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Wednesday, August 31st, 2005

Like Dylan In The Movies

So the official schedule for the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival is up. As I mentioned yesterday, I’m only in town for the first couple days of the fest, thus limiting my options but there’s still stuff I’d really like to see. Number one is Terry Gilliam’s (that guy again!) Tideland, the film he shot while The Brothers Grimm was in studio limbo. This’ll be the world premiere, but the Elgin is one big honking theatre so hopefully I’ll score a couple tickets. Also on my wish list is Linda Linda Linda, a Japanese comedy about a groups of schoolgirls trying to assemble a rock band for a talent show. It’s iffy at this point whether or not I’ll be in town for this screening, though. Fingers crossed.

If I were around any longer, I’d definitely be trying to catch The Piano Tuners Of Earthquakes, Michael Winterbottom’s Tristram Shandy, John Turturro’s Romance & Cigarettes or Stephen Frears’ Mrs Henderson Presents. As it is, I’ll just have to file them away in the grey matter as stuff to see/rent later on down the road. Last year I bit off a little more than I could chew – six films in eight days (as well as squeezing two concerts in there). Festival films always take out a far larger chunk of your time than the actual running time – there’s the lineup an hour or more before show time as well as Q&A’s before and after the film. Usually you were looking at a three to three-point-five hour commitment per film. Even if it’s just watching movies, that takes a helluva lot out of a fella. I had also intended to maybe try and take in a gala opening this year. Not to be… maybe next year.

Also premiering at TIFF – though for just a single screening – is Martin Scorcese’s Bob Dylan documentary, No Direction Home. Since it’ll be available on DVD just three days later, it’s a wee bit anticlimactic and doesn’t really qualify as a festival must-see. The New York Times declared that neither the doc nor the soundtrack add anything new to the Dylan mythos, though I imagine that the music and images would make them compelling viewing/listening regardless (via Coolfer). Meanwhile Whas11 takes a shot at debunking the myth that the audience booed Dylan at Newport in 1965 for going electric. Their theory is that the audience was booing a MC Peter Yarrow for announcing that Dylan would only play a short set. Interesting take – now let’s see them spin the “Judas!” comment.

Coolfer fears the continuing establishment of digital music as the new normal could spell the end of the album. This would truly make me sad. Hell, I’m buying vinyl now – I’m bemoaning the end of the A/B sides. Personally, I don’t see this happening anytime soon. There is a place for the single, which is where many of the digital business models do their thing, but the album as an artistic statement, as a whole greater than the sum of its parts, will continue on – at least until all the musicians who were similarly brought up on the album – are dead and/or senile.

Lucinda Williams tells Billboard there might be another live album in the pipe to follow-up this year’s Live @ The Fillmore. Her next studio album has a tenative title of Knowing and should be out early next year.

Okkervil River will release a companion mini-album to this year’s Black Sheep Boy entitled Black Sheep Boy Appendix. The album will be out November 22, too late to pick up a copy at their November 7 show in Toronto, but it sounds like it’s a must-have regardless. By the by, Minus Story are also on that bill. Via The Catbirdseat.

Feist does two nights at the Danforth Music Hall, October 17 and 18. Tickets $25, on sale this Saturday. As much as I enjoy Ms Feist, I can give these ones a pass with nary a regret. Too much money, too much else going on.

Another Merge travelling sideshow rolls into town on October 23 when The Clientele and Annie Hayden are at Lee’s Palace.

Torontoist conducts a Tall Poppy Interview (I’ve no idea what that means) with Chuck Klosterman, who’s at the Horseshoe tonight to do a reading/signing for Killing Yourself To Live from 6pm to 8pm. Admission is free. Klosterman has a new essay up at Spin, by the way.

Fox is all about the stunt casting – The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that everyone’s fourth-favourite hobbit will be getting a role in the next season of 24. Season five, which premieres January 8 and 9 of next year, will take place 18 months after the end of season four, and feature a happily married Jack Bauer whose idyllic, terrorist-free life is interrupted when Sean Astin arrives on his doorstep and gives him just one day to throw the ring of power into a volcano. Meanwhile, according to Reuters, Charlize Theron will be joining the cast of Arrested Development for at least five episodes next season (which starts September 19) as Michael’s love interest. Umm, hobbits vs hotties? Arrested Development wins.

np – Catherine Wheel / Adam & Eve

By : Frank Yang at 8:26 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. lucaswiththelidoff says:

    I am a big Dylan fan but will skip the premiere as well. From the trailer it looks like mostly footage from Don’t Look Back i.e. stuff we’ve already seen before. I can wait.

    I am more interested in the ‘Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man’ doc and the moc-doc ‘The Life & Times of Guy Terrifico starring Matt Murphy.

  2. Gary Campbell says:

    I was actually thinking about this whole album debate while listening to my iPod on the way to work.

    In 2005, I’ve bought far fewer albums than ever before, BUT I’ve been listening to literally hundreds of new bands that I’ve discovered through music blogs. These music blogs have supplied me with GBs worth of legit MP3s that have kept me musically entertained for most of the year.

    It’s tough therefore to support the album format when so much interesting new music is becoming available on the web for free from artists’ web sites.

    Who has the time for an album when you can instead listen to 2 songs a piece from 6 new, emerging groups and it doesn’t cost you anything?

    IN OTHER WORDS, maybe music blogs are themselves destroying the album format?!?

  3. Frank says:

    hardly. If you’re capable of hearing one great song from a new band and think, "wow, that’s all I need to hear from them", then I can’t relate on any level. I’m the sort who goes out, buys the album and then the entire back catalog. It’s like going out on a date with a great person and deciding, yeah, I don’t need to see them again. There’s more people out there.

