Saturday, August 04, 2007

57 Channels and Only This Is On vol. XXX

Rescue Me on iTunes

Big News of the Week: Rescue Me Now on iTunes: For those who accidentally miss an episode or just like watching your television show on small screen you can now download the current season on iTunes. You can download the current episodes that have aired already or buy the season pass for $25.99.

Greek: Last week I mentioned the most entertain part of the show so far were the blink and you miss them cameos from Lonelygirl15 and I must have blinked because I missed her if she showed up last this week. Although they didn’t really need her this week as the episode was as solid as the first episode but without the dull points. I was a little disappointed that the sport they went with was floor hockey. If you are going with an iconic college intramural event you have to go with broomball or at the very least flag football. And no matter how much it is over done, the utilization of the slow motion for comedic effect works every time. Download the current season of Greek on iTunes.

Rescue Me: This season by far has been the most uneven of the series and the show may have had the first potential jump the shark moment last week with Tommy holding baby what-his-name over the rail. Tommy has done some despicable things over four seasons but this will bring him to the point of being unredeemable. Not that I am all that worried for the welfare for the kids considering the out of the blue admission from Lou that he know wants kids. All this after what started out being a great episode with one of the most intense fires in the history of the show.

Pirate Master: Finally caught up online this week after the show got ranked from television last week. Oddly I can carve out an hour to watch the show every week at a specific time yet it is more daunting to watch the show at my leisure over the internet. But anyways. I did correctly predict that they would shake up the show last week and the number dwindling by eliminating the captain mates and lowering the number of black spots to two. The more surprising twist being the captain gets to keep all the gold and they retired the royal pardon (something they did a little too soon). Krista replaces the creepy dreadlock dude who is promptly set adrift two weeks ago and gets annoying by the next episode like every other captain before her. But I was surprised it took this long to think about throwing an expedition, this time with Jay trying to keep Krista in power. During the run of creepy dreadlock dude I’m surprised that no one thought about throwing one to get him out of power. Watch the current season of Pirate Master on Innertube.

Pick of the Week: The Knights of Prosperity, Wednesday at 8:30 and 9:30 on ABC: Even though were in the middle of the heart of summer, there are a few things worth watching this week including the return of Meerkat Manor on Friday on the Animal Planet and next Sunday is the Comedy Central Roast of Flavor Flav (on a side note: if anyone watches Mission: Man Band on VH1 this Monday, I will totally think less of you and may even publicly mock you for doing so). But for my money must see TV is the brief return of Let’s Rob Mick Jagger Ray Romano. The show at times rivaled My Name Is Earl as the funniest show on television only to be screwed time and time again by ABC first yanking it from the fall schedule only to debut it against the National Championship Game, Later going head to head with American Karaoke only to move it to a half an hour earlier without any announcement. The show was then yanked again hours before the Ray Romano arc was supposed to start because the president said it wanted to re-launch the show at a later date. But when the show didn’t end up on the new ABC schedule the president of the network said they just couldn’t find a spot for the show yet he was able to find a spot for Cavemen which doubtfully will make it to Thanksgiving. So we only have four more episodes of the show, two being burned and the other will presumably will next week. And just so ABC continues its extremely poor scheduling decisions, the show alternates every half hour with According to Jim so you can’t just watch an hour of the Knights. For other networks who hope to kill off their own great shows just see the above template. If you want to catch up on the show, still has all the previous episodes available for streaming.

On a completely unrelated note, I heard the most absurd thing the other day and I just had to share: Someone told me that Rihanna’s Umbrella was a metaphor for a woman’s downstairs lady parts. Can anyone confirm or denied this? And if this is true please don’t tell me what the line, “Now that it’s raining more than ever” means in this metaphor (especially if the song was written by R. Kelly). But if it is or isn’t there is a good chance the next time I am out at a club and see a token hot chick pass by I will turn to my nearest drunken buddy and say, “I’d sure like to stand underneath her umbrella-ella-ella-eh-eh-eh.” And is it wrong that I have started to like this song solely because of this rumor?

