Kally Price’s New Old Jazz

By Lee Cahill

If you don’t think the reincarnation of Billie Holiday could be a thirty-something white girl from Arizona, you haven’t met Kally Price. Her soulful, jazzy voice accompanied by muted horns takes your earbuds on a time-traveling journey back to 1930s.  When asked about her retro sound, Kally said she’s humbled and empowered by the ability to process her own life experiences through her ”new-old” jazz, blues, and gospel tunes.

I’ve been anxiously anticipating the release of her debut album The Bird With Feathers of Blue consisting of both originals and covers.  But, sadly, just months before the album was scheduled to be released on Porto Franco Records, the label transitioned into a video series/music promotion company. Since then, she’s been sitting on the finished record like a chicken warming her eggs. In the meantime, she’s been constantly playing shows in the San Francisco area and recently collaborating with a soul band called Lord Loves a Working Man.

I can only hope she’ll hatch that record soon!  Check out her video with Porto Franco here and check out my two favorites from the album below.

“After You’ve Gone”

“Love For The Asking”

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Project Nim dir. James Marsh

By Lee Cahill

Project Nim is the most recent documentary from James Marsh, director of the wildly popular Man On Wire. Nim premiered at Sundance in 2011, had a nationwide theatrical release, and seemed to be a shoe-in for the Academy Awards. It’s a big movie, and a good one at that – so when I first saw it at DOC NYC in November, I figured it’d be a surefire mainstream success. But a few months down the line, no media blitz, no Oscar nod – what happened? I guess America just isn’t as enthralled with interspecies communication as I (the vegetarian, pet-adoption volunteer). Let me assure you, though, that you don’t need to be an animal rights activist to be affected by Nim…though you might end up one by the end.

Project Nim explores the incredible journey of Nim Chimpsky (a play on the name of linguist Noam Chomsky), a loveable chimpanzee who was the subject of a sign language study conducted in the 70’s by Professor Herbert Terrace at Columbia University. For the first two years of Nim’s life, he was raised as if he were human by a large, loving, hippy family in Manhattan. Terrace then tore Nim away from his adoptive family to begin a more strict sign language curriculum. During the course of the study, Nim’s signing capabilities flourished rapidly. Yet Nim didn’t meet Terrace’s expectations, only able learn words and not syntax. Though others involved with the project would disagree, Terrace  deemed the study a failure. Despite his perception, the study is no doubt a spectacular achievement, but it only lasted a few years of Nim’s life. Afterwards, he was shuffled around quite a bit, and being raised as a human turned out to be just one of many outrageous circumstances in his life.

What makes this documentary so captivating is not just the story, but the storytelling. The film gathers perspectives on Nim’s life through interviews with all the key people involved, including the heavily criticized Terrace (who continues to do chimp research today). Meeting these characters face to face gives us a real sense of the hippy lifestyle of the time that allowed for the project to take place. Additionally, when a person enters Nim’s life in the film, we greet him or her as Nim would have, with the person signing his or her name. When a person leaves Nim’s life, the camera slowly tracks sideways, pushing the subject out of frame, almost like turning a page of a book, signifying the end of that chapter in Nim’s life.

Project Nim is an expertly told narrative of one extraordinary chimp’s life – a film that’s touching, enlightening, and a meditation on just what it means to be human…or not.

Buy or rent Project Nim right now on Amazon! Watch the trailer below.

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SXSW Music Videos…Like Music To Your Eyes. Kina Grannis, When Saints Go Machine, and Casey Veggies

by Lee Cahill

“In Your Arms”
Artist: Kina Grannis
Label: One Haven
Director: Greg Jardin
Production Co: Radical Media
Video looks like: A Jelly Belly stop-motion masterpiece!!!
Music sounds like: Female singer-songwriter
Reason to watch: Although this video is AMAZING, it’s incredibly painful to watch. You can’t stop thinking, “Oh god, how long did this take to make!!!??!” The answer… 22 months. Damn if they don’t deserve all those hits! Be sure to check out the making-of HERE.

Song: “PARIX”
Artist: When Saints Go Machine
Label: !K7/EMI (Scandinavia)
Director: Daniel Kragh-Jacobsen
Producer: Thor Brammer Jacobsen
Video looks like: Dramatic snapshots, like Polaroids come to life
Music sounds like: Scandinavian indie-psych-pop
Reason to watch: The video is an extension of the haunting atmosphere of the song, with intense emotional drama created by the camerawork, cold colors, and the use of slow motion. Oh, and there’s some ether-huffing – it gets trippy.

