In a world where our gadgets and devices open us up to an endless stream of novel sounds from around the globe and throughout history, it makes sense that there is sometimes more love and attachment for the machines than the people that made the...

As music fans and college radio DJs descend upon NYC this week, those of us who are already here are taking stock on the music scene as it stands. Last year, the CMJ Music Marathon saw a heavy representation from indie bands that were making their festival debut, such as Speedy Ortiz and Hunters, who then took off in the media instantly after. This year shows great promise, with buzz bands like Twin Peaks, PAWS, Gem Club, Blue Hawaii, and Adult Jazz playing, as well as stalwarts like Obits, A Place to Bury Strangers, and Cold War Kids returning the to fray -- along with the anticipated reunion of shoegaze legends Slowdive (and Low opening!). And, of course, it wouldn't be CMJ without a slew of brand new band hoping to get their big break. CMJ Music Marathon 2014 As always, the lineup for CMJ 2014 is diverse -- but something we appreciated seeing was that there seems to be an increase of girl bands and female solo artists. It is notable to mention that this year's CMJ has also extended its reach to large group of new venues, concentrated mostly in Brooklyn. Here are our top picks, though many more are listed on CMJ.com!

Like a shiny unicorn of the indie pop world, Connan Mockasin is the type of musician who has earned himself a number of adjectives and associations, often whimsical and colorful in nature. His 2011 record, Forever Dolphin Love, set the precedent for this; it was full of unconventional words, strange voices, and fictional characters, giving one the impression that he is one who floats off early and often into the ether, with one foot grounded in this world and one in another. As a result, media and press often generalize Connan Mockasin to be an "oddball" -- an assertion that he finds "kind of a bit weak", for he doesn't in fact feel odd... Connan Mockasin Band Interview With his latest 2013 full-length, Caramel, Connan Mockasin's music has taken in soulful influences to become a fair degree more grounded and accessible -- but it seems that he still has trouble shaking the character judgments heaped upon him. Caramel is conventional compared to Forever Dolphin Love, but it remains fairly unconventional in the world of indie soul and R&B, full of moments that might be difficult to relate to from outside perspectives. But talk to Connan Mockasin for any length of time, and one learns very quickly that his motivations and attitudes towards music-making -- and life, in general -- are actually much, much simpler than most would predict. The bulk of his decisions are based upon impulses rather than deep considerations, and flowing from moment to moment without preconceived expectations or concerns for consequence is his general mode of operation. Indeed, it is one that very few people can relate to -- which is perhaps why it is so very "odd" -- but to understand this is to understand the essence of Connan Mockasin's creative genius.

The 2012 Seattle International Film Festival begins on May 17th, 2012! In the next few days, we will be providing film previews for our top SIFF picks of the year. Times and dates are subject to change, so please visit siff.net before heading to theatres, or see HERE for all film preview coverage, including film selections from other regions of the world.

 


JOSHUA TREE, 1951: A PORTRAIT OF JAMES DEAN
United States/France Directed by Matthew Mishory
Inspired by the facts, and perhaps some fictions, about James Dean's too-short life, this boundary-stretching film imagines the cinematic icon's bisexual pre-fame days and ruminates about the steep costs that come with being a star. Black and white and color. May 24th @ 6:30pm, Egyptian Theatre May 25th @ 4:00pm, Harvard Exit

 

VOLCANIC REMNANT, MAELIFELLSANDUR, ICELAND Bright green moss has colonized a hill in the middle of Maelifellsandur, a black desert of lava and volcanic ash in Iceland. The hill is all what remains of a once active cinder cone, ground down by ice of the nearby retreating Maelifell glacier.

 

Bernhard Edmaier is an aerial photographer living in a small village in Germany, but his photography takes him to exquisite corners of the world, where his interest in natural phenoma thrives. There and beyond, he documents the colors and patterns of the Earth's surface that are astounding, mind-blowing, and full of grandeur. All of the images below are paired with geologic explanations from his website -- where you can see more photos.
(via butitdoesfloat) PAINTED HILLS, OREGON, USA There have been volcanoes in the Oregon area for 30 Million years ago, blasting huge amounts of ash into the sky. Winds and rivers carried the ash to where the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument now lies. This volcanic ash built up, layer after layer, continually burying the marshes and forests that flourished in the moist and warm tropical climate of the period. The heavy stroms that rain down here today carve gullies into the soft layers of ash and, over time, have created the striped landscape of Painted Hills. The yellow and red layers owe their colour to eroded volcanic materials, while the dark blurry flecks are the remains of dead vegetation.

 

This weekend is a big weekend for movie-going consumers in Portland. It's the first weekend of the Portland International Film Festival, and it's Valentine's Day. Here are a few of our recommended picks! About Elly An Iranian drama that explores what happens when a group on a...

Releasing albums for the end of the year is like the Oscar push. Those put out too early, save for a few, generally get left behind in the dust by easily excitable individuals like myself. There are worse things that can happen in...

New Zealand 2007, 93 minutes It’s impossible to talk about Eagle vs Shark, a low budget comedy about weirdos in love, without talking about Napoleon Dynamite, a low budget comedy about weirdos coming of age. Taika Waititi's latest movie borrows so much from the 2004 hit...

New Zealand, 2006, 87 minutes, 35mm English There is a new wave of horror spreading across the land, terrorizing and delighting film patrons everywhere. Catering to gorehounds and fans of cult-cinema, these gory-yet-witty movies have begun a movement in mainstream cinema towards a less slasher-centric idea of...