Saturday, May 9, 2009

Writing Recap: New Athens Blur, O+S, Matt Boynton

 Issue 7 already? | Cover image courtesy Athens Blur
Hooray! Another new issue of Athens Blur! If you live out in the Athens area, be sure to pick up a copy while you're out and about. I wrote two music spotlights for this issue, one on Roxy Epoxy and one on pop group Tinted Windows.  Have you seen their lineup yet? Taylor Hanson (Hanson), James Iha (Smashing Pumpkins), Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne), and Bun E. Carlos (Cheap Trick) all in one band. It kind of hurts the brain, doesn't it? Schlesinger was a bit weary of talking about the bizarro lineup, but after talking to him it all makes sense. Pick up the new mag to find out how.

It was also great catching up with Roxy Epoxy. I caught her former band, The Epoxies, at the 40 Watt back in 2005 with Against Me! on the Fat Tour and, boy, did they know how to put on a show. She's a super awesome chick and was a blast to speak with. I was sicker than a dog when I did the interview, but she made it a fun experience nonetheless. The album with her new band, the rebound, entitled Band-aids On Bullet Holes is out now. 
Oh, and if you haven't seen it yet, Athens Blur has a new blog. Check it out! 

O+S | Photo courtesy Saddle Creek 

In other news, my interview with Orenda Fink of O+S is now live on Stereo Subversion.  I am near-obsessed with this album. When I was presented with this assignment, I wasn't sure what to expect but I was blown away. The premise is this: originally an art project, Fink collected massive amounts of field recordings from all over.  The field recordings were then sorted through and turned into loops that songs were constructed on top of. The results are fabulous. A lush, haunting effort, this album is definitely on my "Best of 2009" list so far. 

I also recently interviewed my first producer, and that was a really cool experience. I spoke with Matt Boynton from Vacation Island Studios (formerly of the Magic Shop) for the April editon of the Sound Bites Dog E-zine. His reputation is that he's both hilarious and knowledgable, and he definitely was. Ever wonder what it's like to hold the Rolling Stones' master tapes in your hand? This guy knows.

That's it for now, kids. I have some super-great things in the works, especially an in-depth piece on the U.S. Air Guitar Championships! Heck yes!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A "Special" Movie

Special is not a comedy. It's not a super hero movie. It's not the typical goofy fluff that the basic plot could've easily devolved into. The story of a man convinced he has developed super powers, Special merely uses this premise as a jumping off point for a beautiful, poignant, heartbreaking and occasionally humorous look at life, and the role we play in it.

After seeing him in the dreaded and, thankfully, doomed Fox sitcom "The War at Home," Michael Rapaport has often been a deterrent for me. But I recant any Rapaport-related naysaying after seeing his performance in this film (though, I stand by my opinion that "The War at Home" was an abomination). He completely consumes the character of Les, an average, mistreated, easily manipulated parking cop who, upon entering into an experimental drug trial to shake up his "happy" life, becomes "Special". He believes that he has super powers with such conviction, that, regardless of how unbalanced his mental state becomes, we still root for him. We want him to have the powers he so desperately believes that he has. It's a performance that, had it been in a larger, more well known film, may have seen Rapaport nominated for some of Hollywood's biggest honors.

The symbolism is a wee bit overstated, (He's stalked and beat up by men in suits, and this isn't the Matrix)  but the great thing about this film is that it, ultimately, triumphs all of us who aren't "special", the non "suits" of the world who believe in or are living a life far different from the status quo. Although the DVD cover may claim otherwise,  Special is a deeply emotional film that gives a unique glimpse at the human spirit, and just how much it can take.

 It may not have been what we were expecting when we walked out of Blockbuster, but no complaints here.

Watch the trailer: