Feedback’s face lit up when we saw Brendan Canty‘s name on the list of this year’s Virginia Film Festival guests. We’ve seen Canty bang the skins a couple of times as drummer of renowned D.C. rockers Fugazi, but since the band went on hiatus in 2002 Canty has focused mainly on film-related endeavors. He now runs the Trixie DVD label, which has released the "Burn to Shine" series, featuring underground bands playing live sets in soon-to-be-demolished houses. Canty further combined his musical talents with his film prowess by composing scores for a number of films and other projects, including Sundance Channel‘s documentary The Hill. But when Canty comes to the film festival at the end of this week, he’ll display his more spontaneous abilities by helping provide live accompaniment for the animated films of Brent Green.
Brendan Canty, of Fugazi fame, will join Howe Gelb and filmmaker Brent Green to provide live soundtracks for Green’s animated films (a storyboard above) on November 2 at Gravity Lounge.
|More Film Festival coverage:
Part pulp, part opera, all NYC
The Virginia Film Festival: notes for a screenplay
Home movies [with video]
Visit vafilm.com for a complete festival schedule.
What are Green’s films like? "Southern gothic primitive," Canty tells us. "But I don’t think they are really primitive, or necessarily Southern, or gothic." But there’s nevertheless something penetrating about Green’s work. "As soon as I saw his films, I was completely blown away," says Canty. "He has such a distinct style. I just love how transparent his process is. It only helps further your appreciation for the final piece. Everything he touches is very consistent with his aesthetic, and I really appreciate that."
We were curious to know how Canty made his way from D.C. punk rocker to soundtrack composer, so we asked him how he first got involved in film. He told us that it started when film and computer game maker Teresa Duncan (who sadly took her own life this summer) asked him to make music to accompany an educational CD-ROM for girls. "I kind of employed all of the punk rockers when they weren’t on tour," says Canty. "She got me to write 10 pancake songs for the pancake jukebox in her CD-ROM. And once you do one or two soundtracks, then people hear you can do soundtracks and they ask you to do them. So it really all started with making pancake songs."
While you probably won’t hear any pancake songs when Canty comes to Gravity Lounge on Friday, November 2, you will get to witness an exciting collaboration. Green and Canty will team up with folk musician Howe Gelb (who is also playing his own show at Gravity following the film screening) to create live soundtracks for Green’s films. Gelb will pluck the piano while Canty plays percussion. "I’ll bring my bucket of traps with me and rattle around in the back," he says. As for Green, he usually plays banjo, saw or guitar, while also assuming a commanding stage presence. "You’ll see how amazing it is that he gets up there and rants like a preacher while people are playing behind him," says Canty. We’re looking forward to both the music and Green’s films, which, with a quick YouTube glance, remind us of Tim Burton, but with a grittier, darker edge.
A video clip from Brent Green’s "Paulina Hollers."
Does this mean Thom will hang with Dave?
Rumors are a-flyin’ about the likelihood of Radiohead teaming up with Coran Capshaw for the traditional release of its new album, In Rainbows. As C-VILLE reported on October 5, Capshaw’s ATO Records or its fledgling offshoot Side One Recordings are likely choices for the British experimental rock superstars. Billboard.com noted in an October 4 article that Phil Costello, a former VP at Capitol Records (Radiohead’s previous label) is now at ATO. Feedback also noticed that Costello is thanked in the liner notes to Radiohead’s double-platinum (triple in the U.K.) album, OK Computer, another sign that he is likely tight with the band.
Radiohead, who recently released its new album online for whatever price fans want to pay, will likely team up with Coran Capshaw for a physical release.
Costello isn’t the only industry bigwig that has transplanted (jumped ship?) to Capshaw’s camp. Former Columbia Records chairman and president Will Botwin, former Elektra A&R rep Ron Lafitte and former RCA Senior VP Bruce Flohr are also part of Capshaw’s team. Signing Radiohead, who have caused waves (at least in the media) by self-releasing In Rainbows online for whatever price fans see fit, would bolster Capshaw’s stance as a successful helmsman amid the choppy sea of the music industry. On October 12, Flohr reflected that spirit in an Associated Press article. "I don’t think this is the death of anything," he told the AP. "I actually think this is the rebirth of us all."
Prophetic words, indeed. And we’d like to be able to predict the future, too. We’re pretty sure that future involves Radiohead calling ATO or Side One its new home. We haven’t heard any official word as of press time, but on October 20 TALENTFilter, a connected music industry blog, wrote that it "Looks like it’s official—well…as official as the latest rumor can be—Insiders tell us that Radiohead will release their physical album through ATO Records and NOT through Warner Bros., who were rumored to have been in the running."
