[Area Premiere] Elliott Smith documentary “Heaven Adores You” to screen at 2015 Independent Film Festival Boston (April 22nd-29th)
Posted on March 31, 2015 at 4:49 pm | No Comments
When this year’s lineup for the annual Independent Film Festival Boston is officially announced tomorrow, there will undoubtedly be a couple dozen movies I’ll add to my personal viewing list. Seeing as many as I can between opening night on April 22nd and the closing film on the 29th becomes a lesson in impossible time management and tough choices.
One choice has been made easy, since nothing could possibly trump the screening that was confirmed today: The New England Premiere of “Heaven Adores You: A Documentary Film About The Life & Music Of Elliott Smith” on Friday, April 24th.
The fan-funded film, which was successfully Kickstarted in late 2011, made its debut last May at the San Francisco International Film Festival before hitting more than two dozen fests worldwide… but never Boston. When the news that the film would be released globally to theaters this coming May 7th, I quickly checked the online list and… nope, no Massachusetts. While I still held out hope that the film would come around, I started to accept that I’d have to wait until a digital or DVD release to get a look. Fortunately, thanks to the all-volunteer crew at IFFBoston, the long wait has been made much shorter.
Directed by Nickolas Dylan Rossi, the film includes appearances and interviews with some familiar names and faces, including Larry Crane (Tape Op, Vomit Launch, Jackpot! Recording), photographer Autumn de Wilde, Jon Brion, Heatmiser drummer Tony Lash, Sean Croghan (Crackerbash, Jr. High), Pete Krebs (Hazel), Joanna Bolme (the Jicks, Quasi, Jr. High, etc), and many more. Bandmates, friends, & collaborators all, the film is sure to be a moving and insightful look into Elliott’s life and musical career.
Expressing my love and appreciation for the songwriting of Elliott Smith, and the pain of losing him in 2003, would take more time than I have to write it or you have to read it. And I still wouldn’t get it right. If you’re a fan, you get it, and you won’t need any convincing to join me at the “Heaven Adores You” screening in a less than a month…
Keep an eye out tomorrow for the full IFFBoston lineup, which will include a few more music-related documentaries that I’ll be covering in my annual fest preview post in a couple weeks.
In other ES-related news, Seth Avett & Jessica Lea Mayfield‘s full-length tribute to Elliott arrived last week, and while I’m generally skeptical of other artists interpreting his work, these two pretty much nail it. Their versions are gorgeous, understated, and sincere, and their admiration shines through clearly. Here’s a KEXP-recorded live version of one of the most beautiful songs ever written, the heartbreaking “Pitseleh“…
Posted on February 20, 2015 at 9:57 am | 2 Comments
As a post-script to my list of favorite full-lengths of 2014, I thought I’d (yes, belatedly) share a catch-all collection of everything else: The short-players, 7-inches, reissues, and digital releases that spent the most time in my ears, along with a run-down of the stand-out live sets I caught during the calendar year. Narrowing down that last list was… not easy. That was a bountiful dozen months of shows.
Seems a good time to dole out some free stuff, too: A couple of my favorite vinyl releases of ’14 along with a t-shirt from a (reunited) band who put on one of last year’s most welcome performances. Scroll to the bottom for the giveaway details.
Rather than write a bit about each release (and delay this post another month), some quick commentary…
Read on, and scroll way down if you want to try and snag some free vinyl from David Bazan, Survival Knife, or a Replacements t-shirt…
(the star of The Daily Tater)
I’ll finish up this long-overdue post with some free stuff: A vinyl copy of David Bazan’s gorgeous team-up with the Passenger String Quartet, Survival Knife’s killer “Survivalized” EP on wax, and an XL-sized Replacements t-shirt (the “Hate Us On Facebook” edition). Each will go to a different (North American) reader, so drop me a note at giveaways [at] bradleysalmanac [dot] com, and choose one of these three email subjects: “BAZAN”, “SURVIVAL KNIFE”, or “REPLACEMENTS”. Make sure it hits my inbox by next Friday, 2/27 at 10am, when I’ll pick one winner for each and get in touch for your mailing address.
Up next, and hopefully soon (yeah, yeah), my big ol’ annual list of records I’m looking forward to hearing this year. Some of which are already out and are fast favorites. Yeah, I’m lookin’ at you, Krill.
Posted on December 31, 2014 at 9:09 pm | 3 Comments
Close the book on another year, an unsettling one that won’t be missed by too many people I know. Myself included. Burn the old calendar, hang up the new one, shoot for some fresh starts and better perspectives. Hope may have been in short supply in 2014, but new-music-as-antidote sure wasn’t, so here are the long-players that made me feel better over the past 12 months.
As in previous years, it’s 20-ish favorite full-lengths in alphabetical order, along with some honorable mentions. I’ve never been a fan of relative ranking, nor whittling down to an arbitrary number, so don’t go arguing with me – I’m not saying these are the best, I’m saying they’re my favorites. Can’t argue with that. I’ll hopefully follow this up in a few days with a run down of some EPs, 7-inches, reissues, and live shows that stood out above the rest.
