The Neighbourhood

I think i found hell,
I think i found something,
I think i found something in my TV screen.

That’s an intro from an ear-catchy single titled Female Robbery. Female Robbery is a song by The Neighbourhood, and yes, it’s the first time I heard about them too. You never heard about them, neither do I, but one thing for sure we should give their songs a listen.

Nothing more I can tell you about this band besides that they are Californian and playing a good music. Their songwriting is good either, it’s a “girl getter” lyric they have on both Female Robbery and Sweater Weather, but hey, they deliver those words in a fancy way without being cheesy and annoying. Go get a listen, Female Robbery posted two months ago while Sweater Weather were posted on March 27th.

Their music is unique, it’s a mixture of indie-pop with a little bit hip-hop. Vocal delivery are potential to be a niche for their musical career, if you remember how Lily Allen singing her songs, then their vocalist will remind you of her (in a male voices, of course). You will heard that most of the song are filled with steady beat in a very slow pace. Guitar and bass are doing the same, only few chord repeating, and then we heard the vocal repertoire chanting in a clear voice intriguing our ears without a doubt, word by word.

I see no album release date yet, but this one obviously going into my watch list. Enjoy!

Connect with The Neighbourhood Facebook | Twitter | Last.fm | Website | Soundcloud

Hip Hatchet – Sing Me A Reprise

Back to 2010, many music blogs told us about someone who sing and write songs like Leonard Cohen. They are talking about Philippe Bronchtein, the man known as Hip Hatchet. His debut album Men Who Share My Name gain many good reviews back in 2010, its pure folk that hit music critics on their first thought. While the deepness of Hatchet’s lyrics simply told us about life and all its hardship. Moreover, Bronchtein playing folk on its basic shape, a simple accoustic guitar and a depth of his vocal.

Sing Me a Reprise is part of his upcoming album, Joy and Better Days. Sing Me a Reprise reperesent Bronchtein typical on lyrical writing, a powerful line with a deep senses. The track also well played, slow playing music so we can go deep into every single word on it. I bet the whole album will sound like this one, which definitely will be a good thing.

So, this is a proof that my previous thought was wrong. There are so many talented male musician floating these days, I just didn’t browse much. I recommend Hip Hatchet for your March playlist, and looking forward to his upcoming release that will come to us in a couple of months. Meanwhile, have a listen to this precious matter. Enjoy!

Connect with Hip Hatchet Bandcamp | MySpace

Timeless Freedom Songs of ‘Soundtrack for a Revolution’

If you haven’t seen the brilliantly-directed documentary “Soundtrack for a Revolution” by the duo Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman… then you should. It is essentially a skillfully assembled historical retelling of the role music played in the Civil Rights Movement of African American in the United States. Struggling against prejudice and inequality on superficial qualities of race, the African Americans found their strength through the soul power of music.

If you have seen the documentary, most likely, as we all may did, you were touched and inspired by the reinterpretations of the traditional Civil Rights-era freedom songs that was given a new breathe of new life by soul music’s biggest artist today. Unfortunately, despite the ‘power of music’ theme of the documentary, the screening was not followed immediately along with the release of an official soundtrack album. But three years later around February 2012 to be exact, Corey Smyth and talib Kweli’s Blacksmith label finally filled the void with a ten-track release that contains the performances of timeless tracks of civil rights revolution music heard throughout the documentary.

The album begins with Mary Mary, a duo known for their slick contemporary R&B Gospel, with their version of the hymnal “We Shall Not Be Moved” that praises the good fight to benefit for the greater good. Wyclef Jean covers a version of Phil Ochs’ “Here’s To The State of Mississippi” that tells the story of the ugly race war that took place in Mississippi, particularly, directly about the lynching of civil rights worker Andrew Goodman, James Earl Chaney, and Michael Schwerner, in Neshoba County.

The Roots brings the heart and soul in a song that encourages peaceful protest despite fears of death, “A’int Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around”, with a lucent lead vocal work by Black Thought. John Legend takes on the hymne mantra “Woke Up This Morning” that urged the spirit to take each day to fulfill a mission. Angie Stone strips down “Wade in the Water” with a simple drums, keyboards, and bass composition that gives the song a brand new touch of new school soul.

Along with other featuring artists such as Joss Stone, Anthony Hamilton, Soulive, The Blind Boys of Alabama, and Richie Havens, the soundtrack album ends with one of the most powerful and world-known protest song written “We Shall Overcome” featuring all the artists singing together.

From a well-produced documentary that encourages the mind and soul to keep the good fight for civil rights, the soundtrack companion serves as a fuel for this new generation to continue the struggle.

1. We Shall Not Be Moved – Mary Mary
2. Here’s To The State of Mississippi – Wyclef Jean/Jerry Wonder
3. will The Circles Be Unbroken? – Richie Havens
4. Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around – The Roots
5. Woke Up This Morning – John Legend
6. Eyes On The Prize – Joss Stone
7. Wade in the Water – Angie Stone
8. This May Be The Last Time – Anthony Hamilton/Soulive/The Blind Boys of Alabama
9. Oh Freedom – Vivian Green
10. We Shall Overcome – All Artist

Creepy “Another Bed” Music Video by The Twilight Sad

At first impression, it is easy to unintentionally mistaken The Twilight Sad’s sound character as an another band. Most likely, a popular one. But surely, it is impossible not to notice the thick Scottish accent of vocalist James Graham that makes this group a band of its own along with sonic noise of Andy MacFarlane’s shoegazing guitar. Despite their standard template of songs, the band manage to infuse a vigorous stylistic touch  of ecstasy into their sound.

Early February 2012, the band released their third studio album ‘No One Can Ever Know’ under Fat Cat Records, a label particularly known with rosters such as Sigur Rós, Animal Collective, and Vashti Bunyan. “Another Bed” is the second single to be taken from this album. Although there is a stylistic shift from their previous albums, the band remains to provide an amusing appeal with a more thick industrial influence with the band describes as “folk with layers of noise.” But what intrigues me the most from this album is actually the music video concept lavish with such eerie vibes solely credited by the brilliant disturbing performance from Stuart Warwick, a fellow musician as well.

Not much is to say other than get ready to be creeped out by this lovely music video.

Clint Eastwood

Clinton “Clint” Eastwood, Jr. was born May 31, 1930 in San Francisco, California. His family relocated often as his father worked at different jobs along the West Coast, including at a pulp mill. As his family moved to different areas he held a series of jobs including lifeguard, paper carrier, grocery clerk, forest firefighter, and golf caddy.

Eastwood is an American film actor, director, producer, and composer. After beginning his acting career exclusively with small uncredited film roles and television appearances, his career has spanned more than 50 years. Eastwood started directing in 1971, and in 1982, his debut as a producer began with two films, Firefox and Honkytonk Man. Eastwood has received multiple accolades and many award nominations for his greatness work in the films Letters From Iwo Jima, UnforgivenMystic River, Changeling, White Hunter Black HeartBirdPale RiderInvictus, Flags of Our Fathers, and Million Dollar Baby.

And for the outstanding dedication to the film industry, especially as a director. These are the top 5 list of Clint Eastwood Films.

5. Invictus (2009)

The story is based on the John Carlin book Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Changed a Nation about the events in South Africa before and during the 1995 Rugby World Cup, hosted in that country following the dismantling of apartheid.

The Plot: In 1994 Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) subsequently elected for the President of South Africa. His immediate challenge is “balancing black aspirations with white fears”, as racial tensions from the apartheid era have not completely disappeared.

While Mandela attempts to tackle the country’s largest problems, he attends a game of the Springboks, the country’s rugby union team. Mandela recognizes that the blacks in the stadium cheer against their home squad, as the Springboks represent prejudice and apartheid in their minds. Knowing that South Africa is set to host the 1995 Rugby World Cup, Mandela convinces a meeting of the newly-black-dominated South African Sports Committee to support the Springboks. He then meets with the captain of the Springboks rugby team, François Pienaar (Matt Damon), and implies that a Springboks victory in the World Cup will make a change and inspire the nation.

Despite the astonishing cast, Eastwood brings us accurate portrayal with surprising details and the solid script with tight story-line combined with great cultural impressions and strong emotion. As for that matters, Eastwood has nominated for Best Director in the 67th Golden Globe Awards.

 

4. Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)

The film is based on the non-fiction books “Gyokusai sōshikikan” no etegami (“Picture letters from the Commander in Chief”) by General Tadamichi Kuribayashi and So Sad To Fall In Battle: An Account of War by Kumiko Kakehashi about the Battle of Iwo Jima. While some characters such as Saigo are fictional, the overall battle as well as several of the commanders are based upon actual people and events.

