Blog Archives

Candy Cigarettes stands out among many bedroom acts

I always find it amazing when I hear music that’s created in a bedroom studio. It always has a cozy, warm aesthetic that’s much more listenable than any other genre I find. Perfume Genius and Youth Lagoon have really captured the essence of bringing the music from the bedroom (or a friends) to life. With the release of the weird, but very good Wondrous Bughouse, I’ve felt the need to rekindle some of that lo-fi feel in my daily music listening. A musician that brings together this idea greatly is Candy Cigarettes.

 

Lane Mueller is a solo, self-taught musician out of Portland that has been releasing songs under the alias of Candy Cigarettes. Already playing in festivals around his hometown (The monstrous Kaleidoscope Festival in Eugene, Or), his deep baritone voice is rare to hear in the dream pop genre he’s playing. What makes him special as well is how he can jump from a Matt Berninger rumble to a Ben Gibbard, Postal Service, style of singing. Because of his smaller scale and bedroom feel, it’s obvious the quality cannot compete with some of the bigger players in the business, but it adds to the feel of his music. The tracks I listened to, “Tomorrow”, “Stockholm”, “Call Her Friend” and “My 45″ all fall under the same lo-fi sound, but are extremely different in their own qualities.

 

I’m torn between “Stockholm” and “Call Her Friend” as my personal favorite track from Mueller. It’s easy to tell what emotions he’s trying to convey from his diverse range of sound. “Stockholm” begins as a lonely, National influenced track that bursts into a riff resembling “Entertainment” by Phoenix. I hated that song on it’s own, but Mueller takes the idea of the riff, and creates it into a great ending for a sad, revealing track.

 

“Call Her Friend” was not a track I wanted to hear from the opening guitar riff. it’s too Garage Band like, but I gave it a chance and I found it to be Mueller’s most creative work. I hear an early Death Cab for Cutie influence, but with more desperation with the backing vocals droning off, leading into an outstanding electronic section. The song has so many different noises coming from different angles, but Mueller utilizes the silence of the chorus with the background vocals to create amazing tension and connection with the listener. I also found the bridge and fade out to be very solid, with the exception of the blues guitar that doesn’t fit. Nonetheless, great track.

 

“Tomorrow” was the song that I first heard, and it did really capture my attention. It’s the definition of bedroom music, and that’s not an insult in the slightest. I’m saddened by the fact that many people haven’t been introduced the Candy Cigarettes, or other bedroom artists of the same nature. Mueller’s bio describes himself as “Carved name amongst the elders of Portland’s highly proclaimed music scene”, and it makes scene. This track in particular has huge potential to be a radio hit with a bit of clean-up. My same comment goes as the blues guitar doesn’t fit the overall feel of Mueller’s music, but nonetheless it doesn’t detract from the great ideas.

 

Lane is among the many talented solo musicians who are striving to have their name heard. Some are pretty established, like Mueller, while others haven’t shown a single soul their creations. All we know is it can be a work of genius if we give it a chance. Thanks to the age of social media, we can experience the greatness of millions of musicians, and see their minds flow. Just listen to “Weary Is”, and tell me the closing piano notes don’t make you feel something special. Candy Cigarettes, much like Washed Out, is a unique project that only needs that single opportunity, and at 21, Lane Mueller will be given many.

 

Click here to follow him on Facebook

 

 

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.

VFX artists Miguel Ortega and Tran Ma, Kickstart a visually stunning cryptozoology adventure The Ningyo

c81d2b4fe81413d6d88044bf62053483_largeGot an email from Miguel Ortega, this amazing VFX artist we did a story on awhile back. In it he told us about a new project he’s working on, that he’s trying to get some crowd funding to complete. My immediate response to the letter was “YES!” and “How can I help?” All this and I hadn’t even looked at the Kickstarter video yet. Why my undying devotion? Cause Miguel is a true autuer/bohemian, doing whatever it takes to transform what’s in his head into something real.

