Saturday, July 26, 2014

Top 10s Of The Week

Top 10 Songs:

10. WE EXIST, Arcade Fire (2014)
9. SHARP, Red Mass (2014)
8. NOT UP TO ME, Kandle (2014)
7. WALK ON THE WILD SIDE (Lou Reed cover), Joseph Arthur (2014)
6. LAZARETTO, Jack White (2014)
5. RIGHT TIME, Nikki Lane (2014)
4. SWEATPANTS, Childish Gambino (feat. Problem) (2014)
3. ALL THE RAGE BACK HOME, Interpol (2014)
2. SMOOTH SAILING, Queens Of The Stone Age (2014)
1. RED LIGHT, Eddie Murphy (feat. Snoop Lion) (2013)

Top 10 Eddie Murphy Movies:

10. SHREK 2,
Andrew Adamson & Kelly Asbury & Conrad Vernon (2004)  
9. DREAMGIRLS, Bill Condon (2006)
THE NUTTY PROFESSOR, Tom Shadyac (1996)
MULAN, Tony Bancroft & Barry Cook (1998)
6. 48 HRS., Walter Hill (1982)
BOWFINGER, Frank Oz (1999)
BEVERLY HILLS COP, Martin Brest (1984)
COMING TO AMERICA, John Landis (1988)
2. TRADING PLACES, John Landis (1983)
1. SHREK, Andrew Adamson & Vicky Jenson (2001)

From memory, I was expecting more movies I liked, and more quality movies from Eddie Murphy's filmography. The fact that two animated films where he voices a supporting character cracked the top-7 says a lot, in retrospect. Although, honestly, 48 Hrs probably should have taken that #5 spot.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Video Of The Week: Eddie Murphy

Like, seriously. The guy who brought us Boogie In Your Butt and Party All The Time in the 1980s - and happened to be the funniest man of the decade - and hasn't made a decent film in maybe 20 years came up with a reggae song that's almost as good as something Damian Marley could write.

Yes, I'm talking about that Eddie Murphy, who has teamed up with Snoop Lion - the reggae Snoop Dogg - to make the most danceable song of the last 9 months; so much so that I think he should have released it in May rather than last September: it would have been the hit of the summer.

Director John Mazyck kept it clean and simple: the band (and Snoop) and background vocalists, performing in a big jam space, cut with footage of a young girl walking down the street and coming across situations of inequality, bringing rival factions to a more peaceful resolution along her way. (I can think of a few places around the world that could use that kind of thing right now).

Red Light. Stop right... there where you are.

Also, seriously, I didn't think Eddie Murphy could come up with such concise, direct and ''real'' lyrics about the shit going on in the world these days. Either I should apologize for having let my opinion the man who brought us Delirious and Raw go so sour, of he should apologize for Haunted Mansion, Pluto Nash, Daddy Day Care, Tower Heist and give me back the $150 I spent on his bullshit since The Nutty Professor and let's say Bowfinger.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Headlines A-Cumin'

Some news stories are surreal, and others just happen in Florida. This is the latter.

First, the headline:

Already, your brain should be doing rounds imagining the adultery, and you should be thinking ''man, people in Florida, just... man!''

But wait, there's more:
When your wife catches you blowing a dude on a boat off a Florida nude beach, the correct response is to immediately apologize, and, once the situation has cooled, have a frank, open conversation about sexuality. Not recommended: throwing her off of the back of your jet ski and leaving her for dead.
Uh huh. Yeah. Please go on...
Michael Doster was arrested for domestic battery in Passage Key, Florida after his wife Pamela discovered him in an intimate moment with another man on a boat near the popular nude beach (he and the man were allegedly performing oral sex on each other, the Daily Mail reports). The couple allegedly began arguing whilst atop a Sea-Doo, and Doster threw his wife off the vehicle four separate times. Pamela Doster refused to re-board after hitting her head on the final toss, so her husband left her on a sandbar.
''Refused to re-board''. As in, uh, ''was fucking unconscious''.

I can just imagine the couple's friends getting up in the morning to read that news... wondering if their reaction was more ''WHAT?'', or ''oh, huh, it happened''...

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Top 10s This Week

Top 10 Songs:

10. WE EXIST, Arcade Fire (2014)
9. RED LIGHT, Eddie Murphy (feat. Snoop Lion) (2013)
8. NOT UP TO ME, Kandle (2014)
7. SHARP, Red Mass (2014)
6. ALL THE RAGE BACK HOME, Interpol (2014)
5. LAZARETTO, Jack White (2014)
4. SWEATPANTS, Childish Gambino (feat. Problem) (2014)
3. WALK ON THE WILD SIDE (Lou Reed cover), Joseph Arthur (2014)
2. RIGHT TIME, Nikki Lane (2014)
1. SMOOTH SAILING, Queens Of The Stone Age (2014)

Top 10 Favourite Actors At The Moment:


Video Of The Week: Joseph Arthur

(As many of you know,) I'm a writer, and I'm a musician. I write my own songs, and I like to re-interpret those of others, particularly when I really love the song and the person who wrote it no longer does it the same way, or no longer can (old age, death) or wants to. And my versions usually differ greatly from the originals.

