Monday, January 27, 2020

I’d Love To Turn You On At The Movies #235 - Poetry (2010, dir. Chang-Dong Lee)

           I've been patiently waiting since 2010 to review this film since our I'd Love to Turn You on at the Movies review program focuses on works over ten years old. Korean director Chang-Dong Lee’s most recent film, 2018’s Burning, garnered a lot of acclaim here in the States, but his two previous efforts, 2007’s Secret Sunshine and (especially) 2010’s Poetry are both better films. For me, Burning is solid enough, but Lee’s layered and complex way with the central relationships in his films is overwhelmed by author Haruki Murakami’s eccentric plotting and characterizations, and Lee has his own eccentricities that are fascinating enough.
            Lee, a South Korean novelist and one-time public official who moved into feature filmmaking, has made only six films in the last 23 years, most of them centering on characters who have difficulty adapting to new surroundings or complicated circumstances, and Poetry may well be the finest of them all. The film opens with a scene of boys playing by a river. One of them sees something floating in the river, and we soon see that it’s a schoolgirl’s body. We will later learn that she’s killed herself because she had been raped. We then cut to Mija Yang (a superb performance by Jeong-hie Yun, who came out of a 15 year retirement from acting to be in this film), a woman in her mid-60s who is waiting in a doctor’s office waiting room because she wants the doctor to examine the source of a tingle in her arm - but on examining her, the doctor is more concerned that she’s forgetting common words and recommends that she get examined at a larger hospital in Seoul, suspecting (correctly) that she may be experiencing the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s. We then see Mija in her day to day routines - caring for an older stroke victim in his home part time for some money, then going home to raise her snotty and indifferent grandson Wook who bothers her for a new phone (she tells him to ask his mother who works in another city; him: “That’s not fair!”), and runs off from playing badminton with her the second he gets a text from his friends.
            The next day she joins a poetry class and is assigned to write a poem, her teacher explaining “Writing poetry is all about finding beauty. It is about discovering beauty in everything we see in front of us in our everyday life.” And so we then find her trying to “see” the everyday and put it into words, to “see” an apple in her kitchen, or out on the front porch still trying to “see” the leaves of a nearby tree when she gets a call from a parent of one of her son’s friends asking her to meet him as soon as possible. After her next poetry class, she meets with the fathers of her son’s friends, finding out that their sons (and her grandson) had been involved in the rape of the young woman who committed suicide, and that the other parents intend to offer the girl’s mother compensatory money which she is now expected to raise.
            And so the film goes forth slowly, moving forward by the accumulation of small details, as Miji winds her way through her world, now turned upside down by the events surrounding her grandson and her own health diagnosis, trying to find the beautiful in an everyday that seems rotten at every level. And this is where the film is special - rather than engage in histrionics over a plot that could easily have become the fodder for melodrama, Lee’s screenplay (which deservedly won the Best Screenplay award at Cannes) keeps its focus on Mija’s internal struggle, portrayed magnificently by Yun, who certainly made the right decision in accepting this role. In fact, Lee wrote the role with Yun in mind, catering the particulars of the character to Yun, who had been a major star of Korean cinema in the late 60s and early 70s, but had dropped to only occasional roles through the 80s and 90s before her retirement in 1994. In an interview, she said of this role: “And after I did the film Manmoobang [in 1994], I got a lot of offers from all kinds of industry people for fifteen years. But I had saved myself and waited for something good to come along, and I got a wonderful film like this one.” With the film’s poignant focus on Mija, rather than on its more lurid elements, we, too, drift through the goings-on, trying to seek the beauty of poetry in a world that seems bereft of such beauty.
            Though it sounds like a difficult subject for a film, and in some respects it is, Yun's sensitive performance (which also won her over a dozen international awards and nominations) is pitch-perfect keep the film grounded and keeps our minds in place with her as she searches amongst the pain and sadness for beauty. The same description could be applied to Lee's films, which are often gut-wrenching in their subject matter, but deeply humanistic in their approach to their characters. As a touching coda, it was publicly announced last year that Yun herself has been suffering from Alzheimer’s since 2009. Her husband, renowned classical pianist Paik Kun-woo, said Yun had to read many of her lines from a paper and that the illness made it impossible for her to do another film.
            - Patrick Brown

Monday, January 20, 2020

I'd Love to Turn You On #248: Bill Evans - Waltz For Debby (1962)

