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Sony is trying to figure out what went wrong with PlayStation 3 firmware update 4.45, which was offered to PS3 users last night but then pulled when it appeared to start breaking consoles.
Dream pop conductor Mauro Remiddi, a.k.a. Porcelain Raft, will drop his sophomore album, Permanent Signal, on August 20th via Secretly Canadian. While he’s previously teased us with an album trailer, we now have the first official single with the weepy decadence of “Think of the Ocean”.
As expected, it’s a staggering block of depression, though this time around, Remiddi’s work feels extracted from a post-modern foreign film, thanks to the stirring strings and the droning tones. As the songwriter writes in a press release, “there’s nothing hidden in what we see, sometimes you just have to let it in.” Follow his lead by watching the song’s accompanying visuals now.
It should be noted that Remiddi received suport from Yuck drummer Jonny Rogoff, Antlers bassist Darby Cicci, and cellist Gaspar Claus. In fact, Cicco contributed double vocals, trumpet, and even engineered the sessions in Remiddi’s Brooklyn studio. Consult the full tracklist below.
Permanent Signal Tracklist:
01. Think Of The Ocean
03. Minor Pleasure
04. Open Letter
05. Night Birds
06. It Ain’t Over
07. I Lost Connection
09.The Way Out
10. Five Minutes From Now
This past January, indie poppers Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin spent six days in their namesake’s home country, playing shows while serving as cultural ambassadors. As empowering as the trip was, the band later said the experience brought them to something of a career crossroad.
“I used to joke that we would break up if Boris Yeltsin ever found out about our band,” said multi-instrumentalist Phil Dickey in a press release. “So I figured this was either the death or rebirth of the band.”
It ended up being the latter. The band returned to the same Missouri attic they recorded their debut LP, Broom, in order to tackle album #4, Fly By Wire, due out September 17th via Polyvinyl.
For a taste of the rejuvenated SSLYBY, the band have released lead single “Nightwater Girlfriend”. While the trio have spent over a decade honing their blend of ’90s power-pop and ’60s-inspired harmonies, this latest tune feels especially vibrant. The crushing waves of guitar, more grimy and manic than their other fare, are the perfect accompaniment to their rich and evocative vocals, overflowing with a teen-y angst and indecision that still feels utterly raw. Maybe they should fly 5,000 miles across the world for every record.
Fly By Wire Tracklist:
01. Harrison Ford
02. Young Presidents
03. Cover All Sides
04. Lucky Young
05. Ms. Dot
08. Bright Leaves
09. Nightwater Girlfriend
10. Fly By Wire
The band is releasing a documentary about their life-changing Russian trip, called Discussions With Russians, later this summer. Watch the trailer below.
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I visited the Toronto set of Guillermo del Toro‘s Pacific Rim on March 28th 2012. While on set, we toured the art room, watched filming, saw a bunch of the sets, and interviewed Guillermo and some of the cast. You’ll be able to read those transcripts over the next week on the site, but after the jump you can read a writeup of over 80 things I learned on set (3,685 words worth, and this is one really worth reading) alongside a video blog I recorded with Steve from Collider giving our thoughts on what we had seen.
80 Things We Learned On The Set of Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Pacific Rim’:
Pacific Rim was shot at Pinewoood Studios in Toronto, which is where the remakes for Total Recall and The Thing were also filmed. All 8 stages in the studio were used for the entire production. 101 sets were created for the film. One hallway in the production office features posters from every one of Guillermo’s movies including different variants.
The film was shot over 103 days on the first unit, and we visited on day 83. They also filmed 56 splinter unit days. Shooting began on November 14th 2011, a whopping 606 days before the July 12th, 2013 release date.
Only 3 real life locations are being used, but even on those location shoots they added so much production design to it that you wouldn’t really recognize the real location. The three locations are a Toronto street turned into Hong Kong, an old hydro planet called The Hearn which has been turned into the Alaska construction site, and the beach from the beginning of the film where Gypsy Danger fights a sea battle and crashes. For that sequence, they constructed a piece of a robot head which was 30 feet by 30 feet and that’s only still a half of one side of the Jaeger’s head.
When we were on set, they were confident that the movie would be a 2D release telling us that it was highly unlikely it will be post-converted. Guillermo told us that he didn’t want to do 3D because large scale battles shot far away don’t present much depth. He thought that if you tried to force depth into those kind of sequences, it would look like miniatures.
Del Toro decided against shooting the movie in 48 frames per second because he thinks the experience only enhances 3D films, and he didn’t plan on releasing Pacific Rim in 3D.
At the time, del Toro was still considering shooting one of the final sequences in full IMAX. The cockpit of the robots is so confined that he was very hesitant to shoot IMAX in these sequences. The sequence they were considering shooting on IMAX was “perfectly suited for the format.” The visual effects for the IMAX sequence would’ve had to be rendered at 4k. Traditionally CG is rendered at 2k. More processing time, more rendering time, more hard drive space, and most importantly the extra detail required to make it look more real. I don’t believe this actually happened. Guillermo instead ended up seeing a post converted 3D test and loved it enough to change his mind.
Guillermo del Toro shot both A and B unit, often spending 20 hours a day working on the movie. Ron Pearlman thinks that Guillermo is “the closest thing we have to Leonardo Da Vinci” today, and he feels like a complete slacker when in del Toro’s presence. He says Guillermo will do a 12 our day and then edit the movie when production stops. Guillermo admits he never sleeps more than 4 hours a night.
About 1/6th of the film is created entirely digitally, and the film features between 1,600 and 1,700 visual effects shots. ILM are doing the effects for essentially half the price, and able to do that because Guillermo is providing footage so early so that the animators can work on normal hours instead of chasing a deadline with overtime hours later in the production.
Guillermo had to edit while he shoots to approve the shots he needs to send to ILM. He edits every Saturday, and shoots “hands pressing buttons” (ie insert shots) on Sundays. He also edits on his lunch breaks.
This is the first digital movie Guillermo has ever made. The movie is perfectly suited for shooting digitally. Guillermo says he couldn’t have done Devil’s Backbone with digital, but this film’s aesthetic calls for saturated colors, which benefit from the high definition look.
This movie also has more dialogue than any of his other movies. Guillermo says the key is to blast through dialogue with drama and make it compelling.
Guelllimo’s office is located in the art department and has a shelf with toys, including an Akira figure and bike, Pixar’s Tin Toy and a couple funny statues from The Simpsons and The Flintstones. There are some Godzilla toys and mechs to inspire the design team. A lot of books. While the collection might look massive in most geek’s homes, they are only materials that del Toro has recently bought. None of the materials have been brought here from del Toro’s home, all of the collectibles were acquired by del Toro while in production in Toronto.
Every time they make a maquette for any of his productions, Guillermo personally pays to have a second maquette made so that he can personally own one in his collection. This is part of his contract.
The working title for the movie was “Still Seas.” Signs around the studio and even production artwork in the offices featured the fake working title. It was hard to find a mention of “Pacific Rim” anywhere, even on the schedules and paperwork.
The backstory is that in 2013, a inter-dimensional portal opens in the sea unleashing massive monsters. The Jaegers were designed by a United Nations-style partnership between all the coastal cities/countries in an effort to kill the monsters and protect the cities. This story takes place in 2025, when the monsters have begun appearing more frequently. The world is coming to an end, and they’re leading the last fights to keep humanity alive. In Alaska they are trying to build a 300 foot wall across the Pacific Coast as the government is starting to believe that Jaegers aren’t working as a solution.
15 artists worked on the production.
The mech robots are called Jaegers, and are 25 stories high and require at least two pilots to function. look like a mix of Transformers and more practical Real Steel-style bots, but 250 to 280 feet tall. Striker Eureka is the largest.
We got to watch the ILM audition tape which was put together in just 9 weeks. The short clip features a massive mech robot fighting with a Kaiju, knocking through buildings in a big city. John knoll worked on the test footage.
Guillermo wanted the robots to feel and move more mechanically, like robots, which is why they chose not to use performance capture.
Gipsy Danger is the name of the hero robot — A Mark III, the oldest of the robots in the film.
Gipsy Danger is armed with a plasma gun and a sword.
Kyoto Tango, Crimson Typhoon, Striker Eureka, Tacit Ronin, and Horizon Brave are the other major Jaegers.
Crimson is a red robot with three arms and three pilots.
Each robot his different fighting styles.
The robots sport markings on their exterior armor, indicating how many monsters they has killed and other stats.Continue Reading 80 Things We Learned On The Set of’Pacific Rim’ >>
Sir Arthur from Ghosts 'n Goblins portrayed as a 60s hippie, or Kaneda from Akira as Pac-Man is not something that comes along every day, but these awesome, animated posters have the weirdest crossovers between video games, movies, celebrities and music.
UK electro-pop singer Charli XCX has announced a North American headlining tour in continued support of her debut album, True Romance. This latest leg kicks off on August 30th in Vancouver and winds it way across the continent through October 26th, capping off with a gig at the Life Is Beautiful festival. Along the way, Ms. XCX will also make stops at the Bumbershoot and Laneway festivals. Consult her full schedule below.
For more XCX-tasy, be sure to read our recent interview with her.
