional/spiritual growth of our protagonist. I have seen the film three times so far and each time there are little nuances that creep up out of nowhere.

"let them eat cake"

The cast all turn in subdued and memorable performances, bringing the story of the characters full circle with out the aide of an over wrought plot or dialogue. Stephen Dorf's real life status as an almost A list actor helps on a meta-level with our connection to his character. Ella Fanning does a fantastic job as the daughter that helps Marco find his heart or whatever. Better performance than anything her sister has turned out, even though I am a big fan of her narration of the Henery Darger bio-doc In The Realms of the Unreal.

The person who really surprised was Jackass cohort Chris Pontious who plays Marco's friend from back in the day who helps bring the flamboyant decadence down to Earth. Pontious is a natural in front of the camera and totally believable as the kind-hearted eternal house guest. There is a scene in particular with Fanning where Pontious finds out more about Marco's daughter in 5 minutes than Marco knows after eleven years of her being around. This could have easily been a stiff and/or vaguely creepy scene, but the earnestness that Pontious brings to the scene is almost heartbreaking. He should have won a best supporting award somewhere. 

As to be expected pop music plays a large role in setting the tone of the film. Unlike Marie Antoinette where the other timely musics was omnipresent to underscore the decadent youthfulness of the titular character, the music here is all incidental. There are moments like the above pictured stripping scenes where we hear the girls glide up and down the pole(s) in unison to Foo Fighters "Hero". Or there is T-Rex's "20 Century Boy" which we hear as Johhny fails miserably during a solo session of Guitar Hero. See what I'm saying with the symbolism? While I did not feel the connection to the music in this film like I have with Coppola's other work (meaning I won't be jamming to the soundtrack day and night) I was very impressed the use of music and it's important roll in the storytelling process. 

So is Johhny Marco an asshole? I think it would be hard not to be if found in the position that Marco finds himself in. While Coppola never passes judgment over her characters, by the end of the film Marco does find some sort of clarity and hopefully redemption. That clarity is not achieved by any cliche self epiphany or forced plot device but instead by watching and being apart of Marco's life and walking by his side as he leaves his piece of shit car in the dust. 


Frank Final Verdict: A

Not New Music - Poly Styrene - Translucenece (RIP 1957-2011)

Sad new to wake up today that X-Ray Spex front woman Polystyrene passed away after a long bout with cancer. Today also marks the release of her first solo album since the one you are about to download here. Oh cancer, up yours! This was posted by myself about a year ago over on the other site and figured now was as good a time as any to recycle it. 


Poly Styrene
Translucence
1981 Receiver Records

Like most of the new wave and punk bands of the late seventies and early 80's, X-Ray Spex burned brightly but briefly. In their short time together the band embodied the independent punk spirit, much more than some of the more marketable figureheads of the time. The bands brace faced lead singer Poly Styrene also released a record in 1981 that is worth checking out for those of you hungry for more from this enigmatic performer.

Unlike the sneering proto-riot girl she played during her time with X-ray, Poly Styrene's fist solo album Translucence shows a much softer side to the unlikely chanteuse. Surprisingly the album has more in common with Astrud Gilberto than Johnny Rotten. While the arrangements and sounds are often light as air, Styrene's unique songwriting and undeniable voice make this a thoroughly solid record. Translucence is currently out of print, and in fact I'm not sure if it was ever even released domestically. So I would recommend you grab this and chill the fuck out to it, some of you guys seem to be a little high strung lately.

Poly Styrene - Translucence

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Not New Music - The Smiths Unreleased Demos & Instrumentals



Oh yeah remember this feature from back in the day? Thought it was about time to bring it on back. As before, any album posted is currently out of print and/or unavailable for commercial purchase. Downloads will be up for one week and then taken down forever, how sad. For this grand return let's start big shall we?



There have been various version of this floating around for a few months but I figured most you don't hang out in Suede chat rooms so you might not have heard about it. These are ripped with care from a vinyl and sound great for demos, suitable for everyday use and not just a one time curiosity listen through. If you are anything like me you exhausted the entire Smiths catalog somewhere around the age of 14 so it's nice to hear these songs (which I still listen to on a regular basis) in a slightly different form.

 Highlights include the way stripped down version of my favorite tune "Ask", the slight reggae groove of "Girlfriend in a Coma" demo, Mozz's warble in "Is it Really So Strange?" and the surprise trumpet in "Frankly, Mr. Shankly". But It's Marr on these recordings who really stands out with his three unreleased instrumental tracks including an ominous "Shoplifters of the World". Dude was brilliant, too bad he went on to do things like produce that terrible Modest Mouse record.

Keep an eye out for more Not New Music post in the future. I'll be digging deep into the vault most of the time but every once and awhile I'll through out stadium filler like this.

I've got the 21st century breathing down my neck...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Frank's Television Set - Superjail

This is a new segment where I tell you about shows I am watching. I watch alot of TV, all of it stellar. These posting will give you the courage to skip that fourth viewing of Arrested Development and catch up with the rest of us devoted boob tube heads. Some of these shows might be on pay-cable which I understand makes life hard but just find a friend who lives in a hotel or visit your parents. On an unrelated note I have a bunch of guest writers who I have solicited to write for me, we'll see if any of them put out.



       SuperJail Season 2
        Cartoon Network
          Sundays 11pm          

The first season of Superjail stands along side Tim & Eric Awesome Show and Xavier Renegade Angel as some of the best and weirdest animated comedy to appear on television in quite awhile. I had never been a big fan of Adult Swim programming previously because it was all a little too "stoner" for my taste. Yet these show are able to create surreal other worlds that are both funny and disturbing and not just "weird" like Aqua Teen or Sealab. It's been awhile since the first season of Superjail and I know many, myself included didn't think we would see it again.

Season 2 began this Sunday and was a bit of a let down. In the two years between the seasons the show seems to have picked up a new animation studio, leaving behind the grotesquely detailed art with a new,slicker style more accustomed to traditional half hour comedy animation. One of the thing that made the first season great was the amount of detail in every little scene. While the animation itself was stilted it didn't matter because you could take a freeze shot at any point in each episode and have at least 20 uniquely morbid things to point and laugh at.
 
The eleven minute running time of Superjail is perfectly orchestrated to stuff in as many disgustingly witty puns and sight gags as possible all concluding in the massive orgy of blood and gore that the inevitable prisoner vs Jail-bot showdown has in store. If you only see one episode of Superjail there is plenty to enjoy, but watching the full season you see just how well conceived and executed the show is.  The writing was still on in this debut episode including some clever twist and the typical character dynamics, but not once did I wince and yell at the screen in horror as I used to. I just hope that with this slicker animation the show doesn't loose the twisted surreal violence that made the show must see TV. I'll do a check back mid season and let you know what I think.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Frank Review - Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Belong



Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Album - Belong
Release - March 29 2011 Slumberland/Collective Sounds


Yesterday a study was released that stated what most of us already knew, there is a correlation between the effects of physical pain and social rejection. Is it a coincidence that this interesting, if not painfully evident, information was released on the same day as Pains of Being Pure at Heart's highly anticipated Belong? Yes, but what a fun coincidence.

Unfortunately I have recently felt the pain these doctors speak of. No, I did not have my heart broken by a woman - Frank has built up a heart of stone, tempered with glass that is capable of withstanding any mortal females unpredictable whims- but it was instead Pains of Being Pure at Heart themselves. Maybe my expectations were too high. Maybe I am in fact outgrowing the primal emotional that noise pop speaks too. Or maybe they have put out a disjointed, confused recording that is trying  too hard to emulate heroes instead of further carving their own sound. Of course the right answer is the latter.

My main problem with the album is the production by one of those old "alternative" work horses Flood. Through out the 80s and 90s Flood's production on titles, especially one's from emerging artist like PJ Harvey and Nick Cave helped artist on the rise gain a larger audience by producing material that made  the work more accessible without compromising the vision or talent. I think that the production on To Bring You My Love forced her to tone back as a performer but not as a artist which lead to some fucking  powerful music. But with the type of music Pains are making, the production causes the ideas to sound forced. PJ Harvey's songwriting lends itself to the shine and grandness of Flood's productions. The bands rough yet character filled craftsmanship has given way to the whims of sophisticated production.


