Wednesday, January 21, 2015


After a painful 3-week absence from our studio and mixing desk, by which I mean aging laptop, we've returned with a new hour-long DYNAMITE HEMORRHAGE RADIO (#53) for you and yours & for the people, too. Loaded with new bangers and ragers from around the rocknroll milieu. Some of the aforementioned: Constant Mongrel, Lime Crush, SROS Lords, Birds of Avalon, Coma in Algiers, Sissy, The Dance Asthmatics and Penny Machine. Whew.

What's more, we didn't stop there. We also added library material from The Meat Puppets (pictured here, back in 1980); The Silver; Coolies; Rotters; Flesh Eaters; Dacios and much, much more. Couldn't believe what an unmitigated delight it was to put it together for you. Sincerely hope it plays as well on your end.

Download Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio #53 here.
Stream or download it on Soundcloud here.
Stream the thing on Mixcloud here.
Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here.

Track listing:

SISSY - Sail and Rail
THE ROTTERS - Sink The Whales (Buy Japanese Goods)
THE MAD - Mask
THE SILVER - No More Grease
MEAT PUPPETS - Out in the Gardener
THE MOTARDS - The Fast Song
THE DACIOS - Monkey's Blood
SIC ALPS - Clarence
WHITE FENCE - Destroy Everthing
GROWTH - Blind Voice
THE COOLIES - Dark Stormy Night
SROS LORDS - Jesse's Girl
BIRDS OF AVALON - Disappeance

Some past shows:
Dynamite Hemorrhage #52    (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #51    (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #50    (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #49    (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #48    (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #47    (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #46    (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #45    (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #44    (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #43    (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #42    (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #41    (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #40    (playlist)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

"FORCE MAJUERE" - 2014, directed by Ruben Östlund

From the most simple of precepts comes a dark, and darkly funny, exploration of male emasculation in our modern, purportedly gender-equitable age. It goes like this: a catalog-perfect Swedish family of 4 – pretty mom, handsome dad, two young blonde children – go a luxe ski holiday at a posh resort somewhere unnamed within the French alps. Early in the film, while sitting on a balcony overlooking the slopes while they’re about to lunch, the family and everyone surrounding them witness a controlled, explosion-driven avalanche about to head toward them. Initially they marvel at it before realizing that it’s about to swamp them all, and with that, husband Tomas (painfully played in all his emasculatory glory by Johannes Kuhnke) grabs his iPhone and gloves in sheer terror, and sprints away – leaving his wife and two kids to fend for themselves. Seconds later, disaster averted, people begin returning to their tables, and among them is Tomas. He’s unaware that he’s just caused a fissure in his family that will take the rest of the film to play out.
Now, "FORCE MAJUERE" can be read in multiple ways. It’s an exploration of marital communication, sure, but more than that, it sets up a good post-film think about marital roles, particularly those related to gender. Is it the man that’s supposed to be heroic? Or the woman – who, it could be said, was the heroic one in their instant of panic? A comic foil is introduced in the form of Tomas’ friend Mats, who arrives with his 20-year-old girlfriend and who lends the film much of its emasculatory tone in his brief moments of trying to cope both with Tomas’ struggles with guilt, as well as with his own issues. Some great stereotype reversals take place here as well; it’s Tomas that hysterically cries in public about his marital problems, not his wife Ebba; it’sMats that needs to stay up and “sort through his issues” late at night with his girlfriend, while she begs him to please stop seeking instant therapy and go to sleep. There’s also some jarringly disturbing sound production in this one, in which electric toothbrushes and a remote-controlled flying spaceship take central roles in deepening the tension and drama. 
Östlund directs this and coaxes raw dialogue out of his characters in a very sparse, painful and Scandinavian way, and if it’s too tempting to say “Bergman-esque” - well, I apologize, because it very much is. Without giving away too much in the way of subsequent plot, I will say that the film could have satisfactorily ended in any number of places in its last 30 minutes, but instead flips the narrative in its final scenes a bit so that perhaps it’s less about the cowardice of males, per se, and more about the selfishness of humanity in general when confronted with fight-or-flight situations. Was very pleased to hash this one out in my head afterward and it’s absolutely set to be one of the top films this year.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