Charli XCX 2013 Tour Dates:
06/19 – London, UK @ O2 Academy Islington
07/05 – Turku, FL @ Ruisrock Festival
07/20 – Salacgriva, LV @ Positivus Festival
08/15-17 – Kiewit, BE @ Pukkelpop
08/23 – Leeds, UK @ Reading and Leeds Festival
08/25 – Reading, UK @ Reading and Leeds Festival
08/30-09/01 – Stradbally, IE @ Electric Picnic
08/30 – Vancouver, BC @ Venue Nightclub *
08/31 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge *
09/01 – Seattle, WA @ Bumbershoot
09/03 – San Francisco, CA @ Slim’s *#
09/05 – Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theatre *#
09/06 – San Diego, CA @ House of Blues *#
09/07 – Las Vegas, NV @ Vinyl – Hard Rock Hotel & Casino *#
09/09 – Salt Lake City, UT @ In The Venue *
09/10 – Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater
09/12 – Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock Social Club *
09/13 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
09/14 – Meadow, MI @ Meadow Brook Music Festival
09/14- Rochester Hills, MI @ Laneway Festival
09/16 – Toronto, ON @ The Hoxton *#
09/17 – Montreal, QC @ La Sala Rossa *#
09/18 – Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair *#
09/20 – Asbury Park, NJ @ The Wonder Bar *#
09/21 – New York, NY @ Grammercy Theatre *#
09/23 – Columbus, OH @ The A&R Music Bar *
09/24 – Nashville, TN @ Mercy Lounge *
09/25 – Atlanta, GA @ Vinyl*
09/27 – Houston, TX @ Fitzgerald’s
09/28 – Austin, TX @ The Parish *
09/29 – Dallas, TX @ Club Dada *
10/02 – Orlando, FL @ The Social
10/26 – Las Vegas, NV @ Life Is Beautiful
* = w/ Kitten
# = w/ Little Daylight
Watch Charli XCX’s video for “What I Like”:
Tuesday night's Pitbull and Kesha double-bill at the Hollywood Bowl was one of the oddest pop shows of the year. Two distinct crowds, two different ways of tackling danceable pop, and a venue built for sylvan music royalty upended into a salacious grind-down.
Cher sang Tuesday night on the season finale of "The Voice," turning in what her representatives said was her first television performance in more than a decade.
After the fall 3DS sequel to the classic Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past, after the fall Wii U release of a Wind Waker remake, we will eventually get an original Zelda game on Wii U. It's being made now. Nintendo's barely talking about it.
‘The Spectacular Now’ Trailer: Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley Strike Up a Critically Acclaimed Romance
In James Ponsoldt‘s last film, Smashed, binge-drinking helped tear two married people apart. In his new one, The Spectacular Now, it brings two very different teens together, albeit in an unexpected way.
Miles Teller stars as popular, hard-partying Sutter, who drinks himself to oblivion one night after getting dumped by his girlfriend. He wakes up on the lawn of a classmate, sweet sci-fi geek Aimee (Shailene Woodley). Despite their differences, the two find themselves inexorably drawn together.
That setup may not sound like much of anything special, but the rave reviews out of Sundance indicate that Ponsoldt makes the most of it. Check out the first trailer and poster after the jump.
MTV posted the video.
Peter wrote that The Spectacular Now was “everything I hope a Sundance movie to be” when he caught it at the festival earlier this year, and his gushing reaction has been echoed by tons of other critics. In particular, the movie’s drawn high praise for its tender yet honest approach, and for its uniformly excellent cast.
Teller’s performance in particular has been described as a “breakout” turn, but the supporting stars are no slouches either. In addition to Teller and Woodley, the lineup includes Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Bob Odenkirk, Kyle Chandler, and Brie Larson.
The Spectacular Now opens August 2.
Sutter Keely (Miles Teller) lives in the now. It’s a good place for him. A high school senior, charming and self-possessed, he’s the life of the party, loves his job at a men’s clothing store, and has no plans for the future. A budding alcoholic, he’s never far from his supersized, whisky-fortified thirst-master cup. But after being dumped by his girlfriend, Sutter gets drunk and wakes up on a lawn with Aimee Finicky (Shailene Woodley) hovering over him. She’s different: the “nice girl” who reads science fiction and doesn’t have a boyfriend. While Amy has dreams of a future, Sutter lives in the impressive delusion of a spectacular now, yet somehow, they’re drawn together.
Sub Pop grunge-core throwbacks Metz are still punishing ears and bodies behind their noisy and wonderful self-titled debut record. The hardcore squonk of album highlight “Get Off” now comes packaged an animated video produced and directed by labelmate Chad Van Gaalen. If you want to learn about “The Origins of Smahmpy: The Flying Retriever” via some Robert Crumb meets Metalocaplypse animation, the strange tale below is just for you (via Stereogum).
The Canadians will head out on yet another tour this summer and fall, full of festivals and European dates. Check those dates below.
