Friday, September 26, 2008

I Met Ben Folds in a Pizza Parlor!

It's been a week since my epic trip to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to see Ben Folds Five's one-off reunion. It's taken me about that long to recover from pure ultimation of that trip, not to mention the brutal 40 hours spent in transit to and from there. Northwest corner of the continent to the southeast-- what was I thinking? Basically when I got to my hotel room, I walked in the door and crashed for a couple hours. When I came to, it was time to go! I headed to downtown Chapel Hill to meet-up with a bunch of random fans from the message boards at for a pre-show meal at Pepper's Pizza, chosen for its central location and because its decor consists of paintings of local musicians including one Mr. Folds.

I got there about 10 minutes early and was told no one else had arrived ("You're with the reservation for twenty?"), so the server plopped me down at the bar. Alternating between watching the front door, the TV, and my watch, suddenly I did a double take when I noticed BEN FOLDS was dining in a nearby booth with his wife and parents! He was facing me and for a brief second he must have seen my eyes pop out 2 inches out of my skull. I casually turned back to the bar, mentally freaking out and stealing furtive glances back at his table. Eventually I found out from a different server that a corner table was occupied by some of the people I was supposed to be meeting, so I hopped over to introduce myself, though they seemed to be slightly preoccupied by BEN FOLDS EATING IN A BOOTH OVER THERE. Soon he finished up and got up to go, quickly followed by a quarter of the restaurant. I don't think I would have had the nerve to say anything to him other than a smile and a nod, but when this mini-mob formed I jumped at the opportunity to meet a musical hero. Ben was friendly and gracious, taking the time to signing things, chat, and pose for photos. Then when he was done, the rest of our group showed up... he chatted for a few more minutes then bid adieu, leaving us all chattering excitedly about what just occurred. The bulk of our group were Americans who had travelled from out of state, though there were a few from the UK and one Canuck (me). We would later meet-up with another hardcore fan who had travelled from Japan! And I thought I had a long trip.

The show kicked off with a set from Hotel Lights, a two-man band headed by Darren Jessee. Unfortunately, the crowd was made up of mostly UNC students chatting LOUDLY throughout his whole set and walking in/out of the auditorium. Ironically, they only shut up between songs, then continued right back up talking when he started each song. Kinda sad, though honestly it wasn't a very good venue for his wistful acoustic songs. The highlight of his set was Amelia Bright, an unreleased Ben Folds Five tune, which he dedicated to Ben and Robert. After his set, Darren walked off to cheers, as we prepared ourselves for his return... as the drummer of Ben Folds Five for the first time in nearly 10 years. [note: they were confiscating cameras left and right so I have no shots from the show itself, which was fine since it's wonderful to just soak in the experience rather than worry about taking pictures!]

Soon the house lights dimmed for the main event and the crowd went nuts. And out walked Darren! Ben! Robert! Together again performing The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner front to back! I'll run out of superlatives real fast attempting to describe the show, but I was in a state of Full Body Tingles for the whole night. As someone who's listened to these tracks countless times and knows them inside-out, it's exhilarating to hear them live and notice the little differences or wonder how they're going to pull of a particular moment. Every song was magic in their own way, but Magic was absolutely breathtaking with the crowd rapt in silent awe. The original Don't Change Your Plans was the first track on the album to feature horns and sure enough, on cue out walked a horn section presumably made up of UNC students. They reappeared for Army, the album's one semi-hit, which received the loudest reception and crowd sing-along. It was refreshing to hear actual horns and Robert's original fuzzy bass, both missing in Ben's solo gigs where the horn sections are sung by the crowd. Your Most Valuable Possession, probably never performed live, featured Ben's dad Dean re-enacting a bizarre early morning phone message he once left on Ben's machine while half-asleep. Ben hilariously forgot the lyrics in the middle of Regrets. "So many regrets..." he sung as he shook his head just before the booming end of the song. The set finished off with Lullabye, a bittersweet ending with Ben singing "Goodnight, goodnight". They left to a deafening ovation and the excitement was through the roof because here's where we entered the unknown portion of the program.