The album feels very disjointed due to the many things that it attempts to accomplish. A common theme when reading any kind of criticism of Pains is their strict focus on Slumberland inspired noise pop. It is through this focus and admiration that the band began to form their own voice. While the remenants of early 90's indie music can be heard loud and clear on the self titled and Higher Than the Stars EP, the songs still bore the stamp of a band honing in on their sweet spot as a collective.

On Belong there is point where the music almost borders on plagiarism. At least for you and I, the discerning college rock listener. Example: Take the opening track Belong and now listen to My Bloody Valentines's Soon. You can do this with pretty much every song on the album and a song from Jesus and Mary Chain, Stones Roses, Smashing Pumpkins (cringe)  and  Goo Good Dolls (super cringe). Not City of Angels Goo Goo Dolls mind you but some of the tracks could be mistaken for Superstar Car Wash outtakes. The songs all really do sound nice, but listening to most of the tracks I find myself longing for the original. Except with the Goo Goo Dolls of course.

 Let's see what else... Oh yes. Kip's voice should not be so up front or undistorted. The nasal quality works great when it's sung into a pawn shop microphone, but the clarity in this recording is a bit too much. I love Heart in Your Heartbreak, but we have been listening that song, the lead single for a couple of months now so I was already looking forward to it.

Obviously I would not be as disappointed in this album if I did not have such a fond admiration for the band's precious work. While not wholly original, their previous two releases felt more like a love letter to a very specific music lover. I give this review such a low score with a very heavy heart. Kip was the first interview I did over at weshotjr and I have to say that he was one of the coolest dudes I have ever met. A total spazz music nerd with a focus on noisy pop saccharine. It was like looking in the mirror. I know in my heart that the band's intention on this release were 100% pure. And FUCKING BRAVO for staying with Slumberland. You can read my interview to see how that is a classy move on so many levels.

 This is by no means a sell out record or the nail in the coffin that some revivalist hating reviewers have been waiting for. I just believe it is a bit of a miss step. Although I do agree with the general consensus that this album is going to shoot them into the big leagues, which I hope to the non-existent god happens. I am still excited to see what is in store for these guys. For my money, Let England Shake is the best album of PJ's career.

Frank's Final Verdict = C+

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Frank Review: Acid House Kings - Music Sounds Better With You

I am going to start posting reviews when I feel like it. More than likely the review will be over something I really love or really hate. Regardless there will be a grading system of A to F. Here is the first...



Artist - Acid House Kings 
Album - Music Sounds Better With You 
Release - March 22 2011 Labrador Sweden


Acid House Kings have a lengthy but sparse career as one of the many Swedish twee/indie/ironically sensitive pop bands of the last twenty years. While their sound has always been great, I have never held in the same esteem as I do other contemporary pop out fits like Belle and Sebastian, Camera Obscura or Jens Lekman. With Music Sounds Better with You their first album since 2006's Sing Along With the Acid House Kings, the band have hit the other world popedelic atmosphere.

The band's previous releases found the trio consistently honing in on that perfect pop sound. While this sound tickles the ears and the heart, their interpretation lacked the character which really make the aforementioned groups stand out. This releases breaks that trend by picking up the tempo early on and never letting go. There is not one shoe-gazey foot dragger on here. Through out the album is a certain joyous air that strings together the ten songs. The album is a consistent, captivating listen by never second guessing the delivery of that joy, indulging in the graces of vocal harmonies and syncopated hand claps.

While the back beat stays thumping, the heart does skip a beat here and there. It is hard to convey melancholy and or romantic dread through the lens of shiny pop music with out coming off as hokey or over indulgent. AHK pull it off brilliantly here, offering the world another avenue to smile through the ache. While the song writing remains fairly obtuse, this is music inspired by and written for those who have had, or hope to one day have, their heart broken.

FRANK'S FINAL JUDGEMENT: A-


hey guys I'm still here

new content coming soon

Saturday, March 12, 2011

35 Conferette : EXPOSED Live Feed Special Report - Paperstain Day Show #1

Some videos from the Paperstain Show yesterday. I only have video for this show because it is the only one I went to. Never got around to picking up my Conferette wristband, which sucks because I was looking forward to some of the stuff later in the evening but I was too exhausted to party past the break of midnight. That will not be the case tonight. I'll be doing a 35 round up commentary next week but there is no time now.

