9/29/2009

Song of the Day: "Wishing Well"

No longer answering to to the name Terence Trent D'Arby--he legally changed it in 2001--and with most of his album output having gone unloved by the masses, his 1987 debut Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D'Arby [Columbia] owes its continued existence in the pop music memory bank largely due to the unforgettable "Wishing Well", one of the great '80s singles. Oh, yeah.

9/23/2009

Bob Lefsetz: Stop Him If You've Heard This One Before

Former major label executive/blogger/piracy apologist, and all-around curmudgeon Bob Lefsetz rubs us the wrong way.
Yes, he brought the loathsome Gene Simmons down a notch when
he matched wits with the long-tongued lothario/businessman and sometime musician at a Canadian Music Week event earlier this year, deriding the latter’s cluelessness regarding the current state of
the music business, as the latter tried to sell his new label idea to unsigned bands from the Great White North. (Albeit without ever mentioning Lefsetz himself being a former cog in the big record label machine.) But his latest target has us foaming at the mouth.

Lefsetz condescendingly belittles British pop star Lily Allen for her recently publicized staunch attacks on music pira—um, “file-sharing” in the UK. Dripping with sarcasm he states:

Why don’t we just turn over GM to the drivers? Hell, I’m in my car every day, I know how to run Chevrolet!

Or maybe cancer patients should draft the health care bill. Hell, they’ve been sick!

To let artists have the final say on file-sharing is like firing Derek Jeter and letting a fan play shortstop. Hell, I’ve watched a lot of baseball, I know what’s involved!

You don’t.

A great artist is just that. He couldn’t design Facebook, couldn’t create the iPod… His input is important, but just because he’s affected by file-trading, that doesn’t mean he understands it, has the right opinion on how to eradicate it, assuming that’s the ultimate desire.

How long do we have to watch this movie? It’s been ten years already, and one thing we’ve learned is the technologists are always one step ahead. Kind of like cable. When everyone was pirating pay channels by removing the filters on poles and under houses providers didn’t win by suing people, but by coming up with a better mousetrap, scrambled digital transmission!

In other words, the solution to the file-trading problem is not legislative, it requires business innovation. Which I don’t expect to come from Ms. Allen, I’ve never heard she was a good programmer.

Yeah, except, you’ve made some bad analogies, Bob. (And why won't you acknowledge how the "good programmer" types got us into this mess in which they have taken the way we value the art form back half a century, paradoxically, into a new singles era, huh?)

What we have is people who want—hell, in many instances, demand—goods free of charge, with no consideration for the time, money, and effort invested producing in them. Those of us who abhor this situation may not necessarily have the answers, but we can all agree the final word does belong to those who create it. Why should artists be subject to a different standard than anyone else? Try taking a truck off a GM factory or lot and see what happens. (Get back to us on that one, Bob.)

Of course the bloated, corrupt, greedy entities in the music biz screwed things up and deserve to have their world turned upside down. But the artists should not be the victims of this malfeasance. Nor are they deserving of the performing monkey-type scorn that Lefsetz so gleefully heaps on them, and in this case, Allen in particular. That’s the kinda thing the Big Machine would do and frequently did. (We're not referring to the Nashville-based country music label of the same name, btw.) No wonder Lefsetz was an industry insider. He still acts like the same folks he likes to pride himself on calling out.

Such bullshit.

and speaking of Gene Simmons...

Kiss is among the dozen possible inductees for the 2010 class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Vying for one of the 5 induction spots are first-time hopefuls LL Cool J, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Genesis, Jimmy Cliff, The Hollies, and the late Laura Nyro, alongside previous ballot makers ABBA, The Chantels, Darlene Love, The Stooges, and Donna Summer.

Hmmm...as much as we hate Kiss, they deserve induction; dunno if the Peppers or Donna Summer have enough merit to actually belong in the Hall; Genesis before Yes? Um, nope. The Hollies should've been in there ages ago; Stooges, too. ABBA? Uh...probably; Nyro seems like an insider fave and will likely get in. Then again, Ms. Love hasn't yet, even after various tries, so...

And once more, why the hell are Hall and Oates not on the ballot?! Again?

Good luck to all, anyway.

Live Nation Strikes Again: "The Passport"

So, the concertgoer-loving folks at the music venue behemoth known as Live Nation have devised a new way to get you to part with your hard-earned cash in exchange for...well, let us have them explain it in their own words:

The Live Nation Club Passport is your access to unlimited*
Live Nation Club shows at participating venues in your city.

No additional fees, All-In Prices, Unlimited access to participating remaining 2009 shows!

Buy a Live Nation Club Passport for $49.99 and get:
Unlimited access to participating Live Nation Club shows that are not sold out in the market for which your passport was purchased.
Weekly and daily updates on shows you can access with your passport.

Access and reserve an available ticket to participating shows on www.livenation.com/clubpassport.

If you're a Live Nation Club Passport holder, and the show's not sold-out, you're in!

Basically, for 50 bucks you get to see a particular "Live Nation Club Passport" show at a participating Live Nation venue near you--the offer is not valid outside of your town--as long as it is not sold out. OK, let's break it down, shall we?

First of all, let's say you're in the NYC area as we are, your "Passport" grants you the possibility of seeing shows at The Gramercy Theatre and Irving Plaza. The situation is similar in both but we'll use the latter as an example. Right now, at Irving Plaza, there are approximately a dozen listed shows from now 'til the end of the year that you can attend with your "Passport". Maybe. (As long as they don't sell out, remember?)

Of course, there are significantly more concerts booked at this particular venue during that same stretch of time than the dozen or so you might have access to. And your "Passport" is no good if you choose to see Lucinda Williams, Lenny Kravitz, The Get Up Kids, Blues Traveller, The Jesus Lizard, Devo, or Gwar, among many others playing Irving, regardless if the shows are sold out or not.
That is where the asterisk next to "unlimited" comes into play.
Now, let's be fair: if you get into more than 2 shows, the thing more than just paid for itself. But we kinda feel uncomfortable shelling out cash in advance for a non-guaranteed situation. How 'bout you?

When They're 64: The Next Generation of Beatlemaniacs

Todd Totale over at his Glam-Racket blog posted the following on the new Beatles CD reissues and the future of The Beatles' music:
Over the weekend though, I figured out the real significance of these Beatles reissues. It isn’t really about the CDs themselves. I’ve heard a lot of younger listeners state how they were going to pick up the music on iTunes, incorrectly thinking that the material would now be available there.

And really, CD sales are down so much now that not even the Beatles can turn around the sinking ship.

The real impact is with "The Beatles Rock Band," the video game released on the same day. I saw a pair of brothers--probably aged 9 and 12--fiercely concentrating on “Yellow Submarine” at the Best Buy store. It was adorable, but it was also brilliant. In the process of following Ringo and George and watching animated--and historically incorrect: at one point, the band appeared to be playing the song in Shea Stadium--images of Beatlemania, they were becoming familiarized with the band’s material.

Those 9 and 12 year olds may not have a copy from the big brother or parents to be passed down to them. Instead, they have a video game to learn the songs, and they’ll remember them too, long after their Xbox or PS3 or Wii has become obsolete.

Those songs will stay with them.
Yes, they will, Todd. Yes, they will.

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah: Beatles Record Sales Still Fab


AP
:
Nearly 40 years after breaking up, The Beatles are still breaking records for album sales.

EMI Group PLC says consumers in North America, Japan and the U.K. bought more than 2.25 million copies of the Fab Four's re-mastered albums in the first five days after their Sept. 9 release.

Most of the records were broken for most simultaneous titles in the top-selling charts by a single artist.

On Billboard magazine's pop catalog chart, for example,
the band had 16 titles in the top 50, including all 14 re-mastered CDs and two box sets.

The Beatles' original U.K. studio albums were re-mastered at Abbey Road Studios in London over four years and released to coincide with the sale of "The Beatles: Rock Band" on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii.


Pretty awesome, huh?

As we all know, John, Paul, George, and Ringo went their separate ways in the spring of 1970. In April it'll be 40 years...and John will have been gone for about 30 of those 40. Man, time...how it flies.

9/21/2009

This Week's New Releases: Pearl Jam


PEARL JAM

Backspacer
[Monkeywrench / Island-2009]

Like the great Peter Gabriel, the guys in Pearl Jam find themselves in an ideally perfect situation: oblivious to trends and the fickle whimsy of current-day music fans; of interest mostly to a devout fan base. Luckily for them, the Seattle quintet’s followers are quite a numerous lot, making them still a force to be reckoned with; hipsters and Katy Perry fans be damned.

It’s in this climate that Eddie Vedder and co. have released their ninth (!) studio album, Backspacer, a bold statement of classicist rock which bears the strong imprint of the Pearl Jam front man’s love of The Who without falling into blind emulation or slavish imitation. After all, these guys have been around for a while and are much better than that. (Although, interestingly enough, the more Who-sounding tracks—and the best of the bunch—were not written by Vedder, an avowed fan of the band. Hmm…) It’s also a good lesson for some out there: this is the kind of album The Hold Steady could probably make if they ever applied themselves and didn’t let their Springsteen fixation get the best of them. But we digress.

There’s nothing here to capture the attention of anyone who has purposely overlooked Pearl Jam over the years. But those who stopped listening after their 1991 debut, Ten—musically the odd album out in the catalog, due to its gun-slinging ‘70s arena rock vibe—and never warmed up to the band’s stripped-down, punk-influenced subsequent work, might actually enjoy Backspacer. No, it’s not Ten, but it captures key elements of both worlds—not to mention incorporating a few, minor early ‘80s New Wave touches—and just might be the first of the band’s albums since then to appeal to that old crowd who moved on once Vedder took a larger role in the band’s songwriting.

But here's a nice twist: Vedder wrote 5 of Backspacer’s 11 songs, but this is guitarist Stone Gossard’s album. The 4 songs he wrote or co-wrote—without Vedder—are clearly the standouts on this disc. (Oh, and one minor complaint: two of those 4 tunes, "The Fixer" and "Johnny Guitar", both just a hair under the 3-minute mark, end a bit soon, fading before giving one a chance to exhale. No big deal, though.)

Clocking in at an old school 36 minutes, Backspacer is, simply put, a modern day classic rock record, made by full-on true believers for folks not worried about hipness, market perceptions or other non-music related nonsense. Quite simply, a great way to close out their second decade and yeah, it rocks. Good job, gentlemen.

Highlights: “The Fixer”, “Johnny Guitar”, “Amongst the Waves”, “Supersonic”.

Cuban 'Peace Concert' a Big Success

Put together by Colombian pop star Juanes, and featuring a host of Cuban and other Latino music stars, a massive concert called "Peace Without Borders" was staged at Havana's Revolution Square on Sunday, Sept. 20th, drawing some 1.15 million people according to estimates given by organizers. Among the 15 artists also performing were Spanish singer/actor Miguel Bosé, salsa diva Olga Tañon, and Cuba's legendary Los Van Van. (And where were the ever-present, never-miss-a-gig-like-this Black-Eyed Peas, anyway?)

It should be interesting to see if the international, non-Cuban artists--especially the Florida-based--are actually penalized for their participation in this concert/event, as many other have been in the past by the powerful, staunchly anti-Castro, Cuban exile community in South Florida. After all, Miami is the Latino Hollywood, and for mainstream Hispanic artists, pissing off the exiles can have dire consequences. (Juanes, a Miami resident, has been the recipient of boycotts and death threats ever since he announced his intention to put on the concert.)

Let's hope, for their sake, the protesters here in the US, both on and off camera, don't include those with the power to hurt the careers of the artists in question.

9/19/2009

The Waterboys - "The Whole of the Moon"

"...With a torch in your pocket and the wind at your heels / you climbed on the ladder / and you know how it feels / to get too high / too far / too soon / you saw the whole of the moon..."



An undisputed motherfucking classic and further proof that the '80s didn't completely suck. From the album This is the Sea [Island-1985]

9/18/2009

Live from Daryl's House

The Daryl in question is Mr. Hall, as in Hall and Oates, no doubt one of the most important and best-selling duos in pop music history.
For almost 2 years now, Hall has been broadcasting a highly-regarded, web-based TV show from his Connecticut home, the plainly and aptly titled Live from Daryl's House, in which musical guests are joined
by the host and backup band for an episode of banter, food, and most importantly, some very cool live music collaborations.

We'd heard about the show but had not checked it out until occasional "5" collaborator Greg Casseus turned us on to the most recent episode, featuring the legendary Todd Rundgren joining Hall and friends for some great tunes including "Can We Still Be Friends", and "Sometimes I Don't Know What to Feel". Among the show's previous guests are The Bacon Brothers, Chuck Prophet, Robbie Krieger and Ray Manzarek of The Doors, Travis McCoy of Gym Class Heroes, Nick Lowe, KT Tunstall, and of course John Oates. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

By the way, why the hell are Hall and Oates not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? It's good enough to house the likes of Blondie but too good for Daryl and John? Please.

9/17/2009

Pavement to Reunite for Tour

Looks like somebody is behind on their mortgage: after a decade-long hiatus, influential '90s indie rockers Pavement will go out on a one-off reunion tour to be kicked off at NYC's Rumsey Playfield in Central Park on Sept. 21st of 2010. (The band are also rumored to be a Coachella headliner next year.) In a press release to announce the tour, the band affirmed the one-time only nature of the tour and stated having no plans to permanently reunite or return to the recording studio.

Tickets for the Central Park show go on sale this Friday; no additional dates have been announced.

RIP: Mary Travers

Singer Mary Travers, one third of '60s folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary died in a Connecticut hospital on Wed. Sept 16th after a prolonged battle with leukemia.

She was 72 years old.

9/16/2009

Satriani vs Coldplay Copyright Suit Settled

Guitarist Joe Satriani--lately of the horrendously named supergroup Chickenfoot--has settled his case with pop rockers Coldplay over plagiarism allegations stemming from similarities between the British quartet's "Viva La Vida" and Satch's "If I Could Fly". The details of the settlement remain sealed but it is believed there may be a financial component benefitting Satriani, while Coldplay will not have to admit to any wrongdoing.

Personally, we think both songs suck, so no big whoop. But we feel Coldplay did get the raw end of the deal on this one. Anyone that has heard both tunes back to back can hear the similarities, but to allege deliberate or even unconscious plagiarism is a stretch in our opinion.

Quote of the Day

After the NY Daily News ran a story about Jessica Simpson having her dog "recently snatched by a coyote right in front of her" and the starlet putting up posters around her L. A. 'hood with a reward for info on her pooch, a reader had this to say:
Chicken of the Sea is "chicken". And a coyote is some kind of "dog-napper", not a hungry animal looking to feed itself. This woman is so dumb. What kind of information is she expecting to hear back: "uh yes hello jessica this is wiley coyote, i was going to eat your dog but am considering returning the dog if you'll deposit $1,000 into my account so i can buy a trampoline from the AJAX CO. which i'll use in an elaborate stunt to catch the Roadrunner. I'll get back to you with more details". Good luck stupid!!!

Ouch!

Happy Birthday

Blues legend B.B. King (84); Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
bassist Ron Blair, and Faces/Who drummer Kenney Jones (both 61);
jazz guitarist Earl Klugh (55); My Bloody Valentine vocalist/guitarist Bilinda Butcher (49); singer/actor Marc Anthony (41); TV host and former Elastica frontwoman Justine Frischmann (40); actor and singer/songwriter Teddy Geiger (21); Jonas Brother Nick Jonas (17); all on September 16th.

9/15/2009

Step Aside Wilco, We Have a Winner: Weezer

Just when we thought Wilco's self-titled album was a shoo-in for our Worst Album Cover of the Year "honors", along comes Weezer and blows them out of the water big time with this unmitigated disaster:



(Although the title might be even worse. Wow...fuckin' unbelievable.)

Hopefully, the quality of the music is inversely proportional to the hideousness of the cover art. Nah, probably not. Ugh. Really, WTF?!

Oh yeah: the album will be released on DGC, October 27th.

Here's an Idea...

Since Liam's older brother has quit Oasis, and John Squire has put down his instrument and become a full-time painter, how 'bout a full-on Stone Roses reunion with Noel Gallagher on guitar? Hmm...

The guys over at Buddyhead think so, too.

