Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Interview with Audrey Ewell, co-director of "Until The Light Takes Us"

"Until The Light Takes Us" is a documentary movie about the Norwegian black metal scene directed by Aaron Aites and Audrey Ewell. I've always had a bit of a fascination with that scene's over the top corpse paint make up and church burning and violent actions. This movie looks at its history and growth and peels back the imagery to look at what it's really about, told by the musicians themselves. The movie is currently touring the festival and special screening circuit and will be playing Seattle at the Northwest Film Forum theater (1515 12th Ave on Capitol Hill) on Thursday May 28th and Saturday May 30th. Both showing are at 11:30pm, to keep them late and creepy. The directors will be at both showings.

I was fortunate enough to talk with co-director Audrey Ewell for a little bit about the movie. Here is our conversation...

10: I saw an interview with you where you mentioned you weren't really a fan of black metal and more into indie rock. Since 10 Things is mainly a music blog, I was curious as to what are some of your favorite bands?

Ewell: Right now I'm actually listening to a lot of '70s folk/psych; Fairport Convention and pretty much anything with Sandy Denny is working for me. I also have a pretty big soft spot for a band called MV + EE out of Vermont. The MV part was a major part of Tower Recordings, and now he and his girlfriend (the EE part) tour around the U.S. with their van and their dog and play shows. They are somewhere between Royal Trux, the Grateful Dead, and Tower Recordings--really lovely and spacey and sometimes jammy, but not in a bad way.

The idea that we're not into black metal is false though. We were introduced to it many years ago and were actually fascinated by the way it had things in common with a lot of the really great low-fi music that we were already fans of, like the Dead C, Throbbing Gristle, Current 93, etc. And there was an immediate, raw rage and beauty and somehow it all sounded incredibly genuine and not at all crass. A really nice change of pace from so much of the self-conscious music that always reigns supreme. I'm talking about the stuff from the early '90s, early Darkthrone, Burzum, Mayhem, etc. It's great.

10: What in the black metal scene drew your interest enough to want to do a documentary about it?

Ewell: Well, a lot of had to with the seeming contradiction between the violence and the clear, almost postmodern sensibility of some of the music, particularly Darkthrone. We were also intrigued by the fact that we loved the music, because we had not previously been into any kind of metal. It challenged our preconceptions. That's a good thing.

10: What do you hope people that see your movie take away from it?

Ewell: I hope they leave talking about it. Whether they are fans who get to see such an intimate portrayal of these very masked figures, or whether this is someone's introduction to the people, events and story of the film, our goal was to make it operate on several levels. The film tells the story of black metal, but it's about more than that. If I just state it outright, that takes away from the experience of watching the film, so I'll let the audience have whatever reaction they have, and just be glad if it affects them in some way. It has so far. Some people are disturbed by it, but most people seem to get it, and there are things that we do want to communicate through it. So far, it seems to be working, and I'm really glad, because it was tremendously hard to make, it took a really long time and was kind of an awful experience in many ways! We're sticking to fiction films after this.

10: One last question... have you ever put on corpse paint make up like the bands in the movie?

Ewell: No, but our friend in Japan has some kind of app on his phone that lets him apply corpse-paint to pictures he takes, so he's done that to ours. Japan is just awesome like that.

For more information about the film, it's showing, tickets or to watch the trailer, go to:

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Kings live!

Seattle's best (well, and only) punk rock Elvis tribute band live at the Block Party a few weeks ago:

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Rainfest 2009: June 22-24

Ironically, it's going to be quite a sunny weekend in the Puget Sound when the annual hardcore, punk metal festival Rainfest takes place. This Memorial Day weekend Tacoma promises to be thee spot for fans of loud and abrasive music, you know, like the readers of 10 Things. Each day the all-ages club The Viadact will have band after band assaulting your ears with some of the most brutal music from the Northwest and beyond. Some of the highlights inclue The Warriors, Lewd Acts, Dangers, Trash Talk, Owen Hart, Comeback Kid, Pressure Point and Final Fight. Come for a day, or come for the full weekend. Either way, if you dig on the hardcore and loud punk, you won't want to miss the action. For more details check out:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Portland School of Rock kids cover Poison Idea!

This is all kinds of awesome. Portland's School of Rock kids cover Poison Idea's "Plastic Bomb"...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

2009 Northwest Pinball & Gameroom Show

This is a month away, but I want to get it on everyone's radar because it will be a seriously kick ass event. 200 pinball and arcade games on free play, Steve Wiebe from the movie "King of Kong" and much more! June 12-14 at the Seattle Center. More details are at:

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Oh, and in case you were wondering...

