D é N O U E M E N T S

Jacob Augustine: Frontier

In The Playlist Issue of Rolling Stone (December 2010), the publication enlisted music’s finest artists and asked them to do their Top 10s. One of the most outstanding playlists in the company of Erykah Badu (Seventies Souls), Jimmy Webb (Songs I Wish I’d Written), Patti Smith (Bob Dylan’s Love Songs) and Debby Harry (CBCG-Era Punk) is Tom Morello’s  take on Protest Songs. His mixtape namechecks John Lennon’s “Imagine” as number one followed by Public Enemy, Marley, Gabriel, The Clash and six more (complete list here). What is obvious in his list is how these songs, in their very nature aligns itself to the personal and abstract yet military, idealistic the most yet painstakingly inspiring.

Now, while listening to Jacob Augustine’s Frontier I was suddenly reminded of that list. I wish I could let Morello listen to “Asthma” but I am almost a year late.

Jacob Augustine is an independent musician from Maine who recently released three albums simultaneously on Bandcamp  for Name Your Price. The most eminent among the three is Frontier, a nine-track collection ticking beyond the standard five-minute mark per track; a record that is intended to be distributed and heard by the political, the mid-dwellers and the apolitical.

“Coyote” by Jacob Augustine

Links: Bandcamp. Facebook. Soundcloud.

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Paper Memories by Theo Putzu (7:25)

An old man watching the world pass by one day decides to find his happiness. Sitting all day in his room, looking out the window, sleeping under the clock and hearing it tick awakens the man to the search for his lover. Hidden among her letters to him are series of photographs that lead him around the city, looking for the next location as shown in her pictures. Passing through abandoned buildings, old parts and  stadium; the old man finds her finally at the beach that concludes to a dramatic ending.

Using stop-motion teachnique, Theo Putzu captures a simple story of yearning and loneliness through a dreamer’s eyes. The old man, while seemingly contended in his life alone, is pushed by a pulsing need to look beyond the glass windows that detained him in his aging years. The music works like a pendulum that counts every waking second that the old man spends as he travels across town chasing after olden images of her. Putzu reportedly used approximately 4000 pictures beautifully edited together, like the man’s memory of his wife, in paler shades of grey and muted colors to illustrate the sentimentality of his tale.

Paper Memories has won Best Short Film in Corto Corto Mon Amour (Italy, 2010) and Festival Schermi Irregolari (Belgium, 2011), Audience Award in Disposable Film Festival (USA,2011), Special Jury Prizes in Miglio D’oro Film Festival (2011), Trani Film Festival (2011) and more accolades in numerous festivals around Italy.

Putzu was born in Sardinia, Italy and is now based in Barcelona, Spain. He studied Production Design in Accademia di Belle Arti of Florence before taking up his Master in Directing Film in Spain’s Centro de Estudios Cinematograficos de Catalunya. He is a self-confessed dreamer. More of his work here.

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More Than Conquerors: Boots & Bones

Belfast lads More than Conquerors brought their troops in full gear for the band’s second EP Boots and Bones. The largest city in Northern Ireland might have blessed them enough pathos to work on jacked with youth vigor that pushed the band in the forefront of its local music scene since its formation in 2009. Their self-titled debut EP pronounced the arrival of the band as it was also being featured on BBC Radio Ulster’s ‘Across The Line’ radio show and on BBC Introducing.

Now for 2011. More than Conquerors released Boots and Bones, a five-track EP that will appeal to fans of Enter Shikari, The Vines and Rapture. With tracks like “Oh My Son!,” a bustle of pounding drums and fist-high choruses  and the equally dynamic “Bear Knucke Fight,” the EP kickstarts with an assault. Midway the EP, “The Deer & the Fox” seems to slow it down a tempo only to launch it again 1:20 til the end of the track. “Hunting for the Whale” is the sole track in Boots and Bones where Kris Platt and Co. quells the noise a bit in exchange of affecting vocals and languid approach, letting the listeners’ breathe before another rambunctious affair in “A Lion, a Man,” their latest single.

Boots and Bones was released November 7th and is currently available on streaming on the band’s Soundcloud page. The EP is More than Conquerors’ offering under Northern Irish independent label Smalltown America and is available on IndependentMusic.

“Oh My Son!” by More than Conquerors

Links: Facebook. Bandcamp. Soundcloud. YouTube.

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Blanket Barricade: “A Velvet Affair”

There has to be something highly entertaining when people wearing children’s party costumes while frolicking around the city park for a picnic are stuck backwards.

This and other splashes of gaiety sum up Blanket Barricade’s music video for his debut single “A Velvet Affair.” The man in black, by the way, anticlimactic and straight-faced, is Wesley Krauss, the man behind Blank Barricade.

Shot in reverse, Krauss learned all the words for a month before shooting and creatively glued all the elements of psychedelic happiness in capturing a thwarted feel against the meaning of the song. “Fire your guns, they won’t stop what we’ve begun tonight, ” sings Krauss. The single reminds of John Nolan-led Straylight Run project, just staunchier  and upbeat. Emphasis on wordy lyrics, emphatic vocals and build-ups surge into a catchy chorus and melody about rallying on the street and fighting for what you believe in as Krauss piano cruises along the song. “Regardless what you see/ amongst the chaos on the screen/ it’s only love that we defend… “ he affirms clenched fist.

Some music videos come into mind upon watching “A Velvet Affair”, famously Coldplay’s “The Scientist,” super complicated Cibo Matto video “Sugar Water” and Roman Coppola-directed “From Your Mouth” by God Lives Underwater.

“A Velvet Affair” is Blanket Barricade’s first single from the band’s debut Parade Bells out on December 12, 2011. The music video is directed, written and edited by Ivy Lam.

Links: Bandcamp. Facebook. SoundcloudTwitter.

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The Hunger Games (Official Trailer)

Now for the geek in me, the official Hunger Games trailer has been released in Good Morning America few minutes ago and it did not take long for the HD version to come out simultaneously in iTunes and in YouTube.

For those out of the loop, the Hunger Games is a three-part series that chronicles its heroine’s ascension in going against a futuristic ultra-tyrannical state. Each year, the Capitol chooses two “tributes” from its Districts 1 to 12 to fight off with each other in a televised bloodsport arena.

The book received critical acclaim and best-selling status for its depiction of dystopic society where power is yielded by fear and the rest of its populace hanging by its blade. Think Brave New World, Gattaca and Battle Royale in one reel.

The trailer begins with Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth)talking off Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) in escaping District 12 while in the off-limits hunting ground familiar to those who followed Suzzane Collins’s trilogy. These scenes are followed by the reaping, an event where each tribute are chosen for each district to compete to the Games. Glimpses of Primrose Everdeen and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) are shown together with how the Capitol looks like.

Supporting characters also revealed, Cinna (Lenny Kravitz), Rue, President Snow as the trailer progresses from their training up to the pivotal introduction to the arena. It is surprising that Lionsgate included key scenes from the story, Katniss in her fire costume, the chase to the weapons in two minutes and thirty. For some circles who are anticipating this film, it is a relief to see Lawrence, Hemsworth and Hutcherson stand on the shoulders of other star-crossed lover sequel tales around and actually register character on screen. Striking about the short look at Hunger Games is its like-what-I-imagined accord of the Capitol to the book, the militarized city and its post-America Panem especially in an aerial shot of the metropolis.

The first installment of the Hunger Games is directed by Gary Ross (Seabiscuit, Pleasantville) and will hit theaters March 23, 2012.

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