The Minders – Hooray For Tuesday

The Minders - Hooray For Tuesday
Label: SpinART Records

I’m a sucker for just about anything that the Elephant 6 bands get involved in. But “Hooray For Tuesday,” is possibly the most uninterrupted, most straightforward pop to come from any of the eight or so bands in the collective. The Minders are the wonderful creation of transplanted Brit Martyn Leaper, and produced by Apples In Stereo impresario Robert Schneider, to give it that clean retro pop sound. The Minders take a slice of all the best parts off the 60-70s-garage pop music and mix them up into a tasty stew. You can hear bits of bands like The Zombies, Turtles, Kinks, Beatles and Beach Boys strewn throughout the short twelve song minor masterpiece.

Beginning with the unshakably catchy title track, “Hooray For Tuesday” The Minders keep their songs short and sweet- no extended jams, or weird instrumentation, just authentic sounding pop. Like a kinder gentler version of the Lily’s, Leaper and company log in twelve tightly knit pop songs into just under a half-hour. On songs like “Comfortably Tucked Up Inside” and “More and More” you catch this sweet sounding power pop that, at moments, sounds so authentically retro that you’d almost think it was a refurbished Kinks demo from 73′.

I can’t really say that The Minders ever really stand a chance of becoming a household name or that they might even hear their songs on the radio, but in the grand scheme of things “Hooray For Tuesday” will remain a great Beatlesque tribute to a great period in the history of music.

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Run Lola Run

Run Lola Run

Director : Tom Tykwer
With : Franka Potente, Moritz Bleibtreau, Herbert Knaup

Kind of like a really innovative music video, rewound and then slightly altered three different times, the ultra-hyped “Run Lola Run” does in fact manage to justify most of the hype by capitalizing on a true multimedia uniqueness. Like “Sliding Doors” or maybe even a bit like “Groundhog Day” before it, “Run Lola Run” tells story the same three times but with three entirely different outcomes.

After managing to loose the 100K in deutsche marks from a smuggling job, Manni calls his girlfriend Lola to help him come up with the money in the twenty minutes he has until the boss comes to collect. Three times we watch Lola drop the phone, sprint from her room, past her mother and rush down into the stairwell towards the street. At this point the film becomes a multimedia adventure, with her unforgettably dyed red hair Lola morphs into a cartoon, and bolts down the stairwell towards the street. All the while techno music paces Lola as she runs (and this is no Dustin Hoffman in “Marathon Man”) towards the bank where her father works. Striking 35mm shots of her moving through the German streets, with the pounding of drum’n’bass, and the movement of her scarlet hair keep the film alive in a way that most other films don’t even attempt.

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Mojave 3 – Out Of Tune

Mojave 3 - Out Of Tune
Label: 4AD Records

Mojave 3 is really the incarnation of the early 90’s shoe gazing luminaries Slowdive. After being dropped by the more straightforward rock inspired Creation Records, the band was quickly signed to the much more appropriate ethereal originator 4AD label. Since then Mojave 3 has been putting out the finest work of their career, and 4AD has their strongest current artist after beginning to intentionally stray away from their trademark ethereal sound.

Like a soundtrack to a romanticized southwestern dream, singer-songwriter Neil Halstead’s, “Out Of Tune” is a gentle fusion of Nick Drake-like vocals mixed with the hazy western twang of Mazzy Star. Not that there are any standard “pop” songs on “Out of Tune,” but the gentle vocals of British sophisticate Halstead and the flowing basswork and vocals of Rachel Goswell create a real full blown album of songs meant to be heard back to back.

Opening with the stellar “Who Do You Love” which begins the album with a gentle upbeat number, and carrying through “Give What You Take” and “Some Kinda Angel” the album reeks with that sexy dusty swagger that’s been most recently replaced by electronic ballads.

There’s not much else one can say about an album like this except that it’s a wonderfully reflective album more suitable to casual reflection or romantic mood making than it is nightclub dance-floors or psyche tape music. It’s a record to fall into or out of love to, and the kind of album that merely carries you into that lightly upbeat place where the world just seems easier and somehow more transparent.

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Two Girls and a Guy

Two Girls and a Guy

Director : James Toback
With : Robert Downey, Jr., Natasha Gregson Wagner, Heather Graham

If you just picked up the box, recognized the cast and then read the brief plot synopsis you’d probably have prepared yourself for a much different movie than the one you saw. More a “filmed play” than a movie, “Two Girls and a Guy” has one of those razor sharp, David Mamet meets Hal Hartley sensibilities where the characters deliver sharp measured dialogue back and forth throughout the entire movie. In a way the language sounds a bit forced and unrealistic, but that’s also part of the charm, believing that people actually could maintain such interesting, articulate and probing conversations.

Beginning with the film’s first scene where you meet a Carla (Graham) and Lou (Wagner) while they are both waiting on a SoHo stoop for the same boyfriend, you can tell that this will not be your standard romantic comedy. After a comical exchange with an odd passerby, the two figure out that, inevitably, they have been “used” by Downey like real-life acting roles for him to perform one of life’s most difficult roles – being in love. If this were a Hollywood film, this would be the end and not the beginning, but thankfully its not. Instead the girls break into Downey’s “trust-funded” loft and hide out waiting for him to return.

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American Pie

American Pie

Director : Paul Weitz
With : Jason Biggs, Natasha Lyonne, Eugene Levy, Tara Reid

After 82 years worth of films the likelihood of a movie about teenagers preparing to lose their virginity stands a very small chance of being original. After a slew of classics such as “Porky’s,” “Losin’ It,” “My Tutor” and “Revenge of the Nerds,” what more can American B-cinema actually have to say about bumbling adolescents and their pursuit of the Holy Grail? Like surprise classics “Kingpin” and “Rushmore,” there is always room to elaborate on such issues as the state of high school band members, masturbation, and the awkward first purchase of rubbers.
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