Chuck Berry Plays Gotham City (review)

NY Press' Patrick J. Doyle was there for Berry's lone show
at Manhattan's BB King's this past weekend and it was a doozy.

RIP

Actor Patrick Swayze, star of such movies as Dirty Dancing, Ghost, The Outsiders, Point Break, Road House, and Red Dawn, died in Los Angeles on Monday, Sept. 14th, after losing a 20-month battle with pancreatic cancer.

He was 57 years old.

9/14/2009

MTV's 2009 Video Music Awards

We didn't watch and frankly don't care, but if you do, Idolator has the lowdown.

Btw, if the Kanye West-Taylor Swift incident was indeed staged, West--along with whoever agreed to it--is an idiot. And if it was for reals, well, he's an asshole, then. Enough with this dude, already.

Vera Lynn Will Be Remembered

Unless you are British or closely acquainted with Pink Floyd's
The Wall
, chances are you have never heard of singer Vera Lynn.
(The legendary rock band titled a song on that album after her,
which contains the line "Does anybody here remember Vera Lynn?")
Well, the lady who 70 years ago recorded "We'll Meet Again",
a wartime anthem dedicated to British soldiers then away on the battlefield, has now, at age 92, the no.1 album in her homeland: We'll Meet Again -- The Very Best of Vera Lynn. How 'bout that?

RIP: Jim Carroll

Poet/author/musician Jim Carroll died of an apparent heart attack in his Manhattan apartment, on Friday Sept 11th. Best known for the autobiographical work The Basketball Diaries--made into a 1995 feature film starring Leonardo DiCaprio--Carroll also fronted the Jim Carroll Band, whose 1980 album Catholic Boy [Atco] is considered by many to be a new wave/punk rock classic.

Carroll was 60 years old.

9/10/2009

GnR to Tour Asia

It seems Axl's Guns 'n' Roses will perform concerts in Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and possibly India later this year. And there's even a commercial to prove it (well, as much as you can guarantee these things when it comes to Mr. Rose):



Man, they do take the "gun" part of the equation quite literally, huh? Anyway, confirmed dates are as follows (with more to come, right?):

12/11 - Taipei
12/16 - Osaka
12/19 - Tokyo

[h/t Idolator]

Them Crooked Vultures North American Tour

It looks like the new supergroup formed by Queens of the Stone Age frontman/guitarist Josh Homme, Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones, and Nirvana drummer/Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl--augmented live with Eleven/QOTSA guitarist/keyboardist Alain Johannes--have a few dates in the US and Canada next month:

10/1, 2 - Austin, TX
10/5 - Nashville, TN
10/6 - Columbus,OH
10/8 - Detroit, MI
10/9 - Toronto, Canada
10/11 - Boston, MA
10/12 -Philadelphia, PA
10/14 - Washington, D.C.

What no New York? Well, at least we have...

Chuck Berry Plays Gotham City

"While no individual can be said to have invented rock and roll, Chuck Berry comes the closest of any single figure to being the one who put all the essential pieces together."

- Rock and Roll Hall of Fame entry

The legendary, self-proclaimed brown-eyed handsome man will be performing in New York City, for the first time since who knows when, at BB King's this Saturday, September 12th. Will he be backed by one of his infamous last-minute assembled bands? Will he be amenable to the audience?

We've always felt that if Elvis Presley is the king of rock and roll, Berry should, at the very least, be considered master of its universe. But for many, Chuck has gone from our beloved genre's founding father to musical deadbeat dad. Despite this, we encourage those of you who can to attend this or any other upcoming show. After all, Berry is a month shy of his 83rd birthday...

Ellen is the New American Idol (Judge)

Comedienne/talk show host Ellen DeGeneres has been named the replacement for departing judge Paula Abdul on the upcoming season of the popular vocal talent show American Idol.

Abdul was commonly viewed as "the people's judge"; the one who exhibited empathy and a word or two of encouragement to contestants on the show at times when her fellow panelists would not deign to. Not that musician/producer Randy Jackson or label executive Simon Cowell--or successful songwriter Kara DioGuardi, whose arrival upped the number of judges to four last season--were off the mark that frequently. No, they were a lot more frank and realistic about a particular contestant's chances than Abdul routinely showed herself to be. The fact that she had less music biz stature than Cowell or Jackson did not seem to be that big a deal.
Hey, at least she'd been a pop star, even if it was for a minute.

As a non-musical artist or executive, DeGeneres has even less industry clout. In fact, she has none. So, why is she a judge?
Because the show's producers are obviously going for the "average Joe" p.o.v. and pushing it even further than it had been the case with Abdul by hiring someone with no musical training, or formal music biz experience of any kind. DeGeneres may be childless in her private life, but Idol's producers have obviously hired her to be the "mommy" and further coddle the mediocre hopefuls. Ah, yes: yet another reason for us not to watch the show. As if we needed any.

(Although the deluded, tone-deaf, not-good-enough-for-karaoke, losers who try out early on are always a delight to see crash and burn.)

9/09/2009

Let It Be Klosterman (number 9, number 9, number 9...)

Author and music/pop culture critic Chuck Klosterman irreverently reviews The Beatles Stereo Box Set, which contains remastered versions of all the studio albums by the Fabs--as well as assorted b-sides from the Past Masters albums--to be officially released today, 9/9/09. Definitely a fun read for anyone who enjoys Klosterman. And The Beatles.

For those of you who no longer have a record store--remember those?--in any reasonable proximity, Amazon's got the box for a mere $179.99. Personally, we think it would've been a better tie-in to sell it for $99.99 and further the "No.9" marketing motif, but that's just us being cheeky.

Oh yeah, The Beatles: Rock Band video game comes out today as well.

But, might anyone be interested in any of this merchandise?
Funny you should ask. As it turns out, the famed Liverpudlians are actually the second best selling artists of this decade with over 28 million albums sold. (Eminem is tops with 32 million units, but there's still a couple of months left for the Fabs to catch up or even surpass Mr. Mathers.) So...

Not bad for a band that in 2010 will have been broken up for 40 years.

(Guess that explains why 1979's dreadful Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band movie, starring Peter Frampton, The Bee Gees, and the late George Burns, has been airing on cable lately.
And no, we're not dedicating a "Milestones" to that awful flick.)

At Least The Sex Pistols Did it Right (at first, anyway): PiL "Reunites"

Looks like reality shows and butter commercials don't help pay the rent: for the first time since 1992, John Lydon's famed art-rock outfit will be an active band.

Yes, Public Image Limited will reunite for a series of dates later this year in England. No, there will not be any original members joining the former Mr. Rotten onstage. US dates? Maybe.

All we're saying is there better be some tunes from their 1986 "generic" album on that set list. Contrarian bastard that Lydon is, probably not.

Oprah, Music Biz Savior?

Is the talk show queen/media mogul going to do for music what her book club seal of approval has done for writers over the years?
Well, in the upcoming weeks she'll be, um, booking the likes of Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Black Eyed Peas, Jennifer Hudson, James Taylor, and Rascal Flatts on her show.

Will stores stock up on these artists' most recent titles in anticipation of monster sales? Will they actually sell in any significant numbers due to the Oprah push? Stay tuned. Or not.

The September Concert

Subtitled The Heart of Jazz, The September Concert is an annual event in remembrance of the September 11, 2001 tragedy, with "dozens of top jazz musicians seek[ing] to bring the healing qualities of music to their fellow NYers to honor those lost and to celebrate our shared humanity."

Put together by renown jazz vocalist E.J. Decker, the four hour show, now in its eighth year, will take place at Ashford and Simpson's Sugar Bar in Manhattan, this Friday, September 11th, starting at 4 PM. There is no cover.

For more info visit SeptemberConcert.org.

9/07/2009

RIP: Jake Brockman

Jake Brockman, keyboardist for Echo and the Bunnymen, died September 1st in a motorcycle accident on the Isle of Man. He had been the band's keyboardist since 1989.

The upcoming Echo and the Bunnymen album, Fountains, will feature Brockman's playing.

He was 53 years old.

9/05/2009

Quote of the Day

"I heard the title Vampire Weekend and I thought, 'Oh, man, that's gonna be great. I gotta see it.' And there are these guys with little Gap T-shirts on and I'm going, 'What happened to the balls in rock 'n' roll? Why are American bands so wimpy?'"

