Saturday, July 13, 2019

Around the Tubes: July 13, 2019

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 Sherman’s Showcase, Harlots, The Circus, Our Cartoon President, Light As A Feather, Madison Ryann Ward, Common, The Brand New Heavies, Of Monsters and Men, bülow, QUEEVA, Jordan Whitmore, The Great Mother, and An American Aristocrat’s Guide to Great Estates.

- Hey cats and kittens, check out the newest trailer for IFC’s new variety sketch series Sherman’s Showcase. Do you f*cks with this? Created, executive produced, written and starring Bashir Salahuddin (GLOW, Snatched, South Side) and Diallo Riddle (Marlon, Rise, South Side), each episode of Sherman’s Showcase is hosted by Sherman McDaniels (Salahuddin) as he takes viewers through time via music and comedy drawn from the 40-year library of a legendary (but fictional) musical variety show, drawing inspiration from Solid Gold, Soul Train and Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. Whether it's a questionably-attired funk super group in the 1970s, an up-and-coming MC in the 1980s or an R&B diva from the 1990s, Sherman's Showcase has it all: music, comedy, gameshow segments, political roundtables, commercial parodies, breakout hits destined to climb the charts, a dancing robot and a legendary host who’s been there from the beginning.

- You won’t want to miss the insane twists, turns and tantalizing new characters on this season of Hulu’s drama Harlots staring Liv Tyler, Samantha Morton and Lesley Manville. The first episode debuted this week, with remaining episodes streaming weekly each Wednesday!

- Tracking the largest field of presidential candidates in U.S. history, The Circus returns to Showtime with eight new episodes this fall. Starting on Sunday, September 22 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, the network’s most-watched docuseries will continue its fourth season, which averaged more than one million weekly viewers earlier this year. Co-hosts John Heilemann, Alex Wagner, and Mark McKinnon will crisscross the country as an unprecedented cast of Democratic candidates barnstorm key states in their quests to face off against Donald Trump in 2020. Meanwhile, the president is pursuing re-election amid a growing threat of impeachment and looming international crises.

- In the Season two finale of Our Cartoon President titled “Space Force” on Sunday, July 14 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime, Cartoon Trump launches Space Force without any attention to detail, while the Democratic presidential candidates tank their campaigns to avoid the risk of losing.

- Get ready to play the game again! We have released the official trailer for the second season of Hulu horror series, Light As A Feather. All 8-episodes of Light As A Feather premiere Friday, July 26 only on Hulu! The season will continue on Friday, October 4.

- Rising vocalist and songwriter Madison Ryann Ward reveals her debut EP, Beyond Me, out now. LISTEN TO BEYOND ME HERE! Beyond Me features Madison Ryann Ward’s lead single, “Beyond Me,” as well as three additional tracks: “The Key,” “Other Side” and “BRKN.” The EP follows Ward’s 2018 breakout single, “Mirror,” which was featured on Jay-Z’s episode of the hit Netflix series, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman. The song, produced by the legendary Rick Rubin and recorded in his Malibu studio Shangri-La, has over 4 million streams to date and received praise from Billboard, Refinery29, Women’s Health, Music Connection and more. Earlier this year, Madison was also featured on Peter Cottontale’s hit track, “Forever Always,” also featuring Chance The Rapper, YEBBA and Daniel Caesar.

- GRAMMY® Award-winning rapper Common will release his new album Let Love on August 30, 2019, his debut for Loma Vista Recordings. Pre-order it HERE. In tandem with this announcement, he shared his latest single and music video entitled “Hercules” [feat. Swizz Beatz]. On the track, he serves up his sharp signature wordplay between soulful backing vocals from Swizz Beatz. Meanwhile, the music video directed by Carrick [Weezer] sees Common thwart a convenience store robbery caught on surveillance camera—in between rapping into his iPhone. Vince Staples makes a cameo as the cashier.

- The Brand New Heavies are pleased to share a breath-taking version of Kendrick Lamar’s "These Walls", recorded with longtime associate and vocalist N’Dea Davenport and produced by uber-fan Mark Ronson. Ronson first caught their show (and lineup) in New York in 1991, later inviting them to play at his 40th birthday party. Insistent once more to reconvene that lineup, they successfully reunited N’Dea and The Heavies for his production of this track for their 30th anniversary album. Listen to it HERE.

- Multiplatinum Icelandic quintet Of Monsters and Men release a new song “Wild Roses” off their upcoming full-length album FEVER DREAM out July 26th via Republic Records. Check out “Wild Roses” Here!

