Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Duff McKagan is the new bassist for Jane's Addiction. Photos of them together are HERE. Holy cowzer, Perry Farrell turned 51 the other day.
Semi Precious Weapons touring with Lady effin GAGA!

Holy cowzer i knew these guys were gonna be huge when i saw them at a show i DJed a couple years ago. Finally, the wild New York City glam rock n' roll band's debut full album You Love You will be out this June. Following dates with Lady Gaga in Japan and Europe through Spring, they will squeeze in some of their own headlining dates in the USA before going back out with the Gaga for a full USA tour in the summer. Now is their time for sure. -Kenyon

SPW headliner dates
04/21: Los Angeles, CA @ The Roxy
04/23: Chicago, IL @ Subterranean
04/26: New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
04/27: Boston, MA @ Paradise
04/30 San Diego, CA @ Warren Field/UCSD (Campus)

Monday, March 29, 2010

movie left for dead.

Open Water 2: Adrift (2006) The original Open Water had no cause for a sequel--even one that gets no theatrical release. Of course, Adrift isn't a sequel at all, but it's more closely related to its predessor than Halloween 3 is to Halloween 2. Obviously there was something to cash in on, given the moderate sucess of Open Water, which was a minimal story of a couple stranded in the sea after they were dumb enough to get left behind by a tourist boat. That couple is actually now looking like mathematicians compared to the six morons in this "based on true events" drama in the ocean, where the interest depends on how resourceful they can be to survive. There are damn good reasons to call them morons. And i'm not talking about any horror movie cliche like, "you stay here, i'll check out that strange sound alone." This is more like, "we are going on a yacht in the open sea, i have an issue with drowning, and i'm bringing our infant." i can't say i felt sorry for the mother when the "captain" of the yacht jumps in the ocean with her while forgetting to lower the ladder. Now, they and four friends are up shit's creek bigtime. At first they worry about sharks and someone even thinks they felt something tugging on them. Strangely enough, trouble with marine life never progresses. At the climax--while the baby is still "onboard"--the jerk that didn't lower a ladder attempts something physically impossible: swimming down into the dark water looking for a knife they lost in the water. At nite, during a storm. There's one more absolutely retarded action at the very end, taken on by the mother of the baby. Let's just say that being adrift too long causes delirium. [rating: *1/2] -Kenyon

Saturday, March 27, 2010

LCD Soundsystem > new track + tour dates

Next album out May 18, 2010 in the U.S. on DFA/Virgin.

U.S Dates with the nite so far

April 16 Indio CA Coachella Festival
May 20 New York Terminal 5
May 21 New York Terminal 5
May 30 George WA Sasquatch Festival
June 11 Manchester TN Bonnaroo Festival
July 17 Chicago IL Pitchfork Music Festival

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Q magazine poll names Oasis "frontman" the greatest ever

The pompous Liam Gallagher topped the Q reader's poll for the greatest frontman of all time. That's effin messed up. Today's Brits are out of their minds. I don't even want to go to the U.K now. Just...eff it. Worse than voting for Sanjaya Malakar as an American Idol. More faith in humanity is lost. -Kenyon
Kaki King > new cut + album + NYC dates

The next album from Kaki King is out April 13, just before her New York dates at Music Hall of Williamsburg on April 15 and Bowery Ballroom on April 16. This first taste, "Falling Day," is rich in heavenly harmonies. Stick with it after the common guitar intro. This is what Liz Phair should have been doing instead of dumbing herself down to an Avril Lavigne clone with the atrocious "Why Can't I?." When that song hit in 2003, there was loss of faith in humanity. -Kenyon

Spin has "Falling Day" HERE.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Black Keys are opening for Pearl Jam at Madison Square Garden May 20, 2010.
Band of Horses are opening for Pearl Jam at Madison Square Garden May 21, 2010.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

In a world of film trailers, one man stands alone.
David Asma (aka Spunkshine) makes movies more alluring.
interview by Kenyon Hopkin

If you've seen any trailers for new big studio horror films in the past few years, then there's no doubt you've heard at least a few seconds of audio by David Asma. Under the stage name Spunkshine, the Wisconsin-based artist--whose day job is a Public Defender Investigator--has contributed his brooding sound bytes (or "cues") to notable box office hits such as the Mist, Quarantine, the Box, and Drag Me to Hell. In early 2010, Asma's latest composition can be heard in the trailer for the remake of the Crazies. Truth be told, Asma is a very smart guy and well-versed in imperative sociological issues. -Kenyon Hopkin
Advance Copy: the Crazies trailer is out there now. Are you psyched to experience the movie?
David Asma: The trailer sure makes the film “seem” worth seeing. Not having seen the original Romero film on which it’s based, I’m not sure what to expect, beyond, of course, the unsettling scenes presented in the trailer. I’m a sucker for smartly-made zombie films so, yeah, I’m looking forward to it. But then again, the so-called “crazy” characters in the film aren’t technically zombies (or are they? Damn these trailers for peaking my interest in vague story lines).

AC: Without giving away secrets, when/where/how did you start doing film trailers scores? How did you get so lucky to score some of the best horror of the past few years? Is the sound in these Hollywood trailers entirely by you? Or is it more like bits and pieces.
Asma: I started “assembling” sound design and electronic music in 2003. It was a hobby and I was composing stuff primarily as a means to dabble in technology. I became literally addicted to music production thanks to Garageband (Apple). Having since progressed to more complex technology and software, I was accumulating a significant library of sounds. Luckily, my brother is a partner at an editing-house in L.A and he used one of my speedy, dramatic cues for the Sahara Superbowl ad. Since then I occasionally get a request for a custom-made cue, but the recent trend is primarily sound design instead of “music” per se. Atmospheres, bizarre aural environments, and “stingers” seem to be in style these days. Although my cues have been used in a variety of genres, a lot of the weird-sounding stuff works well in horror films and the “horror” category appears to be really hot right now. Trailers are amazing productions in and of themselves. Scenes are chopped-up, arranged, and rearranged to make the film appealing. The same is true for the sounds, which are so layered it can be difficult to distinguish singular tracks or cues. But that’s the point of a great trailer, to suck you in emotionally without distracting you with singular auditory elements.

AC: Trailers always make the film seem better than it is. It's music like yours that helps. Are you often disappointed when films you see are duds after a promising trailer? Did you ever work on one where that happened? Surely there were other trailers you've done that you keep off your resume.
Asma: Trailers are amazing marketing tools! If done well, opening day numbers will reflect it’s success. Music and sound design certainly contributes. My stuff for The Mist used these unnerving alarm throbs that really worked to create a feel (especially when married to the visuals which, of course, requires the skill of a kick-ass editor. Hats off to those folks!) But then there are those trailers where our suspension of disbelief is utterly distracted by the musical element. Take Kingdom of Heaven (thankfully I was not involved in that). The visuals were utterly incongruent with the cheesy rock-opera score in the background (I can’t help but laugh at that one). As for duds, it’s always disappointing to land a cue in a campaign and instead of seeing it in front of a feature at the theater, you learn that it’s gone straight to DVD. Daltry Calhoun was one those films. Never saw it and I’m not sure if it was actually released.

AC: what projects are on the horizon?
Asma: Hard to say. I never know what’s needed until I get a call requesting a custom-built cue. It depends on what the editor needs. It should be noted, however, that submitting a cue never guarantees its use. Other cues may work better or the campaign may be won by a competing trailer house. As for other projects, I’m working on sound design elements and a score for the forthcoming indie film, Phoebe. I’m told it should hit the film festival circuit in the near future.

AC: so your other employment is as a Public Defender Investigator. What does that entail?
Asma: In the real world, I work full-time at a Public Defender office. The office represents indigent folks accused of crimes. As a defense investigator, my job is to gather information about the alleged incident and the accused so as to assist the attorneys who are working on the case. The office handles cases ranging from misdemeanors to felony and death penalty cases. Some heavy stuff goes on at work and music production becomes a pleasant diversion.

AC: And you're also an Adjunct Sociology Instructor, with interest in crimimal justice. Is there anything you care to vent about that is corrupt and inept in the system?
Asma: There is always a risk of offending someone when venting about crime. But since you asked, here goes: The Death Penalty is broken. There is no credible evidence that it is any more effective as a deterrent to murder than incarceration. Plus, it’s far more costly than life imprisonment. We are the only Western nation to employ it (others have abandoned it). It’s carried out in a racially discriminatory manner. Essentially, it is a sanction that can be defended only on the grounds of retribution, which of course is fueled by misplaced public fears, which are, in turn, exploited by policy makers.

AC: Can you very briefly explain your involvement in each of these: dramaturgical analysis, media representations of identities, deviance/stigma.
Asma: At least from the sociological perspective, Dramaturgy is an approach to social analysis in which “theater” is used as an analogy to everyday life. Social action is viewed as a “performance” in which actors both play parts and stage-manage their actions, seeking to control the impressions they convey to others. Simply put, we act out our roles; we’re usually “on” in the presence of others. Dramaturgical analysis is the study of how meaning emerges through interaction, including expressive staging; how do we present ourselves to other? Is it convincing given the situation? Do we say the wrong thing while trying to impress the other? My diatribe above regarding US policy on Death Penalty may very well have damaged the Spunkshine image for some readers while concretizing a positive image for others. Media are powerful means of presenting information (think Trailers, this blog, news, concert performances). Keep in mind, however, media are heavily manipulated and arguably artificial; are we presented favorably or negatively? Impression management is precarious; if the performance fails, a spoiled identity may be applied, which starts us moving in the direction of what some consider deviance.

AC: judging by your music and the films you score, you're obviously into darker content. What are some of your favorite all time horror/dark films?
Asma: I’m not necessarily into dark content. Some of my stuff simply gets attached to dark trailers. My music albums range from “weird grooving” to IDM and ambient chill. As for films, I suppose I’m more inclined to lean toward the subtly bizarre rather than horror. Off the top of my head: the Qatsi trilogy (Koyaanisqatsi et. al.), Moon, Sunshine, Let the Right One In, Solaris (both of them), Baraka, The Stalker, anything by the Coen brothers, Terrence Malick, Kubrick, Jean-Perre Jeunet, all Simpsons, all Futurama. Good Lord, I am such a nerd!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Corey Haim found dead.

MGMT >> new song!
"Flash Delirium" from upcoming album Congratulations, out April 13, 2010.
Dang, what a tripped out bizarro mess. That flute (?) in the middle of it all is more awkward than a cow walking into a vegetarian restaurant. Even though the cow isn't gonna eat meat either, it's still awkward. MGMT has stated that they are not issuing any "singles" and we need to listen to the entire album, as a whole. i don't know if that will help me digest this any easier. -Kenyon
Shout Out Louds >> U.S tour dates
supporting third album Work, produced by Phil Ek (Shins, Fleet Foxes, Band of Horses) and out now on Merge!

with Freelance Whales
02 May Washington, 9:30 Club
03 May Philadelphia, First Unitarian Church
05 May New York, Webster Hall
06 May Boston, Paradise
07 May Montreal, Cabaret Music Hall
08 May Toronto, Mod Club
10 May Chicago, Lincoln Hall
11 May Minneapolis, Varsity Theater
14 May Vancouver, Commodore Ballroom
15 May Seattle, Neumos
16 May Portland, Doug Fir
18 May San Francisco, Great American Music Hall
20 May Los Angeles, El Rey
21 May Los Angeles, El Rey (Sold Out!)
22 May San Diego, House of Blues

Sunday, March 07, 2010

The Wagner Logic >>> All the way from Alaska--i mean seriously, when was the last time you heard of a band from Alaska?--comes this subdued, indie rock duo, who will be releasing their second album this Spring. Recorded in a basement deep In the woods of a small town 200 miles from Anchorage, suggests it is this environment that produces the secluded character of “Yesterday Evening” and “Waiting for Snow.” Wagner Logic will be chilling in Austin, TX for SXSW. But they don’t actually have a gig. Yet. -Kenyon

"Yesterday Evening" - [mp3]
"Waiting for Snow" - [mp3]
The Megaphonic Thrift >> super sonic new band from Norway. They are so new they aren’t even on wikipedia. The interweaving, swirling guitars in “Exploding Eyes” and “Acid Blues” calls for a band that is the starchild of Flaming Lips, Uncut and Sonic Youth. Coming to NYC and then at SXSW. This video for "Acid Blues" rules like there's no tomorrow. It's doing that thing with televisions previously made cool in Asia's "Only Time will Tell." --Kenyon

The Megaphonic Thrift in NYC:
3/14 @ Littlefield - Scandinavian Day Party
3/15 @ Santos Party House - Oya/Oh My Rockness w/The Depreciation Guild, Pirate Love, Hanne Hukkelberg