Thursday, 27 August 2009

Acting up

Being a actor/actress and being in a band should usually be mutually exclusive things. I once had the misfortune of seeing Keanu Reeves' band 'Dogstar' at Glastonbury. It was long, long 35 or so minutes, punctuated by a few moments of brightness when the crowd preceeding to throw various pieces of fruit, I will never get that time back. There are other, greater, offenders (bruce willis for one or the truly terrifying '30 odd foot of grunts') but that's a whole article for another day. I want to talk about the brighter side of actor/band relationships, in this case Ryan Gosling and Dead Man's Bones.

You may know Ryan Gosling from his acting work, he's very good. Both 'Half Nelson' and 'Lars and The Real Girl' are well worth watching if you get the chance. Especially Lars. You might not know that he and another actor Zach Shields have a band called Dead Man's Bones and that in recent months they've signed to eclectic record label Anti, whose roster includes such luminaries as Os Mutantes, Tom Waits and Nick Cave.

The band actually started as a sort of play about monsters and the like (which is unsuprising for thespians) but expenses caused the project to be shelved, but having the songs already, they decided to continue. I've heard three of the songs now; there's a new (or recent) one on their myspace which prompted me to write this, and they are all great. Ryan Gosling sings in a crooner sort of style, it's rather 50's. The music that goes along with it is sometimes a bit doo wop, I guess. Certainly on 'Your Name In Stone'. Add the fact that they recorded with The Silverlake Conservatory Children's Choir and that all the songs are monster based and you get a kind of 50's b movie type album crossed with The Langley Schools Music Project and what's not to like about that? To top it off the band are using local choirs for all american dates, and having a battle of the bands type thing in each city to decide their opening act. Hopefully growing a sense of community along the way. I've seen this called gimmicky, but really I don't think a hollywood actor really needs a gimmick to sell records.

Anyway the bands music can be found here, and here is the video for 'Name In Stone' too. I think this is their best song, and it might not even be on the record.

What else?

Oh yeah, I really like the band 'Boat' They're quite hard to google because of the name, so it's sometimes hard to find info on them. Anyway Boat are great. Their last album 'Songs You May Not Like' was a bit of an overlooked gem. If they were being classified I suppose they could be lumped in alongside Tullycraft in terms of where their sound is coming from, but there's a bit of Pavement in there too perhaps, and there's elements of 'The Soft Wonder' by A.C newman in there too. The whole of the last Boat record is available to listen to on Last FM right here if you have a chance to listen, it's worth your while.

To get back on track though, I was searching for Boat, when I stumbled across a blog called 'You Ain't No Picasso' which has a new Boat song called 'Name Tossers' available to listen to. The song is great, they sound a bit more fleshed out on it, if anything, but with no loss of melody. I suggest going to the aforementioned blog and listening to it. Here's the link you need.

Finally, and quite excitingly, Slumberland have finally, finally released 'Dream On Daisy' by the sorely missed Parallelograms. If you've never heard the Parallelograms, and I envy you the delight of discovery, think The Rosehips, Talulah Gosh, the best bits of C86 and Subway records, girl vocals and more than a touch of charm. You can listen to some stuff on their myspace, but you should probably rush over to cloudberry and buy it right now. Who knows it might be worth a fortune one day. Even if it's not, if the band sell enough of them, they might be able to pay Markie's airfare and get him to come back. You know it makes sense.

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