Guide to Sound Unseen fest 2013

CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDER | Updated 11/13/2013

Sound Unseen fest blends film and music.

Matt Berninger of the National (left) and his brother Thomas Berninger from “Mistaken for Strangers.”
David Andranko

Films will be shown at McNally Smith College of Music and the Landmark Center, and the accompanying live gigs will take place at Amsterdam Bar & Hall, all within walking distance of each other. Screenings also still take place at Trylon Microcinema in south Minneapolis.

The offerings are just as spread out and coolly hodgepodge as before. In addition to last Wednesday’s opening-night screening/concert with Grant Hart, here are other highlights:


Meeting Charlie Parr

“The music you love should make you vibrate.” So says this film’s subject, the Duluth-based picker of resonator guitars, fretless banjos, murder ballads and working-class story songs. The shy and humble Parr is not exactly vibrant as an on-screen presence, and the miles of footage shot rolling down U.S. highways by the film’s French filmmakers gets old fast. Still, the foreign perspective on Parr adds to the appreciation for his uniquely American music, which is heard often enough to keep things vibrating. (5 p.m. Sun., McNally Smith College of Music, 19 E. Exchange St., St. Paul.)


Mistaken for Strangers

This documentary on Brooklyn-via-Cincinnati indie-rock heroes the National is filmed from the perspective of frontman Matt Berninger’s kid brother Thomas, a goofy metalhead who still lives at home with their parents and is given a seemingly out-of-pity job as a roadie. He turns it into a documentarian gig, too, one with built-in access and a disarming ability to lightly annoy everyone. Both serve the film well. The results show a lighter side to a band that’s dour-as-death on record. There’s also an undercurrent about adult-sibling relationships that’s fascinating. (7 p.m. Sun., McNally Smith.)


Other standout films

Thursday: “Death Metal Angola,” about an unlikely rock concert in the war-torn African nation (7 p.m., Trylon); “The Blues According to Lightnin’ Hopkins” and “Hot Pepper,” the latter about late zydeco bandleader Clifton Chenier, both by documentarian Les Blank. (9 p.m., Trylon).

Friday: “Filmage,” a profile of California punks the Descendents and offshoot band ALL (7 p.m., McNally Smith)

Saturday: “Death to Prom,” a locally made feature about nerdy high school friends in a love triangle with music by Cloud Cult, Tapes ’n Tapes and Pink Mink (7 p.m., McNally Smith); “From Nothing, Something,” about the creative methods of Tegan & Sara’s Sara Quinn, comedian Maria Bamford and other artistic thinkers (7 p.m., Trylon); “Peaches Does Herself,” a semi-fictitious account of sex-romp rocker Peaches’ real-life ascent (9 p.m., McNally Smith).



Live music

All at Amsterdam Bar & Hall, 6 W. 6th St., St. Paul.

Thursday: We Want the Airwaves (Ramones tribute), Ex-Nuns, Animal Lover (10 p.m., $5).

Friday: Mayda, MaLLy, Shiro Dame (10 p.m., $6-$8).

Saturday: Venus de Mars, L’Assassins, Tickle Torture (10 p.m., $6-$8).

Sunday: Charlie Parr, Frankie Lee, Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank (8 p.m., $6-$8).


Sound Unseen 14

When: Though Sun.

Where: McNally Smith, Landmark Center, Trylon Microcinema, Amsterdam Bar & Hall.

Tickets: $10 films, $80 all-access pass.