Monday, July 21, 2008

Melvin sparks // Knight school // Stick team // Hoofing it

I've enjoyed Paper Thin Walls' Listening Party feature for a while--basically they post a stream of a band's new album and then the members comment on each track--but the new Melvins one has to be the most fascinating yet. Obviously I'm biased, because there are few bands in the universe I'd rather read about, but this strikes me as one of the more laid-back and candid--not to mention technically insightful--Melvins interviews I've ever read. It's fascinating to get Buzz's perspective on the construction of drum parts. And Dale Crover (above, I suspect in high school), who always seemed to be a pretty funny guy, gets in some nice, sly humor; the concluding anecdote is priceless. As I had mentioned previously, the new 'Vins is indeed one of the finer discs I've heard this year. Sort of like a 45-degree turn in each direction away from 2006's (A) Senile Animal (which itself might be the strongest, most re-listenable heavy record of the aughts).

P.S. Definitely, definitely check out the List. Part. feature (the stream has sadly been discontinued, but go here for some songs, including the devastating "My Good Luck") for Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson's new one. I'm hesitant to ride this already overcrowded wave of hype (past a certain point, it seems to me that further gushing only serves to prime an artist for a coming backlash), but this gentlemen is outstandingly talented. Gently psychedelic, world-weary roots pop with genuine flavors of Neil (those doomy, dirgey chords) and Bob (that rambling hick-hop delivery) but more straightforwardly catchy than either. Strong, strong stuff. Fun Fact: MBAR used to be in a band with Phil Kennedy, the monster drummer of local math-metal strike force Maw.


The Dark Knight raises a few questions that are probably best expressed in a Jerry Seinfeld-style "What's the deal...?" harangue. Imagine his voice, etc.

1) What's the deal with Christian Bale's Batman voice?

[Seriously, though, he sounds like that absurdly clenched "This summer..." voice you always hear on the beginning of movie previews. Times 1000.]

2) What's the deal with the script's nosedive into cheesy bombast near the end?

[I feel really, really sorry for Gary Oldman, having been tapped to deliver that stupefyingly ridiculous concluding monologue.]

3) What's the deal with the lamely one-dimensional supporting cast?

[Aaron Eckhart almost made it over the top with his schoolboy naivete, but Morgan Freeman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Oldman and all of those guys playing the mobsters have an outstanding amount of explaining to do. Not that it's not at least 50% the fault of the screenplay.]

Let's face it, though, the film couldn't be any more critic-proof. You *are* going for Heath Ledger and you *will* love every scene he's in. Though I was little freaked out by *his* vocal register as well--it sounded weirdly like he was actually trying to imitate Jack Nicholson at times. There's no contest really: This Joker is 1000 times more psychotic, fucked up, genuinely terrifying and *modern* than Jack's was. It's too bad that the rest of the movie fails to transcend basic superhero-flick stiffness.

(There will always be a place in my heart for the original Tim Burton Batman. Bale is a poor substitute for Keaton's ultra-awkward, hilariously self-deprecating Bruce Wayne [see above]. Anyone remember the armory sequence early in the film? ["Cause I bought it in Japan," etc.] Timeless. Also: Robert Wuhl as Alexander Knox? Forget about it. The Dark Knight doesn't have a single role that nuanced and it was really just a bit part!)


Also: This weekend, I laid nonvirtual eyes on the world's largest hockey stick, in Eveleth, Minnesota. Long, long story...


Also: Deerhoof live in Prospect Park--which I previewed--can be heard in gloriously unglitchy streaming audio here.Only the math-rock nerds will notice, but the recent addition of Ed Rodriguez to 'Hoof reunites the classic Dieterich/Rodriguez guitar tandem from Colossamite and Gorge Trio (well, Gorge Trio never really broke up, but still...)! The sound is a little unpunchy, but totally clear and the performance doesn't disappoint (neither does the forthcoming Offend Maggie record, which I've heard snippets of).


hamtaro s thompson said...

I usually love everything you write here, but...

Are you crazy? One dimensional supporting cast? Did you completely miss the amazing Michael Caine or something?

I think you're still suffering some mind altering after-effects from the Tyalor/Oxley show. ;)

johnnn said...

basically agree wrt Batman, Ledger is the only really good thing in it but he's really really good! also while Bale didn't have much to do in this one I thought that he was pretty good in the first one, the American Psycho smugness (Batman-as-Bateman!) etc