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  • mono 7:36 pm on September 28, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Drag City, Kuala Lumpur, Left for Dead in Malaysia, , , Red Eye, , Tom Green   

    Notes on “Left for Dead in Malaysia” 

    In these troubled times, it’s more important than ever that people have the opportunity to enjoy a good laugh. Well, my job is making people laugh.” These are the opening two lines to Steve Moramarco’s short film “Left for Dead in Malaysia” starring “America’s Funnyman” Neil Hamburger. Music for the short film includes a song from Mimicry Records’ recording artist, The Secret Chiefs 3.

    The film opens in an “exotic” nightclub in Kuala Lumpur and quickly moves to Neil Hamburger on-stage drinking and visibly uncomfortable. His manager, Art Huckman, seems to be the only English speaking audience member in attendance. While on-stage, realizing that apart from himself and his manager, no one speaks English, Hamburger’s “jokes” move quickly away from humor and into self-focused rants in his own language. At one point he even consults a phrase book, but quickly gives up.

    From across the night club, we see a mysterious figure with an eye patch adding tension to the situation. Huckman, meanwhile disappears into another part of the club, transfixed by two hostesses. This scene is juxtaposed with the eye patch wearing man, laughing maniacally. I assume that this mysterious figure would portray the villain in the full-length.

    It seems that this film was to be a precursor to another film called “Funny Guy-Itis,” although it has been awhile now since this short film was made and it seems doubtful that the “Funny Guy-Itis” project is still underway. Meanwhile, Hamburger has been gaining more and more television attention, through his visits to the Fox TV show, “Red Eye” where he offers various social commentary on American pop culture. Also, anyone who used to watch the Tom Green channel, will be well familiar with Neil Hamburger’s frequent appearances and short-lived cult show, “Poolside Chats with Neil Hamburger.”

    The “Left for Dead in Malaysia” short is featured on the “The World’s Funnyman” DVD released through Hamburger’s record label, Drag City. The DVD features the hour long “That’s Not Gold, That’s Dung!” live show in Australia, Canadian and Australian documentaries about his work, and more. If you are interested in Neil Hamburger’s stand-up and want to gain some perspective on his work, this DVD is a nice place to start.

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  • mono 11:07 pm on August 19, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Americas Funnyman, , Drag City, Influences, , , Sings Country Winners, Three Questions,   

    Three Questions with America’s Funnyman Neil Hamburger 

    Neil Hamburger

    One person who has continually impressed us at “The Eyeslit-Crypt” and throughout the years is the prolific artist/entertainer, “America’s Funnyman,” Neil Hamburger. From his older material on Amarillo records to his new country album on Drag City records and everything in between, Mr. Hamburger has consistently amused us with his razor sharp observations of contemporary news and pop culture, his charming fashion sense and his ability to send us into epileptic fits of uncontrolled laughter. Several months ago, we briefly wrote about “Poolside Chats with Neil Hamburger,” which I still believe to be the most interesting and engaging call-in/talk show that I have ever seen.

    We caught up with Neil Hamburger for the second installment of our “Three Questions” series (although, it is actually four questions). This comes on the heels of his glorious album “Sings Country Winners,” which has been one of my perpetual soundtracks for driving my pick-up truck through the lonely backwoods of Northern Michigan while on vacation. One thing that struck me was the range of “country” music that is employed on this album. Moving beyond parody, this album actually seems to open a true country space, an authenticity of country, channeling the ghosts of the great country singers of old.

    So, without any further ado, I present to you “Three Questions with Neil Hamburger.”

    1. What musicians, if any, inspired you on the “Sings Country Winners” album?

    Neil Hamburger: We were inspired by the “Bakersfield Rebels” compilation CD (low budget Bakersfield country circa 1969), as well as Porter Wagoner, Glen Campbell, Merle Haggard, John Entwistle, Ferlin Husky’s “Walkin’ and Hummin’ album, and in particular, the Telly Savalas track “Rubber Bands and Bits of String”.

    2. Do you read a lot on the road? If so, what are some Neil Hamburger literary recommendations?

    Neil Hamburger: I read a lot of newspapers, usually at least a week out of date. I find them in recycling bins after midnight, in residential neighborhoods.

    3. What is your favorite food while on tour?

    Neil Hamburger: Rice, or chickpeas.

    4. Or, if you are interested, It would be great to hear what Neil Hamburger thinks about “noise” music.

    Neil Hamburger: I think it’s awful.

    —————————————————————————————

    We, at The Eyeslit-Crypt, would like to thank Mr. Hamburger for taking the time to share his thoughts with us and, of course, we wish him all the best in his comedic and musical endeavors.

    Fortunately for those of you lucky enough to be in North America, Neil Hamburger is hitting the road again. Please see his Myspace page for tour date information and remember to help support Neil by digging deep into your pockets and spending some money on a man worthy of your hard-earned money.

    Neil’s Myspace with updated Tour dates
    Music Video for “Jug Town”
    America’s Funnyman Site
    Drag City Records: Neil Hamburger

     
  • mono 5:52 pm on May 24, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Drag City, Lie Down in the Light, , , ,   

    Bonnie “Prince” Billy: Lie Down in the Light 

    will oldham

    Today, amidst a rainy May day, my copy of Bonnie “Prince” Billy‘s new album “Lie Down in the Light” arrived. What is refreshing is that I know that this album will remain with me. That is, I will be returning to this music for a long time to come. I knew this even before I opened up the package and played the CD. Now, at 5:30pm (still raining), I am not able to write a review. The music is playing (and has been most of the afternoon), but no suitable words are coming forth. From this blankness of vocabulary I am assured that this is a fantastic album. Perhaps this inability to convey in language what is so moving about the album is precisely the kind of review that fits this album.

    For an album from an artist that we admire, time needs to pass, the sudden striking of the computer keys proves futile. The music is at once too close to us and too far apart. It is conjoining with us, it is creating a new facet of our self, it is creating a new aspect of the musician for us.

    On a rainy May day, there can be magic. Music can illuminate the puddles and the sound of the rain can blend with the album of our choice. At this point, the album is affecting me on a visceral level, a bodily vibration…a physical mood settles over me. It seems it is time, yes, it is time to lie down in the light.

    Support the music of Will Oldham:
    Drag City Records

     
    • Jeff Jefferson 7:29 am on May 25, 2008 Permalink

      I’ve just now ordered my copy. For some reason I didn’t think it was a full release…but apparently so.

      Your thoughts about this album mirror mine about Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy in general. His music always conjoins with me and creates new facets of myself. I’ve grown attached to his music almost like I would a real person. It’s strange. I’ve gone through a lot with his music, but his music has come through it all and remains strong. Any negative experiences that have been connected with it haven’t been able to harm it. They brought the music down for a little while, but the music itself has endured. Listening to Greatest Palace Music or Ease Down the Road is like the first time every time. I can listen to those CDs repeatedly and each time they thrill, surging my mood along with them. I’m looking forward to the new album.

    • jgrefe 9:29 am on May 25, 2008 Permalink

      It most certainly is a full-length and it really shines. I think you will really enjoy this album, as the production is as lavish as “Greatest Palace Music” and the songwriting style seems to hearken back to an “Ease Down The Road” inspiration, however it transcends both of these albums in some way that I can’t quite pin down. I hope Mr. Oldham plans on some midwest shows this summer.

      I really appreciate “The Letting Go,” and it holds a very pleasant broken feeling for me. That is, it spreads itself out in front of me, pointing in different directions, while “Lie Down in the Light” seems to spread out yet joins its threads together. That is, it seems more “whole” than “The Letting Go.”

      I hope to hear your thoughts on the new album.

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