Saturday, April 08, 2006

Every Time You State Your Case

At War with the Mystics - The Flaming Lips

Who would have thought that the dudes who created the disturbingly catchy She Don’t Use Jelly would still be around making music more than a decade later? But somehow have made a career out of weird psychedelic music even if Jelly remains their only true hit. But that’s not to say there isn’t another surprise hit hiding somewhere on their latest outing At War with the Mystics.

Okay, who am I kidding, there is no hits hiding on this album, but to the Lips credit, that’s not why they make music and of course just because there are no hits doesn’t necessarily make something a bad album. Sonically, the album I exactly what you would expect from a Lips albums they inch closer and closer to the sound of early when eccentric Syd Barrett was at the helm. They even throw in an instrumental, The Wizard Turns On, which could have made it on one of Floyd’s album. But they extra noise isn’t always welcome like on Mr. Ambulance Driver where the band utilizes a siren for most of the song which made me look out the window every couple seconds to make sure it wasn’t real.

But it’s the lyrics where the band evolves the most as they morph into a socially conscience band. The set the tone with the opener, The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song which asks rhetorical questions like, “If you could make everybody poor just so you could be rich, would you do it?” Then they follow those up with the cautionary, “It's a very dangerous thing to do exactly what you want.” They also take aim at our government during The W.A.N.D. where they equate the power of fanatical leaders to them waving a magical wand. But it’s Haven’t Got a Clue really lays the smackdown with the not so thinly veiled reference to President capped off with the lyrics, “Every time you state you case, the more I want to punch your face.” Although I think I’d have my money on Bush in a throw down with Wayne Coyne. Superficial pop starts are also called out on Sound of Failure/It's Dark...Is it Always This Dark? specifically and .

And Wayne’s voice still remains the main problem with the group. With everything going on musically, his anemic voice tends to bring the songs down and is always the weak link. The only time he shines on this album is when he goes all falsetto on Free Radical. But it’s not enough to save the mediocre at best album.

Song to Download - My Cosmic Autumn Rebellion

At War with the Mystics gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Don't You See Baby, This Is Perfection

There have been a couple of videos that have caught my eye lately so I though I’d give them some love since the death of Musical Television left a void for a forum on the art form. I advise you to watch them first (the links to the video are the bold headers, inside the post will lead you to iTunes where you can buy the song and in some cases the video itself) before you read my reviews if you don’t want me to spoil things.

Shakira - Hips Don’t Lie (Fans Only)

Quite possibly the funniest thing ever. I don’t know why any video outlet would show the other version. Well, then again it does have in it moving like Shakira. They should have thought of doing a dudes only version too because those are the best part especially the ones who thought it was a good idea to film themselves without their shirts most notably the dude during the line, “Don't you see baby, yhis is perfection.” Sadly my tape must have been lost in the mail.

Kelly Clarkson - Walk Away

This video would have been more entertaining had it been not for the Shakira video as it has basically the same theme but with actors in scripted situations instead of real people. But the scene with the dudes in the locker room almost makes up for it. The song itself basically ends ’s run as guiltiest of all pleasures as her last two songs were no where as entertaining as Since U Been Gone and Behind These Hazel Eyes. Plus she looks nowhere as good in this video either, but I wonder with her constantly moving her hips, was this her submission to be in the Shakira video?

Not Ready to Make Nice - Dixie Chicks

I’m sure this video has some deep meaning to it, but it went way over my head which means it will go over every country fan’s head. But I have a feeling it has something to do with Bush, and his supporters, being morons. Way to continue to alienate your fan base Dixie Chicks. If you understand what’s going on, please fill me in.

The Flaming Lips - The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song

Again, I have no idea what’s going on, but I’m not sure I want to. But really you can’t go wrong with weird Chinese chicks with penchants for putting croissants, doughnuts, and raw red meat on random people then have them chased by fat dudes, cops, and a dude in a grizzly suit respectively. The dude from was even the dude who got the red meat treatment.

The Wreckers - Leave the Pieces

Nothing really special about the video, but this the first real contender to top my Best Songs of 2006 list. And since I plan on buying the album, this is the only place I can listen to it before it’s released because I’m not dropping .99 for a song if I’ll be buying the album later. For those who are not sure who The Wreckers are, it’s basically and some other chick.

Rihanna - S.O.S.

