Saturday, December 08, 2012

Best of the Week - 12/8/12

Quote of the Week: “I'm not destroying lives, Amanda, I'm righting wrongs. (Emily Thorne, Revenge)

Song of the Week: High Hope – Glen Hansard (Parenthood)

Scene of the Week:

Big News of the Week: Debt Ceiling Crisis: The democratic ran on taxing the rich and painted the Republicans as pandering to the rick at the expense of the Middle Class. So what is the first thing the Republicans do after the election, so no increase on the top two percent even if that means letting all the taxes increase, even on the middle class. Seriously Republicans, you really need to get your stuff together by 2016 unless you want another four to eight years of President Clinton, and that is certainly something I do not want to see because as we learned from the Bushes, the sequel is always significantly worse than the original.

Preview Picture of the Week:

Hardison goes to wine country on Leverage

Free Download of the Week: Rising Stars of 2013 Sampler

Deal of the Week: R&B and Classic Soul MP3 Albums for just $2.99: A lot of good ones here including greatest hits packages from Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson, James Brown, Sam Cook as well from contemporary artists like Amy Winehouse, and just in time for the holidays, Christmas albums from Boyz II Men, The Temptations, and the twenty-five song A Motown Christmas (which comes to about twelve cents per song).

New Album Release of the Week: Music of Nashville Soundtrack

New DVD Release of the Week: Mankind: The Story of All of Us

Video of the Week: Ray Donavan starring Live Schreiber and Masters of Sex starring Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan (yes, Lizzy Caplan is starring in a series entitled Masters of Sex, the Mayans better not be right) do not debut until some indeterminate date next year, my best guess is one or both will begin whenever the next Shameless season comes to an end sometime around March, but Showtime is giving you a first look. A first look at Lizzy Caplan in Masters of Sex. In the immortal words of Bart Scott: Can’t wait.

Next Week Pick of the Week: Survivor, Wednesday and Sunday at 8:00 on CBS: After a couple failed experiments (Redemption Island, One World) Survivor went back a more tradition fame, except three tribes for the first time is a long time. They also brought back three contestants who were medically evacuated (of course there was one of those this season) and it turned out to be one of the best seasons in recent memories. We are now down to three hours left (and a reunion show) and five contestants; two separate alliances with Abi, who was once aligned with Lisa and Skupin) sitting in the middle. Will Lisa finally get to blindside Malcolm? Will Malcolm over think things and give his Immunity Idol to Denise? Can Abi somehow weasel her way into the Final Council? Should make for an interesting final two episodes.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Around the Tubes 12/7/12

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 Ax Men, Bamazon, Mel Brooks Strikes Back, Game of Thrones, Southland, Downton Abbey, Inside Comedy, and Save the Date.

- Big night of premieres on History this Sunday. First at 9:00 is the new season Ax Men. That will be followed at ten by new show Bamazon which follows eight determined Alabama construction workers into the dark heart of South America, hoping to strike it rich as upstart gold miners. But it won’t be easy. Men have come to this unforgiving part of the world for centuries searching for El Dorado and most have gone home empty-handed, if they’ve survived the experience at all!

- If you do not like Mel Brooks you obviously do not like to laugh. But for those that do like the him, Mel Brooks Strikes Back debuts this Monday at 9;00 on HBO. Appearing onstage with Alan Yentob, creative director for the BBC, this entertainment legend looks back on his remarkable career with the same trademark wit that earned him his success.

- In other HBO news, Game of Thrones season three went in to production this week and though you will have to wait until March of next year to see it, HBO has released this behind the scenes video:

- Also just starting up its production of its upcoming season is Southland. Season five will premiere on TNT February 13 at 10:00 which will include C. Thomas Howell as he gets promoted to the cast as a series regular.

- Downton Abbey returns early next year (1/6 on PBS) and you can relive the most memorable moments (so far) by watching the video below. If you want to relive more of the second season, PBS is reairing it throughout December (check your local listings.

- Showtime has announced that the second season of Inside Comedy will premiere Monday, February 11 at 11:00 and will feature Drew Carey, Robert Klein, Steve Martin, Martin Mull and Robert Schimmel. - Sign me up for any movie starring Lizzie Caplan and Allison Brie. Save the Date does not hit theaters until December 14, but you can already pick up the Save the Date Soundtrack now featuring Wilco and others.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

We On Award Tour: 2013 Grammy Nominations

The Grammy’s hit primetime again to announce next year’s nominations, or at least to the categories that anyone cares about (you will have to hit the internet to see if you were nominated for Best Hawaiian Album) with some performances by artists not good enough to perform on the actual show (sorry Ne-Yo, no major nominations for you). Oddly one of the big four (Song of the Year) was relegated to search the internet. The big news this year is they unsegregated the categories by genre which did not favor male pop performers (all chicks), RnB or country chicks (only one nominated in each). Here are the categories that were televised:

Pop Vocal Album
Stronger – Kelly Clarkson
Ceremonials – Florence + the Machine
Some Nights – Fun.
Overexposed – Maroon 5
The Truth About Love – P!nk

Should Win: Some Nights
Will Win: Stronger
Should Have Been Nominate: Little Broken Hearts - Norah Jones – Norah Jones

Kind of a boring category, but pop has been boring lately so I guess it is apropos because I had a hard time think something else that deserve to be nominated, maybe Norah Jones who I do not think qualifies as pop anymore, or possibly Kimbra, but she did not have much success except for singing with Gotye.

Record of the Year
Lonely Boy – The Black Keys
Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You) – Kelly Clarkson
We Are Young – Fun featuring Janelle Monáe
Somebody That I Used to Know – Gotye featuring Kimbra
Thinkin Bout You – Frank Ocean
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together – Taylor Swift

Should Win: Lonely Boy
Will Win: Somebody That I Used to Know
Should Have Been Nominated: Ho Hey – The Lumineers

Just throw out Clarkson and Swift for being extremely cheesy and the final four is extremely competitive category, any of which are deserving of winning. The only way they could have made it tougher had they added the much deserved Ho Hey or Norah Jones Happy Pills.

Best New Artist
Alabama Shakes
Hunter Hayes
The Lumineers
Frank Ocean

Should Win: The Lumineers
Will Win: Frank Ocean
Should Have Been Nominated: Gotye

Best New Artist is the only category that seems to have quotas so Hunter Hayes took the token country spot that should have gone to the more deserving Gotye who got the shaft because Fun. took the token pop slot probably because they were able to score a second hit (sorry teen girls, no love for the crappy Carly Rae Jepsen and / or One Direction). The big surprise was the inclusion on Alabama Shake who put out a good album but it was little listened to outside of rock critics. And since this is always the most shocking category, do not count them out.

Best Country Solo Performance
Home – Dierks Bentley
Springsteen – Eric Church
Cost of Livin' - Ronnie Dunn
Wanted – Hunter Hayes
Over – Blake Shelton
Blown Away – Carrie Underwood

Eh, do not care.

Album of the Year
El Camino – The Back Keys
Some Nights – Fun.
Babel – Mumford and Sons
Channel ORANGE – Frank Ocean
Blunderbuss – Jack White

Should Win: El Camino
Will Win: Babel
Should Have Been Nominated: Handwritten – The Gaslight Anthem

Over the last couple years the Grammy’s usually likes to throw in some crappy pop artist to make them seem cool (see Katy Perry) so it was shocking that they actually nominated five really good albums. Really any of them deserve to win, I think Mumford and Sons have a slight edge because they are the biggest artist right now not named Adele. But aparently rock is not dead with three of the five come from that genre, four if you count Fun. because they do play their own intraments.

If you go through all 100 plus categories, six artists tied with six nominees each: Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys (he also got nominated for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical along with all his band’s nominations), Frank Ocean, Fun, Mumford and Sons, while Jay-Z and Kanye West racked up all theirs in the not cool enough for prime time. You will have to head over to for the full list, but here is the other big catergory that was missing from the live telecast.

Song of the Year
The a Team - Ed Sheeran, songwriter (Ed Sheeran)
Adorn - Miguel Pimentel, songwriter (Miguel)
Call Me Maybe - Tavish Crowe, Carly Rae Jepsen & Josh Ramsay, songwriters (Carly Rae Jepsen)
Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You) - Jörgen Elofsson, David Gamson, Greg Kurstin & Ali Tamposi, songwriters (Kelly Clarkson)
We Are Young - Jack Antonoff, Jeff Bhasker, Andrew Dost & Nate Ruess, songwriters (Fun. featuring Janelle Monáe)

Should Win: We Are Young
Will Win: Stronger
Should Have Been Nominated: Anything but Call Me Maybe

I now understand why they did not televise this category: Call Me Maybe was nominated. Keep in mind this is a songwriter’s award. “I just met you, and this is crazy, so here's my number, call me maybe.” Seriously. You know there is something wrong when Kelly Clarkson quoting Nietzsche is not the most absurb nomintion for a songwriting award.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Previewing Big Cat Week

Nat Geo Wild is launching their third annual Big Cat Week next week starting this Sunday and for the fans of felines, here is a complete schedule.