2013 Metz Tour Dates:
06/21 – Calgary, AB @ Royal Canadian Legion #1
06/22 – Calgary, AB @ Broken City
06/23 – San Francisco, CA @ Slim’s
06/28 – St. Gallen, SW @ St. Gallen Festival
06/29 – Helsinki, FN @ Rock The Beach Festival
07/04 – Arendal, NW @ Hove Festival
07/06 – Roskilde, DN @ Roskilde Festival
07/12 – Toronto, ON @ Downsview Park
07/20 – Chicago, IL @ Pitchfork Music Festival
07/26 – Guelph, ON @ Hillside Festival Of Guelph
08/01 – Venlo, NE @ Julianapark
08/02 – Liege, BE @ Micro Festival
08/03 – Katowice, PL @ Off Festival
08/08 – Oslo, NW @ Oya Festival
08/09 – Rees-Haldern, DE @ Haldern Pop Festival
08/11 – Castelbuono, IT @ Ypsigrock Festival
08/24 – Los Angeles, CA @ FYF Fest
09/26 – Champaign, IL @ Pygmalion Festival
09/27 – Cincinnati, OH @ Midpoint Music Festival
10/30-31 – Reykjavik, IC @ Iceland Airwaves Festival
11/01 – Luxembourg, LX @ Den Atelier
11/02 – Brussels, BE @ Witloofbar
11/03 – Eindhoven, HL @ Hit The City Festival
11/04 – Hamburg, DE @ Hafenklang
11/06 – Copenhagen, DN @ Beta
11/07 – Stockholm, SE @ Debaser Strand
11/08 – Oslo, NW @ John Dee
11/09 – Gothenburg, SE @ Pustervik
11/11 – Berlin, DE @ Bi Nuu
11/12 – Warsaw, PL @ Hydrozagadka
11/13 – Wroclaw, PL @ Bezsennosc
11/14 – Prague, CZ @ 007 Club
11/15 – Wurzburg, DE @ Café Cairo
11/16 – Lausanne, SW @ Le Romandie Club
11/17 – Milan, IT @ Lo Fi Club
11/19 – Lyon, FR @ Marche Gare
11/20 – Paris, FR @ La Gaite Lyrique
11/22 – Manchester, UK @ Deaf Institute
11/23 – Glasgow, UK @ Broadcast
11/25 – Leeds, UK @ Brudenell Social Club
11/26 – Bristol, UK @ Start the Bus
11/27 – Brighton, UK @ The Haunt
11/28 – London, UK @ Village Underground
Also check out Rock it Out! Blog’s recent interview with METZ:
Peter Farrelly was a guest on the Nerdist podcast last week to make the big announcement that Peter and his brother Bobby were signing a deal to bring a Dumb and Dumber sequel to the big screen after news had leaked that Warner Bros would not be funding the film. Of course, the episode didn’t get posted until Tuesday night, after it had been formerly announced that Universal Pictures would be producing the sequel, Dumb and Dumber To. But Farrelly reveals a bunch of details about the movie on the podcast, disputing reports that Warner Bros didn’t dump the movie, confirming a handfull of returning cast members/characters, announcing a contest to appear in the movie, The release date, filming location, some vague story details and more
Peter announced an online contest: Send a Vine video to @farrellybros with the hashtag #DumbTo with their most entertaining Dumb and Dumber reference and they will choose a winner to be in the movie and say a line in the movie.
Confirmed to return for the sequel includes: Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, and even Harland Williams who played the pee-drinking cop in the first film. Farrelly said that blind kid will return in the movie as a man, but this might have been a joke.
The movie takes place in Rhode Island, but they plan to shoot the film in Atlanta Georgia for the state’s tax breaks. They hope to start shooting in August 2013. “As we speak I have guys on the ground [working] in Atlanta” Georgia’s tax breaks are 30% while Massachusetts tax breaks are 25%. Peter gave the example that a a $50 million movie will cost $34 million in Atlanta. The earlier report had claimed the budget would be in the low $30 millions, likely after tax breaks.
Dumb and Dumber To will be released Summer 2014: “It will be exactly 20 years when it comes out,” said Farrelly. The original film was released on December 16th 1994.
Peter Farrelly on the news that Warner Bros didn’t want to make the movie:
“There’s been a lot of press about how Warner Bros doesn’t want to make it, and it has nothing to do with that. In fact, it was originally released by New Line, and New Line now is owned by Warner Bros — so it never really was a Warner Bros thing. And we want …. long story short, we’re going to another studio and their have been negotiations and thats whats held this thing up, we’ve been negotiating with two different studios, Warner Bros and New Line, about how to get it out of there.”
Peter Farrelly on the screenplay for Dumb and Dumber To:
“I sent you the script. I was hoping you’d read it so I wouldn’t have to sit here and tell you how good it is. But I’m telling you its a little masterpiece. It’s so good, I think it makes the first one better.” .. “We took two years to work on this script. We didn’t want to do it unless it was as good as the first one. We just didn’t want to tarnish the first one, and you know, we didn’t do Dumb and Dumberer — that was done by — which is one reason they [WB?] didn’t want to do this because they did that and it didn’t work.”
Its strange how Peter tries to dispute the reports that Warner Bros didn’t want to make the movie and then later says the words “which is one reason they didnt want to do this”.
Peter Farrelly on the story for Dumb and Dumber To:
“We start in Rhode Island and we pick up today and explain what they’ve been doing the last 18 years. And there is something that happens and we get off to the races quickly.” … ”When you see Dumb and Dumber To, Dumb and Dumber 1 is better because you learn things in Dumb and Dumber To that you knew in Dumb and Dumber 1 but hadn’t put together. For instance, not giving away too much, Harry always gets revenge. ” … “And when you see the second one, it has a thing that you won’t see coming , and at the end of it, you’ll be like “oh my god, I just fell for the exact same thing.”
You can listen to the whole podcast on Nerdist.com.
You might not have heard about the security guard that groped a journalist at this year's E3. Or the writer who gave a PR woman his business card by slipping it in her dress. Or the women presumed to be booth babes simply because of the way they looked.
The Day Room is a column by Philip Cosores that features stories from the music industry that shine a light and brighten the corners.
When I finally meet Joshua Kirk, the first thing I notice is his smile, and then the way his eyes open wider from behind his glasses, giving off the sense of joyful innocence that I first encountered in his YouTube video series, Album of the Day. The previous 30 minutes were spent troubleshooting to get our video chat to work, and the situation resolves when I update to Skype 6.3 from, and I’m not kidding, Skype 2.8. I’m an emotional cocktail of embarrassment and worry, but that dissipates to relief when I see my 12-year-old subject beaming from his home in suburban Maryland.
My relief stems from the previous day’s exchange with Joshua’s mother, Diane Kirk, in which I suggested moving the talk time up an hour. “Let’s stick with 4:00 p.m. since Joshua has already agreed to that time and a change might cause him stress,” she replied. “He does not like to make decisions, and he especially does not like to change them.”
These words might seem harsh but the sting was softened by a frowny emoticon and the knowledge that we’re not talking about a Fortune-500 executive or an egomaniacal pop star. Joshua Kirk is just a little boy.
His encouraging face on the computer screen means the delays did not cause a crisis. Joshua is calm and happy, wearing a grey Wilco shirt that let’s me know we’ll get along fine.
As his mother Diane told me a few days earlier in a separate interview, “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve done just that, met one person with autism.” Preparing to speak with Joshua would be only as helpful as any research can be, with his mother advising me that her son is shy and to just be patient when asking him questions. After all, autism affects both communication and social interaction, which is essentially what an interview is.
We found out about Josh’s review of our album through some people at our record label and were immediately struck by his honesty, enthusiasm, and perception. We love how straightforward his reviews are; he usually describes how the songs start, the instrumentation, dynamic shifts and references the lyrics and some stylistic details. There’s none of the pretense found in so many other reviews. His reviews will give you a very accurate picture of what a record sounds like and whether he likes it or not. And isn’t that really the purpose of a review? He’s definitely doing something right: his YouTube channel has more views than ours. – Dr. Dog
Joshua launched his YouTube series Album of the Day last year to “share with his subscribers the music he loves.”
“So far I’ve done about 17 episodes,” the tiny critic says. “When I did the first one, it was September 25th, 2012, I believe.”
Over our time together, Joshua often shows a little uncertainty like this when expressing something very precise, kind of like the way many people talk about numbers. Most people have trouble keeping birthdays straight, much less album release dates. But this is where autism gives rather than takes, as Joshua has an unbelievable memory.
“He remembers everything he sees and hears,” his mother explains in a separate interview, recalling Josh’s launch of the video series. “Sometimes he regurgitates it out word for word, so I wasn’t sure if he saw someone else doing that review and was just repeating it. But, obviously that is not what he is doing.”
To some extent we all repeat ideas we get from other places, but we all can’t sit down with a blank piece of paper and write out song names and their track lengths from memory, like Joshua. And it goes beyond that.
“He’ll get his portable CD player,” his mom says, “and without the headphones, he’ll let it play and watch the running time, not hearing the music. And he’s flipping his hands and his feet, like he’s doing the songs in his head. It’s the coolest thing.”
It’s another extraordinary extension of an ordinary activity for music lovers, humming a tune to themselves that plays in their memory. But for Joshua, he can seemingly equate the moment on the digital display with the sound that is happening that moment without actually listening. With a brain that would need to be this focused on something, the joy that his intense fascination for music gives Joshua is not a concern for his parents at all, and his mom admits to being more worried about finding another Discman if Joshua breaks his.
Diane and Steve, Joshua’s father who only appears briefly when helping set up the Skype, met at Ohio State University when they were both students and settled in Maryland. After nine-years of marriage, Diane gave birth to their only child, Joshua, on January 5, 2001.