The encore started off with Jackson Cannery, one of my faves and the band's very first single (I think). Next was Eddie Walker, the b-side to that single. The lyrics "Eddie Walker, this is your life" seemed to fit the occasion since the hometown crowd was peppered with family members, old friends, former colleagues, and ex-bandmates. Next came two from Whatever and Ever Amen: Selfless, Cold and Composed and Battle of Who Could Care Less, the lyrics from which the album's title comes from (prompting knowing fans to hold up their hands in a "W"). Ben prefaced the next song by telling a story about them recording their debut album, which was deemed terrible and re-recorded with a new producer. "That's vaulted, you'll never hear it," he teased before launching into Julianne. The band finished off with an old favourite Song for the Dumped before leaving to an even more thunderous ovation, which lasted for a good 10 minutes through the "go home" music and house lights going up before turning to chants and eventually boos as the roadies came out. Always leave 'em wanting more. The show is due to be broadcast on mySpace sometime in October and hopefully (please!) a DVD will come out. Surely it's too epic to remain in the vault. Of course, I said that about the White Stripes' Glace Bay show which was being filmed... seemingly never to be released.

Full setlist:
Don't Change Your Plans
Hospital Song
Your Redneck Past
Your Most Valuable Possession

Jackson Cannery
Eddie Walker
Selfless, Cold and Composed
Battle of Who Could Care Less
Song for the Dumped

After the show, we gathered by the stage doors to hopefully meet Darren and Robert. Most of the people had seen Ben Folds numerous times, but never the full "Five" except for one superfan who'd been to over 50 shows dating back to the old days! We were assured by our insider that those two would definitely be coming out to meet and greet, though Ben had left right away with family. Eventually Robert and Darren came out to a sizable, though not unwieldy throng of fans. They were super gracious, making sure that they didn't leave before everybody got a chance to shake hands, sign stuff, and take photos. Perfect way to cap off an incredible night.

"Grew a mustache and a mullet, got a job at Chick-Fil-A..."
Army by Ben Folds Five

Honestly outside of that song, I'd never heard of Chick-Fil-A let alone seen one. I had to try it before I left town. Not bad, not great.

Here's a treat from the KCRW archives... in July 1997, the boys did a stint on Morning Becomes Eclectic, billed as Ben Folds Five and the BFF Brass Quintet. In other words, the trio were joined by a string quartet. At one point, the DJ jokes "When's the orchestra?". Of course, years later Ben would go on to play orchestral dates in Australia and the US (more orchestral dates next year too!). There is the occasional audio glitch, which is directly from the KCRW stream.

Ben Folds Five & The BFF Brass Quintet
Morning Becomes Eclectic 07/17/1997

01 One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces (with string intro)
02 interview
03 Fair
04 interview
05 Smoke
06 interview
07 Kate
08 interview
09 Theme From Dr. Pyser
10 interview
11 Misirlou/Philosophy
12 Outro

The whole show ZIPPED.

Also, someone from Ben's label passed along his new single for streaming:
Ben Folds featuring Regina Spektor - You Don't Know Me

Way to Normal is due next Tuesday!

Random news:
  • earlier this week, the Dresden Dolls officially called it quits... kinda. :( Though not altogether unsurprising in light of Amanda's solo debut, the crushing news came in a roundabout manner with Brian basically leaving a youTube comment stating as much. Even Amanda found out that way. Ouch. She says: "so here's what's going on, as far as amanda is concerned: the dresden dolls aren't broken up. we're just expanding the empire. while we work on other projects, join other bands, get perspective and travel the world doing god knows what."
    "i love making music with brian viglione way too much to imagine that we won't do more. we don't know when, probably more than a year from now because we're pretty firmly entrenched in our projects (me in my solo record, and brian in his new kick-ass band, world/inferno, who you should go see, because they're awesome)."

  • Weird footnote to my Ben Folds Five adventure: on the Greyhound from Seattle back to Vancouver, we pulled into the Canada/US border at the 24-hour duty free shop for a bathroom break and border shopping (if anyone wanted to at 2am). Ten minutes later we headed for the border check and literally seconds before we left the parking lot, another bus passed us. We pulled in behind them and silently grumbled since that could theoretically delay us an extra 45 minutes or more while they checked that bus. Our driver got off to chat with the border people and came back grumbling about "big wig rock stars". It turned out it was Alicia Keys' tour bus headed to Vancity for a concert the next night. Actually tour buses since another one pulled up beside us. Fortunately they decided to speed process the fifteen or so of us sleepy passengers and let us be on our merry way. Take that, Alicia Keys! If you haven't heard it yet, the new Alicia Keys/Jack White Bond theme Another Way to Die is out on iTunes or stream it here.

  • In related news, folk rocker Ray LaMontagne wrote an ode to Meg White. Seriously.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Going to Chapel Hill!

Two weeks ago I wrote "Someday I'd like to go to Chapel Hill", once hometown of two of my all-time favourite bands, Ben Folds Five and the Squirrel Nut Zippers. The time is now, I leave TODAY for Chapel Hill to witness a spectacular event the likes of which I could never have predicted happening, let alone attending. That's right, I'm going to the BEN FOLDS FIVE REUNION.

When tickets went on sale September 8th, it was seemingly sold out before anyone got a chance to buy tickets (online, that is). Basically the site kinda crashed and there were a lot of mopey fans, myself included. Then, a little bit of a miracle: I won two tickets through the Ben Folds Fan Club (don't laugh). Technically, I "won" the opportunity of buying tickets, which had me on pins and needles until Monday afternoon when they finally gave me the info required to actually get these tickets. By this point, I had booked complicated travel arrangements based solely on their e-mail word, desperately hoping I wasn't the victim of some psychotic Nigerian Ben Folds e-mail scam. But I did get my ticket. I'm on my way!

Last Friday, Ben acted as DJ on a Philadephia radio station Y-Rock on XPN and talked about his new album, the reunion, and forthcoming projects:

  • MySpace had originally asked Ben himself to play the full Reinhold Messner album front to back and he declined, partially because it seemed weird to do it without the rest of the "Five". A couple days later he thought "Why not?" and called up Robert Sledge and Darren Jessee to see if they wanted to do it. They said okay.
  • All proceeds from the show are going to Operation Smile
  • One show, that's probably it. They've been careful about playing reunion-type shows and they'd like to "retain the sanctity" of what Ben Folds Five was. No one in the band is really inclined to take it any further than this. Perhaps the occasional gig someday if the circumstances are right, otherwise no. Ben thinks they'd want to do an original album of material before something like that occurred, but he doesn't really see that happening either.
  • regarding the reunion show: "Perhaps there'll be an encore with extra special treats?" Ben: "Well, that's compulsory."
On the Ben Folds slate:
  • of course, the new album Way to Normal is due at the end of the month
  • in December, rough plan is to write/record an album with Nick Hornby! "We've got some stuff we've already done..."
  • an orchestral tour next fall
  • he's gathering college a cappella covers of his songs, possibly releasing a whole record of them
  • at some point, a Jacques Brel-style show in downtown New York (to me, this sounds Amanda Palmer-influenced)

Another exciting event for next month: he's joining Elton John for a benefit concert in New York October 20th celebrating the 35th anniversary of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. Other guests include Rufus Wainwright, Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters, the casts of Hair and The Lion King(?), and more. Tickets range from $250 to $2500! I'll wait for the television special, though I'd love to hear Ben tackle Grey Seal, or anything from that album, really.

Don't forget, Darren Jessee's band Hotel Lights recently released their second album Firecracker People, which has a new recording of the unreleased Ben Folds Five song, Amelia Bright.

Outside of college a capella groups on youTube, covers of Ben Folds Five are somewhat rare, but here's a few curiosities I've collected over the years:

Bette Midler - Boxing [originally by Ben Folds Five]
It's hard to believe one of the only BFF covers is by Bette Midler of all people. Good song choice, debatable success.

Yellowcard - Missing the War [originally by Ben Folds Five]
A surprising cover from an Wal-Mart(??) internet session. Originally from Whatever and Ever Amen, this cover subs out the signature Ben Folds piano-based sound for acoustic guitar.

