August Banner and Music

New month, new banner, new music...I couldn't nab the picture I wanted to use for this month's banner, so instead I opted for a less "geeky" shot in favor of what is still my favorite film of 2009 so far, THE HURT LOCKER.  The picture comes from the opening sequence of the film, where the wagon carrying the explosive the EOD is going to use the detonate a bomb breaks, forcing one of them to walk out and attach everything by hand.  It's a stellar sequence, and I encourage everyone who hasn't seen it to do so soon before it goes away. Mark my words: you'll see THE HURT LOCKER and star Jeremy Renner a lot come awards season:

On the music front, City of Ships is part of the whole "post-rock" thing: pounding bass, layers of sounds with hints of melody, strong guitar work and clean vocals.  I think one of the most impressive things about 'em is that they're only three people.  Look What God Did to Us is their debut album.

I don't know much about Asobi Seksu - I just know it makes me happy. Shoegaze-y in a My Bloody Valentine kinda way without being as obtuse, it's bright, poppy, infectious chill music.  I really like the editorial review over at Amazon.com, which concludes with "the ideal soundtrack to a hot affair in some futuristic hotel tucked away downtown, or out near the airport."

The Dead Weather is probably the best-known of the August music, simply for being another Jack White project.  But the truth of the matter is, as much as I like Jack White and The White Stripes, the main draw for me here was the presence of Alison Mosshart from The Kills on vocals.  Their No Wow album is like a stripped down young PJ Harvey, and I like that presence here, mixed with White's blues obsession and a band aesthetic sorely missing from The Raconteurs.

I think the reason I like The Chinese so much is that it sounds heck of a lot like two guys playing in someone's garage, being recorded by a boom box on top of a shelf.  Which is exaclt ywhat I used to do back in the days before digital recorders and money to afford anything other than a crappy Peavy studio Pro 10" solid state amp and an imitation Fender Strat with the bridge bolted down by a friend of mine.  The Conquest of Tomorrow Today is balls-out riffing: no vocals, no bass - just a guitar and drums playing loud and proud with a minimum of fuss.

There's nothing I can say about Clutch that hasn't already been said:  I wrote about their last album here, and just made mention of new album Strange Cousins From the West a few days ago.  They've been on my "Favorite Bands" list for years now.

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With the exception of the last few days, we had a pretty mild July here in New York.  August is feeling like it's gonna be a beast, though, so get your air conditioners out, stock up on some iced tea ( my beverage of choice right now), and stay cool.