Recommended if you like Charlotte Gainsbourg.
Recommended if you like Charlotte Gainsbourg.
Recommended if you like Charlotte Gainsbourg’s album 5:55.
Cobra and phases.
Emptying a sampler.
Always Flaming Lips.
A twist on bass.
The church of Michael Ivins’ hair.
He wrote this.
Bold start to Pauly Deathwish’s 5th album.
Watch for upcoming single.
Hit to death.
Tribute to Jack Johnson.
Steve Gadd slow nerve action.
Tom and Richard.
Hippies cool at CBGB.
Are you experienced?
Paul Simon never sounded this tough.
Always too cool.
But the lyrics give him a run.
Another COVID album.
McAfee didn’t uninstall himself.
A dentist chair in Florida.
Soros’s scumbag Rubin.
Forgot a fuck.
Not for kids.
Not safe for work.
John Paul Jones keys.
Frustration key of E.
The pitched song.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor.
Remember this connection.
Hal Blaine on Harvest.
Trying to make it pay.
Hotel to Tango.
Stopped in Oklahoma.
Back when concerts were played in Austins.
Tonight’s the night.
Neil in Ontario.
A Canadian pastiche.
The only artist to review his own albums.
Because, you know, fuck it!
9/11 will come out.
Everything building to a head.
First Zeppelin album.
Black mountain side.
Jimmy’s eyes glowing magenta.
They tell me he’s evil.
But you gotta know the story of the blues.
I tried to sell my soul to the Devil.
But I am saved by the blood of Jesus Christ.
Jesus protected me.
Satan wasn’t buying.
Down in the basement of the Gunter Hotel.
I tried to sell my soul for the world.
But God didn’t let it happen.
Thinking it was bad enough.
Only through Jesus am I saved.
The worst among sinners.
Trying to gain the whole world.
Willing to forfeit my soul.
God is good.
And I can out-produce Jimmy Page.
Because God is my guide.
I have a dirty mouth.
Go and sin no more.
We’re in a fucking war.
We gotta put Jesus first.
On the battlefield.
Out greatest stealth.
I don’t know how to make copies.
And my black neighbors don’t know how to use the internet.
Joe Biden can get fucked.
But me, I like women with big tits.
Alex Jones quote.
I don’t wanna be a part of this sick cult.
We need God on the battlefield.
Mercy is waiting even for Jimmy Page.
Turn from the evil ways.
Recognize King Jesus.
The sky is crying.
Second jazz tune.
Straight off blues.
The Monk solo.
Dissonant as a motherfucker.
Is a joke?
Watch for first cover.
Straight into a QAnon song.
Flynn, in fact, did not go to jail.
Bob Marley gets all conspiratorial.
Obama gets arrested at his own birthday party.
Strzok blocked on Twitter.
A bunch of cunts?
Not Seth Keshel.
The real deal.
Will the FBI be shut down?
Department of Justice is the very heart of the Deep State.
Rosenstein is linchpin.
Bill Barr was miss.
Cymbals Eat Guitars.
Each given a chance.
Music like this hasn’t been made in 30 years.
Bowie would be proud.
The debris from the Nirvana signing.
The truly good bands.
Some Boo Radleys here.
Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci.
Black (Oak) Ark.
A disgusting record collection.
Lovingly preserved in filth.
Vinyl still good.
Cop shoot cop.
Strong statement against Antifa.
This guy is bold.
Dylan tongue cheek.
Only person to listen to this.
Give the anarchist a cigarette.
This is a fucked up record.
Calling David Lynch.
Gonna be hard for the Left to write off this guy.
This dude troublemaker.
Trail of dead.
We know you, but do you know us?
Deep Pieczenik research.
And the beloved NSA.
More accurately: CYBERCOM.
Not yet split?
Nakasone double duty?
Who could bring down?
Two QAnon songs in a row.
Macca bass line.
Welcome to the revolution.
The jazz and blues build up into rock and roll.
Fort Meade on repeat.
Cheyenne Mountain Alerts.
Air Force Cyber.
Rhythm of the saints.
Tettix Wave Accumulator?
Berry Gordy trippin’ balls.
A Lisbeth Salander ballad.
FBI + CIA.
But serves to delineate.
Interior and exterior.
Smarter than Strzok and Page.
Too fucked up to catch Velvets.
I hear you.
It’s a bitch.
Thom Yorke knob twiddler.
Eno in Roxy.
The big sleep date.
Noir and chill.
The harder they fall.
Shoot the piano player.
We are here in San Antonio.
We are making the best of it.
Eating ZZ Top nachos.
Beer drinkers and hell raisers.
A real jalapeno.
Australia to steam like teapot.
Comes with new iPhone.
An anthem like U2 ain’t written for a bit.
This is Dublin territory.
Sexy God believers.
And Jack Nitzsche.
But Bono can sing opera.
A good dude.
Needs to drop the carbon bullshit.
Global warming is giant fucking hoax.
Just like COVID.
The Edge knows.
Grow some balls.
Stop kissing the Pope’s ass.
This commie Pope is a fucker.
Pauly can play guitar!
Album builds up to last song.
Even last song builds up.
Jesus and Mary Chain.
A dangerous confection.
Hit to Death in the Future Head.
Summer is here.
Vacuum cleaner solo.
Boys peel out.
And again with the UPC scan.