Song: “Euphoria ll”
Artist: Casey Veggies (formerly of Odd Future, the current hellions of Hip-Hop)
Label: Self-released
Director: John Bollozos
Production Co: Clement & Co
Video looks like: A split-screen of a rapper walking through the campus of a suburban high school where “one of these things is not like the other.”
Music sounds like: Indie Hip-Hop
Reason to watch: Gotta give this video credit for its simple, well-executed idea. Trying to spot all of the differences in each screen gives you a reason to watch again and again.

Technically, Goyte‘s video for “Somebody That I Used To Know” (which features a very nude Kimbra) has a few too many hits to truly be 100Down material – but this song is such a jam, I’ve gotta include it!

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A Weekly Guide To Your New Obsession: The Present, Dive, and DAMU

Artist: The Present

Listen: “Sunbeam”
From: New York, US
Label: Self-released
Sounds like: Freak folk/ Experimental
Reason to listen: Rusty Santo, one third of The Present has produced some of my favourite albums ever including Animal Collective’s Sung Tongs, Panda Bear’s Person Pitch, Born Ruffians’ Red, Yellow & Blue, and Dent May’s The Good Feeling Music of Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele. If this is not a good enough reason, I don’t know what is!?
More: http://www.youtube.com/thepresentvideos

Artist: Dive

From: Brooklyn, NYC
Label: Captured Tracks
Sounds like: Dreamy haze rock
Reason to listen: The band includes former Smith Westerns drummer Coby Hewitt and Beach Fossils’ guitarist Cole Smith. They were also one of my favorite live performers at SXSW this year!
More: http://capturedtracks.com/artists/dive/

Artist: Damu (Sam Schorb)

From: Manchester, London
Label: Silverback, Local Action, Keysound
Sounds like: Electro/Funkstep
Reason to listen: Damu is THE upcoming British producer with artists like Ghostpoet and Peaking Lights requesting him to remix some of the tracks.
More: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Damu/176023585779824

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Bands to See at SXSW: Clock Opera

Who: Clock Opera
What: Electronic music
Why: They remix all my indie faves – Feist, Metronomy, Au Revoir Simone, Architecture in Helsinki, Everything Everything, etc. So you know they have good taste.
When: Saturday, March 17 9:00PM
Label: Island
More: http://clockopera.com/

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Films to see at SXSW: V/H/S dir. David Bruckner, Ti West, Joe Swanberg, Glenn McQuaid, Adam Wingard, and Radio Silence

By Leah Shore

Directed by David Bruckner (The Signal), Ti West (The House of the Devil, The Innkeepers), Joe Swanberg (Silver Bullets, Hannah Take the Stairs), Glenn McQuaid (I Sell the Dead), Adam Wingard (You’re Next, A Horrible Way to Die) and Radio Silence, a YouTube collective known for innovative horror shorts.
Tuesday, March 13 at 11:30PM – 1:25AM Venue: Alamo Lamar B
Friday, March 16 at 11:59PM – 1:54AM Venue: Alamo Ritz 1
WHY: I am a huuuuge horror movie buff and when I heard that people literally walked out and threw up after watching this at Sundance, I knew it was a gem. If I were at SXSW this year this would be number one on my list. It also shines a light on many indie filmmakers and mumble core god, Joe Swanberg. I hear it’s one of the scariest and well made movies EVER. SEE IT. NOW. (Or whenever it’s released.) Another plus is that my friend Sophia Takal (Green, Gabi on the Roof in July) is in it, so there’s bound to be great acting!
MORE INFO: http://schedule.sxsw.com/2012/events/event_FS12472

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Films To See At SXSW: Seeking Asian Female dir. Debbie Lum

Film: Seeking Asian Female
Director: Debbie Lum
Where:1120 South Lamar Boulevard / Austin, TX 78704
Tuesday, March 13 1:15PM and Wednesday, March 14 6:45PM
Why: An older white man from California with ‘yellow fever’ marries a younger woman from China he finds online and a female Chinese-American filmmaker caught in the middle. This documentary seems incredibly complicated, intimate, and humorous.
More Info: http://schedule.sxsw.com/2012/events/event_FS12435

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