Saturday, August 25, 2007


Here's the trailer for Todd Haynes' new Dylan meta-biopic, "I'm Not There"

Still don't know I'm "there" yet on this one...

And here's the trailer for Martin Scorsese's new documentary on the Stones, "Shine A Light"--

Uggh....why couldn't he just have used the "No Direction Home" formula and focused on the Stones in their prime, instead of an elderly Mick grinding with Christina Aquillera? A further reminder of why Keith is my favorite Stone.

And last but not least--the video for the first single off of Animal Collective's new album, "Peacebone". Warning--this is a pretty messed up & creepy video.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007


So they've finally given a name to the new style of hipster neo-realist filmmaking that Andrew Bujalski pioneered and is starting to be more and more imitated--it's called "Mumblecore" and there's a good article about it by J.Hoberman in the Village Voice:

Mumblecore: Films By, For, and About 20-Somethings

I also found a link to another Hoberman article, this one concerning the exhibition of 1960s "psychedelic films" at the Whitney in NYC. I might have to try to get to the city to see this before it ends.

Under The Influence

I've been digging on Ophibre's crazy blips and bloops lately; check out his website or download his Rare Frequency live performance here.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


A guy from the Effector 13 forums made this episode of his own kid's TV show as a birthday present for his four-year old niece. Pretty funny stuff, especially the opening title sequence.


Here's an interview with one of my favorite filmmakers, Jem Cohen, during the making of his Fugazi documentary "Instrument".

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Maybe it's the nostalgia factor. Maybe it's a analog warmth thing. Maybe it was Tanner's words of wisdom on WCAX news. Maybe it's the fact that I just spent $500 on a CD player and God has a warped sense of humor. Regardless, I've been on a big vinyl kick lately.

Apparently I'm not the only one--from recent surveys, it seems that while CD sales are plummeting drastically, vinyl sales actually increased by 10% last year. And I have a good feeling that when they release the figures for this year, the numbers will be even higher.

I think vinyl's resurgence is happening for a number of reasons.

1) Tangibility & the Event of Listening

Tanner covered this one pretty well in his interview, so I'll steal a few of his ideas and repackage them as my own. In an age where digital music has become overly abundant and essentially "free" (except for the debt exacted on your conscience) and metaphysical, the idea of physical music ownership is starting to get appealing for some people.

It's exactly digital music's capacity to be played anywhere at anytime (its supposed greatest virtue) that is killing its appeal, in my opinion. I bought the new Sunn O))) EP ("Oracle") today, and as I was stepping into my care I thought to myself "If I had bought this on CD, I could be listening to it right now." It's even worse when you download a song--you don't even have to put a disc in the drive; you just click the mp3 and it starts up.

It's that type of free and total access that cheapens the music listening experience, the "event" of playing an album for the first time. Instead of listening to the album passively as I try to pull out of a bad parking spot, I'll instead take off the plastic wrap tonight, put the huge black disc on my player & sit on my couch listening as I read the liner notes. It's a much more intimate and much more respectful and rewarding experience for both the album and myself as the listener.

2) Quality

Vinyl sounds better than standard CDs. There. I said it. There's a reason for this--a record is an analog recording, whereas a CD is a digital recording. What does this matter you ask? A digital recording is created through "sampling", which means you are taking little audio snapshots of a recording several thousand times a second. The quality of a sampling is measured as a "bit rate". For instance, you may have heard someone refer to a recording 44.1k or 48k. This means that either 44,100 or 48,000 sound samples are being used per second. It seems like a lot, but it's still not always enough--tiny parts of the recording still need to be cut out to make the bit rate.

Dynamic range further limits digital recordings. Not only are you losing information in the sampling process, but CDs also have range limitations. Human beings can hear noises from approximately 20Hz to 20KHz (20,000 Hz), but CDs unfortunately can not accurately reproduce this full range accurately. The bad news is, neither can vinyl. But vinyl usually has trouble with the high end of the spectrum, while CDs cannot reproduce the low-end bass, the physical rumblings that make us respond to music not only with our ears but with the rest of our bodies.

