“I want more,” croons Paul Williams, one of Random Access Memories’s many hired guns, around the midpoint of the album. I agree.
It may have been unrealistic to hold Daft Punk to the standard of their legacy. In the span of twenty years and just three albums, Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter have come to serve as the putative godfathers of electronic music. Though EDM (“electronic dance music,” the umbrella term that encompasses techno/club/house/whatever else) has no Beatles, Daft Punk has at least been lofted up as Patient Zero. They have piqued the world’s interest mainly because their songs are repetitions of simple musical phrases that any DJ can drop—16 or 32 at a time—into the middle of any song in the history of electrons. And we all raise our triangles and remember the musical past, as Buckminster Fuller smiles down upon us.
New York, NY.
Interview: James Passarelli
The following interview took place in August of 2012.
“Fuck me, fuck me, fuck me,” screams Carson to her lover in Bedspread’s opening line at the 2012 Strawberry One-Act Festival, a sure sign that no one’s holding back. Exit two youths who, like me, had no idea what to expect.
This play-going novice can only think to compare Bedspread’s winding verse to Shakespeare, but with jaw dropped and eyes wide open, I completely miss the Beatles references littered throughout. The one-act mixes tragedy (in the Greek sense) and comedy (in the modern sense) in a pulsating, back-and-forth verbal barrage between its four characters—one part poem, one part play, one part “what did I just witness?”
Words: Rob DeStefano
It’s with great sadness that The Inflatable Ferret pays respect to such a pronounced and esteemed film critic. After a ten year long battle with cancer of the thyroid and salivary glands, Roger Ebert passed away at age 70. He leaves behind a legacy both traditional and modern, a riddle that reminds us of the contrarian he often was. Ebert’s televised film reviews – which cycled co-hosts, such as Gene Siskel and Richard Roeper, as well as program names – began back in the seventies, yet no other critic has come close to having the same success in this outlet. After the disease brought his television career to a halt, the nation’s most accessible film critic continued writing for the Chicago Sun-Times and the virtual sphere. His decisive opinions and love for the substance, not the glossy effects or 3D post-work, will be endlessly appreciated.
Youth Lagoon – Wondrous Bughouse
Words: Jordan Catalana
Critics and fans (myself definitely included) were more than skeptical in anticipating how Boise’s favorite new noisemaker Trevor Powers, under his moniker Youth Lagoon, would follow an unprecedented hit album cut while in college and recorded alone. While 2011’s Year of Hibernation was full of trance-induced lullabies and exaggeratedly bold drum machine beats that are fodder for “chilling,” Wondrous Bughouse matches whimsy with experimentation in a fuller way, resulting in songs with twists and turns that demand more attention from listeners. If Year of Hibernation was a sonically refreshing head buzz, Wondrous Bughouse is a full-body high.
Words: Michael Balakonis
In 1996 Michael Christopher had been dead for three years. Despite conquering his fears of large crowds, guns, and air travel, his death-vendetta against his ex-landlord was left unfulfilled. The vast majority of people are unfamiliar with his name, but I assure you that you have heard the story of Michael Christopher hundreds of times. You heard it during your sister’s “alternative” phase, at karaoke bars, half-muttered during your Classical studies of Greek tragedies, and during afternoon visits to various coffee establishments. This story permeates the psyche of English speaking peoples that were conscious during the 1990’s; but you already know this, don’t you?
David Bowie - The Next Day
Words: Ryan Waring
No work of art exists in a vacuum. As much as I like to think or wish that the fabric of one album makes it inherently better than another, such a simple metric grossly undervalues just how much of that hallowed “classic” status hangs on the culture’s response. An artist who has full rein mastering how his music sounds on headphones, still has little to no say as to whichever of a dozen or so rock ’n’ roll narratives the culture at large will ultimately assign it. We’ll eulogize a record that unfortunately emerged just ahead of the wave and euphemize another that lags slightly behind the times. Some rocks may make better skipping stones than others, but all rocks, polished or craggy, will only fly as far as the lake water allows.
Words: Rob DeStefano
Evading what might be the year’s last snow fall, I didn’t think it was the worst idea to look for escapism in Disney’s Oz – hell, I’ve seen Safe Haven, I can only go up from here. This 2013 production, and a massive one costing $215 million, acts as a prequel to the L. Frank Baum novel series, and therefore as an indirect companion to the revered 1939 film. Prior to entry, I was baited by a modernized sense of wonder and its well-respected cast. I was even more placated knowing Sam Raimi was at the helm—only soon to discover he was another wolf in sheep’s clothing—whose The Evil Dead Trilogy and first two Spider-Man movies suggested a clear vision behind a world inhabited by flying monkeys, sinister forests, and a divide between good and evil; basically, a place no different from that in Army of Darkness.
Interview: Jake Kring-Schreifels
Make your way to any prom night, dinner function, ballpark, or festival, and a song from Journey will surely find your ears. Their age-old sound has transcended generational barriers throughout each decade and has kept a plethora of classic rock anthems familiar, if not relevant. Yet after losing frontman Steve Perry in the late 90s and replacement Steve Augeri until the mid-2000s, Journey faced a potential voiceless tragedy. Who would be their next lead singer?
Arnel Pineda, the heart of Ramona Diaz’s inspiring new documentary, Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey, filled the demanding void. A small Filipino man, Pineda was plucked from obscurity by guitarist Neal Schonn, who casually happened upon Pineda’s cover of their song “Faithfully” on Youtube and called him over to audition. A rags-to-riches story, the documentary follows Pineda during his immersion into the band along their first concert tour with him in 2008. This is not a pure documentary about Journey’s history, but instead a momentary glimpse of an iconic band giving someone a larger than life chance.
Upon preparing to record the big one-oh in his discography, Eels frontman Mark Oliver Everett found himself surrounded by a band for the first time. Over the last twenty years, E has been less a frontman than a nucleus of the ever-changing cast of featured players assembled to bring his music to life. After a career made out of editing lineups like a reel of celluloid, E was happy to turn his group’s newfound stability into a new way of making music. “This is the first time that a whole band had a hand in actually writing the album,” he told Billboard. “The buck still stops here—I’m still the guy who says yes or no at the end of the day—but it was so much more fun making it this way.”
Words: James Passarelli & Ryan Waring
Just when you think the dog is truly contrite for pissing on the sofa, it chews up your alligator boots. Not sure if that metaphor works, but it’s late thanks to the 85th Academy Awards Show. I set off on my hour-long journey home from the viewing party long before it ended, only to discover upon reaching my destination that it was still going. Needless to say, that’s the last time we’ll ever throw the Academy a bone. The last thing any partakers in this masturbatory revelry need is an ego boost (with some exceptions, of course).