Saturday, June 27, 2009

57 Channels and Only This Is On vol. LXXXVI

Quote of the Week: I can’t believe you got Feinberg in your corner. It’s like the Jets and the Sharks joining forces and becoming one giant gay, dancing, singing street gang. (Ken, Rescue Me)

Song of the Week: Syrup & Honey – Duffy (Rescue Me)

Big News of the Week: Bryan Fuller Leaves Heroes… Again: One of the many sad stories that came out of the cancelation of Pushing Daisies was that series mastermind began slumming it again on Heroes. But as he told Ain’t it Cool News, he will be likely creating two pilots for NBC Universal. No work on what either of those may be, but one would assume the lead female will have a dude’s name (George, Jaye, Chuck). Speaking of the George portion, I started watching Dead Like Me recently, currently into the second season. Certainly below Wonderfalls in the Bryan Fuller pantheon, but I still haven’t decided if I like it more than Pushing Daisies yet. But certainly worth a look if you do not have anything better to watch this summer.

Coalition Links of the Week:
With network TV ratings on the decline, Buzz wondered if you — yes, you! — are watching less TV this Summer than usual. (BuzzSugar)

Other than So You Think You Can Dance, Vance didn't have much time to watch TV last week because he was out in the park watching Twelfth Night starring Anne Hathaway, Raul Esparza (Pushing Daisies), Audra McDonald (Private Practice), Hamish Linklater (New/Old Christine) and more. (Tapeworthy)

This week, Jace offered an elegy for ABC's canceled The Unusuals and offered advance reviews of FOX's Virtuality and the first four episodes of HBO's Hung. (Televisionary)

After this week's episode of Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, Sara has the irresistible urge to become BFFs with Kathy and Paula Deen. (TiFaux)

Eric is so glad that Lafayette is back for season two of True Blood and even happier to find out how he gets out of imprisonment this week. (TV Fanatic)

Kings: So did Silas make a deal with Death (what, no George Lass?) who for some reason wears a cowbell in the form of piano that he would step aside willing (presumably for Mr. Boston) or will be taken by her? And just as puzzling is the princess being promised to God yet not a nun. Alrighty. You can stream current episodes over at You can also download Kings on iTunes.

Eli Stone: Much like Pushing Daisies, it was a little hard getting back into the show knowing there will only be two more after this. But once the car pulled up to Eli’s house to reveal a road trip, I was drawn back in. What is sad that after a second season let down after a superb first one, we finally get the first great episode right before getting pulled. You can stream current episodes over at You can also download Eli Stone on iTunes.

Merlin: I sat down to check the series out only to find golf. I understand you don’t cut into golf to air new programming, but couldn’t NBC put in a scroll saying Merlin will start in “X” amount of minute or after this hole or just have the announcers acknowledge that golf is running over thanks to the rain delay? So I waited a minute or two and just ended up watching a couple more episodes of Dead Like Me. I may catch Merlin on Hulu sometime this weekend if the weather is crappy.

Charm School with Ricki Lake: What’s up with the random rerun this week? You can also download Charm School with Ricki Lake on iTunes.

Rescue Me: Hopefully Garrity stays in a coma for a while so we can get a couple more musical numbers. The fruit song may be the funniest thing ever that nobody should have been laughing at. You can stream current episodes over at Hulu.

Rescue Me on iTunes

The Philanthropist: NBC managed not to blow the premiere of this show. It reminded me a little like Kings in that they both have a big scope to them and at times are too big for their own good. And they certainly get heavy handed at times (seriously, Teddy’s dead son leads him to the village?). But the show is defiantly likeable. You can stream current episodes over at You can also download The Philanthropist on iTunes.

Free Download of the Week: Documentary Recordings Presents- Patriotic Music - Amazon Sampler: Just in time for the Fourth of July, here is a ten song sampler of four American classic along with six songs from the various factions of the armed forces.

Deal of the Week: The Big DVD Sale: Blu-ray (300, The Departed, Letters From Iwo Jima)

Video of the Week: We have hit the oversaturation point for vampires I am actually glad they are rebooting Buffy the Vampire Slayer, even if it is without Joss Whedon, so she could come back to slay all the Twilight, True Blood and the sure to be unwatchable new CW show vampires as well all their annoying fan. As for supernatural fair, sign me up for the upcoming Zombieland which looks from the trailer like it will battle Snakes on a Plane as the greatest horrible movie of the decade (and I mean that as a good thing, check out my review of SoaP: I Have Had it with These Mother(Expletive Deleted) Snakes on This Mother(Expletive Deleted) Plane).

Next Week Pick of the Week: Nothing: Fourth of July is next Saturday, enjoy the outdoors.

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Melancholy Happy Trails to Michael Jackson

As anyone who grew up during the eighties, Michael Jackson was a huge part of that. It all started with Thriller, the album and the song. Or more specifically the music video. No one did appointment video premieres like Michael Jackson and that started with Thriller, which should be considered more of a short film than a music video. And that continued with the premieres of Bad, Black or White, and Remember the Time all of which attracted A-list talent. He would even release legitimate short films with Moonwalker and Captain Emo.

As a kid in grade school at the time, we all tried to emulate Michael’s moves especially the Moonwalker. Jackson was even nice enough to put the steps of some of his moves in the liner notes for Bad. Even going into high school, I was excited when my choir picked Will You Be There to perform and I even volunteered to recite closing monologue as I knew it by heart despite it be erroneously missing from the sheet music. Unfortunately the choir didn’t take me up on this offer.

Sadly kids of today do not fully understand how popular Michael Jackson was during the eighties. There hasn’t been a bigger star in the world since and his popularity may only be rivaled by The Beatles during their heyday. Jackson truly earned his moniker, the King of Pop. Mostly today’s youth just know him as a tabloid fodder who, along with O.J. Simpson created the popularity of twenty-four hour cable news. Certainly brought some of that attention on himself with some questionable behavior that pretty much derailed his career since the mid-nineties along with some lingering health problems that kept him from performing for many year. Those health problems looked to have done him in just as he was about to launch one last concert string in London.

Michael Jackson was fifty years old. Below is a live version of Will You Be There circa the Dangerous tour:

In our darkest hour, in my deepest despair. Will you still care? Will you be there? In my trials and my tribulations, through our doubts and frustrations. In my violence, in my turbulence, through my fear and my confessions, in my anguish and my pain. Through my joy and my sorrow, in the promise of another tomorrow. I'll never let you part for you're always in my heart.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I Want My Music Television vol. LV

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.

21 Guns - Green Day

I guess these are the two characters that Green Day chronicles throughout their new album and even recreate the album cover for good measure. The song is still a Boulavard of Broken Dreams retread.

(Expletive Deleted) You – Lily Allen

Like I mentioned during my review of her latest album (see: I Am a Weapon of Massive Consumption) Lily Allen randomly ripping on George Bush after he is out of office is just bad form. But the special effects are pretty cool and the video as a whole comes off as a less creepy version of Smack My (Expletive Deleted) Up.

Laughing With – Regina Spektor

For more on Regina Spektor check out yesterday’s review of her new album Far, It Was so Easy and the Words Were so Sweet.

100 Little Curses - Street Sweeper Social Club

For his fourth group of the decade, Street Sweeper Social Club, it sounds like Tom Morello splits the difference between Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave. But it is hard to take any social statement away from a video when it stars the dude from Road Trip and the chick from Joey.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

It Was so Easy and the Words Were So Sweet

Far - Regina Spektor

You would think if you went into the studio with as diverse producers as Jeff Lynne (ELO), David Kahne (Tony Bennett), Jacknife Lee (Snow Patrol), and Mike Elizondo (Eminem) you would come out with an eclectic groups of tracks. Yet for the third album by Regina Spektor with those for four producers all contributing, Far still sounds like classic Spektor with only those with the highest musical I.Q. would even come close to matching songs with the producer without peeking at the liner notes.

Far continues Spektor’s trend of quirky female piano pop that many people try but fail to get her recognition (it is no surprise that she recently recorded with her male counterpoint Ben Folds). Really, Spektor is the only person that could wax poetic about a DJ forgetting to take November Rain off of repeat and turn it into a kids sing a long for a video or turn heart and fall into fifteen syllable words. And that continues on the new album whether she is making dolphin sounds on Folding Chair, a chorus that just repeats the word Eet, lines about making computers out of macaroni (The Calculation) or creating a whole song about thumping through a stranger’s Wallet.

But the strangest of them all may be Dance Anthems of the 80’s which despite the title still has Spektor’s signature piano instead of the decade’s familiar synthesizer. And the oddness of the song is only outdone by the video for Dance Anthems of the 80’s. Spektor gets plenty existential on the album like on Blue Lips where the Adam and Eve verses work much better than the simplistic chorus. Or Laughing With where she takes a look at some of the more depressing creations God have given us like poverty, hospitals and natural disasters. While Machine is one of her more brooding song thanks to some heavy percussion and lyrics that deal with humans become one with them.