The ability to reproduce the crisp highs is the reason why CDs have long been falsely believed to be "better sounding" than vinyl. CD aficionados are often referred to in audiophile circles as "Tin Ears" for this reason. It really comes down to a matter of taste, but I find that most people who enjoy going to live music shows or play music themselves find the dynamic range of vinyl more realistic (especially with vocals and rhythm sections) and appealing.

3) Longevity

This will be a tough argument I'm sure, especially considering everyone at some point has listened to the ugly (or beautiful, if you're into that sort of thing) sound of hissing and popping of an old record. Yes, records get scratched. They also get dirty, smudged, knicked--all things that can happen to a piece of media. But so can CDs. And maybe its just me, but the sound of a softly skipping record is a lot more tolerable to my ears than a digital glitch.

While records don't age like a good Bordeaux, they don't degrade like a cheap Beaujolais with cork rot. Proper care of an album through regular cleaning, putting the discs back in their dust covers & keeping them stacked vertically in a low humidity environment will keep your vinyl just about as good as the day you bought it.

The great promise of CDs was that they would "last forever". This is a myth. The chemicals and metals used to make CDs oxidize and decay over time, and the coatings wear thin as a result of heat from playback. The average life span of most modern cheaply made CD-R discs is estimated at less than a decade. And CDs are just as likely to scratch as records (and because of their smaller size and the lack of physical contact in laser-driven devices, a small scratch may mean a huge skip).

As for digital files--anyone who has ever owned a computer knows that hard drives fail. Want to go all-digital? Prepare to lose your entire music collection with one bad sector.

A vinyl record, properly cared for, will last forever.

4) Cost

As anyone who is collecting new vinyl right now knows, records can be expensive. For example, I recently picked up CD copies of Sunn O))) and Boris' "Altar"--the CD cost me $12 while the LP cost me $30. Of course, the vinyl copy was a three-disc 180g collector's limited edition set with a poster & bonus tracks. But it's still quite a difference in price from the CD.

The reason why vinyl is often (but not always) more expensive than CDs is because of the simple macroeconomic theory of "supply vs. demand". Many of the vinyl pressing companies that were making records in the vinyl heyday of the 50s/60s/70s went out of business (or lowered their production capacity drastically) when the cassette tape and later the CD became the public's medium of choice. Now, as demand for vinyl quickly increases and the production capacity is only beginning to ramp up (and of course cautiously, as many wait to see if vinyl's resurgence is just a fad), it is inevitable that manufactures will try to cover the cost of new equipment by raising the prices of vinyl, knowing that consumers will pay it.

If vinyl's popularity continues to grow at the pace it is now, it's just a matter of time before machinery investments are recouped, profits start to stabilize, and the price of vinyl drops. It just might take a couple years. And in the meantime, if you can't afford new vinyl, why not buy used? Whereas a used CD can cost you $4-10 at record shops, the same album on vinyl can often be found for a dollar or less at thrifts stores and yard sales. I recently picked up a mint copy of Led Zeppelin II on vinyl at a garage sale for 50 cents--try getting it on CD for that price.

So that's it for my CD vs. Vinyl diatribe. Hope I didn't bore you all with the technical mumbo-jumbo, and as always this issue is up for debate in the comments section. As for me, I'm going to warm up the record player and listen to that new Sunn O))) album :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


It's a bit dated, but I'm a little late coming to the doom drone's a nice article (albeit with an extremely poor title) in the New York Times about Sunn O))), Boris & the rest of the Southern Lord Records gang:


And if you haven't listened to Sunn O))) yet, do yourself a favor and pick up one of their albums. They've completed altered my perception of what metal (a genre I was never much interested in before) could be and turned me on to some other great groups such as Earth, Electric Wizard and Boris.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


It's been a few days since I've posted. Here's a bunch of random crap.

  • I'm sure it's well-known by now, but the wonderful Beach House will be opening for the equally wonderful Grizzly Bear at Higher Ground next month. I already have my tickets and you should too.
  • Mess up your kids forever by lulling them to sleep with Metallica thanks to Rockabye Baby! CDs.
  • Here's a clip from the upcoming experimental Dylan biopic "I'm Not There" showing a very fictional account of Dylan's first meeting with Allen Ginsberg (played by Cate Blanchette and David Cross, respectively. And no, I'm not kidding).