...what's the deal with all the black and white photos and rash of mid-'90s band coverage, I've been starting to scan in a bunch of old promotional photos. I love this stuff, but have way too many, so I'm slowly scanning them and then selling 'em off on Ebay. There will be plenty more to come from this era of noise/grunge/punk bands, that's the current pile of stuff that's sitting on my scanner.

Killdozer... the first grunge band?

"Killdozer" was a bad 1974 movie about a bulldozer being used to try to dig up a meteor by a construction crew. The bulldozer took on a life of it's own and started running over everything in site and killing all the people that got in it's path. And damn, if you've ever heard some of the messed up covers by the band Killdozer, the name seems kind of fitting... they bulldoze through the songs and they take on a life of their own.

Killdozer were pretty much a grunge band before there ever was such a thing... when members of bands like Nirvana and Mudhoney were in their early teens, the members of Killdozer were forming their brutally heavy band in Madison, WI. The year was 1983, and the band's formula seemed like to make the creepiest, loud, slow, grinding art-noise-punk-rock on the planet. I first heard the band on the 1986 compilation "God's Favorite Dog," which included labelmates the Butthole Surfers, Scratch Acid (David Yow's band before the Jesus Lizard), Big Black, Hose and Happy Flowers. At the time this Touch and Go comp seemed to have the most fucked up and brutal punk/noise I'd ever heard. Killdozer's contributions included a cover of "Sweet Home Alabama" that was both painful and fantastic to listen too. I remember at the time having older roommates who listened to some '70s and Southern rock that were horrified when I first played the compilation tape. Ha ha ha, their reaction was brilliant as they recoiled in horror. That right their sealed the deal for me in liking this band.

It wasn't until the band's fifth full-length album "Twelve Point Buck" that really people outside of Touch and Go/Butthole Surfer fans discovered Killdozer... in thanks in many ways to Kurt Cobain talking them up and Nirvana, then Smashing Pumpkins, recruiting their longtime producer Butch Vig. But their window of fame was short lived and the band broke up in 1995. Killdozer later reformed in 2006 for the Touch and Go 25th Anniversary weekend. I'm pretty sure they are still gigging now, their MySpace page seems to indicated that's the case, check it out here to hear a few songs.

Bonghits for Cherubs!

You know what makes for a great bong?
Combining snakes, skulls and dragons into one smoking device! It's hella cool man, you could stare at it for hours when you're really baked. Totally dude!

You know what makes for a great promo photo?
Putting a cool bong up front and center with your band all baked on the couch behind it staring at it! It's like, whoa dude, I'm sooo stoned.

Cherubs formed in the rock town of Austin in 1992 and were often labeled as "acid punk," which I think mostly came from their association with King Koffey of the Buthole Surfers and his record label Trance Syndicate. At the time, where Sub Pop was releasing what got to be known as grunge and Am Rep was releasing a heavier noisier version of what Sub Pop was doing (which I think at the time we often called noise rock), Trance Syndicate was releasing a more drugged out fucked up version of rock in the similar vein. Probably the most popular bands on Trance at the time were Butthole Surfers, Crunt (a side-project band featuring Kat Bjelland of Babes in Toyland, Stuart Gray of Lubricated Goat, and Russell Simins of Jon Spencer Blues Explosion) Roky Erickson, Ed Hall, The Pain Teens and Cherubs.

Cherubs played fucked up, distorted noise rock. They had two great albums, "Icing" and "Heroin Man," along with a smattering of singles. Someone put up a fan page for them on MySpace if you want to hear a few songs. By the release of their second album, the band had already imploded. There's been talk of a reunion in rock gossip circles now that all ex-band members are back living in Austin, but we will see...

The Jesus Lizard brings their balls to the Block Party!

Hi, my name is David Yow. You may just know my band's name because we did a split single with Nirvana if you're a clueless asshole, but we were actually considered to be one of the best live bands of the 1990s. I was known to get a little wild live. Sure, there were some occasional fisticuffs and I was banned from playing Seattle for repeatedly stage diving into the audience despite the Fire Marshall warning me not to, but what a lot of people remember most about my live performance is my almost primal stage presence. Oh, and my balls. You see, during our song "Tight and Shiny," I liked to pull out my balls on stage. Back in the day it was quite a hit with the kids.

Recently my band reunited, and guess what Seattle, we're coming back to your town, the town that dared to ban me from live performances in the past. We will be playing The Capitol Hill Block Party, anyone heard of this shit? They are paying us quite well, so we're stoked. I hope it's not packed with a bunch of douchebags and hipster jerks. Wait a minute, now that I think about it, I actually I hope it is! Because I don't give a fuck about you and will teabag your whole city! We may be twice as old as many of you, but The Jesus Lizard will still blow away most the bands at yer little Seattle music festival. So get up front and watch us go balls out at our show July 24... I dare you.

For the full details on The Capitol Hill Block Party and getting cheaper advanced tickets, go to: