Saturday, March 31, 2018

Around the Tubes: 3/31/2018

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 The Handmaid’s Tale, The ChallengePatrick Melrose, Conan, I’m Dying up Here, Animal Kingdom, Garbage, Ian Erix, Marian Hill, Shaggy, Sawyer Fredericks, and Showtime.

- Hulu released the full length trailer for the second season of The Handmaid’s Tale. The first two episodes of the 13-episode season launch on Wednesday, April 25th.

- MTV’s legendary competition show The Challenge returns with the premiere of an epic ten-week special event The Challenge: Champs vs. Stars. Hosted by WWE Superstar and former challenge competitor, Mike “The Miz” Mizanin, “Champs vs. Stars” will feature ten celebrities and all-star athletes along with ten highly skilled, fan-favorite champions from past “Challenge” seasons. For the first time ever, teams will be mixed with both celebrities and “Champs” where they will face off in weekly eliminations, until one team will prove they are the ultimate “Challenge MVP.” Winners will compete for a chance to take a share of the $150,000 cash prize to donate to their beloved charities. “The Challenge: Champs vs. Stars” premieres April 17, 2018 at 10:00.

- Showtime has announced that its new, five-part limited series Patrick Melrose starring Oscar® nominee and Emmy® winner Benedict Cumberbatch will premiere on Saturday, May 12 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Based on the acclaimed Patrick Melrose series of semi-autobiographical novels written by Edward St. Aubyn, Patrick Melrose is an acerbic and fearless look at the protagonist’s harrowing odyssey from a deeply traumatic childhood to his remarkable survival as an adult. In scheduling Patrick Melrose for five consecutive Saturdays, Showtime is laying the groundwork to expand to a new night of original programming, joining the network’s existing sports and movie offerings on Saturday nights.

- TBS’ Conan will take the show internationally for the ninth time in three years as the popular host travels to Italy. Conan Without Borders: Italy will be a primetime special premiering Wednesday, April 11 at 10:00 For his latest adventure, O’Brien put a different spin on his usual travel shows bringing along fan favorite show staffer Jordan Schlansky.

- Showtime has released the trailer for the second season of I’m Dying up Here. Created and executive produced by Dave Flebotte and executive produced by Golden Globe® winner Jim Carrey and Michael Aguilar, the fictional I’m Dying up Here explores L.A.’s famed ’70s stand-up comedy scene, with an ensemble cast led by Academy Award® winner Melissa Leo (The Fighter) and Ari Graynor. The 10-episode season of I’m Dying up Here will premiere on Sunday, May 6 at 10:00.

- his summer, the infamous Cody family is back as TNT's hit drama Animal Kingdom returns for its third season. In last season’s shocking cliffhanger, Baz (Scott Speedman) was shot while on his way to Mexico after framing Smurf (Ellen Barkin) for murder. Season three opens with Smurf in jail and her grandson J (Finn Cole) in charge of the family business. The Cody men find themselves increasingly divided as they fight for both control and their independence, but have to come together when outside threats emerge. Deran’s (Jake Weary) drifter dad Billy (Denis Leary) comes back to make amends, but may have other motives.

- Garbage announced the release of the 20th anniversary edition of their legendary second album Version 2.0. Due for release on Stunvolume/PIAS on June 22, the package will feature the whole original album, as well as 10 B-sides from the era. Pre-order the digital album HERE and visit for updates on standard and deluxe Vinyl formats. The typically visceral "Lick The Pavement" is the first offering from the reissue and is out today. Listen to the song HERE.

- Misfit Mindz Entertainment, an imprint of Nordican Music Group/The Orchard/Sony Music Entertainment is set to release a benefit record from Ian Erix -- featuring survivors of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting -- with 100% of all profits going to victim's families and survivors of gun violence in addition to non-profits that support social justice movements, such as the student formed March For Our Lives and #NeverAgainMSD organizations. The recording, "Raise Some Hell", pays homage to the recent lives lost, but is not a sad or sappy song. It is, instead, an up-tempo and empowering battle anthem calling the youth to hold truth to power and rise up against injustice anywhere they see it.

- On April 20, Island Def Jam/UMe is set to properly fete Donna Summer, the undisputed Queen of Disco and The First Lady of Love, with Summer: The Original Hits. This catchy collection of Summer’s greatest hits is a companion to Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, an exciting new Broadway musical based on her rich and storied life. Previews for Summer: The Donna Summer Musical commenced on March 28, 2018, at the legendary Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in New York City with the official opening on April 23, 2018.

- Platinum-certified Philadelphia duo Marian Hill’s highly anticipated sophomore album, Unusual, is set for release on May 11th. The album features ten tracks written and produced by Jeremy Lloyd (production/songwriting) and Samantha Gongol (vocals/songwriting) of Marian Hill. See the full Unusual tracklist below. Pre-order Unusual now here.

