ET and AL-D – INEVITABLE review

ET and AL-D – INEVITABLE

by Nathan Conrad

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When I think of the Nashville hip hop scene I think about AL-D and ET. ET is one of the most solid and honest emcees I have met. His beats subtly demand a head nod while his rhymes command respect as they pop out of the drumbeat efficiently. AL-D hits the tracks with a laid-back vibe reminiscent of LA SYMPHONY. He has been a major contributor to the hip hop community known for his work with Meant for the Milk Crate. He has a radio show on Radio Free Nashville and always throws a good party stocked full of some of the best rappers in town. Inevitable is a great blend of both emcees over beats from ET, GUMMY SOUL, Father Jah, Noshess and more. There are some great features on this album including a banger from Pow Shadowz. Inevitable is the type of album thats impression has continued to grow on me with every listen. I have to applaud ET and Al-D for working with a real horn section, for amazing original samples on select tracks. My hope for this project is a vinyl release. After all, ET and AL-D are meant for the milk crate.

http://aldwords.com

2014: The Year I Found America

Greetings friends,

Christopher Surratt, of Spoken Nerd, kidDEAD Cult, and Brandon Brains semi fame, here.   Thought I’d share a bit about my year and weave a little bit of rock n roll into the story.  2014 saw my lovely girlfriend Kristen and I travel coast to coast, visit a variety of national parks (Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion, Death Valley, Hoover Dam, New River Gorge), and spend time exploring everything from the cliffs of Malibu to mountains of West Virginia.  We logged roughly 6,000 miles of travel on vacations near and far.   How did we do it?   The right way, the American way, in the form of the lost art of the great American road trip.

This, of course, required lots of music.    Rather than recycling the same old playlists, we turned to you for assistance.  Matthew Welchel assembled a great Facebook group called Perfect Records.  This was a good place to start.  In fact, the members of the group contributed to a playlist that reached 500 perfect songs that spanned decades, genres, well known favorites, new music, obscure music, and everything in between.  We turned to family and friends for additional playlists, discovered new artists, and obscure songs by artists we thought we knew well.   The music seemed to follow us like a mystical being.  I remember listening to the Beach Boys as the sun set over the Mojave desert, Sinatra as we drove through LA at night, and Jackson Browne as we drove down route 66.    It was a year of incredible adventure and wonderful experiences.    And, as has become the norm, it was a year of musical adventures with Nathan and Ross (Spoken Nerd and kidDEAD).

  We set out on a variety tours perfectly content with our newfound three man chemistry.   Audiofeed, the southeast, the Midwest, and along the way, a few sets of my music.  In fact, I released three Damn Tsingtao records: Dreams, Gibberish, and Undercover December (a month long covers project that lasted the entire month).   Music was a significant piece of everything in my life this year.  Fitting that it was also a really good year for new music.

  I recently ranked my favorite albums of the year.  Rather than rehash the entire list, I’m going to focus on a few that restored my faith in rock n roll.  Here goes:

Weezer-Everything Will Be Alright In The End

I had the great fortune to witness two nights of Weezer at Nashville’s hallowed Ryman Auditorium.  They performed the blue album and Pinkerton.   What they didn’t bother to mention was that they were mixing one of the best damn rock n roll albums of the last several years while touring.   This album rocks from the beginning.  There are elements of classic Weezer, elements of the irreverence of later Weezer, and new sonic aspects.  This is the album Weezer fans have hoped for.  It’s the album that lifelong fans such as myself believed we would see.  It’s polished, mature, yet still classically goofy.   And, most importantly, it’s damn fine rock n roll.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/everything-will-be-alright/id913747488

