Monday, September 2, 2013

I watched Elysium and

I wish I could have played it.
Seriously, it's decent as a movie, but it would make a better video game. I know there was talk of Neill Blomkamp directing an adaptation of the Halo videogame as a movie.
There are other outlets that will go over the socialist perspective that the film endorses. One of the main characters is literally a lame Che Guevera clone. Ultimately, it's no more a strictly socialist statement than V for Vendetta is a strictly Anarchist one. But, in either case, it is a thread.
I don't watch enough action films released after 2000 to really comment on it as a summer action movie.
But I can tell you this- the basic storyline would make for an excellent first person shooter, with some moral choices thrown in- kind of like Halo, or Gears of War, but with just a touch of Fable thrown in.
I don't say this as a slam, mind you. I think Video games can certainly be just as valid a form of Art as Action movies. Sometimes they can get the message across better, too. Making this as a movie contains the message- making the moral choices up to the "audience"- the player- incorporates the message into the viewer/audience/player's existing worldview. That's far more effective. I hope somebody does make this a good video game, because I want to play it....

Arctic Monkeys- AM

If you're a fan, the change in direction won't surprise you, but I'm going to assume that you just think of Arctic Monkeys as that group of teenagers doing britpop influenced punk rock with almost Kinks-level of British minutiae in the lyrics. I thought that, too- then I saw them live, backing up the Black Keys ( my wife digs 'em) and live,  they're like QOTSA meets the Jam. So, this record is what I think they've been shooting for since Humbug- which means Black Sabbath/Cream/Blue Cheer proto-metal guitars married to mid-1990's BritPop melodies, with Josh Homme-isms thrown in liberally, then through a hip-hop ( early 2000's OutKast style) production- drums mixed loud.  I like it better than anything they've done since the first record. Yes, there even is a hint of Black Keys Glam-blues-funk in some of the mixes.  Alex Turner clearly is the face of the organization, but I think Jamie Cook and Matt Helders could release good vintage-style rock lps with or without Turner. Whatever, Turner brings some charisma, and good lyrics and if he comes up with the melodies, he's earning his keep.
Going back to Josh Homme- I think he described the record in a good way: a sexy-after midnight modern dancefloor record- and I'd like to take that one step further. Let me paint a picture for you- you broke up with your girlfriend during dinner. It was a long time coming, so your friends swept in like vultures, to take you out to "celebrate"- really just an excuse to get blasted, and it's now 1 AM, and you see this girl who's been checking you out. Maybe it's beer goggles, maybe it's pent up anger over your break up, but you go for it, and have great sex that you almost immediately regret. A variety of a good and bad reasons for that regret, but it hits very hard and very fast, so you manage to extricate yourself by about 3 AM, and, to bolster your courage, you're drinking harder, but a minor miracle and tragedy happens at about 7AM- you drunk dial your girlfriend, and she wants you back. Now, of course, the relationship doesn't work out, and you end up breaking up in a screaming match three weeks later- but there's the memory of that one night, right? This record is the soundtrack to that memory.

Watching and Listening to Fests.

I know it's killing music. More than file sharing, more than Spotify, failing to actually go to gigs is killing music. However, I do go to at least 10 shows a year. That's not a huge number, I know, but if you do the math- generally speaking 100 miles on my car, 20 bucks for the ticket (on average) buying 50 bucks worth of merch at the show, sometimes missing work- those 10 shows are over a thousand dollars, and I can't say that I spend over a grand a year on my own musical equipment, you know?
So, yes, I'll watch Fests that stream over the internet, rather than spending 300 bucks or more on tickets, and 500 bucks on airfare/hotels/travel. I know that most of the bands that play these fests are mid level,  just trying to make enough of a living so that they can pay off their mortgage. I know that they are relying upon ticket sales on these fests to get by,  because album sales are doing nothing, Itunes and Spotify don't pay hardly at all, and even Hot Topic sells more Video game themed T shirts than music-related.
However- Perry Ferrell never offered to help pay the licensing fee on my radio station. Ice T never once even tried to promote my sound system company. Yet, that's exactly what they wanted from me. I picked those two because I had to pay Perry's management company for access to Lollapalooza artists, for promo bits on my struggling radio station,  and I played Ice T's Body Count record on my sound system at live shows as a promo for his management. So, having worked the business, I gotta say they can go stuff the whining. I still feel for the bands out there slogging at it for beer money- the bands playing either 100+ club dates a year, only to find that DIY pays them less than Denny's, and the bands who just don't tour, because  playing 7 or 8 gigs a year, locally, is about what they can handle with their day jobs- those bands will get my understanding, and my money a lot quicker- but the bands relying upon the big festivals so's they can afford a middle class lifestyle? I know them, and their kind a little too well to have much sympathy.
So, hells to the yeah, I have watched and listened to the free live streams for both Bumbershoot and Made in America, this weekend.
Some random takeaways:
1. Bumbershoot is old school in every way that counts. The majority of what I got from it was the streaming radio from KEXP . Seattle City Limits, anyone?
2. Made in America has totally become a Budweiser brand party. Budweiser is straight up cornflake soda tasting pisswater. That's really too bad. Jay Z should exercise a bit more curatorial power, right? Ever consider that maybe he's not exactly the "boss" he claims he is? Ever consider he's probably just a figurehead? Yeah, so why do you think anybody buys that?
3. As for the bands- one line for each of these:
FIDLAR: they are the next Offspring.
Superchunk: much better live than the last record.
Baroness: missed 'em, and I am sad.
Bob Mould: While the joy is wearing thin, I still prefer well-adjusted Bob to the Bob of 1991, and he's forever St Bob in my mind.
Gary Numan: You're only allowed so many victory laps before you've got to win a new race.
The Breeders: Charles might be a cold and distant dude, but she left the Pixies twice for this???
Heart: Holy shit, they brought it.
Kendrick Lamar: missed this set, but caught the Made in America set. Meh.
Made In America:
Mord Fustang: Really? Brooklyn Hipsters?
Public Enemy: Old, and Fat, but there's a fire still there.
Phoenix: I don't get it. Sorry.
Fitz and the Tantrums: They brought it, but I didn't want it.
Wavves: Sloppy, and not in a good way.
Kendrick Lamar: Meh.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: It was a really good single.
QOTSA: Better set than Lollapalooza, but not excellent.
NIN: Trent is on steroids.
( a few extra lines on NIN: I think Trent even knows that the new LP is just to get product out there: two drummers on stage, and heavy on the early 1990's for the set list. Trent really must be on Steroids, though- he looks like Lyle Alzado with a hair cut. I can't wait for ten years from now when Trent does a testicular atrophy themed LP between liver treatments...)