Saturday, August 04, 2012

57 Channels and Only This Is On - 8/4/12

Quote of the Week: The Russians just moved in two doors down. The wife’s a real sizzling piece of (expletive deleted). The guy is terrifying real Eastern Promises (expletive deleted). Each tattoo is someone he killed. (Doug, Weeds)

Song of the Week: The Man Comes Around – Johnny Cash (Dallas)

Big News of the Week: Chick-Fil-A: With every argument there is usually a right side and a wrong side, sometimes there is some grey area, and in some rare occasion, both sides are horribly wrong, the later is the case in the recent Chick-Fil-A controversy. For those unaware, last week, Chick-Fil-A COO came out against same sex marriage. Not the best idea to alienate a large percentage of the population, but dude has his freedom of speech.

That should have been, for those that were offended by the statement should have just found another fast food place to make them morbidly obese. But no, the opposition had to go just as absurd, organizing sit-ins and same-sex-kiss-ins which only raised the chain’s profile (this was the first time I had ever heard of Chick-Fil-A) and they actually reported record breaking sales. Even worse, politicians in Boston and Chicago set out to ban the chain from their cities. You should never ban any company for saying stupid things, if they forbid certain groups from buying their product, then you can step in, but all Americans are in their right to say stupid things.

But in the end, anyone who argues about, or eats fast food (which I have not done in four years) is a complete moron. Seriously, put the Big Mac down and make yourself a salad.

Preview Picture of the Week:

JR on the Dallas season finale

Weeds: There are very few things I needed to see less that Sugar from Survivor fully naked.

Pretty Little Liars: Um, why are they making Ezra’s mom out to being evil, she is completely right. Their relationship is completely wrong. Take the money and run Aria. And he is not even the creepiest old dud on the show because the doctor has to be way older than him. Erza is plausibly twenty-two, but the doctor has to be pushing thirty and has already made out with two teenagers. Chris Hanson needs a cameo on this show stat.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Pretty Little Liars on iTunes.

Dallas: After being a bit of a bore the first half of the season, Rebecca is getting more and more interesting by the episode. I am guessing I am not the only one who assume that her “brother” (who shockingly is working with Cliff Barnes’s rent boy) was the mastermind of the operation , but he implied is was Rebecca who came to him. I cannot wait to see what is revealed about Rebecca next (c’mon, you know she is not the one who gets the bullet even though he has about fifty more pounds on her right). In fact I could not wait, and watched the finale immediately after I watched this week’s episode, and learning her complete(ish) back-story is quite jaw dropping.
You can download Dallas on iTunes.

Free Download of the Week: Lolapolooza Sampler (Google Play): Get free tracks from Red Hot Chili Peppers, Miike Snow, Afghan Whigs and more.

Deal of the Week: $2.99 Albums: This week Amazon has some deeply discounted album from those on tour this summer including Dave Matthews Band, The Back Keys, Bruce Springsteen, and Jimmy Buffett.

New Album Release of the Week: Lost In Transition - Sixpence None the Richer

New DVD Release of the Week: Grimm: Season One

Video of the Week: I thought the first two Paranormal Activity movies were well made, even if they were the least scary Scary Movies of all time. But I was out with the VHS enhanced third movie and feared a reel to reel version fourth installment. Well my fears were unfounded (for now) as the fourth movie is the first that takes part after the original movie. Aside from the introduction of iChat, it looks like it will be the exact same movie.

Next Week Pick of the Week: Olympics All Week on the NBC Networks: One week down, one more to go. And since it was so successful last time, NBC is using the Olympics to launch shows (sure it infuriated everyone that they switched away from the Closing Ceremony to air the crappy Marriage Ref, but it pulled in big numbers). Animal Practice, which has the best Olympic themed ads this year, gets the post Closing Ceremony treatment next Sunday while the Chandler Bing starring Go On will air after primetime coverage this Wednesday. And to carry momentum from the games, the Monday after they are over NBC will be premiering new show Stars Earn Stripes followed by the second season premiere of Grimm.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Around the Tubes - 8/3/12

I have gotten a plethora of cool press releases have been flooding my inbox recently that you may find interesting. This post will include blurbs on Boardwalk Empire, Dating Rules From My Future Self, Gigilos, Martian Mega Rover, Animal Practice,, Battle 4 Atlantis, A Chance to Dance, and Common.

- Boardwalk Empire does not return for another month and a half, but HBO recently released the first teaser trailer for season three. Check it out below:

- You may remember the web-series from earlier this year Dating Rules from My Future Self; well they have already released a second season. Unfortunately Shiri Appleby is not back as the main character (she is set to make an appearance and direct), but on the bright side Modern Family’s Dylan has been added. The six episodes season will air every Monday and Wednesday on Hulu.

- The third season of Showtime’s Gigolos is set to return Thursday August 30 at 11:00 and when it does, it will return with a new cast member, a “raven haired hunk” named Ash.

- The Mars Rover is set to touch down on the Martian planet August 6 and on Thursday; the National Geographic Channel will be premiering Martian Mega Rover which includes incredible animation that breaks down each phase of the landing like a scene out of a blockbuster sci-fi movie.

- It is clear that Animal Practice has the best Olympics promos this year (worst goes to Revolution, “Because we’re family” is getting just annoying as “Mom, you smell different”) and here is my favorite so far:

- Hockey fans will want to check out the new website started by J.P. Hoornstra It will focus on long-form journalism and hockey lifestyle.

- Many of you have been tuning into the NBC Sports Network for the first time ever during the Olympics, and the network recently announced the Battle 4 Atlantis: The Ultimate Division I Men’s College Tournament. Duke University, University of Louisville, University of Memphis, University of Minnesota, University of Missouri, University of Northern Iowa, Stanford University and Virginia Commonwealth University will battle it out in a 12-game tournament will air November 22-24.

- For those that cannot get enough dancing on television Ovation will be premiering A Chance to Dance co-produced by Nigel Lythgoe and his son Simon, producers of So You Think You Can Dance on Friday, August 17 at 10:00.

- Case-Mate has just partnered with Common as part of its upcoming “Right Case, Right Occasion” campaign.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Feed Your iPod vol. LXV: Sometimes I Rhyme Slow

Even though they were never huge successes when they first came out, it seems like mot artists from the Golden Age of Rap have gotten their due as great artist from A Tribe Called Quest to Gang Starr. But one group that seems to have fallen through the cracks from that time period is due Nice and Smooth. Greg Nice and Smooth B had great repore, playing off each other, creating some humorous lyrics (they once sampled The Partridge Family Theme) and beats made for the boombox. But their best song was the anti-drug Sometime I Rhyme Slow which featured Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car as the hook. Sadly the song got bastardized by Diddy years later (at least they did not have hamster lip-syncing their song while trying to sell cars), but the song, and the duo’s catalogue is a must for any hip-hop head. And if you wondering if there is a reason why I have mentioned the Golden Age of Rap twice in two days, yes there is, you will find out in a couple weeks.

Sometimes I Rhyme Slow – Nice and Smooth Sometimes I Rhyme Slow - Ain't a Damn Thing Changed

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

As We Start our Travels, Things They Will Unravel

It is weird to think about it nowadays, but my love of A Tribe Called Quest could be attributed to Married...With Children of all things. If there two things I loved in the early nineties it was hip-hop and Al Bundy. Then one day watching Yo! MTV Raps a new video came on called Bonita Applebaum which the young brain of mine assumed was a Kelly Bundy reference. Before you laugh at that notion, I apparently was not the only one because a few years later PM Dawn included in their song Set Adrift on Memory Bliss the lines “Christina Applegate, you gotta put me on”. After picking up Peoples' Instinctive Travels & the Paths of Rhythm, this month’s induction into the Scooter Hall of Fame, it was clear that A Tribe Called Quest would be no one hit wonder releasing some of the greatest songs of the Golden Age of Hip-Hop.

Riding the second wave of great hip-hop (known back then as the new school) along with Jungle Brothers and De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest quickly went to the forefront of the new movement. Where the previous generation built their songs around rock music, and burgeoning gangsta rap genre out west was building songs around funk samples, Tribe and the Native Tongues went more mellow with jazz samples and out of the box samples like Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side.

Tribe even had one of the first Latin inspired tracks in hip-hop with I Left My Wallet in El Segundo about, well, the title explains it all. But the Spanish guitar that opens up the track sets the stage in one of the more entertaining tales in the history of rap. It is a shame nobody ever thought to turn it into a movie (it could at least have been as entertaining as all the House Party movies). Another stand out track on the album is Can I Kick It? a perfect call and response track that Tribe perfected on their five albums.

But it was Bonita Applebaum which included one of the most recognizable riffs in any rap song ever (and later bit by The Fugees in their version of Killing Me Softly). When LL Cool J’s love songs all come off with a bit of cheese, Bonita Applebaum was pure coolness. Even twenty plus years later, it is not just one of the bet songs in hip-hop history; it is one of the best songs ever. And their debut showed that A Tribe Called Quest makes the ultimate head nodding music.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Come On and Get the Minimum Before You Open up Your Eyes

The Soul Sessions, Volume 2
I never understood why musicians do not add more cover songs to their albums. Instead they usually have a couple of good songs and the rest fillers. Back in the day you would see major acts fill out their album with songs made famous by other singers, some of which were great songwriters in their own right. You would think all these televised karaoke contestants would think, everybody knows me for singing other people songs, why not I add some to my first album, if not an entire album of covers. I am assuming the reason why this is rarely done anymore is why anyone does anything these days: money. It is probably cheaper to commission someone to write a new song than record an established hit. And of course if you write it yourself, you get to keep all the royalties.

Joss Stone actually bucked that trend on her debut album The Soul Sessions when the then teenager updated some soul songs (and one surprise track) from the sixties and seventies for a new millennium produced by soul legend Betty Wright to much effect. Coming just after the teen pop boom, Stone’s sultry throwback was a welcome change from the overproduced and over-autotunes tracks from her peers.

Four albums of new material would come next to mixed results as she tried to reboot her career a couple times (her third album was called Introducing Joss Stone while her fifth was called LP1). Almost a decade after her debut Joss Stone is releasing The Soul Sessions, Vol. 2 where she has dug through her crate of soul songs from the sixties and seventies (and one surprise track) bringing them into a new century. This time around Joss is tacking classics from Chi-Lites, Womack & Womack, Sylvia, The Dells, and The Casinos.

In the middle of all the old soul albums on her first album sat a smoothed out version of the garage rock of Fell in Love with a Girl by The White Stripes which Joss made it almost unrecognizable changing the genders and almost as good as the original. This time around she tried converting Broken Bells’s The High Road into a soul standard. Unfortunately this time it does not work as well, the original is already smoothed out and the weirdness of the task is what makes The Broken Bells version great, but Joss strips the song of any weirdness.

Really Volume 2 lacks the magic that the first one did with many of the songs drowned out by unnecessary organ. Joss’s version of Labi Siffre’s I Got The… is novel but only because it is interesting when the track transitions into the same funk line that Eminem sampled in My Name Is… Joss is at her best when she keeps it simplistic with love songs like The Love We Had (Stays on My Mind) and Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye.

Song to Download – Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye

The Soul Sessions, Volume 2 gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Monday, July 30, 2012

I Want My Music Television - 7/30/12

There have been a couple of videos that have caught my eye lately so I thought I’d give them some love since the death of Musical Television left a void for a forum on the art form. If you are interested in buying the video through iTunes, click the title link (where available). If you are interested in buying the song, look for a link in the analysis.

Runaways - The Killers

I wonder if their record company does not have much faith in the new The Killers album because their first video from their Battle Born looks very low budget. At any rate, it certainly needs more Eric Roberts.

Good Time – Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen

When Owl City teams up with Carly Rae Jepsen it is hard not to wonder what the ruling for duets when it comes to one hit wonders? Does just Owl City get credited as a hit or do both of them? If both, does that make Trey Lorenz a one hit wonder? Hopefully this does not become a hit so we do not have to worry about figuring it out.

Bottom of the River – Delta Rae

As I mentioned a couple days ago, Delta Rae may just be my new favorite new band, and the video that accompanies their song is awesomely creepy. I have watched it way too many times just to see where the shackles come off.

Laura – Bat for Lashes

Speaking of creepy, creepy is the only thing Bat for Lashes does and her new song video continues that. Even if she looks like she looks like she is morphing into Norah Jones.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Let the Games Begins: London 2012

I love the Olympics. I do not care what sport. Yesterday I watched woman’s ping pong, women’s fencing, woman’s soccer, tennis, rowing, swilling, woman’s beach volleyball (where the females were not even wearing bikinis; actually the Australians for some reason wore bikinis over t-shirts), and woman’s handball. Woman’s handball that even featured two foreign teams. And of course I watched every minute of the Opening Ceremonies, all four and a half hours. Here are a couple thoughts on the first two days of the games which is my first in HD (I bought mine just prior to the Winter Olympics two years ago).

- Let’s start off with a negative. Why the frack is Ryan Seacrest on the television? The guy has already ruined music and pop culture, why is he ruining sport. And why if he bringing up foreigner Justin Bieber when talking to Americans? Very few things can get me to tune out the Olympics; he is going to be one.

- As everyone pointed out already, the Queen / James Bond skit was the highlight of the Opening Ceremony. The not so highlight: Paul McCartney bumbling the one billionth performance of Hey Jude.

- You do not equate Olympics with funny, but the Mr. Bean bit managed to be cheesy and extremely funny.

- Call me old, but I did not really get the internet love story despite the great music. Even if when I think nineties British music, The Prodigy probably would not make the top ten. Really, were there any other breakout British bands from that time other than Oasis? And while I am on the internet segment, how dare the British suggest Al Gore did not invent the internet?

- And the winner for best Olympics theme promo for a new NBC show goes to Go On.

- In other ad news, I am already dick of all the political ads.

- I am ready to declare Alex Morgan’s ponytail the second greatest ponytail ever in the history of the world (second only to Lyla Garrity). She is also in the early lead for breakout star of this Olympics. Now if only NBC gives them channel. Yesterday they were stuck on something called NBC Sports (which used to be Vs.) which is not even on my basic cable package.

Alex Morgan and her ponytail

- If there is one sport I could not bring myself to watch was archery. They just have way too much crap on their bow. It is like those annoying golfers that have club heads the size of their own head. Use just a simple bow and a string, and I will be impressed that you hit a bulls eye.

- The American volleyball team has a member named Destinee Hooker. Seriously. I am too lazy to fact check, but I am pretty sure someone on a season of Rock of Love with Brett Michaels had the same name.

- It is surprising that Bob Costas opening the first prime time night by saying that everything you will be watching will be taped. It is weird they were so upfront about this (although the first couple minutes are the least watch). Sure anyone with half a brain can figure out prime time on the east coast is about 1:00 AM London time.

- John McEnroe did a special interest piece. It is becoming more and clearer the Mayans were right.