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Just received a e-mail from Greg announcing a great show coming up next Thursday--

pajama pop party with:

lullatone (from nagoya, japan) & the smittens (from burlington VT)

live at the firehouse gallery, 135 Church Street burlington VT thursday, august 16th
8pm $7 all ages

more info:


Lullatone makes cute music. We call it pajama pop. We have made 4 albums albums full of our tiny melodies. Our latest CD is called Lullatone plays pajama pop pour vous. It is pillow pop music with a bedtime beat, a sleepytime samba, a bedroom bossa nova! In 2003 we released a CD called "little songs about raindrops" from the Plop label (Japan and Europe) and Audio Dregs (North and South America). It featured "a tiny orchestra of toy instruments" that we used to make our idea of how raindrops might sound if they fell like music notes. Our first two albums "computer recital" (released from Audio Dregs) and "my petit melodies" (released from Childisc) mainly used only sine tones to make small symphonies. Sine tones are the most simple and pure kind of sound. So we used this sound to make simple and pure melodies.

the smittens

(you know their story but......)

The Smittens are a five-piece indiepop band from Burlington, Vermont and like to think of themselves as a DIY twee pop explosion. Dana Kaplan, Colin Clary, David Zacharis, Holly Chagnon, and Max Andrucki, with help from the talented Emily Hilliard, switch up instruments, song-writing, and singing to create brilliantly lyrical and hyper-catchy pop songs of all colors, shapes and sizes. Formed on a whim
at a party in 2002 by a group of popkids who wanted to make for their friends the kind of music they love, the Smittens have emerged as one of the countryís best-loved underground indiepop quintets, with headlining slots in the past year at the New England, New York, Toledo, and Athens Popfests. The bandís hotly anticipated third
album Pop Your Heart, mixed by Eric Masunaga, will be out in summer, 2007, on Athens, Georgiaís indie institution Happy Happy Birthday To Me. The band will be touring the US in the summer and fall of 2007.

See you there in your PJ's!

Here's an editorial Jonathan Rosenbaum in the New York Times that questions Bergman's relevance as a filmmaker.

"Scenes From An Overrated Career

Apparently Rosenbaum feels that Bergman's popularity is due to his films' theatrical accessibility and that his long-term relevance in circles of film criticism is likely to fade due to his lack of formal cinematic innovation.

I like Rosenbaum, but I think he's totally off the mark here. He seems to be increasingly taking the Armond White post-modern cineaste approach of championing revisionist auteurs while bashing the established greats.

Rosenbaum seems to be in such a rush to be the first naysayer before the coffin lid closes that he's deluded himself into believing that the power of Bergman's work lies solely in it's theatrical elements (Strindbergian themes, dramatic acting, set design, etc.). This is a pretty naive statement on Rosenbaum's part, and he even contradicts himself in his final paragraph, mentioning Bergman's "extended takes".

While Bergman was a great theater director and obviously applied the techniques he'd learned on the stage to his films, he was much more of a cinematic formalist than Rosenbaum gives him credit for. His use of extreme close-ups brought a new intensity to exploring the inner turmoil of characters and has been widely appropriated by thousands of directors since. He also was a master of cinematic sound, creating alienating, abstract, hallucinatory auras through the use of silence or foley elements in films such as "Hour of the Wolf", "Persona", "Shame", etc.

While Rosenbaum may win points with the hipoisie for questioning one of the greats, I don't buy it.

**UPDATE** -- Roger Ebert has written a response to Rosenbaum's article. You can read it here.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


...stop by Coconuts on Williston Road in the Staples Plaza. They are having a deal on used CD's (buy 2, get the third 1/2 price) and someone with really good taste in music just sold their collection. I saw everything from Feist to Mastodon to Boredoms to Six Organs of Admittance and more.

Here's what I picked up--

Out Hud, "S.T.R.E.E.T Dad" ($7.99 - Thanks for turning me on to this one Tanner)

Black Sabbath, "Paranoid"

Mastodon, "Blood Mountain"


I was searching through the musical instruments classifieds on the Burlington Craigslist and found this interesting post. Apparently someone is selling a nice Fender Rhodes that was once owned by indie darling Ben Kweller.

It's only $1200--don't miss your chance to own this wonderful instrument formerly used by a mediocre, insignificant footnote in the history of American music!

Monday, August 06, 2007


I picked up my favorite album of the year (so far), Of Montreal's "Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?" on vinyl and it came with a coupon to download the album mp3s online. Seeing as I already have the album on CD as well, I don't really have a use for it.

So, here it is, first come only served (since it's a one-time use code)--

Download code: 1242CQJ2QT9

Before I became a hack music blogger I was a hack filmmaker. I went to film school at Penn State University, specializing in experimental film and video installation art. For a while I was fairly productive, creating at least a few short films and experimental music videos per year in a variety of mediums (miniDV, Super8, hand-painted 16mm). You can few most of them at my YouTube site.

After college I went to work doing video production, specializing in 2D and 3D motion graphic design and animation. What was once my favorite hobby soon became my full-time job, and inevitably the compromises and stress involved pretty much burned me out on doing creative video/film work for a job. It also destroyed my interest in doing it as a hobby as well.

While it has been almost two years since I've made my last film, I have started to slowly get back into video. The big change is that I'm now only doing projects that combine my two artistic loves, film and music. I did camera work for a couple of Grace Potter shows earlier this year, and recently directed a two-camera shoot for Oak's performance at Kriya Studios on July 20th. Currently I'm taking on lead D.P. duties on a much bigger project, a music video for the song "Doorstep" by Plattsburgh pop-punk band United Mess.

While I'm admittedly not a big fan of the genre, it's still a catchy tune and the band is comprised of some of the most intelligent, talented & well-mannered teenagers I have ever met. While working on the project has required me to give up my Saturday nights for nearly a month (we start shooting at 8am every Sunday), it has been incredibly fun and challenging.

So why am I bringing this up? Mainly because the video bug has bitten me once again and I am looking to get involved with more projects. While I'm open-minded about what projects I take on, I do have some ground rules:

1) I am only interested in working on music related projects. While I appreciate the passion of directors trying to make their first feature or short narrative or documentary film, I just not into it right now. If you have a concept for an experimental film that requires some After Effects work, I might be persuaded to help, but I need to see a concept first.

2) I am only going to work with bands I like. Sorry, I just can't put my all into shooting and editing a video of some crappy jam band or country-rock cover band. However, I have pretty diverse musical tastes so just send me an mp3 and if I dig it, let's collaborate.

3) While I am willing to work pro-bono on passion-projects (even eating expenses for travel and videotapes), I will only do it if I have creative control and make my own editing schedule. When I freelance I usually charge $500+ a day for me & my equipment (Panasonic DVX-100 24P camera), but I'm willing to cut that substantially (even down to $0) if I like the project & I can get a bit experimental with it.

So that's it. If you're a local musician and looking for some creative, professional coverage via a music video or concert recording, shoot me an e-mail at

Tanner, you'd better hit the tanning bed and score a Lady're about to pull a Rusty DeWees. I'm seeing frightening images of blinding white skin and a strategically placed Bernese Mountain dog...sorry Jenny.

Beyond McCuin flesh, it looks like there is some interest in more album downloads and local concert reviews. I am happy to oblige with both. I have some great hard-to-find doom drone and psych rock albums that I would like to share; I'll try to get them up this week. Along with the album downloads, I'm going to start including links to sites where you can buy the CD and/or vinyl of the album online, as well as a link to Pure Pop's "Special Orders" page which is where you should really be buying this stuff. Remember, if you like an album and plan on listening to it more than once, it's not only good to buy the album to support the artist and local record stores, but you also get to enjoy the cover art, the higher quality recording, and the sheer capitalist joy of ownership.

As for local concerts, I will be attending quite a few shows in the next month or so (Feist, Grizzly Bear, Okkervil River, Zach Galifianakis, etc.) and I will be sure to post my thoughts and maybe some pictures.

Thanks to those of you who took the time to participate in the poll!

Sunday, August 05, 2007


Tanner & JB recently turned me on to the BBC tv show "Peep Show" and I've quickly become addicted. Here's a website where you download every episode from the show's first four seasons--

"No tea for the Beastmaster, thanks--he feasts on the blood of his prey."

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


I'm a big fan of the Keefster, and after reading Victor Bockris' excellent biography, I'm pretty psyched for this to come out. Despite his reputation, Richards is actually a very eloquent, talented & down-to-earth guy. With a lot of really crazy stories to tell, I'm sure.