Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Alice in Wonderland, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Astro Coast, Astrocoast, Beach House, Gigi, Joanna Newsom, Kairos, Katie Eastburn, Maintenant, Mermaid, Mirah, mp3, photography, Polaroid, Rusalka, Surfer Blood, Teen Dream, Through the Looking-Glass, videos, White Hinterland
This day marks the beginning of sophomore year spring break. What have I done so far?
This morning, Alex y yo went to Diversity Thrift on Sherwood. I’d never been there before (sin); I’d only ever seen the truck and the rainbow building. I did not know that it’s completely within biking distance from me. Or that it’s awesome. I lifted seven books for a buck each and a fucking saweeeeet Spectra System Polaroid camera for three fucking dollars (yes, three fucking dollars). It was rather dusty (both the camera and everything in Diversity, really) when I bought it but I cleaned it off with a Clorox wipe and I have plans to make a new strap for it because the included hand strap was grody and just actually fucking gross, and maybe to jazz it up with stickers or awesome. Really, though, it’s a Polaroid, so how much jazzing up could it need? Here is a video to demonstrate awesome.
Oh, oops, that’s not a demonstration of awesome. That’s Rachael. Here. HAVE FUN WITH MY STUPID OLD PHOTOBUCKET ACCOUNT, lawl. All of the video/monologues are to Ali, not to me.
Okay, lame sibling rivalry aside, I’m excited about having my own Polaroid, except for the fact that film is ridiculously expensive. I bought a 2-pack (20 photos) for 30 bucks on ebay. Didn’t Polaroid film used to be kind of…cheaper? Oh yeah, it did, but it’s not being produced anymore. Who made that decision?! So I guess now I have two amazing cameras that take awesome photos with the price of expensive fucking fillllmmmmmm.
Fortunately, collectives like The Impossible Project, Save Polaroid, and Polanoid exist. The Impossible Project is a newsy site with a shop for Polaroid products. It kind of prepares us all for the Polaroid Apocalypse, or maybe even for the wider-sweeping Apocalypse of Analog Photography As We Know It. Save Polaroid is sort of a grassroots effort to bring it the fuck back, and Polanoid : Polaroid :: Urban Nomad : Lomography. Right now, my greatest material desire is probably Lomography’s Diana Instant Back +, which turns out Polaroid-like instant pixxxx. Someday I will have you, my pretty…
On to the music.
I been listening nonstop to White Hinterland’s Kairos. It all started when Stereogum offered “Icarus” as a free download. The rest of the album was neither immediately nor easily adored, but it’s been a definite grower, growin’ on me like ivy. There’s something to be said for Casey Dienel’s silky smooth, slithery voice, but I can’t say I love Luniculaire or Phylactery Facotry even nearly as much as I’m digging Kairos (though Luniculaire comes close). It’s difficult to decide just which tracks to present here because they’re all worthy, just in different manners. I’m not going to give you “Icarus” because you can so easily download that for free at Stereogum or Pitchfork. By the way, if you’re going to take my recommendation, I recommend Stereogum more highly because that page also includes White Hinterland’s cover of Arthur Russell’s “Lucky Cloud”, which you cannot afford to miss.
First, I have to include “Cataract” because it’s a stunning display of what Casey Dienel can do. This is White Hinterland’s most soulful oeuvre.
Second, “Huron” because it is a heartbeat, and it feels life-changing. I am also fond of [what I can make out of] the lyrics.
Third, “Moon Jam” because of the title. It also feels so futuristic to me, and Casey plows forward in a manner that almost reminds me of Alice “Kingsley” from Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland which I saw yesterday in 3-D. It unexpectedly captivated me.
It’s kind of strange how my musical tastes have transformed from oldies to power pop to pop punk to suck to mellow-ass indie all day, all night, every day, every night. But Surfer Blood sort of justifies this change, almost pulling at each of my former favourite genres. I mean, I know their influences are way more legitimate than say, The Click 5 (or probably any of said band’s influences), but I’d venture to say that I could have enjoyed me some Surfer Blood at any age. In a really fucked-up way, they remind me of Weezer, only better.
I also downloaded Gigi’s Maintenant, just digging the French title and the Pitchfork review’s reference to Camera Obscura. I was pleasantly surprised by the album’s listenability and 60s nostalgia. The guests are obscure, even for someone who delves into bands with both hands, but I still managed to find favourite tracks. I’m going to put my two favourite female vocals out here.
Mirah has an irresistible voice, and it’s put to good use in this girly pop song.
I love a good, strong, slightly scratchy voice, and Katie Eastburn satiates my desire.
It’s difficult to cope with my newfound love for Joanna Newsom, especially since her songs are so lengthy and layered. It is mandatory to sit down with the lyrics in front of you, reading along, the first two or three times you listen to one of her songs, which are often epic-length. But it was interesting, or maybe intriguing, or maybe just inspiring, to see her perform on Jimmy Fallon. The morning I watched this video, I had “lawlessness, law-less-ness” stuck in my head all day. It gave my day a sense of mission.
It’s also important to note this girl’s perfect posture and unrelenting confidence. It seems that seeing her live would so greatly trump all of her recordings.
Beach House has also pleased my ears lately. I’m intrigued by Victoria Legrand’s voice. It’s such a rare find, such a richly textured and deep female voice. I watched Pitchfork’s segment with four Beach House songs, and was thoroughly captivated. Plus, here’s a woman who is so perfectly…graceful? Graceful. Elegant, even. Here are two songs from Teen Dream that were included in that sesh.
I don’t write about movies very often, and by that, I mean that I don’t do it nearly often enough. Films are rich and satiate much of my hunger for life.
Mermaid deeply affected me. Made in 2007, it’s been described as the Russian Amélie. On some level, I could agree with that, thematically, maybe. If you loved Amélie, you’ll probably at least enjoy Mermaid. But Mermaid extends beyond Amélie into the real world. It’s awkward, charming, even cringeworthy at times. It doesn’t extend hope to the rest of us, and maybe that’s why I prefer it. Mermaid is realistic, even with all of Alissa’s miracles and reveries. Compared to Mermaid, Amélie is surely a fairy tale; a simple dream. Maybe the two are best set apart. So you’re best off ignoring Amélie while watching Mermaid.
As for Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland, don’t go into the theatre expecting loyalty to the book. Instead, Alice is nineteen years old and everyone seems to think she has returned to Wonderland, despite the fact that she has no recollection of ever having been there at all. This particular take on Alice is a sort of clusterfuck mashup of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking-glass, and that same seven-year-old heroine’s future. A lot of moviegoers will complain about how that’s not the story of Alice and how Tim Burton has manipulated things and blah blah blah, but for what it is–that is, an artistic take on two classic novels–this version is magnificent, captivating, morbid…and then it has a weird spin on the end: feminism. Since when did Disney give a fuck about feminism? Just look at all the Disney princesses, most of whom can’t do jack shit for themselves (exception: Mulan, but she gets married in the end so she did “need” a man after all…but is Mulan even a princess, technically speaking?). Disney’s appeal for feminism appeased me, but I just wonder how far they’re going to take it, or if it’s going to carry into any of their future movies. Probably not. I also wanted to point out that while uplifting, the ending is entirely unrealistic. Back in those days, Alice would have had to get married, would not have been taken seriously as a businesswoman…why pretend otherwise?
Instead of presenting you with the trailer, here’s a sweet music video made using fragments of the 1951 version if Alice in Wonderland.
You can download this track, “Alice” by Pogo, for free on Last.fm.
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