Saturday, June 02, 2012

57 Channels and Only This Is On - 6/02/12

Quote of the Week: We've all had nights in our life where we've made mistakes for free. (Pete, Mad Men)

Song of the Week: You Really Got Me – The Kinks (Mad Men)

Preview Picture of the Week:

The Pretty Little Liars are back

Big News of the Week: Summer Television Begins: Summer is the time to get caught up on television you missed (on my to watch list are Dexter seasons 3-6, the final season of Big Love, the first season of Game of Thrones, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, Star Wars: The Clone Wars season 3, and the most recent season of The Middle) there are a few new shows on television that I will be checking out in real time. Here is what I’ll be watching this summer and their premiere dates.

June 11, 9:00 – Bunheads (ABC Family)

June 5, 8:00 - Pretty Little Liars (ABC Family)
June 5, 10:00 – Franklin and Bash (TNT)

June 6, 10:00 – Royal Pains (USA)
June, 13, 10:00 – Dallas (TNT)

June 28 at 10:00 – Wilfred (FX)

June 17, 9:00 – Falling Skies (TNT)
July 15, 8:00 – Leverage (TNT)
July 1, 10:00 - Weeds (Showtime)

The Killing: I have tried to avoid complaining about The Killing this season as I just patiently wake until Rosie Larson’s killers is revealed and then never watch this show ever again. But this week was so absurd I could no longer bite my tongue. I should have known something was going to go horribly wrong when the teacher showed up in the previously segment because the show came off the tracks in the episode where he got beat up by Stan, then exonerated of killing Rosie (surprise: he was saving Muslims from genital mutilation) leaving the cops with no suspects and back at square one. But the biggest slap to the dace is the whole metal institution storyline where we learn Linden was way too unstable to get a job back on the police force let alone be the lead detective of a high profile murder. She should have not even been allowed out, especially let out early. But apparently the mental health industry is just as inept in Seattle as their police department. Luckily they did insert a good laugh into the episode after Gwen mentioned the basketball video went viral yet only had about 1,500 views. A real viral video gets that many views in a minute, not a couple of hours.
You can download The Killing on iTunes.

Mad Men: I am not a fan of shock for the sake of shock, and you can say a lot of things about Mad Men like it is boring or slow moving, but it always avoids shock value (Peggy’s surprised baby and Don’s murder dream aside). Then Joan became a high class hooker. This really made her and Pete unredeemable (not that Pete was al that redeemable in the first place). Really all the partners but Don were complicit. And why would Joan want to be a partner with the people that pimped her out? The money argument for her son is moot because Roger would certainly make sure he is cared for. And why was Roger on board? Is he really okay with his former girl toy and baby mama giving herself away to some skeevy executive? I bet if Megan did not succumb to the casting couch this episode, I would not be surprised if that is coming soon. Unless Megan is part of the new generation who actually value their morals over quick advancement.
You can download Mad Men on iTunes.

Hatfields and McCoys: Can something both exceed and fall short of expectations? Even with quality actors Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton at the lead I feared that it would still be this low budget style mini-series, but it was nice to see History went all out (except casting from the J. Crew catalogue circa 1880 for the Romeo and Juliet storyline and if the dog was any more well groomed he would have had been wearing a Petsmart hanker chief). But on the other hand it still paled in comparison to Deadwood which was set around the same time. But I am completely on board for more History miniseries. And may I suggest their next one focus on another famous American rivalry: the Raymond Burr / Alexander Hamilton dual.

Free Download of the Week: Nothing's Real But Love – Rebecca Ferguson

Deal of the Week: Modern Classic for $2.99: Apparently Amazon’s definition of “modern” is the last twenty years because Achtung Baby and Low End Theory are both deeply discounted. You can also gram even more modern albums by Kanye West and Coldplay for the low price.

New Album Release of the Week: That's Why God Made the Radio - The Beach Boys

New DVD Release of the Week: Pretty Little Liars: The Complete Second Season

Video of the Week: Whenever there is a gratuitous shot in a movie trailer showing as much of a woman's backside as allowed by the FCC, they might as well tattoo on the posterior "This movie suck but we are hoping you will still come to see this derriere on the big screen." With that said, The Apparition may have the greatest horrible tagline ever in the history of cinema: "Once You Believe... You Die"

Of course since the booty in question belongs to Ashley Greene, I already have this movie added to my queue.

Next Week Pick of the Week: Pretty Little Liars, Tuesday at 8:00 on ABC Family: I am probably more excited than an old dude should be for the return of the show, but Pretty Little Liars hit is strike going into the homestretch of the second season. Now that we know who A is (Mona) now we get to try to figure out who is also part of “The A-Team” and who is the shadowy figure behind her (meaning my theory that Allison is not as dead as they would have us believe is still alive as I think Allison is). Oh yeah, we also have another murder mystery to solve after Mya showed up dead in the final seconds of the finale.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Yeah, You Can’t Front on That

Check Your Head - Beastie Boys

Like most people, I came to Paul’ Boutique late and let face it, as great as it was, License to Ill was a novelty album for sophomoric guys. Really, Check Your Head is when I became a true fan of the Beastie Boys and that is why it is this month’s induction into the Scooter Hall of Fame. Released just eight months after Nevermind, the Beastie Boys rode the wave of alternative music mixing live instrumentation, the first time they played on the majority of the songs since their punk beginnings while keeping their hip-hop esthetics. Check Your Head pushed the boundaries of rap as far as Paul’s Boutique did but was assessable right off the bat.

Pass the Mic was a great introduction to the Boys new sound as the first single from the album, the passing of the mic would satisfy the hip-hop purists while attracting the new alternative crowd with the fuzzed out guitars. Later in the album they would go full out rock stars with Gratitude (setting the stage for one of their biggest hits Sabotage off their next album). And much like Sabotage, the song is built around a killer bass groove courtesy of MCA.

Even though they plugged in for the album, there are plenty of clever samples that made Paul’s Boutique revolutionary. So What-Cha Want is built off of When the Levee Breaks. And like a few songs on Paul’s Boutique, Finger Lickin’ Good drops the track and just lets a couple seconds of Bob Dylan’s Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues before going back to the weird mix of Aquarius and Dance to the Music. The Biz vs. The Nuge lives up to the name as it is just Biz Markie singing over Ted Nugent’s Homebound. And what would Pass the Mic be without the Jimmie Walker famous “Dynamite!”

They push their sound even further in the second half of the album when they go back to their punk roots with punky version of Sly Stone’s Time for Livin'. Something’s Got to Give is a trippy ride. They even throw in some funky instrumentals for good measure. We may have lost a true legend a couple weeks ago in MCA, but his work with the Beastie Boys will live on forever with the great albums he left behind.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

I Want My Music Television - 5/31/12

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.

Lost In the World - Kanye West

Sure it has been over a year since Kanye West released his last album and has even dropped one with Jay-Z since then, but you can rush the man when it comes to his art. I’m a bit surprised he does not take Chinese Democracy style time to record new albums.

Payphone - Maroon 5

When I first heard the new Maroon 5 song I thought to myself, who uses a payphone anymore? It is nice that they explain this at the beginning of the video that his cell phone is broken. What is not explained is why when they got out of the bank, why does Adam Levine say to the cops, we are bankers. That could have alleviated the whole car chase sequence.

Ships in the Night - Mat Kearney

With the intro talking about how many miles, I was like, “what?” But as soon as Mat Kearney appeared on screen in the different locations, I realized that this was a very clever, if not extremely time consuming, concept.

Stuck on You - Meiko

If only I could cook, I would sure like to try Meiko’s recipe here but I am against any recipe that calls for a prep time over whatever time it takes to make a grilled-cheese sandwich.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Today We’re Younger than We’ll Ever Gonna Be

What We Saw from the Cheap Seats - Regina Spektor

In the past I have talked a lot about “quirky pop,” the sub-genre that was popularized by iPod commercials in the middle of last decade which is too weird for mass consumption but still manages to be highly assessable. I am not entirely sure who created the sub-genre, but Regina Spektor certainly perfected it. The Soviet born pianist has an eclectic delivery and sometime crams more words than you would expect into a line but still manages to deliver a beautiful song almost every time.

Now on her sixth album (and third since Fidelity became the closest thing as a smash hit for her) Regina has not changed much for What We Saw from the Cheap Seats. Mike Elizondo, who produced four songs off her last album and is best known for his work with Dr. Dre and Fiona Apple’s Extraordinary Machine, is back full time co-producing with Spektor which could explain why this album sounds a bit tighter production wise than her previous albums. But that is not necessary a bad thing like on Don’t Leave Me (Ne me quitte pas) which is an updated version of a song from her second album Songs (but sans any English in the title). Where the original is just Regina and her piano, the piano parts on the updated version is replaced by synthesizers and drums and a brass section is added. This may upset purists, but the song is much better with the makeover.

Even with the tighter production, the album still retains its fair share of quirkiness, for better or worse. The worse is on Open where Regina makes these weird and terrifying gasping sounds. But her beat boxing, scatting part of Oh Marcello works much better. I am still undecided on the loud pounding blows during first single All the Rowboats. And only Regina Spektor could tell the title character of Ballad of a Politician to “Shake what your mama gave you.” Though quirkiness if what people are drawn to Regina Spektor for, she still shows that she can write and perform more traditional and beautiful love songs like How.

Song to Download – Don't Leave Me (Ne me quitte pas)

What We Saw from the Cheap Seats gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Contest: Win Frozen Planet on DVD

Frozen Planet Blu-Ray cover

Scooter Update: This contest has ended and the winner will be contacted soon.

Yesterday was the unofficial start of summer and the season started in style with 90’s across the country. To help you cool down this summer, I am giving away the DVD of the original BBC series Frozen Planet. If you remember a couple weeks ago I reviewed the series (see: You’re as Cold as Ice) and since I was recently sent a second copy, and instead of using the DVD’s as cup coasters I have decided to give the copy to you the reader. All you have to do is fill out the form below and for fun tell me what you plan to do this summer to keep yourself cool (besides watching Frozen Planet of course). Check out the trailer below.

You can enter the contest once a day until the contest ends Friday, June 8 at 11:00 PM EST. The winner will then be picked at random from all eligible entries and will be contacted shortly after so I can get your shipping address. This contest is only open to people with a shipping address in the United States. For more on the series, check out the link above to my in depth review or head over to And yes this copy is the David Attenborough narrated version, not the version the recently aired on Discovery with Alec Baldwin as the narrator. For those that cannot wait or would prefer the Blu-Ray (or are reading this after the contest has ended), the Amazon links are below for purchase.

This contest has ended

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Previewing Witness: G.I. Homecoming

Tomorrow is Memorial Day which means a lot of hot dogs, potato salad, and some croquet (unless it does get over ninety like the weatherman suggest it will; which begs the question, why is there not a croquet video game yet?). But let’s not forget what the day is truly about: honoring those that have served and are serving our country. So when all the hamburgers have been eaten, plop the family down in front of the television as members of the military surprise their loved ones on Witness: G.I. Homecoming airing at 10:00 on the National Geographic Channel.

Since 9/11, over two million soldiers have been deployed overseas, some not to return. But many more have come home safely and in the past decade we have all seen emotional homecomings be it on local, national news or even on YouTube. Witness takes a look at some of the more memorial surprise homecomings and the stories behind them with home movies, war zone footage shot by the soldiers and original, first-person account of the soldiers and their family. The segments range from a father waking up his kids in the middle of the night to an elaborate like a surprise reunion in center field of Fenway Park. If you tune in, make sure you have a box of Klenex on hand because there will be tears.

Witness: G.I. Homecoming airs Memorial Day at 10:00 on the National Geographic Channel. What a clip below:

Graduation Surprise