Waltz For Debby is an amazing live document of one of the best jazz trios in peak form. The trio, consisting of Bill Evans on piano, Scott LaFaro on bass, and Paul Motian on drums, was in the process of redefining and expanding the language and roles of the piano trio. Traditionally the drums and the bass would serve as a foundation for the piano to rest upon, but the trio had evolved to a band that functioned more as a musical equals than a band that allowed one player to monopolize the musical landscape. In a traditional piano trio the piano is featured very prominently with the drums and bass playing a supporting role. The drums may provide texture and comping, while the bass provides a steady pulse and harmony. This group would redefine the jazz trio for the genre, providing a new model of excellence and grace.
"My Foolish Heart" opens the record with Evans’ trademark gentle touch. LaFaro plays clear and uncluttered harmony while Motian fills the space on the cymbals and prods with gentle brush work. Part of the magic in this recording is the stereo mix, with the piano in the right channel and the bass and drums mostly cut to the left. When I listen in headphones it gives the music life. There is a tiny portion of ambient club sound but just enough to add sonic depth. The sound is immaculate and any time LaFaro adds multiple notes to flesh out harmony the recording captures it precisely. The clarity of interpretation that comes across in this take speaks to the high level of mastery by the musicians. It also communicates the intent of the ballad, which is intimacy, longing, and a warning to a foolish heart that has been fooled before.
"Waltz For Debby," the song, is a great illustration of the kind of innovation that the trio was enacting. In the left speaker you can hear Scott LaFaro playing in the high register to complement Evans' piano playing. It is not until the after the one minute mark that he moves down to play a more traditional bass role. He is using notes that are harmony and color tones, tones that are not the standard designated function of bass players. Because of the range he is playing them in they are functioning as melodic tones rather than bass fundamentals, giving a new advanced melodic freedom and expressiveness to the bass that the instrument had been lacking before. On Evans' part he is as ever is treating us to the smooth voice leading that is one of the hallmarks of his style. This is to say that within the harmony between two chords he either kept common tones or found the shortest distances between notes so that the transition was not jarring, and that the overall effect sounded smooth and effortless. This is especially evident in a song like "Waltz For Debby" where the overall harmony is quite complex but the effort that it takes to play it seems minimal and graceful. One of the features of the song is a series of cascading chords which descends down and then circles quickly back up to repeat the cycle. Paul Motian drops in around 1:20 and the group starts to play more like a traditional trio. LaFaro is still hitting all kinds of upper color notes fleshing out the harmony during Evans' piano solo. Motian is laying down solid brushwork, and doing occasional cymbal splashes. He switches to a light cymbal ride pattern under LaFaro’s acrobatic solo. Evans returns to play the melody before the brief coda of the tune. "Detour Ahead" is a ballad-ish tune. Evans and LaFaro demonstrate how familiar they are with the song by playing spaciously around each other. LaFaro will cover the bass harmony and dart into the high register to add some melodic interjection over Evans’ chordal approach. Motian backs them up with stellar brush work. Evans takes the first solo, although LaFaro is so active it might be considered a duet. LaFaro takes the next solo, and then they return to the melody. I think what you can glean from an interpretation of a song as rhythmically interactive as this is how much synergy the trio was working with. Something with as many layers as this has to be developed by working on group interplay and communication, and this group was an amazing example of that kind of work.
"My Romance" features a lovely Bill Evans solo introduction. It is a simple run through the melody but it once again gives us insight into his voice leading approach. Evans has an economical approach that results in a gentle sound, one that utilizes common tones and close neighboring tones to minimize unnecessary movement. Once Motian and LaFaro enter, the song becomes a more swinging number rather than another ballad. The group interplay displayed during Evans’ solo is hard to match, and furthermore the bass solo might be the most virtuosic on the record, with LaFaro dazzling and flashing unbelievable technique. Listening to the way this trio treats time - stretching it, leaving empty spaces for other members to occupy - it is evident just how much of the ground work they have laid for modern groups' rhythmic concepts. Listeners can see the influence of this trio all around the jazz genre, but you really see the influence in groups like the Keith Jarrett Standards Trio with Jack DeJohnette and Gary Peacock, or Brad Mehldau’s trio.
"Some Other Time" is a beautiful ballad with a minimal approach that lets the melodic content do the work. Evans’ classic voicings really shine in this song. The harmony in the first part of the tune allows LaFaro to back up Evans with harmonics, an effect that produces a higher pitched portion of a note by partially applying pressure on a specific part of the string. Jaco Pastorius would later become famous for using harmonics extensively on the electric fretless bass. Scott LaFaro can be heard using harmonics to accompany Evans all throughout the song, providing a shimmering, high-pitched accompaniment on the double bass.
"Milestones" is a fast uptempo tune and a real showcase for Evans and LaFaro. Although I haven’t mentioned his name tons in this review let me take a moment to celebrate Paul Motian. As a player, he is what the music calls for, which is the kind of egoless playing that makes these records so great. It prevents it from being excessively technical. Scott LaFaro was a technical master and this was balanced by Motian whose technique was present but understated. Motian prods uptempo swing numbers like this with crisp, light, cymbal work that keeps the song buoyant. It is light and delicate so you can still hear the details of LaFaro's playing which is also light. It is the opposite of a heavy thunderous drummer like Elvin Jones.
So many things about this group are amazing. Tragically, Scott LaFaro died in a car accident in 1961 bringing this group’s growth to an abrupt halt, and stopping Bill Evans from even playing for a period of time. I always wonder what the group concept would have evolved into if Scott LaFaro had not passed away. Bill Evans went on to work with a number of great bass players that played amazing music, not confined to the rigid structures of bebop or traditional jazz. I just happen to think that this particular group was the pinnacle. I hope you enjoy Waltz For Debby!

