- The Washington Times - Friday, March 18, 2005

Each month the Browser features a few pop-culture places on the World Wide Web offering the coolest in free, interactive sounds and action.

Inter-net-pol

The New York-based band Interpol stops by the 9:30 Club Friday and next Saturday to slather its Joy Division-like dreariness, in the spirit of the British punk band, upon its fans. Those without tickets to the sold-out shows can still appreciate the depressing sounds of drummer Sam Fogarino, guitarist Daniel Kessler, singer Paul Banks and bassist Carlos Dengler (aka Carlos D) through the band’s cyber-stop (www.interpolny.com).

Visitors won’t find a standard selection of MP3 downloads, but rather five full-length music videos that define the boys’ noise both visually and aurally.

Disturbing finds in the video section include the nightmare-inspiring ode to the song “Evil” — featuring a creepy animatronic boy from the band’s latest album, “Antics” — “Slow Hands,” with its Psychedelic Furs feel, and “NYC,” which made me think of Andy Warhol.

Additionally, the site has seven of the 10 award-winning short films (which incorporate the band’s music) from a contest sponsored by Interpol and its label, Matador Records, last summer. The award for the most depressing film goes to “Dimmer,” an 11-minute short about a group of tough blind friends struggling in the urban decay of Buffalo, N.Y. However, Zach Freyer’s insect perspective on the life of a moth takes my top honor for the most bizarre presentation.

The band’s label, Matador Records, just happens to have an awesome selection of free music. Alternative music fans can visit the Web site (www.matadorrecords.com) to find almost 100 MP3s and nearly as many Real Player music videos and interviews showcasing the company’s roster of talent.

There, under the MP3s page, are an eclectic mix of tunes such as “Mass Romantic” by the New Pornographers, the Prosiacs’ frenetic “Teeth,” and “Dirt” from Boston indie legend Mission of Burma.

Elsewhere, the streaming-video section really shines. Its gems include “Sugarcube,” the four-minute music video that features the comedic stylings of Dave Odenkirk and Bob Otell; the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion performing “Bellbottoms” with a Jimi Hendrix-like intensity; and Quickspace playing at the Electric Ballroom in London.

Additionally, this robust multimedia site directs visitors to AVdeck (www.avdeck.com), an Internet radio station with pre-release music and exclusive interviews from independent labels. Visitors will need Apple’s Quicktime Player for the listening fun to begin.

Cyber ‘Sin City’

Director Robert Rodriguez teams up with legendary comic-book creator Frank Miller to bring “Sin City,” Mr. Miller’s seamy illustrated crime noir, to the big screen. The film stars Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba and Rosario Dawson in what looks to be one of the best translations of sequential art to cinema.

Those unable to wait for its April 1 opening will appreciate the film’s official Web site, www.sincitythemovie.com. It’s chock-full of deadly dames, tough guys and monstrous villains, revealed through movie clips and photographs cleverly positioned onto comic-book page panels.

Hardened characters stuck in “Sin City’s” violent, primarily black-and-white universe abound amid grunts and sirens, while the sound of weapons firing permeates audio snippets of dialogue throughout the virtual happenings.

Besides downloading posters from the film, looking at some of Mr. Miller’s original art associated with the project and learning about his graphic novels, visitors will find five games to keep them busy — along with the chance to customize their computer desktops.

The site’s games area also allows visitors to step into the shoes of several of the film’s characters, such as Marv (played by Mr. Rourke), Dwight (Oscar nominee Clive Owen), Gail (Miss Dawson), Miho (Devon Aoki) and Hartigan (Mr. Willis). Each game challenge mixes comic-book art with video games and violence. The challenges vary — ranging from a player’s attempts to drive undetected behind a thug (or risk taking a flurry of bullets through the windshield) to successfully breaking down the door on a bunch of confused police to unleashing a torrent of lead upon an army of mobsters.

Have a cool site for the online multimedia masses? Write to Joseph Szadkowski at the Browser, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002; call 202/636-3016; or send an e-mail message ([email protected]times.com).

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