Friday, August 03, 2007

Shark Week Update

Shark Week comes to a close tomorrow and my sources tell me it opened with the highest premiere ever in the twenty year history of the event. Here is a run down of what is left to come:

Sharks: A Family Affair: As South Africa's leading shark expert, Craig Ferreira has spent his entire life studying and diving with sharks. For the past several years his dream has been to travel the world for a year to study what has been called "the dirty dozen" -- 12 of the deadliest species of shark. Friday, Aug. 3, 9-10 p.m. ET/PT

Sharkman: Michael Rutzen is on an unbelievable quest: He plans to hypnotize, in open water, a great white shark. Saturday, Aug. 4, 9-11 p.m. ET/PT (two-hour special)

Of course your television set is not the only place you can get your shark fix as there are a couple of features you can check out over at including The Shark Runner Game, The widget, The Shark Video Mixer. And if you are one that wants Shark Week to extend throughout the whole year I highly recommend you pick up the four disk DVD which the Discovery Channel was nice enough to send along to me. And don't forget the land dwelling at Meerkat Manor return next week to Animal Planet August 10th and below are a couple more pictures:

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Don't Download These Videos vol. XXV

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 so here they are courtesy of YouTube. I advise you to watch them before you read my reviews if you don’t want me to spoil things. If you are interested in buying the video through iTunes, click the title link (where available, if not the link goes to YouTube where you can watch the video in full screen). If you are interested in buying the song, look for a link in the analysis.

Wake Up Call - Maroon 5 (Director’s Cut; i.e. there’s naughty stuff)

This video was a complete let down if only because it features the least attracted token hot chick Maroon 5 has ever utilized for one of their videos. Seriously, was the chick from This Love too busy to make an appearance? But anyways. It is nice to see even though there are not really any music video outlets left there are still a few artists who are willing to make a big budget video. I wonder with the advent of YouTube and Video iTunes that we will see resurgence in the art form with the extra money they get from both.

You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do What You’re Told) - White Stripes

Speaking of let downs, I just sat waiting for something interesting to happen in this video. I guess the White Stripes have spoiled us with constantly giving us entertain videos. I’m sure if you ranked the top one hundred videos of this decade, the band would have five or so that would make the list. But this would be one of them.

Invasion - Eisley

Fun fact: The very first album review I ever did was for Room Noises by Eisley (see You Humor Me Today). Now the band has their second album, Combinations, coming out in two weeks and the accompanying first video continues their fondness of abstract videos. I’m not entirely sure what is going on, but the song is growing on me by the day.

Trapped in the Closet (13-22 Preview) - R. Kelly (Not safe for work or for anyone with a strong moral compass)

This summer has sucked massively. We are currently on our second heat wave of the year with barely enough rainfall to fill a swimming pool. I have spent the last couple weeks spending two four hour nights a week freezing in a classroom because some moron has the thermostat set at fifty degrees. Each major sport has dominated the headlines with scandal. But if there are two things that can turn this summer around one is the (albeit short) return of the Let’s Rob Mick Jagger Ray Ramono next week (Wednesday at 8:30 and 9:30). The other is shortly is that we will get a whopping nine more installments of the great thing ever conceived in the history of the entertainment industry: Trapped in the Closet. For those who missed chapters 1-12 (and if this is so we can’t be friends) above is a recap of the great hijacks and a quick sneak peak of what is to come. I know I can’t wait.

On a side note, this is the very last Don’t Download These Videos. No, I will still bring the most entertaining new music videos ever week it is just after twenty-five installments I have finally realized that the title Don’t Download These Videos could be construed to comment on the quality of the video not the Weird Al reference that it started out being almost a year ago. So be a look out as I unveil the new name sometimes soon.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

My Home Is Your Home So Welcome to the Terrordome

Fear of a Black Planet - Public Enemy

Most people today when they hear the name Flavor Flav they think of a modern day minstrel show who dated Brigitte Nielsen, renamed a bunch of hood rats and embarrassed their mothers on cable television, and will soon be the latest roastee (not to be confused with the drunken Toasteee) in Comedy Central’s Roast of Flavor Flav, which hasn’t been all that funny in recent years. As hard is it to do so, I still try to remember Flav as the greatest hype man ever for the seminal rap group Public Enemy who album, Fear of a Black Planet, is this month’s induction into the Scooter Hall of Fame.

