by Andrew Frisicano
The members of expansive Chicago group Califone have a soft spot for film. In 2009 they made one of their own, All My Friends Are Funeral Singers, which they toured around the country (and which just came out on DVD on May 27th). So it's no surprise that they've lent one of their tunes, an unreleased number called "Ro," to filmmaker R. Alverson for a package of songs "for or inspired by" his debut feature film, The Builder. The song will be part of a digital-only series to accompany the film's July 27th DVD release on Jagjaguwar (it's the label's first movie release). That Califone song, which features fellow Chicagoan Orso, is posted above, as are two other songs from the series by fellow BV favorites Sam Amidon and Sharon Van Etten.
Music for the film itself is provided by Bon Iver, Gregor Samsa, Pan American, Robert Donne and Spokane (a group that features Alverson and the film's co-producer Courtney Bowles).
The Builder will be make its New York debut at a free screening hosted at cozy Brooklyn bar Zebulon on Wednesday, July 7th. Sharon Van Etten will be playing a set at that.
Filming on Alverson's second feature New Jerusalem, which stars Will Oldham and Builder actor/co-writer Colm O'Leary, finished earlier this year.
The trailer & synopsis for The Builder, along with a video interview with Alverson, and Califone's handful of tour dates (all in the Midwest, besides an August show at Mass MoCa in North Adams, MA) are below...
The Builder - Trailer
Following an Irish immigrant carpenter from coastal Queens to the Catskills and beyond,The Builder is an American existential portrait that explores the gulf between the idea of a thing and the thing itself. Having set off to the New York countryside to construct a reproduction of the earliest of American cape houses, the protagonist (Colm O'Leary) finds himself overcome by an inexplicable fatigue. Debts and expectations mount alongside the crudest and most naive of deceptions, that of both self and of family. As the chasm grows the Builder finds himself confronted by the unnerving ambivalence of the world around him.THE BUILDER R.Alverson interview Pt. 1
A subtle, contemplative rendering reminiscent of the films of John Cassavetes and The Dardenne Brothers, The Builder is the first full-length feature directed by R. Alverson, a carpenter and musician from Richmond, VA. It features music by Bon Iver, Gregor Samsa, Pan American, Robert Donne and Spokane (Alverson and co-producer Courtney Bowles' band, who have released 5 records on Jagjaguwar since 1999). Alverson's second feature, New Jerusalem, starring Will Oldham (Bonnie "Prince" Billy) and The Builder's Colm O'Leary, was completed in late winter of 2010.
As a companion to the feature, we will be offering a collection of songs, Music For The Builder, on the Jagjaguwar web site. This "foundtrack" features new, unreleased and demoed songs from artists like Califone, Luke Temple and Sam Amidon. Amidon offers the first in the series with "Cabin in the Corner," a faithful rendition of an Irish traditional that features the brother of The Builder's Colm O'Leary, Eamon, on bozouki and backing vocals. The song's lyrics -- "Don't care for fine mansions in the earth's sinking sand/Lord, build me a cabin in the corner of Glory Land" -- might serve as a jumping off point for the movie itself.
THE BUILDER R. Alverson interview Pt. 2
Califone @ BV-SXSW 2010 (more by Tim Griffin)
Califone - 2010 Tour Dates
6/19/10 - 2:00PM - Chicago, IL - Saki
6/20/10 - 1:30PM - Chicago, IL - Taste of Randolph Street Festival
7/04/10 - 5:45PM - Des Moines, IA - 80/35 Festival
8/26/10 - 8:00PM - Columbus, OH - Wexner Center for the Performing Arts (w/ Film)
8/28/10 - 8:30PM - North Adams, MA - Mass MoCa (w/ Film)