By Brian Baker
There’s no hesitation in Dita Von Teese’s voice when responds to a question she’s obviously been asked before: How does she get into the huge martini glass? The burlesque vedette will issue a modest laugh, and respond, “I’d like to tell you, I do a big backflip, but I don’t.” No, it’s actually a little three-step, Swarovski crystal staircase that’s hied off stage once her performance begins.
Photo by Shelby Fenlon
We get a lot of music press releases at Popshifter and sometimes it’s a slog to sift through them, always hoping to have our ears dazzled by a new band but frequently being disappointed.
This is not the case with Toronto, Ontario’s Vallens, the brainchild of guitarist, singer, and songwriter Robyn Phillips. Vallens makes the kind of music that makes you sit up and take notice. The title of Vallens’ stunning debut album is Consent, a word with a lot of connotations—especially for women. Thankfully, the songs don’t shy away from such emotionally charged issues but explore them. Musically and lyrically, Consent is moody, mysterious, and captivating… and definitely deserves your attention.
You can’t kill us; we’re already undead.
At Popshifter, sometimes shit happens. And when it does, we soldier on.
We’re sad to lose one of our favorite writers, Laury Scarbro, this week. She’s just got too much going on in her non-Internet life and must take a hiatus.
We’re also sad to see another one of our fave writers take a hiatus: Jeffery X Martin has a new writing job (Yay! Congratulations!) that’s taking up most of his time these days and so he won’t be around as much as he used to.
These two departures mean that some of our content will be disappearing: the daily Today In Pop Culture column and our weekly recaps of Outsiders. I thought it best to let you know what was going on in case you wondered why they suddenly disappeared.
That said, if anyone would like to pick up the mantle of Today In Pop Culture or finish the rest of the season of Outsiders (four more episodes), I would gladly welcome your contributions.
And now, to the news!
Brad Henderson went to SXSW and all he got was a case of food poisoning. OK, he also saw some good movies, too, one of them being the Hicksploitation throwback My Father, Die. Not so good was recent home video release Intruders, which was a missed opportunity that I wish I had missed. You can always go back to 1977 and watch Count Dracula, the BBC production of Bram Stoker’s Dracula starring Louis Jourdan, though, which I revisted in this month’s Frightful Flashback on Rue Morgue. You can also read my examination of the nature of evil as told through three different interpretations of witches on Everything Is Scary, those being Penny Dreadful, The Witch, and The Devils. By the way, happy one-year anniversary to Everything Is Scary where we do the responsible thing and contemplate the void every week.
The small screen is exploding these days! Besides new episodes of The Walking Dead, Broad City, and WGN’s Outsiders, Netflix has just premiered the second season of Daredevil, which Tim gives high marks, and Trailer Park Boys’ tenth season, which Tyler will be covering over the next week or so.
Whenever someone complains that there isn’t any good music these days, you just send them over to Popshifter, OK?
Besides the latest (and hopefully not the last) Iggy Pop album Post Pop Depression (which is awesome); there’s also Robbie Fulks’s Upland Stories, which Melissa describes as “exquisite;” West Of Here, the sophomore release from The Currys; and a trio of excellent—and very different—albums from women-fronted bands: Davina and the Vagabonds, Margo Price, and Bleached.
HHBTM has been putting out some quality music lately, including the punky Versus album from Eureka California and the retro yet timeless Crystal Café from Witching Waves. But if you enjoy “kick-ass, groove-heavy, instrumental synth-rock unit inspired by 1970s and ’80s horror movie soundtracks,” you might enjoy Wolfmen of Mars’ latest, DANGER! PERIL! THREAT!
Tim takes a look back at Sepultura’s Roots album, while I take a look forward at a couple of new videos: “Phantom Freighter” from the sci-fi, industrial-influenced Pop. 1280 and “Hey Girl (I Wanna Be Your Man)” from shoegazers Dirty Sidewalks.
Finally, Brian Baker chatted with actress Karen Allen at the recent Toronto ComiCon and she had some things to say about that upcoming Indiana Jones movie.
Until next week, Popshifter fans!
By Brian Baker
Karen Allen is all smiles during her visit to Toronto ComiCon, March 19, 2016.
Marion Ravenwood, Katy, and Claire Phillips. They’re all roles played by Karen Allen in the lengthy filmography she’s compiled over five decades of work.
All three of those characters—from the films Raiders of the Lost Ark, Animal House, and Scrooged—have been strong dynamic women. They’ve also been a huge pleasure to portray for Allen. (more…)
If you live in the Toronto area and you love movies, you might already know about The Royal Theatre on College Street. But did you know that every month, programmer Brendan Ross takes over The Royal for one night devoted to the best of neo-noir cinema from the 1970s, 1980s, and beyond? Featuring such classics as Body Double, Risky Business, To Live and Die in L.A., and Streets Of Fire, Ross’s Neon Dreams Cinema Club is one of the city’s best kept cinematic secrets.
As a founding member of the Italian progressive rock band Goblin, Claudio Simonetti has helped create some of the most famous and recognizable horror soundtracks of the last 50 years. His side bands, Daemonia and Simonetti Horror Project, have also met with great success. Popshifter spoke with Simonetti about the upcoming 30th anniversary re-release of the Demons soundtrack, American fame, and the horror of working for a major label.
In the two years since I talked to Aaron Moorhead about Justin Benson about their amazing 2012 film Resolution, a lot has happened. The pair contributed a segment to V/H/S Viral called “Bonestorm” and brought their second feature, Spring, to the Toronto International Film Festival. (And there was some kind of mascot battle.) In March, they released Spring as part of a BitTorrent bundle, which is an extremely cool way to bring a movie directly to the viewer.
They visited Toronto last week in anticipation of Spring‘s theatrical premiere in Canada so I talked to them about what has changed over the last few years and what they are going to unleash upon audiences next.
Chad Thompson has recently created his first short film, Victor. Over a couple of days during the summer, he and his cast and crew shot the seven-minute film and Chad, who works with Cinema 4D and After Effects as an animator and motion designer, did all of the post-production over the next year. We talked to Chad about the ideas behind the film and what he hopes to create next.
It’s June 14, on the eve of England’s first World Cup game in Brazil, and I’m in a muggy club in London, surrounded by an alarmingly large number of bald and bespectacled middle-aged men. It’s a show organized by Cherry Red Records, who have just released a massive three-disc edition of the NME‘s seminal C86 collection, first issued as a mail-order cassette nearly 30 years ago (review).
I’m here to watch bands featured on that cassette, some of whom sound like they haven’t played together in many years. But that certainly doesn’t apply to The Wedding Present, now into its fourth decade as a recording and touring band. Despite numerous personnel changes over the years, the face and voice of The Wedding Present remains taciturn singer/guitarist David Gedge. We talked about the origins of the C86 project, whether it was ever really a “scene,” how difficult it is to be a working musician nowadays, and, just for fun, what England’s chances were in the World Cup.
By Cait Brennan
Read Jeffery X Martin’s review of Don’t Ask Me Questions.
The new documentary Don’t Ask Me Questions follows the storied career—and much-heralded return—of Graham Parker and his band the Rumour. Popshifter‘s Cait Brennan asked Graham some questions about his career and the documentary in an email interview.