Public Enemy had a lot to live up to back at the beginning of the nineties. Their previous album, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back netted five million in sales, big numbers for a rap group back then. And the previous summer, Fight the Power, which is quite possibly the greatest rap song ever recorded, showed up on the Do the Right Thing Soundtrack (and also shows up as the last track on Fear of a Black Planet). Even though Flav told us not to believe the hype, this album definitely lived up to it.

Even though he is mostly known for getting the party started on stage, Flavor Flav showed on the album that he can indeed rap as 911 Is a Joke remains as one of the group’s best and Can’t Do Nottin’ for Ya Man isn’t that bad either. But it still remains the Chuck D show. And he had plenty in his crosshair on this album including the movie industry (Burn Hollywood Burn), the IRS (Who Stole the Soul?), people against inter-racial dating (the title track), the music industry (Leave this Off Your Fu*kin Charts) and most notable Elvis who, “never meant to be straight out racist) and of course in that same vain John Wayne.

Lost sometimes in the greatness of the rap group is the group responsible for producing the album, The Bomb Squad. They managed to mix multiple samples (something you will never see again thanks to new licensing laws) ranging from your typical funk grooves of James Brown to even the Beatles with the guitar solo from the end of Let’s Go Crazy thrown in for good measure and mashed them up into some of the best noise around, most of the time unable to make out the original sample unless you listen closely.

Fear of a Black Planet also earned the dubious title as being the first album ever that my parents banned me from listening to thanks to the “Parental Advisory” sticker on the cover. And since our lone CD player at the time was in the living room, it was easily enforced by them. Luckily there are friends out there with CD to tape converters and walkmans to get my PE fix during those years until finally getting a CD player of my own. But I wonder what my parents would say now that Fear of a Black Planet was chosen by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recorded Registry.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Can’t Leave Rap Alone the Streets Need Me

Finding Forever - Common

For years Common was regarded as the greatest MC that no one was listening to. Then fellow Chicagoan Kanye West hit it big as a rapper and producer, signed Common to his GOOD Music record label an produced the majority of the 2005 Be which went on to be the best selling album in the rappers decade plus career netted him a Grammy for Rap Album of the Year. The formula is pretty much the same on the follow-up Finding Forever finds Common rapping about the streets, politics, and girls over radio friendly beats courtesy mostly by Kanye.

Like the last album, unlike almost every other rapper today, Common keeps songs with the “Featuring” songs to a minimum with West as the only guest rapper on the ode to Chicago Southside. The song is decent aside from the ill advised chorus and Common lets Kanye steal the show with his Back to the Future themed verse. But Common doesn’t let the most entertaining new artist in recent memory, Lily Allen, do the same on Drivin’ Me Wild thanks to Common being able to mention OK Go’s treadmill video and astronaut lady” in the same verse. The track continues Kanye’s embrace of more eclectic music (see his latest mixtape which features samples of Daft Punk, Tom York and Peter Bjorn and John) with Allen’s voice and a snare drum as the main instruments.

West also brought his A-game, and DJ Premier, for the old school standout track The Game where Common excels on the mike calling out the most obnoxious people on television today, those that appear on My Super Sweet Sixteen and later namedrops an actual achiever Akeelah. Here is a song that should be played in basement parties from years to come.

Much like the previous album, Finding Forever missteps when Common brings in Bilal and pulls D’Angelo from obscurity for his odes to women. And I’m not entirely sure if the Nina Simone sample on Misunderstood works or not. What did work was the drums from 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover on the album closer Forever Begins. But in the ends, as long as Kanye West is behind the boards, Common may be the first rapper that can still make credible music into his forties.

Song to Download - Drivin’ Me Wild (featuring Lily Allen)

Finding Forever gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Apple iTunes

Monday, July 30, 2007

Feed Your iPod vol. I: The Seed (2.0)

Mondays and Wednesdays have been rough on me because I have to spend four hours in class (then add an extra hour plus in the car getting there) so instead of not posting today here is something quick which may become a regular segment for when I don’t have time to write something of my usual length.