“He was a perfectly healthy little baby as far as we knew,” she recalls, “but as he got bigger, he wasn’t really talking and wasn’t really moving as we knew he should.
“Joshua was eventually diagnosed with muscular dystrophy,” Diane says, her words striking a more serious tone. “Actually it’s Duchenne muscular dystrophy. And then a few years later he was diagnosed with autism, as well. But it was really the autism –him not speaking — that led to the early diagnosis of muscular dystrophy. He really didn’t talk until he was four and that’s what got the doctors paying attention.”
Duchenne muscular dystrophy involves rapid muscle degeneration and currently has no cure. One in 3,600 young boys discover the disease, usually before age six. The prognosis varies from case to case in some aspects, like how quickly it will progress and the quality of life during that time, but the outlook is grim. The typical age that children afflicted with DMD lose the ability to walk is 12, Joshua’s age right now. But his doctors think he could walk until he is 16, possibly due to the early detection and Prednisone he has taken daily since he was three, and possibly due to his small stature.
His mother notes that his DMD does not define him: “That part of his life doesn’t really interfere with his life. For him that is something he just deals with. People say ‘I’m sorry’ when they hear but I say ‘he’s doing great.’ It’s normal for him, and as far as he is concerned he is going to live til he’s 99. And he may well do that, who knows?”
I think I first ran across Josh’s videos when somebody threw a review of his up on my Facebook, making a slight joke about how I’ve got some “competition” to look out for. This isn’t the first time somebody has made this kind of joke, but it is the first time I was pretty awestruck by a fellow video reviewer’s sense of observation and logic. While I don’t think our tastes overlap that much, he seems like a dude I could pretty much share any kind of music with, and he’d be happy and able to share his thoughts. – Anthony Fantano, The Needle Drop
“I like your shirt, Joshua,” I tell him mid-way through our conversation, adding, “Wilco is one of my all-time favorite bands.”
“They’re one of my favorite bands, too,” he replies, “since 2008.”
We talk Wilco for a few minutes and I tell him about the I Am Trying to Break Your Heart movie, which he hasn’t seen, and also mention that the Jeff Tweedy tour documentary that is quite good.
“I believe you’re referring to the Sunken Treasure film,” he says, and manages to punch in his own points, noting “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is a great album. Rolling Stone gave it a really good review.” I am learning from him about one of my favorite bands.
Despite being a late talker as a child and not completely comfortable in conversation with new people, Joshua currently speaks in front of thousands of online viewers, and there are only a couple of answers he struggles to articulate. When he doesn’t think of a good example for a song that he relates to on an emotional level, I bring up Bright Eyes and his review in Episode 8 of Album of the Day, and how there are many songs from I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning that I connect with, mostly because Conor Oberst is such an emotionally direct and personal songwriter.
“Yeah, his earlier stuff is like that too, like Fevers and Mirror,” he notes, and he’s right. But it’s interesting particularly because he says the opposite in the video review. Joshua told me he always watches his reviews again to see how they turned out, and I figure he must have either changed his opinion since that time, or realized that he misspoke when revisiting. Regardless, he’s refining his opinions and not stubborn in maintaining an argument, one of the hardest lessons music writers must learn.
Joshua cites Wikipedia as a major information source and acknowledges The Needle Drop as a reviewer he watches. His consumption of information is partially driven by his autism.
“Honestly, most of the time when he’s doing a review, I don’t know what he’s talking about,” his mother admits. “I like music and all, but he knows about music, and that he learned from the internet. He goes and he researches. But in the autism world, they call it ‘stimming.’ It’s from a hyperactivity of the brain, and if they can’t be calm, they can’t deal with it.
“Most of us when we walk into a room, we filter. We filter out the light and the people, but a kid with autism walks into a room, and they experience everything. They can’t filter, but they often focus on one specific thing and repeat that over and over again. It could be flipping your hand or shaking your hand, so they can get control over it.
“So for us, the things he enjoys, we let him do. If he wants to read about music for an hour and a half, why not? It’s his free time. So, I think from that, he’s built a skill, from reading and studying and understanding music.”
Other characteristics Joshua displays with regards to music might be amplified by his autism, but they don’t sound far away from what many music obsessives do. I wonder if Joshua chose his Wilco shirt he wore to the interview for the same reason I did my Okkervil River shirt. It’s little things like this that are kind of weird but many fans do them and keep the knowledge internalized.
“Josh makes a big deal about when we go in the car,” his mom notes, “he has to pick the music for the car. And he gets worked up about whether the trip will be long enough for us to listen to the whole CD. And it’s usually a good thing, but it can be a source of stress for him. It can be hard for him to make decisions on what to take. Or, if someone asks him what his favorite album is, he can’t pick, because for him to say one is the best would be to say the others aren’t good. It’s kind of an absolute way of thinking.”
