Most great rock bands inevitably leave a trail of second-rate impostors in their wake. But because The Smiths were largely created in the image of their saintly singer Morrissey, whose voice and presence were so painfully unique, Smiths zealots were never really left with much to remind them of that handful of romantic, often perfectly melodramatic masterpieces. That is until The Dears came along. The second best album by a Montreal band in 2004, “No Cities Left” features a slate of smoky lounge-filled delicacies that allow singer Murray Lightburn to showcase vocals that exist somewhere between Smiths era Morrissey and the Tinderstick’s Stuart Staples. Accompanied by lyrics and music that create enough distance the albums lets us look beyond obvious comparison. This light will likely not go out for a few more years.
Archive for March, 2005
Hip-hop, that far-reaching genre that tends to alienate most indie-rock loving purists, occasionally spits forth a band that manages to tickle the pickle of good old-fashioned rock fanatics. Madvillian is this years model. A sample-crazy, groove-obsessed, mishmash of comic book heroes and villains, mixed by Madlib and MF Doom, and featuring 20+ short tracks that alternate between traditional rap-like tracks and weird snippets from unidentifiable sources. More an odd mood piece than a record with a distinct beginning, middle and end, this is scrap book filled with addictive nuggets assembled by mad geniuses of a modern urban era.
Although maybe not the instantly “classic” movie some people have dubbed it, “Million Dollar Baby” is damn good. Clint is obviously an old master: a patient storyteller, who always plays it straight, with no funky special effects or flashy cinematography. The story focuses on an ambitious girl with the odd dream of becoming a boxing champion long past the age where it should be possible. Hilary Swank, proves the first time was not a fluke, creating a character as genuine and determined as almost any female character this year. Supported with a kind of quiet brilliance by Morgan Freeman and Clint Eastwood, the story soars to “Rocky-like” heights before throwing a devastating twist into an otherwise predictable plot. This is a film that will force an entire spectrum of emotions and one that will leave a lasting imprint.