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Friday, August 5th, 2005

Seamonsters

I don’t know if actually knowing who Werner Herzog is would have increased my appreciation for Incident At Loch Ness or at least given me a different angle from which to enjoy it, but I somehow doubt it. I rented it for… well, no real reason I can articulate. I think I read something good about it before and, um, I’m a fan of the Loch Ness Monster.

The conceit of the film is rather clever, though fundamentally unwieldy and unworkable. Herzog wants to make a documentary about the cultural phenomenon of the Loch Ness Monster. His producer (also director of this film), Zak Penn wants to make it a flashy Hollywood adventure film. The whole production is being filmed by a crew making a documentary about Herzog, which is ostensibly the film you are actually watching. And then there’s the Loch Ness monster. A crew of actual actors might have been able to pull off something reasonably convincing, but the non-actors the film uses (not counting the actress/Playboy model Penn brings in to be a “sonar operator”) simply aren’t capable of selling what they’re trying to peddle. It’s ineffective as a drama, too dull for an adventure film and not nearly sharp or incisive enough to function as satire. The fact that you can clearly see what their goal was just makes it that much more obvious how far off the mark they fell.

Yeah, oh well. If you want to see a really excellent film about the disastrous making of a film, rent Lost In La Mancha, which documents Terry Gilliam’s doomed attempts to bring Don Quixote to the screen. It’s fascinating and all true.

While I don’t usually link to complete album MP3s, I’ll make an exception here – someone on the Mojave 3 message boards has uploaded the score/soundtrack to the film I Am The Elephant, U Are The Mouse which was written and recorded by the Pygmalion-era Slowdive. These are easily the best sounding versions of these tracks I’ve heard (224 Kbps!), and are worth saving and keeping. Every once in a while someone hears news that the rights to these recordings are getting sorted out and it might see a proper release, but I’m not holding my breath. Grab em while you can – if the links go down for whatever reason, I have the zip files on my computer.

Broken Social Scene reveal to Billboard that their new album will not be called Windsurfing Nation as had been promised for well over a year now, but will instead be self-titled. It’s still coming out on October 4, though, and will be followed next Spring by yet another album.

Prefix (the magazine) interviews Iron & Wine. The I&W/Calexico EP has leaked and people are gushing about it. I haven’t heard a note and am holding out until In The Reins comes out on September 20… but damn it’s hard. No east coast tour dates yet, but they are expected on this half of the continent in November.

Prefix (the blog) has an update in Absolutely Kosher’s quest to liberate the first two Wrens albums from the evil clutches of their old label, Wind-Up. Unfortunately, it’s still fruitless. Every once in a while, I get emails from Wind-Up asking if I want to play blog-buddy with their label. I should send them a reply back that I’ll pimp whatever Creed side-project they’re trying to sell in exchange for the rights to the Wrens records. Because surely THAT is worth more than the $100,000 AK offered…

Bradley’s Almanac is working a Canadian theme with live reviews and recordings from recent shows by Picastro, A Northern Chorus and SIANspheric.

Concert news – Lou Barlow has cancelled his October 3 show at the Horseshoe because he’s now part of the opening for The Posies at Lee’s Palace that night. San Francisco’s Oranger are also on the bill. Also coming to town are Ohioan blues boys The Black Keys, playing the Opera House on November 19.

np – Son Volt / Okemah And The Melody Of Riot

By : Frank Yang at 8:31 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. brads says:

    Hot damn. Thanks for the Slowdive soundtrack action. Soooo much better than those versions I’ve got compiled. Time to delete the old ones forever.

  2. Paul says:

    This BSS album release schedule reminds me of when Zemeckis made parts II and III of Back to the Future at the same time so they could be released not too far apart. The problem is, III seriously suffered. I hope BSS can avoid this pitfall.

  3. TS says:

    if you like werner herzog movies, you must see "Grizzly Man"…saw it at Hot Docs and it was one of the best i’ve seen.

  4. Sean says:

    If it’s any help, I think the new Iron and Wine/Calexico EP is AWFUL. Well, it’s not actually that bad but it’s so dull and lacking in anything except a pleasant tone that it makes the think the musicians involved have nary a clue what makes good art.

    I may start keeping a list of people who dissed the new Coldplay but who like IN THE REINS. And the people on that list will have my contempt!

  5. angryrobot says:

    How embarassing. I’m a pretty big Slowdive/shoegaze fan and I’d never heard of that sdtk. I’ve never bothered to look at ther complete discography. Thanks for posting that; I’ll have to check it out when I get home.

  6. John says:

    Frank, how does the new Son Volt sound?

    How does it compare to the Son Volt V1.0?

  7. John Kenyon says:

    The new Son Volt is dependable roots rock; less nuanced than the best parts of the band’s earlier output, more focused on the catchy riffing of songs like "Driving the View." Farrar leaves the experimentation of his solo work behind, and replaces it with a surprisingly overt political point of view. His stance hasn’t changed, but he is much less cryptic about how he expresses it. Songs like "Jet Pilot" (with the great line "Junior likes to let his hair down, only trouble is word gets around") are pretty pointed commentary from the guy who usually sings about "farcical hares appearing" and such. It’s no Trace, but it’s a highly enjoyable return.

  8. Frank says:

    What John said. I was just going to say "it’s more rocking…"

  9. Dave Park says:

    Thanks for the links today Frank. Very, very much appreciated.

  10. Carl says:

    Frank – You should definitely, definitely give Herzog another shake or 10. He didn’t direct this movie, and it looks like he might just have been along for the ride. But as movie-making disaster documentaries go, his Burden of Dreams: The Making of Fitzcarraldo is even more fantastic than Man Of La Mancha. And that’s leaving aside Fitzcarraldo itself, and the rest of his 1970s-80s output, which is full of hot shit like Aguirre: Wrath of God and Woyczek and The Enigma of Kasper Hauser. He may well be a bit burnt out now because he hit it so hard in his prime.

  11. Stanley says:

    Your page from Nov 30, 2002

    Ha, this is great:

    http://…/