Monthly Archives: May 2012

The dark side of social media: brilliant video for Knife Party’s ‘Internet Friends’

Filmmaker Thomas Kanschat’s new video for Knife Party’s “Internet Friends” takes a clever (and violent) swipe at social media.

I’ve been planning to talk about filmmaker Thomas Kanschat’s videos for quite some time now. Once I found his latest, I can’t wait any more. I was already impressed by his unofficial videos for the Mr. Bungle songs “Pink Cigarette” and “Retrovertigo.” Both were violent and disturbing, yet inspired, creative and full of sick, twisted humor.

Now he comes out with this horrific gem, an unofficial video for “Internet Friends” by Knife Party. I’m not really into dubstep, but this is so brilliant, I can’t resist it. To describe it without giving too much away… It starts out with the story of someone who is the victim of an Internet stalker, but it becomes so much more – a satire about the dark side of social media. (Knife Party loved the video, btw, saying it was much better than the one they commissioned, then rejected.)

I am highly impressed with Kanschat’s filmmaking skills – he reminds me of Chris Cunningham (the guy who did those disturbing videos for Aphex Twin). He is looking for musicians to collaborate with and I think he has the potential to make a hell of a horror movie.

And before you watch it: It’s really violent. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I think I’m almost as impressed with Kanschat’s timing as I am with the video itself. To publish a video  about the rise and fall of Facebook just as the company had its overly-hyped IPO was a stroke of marketing genius. I bet the video goes viral any day now.

I also remain highly impressed with his video for “Pink Cigarette” by Mr. Bungle.

Check out Kanschat’s Vimeo channel. And his Youtube channel. Lots of video creepiness to be seen.

Be sure to follow TKANFILM on Twitter. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.

I would love to see him make more videos for some of my favorite bands and I hope he gets some serious filmmaking work.

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Filed under dubstep, music, Uncategorized, video

Dandy Warhols rock Emo’s Austin

Last week I finally got a chance to see the Dandy Warhols, one of my all-time favorite bands. Avant garde yet catchy, nice and psychedelic. I saw them at Emo’s in Austin in the company of some good friends.

One of my friends referred to them as the coolest-looking band on the planet, and he could be right. They don’t do a lot of jumping around on stage, they just look really cool. As cool as they sound. I sort of get the impression of lead singer Courtney Taylor-Taylor as someone who’s been around and seen and done pretty much everything, kinda  sleazy, druggy and wise.

The Dandy Warhols are still on tour. Check here to see if they’re coming to a town near you.

Didn’t manage to get a decent photo with my cellphone, alas, but check out this video of my favorite Dandy Warhols song. They killed on this one.

 

They also had some really kickass songs that I hadn’t heard before, many from their new album, This Machine.

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Filed under indie, indie pop, indie rock, live show, music, psych, Uncategorized

Yann Tiersen rocks Austin, Texas

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On Friday night, May 18, I got a chance to see one of my favorite French musicians – one of my favorite musicians period – Yann Tiersen. I’ve been a huge fan ever since I saw Amelie and heard his gorgeous soundtrack. Later on I discovered Les Retrouvailles and Rue des Cascades, both wonderful albums. I was surprised at how “rock ‘n’ roll” the concert was. There was a full band featuring Yann on keyboard and synth, two other guys on electronics, a bass player, guitarist and drummer. Yann is a multi-instrumentalist, as are several band members. Yann also played guitar, sang, and absolutely tore it up on violin. The best song by far was Yann’s violin solo on “La Vie Quotidienne” from Rue des Cascades. Here is a good overview of Yann’s career from Austinist magazine. Opening for Yann was a one-man band calling himself Piano Chat. Not much piano involved. He played drums and guitar and used a lot of loops. The highlight of his show came at the end, when got into the audience, placed a small harmonium on the floor and sang into a mic, while the crowd sang a chorus. Check out Yann’s website, where you can hear some of his music, watch some videos, and order a copy of his new album, Skyline.

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Psych Fest 2012 Day 3 – final wrap-up

Finally a chance to talk about Sunday, April 29, the biggest day of Psych Fest. This one featured some of the best acts of the festival, including the Brian Jonestown Massacre. There was a lot of diversity. World music, bands in the psych tradition of Velvet Underground (maybe a few too many of those to be honest), bands that reminded me of my favorite postpunk bands from the ’80s. Just a great day of music.

Looking back over the festival,  I would have to say the discovery this year was Disappears, a band that I knew nothing about that blew me away. (Last year’s discovery was Sleepy Sun – still a big fan).

As far as who put on the best performance… I would call that a tie between Bombino and Thee Oh Sees.

Wall of Death

Wall of Death is joined by Christian Bland of the Black Angels. (photo by Chris Kinney)

The first act to grab my attention was a French band called Wall of Death, which played in the Beauty Ballroom. They played at the last Psych Fest, but for some reason they didn’t make an impression on me – maybe I was watching another band at the time? This time they did.

