Monday, August 22, 2005

The Weekly, Volume Thirteen

I'll probably get around to writing full reviews of the following two albums in some future time, but for now, you get the capsules!

Bright Yellow Flowers on a Dark Double Bed (The Zephyrs)
In a review of this Scottish band's second record, 2001's When the Sky Comes Down It Comes Down On Your Head, the old boys at All Music state that The Zephyrs "manage to combine the epic grandeur of Mogwai with the country-rock of Gram Parsons." This newest album is much more hay bales and daisies than dark clubs and headphones, but is nonetheless well worth a listen. And while ringing arpeggiated guitars and open snares aren't exactly in ample supply, the music remains atmospheric, soulful and lush.

Album #2:
Give Blood (Brakes)
This record is either very good or maddeningly mediocre. At the moment I'm leaning toward the latter, but I guess it depends on personal taste, and maybe even the time of day, or the weather, or what one eats for breakfast, or something. Brakes are Eamon Hamilton from British Sea Power, and a few other British post-punk types that I haven't heard of but maybe you have. The music sounds as if BSP had continued down the trail blazed by their first album (especially its edgier tracks) and then decided to add some "country" to the mix. Possible irony alert: much of the album has a weird twang, provided mostly by various guitars and some off-key singing. Additionally, despite its 16 tracks, the whole record is less than half an hour in length, and sounds as if it were recorded in an afternoon. This is seriously raw music of questionable merit, but for some reason it's still quite enjoyable.

Downfall (Oliver Hirschbiegel)
An unflinchingly frank depiction of the last days of Hitler and the few who remained loyal to him as the Russians marched on Berlin. Bruno Ganz is fascinating as the Fuhrer -- he manages to find something human in the character, but at the same time, he's not playing for sentiment, nor looking to excuse Hitler's ideology or actions. The director Hirschbiegel also makes an interesting choice to focus on the young people that were drawn in by Hitler's charisma and his promises of a better future. You might feel awkward about it, but this film will make you feel deeply for the children of Joseph Goebbels (who, conversely, is one of the least sympathetic characters in the film). Perhaps the film's only major drawback is its massive cast of characters, which certainly has the potential to confuse.


Anonymous frank said...

...outta curiosity - where did you get a copy of the Zephyrs album in Toronto?

8/23/2005 12:04 a.m.  
Blogger Punk is Dead said...

Frank: I haven't been able to find it in any Toronto stores as of yet. But has it available if you are willing to wait the couple of weeks it takes for "import" shipping.

8/23/2005 11:02 a.m.  

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