Saturday, August 03, 2013

Best of the Week: 8/3/13

Quote of the Week: Who the (expletive deleted) are you Ray? (Abby Donovan, Ray Donovan)

Song of the Week: Bad Things – Meiko (Pretty Little Liars)

Scene of the Week:

Big News of the Week: If You Use the N-Word at a Kenny Chesney Concert, You May Be a Redneck: Last week, I have never heard the name Riley Cooper, but the guy ended up leading Pardon the Interruption three straight days this week (and may continue into next week) after using the derogatory term at security guard at a country concert. But to Cooper’s credit, he quickly apologized and took full responsibility for his drunken stupidity (unlike other racists this summer). But how does the NFL not give the guy an obligatory one game suspension? Hopefully the “sizable fine” he received was at least one game check.

Preview Picture of the Week:

“There’s No Place Like Home” guest starring Tim Conway, Paul Dooley, Ron Glass, Marion Ross, and Doris Roberts, Major Crimes, Monday at 9:00 on TNT

Free Download of the Week: Best Day Ever – Bob Schneider (NoiseTrade)

Deal of the Week: 100 Albums for $5 Each: This month’s discounted albums include greatest hits from U2, The Beastie Boys, James Brown, and Tears for Fears.

New Album Release of the Week: The Civil Wars - The Civil Wars

New DVD Release of the Week: Community: The Complete Fourth Season

Video of the Week: Bad Milo is a movie which features Ken Marino with a killer tumor that comes out of his butt. Why is this movie not out now? Please not below is the red band trailer, so you may want to avoid watching it at work, around your family, are around anyone without a sense of humor.

Next Week Pick of the Week: Falling Skies, Sunday at 10:00 on TNT: It seems like the third season of Falling Skies just started up, but here we are at the finale already (will the fall season just next month, I guess all the summer shows will be winding down soon). This season was all about spies and double cross with two (and maybe more) humans with bugs controlling them and we still not know what the Volm are really up to (but the promo monkeys would have us believe they are up to something). Hopefully the show can come up with another finale like last season that saw the introduction of the Volm.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Around the Tubes: 8/2/13

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 Hard Knocks, Dreamchaser: In Concert, Casting By, Face Off, Hawaii Five-O, Helix, Continuum, Enough Said, Howard Stern Show, Irocke, The Dough Rollers, and Rod Stewart.

- Yesterday may have been just the start of August, but pre-season football starts up next week end and with it comes the new season of Hard Knocks on HBO premiering Tuesday at 10:00. The five-episode edition features the Cincinnati Bengals again this year.

Hard Knocks on HBO

- Starting August 3, Sarah Brightman's PBS concert special Dreamchaser: In Concert will begin airing on PBS stations nationwide. The concert is inspired by the beauty of space and incorporates all of Brightman's major milestones- from her starring role in Lloyd Webber's original Broadway production of Phantom of the Opera, to fulfilling her lifelong dream: a space trip to the International Space Station. Check out the trailer below:

- Perhaps the foremost casting director, Marion Dougherty plucked several now-iconic actors out of obscurity, among them James Dean, Warren Beatty, Robert Redford, Christopher Walken and Glenn Close, giving them their first break in front of the camera. With strong, original opinions about authenticity and a knack for discovering unique talent, she turned the old Hollywood system on its head by using actors with a nuanced sense of character and individuality, rather than depending on typecasting, and broke racial barriers by pairing Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in the Lethal Weapon series. Casting By premieres Monday, August 5 at 9:00 exclusively on HBO.

- The new season of Face Off returns Tuesday, August 13 at 9:00 with Veterans vs. Newbies theme. There will also be a two hour Face Off: The Vets Strike Back, Tuesday, August 6 at 9:00 which will look back on the past seasons to highlight the veteran contestants’ best and worst moments. You can check out what the veterans have been up to below:

- TNT is hitting the beach this summer as the network adds the action-packed drama series Hawaii Five-0 to the primetime lineup. The series is set to air on TNT Thursdays at 9 and 10 p.m. beginning Aug. 8.

- Syfy’s newest original scripted series Helix from Sony Pictures Television began production this past weekend in Montreal, Canada. The 13-episode drama is executive produced by Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica, Outlander), Steven Maeda (Lost, The X-Files) who is also showrunner, and Lynda Obst (Sleepless in Seattle, Contact). Cameron Porsandeh, who wrote the pilot, will serve as a Co-Executive Producer. Helix is an intense thriller about a team of scientists from the Centers for Disease Control who travel to a high-tech research facility in the Arctic to investigate a possible disease outbreak, only to find themselves pulled into a terrifying life-and-death struggle that may hold the key to mankind’s salvation or total annihilation. However, the lethal threat is just the tip of the iceberg, and as the virus evolves, the chilling truth begins to unravel.

- In other Syfy news, since it was already renewed in Canada, it was only a matter of time before Continuum would get renewed by the American channel that airs it and Syfy confirmed it this week and will air the thirteen episode season starting in 2014.

- Coming to select theaters on Friday September 20, Enough Said is about A divorced and single parent, Eva (Julia Louis Dreyfus) spends her days enjoying work as a masseuse but dreading her daughter's impending departure for college. She meets Albert (James Gandolfini) - a sweet, funny and like-minded man also facing an empty nest.

Enough Said starring Julia Louis Dreyfus and James Gandolfini

- On Howard Stern Show this week, Howard interviewed Robin Thicke about creating a career in the shadow of his father, the genesis of his hit song “Blurred Lines,” how he has changed his wife and he gave a live performance. The complete, wide-ranging interview can only be seen on Howard TV On Demand now, but here is a brief clip.

- Irocke, the #1 source for live streaming concerts worldwide, announces the schedule of live streaming concerts to be broadcast during week-long Forever Festival, Earth’s First Live Digital Music Festival, from Sunday, August 4, 2013 at 5:00pm PDT to Sunday, August 11, 2013 at 11:59pm PDT. Live music fans tuning into the Forever Festival website and partner sites will discover and enjoy over 200 free and PPV performances by a wide range of artists in collaboration with more than 30 leading live digital concert venues in more than 10 countries around the world.

- If you are looking for some good old fashion rock and roll, naturally you will find it on Third Man Records artist The Dough Rollers. Check out Little Lily below:

In celebration of the 50th performance of Rod Stewart: The Hits., Rod Stewart today announced that he will extend his original two year contract at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace and will return with his critically acclaimed show "Rod Stewart: The Hits." for two more years beginning this fall. As the two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer wraps his summer run of performances this week, nine new November concerts have been added from November 6 through 24.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Take Me Where You Go Only Higher

Dulcinea - Toad the Wet Sprocket

If you were born the last time Toad the Wet Sprocket released an album, you may just received your driver’s license but the band recently reconvened and will be releasing their new album in the new reality in the new millennium, through crowd sourcing (their Kickstarter has already been funded but if they reach $250,000 by Sunday, all backers will receive Live EP from their August Tour). For those born before their time, Toad the Wet Sprocket was a college rock band in the age of alternative music, more R.E.M. than Smashing Pumpkins. Yet the same year, R.E.M. relented to the times and made its grungiest album ever with Monster, Toad stayed the course and made their best album of their career, Dulcinea which is this month’s induction into the Scooter Hall of Fame.

Granted by today’s standard, Toad the Wet Sprocket could be considered Dad Rock with mellow songs like the album opener Fly from Heaven, the plaintive Windmills, the playful Nanci, and the moody and retrospective Something’s Always Wrong. But to show you just how out of touch they were with the agro guys of the time, I remember the local disk jockey pronouncing the title “Dull-Cin-da” once even in front of the band during an interview. Apparently the guys at the alternative rock station were not familiar with the Don Quixote love interest.

That is not to say Toad could not rock, though they never went full agro, there was still some heaviness to songs like Woodburning, which may have been the closest thing the band themselves ever got to grunge. The best song on the album was the one Toad song that would not sound out of place in a mosh pit: Fall Down. The frantic track verges on paranoia and anxiety as we transitioned into the mid-nineties, but the song never lost control which many of the alternative bands of the time would have done. The upcoming album New Constellations may not live up to Dulcinea, but it is good to have Toad the Wet Sprocket back on the scene.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Ten Most Absurd "Related Artists" on Spotify

Last week, Grantland featured a story on the art of the comeback explaining how to do it (Daft Punk) and what not to do (Guns N' Roses). Not surprisingly the writer suggests not letting the back-story overshadow your record, you know, like taking fourteen years and thirteen millions dollars to record it and certainly do not wait until Dr. Pepper guilt you into releasing it because it will turn out bad for the both of you (five years later I still have not bought a Dr. Pepper after getting stiffed on my free can that I was promised). But in the article, the writer suggested that Chinese Democracy is better that you probably remember which made me pop up Spotify to give it a first listen in five years (nope, still extremely disappointing). I bring this up because while on Spotify I had a big laugh at who was listed as Guns n’ Roses top “Related Artists” according to Spotify. I got such a good laugh out of it I decided to comb through the sight for the most absurb “Related Artists” according to Spotify and here are the top ten I found.

1. Guns n’ Roses – When I think Guns ‘n’ Roses I think eighties Sunset Strip and the hair bands of the era or possibly the other hard rock heavyweights of the time Metallica who they had an ill fated tour with back in the nineties. But nope, the most related artists to Guns n’ Roses is The Proclaimers. Yes the creepy twins one hit wonder from Scotland who sang I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles).

2. Beastie Boys – Most people think of the Beastie Boys as rappers but they have released punk albums too back in the day, and this may very well lead to the most random top five related artists currently on Spotify: classic rock God the The Jimi Hendrix Experience, underground hip-hop group Jurassic 5, the industrial Nine Inch Nails, alternative rockers Smashing Pumpkins, and the indie group Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Pull up the full Related Artists page and it gets even more random: Justice (dance), The Heavy (funk), Soundgarden (grunge), The White Stripes (garage rock), Wu-Tang Clan (hardcore rap), and Blind Melon (one hit wonders).

3. The Chemical Brothers – Here is another group that is listed as a Related Artist of the Beastie Boys but just because their top Related Artist is another Related Artist of the Beastie Boys (though I have no idea how either group are related to the Beastie Boys) does not make it any less head-scratching because do not ask me how the electronic group from the nineties is at all related to punk forefathers The Clash.

4. Taylor Swift – Taylor is a country artist whose records get poppier and poppier as they are released and other female contry crossover artists Carrie Underwood, The Band Perry and Sugarland are all in her top five, but number one? The YouTube superstars and elecro-pop duo Karmin.

5. Rage Against the Machine – Sure Rage and Thin Lizzy are both technically rock artists that were featured on VH1 Classic’s Metal Evolution but it was two entirely different episodes, sub-genres, and eras. Granted if I were Rage Against the Machine, I would not want to be linked to the horrible nu-metal moment that came after them either.

6. Snow Patrol – Earlier this month when I posted my Greatest Eras in Rock and Roll History, Snow Patrol was featured in the Pop-Rock wave of the early 00’s and I would have figured other acts I had with them, Coldplay, David Gray, The Killers, would be among their top artists. Nope, instead it is the teenaged cover artists who takes every song and turns it into a mopey depressing ode, Birdy. Snow Patrol is not even one of the bands she covered. The rest of Snow Patrol’s top five which includes Lissie, Paloma Faith, and Counting Crows is almost as head scratching).

7. Lionel Richie – Lionel was one of the biggest acts of the eighties and I fully expected to see other RnB-pop acts of the time like Michael Jackson or Prince in his Related Artists or even his former group The Commodores. Instead his top five in order are new wave band Berlin number one followed by Cyndi Lauper, Phil Collins (who is also absurdly Jackson’s top Related Artist), Chicago, and Eric Carmen.

8. Robin Thicke –Considering he has the biggest song on the planet, Spotify would get this blue eyed soul man some artist of his ilk like contemporary Mayer Hawthorne or maybe the greatest blue-eyed soul man ever Daryl Hall, either solo or with Oates, but no, his top artist is Janet Jackson while other female nineties RnB acts TLC and Aaliyah also populate his top five.

9. Weezer – Sure Weezer and Stone Temple Pilots both are under the very large alternative rock of the nineties tent, but I would like think Spotify would be smart to have Weezer grouped together with other geek rockers Barenaked Ladies or Ben Folds Five instead of the second wave of grunge.

10. The Breeders - The Breeders were an alternative rock one hit wonder off shoot of The Pixies from the nineties, Robert Johnson was a blues singer who was born 102 years ago. Seriously Spotify, how does this even happen?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I Want My Music Television: 7/30/13

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.

Love Illumination – Franz Ferdinand

When I first saw the title of the new Love Illumination song, I thought it said “Love Illusion” and after watching the music video for the song, I may not have been the only one because there are some freaky illusions there, to the point it started to make my head hurt.

The Love We Had (Stays on My Mind) – Joss Stone

I did not think much of The Soul Sessions vol. 2 when it came out as it did not live up to the first installment (Joss Stone really should have brought back ?uestlove to produce it). After hearing this song, I may have to revisit because this is pretty good baby making music. Maybe Joss should just go ahead and make an entire album of baby making music. I fully endorse that idea.

Future Away (Romance Police) – Lissie

I am digging the new Lissie and and the video has a cool seventies vibe, but that muscle stirt she wears in a couple scenes is disturbingly distracting. She really should just have stuck with the Jane’s Addiction shirt the whole time.

The Rock – Deer Tick

As weird as the previously mentioned Franz Ferdinand video is, the new Deer Tick video may actually be creepier with its close up on the Ryan Gosling look-a-like.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The 10 Best Episodes of Veronica Mars

Production on the Veronica Mars Movie wrapped last week which gives you about six to nine months until the movie hits theaters or Netflix. That is plenty of time to watch or re-watch the series which only ran for three seasons and sixty-four episodes (watching one a day will get you close to finish before the fall television season kicks into high gear). But if you do not have the time for the entire series but want to see what the hoopla around the show is and get the gist of the series before the movie comes out, here are the ten best episodes you definitely check out. But just jot down the episode titles (and rearrange them chronologically), because my descriptions will get a little spoilery.

1. Pilot (Season 1, Episode 1): Who would have guessed a show about a teenage detective would be so good? Luckily the buzz around the show was so great that I had to check it out and the premiere lived up to the hype. When we meet Veronica Mars, she is the disgraced daughter of the disgraced sheriff who bundled the murder of her best friend, bumping her down from the upper echelon of the social hierarchy to the very bottom. And to add insult to injury, she was roofied and raped on her way to the bottom. This is the start of her road to redemption and what a trip it ended up being.

2. A Trip to the Dentist (Season 1, Episode 21): Usually a show leaves its best for last, but the show has so much to wrap up they had plenty to fill the penultimate episode of the season which ended up being slightly better than the finale. After learning Logan was the one supplying the Rohypnol at Shelly Pomroy’s End of the World Party, Ronnie was slowly able to piece together what happened that night with the help of many retuning Neptune students from throughout the first season until she leaned that Madison Sinclaire gave her a “trip to the dentist” with a cup Dick meant to loosen up his girlfriend at the time. The episode even left us with one more suspect in the Lily Kane murder list when Vee discovered the Echoll’s video room and the episode ended for the second straight time with Veronica standing Logan up.
3. Donut Run (Season 2, Episode 11): The fond (almost) farewell of Duncan Kane. I have to admit Duncan and Ronnie had me fooled, but in the end they came up with an ingenuous plan to get Duncan out of the country with the aid of Vinnie and VanLowe (and unwillingly Sheriff Lamb). The episode capped with one of the best musical moments on the show with Adelaide playing by The Old 97’s playing as Vee starred at her fortune cookie complete with the Lost numbers (mmm, I just may have to do The Greatest Musical Moment on Veronica Mars around the time the movie is released).
4. The Bitch Is Back (Season 3, Episode 20): If you are going out, might as well go out with a bang. After being publically humiliated and ostracized after a video of her just as the way God made her hit the internets, we saw the return of season one Ronnie as she went on the warpath to find those responsible which even involved a run in from Jake Kane, not seen since the first season.
5. Leave It to Beaver (Season 1, Episode 22): Talk about hiding in plain sight. Despite being a violent psychopath, it never dawned on me that Aaron was the one that killed Lily leading the climactic scene with the action star stalking Veronica in her car and the subsequent showdown with Keith in a fiery back yard.
6. Normal Is the Watchword (Season 2, Episode 1): After a near perfect first season, the show could have easily fallen into a sophomore slump, but over the course of an hour, the show nicely wrapped up the burning questions from last season, solved a case of false positive drug test, and set up two season long mysteries masterfully with who killed Felix and why did the bus which included Meg Manning fall off a cliff. The season also promoted the Casablancas boys to cast members and introduced us to the Goodman family (Steve Guttenberg and Krystan Ritter) and Vice President Clemmons’s son Butters.
7. Spit & Eggs (Season 3, Episode 9): We got condensed mysteries in the third season, but the conclusion of the Heart Rapist storyline was just as epic with Ronnie having a showdown with the evil perp. And how apropos was it that it was Parker who was the one that saved Veronica (which begs the question, was does she always needing saving by the Big Bad’s).
8. Not Pictured (Season 2, Episode 22): Okay, the reveal was a bit over the top, Cassidy blew up the bus just to shut up the two other ball boys who wanted to go public about Woody Goodman’s extracurricular activities, that killed Woody (and to Veronica’s knowledge) her father right in front of her just so no one would find out that Woody also molested him. Oh yeah, and it turned out that Beaver actually did rape her at Shelly Pomroy’s party. Alrighty. Once you get past Beaver’s mustache twirling, still a solid finale to the second season. Plus the writers may have tipped their cap with the possible third season with the Duncan Clarence Weidman conversation, “CW?” “It’s a done deal.”
9. Welcome Wagon (Season 3, Episode 1): Transition to college can be tricky for television shows (and real life) but Veronica Mars made the change smoothly mostly because it was always more than a high school show. Ronnie quickly took up the case to find Wallace’s new roommate’s stolen stuff and, well, boom goes the dynamite.
10. Silence of the Lambs (Season 1, Episode 11): Mac and Madison Sinclaire return for a second episode and who would have guessed that they were switched at birth? Ironically the episode featured a blink and you will miss it cameo from Katie LeClerc who would go on to star in Switched at Birth in her first profession role. The episode also featured future Emmy winner Aaron Paul as a Girl Gone Bad wannabe cameraman. We also get our first look at the latest addition to the Neptune sheriff’s office: Deputy Leo, the Ronnie suitor I would most like to see her end up with in the movie.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 7/28/13

Falling Skies: When Tom shot Karen my first thought was oh my God, they killed Karen! My second thought was, wait, she did not say that line they repeated over and over again in the promos, they must have Inceptioned Tom putting him in a dream inside a dream. Stupid promo monkeys spoiling the episode. But I wonder how many people spotted Cochise in Tom’s dream. If you missed it, that was Doug Jones without his Chochise costume talking to Gloria Rubin in the teacher’s lounge.
You can download Falling Skies on iTunes.

Ray Donavan: There are very few things I need to see less than Jon Voight dancing to Now That We Found Love in a gay bar.

Under the Dome: An interesting question of what would be on your playlist if you only have a half an hour before being nuked by your own government. The DJ went with the soothing tones of Mozart. I think I would embrace the impending doom and put on It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) or maybe War Pigs. And all it took for the dude to care about his sister was a MOAB. Though odd it took Big Jim a whole day to decide he should release her. But will Junior just drag her back down next episode after he realizes the bomb failed? At least the preacher finally died. It was pretty obvious after the pacemaker took out the sheriff that the preacher’s hearing aid would do him in.
You can stream Under The Dome exclusively on Amazon Instant Video, free for Prime members.

Pretty Little Liars: So we got our first confirmation that Red Coat is Cece, assuming that hanger dude was not told to give that name by the real Red Coat if pressed. I am thinking that is the case because that is kind of an underwhelming reveal and shows like this love big reveals. I am still betting Allison is actually alive and pulling the strings.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Pretty Little Liars on iTunes.

The Bridge: My biggest complaint about the Pilot was that I do not really like when there are random characters that seem to have no connects but undoubtedly will end up intercepting by the end of the season. Thankfully we only had to wait three episodes before the three random storylines started to intercut as the police had to inform Charlotte of the ransom and Steven became the chief suspect of the investigation. Now I just wonder how long they stay in each other’s path or how long before we get a connection between Charlotte and Steven.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download The Bridge on iTunes.

The Challenge: Rivals II: That was one solid episode even if both challenges were kind of lame (remember the good old days when they had to melt blocks of ice with only body heat?). You had Marlon open up the episode by hooking up with a dude and closed it out with hooking up with a chick (this season needs more Nanny who along with Frank was the breakout star last season). He even got in a shouting match with Knight after a game of charades got out of hand (which may be the first time ever anywhere; Hollywood Game Night certainly would be more watchable if a brawl broke out after a game of charades). And that was not even the best fight of the night which went to Anessa and Trashelle which featured Trashelle hitting Anessa’s elbow with her face which was enough to make Trashelle quit which, of course, pissed off T.J (and inadvertently sent Sarah packing for the second time simply because of the partner she was paired with). And an annoyed T.J. is an entertaining T.J. This gave me the idea of an entire season made up exclusively of people who have quit in the past. It would be awesome to see T.J. tear down these contestants week after week.
You can download The Challenge: Rivals II on iTunes.

The Hero: Of course the two people I was thinking of voting for ended up going home in the last episode. Really, all the talk of what it means to be a hero got extremely annoying this season. Seriously, you not a hero for electing to go home yourself, you are a moron. Even worse, Charles probably had the best chance of the final six to win. I hope for Charles’ sake, whoever win thinks it is heroic enough to throw him some dollars for his stupid selfish act.
You can download The Hero on iTunes.