Snow Leopard of Afghanistan
Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT
Afghanistan, one of the most dangerous places on earth, is also home to a population of endangered and elusive snow leopards. These big cats are a species under constant threat from poachers and farmers who fear that the leopards are attacking their livestock. But experts can’t protect them without knowing more about them. Now, Nat Geo WILD joins the WCS and an international team of experts, including big cat tracker Boone Smith, as they set out on a mission in the middle of a war zone: to find, capture and collar a snow leopard, and release it back into the wild. With GPS to track the big cats’ location and WCS camera traps already in place, if successful, the expedition will offer a deeper understanding of the rare and beautiful species.

Attack of Big Cats
Monday, Dec. 10, 2012, at 10 p.m. ET/PT
There may be nearly 40 different species of wild cat running around out there, but only four make it into the big cat club: the lion, tiger, leopard and jaguar. And they’re armed with an arsenal of weapons and bulk to back up one hell of an attitude. In their world, nothing is small and many things are surprising. So get ready for a vicious lesson on what makes a big cat a big cat. Is it the roar? The teeth? Maybe it’s their diet, because they’re certainly not living on Fancy Feast® and loading up litter boxes. We’ll take a look at their size, speed, claws and hunting capabilities, among so much more.

Tiger Dynasty
Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012, at 10 p.m. ET/PT
A legendary Tiger Dynasty has ruled India’s Ranthambhore National Park for decades. Led by a fierce queen, a tigress named Machli, the family has beaten the odds and continues to thrive despite the constant threat of poachers. Now, as Machli nears the end of her life, Nat Geo WILD takes a closer look at the reign of one of India’s most beloved tigers through the lens of wildlife filmmaker Colin Johnson, who began filming her in 1998 when she was just 1 year old. In a film nearly 15 years in the making, witness important milestones in her life — including her first encounters with prey, battles with dangerous crocodiles and sloth bears that share the park, and life-threatening fights with male tigers. And see how she managed to live side by side with humans, even those out to kill her. Finally, join Johnson as he attempts to capture her on camera one last time — that is, if she survived the last monsoon.

Born Predator
Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, at 9 p.m. ET/PT
Meet Moja, a 5-month-old lion cub, and his single lioness mother Nyota. Outcasts from a pride, they live a fragile existence in the Masai Mara national reserve in Kenya. Living between neighboring pride territories, life is hard at the best of times. But now it’s even tougher. Food is fast running out and the wildebeest migration is still hundreds of miles away. Nyota must provide everything for her son, but she is low on energy. Hyenas are threatening to steal a kill — Moja’s first meal in a week. And because she and her cub are constantly trespassing into other prides’ territories, they face dangers in every direction.

Fatal Instinct
Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, at 9 p.m. ET/PT
The cheetah: the fastest land animal on earth and a feared predator. But before her cubs can dominate the African savannah, a mother cheetah must transform her offspring from adorable kittens into bold, powerful hunters. Nat Geo WILD follows one mother as she struggles to teach her offspring how to survive in one of the most cutthroat environments on the planet. High-speed cameras reveal every stunning detail of one of the most important lessons: how to hunt for prey. And although they will one day be feared, the cubs are under constant threat from surrounding lions, leopards and hyenas.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Find Your Peace of Mind with Some Indie Record Much Cooler Than Mind

Red - Taylr Swift

Over her first three albums, Taylor Swift has made country pop that moved closer and closer to the latter genre. But earlier this year she recorded a song for The Hunger Games Soundtrack with The Civil Wars. Safe and Sound was dark and moody and the second best song in her career (I still contend that Our Song is the second finest pop song written over the past decade). The song really got me excited for her next album as I was hoping Safe and Sound was the direction she was heading in her career. Then she released We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, a song so sugary it makes Call Me Maybe sound like Radiohead in comparison. Ugg.

The song was the latest ear candy from the teen pop svengali Max Martin who produced three songs on Red. The other notable song Martin contributed to is the “dub-step” I Knew You Were Trouble that really does not drop the bass like the DJ’s that make the subgenre famous and just comes off across a watered down version of dub-step. It really is just a novelty for Swift because is you listen to the acoustic version of the song it is much better. The other Martin enhance song is the forgettable 22 where Swift makes fun of hipsters, echoing her slam of indie records during We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.

Aside from Max Martin, Taylor brings in a few more collaborators for the new album. Dan Wilson, who co-wrote Someone Like You, co-wrote Treacherous with Swift but just does not hit the heights of the Adele monster hit or even his work on the last Dixie Chicks record. The Last Time features Gary Lightbody and comes across more like a Snow Patrol castoff than a Taylor Swift song. She alaso duets with Ed Sheeran on Everything Has Changed and the acoustic ballad sound more like something you would find on his album. Of court that may be the point of these duets because Safe and Sound sounded much more like a song by The Civil Wars.

