Saturday, September 14, 2013

Best of the Week: 9/14/13

Quote of the Week: Thank you for telling me that deeply depressing story Shawn. You actually make m feel really good about myself, and that is awesome. (Daniel Frye, The Bridge)

Song of the Week: (Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay – Otis Redding (as sung by Tig, Sons of Anarchy)

Big News of the Week: 25 Anniversary of Alternative Charts: The alternative charts hit its silver anniversary this week. Granted I only knew the alternative charts still exists because Billboard ran an article last month saying that Royals was the first solo female artist to top that chart since before she was born (Tracy Bonham was the last to do so five months before Lorde was even born). Before that I just assumed the Alternative charts folded in the nineties.

Like many anniversaries, Billboard included a list of The Top 100 Alternative Song in the chart’s history and like many of Billboard lists, it sucked massively. Going into the list I assumed the obvious number one would be Smells Like Teen Spirit but apparently grunge was not alternative for Billboard because that was the only song on the list and it was only 16, it was the only Nirvana song on the list (though a scan of Wikipeadia showed that Heart Shaped Box, All Apologies, and About a Girl all topped the chart at one point) and no other iconic Seattle band made the list.

Though Billboard releases the worst lists anywhere on the internet, 100-10 was a nice trip down memory lane with great tracks by Primitive Radio Gods, Better Than Ezra, 311 (and a few artists I have never heard of, Julian Cope anyone?). Then I got to the top which was filled with mind numbingly bad selections. Muse was not only number one, but had two of the top three spots (Uprising and Madness) with some band named Rise Against in between with a song that not only never reached number one, it peaked at number three. I think most people would agree that the Golden Age of Alternative Music occurred during the nineties yet seven of the top eight sings were from the twenty-first century. This is just a farce, c’mon, no one is bouncing their grandchildren on their knees telling them about the alternative scene from the late 00’s.

Preview Picture of the Week:

“Take the Ride, Pay the Toll” The Bridge, Wednesday at 10:00 on FX

Free Download of the Week: The Hearse - Wampire (Amazon MP3)

Deal of the Week: 90's Television Shows Sale: Newsradio, Mad About You, Dawson’s Creek

New Album Release of the Week: Wise Up Ghost - Elvis Costello and The Roots

New DVD Release of the Week: Grimm: Season Two

Video of the Week: I was out on The Voice last season when the bored housewives and weirdoes pushed The Swon Brothers and Michelle Chamuel much further than their talent dictated. So I was hesitant going into season five. Then I saw this promo and after thirty seconds I am cautiously back in for two reasons: 1) I am pretty sure Cee-Lo shaved Bam Bam Bigalo’s head tattoo into his scalp, and 2) I am already ready to anoint the chick who sings The Scientist the winner after just five second. And to answer your questions to make cyber stalking easier, yes she has already been identified: Holly Henry (bonus points for the strong name, I am a big fan of name alliterations), and yes, she has a YouTube page (bonus points for The xx cover) so you do not have to put her five seconds from the video on a loop for the next ten days. You are welcome. Here is hoping Holly end up on Blake’s team assuming he does not go all country again this season (since the Blind Audition were taped after last season, I wonder if his country only season will deter non-country artists from picking him this season), and she does not get Caroline Glasered so the bored housewives and weirdoes push mediocrity through the Live Rounds. And if Holly does get Glasered, I probably will stop watching and will skip season six. Unless of course Cee-Lo shows up with a Kid n Play flattop. (Holly does cover Your Song on YouTube so if her and Caroline cannot find success after The Voice, they should think about teaming up and start an Elton John cover band).