When we tried to get in touch with Capshaw’s Red Light Management to learn more about the new Side One label, publicist Ambrosia Healy told us that they were very busy. Busy talking with Radiohead, maybe? Or possibly they were busy promoting Side One’s first release, Underworld‘s Oblivion with Bells, which came out on October 16. After a listen to Oblivion, we think In Rainbows would be a great labelmate for Underworld’s progressive electronic sounds.
Even if Radiohead signs with Capshaw, the actual disc likely won’t hit shelves until early 2008. In the meantime, Feedback plans on kicking back, listening to our downloaded copy of In Rainbows (get it from inrainbows.com) and imagining how awesome it would be if Radiohead came to JPJ.
Sabbath on a Wednesday
At the beginning of October Feedback ventured into Belmont to catch a practice of Mass Sabbath, a group of musicians that come together each fall to learn as many Black Sabbath songs as they can, perfect those songs and, as they put it, "whitewater raft on the melted faces of audience" on Halloween night. Our visit was fun, and we got to listen as a few of the members worked out vocal lines and guitar parts. It didn’t reach the level of face-melting, but we enjoyed hearing their renditions of songs like "A National Acrobat" and "Electric Funeral."
Practice makes perfect: members of Mass Sabbath preparing for their fourth annual onslaught of Black Sabbath covers. Catch them on Halloween at Satellite Ballroom.
When we stopped in again the other weekend, we could tell things would be different as soon as we stepped into their basement practice space. The number of amps crammed into the room had multiplied, as had the cast of musicians. We put our earplugs in and listened to the band tear through some of Sabbath’s best songs. The group is a spectacle to watch, even when they are practicing. Vocalist Butch Klotz wails like Ozzy; guitarists Nicholas Liivak, Paul Sebring and Marie Landragin juggled heavy riffs and blistering solos; drummers Jarrod Hood and Warren Hawkins pound out the rhythms; and bassists Aaron Sanders and Ian Williamson create a growling, earth-shaking low-end.
That’s not all, either. In addition to the already doubled rock setup, the band will have a three-piece string section (made up of Michaux Hood, Cathy Monnes and Jen Fleisher) when they descend upon Satellite Ballroom on Wednesday, October 31. This year will be the fourth incarnation of Mass Sabbath, and, though we haven’t had the pleasure of seeing any of the past performances, we’ve heard great things and are sure it will be a quality face-melting experience. The group only plays once a year, so get your costume ready and head to the Ballroom. You might even run into Mr. Feedback himself (doused in plenty of fake blood, of course).
Video of Mass Sabbath rehearsing for their show. [Note: Due to equipment limitations, the audio quality of this video is poor. In other words, Mass Sabbath rocked so hard that Feedback wasn’t able to accurately capture it on tape. For the real thing, come see the band on Wednesday night.]
Bring in da noise
Noise is often something we either ignore or dislike. We pay little attention to the buzz of the refrigerator and a blast of radio static can be downright painful. But some people love odd noises, and the performers at Noise in the System III, which will take place at McGuffey Art Center on November 2, are those people. Comprising UVA graduate students, the concert will feature a wide array of experimental compositions and installations. The concert itself starts at 8pm, but come between 5 and 7:30pm and check out Peter Traub‘s demonstration of his upcoming Internet-based sound installation, which will premiere on turbulence.org on November 15. Improvisational noise-experimentalists the Pinko Communoids will also play. Feedback saw them at the first Noise in the System, and we recommend checking out their subtle but intriguing sonic textures.
The Pinko Communoids will make peculiar experimental sounds at Noise in the System III on November 2.
Atomic Burrito has been serving tasty food and a diverse array of live music since 2004, but sadly those days are coming to an end. According to staff, the restaurant, bar and music venue will serve up its last burrito, PBR can and dance night on Wednesday, October 31, with DJ Steve Richmond laying down the soundtrack.
We would say that many great musical acts have graced Atomic’s stage, but the place never had a stage, and that was part of its appeal. "I really liked the vibe," says Brad Perry of local bands Worn in Red and Blur The Lines. "It was like a house show, but with a central Downtown location and a bar."
Al Suttmeier, a bartender at Atomic, says that it was the fact that bartenders were responsible for booking shows on the nights that they worked which led to a diverse and lively musical schedule. "One night you would see a country band and the next night you’d see an all-girl punk rock band," he told us.
Josh Lowry, who also tended bar and booked shows, remembers a show that his band, The Sheiks, played with Gito Gito Hustler, a Japanese female punk band, as one of his best Atomic moments. "It was probably the largest attended show that Atomic ever had. It was one of those really wild nights. Everybody just seemed like they were standing on top of each other."
We’re sad to see Atomic go and we’ll miss the delicious burritos almost as much as the great music. But whenever one local venue shuts its doors, it seems other options quickly pop up. We’re sure places like Outback Lodge, Miller’s and Mono Loco (which has been hosting some good shows on its patio lately) will pick up the slack. For now, though, (if you’re reading this before the end of October) head out and enjoy Atomic’s waning hours.
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