Breaking up on reentry.
Serious audio fuckery.
And from this right into kung fu. Peter Sellers on Bowie’s Low. Trance. But really what we have here is excellent counterpoint. Lunatic Harness. Polyrhythms. Album breaks down soon. Fast. Abruptly. Mental block regarding Wuhan origin. Harmonic outline you would never find in China. Terry Riley. A Rainbow in Curved Air. Eno. Visconti. And the others involved. A beauty that inspired Philip Glass. This is what we have. Low and heroes. Symphonies. Glass. Riley. Minimalism. Album called zenith. Track two already hits “Nadir”. What’s the arc here? Arc-en-ciel? Arkansas? Immediately pensive. Very unnerving. Pop rock track. Into existential oblivion. Abrupt modulation. Uncomfortable. Eccentric. Was there a thought process behind this? Commerce ruins everything. Imperfect masterpieces. The rules of the game. Radiohead. Joseph Arthur? Sparklehorse. The Magnetic Fields. Gay baritone. Sad sack confessional poetry in the world of Berryman’s Dream Songs. Brian Jonestown Massacre. The Verve. Strung out in heaven. J. Spaceman shooting up while praying. Don’t knock it… Drug addiction is real. Mental problems are real. Here we are. 2020 fucked us up. And now we wait for the next shoe to drop. Smashing Pumpkins. “Silver Fuck”? Into Sonny Rollins? Epstein. Gene Ammons. Hard to tell it’s (not) real. Which parts? Yes. No. Fooling the ear with Dave Fridmann. A totally schizophrenic record so far. Here we go! “Belgian Lace, Pale Black Mascara…” This is more like it. Rollerskate Skinny. Martin Rev. Lots of counterpoint here. Fux me up. Disney xylophones. Internal rhyme-sanity. Dylan puking up brilliance. Always Roger Waters with the bass. Always The Wall. Pompeii. Hail to the Thief. Again and again. Trying to break new ground. And it does. Yerself is Steam. Album starts to make sense after five tracks. 1 & 5. This is not bullshit. I don’t know about the jazz. I don’t know about the monotonous instrumentals. Absolutely “Car Wash Hair”. Suzanne Thorpe would be proud. Seems to be talking about tits. A good ride. Drum machine chugging away. Can still have a good groove. Wild Acoustic Chamber Orchestra. W.A.C.O. Woodwinds and glockenspiel. Boces. What the fuck is this shit? O.K. computer. Sounds like some QAnon stuff. I feel Carlos Santana coming on. This is what Assange jams out to. Lots of plays at Fort Meade. Salsa. James Brown. Puerto Rican funk. As AOC goes to jail. Serious national security issues for lyrics. Fictional charges? Tracers everywhere. This theory involves an actual conspiracy. Criminal conspiracy outlined. By players. Event 201. Short circuit. Johnny 5 is alive. Legalistic funk. QAnon wet dream. FISAgate. “Spy Gate”. Somebody send this to Sean Hannity. Obamagate. Where is John Durham? Ryan Dark White knows the truth about Rosenstein. How many coup attempts by the Left? Back to Billy Corgan. Ok, so we have an Alex Jones connection. Early-’90s goodness. Butch Vig. Dream pop. James Iha. Bet this guy knows the real story about the Standard Hotel(s). Great lyrics! Must be some inside jokes here. But HOLY FUCK! He nailed the “Holes” trumpet solo. Deserter’s Songs. God damn it. How did they do this? The liner notes say Pauly Deathwish has also produced all four of these albums. Kind of a Jimmy Page thing going on. Great drum sound. Yo La Tengo. “Mayonnaise”. Siamese Dream. Benjamin Britten reference? Slick! So this guy basically had a music education on par with Jack Nitzsche. And then went for scumbag rockroll like Phil Spector. Gotta respect this weird marriage. This fascination with grunge. Dinge. And the facility to clean it up like a chandelier. Very fucking impressive. No record label. Kinda sounds like no funding. No budget. The Delgados. Hate. The Great Eastern. More Spiritualized telephony. The Wall. Which is to say, Bob Erzin. And as dark as Berlin. Which is to say, Bob Ezrin. Neil Young vibe. Tonight’s the Night. Some dark-ass shit. Nick Kent, where y@t? IV Thieves. Coulda done this. What if Chris “Frenchie” Smith had produced this? This kid like a protege. I hear the moniker (stage name) was bestowed by Frenchie Smith. Strings good. Eastern European orchestra. Must have cost a small fortune. Arcade Fire. French cinema. Romantic-era harmony. But pierced. Sophisticated. Absolutely Floyd. “In The Flesh”. Last track on Harvest. Words between the lines. The promise of the ’60s went to shit in the ’70s. Where’s QAnon? Where’s Nakasone? Where’s CYBERCOM? Keith Alexander on Amazon board. Velvet Underground feeding back. Les Rallizes Denudes. Primal Scream. “Swastika Eyes”. ADAT. DAT machine. Sampling. Stereolab. Back to another standout track. “Chaconne”. Will Smith in the summertime. Some slick shit. Messiaen. Jonny Greenwood. Lyrics world-class. All those sand paintings. Write and destroy. Suicide girls. Thom Yorke’s brain doesn’t have this facility. He’s a great stylist. Definitely an homage. And to Godard. Snow white and psycho. Heavy shit for Laetitia Sadier and Tim Gane to check out. Not far from Faust IV. So sweet. John Paul Jones. Ramble on. Charlotte Gainsbourg. Keren Ann. Last track noisy as fuck. Lo-fi. Tom Waits. Sticks together. Some sad shit. Music from Big Pink. Mournful trombone(s). John Simon. “Bird on a Wire”. They don’t make records like this anymore. David Bowie not dead. Great phrasing. Sinatra. Mark Linkous. It’s a Wonderful Life. Believable bass. Upright citizen. Bayou curious. Noise floor drops out. Some perverse humor here. An “album”. It is. Ten songs. Ten different directions. Some tracks stick together. Like a deck of cards shuffled. Lots of variety. Circus peanuts. The orange ones. Pure sugar. Chewy. Strange texture. Lots of melancholy here. What’s this bloke so sad about? Tell Thurston Moore. You gotta hear this shit. Pauly Deathwish’s 4th album (this summer!). Is this guy trying to set a Guinness record or something? And he already has a 5th one out. Christ!
Breakfast cereal video game.
Pauly Deathwish’s 3rd album.
I am behind.
I can’t keep up with this guy.
Out of the gates like Flaming Lips.
30,000 feel of despair.
Right into Isao Tomita.
Like first Stereolab album.
Here Come the Warm Jets.
Cheyenne Mountain jams.
I can no longer see what I’m typing.
It starts just like Charlotte Gainsbourg.
But there is something different.
A shruti box?
A little distorto guitar.
A little Yo La Tengo.
Built to Spill.
Guitar carries it for a second.
And then into an Amon Düül II warble.
Like Marc Bolan.
Most annoying sound in the world.
Into Pink Floyd.
Circa The Wall.
Almost a premonition of impending doom.
Calm before the storm.
J. Spaceman telephony.
Floating with no highs and no lows.
Strong opening track.
Immediate Delgados shift.
Great counterpoint for a pop musician.
But if you check this bloke’s CV…
You’ll know he went through Fux.
Gonna have to say Elliott Smith.
Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci.
Megan Childs violin.
Around the warm fire.
Strings open up.
Orchestral bass that Lou loved.
This guy’s a bastard.
Is this a breakup album?
I thought the last one was a breakup album?
Into Gorwel Owen.
The last GZM album.
Money never runs out.
Cheap air organ.
A very apropos album title.
Spring water Scotch.
And then the Great Reset arrives.
Like a fucking spaceship.
What is this glitch business?
Thom Yorke blasts upon the scene.
Drums James Brown.
Caught by Lee “Scratch”.
Guitar all mangled.
Bert Jansch out of fucking nowhere.
Track rejected by Bond franchise.
Acoustic to electric.
Now it’s Serge.
More Brian Wilson.
Van Dyke Parks.
Still a sadness.
That the old world is passing away.
Right into some Leonard Cohen shit!
How the FUCK was this recorded?
Sounds like 2″ tape.
how has this Pauly Deathwish released three albums in two months?
I can’t even keep up with this guy.
Like a Christmas album.
See You on the Other Side.
A review in the liner notes.
Record pillaging wizard.
Lots of fucking glockenspiel on this record.
But it’s nice.
Like Ennio Morricone.
Again with sugar plum.
Fresher than the sweetness in water.
Light, British, airy.
Is this the single?
A little neo-psych Hendrix moment.
It’s definitely GZM.
Repetition until transcend.
Stereolab first album.
Definitely some breakup here.
Lots of drum machine.
Drum and bass.
Definitely holds up with Radiohead.
How the fuck was this made?
PD tells us that it was all made on an iPhone with only a Telecaster.
That is some serious trickery.
This is COMPLEX music.
Mixes sound polished.
Some Chinese stuff.
Noise floor fucked for the first time ever.
It’s THAT good.
How was this made?
This heralds a new talent.
But this bloke is 44.
Tour sponsored by Ensure.
Not hearing a sophomore slump here.
Two albums in two months.
Review third forthcoming.
This dude is emo as fuck.
I dig it.
This guy is a mystery.
What is his deal?
This sounds more like a cohesive album that Introversion.
Introversion sounds like a debut album…in all the best ways.
Songs saved up.
A greatest hits.
Go big or go home.
This album deals much more in subtlety.
Not every song here is a home run.
This album breathes.
More Beach Boys vibes.
But mentally sharp.
A spark of genius.
A little bluegrass.
The old world is passing away.
Incredible String Band.
Back and forth.
And across to Ireland.
There’s the single.
“Makes Me Wanna Stay in Bed”.
Hate is all you need.
Coming in from the cold.
Delayed bass from The Wall.
Good fucking song!
All Is Dream.
Hard following up.
Emma Pollock solo.
With Alun Woodward singing.
The Great Eastern.
Let It Come Down.
A Rush of Blood to the Head.
This bloke is serious as fuck.
I’m sensing a Jandek promotional strategy.
Final track Richter.
Big symphony night.
Excitement of New York Phil.
The fucking french horns!
A story in dynamics.
A folk album.
That glow in The World’s End.
But a sadness.
My Bloody Valentine.
Sloshy grunge hats.
I Am the Cosmos.
Yerself Is Steam.
The disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
You don’t know how it feels.
I can only give you everything.
Black magic warded off by honesty.
Serge on the way.
Lenny Bruce, even.
Hit to Death in the Future Head.
Wait at least until track three to break it down.
Southern Harmony and Musical Companion.
The confusion of ridiculous counterpoint.
Tonal, yet dissonant.
Thick Billy Corgan.
Definitely a sadness here.
All you need is hate.
The Inflated Tear.
Columbus, Ohio with duct tape.
Posing with a bass clarinet.
Did I ever write one?
Yes, I did.
Or is it contrabassoon?
Nadia Boulanger can tell you.
My teacher’s teacher (twice over).
The Left Banke.
Transient Random-Noise Bursts with Announcements.
A little lo-fi.
Changes that pull at your heartstrings.
A fucking marimba solo?!?
Are you kidding me???
Pauly Deathwish collaboration with Gordon Gano of Violent Femmes.
Lost Bayou Ramblers.
Gordon knew him as Death.
I have become death.
Tim Gane tone.
Back to J. Spaceman.
Dirty ass rock and roll with pristine horns.
Is this the artist we’ve been waiting for?
R. Stevie Moore?
Sounds like Jack Nitzsche.
Major Velvet vibes.
Dylan with P-bass.
Too much attitude.
Let it Come Down.
Fucker kicked the bucket.
First to be vaxxed.
First Suicide album.
The Soft Bulletin.
Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space.
Gimme some lovin’?
La Monte Young.
First rehearsal tapes.
New York City heroin.
Warhol Factory torn down.
Across from YMCA.
Great throwaway lyrics.
Sound of universe.
Direct into mixing console.
Blood pressure rising.
I think I’m in love.
Will the circle remain unbroken?
When I had dinner with Roky.
First Velvets album.
But you gotta buy it.
Cop shoot cop.
On the jukebox.
Eat at the gas station.
First time in Texas.
It’s definitely Bowie.
Old is new again.
A fuck ton of flutes.
Flute loops literally.
Little fluffy clouds.
Gay glam chorus.
Boys peel out.
Gives me pants.
A Shot in the Dark.
Under the Western Freeway.
With Sean Mackowiak.
Comes back loud.
One song mastered soft.
The main influence of Pauly Deathwish’s debut album.
Chariots of fire.
Such a groove.
By the side of a freeway.
Under an underpass.
Not like RHCP.
How did a Trump supporter make this album?!?
I thought all Trump supporters were redneck morons???
This is way fucking better than Ariel Pink’s dabblings.
This sounds like a debut album.
Songs saved up.
Like The Strokes.
Cinematic as fuck.
Trail of Dead.
Because Pauly wrote the string arrangement on IX.
Snot on the crowd.
Lost Bayou Ramblers lost sessions.
This was all made on an iPhone?!?
Major 7ths in uppermost range of piano.
Almost indistinguishable from octaves.
Only for the sensuous ear.
Waters delayed bass.
No nonsense drums.
Humble Pie reference?!?
Predating new Bob Dylan album.
Check SoundCloud timestamp.
This is definitely the QAnon anthem.
This hook should be on a million conspiracy videos.
“10 Days of Darkness”.
Tell ’em Large Marge sent ya!
My end is my beginning is my end.
Great debut album (if I do say so myself).
Inspiring fear and respect.
That Swiss-Maoist asshole is my hero.
In many ways.
But which Godard?
If I were to say “late Godard” (and that would be my natural, truthful answer), Monsieur Godard would likely point out the merits of his early films…just to annoy me.
If I spoke lovingly of Vivre sa vie, he would probably proclaim that it is shit.
Jean-Luc Godard is a very complex individual.
And I can wholeheartedly identify with that.
A walking civil war.
This film never makes reference to Cahiers du cinéma.
It doesn’t need to.
This film covers a period of time which Wikipedia classifies as Godard’s “revolutionary period”.
When did Godard stop writing for Cahiers?
He never stopped being a critic.
We know that.
And I see his point.
This is shit.
Because we want to invent new forms.
Breathless was like his “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”.
Or his Bolero.
He couldn’t escape it.
Couldn’t lose it.
Must be nice.
But maybe not.
“Play the hits!”
Did politics ruin Jean-Luc Godard?
But it was necessary.
It was his process of growing up.
His process of attaining wisdom.
Trial and error.
But not the last word.
I don’t agree with Godard’s politics.
Perhaps at some point in my youth I did.
But not very much.
Because I never really understood them.
But I too am a revolutionary.
In these days.
After the 2020 election.
You may call me a reactionary.
I don’t care what you call me.
I think George Washington is cool.
I think the United States of America is worth saving.
And the American Revolution has recommenced.
Same goals as the founders had.
Love it or leave it.
Godard did not show up in 2010 to receive his honorary Academy Award.
Good for him.
Give me the old stuff.
Not this new crap.
Perhaps you see where me and Godard overlap?
Too rashes like a Venn diagram…with a particularly-irritated common ground.
The skin is red and peeling.
I scratch my arms.
I’m running out of real estate on my body for these nicotine patches.
You thought it was something more interesting?
Where does the former President of Peru come in?
Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.
Godard’s first cousin.
I too had cousins.
Who are as far off as Peru.
But always close in my heart.
Kuczynski is 82.
Godard will be 90 in one week.
I will be 44 when the Electoral College meets.
Anna Karina died on my birthday last year.
She was 79.
But this film doesn’t deal with the wonderful Ms. Karina.
No, this film deals with another stunning beauty: Anne Wiazemsky.
Wiazemsky died three years ago.
The same year Redoubtable came out.
In the English-speaking world, we know it (ironically) as Godard Mon Amour.
Sounds more sophisticated to have the subtitled film with a more commercial FRENCH product label.
Redoubtable is too vague.
Godard Mon Amour sells itself.
[that’s what the advertising guys must have said]
Godard and Wiazemsky were married for 12 years.
Godard and Karina married for a mere 4.
I’ve never read Mauriac.
I have nothing against Catholics.
I adore Olivier Messiaen’s music.
So it bears mentioning that one of the smartest, most unique artists in the history of the world was a French Catholic [Messiaen].
Which is to say, believing in God does not make you boring.
I believe in God.
The same God.
The Christian God.
God who gave us Jesus.
God who gave us synesthesia.
Combat didn’t like La Chinoise.
De Gaulle withdrew from NATO.
Will Trump win?
De Gaulle supported sovereignty.
The European Union is the antithesis of what de Gaulle wanted.
De Gaulle criticized America’s war in Vietnam.
But that wasn’t enough for revolutionaries like Godard.
De Gaulle wanted Québec to be free from Canada.
If you’ve ever been to Québec, you might see why.
It is unlike the rest of Canada.
Except for New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
But not really.
Île de Chêne?
Starring in a Maoist film directed by Jean-Luc Godard.
And then they married.
Godard was correct.
Au Hasard Balthazar is the antithesis of the Central Intelligence Agency.
But Godard never said that.
So Anne Wiazemsky wrote a book called Un An Après which was published in 2015.
She died two years later.
The same year her book was adapted for film as Redoubtable.
She died of breast cancer.
Less than a month after Redoubtable was released in France.
This film proves that Michel Hazanavicius is a very talented filmmaker.
It proves that he knows his Godard.
But it is flawed.
Aren’t all masterpieces?
Is Redoubtable a masterpiece?
In some ways, yes.
In some ways, no.
It is probably most similar to Sacha Gervasi’s Hitchcock.
Both of them are films of “exorbitant privilege”.
Which is to say, a little out of touch with their subject matter.
Was Pablo Picasso ever called an asshole?
Not if we take Jonathan Richman at his word.
Art contains deeper layers of meaning.
Unless you’re Warhol.
In which case, the meaning MAY be found closer to the surface.
Stravinsky liked this too.
Music has no meaning.
It is just tones.
Little dots on a page.
So we are told.
Jean-Luc Godard and Igor Stravinsky both embraced MANY different approaches to their craft over their long careers.
Because they loved their crafts.
They were addicted.
It was a compulsion.
And, for Godard, it remains so.
Godard married the girl who rejected Robert Bresson.
Do not underestimate the thrill of this.
The thrill of it all.
Bresson was a genius too.
But she was only 18 when Bresson made his advances.
Girls want to live.
Bresson was 65.
Numbers can lie.
Godard and Wiazemsky were only together as man and wife for three years.
Though they were married for 12.
Three years was enough, apparently.
The divorce appears to have been more a formality.
I spoke to Anne-Marie on the phone once.
In exceedingly-broken French.
She was saintly in her patience.
All I wished to convey, as I called Rolle (Switzerland) on my flip phone, was that Godard was my intellectual hero. [it is true] And that his LATE films mattered. That they mattered THE MOST. That he had created beauty. That he had plumbed the depths. I owed it to my master to deliver this message before I (or he) died (God forbid).
I was compelled.
Jean-Luc Godard is my favorite creator this side of heaven.
Even though I don’t agree with his politics.
Bob Dylan is neck-and-neck for this honor.
Dylan is, no doubt, my favorite musician to have ever lived.
Neck-and-neck with Roland Kirk (perhaps).
My favorite jazz artist.
My favorite instrumentalist.
It is never noted that Wiazemsky was in Les Gauloises bleues.
And Godard could be an asshole.
So can I.
So can Trump.
Trump is my ideological hero.
My political hero.
I DO agree with his political philosophy.
And yet, my favorite film director (auteur) remains Godard.
No one is even neck-and-neck with JLG for me.
Brakhage is a distant second.
Welles is formidable.
But they do not hit the mark like Jean-Luc.
Il seme dell’uomo.
Nothing suggestive there.
And then I gave Jacques Demy’s grandson piano lessons.
Or Agnès Varda’s grandson.
More like organ lessons.
You should use Belmondo again.
We see Coutard’s hair early.
Politics entered soon.
Le Petit soldat.
The perfection of Vivre sa vie.
The jaunty, carefree, playful anarchy of Breathless.
And a sadness tied to beauty.
Politics again with Les Carabiniers.
An attempt at commercialism with Contempt.
Equivalent to Nirvana’s In Utero album.
A thorough disdain for the Hollywood system.
And the “tradition of quality” in France.
But something deeper…and more bitter.
Bande à part more like Breathless.
A little like Vivre sa vie.
Down and out in Paris.
Life at the margin of society.
Hazanavicius first really gets going with Une Femme mariée.
Stacy Martin in the nude.
Grabbing the bedsheets.
Brace brace brace.
The resemblance to Charlotte Gainsbourg is striking.
A little Alphaville.
Someone who nibbles Godard’s neck.