But Red is at its best when Swift goes back to writing by herself. The best song on the album is actually stuck at the end. Begin Again is a sweet ballad where Swift is ready to move on with a James Taylor fan. As the second single it is a great yin to We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’s yang. Really Swift should stick to writing by herself or work just with The Civil Wars and T-Bone Burnett for now on.

Song to Download – Begin Again

Red gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Monday, December 03, 2012

I Want My Music Television - 12/3/12

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.

Rock and Roll Love Affair – Prince

When I first heard this song I thought, “Prince better get his lawyer on the phone because someone totally ripped off Take Me with U.” As it turned out Prince just ripped off himself.

My Life – 50 Cent featuring Eminem and Adam Levine

What happened to 50 Cent? His debut posed to make him the greatest rapper of the decade but just kept releasing crap after that. 50 says in this song that this is his comeback, but I do not know. Eminem destroys him on his on song and a the chorus is pretty weak.

Concrete Wall - Zee Avi

Yeah, I’ll be singing “Boom sha-clack clack” for the next month or so. Thanks Zee Avi.

Walk Away – Dia Frampton

I had to laugh when Christina Aguilera said Chris Mann was the most commercially successful artist ever produced by The Voice considering Dia Frampton’s debut sold four times more albums than his over the same time period (even Javier Colon and Xenia put up better numbers). I always liked Dia and thought her album was criminally overlooked so it was nice to see the show has not forgotten her promoting her new music video this week even if it is just a glorified Kia commercial. Chris Mann did not even get a Kia product placement video, even Tony Lucca and Juliet Simms both got one.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

57 Channels and Only This Is On 12/2/12

Quote of the Week: Believe it or not I’m your best friend in the world right now. (Quinn, Homeland)

Song of the Week: Hello – Lionel Richie (Suburgatory)

Scene of the Week:

Big News of the Week: iTunes 11 Sucks Massively: If there is one mantra that I live by, it was uttered by the great philosopher Garth Adler in the seminal Wayne's World movie: I fear change. And I really hate unnecessary change. Yet from the New Darrin to New Coke companies have continued to try to fix things that were not broken including the latest version of iTunes. I understand the sprucing up of your look, but iTunes claims the new version of the program makes thing simpler but many things are actually made harder, most notably the new search function. Previously whenever you typed something in the search box, it limited your library to songs, artists and albums. Now there is a drop box actually making it harder to find what you are looking for.

And then there are the parts they erroneously left out of the new version. I am furious that the DJ function did not make the upgrade. That was how I listened to my library. I also do not like that you cannot display duplicates anymore, I download a lot of crap, so that was nice thing to have to delete and clean up songs I already have. And for some reason they added songs from the Cloud to my library even though I have never actually used the iTunes Cloud before. iTunes even managed to make the podcast page look more cluttered. Worst of all it is slow, whenever I press “ok” it takes 5-20 seconds to actually do anything. I am not happy. Hopefully this will all get fixed with the next update, until I will probably use Spotify to listen to my Holiday and Best of 2012 playlists.

Preview Picture of the Week:

Sons of Anarchy season finale

Revenge: Oh snap, just in case you did not realize how evil Victoria is, she totally set up her own mother. On Thanksgiving. Although it was a little weird that Charlotte was absent at the dinner (granted I did miss the first couple minutes because a local kid was kidnapped). But the Stowaway was a completely worthless flashback even if it set up that the evil dude who bought into the bar is the song of the evil dude who extorted the bar who has come back for… revenge. Actually I did not really care that much about Nolan’s CFO or how Emily met the British dude.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Revenge on iTunes.

Homeland: I had this fear that Quinn just showed up this season so they had someone to be the mole from last season that I did not really care about. Instead it turned out to be part of a super-secret FBI team specializing in killing terrorists (even if they are working for them). I also thought when I learned Mike would be staying over that he would end up hooking up with Mrs. Brody until I realized she would not actually do that with her kids in the other room. Oops. Apparently she did not care. It was like episode one all over again, Mrs. Brody gets naked, Dana is a brat, and Chris is just hanging out. Now the question is what is Abu Nazir’s contingency plan? Or was this his masterplan the whole time or just a diversion?

