30 December 2007

Guilty Pleasures: I really like Ryan Reynolds.

Three reasons:
1. I used to watch Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place, my first introduction to Reynolds.
2. I rented Van Wilder my freshman year in college and watched it twice before returning it. And it was just on a few hours ago and I was watching most of it.
3. I saw a trailer for Definitely, Maybe last week when I was gonna see Juno and said, "Aw. I think I want to see that (doesn't hurt that Rachel Weisz is gonna be in it, too)."

I can't get enough of this guy.

I actually believe he's underrated because he really doesn't get good roles because of his hot bod and hot face. I really enjoyed him in Smokin' Aces (which is another underrated item). But most people don't realize how hilarious the bastard is. I love his subtle wit. I think Judd Apatow should pick him up and elect him to be part of his all-star wit crew.

28 December 2007

My cat loves music.

Lulu likes to walk on Liars, Joy Division and Broadcast CDs.

And sits on records.

And in front of record players.

And listen to Stereolab.

Man, the end of the year is just uneventful, I reckon, especially if I'm posting about my cat (though Lulu rules).

Why is Al B. Sure singing the same hook from '88?

Over the holidays, my brother-in-law and I were watching VH1 Soul music videos and we caught this here gem featured above. Duo Live is featuring Al B. Sure and Fabolous for his song "Princess," and needless to say, it's lame as fuck. But to top it off, Al B. Sure is basically featured in the video, because all that Negro is doing is miming in the video. As my b-i-l put it, "You got an updated look, all up in the video, but you singing the same hook."

And I was like, wait....damn...that's right! Duo Live straight sampled that shit exactly, and Al B. Sure didn't even want to do a switcheroo or something, damn.

Eh. I never liked Al B. Sure's music anyway.

p.s. I spent about 87 percent of my time over the holidays watching music videos, specifically VH1 Soul because they tend to show '90s R&B hits and VH1 Classic because they show '60s and '90s rock hits.

27 December 2007

I'm officially disturbed.

I know I'm an entertainment blogger and all, but I really couldn't resist when I heard about Benazir Bhutto's assassination this morning. Why is it that people who want to make a difference in an extremist state (that includes the United States) have to be killed in this sick, sad world? Honestly, this is exactly why I don't watch CNN and MSNBC and CNBC and C-Span and read up on international affairs as often as I read arts and entertainment blogs. Who the hell are these people threatening, anyway?

But for those who lay their lives out on the lines and really do care for people get shit on constantly, and I can't bear to see that shit happen on a regular basis. It's upsetting as hell. I lose faith in humanity, want to become an anarchist and just get really depressed because I know there ain't a goddam thing in the world that could make us live in a happier, freer, diplomatic society.

You want to make a change? Cool. Just be aware of the fact that your life will be in danger for the rest of your life, unless, of course, you're an evangelical.

Since the 2008 presidential race, I've heard two things: "We're not ready for a woman president;" and "We're not ready for a black president." Are.You.Fucking.Kidding.Me?

It's 2008! We should be past this!

It's more like, "We're not ready to have another asshole president."

Ahhhh...lemme stop now before it gets ugly.


26 December 2007

Whatever happened to Total?

Because "Can't You See?" was my jam circa 1995.

I'm a sap who likes coming-of-age movies dealing with love.

Coming-of-age films are just things I cannot ever steer away from, EVER. Well, coming-of-age films dealing with witty, acerbic and cynical 16-, 17- and 18-year-olds in high school, though I developed said characteristics when I was 11 years old. So I guess when I see films like Juno and Thumbsucker and The Squid and the Whale and et ecetera, I am always emotional because I can relate to the main characters. They usually the way they are because they want to have so much faith in humanity and believes in honesty and sincerity and true love.

Now on to my thoughts on Juno. To be honest, I was a little nervous and starting to backtrack on how I initially felt about it because of all the hooplah it was getting. Not to say that hype ruins films, but sometimes, it does, such as last year's Little Miss Sunshine, 2004's Sideways or 2005's Brokeback Mountain (I'm sorry, but even after I waited a little over a year to watch it after all the hype died down, it still gave me the cotton candy effect). I also got a really lame pretentious vibe from screenwriter Diablo Cody, simply because she boasts about leaving her Minneapolis middle-class background and neverminds the fact that she got a Media Studies degree from University of Iowa and to become a stripper for a year and talks about it in a blog and says she wears a "busted weave." I dunno, just felt weird about it.

But with all that pre-judgmental shit being said, I finally got to see the film today and lemme tell ya: I was very pleased. I was really happy to know that my gut instincts were right about how the movie was gonna be good and I actually like Cody's writing style. Every single actor in that film was incredible. But although everyone's going ga-ga for Ellen Page's performance--and rightly so--my boy Michael Cera was amazing. He now replaces Jamie Bell as my favorite young talent. He is just down-right fantastic with his straight-laced, dry sense of humor. I love his reaction to Juno when she says the only reason she fucks him is because she was bored that night: "...And I know you weren't bored because there were lots of stuff to watch on TV; The Blair Witch Project was coming on Starz, too." All with a straight face. Grand.

I really love the theme of understanding true love and how you can conquer the ugliness of it all if you actually tried really hard, as Juno proposes to Mark (Jason Bateman), who is a burnout post-modern rock musician who once opened for The Melvins in 1993. It's just something I firmly believe that most films do not focus on, and I'm not even talking about the lame romantic comedies that is just a shit storm of sappiness. I'm talking a realistic comedy that really pinpoints the beauty and grotesqueness of it all, in which Juno succeeds tremendously.

Two very important tracks from the film:
The Moldy Peaches - Anyone Else But You
Sonic Youth - Superstar (Carpenters cover)

p.s. I love when Juno argues with Mark saying that she got a Sonic Youth album and it was nothing but a bunch of noise. Ha. That's exactly how I reacted when I got Daydream Nation when I was 18. And now look at me. Obsessed.

21 December 2007

On a lighter note: Leslie Feist rules.

Even though I was spinning Let It Die something fierce in the last two years before The Reminder came out in May, I honestly did not think that "1 2 3 4" would turn her into this music goddess. I mean, people really dug this chick in Oh-Seven. I remember playing Let It Die as much as I could whenever I had people over and get them into her. I remember persuading folks to go see her perform in a different city and they would leave the show claiming their love for her.

But now there's no need to push her music or to promote her shows anymore. iPod did that shit for her. She's pretty much set for life. She can lend the rest of her Broken Social Scene kids some money and have them set for life. Well, maybe not, but I dunno. This year was her year as far as indie music goes. She was the Beyoncé of indie rock. And I can honestly see her owning that shit. We may see her in films and shit. She may start her own clothing line. She may have some kicks on the way. You name it, she'll own it.

I'm just really happy for her because I am a huge fan of hers. The Reminder was a really solid album and I'm glad she remained comfortable in her musical skin. Her performances are outstanding, her voice is soothing, her lyrics are impeccable--she, in general, is a bona fide bad bitch.

Stereogum writes like they've never been around black people before.

I was never that into Stereogum, but I would still read the blog from time to time, but in this week alone, I've come to the conclusion that the writers at Stereogum must've had bad experiences with black people and are all secretly sour about it, but because being racist is frowned upon in the past six decades, they do what every other nervous white liberal does: have a disclaimer stating that they're, in fact, not racist.

Exhibit A:
This Is A Video Response To R. Kelly (feat. Usher) - "Same Girl"
In featured link, posted July 30, they say: "We're not posting Mimi & Flo's shot-for-shot parody of R. Kelly & Usher's "Same Girl", "Same Dude", just because white artists covering black artists is one of blogging's less decorative evergreens, or to start a thread about Usher's U-Turn. No, we're posting it because Mimi & Flo's video is the kind of parody that is genuinely funny even if you haven't seen the original."
Uh...what did that first statement have to do with anything? It would've been A-OK if they just posted that shit without the "white/black" bullshit. The emphasis on the fact that homegirls were white was ignorant as hell, and should've instead focused on the fact that they parodied a video that was already a parody.

I checked the site again today and I see this:
Kanye West's Most Miscegenist Interview Ever!
First of all, that headline. Second of all, they post West's interview with Spin, where he talks about Graduation being his blackest album to date, talking about how he loves eating "black" food, specifically chicken, and saying how he loved Michael Jackson because, duh, he's black! But of course, to Stereogum's dismay, they say: "Jackson might've been on 'Ye's radar, but he didn't do Mr. Collapsible Nose any favors with that bland-ass "Billy Jean" "remix." In the interview he goes on to revisit his beef with MTV, who likes Justin Timberlake better 'cause he's white, yadda yadda .... Hey, Grammy people, please award this dude something, so he can stop with this shtick."

Yes, Kanye's arrogant; yes, he talks about the things he's able to buy now that he's rich and famous; yes, he brags about lots of things. But his lyrics, especially with this album, are actually substantial. He's just putting on this "shtick" out of fun. Diddy and 50 Cent did the same shit. Most of these mainstream rappers are, in fact, mainstream because of that persona. But because Kanye was actually raised middle class and boasts a, granted, short-lived college education who had a college professor mother, the white liberal indie market wanted him to talk about broad topics and not mention the fact that he's still a black man. And the fact that he talks about serious shit in an educated manner, the so-called white indie liberals get scared.

Ooooh, I said it. That's all black people think about, how white people are always trying to slight them. WRONG.

In honesty, young black American cats are just trying to do what most of America is trying to do: get that education, make that money, and do things their way. That is all. So just because they express it in a different manner, that's their business. I just think it's ridiculous how instead of trying to see where someone like Kanye is coming from, the so-called indie liberals automatically jump to the conclusion that he's just trying to make it a white-black world, when he's just trying to open people's eyes and explain where he's coming from. If it was someone like Ellen DeGeneres talking about being a lesbian in America, I really doubt it would be interpreted as a her wanting to make it a gay-straight debate.

This is why I steer away from the hipster culture because of silly shit like this. It was already bad enough the New York Times created the term "blipster" (take a wild guess) in January.

20 December 2007

In Retrospect: The United States of America, 1968.

Since I did an illustrated history on Broadcast, I felt the need to introduce the band that heavily influenced them. The United States of America was founded by Joseph Byrd in 1967, the year where everybody was doing a psychedelic album, or better known as the Year Where Everyone Caught On The Brilliance Of Psychedelic Music.

While most psychedelic bands like The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Cream were guitar-driven, USA were more focused on the electronic side of music with keyboards and synthesizers and organs and pianos. And in contrast to Grace Slick's angry, baritone vocals was USA's lead singer's Dorothy Moskowitz's airier, smoother vocals.

The result: One fantastic self-titled album released in 1968; then the USA faded into obscurity. until 2004 when the album was re-released on CD.

For a little taste, here they are on Myspace.

An illustrated history: Broadcast, 1997-present.

You all already know how I feel about Stereolab; well, Broadcast is its little sister. You know, the sister who decided to chop off all her hair and sing about the darkness of life and love and although they are equally political as the big sister, they aren't as sublime sounding. They are more serious. Smiling is not little sister's forte.

Listening to Broadcast's debut LP The Noise Made By People, an album I still cannot believe came out in 2000 in the UK and not 1966 in Paris, I always get lost in its sound, like I'm in a trance. I feel like I'm transported in an Alphaville-esque film that touches on the demise of humans. Even the videos from the album looks like those footages we see of students testing out LSD for the first time in the '60s. It's like reading early Kurt Vonnegut novels.

Unfortunately, that album is hard to buy anywhere. Fortunately, I scored an awesome deal on it. But unfortunately, it needs to be back in stock so everyone can explore the genius minds that are Trish Keenan and James Cargill, along with former members Roj Stevens and Tim Felton.

Some Noise videos:


"Come On Let's Go"

Three years later, Broadcast released the dream-poppier Ha Ha Sound. Not dream pop in the Yo La Tengo sense, but in the sense where little sister has grown into a more peaceful person and wants to experiment with a "prettier" sound. There's no way you can feel down listening to it. If anything, it began to show Broadcast's range. In Noise you were only exposed to Keenan's vocals, including her layering her voice to bring that eerie-spacey sound. In Ha Ha Sound, it's more harmonic with other vocalists, similar to the one-two punch that was Stereolab's Laetitia Sadier and Mary Hansen. If anything, Ha Ha brought them back to Earth (ish).

Ha Ha tracks:

In 2005, Broadcast transferred their sounds into a more mature album, Tender Buttons. Instead of talking about ditching the man-made world that we live in, which were recurring themes from the previous albums, the band focuses on serious topics such as politics, breakups and, well, actually they still talk about the downfall of humanity (I mean, how can you escape it?). Usually singing in a higher-pitch voice, Keenan takes her vocals down some octaves.

This particular album is special to me because it was the introductory Broadcast album for me. I was amazed that there was a band like this making music in our generation still.

Buttons tracks:
Broadcast - Black Cat
Broadcast - Corporeal
Broadcast - Michael A Grammar

Allright, folks. Now you are at least 75 percent aware of Broadcast's brilliance. I left off 1997's Work and Non-Work and 2006's The Future Crayon because those are compilations of singles and rarities. The band is currently working on its fourth studio album, release date unknown. Keenan and Cargill are the only original members left in the band.

19 December 2007

Free shows can be a bust.

Remember how excited I was about seeing Slick Rick tonight? And blabbed about how he's my favorite MC and that I was gonna be honored to see him for free?

Fuck that.

I kinda had a funny feeling about it because it wasn't advertised ANYWHERE--I mean, I understand you want it to reach a limited audience, but it needs to be known by more people, goddam. So I go there at around 7ish because I expected a bigger crowd and I was under the impression that the doors opened at 9:30--something I learned the hard way while waiting out in that goddam cold.

So I got over it. Love ya, Slick baby, but mama's got other things to do than sitting out in the cold only to be pissed off by a poorly-planned free show. Hurts my heart. It truly does. He's a fucking legend and the event planners are pissing around like the moronic jackholes that they are. It only would've pissed me off more to stand in a small crowd.

But it's all good. Be inspired:

Be intrigued:

Be fresh:

One day, Ricky, one day. I hope next time you come through it's a concert you gotta chuck money to. I'll put in the big bucks.



I have to do it, folks: Beyoncé rules.

If you watch closely, you'll soon figure out that I am always rooting for solo artists who know how to groove. I'm a groover, and I like seeing others groove, whether it's onscreen or onstage, I'm there. Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Eleanor Powell, Madonna, Janet Jackson, Chris Brown, Jennifer Lopez--I'm there. I wish dancing would be taken more seriously, dammit.

With that said, I have to give major kudos to Beyoncé. Either I'm secretly a gay black dude or I really have joined the Beyoncé fan club. When I saw her performance on the BET Awards (pictured above), I knew the rest of 2007 was gonna be history. If that heifer didn't take over this Oh-Seven, then I'm blind and lost about life. She was everywhere. Couldn't escape her. And honestly, you couldn't hate her, unless, of course, you're a hater.

She has grown over the course of 10 years since we first saw her as the girl taking over a quartet R&B group called Destiny's Child from Houston. People thought she was a bitch; she was rude, obnoxious, and worst, stupid as hell. At least, that's what she wanted us to believe, because when I saw her on Dreamgirls, I was actually surprised and realized that she wasn't a 'tard like I always thought she was.

Then she breaks out of the group, becomes a solo artist, starts merging into the Hollywood scene, makes platinum albums, makes and funds videos for every song on her album because the record label wouldn't back her, sells out tours, become the first non-model on Sports Illustrated's swimsuit edition, signs mad endorsements, doesn't succumb to the the white black hole sucking away R&B and hip-hop artists--unstoppable.

In the midst of all the crazy rich girls gone mad this year, Beyoncé was definitely targeted to join the list of faltering R&B artists like Lauryn Hill and Whitney Houston. People had their doubts, and rightly so, and to be able to overcome all the madness and still be on top is beyond impressive to me.

Not gonna lie, wasn't too crazy about Beyoncé until this year. And have y'all seen her live performance on DVD? She does not fuck around, ever. She is so damn fierce with her performances that it's amazing to me that she's still able to function regularly. It's like she's a totally different person! And unlike those other female solo artists who can groove I listed previously, she actually can hold a tune. And that's a--dare I say?--good look.

Music Videos - Get Me Bodied
If there's one thing I'm happy about, it's artists coming back with the instructional dance moves.

Covers: The Antlers vs. Broadcast

Twenty-one year-old New Yorker Pete Silberman, better known as The Antlers, has two things in common with me: his love for The Microphones and his love for Broadcast. I named my blog in honor of The Microphones, he did the whole plural name for a solo artist thing in honor of The Microphones (though Phil Elvrum isn't the first person to do that, but hey). I think Broadcast is brilliant, he covers songs from them. I am very impressed.

Tears In The Typing Pool (Broadcast cover).

Usually I don't post the original versions, but I can never pass up the opportunity to expose people to Broadcast:

This Silberman kid's actually pretty good, especially for a young'un who already has released five albums. You can get downloads here.

18 December 2007

When women ruled the music world: Liz Phair and Mary J. Blige

I still cannot hate Liz Phair for turning into a pop princess via "Why Can't I" era. I even called her a sell-out once and meant it. I never use that word, but my disdain for the woman who publicized a whole new breed of women only to become another pawn in the teenybopper frenzy was hard to contain.

Nevertheless, I still have Exile in Guyville in constant rotation and still am enlightened by her philosophies on relationships.

And she did raise a good point last night on VH1's "100 Greatest Songs of the 90s" special by saying how she hated being touted as the Indie Queen and when she moved into the direction of pop, she was in a different stage in her life as a mother. Yeah, I guess it would be uncomfortable to hear a mom talking about wanting to fuck a guy 'til his "dick turns blue" and being his "blowjob queen," or the fact that listening to her lyrics is equally graphic as hardcore porn.

Yeah, Liz, I guess you did have to move into a different direction.


