5/21/2018

Monday Movie+Music Trivia

- In Cameron Crowe’s semi-autobiographical Almost Famous [2000] fictional band Stillwater features real life singer/songwriter Mark Kozelek (Red House Painters, Sun Kil Moon) as a band member.

- The stars of the road movie Two Lane Blacktop [1971], singer/songwriter James Taylor and the late Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson, never acted in a movie before or after this one.

- Joni Mitchell was the inspiration for the Jane character played by Frances McDormand in Laurel Canyon [2002].

- Despite having performed with the band at the concert, Neil Young refused to be filmed and thus does not appear with Crosby Stills and Nash in the Woodstock [1970] movie. (He can be heard on the soundtrack, however.)

- Shortly after the release of the classic mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap [1984], director Rob Reiner was told by various fans of the film—oblivious that it was a spoof—that he should’ve worked with a better known band.

5/18/2018

The Aces - "Last One"

Trying to figure out if they’re an honest commercial pop band or an '80s influenced, Disney-type concoction (six producers on their recently released debut album, When My Heart Felt Volcanic, and a deal with, um, Red Bull Records doesn’t instill much confidence in the former), we caught the all-female quartet The Aces performing this album track on Late Night with Seth Meyers and were not entirely disappointed. Meanwhile, the Provo, Utah band are already garnering much press (including comparisons to Haim) and are scheduled to play this year’s Lollapalooza. Hmm.

5/16/2018

Wax Off

Because I am not a feline and thus believe to be immune to the pitfalls of curiosity, I finally succumbed and found myself lured into the YouTube sequel to the Karate Kid franchise, Cobra Kai, a Will Smith-produced, nostalgia-fueled, present day script flip of the hero and antagonist roles played by the actors who embodied the roles back in the ‘80s.

Thirty plus years later Daniel is a successful multi-car dealership owner, with a beautiful wife, a couple of kids and a house with a pool. Meanwhile, Johnny is a somewhat racist, down and out contractor who drinks himself to sleep every night, is estranged from his son and lives in a ratty apartment. And, yes, he’s the hero this time.

Pushed along by a series of expository scenarios that come across a tad forced, the story follows Johnny as he decides to set up a dojo and teach the ways of Cobra Kai karate to a new generation of San Fernando Valley kids. If all this sounds very ‘80s—and not in a good way—it’s because it truly is a distillation of the decade and its clich├ęs, not to mention those of the franchise itself. There may be FaceTime, texting and the like, but this ain’t no 21st century fable.

Now, as someone who wasn’t a fan of the original movies my mild disdain might be deemed sacrilegious to those who frequently quote The Karate Kid to this day. So maybe it’s me. But two episodes into it, I can take it or leave it. YMMV, of course.

 

Iron Maiden's 'Piece of Mind' Turns 35

Their first with drummer Nicko McBrain and second with vocalist Bruce Dickinson,  album number four was, despite being rehearsed in New Jersey, recorded in the Bahamas and mixed in NYC, quite the cohesive statement, nonetheless. Loaded with killer songs including anthems like the much beloved "The Trooper", its critical and commercial success elevated them from cult status to bonafide headliners in the US.

Certified platinum in the US, UK and Canada and considered one of the greatest metal albums of all time the world over, Piece of Mind was released May 16, 1983.

 

Glenn Branca (1948-2018)

Influential avant garde composer and guitarist Glenn Branca passed away in his sleep Sunday night after battling throat cancer.

A fixture of NYC’s late ‘70s/early ‘80s downtown music scene, Branca brought a punk rock attitude to experimental and modern classical music and was known for his loud, droning yet trance-like compositions performed by ensembles that over the years included members of Sonic Youth, Helmet and Swans. (Branca’s Neutral Records released early albums by both Sonic Youth and Swans.) And shortly before he passed, David Bowie listed Branca’s 1981 album The Ascension as one of his 25 all-time faves.

Glenn Branca was 69 years old.

5/15/2018

Posies Embark on 30th Anniversary Tour

Reuniting with their Frosting on the Beater [DGC-1993] rhythm section of bassist Dave Fox and drummer Mike Mussburger, singers/guitarists Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow will kick off the full band North American leg of their 30th Anniversary tour with their lone Canadian date this Friday the 18th. A European leg will follow, starting in late August.

May 18 – Victoria, BC @ Capital Ballroom
May 19 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge
May 20 – Eugene, OR @ WOW Hall
May 21 – Bend, OR @ Volcanic Theatre Pub
May 22 – Sacramento, CA @ Harlow’s
May 23 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
May 24 – San Juan Capistrano, CA @ Coach House
May 25 – Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theater
May 26 – San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar
May 28 – Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar
May 30 – Santa Fe, NM @ Santa Fe Brewing Co.
May 31 – Dallas, TX @ Club Dada
June 1 – San Antonio, TX @ Paper Tiger
June 2 – Austin, TX @ The Parish
June 3 – Houston, TX @ Bronze Peacock at House of Blues
June 4 – Little Rock, AR @ Capitol View Studios
June 5 – Memphis TN @ Layfayette’s Music Room
June 6 – New Orleans, LA @ The Parish at House of Blues
June 7 – Nashville, TN @ Mercy Lounge
June 8 – Birmingham, AL @ Saturn
June 9 – Athens, GA @ Georgia Theatre
June 10 – Charlotte, NC @ Neighborhood Theatre
June 11 – Annapolis, MD @ Ram’s Head On Stage
June 13 – Philadelphia, PA @ World Cafe Live
June 14 – Fairfield, CT @ Stage One at Fairfield Theatre
June 15 – Somerville, MA @ ONCE Somerville
June 16 – Washington, DC @ The Hamilton
June 17 – New York, NY @ The Bowery Ballroom
June 19 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Cafe
June 20 – Cleveland, OH @ Music Box Supper Club
June 21 – Kalamazoo, MI @ Bell’s Eccentric Cafe
June 22 – Detroit, MI @ The Magic Bag
June 23 – Chicago, IL @ Park West
June 24 – Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon
June 25 – Des Moines, IA @ Vaudeville Mews
June 26 – St. Paul, MN @ Turf Club
June 28 – Milwaukee, WI
June 30 – Denver, CO @ Levitt Pavilion
July 1 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The State Room
July 6 – Bellingham, WA @ Wild Buffalo
July 7 – Seattle, WA @ Neptune Theatre

A New Spike Lee Joint: BlacKkKlansman

Based on the 2014 book Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth (and not the hilarious Chapelle Show skit), Spike Lee's latest is the true story of a black detective who gets tight with David Duke over the phone and later has a white colleague pose as him to effectively infiltrate the Klan, Lee's latest just debuted at Cannes to positive reaction.

Co-produced by Jordan Peele and starring John David Washington (son of Denzel) and Adam Driver, the trailer for BlacKkKlansman packs quite a punch. Opens August 10th in theatres.

Maximum R&B - '80s Style

It’s surely not a new thing—Bruno Mars, Daft Punk and many others, have been on that tip for a while now—but it's become quite evident that 21st century R&B has been taking its cues from its ‘80s counterpart in earnest. And it’s not just the big name hitmakers who are partaking, as this ingratiating track by Sydney-based up and coming electronic duo Kayex clearly proves.

On Any Given Tuesday: The Shazam

Beloved indie power poppers' "Super Tuesday" from their Godspeed the Shazam [NotLame-1999] album.

 

Bohemian Rhapsody: The Movie

The trailer from the upcoming Queen biopic, opening November 2nd: