Tag Archives: independent

Like Lovers – Fire

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“No Strings Attached!”, this could have been the alternative title for Like Lovers’ newest EP Fire. The mastermind behind this little gemJan Kerscher seems to write music with an unattainable ease, which makes every aspiring musician / songwriter burst in utter jealousy; and I’m not even exaggerating. Recording 2 EPs within one year whilst simultaneously producing / recording bands in his studio is something that deserves my biggest respect and I guess this guy enjoys doing several full-time jobs at the same time.

The opener “Easy” is an easy-listening indie pop piece that gets you from the first second on with its catchy guitar riff and edgy structure, something completely different from the atmospheric opening track “Again” on this year’s first EP Former Selves. Speaking of no strings being attached, this was the first thing that came to my mind when I first heard Easy; as the song funnily reminded me of The Beatles’ approach in songwriting after they left their boyband image behind and started experimenting on a new sound and attitude, with no coercion or preconception of what could be wrong or right. The only right thing to do is start jamming and to me Easy obviously is a track that started as a guitar jam.

Luckily though, this short EP does not get boring in terms of songwriting, as the next track Satellite could not be more different from the first track, which is a good thing. Variety is a must in singer / songwriter music and Satellite is the proof of how it has to be done. What begins with an acoustic guitar and Jan singing about the desire of love (which could easily drift into a sticky kitsch love song) turns into a decently impulsive groove combined with a memorable vocal melody. Satellite could be the key track of this EP if it wasn’t for the next track Fire, which definitely is my favorite song. The fragile, almost minimalistic structure of the song, the dreamy vocals and the chimes are backed with 2 pumping drum tracks offering the right balance between atmosphere and dynamic.

The last track Nowhere is the most driving track with its rhythmic bass line and would almost suit for dancing. Again, the chorus melody is pure catchiness that is topped with the berzerk sounding guitar at the end, making it a very pleasing pop song and I have to admit that I am positively surprised by this EP. Writing music is an unthankful task demanding perfection once you decide to do it seriously. Jan breathes music and he’s got what it takes to write and produce memorable and enjoyable music. I jokingly ask myself if he’s got something to hide under all his talent, be it a reading disability or maybe an irrational fear of complicated mathematical tasks; because he’s brilliant and devoted at everything he does so there must be something he’s not good at. Maybe football?

You can get the EP on Bandcamp for free, but I would appreciate if you would pay for it! As I already mentioned several times before, independent artists do not live of love and air alone. Thank you!

BLARGHAAARHGARG

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A long time ago Eric from El Gore reviewed the Portuguese short Papa Wrestling which was quite a surprise for me as I had never heard of the independent production crew Clones before. They immediately got my interest with Papa Wrestling and I decided to follow them in the future. BLARGHAAARHGARG is the group’s second short movie with the production starting back in 2010. This flick is a complete independent movie and was mostly financed by selling Papa Wrestling DVD’s and secondhand clothes at the Lisabon flea market.

The story is short and simple. An exterminator upsets some chemicals during his job in a lab. The chemicals get in contact with his nasal mucosa and after he blew his nose, a hungry and destructive snot-monster evolutes out of his bogey. That’s all and I don’t know about you but I don’t need more.

BLARGHAAARHGARG is that kind of movie title to which I am attracted like flies are to dog shit. The movie itself is abolutely genious with the exact amount of slapstick and black humor. The monster is a cheap paper mache construct but not less wonderful and sympathetic as a lot of the known, independent puppet, paper mache, body-suit monsters from the past 80 years. The special effects are exactly my taste: slimy, gory honest and handmade with great sound effects rounding everything off. One thing I really appreciated is around 9:58 min. This typical ’80s and ’90s series armament in the style of the A-Team, Mc Guiver and even Home Alone.

The ending is completely nuts and I am still all smiles when I just think about it. I do not want to spoiler too much, I just advise you to really pay attention to the sound when the monster leaves the room. Whoever came up with this idea is an absolute genius. BLARGHAAARHGARG is a quite fucked up monster movie and you really fast get an idea in which direction this flick is going, namely in the direction of Killer Condom and co. If you are a Troma fan, you will love this (and all the other Clones movies). But in the end these guys do not simply copy Troma, they are for sure inspired by Uncle Lloydie but have their completely own idea of craziness.

To conclude, I have just seen their last masterpiece which I am also going to review in the near future. Be prepared for some awesome nonsense. I am really looking forward to seeing what the Clones’ crew has to offer. Stay independent and make some art!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ni1MrpZDjrk]

HATE CRIME

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Independent filmmaker James Cullen Bressack‘s latest movie HATE CRIME was quite difficult to review for me. To be straightforward with you, James and his movie want to provoke, which sometimes works really well but unfortunately also fails quite a few times. To give you an idea of what we are talking about here: HATE CRIME is a point of view found footage movie mixed with moderate french violence porn insanity and the aim of pointing to racial prejudices still existing in our modern societies.

The story and especially the idea/conversion of the portrayed pschological and physical abuse loosely remind me of Haneke‘s psycho epos Funny Games (1997) and Stanley Kubricks’s masterpiece Clockwork Orange (1971) with a pinch of neo-nazi. James, of course, has adapted the violence to the 21st century, so everything is a bit more brutal than you may expect. In short: a family is celebrating their son’s birthday when all of a sudden the party gets crashed by hate-filled nazis who resolve to torture the family in every imaginable way.

If you are into no-budget hardcore and exploitation, this movie could be interesting for you, but there are also a few things which bothered me. I won’t go into details now as I do not want to spoil the film for you. The family cast is quite decent but I had my share of problems with the villains. The neo-nazi scene is omnipresent in Europe and it is very important that we do not close our eyes and fight this bullshit, but in the end, they were not credible enough and behaved quite artificially.

The dialogues are mostly based on nazi stereotypes and seemed fittled or even improvised. As I already pointed out, the nazi subject is very weighty and just like the exploitation and especially rape and revenge movies from the 70s, James wants to focus on this theme by exaggerated violence and excessive shocking elements.

Personally, I think that the scenery and acting are too faked and seem to be uncoordinated or even improvised. All in all, if you can overlook these negative aspects and are familiar with bizarre independent flicks, you can give HATE CRIME a try.

I am looking forward to what young independent filmmaker James Cullen Bressack has in store for us in the future.

TUB

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Hey guys, did you ever wonder what happens when your girlfriend isn’t in the mood for sex and the only way to release pressure is to fap in your bath tub? Director Bobby Miller has the answer: “Paul jerked off in the shower. Paul just impregnated his bath tub.” Yes you heard right, today’s short movie (+/-12 minutes) is about a bath tub and a man (who is already in a relationship with a real woman) becoming parents of an „alien-like“ child.

After I watched the TUB I came along Miller’s influences and I wasn’t, at any moment, surprised that he listed directors like David Cronenberg, Lynch, Terry Gilliam and co. because TUB can best be described as an expirimental drama combined with grotesque black humor and adorable body horror elements.

As an (independent) filmaker you always walk a thin line when it comes to experimental movies and in the end, this is exactly what I like about them. TUB, which world premiered at Sundance 2010, does not follow the typical “how do I make a billion dollar hollywod shit movie without having an idea of what I am doing here” rules based on shallowed social stereotypes. Miller takes risks and there are surely people who don’t like it but in the end it is a nice, well-made short which certainly will not change your life but maybe will make your day.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1H40oOp0pzY]
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