Sunday, July 29, 2007

So Fucking Money!

Your first look at Jon Favreau's take on classic Marvel hero Iron Man, starring Robert Downey Jr, Terence Howard & Jeff Bridges. I have no problem saying this made me giddy. The only CGI in this video is the stuff at the end with the jets. All other suit & pratical effects done by Stan Winston, The Greatest Special Effects Man EVER!!!

Heads Up/Addendum: The Nines

Last week, I posted my Top 10 movies to see in August and September. The only one I couldn't find a trailer for was John August's The Nines. But then I read that August personally posted clips on YouTube to see what they would look like online. Here they are...

"A Medical Situation" [Story 1]

"Videogame God" [Story 2]

"Kill Off The Hero" [Story 3]

- The Nines website

I have to wait until January??!!?

Lost video from San Diego ComicCon
Orientation for Station 6 - "The Orchid"

I don't know about you, but what I get out of this is that's a time travelling bunny. And what does Back To The Future and all other time travel science fiction teach you? That's right - NEVER be in the same place as yourself. Interesting. Makes me want to go back and watch that flash-forward season 3 finale.

Friday, July 27, 2007


Why So Serious??

Bonus: call 1-800-395-9646

Heads Up: The Top 10 Films to check out in August & September

I know I neglect my movie reviews, but I think I've only seen a dozen films this year. I do seem to see them all twice though, due to having a lot of friends that don't hang out together (I'm not complaining, really). I saw Knocked Up three times, but it's been the best film I've seen this year so far, so that's fine. On the flip side, I wasted six hours of my life on the third Pirates of the Caribbean debacle. That was unfortunate, and now I have to wage a personal jihad against Orlando Bloom. The only movie I've really wanted to see that I missed was 28 Weeks Later..., but it's not a huge loss.

I thought I'd throw this list together, because this time of the year is weird and interesting for the movie business. The execs who decide when to release the studio's projects load August up with wannabe summer blockbusters that they don't think can compete in May & June (Rush Hour 3), but also slip out dark horses that could blow up huge (Superbad, Stardust). Then there's the dreaded Labor Day weekend, notorious as one of the worst release weekends of the year; it's usually chock full of cheesy horror movies and action films high on energy but low on brains (the obligatory Jason Statham movie comes a week early this year)... Of course, this is also my birthday weekend, so I am usually fucked if I want a good birthday movie. September, on the other hand, is for the adventurous execs. It starts as August ended, with barrel-scraping, but ends with the first batch of Oscar hopefuls, films the studios hope are good and memorable enough to resonate with voters until January.

So here's my picks for the Top 10 Most Intriguing Films coming out in August & September:
[All release dates are from, and of course are subject to the whims of scaredy-cat execs that don't want their little arthouse film pummeled by Rob Zombie's Halloween remake, et al.]

10. Across The Universe [September 28th]
Director: Julie Taymor [Frida]
Stars: Evan Rachel Wood & Jim Sturgess, with Roots guitarist Martin Luther, Bono, Eddie Izzard & Salma Hayek
Why it's here: Well, it's intriguing as fuck all. I'm a big music fan, but I hate musicals. And yet, how can anyone not be a little curious about a musical using nothing but Beatles songs? The last time someone tried it, The BeeGees totally screwed the pooch, and this time I would have more confidence in Taymor directing, except her studio head went behind her back, cut his own version, and held test screenings with it. No one knows which version is coming out. But with characters named Jude, Lucy, Max, Sadie, Prudence, Jojo, Mr. Kite, Dr. get the gotta at least see it.

09. Superbad [August 17th]
Director: Greg Mottola [The Daytrippers, TV's Arrested Development & Undeclared]
Stars: Michael Cera & Jonah Hill, and other people who aren't Michael Cera or Jonah Hill
Why it's here: The trailer is one of the funniest in recent memory, and coming off 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up, who wouldn't want to see another movie from Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen?
[Very Not Safe For Work Trailer]

08. Wristcutters: A Love Story [limited release, August 17th]
Director: Goran Dukic
Stars: Patrick Fugit, Shannyn Sossamon, Shea Whigham, Tom Waits, Will Arnett, John Hawkes, Leslie Bibb, Jake Busey
Why it's here: By the time it's release date rolls around, it might not be here. The title alone has courted controversy, and the release date keeps getting moved. Once you see the trailer though, you will be totally curious.

07. Stardust [August 10th]
Director: Matthew Vaughn [Layer Cake]
Stars: Charlie Cox, Claire Danes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert De Niro, Sienna Miller, Ricky Gervais, Peter O'Toole, Rupert Everett, and narration by Ian McKellen
Why it's here: Because it's based on a story by comic book god Neil Gaiman, because Vaughn did a great job with Layer Cake, and because the trailer is spectacular enough to make you think it's the next Princess Bride.

06. Michael Clayton [Wednesday, September 5th]
: Tony Gilroy [directorial debut; wrote all 3 Jason Bourne films]
Stars: George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, Sydney Pollack
Why it's here: Gilroy's Bourne screenplays have been near-flawless, and one look at this trailer shows that he can no doubt inject life back in the courtroom thriller. It doesn't hurt to have one of the best movie stars on the planet as your star, and also that his career profile needs a bit of an caffeinated kick in the pants.

05. The Nines [limited release, August 31st]
Director: John August [directorial debut; wrote Go and Big Fish]
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Hope Davis, Melissa McCarthy [Sookie from Gilmore Girls], Elle Fanning, David Denman [Roy from The Office]
Why it's here: It's sounds positively fascinating! Reynolds, Davis and McCarthy all play three roles in a three-part plot from writer/director August, not unlike his first screenplay, for Doug Liman's 1999 film Go. Reynolds finally gets a role, or roles, he can sink his teeth into, pulling his laser-accurate comic timing out of forgettable low-brow comedies and dropping it into a mysterious drama that Italian critics called "Lynch-ian" (as in David Lynch); he'll get to hone his craft as a troubled actor, a TV writer, and a video game designer all dealing with the creative process from different angles. Entertainment Weekly named it the best movie at this year's Sundance Festival.
No trailer yet, but here's the website: Look For The Nines

04. Trade [limited release, September 21st]
Director: Marco Kreuzpaintner
Stars: Kevin Kline
Why it's here: do you sell a film solely on Kevin Kline, an Oscar winning actor who never really made it to leading man status? He never needed to get there, actually, though the occasional well-chosen starring role never hurts. In that way, he's more like Steve Buscemi or Bill Macy than Kevin Spacey or Bill Murray. Anyway, this movie was supposed to come out back in the beginning of 2007; one look at the trailer will floor you, and word is out that it's Kline's best dramatic performance to date.

03. Into The Wild [September 21st]
Director: Sean Penn
Stars: Emile Hirsch, Vince Vaughn, Catherine Keener, William Hurt, Marcia Gay Harden, Kristen Stewart, Jena Malone, Zach Galifianakis
Why it's here: Because there's wanderlust in all of us - at some point, everyone has fantasized about giving all your money to charity, and just up and leaving your life, disappearing into the world, with no excess holding you down, and just your smarts to keep you going.

02. 3:10 To Yuma [September 7th]
Director: James Mangold [Walk The Line; Girl, Interrupted]
Stars: Russell Crowe, Christian Bale, Peter Fonda, Gretchen Mol, Ben Foster, Alan Tudyk
Why it's here: um...let's see... A western starring Crowe, Bale & Fonda, by the director of Walk The Line. I don't see where it can go wrong. And for once, I don't care that it's yet another remake by Hollywood. Some might also point out that the screenplay is written by Stuart Beattie, who wrote the Pirates trilogy, but I'm looking more in between those films at his brilliant writing on Michael Mann's sorely underrated Collateral.

01. The Bourne Ultimatum [August 3rd]
Director: Paul Greengrass [The Bourne Supremacy; United 93]
Stars: Matt Damon, Joan Allen, David Strathairn, Edgar Ramirez, Julia Stiles, Albert Finney, Scott Glenn, Paddy Considine
Why it's here: Because it's going to be the finale to the second best trilogy in movie history (third, if you count the first 3 Indiana Jones flicks). Matt Damon will never get a better commercial-blockbuster-type character than Jason Bourne, and he owns it in every frame, a massive movie star disappearing into his part like the superspy he's playing disappears into the cold night. The previous two films put 99% of the action films of the last two decades to shame and do so with the minimum of CGI. There was a reason Bond had to be reinvented.

Heads Up: Geek news from San Diego ComicCon

These are things I learned from watching G4's Attack Of The Show today:

Karen Allen, Marion Ravenwood from Raiders of the Lost Ark, is a confirmed member of the Indiana Jones 4 cast, and she is indeed playing mother to Indy’s greaser son, played by Shia Labeouf (with a beard).

300 director Zach Snyder is adapting comic book epic Watchmen, and he has revealed the main cast members. They include Billy Crudup [Almost Famous] as Dr. Manhattan, Jackie Earle Haley [Little Children] as Rorschach, Matthew Goode [Match Point] as Ozymandias, Patrick Wilson [Hard Candy] as The Night Owl, Jeffrey Dean Morgan [TV's Grey's Anatomy] as The Comedian, and Malin Akerman [Harold & Kumar]as Silk Spectre.

Zachary Quinto, Sylar on Heroes, is now confirmed as Spock in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek prequel. Leonard Nimoy will also reprise his role, as old Spock, I guess; Shatner is rumored to be joining up.

Oscar-winning Tsotsi director Gavin Hood is set to direct the Wolverine solo flick.

Harold Perrineau will return as Michael Dawson, Walt’s father on Lost.

Kevin Spacey has expressed commitment to a Superman sequel.

According to frequent collaborator, actress Rosario Dawson, Sin City/Grindhouse director Robert Rodriguez is going to remake Barbarella.

Knocked Up star Seth Rogen will adapt The Green Hornet with his Superbad writing partner Evan Goldberg. It is still unknown whether he will star in the title role, but he has announced his desire to cast Kung-Fu Hustle star/director Stephen Chow as The Hornet’s sidekick, Kato.

And G4 had their own announcement: they will air the Spaceballs animated series this fall.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Headphones: Spoon's Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

I'm not going to directly quote, but I recently read that R. Kelly compared himself to Marvin Gaye, Bob Marley, and Martin Luther King Jr. It's sad that someone can become so delusional. Um, Kelly has never given the world anything but the remix to “Ignition” and the heebie geebies. But he does shed light on a troubling fact - there are no unifying figures in pop culture right now. It's sad. There should be, but the relationship between clichéd, low-brow entertainment and a country-wide audience seems like a marriage built for the long haul, and the war between red and blue states has put impressionable children on opposite sides of the street and given them rocks and rotten eggs. Leonardo DiCaprio would have been a good choice earlier in his career, but he's now forever burdened by being a 'dirty hippie', as Eric Cartman would say. Another hopeful figure, to me, is Common. One listen to what the guy is trying to go for overall in his career...well, first of all, he wants a career, which is awesome. Second, he's trying to be everything to everyone, but without softening his personal stances. His recent alliance with Kanye West helps his beats, but hurts cuz Kanye yells louder most of the time. Anyway, if there's a new Marvin Gaye, it's probably Common. So, who's the new Beatles? Fuck, who's the new any rock band that can unite people? The next U2, Nirvana, whoever you got... And don't say Radiohead, cuz as much as their fans (myself included) want to see the world through ‘Black Star’ glasses, the unfortunate truth is most of the world doesn't want to get behind a sad-sack midget with a lazy eye, no matter how jaw-droppingly spectacular his voice is. There hasn't been one of those universal bands in ages. I have a dream that one day soon that band will be Spoon.

For the last dozen years, Spoon has primarily been Britt Daniel and Jim Eno, and they are one of the best bands on Earth. Britt's gift for melody and lyrics has allowed him to fuse the spirit of The Beatles, The Kinks, 60's Soul music, Elvis Costello, Prince, David Bowie, Tom Petty, and the Pixies into a distinctive Spoon sound. His lyrics skew to the familiar, small town tales about dancing with your girl, smoking some nice weed, or broken hearts - stuff that could have happened to anyone, told with missing details like you're only hearing one end of a phone conversation. His vocals come in pleas and moans and croons and sometimes growls, but always with his charming, stuffed-up nasal Texas drawl. He is Mr. Pop Everyman, and Spoon is the only band I could probably turn my entire diverse circle of friends onto. They are 'The Underdog' you can get behind, pun intended.

Jim Eno is the best drummer in Rock history that will never be recognized as such by a drum magazine. His plays it simple, somewhere between Watts and Starr, with some Stax Records thrown in. It's not that he can't throw down; when Spoon started, he could knock out some twisted post-hardcore signature changes (see their debut Telephono), but he'd rather be an unfuckwitable metronome. He is the funkiest white boy that looks like a science teacher or your dad that you'll ever hear. He isn't just in the groove, he is the fuckin' groove. And it doesn't stop there - he is usually credited with being the production genius behind Spoon. Since the band has grown out of its scrappy Punk fascination, starting with 1998's A Series Of Sneaks and emerging on 2001's already classic Girls Can Tell, Daniel and Eno have explored the deconstruction of Pop Music. They record the best album you'd ever hear, and then they chop it up and make it better. Daniel knows what he wants, and Eno knows how to make it a reality. They’ve held a remarkably high level of consistency since 1997, growing into the Jordan-Pippen axis of music. On Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, they present their most complete collection of songs, culled from the ideas on all their previous records; it’s their 5th championship.

Do you remember what it was like to watch Michael Jordan play, like it almost wasn't fair to the other team? It's not even enough that Spoon make instantly classic albums, it's that they almost never record weak songs, and putting those rare weak tracks on albums is pretty much unheard of. I'd be hard pressed to give you 10 less-than-good songs over their last decade of music. Find another band that good. I dare you. We're talking five albums, 3 or 4 EPs, and probably about a dozen cuts for compilations and soundtracks. On this album, the closest you'll get is "My Little Japanese Cigarette Case", which has only three or four lines of lyrics, but it makes up for it by having some great little Japanese flourishes, string stabs and psychedelic echoes. It's tossed off, but perfectly done. It's a lovely little song, and there are nine more that are WAY better.

If there’s anything Spoon can do better than anyone, it’s set an atmosphere. I've listened to this disc dozens of times since it leaked onto the Internet in May, but tonight was the first time I listened on my excellent Sennheiser noise-canceling headphones. Let me tell you, I was whipping my head around constantly - Spoon had me thinking ghosts were talking to me in my house. Stray conversations, multiple sound effects and bits of studio noise are strategically left throughout the songs, and these rough edges only serve to further fascinate beyond the excellent tunes. "The Ghost Of You Lingers" is probably the most unsettling and weird song on the album, but once you've gotten past the banging piano, Britt's echo-chamber double-vocal (one in each headphone channel) enchants you and the song reveals itself as one of his most heartbreaking ballads; bursts of static that first seem like a CD glitch are just another part of Jim Eno's production genius. On the other end of the spectrum, "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb" and "Black Like Me" are robust and grand; the former revisits Phil Spector and Motown with lots of bass, confident horns and all the bells & whistles, while the latter floats gently on acoustic guitar and piano before the big movie-score strings carry it away. You find yourself so engrossed in Daniel's narrative - "I spend the night in the map room; I humanized the vaccuum" - that you can completely overlook details like someone talking in the background or the scary, moaning mellotron burping what sounds like a foghorn over the verses.

Little details like this are left to be found all over the album, like an easter egg hunt or a Hardy Boys mystery, and they're just another reason that this disc will stay in your player for years. The great songs don't hurt. The melancholy of “Eddie’s Ragga” starts with what sounds like a machine stalling, before giving way to a rolling beat, slashing guitar, and a lyric juxtaposing a universal lament about a girl with specific details like “She’s never been to Texas, never heard of King Kong” (not specifying whether he means the giant ape or the band from Kentucky), and "We did an Airborne and settled in for the night". The great party-starter “Finer Feelings” piles on everything and the kitchen sink; a stuttering bassline and bouncy breakbeat are punctuated by handclaps, maracas, and colorful guitar, and still joined by snippets of reggae toasters, crowd noise, melodica, and what sounds like a Doppler-ed siren. Opener "Don't Make Me A Target" is Daniel at his most blatantly political, but it's from an interesting perspective you don't often hear - a Texan who disagrees with the President ("Here come a man from The Star; we don't know why he goes so far") and his administration ("Nuclear dicks with their dialect drawls"), and what would he say to him if he had the chance. The answer: the title of the song. Daniel gets the words out of the way, then letting the music do the talking; guitar noise strafes the area as the band lays down a solid chug.

