Archive for February 15, 2013

Six Sundance Love Stories for Valentine’s Day

What better way to perpetuate the quixotic romantic desires that reside in our partners’ minds than by watching films that validate those delusions of love? This Valentine’s Day, we’re offering a short list of Sundance-supported love stories as a remedial to such lofty figments—unfortunately, the reality is not quite as attractive. From an idyllic summer love that concludes with an acerbic breakup in 500 Days of Summer to a lingering, albeit passionate romance that traverses drug abuse and other pitfalls in Keep the Lights On, these six stories of (not always mutual) affection will jolt even the most deluded lover from their reverie.

Keep the Lights On

Keep the Lights On, Ira Sachs’ second feature since snagging the 2005 Grand Jury Prize with Forty Shades of Blue, is about as creatively precarious as films come. It’s a heartrending semi-autobiographical love story that chronicles the ecstasy, the agony, and the utter hysterics of a 10-year relationship between two men in 1990s New York. It’s one thing that Sachs is able to find the courage to vividly broach and revisit such an emotional phase of his life; it’s another that he has the valor to share it with us. In doing so, he displays an incredible aptitude for chronology, managing to convey the intimacy and depth of a decade-long romance despite the constraints of a feature-length reel.

A pair of stunning performances from Danish actor Thure Lindhardt and up-and-comer Zachary Booth bring to life a script that is both beautiful in its honesty and excruciating in its vulnerability, as Sachs invites viewers to walk step-by-step with him on a journey of love and addiction.

500 Days of Summer

It’s a nod to 21st century urban romance, and a do-it-all film that dismisses the perceived boundaries of romantic dramas. Marc Webb’s 500 Days of Summer casts Sundance vet Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel in starkly contrasting — but equally impressive — roles. Beautifully structured and dominated by inventive montage sequences, Webb’s feature tracks the 500 days of a couple’s relationship—or more aptly, the period of Gordon-Levitt’s mostly-unrequited love. Be forewarned, Deschanel plays something of a conniving bitch. It’s ok, we still love her.

Love & Basketball

Film titles don’t come more terse and fitting than Gina Prince-Bythewood’s Love & Basketball. The 2000 Sundance Film Festival selection tracks a pair of young basketball players from their nascent years as childhood sweethearts in Los Angeles to their seminal years as students at USC, and finally as the two arrive separately at the pinnacle of their careers. Prince-Bythewood crafts an elegant portrait of a romantic relationship built on the foundation of friendship, with Monica (Omar Epps) and Quincy’s (Sanaa Lathan) shared love of basketball acting as the ironic barrier between their love for one another.

Before Sunrise and Before Midnight

Richard Linklater’s Before trifecta (Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight) feels incongruent among the rest of his prolific oeuvre. Of course, that’s not such a bad thing. For one, the Before series represents a persistent departure from his other highly regarded work (Slacker, Dazed and Confused, A Scanner Darkly) and displays Linklater’s tenacity and flair for character development. Additionally, it’s arguably the most ambitious love story portrayed in cinema in decades, chronicling Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse’s (Ethan Hawke) nearly 20-year on-and-off relationship.

Before Sunrise premiered at the 1995 Sundance Film Festival and immediately endeared audiences to the youthful couple, who meet on a train en route to Vienna. What appears initially to be nothing more than a glib encounter quickly progresses into a night of candid conversation and visceral connection between Jessie and Celine. Before Sunset reunites the pair nine years later in Paris, and Before Midnight sets the couple in Greece nearly two decades after their initial encounter. And while each film in the series is marked by Linklater’s nuanced character development and meticulous dialogue, there is a beauty in the transformation of Hawke’s and Delpy’s characters despite the significant gaps in both narrative and real time.

Cutie and the Boxer

Whether intentional or not, director Zachary Heinzerling’s debut feature documentary presents the most pleasant of paradoxes. Cutie and the Boxer follows Ushio and Noriko Shinohara, two Japanese artists who meet in New York in the ‘70s and carry on a 40-year relationship that straddles the lines between personal and professional, pleasure and duty. Heinzerling captures their relationship with an authenticity only found in the raw emotions between lovers.