Again, nothing special here with the video, but the song is great, you just can’t buy it yet. And the music industry wonders why people continue to steal their product. Well don’t build up a demand if you cannot supply the product especially if they can get it elsewhere for free. Actually the video is worth watching to see go from uber-hot to uber-creepy when she busts out her 80’s look. That is of course because the song samples the classic Tainted Love. I was a little weary when I first heard it but it definitely grew on me. And it looks like she will have the rare feat of having the summer anthem in back to back summers. Granted Pon de Replay grew old as the temperature grew cold and landed at the paltry 69 on my Best Songs of 2005 list. But with the nostalgia feel, maybe S.O.S. will have some staying power.

There are a bunch of cool new things over on iTunes this week. First and foremost is almost all of the studio albums, along with and ’s solo albums, for the very first time. For fans of the , there is a really cool offer for those who preorder their new album, Stadium Arcadium, you get first crack to get tickets to their summer tour. And for you television buffs, NBC just recently added to the iTunes library. I wonder if the show will have a type surge, which, when put up on the service late last year, was one of the most downloaded shows and even saw a ratings boost quickly taking the show from almost canceled to being moved to NBC’s Must See TV lineup. Too bad is still not on the service that way I could have downloaded the show Thursday morning and watched it later that day, but instead I have to wait until tomorrow to see the episode because it would be wrong to download it threw other means. Of course if I did, it would take until Saturday for it to actually download anyways, not that I know that from experience or anything.


Thursday, April 06, 2006

Bond's Giant Head 2006

Programming note: for those tuning in for my world famous Toss Up between Lost and Veronica Mars, it has been postponed because Veronica Mars was once again preempted by a Cavs game. Check back later this week (most likely Sunday) for that.

It’s the beginning of April so that means only one thing, baseball season has begun and more importantly so has fantasy baseball. I recently participated in two separate drafts, one for all of baseball and an NL Only league here is the former stands up with Jobu’s Revenge in The California Penal League:

C -
- Yankees
1B -
- Astros
2B -
- Devil Rays
3B -
- Astros
SS -
- Rangers
OF -
- Angels
OF -
- Mets
OF -
- Giants
Util -
- Brewers

- Astros (OF)
- Reds (2B,3B,OF)
- Blue Jays (1B,3B)
- Tigers (2B,3B)

Starting Pitchers
- Astros
- White Sox
- Tigers
- Marlins

Relief Pitchers
- Mets
- A’s
- Tigers
- Padres

As for Bond’s Giant Head in The Killer B’s League, here’s their lineup which I already have to fool around with due to injury:

C -
- Mets
1B -
Lance Berkman - Astros
2B -
- Giants
3B -
- Brewers
SS -
- Reds
OF -
- Cubs
OF -
- Giants
OF -
Util -
- Pirates

- Brewers (2B)
- Pirates (OF)
- Giants (C)
- Astros (2B,OF)

Starting Pitching
- Cardinals
- Reds
- Mets
- Cubs
- Phillies (DL)
- Brewers - (DL)

Relief Pitchers
- Cardinals
- Braves
Clay Hensley - Padres
- Astros

Now Jobu’s Revenge looks pretty strong but might need another arm to take the championship, but Bond’s Giant Head will need some work. When you start off the season with three pitchers on the DL which is never a good thing. The bench is really weak, but that is to be expected in an NL only league, but I will have to do some shuffling because bench players are much more valuable if they can play multiple positions.

Now my official post season predictions:

AL East - Yankees
AL Central - White Sox
AL West - A’s
AL Wild Card - Angels

NL East - Mets
NL Central - Cardinals
NL West - Padres
NL Wild Card - Astros*

AL Championship: Yankees over White Sox
NL Championship: Astros over Cardinals
World Series: Astros over Yankees in 6

*Since baseballs will be seeing plenty of them in the future, I figure I’d get them use them. My asterisk is predicated on Roger Clemens coming back by June. If he ends up retiring, then put the Braves in the wild card and Cards beating the Yankees for the title.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

First Impressions - Pepper Dennis

Pepper DennisI’m not really sure why networks debut shows in April, about a month before the official television season ends. It’s almost like they are saying, “well we have nothing else to show and at least this is better than dead air.” I was really hoping that was the case for presumable the last WB show to debut, , because if it were actually any good and/or people watched it, that would mean one less spot fall the inaugural CW network. Now if that’s the show that bumps off , no harm no foul, but it takes a spot that would have gone to or Everwood, that’s a problem.