Basking in the Sun - Brick [originally by Ben Folds Five]
A lamentable dance remix of Ben Fold's Five biggest radio hit, in case you ever wanted to do the abortion twist.

University of Nebraska Jazz Band - Jane [originally by Ben Folds Five]
My favourite BFF cover takes an underrated cut from The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner and jazzes it up superbly.

The Harvard Callbacks - Don't Change Your Plans [originally by Ben Folds Five]
One of the better, if not the best, a cappella cover of a Ben Folds Five song. Originally from the Messner album.

De Poema's - Groot en Belangrijk [originally by Ben Folds Five]
VanVelzen - One Angry Dwarf [originally by Ben Folds Five]
Not one, but TWO covers of One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces by Dutch artists. My favourite song from Whatever and Ever Amen, it's great to discover at least someone giving it some cover love.

Adrian Holovaty - Cigarette [originally by Ben Folds Five]
A Chicago web developer and journalist, Adrian Holovaty has a side hobby posting youtube videos of his Django Reinhardt-inspired guitar playing. Extremely multi-talented guy. I posted his Gypsy Super Mario 2 theme a while back. Here, he re-arranges a short tune from Whatever and Ever Amen.

AudioDile - Manic Depression [The Bangles vs. Ben Folds Five]
A mash-up of Manic Monday and Brick. Works surprisingly well.
[**UPDATE: Read the comments for an updated version of this mash-up from AudioDile!]

I saw this a few days ago, though for some reason it doesn't seem to work for me right now... maybe it will for you: an unexpectedly ingenious video mash-up of Ben Folds Five's Army with the treadmill dancing of OK Go. Check it out.

I'll be back next week with stories and photos!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Max Vernon Wants YOU listen to his music and be his myspace friend! Max Vernon appeared out of nowhere a couple months ago with his most excellent classical/electro/doo-wop cover of Katy Perry's I Kissed a Girl. He's trying to get the word out about his music and I'm more than happy to lend a hand since I became an instant fan the second I checked out his originals on myspace.

A few of my faves:

Max Vernon - No Exit

Max Vernon - Open Casting Calls (live)

Max Vernon - When Your Body Breaks
Beautiful song. This honestly deserves some solid round the clock airplay somewhere.

Listen/download more at his myspace site.

From his blog:
"I basically spent most of my savings creating these recordings, but i'm not particularly interested in selling them. I would much rather be able to give them away for free in exchange for feeling like i'm apart of a larger musical community, and knowing that people are getting some kind of enjoyment from what I put all my time, heart, and soul into."

So there you go. Great music for freeeeeeeeeeeee, bwahahhahhaha!

"I will send a CD filled with all of my songs, including b-sides and rarities probably no one else has, and old recordings that i'm sure you will be able to oneday blackmail me with, along with a personalized message (and maybe even some other goodies...) to anyone that can help get me 15 new myspace friends. Let's be pen-pals."

So jump aboard the Max Vernon bandwagon, become Max's myspace pal, spread the word, eat chocolate, but most importantly throw his songs on your music player of choice and simply listen. You'll become a fan, I know it.

Max Vernon's corner of the internet:

  • Myspace

  • Sonicbids

  • Youtube

  • Monday, September 15, 2008

    This Remix Will Rock You in the Head

    Now that the Large Hadron Collider is chugging along and Greek hackers decided not to ruin the party, it's time to celebrate like it's a Fermilab pajama party!

    neminem - Black Holes and Scientific Revelations
    [remix of Alpinekat's Large Hadron Rap]

    A reader who goes by the moniker neminem has produced the first remix (as far as I know) of Alpinekat's LHC Rap, brilliantly laid over Muse's Supermassive Black Hole. Clever, eh? The bar is certainly set high for future LHC remixes. The a capella vocal track comes directly from Alpinekat's own site, so definitely head over there if you've got your own remixing itch.

    I don't have the know-how to do my own remixes, but might I suggest a potential sample:

    KCPK - We Will Rock You [originally by Queen]
    This is probably my favourite Queen cover, which I first heard in an Evian ad at a "World's Best Commercials" screening several years ago. Apparently it was a huge thing in Europe at the time with radio play and remixes. Now imagine it mashed with the LHC Rap. Yes, I can already hear it: "...the things that it discovers will rock you in the head-- rock you.... rock you... rock you"

    Sunday, September 14, 2008

    Find Out Who Killed Amanda Palmer

    I should have mentioned this earlier: has been taking pre-orders since last Monday for the new album, which is released this Tuesday. As is more and more common with dwindling CD sales, artists are getting more creative with tiered packages. All packages come with the physical CD and link to instantly download the whole album as MP3s. So, of course, I've been spinning this on my iPod since last week and it's pretty great.

    1. For the casual fan ($14.99)
    -digipack CD
    -instant download link for the ENTIRE WKAP album in V0 MP3 format
    -code for instant download of two previously unreleased exclusive WKAP pre-order tracks, Straight (with strings) and the previously-only-available-as-youTube-bootleg I Google You (with lyrics by Neil Gaiman)

    2. For the more than casual fan ($34.99)
    -digipack CD signed by Amanda Palmer & Ben Folds (limited to 5000 Amanda sigs and 250 Ben sigs...)
    -Instant download link for the ENTIRE WKAP album in V0 MP3 format (plus the two WKAP re-order tracks Straight and I Google You)
    -exclusive "I Killed Amanda Palmer" t-shirt
    -download code for an exclusive digital-only Amanda Palmer EP (delivered via e-mail on or before 12/24/2008) featuring 10+ demos and rarities culled from the WKAP recording archives. Includes some one-take demos recorded with Ben Folds at his Nashville studio.

    3. For the Über-fan ($100.00, limited to 672)
    -everything from the middle package
    -limited edition WKAP lithograph signed and numbered by Amanda Palmer
    -WKAP book autographed by Amanda and Neil Gaiman
    -WKAP vinyl autographed by Amanda
    -Unique Amanda crime scene photo sets + surprise murder evidence - various sets with different photos, as well as trinkets which vary for each and every one of the 672 packages

    Hmmm, which one did you think I went for? Yeah, so grab your credit card and clicky-clicky over here before Tuesday when prices go up and/or they run out of the super deluxe combo.

    By the way, check out Voltaire on Amie Street for free (as of this writing) downloads of his album Ooky Spooky. Track 8, Stuck With You is a duet with Amanda Palmer. On the EP Zombie Prostitute and Other Ooky Spooky Hits, he's also got a cover of Bowie's China Girl. Voltaire's brand new album features Coin-Operated Goi, a parody of the Dresden Dolls song Coin-Operated Boy. It's not yet on Amie Street, but you can take a listen at his myspace site.

    Friday, September 12, 2008

    First Taste of Another Way to Die

    James Bond + Jack White + Coke = this

    Here's the new Coke Zero ad in the style of the Bond opening credit sequences featuring a Jack White soundtrack. It's not clear whether this is part of the new Bond theme or composed just for the ad, but I'm loving it in any event. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it's distinctly a "Jack White" sound while still retaining the Bond feel. Can't wait to hear the whole thing.

    The last Jack/Coke team-up produced this little gem:
    Jack White - Love is the Truth

    My biggest beef with Coke Zero's ad campaign is that it's entirely based on this crazy idea that it tastes like regular Coke, which is blatantly untrue (though it tastes an awfully lot like diet coke with that same nasty aftertaste). At least the talking eyeball and tongue ads seen before every movie in the theatres will be phased out in favour of the new Bond ad methinks.

    Wednesday, September 10, 2008

    It Got Loud

    Well, the Large Hadron Collider started up today without a hitch. Everyone still here? Good. I love this headline from National Geographic: Large Hadron Collider "Actually Worked". 14 years and $8 billion later, I would hope so. Today was the first attempt to send a beam of protons around the 27 kilometer tunnel. I'm told it takes one ten-thousandth of a second for a the proton beam to circle the ring, so I can only imagine how anticlimactic it was to push the "on" button. In any event, scientists were ecstatic. Apparently Stephen Hawking bet $100 that the elusive Higgs boson will not be found, but it may be a few months before we find out who's right.


    So I'm back from the big T.O. and I'm extremely thrilled to report that indeed I was able to attend the world premiere of the rock doc It Might Get Loud at the Toronto Film Fest last Friday night. Yes, it got loud... as it should, considering the film's subjects JIMMY PAGE, JACK WHITE, and THE EDGE were all in attendance! They received a rousing ovation from the audience as they entered, shuffling down the rows to their reserved seats-- not far behind me! Oscar-winning director Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth) was there to introduce the film, thanking the guitar virtuosos, the film's producers, and his wife Elizabeth Shue(?!). Utterly surreal watching a movie alongside these guitar greats.

    The film kicks off with a shot of a cow. At a farmhouse in Tennessee (if I recall), Jack White hammers together a homemade instrument out of some blocks of wood, a coke bottle, and wire. Plugging it into an amp, he rips through some invented riffs. "Who says you need to buy a guitar?" he quips, as the opening credits roll. Central to the film is an epic Summit meeting of the three guitarists at an L.A. soundstage, which is interspersed with the subjects telling their own stories through individual interviews, revisiting locations of personal significance, and messing around in their own studios including the recording of unreleased new songs.

    Some highlights include Jimmy Page playing a record of Link Wray's Rumble from his extensive home collection and goofily air strumming along with a huge grin on his face; The Edge revisiting his old school in Dublin where he once answered a leaflet posted by Larry Mullen Jr. advertising for bandmates, which would eventually become U2 (he ponders if he hadn't seen that ad and says maybe today he'd be a bank manager); and Jack White teaching a 9-year-old incarnation of himself the folk-blues standard Sittin' On Top of the World. At The Summit, all three swap tales and ideas about the electric guitar... of course, we're all eagerly anticipating their jamming together. They take turns leading the others through their own songs: The Edge on I Will Follow, Jack White on Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground, and Jimmy Page on Whole Lotta Love, though on the latter Jack and the Edge merely watch with big grins as Jimmy plays. One of my favourite parts of the film is the three of them trading solos on In My Time of Dying in their distinct styles. AWESOME. It's curious to watch the Edge here because a completely different thought process seems to apply to his guitar solos while Jimmy and Jack clearly have their roots in the blues. If you're a fan of any of these bands, this film is pure gold.

    After the film, all three guitarists, the producers, and the director went up on stage for a brief Q&A. I recorded the last couple questions:

    For the cover lovers, it must be noted that their Summit ends with them getting together to play The Band's The Weight with Jack and the Edge swapping verses. Jack agrees to take the high notes on the chorus while Jimmy mumbles something about not being able to sing at all. Man, they have got to release an official soundtrack to this film.

    My top three covers of The Weight:

    Tok Tok Tok - The Weight [originally by The Band]

    Aretha Franklin with Duane Allman - The Weight [originally by The Band]

    The Moog Machine - The Weight [originally by The Band]

    Led Zeppelin, U2, and the The White Stripes as you've never heard them:

    Nuspirit Helsinki - No Quarter [originally by Led Zeppelin]

    Nossa Alma Canta - Desire [originally by U2]

    Nostalgia 77 featuring Alice Russell - Seven Nation Army (Grant Phabao Remix)
    [originally by The White Stripes]

    I had hoped to have an amazing postscript to this night after I was by some stroke of luck able to score a ticket to the fabled It Might Get Loud after party as a media guest (don't ask). But the party was a total bust. Clearly there was an exclusive party within the party for special people only, so I was out in a jammed room with the other schmucks and party fillers. Pure Hell. Utter shallowness on display in full force and free drinks! I held on for 2 hours in hope of a rumoured jam session, though obviously this wasn't going to happen or at least not for us peons to hear/see. The only person of interest I saw was Richard Branson (or a look-alike) cutting through the lobby to the hotel elevators. The next day I read a small blurb in the paper that 2 of the 3 guitarists played (doesn't even say who) and those in attendance included Michael J. Fox, Bryan Adams, Geoffrey Rush, ex-Leaf Tie Domi, probable ex-Leaf Mats Sundin, and some Blue Jays. Yep, completely different party.