One media outlet that has had the time to offer some criticism. dfw.com's Preston Jones posted an article today addressing some of issues that the festival faced on Thursday, summing up the misteps he writes "it's the details that need to be addressed in order to make this an event to anticipate, rather than dread." I just wanted to address a couple of the points because I think the author blew the situation out of proportion.

Issue #1 - time delays

Yes this sucks but was totally expected so I guess I wasn't too shocked when it happened. In fact I was relieved because time shake ups were going to allow me to catch both Violent Squid and Pains of Being Heart. In the end sadly this was not the case but that would have been the same situation if the acts played at their scheduled times. Plus it was the first day and there was tons of staff on hand to help out and answer questions about delays. Jones says, "I managed to see 16 bands altogether, but it was far more frustrating than it should've been." Sorry seeing 16 bands in one night is not as easy as listening to a Ipod playlist. I'm not saying that this isn't a issue which I hope is fixed for the rest of the fest, but it's not a deal breaker.

Issue #2 - cloth wristbands were not available yet

Seriously, Who gives a fuck? The thing I was worried about was waiting in an obscenely long line and/or my ticket not being available, neither of which happened. I was disgusted by the use of Ipads by the people working the wristband booth. This all could have been done on  netbooks which cost $300 less than an Ipad and don't look so ridiculous. I saw people at the Paperstain show Friday with wristbands so I guess they are available now.

Issue #3 - "Some sort of system needs to be in place to let those of us attempting to see more than a single venue's showcasing artists if there are delays or other hiccups at the other venues" (sorry couldn't think of a way to summarize this #notarealjournalist)

The main stages and clubs are ridiculously close to one another. It takes less than two minutes to walk between them. The walk between the main and free stage is a bit of a further walk, like 4 minutes or something. I think that the stage placement was very smart. People from the festival traveling to the free stage are greeted by many of the local eateries and drinkeries between the two. Maybe Flemmons does have a little business sense in him after all...

OK enough of the brown nosing here are some issues I have...

Issue #1 - COPS FUCKING EVERYWHERE

And I mean everywhere. Of all shapes and sizes and various styles of dress. It has not boaded well with my Tumblr series "Best Places to Sneak a Doob at 35c" But the good news is I have not heard any stories of out of line rookie cops or unjust man handling of suspicious characters. And trust me the people I roll with would be the first one's to relay those stories.

Issue #2 - I smell terrible

I am sick of typing, time to watch Bill Maher while showering and getting in the zone for todays events. See you on the flip side. I have videos from more of Thursday's shows (I even got Sarah Jaffe!) but I have my priorities so without further ado here are the videos.







Friday, March 11, 2011

Live Feed - Violent Squid @ 35c

Damn dawg what a performance this was. More videos to come once I have the time/sobriety to process the video.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

35 Conferette : EXPOSED - What Frank's Checking out Thursday...


And so it begins. Here is my schedule if you wanted to stalk me... or just see some good shows...



6:30 - 7:15
Secret Sisters



The Secret Sisters are one of the few contemporary country artist doing anything worth a damn. Stuck somewhere between throwback and contemporary style, these "sisters" utilize the intimacy of country music to create a beautiful, warm sound that should appeal to anyone with a heart and penchant for solid singer songwriters. I especially appreciate this video of the duo performing inside of a Wal Mart.








7:15pm
Free: Violent Squid 
Wristband: Pains of Being Pure at Heart



There is no telling how many times I have seen Violent Squid perform over the years, 10? maybe more. Squid's ever revolving line-up is helmed by Ty Stamp who does what he can to keep the improvisation focused with out loosing spontaneity the experience is based around. Most times I have caught Violent Squid it is playing to smaller audiences which is understandable but it will be nice to see the band playing to a large, wristband-less audience. 




Pains of Being Pure at Heart are one of my favorite indie pop bands around, keeping alive a long tradition of sensitive fuzz pop. One of my first assignments at weshotjr was interviewing lead singer/songwriter Kip before their performance last year. Some times in life there are moments when you feel like you are the only person in the world who feels the way you do, and sometimes you meet people that make you feel a little less alone in the world. That was the was I felt shooting the breeze with Kip. Check back here later this afternoon because I plan on posting the audio from this interview so you can hear what I mean.  Oh yeah and they put on a killer live show.



10pm - Hydrant Cafe
Heartstring Stranglers

A few hundred miles of land and ocean couldn't keep former Dentonite and current Budhapest resident  Frederick Shulze and his long term musical project Heartstring Stranglers from missing out on the Conferette action. This is going to be a streaming performance live from Budhapest, you can consider this the techno portion of the festival. 





11pm - J&J's
Geistheistler 


Pizza, Schlitz and dissonant noise rock is how I will be closing out the first day of activities. Why the early night? Hey some of us have to work in the morning...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

35 Conferette : EXPOSED - Interview with Paperstain Day Show host Nick Foreman



A highlight from last year's North by Conferette was the two day Paperstain Day Show which took place just a couple of blocks away from any wristband inspectors. The shows were hosted by Dust Congress front-man and pretty good basketball player Nick Foreman. Even though the event is in no way connected to the 35c, it does work as the perfect companion piece to the larger scale festivities.

If you are too poor to afford a wristband (if you live in Denton this is probablly the case) these shows will give you the opportunity to check out some of the better local acts playing 35c along with some acts exclusive to the showcase.

Most notable from that later category is the debut performance of Most Efficient Woman playing early on Saturday. MEW features Britt Robisheaux formely of Nouns Group and one of the higlights from last year's Paperstain show, Drug Mountain. Accompanying Britt on stage (or area carpet as the case may be) are members of Drink to Victory, Zanzibar Snails and other Drug Mountain buddies. It's going to get loud in there.

The Paperstain Showcase will be held Friday and Saturday with the line ups listed below. I'll quit my jabbering, here is the interview with Nick. Check back here later for thoughts, predictions and places to sneak an in-between show doob for Day One of 35c. Get live updates via tumblr.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

35 Conferette : EXPOSED - Interview with 35c Top Cock Jaime-Paul Falcon


It was this gentleman reporter's pleasure to conduct a discourse with Denton's Top Cock, Jaime-Paul Falcon, over a generous serving of tapioca pudding with crisped mint spears. He demonstrated his rare mastery of the English language, as well as an encyclopedic knowledge of internet videos. "JPF", as he is sometimes known, was quite patient with the under-aged and under-skilled waitstaff. Our discussion unfolded thusly:


HB: You were a controversial topic amongst the internet users of 2010. Do you plan on keeping a lower profile this year?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxxPLDZnqwA


HB: Is it pronounced "Falcon" like the bird, or "Falcone" like the murdered Italian judge?

It's pronounced "Smith", I think....not to sure, it really depends on if I'm in Mexico or the US....in Canada it's "Robertson".

HB: What is an El Kabong?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49lFPyzTfjw


HB: Is it better to be loved or feared?

I like to cuddle, so I'm gonna go with feared.


HB: Hypothetical: You rejected my band's application to play the 35 Conferette. I confront you in an alley. What do you do?

Would you like a beer?


HB: Was Mister Heavenly booked because of their quality music or because they will bring Michael Cera to town, and Michael Cera sells wristbands?

Who is Micheal Cera, why the hell do people keep mentioning this guy to me? All these Cera questions have been keeping me from devoting my full attention to Astros spring training updates (we might not suck this year!)


HB: What kind of police presence can the well-intentioned people of Denton expect to see at the festival?

Ever seen the Battle of Seattle, it'll be the complete opposite of that.


HB: How many Paperstain day shows will you be attending this year?

Honestly, it depends on the times, we have bands playing outside during those shows and it's gonna be hard to pick between someone like G Side on our stage and whatever act will be there, so all of them.


HB: I see that bands won't be playing at Boiler Room/Abbey Underground this year. Is that because everybody hated it?

We regrettably didn't book Oso Closo or Snarky Puppy, so Boiler Underground decided they didn't want to be apart of this. Preferably in the port'o'pottys, but if someone is busy fucking in one, mosey over to Abby Underground


HB: If I attend the 35 Conferette, where will I use the bathroom?

Preferably in the port'o'pottys, but if someone is busy fucking in one, mosey over to Abby Underground.

35 Conferette : EXPOSED - Interview with 35c Den Mother Natalie Davila


As you may or may not know I am in love with Denton and have been for the past ten years of my residency here. It is the quiet, small town vibe that permeates throughout the Golden Triangle's northern corridor along with the dynamic musical landscape of Denton Rock City that keeps my heart locked tight as I brush off advances from other hip and more metropolitan cities.

I hate music festivals, especially when they are hosting artist that I want to see. While the commercialization aspect certainly plays a part, the main reason is because I hate being around large groups of people. I like seeing music in intimate clubs or venues where fans are gathered to dedicate their attention to a musical performance. Festivals tend to have that cattle call feel, bands go on in their alloted time and place for an audience that may or may not know who they are. Most festival goers are either enjoying music or meander about drunkenly weighing attendance options.

 So how do I feel about 35 Conferette, the local music festival with a big heart and Camel sponsorship? Over the next couple of days leading up to the festival and including the festival itself I will be doing some hard hitting investigative reporting and Nobel worthy commentary. The whole team will be here to provide you with ground floor coverage without the crutch of a press pass.

We are going to start this thing at the top with festival co-organizer Natalie V Dávila. Check back the rest of the week for more interviews with elite people, movers and shakers. You will also be hearing from some of the new staff here at Phosphate on Film. STAY TUNED!

Also you can be-friend us on Facebook and Tumblr. Joy.


FP: How does 35c compare to the Warp tour?

ND: 35c is pretty tight and all… but I feel like Warp Tour is just… legendary. You can’t compete with that.

How much does everyone love the new festival name?


Well you want something short and sweet… that isn’t easily misspelled or pronounced incorrectly… so I really feel like we hit the nail on the head with that one.

Do you think next year you will be able to afford all of Outkast?

Next year I plan to reunite Naughty By Nature…

How do you feel the the festival will affect the local music scene once the festival is over?


It will probably collapse in on itself like a dying star..

Do you know which hotel Ramona Gonzalez is staying at?

Her room is right next to Michael Cera’s…

Do you think she needs a place to stay?

Please see answer to previous question.

 Is she dating that guy from Wavves?

I heard he cries a lot… on stage.

If you could invite any dead president to appear as a MC who would it be?

Calvin Coolidge. I bet he’d be pretty chill.

Why are there no other music festivals in Texas other than NXNW which is really just a week long industry event?

Mafia ties.

 What frightens you most about this weekend?

Chupacabras and/or drunken idiots.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Arthur Russell / Gary Wilson Free Screening Tonight! Totally Worth It.

Here is a little information about the screenings tonight. This will be the first night for the beer tap to be open at The Hydrant so bring some money and your ID for some booze.

9:00 pm
7:30pm


Tonight we have a very special screening for you at the Hydrant as a part of the ongoing ultra chic film series collaboration with the 'folk's over at www.wedentondoit.com. I am proud to present a documentary double feature over two not so well known, but very important musicians of the late 20th century. Gary Wilson and Arthur Russell.

You Think You Really Know Me and Wild Combination are conventional documentaries over very unconventional subjects. During their time both artist received little acclaim outside of weirdo music fans and sold very few records except to the aforementioned group. In the case of Gary Wilson he is still releasing (albeit sporadically) music miles ahead of his contemporaries.

Over the years both have claimed  their places in the underground music pantheon by the gradual release of their music to a wider audience and  more marketable contemporary artist singing their praises. Wilson received a flaccid shout out on Beck's hit song Where It's At ("let the man Gary Wilson rock the most") and Rough Trade recently release an EP of Russell covers including Jens Lekman and Joel Gibb.



Gary Wilson and Arthur Russell's music share very little similarities except that they both disregard any notion of what contemporary pop music can be. Both approach their music not as music made for the masses but music as a cathartic extension of their own psyches. It would be easy to classify both as "weirdo" musicians who use the only way they know to express their demented or shattered personalities, but neither artist music is that simple. I imagine both as birds with clipped wings and songs to sing. Russell's spirit bird hidden in a bush attempting to get the crickets to dance. Meanwhile Wilson's bird is in full makeup making it's nest in the rafters of a smoky night club searching for the chick that broke his heart before they even hatched.


