Saturday, April 26, 2014

Best of the Week: 4/26/14

Quote of the Week: She has plans, look at her calendar: February 14: (expletive deleted) gloomily. (Michael Ginsberg, Mad Men)

Song of the Week: Love You Like a Love Song - Selena Gomez and the Scene (Suburgatory)

Scene of the Week:

Big News of the Week: WEIRD AL IS CAREFULLY WEIGHING HIS OPTIONS AND ISN’T ENTIRELY SURE WHAT HE’S DOING AFTER HIS NEXT ALBUM!: The internet seems to be like the telephone game from childhood, after reported a couple times, the story gets a little distorted. Last week a headline read, “WEIRD AL SAYS HIS NEXT ALBUM WILL BE HIS LAST!” Expect it is not (barring him being dismembered in a freak accident). In a humorous blog post, Al clarified… well his fake headline which I co-opted above explains it fairly well. His post also mentioned he is halfway done with his next album and if he is dismembered in a freak accident tomorrow, it would make a nice final EP. It is about time, I have been waiting for a Call Me Maybe parody for two years now. Add that to Royals, Somebody That I Used to Know, Ho Hey, We Are Young, he should have plenty material to get his album finished quickly before any freak accidents may happen. And hopefully after that album is delivered, he can finally start releasing parodies straight to the internet right when the songs are still hot, not waiting until he has enough to fill out an album. In a perfect world, there is no reason why we cannot be enjoying a Happy within the week.

Preview Picture of the Week:

“Yousaf” The Americans, Wednesday at 10:00 on FX

Free Download of the Week: Avant Gardener - Courtney Barnett (Amazon MP3)

New Album Release of the Week: Supernova - Ray Lamontange

New DVD Release of the Week: Hill Street Blues: The Complete Series

Video of the Week: TNT released its first full trailer for the fourth season of Falling Skies. It heavily features a striking new blonde chick who it seems by the final scene is Tom’s daughter who started last season as a baby and finished as a tween. Yeah, she is not ominous or anything.

Next Week Pick of the Week: The iHeartRadio Music Awards, Thursday at 8:00 on NBC: CBS has the Grammy’s, ABC has the Billboard and American Music Awards, NBC is finally getting into the music awards game this week with the first annual iHeartRadio Music Awards. Unfortunately since it is based on radio, the music being honored is not that interesting. Case in point, up for Artist of the Year are Rihanna, Maroon 5, Justin Timberlake, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, and Imagine Dragons. The performers include Drake, Pharrell, Blake Shelton, Kendrick Lamar, Pitbull, Shakira, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Ariana Grande, Luke Bryan, Arcade Fire, and Ed Sheeran. This looks like it could be the Billboard or AMA’s. Yawn, the CBS comedies may be better alternative.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Around the Tubes:4/25/14

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 Don Peyote, Crossbones, Dominion, Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge, Florida Untamed, The ’90s: The Last Great Decade?, The Who, Beautiful Small Machines, The Gospel of Jesus’S Wife, and Sullivan and Son.

- Don Peyote, available on VOD and iTunes: May 9, 2014, is about a midlife crisis over his upcoming wedding sends 32-year-old unemployed stoner Warren Allman on the drug trip of a lifetime in this off-the-wall comedy starring Dan Fogler, Josh Duhamel, Jay Baruchel and a host of celebrity cameos. Fueled by vivid apocalyptic dreams, Warren becomes obsessed with Doomsday theories and decides to make a documentary on the subject while his fiancé is busy planning their wedding. Check out the trailer below:

- Think you know the legend of Blackbeard? Think again. John Malkovich stars as the infamous pirate in Crossbones, premiering Friday, May 30 at 10:00. Check out the official trailer below before we embark on an extraordinary adventure this summer.

- Heaven brings hell on earth! Watch the series premiere of Dominion June 19 at 9:00.

- Please note that effective Tuesday, April 29, new episodes of Syfy’s original series Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge will air at 9:00. (The series currently airs Tuesday at 10:00). In the April 29 episode, the creature designers must design and build a creature that camouflages itself in plain sight within a swamp. Creature Shop Fabrication Supervisor Julie Zobel serves as master in the episode. Acclaimed creature designer Neville Page of Syfy’s Face Off serves as the guest judge.

- Just beyond the theme parks, poolside resorts and sunny beaches of Florida lie ruthless predators hungry for a kill. The swamps are no playground for most animals living there, including American crocodiles, alligators, Burmese pythons, sea turtles and rattlesnakes. They’re a fierce paradise where any moment could be the animals’ last. Witness the dramas unfold as Nat Geo Wild and 2C Media journey through a labyrinth of ancient cypress swamps and crowded shores, capturing miraculous sights that never cease to amaze. It’s treacherous; it’s venomous; it’s Florida Untamed Sunday at 8:00.