Foo Fighters-Sonic Highway

I’ll admit that I had my doubts about this grandiose experiment.  The last Foo record was the best since The Colour and the Shape.   It seemed impossible to follow that up, let alone embark on a nationwide recording project.  Grohl and the boys were more than up to the task.   This is rock n roll.  In fact, it’s ROCK N ROLL.  It’s an album that pays homage to the great music cities of America as it stirs your head to banging and limbs to flailing.   The Foo Fighters remain at the top of their game twenty years into what began as a grieving process for Dave Grohl.    It’s a proclamation, a declaration, a statement.  That statement is: rock and roll is not dead!

http://www.foofighters.com/

Lees of Memory-Sisyphus Says

John Davis and Brandon Davis of Superdrag fame put this record together.   Some critics loved it, some spent considerable time critiquing the album’s use of the shoegaze sounds that predate Superdrag.  In fairness, both camps are correct.  Set all that aside, however, and just give it a listen.   It’s chaotic shoe gaze noise rock at its most fine tuned.  Furthermore, its melodically beautiful.  Davis can bury his vocals in the mix, whisper the words, but he can’t hide that trademarked penchant for melody.   Therein lies the beauty of this record.  Loud, noisy guitars that rock through an enormous wall of sound (like My Bloody Valentine) juxtaposed against power pop melodies composed in the mind of a true craftsman.  And again, the album rocks.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/sisyphus-says/id898926911

Steve Taylor and the Perfect Foil-Goliath

For those of you not familiar with Steve Taylor’s 80s and 90s work, he was the original crossover artist, much too sarcastic and honest for the Christian music world, but a bit too Christian for the mainstream music world.  He attempted a full on alternative rock career with a brilliant band named Chagall Guevera, released one final solo album, a live album that garnered music video spins on Alternative Nation and 120 Minutes, then vanished into filmmaking and running a record labor for the next twenty years.  Then, sometime last year, little rumors started circulating here in Nashville.  The word was that Steve Taylor was putting together a rocking indie band with plans to release a record.  Well, he did and it’s fantastic.  Bluesy at times, hard rocking at others, and with the same lyrical wit that made him both beloved and loathed.   Lyrically, he’s still got much to teach the religious establishment, but he’s also got plenty to say to the rest of us about our increasing vanity and inability to form real relationships.  Humor, brutal honesty, and all of this set against a bluesy indie rock pallet that is perfectly modern garage rock without pandering the the trendy sounds of the day.  It’s indie rock for people who are sick of the gimmicks running rampant in the indie rock world.  No quirky set ups, no unnecessary instruments from other genres, no excessive slap back reverb on the vocals.  Just straightforward rock n roll filtered through the modern sounds.  It’s a fine rock n roll record.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/steve-taylor-the-perfect-foil/id553589036

Ryan Adams-Ryan Adams

Some years back, Ryan Adams released a record titled Rock n Roll.  Personally, I loved the record, but critics panned it as derivative and forced.  This time around, however, Ryan Adams has emerged from retirement to give us a perfect rock n roll record.  Straightforward, bluesy rock with a tinge of punk energy juxtaposed against well written and thoughtful lyrics.  Perhaps that’s what Rock n Roll lacked in the minds of some critics, that certain lyrical  gift that Ryan Adams has displayed for nearly two decades.  Well, he didn’t disappoint this time around.  Somehow, he managed to combine his rock sound with his folk songwriting.   Yes, Americana lovers, Ryan Adams is a rocker.

http://paxamrecords.com/releases/ryan-adams/

I could cover another twenty albums, tell dozens of stories, but I chose these snippets in order to tie them into the subject line.  2014 offered me experiences that showed me just how amazing the people of whom America is composed can be.  So many interesting, friendly, fascinating strangers.  Moments of reconnecting with family and friends, adventures near and far, a whirlwind of a year.   It’s fitting that my faith would be restored in rock n roll as well.  After all, it’s an American art form.  This year just happened to be a particularly good year for the art.   Here’s to 2014 and to whatever adventures 2015 has in store.  Cheers and Happy New Year!

Sincerely,
Christopher Surratt

2014 was a big year

2014 was a big year.  It marked the genesis of our own indie label, Invisible Library.  We put out 3 full length albums, 1 EP and 5 singles.

 

kidDEAD – Rap and Destroy

 

Spoken Nerd – We are probably going to make it in this world after all

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/we-are-probably-going-to-make/id849068915?uo=4

 
Cantalouper – Drool

 

Brandon Brains – Snake Hands
 
Children of Spy – Bike Ride
 
Here’s my end of the year album list!
Mr Nasti – Truth Sound

I like music that is dangerously positive. Truth Sound will hit you at your heart’s core with the passion of Nicholas Naoti. It’s been a busy couple of years for Nicholas with the upstart of 2 awesome business’ in Fairfield Iowa and somehow he’s still managed to find time to organize The Gathering of the Dudes festival, create an amazing podcast and continue to brew and ferment amazing music. This album especially translates well to artists with lyrics that cut to the core of the artistic life experience.
The Homeless Gospel Choir – I used to be so Young

 

This album really hits home for me for the fact that it is minimalism done well. I have always loved the feel of THGCs house performances for the fact that they come off very personal. I have always wanted to hear an album from Derek Zanneti that sounds like he is right there in the room with you. I used to be so young not only achieves the Derek in the room feel, it makes you feel like the room is magical.


Stars – No one is lost

Stars have always been one of my favorite bands. I remember hearing them over the PA at RCKTOWN when I first moved to Nashville and asking someone who it was. I went out to Tower records later that week and bought Set Yourself on Fire. I’m a big fan of all of their albums and the thing that I like about this one is that they seem to bring definition to developing areas of their sound that we only previously touched the surface of.

 

J Mascis – Tied to a star

Tied to a star is the most experimental of the Dinosaur Jr frontman’s solo albums. It’s really exciting to see so many people partaking in the J Mascis catalogue. J is a man of few words so I’ll only say a few about his album. Listen to it!


Serengeti – Kenny Dennis III

 

Kenny Dennis is Serengeti’s alter ego, a middle aged sports fan reliving a rap career from the past. I’m not sure if everyone will understand this album but if you take time to dig into Serengeti’s past catalogue and look at this through the lens of art rather then a series of singles I think that you will find this to be on the borderline of genius. One thing that I really liked on this record was the skits on it which featured Anders from Workaholics. I usually hate skits on rap records but these are absolutely hilarious.


The Haden triplets

These sisters have been involved with so many great musical adventures it’s hard to even to begin so I’ll start with my own experience. Along with so many other great bands of the 90s That Dog were exposed to me through Beavis and Butthead. I ran across That Dog – Retreat from the sun in a dollar bin at Music Trip, our local record store in Lawrenceburg, TN. That is one of the best dollars I’ve ever spent. I’ve followed these members solo careers since and am always stoked to hear the harmonies of Rachel and Petra Haden and joined by their sister Tanya this trio will stylistially take you in a time machine. Produced by Ry Cooder The Haden Triplets sing country standards with class and genius. I admit that I have never been a big fan of Jack White but The Haden Triplets have got me singing his praises for putting out such an amazing release.


Bike for Three – So much forever

 

I’m not sure how Buck 65 has stayed off of my radar for so long with such a rich history in hip hop and yet here we are. This album has a great vibe all the way through with the type of consistence you would expect from a Cliff Martinez soundtrack. Tuskan handles the production on this album with a blend of electronica and dream pop.

Buck 65 – Neverlove

 

Everyone is making music to fall in love to these days but Buck 65 wrote Neverlove with inspiration from his divorce. The album is actually pop influenced enough that you would almost expect to hear it on the radio on a late night drive where your dialing through the stations trying to find something upbeat enough to stay awake to. This album goes a lot of different places and might not be for everyone as a whole but I believe that it offers something for everyone.


The Rentals – Lost in Alphaville

 

The Rentals return to Alphaville with a big phat sound. Some of these songs appeared on the Songs about Time series that they put out a few years ago. While the new Weezer album’s cover art blows this album’s art out of the water, I prefer the content here.

 

Open Mic Eagle – Dark Comedy

 

OME is killing it this year with Dark Comedy. Mike is funny, in fact, he is really funny but he is also just as introspective. Mike raps on a variety of beats from different producers showing his versatility while still making the songs his own signature sound with the use of his voice. Sounds easy enough…If you are not a rapper.

 

 

Fucked Up – Glass Boys

 

This is post something but I’m not quite sure what. Let’s just call it amazing. This is an album that will take a while to absorb but it is a strong one. Following up David Comes to Life the band gives you a real raw sounding album that’s just a little more rock n’ roll. This is a band I highly recommend listening to on vinyl.

 


Sally Seltmann – Hey DaydreamerSally gives us an assortment of songs on Hey Daydreamer, some of which sound like maybe they should’ve been produced in Nashville in the 70s. Hey Billy is one of my favorite songs that she’s ever written. Some of this album has a rootsy country feel while songs like the ironically titled ‘Right back where I started from’ seem to nod back to her days of New Buffalo.

SISYPHUS – Sufijan Stevens, Serengeti and Son Lux!!! Need I say more?

Mr Nasti Interview!

Mr.-Nasti
You opened up your own restaurant as well as a bar.  Do you ever worry that your customers might not want to buy food from someone named Mr Nasti?
This is a major concern of my mother’s. I suppose it’s possible that some would be put off by the name, but I don’t really want to hang out with those highfalutin types anyway. For the record, NASTI is a combination of my middle and last names, and the name MR NASTI has become the name of a specific band rather than a nickname.
I really like your newest album Truth Sound.  Working with Maximum Ames has obviously fared you well.  I’ve also liked your work with House Pride.  Could you talk a little bit about HP and where it stands right now?
Thank you! Maximum Ames Records has been incredible to work with. I got a lot of enjoyment out of running House Pride Records for several years and it’s been a very special part of my life. Although the label has been largely inactive over the last few years, it will always exist as long as I’m alive, and I’m planning some releases for 2015. It will always be a small, DIY thing, and I’m very okay with that.
I was at one of your shows a while back and you employed the use of a toilet paper machine.  Do you ever get nervous that people are going think that you poop a lot when they see you with all of that toilet paper?
That is an interesting jump in logic that I’d have never considered if not for you. Thank you for that. People may think that, and they may be right – I will choose to leave it artistically open-ended. I do have a machine for propelling toilet paper. For years, the longest roll of toilet paper you could find was 1000 sheets. I’m very excited to announce that they’ve recently started making rolls that are 1250 sheets! Technology is amazing.
Truth Sound seems to have a spiritual theme.  Is this based on a revelation or is it a product of personal growth?
 
A bit of both. Music is my spirituality, and the creation thereof is my religious ritual. This album was a revelation for me, and it catalogs three years of my life. Truth Sound is a time capsule and a hymnal, and it is the best piece of art I’ve created to date.
 
What’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever done?
 
I’ve never done anything dumb.
 
What albums are your currently excited about listening to at the moment?
 
Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of Bob Dylan, Black Sabbath, Kate Bush, Leonard Cohen, Toxic Teeth, Kurt Vile, War On Drugs, Sun Kil Moon, Spoken Nerd, The Smiths, Husker Du, and The Replacements. I think Fall is the best time to listen to music.
 
What are some of your favorite tour experiences?
 
I’ll never forget waking up hungover in a van on the edge of the grand canyon, stepping out and seeing it’s undeniable glory for the first time. Every night on tour is a weird and unique memory of some kind, and it’s those little bits of humanity that make life so special and bittersweet.
 
Here’s a list of one liners:
 
Apples or Oranges?Peas

 
Favorite Ice Cream?
Pistachio
 
Freddy or Jason?
 
Freddy (based solely on style)
 
Deep dish or thin crust?Depends on the weather

 
 
What’s next for Mr Nasti?
 
Next year I’ll be releasing a new album called Death Rattle on cassette tape, then I’m doing a split with Toxic Teeth, and after that the future is wide open. I like to leave a space for impulsive creativity. I have an art installation in my head that I’d like to build, and I want to get into animation and puppetry. Also, I’m planning to release a self-published collection of Iowa poetry and photography.
Thanks for the opportunity buddy! Love you man!
 “Check out Mr Nasti’s other band Children of Spy!!!”  https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/bike-ride-single/id935042807
Article by Nathan Conrad

Brzowski Interview

brzo-sotw-2014-poster-web

First of all I love the Vinyl Cape stuff.  It seems like an obvious progression for your music.  What sparked this collaboration?

 
I’ve worked with (producer+multi-instrumentalist) C Money Burns on his album “Friends W/ Money”, on post-production for “Blooddrive Vol.3”, and among a dozen other projects. He’s got an amazing ear, and though he’s a self-confessed Jazz Man, I knew we appreciated a lot of the same obscure metal, hiphop, philosophy, cultural criticism…. We started by stripping out ideas (No love songs, No pop cultural references, etc.), and ended up with a huge palette of ideas and sounds. We wanted All Noir Everything, from the concepts to the sounds themselves. If it leans Country, Doom, Pop, Rap, we aren’t concerned, as long as it sticks to the complex formula. Mo Niklz was a natural addition because he is so damn talented, and loves to roll with far-out concepts. He does not get intimidated by far-out production or content, and is generally a pleasure to hang out with. I’ve toured with him twice, and done a million shows in between with Mo. One of the best (last?) turntablists in weirdo/indie rap. He sat through countless z-grade films for the Vinyl Cape cuts….Sorry Mo!

Could you talk about the apocalyptic themes presented on this 7″?

 

Vinyl Cape’s spanking new “Veneficium” 7″ is really mired in nihilism, more so than apocalypse. I’m a firm believer that we (in the West) have been living a slow-motion apocalypse since the Industrial Revolution. “VC1” is a first-hand account of struggling for years as an independent artist, veiled in the costume of a theatrical character. “Goat’s Hearth” is a quick death/black metal influenced piece, written from the perspective of a supreme leader speaking to his/her inferior devotees. “Notes From Baudelaire” is a reimagining of philosophical/social concepts and axioms from Baudelaire’s “Intimate Journals” and published notebooks. Sabbath-worship doom riffs, into a huge soaring chorus courtesy of Corina Corina. It’s easily one of my favorite songs I’ve had a hand in, insofar as guitars and vocals.

 

One of the most impressive things about this project is that you recruited Alice in Chains to be a part of it.  How were you able to manage that?

 

For Staley, we only needed a shovel and the cover of darkness. Jerry Cantrell does not return my calls, however.

 

One of my favorite verses from you is on a feature that you did with kidDEAD called Thieves.  You mention Big Foot in that song.  How would you explain the existence of Big Foot with the fact that no one has never found a physical body?

 

I really love that verse on “Thieves”, and the album as a whole. The line, I think goes: “A hologram of Bigfoot / strung up the flagpole”. I’m hermetically saying that if this “mythical” beast was found, we (people) would probably kill it in a spectacularly ignorant fashion. Raps Against Humanity, if you will. That said, I love all things Bigfoot, and am addicted to documentaries and the like on all topics crytozoological. Next time you come to Maine, I’ll drag you to the International Cryptozoology Museum.

 

Do you like Obama?

 

He really has a horrid track-record in terms of domestic spying, human-rights, foreign policy…..if I tend vote Democrat it’s more of a vote against the GOP, for lack of viable options. As a human, he seems alright on TV. I tend to like smokers.

 

You’re from Maine.  Have you ever met Stephen King?

 

I have not! I’d like to. His book-length essay on the Horror genre “Danse Macabre” had a profound impact on me as a teenager, far more than his fiction.

 

What are a few of your favorite Horror films and why?

 

Suspiria- Lighting, color contrast, Goblin soundtrack, and pace.
Cannibal Holocaust- For it’s sheer pornographic violence. It’s been imitated in shades ever since, in the likes of “A Serbian Film”, “Hostel”, “Human Centipede” . I can’t watch it now though. I can’t get past the animal mutilations…those scenes are sickening and make me furious.
Freaks- the old Todd Browning chestnut just get’s better with age…and the Freaks win in the end.

 

What’s your favorite kind of Ice Cream?

 

Mint Chocolate Chip.

 

What are some of your favorite albums?

 

There are so many…off the top of my head:
Type O Negative- Bloody Kisses- Favorite of all time. Tongue-in-cheek/campy gothic metal with symphonic leanings. Sex and Death are always classic themes for the Romantic. I learned that keyboards can be heavy from this album.
Freestyle Fellowship- To Whom it May Concern…So intense and influential. This record paved the way for further experimentation in Hiphop music.
Anticon- Music for the Advancement of Hip hop- This was my introduction to the voices of Buck 65 and Dose One, who were (are) really pushing the boundaries of what rapping could be, in very different ways. Buck with his weighty examinations of seemingly banal things, and Dose layering metaphor and reference to the point of abstraction. I remember writing graffiti to the sound of this record in skate-parks and underpasses when it came out.
DeadBoy and the Elephant Men- If this is Hell, then I’m Lucky- This one stuck with me for years. Dax Riggs has one of my favorite voices in music today, and I’ve been following his career since the Acid Bath days. Really haunting folky/garage dirges dealing with the demons within and without.

 

Why even make music in this day and age?

 

I’m at a point where I have been doing this on a long enough timeline, that I seldom think about the “Why?”. I do it because I love it, and because I feel like I have to. Music becomes your life, more than your lifestyle. In 2010, I went through some real Dark Night of the Soul doldrums, and thought that perhaps I’d had enough. So many people around me were getting “real” jobs, getting married, amassing equity, and all the other shit that comes along with Being 30 and Responsible in America. It was time to go full bore, or fade into quaint societal respectability….looking back, I’m surprised at my own self-doubt. I had some breakdowns, hid in my apartment for a few months, asked myself some hard questions, uncovered unnerving truths, adjusted my expectations and budget, and soldiered on. I needed to take a brief break from hanging out with non-creative/entrepreneurial folks,  playing out, and writing, to let the process become rewarding again, and without outside observation. It started feeling like self-parody, and so I scrapped a bunch of songs and concepts and started over. I came to some harsh realizations, like: I’m not interested in doing what the Joneses are doing. I don’t really care about my own personal financial security. I refuse to pay a publicist, so I have to do all my own admin and grow the fanbase slowly. I hate music videos, so I don’t want to make a ton, and so I miss the demographics that need retinal stimulation. I am not often interested in “my” “personal” “feelings”, so I need at least 1 degree of separation in the writing. To be a rapper in his 30s who makes his home in Maine, you have to be realistic and strategic. You make choices that make sense for you and your art, and I’ve been lucky enough to turn a profit doing everything my own way. The “Music” part of music is the easy part. You need to make time to nurture your creativity, because without that, you are just a cog in the oligarchy.

 

One Liners:
He-Man or Conan?
Conan. Arnold.
Redbox or Netflix?
Netflix when the money is good.
Nintendo or Sega?
My room-mate has an xBox in the living room. Whichever one that is.
Marvel or DC?
Marvel.
God or Satan?
Is this trick question?

 

What should we be on the lookout from Brzowski?

 

I don’t like to talk about things before they are complete, but there is a lot coming in 2015. The Vinyl Cape full-length is underway, and about 5 songs in. I have an ep with a French band called DFAZ, and that is in post-production right now, I’m not sure if it will be available stateside. Milled Pavement Records is doing a 10 Year Anniversary compilation. I’m featured on the upcoming Moshe EP twice, and have songs going with Uncommon Nasa, DJ Halo, Monsieur Sai, my secret weapon 80 Hrtz, and a ton of other folks, which will solidify into releases once the material gathers it’s own gravity.
I’m on the road doing spot dates this Fall, and off to Europe again in January. Come see me at a show or book me in your city. Thanks for the opportunity to chop it up Big Nerd. I hope to see you in Nashville soon!
Vinyl Cape Links:
 

BRZOWSKI Links:

BRZOWSKI- Season of the Witch 2014
9/21 Shaskeen Pub, Manchester NH + 9/27 Red 7 Austin TX (Weird City Hiphop Fest) 10/4 512 Rooftop, Austin TX 10/10 The Space, Hamden CT 10/28 Nectar’s, Burlington,VT + 10/29 Charlie O’s World Famous Montpelier,VT+ 10/30 Empire, Portland,ME * 10/31 Cafe 9, New Haven CT* 11/20 Jimmy’s Saloon, Newport,RI + w/ Jane Bee * w/ Vinyl Cape

 

 

Portland, Maine’s Brzowski has a new trick up his cloak. Vinyl Cape consists of Brzowski, C Money Burns and Mo Nicklz. The first 7″ from this trio entitled Veneficium is rife with guitars that are reminiscent of Black Sabbath but don’t wander too far from from the realm of Iron Maiden. Crafted with cryptic lyricism about vampires and more apocalyptic themes this particular release is just in time for fall!

Vinyl Cape Website!!

 

Article by Nathan Conrad

The National – ‘Mistaken for Strangers’ Film Review

national-mistaken-for-strangers-608x912

Mistaken for Strangers

by Nathan Conrad

     I recently went to see Mistaken by Stangers, a documentary about The National shot and directed by Tom Berninger.  Tom is the brother of the band’s frontman Matt and is the antithesis of who you would expect to make this film.
     Anticipating this film, I wasn’t really sure what to expect from it except for maybe some insight to a band that I have always found to be a mystery.  I have always found The National’s music to be deeply moving.  I have always referred to them as the band that Coldplay should have been.  When an artist writes dark lyrics and touches on some of the subject matter that Matt Beringer does so well I always have to ask myself, is this a good person or a really bad one?  On a subconscious level I think that was the knowledge that I hoped to gain from this film.
     The film focused around Tom rather then Matt or the band.  He filmed it while he was working on the road crew on tour with The National.  Tom is a different kind of guy as you can see that his thought process doesn’t quite jive with the rest of the crew.  There are scenes of his boss loosing his patience with him, Matt yelling at him and Tom pretty much badgering everyone on this tour.  You almost begin to wonder why the band would even put out such a film and then you see scenes of brothers working things out, Tom facing his demons and finding his strengths and a band that truly has integrity not only as artists but as people.  I like Tom and I couldn’t help but to see a little bit of myself in him.  I was reminded of my first tours with Listener when I tried and failed at making a funny film of me bothering them.  The beauty of this film is that Matt, the band and everyone involved with The National got behind Tom’s vision.  Isn’t that beautiful?
     We live in a culture that is so quick to devalue those who think differently then we do.  Noses are so often turned up in society at those who are “supposedly” less cultured.  This film answered my question about Matt being a decent guy.  Is Matt perfect?  No.  Does he exhibit love to those around him?  Yes.  A band like The National has a lot of options when it comes to who they are going to work with on a project like this.  Mistaken by Strangers is absolutely brilliant and I hope Tom goes on to make more films and create more buzz!  – Nathan Conrad
IF you like the National check out CANTALOUPER!