His first project The Green Ruby Pumpkin, was done for $7,000 dollars and he shot the whole thing in his house and he’s doing the same with The Ningyo. I urge anyone reading this article to click this jump and watch that film and you’ll see right away why I am about to get down on the campaign trail for his new project The Ningyo

What Miguel and his VFX partner Tran Ma, has planned is quite ambitious, but if funded, it will be unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Miguel is a skilled artist with an amazing understanding of light, textures and anatomy, qualities that come in very handy when you consider the scope of this fantastical tale of the “neverwas”. All the pieces are in place for this project, amazing actors, concepts, sets, passion and know-how, all he needs now is for you to watch the Kickstarter video and let it conjure up feelings you haven’t felt since you were a child, well that and whatever you can spare to complete it.

Folks this isn’t like some Kickstarters where huge actors use their celebrity to fund projects they’re too cheap to do themselves. This man is shooting this in his home! If that doesn’t say commitment, I don’t know what does.

THE NINGYO KICKSTARTER

MIGUEL ORTEGA HOMEPAGE

The Ningyo KickStarter from miguel ortega on Vimeo.

Trailer for Ben Wheatley’s “A Field in England” is pure arthouse crazy

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I’ve seen fan-made trailers like this before, but most never see the light of day, but this bit of magic compliments of Julian House at Intro-Partnership is what Cinephiles, like myself, drool over. This trailer alone, is enough to warrant a screening at The Cinefamily. It has that 60′s psychedelica/horror vibe and when you read the synopsis you’ll understand why.

A Field in England is directed by Ben Wheatley from a screenplay co-written by Wheatley and Amy Jump. The story follows a small group of deserters fleeing from a raging battle through an overgrown field. As they are captured by O’Neil, an alchemist, they are forced to aid him in finding a hidden treasure he believes is buried in the field. Crossing a vast mushroom circle, which provides their first meal, the group descends into a chaos of arguments, fighting and paranoia as it becomes clear the treasure might not simply be gold. The film opens in the UK starting July 5th and the United States later this year.

A Field In England – They’re over here Devil! from Rook Films on Vimeo.

 

The Most Badass 12 Year Olds Ever

We’re told as kids to ‘dream big’ and we believe it. We all wanted to be astronauts, skateboarders, spies, movie stars, and rockstars, but how many 6th graders have 720k views on a Vimeo video? These two metal heads from Flatbush, New York are real dream chasers. Their in a band named Unlocking The Truth, and from what I heard, they blend the sounds of Death Metal, Stoner Metal, and Progressive Metal all into one cohesive sound.

What I loved from watching this video is that they aren’t innocent, sheltered children. They seem to have a mature view of what the real world is like. They take the negative energy of stereotypes and transform it into a positive, and uplifting message that says, “Metal rocks, Bullies suck”. How can you not like that? It’s so clear cut and true that even an overdue man could enjoy.

From their videos on YouTube, I’m guessing posted from the Mom’s account (Tracy Brickhouse), I’ve noticed how far they’ve already come. Playing in Times Square and having a large audience only shows the capabilities of reaching for your dreams. I cannot get enough of the video of Master Chief rocking out and headbanging to one of the bands songs. They’re killer. I’ll include it below to share the greatness of it.

These kids are real ass kickers, and it’s hard to think that they’re only 12 as well. Just another reason why age doesn’t mean talent. It’s the ambition and drive in a person as well.

Unlocking The Truth – Malcolm Brickhouse & Jarad Dawkins from The Avant/Garde Diaries on Vimeo.

The coolest video from the band here: 

Wes Benscoter’s short Hold Your Fire takes bleak to a whole new level

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Wes Benscoter started off his career creating album covers for bands like AC/DC, Slayer and Kiss, but since then he’s reinvented himself as a film director and a damn good one at that. Hold Your Fire reminds me of a video for all the bands I just mentioned so Wes’s final stage of evolution may be complete. He’s successfully recreated his art on film, with a story of war that goes well beyond the point of madness.

Hold Your Fire has been floating around for quite some time since it’s release in 2008, but it appears to be gaining some renewed interest in the U.S.and I believe it’s because this short was just recently uploaded onto Vimeo. This may or may not have been Wes’s marketing plan, but it has a new following and for a film that was shot so long ago, it sure does look pretty current and timeless, the way a good film should look. It’s a heavy film with a strong Alan Parker (Angela’s Ashe’s, Pink Floyd the Wall)/ Terry Gilliam (12 Monkeys, Time Bandits) vibe, none of which is a bad thing. Enjoy!

