June 18th, 2007


Nomination for most ridiculous Disco Track/Artist combo.

I just got the Red Greg Compilation and it has this track:


Overall I wish that dubs of all these tracks were available because the production is amazing, but the lyrics are giddily silly and dated.
"SPACE -- ROCK AND ROLL -- DISCO! ... WE ARE GOING TO SPACE!" -- from "Space Disco" by Universal Robot Band. 

A night without bass!

3 acts -- Family Van, Wire Hangers, Liberty Leg.

Family Van is a new project from Dave H, who has been in several notorious noise bands in Iowa City. I think they're brilliant -- dave plays noise boxes and never-tuned guitar, liz plays never-learned-to-play, guitar, and lisa on clarinet and laura on drums can actually play. This is only approximately music, and not safe for work over speakers. "Shit from my ass? I declare art."

Wire Hangers are from Minneapolis -- no link or contact info. The recording is good but doesn't capture the entirety of their sound. They play 2 acoustic guitars through gigantic quad 12" speaker cabinets, and so there's a 'third instrument' sounding through their set -- echoey overtones and racketing countermelodies.

Liberty Leg are a longtime Iowa City band that moved to New Orleans, and then back to Iowa City after the recent destruction of the city. Guitar, Drums and Vocals. Ethan the singer has a really distinctive, deep voice, and their live performances are intense experiences.

Interestingly Bad: Pirates of the Caribbean

I saw this last night, because there was nothing else starting that I wanted to see, and I have low standards for seeing a movie in theaters. If it's dark, the pop is cold, the popcorn fresh, the movie is almost secondary.

The latest Pirates pic is kinda awful -- there's not as much humor as the first two, there's a whole lot less Johnny Depp, the plot is incoherent, the action scenes are either frantically edited so you can't really follow the action, or there's so much CGI that it's hard to be emotionally involved.

But consider it as a cinematic attraction for children: it starts out with dozens of hangings, everyone except the foppish british officers is filthy, and there's many uncomfortable close ups of grotesque faces -- Davey Jones' Octopus face, Bootstrap's melon covered with barnacles and starfish, Calypso's tattooed face and black teeth. The pirate ships themselves are grotty. I kept thinking that if the scenes portrayed were real, how horrible everything and everyone must smell. This is underlined neatly when Johnny Depp pushes Orlando Bloom overboard just by breathing in his face.

Top that with tons of stabbings beheadings, defenestrations, gouged out hearts and shootings. The complete moral ambiguity of everyone involved, makes it possibly the least suitable movie for children under 12. And it's from Disney!

To the extent it works at all as a movie, it's a completely murky, amoral, dark apocalypse about familial loss and betrayal. If they added some sodomy and the lash, it would be the Pirates of the Caribbean movie that Fassbinder would have made. And if you didn't see the first two movies you'd have no clue who any of the charaters were or what was going on.

So all I can think after digesting the experience is this: what the fuck? The first two movies were good fun, and this one is a sprawling, murky, harrowing mess. Its safe to say that it's a movie that has Walt Disney spinning in his grave. It defies any expectations an audience might have for a fun night out. Which begs the question, what were they thinking? Was this project so guaranteed to make money that no one cared what the film makers did, and did those film-makers purposely make a movie so joyless and bleak?

It's almost worth seeing just for how completely they missed the sweet spot the first two movies. They didn't just miss it, it's like they knew where it was and avoided hitting it at every opportunity. Awesome, sort of.