Tomorrow, director Bill Pohlad’s Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy hits theaters — though it seems a bit reductive to classify it as yet another music legend biopic, as the film takes such great pains to eschew the conventions of those movies and tell Wilson’s story in a unique, unexpected way. I was so taken with the film after seeing it at SXSW that I asked Flavorwire’s music editor/fellow biopic exhaustion victim Jillian Mapes to accompany me for a second viewing, and to share her thoughts on where Love & Mercy falls amid the quietly exciting reinvention of movies about the people who make music.
It’s enshrined in legend that Jimi Hendrix slayed his version of the Star-Spangled Banner (wearing fringe, no less!) during his daytime performance …Read More
If you’ve ever studied any music theory or are just given to reading about music, you’ve probably heard of the tritone — it’s an interval that’s three whole tones apart, and its dissonance means that it sounds sinister as hell. Some time in the 18th century, possibly earlier, it was dubbed diabolus in musica (the devil in music), and its use has historically been frowned upon in liturgical music, which generally relies on unison and harmony. (This, perhaps, gives rise to the oft-repeated story that the tritone was banned by the Catholic Church.) All this, of course, means that using it in your songs carries a certain inherent badassness — something exploited by the musicians who populate this list.
I could make a list of acts I’m excited to see at SXSW this year: Mark Kozelek, Sylvan Esso, Eagulls, London Grammar, Diarrhea Planet, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Perfect Pussy, Future, Sam Smith, Against Me!, and a lot more I won’t know about until I stumble upon them, tipsily, in the middle of the afternoon.
But half the fun of going to SXSW is improvising when you can’t get into shows or don’t want to deal with lines, in the process seeing artists you normally never would. So instead of focusing on my personal to-do list at SXSW Music, I want to take a look at the topics I expect will garner online chatter this week, once music industry folks and writers alike map out their own highly personalized schedules. Some will focus on the deeply sponsored events, like Lady Gaga performing in a Doritos vending machine, or the entirety of the iTunes Festival, while others will completely eschew the sort of shows that require a badge or even an RSVP. These should cover most of our bases, though.
Confession: though I love Sundance and know it’s the preeminent domestic film festival, etc., my heart belongs to SXSW. It’s a warmer (literally — Texas in March is immeasurably more pleasant than Utah in January), friendlier, more relaxed and enjoyable fest, and the food doesn’t even compare. But that’s not what we’re there for, of course; what matters is the movies, and as usual, this year’s SXSW Film Festival offers a wide variety of studio fare, thoughtful indies, gutsy genre pics, and general weirdness. Here are just a few of their selections that you’ll be hearing more about in the weeks and months to come:
The notion that 27 is some sort of mystical age is one that gets wheeled out every time a rock star dies young — everyone starts whispering solemnly about how someone new has joined the 27 Club, and how dramatic it all is. Blogs put together listicles of “10 Famous Musicians Who Died at 27.” Every so often, someone writes a book about the “tragic history of the 27 Club” or somesuch. And it needs to stop.
The month formerly known as November is dedicated to a great cause — a fundraiser for prostate (and other male) cancer and men’s health issues. Guys (and a few women) grow mustaches to raise awareness for Movember, and the rest of us marvel at their gloriousness. Of course, some people maintain a ‘stache year-round — including celebrities who are known for their facial hair. We wondered if we’d even recognize those famous faces without their signature ‘stache, and it turned out to be harder than we …Read More
Last week, the good folks over at Vulture made a bold statement: that Mazzy Star’s languid, moody “Fade Into You” is, in fact, the most overused song in film and television. There’s certainly a case to be made there, but it’s also one hell of a competitive race — film directors and music supervisors can be might lazy, letting an obvious music cue with its own built-in subtext do their narrative heavy lifting for them. We’ve perused the Academy of the Ubiquitous and come up with several pop songs that we’d be just fine never hearing again as cinematic and television scene-and-mood …Read More