12/14/2014

More Captain Obvious than Sgt. Rock

An old friend once asked if we thought the music industry was racist. We replied that, in our humble estimation, the biz cares only about one color: green. After all, how else do you explain Caucasian-run major labels that had no problem releasing records made by African-American artists denouncing “white devils”; seemingly concerned only with the financial bottom line? In other words, as long as the music was selling those so-called militant rappers could call their record company patrons—and other of the same ethnicity—whatever epithet they felt like.

Having a couple of our songs placed in a few indie films is pretty much the extent of our involvement in the film business—Hollywood experts we are not. But it stands to reason that an art by committee industry in which the final product is often focus grouped to death, would be all about maximizing profits. Which is why we were a bit confused by Chris Rock’s much talked about essay in the most recent issue of The Hollywood Reporter, in which he states the film business is “a white industry”, which largely hires its own, and that black and brown folks are a minority. Also, water makes things wet.

Of course, African-Americans, Asians and Hispanics are not as visible as Caucasians in Hollywood—we’re not as prevalent in overall numbers in American society either. Rock also states that he thought he'd never live to see "black movies making money" and "expected to make money on the same scale as everything else." So, what’s the problem? Now, if Hollywood would rather NOT make money than hire black and other minority folks, then we’ve got a ballgame. Otherwise...

12/08/2014

Luís "Terror" Días (Jun. 21, 1952 - Dec. 8, 2009)

What We're Listening To

JULIANA HATFIELD Bed [Zoe/Rounder]
MICHAEL HEDGES Beyond Boundaries: Guitar Solos [Windham Hill]
TALK SHOW self-titled [Atlantic]
CHRIS WALLA Field Manual [Barsuk]
YES Tales From Topographic Oceans [Atlantic]

What are YOU listening to?

John Winston Lennon (Oct 9, 1940 – Dec 8, 1980)

12/07/2014

Sometimes You Should Judge a Book by its Cover

 

JUDY GREER
I Don't Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-Star [Doubleday]

CAROL LEIFER
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying [Quirk]

AISHA TYLER
Self-Inflicted Wounds: Heartwarming Tales of Epic Humiliation [Harper Collins/It]

Let's start off with the good stuff: Tyler’s lifetime-spanning collection of personal and professional failures—a testament to bad judgement, fearlessness, and, of course, stupidity—is sprinkled with blurb praise almost as funny and irreverent as its author’s often cringe-inducing stories. Meanwhile, Leifer’s brief tome is recommended by the likes of Larry David, Jerry Seinfeld and Paul Reiser, as the basic Mom Lit it happens to be. Tyler is witty and self-deprecating while Leifer’s showbiz self-help book is plain soporific and redundant. (Unless you weren’t aware that showering and being on time for a job interview is a good thing, that is.) Boring, uninformative and not very funny, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying is not much more than name dropping schlock. Good grief what dreck!

When Greer isn’t whining on and on about how people recognize her but can’t pinpoint exactly from what movie or TV show, or getting defensive about being an only child—a subject not very appropriate for someone pushing 40—I Don't Know What You Know Me From briefly touches on her family; growing up in suburban Detroit; the service industry jobs of her youth; her (sorta) long distance marriage with its attendant stepmom duties; and how little, if at all, she had to struggle in Los Angeles on her way to becoming a steadily employed working actress. This one is probably for hardcore fans—you know, the ones who actually know she is—all others should pass.

12/03/2014

Happy Birthday

The one and only, beloved Prince of Darkness, and rock and roll icon John Michael Osbourne (66).

12/02/2014

New Releases

It's Tuesday and that means new releases. But since it's December there's not much in the way of actual brand new material, as the holiday season is traditionally littered with box sets, compilations, reissues and, of course, Christmas albums. Here's some notable albums released today (reissues marked with an asterisk):

AC/DC Rock or Bust [Columbia]
GARY NUMAN From Inside –soundtrack– [Phineas]
PIXIES Doolittle [4 AD] *
WU-TANG CLAN A Better Tomorrow [Warner Bros]
YO LA TENGO Painful [Matador] *

11/29/2014

Male Bassist in New Smashing Pumpkins Lineup; End of Days Feared

Billy Corgan unveiled the new Smashing Pumpkins lineup in Chicago this past week, which includes bassist Mark Stoermer of The Killers and Rage Against the Machine/Audioslave drummer Brad Wilk. As previously reported, Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee, who recently recorded with the band, will not be joining the Pumpkins due to commitments with his own band, who are on a farewell tour that won't conclude until late next year.

According to Consequence of Sound, the Pumpkins show at Chicago's recently renovated, 800-capacity Thalia Hall this past Wednesday night was a success, praising the new songs culled from the upcoming Monuments to an Elegy album [Martha's Music/BMG], despite misgivings about the new rhythm section:

Wilk’s heavy-handed playing felt out of place on some songs and was downright sloppy on older cuts like “Hummer” and “Drown”. Stoermer, meanwhile, was unusually shy, hardly ever looking up from his fretboard.

Read the whole CoS review here.

Setlist:
One and All (We Are) [live debut]
Being Beige [live debut]
Hummer
Tiberius [live debut]
Tonight, Tonight
Drum + Fife [live debut]
Glass and the Ghost Children
Stand Inside Your Love
Monuments [live debut]
Drown
Disarm
Zero
Bullet with Butterfly Wings
Fame [David Bowie cover]
Silverfuck

Encore:
Burnt Orange-Black

Epic

Faith No More Play Their First U.S. Show In Nearly Four Years at Amoeba Records

There's a Song For That

Three years ago, at the 2011 American Music Awards, actress/comedienne Jenny McCarthy complained about the difficulty of finding “a man’s man” in Hollywood.

I’m from Chicago. I’m from the South Side, where guys eat meat and potatoes. They don’t know what a vegetarian means. They’re a guy through and through. Out here, they want to borrow my makeup and concealer. I want to bring a little bit of importing into my life hopefully, and look for guys outside of L.A.,” she told Access Hollywood.

McCarthy has since married former New Kid on the Block Donnie Wahlberg. So, our question is, Wahlberg: man’s man, or did she settle?