Saturday, July 30, 2011

Songs of the Day: "Katy on a Mission"/"Broken Record"

First, back when I said we were halfway through the 10 albums on this year's Mercury Prize shortlist I was failing to account for the fact that there are 12 albums on the list. So adjust your expectations accordingly.

Next up: Katy B (NOT Katie B., by the way--that's an entirely different person). At 22 she's just a few months older than yesterday's dude, James Blake, so that whole "he's the youngest blah blah" is probably not a big deal. Oh, also, DUH, Adele: 21, 21.

I like Katy B much more than Katy P (Perry). And I like these 2 songs more than anything I've heard from the new Beyonce. So take that mainstream pop fans! (Are you yawning?!)

Songs: "Katy on a Mission"/"Broken Record"
Artist: Katy B

Friday, July 29, 2011

Zombie or baby?

Click to embiggen.

Song of the Day: "The Wilhelm Scream"/"Limit to Your Love"

I totally recognize "The Wilhelm Scream" from XPN2 (formerly YRock on XPN).  James Blake is the seventh artist on the shortlist for this year's Mercury Prize with his self-titled debut. The music is trippy and ambient and a little ethereal, but I dig it. I need to see if the library has this one.

At 21 years old, Blake may be the youngest on the shortlist, or maybe not. It's early here.

Song: "The Wilhelm Scream"/"Limit to Your Love"
Artist: James Blake

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bwahahahaha... project much?

Notes on The Change-Up

Got a free pass and went last night. This movie should not factor into any awards except MAYBE an MTV Movie Awards if "thumb in ass" reference become a category (or eligible for a category). [UPDATE: I just remembered that the MTV Movie Awards has a category for "WTF Moments" of something similar--the very early scene of Jason Bateman having baby shit spewed on him from his twins should totally get a nomination. FYC! FYC!]

Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds play Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman in Freaky Friday 8: Final Freakout. I enjoyed it as much as Bridesmaids, surprisingly. Where the first hour of Bridesmaids is pretty much as funny as this entire movie, this one's expected ending rewarded more than Bridesmaids'. (For the record, Reynolds does Bateman better than Bateman does Reynolds. I think Reynolds is a pretty talented actor [even with his shirt on]; I adore Bateman, but I don't think he does well outside of really dry humor.)

Here are my nitpicks:
  • Set in Atlanta, this movie's cast was so extremely white that I can list minorities with actual lines of dialog: Asian lawyer (multiple lines); black security guard (1 line). City employees, parks department employees, everyone at the law firm (including female secretaries [oh wait, that's redundant, I mean SECRETARIES]), everyone at the fucking Braves game, the go-cart track, the ballet recital, and the tattoo parlor (okay, maybe that's fair) was as white as me. I live in one of the whitest metro areas in the country, and there were more people of color (negroes) in the row in front of me than on screen with speaking parts (Lloyd Mall y'all!). And there were only 2.
  • Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds don't really feel like 2 people who went to high school at the same time. The reality is that Bateman is 7 years older than Reynolds, but Bateman feels like a man in his 40s and Reynolds feels like, well, I'm not sure but I will let you know once I've had a chance to feel him all over (okay, he's early- to mid-thirties). It seems weird to have them paired but at least the producers took a risk with these 2 untested white actors instead of risking it by pairing Jason Bateman with Terrance Howard. Of course THAT would be a short movie, cause Howard wouldn't have any dialog (only white characters)! Bateman and Howard are the same age, by the way. If you want to go younger, Ryan Reynolds and Craig Robinson might have been an interesting combination. But not Robinson and Howard because, pfff, blacks (amiright?).
  • Ryan Reynolds never really took his shirt off. I mean, I sat through 3 clearly visible pairs of tits (and another pair that were mostly obscured) and the pay off his Reynolds's chest in a mirror? Fail. We do get a glimpse of Bateman pretty much naked save for his hand; not bad for a man in his forties ;-)
Alan Arkin is in this movie. That storyline feels so unnecessary that I almost forgot Arkin was in the movie. Another victory for white actors!

Since I didn't get any last night, here is gratuitous beefcake of Ryan Reynolds, then I'm off to work!

Song of the Day: "These are the Good Days"

We are past the halfway point in our review of the Mercury Prize shortlist review, and next up is Gwilym Simcock (geshundteidt)  jazz pianist. Oh yes, jazz! Piano! Simcock!

But don't feel threatened. Thanks to Vince Guaraldi, you've secretly been indoctrinated. Listen, at around 2:45, this could easily be background music while Snoopy and Woodstock build an igloo or a raft or a hang glider or a soap box race car. You want them to win, right?!

