TIFF’12 take three: ‘Frances Ha’ part 2


After showing off my newly minted TIFF posts to Steve, he immediately pointed out that “the ugly guy from Girls” is in Frances Ha. Even after looking at the photos for the film numerous times I didn’t notice him!!

Well, “the ugly guy from Girls‘” name is Adam Driver, who was raised in the mid-west  town of Mishawaka, Indiana. He studied at Julliard in New York City, where I assume he still resides in. In love with all the girls on the show, I never thought to look up the guys of Girls.

WFMU’s Tom Scharpling talks with Ted Leo for the Believer (and Sasquatch aftermath six)

TS: When you’re writing songs that have a point, how far do you have to get into each song when you’re just banging them out night after night? Is there a minimum that you need to do to feel like you sold the song properly?

TL: Absolutely. I don’t know if this is just cheesy or this is borderline self-aggrandizing or what, but I sometimes do feel that way if I’m working up a set list. Like, yeah, I guess we kind of do have to play “Me and Mia,” don’t we? [Laughs.] But the thing is, I don’t let a song go that I’m not pretty invested in—and that’s also part of the reason why it took two years for me to get this record out. I was trying to find the lyrics that could theoretically take me through the next two years of having me actually connect with that song every night, because I can’t get onstage and not believe in what I’m putting over if I’m attempting to get other people to come along, you know what I mean?


I’ve had the pleasure to hearing “Me and Mia” twice live in the last twelve months. I’m forever grateful Leo hasn’t scrapped this one. It’s always fresh and exciting.

Leo’s Sasquatch 2012 set was especially brilliant because his sound in contrast with all of the other artists at the festival had a punk feeling to it. Perhaps it was Leo’s punk roots showing. The crowd was somewhere between moshing and dancing, which was relatively refreshing comparing it to “punk” shows I go to these days. It was also dusty as hell.

tiff’12 take two: ‘Frances Ha’ by Noah Baumbach

In one of my last years in a Mississauga high school my film-savvy friend suggested we go see a film at the Bloor. Together we saw a few great films – C.R.A.Z.Y and my first Noah Baumbach film The Squid and the Whale.

I like Baumbach’s style, a little depressing but completely real. I also have really enjoyed the characters actor Greta Gerwig has taken on… again depressing yet relatable. Baumbach also co-wrote the Life Aquatic with Wes Anderson.

His new film titled Frances Ha was filmed in complete secrecy and was co-written by the film’s lead Greta Gerwig. The Toronto International Film Festival will be the film’s world debut, very exciting! It’s also in black and white, can you handle that in our 3D, HD-silly world?


tiff’12 take one: ‘On the Road’ Directed by Walter Salles

Director Walter Salles who previously directed the film The Motorcycle Diaries has refocused his attention onto Jack Kerouac’s legendary novel On The Road.

I loved the movie Howl which was about a pal of Kerouac’s Allen Ginsberg, so I can’t wait to explore further. Given, On the Road isn’t intended to be a life account as the film Howl was, but was largely based on the lives of Kerouac and his gang which included Ginsberg and other beat artists of the mid-twentieth century.

The cast looks good, which will get the film out to largely audiences. I also adore the ads they’ve put out for the film –

Also, here’s an interesting read writer Chuck Klosterman (Downtown Owl, Sex, Lies and Coco Puffs) wrote for one of my favourite magazines The Believer back in 2008 on the potential movie rendition of Kerouac’s On the Road.

I also found out that Francis Ford Coppola bought the rights for the screenplay in 1979. He however couldn’t figure out a way to write the film himself. Nearly two decades later, after seeing Salles’ 1997 film the Motorcycle Diaries, he asked Salles to direct the film… et voila.

image source

Brand New and Cursive at the Guelph Concert Theatre; Friday August 3, 2012

First off, let me take this opportunity to freak out !JK!LJKLFJKLA:JSFKLDS:FJKDSJF;kldskljfdjKL!!!! because Cursive, a day after I saw them, played an Osheaga after party playing their album ‘Domestica’ from start to finish.

Here’s a picture my friend Kurtis snapped of the gig:

Moving on, Cursive put on a good show as Brand New’s openers. It was obvious that the crowd didn’t really know their music. On the other side of things, maybe it was good they had positive endorsement from a band like Brand New with such a devoted fan base, a golden opportunity to adopt newer, younger fans. Being the luckiest gal in the world, I’ve seen Cursive play on two occasions this year. At their usual, Horseshoe Tavern haunts and in Guelph.

Comparing their two sets, this set was rockier with next to no chitter-chatter throughout the set. Lead singer Tim Kasher apparently had nothing to say. The set was dominated by hard rocking tunes with the exception of a few songs, of them notably was – “Driftwood: A Fairy Tale.” Surprisingly, the only played three tracks off of ‘The Ugly Organ’ – “Sierra” and “Art is Hard.”

I hope they made a few more fans off of this tour… I also hope they’ll continue to do headlining shows of their own at smaller venues, because that’s the way to see Cursive, a band who’s painfully honest and hardworking.

Brand New were good. I feel like they’ve reached a level of insane popularity selling out three Ontario dates!! They’ve seemed to established good rhythm in their sets, playing a few tunes off of each album, usually in blocks. I find myself completely ignorant to ‘Daisy’ tracks, although I did make the effort to purchase the album a few months back. I appreciate ‘The Devil and God Are Raging Within Me’ but my love really lies in their first two albums. With lyrics like “This isn’t high school” and “We’re gonna stay 18 forever…” I am completely nostalgic for both ‘Deja Entendu’ and ‘Your Favourite Weapon.’ Fortunately, Brand New still do dabble in the two albums. I was thrilled to hear these tunes all stacked together:

Sic Transit Gloria (Glory Fades)
I Believe You But My Tommy Gun Don’t
The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot
Jude Law and the Semester Abroad
Seventy Times Seven

That definitely made the show for me.