The Plot: In 2005, Japanese archaeologists explore tunnels on Iwo Jima, where they find something burried in the dirt. General Tadamichi Kuribayashi (Ken Watanabe) assigned in Iwo Jima to take command of the garrison and defended it from Americans. And afterwards he immediately begins an inspection of the island defenses. The next day, Kuribayashi orders the garrison to begin tunneling defenses under Mount Suribachi. He explains that the United States military will take the beaches quickly, and that only subterranean defenses have a chance for holding out.

After the defenses are completely built, the war has occurred and the American strikes them really hard and causing significant casualties for the Japanese Army. Inevitably, fears and despair affects them and also clouded their judgement.

Written by Paul Haggis, the film shows a portrayal of good and evil on both sides of the war. In addition, after released in U.S the film critics heavily praised the writing, direction, cinematography and acting. The review tallying website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 178 out of the 195 reviews they tallied were positive for a score of 91%. As the positive affirmation that achieved, the film won the 79th Academy Awards for Best Sound Editing, and won the 64th Golden Globe Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. This film is also nominated for Best Director and Best Picture in the 79th Academy Awards. And again Eastwood nominated in the 64th Golden Globe Awards for Best Director.

 

3. Gran Torino (2008)

The Film was directed by Eastwood and written by Nick Schenk. In the early 1990s, Schenk became acquainted with the history and culture of the Hmong while working in a factory in Minnesota. Years later, he was deciding how to develop a story involving a widowed Korean War veteran trying to handle the changes in his neighborhood when he decided to place a Hmong family next door and create a culture clash.

The film directed, produced , and played by Eastwood, the film marks Eastwood’s return to a lead acting role after several years, and yet he still unbelievably astonishing.

The Plot: Walt Kowalski (Eastwood), a grumpy, obnoxious, self centered Korean War US Army veteran, has recently been widowed. His neighborhood is now dominated by poor Asian immigrants, and gang violence. Walt’s young Hmong neighbor Thao (Bee Vang), is pressured by his cousin to steal Walt’s 1972 Gran Torino for his initiation into a gang. Walt then develops a relationship with the boy and his family after that shameful incident. The gang continues to intimidate and assault Thao. Later on, a horrifying atrocity afflicts Tao and his sister Sue (Ahney Her).

I describe it as a humble insurgent, deceptively mediocre in appearance and daring in its earnestness. Unfortunately the film didn’t work quite well with the film critics. But yet the film nominated for Best Original Song in the 66th Golden Globe Awards performed by Jamie Cullum.

 

2. Mystic River (2003)

The film based on novel Mystic River by Dennis Lehane. Directed by Clint Eastwood, the mysterious drama Mystic River adapted by screenwriter Brian Helgeland. Set in an Irish neighborhood in Boston, Jimmy, Sean, and Dave are three childhood friends who are reunited after a brutal murder takes place.

The Plot: Three boys, Jimmy Markum (Sean Penn), Sean Devine (Kevin Bacon) and Dave Boyle (Tim Robbins), play hockey in a Boston street in 1975. And the, terrifying moments occurred.

Twenty-five years later, Jimmy running a neighborhood store, while Dave is a middle-class worker, still haunted by his abduction. They’re still neighbors and related by marriage. Jimmy’s 19-year-old daughter Katie (Emmy Rossum) is secretly dating Brendan Harris (Tom Guiry), a boy Jimmy despises. Reformed convict Jimmy and his devoted wife Annabeth (Laura Linney) find out that their daughter Katie  has been beaten and killed. Jimmy’s old friend Sean is the homicide detective assigned to the case, along with partner Whitey Powers (Laurence Fishburne). Jimmy also gets his relatives to conduct an investigation of their own.

It’s exhilarating, to see strong acting like this, Eastwood directs it with an invigorated beauty and charms. It is important to remember that films can look and listen and attentively sympathize with their characters. With a pair of his green thumb Eastwood grow great by fertilize and cultivates, And now the seeds has growing properly with its beauty.

Eastwood nominated for Best Director and Best Screenplay in the 76th Academy Awards, as it does Penn and Robbins who have won the Best Actor in a Leading Role and Best Actor In a Supporting Role. In 2004 BAFTA Awards the film nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, and Best Screenplay – Adapted. As in the 56th Cannes Film Festival Eastwood nominated for Palme d’Or and he won the Carrosse d’Or (Golden Coach). In the 61st Golden Globe Awards Penn and Robbins again won Best Actor in a Leading Role and Best Actor In a Supporting Role, as for Eastwood he nominated for Best Director and for Best Motion Picture.

 

1. Millon Dollar Baby (2004)

A 2004 American sports drama film directed, starring, co-produced, and scored by Eastwood. It’s the story of an under-appreciated boxing trainer, his elusive past, and his quest for atonement by helping an underdog amateur boxer achieve her dream of becoming a professional. The is based on short stories by F.X. Toole, the pen name of fight manager and “cutman” Jerry Boyd. Originally published under the title Rope Burns, the stories have since been republished under the film’s title.

The Plot: Margaret “Maggie” Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank), a waitress shows up in the Hit Pit, a run-down Los Angeles gym which is owned and operated by Frankie Dunn (Eastwood), a brilliant but only marginally successful boxing trainer. Maggie asks Dunn to train her, but he angrily responds that he “doesn’t train girls.” And fortunately, after a magnanimous determination Maggie did, Frankie trains her. And together they’re unite  pursuing her ambition to become a professional boxer.

To be honest this is the best film as best as any movie Eastwood has ever directed. The film was stuck in so-called “development hell” for years before it was filmed. Several studios rejected the project even when he signed on as actor and director. This film is a portrait of the entwine stories of life braided with unfairness and uncertainty of reality, and then leaves us with million of poignancy. This is a film that does both the expected and the unexpected, that has the nerve and the will to be as pitiless as it is sentimental. A dashing proportion of poignant story.

After the unpleasant journey struck, the film is actually managed to harvesting the accolades. In 77th Academy Awards the film won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress in a Leading Role (Hilary Swank), And Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Morgan Freeman). In 62nd Golden Globe Awards the film won Best Actress (Hilary Swank), and Best Director.

Tall Tall Trees – Moment

Tall Tall Trees - Moment

This is an emotional album from Brooklyn based folk-rock band, Tall Tall Trees. Their singer-songwriter, Mike Savino, added heavier lyrics into their second studio album, Moment. The music goes experimental, though. Electrical banjo, with some shredding guitars all over this album. Listen to Highwire, where their comforting tunes coming to a mess in the of the track. You will find a reverb ambience in Alaska, feels lil’ bit weird when suddenly an intricating guitar comes along. But then, banjo from Men and Mountains get through my ears. Men and Mountains definitely a folk balads, yet escorted by some ambience loop on the background. Complicated, but still fascinating. This, I recommend you to hear.

Savino’s banjo and his throaty vocals are two things that will make Tall Tall Trees blow your mind, the man can sing you a folk, but then you’ll find some indie-pop or even space-rock! Go listen to Wake the Moon, and you will find it’s true. And here’s come my favorite track of the album, Lonely Weekend. The song’s awesome, listen to it two or three times, and you’ll find yourself singalong through the song. Waiting on the Day is pretty decent either, I love its bluesy tunes lifting up my mood.

So, if you’re planning to spend a weekend travelling around the city, don’t forget to put Moments on your car stereo. And remember to give some friends a listen too, that’d be very kind, sharing a good music with your friends definitely a joy to behold. Enjoy!

Connect with Tall Tall Trees Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

Mars Volta “The Malkin Jewel” From Upcoming Album

The sixth full-length studio album by the almighty latin-influenced progressive rock band The Mars Volta is scheduled for release 38 days from today (I literally counted) on March 27th, 2012. Titled ‘Noctourniquet’, practically most of  the instrumentation materials was actually already recorded in 2009, but ongoing arguments between vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zaval and guitarist Omar Rodríguez-López halted the album from being completed for its initial release schedule.

To demonstrate a little taste of what’s to come, the band released the album’s first single “The Malkin Jewel” on February 14th.  Although the song does have quite an impressive eerie carnival-like reggae groove to it, but Cedric’s alternating sizzling croons and  raging snarls is moderately stale compared to his reputational vocal ability, and overall, the song progression is a bit repetitive. Fortunately, Omar’s spasmodic crunchy rhythm and drummer Deantoni Parks’s arcane percussion accommodates the grandeur edge it needs, and for a group like Mars Volta known for their explicit concept approach, one song can’t be used as a measurement of the real direction the band is taking for the album. Especially within this song, after minute 3:00 the song becomes fairly interesting with its psychotropic discord, a distinguished trait of this particular band.

38 days and counting down, we’ll see what ‘Noctourniquet’ is all about.