Saturday, October 10, 2015

Song of the Day: "Farmers Road"

A farmer from
Farmers Road?
I saw Telekinesis open for Ted Leo/Aimee Mann last year (or was it Aimee Mann/Ted Leo?) and my assessment then? "They fucking rocked." I've actually been paying money for their music (all 4 releases) and have been really happy that I did.

They were fantastic live and I've really liked all the albums with a caveat that I haven't spent a notable amount of time with any of the first 3 to notice whether this fourth album, Ad Infinitum,  is some kind of musical or thematic change of direction or not.

But I know I like it. The critics like it too (which is more than can be said about the new Prince album; also fuck Prince).

I don't know why the song title lacks an apostrophe. It bothers me.

Song: "Farmers Road"
Artist: Telekinesis

Friday, October 9, 2015

Song of the Day: "Please"

Another Country
I've been operating under the assumption that Rod Stewart, a favorite of mine for many years, and not just for his inspirational ability with fellatio, was coasting into retirement on great American songbook albums or similar works where he puts his blue-eyed soul sound to classic rock or country songs and large sums of money are deposited into one of his various bank accounts. There's nothing wrong with that, per se, it's just a way to lose me as a fan.

So when I saw that Stewart was releasing an album called Another Country I assumed it would have covers of Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison and George Jones. And I was wrong.

It's the first album where Stewart has written or co-written every song since Body Wishes in 1983. That's the one with "Baby Jane" on it.

I can't tell if I love or hate that Rod made a video he probably also made back in 1982 for this song.

Song: "Please"
Artist: Rod Stewart

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Song of the Day: "Writing's on the Wall"

According to one of those pop culture websites that I really need to stop following on Facebook, Sam Smith is the first male to sing the theme song for a James Bond film in 50 years. Of course that's wrong because Jack White, Chris Cornell, and Ektorp (the lead singer of A-ha or possibly an IKEA chair) are men.

That site, possibly Vulture, corrected itself by clarifying that Smith was the first British male to sing the theme for a James Bond film in 50 years. So suck on that Paul McCartney. Simon LeBon, and Tom Jones; you didn't do a thing everyone thought you did.

As for the song... well... "Skyfall" took a while to grow on me.

Song: "Writing's on the Wall"
Artist: Sam Smith

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Song of the Day: "It's Not Over"

You know how you're always receiving emails from music promoters and sometimes the thing they're promoting feeds into a totally different thing and you really find that different thing super awesome? Me neither, but here we are.

The band is ON AN ON and obviously I'm taken with them enough to use the stupid stylized all caps spelling. You'll know the bloom is off when I quit that shit.

They're an indie band from the Twin Cities and I dig this. Kinda reminds me of Stars who are Canadian and Twin Cities are kinda almost Canadian.

Song: "It's Not Over"
Artist: ON AN ON

Grandpa Goes To A Rock Show (or 2): Autumn 2015 Edition

I saw 2 shows with 3 acts really like: Sir Joe Jackson, Villagers and Sir Paul Weller. Joe and Paul are both pros at this shit. They're not out to impress anyone but goddamn the precision and craftsmanship with which they perform makes me want to cry from joy.

I may have missed one of my favorites ("Hometown") by getting there a few minutes late (older musicians performing without an opening and act and fairly promptly are both a blessing and a curse) but I did get a pleasant surprise Bowie cover from him. He balanced the new stuff (which only gets released today) with old stuff nicely and I'm eager to listen to the new album.

Villagers are a recent addition to my favorites. They may have been a bit pastoral considering how rollicking Weller's set was but on its own it was lovely. Tracey tipped me off to their earlier performance on the KINK-FM/Skype something (previous the Bing something). Next time I'll try to get Eric to stop talking during their set.

Click to embiggen
Weller delighted me twice with unexpected songs from his catalog. First, "Have You Ever Had It Blue?" from Absolute Beginners OST, a Bossa Nova variation on "With Everything to Lose" and "All Gone Away" that delighted me the minute I heard it and sits in obscurity. The movie has gained something of a cult following and is compared with Streets of Fire (something I just read and never considered but, okay, sure--that soundtrack is more than just the brilliant "I Can Dream About You"). Eric was as ape shit happy as I. It turns out that for a very brief period it was his favorite song. Above is my guess as to why...

If you don't know Kensit, she has the distinction of being a new hot celebrity in 3 different decades.

You know how the first thing you hear from a band tends to remain among the favorite thing from that band even after you hear the other stuff that may or may not be SUPER WAY BETTER? Me neither, but I've heard that's the case. I got to The Jam party with The Gift, right as it was about to break up. I heard it in Japan and it's probably the thing that's stayed with me longest from that trip.

It was hearing "Ghosts," the second track on the album, that made me feel like I needed to really listen to the album. "Town Called Malice" is a mainstay at his shows (thanks to Billy Elliot it's one of their better known songs and in The Venture Brothers it's the name of the gated community for super villains which is why The Venture Brothers may be my favorite thing of ever, EVER--it's the nexus of all the pop culture I love). It was the first song of his encore and quite a birthday surprise.

Notes on The Intern

Here's what I posted to Facebook earlier. Its best shot at an Oscar nomination might be via Original Screenplay but let's not kid ourselves. Had their been an inspiration Mary J. Blige song we might have something to talk about.

Or Martina McBride.

Went to see The Intern for my birthday (courtesy of John) and I liked it, even more than I expected to (this is not a rave but at the end of the year when you're looking for something that older relatives can watch without a lot of special effects, noise or language, make a note).

It's directed by Nancy Meyers who is a girl director (like Penny Marshall and that other one, you know, the one who directed that movie [JK, they are the only two girl directors]) who is known both for hiring actresses over 30 and for her egregious use of kitchen porn. I'm not really sure I understand the provenance of using porn to describe things with overly lavish attention to the look of food, home design or murder reenactment but I'm going with it for now.

Here's a thing about Meyers and her kitchen porn (which is really whole house porn)...…/nancy-meyers-decorator-porn.…

So there's no shortage of beautiful sets. Nancy Meyers check list item 1, check.

Meyers also wrote a lead role for an older actress (Anne Hathaway, at 32, has already made the second worst mistake an actress can make--if she turns 40 it will be like she doesn't ever listen to me). I like Hathaway and I'm sure she'll be great on NCIS: Orlando in 2017 but not if she keeps making waves.…/on-anne-hathaway-and-the-jennifer-…/

Actually I was delighted to see Linda Lavin (shut up, Linda Lavin is awesome), Celia Weston (her first big role was as Belle Jolene on the TV series Alice starring Linda Lavin--Still Alice is still the worst TV to film adaptation I've seen), Rene Russo (she really deserves a great role, something to get her an Oscar nomination, but of course she's too old to play Aunt May), and I was giddy to recognize the unseen actress playing Hathaway's mom, Mary Kay Place. It's the kind of thing that makes me wish Chris Wilson wasn't in the witness relocation program (which you didn't hear from me).

Like any Nancy Meyers movie, generally set it a big American city (LA or NY, the 2), there are no people of color. That's unfair, there's an older Asian gentleman with no name or dialog, and a young tech support type who has even hair and complexion stuff going on that he clearly covers "diversity" for the film. Oh, there may have been black women in the warehouse when 32 year old Anne Hathaway goes there to show them how to wrap items in tissue paper when packaging them for shipment. They didn't have names or dialog so the system works. Who else was white: the driver, all the other parents from the school, all the new interns, all the employees (there may have been a light skinned black woman at one point but I was watching the sleek white office supplies). But since the movie is set in Brooklyn that's probably accurate. Fun fact: Brooklyn has abundant on-street parking (that's probably why it's so popular).

So a lily white, well-dressed cast, check.

Here's what was missing: the protagonist's self-improvement montage. My favorite is Irreconcilable Differences, the blue print for many of her later movies AND a snarky dis of Cybil Shepherd (for reals--Sharon Stone, a decade before Basically Instinctual, plays a character inspired by Shepherd and I can honestly say it's Shepherd's best work). I liked the movie a lot before I found out it was a bitch slap for Peter Bogdonavich (Meyers was friends with the wife he left for Shepherd); I love it now.

I still think Baby Boom is the Nancy Meyers-est of her movies but this one will feel comfortable.

Could Hathaway have learned something from Alfre Woodard or Whoopi Goldberg or Linda Hunt or Danny Glover? Probably not. And the company in the movie, which is all about conveying an accurate assessment of the fit of every item of clothing they sell, something Anne herself did in the early days... I guess they only sell things in her size (she's like an 8, right?).