"WE ARE THE BEST! (Vi är bäst!)" - 2013, directed by Lukas Moodysson

By turns a feel-good punk rock comedy and a would-be empowering vehicle for teenage girls everywhere, "WE ARE THE BEST!" didn’t really do much to make me laugh or drive me to start the feminist revolution – but it’s harmless and moderately entertaining fun nonetheless. Set in early 1980s Stockholm – and entirely filmed during the frozen winter, giving that gorgeous city an undeserved bleak and depressing feel – it centers on two bored 13-year-old outcasts and punk fans, Klara and Bobo. Klara’s the domineering, pretty, somewhat reckless one (I recognize many punk rock women from my teens and 20s in her); Bobo’s the more introspective, sullen, cautious and altogether Swedish of the two.
They’re already full-on into their rebellious teenage years, and their wacky homemade haircuts and jarring music are contrasted with the staid ordinariness of their peers and families. They’re sweet girls, to be fair, and they recognize a third misfit outcast – a talented classically-trained musician named Hedvig who just happens to be a full-on Christian – as a potential member of their made-up band.
How do they get into a band? They’re simply called “ugly” by a group of cheeseball heavy metal dorks called Iron Fist, and on the spot, they form a dissonant punk band despite not possessing even having a shred of musical knowledge. No worries, Hedvig does, and once we get through a few comic scenes of Klara and Bobo awkwardly trying to integrate her and her long, pretty hair and Christian values into their worldview, they’re off and running with rad songs like the anti-sports “Hate the Sport” (“Hate the sport / Hate the sport / Hate hate hate hate the sport.”) . Hedvig becomes the unifier of three different teenage rebel streaks, and is a nice token to show how punk rock was such a great leveler in so many ways.
Speaking of great songs, they encounter a punk band made up of two guys who perform a song called “Brezhnev Reagan” for them - (“Brezhnev and Reagan – fuck off! Brezhnev and Reagan – fuck off!). Lukas Moodysson knows just enough about this era to finely thread the line between silly comedy and truthful depictions of early punk. The three girls have a series of John Hughes-esque moments in their struggles to find themselves and establish their band, and it’s fairly predictable how things will go from there.
While the movie’s received a great deal of praise simply be being fun and joyful – and believe me, it’s eminently watchable and even a delight in parts – I’d perhaps hoped for something a little more cutting. It might have a tad more depth than "Rock and Roll High School" or "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains", but it’s much closer in spirit and approach to ‘sploitation films than it is urgent indie drama. Whether that’s enough to get you on the Celluloid Couch to watch it is entirely up to you.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

"TRAP STREET"- 2013, directed by Vivian Qu

A harrowing film of surveillance and state repression that somehow was made within China about China, and is now languishing without any real distribution outside of it. I saw "TRAP STREET" at the 2014 San Francisco International film fest and won’t soon forget it. It’s a love story gone terribly awry, in which the protagonist Li Qiuming works with his fussy road crew partner doing map-making surveying all over the major Chinese city of Nanjing. On the side, Quiming helps to install hidden cameras in various places like bars and health spas – setting up one of the film’s most delicious (while obvious) ironies. He spots an attractive businesswoman, Guan Lifen, through the lens of his surveying equipment, and ratchets up his obsession with her in a hurry – following her to her workplace, staking her out when she leaves and ultimately tracking her down and wooing her to begin a tentative, if quite genuine-seeming romance.
Her place of employment within a plain-looking building is impossible to get into, though Qiuming tries, up to and including throwing rocks at the windows. Strangely enough,  the small street she works on doesn’t show up on the map crew’s GPS-assisted data. Early on we learn it’s a “trap street”, meaning it’s deliberately left off of maps for reasons best known to the Chinese authorities. “Trap streets” have a less nefarious reason for existing as well; they’re sometimes false streets that are deliberately entered onto maps by surveying companies and their publishers in order to “trap” any rival publishers who might try and sell copies of maps featuring it, while passing it off as their own surveying work. The film, obviously, inverts this meaning and makes it something far more sinister.
Just as we’re getting to really enjoy the cutesy amusement-park-and-zoo courtship of Quiming and Lifen, he’s suddenly abducted, beaten and placed into confinement within an urban village. Turns out his visits to the trap street to look for Lifen weren’t exactly welcomed by her mysterious place of employment, and it then stands to reason that her delayed gratification at his courtship of her isn’t particularly real, either. Did he do anything to merit his treatment? Not in the least – he’s an exceptionally sympathetic, if naïve, character – but the film turns ominous and foreboding, as the sense of injustice and the all-seeing eye of the state hangs heavy over the film. It ends ambiguously, as well – which makes it all the more delightfully creepy. At our showing, the filmmaker Vivian Qu did a Q&A afterward, and was asked about getting approval for the film to play in her native country. While she tried to put her best face on it, it was clear she wasn’t holding her breath. An excellent gander at the modern Chinese ecosystem of money-making capitalism, 21st-century technology and 20th-century state dominance over personal and private affairs.

