Issue 020—All You Need Is Now—Q&A with White Lies, Beth Hahn, Mary Edwards; Interviews with Allie Hughes, Sean O’Hagan; Destroy All Movies; Top Ten Movies For 2011; Tron: Legacy; The Good Wife; The Walking Dead; Sherlock; The Cape; Phineas and Ferb; Reviews of Foetus, Duran Duran, Girl Talk, The Lexingtons, The Corin Tucker Band, and The Crash Street Kids.
By Jim R. Clark
If you haven’t listened to White Lies’ debut album, To Lose My Life yet, well then, what are you waiting for? Now is the time. Their new album, Ritual, was released on January 18. Much like reading chapter two in a great novel, you won’t want to forge ahead without reading chapter one first.
As you may know from reading my previous articles, I’m an avid fan of the ’80s electronic sound, so I’m excited. Personally I’m still hoping for a cover of Alphaville’s 1985 song, “A Victory Of Love,” but I think that may be asking too much. (For some reason, I’m convinced that this song would make for an awe inspiring show stopper if given the White Lies treatment, but then again, that’s just me.)
White Lies just completed a few dates in the US and North America (sadly, their NY show was canceled due to a snowstorm) and has scheduled a British tour in February to promote Ritual, so if you’re reading this in Britain, then get up and buy some tickets. And if, like me, you’re not in Britain, try to catch them on Later . . . with Jools Holland reruns on BBC America.
The band took some time out from their busy touring schedule to answer a few of my burning questions and shed some light upon their dark and mysterious nature, hinting at the more electronic sound for their second album.
By John Lane
For the uninitiated, The High Llamas are an enduring band that emerged in the early ’90s. Sidestepping the twists and turns of the teenage-angst/grunge bandwagon propagated by the media because of Nirvana, the Llamas hoed their own row and followed the credo that sometimes a small sound can make its own huge explosion. They were armed with banjos, vibraphones, strings, and a savvy musical sensibility that embraced everything from Bacharach to Bizet.
I first came across the High Llamas circa 1997 when a friend of mine (knowing of my love of The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds) asked me if I had heard of them. I didn’t, so he made me a tape copy of their album Hawaii, which I proceeded to play ad nauseum on a small General Electric radio/tape-player the night before a wedding. I was the groom’s best man, and after about ten listens of the epic album, he politely asked if I could spin something else. I grudgingly obliged, but can’t remember what the substitute was.
I was thrilled to get the chance to prod the brain of High Llama guitarist and songwriter Sean O’Hagan.
By Chelsea Spear
In the late 2000s, knitwear designer Beth Hahn took the knitting world by storm with her series, The Adventures of Miss Flitt. Blending steampunk-friendly Victorian style, elegant knitwear designs, and an addictive narrative, the series follows the adventures of Emma Flitt as she traverses 19th century Brooklyn to find her sister. Her travels take her to seedy vaudeville theaters, pickpockets’ dens, and—in the most recent edition—to a most spooky séance. Ever the master storyteller, Hahn weaves her story through a series of simple-yet-gorgeous and thoroughly wearable cardigans, berets, overskirts, and other accessories.
On a chilly weekend in early January, I took virtual tea with Beth Hahn to find out more about her knitting endeavors.
By John Lane
In another era, Mary Edwards might have been a behind-the-scenes songwriter in the famous Brill Building, that renowned stable of musical artisans that included Goffin & King, Laura Nyro, and a host of others. Instead, in this era, we are lucky to have singer/songwriter Mary Edwards in clear view. Her music is characterized by a smooth charm that draws upon soft-pop, jazz, and funk, framed with a soulful voice that is reminiscent of Dionne Warwick in her prime; her attitude reflects an almost guileless enthrallment with music and the sometimes subtle, gifted influences that can become songwriting fodder. I caught up with Mary upon the recent release of her latest album, Console.
By Less Lee Moore
Any marginalized subculture bristles at being misinterpreted on film. Then again, the punk subculture is by now so fragmented and unrecognizable, one hesitates to even attempt to define it, much less depict it on the screen.
Yet best friends Zack Carlson and Bryan Connolly spent five years documenting each and every appearance of punks on film. They were inspired to undertake this monumental task after re-watching Penelope Spheeris’s quasi documentary Suburbia and then shortly thereafter, seeing Joysticks, a video arcade comedy from 1983, for the first time.
By Lisa Anderson
The beginning of the New Year brings new movies to look forward to. Not all of them are Oscar contenders, and not all of them will be as good as they look. I’ll probably be skipping the overrated and (hopefully) played-out gimmick of 3D whenever possible. Here are the ten movies that I’m most excited about, and in most cases, I’m not alone.
By Lisa Anderson
There have been a lot of father-son issues in movies lately.
Tony Stark deals with his father’s legacy in Iron Man 2. Robert Fischer’s feelings toward his recently departed father make possible the titular mind-crime in Inception. In The Town, Ben Affleck’s character has a troubled relationship with his jailed dad. Even the critically panned Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps is about the daughter of Gordon Gekko. (Okay, it was actually about her boyfriend, but still.) It’s easy to wonder if it’s just coincidence—after all, fraught relationships are an easy way to raise the emotional stakes in a story—or if there’s something going on the in popular subconscious. No recent movie has put father-son dynamics as close to the forefront, though, as Tron: Legacy.
At first, preview spots for CBS’s The Good Wife looked less than promising: another press conference, about another cuckolded wife of a politician. Even the casting of dashing Chris Noth and long-absent-from-TV Juliana Marguiles didn’t appeal to me.
Then there was the name of the show itself: The Good Wife. It just seemed . . . stuffy.
I started catching bits and pieces of the show by accident. Despite my misgivings, it was actually intriguing, on par with the best episodes of Law & Order (Rest In Peace). Then one night I was flipping channels and there was Alan Cumming as conniving political campaign manager Eli Gold, bitching out and out-bitching some snarky-looking teenage girl. Suddenly, I was hooked.