Tuesday, March 21, 2006

At a theater near you

A friend of a friend, Aric Avelino, has written and directed a new film soon to be released in a theater near you. American Gun, starring Linda Cardellini (from ER), Macia Gay Harden, Donald Sutherland and Forest Whitaker, was featured at the Toronto Film Festival and the recent SXSW film festival. The good news is that Gun has been picked up for distribution by IFC Films and will be playing across the country later this month. So consider this my humble, little effort to campaign for an independent film for which I am a strong supporter. Thanks goes out to Jay Flyer (I am friends with Jay, Jay is friends with Aric) for the recommendation. And be sure to check out the trailer at this myspace site.

Built to Spill announces postponement of tour due to eye surgery recently undergone by frontman Doug Martsch. BtS had been scheduled to kick off their US tour here in Minneapolis, concurrent with the release of their upcoming album, You In Reverse. But assuming Dougie heals nicely, they'll be back in the fall as promised.

If you somehow missed the million or so blogs and pubs covering each and every gig, party and rumor with excrutiating detail to be found at this year's SXSW music festival, I recommend checking out this comprehensive review at Austin360.com. On the other hand, if you're sick of hearing about SXSW and how Austin is such a cool city, especially if you used to live there but now you live in fuckin' Minnesota, I do understand.

I found the following on the AP wires...

By TERENCE HUNT AP White House Correspondent
March 21,2006 | WASHINGTON --

President Bush said Tuesday that American forces will remain in Iraq for years and it will be up to a future president to decide when to bring them all home. But defying critics and plunging polls, he declared, "I'm optimistic we'll succeed. If not, I'd pull our troops out."

Friday, March 17, 2006

I'm Irish, no really, I am

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all! Be merry and all that good stuff.
And by the way, this site has always been green, so that is just a coincidence.

A friend told me recently how they had just now discovered my sidebar feature to the right listing Upcoming Releases in both music and film, even though it is has been on my blog for a couple of months now. So I mention this as a somewhat self-indulgent reminder to those who may find it interesting or useful. It is true that you have to scroll down a bit on the page to view it, but from my unbiased perspective, it is the best part of the site and worth the extra energy required. I've always been looking for a good, up-to-date listing of release dates and it ain't easy to find so damnit, I'll just do it myself. It is a hell of thing to keep up-to-date but I'm doing my best. If I miss something, feel free to help me out with date changes or new additions.

On the subject of upcoming releases, I have to finally concede that myspace.com is quickly taking over the online world. Why hasn't Google bought it out yet? Almost every band out there (pro & amateur) has a site and when it comes to previewing tracks from upcoming releases, it is simply the shit. A few good ones to check out:

1) Go here for the complete new Yeah Yeah Yeahs album "Show Your Bones" streaming on their myspace site for a few days prior to its release on 3/28.

2) Then go check out Built to Spill's myspace site for a few new tracks from their April release, "You In Reverse."

3) And even Grandaddy (rest in peace) has some streamable tracks from their final album, "Just Like the Fambly Cat."

Next up on the festival campaign comes Lollapalooza and yes folks, we have yet another amazing lineup of acts. I'm only going to two festivals this year, ACL and one other still to be determined. Tempting as it may be to take a relatively short trip to Chicago for this one, I see no Radiohead on the bill. These are the hard decisions in life. For those who want to ride along the festival train with me, where should we go?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Catching up...

I am still trying to get into the swing of things. So let us take some time to play catch-up. We landed back in the Twin Cities two weeks ago. Ever since, I have had this dreadful ear infection (blood oozing and all). Finally saw an ENT specialist yesterday and amputation will not be necessary. Work has been kicking my ass after being away for so long. 1) Bum ear, 2) buried at work. Add to that exhaustion from the trip, my two insane dogs, a foot of snow and mango withdrawal. Needless to say it has been a slow rise back to reality. But truly, it is always good to come home. Just not as good as being away.

As my ears return to stereo fidelity, music is back in the forefront. SXSW kicks off tomorrow! Please don't ask why I moved away from Austin. After returning home, I did have a chance to finally pick up some new discs and catch some live shows. In that regard, a few notes...

Everything is connected.
So I picked up the new Destroyer release Destroyer's Rubies. It rocks, go get it. For those who don't know, Destroyer is the solo act of Canadian Dan Bejar, who is also a member of super-duper, proud-to-be-Canadian, indie-pop band The New Pornographers. I love hyphens. As luck would have it, I caught The New Pornos at the Orpheum this past Sunday night (Sopranos premiere be damned) opening for Belle & Sebastian whose new release is also a must-buy. B&S were most excellent in preparation for their much-anticipated SXSW show this week. The New Pornos sounded great as well, but AC Newman was left to fend for himself on stage sans Destroyer Dan and indie-diva Neko Case. They each had pressing plans it seems. But all is good because next week, I'm seeing Destroyer at the 400 Bar along side Magnolia Electric Co. It will be my sister-in-law's 21st birthday so here's hoping I don't black out. A week later it's Neko Case, fresh off her very own SXSW appearance in support of her new solo album Fox Confessor Brings the Flood. A third outstanding album of note. Oops, I skipped over another show...I also intend to catch I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness, a hot new Joy Division-obsessed indie-goth act from where you say? Austin, TX of course. They will be playing their hometown SXSW this week before coming to the 400 Bar next Friday, two days after the Destroyer show. A life-long friend of mine is flying up (from Austin of course) to visit and I'll be forced to drag him to the show. Opening up for ILYBICD is Planes for Spaces, a local up-and-coming band also worshiping at the altar of Ian Curtis. And I don't mean that in a negative way. Oh, and I work with the Planes' drummer's girlfriend. Whew. Touring season is indeed upon us. Other upcoming gigs include Built to Spill, The Strokes, Mogwai, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, etc. Music is in the air and thanks to four drops a day of antibiotic in my right ear canal, I'm happy to hear it.

Monday, March 13, 2006

And we're back

We traveled by plane, train and automobile across the entire country of Kenya. Simply put, it was an amazing and life-changing experience in surprising ways. I wish I had been able to keep up the Kenya blog, but alas, it was not meant to be. I have so many stories to tell but none of them can come across quite right in this sort of forum so if you're interested, we'll just have to talk in person.
But there is hope. I just updated the Kenya blog with a link to yet another website where you can find a select choice of photos. Although it is impossible to properly capture what it was like, I hope our pictures offer just a brief glimpse into some of our more touristy adventures. Forget the blog site and just go here for pictures. I will soon begin posting regularly here but I had to get those pictures up first.