It's already been decided by the Internet tastemakers that "The Underdog" is (a) one of the songs of summer ‘07, (b) surely one of the singles of the year, and (c) Britt Daniel's latest entry in the pantheon of classic Pop songs, along side (at least) "The Way We Get By" and "I Turn My Camera On". And those Internets are correct. The song could be Spoon's kiss-off to a bully, the Industry, the Man, whatever, that never believed in them to be the big time band they can be. "You don't talk to the waterboy; and there's so much you could learn but you don't want to know...You got no fear of the underdog; that's why you will not survive." Tell me that wasn't written from experience. Tell me you don't want these guys to stick it to the Man. Well, stand up and cheer with me, cuz Spoon just had this album debut in the top 10 after years of being pretty much ignored. The tide is turning; I think my dream might come true.

Raz's Rating
MUSIC: Spoon's Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

-Spoon's official site
(see Jim Eno in all his science teacher glory)

"The Underdog" video

Achtung, Baby!!

I have an announcement.
Yesterday was the six month anniversary of this here blog, so as a celebration, I'll be bringing the heat: Starting next Wednesday, August 1st, we will begin a very special daily feature...that's the royal 'we', son. The royal 'we'.

Cut Shallow Radio's Top 100 albums of the last 20 years!

Each day, I will post a tribute to one of the best albums released between 1987 and 2006, counting down each day to Number One (one one's only cool if you do the KRS-One echo).

Boogie Down Productions: "I'm Still #1" [mp3]

Monday, July 23, 2007

Headphones: Interpol's Our Love To Admire

One claim by critics in every Interpol review ever written is that they sound like Joy Division. I’d like to hope that if you're going to be a music critic, then you should have listened to Joy Division a few times, if not own their albums. And so I never heard the comparison, because being influenced by a band and sounding like them are two completely different things. Prince is heavily influenced by Joni Mitchell, but his psychedelic funk sounds nothing like her jazzy folk. You throw on any Interpol album, and you are sure to hear a heavy influence of late 70’s British post-punk music, and Joy Division is a band that falls under that umbrella. But to me, one of the most overriding elements of JD is the economy of the music. It’s stripped to its bare bones, trolling the dark underground; that’s kind of the point of it. Interpol is the exact opposite. Interpol is grand, shooting for the open skies, and their third full-length, Our Love To Admire, is their grandest, most baroque yet. I’d venture a guess that it has nothing to do with their new major label budget and more to do with their need to artistically expand.

One of the most noticeable things on the new album is the increased presence of keyboards, as well as orchestral arrangements; in some places, like the coda to “Wrecking Ball”, it allows the band to work with a softness that they have not yet explored. In other places, it accents a new expansiveness, as on the accordion-assisted opener “Pioneer To The Falls”, as well as the Morricone-flavored finale “The Lighthouse”. On previous albums, that UK influence has struck some as overwhelming to the bands natural personality; on OLTA however, Interpol wisely asserts their obvious growth, making the other noticeable change a shift of their musical focus to American Gothic, whether it be the Irish immigrant feel of “Falls” or the Old West on “Lighthouse”. Additionally, a track like “The Scale” digs into the deep sorrow of classic American Pop for its groove, at once recalling 50’s Rock & Roll and Girl Group ballads, but subverting the age-old ‘my baby’s gone’ narrative with a tale of a mysterious, sleeping son. Singer Paul Banks aims to soar where JD’s Ian Curtis never did, proclaiming “Under a molten sky, let the days collide; well, I made you and now I take you back.”

Further exploring the dark side of America, the most welcome influence that is buried in the DNA of OTLA is that of L.A. punks X. The first obvious nod in that direction is the subtle Billy Zoom twang in Daniel Kessler’s guitar, a new element to his already huge array of canyon echoes, watery reverb, and endless sustain. Also, Banks’ voice seems to slightly rise in register with each record, and here he’s not far off from X’s John Doe; he still projects with bluster, but he rarely broods like his UK predecessors. Both lyricists have always shot for the poetic side of songwriting, and Banks definitely likes to hit you with trivialities like “Life is like wine” or “You’re a daisy in my lazy eye”. He opens songs with lines like “I dream of you draped in wires and leaning on the brakes; as I leave you with restless liars and dealers on the take”, playing the straight man in his pressed suit to the countless smirking thrift store punks in ripped jeans. He’s been derided for overreaching in this way since Interpol’s classic debut, Turn On The Bright Lights, but I’ve always enjoyed the honesty and absurdist reality of it; guys who fancy themselves romantics do think like that sometimes. The perceived truth for both Banks and Doe is in the details. On the rehab anthem “Rest My Chemistry”, Banks greets you with “I haven’t slept in two days, I’ve bathed in nothing but sweat; and I’ve made hallways scenes for things to regret”, and your mind immediately wanders to the debauched conclusions to those allusions.