A ghostly soldier comes face to face with the grim reality of his war-torn existence on the battlefield and beyond in this award-winning short film directed by iconic heavy metal and horror artist Wes Benscoter.

Wes Benscoter Website

HOLD YOUR FIRE from Wes Benscoter on Vimeo.

Animated short “How to train your Robot” does in two minutes what “Real Steel” couldn’t do in an hour

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This is an exquisitely crafted short by the Platige Academy that demonstrates, first hand, what simple story telling is about. It’s starts with a well thought out idea and solid concept, then you find those whose vision fits the one your trying to create and then hope to God you guys get along and luckily for them they did or didn’t…who knows? What I know is that this is one solid short with one hell of a pay off. Your gonna love this!

Quick shout out to Geek Tyrant for posting this.

To learn more about the PLATIGE ACADEMY checkout their website HERE.

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR ROBOT from Platige Image on Vimeo.

MITNGTV EPISODE 3

mitng ep 3

I know, shame on us for leaving you guys hanging. We didn’t mean too, but there were so many Ob-stacles in our path, we had no choice. Mainly our editor and visual effects guy going on sabbatical. Now that he’s back we can get this ball rolling a little. That is until this weekend, when that mofo leaves us again to go home. Hey, so the guy loves his mom’s cooking, I can’t hate on him for that.

This weeks episode focuses on a few of our highlights for this and previous weeks. I’ve taken the liberty of posting them below. I hope you enjoy the show and please subscribe to our Youtube if you dig it.

LINKS TO POSTS

http://mitng.org/2013/06/04/bill-will…

http://mitng.org/2013/06/05/step-into…

http://mitng.org/2013/06/05/we-are-th…

http://mitng.org/2013/06/06/the-creat…

http://mitng.org/2013/06/06/teenagers…

http://mitng.org/2013/06/04/boards-of…

http://mitng.org/2013/06/03/documenta…

http://mitng.org/2013/05/30/black-roc…

We Are The City http://www.wearethecity.ca/

 

We Are The City release their sophomore album, Violent

The main reason for independent music’s rise to fame is that it’s different. The musicians claim they have a ‘fresh’ new idea, and they’re ‘not like other bands’. Sadly, the reality is that Indie music is slowly becoming more stale by every release. This isn’t because of the high popularity of the genre’s umbrella-like term, or because it’s cool to pretend that we don’t care, but it’s because the mainstream media is jumping on every act around. *GASP*, yes indie music is mainstream music. Let’s admit it already. From The Lumineers and Mumford’s folk sound to Passion Pit’s indie pop stardom, it’s everywhere. Now before you decide these bands are utter shit, let me remind you that it’s only a handful that cash in early with their checks. Even the bands I’ve mentioned still have their dedication to music (so far). The heart of indie music is found in the local media. In a city like Vancouver, where we’ve been overrun from the next big band, it’s hard to stand out. Occasionally there’s a band that sets the tone for what’s expected, and that’s constantly We Are The City.

Hailing from Kelowna, BC and now residing in Vancouver, the band’s claim to fame is winning the prestigious Peak Performance Contest and releasing a killer debut LP and EP. I’ve been following this band closely because everything I’ve heard in the studio and live is absolutely amazing. Their debut release, In A Quiet World, is my top rated album from 2009, and 2011 proved to be great with their ultra cool EP, High School. For anyone unaware of this band, they’re a combination of sound is scattered. At times I hear Local Natives mixed with King Crimson, and others I hear The Antlers mixed with Archers Of Loaf. It’s a unique sound that I’m sure will be a major influence in the local scene. They provided me with a snippet of a sophomore release, and I was very excited to hear that their new album, Violent, has finally arrived.

First things first; this is completely different from anything the band has done before. What In A Quiet World had with their catchy prog-rock, and High School had with their experimental pop, Violent feels down right depressing. The album still contains the disjointed and tight sections that We Are The City are famous for, but they’re a different style here. Gone are blitzing structural shifts and in are the continuous drum sections and droning guitar riffs. From the get-go, “Bottom Of The Lake”, has a lush flow of notes on the keyboard, and a 2/4 drum lick that doesn’t stray away for the entire song. I have to say, I was kept on hold waiting for the song to shift, but I never got that. To my surprise though, I really enjoyed the opening without the complex compositions the band is known for. The only song on this album that has that classic feel is “King David”. It’s 7/4 time signature brings me back to my 2009 listening days. We Are The City has matured and they’re wanting us to know that. “Legs Give Out” has a slight In A Quiet World sound, but it never hits the crescendo that songs off the previous album did.