The Spectacular Now

James Ponsoldt’s third Sundance Film Festival selection eschews the gloomy tone of his prior work, but offers another testament to his ability to gently guide the performances in a film. Miles Teller took home a Special Jury Prize last month for his performance, and Shailene Woodley is no slouch as his co-star. Senior Programmer John Nein offers his take:

“Adapted from Tim Tharp’s novel, The Spectacular Now captures the insecurity and confusion of adolescence without looking for tidy truths. Young actors rarely portray teens with the maturity that Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley display, and they are phenomenal together. Funny, compassionate, and poignant, James Ponsoldt’s third feature again demonstrates his ability to lay bare the souls of his characters.”


written by nate von zumwalt for


Synth-Pop Albums

Synth-pop is a convoluted, multi-layered thing. It has its roots in 1970s krautrock, thrived in the ’80s during a second British Invasion, took a darker turn in the ’90s and rebounded in the ’00s as both tribute to and expansion of the music’s peak years. One thing they all have in common is the love of big pop hooks and a sense that the landscape is an open playing field for synthesizers to roam. This is list made by Michael Gallucci of the 10 Best Synth-Pop Albums spans ’70s pioneers to ’10s revisionists.

Duran Duran Rio

10 ‘Rio’ – Duran Duran
Duran Duran’s 1982 album pretty much launched synth-pop into the mainstream’s consciousness, thanks to nonstop MTV exposure. The music would take on more subtle contours as the decade progressed, but in the early ’80s it was all glossy pop hooks and detonating synth riffs. ‘Rio’ packs a ton of them.
M83 Hurry Up We're Dreaming


‘Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming’ –

This French group is all over the place on its 2011 double-album opus. But the New Wave, shoegaze, dreampop and post-rock elements all come together under the synth-pop umbrella, which, like so many new-millennium synth-pop music, nods to the music’s heyday. This is ’80s revivalism at its most playful and ambitious.
Tears for Fears Songs From the Big Chair

MTV opened the door to synth-pop (and bands like Kajagoogoo and a Flock of Seagulls) in the early ’80s, but Tears for Fears gave the music some much-needed credibility in 1985. The British duo’s No. 1 album spawned three hit singles and displayed an assortment of sophistication and American soul missing in so many of their contemporaries’ songs.
MGMT Oracular Spectacular


‘Oracular Spectacular’ –

MGMT’s 2007 debut doses its springy synth-pop with hits of mind-warping psych-rock and even some good old-fashioned prog. But the core sound on ‘Oracular Spectacular’ is rooted in the frisky onslaught of ’80s synths. Other new-millennium bands may be more faithful to genre, but very few do it as well.
Depeche Mode Violator


‘Violator’ –

By the time of their 1990 breakthrough album, Depeche Mode had abandoned the bubbly synth-pop of their early records for a darker, more brooding version of it. More than any other band in the genre, Depeche Mode strayed outside the perceived boundaries to discover other shapes and tones within the music. By their second decade, they sounded nothing like Duran Duran (see No. 10 on our list of the 10 Best Synth-Pop Albums) and were taking synth-pop in bold new directions.

Gary Numan Pleasure Principle

Numan’s 1979 album was one of the first synth-pop records to break into the mainstream. ‘The Pleasure Principle’ reached the Top 20, and its hit single ‘Cars’ made it all the way to the Top 10. In an era when longhaired dudes with guitars were still ruling the airwaves with various disco queens, Numan’s synth-pop achievements are monumental.
Kraftwerk Trans-Europe Express


‘Trans-Europe Express’ –

This German quartet was pioneering synth-pop back when computers still seemed about as real-world useful as jetpacks. Their best album, 1977’s ‘Trans-Europe Express,’ would influence everyone from hip-hop godfathers to New Wave giants to just about everyone on our list of the 10 Best Synth-Pop Albums. Thirty-five years later, it still sounds ahead of its time.
Postal Service Give Up


‘Give Up’ –

When Death Cab for Cutie‘s Ben Gibbard and electronic artist Jimmy Tamborello released the Postal Service’s only album a decade ago, synth-pop was basically being played for nostalgia or so deep in the underground that only the most dedicated music fans were hearing it. ‘Give Up’ revolutionized and updated the music for the 21st century, giving it a human pulse as well as finding heartbreak in the sounds of the machines.
New Order Power Corruption and Lies


‘Power, Corruption & Lies’ –

New Order’s artsy and cultured approach to synth-pop made them one of the ’80s’ most important bands. They were still picking up the pieces of their former group, Joy Division, on their debut album, but by 1983’s ‘Power, Corruption & Lies’ they were pushing the synths and the pop to the forefront, and history was made.
Human League Dare


‘Dare’ –

The Human League
Unlike most of the bands on our list of the 10 Best Synth-Pop Albums, the Human League made their Top 5 1981 LP almost entirely with synthesizers. That they managed to uncover genuine passion and emotion, not to mention humongous pop hooks (especially in the case of the No. 1 single ‘Don’t You Want Me’), in the songs is some sort of miracle. Synth-pop was slowly picking up steam by the time ‘Dare’ came out, but it helped set the template for almost everything that followed.