(the star of The Daily Tater)
Remarkably, I believe this was the first time in 14 years of keeping track that every single album I adored was available on vinyl. Makes me very happy, that does. What didn’t change was my predictable label-loyalty: Merge, Slumberland, Polyvinyl, Teen-Beat, Captured Tracks, all represented. As they probably will be next year. If we’re lucky.
Stop back in a few days, when I’ll hopefully have a follow-up post with a few EPs, 7-inches, reissues, and live shows that I loved in 2014. If I’m not already too deep into 2015, that is.
Best to you and yours in the new year. May it bring you all you desire, or at least none of the things you don’t.
Posted on December 8, 2014 at 12:43 pm | No Comments
Exit/Verse plays Great Scott tonight. It’s their first-ever Boston show, and they’ve got special ties to this place, what with Mr. Geoff Farina on guitar & vocals. If you’re unfamiliar with the man, he fronted area trio Karate, and perhaps less famously (though, for me, more importantly) was one half of the beloved Secret Stars. His subsequent discography includes a wealth of solo recordings, a stint with his band Glorytellers, and collaborations with fellow guitar-song-genius Chris Brokaw, also a former-Boston-guy. So this isn’t just a show, it’s a homecoming of sorts that will be full of friends and familiar faces. Holiday-season-style.
A track from Exit/Verse’s recently released self-titled debut…
(An aside: When I first moved down to Boston from Vermont in 1998, my then-girlfriend lived in a 2nd-floor Union Square apartment on Prospect Hill in Somerville. The occasional guitar noise from below got me curious about her downstairs tenant, because the sounds were the opposite of annoying: They were beautiful, and eerily familiar. When I saw the name “Geoff Farina” written on the mailbox, as a fan of the Secret Stars and Karate, I had one of those “welcome to Boston” moments that helped me fall in love with this place. Those small-town coincidences have never stopped. As I write this, I’m sitting less than a block from Karate’s longtime practice space in Allston.)
Tonight’s show also gives two good reasons to show up early: Openers Andrew Sadoway and the Thalia Zedek Band. Thalia & her band should need no explanation, they’ve been on fire lately, and the last time I saw them was the best they’ve ever been on stage. And that’s saying a lot. They’ve set themselves a high bar for this evening.
(from last year’s “SIX” EP on Thrill Jockey)
For Andy Sadoway, however, a little introduction may be in order: He’s the drummer for personal-local-faves Bent Shapes, and occasionally takes the vocal lead for that band from behind the kit. He’s been sharing his own material for a few years, but this is a relatively rare solo appearance. Looking forward to seeing what form his eponymous project takes when he hits the Great Scott stage around 9pm tonight.
(The title track from May’s “Str8 Sh00ter” EP)
Advance tickets can be acquired right here. Consider yourself fully informed. See you there, I hope.
Posted on October 24, 2014 at 3:43 pm | No Comments
With last night’s Herbie Hancock Keynote kickoff, the annual Boston Book Festival is officially underway in and around Copley Square. As much as I appreciate (and mutilate) the written word, my favorite parts of the fest always end up being those that throw music in the mix. The BBF never fails to incorporate at least one music-related event into their programming, and this year is no different: Saturday evening’s grand finale is “Words and Music: A Literary Jam Session” at the Old South Church. The details, from their website:
This year’s fest gives me an opportunity to flashback to my favorite-ever BBF event, “The Book Revue: Words & Music”, which capped off the 2010 edition. It was an ideal marriage of words & music, with a killer lineup and one hell of a host in Steve Almond (“Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life“, “Against Football”, etc).
After Almond’s introduction, author/songwriter Joe Pernice (Pernice Bros., Scud Mountain Boys) read from his novel “It Feels So Good When I Stop” and performed the Pernice Bros. songs “The Loving Kind” and “Amazing Glow“. Dean Wareham (Galaxie 500, Luna, Dean & Britta) read “Letter From A Concerned Luna Fan” from his novel “Black Postcards” and played G500’s “Blue Thunder” along with the Dean & Britta track “The Sun Is Still Sunny“. Author Nick Flynn delivered his intoxicating mediation on drinking, “Same Again” before an excerpt from his novel “The Ticking Is The Bomb”. Kristin Hersh (Throwing Muses, 50 Foot Wave) followed with a couple excerts from her resurrected teenage diary “Rat Girl” and performed both “Flooding” and “Your Dirty Answer“. Lastly, Nick Zinner (of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs) joined Zachary Lipez and Stacy Wakefield to present pieces of their collaboration “Please Take Me Off The Guest List“. The centerpiece of the whole thing was Almond’s hilarious lyrical dissection of Toto’s “Africa“. That bit is worth the price of admission alone.
The BBF shared, and still archives, the entire event in (one giant) MP3 form, so I’ve excised a few bits below alongside the original file. Enjoy…
Steve Almond vs. Toto. For more photos, click here.
Much gratitude to Mr. Tom Johnston for pulling that lineup together, and to the Boston Book Festival’s continued inclusion of music-related programming every year. Have a look at Saturday’s complete BBF 2014 lineup, and hit up the Dig for some recommendationskeep looking »