Saturday, July 13, 2013

Best of the Week: 7/13/13

Quote of the Week: The guys got The Simpsons Movie going on a loop. They totally saw the dome coming. (Ben Drake, Under the Dome)

Song of the Week: Private Eyes – Hall and Oates (as sung by Ashley Rucker, Ray Donavan)

Scene of the Week:

Big News of the Week: God Still Hates Cleveland: Not even a month after LeBron got another title, we start the Andrew Bynum era. Yeah.

Preview Picture of the Week:

"Stealing Secrets" King and Maxwell, Monday at 10:00 on TNT

Free Download of the Week: Tower (Don't Look Down) – Skylar Grey (iTunes): You can check out my review of her album here: Someone’s Gonna Get Hurt, and it’s Not Gonna Be Me

Deal of the Week: $3.99 and Under Album Sale: Get really cheap albums from Santana, Gavin DeGraw, Band of Horses, and The Offspring:

New Album Release of the Week: The Blessed Unrest - Sara Bareilles

New DVD Release of the Week: Evil Dead

Video of the Week: Amanda Seyfried is way too attractive to play Linda Lovelace. They certainly could have gotten Lindsey Lohan to play this part, even if she is a significantly worse actress than Amanda. I really have no desire to see Lily Kane in this. But much like all her horrible chick flicks she has been in over the past decade, I probably still will.

Next Week Pick of the Week: Deal with It, Wednesday at 10:30 on TBS: The Challenge is getting a little competition in its timeslot this week with a former contestant when Theo Von (who started his Road Rules career way back in 2000 and last appeared on The Challenge in 2006) hosts the latest hidden camera show which is being executive produced by Howie Mandel. Of course if the show does not work out, Theo can always go back to The Challenge which welcomed Trishelle back for the past two seasons after an eight year hiatus.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Around the Tubes: 7/12/13

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 Sons of Anarchy, The Crash Reel, Nazi Mega Weapon, The Definitive Guide to the Mob, Letters From Jackie: The Private Thoughts of Jackie Robinson, Impractical Jokers, FunKontrol, Orly, Cold Blood Club, and Californication.

- If you missed the first glimpse of the upcoming season of Sons of Anarchy (which will be coming sometime in September) during The Bridge, here it is for you now:

- In 2009, American snowboarding champion Kevin Pearce was enjoying the most successful competitive season of his career, winning several events and challenging the dominance of his friend-turned-rival, the legendary Shaun White. But on Dec. 31, while riding the slopes of Park City, Utah in final training for the 2010 Winter Olympics, he suffered a traumatic brain injury that left him in a coma, followed by a long road of adjusting to what would be a lifelong disability. Directed by two-time Oscar nominee Lucy Walker, The Crash Reel is an exhilarating ride through the world of Pearce, whose story underscores the high stakes for extreme sports stars. This riveting tale takes surprising turns as it follows his close-knit family and friends, drawing on footage filmed over two decades, from 232 different sources, that captures the soul of the sport. Questioning the price people pay for their passions, the powerful documentary debuts Monday at 9:00 exclusively on HBO. The film was an official selection of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and won the Audience Award at South By Southwest Film Festival. Check out the trailer below:

- In a quest for world domination, the Nazis built some of the biggest and deadliest pieces of military hardware and malevolent technology in history. PBS will air the first three episodes of the new six-part series Nazi Mega Weapons this summer. The series recounts Germany’s engagement in World War II from a unique perspective, uncovering the engineering secrets of iconic megastructures, telling the stories of the engineers who designed them and revealing how these structures sparked a technological revolution that changed warfare forever. Episodes will air on Wednesdays, July 17-31, 10:00 on PBS.

- Out on DVD next week History and former Colombo crime family captain Michael Franzese helps examine the American Mafia in The Definitive Guide to the Mob, and the documentary Letters From Jackie: The Private Thoughts of Jackie Robinson.