Being known as the music guy in my real life as well on the web, I on occasion have people tell me they just got an iPod but have nothing on it and ask what song they should buy to fill it up. Some regret as I go on and on with great songs that many people may have missed and that is the basis of the new segment here at the 9th Green, Feed Your iPod. Hopefully I am able to find a copy of the song so you can listen before you buy.

The inaugural song actually landed at number one on my list of the Best Songs of 2003, The Seed (2.0) by the Roots and Cody ChestnuTT. The Roots always have the best grooves but the great guitar riff is from ChestnuTT, who originally recorded a much more lo-fi version of his ode to a mistress who doesn’t practice safe sex. But once you take the original and add some great ?uestlove drums and solid rap from Black Though and you have an instant classic. Even ChestnuTT sounds more energized on 2.0. I reference the song whenever a conversation turns to baby names saying, “If Mary drops my baby girl tonight I will name her Rock n Roll” which usually leads to crickets chirping. So give a listen then if you are ever in my presence when I crack that joke you can give me a courtesy chuckle.

The Seed 2.0 - The Roots and Cody ChestnuTT The Roots & Cody Chestnutt - Phrenology - The Seed (2.0)

(For the unedited version of the song you can check out the Universal Music Group's YouTube version which of course they won't let people embed because they hate free advertising)

Got a song you think everyone should feed their iPods? Send me an e-mail (see sidebar) along with a short paragraph why people should download it and/or what it means to you. This segment is meant to highlight songs that may have slipped thought the cracks when released or maybe album tracks that should have been released as a single. So no Layla, Gin and Juice, or Crash into Me needed.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

57 Channels and Only This Is On vol. XXIX

Greek: It is getting to be the most entertaining part of each episode is the blink and you miss it cameo of LonelyGirl15, Jessica Rose as a bumbling legacy. She is the biggest name on the show (which really doesn’t say much) and she has combined maybe a total of thirty seconds of screen time. For those who blinked, this week she was the only one out of step during the invitation dance then awkwardly grinded on some dude. The rest of the episode was not as entertaining. It would have been better if they gone cheesy sitcom and has Casey and Cappie go back and forth trying to find a better date. And I was a little disappointed that his roommate’s little virgin get together didn’t have any chicks for Rusty to hook up with, specially the frozen Asian chick from the mixer in the first episode. Download the current season of Greek on iTunes.

Rescue Me: Much better episode this week as they look like they are going to start some new storylines as the first ones this season weren’t all that entertaining. The new Probie, err, the new Shawn, err, Shawn is definitely working out well but the real fireworks with Tommy look like they will happen next week. But the basketball scene was definitely hilarious. Although the ending with Leslie finding out Mike has two moms then burning down his house was just bizarre.

Lil’ Bush: Well that was a lackluster end to an otherwise lackluster season. Comedy Central may want to think about not having a second season or they may have to change their name to Moderately Funny Central. Download the entire first season of Lil’ Bush on iTunes.

Pirate Master: Well I was surprised it didn’t happen earlier but CBS finally pulled the plug on the show which has been relegated to its broadband channel, Innertube. I forgot all about it until I started this post but I may check that out tonight. I’d ask you all not to spoil me but I haven’t seen anyone talk about the show so there looks to be no need to.

Check out my First Impressions of I Hate My 30’s.

Pick of the Week: Shark Week, all week on the Discover Channel: As I have mentioned before, this week marks the twentieth anniversary of Shark Week starting today and running until August 4th. Here is a quick run down of some of the shows you can expect:

Ocean of Fear: Worst Shark Attack Ever, narrated by Richard Dreyfuss (July 29 8-10)
Deadly Stripes: Tiger Sharks (July 30, 9-10 PM)
Top 5 Eaten Alive (July 30, 10-11 PM)
Shark Feeding Frenzy (July 31, 9-10 PM)
Perfect Predators (August 1, 9-11 PM)
Shark Tribe (August 2, 9-10 PM
Sharks: A Family Affair (August 3, 9-10 PM)
Sharkman (August 4, 9-11 PM)

Also every day at 8 PM are the best of Shark Week’s past as voted on by fans at