Arthur Russell is best known for his work in the realm of dance music, creating groundbreaking singles (under numerous monikers) around the same time as Larry Levan and other underground NY dance artist of the late 70's. If all we had were those few singles that would be swell, luckily in his brief time as a musician Russell recorded a treasure trove of elegant, sparse and forward thinking music, some of which has still yet to be revealed. 

Gary Wilson's latest release Electric Endicott, his third official album and the first since 2005's stunning Mary Had Brown Hair, solidifies Wilson's place as an artist who like Russell lives outside the main stream of contemporary artist. Gary Wilson the performer is a cross between the Fugs, Frank Sinatra and Charlie Brown. Endicott stands as his most accessible release, which I admit isn't saying much.  You might find out for yourself if you win the record tonight.

Would have liked to write more over this but I don't have the time, in fact this was written entirely on my lunch break! Russell and Wilson are two of my all time favorite musicians and look forward to sharing their stories and music with others. Two stories you do not want to miss, especially in the presence of others. I will be discussing recent releases by both artist in an upcoming feature 'Overlooked Albums of the 2000's' so keep an eye out for that. See you there and check back later tonight to see what is in store next week.





Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hydrant Series February 17th - Blow Up

After some wicked winter weather the Thursday night screenings are back on track. Check back every Thursday to see what next week's movie will be. Screenings are always free and beautiful gatherings to behold.  

Friday, January 7, 2011

Carlos @ The Texas Theatre (best way to spend 5 1/2 hours this weekend)


You could do many things in the time required to enjoy the French TV mini-series Carlos in it's director intended 313 minute run time. Whatever other 'important things' you have to do, they can all wait till next weekend.  This is the only weekend to catch one of the best (albeit it long) films of 2010 on the big screen. I caught the first two installments of the three part series on IFC during it's brief On Demand run , then the cable company cut me off due to non-payment. The four hours I spent with Carlos flew by faster than  a misguided scud rocket. I am looking forward to re-visiting those two episodes and finally seeing the tail end of this flamboyant character's absurd life in terrorism.

With Carlos's mix of slick action, acting, politics and copious nudity; it will no doubt stand the test of time alongside the other great epic crime biopics. This is only the second time for the film to be shown in Texas, the other being at the Alamo Draft House of course. I doubt you will be seeing this again in theaters for a long time. I'll have a full review some point in the future.

 Poster of the year as well.

Saturday and Sunday at 4:30pm 

Frank's Top Ten of Everything 2010 : Day Three

Hey keep checking back here all month long for new best of everything top 10s. Also other stuff maybe, really kicking this shit into gear in February.



FILM

Toy Story 3 - USA - Lee Unkrich

Toy Story 3 is an animated family movie in the same way that Hour of the Wolf is a horror movie or Dead Man is a western. This thing is meta as fuck with out feeling too preachy or forceful. The film has tons of well timed humor and lovable characters for the kids so the parents don't have to explain what is REALLY going in order for them to enjoy it. The story is engrossing, logical and a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. Topics central to the plot include social constructs, dismemberment fetishism, gender roles and facing mortality. I am a big fan of animation of any kind and while I have always enjoyed Pixar films, this is the first one I think should be nominated for best picture.






POPULAR MUSIC

jj - jj nº 3 - Secretly Canadian

Like last year's release, the aptly titled jj nº 2, the experimental Swedish pop duo once again fell underneath the radar of most major hype blogs, which is the only way music like this can stand a chance these days. Why didn't it catch on? I think many people dismissed the album even before it's release due to the short span between this and their last release. The short incubation time does show on the album, but it makes the album sound fresher than most indie pop released this year. A very unique record in a sea of boring derision.





 LOCAL MUSIC



Dharma

I love all the darker, electronic based music coming out of the area recently. Dharma is the brainchild of Kevyn Green who pushes the theatrics up to 11 in her live performance and on record. She brings a heaping helping of energy to the stage but that energy is focused and almost always menacing. The sound could be best described as the bastard love child between Crystal Castles and Lady GaGa that was born addicted to cough syrup. It's dark stuff alright, but you can dance to it too.