Speaking of groundbreaking female artists going in different directions, I was watching Mary J. Blige being interviewed by the twin idiots off of "106th and Park" last night and it seemed like they were talking to their grandmother about the glory days of her youth. She has changed so much! I mean, from the basic black turtleneck, ridiculously high-waisted mom jeans with knee-high boots, it was so weird seeing how extremely calm she has become. Nevertheless, she still grooves like she's ol' homegirl from the Bronx with baseball jerseys and Jodeci boots.

Like most of the kids who claim In Utero was their album growing up, What's the 411? was that, hands down. She just absolutely killed it, and then she killed it some more with My Life and Share My World and...shit, she was everywhere, doing it big, and I was feeling her non-stop. Shit, I still feel her. There's no way in the world I can dislike anything she does, even if it's not solid. But I can't see her doing anything mediocre. Mary J. Blige is wonderful to me.

I'm so glad to see her overcome the drug addictions, abuse (who knew KC Hailey from Jodeci was a bastard?) and grief with the music industry to still be the Queen of R&B and hip-hop.

Heath Ledger, I really didn't see it comin'.

Remember when you saw 10 Things I Hate About You and you thought Heath Ledger was hot but didn't think you'd see him again, and instead Julia Stiles was all the rage as the new young "it" actress? And how much longer did it take you to grasp Ledger's next role was the young, suicidal cop who only wanted to be loved by his father in Monster's Ball?

Honestly, I really didn't see that coming. And then he kept getting significant role after significant role, the highlight being a repressed conservative cowboy in Brokeback Mountain, which earned him his first Oscar nomination.

Now he's playing Bob Dylan and in 2008 The Joker, which is another role I didn't see him portraying because he seems like a really serious actor/person. But, eh, who knows.

Speaking of serious actors, I also didn't see Christian Bale being such the stud that he is in the film world, either. I remember him being the asshole racist dude who killed Mekhi Phifer in that lame 2000 version of Shaft. Then he does American Psycho, then it seems to go uphill for that brother.

It's good to see young actors be selective about their roles. Good for them.

17 December 2007

Merry Christmas.

Because this Polyphonic Spree version of "Carol of the Bells" is enough to make you want to believe in Santa again.

Carol of the Bells (Tim's Gone) (via Gorilla vs. Bear)

Though Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmas Time" will always be my favorite Christmas song.

Close seconds and thirds include The Whispers' version of "This Christmas":

And Stevie Wonder's "What Christmas Means to Me":

Video of the year is:

Eh, I couldn't stay away from lists even if I tried. UGK's ft. Outkast in "International Players' Anthem (I Choose You)" was, indeed, my favorite video of the year. Turns out, it's my homage to the Pimp C, another great MC. Can't believe that brother died, and right when UGK finally got some due. Damn.

The beauty of music is knowing that the artist never dies, though.

Sidebar: Andre 3000 wins for best flow of the year, start to finish. But my favorite line is: "Space ships/Don't come equipped/With rearview mirrors/They dip/As quick as they can/The atmosphere is now ripped..."

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! The Ruler is coming!

So. Yeah. Anyone who knows me knows that this is a really huge deal to me, for Mr. Ricky himself is my favorite MC. And not only that, but I have the honor (as well as anyone else who RSVPs) to see this sucka for free! FREE. Freeeeeeeeeeeeee. Yes. Of course, I'll have to camp out by the venue for 90 hours, but hey, that's totally worth it to see him free. Goddam. I'll have a follow-up on Wednesday after the show.

FREE! Ahhhhh.

Click here to see if Slick Rick is coming to your city for free, too.

15 December 2007

Nerds still have the Best Year Ever.

Speaking of not having a life: although Rehab won this year's honors for Best Year Ever, I say for the past, mmmm, three or four years have been the nerds having the Best Year Ever. All the cool kids are going to rehab and jail, but the nerds still come out on top. Hell, they were even this year's biggest muckrakers with the still-ongoing writers' strike. It's like, you can try to take our dignity, love interests and lunch, but we'll be damned if you try to take our royalties check, too. Certainly not the business here.

Whenever I watch Best Week Ever and still not know who the hell these people are, I realize something: my calling is in the comedic circus. I should be among these nameless faces and still be thanklessly respected. I know, strange.

In related news:
VH1 is going back to the list format and unveiling the 90s' 100 best songs starting next Monday (even though Stereogum already posted the list two days ago). But if you're like me, you'll still watch the thing. I mean, how can you resist ignoring comical commentary from aforementioned nameless faces? The VH1 Classic channel is also unleashing its own week-long special called 7 Ages of Rock, which means they'll give credit to a bunch of hairy white dudes who actually did nothing more than copying off the actual pioneers.

14 December 2007

Things I realize when I'm older: Green Eggs and Ham is about drug dealing.

I've always loved this book, and is still one of my favorites, but after spending a lazy Friday with ABC Family (damn, it seems like I'm on a Disney kick here) watching famous Dr. Seuss books such as The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham in animation form, I was really in a haze. I mean, could the shorts BE any trippier?

And then it hit me: Green Eggs and Ham isn't about trying green eggs and green ham. Sam I Am is simply a drug dealer pushing his new product: LSD. As soon as the homeboy who was never named took a bite of the goodies, his eyes starts twirling around and he gets all excited and thanks Sam I Am for relentlessly offering it to him.

Obviously enough, Sam I Am is homebody's new best friend. Sam I Am=Frank Lucas.

Oh, the epiphanies you have as an adult about shit you loved during your childhood. I love it. That, and I have no life.


Guilty Pleasures: Zac Efron and Hairspray.

Uh, yeah. So this year everyone was riding Zac Efron's jock and how he's a talented young dude who's also pretty hot, in that plastic, rich frat-dude-who-seems-like-the-perfect-kid-but-turns-out-he's-an-X-
dealer-and-maybe-a-casual-rapist kind of way. But I never put him into my equation because I thought he was only 17 or whatever. But turns out he's 20, so I didn't really feel guilty to think he was plastically hot.

Also--he was Link Larkin in Hairspray. I really couldn't put two and two together, because I never really bothered, but after reading a friend's post about his role in the movie, I finally got it. And I realized I actually like Zac Efron.

Lame or not, he is talented, and it really showed in Hairspray, which was my guilty pleasure film of the year. What can I say, I'm a sucker for musicals, no matter how cheesy they are.

Though I don't like musicals enough to watch the lamefest that is High School Musical and the sequels. Anything ran by Disney is not a good look.

13 December 2007

Tori Amos just doesn't give a fuck.

Speaking of clowning, Ms. Amos wins my "Clown of the Week" Award for making these two girls feel like non-humans at her show in San Diego last night. Damn. All I gotta say is look at the video below. The one-sided face-off starts at around 2:20.

I love when artists call so-called fans out when they're doing annoying shit, like constantly flashing their cameras in their faces like there aren't already five million other lights in their eyes, or constantly yelling out song requests, or constantly coming and going when it's a damn sit-down concert (like Tori's last night). Shit gets old, kids.

Retraction: Kanye West is allright with me.

I pitched one on Kayne this year, man, especially since that whole bullshit with MTV and Extra or E! or ET, whatever the fuck that lame ass station was that caught him on tape bitching about several things. I actually did agree with some of it (Britney shouldn't have opened, when was the last time a black artist graced the stage during the opener, why did he have the small stage, etc.), but I still think that he shouldn't have let that get to him to the point of outrageous anger. But, then again, my way of handling things may be different, so who the hell am I to criticize him for it?

Anyway, so I clowned him, didn't g Graduation the time of day. Even wrote an entry about it in my old blog. I meant what I said that September day, but after a) listening to his album and b) getting over the silliness and realize that he still is bringing positivity to hip-hop, I realized I'm a grown ass woman and I should move on from my grudge. Hey, we all lose our cool. I've done it plenty of times back when I was the Old Me like Dre.

Graduation is definitely his best album to date. I'm really happy for him getting eight Grammy nominations. I really hate that he lost his mom; not only that, but I hate he lost his mom and every media outlet pushed so hard to make him crumble, how he's quiet now that he lost the No. 1 supporter of his career, how his mom had diabetes and should've done this and that before getting a cosmetic operation, yada yada yada. Fuck it--he lost his mom, bottom line. If anything, there should've been condolences given rather than people being all up in his business, showing tapes of him crying during "Hey Mama" in Paris (I couldn't even watch it, so I'll refrain from linking the video here).

Despite it all, it all goes back to his first single, "Stronger." He's a bad brother. You get props from me, homie.

Where's the love for Devendra?

When Cripple Crow came out in 2005, every music critic was drooling with anticipation and glee thanks to the success of This Is the Way the previous year.

But there were nothing but crickets when Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon was released in September. And I don't understand why that is, because this album is definitely his boldest and most ambitious yet. Who are we kidding, though? We all know music critics can't really handle it when a super-talented musician like Devendra has a wide musical range like he does.

This definitely has a lot to do with the fact that most of his songs are sung in Spanish. He did a few songs here and there in Spanish in his previous albums, but this'n is more pronounced. Not only that, it's not straightforward "freak folk."

The more I type about the negative critiques, the more perplexed I get. The music on this album is astounding. Hands down, this is the best album Devendra's done musically. Just because you don't understand what Devendra is singing when he's singing in Spanish shouldn't take away his creative competence. I don't know what the hell Gustav Ejstes of Swedish band Dungen says, either, but the mother can play his ass off.

That's another thing. I've actually met people who say they can't listen to foreign bands because they don't know what they're saying. Who the hell cares? If you claim to be the music lover that you are, then you should be able to grasp what the hell's going on just by--get this--listening to the music as well as the vocalist's tone to catch the mood. Stereolab's one of the greatest bands from the last two decades, and they mostly sing in French, but so what?

Listening to Smokey, it is extremely obvious that he put his heart into this album. I mean, it gets old being dubbed the "Father of Freak-Folk," like that's what his music was about--being a weirdo who had a freaky voice singing a bunch of folk songs. In this album, he establishes himself as something more than that--a great musician.

Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon, hands down, is the Sleeper Album of the Year. Hell, it may even be Album of the Year. And if you don't recognize this now, don't worry. Five years from now you'll take it out of the jewel case and put it in the player and be blown away.

12 December 2007

Talib Kweli and Spoon: You are winners to me.

I know I said I wouldn't make many lists for the end of the year, but I gotta say, there were two tracks that got my adrenaline rushing through my veins every time I heard them shits: Talib Kweli's "Hot Thing" and Spoon's "Don't You Evah." They were those types of songs where if you played them randomly, no matter where I was, I would drop everything I was doing and just start dancing choreography style.

I already did an entry about Talib Kweli's Eardrum, which is definitely one of the best of this year. Actually, it's perfect that I talk about these here artists because Talib started out fresh, then got a little stale with the last album, but comes back hard with this new album, and it's sick. Spoon starts out fresh, then got a little stale, as well, but BAM! Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, too, is one of the best albums of the year. The best they've done since Girls Can Tell.

When did Brit Daniel get so damn soulful and groove-tastic? I mean, I knew the brother had range, but damn.

UPDATE: Apparently NY-based trio The Natural History were the originators with "Don't You Ever." You can listen to it on their Myspace page. It's the first track on the player. It seems to go downhill from there. But, hey, that one song is all it takes.

OK, Snoop, you got me.

I know I'm hella delayed on the "Sensual Seduction" bandwagon, but after I saw he was starring in his own reality TV show, I disregarded everything he did this year, including said video. But I was browsing through lists of best videos of this year and I stumbled across it again. Then we had a staring match, and fortunately for me, I caved in and clicked the oh-familiar triangle that symbolizes "Play." I say the fuck the video--that song is the jam.

Damn you, Snoop. I cannot resist your doggy style.

Speaking of jams, I will forever remember 50 Cent protégé Olivia for her 2006 hit "Best Friend." Oh, gah, if that wasn't my jam that year, I must've been deaf. I listened to that song constantly. Where is she? She was classy.

I miss: Erykah Badu. Real bad.

She really pleased us with her debut Baduizm and made us laugh with "Tyrone" off her Live album, but when she came out with Mama's Gun in 2000, it was lights out for those who weren't ready for her thoughts on everything--deadbeats too complacent with jail life, overcoming struggles, loneliness, heartbreak, love, despair, accomplishment, female competition...the whole nine. She was taking part in a very small yet powerful trend in the Year 2000 where bands and musicians were putting out their masterpieces. But that's gonna be another entry.

Whenever I dust off Mama's Gun, I have the same question: Where, oh where, is my E. Badu? She is probably the only female artist I can truly relate to, for she is an empowered black female who wants to do everything she can to encourage black artistry and to keep her culture rich.

That's why I am eager for her comeback. Her voice needs to be heard, and I hope she survives the current white-washing in black music today (Common, keep fighting that black hole, brother!). Her EP in 2003 didn't do it for me (though I will say "Back in the Day" is the business), but it's definitely unfair for me to even criticize because I know how it feels to have writer's block. At least she put out something. I'm still waiting to hear from Bilal's 2006 shelved album, Love For Sale. And where the hell is Maxwell?

I digress.

In short, Erykah Badu is great and I am more than thrilled to hear her upcoming album, Nu AmErykah, set to be released Feb. 26.

New track:
Erykah Badu - Honey

And this will always be one of my favorite videos of all-time:
Erykah Badu - Next Lifetime

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11 December 2007

Fat is the new homo.

Image courtesy of The Superficial

If you haven't seen this damn pic already, then seeing it now will change your life for some of you may have thought your teenage crush has died. Well, folks, Jennifer Love Hewitt is apparently alive and apparently she's pissed about this here photo because people have started calling her--wait for it--fat. When the photos were released a little under two weeks ago, it started this whole rampage of who's fat and who's not. A bunch of random celebrities that bores me talked about it, then bored me some more. Then we moved on.

Until, of course, Janice Dickinson decides to relive the two-week old "snooze" on The Today Show today. She backs her, which is nice, but then goes on to say, "You want to see who's fat? I'm sorry, Tyra, Tyra Banks is fat."

So not only does Janice bring up a story that was already blown out of proportion, but the twat brings up the Tyra nonsense that happened in the very beginning of this year. And to make it worse, Tyra's gonna yap her annoying jowls and it's gonna be a ridiculous bickerfest between former model idiots.

It seems like the word "fat" will be a new discriminatory slur that will start causing people to lose their jobs.

David Sitek is like Jim O'Rourke.

Because what he has done for the Brooklyn scene in recent years is what O'Rourke continues to do for Chicago. I guess the obvious choice would be Steve Albini, but that's pushing it too far.

Anyway, whenever I see "Mixed by" or "Produced by" next to Jim O'Rourke's name on the back of an album, I know it's gonna be one helluva album, because O'Rourke only fucks with the best. And I'm starting to feel that way about Sitek. I should thank him greatly for bring TV on the Radio and Liars alone.

Now he's producing Scarlett Johansson's upcoming album! I know, crazy.

Another Sitek-produced band that is reaching up from under the radar is another NY-based band Dragons of Zynth, and when I listened to their album, I was quite impressed.

David Sitek, congratulations. You are officially approved.

10 December 2007

The Cool Kids put a smile on my face.

I'm excited about the fact that 2008's No. 1 buzz band will be The Cool Kids. Opening for "controversial"* style queen M.I.A. this year didn't hurt their reputation either.

So you can only imagine my elation when I saw them dominate on a Rhapsody commercial. Say what you will about musicians putting their music or appearing in commercials to promote their stuff. It doesn't hurt to get that extra recognition, especially when independent music is becoming marketable these days (i.e. Neon Bible debuting at #2 on the Billboard 200 Charts). Instead of being selling out, it should be an accomplishment.

Still hungry for more info on Cool Kids? Here's the video that started the craze:

Sick beat? Check.
Sick rhymes? Check.
Sick fashion? Check.

The Cool Kids on Myspace

*"Controversial" my ass.

I'm ready for Juno to come out now.

Apparently this movie comes out Dec. 21. I don't know if my mundane life can handle waiting another 11 days in order to get some excitement going here. Oh, wellz.

I have a feeling that this movie will be my fave of the year. I'm not sure. My list was quite small and selective. Unfortunately, I left off quite a few good to great flicks due to the fact that I'm really slow when it comes to movies. I forget that movie houses don't hold films in their theaters too long, and by the time I'm interested in seeing the damn thing, it's already gone.

I don't know. I guess I've become less excited about movies coming out lately due to the rapid DVD releases. I mean, I enjoy being able to wait 'til it hits DVD, but at the same time, that mentality makes me not want to go to a movie. It kills my motivation, man.

Nevertheless, I will be eager to purchase my ticket to see this baby:

I just want to say that I'm so glad that Jason Bateman and Michael Cera are getting really good roles ever since they were brutally violated by Fox when they decided to cancel Arrested Development (which is ironic because Fox Searchlight released Juno). It's a match-up between two child stars of different generations. How astute.

08 December 2007

!!!Sex and the City trailer!!!

Do I need to say more? Granted, I'm a little worried that the movie will focus too much on Carrie Bradshaw, but, hey, I definitely have faith in it.

07 December 2007

Ain't got no lists for ya's.

So many music blogs are doing their slew of "Best Of" lists, such as shows, songs and albums. I did my deed with the shows portion, but songs and albums, I'm afraid, I shall not do.

Reason 1:

If there was anyone I was into this year, it was Marc Bolan and his amazingness with not only glam electric rock T.Rex, but in his earlier days as a trailblazing acid-folk duo Tyrannosaurus Rex. When I got a double record of My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair... But Now They're Content to Wear Stars on Their Brows and Prophets, Seers & Sages – The Angels of the Ages back in March for only $18.50--in good condition, no less--I pretty much walked out of there with a big wet mark on my crotch because I pissed my pants with glee. And don't even get me started on his pizazz. Talent and pizazz, all in one person? Stop it. You either have one or the other. But Marc Bolan said, "Fuck that" and kicked ass by keeping up with the times diligently. Seriously, being a badass folk musician and being a badass electric musician? Bob Dylan tried that shit and failed miserably. Unfortunately, Bolan gets no love. If it weren't for the 2001 release of Billy Elliot, one-third of this era who cares about music would know who the hell he is, probably.

Reason 2:

How many times have I babbed about Stereolab within the past week? Don't even expect me to write a long passage about them like I just did on Marc Bolan. You know when people say, "Words cannot describe how I feel about...," and they don't really mean it, they're just being dramatic? Well, this is not the case. I literally cannot say a damn thing about them. All I can do is pop in ANY album of theirs and have people guaranteed to vibe to the musical geniusness that they're listening to. Just buy their albums. Do your soul a favor. Please. Pretty please.

Reason 3:

I hate it when I tell people about Tim Buckley and they automatically say, "I've never heard his stuff, but I love Jeff Buckley." NOT THE SAME! Granted, Jeff had a voice out of this world, but papa--ohhhh, papa. He did not play. That brotha had a message to send, and he sent that shit well. Sure, he talked about broken hearts and being in love, but overall, he wanted people to fight the bullshit norm and overcome mental oppression. He was not happy with the Vietnam War, so he wanted people to revolt through his music. And boy, did he have a powerful voice. He wanted to make sure people heard what the hell he had to say, and I respect him for that, even over 30 years after his death.

And Reason 4:

Ah, the only current band listed (as far as original lineup goes). I got into Liars hardcore this year. I got on that Drums Not Dead bandwagon once it was cleared off from other bandwagoneers and really felt it. But when I went to Chicago this past July and walked into Permanent Records, it, ironically enough, left a permanent mark on me. I was thumbing through records and CDs and I was really groovin' to some sexy experimental dance song (imagine that) . I wanted to ask the clerk, but you know how it is when it comes to customers asking record store clerks about shit, i.e. "What, you don't know who this is?!" That whole deal. But it was so good that I fought my pride and went up and asked the clerk woman, and she politely answered, "Liars, the one before Drums Not Dead." I said, "Damn, and I figured it was them, but I had to double check. Damn, that sounds really awesome." And she smiled and nodded. It was a great revelation because then I started riding Liars like a horse. I could not get enough. I had to have all their albums from then on, starting with their self-titled album that came out in August. The fact that they have all that range is astounding to me. And the fact that they're coming to Atlanta on Valentine's Day is enough to make me swear off all pleasures in life because seeing them would be enough. And, of course, I break that vow as soon as the show's over, but that's besides the point.

So, in short, the only list dealing with this year's album I have is the one listed in the sidebar column to the right. All of 'em were enjoyable, yes, but 90 percent of the albums listed are from bands and musicians I had already praised earlier in my musical life, so talking about them would be moot because it's a given that I would like them. Follow?

In short of being in short, I really am glad I got into these four highlighted musicians, for they have soothed my soul this year.

Newsflash: Barbara Walters is not a journalist.

But she plays one on TV.

Here's the thing, if you're gonna interview people, interview 'em. Don't just say a bunch of silly shit that may "ruffle some feathers" or "jerk some tears" or make people look dumb. That's not what it's about. Probe them, yes, but only if it'll actually have a strong outcome.

For example, asking Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez if he "hates America," is one of the most ignorant things you can ever ask someone who is WILLINGLY SPEAKING WITH AN AMERICAN TAPED FOR AN AMERICAN NETWORK. What's worse is that she asked him if he could speak English for a brief message to Americans, in which he replies by telling them, in English, that he does not hate them. Again, who the hell asks that?!

And don't even get me started on The View. What view? I don't see a view. I see blathering idiots (not you, Whoopi) who never enlighten me with their intelligence, or lack thereof.

That's what I get for being bored enough to watch the "10 Most Fascinating People of 2007" hosted by her. And the most fascinating person? J.K Rowling, which is totally fine by me. But here's the kicker: THEY DIDN'T INTERVIEW THE MOST FASCINATING PERSON OF 2007. They used archival footage about her first burst through stardom, but had absolutely no comment about how she was "thrilled" or "honored" to be deemed that title.

I also liked the fact that Bill Clinton was included not because of what he's done, but because of his wife (pictured above) is running for president. Then shouldn't they have been the power couple who were fascinating instead of Victoria and David Beckham?

Remember the most fundamental step in journalism, y'know, actually wanting to get people's reactions to things? Sheesh. I feel like I'm Lewis Black over here.

On a lighter note:

06 December 2007

Ugly Betty is for (nerd-) lovers.

Image courtesy of ABC

If tonight's episode of Ugly Betty wasn't downright delicious, then I need to go to the doctor to get my taste buds checked out. That show has made me regret ever regretting being a straight-up nerd. I'm talking coming to grips with my thirty-minute space-out sessions, spewing out random facts that no one will ever think about but will always appreciate down the road when they want to prove they are knowledgeable about something to someone they're trying to impress, and other nerdly things that nerds like myself enjoy.

Other ABC popular shows like Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy focus too much on the "normal" people who are shallow and boring and annoying and lame and ridiculous and pathetic and--surprise, surprise--not too bright. Ugly Betty pokes fun of said kinds harshly and makes the nerds out to be the heroes. And it's a Latina--as Betty said once on the show, the only hero Mexicans ever had was a speedy little mouse. So true--dayum, guh!

They're really doing a tremendous job with the Betty-Henry relationship, too. It's such an organic relationship, the actual kind that should be on TV because it actually focuses on love and the meaning of it and the joy of it and the ugliness of it and the beauty of it--in short, the whole process of it. That really melts my heart.

I also like the fact that after Betty came back to Mode, she has been less involved with the drama and scandals going on there and has focused on her life solely. I also like how ambitious Wilhemina is to get that damn magazine of hers up and running. Seriously, planting a dead man's semen in your va-jay-jay? Is it really that serious? Damn.

In other news:

Henry (Christopher Gorham) is a hot. I'm not talking hot like, "Ohhhhhhhhhh, oweee, hot hot hot!" I'm talking, "Ohmigod if he walks by me my undies will literally melt through my skin and leave a permanent mark which will forever remind of the hotness that exists in his mere presence" hot. It's unfortunate that he doesn't get interviewed a lot. Or isn't shirtless with ice cream on his body in every scene.

I objectify men, what can I say. I'm OK with that. Do not judge me.

The obligatory Grammy nominations entry.

James Murphy's Sound of Silver is up for Best Electronic/Dance Album

So the Grammy nominations are out. Kanye West's Graduation and Amy Winehouse's Back to Black are the hot topics this year. West got eight nominations, Winehouse six. In the best album field, they are joined by the prestigious company of Vince Gill, Foo Fighters and Herbie Hancock and Co. (actually, this one's actually pretty prestigious; the others were just jokes).

I thought about continuing with this entry, but I was actually straining to talk about something. I never really respected the Grammy's as an award outlet, and it seems like that feeling is universal. No one really cares about the Grammy's, yet it's going on its 50th year. It'd actually be nice for the Grammy's to not be predictable for once--I mean, really, guys, it's pretty obvious that those who performs on stage are guaranteed winners.

The sad thing is the best award show for artists these days is the non-televised Plug Awards.

05 December 2007

You inspire me, The Earlies.

The Earlies are a British band who would be aptly described as "Miscellaneous" music. That's the first time I agree with iTunes when they marked that down as the genre for these kids' music--because not everything is "Alternative & Punk" (hate when they do that).

Anyway, they're one of those bands to me where they did one ridiculously great song that I don't even give a damn about the rest of the CD, then after listening to that one song for the millionth time, you realize, hey, this whole damn album is brilliant. Not only that, but you realize the band itself is something to go "ga ga ga ga ga" about.

Maybe Brit Daniel and the other Spooners were listening The Earlies' 2005 debut album,These Were the Earlies, and came up with their 2007 LP name (see "Albums" sidebar). Eh.

The Earlies came out with an album this past April titled The Enemy Chorus--not bad from what I've heard. Check it out on Myspace.

Now to the track that brings me to near tears every time I hear it:

04 December 2007

This can't be real: Snoop Dogg's Father Hood

To anyone who cares: Snoop-a-loop has a new reality TV series on E!, premiering this upcoming Sunday.

To those of you who wonder what would Tupac and Biggie be like if they were alive, all you gotta do is look at Ice Cube, Ice-T, LL Cool J and Snoop Dogg as examples: they'd probably end up being lame as fuck.

I know, harsh, but it seems like any hip-hop artist who were pioneers in their field will turn out to be actors in lame ass movies, and worst of all, scene-greedy, limelight-grabbing muhfuckas.

I thought Irv Gotti getting his own reality TV show on VH1 was lame, but goddam, Snoop! You're on the same channel as the big assed, ethnic-looking chick who consensually had sex with Ray-J on screen! You still have the power to spit hot rhymes! But now you're another caricature of Hip-Hop Artists Gone Lame.

Shit, and I thought Ice Cube going from Doughboy to homeboy with family vacation movies was bad. *Shudders*

Me likey: Hot Chip's "Ready for the floor".

Their album drops Feb. 5, 2008. I really like Hot Chip. His voice is nice. They got hot beats. Hooray!

And now for your anti-drug addiction PSA: Please save Amy Winehouse.

Image courtesy of The Superficial

All year I trashed the woman because I thought she was overrated, but I really feel for the kid. The fact that she's had body image issues and self-mutilation issues and attachment issues doesn't really make her a candidate to fight a personal battle alone. She needs a really strong support system.

I've been surrounded by addictions and mental illness all my life and the one thing I can is the strong difference between those who overcome said convictions are the ones who have a strong support system, and the ones who do not have a strong supporting system simply do not. And no, enablers are not supportive.

On a lighter note:

She's healthy and she's smiling throughout the video. Climb out of that hole, love. I'll root for you.

03 December 2007

Karen O, come back to me. Please.

What happened to her to make her not be totally awesome in last year's Show Your Bones? I was ultimately disappointed when I heard that mess. The band were still OK, but it was her I wasn't pleased with in the least sense.

Know what I blame it on? Her haircut. It was all gravy when she had the mushroom mullet and she was pouring beer on her tits and fellatin' the microphone, but once she got the little boy bowl cut, it all went down the tubes.

I know, I know, who the hell wants to be known as the girl who pours beer on her tits, spits beer on audience members and yell like a banshee and shit? No one. But boy, did she make it look and feel so delicious.

I will now honor her by delivering the two tracks that started her path to awesomeness:
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Bang!
Yeah yeah yeahs - Art Star

And the last song that makes me miss her:
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Whenever I Wake Up (though it's actually called "Hello Tomorrow"

Covers: Feist vs. Peaches

"Lovertits" is a great song and was my first introduction to the hilarious, naughty world of Peaches. But Feist took me to a whole new level with this cover. The beat was already nasty, but Feist with Gonzales made the sexiness much smoother.

Feist - Lovertits (with Gonzales)

01 December 2007

Freaked out: Jesus Camp

Definitely one of the scarier movies I've seen in a long time, mainly because it's REAL LIFE. Using kids as religious radical evangelists? Allowing your kid to have a rat trail (pictured in orange shirt)? Having 10-year-olds with "LIFE" taped to their mouths in front of the White House?

What the hell are these people thinking? Luckily, warped-minded minister Becky Fischer, the leader of the "Jesus Camps", got a lot of backlash after the film was released, and her pathetic camps are shut down (when you force kids to speak in tongues and lose sight of their identities, you're pretty pathetic and evil in my book).

It's a good documentary because it's centered around Sandra Day O'Connor's resignation in 2006 and the panic it has risen in the fundamentalist Christian community because they didn't want a liberal in the black robes. And, of course, abortion is brought up, as well as Harry Potter being the devil.

Guaranteed to blow yer mind, anytime. Yeesh.

Makin' changes.

Actually, I think there's only gonna be one drastic change with it being the first day of a new month. Instead of "Artist of the Month," it'll be "Artist of the Week," simply because I love a lot of artists and having three weeks of no new spotlighted artist is cheap of me. This feature will be for not just musical artists, but of film and tv and life.

What does Rachael Ray have anything to do with this entry, you ask? Oh, everything, my friends, every-damn-thing.