Friday, November 06, 2020

Around the Tubes: November 7, 2020

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 Circus, Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder, Benee, Elvis Costello, Evie Irie, Cinderella, and Chain Reaction.

THE CIRCUS: INSIDE THE CRAZIEST POLITICAL CAMPAIGN ON EARTH finishes its fifth season with a fast-paced, behind-the-scenes look at the 2020 presidential election and its chaotic aftermath.  In a special one-hour episode, titled “Who The F*** Are We?,” hosts John Heilemann, Alex Wagner and Mark McKinnon, along with contributor Jennifer Palmieri, crisscross the country during the close of an unforgettable presidential campaign. After a record-shattering number of ballots were cast, THE CIRCUS reports from the White House to Wilmington to the vote-counting facilities at the center of the post-election drama – and interviews a roster of some of the nation's top elected officials and political strategists to unpack the unfolding week of news.  For a preview, go to:

Episode seven of Bob Marley's Legacy documentary series continues with "Freedom Fighter," a powerful new short featuring insight and interviews from some of the world's most respected artists, writers, activists, and filmmakers, each offering their own take on Bob's music, his message, and his unique power at uniting and articulating the long and painful journey from oppression and the struggles his brothers and sisters have endured over the years. From slavery to the Civil Rights Movement to this present day, the episode also explores current social issues from the mass incarceration of African Americans in the United States and the power and importance of modern-day activism and movements such as Black Lives Matter and The People's Budget Movement. Narrated by Public Enemy's Chuck D, the episode features interviews with rappers 2 Chainz and LL Cool J, media mogul and filmmaker Yandy Smith, human rights activist Malcolm X, American Civil Rights activist Mary Hooks, best-selling authors Aya de Leon and Jamila T. Davis, and reporter, Dani McClain. The episode also features a performance from Grammy-nominated EARTHGANG, interviews with Ferrell Scott and Corvain Cooper, who are both serving life in prison without the possibility of parole sentences for non-violent marijuana charges, as well as art director and friend of Bob Marley, Neville Garrick, Island Records Founder, Chris Blackwell and family members, Cedella Marley, Donisha PrendergastKy-Mani Marley, Ziggy Marley, and many more. "Freedom Fighter" is available to watch on Bob Marley's Official YouTube Channel. Watch HERE.

 On Election Day, Stevie Wonder released a strong message with the “The Universe is Watching Us – What Happens Next…” visual to provide light, positivity and hope for this critical Election.  Watch “The Universe is Watching Us – What Happens Next…”: HERE  This powerful message follows the release of his recently released songs “Can’t Put It In the Hands of Fate feat. Rapsody, Cordae, Chika and Busta Rhymes and “Where Is Our Love Song feat. Gary Clark Jr., which are available now on all digital and streaming platforms. All of Stevie’s proceeds from the record royalties of “Where Is Our Love Song” are donated to Feeding America. 

New Zealand’s platinum sensation BENEE uncovers a new song entitled “Happen To Me”—listen HERE! It’s the last track to be revealed from her anxiously awaited full-length debut, Hey u x, out next Friday November 13th—pre-order it HERE now.  BENEE recently cited the tune as her “favorite on the album” in an interview with Vogue Australia. On the track, warm guitar wraps around a driving beat as she confesses, “I understand why people leave/But leaving seems scary to me,” in an ethereal timbre. It culminates on the catchy refrain, “I think about these things too much/My mind likes to wind itself up/And I don’t get a lot of sleep/’Cause what if they happen to me?” The track displays the songstress at her most vulnerable and vital.

Personally curated by Elvis Costello, The Complete Armed Forces is the definitive statement of the legendary songwriter and musician’s revered and essential 1979 album, featuring the classic hits “Accidents Will Happen,” “Green Shirt,” “Oliver’s Army” and “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding.” Leaving no musical stone unturned, no lyric notebook unrifled through and no detail left out, this new super deluxe edition vinyl box set is a thorough excavation of Costello’s vault from this metamorphic period of his early beginnings, painting as complete a picture as possible of the events that led to the making of the album, its creation, and the wild success that followed for him, and his band The Attractions, and ignited his career. Armed Forces is explored across nine pieces of vinyl (3 12-inch LPs, 3 10-inch LPs and 3 7-inch singles), including a new 2020 remaster of the album, B-sides, alternate versions and outtakes, demos, and a slew of live recordings – including 23 unreleased live tracks taken from three especially riotous concerts.  The Complete Armed Forces, available now via UMe, can be streamed in its entirety at all streaming services and purchased exclusively via Elvis Costello's official online store and UMG’s online stores uDiscover and Sound of Vinyl, in two vinyl versions – 180-gram black vinyl and limited edition 180-gram multi-color opaque vinyl. Stream and order here:

Rounding out a breakthrough year earmarked by millions of streams and widespread acclaim, seventeen-year-old Sydney-born singer/songwriter Evie Irie presents The Pessimist EP day. Get it HERE via Republic Records.  The project includes fan favorites “Over Him” and “Worst Enemy, which have already tallied over 1 million total streams and counting. It also features the brand new single “Misfit” described by Evie as, “a snapshot of a high-schooler in a bathroom stall, sitting on the toilet eating their cafeteria food alone, turn what their diary would feel like and how the food would taste in that moment, into a song, that would be Misfit.”

Polydor Records/UMe has announced the forthcoming release of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella: The Musical (Original London Cast Recording). The album features cast from the highly anticipated new theatre production, which was originally meant to have opened in October 2020, along with appearances from some surprise guest vocalists.  Andrew said, “50 years ago I couldn’t get Jesus Christ Superstar on stage as nobody wanted to produce it, so it appeared on record first. It’s so strange to find history repeating itself half a century later with the album of the complete score of my new Cinderella. I can’t get Cinderella on stage because I’m not allowed to, so I have gone back to my roots and recorded the album first.”  Recording for began in March 2020 and continued through lockdown with Andrew recording artists remotely and producing the majority of the score from his home. Once it was feasible, the recording process proceeded via socially distanced studio sessions in London.  The first song from the album is “Bad Cinderella” performed by Carrie Hope Fletcher, who will star as Cinderella in the production which is due to open in London’s West End Spring 2021. “Bad Cinderella” launches across all DSPs today, here:

Game Show Network, the leader in game shows and competitive entertainment, has greenlit an all-new edition of the popular word association game show CHAIN REACTION. Actor and TV personality Dylan Lane, who originally hosted the show’s network premiere 14 years ago, returns to host the new half-hour series, which is slated to premiere in early 2021 and air Monday through Friday.  Based on the Sony Pictures Television format, the classic game show – which originally debuted in the 1980s – features two teams competing against one another to complete chains of words, after the first and last words of the chain are revealed. Each word in the chain is related in some way to the word directly above and below it. By making inferences based on the revealed words and the revealed letters in incomplete words, contestants try to fill in the word chains to win money. 

Previewing Moonbase 8

After being elected, President Donald Trump raised some eyebrows when he announced a new division of the military called the Space Force.  Netflix rushed a comedy into production by the same shortly after.  Near the end of his first term (and as I write this, looks to be his only term, hopefully by the time you read this it will be official) he announced more space themed initiatives for his second term including putting a man on Mars and establishing a permanent base on the moon.  Seriously.  Though please note these absurd plans were did not inspire the new Showtime comedy Moonbase 8.

Though in this fictitious series, NASA is building a base on the moon, but the main characters are still stranded in the Nevada desert preparing for the day they will be chosen to be sent there.  Watching the show, you can tell right away why Nasa would keep this crew grounded.  John C. Reilly is the captain, Fred Armisen is the resident doctor, Tim Heidecker is.. um, I guess just the religious guy, and Super Bowl champion Trais Kelse is basically there  to give the program good press.

Unfortunately Kelse turned out to be the funniest character on the show and he is gone by the end of the first episode.  I was hoping the fourth member of the team would turn into a Spinal Tap drummer situation but for reasons never explained, Kelse was never replaced on the fake base.  A rotating guest of stars may have saved what ends up being a fairly mediocre comedy with a few chuckle and no actual laughs.  It got a little interesting in an episode that takes a surprising dark turn but that quickly reverted back into the tone of the rest of the six episodes total.

In a measure of full disclose, I have never been much of a fan of the comedy stylings of Reilly or Armisen and before the show, was not familiar with the oeuvre of Heidecker but found him the least interesting of the three.  So your mileage might very if you are fans of the three.  But if not, Moonbase 8 likely will not change your impressions of them.

Moonbase 8 airs Sundays at 11:00 on Showtime.

Sunday, November 01, 2020

57 Channels and Only This Is On: November 1, 2020

The Good Lord Bird:  I knew going in that Fredrick Douglass was going to pop up but I was not expecting Harriet Tubman show up.  I guess I should get around to watching her recent movie soon.  But this week just seemed like a set up for what I am guessing will be a pretty wild heist episode next week.

Fear the Walking Dead:  If a zombie apocalypse is not enough, now they have to worry about The Plague?  But what was the face dude’s wife doing where she is just hanging out with walkie talkie?  Was she with the people in that building?  Someone else?  I was going to assume we would get an episode long flashback of what she has been doing this whole time but the previews seems like we will finally see what is up with that other dude whose name I forgot.   

The Walking Dead: Worlds Beyond:  There have been plenty of zombie kills in th decade long history of the extended universe, but I believe this is the first time someone beat a zombie to death with their bare hands.  That should be pretty alarming to the rest of the group.

Fargo:  Really, they are ordering child murder now?  I know there has always been violence in the franchise but it has almost been comedic, some of these characters are just overtly mean.  But the guy ends up not doing it… only to be murdered himself because the Irish dude was able to leave, come back, find out where he was and catch the dude.  This season is becoming a drag.
You can download Fargo on iTunes.

The Mandalorian:  So far this year, Timothy Olyphant as a Marshall on this show, a Fed on Fargo, and as Timothy Olyphant on The Good Place.  Thank goodness he does not seem to care about being typecast because Timothy Olyphant - lawman is one of the best characters on television.  I was a bit disappointed that once he gave up his helmet, he did not pick up a Raylan Givens hat.  Almost as disappointed as when Chubbs got an infected hand and instead of cutting it off and using a wooden hand, stupid Baby Yoda healed him.