I just want to go on record and say that I’m in love with Speedy Ortiz. For me, music sucked for a long time. It’s hard to admit that writing music almost killed my love for it. After playing the guitar I’d grown sick of it. It began sounding so tired and uninspired. I was a rock fan who had suddenly lost his taste for it. But at the same time nothing else could truly match my first true love. Grimes was a welcome rebound but a rebound is what it is.
Then last year while trawling through Pitchfork, I met Sadie Dupuis and her band, Speedy Ortiz. People always seem talk about the 90s when this band come up in conversation. They talk about Nirvana. They compare them to Pavement. It’s true, I hear it too. But it’s more than that. This girl has read actual books rather than just blogs. Her band have something called a personality. They sound familiar yet fresh. I know music is in a strange place these days; none of us can un-see Wrecking Ball. It’s part of us now. But don’t give up hope. The future is starting to look bright again.
Album of the Year 2013: Sunbather by Deafheaven
Although not for the less adventurous music fan, Sunbather is hands down the best album of last year. If Beauty and the Beast were a HBO drama written by Stanley Kubrick and directed by Lars von Trier, this would be the soundtrack.
Almost impossible to like on first listen if black metal vocals aren’t your thing (they’re not mine either) and granted, I can’t understand a word this dude is singing (sorry, screaming) but hell, this album kills it. I can’t recommend Sunbather to my friends without getting the confused “Really?!” look when they first press play. But there are some of you out there who can see the beauty in scars and the allure of fire. This one is for you.
"Am I dreaming?"
"Yes, we’re dreaming."
Unable to convince any of my friends to see this movie, I went to see it alone at the Watershed in Bristol. I understood why. The reviews were mixed. There’s almost no dialogue. At no point is anything explained. But… I had read the book (it’s amazing, by the way) and somewhere in the last year, Scarlett Johansson (perfect for this role) had stopped just being the worst Russian superhero ever and once again become that actress who got all us readers of Indiewire excited so long ago with Lost in Translation and Ghost World.
Lucky for me, I spent the entire runtime sat next to some dude who would audibly sigh every 20 minutes or so out of sheer frustration and boredom. So, yeah… my advice: Read the book first. If you don’t have to worry about working out just what the fuck is happening then you can enjoy the beauty of this film on its own terms. The soundtrack. The imagery. That performance. Scenes from this film are going to haunt me for a very long time. The first classic of 2014.
The world is like a ride in an amusement park and when you choose to go on it you think it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds are. And the ride goes up and down and around and around and it has thrills and chills and it’s very brightly coloured and it’s very loud. And it’s fun - for a while. Some people have been on the ride for a long time, and they begin to question; is this real? Or is this just a ride? And other people have remembered, and they come back to us, and they say, “Hey, don’t worry, don’t be afraid, ever, because… this is just a ride.
Do it or don’t. It’s amazing how many things in life are that easy.