Day For Night 2017

Let’s get this out of the way. No, I did not get to shoot Day for Night from the photo pit. In fact, my “media” approval amounted to a discounted 3-day wristband. It was disappointing, if I am to be honest; I was truly looking forward to shooting this year. The organizers saw it differently. I guess one day we’ll have to relent and buy fake followers on social media as an insurance policy.

Alas, the hotel was bought and paid for already, so off I went to make the most. Saturday, I left the camera behind as there was confusion, too much of it, about camera policies, etc. Turns out, I had a great time wandering aimlessly through the cavernous space, spending much of my time in the art installations, occasionally paying attention to the stages. I had no schedule and stumbled into people, sometimes standing in the crowd only to look to my right and realize a friend had been right next to me for a half an hour. Sunday, I mounted the trusty 55/1.8 to the a9 and revisited the installations and took in way more music.

The art ruled the weekend – I went to an art show and caught some bands. Pop through and read about highs and lows and discoveries and disappointments…

Read more

Polvo – In Prism

polvo-inprism

Rating: ★★½ · ·

 Chapel Hill, North Carolina’s Polvo began in 1990 when most of us were mere babes.  After four critically acclaimed albums, a sting of EPs released on Merge and Touch and Go, and tours across the United States and Europe with bands like Sonic Youth and Pavement, Polvo called it quits in 1997.  But, as is the recent trend, Polvo reunited in 2008 for All Tomorrows Parties and several stateside shows, this string of performances then mutated into Polvo’s first album in twelve years, In Prism.

To this reviewer, Polvo has always been one of those bands that is familiar in name, not by output; the scene workhorse that consistently releases albums without much fanfare.  I always felt a bit guilty about not really giving Polvo my attention: they wrote solid well-crafted songs and delivered them genuinely, what’s not to love?  The problem I saw Polvo having was that they there were other active bands at the time (Archers of Loaf, The Jesus Lizard, and Jawbox, to name a few) that were doing the exact same things, only better.  Polvo got relegated to the indie rock B-team with bands like Giants Chair and Gauge.  I am not trying to slight these bands. They all deserve much more credit than what they received for one reason or another.

That brings us to In Prism, which, like the rest of Polvos career, isn’t good or bad, it’s just okay.  The songs are interesting, but they all seem to follow the mid-nineties math rock playbook: riffs on top of riffs, changes on top of changes, quiet part, vague emotional lyrics, noodling solo, repeat for 5-8 minutes, TA-DAH!  The songs that having staying power are track three “Beggar’s Bowl” and the album closer “A Link in the Chain”:  “Beggar’s Bowl” deserves recognition for two reasons, besides being one of the stronger cuts on the album, 1) It’s laughable, yet endearing use of chimes, and 2) I defy you to listen to the song without singing Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust”.  “A Link in the Chain” displays the slower side of Polvo, which does well to show how truly great guitarists Ash Bowie and Dave Brylawski are at their instruments (although I could’ve done without the epic Yes-ian build-up only to be met with, essentially, an instrumental cock-block [don’t worry I won’t quit my day job]).

We live in a time where everyone longs for their favorite bands to reunite and release “just one more album” or go on “one more tour” and while In Prism is a solid album that any band should be proud of, I think it’s time to retire those thoughts of Pavement, Archers of Loaf, or Quicksand reuniting and just be happy with memories of the way things were, rather than grieving over what those bands have become (I’m looking at you Weezer).