- National Geographic Channels announced this week that Rob Lowe will return to the network as narrator of the three-night summer miniseries event The ’90s: The Last Great Decade?. No stranger to NGC, Lowe starred as President John F. Kennedy in last fall’s critically acclaimed Killing Kennedy, the network’s most-watched program ever and for which he received a 2013 Screen Actors Guild Awards nomination, and served as narrator for The ’80s: The Decade That Made Us last spring. Lowe will be the viewer’s guide through the program, the first definitive examination of the era of White House interns, grunge, overalls and Viagra.

- In 2012/2013, The Who embarked on the Quadrophenia and More Tour, performing their landmark rock opera in its entirety, marking the 40th anniversary of the original 1973 release of this double-album masterpiece. The critically acclaimed and highly successful tour closed at London’s Wembley Arena, with the cameras rolling, to record the closing night of this historic anniversary tour. Filmed on July 8, 2013, Quadrophenia: Live In London features The Who in peak form, performing Quadrophenia from front to back, in its entirety, plus a special set of some of their all-time greatest hits. The film captures the band’s dynamic performance in front of their hometown crowd and features blistering performances of “The Real Me,” “The Punk And The Godfather,” “Doctor Jimmy” and a powerful performance of “Love Reign O’er Me.” With HD screen backdrops, archival footage and today’s advanced technology in sound, Quadrophenia: Live In London reunites The Who with bandmates John Entwistle, for “5:15,” and Keith Moon for his signature song “Bell Boy.” In addition to their performance of Quadrophenia, the band tear through classic tracks such as “Pinball Wizard,“ “Who Are You,” “You Better You Bet,” “Baba O’Riley,” “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and “Tea & Theatre,” from their 2006 release Endless Wire,” with the intensity and power only The Who can conjure.

- NYC-based “electro twang” duo, Beautiful Small Machines, releases brand new LP, The DJ Stayed Home. In this follow-up release to the band’s debut EP, Robots in Love, their Blondie-meets-Arcade Fire sound connects with what Collected Sounds Blog describes as “a bit like Grandaddy, The Postal Service and The Tings Tings forming a super band.” Other notable influences include: Duran Duran, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Elvis Costello, Patti Smith, Wilco, The Rolling Stones and 80s pop music. Take a listen to the title track belw:

- In the wake of scientific results indicating that the text fragment, known as the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife, is authentically ancient and not a modern fake, Smithsonian Channel will premiere the full, definitive story of the ground-breaking fragment’s discovery and expert analysis of what it means. The one-hour special, The Gospel of Jesus’S Wife, debuts Monday, May 5 at 8:00.

- Kunal Nayyar (The Big Bang Theory), Ken Jeong (The Hangover movies, Community) and Billy Gardell (Mike & Molly) are set to return to TBS's hit original series Sullivan and Son during the show's upcoming third season premiering in June. Last year marked the first appearances on the show for Nayyar and Jeong. Gardell has appeared in both previous seasons.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Feed Your iPod LXXXIII: Shelter

Ray LaMontagne has a new album coming out next week and in an era of instant stardom; he is one of the few artists this century that has been able to build his fanbase steadily through the years. His earliest work got modest play on public radio and by his third album he started getting into heavy rotation on adult contemporary stations. For those that got into Ray late, the song off his first album they are most likely to know is Trouble thanks to a doggie themed commercial from a couple years ago. If there is only one song off his first album you know, be sure to also check out Shelter, another emotionally charged folk ballad from the singer.

Shelter – Ray Lamontage

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

They’ve Been Telling Me to Come of Age, I’ve Been Going Through an Awkward Phase

Pop Psychology - Neon Trees

There comes a time in every guy’s life when a friend announces to you that they are gay. Then you have to decide whether you should be honored that he trusts you with something so personal or slap then upside the head for not coming out earlier because you pretty much already knew because he had done everything to convey he was gay except actually hit on you (then there is the uncomfortable situation of deciding if you should be relieved or offended they never hit on you). That was what was going through my head when the lead singer of Neon Trees Tyler Glenn recently came out as gay in Rolling Stone. Seriously dude, I think pretty much everyone already assumed that because you did everything short of making out with dudes in your videos. I would have been much more surprised if he announced his engagement to his female drummer.

Neon Trees were creative in the wake of The Killers, both with ties to Las Vegas playing pop rock, new wave infused music with a modern twist. For their second album, The Killers decided they want to be more rock than pop and tried to write Bruce Springsteen epics. Neon Trees went the other way going further down the new wave rabbit whole. Forget that the first two tracks off the their third album have titles like Love in the 21st Century and Text Me in the Morning, as you can tell from the album cover, Pop Psychology is straight out of the early eighties.

The first two Neon Trees albums followed the template, one extremely catchy first single, a couple good songs, and a bunch of filler. They have two multiplatinum songs and two albums that have even gone gold. Pop Psychology breaks that trend. But not in a good way. Those two previously mentioned songs with embarrassing titles go right up the cheesy like then leaps right by it. Sleeping with a Friend is the first single and best hope to catch lightning three times, but only ends up being mildly catchy and easily forgettable.

As overtly cheesy the first couple songs are, things do get a little more interesting in the second half starting with Unavoidable. The song is dreamy a duet with female where the syths finally get toned down. This song probably could have been a radio hit back into 1983, but thirty-one years later it probably too boring to get play. So Pop Psychology has no great songs, a couple good ones and a bunch of filler. It looks like Neon Trees may be resigned to two-hit wonderdom which is too back for the band because it is not enough to have a lengthy career and too many hits to be a much more celebrated one hit wonder. Thirty years later, more people remember Dexy's Midnight Runners than Level 42.

Song to Download – Unavoidable

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

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I Want My Music Television: 4/22/14

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.

It's On Again - Alicia Keys featuring Kendrick Lamar

For some reason Alicia Keys last album did not do very well. So of course she calls Pharrell, who is extending last year’s year of Pharrell even further (more on that later), and Kendrick Lamar for a new song. But I like the music video which harkens back to the nineties when massive soundtracks would rule MTV with videos that vaguely tie into the films. Really, all though Batman soundtracks videos from the era were just all awesomely bad. If you have not seen it in a while, or not at all, go watch Gotham City.

I Blame Myself – Sky Ferrera

Whenever I see a headline saying “_____ is not racist” my first thought is always, what I am about to see is probably racist. I actually saw a headline with Sky Ferrera contending that her newest video is not racist before seeing the video itself. So naturally I went in thinking what I was about to see would be highly racist. But is it racist? Meh, barely in a white chick harmlessly co-opting African American style which has been going on for decades. And there really is no reason to hate on the slight racism in the video considering also contains a entertainingly silly dance breakdown.

Sweatpants - Childish Gambino featuring Problem

Childish Gambino dropped his latest music video the same week as the season (series?) finale of his old show Community, but the video seems like it was trying to line up with the season premiere of Orphan Black.

Aerosol Cans – Major Lazer featuring Pharrell Williams

I could never get into Major Lazer because they are a part of that annoying dance music that just loops the same loud bars over and over again. Even Pharrell cannot make them listenable. But the lyrics video to their song is pretty innovative even if it surprisingly does not use any aerosol cans.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Voice Season Six Top 12 Power Rankings

Much like the two previous seasons, I have gotten bored by the time the Playoffs rolled around. There was not much to be excited about to start with, but with the exception of Blake, the coaches completely mismanaged their teams. The final twelve is about as boring as the final twelve last season and just barely more diverse than season four. Hopefully Pharrell Williams and (reportedly) Gwen Stefani do a better job of finding singers worth getting excited for. While they are at it, get two more new judges to replace Blake and Adam (I suggest Miranda Lambert and John Mayer) and have an “all-star” season featuring all the contestants that the judges in the first six season screwed up on (here are my suggestions of 25 Contestants that Deserve a Second Chance which I made after season five; let me add Sam Behymer, Madilyn Paige, Ddendyl, Kaleigh Glanton, Clarissa Serna, Dawn and Hawkes, De'Shawn Washington, and Allison Bray from this season). Since it is too late to do anything about the boring singers, here are some interesting song selections that could keep my interest for the rest of the season along with my latest (and possibly last) power ranking.

1. Audra McLaughlin (Team Blake): XO – Beyoncé: Blake will undoubtedly go country chalk for his two country singers this season much like he did in season four. That worked well for Danielle (and may do the same for Jake) but I see Audra more like Holly would got boring quick singing old-timey country. To avoid Holly’s fate, a middle of the pack finish, Audra will need a Hail Mary before getting stale (which arguably may have happened last week with the Martina McBride song). XO is a universal song that could easily have some pop-country crossover. Bonus points if she brings out a children’s choir in the chorus.

2. Josh Kaufman (Team Adam Usher): Stubborn Love – The Lumineers: I do not know why this song was not as big as Ho Hey, but it deserves some shine, and I think Josh could do it justice even if he has been more blue eyed soul than folk rock so far.

3. Tess Boyer (Team Usher Blake Shakira): The One That Got Away – The Civil Wars: Tess has shown a wide range and this song has a lot of dynamics to play with.

4. Sisaundra Lewis (Team Blake): My Love – Lionel Richie: Here is somewhere Sisaundra and Blake can meet halfway: a Lionel Richie song which featured Kenny Rogers on backing vocals.

5. T.J. Wilkins (Team Usher): Feenin' – Jodeci: T.J. got adventurous with his Blind Audition but has sung boring RnB songs older than me ever since. I do not know why 90’s RnB has rarely (if ever) gotten any love on this show, but a little Jodeci will keep T.J. from being boring.

6. Kat Perkins (Team Adam): Little Black Submarines – The Black Keys: Whenever a rocker gets on the show they end up doing all the AM golden oldies. Here is an epic Led Zeppelin type song that The Black Keys crammed into a three minute rock song. I am sure this will be the favorite song the backing band would play this season.

7. Delvin Choice (Team Adam): Sweet Life – Frank Ocean: Speaking of boring old RnB, Delvin has never been as adventurous as his hair. Frank Ocean is one of the few modern RnB singers that is soulful and adventurous.

8. Jake Worthington (Team Blake): I and Love and You – The Avett Brother: Unlike Audra, Jake probably can cruise to the semifinals just singing bro-country, but would be boring. And suck. Here is a country song that is much more interesting that you will not hear on country radio.

9. Christina Grimmie (Team Adam): Get Lucky (Daughter version) – Daft Punk: Christina has range and consistency problems; here is an awesome version of the song that can hide her limitations.

10. Bria Kelly (Team Usher): Fake Plastic Trees – Radiohead: The last two weeks has shown that Bria struggles with subtle. I do not think she can advance very far shouting all the time. Here is a song with subtle and loud parts and you do not have to be perfect on the subtle parts when Tom Yorke is your template.

11. Dani Moz (Team Shakira): We Found Love – Rihanna: It worked well last week, how about stripping down another pop song and turning it into a love song?

12. Kristen Merlin (Team Shakira): Mama's Broken Heart – Miranda Lambert: She does not seem to have much versatility so might as well go with something in her wheelhouse. I am guessing she will be gone in the first week or two anyway.

But who cares what I think, here is how the contestants faired this week on the iTunes chart including the previous round songs that charted over the past two weeks.

1. Christina Grimmie (35)
2. Kat Perkins (112)
3. Dani Moz (149)
4. Tess Boyer (153)
5. Bria Kelly (156)
6. Josh Kaufman (166)
7. Delvin Choice (220)
8. Jake Worthington (221)
9. Sisaundra Lewis (290)
10. Kristen Merlin (292)
11. Morgan Wallen (347)
12. Jake Worthington – Have a Little Faith in Me (545)
13. Jake Baker – Climax (615)
14. Audra McLaughlin (626)
15. Jake Barker (744)
16. Patrick Thomson (752)
17. Christina Grimmie – Wrecking Ball (752)
18. T.J. Wilkins (779)
19. Christina Grimmie – Counting Stars (800)
20. Madilyn Paige – I’ll Stand by You (1057)
21. Jake Worthington – Don’t Close Your Eyes (1138)
22. Jake Worthington It Goes Like This (1145)
23. Madilyn Paige (1185)

And here is how they rank if you average the highest iTunes peak of each singers four perforamces.

1. Christina Grimmie (186.75)
2. Jake Worthington (215)
3. Josh Kaufman (303.75)
4. Sisaundra Lewis (456.25)
5. Morgan Wallen (485)
6. Kristen Merlin (495.25)
7. Jake Barker (590.25)
8. Madilyn Paige (605.25)

9. Audra McLaughlin (695.25)
Half of the top 12 had at least one song fail to make the top 1500, here is how all their songs charted to give you a sense of how they rank.
10. Bria Kelly (126, 459, NC, 156)
11. Kat Perkins (451, 943, NC, 112)
12. Delvin Choice (416, NC, 894, 220)
13. T.J. Wilkins (714, NC, 422, 779)
14. Tess Boyer (NC, NC, 334, 153)
15. Dani Moz (NC, 1314, NC, 149)

So gone are the fifth, seventh, and eighth best iTunes sellers with two singers who only charted half their songs are moving on (granted those two did make the top 200 this week). Now it is time to put on my prognosticators hat on and predict how the season will boil down:

Eliminated 11-12: Dani, Kristen
10-9: T.J., Kat
8-7: Delvin, Tess
6-5: Audra, Bria
4: Sisaundra
3: Chistina
2: Jake
1: Josh