They played a few nods to Modest Mouse playing them at the beginning of the show and as an alternate ending of “The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot.” They also nodded to Nirvana.

The last time I saw Brand New I went alone and had few expectations. I was rudely awakened when I found a huge sing-a-long and much rockier songs. I shouldn’t be very surprised, the last three times I’ve seen them, I felt the harder tunes. This time, I went with a Brand New-loving batch of friends who hung on to every word, putting myself to shame. The venue was hot as hell and we’d had a few pints. We were the obnoxiously loud singers, hopefully not spoiling the less-than-rowdy couple next to us.

No encore was played.

Sharon Van Etten with Tennis at the Phoenix; Tuesday July 31, 2012

I noticed last fall that an artist by the name Sharon Van Etten was playing Lee’s Palace with Shearwater, a band year after year “I’ve been meaning to see”. A pal in New York posted something online of her great affection for Van Etten, I immediately asked for a few tracks from her. Not an instant love, but an instant like, I appreciated what I heard. I ended up wrangling nearly my entire department to see her play last February. The Lee’s Palace gig last February was packed to the gills. Five months later, Van Etten and Tennis couldn’t wrangle that many people in. To me, that indicates that people are interested her but don’t feel the need to see her over again in one year.

This was definitely a lively show. Last time I got the impression she was incredibly high, while that may have been the case. Her light, goofy personality carried well at this second show but had a bit more heart to it. Van Etten was incontestably having a great day. This show also had a relaxed sense of ease to it. Between the opening act, Tennis and Van Etten’s set, there wasn’t much lag time and people seemed to be equally interested in both bands.

Van Etten played a great variety of songs from her three albums. It was really refreshing to hear her tunes properly thought though and well-orchestrated. She had a band of four, most notable being the sometimes keyboard, sometimes voice and sometimes guitar player. Her layered voice brought some warmth to Van Etten’s rough sound. The songs were full, sounding much like the studio versions, in the best way possible.

I was absolutely floored by how amazing Van Etten’s voice sounded. She has extremely bold vocal parts that many people would shy away from.  Van Etten’s voice is distinct but very strong, rarely meandering flat. She proved herself in playing an older tune, by request, called “DsharpG.” The tune was just her voice while she played the harmonium which came off sounding hauntingly beautiful.

Her openers were the selling point for this show. It’s so rare that both the opener and the headliner are bands that you adore. Van Etten kept explaining her excitement to tour with Tennis and described its similarities to camping in the wilderness. I stumbled in  just after nine, so I missed the first few songs of which I assume they were “Take Me Somewhere,” “Pigeon” and “It All Feels the Same.” My three favourite tunes that I’ve heard them play the last few times I saw them but were absent this gig.

As always, Tennis dazzled. This was the first time I’ve seen them outside of the walls of the Horseshoe Tavern. Lead singer Alaina Moore like the last time had some killer moves to tunes where she wasn’t restricted to behind her keyboard. The petit gal was supported by the fun noodles her hubby, Patrick Riley.

Moore dedicated their last tune to Bill Doss of Olivia Tremor Control and Elephant 6, who had passed away earlier that day.

The theme of this summer has definitely been bass-free bands. Tennis definitely makes it passable with their one, often two keyboards which compensate for the skeleton that the bass provides. Similarly, Van Etten’s band often did without a bass too.

After returning from Hillside, I was subject to some amazing Canadian gems. Some acts of the festival this year – Kathleen Edwards, Zeus, Great Lake Swimmers and Bahamas to name a few. The festival espoused a ton of Canadian pride which made it very special. Kathleen Edwards, girlfriend of Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon introduced her back-up singer Julie Fader to the crowd and declared that it was her first day fully away from her new born. Interestingly, Van Etten gave a glowing shout-out to Fader at her gig claiming that she was one of her favourite people in the entire world and dedicated a tune to her.

This relation made me chuckle a bit as it’s so interesting to note how many connections an artist may have or could potentially have. So, in response to this I made a flow chart that describes the relationships of Sharon Van Etten.

The way I’ve simplified this is to describe to you a hypothetical scene. Say in a year’s time in February of 2014, Van Etten hosted a birthday party for her 32nd birthday. She hosted in Brooklyn because that’s where she and most of her musical pals live. In walks The National and Aaron Dessner, who produced her glorious new album Tramp. Following the National walks in Bon Iver, who in 2010 teamed up with the National to play cover Van Etten’s mesmerising tune “Love More.” From this cover Van Etten wrote Dessner who then invited her to record it in his home studio. On Bon Iver’s arm is Kathleen Edwards who was in good company with she and Sarah Harmer’s background singer Julie Fader.

After a little while TV on the Radio’s Kyp Malone stumbles in. Malone was the initial push to get Van Etten to record her very first album. Almost at the same time Tennis stroll in with the Black Keys’ Patrick Carney who produced Tennis’ album Young and Old.

The Walkmen enter the door with Rob Moose who gets warmly welcomed by members of the National, a band which he plays the violin with sometimes, when he’s not playing with Bon Iver.

OK you get my point here. It’s pretty amazing to see the connections these artists make.

The original SVE version of “Love More”:

Bon Iver’s cover of SVE’s “Love More”: