Category Archives: Indie

Remembering the Blair Witch Project and it’s effect on Hollywood

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I still remember it like it was yesterday. Me and my film school buddies were all in line at the Enzian Theater in Orlando Fla, to catch The Blairwitch Project! The air was thick with anticipation, not only for the mystery surrounding this movie, but because the movie was created by Florida film students from UCF.

This short documentary, presented by Academy Originals, chronicles that time in 1999 when two ambitious directors Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick, set out to create something the world had never seen before. Little did they know the style and formula for The Blairwitch Project would become the standard for science fiction and horror films for the next twenty years and then some.

 

Director Takashi Miike goes all Jigsaw on us in his latest trailer As the Gods Will

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My introduction to Takashi Miike’s film’s was the ultra-brutal horror film The Audition. I would later go on to enjoy other films of his like Ichi The Killer and 13 Assassins (classics btw). His latest, As the Gods Will (based on a hugely popular manga) visually, seems like something I have seen before, but I’ll hold out and see if it is. It is just a trailer and, as these things go, may not be showing much, but right now I’ll say what I’ve heard another movie blog say about this trailer in that it looks like a blend of Saw and Battle Royal. Then I read the synopsis and they might been right.

(via.Quiet Earth)

The basic premise is that a group of high school students find themselves in a situation where they have to play traditional Japanese games and those that lose die horrible deaths. As the Gods Will opens in Japan November 15.


 

 

New tUnE-yArDs track “Wait For A Minute” arrives

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Merrill Garbus of Tune-Yards is “hands down” one of the most talented musicians of our times. This New England native continues to change her style and isn’t afraid to move into new directions with her sound. On May 5th the Tune Yards will release their new album Nikki Nack through 4AD, but they’ve released an awesome jam off of it to wet our appetite for the time being. Wait For A Minute is a little less weighty than most Tune Yard jams, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t stellar. Merrill is laid back on this track, but still funky and unpredictable. Let me stop talking…just listen to it.

Scene from the Jimi Hendrix biopic All Is By My Side starring Andre 3000 emerges

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I don’t know if this is a leak or how long this will be up, but this scene from the new Andre 3000 film All Is By My Side has got me thinking, we may have finely found our Jimi. I don’t know about the rest of the film, written and directed by Oscar award winner John Ridley (12 Years a Slave) , but this scene with Andre and Imogen Poots, who plays his muse, is quite impressive.  I wrote earlier, last year, about this film and how it won’t have any of Jimi’s original works in it due to estate issues, but it will feature some covers of stuff he did during his time in England. I have high hopes after watching this. You tell me.

This film will screen at this years SXSW.

Checkout this Kubrick-esque trailer for Under the Skin starring Scarlett Johansson

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Alien visitation has seen many manifestations in Hollywood. I myself, am a huge fan of the 1984 film “The Brother From Another Planet” starring Joe Morton, but there’s been a slew of them in the last century. It just never gets old, especially when it’s a sexy alien femme-fetale, who lures dumb human men in and kills them, but not before making buc- stupid sex with them. Take that formula and add a heaping helping of Scarlett Johansson and Kubrick and you have Jonathan Glazer’s (Sexy Beasts, Birth) latest cerebral science fiction gloominess “Under The Skin”. The story follows Scarlett as an alien sent to our planet to destroy, but what happens is she gets all emotional about it and has second thoughts. Essentially like Commander Data’s emotional chip, but different? The trailer looks  a lot like a recent film I saw Beyond the “Black the Black Rainbow” directed by Panos Cosmatos, but I’m only saying that cause visually this trailer steps on several toes…Kubrick, Jordorowsky,Lynch, but those are some of my favorite directors so no harm no foul.


Via. Firstshowing.Net

In search of loners, Laura (Scarlett Johansson) drives around the exquisitely moody landscapes of the Scottish highlands. She’s an alien, sent from afar and equipped with enough human language and awesome seductive power to capture, destroy and presumably send home human males. And then, her curiosity about her human body and an accidental act of pity disrupt her mission. Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast, Birth) directs the film and co-wrote the script with Walter Campbell, based on Michael Faber’s novel. Under the Skin was acquired by A24 Films from TIFF 2013, and will begin playing with a limited release April 4th.

Producer/Songwriter of School of Seven Bells Benjamin Curtis dies at 35

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Throughout my time in Brooklyn, New York, there were a great number of bands who became the soundtrack to my life. Each band gave me sprinkles of what I needed for the train ride to work or the long walk home, but none of them, for me, were more impactful and all around transcendental, than School of Seven Bells. The  brainchild behind the project, producer,guitarist and songwriter Benjamin Curtis was a monster at aural landscapes and used his expertise to create dance tracks like no other. Not unlike Anthony Gonzalez, Benjamin Curtis, along with the twin sister singers Alejandra and Claudia Deheza, carved worlds out of stone, so it was devastating to learn, back in February,  that he was diagnosed with T-cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma. The news of his diagnosis spread pretty quickly throughout the indie community. The group even set up a fund to help Benjamin with his medical cost, seeing as how being on a record label doesn’t guarantee you health insurance that’s worth a damn. Many New York bands such as Interpol, The Strokes and Devendra Banhart showed up to donate and help.

(Via. Los Angeles Times) In October, bands including Silversun Pickups, M83, Cocteau Twins and Blonde Redhead wrote messages of support for Curtis during his treatment.

But on December 29, 2013, Benjamin Curtis lost the battle. He was only 35. It’s a devastating loss to the music community and I know he will be deeply missed.

(Via. Los Angeles Times)

Curtis was raised in Dallas, where he played in various local acts before he and his brother Brandon co-founded the rock trio Secret Machines, which rose to national acclaim with its 2004 debut LP “Now Here Is Nowhere.”

After leaving that group, he started School of Seven Bells in New York in 2007, with twin-sister vocalists Alejandra and Claudia Deheza. The group’s 2008 debut LP “Alpinisms,” for the indie label Ghostly International, won wide praise for its mix of ethereal vocals, heavily distorted guitars and atmospheric electronics.

The band moved to the L.A. label Vagrant Records for its 2010 album, “Disconnect From Desire,” and released its final LP, “Ghostory,” in 2012, with Alejandra Deheza as the sole lead vocalist.

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TOP 20 ALBUMS OF 2013

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I hate starting these posts off with “It’s that time of year again”, BUT IT IS!!!!!!!! Tons of great albums this year, but my boy Ryan and I had to narrow them down to twenty so as not to make this post too long winded. Some of the artists on this list are well known and some, not so much, but that doesn’t make their music any less appealing. We at MITNG are all about showcasing new talent, so this list is hopefully a tasteful blend of something old and something new, well it’s all new….you know what I mean…I hope. Let’s get busy! (Arsenio Hall).
Ryan’s Picks

10. Jon Hopkins – Immunity

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There’s no other album as technically sound and spectacular as Immunity. It captures the full emotion of space better than any album this year. From droning house beats to crushing piano chords, Jon Hopkins has his best release yet and the number 10 spot.

9. Earl Sweatshirt – Doris

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Huge expectations were set on the young rapper. His first album back in 2010 set the bar so high that anything close would be an accomplishment. Well, Earl Sweatshirt responds with an inside look on his true struggles of fame and life. To be 19 and create such a vivid image of life in 45 minutes is true talent. I feel he hasn’t even reached his full potential yet.

8. Foxygen – We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors

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Nothing stood out to me for the first 4 months of listening to this album. It was simple glam rock. 30 years too late, but gladly I stuck it out and had the most rewarding, fun listens. From the lulls of “San Fransisco” to the air pumps of “On Blue Mountain”, Foxygen know how to reach their audience.

7. Dirty BeachesDrifters / Love Is The Devil

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I missed the craze in 2011 with Dirty Beaches. I passed up on a perfect opportunity to foreshadow the future. Luckily, they came back with the most dark, disorienting album of the year. This double album really does reflect the loneliness and ambiance of a bustling city while perfectly capturing the feelings. The 10 minute “Mirage Hall” is a throwback to
the ultimate influence of Suicide’s “Frankie Teardrop“. I’d claim Alex Hungtai does it better too.

6. Arcade Fire – Reflektor

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I have a confession. It’s not a problem, but a realization. I mentioned in the review this album would be a grower, and I was correct. The fourth album by indie legends is their most ambitious and fun to be released. “Normal People” has the best ending to a track I’ve heard from the band, and “Afterlife” is fucking fun. That song can get anyone grooving. Reflektor an odd change, but a change that suits the band. I feel it’s one of many swan songs the band will have.

5. Touche Amore – Is Survived By…

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The shortest, and grittiest album on the list. Post-hardcore group, touche amore really put their best foot forward in their longest LP to date. They play with such tightness and energy together, feeding off each others chemistry. Every member has a story to tell, and as a listener who should have spent more time on other albums, I can tell you that this album goes much farther than the lyrics in the insert. It’s a dedication of five musicians struggles packed into 29 minutes of amazing noise.