The Samuel Fuller scene from Pierrot le fou turned into a fistfight.
Don’t insult me!
A bit of Macha Méril in the hair.
And a bit more of Chantal Goya.
Getting shouted down by a situationist during the May ’68 occupation of the Sorbonne. Lumped in with Coca-Cola.
Things go dark with insults.
On the blink.
Made in U.S.A.
Two or Three Things I Know About Her.
“You ruined my shot!”
Eating Chinese food.
A rather unfortunate outburst directed at a war hero.
And his wife.
These are the things we do.
When we’re young.
What is striking is the humor in Redoubtable.
The broken eyeglasses.
The slipping shoes.
And their replacement.
I must give credit to Louis Garrel.
He really does convey the mania and eccentricity of Godard.
While Stacy Martin is very good here, it is a shame that Hazanavicius chose to lovingly evoke every detail of Godard’s life…except Wiazemsky’s red hair.
My dear friends, it is so good to be alive 🙂
But very difficult to be sick.
I must admit, it took me two days to watch this film.
This one hit a little too close to home.
But that’s ok.
Yes, I am finally feeling better on the allergy front.
Now I am struggling with that old nemesis of mine: nicotine.
Yep, that’s right.
Trying to kick that habit.
Whoa (woozy feeling)…
Maybe did that a little too fast 🙂
But most of all, you know, every day I struggle with anxiety.
I don’t usually address it in such naked terms.
But it is fair here to talk about this biggest of all struggles for me.
Because Frank is a film about mental illness.
You know, if you apply for a job, you might get a “questionnaire” enquiring about your health.
America is very “democratic” and “fair” in hiring processes, but still these questionnaires persist.
And I suppose the last round of jobs I applied for (merely two) opened my eyes to the reality of my situation a bit.
Looking down the list of “conditions”, I realized I must (to be honest) check two boxes.
[Though the questionnaire was “voluntary”]
So I have “anxiety disorder” (big time!) and asthma (not so bad, but it can pop up).
So wow…I thought…man, these are listed as “disabilities” (if I remember correctly).
While some people might celebrate a disability condition, for me it’s not really cause for cheering.
But then I thought, “Wait…are these really disabilities?”
Well, I’m not going to give a medical/legal ruling on that (because, frankly [no pun intended] I don’t know).
But I know one thing: anxiety can be totally debilitating.
I’ve had a really hard time readjusting to “life” after two and a half years of intense graduate studies.
I graduated about a month ago.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the forum…
My body just kinda shut down…gradually…in different ways.
That momentum which had carried me across the finish line evaporated.
And so life hasn’t been a bowl of cherries.
Anxiety is a bitch!
When I have nothing to realistically worry about, I find something.
If there is something from which worry can be derived, I will find it.
And it will drive me nuts.
At a certain point, one has to laugh at the ridiculousness of such an impulse.
[It’s not something I can very well control, you understand.]
And that brings us to our film Frank.
Frank is a fucked up guy.
Imagine the Jack in the Box guy from the commercials with the big fake head.
And then have that guy lead a rock band.
This film really defies all description.
So we have to dig a bit to really delineate what is going on in this masterful film.
First of all, this film has caused me to create a new category in my global survey of cinema for a country which I love (for a multitude of reasons): Ireland.
Yes, Frank is an Irish film.
Funny enough, no one in the film has an Irish accent.
[Which begs the question, “Is it really an Irish film?”]
But I’m calling it an Irish film because I really admire the balls it took Lenny Abrahamson to make this picture.
Our director, Mr. Abrahamson, was born in Dublin in 1966.
Ok, it’s Irish (at least as far as “auteur theory” goes).
There’s something about Ireland which I get from the eccentrics.
James Joyce was the master of them all.
I will read Finnegans Wake till my dying day and still glory in the fact that I have no REAL idea what it’s truly about 🙂
But this film, Frank, takes us to a place I know very well: rock and roll.
And more specifically: indie rock.
It is a “genre” which attracts the most far-out individuals in the world.
And I must say, there were several times in this film where I could feel the spirit of one of my favorite bands of all time.
An Irish group.
Our director is 50. I’m 40.
Maybe our frames of reference are different.
Youngsters might think Animal Collective or even the arduous process which produced Arcade Fire’s tortured Reflektor.
But Frank makes me think of that early-90s noise-pop wave which was spearheaded by bands like (my favorite group ever) Mercury Rev and Rollerskate Skinny.
When I see Frank, I see David Baker.
But I know my history.
I’ve studied weirdos all my life.
So I also see David Thomas of Pere Ubu.
And of course Don van Vliet (a.k.a. Captain Beefheart).
Frank is certainly a film which the “Pitchfork generation” should be able to get behind.
I’ve had dinner with Roky Erickson.
I’ve seen what Frank is groping for.
Yes, it’s that madness which made Syd Barrett great.
But such madness comes with a price.
We can listen to that first Pink Floyd album (The Piper at the Gates of Dawn)…songs like “Lucifer Sam” where Barrett is brilliant.
And we can trace that brilliance to his solo album The Madcap Laughs…songs like “No Good Trying”.
But to be SO fucked up…to be SO far out…it ain’t fun.
I’ve heard about Roky Erickson’s time at the Rusk State Hospital for the criminally insane.
It’s not a pretty picture.
But let’s talk about this damn film 🙂
It had me hooked once I caught faint traces of those first two Mercury Rev albums (Yerself is Steam and Boces) in the sounds I was hearing emanating from Soronprfbs.
The perfect name to describe the obtuse band at the center of our story.
Here’s a band so weird, they don’t even know how to pronounce their own name (when they show up at SXSW).
[But I’m getting ahead of myself]
First, I was wrong about Irish accents.
Indeed, Frank is such a bizarre film that one soon forgets that Domhnall Gleeson is speaking in one for the entirety 🙂
Gleeson is in the right place at the right time.
It’s happened to me.
I once got a MySpace message (remember those days?) and spent the next four years in a Cajun punk rock band.
It can happen.
Those were the best years of my life.
But it’s HARD!
Taking a van back and forth (and back and forth) across the country.
Flying (I hate flying) to awesome, bizarre locales.
For someone with bad anxiety, these aren’t easy tasks.
And we see that in the character of Frank.
As I said, Frank has problems.
Somehow, Gleeson joins Frank’s band Soronprfbs.
And the rest is a whipsaw of insanity.
No, Frank is not a relaxing watch, but it is hilarious!
And very meaningful!!
Soronprfbs, as a band, is a shambles.
[not to be confused with Babyshambles]
There were several times when I caught glimpses of the weirdness that is another of my most favorite bands: The Homosexuals.
But, this film can hardly be reviewed properly without talking about The Residents.
Soronprfbs are mythic (if only in their own minds).
Their fame, however, grows.
And with fame, stage fright.
It happens to even the most grounded individuals (like Robbie Robertson).
But nothing fits the bill quite like Mercury Rev.
Soronprfbs are apt to have fights on stage.
Perhaps one member tries to gouge another’s eye out on a transatlantic flight.
That kind of stuff.
Sure, Oasis have had mid-air spats about blueberry scones.
And maybe The Sex Pistols only played to twelve people (or whatever) at their first show.
But Soronprfbs, for me, is that band which would hang electric guitars from the ceiling and let them feed back for the entirety of a show.
Which is to say, Mercury Rev.
But let me pull in the younger folks.
Think, for example, The Brian Jonestown Massacre.
Obvious mental problems.
Or is it just a put-on?
And let’s go back…
Jim Morrison being totally whacked out of his gourd onstage.
But no, Soronprfbs is weirder…and far more obscure.
Think, for instance, Alan Vega leading Suicide in a performance at CBGB’s.
The writers of our film (Jon Ronson and Peter Straughan) will probably know everything I’m talking about [were they to ever read this].
Because they (or at least one of them…Ronson?) know the mechanism which attracts so many of us to BANDS.
[“those funny little plans/that never work quite right”]
That mechanism is mystery.
But in this case, it is the mystery of reclusive eccentricity.
Put simply, madness.
[not to be confused with the band Madness]
So Ronson and Straughan even include the perfect musical instrument to act as a talisman for their tale: the theremin.
And they even get the character’s name right: Clara.
[after theremin virtuoso Clara Rockmore]
The theremin has a long history in eccentric rock and roll.
Indeed, late in Frank when we see our dejected main character sleeping in his bathrobe at the French Quarter Inn (a fleabag motel), his sartorial sense evokes Brian Wilson’s rough years.
Yes, the theremin goes back to at least “Good Vibrations” and the zaniness which was The Beach Boys’ album Smile.
But the theremin has come to embody the obtuse and pretentious in rock and roll.
And so it is no wonder that bands such as Jon Spencer Blues Explosion picked up on this wooziest of all instruments.
Which brings us finally to a salient point.
Frank includes at least one star:
Gyllenhaal plays stone-cold bitch Clara: Frank’s girlfriend.
[remember, Frank is the guy with the papier-mâché head…and he never takes it off…ever]
Gyllenhaal’s character is unlikable in just about every way imaginable.
And it makes me appreciate her acting.
Indeed, God bless Ms. Gyllenhaal for taking this film role.
It’s a lot like Charlotte Gainsbourg’s role in Misunderstood (2014) and makes me appreciate the dramatic tension of Gainsbourg’s role more than I initially did.
Which is to say, Gyllenhaal is very much the villain of Frank.
A bit like a dominatrix version of June Chadwick in This Is Spinal Tap.
Which is to further say, Gyllenhaal is playing off her typecast from Secretary of being one bad bitch.
And she pulls it off.
But Gyllenhaal is the least important element of Frank.
It would ruin things to tell you just how Michael Fassbender figures into this film, but let’s just say he’s indispensable.
[Fassbender, by the way, is half-Irish (his mother being born in County Antrim)]
A lot of our action happens in what could pass for Tarbox Road Studios.
Indeed, there is a lot of Wayne Coyne in the character of Frank as well.
But the sounds are closer to those which Mercury Rev conjured at SUNY-Buffalo for their debut album.
Likewise, the seclusion which goes into making the great Soronprfbs album reminds me of the ramshackle (yet bucolic) process which led to my favorite album of all time: Mercury Rev’s Deserter’s Songs.
As alluded to earlier, Soronprfbs eventually make their way to my old stomping grounds: the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas.
I was a bit wistful seeing the Ritz Theater (now an Alamo Drafthouse) on 6th Street in one shot.