Next Week Pick of the Week: Survivor, Wednesday at 8:00 on CBS: For the sixth time in eight seasons, Survivor is bringing back former contestants and like last season’s Fans vs. Favorites, half the cast will be made up of returnees. But unlike last season, they will not be battling fans but as the title suggest blood relatives. Okay, half are married or just dating couples, but let’s not quibble too much because there are bigger things to complain about. First and foremost is the return of Colton Crumbie, the gay racist Republican from Alabama (who will be teamed up with his fiancé Caleb). There are villains on this show that you love to hate, but Colton was not one of those, he is someone you hate so much you want to change the channel and never return.

It may not take an act of God to get rid of Colton this time around because this season will also see the return of Redemption Island (I told you there were plenty other things worth complaining about) and each tribe will be sending member straight to there at the start of the show and Colton seems like the obvious pick for the returnees (it has to be either him or season two winner Tina Wesson) while for the “Blood” Rupert Boneham’s wife Laura will probably get the early boot. And just to make things complicated, if your loved one sent to Redemption Island, you can actually take their place and they will take your place on the tribe so I fully expect Rupert to fall on the sword and take his wife’s spot (and I am guessing will be the only one to do so except maybe the two mothers) only for his wife to be the third person voted into Redemption. While I am in the predicting mood, let me go ahead and predict one of the greatest people to ever have played this game, or even walked this Earth will win this season: Kat Edorsson from One World.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Around the Tubes: 9/13/13

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 Ironside, Welcome to the Family, Robocroc, True Detective, Killing Kennedy, House of Lies, Friars Club Roast, Troubadour, TX, Monogen, and Mob City.

- We are still a week away until the start of the Fall television season but the series premieres of new shows are already popping up onto the internet to test out before their official premiere. NBC has already put out new sitcom Welcome to the Family and Ironside (neither that actually premiere until October, 3 and 2 respectively) which I have embedded below. Personally I can wait to see Casey Cartwright play a New York City cop every week.

- With a name like Robocroc, you know it is a Syfy original movie. It is described as “Top secret nanotechnology transforms a zoo's crocodile into a massive, deadly Robocroc that wreaks bloody havoc on an adjacent water park!” Check out the trailer below and tune in tomorrow at 9:00 to watch.

- HBO just released the first trailer for its next new show True Detective which is written by Nic Pizzolatto and directed by Cary Fukunaga. It centers on two detectives, Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and Martin Hart (Woody Harrelson), whose lives collide and entwine during a seventeen-year hunt for a serial killer in Louisiana. The investigation of a bizarre murder in 1995 is framed and interlaced with testimony from the detectives in 2012, when the case has been reopened. Check out the trailer below and mark your calendar.

- The much talked about Killing Kennedy finally has a release date: Sunday November 10 on the National Geographic Channel (though no time is given yet).

- House of Lies starts productions later this month and have just signed up two guest stars. Mekhi Phifer will star as Dre, a successful entrepreneur and clothing company founder who hires Marty (Don Cheadle) to help expand his empire, while Eliza Coupe will star as Marissa, a wild-child internet company head and heir to a wealthy media family.

- Former NFL quarterback and NFL MVP Boomer Esiason will take his turn in the hot seat at the next Friars Club Roast on Thursday, January 30, 2014, at a luncheon at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, just in time for NYC to host the Super Bowl. For the first time, a limited number of tickets to the Friars Club Roast will be made available to the public. To purchase these tickets, or for more information on the Friars Club, including the latest news on the Friars Club Roast honoring Boomer Esiason, please visit

- This fall, Troubadour, TX will present the one-hour television special An Evening with Kris Kristofferson, that will air on networks carrying the syndicated series. The special features a rare one-on-one conversation and musical performances by the American musical poet, Kris Kristofferson.

- Synth-pop enthusiasts will want to check out new artist Monogen. Take a listen to The Glow below:

- TNT has released new key art for the upcoming Mob City, take a gander below:

Key art for Mob City

Key art for Mob City

Thursday, September 12, 2013

I am Sharper than a Razor, Eyes Made of Lasers

The Electric Lady - Janelle Monáe

Yes the second album from Janelle Monáe, The Electric Lady is a concept album. And not only is a concept, it is actually a sequel to her debut album and an EP before that which are about time-traveling messianic cyborg named Cindi Mayweather, played by Monáe, who’s been tasked with delivering an oppressed people from the clutches of The Great Divide, a dastardly corps of other time traveling robots. But do not let the concept album label or the sci-fi plot scare you off, if you went into the album without that knowledge, you would not even notice it at all except for three interludes presented as a radio talk show host DJ. And those tracks can be easily deleted if you download the album.

On her debut, Monáe set herself up as the new millennium, slightly more feminism version of Prince with a live show reminiscent of James Brown. So it is apropos that the purple one himself shows up on the first full song on The Electric Lady pulling out his killer falsetto and a guitar solo, but the real star of Givin Em what They Love is one of the funkiest bass lines you will hear all year. This starts an onslaught of collaborations with Erykah Badu (Q.U.E.E.N.) and Solange (Electric Lady) showing the ladies can be funky on their own.

Naturally things slow down when Miguel shows up for Primetime, a song the just oozes pure sex. Ladies, you may just get impregnated by it just from listening highlighted by another great groove (seriously, Janelle’s bassist needs to show up on ever RnB record for the next decade) and is an instant add to any baby-making playlist.

After the guests have left the building (the bane of Justin Beiber fans existence Esperanza Spalding does show up on the penultimate track) and two more dance songs, it sounds like Monáe is trying to audition to sing the next James Bond theme starting with Look into My Eyes. And not one of those crappy modern day Bond Themes, but one from a cool sixties Bond movie. And though the album slows down for a bit in the second half, it does finish strong What an Experience, a syth driven song that would not have sounded out of place on the radio back when Price was ruling it back in the eighties. The Electric Lady is an upgrade over The Archandroid and here is hoping that the final saga of Cindi Mayweather is even better still.

Song to Download – PrimeTime

The Electric Lady gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I Want My Music Television: 9/11/13

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.

Berzerk – Eninem

I have never been excited for an Eminem album but it is hard not to get excited when this is the first single and the knowledge that the album is being co-produced by Rick Rubin (who did this song and pops up in the video to grow his beard out and just weird out) and Dr. Dre. And then he release this video with other cameos by Kendrick Lamar and Kid Rock as well as references to the two artists he samples, Billy Squier and Beastie Boys (for you youngin’ go check out the video for So What'cha Want for that reference).

Roar – Katy Perry

I have to admit that I do not completely hate this song which is saying a lot because that is basically the second nicest thing I have ever said about a song by Katy Perry (I file Teenage Dream under "begrudgingly enjoy"). Sure, as everyone has pointed out it completely rips off Brave from Sara Bareilles (I am surprised no one points that extending the title in the chorus blatently rips off Umbrella, and does it poorly at that), but it is so stupid, it is hard to hate. And the musc video is enjoyable… for obvious reasons.

Kangaroo Court - Capital Cities

I was a bit surprised Safe and Sound by Capital Cities ended up being the break out indie hit of the summer, it was all right, but not as good as many of its peers that toiled in obscurity. Now the duo is back hoping to avoid being one hit wonders (this song will probably will not be it) and the whole animal heads on human bodies is totally freaking me the frack out.

The Devil Put the Dinosaurs Here – Alice I Chains

Alice in Chains put out two music videos last week and though Voices is probably a better song and is only notable for Jerry Cantrell’s accountant haircut (apparently friends do let friends get friends haircuts), while the video for The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here is much freakier. Not animal heads on human bodies freaky, but freaky nonetheless.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Previewing Snake Salvation

Really my only complaint about this past season of Justified was they killed off the serpent preacher way too early in the season. For those that do not watch that show, fire off, um, spoiler alert on the preacher dying, second, start watching, it is constantly the best show on television. Spoiling the fourth season a little more, the reason he died was that his sister, unbeknownst to him, drained his serpents of their venom, and when someone brought a non-drained snake to church, the preacher handled it, was bit, and died.

His death was disappointing because I thought the snake preacher would make a good foil for Boyd Crowder. If you also wanted to see more serpent preachers, you are in luck because there is now an entire show dedicated to the profession: Snake Salvation, premiering tonight on the National Geographic Channel. It should be noted these people are morons. Really anyone who takes the Bible as a literal guidebook is a moron. The Bible is just one long parable on how to live your life, which boils down to be good to others. But these morons actually say that because Jesus said “Thou shall take up serpents,” handling snakes is just as important as the Ten Commandments. Seriously people, “Thou shall take up serpents” did not make the stone tablets for a reason, it is not important. Here is the exact quote:

“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” (Mark 16:17–18)

What is worse, not only do these people handle venomous snakes; they also refuse to seek medical attention if bitten claiming if they die, it is God’s will. And it is clear that they do not have a sister draining the snakes of their venom because one of the pastors lost a finger, quite gruesomely, as it literally fell off (and be warned there are graphic pictures). The pastors even take about one of their brethren who died from a bite. And then years later, his son succumbed to the fate. Hopefully the grandson, if there is one, learned from his kin’s mistake and become a school teacher, or anything that does not involve snakes.

Forget Hannibal or The Walking Dead, Snake Salvation is the scariest show on television because these people are the real deal. Thankfully we are only down to about a hundred snake handling churches in the country, and such practices, as well as snake hunting, are outlawed in Tennessee where these preachers live (hopefully the authorities pay them a visit after the show airs). But as crazy as these people are, it is hard to turn your eyes away.

Snake Salvation airs Tuesdays at 9:00 on the National Geographic Channel.

Monday, September 09, 2013

The Five Most (and Least) Anticipated Questions of Fall 2013 Television

Tomorrow sees the unofficial start of the fall television season with the return of Sons of Anarchy (Survivor and The Neighbors start next week and then almost everything else debuts the following week). So once again this year I am poising the five biggest (and five least interesting) questions going into the new season.

1. How Will Dan Harmon Address His One Year Sabbatical on Community? In a bizarre twist, Community creator and showrunner Dan Harmon was fired and then brought back a year later. Harmon has been vocal in his displeasure of the fourth season that went on without him so one would easily assume that the hugely pop-culture referencing show will take a page out of the Dallas playbook and make the entire last season a dream. I really do not see Harmon at all picking up where his predecessors left off. Another thing Harmon has to explain is the absence of Pierce and considering his hatred of Chevy Chase, it may be dealt a kin to when Isaac Hayes unceremoniously left South Park.

2. Will Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Live Up to the Hype? There is no more anticipated new show this fall than S.H.E.I.L.D. and it has to do mostly because of the Marvel association. Sure it will be helmed by Joss Whedon who gave us Buffy the Vampire Slayer but he may be more focused on The Avengers 2 then the television show. Then there is the cast of unknowns, both actors and characters, none of which I am told are a part of the comic books aside from Agent Coulson who was last seen bleeding out. Colbie Smulders may make an appearance or two this season but How I Met Your Mother will stop any major arc. Sure that show is ending this season making Maria Hill available full time next season, but if the show does not come out of the gates like gangbusters there may not be a second season. S.H.I.E.L.D. does go against last season most watched scripted show N.C.I.S. and is launching ABC completely new Tuesday line up (it did luck out that NBC pushed The Voice to 9:00 and only has to go against the aging Biggest Loser and what looks to be a very vulnerable FOX comedy hour that also features two new shows including the much maligned Dads). If the show does not get a second season, it may go down as the biggest flop on television ever.

3. Will Once Upon a Time or Revenge Break Out of Their Sophomore Slumps? These two were the best two new network shows of 2011. Revenge dropped off the bigger cliff with The Initiative storyline which managed to be complicated and boring at the same time. I do not recall Emily crossing one person off her list. Apparently someone at the network thought the same thing, gone for season three is the showrunner and Ashley will soon fallow. While on Once Upon a Time, it became clear that the introduction of magic into Storybrooke just did not work. But unlike Revenge, the network is doubling down on the fairytale and launching Once Upon a Time: Wonderland in its Thursday 8:00 deathslot in hopes for its first hit there since Ugly Betty way back in 2006. (Since then there have been one and done seasons of FlashForward, The Deep End, My Generation, Take the Money and Run, Charlie’s Angels, Missing, Duets, Last Resort, and Zero Hour).

4. Will Miniseries Make a Comeback? NBC sure hopes for. They have been going with the spaghetti philosophy for a while throwing everything against the wall, putting Jay Leno on five nights a week, a three hour comedy block, not filming pilots, comedy four nights a week, launching shows off the Olympics, they even tried ripping off Mad Men (R.I.P. The Playboy Club). Yet The Voice may be their only big success story since the start of the disastrous Ben Silverman era back in 2007. Now they are getting back into the mini-series business, a staple of the network television last century. This may be wise because many of their full “series” do not air more than four hours as it is or just get burned off on Saturdays. NBC made their first slash by acquiring the rights to the sequel to History’s blockbuster mini-series The Bible (who knew there was a Bible sequel?). They made an even bigger splash by announcing a Hilary Clinton mini-series starring Diane Lane (who is way too attractive to play Hilary; she better get Charlize Theron’s make-up artist from Monster) who naturally made FOX News talking head’s explode claiming it would be unfair advertising for her inevitable White House run two years later, and even angered MSNBC anchors who do not want to be inadvertently linked to a political movie. Of course NBC is probably courting the controversy because it will only drive up its ratings because liberals will watch hoping for a fluff piece while conservative will watch because they like complaining about stuff. NBC also announced they will be jumping on the Stephan King bandwagon (whose Under the Dome adaptation is the most watched new summer series in decade) by airing a new The Tommyknockers miniseries (which already happened in 1993) as well as a reboot of the move Rosemary’s Baby and Plymouth about the Pilgrim’s journey across the Atlantic and the difficulties of settling in a new country. No other network is currently getting into the mini-series game, but on cable FX has already announced a couple limited series including a new Fargo show from the Coen Brothers starring Billy Bob Thornton.

5. Will Masters of Sex Live up to My Expectations? It stars Lizzy Caplan, in a show called Masters of Sex, all signs point towards yes.

As the great philosopher Butt-Head once pondered, “If it weren’t for things that sucked, how would we know if something was awesome,” so here are the five least anticipated questions of the new television season.

1. When Will Ted Meet the Mother? I stopped caring who the mother was back in season two and even though we finally met the mother, I still do not care how Ted meets her. Making things worse, rumor has it that the whole season will take place over the course of Barney and Robin’s wedding day which means the meeting will not come until the end of the season. Ugg. At least this is the final season.

2. Can Mixology Really Cram an Entire Season into One Night? The only thing worse that a full season taking place over one day is a full season taking place over one night. That is the hook for new show Mixology which follows ten single twenty-something’s, most that do not know each other at the beginning of the night, as they try hooking up before last call. And you though Work It would be ABC’s worst decision this decade. And yes I will be hate-watching all five episodes that air before it is mercifully canceled.

3. Who Needed to See Colton on Survivor Ever Again? I rolled my eyes when he showed up on the spoiler list and now that it is official I have to wonder who needs more racist gay Republicans from Alabama on their television screens. Now there are players you love to hate, most notably the first season winner Richard Hatch, but Colton was a contestant you just hate and I cannot image anyone wanting to see them on their televisions again. But I have to give Colton some credit, to this day, whenever I am accused of being racist (or even anti-gay), my stock response is that I cannot be racist (or anti-gay) because I would push through a crowd of women to make out with Shamar Moore. That never gets old.

4. Will The Voice Continue to Be the Blake Shelton Show? It has been reported that returning coach Christina Aguilera joke during the filming of the season five Blind Auditions that she heard The Voice turned into The Blake Shelton Show in her absence. Honey, I hate to break it to you, it always was The Blake Shelton Show and you were the least interesting and least competent judge on the show the first three seasons. I was fine with The Blake Shelton Show the first seasons when he cultivated diverse teams and pushed them to be better artists. But last season Blake went country or bust (which was a shame because Caroline Glaser could have been his Dia Frampton or Cassadee Pope this past season), turning The Voice into a Nashville Star, and if the show goes hard on the single genre again (or any single genre), it will start getting Nashville Star type ratings, which only lasted one season on NBC before getting canceled.

5. Seriously, the CW still exists? Who knew? Wake me up when they turn the Veronica Mars Movie into a weekly television series.

Enough with the questions, here are the shows I will be watching this fall and their premiere dates (new shows I will be giving a trial run in italics):

8:00 – How I Met Your Mother (September 23)
8:00 – The Voice (September 23)
9:00 – 2 Broke Girls (September 23)
10:00 - The Blacklist (September 23)
10:00 – Castle (September 23)

8:00 – Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (September 24)
8:00 – The Voice (September 24)
10:00 – Sons of Anarchy (September 10)

8:00 – Survivor: Blood vs. Water (September 18)
8:00 – The Middle (September 25)
8:30 – Back in the Game (September 25)
9:00 – Modern Family (September 25)
9:30 – Super Fun Night (October 2)
10:00 – Nashville (September 25)

8:00 – The Big Bang Theory (September 26)
8:00 – Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (October 10)
8:30 – The Millers (September 26)
9:30 – The Michael J. Fox Show (one hour premiere starting at 9:00 on September 26)
10:00 – Parenthood (September 26)

8:00 – Last Man Standing (September 20)
8:30 – The Neighbors (September 20)
9:00 – Grimm (October 25)

8:00 – Once Upon a Time (September 29)
9:00 - Homeland (September 29)
9:00 – Revenge (September 29)
10:00 – Masters of Sex (September 29)
10:00 – Betrayal (September 29)

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Feed Your iPod LXXVI: Breathless

Last week I went down the rabbit hole that is Spotify’s 90’s radio station which was quite addicting as it kept playing great songs from my formative years. Sure I wish it played more rap than it did (it probably did not help that I kept down-voting the “amended” versions; of course they probably played the amended versions instead of the explicit versions already on my computer so Spotify could play more ads because they are shady like that). One song that really stood out from the rest during this time was Desperately Wanting by Better Than Ezra. They were one of my favorite groups from that era and I own all of their albums except the most recent (it was kind of eh) but have not dusted them off in a couple year and had to take the weekend revisiting them. Sadly the group has not had a hit since the nineties; they did have a couple pop culture moments over the past decade. Juicy, which never was one of my favorites, was used in ads for the second season of Desperate Housewives.

Then in 2010, in lieu of playing one of her own songs, Taylor Swift chose to perform an obscure track by the band Breathless for the Hope for Haiti telethon, a song that closed out their Before the Robots album. I remember prior to the telethon wonder what she would would perform before none of her songs have the emotional weight that songs on these specials tend to have. I did not recognize it at first, thinking it may have been one of hers I had not heard before, but it started to spark a memory by the time she hit the chorus that it was the Better Than Erza song that probably no one knew of unless they owned their album. It was a perfect choice by Taylor, it is a simple song in her wheelhouse with an uplifting message that fit the occasion very well. Unfortunately the song is no longer available on iTunes so you are stuck with a crappy YouTube version if you did not buy it earlier, but you should definitely pick up the original. As for Better than Erza, my sources tell me the group is working on their seventh album would could see the light by the end of this year. Now if you excuse me, I need to dust off my Blues Traveler CD’s.

Breathless – Better Than Erza

Breathless Taylor Swift