Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sign O' the Times

I took this at Bleecker St. in Greenwich Village yesterday. Ouch ... I think we're all feelin' this on some level.

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Lights Out for Darker Skies

Bookish Brit rockers British Sea Power is set to release the soundtrack for the renowned 1934 film, Man of Aran. The Robert J. Flaherty docu-drama, which explores the hardships experienced by Aran islanders, is set for reissue in DVD format, with BSP's soundtrack on CD; it'll feature mostly new songs with a few reworkings of older tunes, including "The Great Skua" (featured in the clip below) and "North Hanging Rock."

In a press release, guitarist Martin Noble explained, "The images vary between huge drama and a brilliant kind of ridiculousness - check out the amazing foot-wide bobbled berets that the fishermen wear. It’s a great look, like a 1930s Irish version of Jack White or Kraftwerk. It’s a film that’s also relevant to the current era – a time when the idea of living a simpler life is in the air. The film shows something I'd like to think I could do, but know I never will."

Man of Aran won the Grand Prix at the 1935 Venice Film Festival. British Sea Power will also celebrate the soundtrack release by performing it in its entirety (alongside the film) at the Dukes of York Cinema in Brighton, England on April 18th and again on April 23rd at the British Film Institute in Southbank. SO WISH I could be there!

British Sea Power - "The Great Skua" set to Man of Aran:

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

When I was about 8-years-old, I told myself I'd never be like my parents and watch goofy television shows like Cheers. I thought that show was silly. Ted Danson had bad hair and Shelley Long was flat out annoying. I sorta thought it got funnier once Kirstie Alley joined the cast ... if I only knew I'd eat my words about 18 years later.

During the summer of 2002, I was in graduate school, working on a paper for my performance art class. It was one helluva hot summer and I had no air conditioning in my Ann Arbor apartment. I was also still using dial-up to get to the Internet. While sitting in front of a fan, working on my graduate paper on Madonna's "Truth or Dare," I succumbed to the Cheers reruns as background noise.

I got hooked and never looked back.

Call me a nerd, call me crazy, but Cheers -- hands down -- is the best television show ever made. Nick at Nite saved my ass for the next five years. The Hallmark Channel did their best, too. Since living in NYC, the Sultan and I have tivoed it religiously. Sadly, it's no longer in syndication. Well, the Sultan can't seem to live without it either. Tonight he queued up all 11 seasons of Cheers on Netflix. AWESOME!

Every character on that show is a classic; From Ted Danson's skeezy playboy act as the former Boston Red Sox great Sam Malone and the bookish half-wit Diane, played by Shelley Long to Kirstie Alley's portrayal of the Rebecca Howe; as tough as she was on the outside, she was as clumsy as the rest of us. So good.

How can you not love the regulars? From the surly demeanor of Norm Peterson (George Wendt) to his even more surly quips with bar know-it-all, the quirky Cliff Clavin (John Ratzenberger), they were one of a kind. Throw in the endearing naivite of bartenders Ernie "Coach" Pantusso (Nicholas Colasanto) and Woody (Woody Harrelson), and the sharp wit of Dr. Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer) and his perfect match, Dr. Lilith Sternin Crane (Bebe Neuwirth), and you can do no wrong. Never forget lovable barfly Paul ... surely Carla can't.


Carla Tortelli, played by Rhea Pearlman, was my favorite. That little Italian spitfire always called it like it was and every once in a while, found a smidge of a second to be sweet. Absolutely brilliant.

The other night, while the New Jersey Devils were playing the Boston Bruins, the Sultan said to me, "I wonder if the people at Cheers are watching?" Har Har. For those true Cheers heads, you already know that Carla was married to Bruins goaltender Eddie LeBec (portrayed by Jay Thomas). We ARE that nerdy.

This is my tribute to Cheers (1982-1993). I miss you.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

He's Got Mojo

I haven't bought MOJO in ages ... well, I haven't bought any of those British music mags in a long, long time. I used to worship Q, Vox, and Select, and NME and Melody Maker when they were still in newspaper format. Anyhow, MOJO still hammers out a slick issue now and then and its latest is a good example: Nick Cave dons the March 2009 cover and here, the original Bad Seed reflects upon his three decades in rock in a 15-page spread.

"I'm dressed up -- cufflinks and all -- for your photo session, but I don't wear a suit in a dandyish way. I wear it as a worker. Someone who prepares himself for the job. It's always been like that."

See? Such class.

There's also a killer interview with Brian Eno and another piece with Johnny Marr, but Paul Trynka's reflective piece on Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton is really stellar -- Iggy Pop, J Mascis and James Williamson pay tribute.. Asheton passed away last month at the age of 60. He lived in my old neighborhood on the west side of Ann Arbor ... a cool as hell musician, but just a regular guy. Still sad about this one. RIP Ron Asheton.

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Ant Rap

This is because I'm embarking on a massive Adam & the Ants kick ... thank you Alex. Adam Ant forever.

Adam & the Ants - "Stand & Deliver"

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Famous International Playboy


Ok, I've been hesistant to discuss the much-talked about naked Morrissey photo for a couple of days now. News flash for those who haven't Facebooked me or texted me with the news (haha), Morrissey and the rest of his band are nearly nude on the inner-sleeve of the Mozzer's forthcoming single, "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris." Of course, the Moz and the band's unmentionables are covered by aptly-placed seven-inch vinyl records.

It's not because I'm worried about what my Dad might say (thanks for always reading my blog, Dad) when he sees the post or how the Sultan will scowl at the photo above. The gasps, the shrieks, the wtfs surrounding this photo ... it's entertaining, sure. But really, why is this such a big deal?

The Guardian criticizes the photo as "ghastly." "The decline of Morrissey's sleeve imagery has only been equalled [sic] by his similarly appalling taste in denim over the past decade. Where once he wore synch-stitched Levi's, he seems to have been working his way through a dizzying wardrobe of boot-cut monstrosities when promoting his past four albums."

Really?

For me, it's Morrissey. He's still my favorite favorite. I get what he's doing here ... let the man make fun of himself. Let him have a little fun, period. The dude's outgrown his signature moping, but he'll never stop mocking the press or the naysayers. I especially love him for that. Sure, if was 16, I'd be a giddy fangirl about this photo. And I suppose I'll be a fangirl for Morrissey for the rest of my life. But c'mon. This photo is that big of a deal? Let's not make it more than it is. Red Hot Chili Peppers? Psssh.

Morrissey has remained an original. He's timeless. The artwork for his solo singles might not exactly match the flawless brilliance of former Smiths singles, but as he's always done, Morrissey does what he wants. Thank goodness for that.

"I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris" is released February 9th, while Morrissey's tenth studio LP, Years of Refusal, drops February 17th.

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Sunday, February 01, 2009

Firesuite

Just a few days ago, I was talking about how it was high time that Doves issued a new album. Well, THEY ARE! According to NME.com, their long-awaited fourth album, Kingdom of Rust, will be released in the U.S. April 7.

Check out the synth-soaked hypnotics of first single, "Jetstream," at the band's web site. Echoes of Sub Sub, anyone? It's their tribute to the Vangelis film score, Blade Runner. Quality!

Kingdom of Rust:
1. Jetstream
2. Kingdom of Rust
3. The Outsiders
4. Winter Hill
5. 10.03
6. The Greatest Denier
7. Birds Flew Backwards
8. Spellbound
9. Compulsion
10. House of Mirrors
11. Lifelines

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