Monday, February 06, 2006

Film School / S/T / Rating 6.9

Despite a debt to such early-90s Brits as Slowdive, Film School's basis in the gloomier undercurrents of the current 80s-revival zeitgeist provides an easy retort to the misguided "too soon" complaints that met fellow Valentine-bloodiers like Ambulance Ltd., Skywave, and Serena Maneesh.

There is something to be said for the sound alike band. My record collection is shamelessly padded with hundreds if not thousands them and for every Fugazi record there is a band like Fuel who earned themselves the well deserved nickname Fuel-gazi.

The Lilys and The Swirlies face overwhelming comparisons to My Bloody Valentine but all these years later I find myself listening to The Swirlies catalog more than any of my MBV records. (In fact I love the Swirlies so deeply that I will feature them on the site as the February Rewind focus band of the month.) As a Björk connoisseur I welcome the addition of Emiliana Torrini to the sounds like club and I happily accept the aesthetic borrowing of Factory Records by Teen Beat. Original or not (and everything IS inspired by something else) I try to define quality on a more singular personal response to a piece of art rather than just playing the inspired by name game.

None of these under the influence tags discredit any of the above artists, bands, and labels and who is to say that certain artists don’t naturally sound like or perform like other artists. An artist can’t pick what year they were born in or if the artist they are similar to became more famous first and while I wish every band could be blessed with a never heard before signature sound, I can’t hate a band for lacking it either.

Original is entirely subjective and to the more informed record collector, "original" is the truffle of music meaning it's scarce but a true delicacy when unearthed after extended amounts of digging for one of a kind talent.

I am looking you straight in the eyes when I say this: Film School is not original.

They have a starring role in Shoegaze: The Next Generation and the twist to their post punk plot is something I would associate with last decade of Dischord releases. Film School undeniably sounds like many other bands (all accurately named in the PFM review) but their tribute to shimmering British guitar groups has been executed exceeding well.

I’ve gone on several dates with this record and at this rate I might even say we are going steady. Two of my very favorite styles of music have been stitched into one band and this is what makes Film School very crush worthy. I am not ready to say I love Film School (the vocals often fall flat) but I will say I like Film School... even if they have reinvented the wheel.

Listen to "Harmed", "Pitfalls", "On & On", and "He's a Deep Lake" to hear the band at their best.

It should be said that Krayg Burton’s singing prevents Film School from earning an 8 rating and brings them to something closer to a low 7. I agree with Pitchfork’s rating and review but let me stress this one point: a good band is still a good band; original or not.

I am certain Interpol fans would agree.

A side note : all this Film School focus is slowing down the writing and recording of a new N. Lannon record. Nyles Lannon who is also the guitarist / singer in Film School released a debut solo record in 2004 on Badman Recordings. Chemical Friends is one of my favorite records of the past five years and while I like Film School, I LOVE N. Lannon.

And speaking of D.C. and sonic dream pop , (The Sounds of) Kaleidoscope have a new record coming out on Feb 21st called From Where You Were To How You Got There on Hackshop. Hopefully Pitchfork will review it in a month or two but if not I will make sure to revisit this record with a proper review. (The Sounds of) Kaleidoscope is a favorite at TFM headquarters and it's just too good not to share. If I had truffles I would share those too.