Sami Jaroush from Rock It Out! Blog deals with Valentine’s Day music, specifically the type of tunes you play when the wine’s all gone and the candles are burnt out. Are you a fan of Marvin Gaye, Barry White, Al Green, or maybe… R Kelly? Watch the video below to hear Sami Beefcake’s favorite tunes, then shares yours in the comments. Read more here:

It’s not a proper Valentine’s Day until The xx sings, wrote Michael Roffman for COS. Wouldn’t you know the UK collective deliver just the sugarless treat with their minimalistic cover of Beyoncé’s “I Miss You” (via Pitchfork). The ultra shiny, new performance was shot at Austin’s The Moody Theatre on Tuesday night amidst their current tour and pits Romy Madley Croft against Oliver Sim in one powerful duet. So, if you’ve got a bag of Hershey’s Kisses at bay, start watching the ruby-glazed clip below — tissues optional.

In related news, The xx recently announced a string of summer dates with Grizzly Bear. Consult their full itinerary once you’re done glueing your heart back together again. Read more The xx – tour updates here:



cc harlem shake 130213 wblog Harlem Shake Shakes It Across YouTube, With Over 44 Million Views

Credit: YouTube/NFLRevolution1

You’ve likely landed at this article looking for one of two things. Number 1: an explanation of what this “Harlem Shake” thing is. Number 2: To see more Harlem Shakes!

We’ve got you covered with both.

Technically, the “Harlem Shake” was a dance move from the ’80s. It began in New York’s Harlem, and was popular in music videos. Then, in 2011, it was the title of an electronic song produced by Baauer. Now, in 2013, the song has become the track of many viral videos.

According to YouTube, that’s the video that started the real viral trend.  As of Feb. 11, there have been over 12,000 “Harlem Shake” videos, and they’ve been watched more than 44 million times. Now, YouTube says, over 4,000 of these crazy dance videos are being uploaded per day. Read more about Harlem Shakes here: Harlem Shake’ Shakes It Across YouTube, With Over 44 Million Views.

Now, of course, the competition is on for the best Harlem Shake video on the Internet. We leave you with some of our favorites.

written by joanna stern for


Tomahawk, 'Oddfellows'

Tomahawk are a unique band in more ways than one. Besides honing an incredibly eclectic and experimental style, Tomahawk happen to be comprised of modern rock heavy hitters from legendary bands such as Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Fantomas, the Jesus Lizard and Helmet. The band recently released their fourth studio album, ‘Oddfellows,’ and we’re proud to debut Tomahawk’s new music video for the album’s title track exclusively here on Loudwire.

Faith No More / Fantomas / ex-Mr. Bungle legend Mike Patton formed Tomahawk in 2000 shortly after Faith No More called it a day in 1998 (they’ve since reunited to tour). Housed within Patton’s record label, Ipecac Recordings, Tomahawk is comprised of former Jesus Lizard guitarist Duane Denison, ex-Helmet drummer John Stanier and bassist Trevor Dunn, whose resume includes stints in Mr. Bungle, Fantomas and Melvins among others. Read more about Tomahawk recent update here:

Tomahawk, ‘Oddfellows’

Lana Del Rey helped launch the campaign for Jaguar’s F-TYPE convertible with her tune ‘Burning Desire,’ and now there’s a video to accompany the song.

  • _lanadelrey

The clip features the sultry singer onstage in an empty ballroom, swaying to the seductive beat, Gina Vespa reported for Read more here:

It’s no secret that we’ve been anxiously awaiting a new LDR record since the release of ‘Born to Die’ last year – even when she claimed it might be her final album, Gina Vespa from reported. Rumor has it that she’s working on a follow-up disc, as she was recently spotted at a recording studio in L.A.

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