- Doug Anderson

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Best of 2019 Lists from Friends of Twist & Shout! (Round 5)

Bevin Luna

My obsession with music only grows as the years pass.  Keep it up everyone, there's some killer music being released and I'm so humbled to be present on this earth at this time and place.  I'm releasing a playlist with tracks from all of my "best of" lists through my Instagram account @bevinlunamusic so please give my profile a follow and check it out!  Also, my website is - HAPPY 2020!! I can't wait to hear how music morphs, changes, and paints our backdrop over this next decade!  Thanks to all of the musicians out there for sharing their gifts with the world.  Love you, Bevin

Top 10 Albums 2019
10) iLe - Almadura  
9) Black Belt Eagle Scout - At the Party With My Brown Friends 
8) Thelma & The Sleaze - Fuck, Marry, Kill
7) Helado Negro - This Is How You Smile
6) (Sandy) Alex G - House of Sugar 
5) Charley Crockett - The Valley 
4) Burna Boy - African Giant
3) King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Infest The Rats' Nest
2) NLE Choppa - Cottonwood
1) Jamila Woods - LEGACY! LEGACY! 

Top 10 Albums/EPs 2019 Colorado Music
10) TIE - Bellhoss - Geraniums / Wolf Van Elfmand - Music for Minors (3 to 300)
9) The Sickly Hecks - Go To Heck
8) Yasi - Unavailable
7) Dressy Bessy - Faster Faster Disaster
6) The Beeves - Adam & Beeve
5) Cheap Perfume - Burn it Down 
4) Whippoorwill - The Nature of Storms
3) Serpentfoot - Swaying Spine
2) The Reminders - Unstoppable
1) Kiltro - Creatures of Habit

Top 20 Albums of the Decade 2010-2019
20) Beyonce - Lemonade (2016)
19) Bonobo - Black Sands (2010) 
18) Cardi B - Invasion of Privacy (2018)
17) Kamasi Washington - The Epic (2015)
16) Broncho - Just Enough Hip to Be Woman (2014)
15) Tinariwen - Elwan (2017)
14) Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit (2015)
13) Sturgill Simpson - Metamodern Sounds in Country Music (2014) 
12) Kendrick Lamar - DAMN. (2017)
11) Big Thief - Masterpiece (2016)
10) Wye Oak - Civilian (2011)
9) Pelican - Arktika (2014) 
8) Mensch - Mensch (2012)
7) Y La Bamba - Ojos Del Sol (2016)
6) Bass Drum of Death - Bass Drum of Death (2013) 
5) Alabama Shakes - Sound & Color (2015)
4) Sylvan Esso - Sylvan Esso (2014) 
3) Anderson Paak - Oxnard (2017)
2) Lizzo - Cuz I Love You (2019)   
1) IDLES - Joy As An Act Of Resistance (2018)


Edward Hill (our zine designer!)

Black Cilice - Transfixion Of Spirits
Danny Brown - uknowhatimsayin?
Byyrth - Cold Autumn Shadows
Cavalier - Lemonade REDUX
Cerebral Rot - Odious Descent Into Decay
Chromatics - Closer to Grey
Darkthrone - Old Star
DIIV - Deceiver
Ifernach - Skin Stone Blood Bone
Imperial Cult - Spasm of Light
Lampir - Demo III
Lamp of Murmuur - Melancholy Howls In Ceremonial Penitence
Leviathan - Verräter (Re-Issue)
Lizzo - Cuz I Love You
Mizmor - Cairn
Mortiferum - Disgorged From Psychotic Depths
Mylingar - Döda Själar
Pa Vesh En - Pyrefication
Sanguine Relic - The Essence of Eternity's Despair (2018 but LP dropped 2019)
Sleater-Kinney - The Center Won’t Hold
Sulphuric Night - Forever Cursed
Sunn O))) - Life Metal
Suspiral - Chasm
Tamaryn - Dreaming The Dark
Chelsea Wolfe - Birth of Violence

Albums that piqued my interest but I haven’t spent enough time with:
Aoratos - Gods Without Name, Belle & Sebastian - Days of the Bagnold Summer, Blood Incantation - Hidden History of the Human Race, Blood Orange - Angel’s Pulse, Cloud Rat - Pollinator, Cthonica - Typhomanteia: Sacred Triarchy of Spiritual Putrefaction, Lingua Ignota - Caligula, NIghtf@%ker - S/T, Pharmakon - Devour, Primitive Man/Hell - Split, S.E.K.H. - Acéphale & Arkhé Tenebre, Skáphe + Wormlust - Kosmískur hryllingur, Andy Stott - It Should Be Us


Len Vlahos

Owner of Tattered Cover -

2019, a Year in Records, by Len Vlahos, co-owner of the Tattered Cover Bookstores, and author of young adult novels The Scar Boys, Scar Girl, Life in a Fishbowl, and the forthcoming, Hard Wired. Learn more about Len at, and

Before I was a writer and a bookseller, I was a musician. I wrote my first song on a two-octave Magnus organ when I was six. It was called "Dyn-o-mite," inspired by the TV show Good Times. The fan on the organ was louder than the music produced by pressing any of the keys, which was good, because the song was awful, even for a six year old.

From there I graduated to trumpet in fifth grade, a passion squelched by braces in the following year, and guitar when I turned 13. The moment I first held a guitar, my life changed forever. I spent the next 20 years playing in bands, most notably Woofing Cookies, who had a full-length LP and two 45s. Our brush with greatness came when Peter Buck (of R.E.M.), produced one of those singles, "In the City." It was released on the now defunct garage label, Midnight Records, sometime in the mid-1980s.

There are two points to all of this:

1) I'm clearly a book guy, but music was/is my first love.
2) I'm old.

In fact, I'm at an age where I'm not discovering a ton of new music. So when Natasha at Twist & Shout asked me for my 2019 playlist, I warned her it would be entirely old. For reasons unknown to me, she was okay with that.

It goes without saying that the records on this list not already in my possession, with one exception, were happily purchased from my friends at Twist. With that in mind, and in alphabetical order by album title, here are the records that formed the heart of my personal 2019 soundtrack:

Bookshop Band, Accidents and Pretty Girls -- These former U.K. bookshop employees did a tour of American indie bookstores last winter, and Tattered Cover was one of their stops. We drew a crowd of 100+, including me and my two sons, and WE LOVED IT!. I'm not sure if their music (all inspired by books) is available anywhere other than their website (the aforementioned exception), but it's definitely been a part of the soundtrack of my year. My favorite track, "Shop with Books In" Watch the video, here:

Green Day, American Idiot -- A timeless record that is more relevant now than when it came out. My 9 year old is really getting into music, and Green Day is one of his favorite bands, so I've been rediscovering their whole catalog this year. (Though I'm still bothered that they made American Idiot into a Broadway musical. Oh well.)  My favorite is the title track:

Sheryl Crow, Feels Like Home -- So I love Sheryl Crow. Her voice makes me melt. Maybe that makes me uncool -- maybe this whole ****ing list makes me uncool -- but I don't really care.  I'm also a pretty big fan of classic country. So when Sheryl released a full-on country record, I was in from the word go. I don't think it was ever released as a vinyl, but I wish it had been. I listen to this in the car all the time. Favorite track, "We Ought to be Drinking."

Kate Nash, Girl Talk -- I love everything about this record. It's dark, it's light, it's sensual, it's screechy, and all in just the right amounts. My favorite track is a perfect punk-pop song called "Fri-End?"

Bruce Springsteen, Greetings from Asbury Park -- We hosted Bruce at Tattered Cover a couple of years ago, and I stocked up on his records in advance. In my humble opinion, his first four records are by far his best -- Greetings from Asbury Park; The Wild, the Innocent, and the E-Street Shuffle; Born to Run; Darkness on the Edge of Town. I never went in for Born in the USA (though I saw him on that tour, and wow, just wow) or The River. Those earliest records have the most interesting songwriting and vocals. My favorite track is "Growing Up," and this video, with just Bruce and his guitar from Max's Kansas City in NY, is one of my all-time favorite videos.
Bonus video, we recorded this version of "Growing Up" to get Bruce's publisher to send him to TC on book tour. It worked. Please forgive the audio quality and my inability to sing.

Sufjan Stevens, Illinoise -- Very little of this record stands alone, but taken as a whole, it's a masterpiece. This is what albums should be, a work meant to be experienced in its entirety. I found myself listening to this while writing this past year. Even though I just said few tracks stand out, Jacksonville does.

Noah and the Whale, Last Night on Earth -- I used to travel to the UK once a year for the London Book Fair. While there, I would visit various British record stores and ask for something new and cool that I wouldn't have necessarily found in the US. One of those years, the clerk put records by The Vaccines, Bombay Bicylcle Club, and Noah and the Whale in my hands. It wasn't until this year that I really listened to the last of those, and lo and behold, I loved it. I played it a lot in the car in 2019. Favorite track, "L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.":

Bob Marley, Legend -- Really, nothing needs to be said about this other than how much I love the multi-colored (in the colors of the Jamaican flag) double album vinyl I purchased from Twist. It is an absolutely timeless record that is also a favorite while writing.

Johnny Cash and Friends, Water from the Wells of Home --  While I rarely listen to this record in its entirely, it does have my all time favorite song, Johnny Cash and Hank Williams Jr.'s "That Old Wheel." I couldn't find a video of the song being performed, but there is this recording of Johnny's last live performance. I had tears in my eyes as I watched. This song winds up on many of my playlists, year after year after year, including in 2019.

The Beatles, The White Album -- The Beatles were my first musical love. The White Album is a wildly inconsistent record that has many of the Beatles' best and worst songs, and many of their most interesting tracks as well. This includes two of my all-time favorites: "I'm So Tired," and "Dear Prudence." (Thank you John!). I rediscovered this record this year thanks to the film Yesterday. There is no video of the Beatles performing either song, but this Siouxsie and the Banshees cover of "Dear Prudence" is pretty cool:

Honorable Mention:
In the Valley Below
Jason Isbell


Tommy Robinson

Purple Mountains - Purple Mountains
Helado Negro - This Is How You Smile
King Gizzard and the Lizzard Wizard - Infest The Rats' Nest
Teebs - Anica
Pile - Green and Grey
Deerhunter - Why Hasn't Everything Disappeared
The Oh Sees - Facestabber
Steve Gunn - The Unseen In Between
Ty Segall - First Taste
Madlib and Freddie Gibbs - Bandana
Big Thief - UFOF and Two Hands
Wilco - Ode To Joy
Divino Nino - Foam
Viagra Boys - Street Worms
Crumb - Jinx
Charlie Megira - Tomorrows Gone
Paces Lift and Ben Bounce - Quick Trigger
Alex G - House Of Sugar
Bremmer / McCoy - Utopia
Panda Bear - Buoys
Fontaines DC - Dogrel
The Shivas - Dark Thoughts
Daniel Norgren - Woo Dang
Black Midi - Schlagenheim
AA Bondy - Enderness
Angel Olsen - All Mirrors
Nigeria 70 - No Wahala
DIIV - Deceiver
Slowthai - Nothing Great About Britain
Bill Callahan - Shepard In A Sheepskin Vest


The Marquee Magazine

Top 20 Colorado bands! 

1. AwareNess Sushi Wave
2. calm. Things I learned while dying in Denver
3. Daniel Rodriguez Your Heart The Stars The Milky Way
4. DBUK Songs Nine Through Sixteen
5. Gun Street Ghost Battles
6. Head For The Hills Say Your Mind
7. Heavy Diamond Ring - Heavy Diamond Ring
8. Kissing Party Mom & Dad
9. Kyle Emerson Only Coming Down
10.   Lief Sjostrom impossible parade
11.   Lightning Cult EP2: Ether Waves
12.   Reed Foehl Lucky Enough
13.   Rowboat Birchwood Halls
14.   Rumble Young Man Rumble Transmission
15.   Slow Caves Falling
16.   Sunsquabi Instinct
17.   The Beeves Adam & Beeve
18.   The Drunken Hearts Wheels of the City
19.   The Motet Death or Devotion
20.   The Yawpers Human Question

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Best of 2019 Lists from Friends of Twist & Shout! (Round 4)

Scott Brand

Director, Commercial Development, Caroline

Top 9 of 2019! (In no particular order!)
Obsequiae – The Palms of Sorrowed Kings
Besvarjelsen – Vallmo
Immortal Bird – Thrive On Neglect
Mndgsn - Snaxx
Horndal - Remains
My Diligence – Sun Rose (Mottow Soundz)
Frankie and the Witch Fingers – ZAM
Battles – Juice B Crypts
Mass Worship – Mass Worship


Esmé Patterson

Denver-based musician. You can find out more about her here -

Bill Callahan - Shepherd In a Sheepskin
SUNN O))) - Life Metal
Solange - When I Get Home
Purple Mountains - Purple Mountains
Blackwater Holylight - Veils of Winter


Michael Bunnell

ThinkIndie Executive Director; owner Record Exchange, Boise ID

Bob Dylan - Travelin’ Thru, 1967-1969: The Bootleg Series Vol. 15
John Coltrane - Blue World
Hayes Carll - What It Is
Kronos Quartet - Terry Riley: Sun Rings
Steve Earle and The Dukes - Guy
Buddy and Julie Miller - Breakdown On 20th Ave. South
Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds - Ghosteen
Hildur Gudnadottir - Chernobyl Soundtrack
Eilen Jewell - Gypsy
Josh Ritter - Fever Breaks
Wilco - Ode To Joy



Hiii, Ben here from the band Corsicana. I tried to list records in order of their personal significance, hope y'all enjoy! You can check out my band's stuff at (:

My top 10 list for the year would have to go something like this:
1 - i,i by Bon Iver
2 - U.F.O.F. by Big Thief
3 - MAGDALENE by FKA Twigs
4 - ANIMA by Thom Yorke
5 - Atlanta Millionaires Club by Faye Webster
6 - Dimly Lit by From Indian Lakes
7 - Anak Ko by Jay Som
8 - LP3 by American Football
9 - Better Oblivion Community Center by Better Oblivion Community Center
10 - Ventura by Anderson. Paak

My best of the decade list:
1 - 22, A Million by Bon Iver
2 - Familiars by The Antlers
3 - Carrie & Lowell by Sufjan Stevens
4 - good kid, m.A.A.d. city by Kendrick Lamar
5 - Stranger In The Alps by Phoebe Bridgers
6 - LP1 by FKA Twigs
7 - The King Of Limbs by Radiohead
8 - Moving Away by Gleemer
9 - Pure Heroine by Lorde
10 - Ology by Gallant

Monday, January 13, 2020

I’d Love To Turn You On At The Movies #234 - Mystery Train (1989, dir. Jim Jarmusch)

            Jim Jarmusch’s 1989 anthology film Mystery Train gathers up all of the uniquely Memphis things and presents them to us through the eyes of aliens, people who aren’t natives but who have come to Memphis. The film consists of a trio of short stories that all take place on the same night in Memphis; of a young Japanese couple, an Italian widow, and a Brit as they search for the real Memphis - or at least what they think is the real Memphis. These stories all have common threads that are typically Memphis: a seedy run down motel, Elvis, and a touch of that feeling that maybe locals aren’t so kind to folks that aren’t from 'round here (there is a skepticism in the voice of every Memphis native in the film). Jarmusch takes you on a ride through the nighttime streets of Memphis and leaves you with a mysterious feeling, like maybe it didn’t, or couldn’t, really happen.- Anna Lathem
            Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: a Japanese couple, Italian widow and Joe Strummer walk into a seedy hotel in Memphis, Tennessee…. In Mystery Train that’s exactly what happens, along with a ton of other things. Like many of Jarmusch’s films, there is a common thread that flows through all of the stories that in the end connect them all together. This time it just happens to be the lovely Arcade Hotel. I use the word "hotel" lightly - this place might not even count as a motel; they don’t even have TV’s in the room! Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and Cinque Lee are perfectly out of place as the Night Clerk and Bellboy of the Arcade Hotel. They play off each other well, snarky and strange the entire time, almost as if they had snuck in, replaced the normal staff, and decided to set up strange shop running this hotel. The “hotel” sees all of our characters come and go at some point in the night.
            I think there is a law somewhere that says you can’t talk about Memphis without talking about Elvis, and there is plenty of that in this film. In the first story “Far From Yokohama” Jun and Elvis-obsessed Mitsuko make a pilgrimage to Sun Studios, experience strange American customs like tipping the busboy, and argue over who is better - Elvis or Carl Perkins. In “Ghost” Luisa (Nicoletta Braschi) gets firsthand experience with the phenomenon of everyone having a “ghost of Elvis” story, including getting conned out of twenty bucks by a very enthusiastic story about a man picking up a mysterious hitchhiker that turned out to be the ghost of The King himself just trying to catch a ride back to Graceland. She also experiences her own ghostly vision of The King - or maybe it was all a dream. “Lost In Space” shows us that while Memphis natives might love The King, a surly Brit named Johnny (Joe Strummer) absolutely hates being called Elvis because of the way he looks, stating that he would much rather be nicknamed “Carl Perkins Jr.” as he gets in trouble at a bar and a liquor store.
            Mystery Train, oh how you capture the dirty, dusty and hazy feel that Memphis still has to this day. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen another film that captures what it looks, feels and sounds like on a hot summer night in the south, but somehow Jarmusch manages to do just that. It could be because all scenes interior or exterior that were set at night were actually filmed at night, which gives the film a consistent southern nighttime buzz. Jarmusch brings Technicolor to the darkness of Memphis; polarizing street lights along a pitch black road, railroad crossing lights that beam across a deserted intersection. It is the perfect mysterious setting for these three stories.

- Anna Lathem

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Best of 2019 Lists from Friends of Twist & Shout! (Round 3)

Trout Steak Revival

Trout Steak Revival will be appearing at Mission Ballroom on Saturday January 11th!  More details HERE.

From the band members of Trout Steak Revival- their Top 10 List (no particular order)

Rayland Baxter: Good Mmornin
Bon Iver: i,i
Billie Eilish: When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
Bill Callahan: Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest
Molly Sarle: Karaoke Angel
The Deer: Do No Harm
Hayes Carll: What it Is
Yola: Walk Through Fire
The Highwomen: The Highwomen
Mandolin Orange: Tides of a Teardrop


Barry Osborne

I'm a Denver-based singer-songwriter, learn more about my post punk old time banjo music at Also, Associate Marketing Director at Swallow Hill Music.

2019 (Alphabetical by band and/or first name)
Avenhart* - For July
Bellhoss* - Geraniums
Billie Eilish - When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
Dervish - The Great Irish Songbook
J.S. Ondara - Tales of America
Lula Wiles - What Will We Do?
Peter Mulvey - There is Another World
Small Glories - Assiniboine & The Red
Strand of Oaks - Eraserland

Best of the Decade (Alphabetical by band and/or first name, year in paren)
Aimee Mann - Mental Illness (2017)
Billie Eilish - When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (2019)
Allo Darlin' - Europe (2012)
Carolina Chocolate Drops - Genuine Negro Jig (2010)
Dinosaur Jr - Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not (2016)
J.S. Ondara - Tales of America (2019)
Jason Isbell - Southeastern (2013)
Kinesics* - Surfacing (2018)
Tanya Donelly - Swan Song Series (released as EPs 2013-2014, released as a collection in 2016)
Trampled by Turtles - Stars and Satellites (2012)

*Denotes Denver band


New Mexican

New Mexican is the solo project of American folk rock musician Matt Hoffman, who was born in Las Cruces, NM, and whose family history extends through southern New Mexico.

Hiss Golden Messenger - Terms of Surrender
Wilco - Ode to Joy
Strand of Oaks - Eraserland
Joe Pug - The Flood in Color 
The Highwomen - The Highwomen
Sharon Van Etten - Remind Me Tomorrow
Vampire Weekend - Father of the Bride
Josh Ritter - Fever Breaks
Chris Staples - Holy Moly
Lula Wiles - What Will We Do



Local Denver musician (Colorado native) Joel Van Horne (Covenhoven)

TOP 10 2019 (in no order)
Low Roar - Ross.
The Lumineers - III
Leif Vollebekk - New Ways
Gregory Alan Isakov - Evening Machines
The National - I Am Easy to Find
Sigur Rós - (presents) Liminal Sleep
Bon Iver - i, i
The Tallest Man on Earth - I Love You. It’s a Fever Dream
Rayland Baxter - Good Mmornin
Jose Gonzalez & The String Theory - Live In Europe

TOP 15 OF THE DECADE (in no order)
Leif Vollebekk - Twin Solitude
Low Roar - 0
Big Red Machine - Big Red Machine
Gregory Alan Isakov - Evening Machines
Jose Gonzalez - Vestiges & Claws
The National - High Violet
Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
Sigur Ros - Valtari
Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell
Bon Iver - Bon Iver
Arcade Fire - The Suburbs 
Junip - Junip
John Craigie - No Rain, No Rose
Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats - Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats
Lord Huron - Lonesome Dreams

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

2019 Best of Lists from Friends of Twist & Shout! (Round 2)

Mike Marchant

My name is Mike Marchant. I’m a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer who has been releasing records under a bunch of different names for about a decade. My latest project is called Lightning Cult. It’s a collaboration with my pal Luke Bern Carr. You can find us in record stores, at, and on streaming services. We have an Instagram (@lightningcultsound) but we mostly use it to post pictures of dogs and bicycles.

Floating Points - Crush - The rest of this list is in no particular order, but this is definitely my #1. It’s immersive and beautiful. I’ve listened to it more than anything that came out this year. I think that the most interesting sounds being made today are being made with modular synthesizers. Every synth sound and drum sound and blip and squeal on “Crush” sounds amazing... But, what makes this record really special is that all of those amazing sounds are working in service of excellent compositions.

Peter Ivers - Becoming Peter Ivers - I used to cover Ivers’ songs during solo performances. Every time I did, someone would come and ask me, “hey, what was that one song?” Well, that one song and a bunch of other great ones are on this record.

The New Pornographers - In the Morse Code of Brake Lights - A.C. Newman knows his way around a huge hook…  I love pretty much everything he releases.  Also, the string arrangements are amazing and Neko sounds better than ever.

Weyes Blood - Titanic Rising - Impeccable songwriting, impeccable production.

Fennesz - Agora - Most nights, around 8 or 9, I take a walk around my neighborhood and listen to a record. I must have listened to Agora a few dozen times during these night walks. This is ambient music that rewards active listeners. 

Oso Oso - Basking in the Glow - I guess I’m into emo again? Is this emo? Whatever, it’s great.

Purple Mountains - Purple Mountains - RIP David Cloud Berman. You and your songs mean whole lot to a whole lot of people.

Thurston Moore - Spirit Counsel - Woah. Two and a half hours of Thurston Moore. I’m into it.

Thom Yorke - ANIMA - So I put this on and think, “hey, this is cool, I like it but don’t love it.” Then this one melody shows up (4:40 into “Twist”, it repeats through the end) and makes me weak in the knees and brings me back to the record over and over again….

Cate Le Bon - Reward - Cate Le Bon is an amazing songwriter, and I love her inventive arrangements.