    Other tidbits:
    • A clip I had seen previously on YouTube of a teenage Jimmy Page playing skiffle guitar on a TV show in 1957 appears in the film and the crowd erupted in laughter when they heard young Jimmy's career aspirations. Check the full segment here.

    • With Jack in T.O. for this and Alicia Keys also promoting her own film The Secret Life of Bees, producers took advantage of the opportunity to film the music video for their James Bond theme duet Another Way to Die somewhere in Toronto on Saturday. By the way, did you see the new Quantum of Solace trailer released a day or two ago? Check it out. And a surprising Bond tidbit from It Might Get Loud itself... The Edge asks Jimmy Page if there are any recordings they'd recognize from Jimmy's stint in the 60's as a session guitarist on numerous recordings. His answer: Goldfinger. Wow, news to me!

    • The other film at TIFF I saw was a midnight screening of JCVD, a new film starring Jean-Claude Van Damme as himself. A meta look at Jean Claude Van Damme's life surreally crossed with Dog Day Afternoon. A surreal, funny film and Van Damme shockingly delivers a riveting confessional monologue. Again: Van Damme and riveting in the same sentence. And I just have to mention that the JCVD end credits also roll with a cover song-- Bowie!
      Marie Mazziotti - Modern Love [originally by David Bowie]

    Friday, September 05, 2008

    I Might Get Loud

    This is Last Friday Me writing from the past. Little did you know but I've been on vacation in Toronto since last Friday, in fact I leave in a couple hours... I hope I'm having a good time. If all goes according to plan, Current Me should be having a GREAT time at the World Premiere of a new documentary at the Toronto Film Festival called, It Might Get Loud.

    Let me break it down: this is a documentary from Davis Guggenhiem, the director of An Inconvenient Truth, about the electric guitar as filtered through the fingers of Jimmy Page, Jack White, and The Edge. KaBOOM--exploding head! Mind blown. Longtime readers should know my affinity for Led Zeppelin and the White Stripes, so when I heard this was premiering at TIFF and I just so happened to be in town, doing everything in my power be there was a no-brainer. And hey I like me some U2 too. Plus get this: all three guitarists will supposedly be in attendance. SPLOOSH!--headless body melts into puddle of goo. Now that would be an after party for the ages. According to the official site, the film "weaves together their stories to reveal how each of them developed a unique sound" and brings the three virtuosos together for a jam session. This is so gonna rock. Current Me had better be there.

    DJ Zebra - Icky Thump (Whole Lotta Funk Remix) [White Stripes vs. Led Zeppelin]

    Tuesday, September 02, 2008

    Ben Folds Five Revived

    It's happening.

    Hear Émilie Play

    Émilie Simon - Space Oddity [originally by David Bowie]
    You know I'm a sucker for Bowie covers and this great one showed up in my inbox last week courtesy of one of them promo people. Émilie Simon is a pop/electronic singer-songwriter from France whose latest album is due in the new year. Her take on the Bowie classic is unexpectedly euphoric as it reaches the chorus, accompanied by a myriad of beautiful sounds weaving their way through the space narrative. Curiously, Simon provided the original soundtrack to the French documentary March of the Penguins, though a new score was composed specifically for the English language version. Even weirder, the original French version featured three voice actors as Mama, Papa, and Baby Penguin narrating the film from their perspective...?! Hmmm, do you think this would've won an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature if they had faithfully translated the penguin dialogue instead bringing in narration by Morgan Freeman?

    David Bowie - See Emily Play [originally by Pink Floyd]
    Ho ho, couldn't resist. Émilie Simon has some upcoming gigs in L.A. and New York. See Émilie play here:
    9/9 - Los Angeles, The Roxy
    9/24 - NYC, The Cutting Room
    10/1 - NYC, The Cutting Room
    10/8 - NYC, The Cutting Room
    10/15 - NYC, The Cutting Room
    10/22 - NYC, The Cutting Room

    Speaking of European moonage covers showing up in my inbox...

    Gina & Tony - Mr. Sandman [originally by The Chordettes]
    A long while ago I received this sample of "electronic moonpop" artists Gina & Tony, a two-piece band from Switzerland. Their first full-length album Moonbow, available on iTunes, also features a cover of Over the Rainbow.