Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Radiohead - "Arms & Legs: The Story So Far" 2xDVD

This is another re-packaging of 2 previous unofficial Radiohead DVDs, not labeled as so, which could lead to some angry buyers. Not a good move, but a sure sign of a quick ca$h-in attempt by the UK's "Pride DVD" (formerly Sexy Intellectual). Shady dealings!

Anyhow, disc one was released as "OK Computer - A Classic Album Under Review", and essentially breaks down this landmark album, track-by-track. Unquestionably one of the most influential and innovative pop albums of the past couple of decades, "OK Computer" is here dissected by journalists and Radiohead biographers. A little live footage is interspersed within, but overall this is a fairly lightweight documentary, with limited interest.

The second disc pales mightily in comparison, believe it or not. Previously titled "Homework", this thin 46-minute documentary from 2003 merely serves as a visual biography of the band, with photos and a few interviews with insiders. Make no mistake, I was pleased to learn of Thom's pre-Radiohead dalliances with post-industrial music as Headless Chickens, but this one is sorely lacking in any Radiohead music. As it is, "Homework" is a shameful and shallow disc of fluff that could just as easily be seen online or learned on wiki. No, thanks. (Pride DVD via MVD Visual)

Radiohead site

"Fested: A Journey To Fest 7" DVD

"Fest" has come to be known as a sort of mecca for young and rising punk bands. Held in Gainesville, Florida, the weekend-long festival has brought thousands of young musicians and music fans to the small town for some revelry rarely seen (or allowed) in these times.

As a raw documentary, "Fested" shows the ins-and-outs of Fest, as seen through the eyes of some of the 2008 Fest participants. You get lots of footage of bands playing in some small venues, to very enthusiastic crowds. You get lots of drinking (I may never drink another PBR as long as I live), more drinking, and still more drinking. In short, Fest is a huge, drunken frat party, but with better music. As a documentary, "Fested" succeeds in presenting the festival truthfully, warts and all. As entertainment, I wasn't very interested. Maybe you just had to be there? (National via MVD Visual)

Retox - "Ugly Animals" CD

11 songs in 13 minutes, and fronted by Justin Pearson (The Locust), you know what to expect here. Yes, it's an earful of clotted punk/grindcore madness. You get screaming, nihilistic hardcore, abrasive post-punk, and more of the same. It's feral, anarchic, and primitive. "Ugly Animals" is an exercise in catharsis, pure and simple. Enjoyable. (Ipecac Recordings)

Retox site

Esben And The Witch - "Chorea" EP

This neat 3-song EP from Brighton, England's Esben And The Witch combines the ethereal and haunting title track with a remix and a long 18-minute psychedelic drone piece. "Chorea" is a dark kaleidoscope, reminding me of Siouxsie or Fever Ray. The Mogwai mix of "Eumenides" is more electronic, while the epic "Corridors Installation" is a hallucinatory sound trip. Splendid! (Matador Records)

Esben and the Witchspace

Official website