I’m not mentioning that I dislike these songs, but they definitely require a mental shift to grasp the fact that We Are The City aren’t the band they used to be. They’re more mature, down to earth, and experimental. The first four tracks provide a throwback feel to older albums, but it’s when “Friends Hurt” comes in that it really sinks in that the band has changed. What a perfect soundtrack for that realization, because the entire song revolves around despair and sadness. The band literally fucks with emotions like it’s nothing, and I give them huge credit for that. The second half of the album feels very experimental, with it’s almost minimal feel and usage of sound instead of hooks. The songs tend to drone on, creating a thick atmosphere that feels like Animal Collective gone acoustic. Tracks like “20 Ft. Up” and “Punch My Face” are good examples of the developing sound. Same with “Everything Changes”. It’s long chords and drum machine contain such a dynamic sound for a basic song. That’s the magic of We Are The City. They’re music, even though it sounds very complex, is quite simple. The complexity comes with the structure of songs. They change dynamics so quickly and contrast the previous sections like a post-rock album. Still, the band is a progressive rock band no matter what the locals might say about them.

I’m still sold on the song “Baptism”. It’s definitely the album’s lead single (If it were to have any), and shows how much the band has progressed in the past two years. Inner conflicts almost split the band, and they even resided in a tiny house close to mine to get away from the never ending mess of stardom. Drummer, Andy Huculiak is easily one of the best drummers for a band in Vancouver, and the way he manages the back beat has me jealous every time I hear him play. The song plays out like fuzzed out version of previous lead singles by the band, and takes a piece from Flaming Lips’ iconic Embryonic. The sound is so aggressive without having that upfront punch. It’s sound resembles a ballad until the signature We Are The City ‘second of silence’, and that’s where the song takes shape. It’s distorted, massive, and bursting from the seams like noise rock song with a massive melody.

The band has such goofy and down to earth lyrics that it’s so easy to get lost in them alone. They constantly feel like underdogs and are so likable, even with their accessibility being quite lower than other bands of the same sound (Local Natives, Cold War Kids). Now, the band still has that sound of self-despair, but what made the past albums run so smoothly was the themes that surrounded the band. The group doesn’t seem set on what they’re trying to accomplish with Violent, and maybe that’s the point. When a band is almost on the way to self-destruction, that’s where the most honest work comes out. Much like Weezer’s ultimate Pinkerton, it was the best work by the band at the worst time. So to speak, Violent is no Pinkerton, but the comparison in themes really resemble one another. Violent also feels like a slow cooker, and so far I’m not 100% sold on this new sound, but before I know it, it’ll be on my playlist non stop. The album is yet to click, but I know it will soon. Nonetheless, be sure to check out this sophomore release by the amazing band.

Click here to get to the band’s Bandcamp

Here’s the first promo for the album that contains the song, “Baptism”: 

Finally, here’s the actual studio version of the epic “Baptism”: 

Check out this short Another Hell directed by Saam Farahmad featuring the music of Daughn Gibson

Saam Farahmad Another Hell

The music of Daughn Gibson is melancholy enough without placing odd visuals to it, but what director Saam Farahmand has done is placed Daughn Gibson himself and Daughn’s music, in the misty woods with birds, pitbulls and pasty young girls and voila…magic.  A lot of  “questions”, run on throughout this interesting piece. Is it about gun control and forest fires?I don’t know people, stop asking me stupid questions. It’s indie and enigmatic and, for all intents and purposes, could be the most profound bit of film I’ve ever seen, if I can decode it. Let me know what you think. No seriously, let me know.

Another Hell stars

DAUGHN GIBSON    
SCARLETT-ROSE-PATERSON     
NICK D’AVIRRO     
ELLEN PAIGE     
MARIELLA D’AVIRRO
LISA CHAISE

Here’s a DAZED article that features an interview with the director.

Daughn Gibson Official Website

Saam Farahmand Official Website

ANOTHER HELL from SAAM FARAHMAND on Vimeo.

 

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