For some reason, after heavily promoting the show as a chick reporter, they decide to start off Pepper Dennis to make it seem like some sort of rip-off with Pepper as some sort of covert agent, but alas he camera comes out of nowhere to so us what we all ready knew, she’s really a journalist. Not that the derivatives stop there are Pepper later that night picks up a random dude at the bar, takes him home, makes a man out of him, kicks him out the door only to see him later that day to find out she will be working with him. Where have I seen this before? Oh, and random dude just so happened to take the job that she thought she was in line for. Naturally craziness and sexual tension ensue.

The show stars Stamos O’Connell as the perky reporter in question with as the one night stand/job stealer whose claim to fame up to this point was appearing in an video. Then there is has Pepper’s sister Kathy, who’s overacting is so bad, it actually becomes entertaining. I guess there’s a reason why her claim to fame is being a game show host. The problem with the sister is they are both injury prone in a Wile E. Coyote kind of way. They really should have one play the stable one and the voice of reason. Instead that job goes to best friend/make up artist Kimmy Kim (and you though the name Pepper Dennis was cheesy) played by of Beverly Hills 90210 fame.

But as a kid of the early 90’s, the most notable cast mates are , who most who are my age will remember as Shawn Hunter from Boy Meets World as Pepper’s geeky cameraman who obviously has a crush on her. Then there best known as Alex Mack who supposable plays Brianna, which I believe was the receptionist who job Kathy took over for when she went on maternity leave. So she may not have been on the show yet or was unrecognizable.

Verdict: The show actually didn’t suck. That’s not to say it is appointment television for me or even worth taping while watching Veronica Mars. Luckily the overnight ratings were so dismal, it’s doubtful that Pepper Dennis makes it on to the CW schedule next season and that’s even if it finishes this season.

Speaking of Veronica Mars, the show is, for the second time in three weeks, preempted by a Cavs game. Not only is it being preempted by a Cavs game, their opponent is the Knick. Seriously, who wants to see the worst team in the league, a team that has already admitted to quitting, play? Last time it was another lottery bound team the Bobcats. If you are going to have a basketball game, at least make sure it’s against a playoff team. So my weekly Toss Up will be postponed until Sunday at the latest. Also make sure you mark your calendars because next Tuesday Veronica Mars moves back to its original night with the episode they were filming while I was at the Bloggers Press Day. Also look out for a special post that day commemorating the episode.

Also being preempted tonight is America’s Next Top Model, and judging by the previews it looks like Tyra may die tonight, so that would have been must see TV for me. My guess is that it was all an act as someone competes for a guest role on Veronica Mars. And if Tyra fake dying wasn’t enough, I got a glimpse of some of some other scenes from tonight’s episode and it looks real good. Make sure to watch out for Scarlet Johansson’s doppelganger making a huge, but humorous, mistake and Jade rapping about as good as .

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

It's Hypocritical of You

I'm Not Dead - Pink

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to turn off the radio; has a new annoying single out. After failing to get any parties started of anyone over the age of thirteen a couple years back, now she has decided to take shots at Paris Hilton and her ilk. Did Pink not get the memo that making fun of Paris was so 2005. Everyone else has realized the best way of getting rid of Paris is to stop talking about her. And the real sad thing about Stupid Girls is that it sounds exactly like all the other pop princesses she also takes shots at. And I really doubt that this song will put a dent in the amount of Girls Gone Wild videos that are released per year. The anti-materialistic song may have worked better if there wasn’t another song on her new album, the sadly titled , named I Got Money Now and talks about the size of her rims in another.

And if Paris Hilton bashing was so last year, she goes back even further back in time on her album, with the Bush-bashing, which was so 2004, on Dear Mr. President. Now I hate Bush as much as the next true Republican (or bleeding heart liberal like Pink), but I’m really getting tired the Bush-bashing, get over it, he won. Singing about how bad a president he is won’t change anything, we still have him for another two years. Get over it. Your time would be better spent making sure Gob Jeb doesn’t succeed him.

Here are some sample lyrics from the song, “What kind of father would take his own daughter's rights away.” Well a good one, children do not have rights as proven time and time again by the Supreme Court. “And what kind of father might hate his own daughter if she were gay.” Shouldn’t you have saved that line for the lame follow up song Dear Mr. Vice President? “I can only imagine what the first lady has to say.” Well maybe you should turn on CNN every once and a while because she routinely backs him up and even pulled out the sexism card during the Harriet Myers fiasco. “You've come a long way from whiskey and cocaine.” Ouch, have fun when you’re been audited and wiretapped. And didn’t sing later on the album, “At the bar six shots just beginning.” I think the word I’m looking for is hypocrite. She then ends the song with the line, “You don’ know nothing bout hard work.” Seriously, you sing horrible pop songs, what do you know about hard work? At least Bush spends six weeks of vacation every couple of months clearing brush. How big are your rims now? Maybe you should put your money where your mouth is and make a real difference instead of wasting it.

And that song isn’t the only anti-war on the album, there’s also the rip-off with her dad, I Have Seen the Rain. Oh and by the way, when I say anti-war, I’m talking about the Vietnam War here. Way to be forty years late on that one. And CCR isn’t the only people she rips off, all the pseudo rockers sound like rejects from recent albums by and , but at least Ashlee was able to make one song that was catchy and Lohan was smart enough to cover actual good songs. But Pink add instant cred by cursing constantly, ooo, I’m so impressed. Then on Nobody Cares, Pink tries to emulate , but fail miserable because she nowhere near to the dirrrty one’s voice. But the biggest rip off U + Ur Hand that sounds like a note for note remake of 4Ever but with different words and less catchy. Pink may sadly not be dead, but she’s also definitely not original either.

Song to Download - Save your money. But if you like wasting it, feel free to donate to the Scooter McGavin Is Poor Fund

I’m Not Dead gets a Terror Alert Level: Low [GREEN] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Monday, April 03, 2006

These Are the Melodies with Simple Harmonies We Sing

Songs We Sing - Matt Costa

Many were first introduced to when he popped up on led Curious George Soundtrack (see my review - There's No Stopping Curiosity). His inclusion, Lullaby was less than impressive and definitely couldn’t hold up against the likes of Jack Johnson and . Now Costa is trying to strike out on his own with his first full length album, the appropriately titled .

Cost does have a good pedigree being a skateboarder turned singer-songwriter discovered by the surfer turned Johnson. Costa’s sound doesn’t deviate too much from his mentor, but Costa does seem to have a wider variety of influences that includes some bluegrass (Ballad of Miss Kate), country (Sweet Rose), and even some songs with a distinct sixties British Invasion vibe (Songs We Sing) to go along with the traditional folk that Johnson usually utilizes. There’s even a spacey song that reminds me of (Yellow Taxi).

But even with the eclectic musical genres represented on the album, Costa still lacks something. Whereas Johnson’s silky voice sooths the listener taking them to a mellow place, Costa’s voice hasn’t found that ability in him yet. Even though the album grew on me each listening, it’s not something that could replace any of Johnson’s disks out of heavy rotation in my CD player.

Song to Download - These Arms

Songs We Sing gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Sometimes I Think that I'm Bigger than the Sound

Show Your Bones - The Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Whenever an indie band signs with a major label, there haters come out with sell out chants even before they have heard a note from the album. This holds true for the New York indie darling of two years ago . They took the place of The Strokes on top of every pretentious rock fan’s favorite list and even score a minor hit with Maps that promptly stole the hook for her Since U Been Gone mega-hit. This led to The Yeah Yeah Yeahs to sign with Interscope and a new album, .

The album starts off with a bang with Gold Lion, a boisterous slow rocker that builds until the crescendo of the chorus where Karen O starts screaming her last name incoherently. Throughout the whole album, Nick Zimmer’s guitar and Brian Chase’s drums are as tight as ever, and the extra instruments the band brings in brings extra layers that were missing during their indie days even though the boys still can make two instruments sound like a whole band when they want to. But the boys can keep it low key too as Warrior is a sparse bluesy song that sounds like something that would record.

But I’m not sold as Karen O as an album artist as she should been seen while heard because her energy onstage is her greatest advantage which don’t come across on a disk. She sounds like a combination of every 80’s female singer which is hit or miss at time. It’s a hit on Cheated Hearts that starts off as a New Wave song that morphs into punk decadence by the end. Another problem is that she won’t be winning any songwriting awards soon really likes to repeat herself, over, and over, and over, and over again. This becomes tedious at times. And the chorus of Phenomenon is creepily reminiscent to the song of the same title. But there is something enjoyable she delivers the line “Turn around, you weren’t invited” at the beginning of Honeybear.

Song to Download - Cheated Hearts

Show Your Bones gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Scale.

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs on iTunes