My new favorite band of the week has got to be Frank (Just Frank). I love when a band comes out of nowhere into my life-- I didn't even know they existed until last week but now they are in my life and I love it. I am not talking about Frank Sinatra, and I am not talking about the lesbian musician Phranc. (Although any time I get a chance to talk about Phranc I sort of have to go for it.) Frank (Just Frank) is a new band on the fantastic Brooklyn label Wierd Records. The band is from Paris, France...at least, sort of. They are what you would think Cold Wave would sound like. This album could have easily been made in the 80s, which is, of course, why I love it. It is dark and brooding. It is weird and atmospheric. It is not exactly the sort of album you might put on when thinking of LA in the summer. It's more like London or Berlin in the middle of winter! But I love it for summer. I have my Beach House and Ave Buffalo for the summer, and my Best Coast and Surfer Blood, but I need something dark to balance those records out. Those pop albums can't really exist without something that sounds like their opposite! The new album is called Brutal Wave, a perfect title for the album. It is dark synth, like a dark shoegaze band. There are dark jangly moments that make me think of the darker Smiths songs or the Cocteau Twins. One of their songs replicates the opening of an XTC song. There are some really great songs on this album and it reminds me of Clan of Xymox at times! It's definitely somewhere between New Order and Joy Division.
Buy the album Brutal Wave by Frank (Just Frank)
Let me get back to Phranc. I feel like some of you may not know who she is, or maybe you forgot. She was sort of the Alternative version of K.D. Lang. I first found out about her from Morrissey. He took her on tour with him for his Kill Uncle Tour in 1991. She opened up for him on the tour and also seemed to take up about half of the Tour Program as well. I didn't even know for sure that I was gay at the time, but I was pretty sure about Morrissey. I even went to this show with my girlfriend! I almost felt like Morrissey was coming out of the closet a bit by having Phranc open up for him. Phranc also sort of started my obsession with all things lesbian. My new found fixations on Team Dresch and Sleater- Kinney were just around the corner. Lesbians are for sure all over the media these days, which really is an amazing accomplishment. The images of lesbians in the media may not always be the best, but some sort of exposure is usually better than none. The L Word on Showtime was probably the first introduction to a sort of normal lesbian culture for a lot of people. The show really was nothing more than a lesbian soap opera, and I think it really could have been a lot better, but I still couldn't resist watching it every week. I really felt a void when it was over. I hated the U.S. version of Queer as Folk, so The L Word was actually a better alternative. But I knew there would be some bad lesbian imitations around the corner. I knew there would be some horrible reality show spawned from this show...and now there is. The Real L Word premiered a couple of weeks ago. I had to watch the first episode and I even watched the first episode a second time with a friend of mine. It really is one of the worst things that I have seen on TV! I guess that these women do sort of exist in some sort of reality. I wonder how much of these on screen personalities are actually real. I also hope that the rest of the world doesn't think that this is actually how most lesbians act. I have known many lesbians in my life and I have yet to meet any like any of the women on this show. Please try to resist and don't watch this show. I think my least favorite thing on TV has to be TMZ. I would seriously rather watch Sarah Palin. I still have no idea why they film the office conversations of a bunch of paparazzi idiots making fun of celebrities. I still feel like somebody accidentally left a camera on in their office and it is not actually supposed to be on TV. But somebody wanted to show what idiots they are, so they decided to broadcast it. The Real L Word is really not much better.
There is another lesbian pop culture phenomenon happening right now -- the movie The Kids Are Alright. I went to go see it in Century City last weekend with my boyfriend. I honestly thought there would maybe be like 10 people in the theater. I sure was wrong! The screening we actually tried to go to was almost sold out 15 minutes before it started. I really didn't want to watch the movie from the front row so we went to the next screening that was also almost sold out. I do realize that this was Los Angeles, and the movie was only playing in a couple theaters, but I was still surprised. This seemed to be a sort of mainstream hit -- a film about a lesbian couple and their kids who try to find their sperm donor dad! I really could not imagine a mainstream movie like that existing in 1991. There have been many lesbian movies before this, some of them worth watching, and some of them not so much. The two first movies that I remember seeing were Desert Hearts and Liana. Movies like those paved they way for sure. It really wasn't until then that lesbians were not just the evil women in movies who usually ended up dead or run out of town by the end of the movie. The crowd at The Kids Are Alright seemed to be 95% straight. That me happy, and the movie is actually really good! It's one of those movies that you can't really hate. It is just likable and full of likable characters but it really is more of a drama than the trailers make it seem to be. I just saw another trailer of it last night that makes it seem like the next Hangover -- every joke in the movie in shown in the trailer -- but there really is a lot more going on. It deals with the problems of a couple growing older together, how parents deal with their kids growing up. It deals with infidelity and trust. They are just sort of a normal family coping with a lot of the things that a straight couple and their family would deal with -- which is the important part. They are just normal. The movie probably has its flaws but I really liked most everything about it. It sure beats an episode of The Real L Word. It is also always nice to see a gay or lesbian movie where one of the main characters doesn't die. Gay couples can grow old together.
also out 7/13...
Move of Ten by Autechre
They''ll Only Miss You When You Leave by Carissa's Wierd
Maya by M.I.A.
Burn & Rise by Mad Sin
Fables of the Reconstruction Reissue by R.E.M.
Disconnect From Desire by School of Seven Bell
Admiral Fell Promises by Sun Kil Moon
also out 7/20...
Way Out by The Books
Archive 2003-2006 by Department of Eagles
Jersey Shore Soundtrack
Infra by Max Richter
Pink Graffiti by Secret Cities
Repetition by Kenseth Thibideau