- Legendary reggae musician, Shaggy teamed up with Canadian crooner, Massari to release their new record, Why via 300 Entertainment and Brooklyn Knights Entertainment. With an accompanying lyric video, "Why" is an uptempo club jam with a smooth chorus.

- Sawyer Fredericks is thriving on independence and artistic freedom. As a follow-up to his acclaimed debut album, 2016's A Good Storm, the highly-anticipated Hide Your Ghost sheds the high gloss major label treatment, and stays true to Frederick's honest and elegantly stripped down style, a self-described "free range folk", incorporating elements of blues, roots rock, and jazz with live instrumental arrangements throughout. The album is available today, March 30, on iTunes, Spotify,, and all FYE locations.

- Showtime Networks Inc. has announced the launch of its stand-alone streaming service SHOWTIME and its authentication service SHOWTIME ANYTIME on LG Smart TVs. SHOWTIME is the first cable network to launch on LG webOS Smart TV platforms including on the recently debuted 2018 LG OLED TVs with AI ThinQ® and LG SUPER UHD TVs with AI ThinQ.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Previewing New Wave: Dare to Be Different

When I was in high school, getting out of bed was hard. I would have my alarm clock set to the local top forty station and would routinely hit snooze three to five times before finally falling out of bed. I distinctly remember one morning when the alarm went off and as I reach for the snooze button I paused because they were playing It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine). Since it was rare to play an “oldie” but goodie, I thought I would wait until the end of the song to hit the snooze but. Except when the song ended, they started playing It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine) and I sat up, fully awake wondering if I was actually hear the same song twice. Now fully awake and lo and behold the song started for the third straight time.

Off to the bathroom, It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine) was playing when I went into the shower and was still playing when I came out. It played throughout breakfast. It played throughout the commute. Sometimes in between the song, a mysterious voice would come on and say, “The end is coming.” Then back to It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine). Naturally this was a big discussion at school that day. Keep in mind this was before someone could pull out their phones to answer any question. Was it the end of the world? Was this a warning?

It turned out that the radio station was changing format and their name (naturally to The End) and started playing alternative music. And it became my new favorite radio station until it turned into a hip-hop station maybe five years later. Which is also around the time I stopped listening to radio as the format slowly was being bought up by the same two companies and turning stations across the nation into basically McDonalds for the airwave with the exact same playlists.

But for people of my age and older, radio stations meant something important. You do not have to have lived in New York City in the eighties to appreciate New Wave: Dare to Be Different because this is a universal love letter to the local independent radio station. Grant it will probably help if you enjoy New Wave music.

WLIR 92.7 started as a radio station in 1959 and switched over to a progressive rock station in the early seventies. But it was the format switch in 1982 to New Wave and other underground sounds of the era that put the station on the map. U2, Talking Heads, Depeche Mode, Blondie, Duran Duran, Tears for Fears, The Clash, and The Cure were all credited to getting their first American airplay on the small Long Island station. They also claim to be the first to play Madonna and Prince. The documentary culls interviews from musicians who got their start on the station as well as DJ’s, fans and an intern named Gary Dell'Abate.

I am not sure if kids today even listen to the radio (I am not entirely sure why anyone these days would listen) but I am sure they would be befuddled by some of the segments in the documentary. Early on, there is a lengthy segment about people fine tuning their radios to find the station. Does anyone even turn a radio anymore? I do have two myself. Later they talk about import and try telling a kid who streams everything that there was a time when people would spend ten to twenty dollars just get an import single with just one or two songs on it.

Much like my local radio station that launched with twenty-four straight hours of It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine) which did not last long, WLIR and its new format did not last a decade. Except its demise had to do with their FCC license. I will not go into detail, not to spoil the documentary because they make it hilariously confusing ending to the film.

New Wave: Dare to Be Different airs tonight at 8:00 on Showtime.

Monday, March 26, 2018

I Want My Music Television: 3/26/2018

Delicate - Taylor Swift

Now Taylor Swift is making videos complaining about fame and singing songs with a vo-corder. I still miss the oldTaylor.

Make Me Feel - Janelle Monáe

Django Jane - Janelle Monáe

My first impression of Make Me Feel was that it sounded like something Prince would have written for Sheena Easton in the eighties. I am not sure I could come up with a higher compliment. And Janelle Monáe is certainly giving off an eighties feel in the video. I think Prince even wore that see threw mask at some point in his career. I like that song much better than the other song he released at the same time, Django Jane.

Over My Head - Echosmith

Echosmith’s debut album was cheesy fun but since then they seem to be chaseing a new mortre “serious” sound, but someone should really tell them there is nothing wrong with a little cheese. This video is fun; it is time to go back to making fun music too.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

57 Channels and Only This is On: 3/25/2018

Homeland: For a second there I actually thought Carrie was going to have sex with another enemy of the state. But I should have known that Carrie investigating the death of the general and Saul Russian troll investigations were connected. But I was right that the Wellington was not the one conspiring with his lady friend. And I was also right that the lady friend getting a parking ticket while conspiring to assassinate a general was a little too convenient. But who side was Saul’s Russian buddy on? He told the Russians Saul was on to him but was that just to get to the troll who filmed the video and that is what he was going to tell Saul at the meeting he did make to because the video taker took him before Saul showed up.

The Walking Dead: So Rick has been obsessed with killing Negan since Glen got his skull bashed in, goes full kamikaze into a convoy of Saviors just to get Negan… and then walks away before Negan actually dies like some Bond villain. I forking hate this show. And where did the Trash Lady come from? Was she following the convoy too? And just why the fork did she not let Negan die? For all she knows, he was a part o all her trash people dying.
You can download The Walking Dead on iTunes.

The Chi: We finally learned what happened to the basketball player with the twist that the crooked cop had something to do with it. I wonder if Detective Cruz will continue to investigate that murder in season two. Poor Brandon, it looks like in a potential season two that he will be forced to launder drugs. But overall a satisfying first season.

The Alienist: That eyeball soup was really disgusting and the worst game of how many jelly beans are in a jar. But the serial killer does not always targets dudes in dresses? Did he just did that for a couple murders because of some connection with the Man with the Silver Smile? And pretty disappointing that Cyrus did not execute any revenge for the death of Mary. But I guess there is still one episode left. Hopefully they catch the killer and not string that out multiple seasons.
You can download The Alienist on iTunes.

Good Girls: Um, yeah, so I was wondering about Anna’s daughter too. You know, if you are a girl who is worried about people wondering what is going on, maybe not go with the early Beiber haircut. But anyway. The fake cancer to move back in after cheating with your secretary is really low. So low, I a shocked it was not a Shameless plot yet.
You can download Good Girls on iTunes.

Rise: Why are they whining so much about money? Why do they not do the thing that every school club has done: a fundraiser? Are there no theater boosters? During my time in school we raised enough to put in a major renovation of the local theater. And poor background chick, there cannot be anything worse than being someone’s beard.
You can download Rise on iTunes.

The Challenge: Vendettas: Can none of the girls who won count? They all could not be safe from Elimination if there are only three on the other team with one already marked for Elimination. You have to fight with everything to get in that Troika. I do wonder what would have happened if all the women were in the Troika, were there only been two in the Inquisition?
You can download The Challenge: Vendettas on iTunes.

The Path: I have long considered Myerism as a cult but the way Hawk broke it down got me wondering. But then again, the greatest trick the devil ever pulled off was to make the world think he doesn’t exist. Also score one for Cal for humiliating the professor by calling out his affair with Sarah. But poor Eddie have to hear that broadcast on national television. But I do wonder if Eddie’s plan to tell the world about Steve is what leads to the death Mira’s mother has predicted. The fact that Cal just got a gun from a pawn shop does not bode well for Eddir’s longevity.
You can stream The Path Hulu.

The Looming Tower: Our first Mohammed Atta sighting. And with whom I assume was Osama bin Laden. We have spent so much time with the pissing contest between the CIA and FBI, they really should spend a little more time showing up just how Al-Qaida was able to pull off what they did. But with everything going wrong at the time, it is even more disturbing that a high ranking FBI agent does not have a lock on a briefcase carrying classified documents.
You can stream The Path Hulu.

Survivor: Ghost Island: Good riddance Stephanie. I have no idea why you picked those leggings to wear on the show but they almost inspired me to break out my standard definition television because they hurt my eyes in HD. But here we have yet another week where they inexplicably draw rocks for Ghost Island where there was nothing there for I believe the third of fourth week, and the one time there was in that span, the person did not take it.
You can download Survivor: Ghost Island on iTunes.

The X-Files: Holy fork, William can just explode people? And survive a bullet to the brain? How is that guy worried about anyone catching him especially if you tack on the skill of getting people to see him as other people or monsters? But poor replacement Scully, gets killed in the finally. And what of Skinner? Oh well, time to put this show to rest again.
You can download The X-Files on iTunes.

Kypton: Wait, Superman’s grandfather is banging Zod’s grandmother and Zod’s grandmother is black? But seriously, Syfy needs to fire their casting directors because all their shows are filled with utterly boring people.
You can download Krypton on iTunes.

Gotham: Melancholy happy trails to Sophia Falcone. Not that a bullet to the head stopped anyone in this town. And is Barbara turning into Ras Al Ghul But at least there was no old Ivy this week.
You can download Gotham on iTunes.

Blindspot: I cannot confirm nor deny I Googled “Betsy Ross’s Revenge.”
You can download Blindspot on iTunes.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Every once in a while I wonder, wait, wasn’t Fitz almost braindead a couple seasons ago but never mentioned again after the season finale when it happened? They finally brought it up again completely out of nowhere.
You can download Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on iTunes.