His autism may make this a bigger deal than someone who’s just a music nerd, but still the sentiment rings true. My own car is filled with CDs, and many trips have slowly begun with me cycling through the myriad discs in search of the right songs to soundtrack the 14 total minutes the engine will be running.
One other relatable quirk is how personally fans take criticism of artists or albums they love. Many feel the need to defend them, because, in essence, what they like is an extension of themselves. Many a heated argument has resulted from something as simple as having different tastes. But for Josh, it can go a little further.
“Just the other day,” Diane remembers, “he was upset before school because he was watching a Dr. Dog video interview and some people put negative comments and he couldn’t understand it. He was crying and having a crisis over it, and I explained that musicians have a thick skin and realize that not everyone is gonna like their stuff.”
It’s this reaction to negative comments that feeds into Joshua only making positive video reviews. The point of the project is to shine a light on his favorite works, not to kick dirt on disappointments, plus he adds “no one would want to watch it” if it were negative. I know many bloggers who hold a similar philosophy, and while in music criticism, negative reviews have a place in publications that try to cover all significant releases, it makes you wonder if the “hate-click” approach is really such a smart editorial tactic after all.
It’s easy to pick out my favorite part of Joshua Kirk’s reviews. At the end, he has a part where after describing most, if not all, of the songs on a particular album, he lists his favorite tracks. Usually 60-80% of the albums songs are then listed, and he’d probably list them all if he didn’t realize this portion was for calling attention to a part of the whole. There’s nothing more honest than that, where he struggles so mightily to pick his favorite when he loves them all.
Joshua first hit a larger audience outside his YouTube community with his review of Jukebox the Ghost’s Safe Travels, which the artist shared and first saw an unexpected swell in interest in his work. But when Ryan Adams called attention to Josh’s take on Cold Roses, it caused a chain of events that has resulted in more than 34,000 views on his channel.
Best Review I Ever Got. Honored. http://t.co/cgXEEK1W
— Ryan Adams (@TheRyanAdams) November 30, 2012
“The cool thing is that he’s just doing it because he loves music,” his mother affirms. “We’ve had people asking to send stuff and we send a very nice letter saying thank you, but he’s not going to review things because people ask. That said, I’ll guarantee you he’ll listen to it, and I guarantee you he’ll probably enjoy it. Everything he’s been sent by anyone, he’s listened to every single one, and some he’s gone out and bought another CD by the artist. And every once in a while he goes, ‘I’m going to review this one.’ I have no idea how he picks the ones he does.”
Joshua is enjoying some of the perks of the industry and has learned quickly that you cannot be beholden to any artists giving you free music or concert tickets.
“Yep Roc Records sent him a package of CDs and a really nice letter,” Diane remembers, “and it was all given in the spirit of giving, no demand for a review or something. And the people that have contacted us about doing something for them, they totally understand he’s a 12-year old kid. He’s having fun. He doesn’t need to be doing this for a living, and we don’t want to stress him out. If you told him he had to do a review a week, for one they wouldn’t be as good, and second, he just wouldn’t do them. It’s too much pressure for him. He does it when the spirit moves him. He literally goes into his room, turns on his Flip camera, and talks for 20 minutes. He doesn’t write anything down or prepare. And he has done it before where he’ll try to do it and come out and say ‘I can’t do it, it’s not good, I can’t do this one.’ And then he doesn’t do it. And I’m like, ‘Damn that was the Foo Fighters, I really want to see them.’”
His mother jokes, but Diane and Steve are enjoying the interest themselves, and she notes their busy summer ahead of concert viewing. Luckily, unlike many autistic children, the lights and sounds of live performances do not affect Joshua, though they do use a wheelchair for him because of the amount of walking that can be involved. But while his autism and DMD affect many of the details surrounding his life, his passion and appreciation of music are solely him, not the result of his afflictions.
“What’s cool is he’s doing all this stuff independent of all that,” his mother notes. “People are enjoying his reviews and they don’t even know he has autism or know about it after the fact. It’s cool because it means they like what he’s doing and what he brings to the table. He’s gained a lot from that in terms of self-confidence.”
Well…Im honored that he enjoyed my album as I would rather have a library of good reviews out there then cruddy reviews.
But…I couldn’t help but notice how his comments and opinions just seemed to flow out of him and come forth in such an honest and informed way. Informed by listening and feeling the music and then studying the artwork (and credits).
Hell…I thought I was one of the last humans who still appreciated artwork that tied into the music in the name of a grander effect.
He actually has a youtube video of him making guacamole that I enjoyed even more than his review of my record. All of the things I adore about him exist in his guacamole video as well…I mean I laughed and my stomach growled at the same time.
The fella is gifted….he’s honest…. he’s a natural. - Jason Lytle
While Joshua and I discuss his reviews in some detail, we mostly just talk about music. And, from his beginnings of cataloging his collection of Disney VHS tapes to his recent interest in creating cooking videos, the point for him is sharing.