- Award winning and multi-platinum pop iconoclast bülow has released a music video for her new single, “Get Stupid,” today via Wax Records /Republic Records/Universal Music Canada. Watch the video for “Get Stupid” HERE.

- Up-and-coming songstress QUEEVA sets free her debut album How Do You Know today, July 12. The budding songwriter co-wrote every track on the album with mentor and hit songwriter Jamie O’Neal, who is also credited as the producer of the album.

- Texas-based singer-songwriter Jordan Whitmore is set to share her rootsy pop/Americana musical goodness with the world on September 6, 2019, with the release of her EP, Good Things. Mixing heartland rock & roll guitars with bright pop hooks a la Sheryl Crow, Whitmore showcases her cross-genre sound on the EP, which was produced by Brian Douglas Phillips (who produced her 2014 album, Other Side, as well as singles like “Here’s To You” and “I Promise”). Atwood Magazine admired the first single, “Something Different” (released in May), for its “touch of heartland rock n roll mixed with pop catchiness, making it all in all feel-good and familiar.”

- Nora Sandigo has more than 2,000 kids. The fierce immigration activist serves as the legal guardian for U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants who have been deported. Were it not for her, many would be forced into the foster care system, keeping them legally separated from their parents. The Great Mother profiles this inspiring woman, who not only provides economic, legal and emotional support for her charges, but lobbies Congress for immigration reform despite an increasingly hostile political climate. Filmed over two years, and encompassing both the 2016 election and its aftermath, the film captures two of the most tumultuous years on record for immigrants. The Great Mother premieres on STARZ on Monday, July 22nd at 9 PM ET/PT and will be available for download or streaming via the STARZ app.

- Smithsonian Channel has signed on to reveal the grandeur and fascinating backstories of the magnificent homes of Great Britain’s nobility. Through the eyes of host Julie Montagu, Viscountess Hinchingbrooke, viewers will receive an all-access pass to the amazing architecture, aristocratic inhabitants, priceless treasures and best-kept secrets of some of the United Kingdom’s most impressive estates. Each hour-long episode will follow Viscountess Hinchingbrooke as she visits one of these lavish homes – from Gloucestershire’s Sudeley Castle to Scotland’s Inveraray Castle to her husband’s own historic family estate in Dorset – Mapperton. Montagu will go beneath the skin of these finely crafted buildings as she discovers the lifestyles of the current owners, staff and craftspeople responsible for maintaining every exquisite detail, revealing what it really takes to maintain such storied estates for future generations. An American Aristocrat’s Guide to Great Estates will premiere on Smithsonian Channel in early 2020.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Previewing Shangri-La

When the Wu-Tang documentary was announced I thought, four hours on one subject, but with ten members there were plenty of stories to spread around. And the ODB and their one copy album could support their own documentaries in themselves. And I kind of want the latter because it got short changed in their documentary. But really, it was hard to think that there were many other subjects that could substance four episodes.

Then I watched Showtime’s latest documentary Shangri-La. And you know what; it also manages to be compelling throughout its four episodes. The docu-series focuses on creative conversation and the emotional side of music-making, using legendary music producer Rick Rubin's iconic Malibu, CA studio, Shangrli-La, as the backdrop.

Unless you read liner notes, you may not know Rick Rubin’s name, but if you have listened to music in the past thirty-five years, you definitely have herd songs he has produced no matter what you listen to. You could listen to pop (Adele), rock, (Tom Petty), heavy metal (Slayer), country (The Dixie Chicks), alternative (Red Hot Chili Peppers), folk ((The Avett Brothers), he even produces comedy albums (Andrew Dice Clay). He is most linked to rap after starting Def Jam in his college dorm room launching the careers of Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, and Public Enemy. When Jay-Z says, You’re crazy for this one Rick” in 99 Problems, that is Rubin he is referring to.

Shangri-La has had a long rich history long before Rick set foot there in 2006. It was featured in another famous music documentary, Martin Scorsese’s The Last when The Band’s bassist Rick Danko gives Scorsese a tour of the studio back in the late seventies. Oh, and Shangri-La use to be the summer home of one of the biggest television shows at the time. Probably someone you will never guess.

But is really is not just the long history of Rubin or even Shangri-La that makes this documentary, it is that this documentary is pretty weird. The series is peppered with images of a young Rick with his later day trademark beard and balding long hair. Then one of the first talking heads is Tyler the Creator basically saying he does not really know who Rick Rubin is. Kind of a weird choice for a docu-series about Rick Rubin. And I am all for it.

Some other people who stop over to Shangri-La include David Lynch, the lead singer of Vampire Weekend (watch to found out which song off their latest album he did not include because it sounded like a song Smash Mouth would do for a Shrek movie), David Blaine (Rick is a huge magic guy), Triple HHH (Rick is also famously a huge wrestling fan), Jerrod Carmichael, and it also features Mac Miller’s last recording sessions.

This is also the first docu-series that I can think of that kind of has an episode end on a cliffhanger. Episode three ends with news coverage of last year’s California wildfires, which left me thinking, oh await, is this studio I just spent three hours with about to burn down. You will have to turn into episode to find out. But the show is definitely worth the watch just because it is a very weird and entertaining watch. Of course if you do not get the weirdness, it does not really matter to Rick Rubin. When asked, “does it matter at all that people didn’t understand?” his answer is simply, “Never.”

Shangri-La airs Fridays at 9:00 on Showtime.

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Previewing Harlots: Season Three

Theon Greyjoy died much like he lived, pretty pathetically. Dude was killed by his own weapon in a fight that took less time than the time it took Theon to run towards the Night King. But hey, at least Theon was told by Bran he was a good man before being stabbed with his own weapon. Though who is to say that Bran was just saying that so Ayra would have enough time to get to the Werewood tree? I do not think Theon’s final act really makes up for groping his sister, burning two farm children, ruining his sister’s plan to rescue him, watching while someone raped his virginal surrogate sister, or literally jumping ship when his uncle captured his sister. But hey, that is just me.

So I kind of laughed when Theon Greyjoy showed up on the new season of Harlots. Seriously, he is the new main antagonist now that Lydia Quigley is in the nut house? Granted since Leslie Manville is still on the show, it is not a matter of if, but when Quigley gets out. Also listed first in the credits is Samantha Morton though Margaret Wells, who was last seen banished to America after confessing to murder being spared the noose, is completely absent the first two episodes. Though when characters talk about buying land in America at the end of episode two, it seems clear how the Wells matriarch will return to the show.

The third season picks up one year since Margaret set sail for America. Both of her children are doing well, Charlotte has taken over her mother’s business while Lucy is about to go into business for herself with a new partner that has a very different type of product. While Emily Lacey has teamed up with Theon and his brother who wants to expand their pleasure business.

Lydia Quigley does show up in the early episodes but is unrecognizable without her wig, powdered makeup, and fancy cloths. And the loony bins of the eighteenth century featured “cures” that probably made their cliental crazier. We are introduced to the rotating chair which is supposed to induce “involuntary evacuations.” Of course Quigley is quick to make friends that will help her cause.

Harlots has been a fun excursion for spring and summertime watching. Though as the show expands (Liv Tyler in season two, Theon in the new season) there are beginning to be too many characters with inter-swapping relationships, it is starting to get confusing who is aligned with who and who is hooking up with who in the next scene. One moment someone is burning down a building, the next they are hooking up with the inhabitant even though they know who did it. Though the way things end in episode three, things may become more clear sa I am guessing that moment will steer the storylines for the rest of the season.

Harlots premieres tomorrow on Hulu with the first two episodes and new episodes every Wednesday.


Sunday, July 07, 2019

57 Channels and Only This Is On: July 7, 2019

Big Little Lies: Renata may be going to the poor house, but at least she went out in style. C’mon, what second grader would not want a private disco concert by The Tramps? But at least we got Adam Scott in an afro getting into a fight. Is one of those two gonna kill each other this season?

Claws: Well that had to be the least realistic toe I have ever seen. At first I thought dude was just not very well endowed.
You can download Claws on iTunes.

Fear the Walking Dead: So Al’s captor promises not to kill he if she gave her a tape, is about to kill her after getting the tape, but instead kisses. The whole containment storyline has been confusing.
You can download Fear the Walking Dead on iTunes.

The Handmaid’s Tale: The new black Handmaid was almost like Checkov’s antagonist this season; you knew she was going to do something, just not what and when. But we finally got it, she snitched on the Martha that was helping June. But how did June not get implicated in this?
You can watch The The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu.

Krpton: So Seg separated himself from Brainiac last week except he is still there. So much for not brining Brainiac to Kyrpton. But who or what did Lobo kill last week? This show just does not makes sense too often.
You can download Krypton on iTunes.

Swamp Thing: So the weird dude who rowed up to Swampy last week is the same dude who cursed the actor dude. Do what exactly that guy up to?

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: So weird bat lady thinks she is the victim while Not Coulsen claims to be the aggrieved. I don’t know, kind of seems like the chick who takes over people with bats is probably the true evil one. Or at the very least more evil. But why exactly did she not have her bats fly down the gullet of FitzSimmons? Did she run out of bats?
You can download Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on iTunes.