4. Deafheaven – Sunbather

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The almighty Sunbather. If there’s one album that will stand the test of time, it will be this. Not for it’s music, but also solely on the music. A black-metal, post-metal, post-rock, post-everything album that has a pink cover. It’s exactly that. A wonderfully destructive album with incredible picking, sharp vocals, and oh the drumming! It never feels old, and all the noise falls into place so well. The Phil Spector wall of sound is put to the extreme here, and the droning guitars, drums,
and bass create one of the best musical experiences in history.

3. Darkside – Psychic

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I love Nicolas Jaar. I also love music with a purpose. Combining the essence of dance music, blues, and Jaar’s signature ambient sounds, Psychic is a rewarding listen. The hook off “Heart” would put it on this list alone, but it’s an album with new sounds every listen. “Freak, Go Home” reminds me of what drunk hipsters listen to before their barhopping, while the amazing opener, “Golden Arrow” is a chance to show just how talented Jaar is. Screw the potential talk, this is his apex of music.

2. The National – Trouble Will Find Me

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One of my most listened to albums this year. Trouble Will Find Me solidifies The National as the ultimate self-pity band. When you want to grow that feeling of despair and hopelessness, listen to That National. They feel you. They jump from slow-burners like “Fireproof” to the gritty “Graceless” contributing to any man’s sadness. I can’t tell you how many times this album played in my car, in my room, on my computer, and in my head. It’s catchy, sad, understanding, and just plain awesome.

1. Typhoon – White Lighter

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Surprise, surprise. The Portland monster band already kicked ass in 2010 with Hunger & Thirst, but White Lighter is THAT album on steroids. It’s everything I wanted in an album for my teen years, but never got. If Typhoon had the exposure, they would define a generation of teenage indie rockers, much like Pavement,Modest Mouse, or Arcade Fire did. They have the message, they have the sound, and they definitely have the fight. White Lighter exposes the troubles of society and struggles we face everyday, but for some reason,we push on. It tells us not to give up, and they agree that they can’t explain why we should, but they know.It’s albums like this that changes lives and inspires people. Now only if they could receive some radio airplay.

And now for Jeffrey’s picks of 2013

10. Daughn Gibson-Me Moan

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After the release of his 2012 album All Hell, I was overly eager to hear Subpop Records version of Leonard Cohen throw down his followup and in 2013 we got it. Me Moan, as I expected,  delivered on all counts. This album was filled with all the Johnny Cash vocals and midi syncopated beats, we’d come to love off his first album, but with a little more, how can I say this, pop? Tracks like “Kissing on the Blacktop” and “The Sound of Law” were welcomed surprises and proved, to this devoted fan, that Daughn Gibson is more than capable of writing danceable tracks as he is at writing good listening music.

9.GHOST B.C.- Infestissumam

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Call me a sucker, but in the days of mediocrity, a few great songs is really all it takes for me to say “yes…I like you”. Case in point,  Ghost B.C. latest album “infestissumam”, these Swedish manipulators of symbols and sounds, brought an even darker sound on their sophomore album than with their freshman 2010 release Opus Epynomous. Always keeping it cheeky, they mockingly cling to Catholic symbols, but remain vigilante in their quest to unite the world under one dark cloth. Songs like “The Monstrous Clock” and “Secular Haze”, lovingly follows in the footsteps of such great eighties Death Metal bands like King Diamond or Alice Cooper, but also is as ballady as Chicago or Journey and rocks as much as it teaches. I see only good things in the future for Ghost B.C.

8.Pearl Jam-Lightening Bolt

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I’ll admit not giving Pearl Jam their fair shake in the past. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I immediately logged them in that corner of my wind where all my high school bullshit goes. How wrong I was. Lightening Bolt is the first Pearl Jam album I’ve owned since Ten and Verses and seeing as how I am a believer in serendipity, I see purpose in this reunion. This is such an amazing album! So well rounded and absolutely filled with something for everybody on it. I will say the highlights on this album, for me, were the punk track “Mind Your Manners” and the amazing ballad “Sirens”, but take my word for it, Lightening Bolt is solid through and through.

7.Fuck Buttons-Slow Focus

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Really good electronica bands are fucking hard to come by. The one’s I follow tend to be so good they only release albums every other year, at least’s that the way it seems. So I’m always looking for something to fill that gaping hole in my life left behind by bands like Boards of Canada, The Chemical Brother’s or Bjork and I think this is it. Again, here’s a group I only recently stumbled onto, but have had them on my Pandora shuffle for a minute. This two piece powerhouse from Bristol is killing it on their latest “Slow Focus”. The album is a journey of both dark and light themes. Fuck Buttons takes everything good about dance and has meticulously woven it together on this mind blowing album. Highlights on the album “Sentients” and “The Red Wing”. You have to put this on rotation.

6. How To Destroy Angels- Welcome Oblivion

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All I can say is that “too bad Nine Inch Nail’s latest album Hesitation Marks didn’t sound more like this album”. HTDA is lead singer of Nine Inch Nail’s side project. Trent Reznor and his wife Mariqueen Maandig (lead vocalist) have worked on two albums together since the bands inception and it seems to be working. This album has a lot of the usual bells and whistles associated with NIN’s, but with the softness of Mariqueen’s vocals and a sublime thread coupled with a real relationship with the music and each other, that makes this a truly unique effort and not just Trent doing his thing. Highlight’s on the album “Keep It Together” and “Ice Age”.

5. Oblivion Soundtrack-Anthony Gonzalez and Joseph Trapanese

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You know how sometimes you see an artist or artists take the next step in their creative evolution and say to yourself “of course”. That was the way I felt when Anthony Gonzalez of M83 and film/television composer Joseph Trapanese teamed up for the soundtrack of the Joseph Kosinski film OBLIVION. Trapanese, having worked with Kosinski before on the Tron:Legacy soundtrack with Daft Punk and Gonzalez having a flair for epic soundscapes and science fiction videos, created vibes for this huge film that often times the picture couldn’t hold. Absolutely breathtaking! This soundtrack kills on every level, blending the cinematic with sprinkles of electronica and was truly the sole reason I finished that somewhat mediocre film.

4. Boards of Canada-Tomorrow’s Harvest

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Boards of Canada, oh Boards of Canada…you and your every decade releases, are going to be the death of me. Okay, I’m exaggerating, but for real guys? Tomorrow’s Harvest is BoC’s 6th album and, as always, it was well worth the wait. The album is filled with dissonance mixed in with some extemporaneousness, going from your usual to amazingly abstract, but always interesting. Fans of BoC will love this album for it’s bravery, but newcomer’s will also dig it for it’s freshness and no hold’s barred approach to a genre they’ve become masters at. Highlights on the album include “Jacquard Causeway” and “Reach for the Dead”.

3. Cayucas-Bigfoot

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Sure they aren’t the first band to try and cash in on that familiar Brian Wilson sound. Groups like Lord Huron, Animal Collective, Tanlines Hooray For Earth and Panda Bear, have all taken a stab at that surf rocky sound of the 60’s. Here’s the rub though, all those bands I mentioned are fucking good. So what have we leaned? You listen to good artist and it’ll reflect in everything you do, one way or another. The Santa Monica band Cayucas is no different. This really is one of my favorite albums of the year. From beginning to end, it’s chock full of summer vibes. Songs like “High School Lover” and “Summer Thing” are absolutely brilliant in execution. They even use a sample from Oliver’s 1969 hit “Good Morning Sunshine” for their song “Deep Sea”, so what’s not to like about these throwbacks? The album leans hard on a analog vibe and revels in it’s gritty and washed out vocals. All these things give the album color and will have you breaking out your copy of Endless Summer from the word go. The only downside of this album is it’s eight songs. I’m hoping for more from their next album, but this is a great showing for a debut.

2. M.I.A.-Matangi

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This is all M.I.A! Like Missy Elliot, M.I.A always delivers, well her and Dj Switch…oh and a few other Mad Decent alumni like Partysquad and Surkin. This is the fourth album for the English powerhouse and she shows no signs of slowing down. Always inventive and controversial, Matagi seems like she’s taken a back seat to revolution for songs about love and youthful vernacular. Songs like Y.A.L.A is her poke at the Y.O.L.O saying. In it she takes a page from her Hindi upbringing to turn the tables on this mindless meandering. Lyrics: YOLO? I don’t even know anymore, what that even mean though If you only live once why we keep doing the same shit. Back home where I come from we keep being born again and again and again
That’s why they invented karma. She also shows us a aside of her we don’t see very often in songs like Sexodus. Sexy…I guess, but it was like listening to a friend you’ve known all your life talking to you about sex, but hey…maybe she’s picking up some stuff from Madonna. Highlights on the album “Bring Da Noize”, ” Attention” and “Bad Girlz”. It’s a great party album and worth grabbing!

1. Yamantaka//Sonic Titan-UZU

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I really could fill up several pages with laurels for this fucking album! For those of us from the grunge era, this band and what they are bringing, is long overdue. Hailing from Montreal, Canada, this experimental art project/ rock opera, is displaying talent unseen by rock bands of late. UZU is the second album for Ruby Kato Attwood (vocals) and Alaska B (drums), John Ancheta (Bass), Ange Loft (Vocals) and Brendan Swanson (Keyboards) and it’s nothing short of enigmatic. Their 2011 self-titled released, was the precursor to what has turned into the groups Dark Side of the Moon. With sounds deeply rooted in Native American energy, they use piano,crunchy electric guitars and hard hitting drums to paint images of roaring oceans and enormous mountains. Then enters this anamolus serenity felt within the lyrics and tonality of it’s singer Ruby. With faces painted in  homage to both Japanese Noh theater and Native American aesthetic, YT//ST is the very embodiment of transcendental rock! Make no mistake, they are a jam band, but they do so as to really take the listener to places and not to shred for the sake of shredding. Highlights on the album are tracks like “Whalesong”,”Saturn’s Return” and “One”. Hear me when I say, this will be the band to watch for in the coming years! Nothing like it exists! YT//ST’s UZU is the wish fulfilling jewel for those yearning for more magic and rock in their listening experience!

Watch The Green Ruby Pumpkin and know what Halloween is!

It is because films like this that I love Halloween! Directed by CGI animators Miguel Ortega (Jack The Giant Killer, THOR) and Tran Ma (Alice In Wonderland, G.I. Joe) The Ruby Green Pumpkin is a delight in that way that years from now you’ll be asking yourself “remember that one Halloween story…yeah that one. Wasn’t it awesome!” The story is a cleverly woven limerick about a woman/witch who lives in this wondrous world and gives candy to all who come to her door, dressed mind you. She dispenses these goodies from her ruby green pumpkin year after year. The story goes on to show all sorts of folks coming to her door for goodies and dressed in their Halloween best. It’s all pretty cheery until the three boys arrive, now I won’t spoil it for you, but that’s where the Tim Burton light heartedness kinda wanes, but still stays beautiful. My hopes is that every kid in the world gets a chance to see films like this, cause they are just plain good and filled with that level of simple story telling that’s hard to find nowadays.

The Green Ruby Pumpkin is a magical and fun short film that captures the enchantment of Halloween. It was a passion project that was created by two Senior visual effects artists. Miguel Ortega and Tran Ma. This Entire project was shot in the living room. watch the making of HERE

Currently Miguel Ortega and Tran Ma are working on a Lovecraft-esque feature called The Ningyo.

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Description

A 1909 period film about cryptozoology. The search for mythological or unproven creatures. A Faustian tale about loosing oneself in the process of achieving our goals.

A Ponce De Leon type adventure involving deep sea diving and underwater caverns.

Dr. Marlowe, a paleontologist and professor, finds a piece of a map pointing to the place where the Ningyo, the mythical Japanese creature, could be found. The legend claims whomever consumes its flesh will attain remarkable longevity. He presents the project to his peers, who mock and dismiss him as a fraud. He decides to risk everything and go after the Ningyo on his own in hopes to bring to light what could be one of the greatest contributions to science. What he could not anticipate is that, in his search, he is confronted with a choice that puts the very foundations of his morality to the test.

For more information on The Ningyo checkout their facebook website for the latest.

You can see our other visual effects work MONSTER SCULPTER


The Making of The Green Ruby Pumpkin from miguel ortega on Vimeo.

The Green Ruby Pumpkin from miguel ortega on Vimeo.

Listen to PHANTOGRAM’S Black Out Days

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Sharing the crown with other New York-based, synth pop duos like School of Seven Bells, Sleigh Bells and Purity Ring, PHANTOGRAM, Josh Carter (vocals, guitars) and Sarah Barthel (vocals, keyboards), are carving quite a reputation for themselves in the electronic scene. Their 2011 release “Night Moves” is a catchy variant on the sometimes too abstract “blips and blops” that have emerged out of the Big Apple. Instead they deliver a clever blend of hip hop, 80’s and pop. Today they released a new single called “Black Out Days” and although the production is tight, it’s not one of my favorites, but it’s still a worthy track and worth a listen. They still haven’t released word on when we can expect another album, but I think it’s safe to assume, they are in the lab right now.

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