Movie review: “Green Room” (2016)


“Shouldn’t we be panicking right now?”

“I’m hungry.”

I played drums in a procession of garage metal bands for the final seven years I lived in Tennessee, and, if for no other reason, that period was the unequivocal time of my life so far. Music for us was never the lean existence you so often find romanticized in autobiographies or scene chronicles. We simply didn’t push hard enough. We couldn’t get traction, let alone established, and, instead, just holed up in a humble succession of rooms, writing songs and practicing like our lives depended on it. By the time my first band began playing out, the local scene that I’d found so energizing in my latter days of high school had begun to seriously wane, taking the crowds with it. I never wanted anything more in my life than to be a touring rock drummer, which is why, as the by-product of countless hours of practice time and band meetings and unfulfilled ancillary daydreams over the years, I can relate so strongly to the protagonists of Green Room, a strange but affecting, intriguing but ultimately disappointing, terminally disjointed thriller that takes place in the highly specific, often terrifying, subculture surrounding the underground White Power music scene. Continue reading “Movie review: “Green Room” (2016)”

Movie review: “Captain America: Civil War” (2016)


“Okay, anybody on our side hiding any shocking and fantastic abilities they’d like to disclose? I’m open to suggestions!”

Well, well, well…isn’t this conspicuous timing. Not even two months after DC Comics attempted to kickstart/defibrillate its own nascent cinematic universe with a wholly fabricated, varicose, mercenary, oft nonsensical apocalyptic grudge match between its two biggest stars, Superman and Batman – who, despite over a century of unparalleled name recognition, had a combined one film of sanctioned warm-up (2013’s grim, pulverizing Man of Steel) between them before the opening bell rang – Captain America: Civil War, the latest – which is to say the thirteenth – entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) lands with all the requisite bad blood and fists a-flyin’ one could possibly want, except, you know, also sane, and coherent, and almost singularly exciting. This, of course, assumes audiences are interested in those sorts of things. Continue reading “Movie review: “Captain America: Civil War” (2016)”

Concert review: Wolf Alice


A&R Music Bar, Columbus, OH – April 8, 2016

I always knew the line-blurring London indie rock quartet Wolf Alice, who I’ve seen billed more than once in the trades as a beguiling sort of cross between folk and grunge, was the real deal, but I also often found the band too reverential (or, if you like, referential) to the past to be able to endorse its present wholeheartedly, or at least without including that minor complaint as a caveat. My recent cross-genre year-end top twenty albums post, which tagged Alice’s insinuating full-length debut My Love is Cool as the #4 “non-metal” album of 2015, and its #10 longplayer overall, nevertheless damned it with more than a touch of faint praise, mostly for the frequency and dexterity with which the band overtly reminded me of someone else. Time passes, however, whether spent in light reflection or serious rumination, and so often renders such high-minded certainty an elastic, equivocal thing, and its wielder a fool. Continue reading “Concert review: Wolf Alice”