Monday, May 13, 2013

Listing: Let Me Back In

Modern technological advances may have made it possible for handy pocket sized devices to give us access to the internet night and day, but that doesn't mean we all have to like it.

Sure, the mobility comes in handy; as a news obsessive, it's lovely to be able to access the headlines from the AP News app at a single click away from my trusty iTunes all day. However, using it as your only source of computing? How do people do it?

I was without a laptop for over a month and it nearly killed me.

The time spent between the old and new devices could have been cut in half if I hadn't been so picky selecting the most extraordinary computer money [read: the amount I budgeted] could buy. Ah, the desperation of those seeking out the best deals.
Now the friendly click-clack as I press down on the individual smooth plastic keys feels especially warm and cuddly after the madness of attempting to write anything via a flat touch screen. Only once did I attempt to publish something to this blog, and frustrated with continually deleting HTML coding by accident, backed away slowly until UPS knocked on my door with a very special delivery.

It has been so long world wide web! Oh, the things to catch up on! To kick it all off fresh, it only seems appropriate to round up the previous week of exciting events and interests.

Just in time to celebrate the beginning to my 26th year here on Earth, the PNW was raging with sunshine (perfect for days reading outside), and summery releases on the big screen and on the music charts had me filled with excitement. Spring is here, but summer here we come.

"I Remember You" - Rilo Kiley

If you are in a band with a name that could be spun into a pun on the word archive, it is essential that you throw together an album filled with unreleased tracks.

Whether or not this was Rilo Kiley's inspiration behind putting together RKives, fans have been rejoicing the last couple weeks over getting a "new" album from the band that was thought to be defunct and never to be heard from again. Based on the quality of each of their albums spanning from 1999 to 2007, it's not surprising that there was just as many amazing tunes left on the cutting room floor.

As the songs are pulled from various recording sessions throughout the years, it's a treat that one album spans the entire band's history. With every song you can hear the band's progression.

I've had this album blasting on repeat in my room and in the car with the windows down for over a week now, and while the first track, "Let Me Back In", gives me the weepies, it's the dancey, dare I say adorable, "I Remember You", that is the albums most refreshing inclusion. Both songs were from the Under The Blacklight recording sessions, and it's a wonder how it was that these two gems didn't make the cut. Thankfully, they are now released for the world to enjoy.

Anyone still trying to hunt down the bands Initial Friend EP (that costs a pretty penny), will happily note that the album ends with a song back from where the band began.

An homage to a cinema masterpiece, The Frug, filled with hand claps and Jenny Lewis' sweet voice,  proves that they were always a talented bunch who forged their own sound. Lewis and Blake Senett just solidified themselves as master songwriters with each album as they grew a little older and wrote songs with increasing punch, beauty, and bravado.


"I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy."

One of the novels most famous lines uttered by Jordan Baker (as played by Elizabeth Debicki), couldn't seem more true as the glorious specatacle of Jay Gatsby's infamous parties have been brought to life like never before.

When I read The Great Gatsby in high school, like many teenagers, the biggest impression this novel left on me (besides the tragic love story and those deep discussions we had about the symbolism of the green light and the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg), was the exciting idea of the roaring 20's and being at a Gatsby party.

If you ever wondered what this would have been like, head out to the movie theater this instant and see Baz Luhrmann's visually stunning interpretation explode on the screen.

Critics are already nagging, but I say if there was anyone meant to take on the challenge of filming one of the most adored novels in America, it is Luhrmann. He created Gatsby as big and glitzy as we all imagined, but done in a way that no one else could have ever dreamed. 

Oh, the sparkles, sequins, fringe, and endless furs - the shiny cars, expansive mansions, and the glittering lights of NYC - between the magnificent costumes and sets, anyone should admit to drooling over this movie for days.

As the story goes on, the visage of elegance fades, and it is simply enjoyable to find Leonardo DiCaprio in a role like Gatsby.  There's no espionage, mental facilities, or historically set courtroom scenes, just a guy who's (crazy) in love. Not since his under-appreciated performance in Revolutionary Road, have I been this excited to find Leo, impeccably dressed, on the giant screen in front of me.

There's no debating Leo's performance, but the use of modern music has had many up in arms. In my eyes it totally works.

Bringing in the twist of mixing Hip-Hop, pop, and old timey jazz makes this classic tale feel like it could be happening in any time period, even though the story is set in the 1920's. Indeed a timeless tale for the ages.

Although the soundtrack isn't perfect from start to finish, I could still easily post an entire page detailing that I have the haunting, "Young and Beautiful" on repeat, and how entertaining it was to hear "Izzo (H.O.V.A)", start playing as Nick and Gatsby drove into the city. It's fun and actually adds to the story - this is exactly a terrific soundtrack at work.

Maybe I'm sounding a little too glowy, as it's not without some issues (little story points left out here and there), but I guarantee that there is no other movie like Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby. Anyone looking for this kind of experience will be just as equally riveted.

Lester Bangs

Lester Bangs is the king of music reviews, so settling down to read a book of his accumulated essays is more than a treat for fans of 60s and 70s rock.

It may have been his profession, but music was also his life.

With every one of his electric words and expertly manic sentence his passion for bands and records transfers from the pages of the book and up into your pores. Man, I didn't give a crap about The Yardbirds before picking up this book, but the words of Bangs have made me a believer. 

Since none of us will ever get to bash around a record store with Lester by our side, this is the next best option - read, experience, enjoy, and leave with enough music recommendations for a lifetime.

This has been a non-stop week of finding new entertainment to obsess over! What about y'all?

Anything else I should add to my list for next week?

Well, until we meet again.

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