- Alice Cooper

First his shtick gets ripped off by another dude with a chick's name doin' the shock rock thing; now this. Sorry, Alice. At least we agree with him on something...

[h/t Nelson Poket]

9/02/2009

Courtney Gives Kurt a Bad Name

The late Kurt Cobain was no deity to be worshiped; simply a flawed man who brought joy and comfort to many thru his art. But since he is no longer with us to make his wishes known, those who are entrusted with guarding his image from schlock commercialism have a solemn responsibility. Well, it seems like these people just don't give a fuck.

How else do you explain a 3-D image of the Nirvana frontman singing along to Jersey hair farmers Bon Jovi's "You Give Love a Bad Name" on Guitar Hero 5? Anyone with even a remote clue of what Cobain was about knows there is no way in hell he would've ever agreed to such a thing. But hey, there's money to be had, right Courtney?

9/01/2009

Mr. Jones' Current Fave Cable TV Shows Roundup

On The Wall's "Nobody Home", Pink Floyd's protagonist complains of "13 channels of shit on the TV to choose from". A decade and a half later Bruce Springsteen had "fifty-seven channels and nothin' on". These days our access can easily beat that tenfold. Of course, that doesn't mean the sentiment hasn't changed; au contraire, mes amis.

As it turns out, regardless of the numerous channels available to us, aside from our interest in baseball--which is satisfied by the YES and MLB networks, respectively--news, and the occasional movie, our attraction to episodic TV is mostly limited to 3 shows these days: HBO's Entourage, and new series Hung; over at Showtime, Weeds is our show of choice.


Derisively referred to as "Sex in the City for dudes", Entourage is now in its sixth season of following the life and times of movie star/mediocre actor Vincent Chase--based on master thespian Mark Wahlberg, who is one of the show's producers--and the tight camaraderie between his trio of hangers on, as he falls in and out of Hollywood stardom and screws babes by the truckload. If you are unfamiliar with the show, it's actually quite better than our description would lead you to believe, but no less annoying.

There's only so many twists you can squeeze out of Entourage's basic premise, but HBO seems to think there are more, and that enough people out there will agree: the show has been renewed for a seventh season. (How it has lasted this long is pretty incredible.) Regardless, we are regular viewers and look forward to each episode. Even if we can't bring ourselves to admit it out loud. Wait...


Hung takes place in Detroit, where the middle-aged Ray Drecker (Thomas Jane), a divorced, former major league baseball prospect, coaches high school basketball and teaches history. After an electrical fire decimates his uninsured house--leaving it in near-condemned state and forcing Ray to camp out in his back yard--our hero decides to expand his finances and become a high-priced escort, pimped by no less than a former fling, the mousy, neurotic, socially awkward Tanya (Jane Adams), who refers to their business venture as "happiness consultants" for lonely, horny women. Oh, and the show's title refers to Ray's rather large sexual appendage. Which, thankfully, we don't get to see. (Sorry, ladies.)

Fun show; we recommend it. (Love its theme song, "I'll Be Your Man" by The Black Keys.) Oh, yeah, Anne Heche plays Ray's former wife, who, in our humble opinion, has gotten hotter as she gets into her 40s...


Speaking of hotties in their 40s, our favorite middle-aged crush,
the über sexy Mary-Louise Parker, has just completed another season of her suburban California mom-turned-drug dealer escapades on the Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated Weeds. Now, as the wife, and mother of the infant child of a powerful, corrupt Mexican politician running for governor of Baja California (Demián Bichir), Parker's Nancy Botwin has more drama and insanity on any given day than most of us will ever have in a lifetime. But the transformation
of the youngest of her two teenage sons (Alexander Gould) from an intelligent, sweet, shy kid, and the family's moral center, to a rude, pain-addicted nihilist, after being shot with a bullet intended for Nancy, just might be the highlight of the show this season.

On the other hand, her juvenile former brother in-law Andy
(Justin Kirk) and one-time frenemy, now full-blown antagonist Celia (Elizabeth Perkins) have gone from merely annoying but entertaining characters, to awfully irritating. Still, the show packs much punch and has its share of interesting plot twists, not the least of which
is the surprising ending of this season's final episode.

Anything like that on "regular" TV? Didn't think so.