Bevin Traylor

Former Twist & Shout employee Bevin Traylor is now a manager at Euclid Records in St. Louis ( These are her faves of the year in no particular order/

Black Marble – Bigger Than Life
Ride – III
Nilufer Yanya – Miss Universe
Ezra Furman – Twelve Nudes
Highwomen – S/T
People Under The Stairs – Sincerely The P
Priests – Seduction Of Kansas
BabyFace Willette – Face To Face (reissue)
Fat White Family – Serf’s Up
Floating Points – Crush
Coathangers – Devil You Know


Andrea Paschal

ThinkIndie GM/CIMS Executive Director 2020

A Selection of Favorites from 2019:

1. Aldous Harding - Designer
2. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Ghosteen
3. Orville Peck - Pony
4. M83 - Knife + Heart (Official Soundtrack)
5. Bat For Lashes - Lost Girls
6. Blood Orange - Angel’s Pulse
7. Xeno and Oaklander - Hypnos
8. Vendredi sur Mer - Premiers Émois
9. Piroshka - Brickbat
10. Jenny Hval - The Practice of Love


Bruce Trujillo

Host / Programming Assistant, Indie 102.3
Colorado Public Radio

In alphabetical order:
Better Oblivion Community Center - Better Oblivion Community Center
Black Belt Eagle Scout - At The Party With My Brown Friends
Alex Cameron - Miami Memory
Colfax Speed Queen - Dirty Mirror
Combo Chimbita - Ahomale
Helado Negro - This Is How You Smile
Kiltro - Creatures of Habit
Lizzo - Cuz I Love You
Angel Olsen - All Mirrors
Y La Bamba - Mujeres

Monday, January 6, 2020

I'd Love to Turn You On #247: Bob Dylan - Time Out of Mind (1997)

             The final song on Time Out Of Mind, Bob Dylan’s 30th studio album, is the 16-minute “Highlands.”  It begins with what sounds like a world-weary sigh exhaled in unison with an opening guitar figure. The result is that the music presented feels as natural as breathing, as opposed to a contrived or constructed work. This central metaphor pretty well defines the mystery and magic of Bob Dylan. His best work feels like the musings of a naturally inquisitive and discerning mind, thus they are rewarding to the discerning and inquisitive listener. He asks and speaks for all of us. “Highands” is one of a very few songs in Dylan’s catalogue that breaks the 10-minute mark (“Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands” and “Brownsville Girl” being the other two), and as such it is given the room to breathe unlike much of Dylan’s contemporaneous work. Teetering between thoughts of mortality and alienation from modern society Dylan openly yearns for the peace and beauty of either youth or death - we’re never quite sure. Musically the song and the entire album creak with a wooden authenticity, while still betraying all the modern production flourishes of Daniel Lanois. The album is soaked in waves of reverb and Lanois takes great care in mike placement and the specific instruments used on each song. The result is the contrary sensation of someone whispering in your ear while standing on the moon. It sounds far away, yet incredibly intimate simultaneously. Lanois has taken shit for his techniques, but I am a huge fan. I feel like the albums he produced in the 80’s, 90’s and beyond are some of the very few which pay tribute to the past while pointing the way to the future. His productions are immediately recognizable and entirely magical. Time Out Of Mind might be his most consequential achievement because it threw open the door to a modern era of Bobness, an era where his albums sound great again and he seems to have comfortably shrugged off the expectations of modern record making and found a comfortable place in the timeless firmament of musical tradition.

          Leading up to Time Out Of Mind Dylan had struggled with his craft, leaning on albums of traditional covers, an unsatisfying stint with The Grateful Dead and generally weak new material (1990’s Under The Red Sky is in contention to be his worst album), yet suddenly he seemed reconnected to his lyrical and musical muse. The songs were heavy with folksy wisdom and ruminations on the natural order. Perhaps that is the greatest strength of this album; it restores Dylan’s rightful place in the tradition of great American singer/songwriter’s and lessened the incessant imperative to constantly be “the voice of a generation.” Now he was sounding like a voice for ALL generations. Take opener “Love Sick.” Dylan takes a common phrase and turns it around, exploring it from all angles “I’m sick of love…but I’m in the thick of it/This kind of love…I’m so sick of it/I’m sick of Love …I hear the clock tick…I’m sick of love…I’m love sick.” Two simple words, normally spoken together to indicate an early state of romance are tumbled around to show the complexities and pitfalls of the most fraught state of human existence. In so few words Dylan perfectly illustrates his poetic mastery. Love isn’t only beautiful… it can make you sick. Each song on Time Out Of Mind follows this template: simple, declarative language employed in the most strategic and extraordinary ways to illuminate the complexities of the human condition.

          Back to “Highlands” - Dylan ends the album with a fatalistic, but somehow hopeful sentiment: “Well, my heart’s in the Highlands at the break of day / Over the hills and far away / There’s a way to get there and I’ll figure it out somehow / But I’m already there in my mind / And that’s good enough for now.” These lyrics can be read as poetry, yet with Lanois at the dials Dylan’s musings become musical monuments as well. Time Out Of Mind is such an important album in Dylan’s discography because it succeeds so wildly on both of these fronts. After at least a decade of seemingly not caring what his music sounded like, he produced an album of compelling, relevant, modern roots-rock, and after casually tossing off lyrics for a number of years he had re-fastened his poet’s loupe and started offering his audience polished thought diamonds once again. Time Out Of Mind declared boldly that Dylan’s best days as an artist were definitively not in the past thus proving composer Edgard Varese’s bold proclamation of 1921, “The present day composers refuse to die.”

- Paul Epstein