- truTV is expanding Impractical Jokers, the hit series in which four longtime friends take dares to an outrageous level. The network has not only ordered a 15-episode third season of the series, but also ordered six episodes of Jokers After Party, a brand new post-show series featuring Q, Murr, Joe and Sal chatting about their favorite moments from various episodes. truTV will kick off the second half of Impractical Jokers' season two on Thursday, Aug. 1, at 10:00.

- To celebrate their launch, FunKontrol has compiled exclusive tracks from a number of their artists, each remix perfect for summer and the July 4th holiday. The compilation includes songs from DJ Enferno, Terry Urban, The Melker Project, Hohme, DJ Scene, DJ Serafin, eSenTRIK, DJ Starski, Solidisco, DJ Prime and DJ Yonny. The entire project can be found at:

- Manhattan based, Australian born soul/pop artist Orly ushers in a new era of R&B with the release of her second album Distraction. Recommended for listeners of Amy Winehouse and Adele, Distraction’s blend of old school soul, beautiful ballads, and pop, has already generated significant buzz from fans and critics alike. The Deli Magazine declared "this old soul is breathing new life into a genre too often distracted with gimmicky props. when really all that's needed is the right singer to bring it's grooves to life. Orly will smooth even the most frazzled of Sunday morning nerves, and get you moving at the same time.”

- Brooklyn-based Cold Blood Club is a gang of musicians, 7-members-strong, who have been conquering the New York Indie dance scene one packed venue at a time since they debuted their edgy blend of soul, rock, and pop in the summer of 2011. Now, Cold Blood Club, who has been hailed as “almost too catchy for their own good” (The Deli Magazine), offers a taste of their forthcoming LP with new single/video, "Goodbye to All That." The New Wave delight, featuring catchy dance grooves, electro-beats and pop sensibilities was produced by Charles Newman (Magnetic Fields, Future Bible Heroes), and mixes in dark overtones to create a bittersweet atmosphere that reflects the nostalgic nature of the lyrics.

- If you liked Rob Lowe on his previous stints on Californiacation, you are in luck because Eddie Nero will pop again in the upcoming seventh season as a guest star on the show that Hank will be writing for.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Someone’s Gonna Get Hurt and it’s not Gonna Be Me

Don't Look Down - Skylar Grey

Skylar Grey released her first album under the name Holly Brook back in 2006, a year before the female singer-songwriter boon launched by Sara Bareilles. But the Wisconsin native was much more moody than the others that came out of Southern California. Seven years, a name change and a bunch of singles that did about as good as her previous iteration, her sophomore album Don't Look Down is finally out.

Not surprising since Grey has made the in between years writing and singing hooks for rappers like Dr. Dre, Diddy and most famously wrote the Rihanna part for Eminem’s Love the Way You Lie, the new album takes on a more electric feel compared to her predominately acoustic debut (the piano only album closer White Suburban is the only song here that would not sound out of place on the Holly Brook album) . There are guest spots from Big Sean, Angel Haze and Eminem even repays the favor. Except none of those songs work especially the Eminem assisted C’mon Let Me Ride which aims for the charts with overly charged double, and a couple single, entendres but just comes off as embarrassing even if the song was meant to be either semi or fully ironic.

Though the music has taken a decidedly more hip-hop songs which rely heavy on drum loops, vocally and lyrically, the new album sound very similar to her debut (with decidable more expletives littered throughout the album). The songs oscillate between moody and sweet effortlessly (which the exceptions of whenever a rapper shows up to take you out of the mood). The best of the former is Final Warning where Skylar goes where many before her in the past decade have gone before by taking revenge on a former boyfriend. But where Carrie underwood is cute when she talks about taking a baseball bat to a dude’s pickup truck, when Skyler talks about picking up a knife, says, “Somebody’s gonna get hurt and it’s not gonna be me,” and then taunts him with some na na’s, you actually fear for the guy. And yourself a little.

On the nicer side of the album, Sunshine is an upbeat song and if you strip away the drum machine and add some banjo, the song could easily become a country radio hit. Don’t Look Down can be a bit schizophrenic at times, but Skylar Grey is turning out to be much more interesting than Holly Brook.

Song to Download – Final Warning

Don’t Look Down gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Got Me Feeling Like Brody in Homeland

Magna Carta... Holy Grail - Jay-Z

After their Watch the Throne album, both Kanye West and Jay-Z took unconventional routes to roll out their next solo albums. In lieu of a proper music video, West projected trailers on the side of building across the country guerilla style. Jay-Z on the other hand went the corporate route announcing his album in a four minute commercial during the NBC Finals, and just days before the release of Yeezus, of another religious inspired titled Magna Carta... Holy Grai, sponsored by a Smartphone who would give away a million downloads via an app. And instead of a single or music video, Jay-Z just released the lyrics sheet for multiple tracks which saw Jay bite not one, but two much beloved 1991 alt-rock tracks Smells Like Teen Spirit and Losing My Religion.

The anticipation was immediate because of that ad which featured Jay hanging out with producers Rick Rubin, Pharrell, Timbaland, and Swizz Beats who helmed some of Jay’s best tracks. In a later interview, Rubin admitted he had no involvement in the new album, Jay just brought him in for the documentary. As it turns out pretty much the whole album was produced by Timbaland with his hands on seventy percent of the album while Pharrell and contributed on two songs and Swizz only popped up once. So all that anticipation went out the door before the album dropped unless you had the app and would be getting an A-List album for free or if you wanted to hear just how Jay ruined the Nirvana and R.E.M. songs.

You will not have to wait to hear just how Jay-Z desecrated Smells Like Teen Spirit because it shows up on the title track that opens up the album. And just when you think it could not get worse, the “I am stupid and contagious” chorus is also sung by Justin Timberlake. Even had I had the free app, I would have deleted this track on principal alone. Heaven featuring lyrics from Losing My Religion is not much better. The track also sounds like it loops two notes from Stairway to Heaven (though not officially sampled) and it is hard not to cringe when Jay starts singing, “That’s me in the corner” off-key. It was cute when he did that to “And I wish I never met her at all” but not on a song like this.

It is apropos that Jay-Z gave away a million copies of the album because Magna Carta… Holy Grail just sounds like a mixtape which is not worth actually paying for. Half the songs sound they were created by Jay asking for song ideas in the studio, and people started shouting out random ideas: like “hey Hov, try Tom Ford… Picasso… Oceans (hey why don’t we get Frank Ocean on that track too?).” And some of the lyrics are just as puzzling like when Jay says he is “feeling like Brody in Homeland.” Huh? Is he being a traitor? Does he have crazy sex with law enforcement agents? Is he a Manchurian Candidate for a smartphone company? Does this mean Jay-Z cannot pleasure himself while in the presence of his naked wife? Did his daughter already drive over some homeless man? And why is he giving such a long shout out to Miley Cyrus? He spent more time on her than she did in Party in the U.S.A. (and then revealed she does not have a favorite song by him and does not even listen to Jay-Z). Then there is the Mommie Dearest sample in Jay-Z Blue: Blades of Glory it is not. Magna Carta… Holy Grail is just weird. But not even interesting, pushing boundaries weird, but what were you thinking weird. So congratulations to everyone who snagged the free app, because this mixtape is not worth actually putting money down for. Now if you excuse me I have a sudden urge to go buy a smartphone. Maybe an Blackberry.

Song to Download – BBC

Magna Carta… Holy Grail gets a Terror Alert Level: Guarded [BLUE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Scooter McGavin's 2013 Summer Jam Playlist

Last week Grantland posted their 2013 Summer Playlist and I really did not think much of as it ranged from pretentious crap to not even semi-ironic crap. My view of a summer jam playlist is something you throw on at your backyard barbecue with songs everyone will enjoy, sing, and groove along to. Realistically, I would just summer jams of the past like Summertime by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, The Sundays, and Sam Cooke and basically the entire The Beach Boys library with a couple new songs sprinkled in. Here are a few new songs that made it in this year that would add an extra hour to your playlist which you can listen to on Spotify.

Get Lucky [Daft Punk Remix] – Daft Punk featuring Pharrell: The most egregious omission from the Grantland playlist, maybe because it is just too obvious. Not only is it wise to have this in your summer playlist, but go ahead and also add the radio edit and the ten minute remix too. And if you want to mess with your guests, play the Daughter version and wait and see how long it takes people to realize what they are listening too.

Blurred lines – Robin Thicke, Pharrell, and T.I.: It is the summer of Pharrell, just give in. Well, you can skip the 2 Chainz song but as the great philosopher Meat Loaf once said, two out of three ain’t bad.

Royals – Lorde: The only song that also appears on the Grantland, and since I have already sprayed the some hyperbolic superlatives, I may suggest you just go ahead and add her whole EP if you are going with an all 2013 playlist.

Falling – Haim: Ever wonder what Stevie Nicks would sound like if she instead of joined Fleetwood Mac, recruited two sisters and tried to be a nineties RnB girl group? Haim may just be that. It should not work, but it does. Hopefully the group has a full album out by the end of the year. No matter who is at your party, fans of RnB, Rock, Pop; they should all enjoy this song.

Little Numbers – Boy: You will be hard pressed to find a catchier song this summer. Even if they have not heard it before, they will be tapping along in no time.

The War Within – Churchill: I could have gone with this song or Change, but this is newer, more upbeat and a much more fun song.

Diane Young – Vampire Weekend: Any good summer song has a great hook and you cannot help yourself from singing along to the Baby chorus which takes you back to the summer jams of the fifties and sixties.

San Francisco – The Mowgli’s: Sure the songs veer too far in the direction of hippies; “I’m been in love with love” which I guess should be expected from a song called San Francisco but the choir sing-along is infectious.

I'm Alive (Life Sounds Like) - Michael Franti and Spearhead: I all for any song with a whistle solo as a summer song.

Pompeii – Bastille: This may be the weirdest chanting in a song that works since Hooked On a Feeling.

Bleeding Out – The Lone Bellow: For those not yet tired of the passion folk the Mumford & Sons ushered in, you definitely will want to check out this Brooklyn band.

Wagon Wheel – Darius Rucker: Darius Rucker and been making catchy songs that will never make it on pretentious music critics lists for two decades now but sing-along’s are key for summer playlist and everyone will be singing along whenever the chorus hits.

Follow Your Arrow – Kasey Musgraves: I have to roll my eyes when liberal communists try to talk themselves into that horrible Same Love song from Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. A good message does not make a good song. I would much rather listen to the anti-gay Check Yo Self (and before you call me anti-gay, I would totally push my way through a group of women to make out with Shamar Moore). For those that want a pro-gay anthem that is actually good, you should check this song. It also gets bonus points for bea pro-gay country song which should trick the conservative wackjobs at your party into liking it and also gives time to the much more important cultural issue: the ability to roll a joint if you want to

Cruise – Florida Georgia Line: Yes this song is horrible, especially the Nelly version, aand it will probably be very high on my Worst Songs of 2013 list, but the thing is, if you put this song on at your party, everyone will spend the first verse talking about how horrible the song is, but will be signing along, possibly loudly depending on how much alcohol you provided to them, by the time the chorus hits. And if you want a more palatable version of this song, you should check out the Dia Frampton, Kina Grannis more mellow, backporch version.

Come & Get It – Selena Gomez: Yeah, we have hit the guilty pleasure portion of the summer playlist, might as well just stop here.

Monday, July 08, 2013

I Want My Music Television: 7/8/13

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.

I Got You - Jack Johnson

The opening shot looks like a recreation of the In Between Dreams album cover. I wonder if that is a hint at what the upcoming album will sound like because that (along with On and On) were his best albums while the last two Jack Johnson albums have been, though good, a bit of a bore. But the sound of the new song, musically sounds like the last two.

It’s You – Duck Sauce

I do not care if the new Duck Sauce music video is possibly (slightly, probably) racist, it is highly entertaining. And before you go and call me racist for enjoying the video, let me defend myself by saying I have never ever dreamed of participating in a plantation wedding or claimed to use the N-work in a positive manner (unless rapping along to N.W.A. counts).

Her Favorite Song - Mayer Hawthorne

If you ever wondered what a rap video would look like if it were populated by dogs, wonder no more. I just wonder how Mayer Hawthorne came up with this idea before Snoop Dogg.

Tennis Courts – Lorde

Last week I heaped a ton of superlatives on Lorde and I like the follow up single almost as much as Royals, and I have one more possibly hyperbolic superlative for this music video: it is one of the worst music video ever made. Ever. It reminds me of the Andy Kaufman / Mighty Mouse bit but at least he was trying to be funny intentionally. This is just creepy. It was as if someone thought, her just sitting there was the best part of the Royals, how about we make that the whole video or just have her lip-sync the “Yeah”. Um no, horrible idea.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 7/7/13

Falling Skies: C’mon boys, you should not be fighting to the death over a snake. And could they rescue team really be able to tell it was Anne was abducted by Skidders just by footprints? You are really giving up after finding footprints?
You can download Falling Skies on iTunes.

Switched at Birth: Sign Language fights are always really weird to watch and a little hard to follow along reading the translation.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Switched at Birth on iTunes.

Under the Dome: It only took two episodes but there were people finally doing what would have been high on my priorities list if a mystical dome fell down around my hometown: start digging and spray-paint it (granted I would not have done that for graffiti but to look for holes). And now that I know that the dome goes over a lake, I would see if I could swim under it next. But now I have to wonder when is the one dude going to realize his sister is missing? It is not like she could go anywhere. And why is The Lawnmowerman in the credits for the main cast? Is he going to come back to life? Is there as unseen to us twin brother on the other side of the dome? Reanimated corpse? Bodynatcher? Or are we just going to get a lot of flashbacks so the producers wanted him on the permanent payroll like Alison on Pretty Little Liars?
You can stream Under The Dome exclusively on Amazon Instant Video, free for Prime members.

Siberia: If Under the Dome was the most anticipated show of the summer with CBS promoting it for months and had it in development for even longer, Siberia may have been the least anticipated. It seemed like NBC just green lit the show last month from someone no one has heard of, cast nobodies, barely bothered to promote it, and then put it up against the previously mentioned Under the Dome. But I was intrigued by the fake reality show concept (SPOILER ALERT! the show is not real) and the premiere did look like a first episode of Survivor: Siberia (of course this is something Survivor would never do because it would eliminate scantily clad hot people) but still missed the feeling (I am guessing it is the soundtrack). Instead the show came off as a mix between two one and done shows Persons Unknown and The River. Two shows that had intriguing ideas but failed in execution. Hopefully Siberia can break that trend.

I do have two working theories as to how the season (probably series) ends: 1) it is a fake reality show and everyone who “dies” is really just an actor but I doubt any write would have the guts to do this so it is more likely 2) this is part of a ritual killing every one hundred years and the “contestants” were just brought in as a sacrifice (be it known or unknown to the producers). Of course that would kind of make it just a complete rip off of The Cabin in the Woods. But people have ripped off worse ideas.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Siberia on iTunes.

Pretty Little Liars: So Melissa is not on the A-Team and has been protection Spencer this whole time and it was Wilden under the Queen of Hearts mask the whole time? What? This is starting to get too convoluted for a show of this quality. It may be time to just end this whole A stuff by the end of this season and start up a new mystery next season.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Pretty Little Liars on iTunes.