Banks never wallows in depression though, even as he chronicles his confusion and sadness; instead of turning his lyrical eye inward like countless Goths before him, Banks looks across the dinner table at his significant other and addresses their many problems together, their regrets and miscommunications. In that way he’s become one of our best reporters currently on the frontlines of the Battle of the Sexes, and he revels in the moments when either side feels it necessary to tell a lie or be brutally honest. He can put himself in the shoes of a misogynist, boasting that women have “insatiable needs” but “no self control”, then turn around and admit to the “destruction of man”, and “the corruption in my hand”. At one moment, he’s attempting to sway his lover with a winking “Maybe we need to give something else a try”, before insensitively pushing too far with “There’s no I in threesome”.

Banks’ bravado exhilarates the band, with the rhythm section of Carlos D and Sam Fogarino wringing as much pulsing bass and ornate percussive flourishes out of a simple 4-4 as possible. I often wonder if Fogarino is a drum teacher on the side, because he plays just complex enough without overshadowing the songs; he’s an expert in what to hit at what moment, and also when to hit nothing at all. The physical swing and momentum sets the band apart, whether at a molasses pace or a sprint. A song like first single “The Heinrich Maneuver”, one with the ‘familiar’ Interpol sound, works because of that momentum, Kessler and Carlos locking up through the chorus, Fogarino chopping it up behind them, as Banks intones “Today my heart swings” with complete conviction. Later, on "All Fired Up", when he bellows “I’ll take you on…I’ve got this soul, it's all fired up” with the band charging behind him, you know in your heart that Joy Division never threw down like this.

Raz's Rating
MUSIC: Interpol's Our Love To Admire

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Heads Up: The Coen Brothers' No Country For Old Men

Let's be honest - it's time for a new Coen Brothers classic. The universe knows that The Ladykillers and Intolerable Cruelty were not of that kind. This film here, No Country For Old Men, looks so tightly wound, the trailer kinda scared a good way. I'm not going to pretend to be the biggest Coen Bros. fan, but this is clearly a return to Fargo, Miller's Crossing, & Blood Simple. Murder with a capital M. I mean, from a purely technical standpoint, as far as what trailers are made to do, this might be the greatest trailer ever. It tells you everything you need to know to want to see the movie, but nothing about the movie itself, beyond the basic man-finds-money, psycho-wants-money-back. And it looks exquisite and haunting.

It stars Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Woody Harrelson, and Kelly MacDonald (yes, that's her, from Trainspotting). Also, we get a little Stephen Root, which is always good, and keep an eye on the deputy, played by Garret Dillahunt. He's been floating around TV for about a decade, from Deadwood to E.R. to The 4400; right now, he's the doctor on John From Cincinnati...and he looks like he could be brothers with HRG from Heroes. Anyway, as of right now, No Country is scheduled for release in the US on November 21st.

Posted Jun 29, 2007

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Happy Accidents, Volume 2
(The 8-Hour Work Day Edition)

[Happy Accidents is a recurring feature dedicated to the fascinating phenomenom that is an iPod on shuffle.]

When I got to work today, I decided I was going to hit shuffle on my iPod and not skip one song. I find that when you do skip a song, it sucks battery energy like you had actually played the tune; if you skip 20 songs in a row, a big chunk of your power disappears. I wanted to see if my iPod was in it for the long haul, and I wanted to hear some songs I don't usually listen to. Here's the mammoth list...It's amazing how much music you can listen to in one work day (That would be 97 songs).

Spoon: “Back To The Life”
Method Man: “Bring The Pain”
Beastie Boys: “Putting Shame In Your Game”
Arctic Monkeys: “From The Ritz To The Rubble”
A Tribe Called Quest: “Keep It Rollin’” (feat. Large Professor)
Jose Gonzalez: “Crosses”
Fugazi: “Margin Walker”
For a long time, I skipped Fugazi tracks on my iPod because they were mixed so quietly. But I used the iTunes function where you can raise the natural volume of a track. Fugazi sounds vicious through the earbuds now.
Dinosaur Jr: “Freak Scene”
Lady Sovereign: “Random”
…Trail Of Dead: “Totally Natural”
Rocket From The Crypt: “Out Of Control”
The Walkmen: “Emma, Get Me A Lemon”
Blur: “End Of A Century”
Queens Of The Stone Age: “I Wanna Make It Wit Chu” (live)
Dizzee Rascal: “Learn”
Buzzcocks: “Autonomy”
D’Angelo: “Brown Sugar”
The Clash: “The Guns Of Brixton”
Radiohead: “Sulk”
Boogie Down Productions: “Poetry”
The (English) Beat: “Mirror In The Bathroom”
The Police: “A Sermon”
Grizzly Bear: “Knife”
I don't really know what the lyrics to this song are, but it feels very romantic to me, like it'll be played at indie-weddings for years to come.

Ryan Adams: “Is This It”
The Afghan Whigs: “66”
The Raconteurs: “Level”
Queens of the Stone Age: “Ode To Clarissa”
Arctic Monkeys: “Fake Tales of San Francisco”
The Jimi Hendrix Experience: “Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)?”
Elvis Costello & The Attractions: “Radio, Radio”
Ted Leo & The Pharmacists: “C.I.A.”
Souls Of Mischief: “93 ‘Til Infinity”
King Khan & The Shrines: “Welfare Bread”
Jimmy Cliff: “Many Rivers To Cross”
Foo Fighters: “Good Grief”
Mos Def: “Do It Now” (feat. Busta Rhymes)
Radiohead: “Karma Police”
Kings Of Leon: “Camaro”
Rage Against The Machine: “Maria”
I place my vote for this as Rage's best song

The Cure: “Let’s Go The Bed”
David Bowie: “Diamond Dogs”
Ghostface Killah: “Last Night”
It's sad I don't really have any friends I can bond with over the glorious hilarity of Ghostface. I have Joel on a program though; he's on the come up.

Radiohead: “Climbing Up The Walls”
At The Drive-In: “Sleepwalk Capsules”
Sublime: “DJ’s”
The Futureheads: “Back To The Sea”
Queens of the Stone Age: “Auto Pilot”
Deftones: “Cherry Waves”
The Cure: “Prayer For Rain”
Interpol: “Roland”
Manu Chao: “Merry Blues”
Ryan Adams: “Shakedown On 9th Street”
Nas: “Thief’s Theme”
This song is so sick, it's no wonder Scorsese used it in The Departed.
Foo Fighters: “Learn To Fly”
The Band: “The Weight”
Cannibal Ox: “Pigeon”
It was weird - the second this song started, I looked out my office window and saw a pigeon flying away.
Foo Fighters: “Exhausted”
Maceo & The Macks: “Cross The Tracks (We Better Go Back)”
Prince & The New Power Generation: “Thieves In The Temple”
It's very hard to talk to a young college-age guy about his debauched vacation in the Caribbean while the New Power Generation is cooing in your ear. And all I could think of was Prince's giant hair, and him riding through foggy alleyways on his motorcycle.
The Clash: “Garageland”
Led Zeppelin: “Bring It On Home” (live)
Kings Of Leon: “Fans”
Deltron 3030: “Things We Can Do”
Does anyone else think that Ludacris sounds just like Del, just with a Southern drawl?
Wu-Tang Clan: “Clan In Da Front”
De La Soul: “Eye Know”
…Trail Of Dead: “Mistakes & Regrets”
Dirty Pretty Things: “You Fucking Love It”
T. Rex: “Bang A Gong (Get It On)”
Beck: “Jack-Ass”
Jeff Buckley: “Vancouver”
This song sounds like old pre-breakthrough R.E.M. played backwards.

Spoon: “Waiting For The Kid To Come Out”
R.E.M.: “Radio Free Europe”
Rocket From The Crypt: “Venom Venom”
LCD Soundsystem: “North American Scum”
Guided By Voices: “I Am Scientist”
In keeping with the title of this feature, and the serendipity it implies, this song offered a bit of cosmic alignment today. I just got it; all these years reading about the ramshackle grandeur of Bee Thousand. And today, this song revealed its true self to me, like rays of sunlight through the clouds.

Guillemots: “Trains To Brazil”
David Bowie: “Look Back In Anger”
The Kinks: “Tired Of Waiting For You”
The Shins: “New Slang”
Hot Snakes: “XOX”
Bob Dylan: “Visions Of Johanna”
The Verve: “Catching The Butterfly”
Tangiers: “Here Come The Pieces”
Justin Timberlake: “My Love” (DFA Mix)
The Rolling Stones: “I Got The Blues”
Ted Leo & The Pharmacists: “The One Who Got Us Out”
Cassie: “Me & U”
What?? I like it. I don't care what you think. The track is sublime; it sounds like it was based on sounds from PBS' Nova.
The Black Crowes: “Jealous Again”
Mos Def: “Beef”
The Exploding Hearts: “Rumours In Town”
Queens Of The Stone Age: “Supa Scoopa & Mighty Scoop” (live)
The Kinks: “Starstruck”
Chavez: “Our Boys Will Shine Tonight”
My Bloody Valentine: “Come In Alone”
Josh Homme, Nick Oliveri & Brad Wilk: “All The Same”
No one knows this song. It's from the soundtrack to The Dangerous Life of Altar Boys. It's one of Josh Homme's most melodic, mainstream-sounding rock songs. A nice big anthem. Definitely seek it out.

Outkast: “So Fresh, So Clean”
Jay-Z: “Dirt Off Your Shoulder”
The Damned: “Fan Club”
The Black Keys: “Your Touch”
The White Stripes: “Rag & Bone”
Meg is so cute.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

R.I.P. MTV (1981-2007)

A lot has been said for years, especially on angry blogs and message boards about MTV (and their sister networks) abandoning music. But now MTV is officially dead. How do I know this? Well, take a look at this list of artists:

Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica, Beastie Boys, Foo Fighters, Kanye West, Linkin Park, Fall Out Boy, Snoop Dogg, Smashing Pumpkins, Shakira, Pharrell Williams, Chris Cornell, Pussycat Dolls, Black Eyed Peas, Ludacris, Kelly Clarkson, AFI, Alicia Keys, Akon, Rihanna, Taking Back Sunday, Bloc Party, Wolfmother, M.I.A., Joss Stone, Kasabian, & Xzibit

And also consider these VH-1 acts:
Madonna, The Police, Dave Matthews Band, Bon Jovi, John Mayer, Roger Waters, John Legend, Lenny Kravitz, Duran Duran, Genesis, Jack Johnson, Crowded House, Keane, James Blunt, Enrique Iglesias, Snow Patrol, Damien Rice, David Gray, Macy Gray, Melissa Etheridge, KT Tunstall, Corrine Bailey Rae, & Spinal Tap

All of the above artists are set to play the Live Earth concerts today, and MTV, VH-1, and all of their satellite stations are airing ZERO coverage! I thought I read it wrong, but here it is on my cable box: Bravo & the Sundance Channel, with a 3-hour highlight show tonight on NBC. Where the fuck is MTV?? Well, all their coverage is relegated to a special corner of their website, claiming that "If you're looking to see Madonna and Metallica light up the United Kingdom's Wembley Stadium, Linkin Park rock Japan or Pharrell throw down in Brazil, you know who to hang with — us." Riiiiiiiight, but if you switch over to them, they're airing marathons of America's Next Top Model, Real World, Cribs, & Wildboyz!!!! MTV Hits at least has videos. VH-1's playing random nothing, while VH-1 Classic has the outdated One Hit Wonder countdown from like 5 years ago. YES, MTV execs, all these things are more important than global warming AND dozens of live sets by the biggest musical artists on your networks. Good show, assholes! Actually, it's kind of fitting that MTV should die just before its 26th birthday, since that's usually how old people are when they lose interest in the channel's programming.

I remember when MTV forced kids to care about their world, and now that those kids have grown up are doing something worthwhile about it, MTV turns their backs because they figure today's children are too young to care; they'd rather watch idiots be rude and selfish (that goes for all 4 of those aforementioned shows, and on down the schedule).

Of course, that doesn't mean that it'll be good - not all artists are good live (I'm looking in your direction, Shakira), and ex-MTV jocks Dave Holmes & Karen Duffy's hosting skills are definitely rusty. That being said I just watched Snow Patrol being adequate enough, Linkin Park tearing through "Faint" (still their only great song) while Tokyo fans go apeshit, and Damien Rice & David Gray playing an excellent acoustic set together, and I wonder who wouldn't want to see this? This is music. And MTV just isn't anymore. It's dead, so pour out a little liquor.