Saturday, May 04, 2013

Best of the Week: 5/4/13

Quote of the Week: Nobody’s been probed… yet. (Sergeant Wu, Grimm)

Song of the Week: The Stroke – Billy Squire (Castle)

Scene of the Week:

Big News of the Week: Jason Collins Is a Gay Homosexual: Monday, Jason Collins announced Monday that he was gay and after everyone got done asking, “Who is Jason Collins” it turned out he was the first current professional male athlete to publically announced his homosexuality (although he currently is not on a team and as an old journeyman, it may actually stay that way, though I am sure David Stern will make sure he is employed by someone next season). But the most interesting part of his story was that the guy who backed him up at center in high school was Jason Segal. Yes, that Jason Segal.

Preview Picture of the Week:

2 Broke Girls "And the Tip Slip" Monday at 9:00 on CBS

Free Download of the Week: 21 Years of Music – Hanson (Noisetrade)

Deal of the Week: 100 Albums for $5 This month’s five dollar deal over on Amazon include Norah Jones, Counting Crows, Bruce Springsteen, and Weezer.

New Album Release of the Week: Annie Up – Pistol Annies

New DVD Release of the Week: Superman: Unbound

Video of the Week: The Walking Dead bad lip reading video is about as well written as the actual show. The best part is when it turns into a musical.

Next Week Pick of the Week: Locked Up Abroad, Sunday (tomorrow) at 10:00 on the National Geographic Channel: Now that you have seen the movie, now it is time to hear the real story of Argo from the people who lived it. And unlike the movie which featured Ben Affleck saving diplomats in Iran, tomorrow’s special episode of Locked Up Abroad features mostly testimonials from those who needed the rescuing. The real Ben Affleck character does not even show up for the first twenty minutes, but when he does show up, he had the best line, “This was the best bad idea we had.”

Friday, May 03, 2013

Around the Tubes: 5/3/13

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 Family Tree, XOXO Betsey Johnson, Resale Royalty, Dallas, Inside Out: The People’s Art Project, Gamer 3D, Mighty Fine, Felicity, Zac Brown Band, Mike Doughty, Life On The Road, Alan Alda, and The Callen Sisters.

- HBO’s latest comedy Family Tree comes from Christopher Guest and Jim Piddock and is about a down on his luck in love and life, having recently lost his job and girlfriend, 30-year-old Tom Chadwick has an unsure sense of his own identity. But when he inherits a mysterious box, Tom starts investigating his lineage and uncovers a world of unusual stories and characters, acquiring a growing sense of who he and his entire family are. Watch the trailer below and check it out when it premieres Sunday May 12 at 10:30.

- This May, get ready for the most fashionable Sunday nights you've had in ages. XOX Betsey Johnson, a docu-series starring Betsey Johnson and her daughter LuLu set to premiere May 12 at 8:00, looks into the crazy and exciting lifestyles of the mother-daughter duo. Then at 9:00, from executive producer Rachel Zoe, Resale Royalty exposes one of the fashion industry's hidden gems – a resale store with designer and vintage clothes and accessories nestled in an unsuspecting location in a St. Louis strip mall. Check out a trailer for the former below:

- TNT announced this week that it is renewing Dallas for a fifteen episode third season that is set to early in early 2014.

- If you missed Inside Out: The People’s Art Project at the Tribeca Film Festival, do not fret because it will be airing exclusively on HBO May 20 at 9:00. The documentary travels the globe with French artist JR as he motivates communities to define their most important causes by pasting giant black & white portraits in the street, testing the limits of what they thought possible.

- Out on DVD and / or blu ray next week include the Gerard Butler’s Gamer 3D, Mighty Fine starring Chazz Palminteri and Andie MacDowell, season three and four of Felicity.

- AXS TV will air the second of Zac Brown Band's three consecutive sold-out concerts at Red Rocks Amphitheatre LIVE on May 9, 2013 at 10:30. On the road in support of their #1 album, 'Uncaged,' the three-time GRAMMY Award winners have noted the iconic setting's "special mystique,” calling the experience of performing in this special venue “like playing in God’s hands.”

- Singer-songwriter Mike Doughty, formerly of Soul Coughing, has launched a PledgeMusic campaign to support a record of reinterpretations of the band's body of work. Click the link to donate.

- In his new webisode Life On The Road, Reggie Watts gives you a behind the scenes look at life on the road and shows you what it's like to perform alongside some of the most talented musicians in the world. Directed, shot and edited by Vikram Gandhi (KUMARE), "Life On The Road" Episode 1 paints a fascinating portrait of comedian/musician Reggie Watts.

- Thanks to M*A*S*H, The West Wing and a slew of successful movies, Alan Alda now has his pick of writing and directing projects. But what he really wants to talk about is science. In the May/June issue of The Saturday Evening Post, on newsstands now, Alda shares tales of both acting and his new scientific endeavors to Post contributor Claudia Gryvatz Copquin.

- The Callen Sisters have released their third single, Little Dreamer off their soon to be released album, The Lightbringer Project, fans of Sara Bareilles should take a take a listen below:

Thursday, May 02, 2013

It's a Trap!

The Americans

Even before it aired I was ready to love The Americans. It was the first show Graham Yost created after Justified, the best show on television. Then you add in Keri Russell as a Russian spy which sounded like it would be Homeland: The Reagan Years but seem from the opposition. Sure we know how the story turns out (SPOILER ALERT: the Russians lose) but Yost is a master storyteller and with the premiere set against Reagan’s election, they are still eight years away from the fall of the Berlin Wall and a full decade away from the dissolution of USSR. Not that I would mind if The Americans lasted long enough to see The Jennings adjust to the end of The Cold War.

As great as the premise, the season relied on too many television tropes. Of course the guy who just moved across the street is the newest counter-intelligence agent in the CIA who routinely is investigation The Jennings activities but never actually crosses paths with them except in the finale but did not get a good look at them in their disguises. The biggest disappointment of the first season was how uninteresting Margo Martindale. Yost brought her in after she deservedly won an Emmy for her role of Mags Bennett on Justified but her character just did not add anything as the Jennings’ handler except the time she bruised Elizabeth’s fists with her face.

But these complaints really are due to unfair comparisons to Justified and Homeland, two of my favorite shows. On its own, The Americans was still an edge of your seat cat and mouse game between the Jennings and Stan as they join each other for cookouts on their time off from spying. And where I thought from the beginning that The Jennings would eventually get turned and become double agents for the CIA at some point in the series (I always go back to the offer the turncoat KGB agent they captured offered them), the most fascinating part of the finale was when Nina’s boss made it a top priority that she try and turn Stan. Now going forward it may be a question of who turns both. Of course if this were Homeland, they probably would both turn on their country and be shocked when they run into each other at a CIA or KGB meeting.

Still, it was hard not to be disappointed by the finale. In the end nothing changed. The Jennings did not get caught and Stan and the rest of the CIA are no closer to catching than they were at the beginning of the season. I thought for sure Nina would not make it out of the season alive, or at the very least be resigned to a life in Siberia, but she is still around as a double agent, her alliances just switch back. Maybe I was just conditioned by Homeland to expect one mind blowing game changer per week (for better or worse) I was expecting The Americans would have at least one in a season. With the last scene, I thought,, okay, at least the daughter will learn of her parents double lives, but even that just ended on a cliffhanger. Did she find her parent's stash? Does it even matter? Is the son more worthless and Bobby Draper and Chris Brody combined? I guess we have to wait until next season for the answers.

The Americans 1.x gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale. You can download The Americans on iTunes.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Teacher Thinks that I Sound Funny but She Likes the Way You Sing

White Blood Cells - The White Stripes

At the turn of the century, music got really sedate, the only videos getting played on MTV (when they played music videos) were bland teen pop or crappy rap-rock songs. It took something truly innovative to get noticed. Enter Fell in Love with a Girl and its Lego inspired music video which busted through the monotony of everything else in heavy rotation. Even better was that accompanying song by The White Stripes was great even without the awesome visuals. And though the strict adherence to only two instruments per song (so they would be able to play them as is live in concert) and a red, white, and black color palate, could have pegged the duo as a one hit wonder, but none listen to the album White Blood Cells, this month’s induction into the Scooter Hall of Fame, showed they were much more than a gimmick.

The White Stripes were blues rock at its finest. Though most of their songs clocked in at less than three minutes, Jack White was able to pump at least one great guitar riff into each of them. The songs range from the down and gritty Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground, to the delta blues of The Union Forever, to the quick and simple Meg stomping Little Room, to the poppy acoustic Hotel Yorba which just begs to be sun along with.

As great as Fell in Love with a Girl is, the best track on the album just may be We’re Going to Be Friends. With just Jack and his acoustic guitar, he sings of a simpler time when worrying about the first day of school was your biggest problem. But it is also a day were you meet new friends that can last a lifetime. The song should be included in every graduation mix from now until the end of time. As The White Stripes showed, the simplest can also sometimes be the best.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I Want My Music Television: 4/30/13

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.

How Many Drinks? - Miguel featuring Kendrick Lamar

Is it wrong to like a song that is kinda promoting date rape? If Miguel needs to liquor up chicks to get them home, what hope is there for the rest of us? And what the frack is Kendrick Lamar wearing? It looks like he took that outfit out of my crazy uncle’s closet.

Feel it All – KT Tunstall

I really enjoyed KT Tunstall’s debut album but her subsqueant album veered too far into computerize dancy music, I hope this song is a sign she is going back to a more organic way of making music. But I do hope she did utilize computers when it came to making this music video because it really freaked me out if she was really walking the plank.

Out of My League - Fitz & The Tantrums

Fitz and the Tantrums first album was filled with retro soul and it sounds like they have updated to a New Wave sound for their sophomore outing. Even the music video is very eighties, I was ready for Max Headroom to pop out randomly.

OMYGOD! – Kate Nash

Yeah the stylization of the title is silly, but the new Kate Nash song is ultra catchy.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Musings from the Back 9: Music Edition XIII

If it were not for Limp Bizkit’s fifth attempt at being relevant again, Fall Out Boy may have been the most unwanted comeback of the past year. Even worse is they called their album Save Rock and Roll (so when you look at the album, you will see Fall Our Boy Save Rock n Roll) even though they along with their whiney contemporaries destroyed the genre (good riddance My Chemical Romance, the world will not be anticipating your inevitable reunion at Coachella 2020). Apparently the band did not watch the Grammy’s this year which featured Mumford & Sons, The Black Keys, Jack White, and Fun., four critically and commercially successful rock albums, all fight for Best Album.

But I am not a Fall Out Boy hater, a couple of their songs made my Best of the Year lists. Despite the first single My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light em Up) and its pretentious long title the band is known for, Save Rock n Roll is the band’s grown up album. Besides Light em Up, the rest of the album has “normal” titles and less tongue in cheek lyrics (Courtney Love spoken word diatribe on Rat a Tat notwithstanding). This album reminds me a lot of Blink-182’s “grown up” albums, they may have been musically better, but their songs where they would make prank phone calls about sodomy were more entertaining. Same for Save Rock n Roll where the album may sound better, but the most entertaining song is the one that sound most like their older work.

Save Rock n Roll gets a Terror Alert Level: Guarded [BLUE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Taylor Swift set up the template for country cross-over success. Hook in that country crowd then slowly creep closer and closer to pop music with every subsequent album until you are making crappy dubstep songs with Max Martin. It look like The Band Perry is copying that blueprint to a T. Much like Taylor did with Teardrops on My Guitar, Kimberly and her brother released a “Pop Remix” of If I Die Young to pop and adult contemporary stations. And that turn to the mass center continues on their sophomore album Pioneer which dips one toe into the country pool and the other in the pop world. The album starts off with their best song to date, the banjo infused Better Dig Two which is as much pop-rock as it is country. They continue to go back and forth and combine the two for the rest of the album, but none of it is very memorable. Maybe the true key to Taylor Swift's successes is dating and writing about douchebags when they inevitably break her heart.

Pioneer gets a Terror Alert Level: Guarded [BLUE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Last year I became obsessed with who the record companies would try to pass off as the “Next Adele.” First out the box was internet lightning rod Lana del Ray who was maybe the most prepackaged “indie” act ever with her devil may care attitude, thin voice, pretentious lyrics that wanted you to think they were much more important than they are, and music that borrows as much from retro sounds as it does modern day hip-hop. Though we never did get a Next Adele (at least until Emili Sandi manages to break out here stateside) you could call Jessie Ware the Next Lana Del Rey but Jessie comes off much less pretentious, less annoying and has a slightly better singing voice. The music is still draped in as many rap references while it borrows from music from the sixties (Wildest Moments is the best here which will grow on you with every new listen) but most songs come off as a little too sleepy and boring. But that is what makes her debut Devotion a great bedtime album, whether that is a good or bad thing may depend on how much Ambient you take on a monthly basis.

Devotion gets a Terror Alert Level: Guarded [BLUE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 4/28/13

Mad Men: Okay, the show is officially messing with the viewers now. C’mon, Jefferson D’Arcy? Add him to the list of sometimes blink and you missed it cameos from Alex Mack, Mr. Belding, Rory Gilmore, the dude from The Nanny, and the recently Don conquest of Lindsey Weir. And Jefferson totally distracted from the appearance of the chick from Sugar and Spice as Joan’s sister (? I am not entire sure what that relationship was). Is it some deeply meta ploy to cast retro actors in a retro show? At any rate it gets distracting. I had to go straight to my computer after the show just to make sure my mind was not playing tricks on me and I really saw a fat Jefferson D’Arcy proposition Don Draper in a wife swap (something I am sure he tried while married to Marcy multiple times).

Until he popped up on screen, I was going to spend most of this space wondering who was interested in following Dawn home a season later. And speaking of the show messing with me, why was Allison Brie listed as a Special Guest Star and completely missing from the episode? Has it been in the credits all season and I just missed it or was she left on the cutting room floor, but kept in the credits for union reasons? I am also interested in how Harry learned of how Joan got het partnership. I do not remember him being in the room when it was suggested she help land Jaguar (but then again I have a hard time remembering what happened last week). Did someone tell him or did he not know and just correctly guessed that is how a woman like Joan could become partner?
You can download Mad Men on iTunes.

Vikings: I had a feeling the priest would be the one that would be offered to the Gods but somehow would manage to get out of it, he is too interesting of a character to let go of this early. Though he apparently has not renounced Jesus Christ in his heart yet, I wonder if it will happen eventually. I have noticed he no longer shaves the circle in his head.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Vikings on iTunes

The Voice: I covered all the singing during my most recent Power Rankings, but I did not get to talk about “the new coach who shocks his fellow judges and producers.” Now I have watched every episode of Survivor and their promo so I am used to a Mark Burnett production to talk in absurd hyperbole, but this ended not even being a letdown or disappointing. It just did not happen. What exactly did Usher do that was so shocking? Not pushing his button until Cathia started walking down the steps? He did that with his other Steal but let the guy walk past him before pressing his button. Was it him calling Shakira narcissistic? I guess that was a little shocking.

You can stream recent episodes on Hulu.

Survivor: Caramoan: It is befuddling to me that there has been about a decade’s worth of Food Auctions and there are still people who waste their money on food. Seriously, you hold your money until Jeff offers up a clue. That is Survivor 101. And you certainly do not let someone who is not in your alliance get that clue. How the remnants of Stealth-R-Us let Malcolm get the clue when they still had enough money to outbid him is beyond me. At least that led to one of my most favorite scenes ever on the show with Malcolm and Andrea sitting on a log for an entire day. The whole episode could have been those two sitting there and I would not have mind. But if I am Malcolm, I keep searching even if Andrea is there. She already knows what you are doing. Worst case scenario is she is the one that finds it, and since she has the numbers, she does not even need it. I wonder now if Andrea or Cochran go back there and looks for it now that Malcolm is out. Did Malcolm tell the rest of the Douchebag Alliance where it was?
You can stream recent episodes over at You can also download Survivor: Philippines on iTunes.

The Americans: I knew someone would eventually become a double agent, the question was when. Although I guess Nina is technically a triple agent now (assuming her boss taker her up on her offer and not sent her to Siberia). And with the FBI now closing in on the Jennings, they know have multiple sketches of them and know they are bugging their office, I wonder if they will be forced to become double agents at some point, which is something I thought was going to happen back in the premiere when the other turncoat made the offer. Although it would be really interesting is one becomes a double agent unbeknownst to the other. What really surprised me was Clarke getting married to Martha. Never saw that coming. Now I wonder if Martha will survive the season.
You can download The Americans on iTunes.

The Big Bang Theory: It really is annoying whenever the show taps into my own experiences and uses them on the show to show how crazy Sheldon is (though I disagree about the quality of Heroes drecressing until the point it was satisfyingly canceled, Heroes was never good to begin with), so I knew pretty early on as soon as Amy left, Sheldon would go back and complete everything because that would totally be something I would do.
You can stream recent episodes over at You can also download The Big Bang Theory on iTunes.

Hannibal: With her taking the week off, it became clear to me Abigail Hobbs is the most interesting character on the show. Even though I never read the books or saw the movies, we know where Hannibal and Will land, but what is fascination about the show is figuring out where Abigail will end up. Will she end up being Dr. Lecter’s apprentice, or will she go to FBI school to be more like Will. If you missed Abigail like me, make sure you check out the Hannibal Webisobes (six in all) which features Ms. Hobbs taking up Dr. Lecter’s offer to have dinner with him. Alana Bloom also started to get interesting during the webisobes.

You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Hannibal on iTunes.

Happy Endings: It looks increasingly likely that this show is going to be canceled (unless it gets a reprieve from TBS or the increasing numbers of channels and steaming sites) and after the besmirched the good name of Better Than Ezra, I am glad they will probably be off the air forever after next week. How dare they call BTE a one hit wonder?
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Happy Endings on iTunes.