The Voice: Far and away the most shocking and noteworthy item on The Voice this week were learning Bill Withers was still alive. Who knew? Since Rick Rubin started the craze of producing long forgotten singers like Johnny Cash (also see Jack White/Wanda Jackson, Damon Alburn/Bobby Womack, Tim Armstrong/Jimmy Cliff, Jeff Tweedy/Mavis Staples) I really hope Cee-Lo uses this opportunity to produce a new Bill Withers album which would be his first in over twenty-five year. Way too long.

Really the only other interesting parts of the episode was when Adam Levine went off on The Roxy, Melanie Martinez’s ex-boyfriend (while she looked on in horror), but not Dez Duron who’s performance deserved it the most. A lackluster performance week where everyone managed to be worse than the previous week (with the exception of Trevin) so as part of this week’s Power Ranking, I have made some suggestions of songs to sing.

Nicholas David of The Voice1. Nicholas David – I was going to suggest Donny Hathaway, but I am about to complain about other singers being complacent, so instead of another seventies soul song, since his Huey Lewis cover was the most bizarrely awesome performance of the season, maybe try the nineties version of The News and sing Hold My Hand by Hootie and the Blowfish.

2. Cassadee Pope – She had her breakout performance last week with an emotional country ballad, so why not try it again with Colder Weather by Zac Brown Band, a song she can actually relate to on multiple levels because not only has she done a lot of touring, so has her boyfriend.

3. Amanda Brown – I’m surprised no has tackled Thinkin Bout You by Frank Ocean this season, and as Amanda showed during Dream On, she definitely can hit that falsetto part. Just do not turn it into a rock song. In fact go the other way and make it just Amanda and an acoustic guitar.

4. Melanie Martinez – She has done pretty much somewhat obscure alt-rock (or as obscure as a song that gets played in a commercial about as often as political ads over the last three months) and old time blues songs, how about combining them with Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth With Money In My Hand by the Primitive Radio Gods (which of course samples BB King).

5. Terry McDermott – I originally thought the Scottish singer should take something out the Irish songbook of U2, but how about bringing him in the new millennium with "45" by The Gaslight Anthem.

6. Trevin Hunte – Trevin tried contemporary music last week and failed miserably and when he went back to old emotional RnB it just started to sound tired. So it is time to think outside the box like Something to Believe In by Poison.

And without Dez Duron, Christina Aguilera gets her third straight last place finish. Hopefully Shakira has a better ear for good singers. I also laughed at Christina assertion that Chris Mann is the most successful contestant ever on The Voice. I would like to see her numbers because Javier Colon, Dia Frampton, and Xenia all charted higher than Chris and he is the only one from season two that has released an album yet, so really no competition . Maybe this is way she always performs so bad on the show because she is completely delusional.

You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download songs from The Voice by clicking on the artist’s name.

2 Broke Girls: How could do an episode with all that blood splatter and not make a Dexter reference? Sure they are too poor for premium cable (I do not even remember seeing a television in their apartment), but I am sure Max has figured how to steal it by now.

Survivor: Philippines: I am actually starting to root for Abi-Maria. I got a laugh when she managed to win Immunity and the alliances had to turn on each other. Though has no one ever watched the show before? Of course Probst was going to sell some sort of clue. It is really not a good sign when Abi is the smartest player out there. So you have to wonder if everyone is dumb enough to fall for her fake Immunity Idol.
You can stream recent episodes over at You can also download Survivor: Philippines on iTunes.

Nashville: It is clear that they need to get Rayna and Juliette in the same room at the same time more often because watching those two go out it passive aggressively is the most entertaining part of the show (and I think this is the first time they crossed path since the first episode). Maybe they should go out on tour together.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Nashville on iTunes.

Free Download of the Week: We Three Kings - Rod Stewart featuring Mary J. Blige (iTunes)

Deal of the Week: 100 Albums for $5: This month’s five dollar albums include albums from The Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer, Lauryn Hill, and Bruce Springsteen.

New Album Release of the Week: The Complete Columbia Album Collection

New DVD Release of the Week: The Dark Knight Trilogy (Batman Begins / The Dark Knight / The Dark Knight Rises)

Video of the Week: I am beginning to think that the Pretty Little Liars promos are more interesting than the actual show because I got more excited watching this that I have the last season or two.

Next Week Pick of the Week: The Walking Dead, Sunday at 9:00 on AMC: I figured last week it would take an entire episode for Rick and his crew to make it to Woodbury and that turned out to be the case after a brief detour into the den of some paranoid dude. But they got there which should lead to an explosive mid-season finale when Rick will (presumably) go head to head with the Governor and (again presumably) get the long overdue Dixon family reunion which I have a feeling will not be all that friendly. And who knows, maybe Andrea will finally get killed off.