Their brand of psychedelia had an edge at times, but was also very melodic. The first song featured a cello player. The second song featured a guest appearance from Christian Bland of The Black Angels. Folks who stayed at Emo’s missed out on that one. Chris, my concert buddy, remembered them well from last year and made a point to see them this time and notes that they were much tighter this time around. They appear to be pretty good friends with Bland — they opened for the Black Angels on their world tour.

Check them out on MySpace.

Also, here’s a video somebody made. I’m in that crowd somewhere…

Blue Angel Lounge

Blue Angel Lounge performs atmospheric pop with a postpunk/goth edge. (photo by Chris Kinney)

This was another band at the “small stage” at the Beauty Ballroom. They had an almost goth sound to my ears. They reminded me of bands like Joy Division and the Chameleons. At first they almost came across as monotonous, then the layers and complexity began to build and it became hypnotic and powerful. I was surprised at how young they looked.

Here’s one of their songs to give you an idea what they sound like:

And check them out on Facebook.

Bombino

Bombino introduces Austin to Tuareg rebel music. (photo by Chris Kinney)

This was the highlight of the night for me. I had heard of this band before, but didn’t really know what to expect. The band is led by singer-songwriter/guitarist Omara “Bombino” Moctar, a Tuareg. He was accompanied by another guitarist, a bass player and a drummer.

The Tuaregs are a desert-dwelling people who have been violently oppressed by the governments of Mali and Niger. Moctar in fact used to be a rebel fighter. At some point he decided he could do more to help his people by putting down his weapons and picking up a guitar.

It was almost surreal, after watching so many Western rock bands to see Moctar and his band in their traditional robes, their drummer wearing the face covering Tuareg men commonly wear.

For anyone wondering why an act like Bombino played at a festival for psychedelic music, it was very appropriate. Brian Jones – the original leader of the Rolling Stones who took the band in psychedelic directions, and who later recorded a group of Moroccan musicians for a very psychedelic album, Brian Jones Presents the Master Musicians of Joujouka. In fact Bombino at times reminded me of that group.

The band is tight as hell and Moctar is a hell of a guitarist. I was surprised at just how good. I was also surprised at how they rocked out – and how well-received they were. The music made me think of various things: Ethiopian jazz, Ali Farka Toure, Gnawa music, Algerian music. I understand Moctar is a great admirer of Jimi Hendrix and you can see that in his guitar performance, but in a way he also reminded me of Bob Marley – in part because like Marley, he’s creating something like rock, but with a very serious purpose, supporting his people in the face of oppression.

There was an amazing crowd, both during the show and at the merchandise table, where Moctar and his band members greeted people personally. I bought a CD of his album, Agadez. You can purchase downloads and order the CD at their Bandcamp site.

It would’ve been awesome to see this show also…

And here’s an excerpt from a documentary about the band. Pretty good performance and some explanation about what Bombino is all about…

Federale

Federale makes soundtracks for imaginary Spaghetti Westerns. (photo by Chris Kinney)

Federale of Portland were a great surprise. Yet another great band playing at the Beauty Ballroom. They made what I guess you would call Spaghetti Western soundtrack music. Turns out some of the founding members were at one time part of the Brian Jonestown Massacre. Their music is mostly instrumental, with a trumpet player, and a girl doing wordless vocals. I had to pick up their 2009 CD, Devil in a Boot, which includes a short story about a boy named Jack who has his family stolen from him and later on gets revenge on the evil railroad baron. Check out their website.

One of my favorite songs off Devil in a Boot:

Thee Oh Sees

Very impressive show on the big stage at Emo’s, very high energy. Thee Oh Sees were a kind of pop punk, very tight. At times I thought of Cheap Trick, at times I thought of rockabilly, but mostly it was just a great rock ‘n’ roll show. This was one of those shows where I had to quit thinking about what they reminded me of and just put the notepad away and enjoy.

Check out their website. Looks like they’re on tour in Europe right now.

Also check out this cool video:

New Fumes

A one-man band at the Beauty Ballroom. Very experimental. The guy wore a goat mask and played guitar and electronics, accompanied by very strange videos – including little movies featuring a character that lip-synced as he sang. I have no idea how he did that. The bass was at times so loud it vibrated my whole body. Very impressive. Kind of in the same vein as some of the shows I’ve seen at the Salvage Vanguard Theater.

The show was sparsely attended because he was pitted against the Meat Puppets – a band I enjoyed but heard enough of after a few songs. It’s a shame more people didn’t see this guy, because he was everything psych should be.

Check out his MySpace to hear some of his music.

Check out this video.

How psychedelic was that?

Brian Jonestown Massacre

What can I say? They were awesome. They were obviously the big draw of the festival and they really rocked out. Better than I expected. Too bad I had to work the next day and didn’t catch the whole show. I wanted to, but I had basically hit my wall at that point. I decided to leave it to the young folks who can still do all-nighters on a regular basis without being wiped out for the rest of the week.

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Filed under music, psych, Uncategorized, world music