Friday, January 2, 2015


Sub-heading: "Three novellas about family", and that's precisely what we get from Russia's foremost modern chronicler of the burdensome human condition. These are stories that were suppressed by Soviet and post-Soviet authorities in their time, presumably for being too "real", as they contain zero explicit anti-government samizdat. I loved the other Petrushevskaya collection I read last year, "There Once Lived A Girl Who Seduced Her Sister's Husband, And He Hanged Himself", and this one's nearly in that league, albeit in overall abbreviated form, making for an exceptionally quick read. It's really just one long short story called "The Time Is Night", along with two short stories - each a haunting overview of a middle-aged Russian woman in a degraded and pitiful state. I certainly mean pitiful as in "have pity", which you will need to find plenty of in exploring the harrowing inner lives of women struggling with familial, state and communal oppression. Yet Petrushevskaya's also a wonderful black humorist, and she limns her litanies of domestic horrors with absurdities that, if they don't make one laugh out loud, at least lessen the crushing existential burden somewhat.

"The Time Is Night" is truly the centerpiece of this one, and is by far the best of the three stories. A 50-year-old would-be poet, Anna, recounts in "writings that were left behind" how she tried to keep life from unraveling while trying to care for her grandchild, whom her daughter Alena had abandoned at her doorstep while being herself abandoned by two husbands. Her son also comes and goes into her life after getting out of prison, all the while pursued by thugs who are looking to administer some serious post-lockup beatdowns for god knows what. Anna moves from soaring, poetic calls to her higher nature to the day-to-day mundane and drab realities of Russian life, with a dying mother, a bare refrigerator and not a whole lot of money. She's an invisible woman - a common complaint of the middle-aged in any society - but even more acute in a society teeming with alcoholic, misogynist men and chronically unemployed children who hate you. 

Petrushevskaya gets her digs into societal absurdities where she can, such as when Anna picks up some journalistic work for an acquaintance: "I urgently covered her back when she needed a piece on the bicentennial of the Minsk Tractor Plant" (a plant, which, suffice to say, had not been in existence for 200 years). Anna, who barely has anything to cling to in life, suffers a series of emotional indignities that culminate with the removal of even the last bits of joy in her fragile life. There's a lot of societal guilt-by-association implied by these tales. It's clear that Petrushevskaya was chafing in a big way, and still is, even after the glorious transition from Communism to Putinism.

The other two stories are good, but are slightly lesser works. The best of the two is "Among Friends", which details the incestuous inner workings of an adopted "family" of sorts, a collection of codependent adults who get together once a week to drink and talk. These apartment gatherings were as close to "civil society" as individuals within the Soviet Union ever came, but when our narrator finds circumstances spinning out of control and that threaten to ruin the life of her son, she engages in an absurd bit of violent self-sacrifice that, through this catalog of emotional horrors, Petrushevskaya almost makes sound banal, normal and wise. I'll never be a lonely and overburdened middle-aged Russian woman, but I think I've got a pretty decent sense of what it might be like to be one via this author's unsettling and highly textured writing.

Thursday, January 1, 2015


What did you do on the first day of 2015? Me, I made you Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio #52 and had a real "gas" doing so. This one's larded up with new material from Penny Machine (pictured), Lime Crush, White Fence, SROS Lords, Parkay Quarts, The Dacios, The Coneheads and, that's right, Buck Biloxi and The Fucks. Sub-underground? Oh my yes.

In between all that there are many sound eruptions from the likes of Tyvek, Mike Rep & The Quotas, Supercharger, Animals and Men, The Klitz, Gas, The Clean, Loli and The Chones and many more. The whole thing clocks in at a compact 1:03, so put aside an hour if you can and see what sort of racket we cooked up for you.

Download Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio #52 here.
Stream or download Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio #52 on Soundcloud.
Subscribe to the show on iTunes here.


LIME CRUSH - Graveyard
SROS LORDS - Cleaner Love
ANIMALS AND MEN - Headphones
TYVEK - Frustration Rock
DOW JONES & THE INDUSTRIALS - Ladies With Appliances
THE DACIOS - Liberty Lovers
GAS - League of the Golden Maidens
MIKE REP & THE QUOTAS - Heroes and Idols
THE CLEAN - Odditty
X - Hate City
LOLI AND THE CHONES - Summer of Love
ED GEIN'S CAR - Go Down On My Dog
THE 1-4-5's - Volvo Hatchback
SHOCK - This Generation's On Vacation
THE KLITZ - Couldn't Be Bothered
THE BANGS - Getting Out of Hand
THE DONSHIRES - Sad and Blue
PARKAY QUARTS - Content Nausea

Some past shows:
Dynamite Hemorrhage #51    (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #50    (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #49    (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #48    (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #47    (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #46    (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #45    (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #44    (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #43    (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #42    (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #41    (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #40    (playlist)