    In other words Gary, you’re a freak. Grade-A.

  4. nicole says:

    kudos on the Belle and Sebastian pun, you clever cat you.

    …I can’t coherently explain how excited I am for Arrested Development’s return.

    Gary, ‘music bloggers’ post mp3’s as sort of a sample, they are hoping people will be interested and purchase the album. I find them to be the lifeline of the music industry.

    I would also much rather read, say Frank’s or Scott’s [Stereogum.com] reviews, they tend to be more down to earth than say, Spin magazine..who will inevitably try to tell me that any new record is some kind of ‘rollercoaster ride’ through a crazy ass metaphor that doesn’t even make sense.

  5. Thierry says:

    And not to be an audiophile ass, but many mp3 blogs put songs up at a 128kps rate, which isn’t anywhere near cd quality.

    Listen to Annie’s "Chewing Gum" at 128kps, then listen to it again at 192kps (the usual rate I use for my iPod) or on cd, and tell me you can’t tell the difference…

  6. jonzey says:

    I used to work with Keith Butler, the man who shouted ‘Judas’ at Newport in ’65. Strange duck, but a real nice gent…he passed away a couple of years ago after a long fight with cancer.

  7. jonzey says:

    Oops. it was ’66 (I’m not a huge Dylan afficianado!). here’s the link for curiousity’s sake:

    http://…/

  8. GP says:

    Matthew Barney’s Drawing Restraint 9 (featuring Bjork) is a must see at the TIFF…

  9. kevin says:

    Tall poppy syndrome is ususally refers to when some(thing/person/band) get too tall and therefore needs a lopping to bring it back down where it belongs. cf envy, spite

    i always thought it was a canadian thing but i think the phrase originates in australia.

    love the blog by the way. we don’t get a lot of bands through st. john’s newfoundland

  10. Gary Campbell says:

    Interesting debate with lots of complex issues! I’ll try to clarify my earlier wacky comments:

    1) Frank: I think the dating metaphor is less apt than a buffet image– you can eat at the smorgasboard (singles) or you can enjoy the entrĂ©e (album). Either way, you get a belly’s worth of enjoyment.

    2) When an artist freely provides MP3s on their site, and you download them and enjoy them, are you obligated to then go and buy their album? Or do you wait for them to release another batch of MP3s? And why not?

    3) The myth that artists MUST sell albums to make any money… If I don’t buy their album, there are still plenty of ways for artists to make money — touring, commericals, endorsements. We need to rethink this idea of album sales = success.

    4) Radiohead once said they would release nothing but 4-track EPs in the future. Considering the 10-track album format is only 40 years old, it’s surprising how resistent we are to giving it up. Some concept albums are great, but do should all bands be tethered to releasing 10-track albums? Why does it need to be "the single" vs. "the album"?

  11. Frank says:

    Just to be clear – the initial discussion wasn’t about paying for music vs downloading it for free, just the artistic merit or statement of a complete album versus a single. Totally different discussions. In whatever format an artist chooses to release their work, I would fully expect them to get paid for it. If they want to be like the Brian Jonestown Massacre and give everything away online, that’s entirely their perogative, but to say that the industry model should change to the point that the music is free and the artist makes their money through other avenues? I’ve had that argument with many people for years, and I still believe it’s a complete non-starter. But that’s not what we’re talking about.

    If an artist posts mp3s on their site, no you’re not under any obligation to buy their album. That’s obviously the intent – I’m sure they like the fact that you’ve enjoyed their work but I suspect they’d like to pay their rent, too.

    Using Radiohead as an example isn’t fair – they could fart in a microphone for forty minutes and it’d still sell a million copies. The creative liberties a band of their stature are afforded hardly applies to anyone else. The Beatles decided to quit touring for the second half of their career. You think anyone else out there could get away with that?

    And I thought about using the buffet analogy, but dismissed it. The implication from that is that music is too disposable – it’s not popcorn shrimp. When I seek out new music, I am seeking long-term relationships with the music and the artists.

  12. Gary Campbell says:

    Frank: All great points. It’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out in the music industry in the next few years.

  13. Glenn says:

    I don’t fear the end of the album. Albums will always be made. I fear the album giving way to a business model that encourages music sold in bite-sized packages (three-song EPs, singles). Just about any band can get lucky and write one of two good tunes. The good bands, the ones that the industry should bank on, the ones that should go to the front of the line, are the ones that make full albums. Good full albums. As for ringtones, I can’t imagine them in any way helping artist development even though they’re going to be counted on to deliver more and more revenue in the coming years.

  14. Thierry says:

    Wow…all this sounds like we’re back in the 60s during the great rock vs. pop debate. Y’know, I’m all for full-length albums, but I wouldn’t claim that "good bands" are necessarily "the ones that make full albums" – for instance, I LOVE the Raspberries and Badfinger and think they both are GREAT power pop bands (two of the best, obviously), but anytime I want to listen to them, I go straight for the compilations (home-made or not) instead of the albums, which often had quite a bit of filler. I’m also a Phil Spector obsessive, but in no way do I believe the Wall of Sound was made for full-lengths. There’s nothing wrong with great, life-changing singles, really, and both the album and the single can be valid artistic statements, and I don’t see why the industry couldn’t bank on an act that can put out a brilliant single every 4 months…

  15. Chris says:

    Dylan doc will also be on PBS, in two parts, Mon and Tues, Sept 26-27 I believe.

    Most of the footage may not be new, but it’ll interesting to see what funny b.s. Bob has in the modern-day intvu part.