And it’s allowed him to experience some of his greatest fantasies. Jukebox the Ghost took the time to meet Joshua when they invited him to a recent concert, a story that makes him glow. He watched their soundcheck, sure to add “ they are really cool guys,” before giving me a detailed account of his haul at the merch table.
Joshua gets most excited, however, when talking about Dr. Dog, his “latest obsession” that he’ll finally see for the first time this summer. “Do you know who invited us to the show,” he asks me before proudly proclaiming that the band had extended the offering, loving the sound of the words as they leave his mouth.
Part of me envies Joshua. As a big music fan, I started reviewing albums for pretty much the same reason he does, for fun– to share the music I like, and to share my insights on them. Now, it’s all I do and it’s not always fun talking about bands I love, but even when I find myself spending four hours in the car to work the Pitbull and Ke$ha event, no other job I’ve ever had can compare.
But as a fan, I get where Joshua is coming from; he just seems to be starting a lot younger than most do. I published my first album review at 24-years-old during an internship. That’s twice as old as Joshua and no way it was as good as his are. But the key, whether you listen and think about music for money or for pleasure, is to never forget what a privilege it is.
And like so many of us, Joshua just wants to be as involved as possible.
“It would be great to work with a band in the studio,” he notes, “or even to create the artwork for the album.” And he goes on to describe one such scenario where others worked with The Avett Brothers on a song, providing harmonies or handclaps, but one little phrase sums it up perfectly: “I’d just do whatever I can.”
Music has got ahold of Joshua. It’s that passion that has you learning how to take photographs so you can stand right in front of the band. It’s the passion that crashes My Bloody Valentine’s website. It’s the passion that has you bringing up Kanye West to literally everybody you talk with for four days straight. It’s a passion that rejects money and time and energy as second-tier worries, all beholden to music in your life. And Josh is doing whatever he can to share this passion. Luckily for all, “whatever” has turned out to be quite a lot.
Philip Cosores is a freelance writer and photographer working in Orange County and L.A. He contributes to The Orange County Register, Paste Magazine, Consequence of Sound, Diffuser.fm,, MySpace, East Bay Express and many others. Follow him on Twitter.
The Joe Danger games have offered up top-shelf vehicular hilarity on consoles and touchscreens for t
The Joe Danger games have offered up top-shelf vehicular hilarity on consoles and touchscreens for the last two years. Now, Hello Games’ physics-happy stunt racing franchise finally comes to PC on June 24 via Steam. You’ll be able to race with Team Fortress avatars and speed your way through a Minecraft level in this version, too.
This morning Sony put up this video showing off the PlayStation 4's interface, and if you can tune out the fake gamers and their overreactions, it offers a few interesting tidbits of what life will be like with it.
The battle over our rights to play used games took center stage last night on national television during Jimmy Fallon's Video Game Week, a post-E3 celebration of all things ludic.
In the grand tradition of Mates of State and Yo La Tengo, North Carolina’s Eros and the Eschaton are a couple who also happen to be a band. Kate Perdoni and Adam Hawkins met while playing with separate bands in Omaha, NE, fell in love, had a kid, and then finally decided to form the band. After buying a motorhome and touring through 18 states, they broke down outside of Greensboro, where they rented a house and recorded their full-length debut, Home Address For Civil War, due out August 13th via Bar/None.
For a taste of what the duo’s collaborative efforts can yield (aside from a human being), they’ve released lead single “Heaven Inside”. Despite only being two people, the lovebirds deliver a vibrant outpouring of shoegaze, taking the ceaseless drive of drums and layering on to it boy-girl harmonies and hazy guitar effects. But even amid that chaos, the vocal interplay betweenn Perdoni and Hawkins really draws the ear, an alluring mixture of their voices that sounds as much as they are singing at an audience as they are serenading one another.
Home Address For Civil War Tracklist:
01. 20 Different Days
02. Carry The Water
03. Don’t Look So Sad
04. Over and Over
05. Lately (I’ve Been Wondering)
06. Terence McKenna
07. Heaven Inside
08. Shadow Forth!
09. You Know I Do
10. Trust Me I Know
Are you someone hungry for new ear candy each day? Do you find yourself muttering, “I knew them before they were big,” to nauseating effect in conversations? Welcome to #AreaCode, a brand new series on the Rock it Out! Blog that focuses on up and coming bands and artists from around the country.
For the first time ever on #AreaCode, we make our way to Los Angeles, CA to visit Bleached. In addition to performances of “Dreaming Without You” and “Searching Through The Past”, Jennifer and Jessica Clavin talk to us about how they’ve come to realize that their music is heavily influenced by L.A., why their newest album sounds like the soundtrack to a 1980s teen movie, what venues in L.A. they frequent, and why it’s fun to play shows at home.