I am limited in the number of tracks from the nominated album (Good Days at Schloss Elmau) that I can post because I am limited by the number of tracks I can find. Perhaps because I stopped too soon, but maybe that's between me, the Commission to Convince You That Jazz Isn't Awful and the Bloggers' Ethics Council. Hey, here's a much shorter clip of what sounds like exactly the same song showing Gwilym Simcock (anagram: Gimmicky Scowl) playing the piano... like a piano, like a bongo, like an OTHER TYPE OF MUSICAL INSTRUMENT. Jazz!

Songs: "These are the Good Days"
Artist: Gimmicky Scowl

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

This looks AWESUM!

Happy Birthday Pete Yorn

I hate to fixate on just 1 album, but OMFG I love musicforthemorningafter and I can't even remember anything from any of the other albums (and YES I have listened to them... I'm pretty sure). So fuck it, I'll be that guy, that "it's MY SONG" guy when only shit from the first album comes on. To receive your refund for today's blog price, remember to submit your paper work in triplicate...
"Uh uh uh uh uh uh"
The sheer guttural nature of the call and response for "Murray" is so much fun that it surpasses anything the song offers lyrically. And that's not meant to diminish the song... uh uh uh uh uh uh.

"Stories and cigarettes ruin lives of lesser girls"
musicforthemorningafter was released in Spring 2001, and may be one of my last great pre-9/11 pieces of pop culture. Suzanne Vega's wonderful Songs in Red and Gray, released September 25th closed out the year and the 2 stand as my favorite albums from that year. Possibly in that order. I only point this out because Chris Wilson ended the year with the same 2 albums atop his list.

"I was killed in half a day, I hadn’t time to regret you"
I don't know that I know anything about Yorn as a person. Is that bad? Is he (dramatic music) Canadian? From Brooklyn? My neighbor here in Portland? I don't think he's Scottish, or I probably would have liked later albums more, but maybe part Scot...

"When your car crash comes, don't be misled"
I once knew a girl in Dallas who told me a story of a girl named "Lisa." Lisa dated a guy in a band and he made an album and it was weird for her, to listen to the story of dude and Lisa, how they met, fell in love, fell out of love, and broke up, in a single record. So she made him change the order, which I think is totally fair. I think of her now and again (call me!) and I think of a woman I used to work for named Nancy. The song has such a driving beat that it makes me want to run... AWAY FROM A WOMAN NAMED NANCY that I used to work for. Far far away. But I do also wonder if there's another real Nancy out there (even if her name is Sally or Judy or Paula)...

Sorry it's just the one album dude, but happy birthday anyway! Rock on!

"When there's no getting over that rainbow"

It's Maureen McGovern's birthday. I recently featured her on Irwin Allen's birthday. She sang 2 Oscar-winning Original Songs (both from Allen-produced movies) from the 70s, and probably has to sing those every time she performs, whether she wants to or not.

Rather than go back to that well, I thought I'd check out her version of "I Won't Last a Day Without You" (made famous by The Carpenters--that's probably unfair since Karen Carpenter had one of the brightest, clearest voices of all time, but if you're gonna fish in those waters, you gotta be prepared for the comparisons). I like it because it's got a slight talk-sing quality, and vaguely British sound that I totally do when I sing to the dogs. I mean, I don't sound nearly as good (and I do sound a bit deeper, unless I'm covering Kate Bush or Communards), but the dogs like it (although usually there are food scraps involved, so I'm not above bribing you to listen).

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Songs of the Day: "Cash and Carry Me Home"/"Survive It"

Ghostpoet's debut, Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam, is our fifth stop on the Mercury Prize short list. It's trippy dub step--I can totally see myself enjoying this in the background, but not as something I'd listen to directly.

One of the reasons I post 2 songs for the artists I don't know (or don't realize I know but also haven't already posted a song of the day for) is to try to make sure I'm getting a good sense of who they are, musically (because 2 is 100% MORE than 1; also I listen to 4 tracks to pick the 2, generally). I say all of this as a disclaimer that I can't help but feel like I'm overlooking songs of his that are much more "radio friendly" (since I don't work in radio any more, let's translate that to "blog friendly" but whatev). Again, nice ambient background music. I'm totally going to play this in the chill out tent. And serve orange slices.

Song: "Cash and Carry Me Home"/"Survive It"
Artist: Ghostpoet

The world's saddest tangerine

The absurdly reckless decade part is really important, pay attention.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Songs of the Day: "MY KZ/UR BF"/"Suffragette Suffragette"

Astute readers will see the first song title and think WTF?! Welcome to day 4 of Mercury Prize shortlist countdown, roll call now! Adele (check), Anna Calvi (here), Elbow (present); that brings us to Everything Everything. Their debut, Man Alive, appears to be an ambitious attempt to out Klaxon the Klaxons, possibly by one-upping them.

"What does that even mean?" you might be thinking to yourself.

EXACTLY! I would reply.

It's pop-art synth pop in a way that you could never be, even that time you got a keyboard and spent a few hours playing like that same 8 chords for more than 3 hours because you got really great weed... we all know about that.

To me this is a fun surprise, like Dizzee Rascal was last year. It's Radiohead rolling with Molly for a weekend. There you go, trip on that one.

"Who's gonna sit on your face when I'm gone" may or may not be an actual lyric in this song. You decide.

Song: "MY KZ/UR BF"/"Suffragette Suffragette"
Artist: Everything Everything

Monday, July 25, 2011

Hammer time here in Portland

Songs of the Day: "Neat Little Rows"/"Jesus is a Rochdale Girl"

As with Anna Calvi yesterday, this track from Elbow is one I've heard for a while and thought was someone else (let's say Interpol although clearly I didn't think this was Interpol, duh). They are next on the list of Mercury Prize shortlisters (Adele and Anna Calvi preceded, kinda).

Elbow, not Interpol (duh).

Songs: "Neat Little Rows"/"Jesus is a Rochdale Girl"
Artist: Elbow

Headline of the day

Amy Winehouse's Untimely Death Is a Wake Up Call for Small Business Owners

Article here.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Notes on X-Men: First Class

OMG I love this movie. I mean, it could have been a bit more ass kicky, a little less origin-story-y, but all-in-all, LOVES it.

Awards bait? Mmmm, I did love the art direction, cinematography and editing. Let's put those, plus visual effects, and sound effects editing as dark horses.

James McAvoy and Michael Fassbinder were both inspired casting. And Fassbinder's penis appears to be eager for a role of its own (or maybe I should add "costume design" to the list of potential nominations).

Loved the movie! It's loaded with Easter Eggs!


Bush ALSO = war criminal, criminal against peace, drunk, stupid, entitled preppy, and fake Christian. But that really would make a clumsy bumper sticker.

Unlikely phrase of the day

So I am enjoying the document dump from Anonymous including the scandalous documents related to 9 lawsuits against Sarah Palin that AREN'T GETTING ENOUGH MEDIA COVERAGE. Well, I was enjoying the IDEA of such a thing, and then I opened it.


Believe me when I tell you that there are plenty of things for me to love about Palin, not the least of which is that fact that she, and her 2 oldest kids, all were pregnant/got someone pregnant before marriage (3 more victories for abstinence-only sex education!!!), and when I tweeted that THAT would make a great reality show at 4 a.m. Saturday morning (when I have insomnia I become a TV producer) someone replied that it should include Palin's mom and sister who ALSO are winners in that respect! The internet, fuck yeah!

The zip file contains PDFs of various filings: someone held too long, abuse of personnel something something (yawn), someone stabbed in the eye in prison (that would make for a good Law & Order episode, btw). But today's phrase that pays (which does not, in any way, pay) is "Chief Architect Mastermind Senator":

Rick Santorum, Ted Stevens and Trent Lott are Former Senators Who Were Chief Architect Mastermind Senators.

There appear to be at least 15 people sharing credit as Chief Architect which begs the question as to whether the plaintiff knows what a "chief" anything means. And I don't think Rick Santorum is a mastermind anything. Nor Saxby Chambliss. Nor Johnny Isakson. Nor Jim DeMint. Bwahahaha...

Anyway, dude is homeless and can't get anyone to take his case and all he wants is $40 billion from the Federal government AND the NFL to switch to a different kind of precursor human growth hormone, you know, for the players' health.
Oh yeah, I'm not kidding.

So let me just say, OUTRAGE THAT THIS ISN'T GETTING MORE zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Songs of the Day: "Desire"/"I'll be Your Man"

The Mercury Prize shortlist was announced yesterday. I'll be working through the nominees alphabetically, and I'm excited that I get a lot of new songs of the day from this. The first nominee is Adele for 21, and since I've posted 3 different song from 21, I'm going to pass. Unfair? Dude, it was last Tuesday that I posted something, chill.

So we start with Anna Calvi, nominated for her self-titled debut album. NOTE: this is not PJ Harvey, no matter how much you want to tell me I've fucked up. No matter how many times you point to my note to myself, regarding the song "Desire" that I need need to make PJ another song of the day for that song that is not a PJ Harvey song. Just because they're both women whose names have the same syllabic rhythm and Brian Eno produced them both doesn't in any way confuse, oooh shiny.

Congratulations to Anna on her Mercury Prize nomination. And to PJ Harvey on hers (oh yes, we'll get there soon). Rock on!

Songs: "Desire"/"I'll be Your Man"
Artist: Anna Calvi