Song to Download – Eet

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

Regina Spektor on iTunes

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Got What I Wanted and it’s Never Enough

Back and Fourth - Pete Yorn

Concept albums are always a tricky situation, but Pete Yorn started off his career with a concept trilogy dealing with the times of the day: Musicforthemorningafter, The Day I Forgot, and Nightcrawler. The first two albums had their great moments signaling Yorn as the next great singer-songwriter from the Garden State making a niche as either a folksier version Bruce Springsteen’s E-Street Band era of a more rocking version of his Nebraska style of music.

But by the time he got around to finishing his trilogy, Yorn sounded like he was just spinning the tires with songs that sounded like his previous work but less adventurous. With the trilogy out of the way, there were high hopes for his fourth full length album Back & Fourth. Unfortunately is follows in the trend of Nightcrawler, a step backwards.

There are a few bright spots on the album like the depressing (in an entertaining, more melodic Ryan Adams kind of way) Social Development Dance where Yorn hears about the passing only to get no results when Google her name in quotations. Last Summer perfects Yorn’s ability to write hard driving emotion songs. But in the end, if you already have the first two Pete Yorn albums, there isn’t much need to pick up Back & Fourth.

Song to Download - Social Development Dance

Back & Fourth gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Pete Yorn on iTunes

Monday, June 22, 2009

Previewing Iran and the West

Sometime filmmakers luck into good timing for a documentary. Such is the case for tonight’s Iran and the West on the National Geographic Channel thanks to all the chaos surrounding Iran’s recent election. None of the recent turmoil is profiled but there are still plenty to cover in the thirty years since the Ayatollah took power in the country. But where Iran and the West excels is with its unprecedented number of interviews they landed for the documentary, over forty on both sides including Vladimir Putin, two former Iranian presidents and Jimmy Carter.

Considering the first half hour is focused so much on how Carter dealt with the hostage crisis, it is a little disappointing that none of his successors chose to participate, but four of the recent secretary of state, George Shultz, Warren Christopher, Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell, fill in the holes. The documentary does a great job explained the contentious nature between Iran and the west, although Iran-Contra seemed to get glossed over with just a small reference. And even though he didn’t give an interview, current Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad makes an interesting cameo early on during the documentary.

Iran and the West premiere tonight at 9:00 on the National Geographic Channel. Check out a preview below involving Madeleine Albright that could explain why things haven’t gone very well over the past thirty years:

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Where My Horns At, You with Me?

Tell 'em What Your Name Is! - Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears

Considering they are remaking every movie these days because Hollywood has run out of ideas or are just too lazy to promote original ones, when they get around to ruining Animal House with Jonah Hill as Bruno, Michael Cera as Otter and Megan Fox as Katy we can rest in the solace that they can use a respectable replacement for Otis Day and the Nights in Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears.

Naturally the debut album from the band, Tell ‘em What Your Name Is! starts with the explosive Gunpower that sets the tone of the band’s garage soul. The song in drenched in horns and organ and a controlled scream by Lewis that is very reminiscent of the James Brown. But Brown was never this dirty as he always made sure every note was just right. The Honeybears just want to play.

Gunpower is followed up by Sugarfoot (who is the drummer of the Honeybears) which will be the most infectious song you will hear all year and cold even make the whitest of guy get up and dance. Filling out the rest of the Honeybears are Rooster Andrews (guitar), Big Show Varley (keyboards), Wild Card Bill (bass), and horns section of Slyder, McKnight the Night Train and Sleepy Ramirez.

Like the two songs that start off the album, most of Tell ‘em What Your Name Is! is a mix of all the great soul and R&B artists of the seventies from the previously mentioned James Brown, Motown, Stax and even some Sly Stone funk mixed in. While Please pt. Two pushes the band into a more Psychedelic feel to it. Big Booty Woman features a classic call and response which should be a requirement at any house party, Get Yo (Expletive Deleted) features the classic spoken word chorus, while Humpin’ could rival Green Onions as the funkiest instrumental ever put on wax. Adam Sandler’s character from The Waterboy even gets a shout out in Bobby Booshay.

Song to Download – Please pt. Two

Tell ‘em What Your Name Is! gets a Terror Alert Level: Severe [RED] on my Terror Alert Scale.