Indeed, I remember playing an “unplugged”, solo gig there back when it was still a cavernous, multilevel, piece-of-shit music venue (pool hall).
Funny enough, a lot of the tension in Frank revolves around that old chestnut of a band “selling out”.
Perhaps the funniest scene in the movie is when Frank presents his “most likable music ever” in the motel room.
Which is to say, this movie may not appeal to everyone.
But if you’re a rock musician (especially a weirdo like me), you’ve gotta see this.
There are a couple of scenes which make the whole thing worthwhile.
It’s funny that Soronprfbs bassist François Civil bears a striking resemblance to Dave Fridmann circa-1991.
[just another detail which cemented the genius of this film for me]
But there are other seeming references in this film.
A bit of Stereolab (with all the Moogy wonder).
The stilted “artfulness” of Blonde Redhead.
And even the bollocks, pulseless blech of Low.
Yes, Soronprfbs and their “side projects” seem to catch just about every hue in the indie rock kaleidoscope.
Director Abrahamson (and writers Ronson and Straughan) do a nice job of converting Domhnall Gleeson’s internal monologue into a social media thread which runs through this movie.
Gleeson is on Twitter, YouTube, a blog, etc.
But the funniest is the beginning…and it is the hook which reeled me in.
To hear Gleeson’s musical mind attempt to craft quirky pop songs out of mundane details of his Irish town is a real knee-slapper.
Because, as they say, IT’S SO TRUE!
So if you’ve ever written songs, witness in the first five minutes of this film the real torture it is to make lemonade out of a lemon life.
Be forewarned (or enticed): Frank is WAY OUT THERE!
Some elements of this film are so non sequitur that they were a bit hard for my weakened, nicotine-craving immune system to handle.
In the end, this is a sad story.
But with joy, pain.
There is great joy in Frank.
Sometimes we realize we’re not in Kansas anymore…
and it’s a rough patch.
The Technicolor of life can be too much to handle.
But take courage, dear friends…
Like Gong’s great song “Rational Anthem”…from that hard-to-find Magick Brother…their debut.
[Get on that, Spotify]
Miracles can happen.
And, to quote Albert Ayler, “music is the healing force of the universe”.
This is the longest movie I’ve ever watched.
But at one hour and 46 minutes, that’s not a good thing.
To feel like it’s taking forever.
Which is not to say this is a bad film.
It’s a very good film.
With a very disturbing ending.
Yes, I’m warning you.
Don’t (like me) get sucked in by all the cuteness and expect our still-mediocre filmmaker to give you a good ending.
But maybe I’m wrong…
First, Asia Argento is a very talented filmmaker.
But she’s still mediocre.
There are two main problems with this film.
The editing (as in cut some of this superfluous shit out) and the ending.
My guess is that Argento could not bear to see any of her precious footage cut (to any significant degree).
So I am not complaining about the découpage (editor Filippo Barbieri does a fantastic job…especially in the palimpsest intro), but rather the montage (in the French sense).
The ending is a cheap stunt.
David Bowie predicted such excess on Ziggy Stardust…
I will leave it at that.
But suffice it to say that Asia Argento put her heart and soul into this film.
And much of it (most of it) is magical.
This was in spite of Charlotte Gainsbourg’s overwrought, tacky performance.
Charlotte is a wonderful musician.
One of the best alive.
I adore her music.
But she is a terrible actress.
Even so, Argento should have reined in Gainsbourg’s diva performance considerably.
Yet nothing can take away from the true magic contained in Misunderstood (this film’s title on Netflix).
Maybe it’s not Gainsbourg’s fault.
Maybe the role called for a soulless bitch.
But we’ve seen Charlotte in other dire films (like Melancholia).
For all of Asia Argento’s imperfections as a filmmaker (and there are a few), she is like Orson Welles compared to the utter shite that Lars von Trier churns out.
Not to mince words, but “von” Trier has to be one of the worst filmmakers working today.
And so let’s get to why Argento marginally succeeds with this film.
The answer is so very simple: Giulia Salerno.
Salerno must have been about 13 (or younger) when this film was shot [though she is ostensibly nine years old…in the context of the story].
Her acting, really, is a revelation.
The entire movie revolves around her.
She and her cat Dac.
It’s a sad story.
But Aria [Salerno] makes everything joyful.
Ah, the resilience of kids!
I was blessed with wonderful parents growing up.
Aria’s parents in this film are reprehensible in just about every way imaginable.
There is something of a Les Quatre Cents Coups to this tale.
Aria wanders back and forth.
With her little pet carrier (for the cat).
She has no stability.
Indeed, she ultimately has very little love at all.
I don’t want to spoil the story for you.
But here are the takeaways.
Asia Argento has the talent to become a world-class filmmaker.
This was an admirable and artful first effort.
It is a very special film.
Now it’s time for her to stop surrounding herself with ass kissers.
She’s not an auteur yet.
[I don’t care who her father was!]
Giulia Salerno has the brigtest future imaginable as an actress.
She is now about 15 years old.
And she’s already put a performance like this under her belt.
I hope that Hollywood and the cinema of her home country Italy take notice of her incredible thespian gift.
And I will give Argento one more compliment: she sure shocked the shit out of me with that ending.
And though it was trite and tasteless, it didn’t completely ruin what was a very fine film.
Indeed, the editor needed for the bulk of this film would have lopped it off forthwith (if they were at all worth their salt).