For years, I'd wanted to cover Lou Reed's Walk On The Wild Side, and this is exactly how I would have done it (so I kind of no longer have nor want to):

Director Ehud Lazin also did a good job of capturing the slow vibe of Joseph Arthur's version, and juxtaposed it with images of today's New York City - not quite the nightlife, excess and cultural hotbed it was in the 1970s, but still a fine place to live, both literally and figuratively, at any time of the day. The low-fi effects just add a bit of a late-1970s/early 1980s touch to the whole thing, with taste and subtlety.

Joseph Arthur hails from Akron, Ohio, but moved to Atlanta to pursue his music career - or so he thought. He was soon picked up by Peter Gabriel's label and moved to Brooklyn, becoming (with the likes of Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - a.k.a. Will Oldham - and Jeffrey Lewis) one of the artists who would - inadvertently - turn it into the hipster haven it is today.

Like many musicians working today, he is involved in many projects, namely the bands RNDM (with Pearl Jam's Jeff Ament) and Fistful Of Mercy with Ben Harper and Dhani Harrison, and also has received some acclaim as a painter and designer. He's made his own album art, which is cool, but opening his own self-serving museum may have been a tad much. In my humble I-operate-a-music-festival-around-my-birthday opinion.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

''Unnecessary'' ''Quotation'' Marks

Not that I'm picky about grammar... actually, yes, I am. But I don't specialize in just one pet peeve the way this blog on Unnecessary Quotation Marks does.

These examples sum it up pretty well:

Are they hiding a lion in there?
I wouldn't drink it...
There's a restaurant near my house that also has a sign like this, but for Chinese... except everyone working there is Indian
Go look it up, it's a good 15 minutes of laughter. Ideal to start or end your day on the right foot.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Soccer To Me

I haven't watched a single second of World Cup play this year. I'm not bragging, nor complaining; I just didn't care. Unlike the vast majority of the planet, I can no longer get passionate about sports played with round balls - be they soccer/football, basketball, baseball, golf... Tennis I can sort of get into once in a while, but never a whole week, and just the women's game, because most of them play a well-rounded game, not just based on one or two skills they dominate with mixed with obvious weaknesses the way the men's game has become.

When it comes to world-class sports, I also have huge problems with the games-behind-the-games, the corruption and politicking that goes on, and the constant exceptions to / breaking of laws, be it temporarily, in the name of someone making billions of dollars. FIFA and the Olympics fit in this, as does Formula 1.

And perhaps it can be blamed on not having my own nation to root for, but I also have a thing against rooting for countries and nations representing man-made borders, usually delimited after useless wars. In hockey, I usually root for Slovakia - a country which attained independence through peace in 1993. I wouldn't be against rooting for their former invaders, the Czechs, if only because they too know what it's like to be owned by others, in their case the Russians. I'd also root for Ireland and Chechnya, I guess, to root for the underdog, but the only country I really feel a bond to is Slovakia, and they usually get eliminated pretty quickly in most competitions.

In any event, I learned that the World Cup final would pit Argentina against Germany, two countries that at this point in history probably house the same number of former Nazis within its borders - which I would estimate as half that of the U.S.

I heard that a couple of weeks ago, one guy bit another guy, and will be suspended for years, but even that didn't put a dent in my spirit; this, however, I may have tuned to watch:

I have no idea what's going on, and I'm guessing Schweinsteiger is German, which would make the other guy Argentinian. But if that's how they break ties nowadays after 100 minutes of tied-game play, I wonder how many turns will be needed until a winner is declared.

And then I assume the camera turns to fans like this one, celebrating:

Free Fappy

With so much fake news around nowadays, and with real news sometimes less believable than any fiction possibly could be, it's increasingly hard to tell which is which. If anything, though, we can praise this piece for either being an unreal piece of double-dipped irony or a well-executed, multiple-tiered work of fiction...

It's a great and hilarious story when told via this post about Arizona Governor Jan Brewer granting a pardon... but I'd rather start chronologically instead. Just because.

So, for starters, there appears to be a Christian anti-masturbation group called Stop Masturbation Now (the website's humour-meets-racism tone should cue us in about this being fiction, but 'Murca bein' 'Murca, you never know). You may laugh at there being such a thing, which is said to be ''federally funded programs designed to teach both children and adults about the dangers and consequences of masturbation.''

Secondly, Stop Masturbation Now apparently has a mascot, Fappy The Anti-Masturbation Dolphin. Hes, Fappy, as in ''fap fap fap'', the noise the internet says it makes when you self-indulge. Or, as Fappy puts it:
They need to stop playing on the Devil’s playground, stop pounding their Devil stick or ringing the Devil’s doorbell - See more at:
They need to stop playing on the Devil’s playground, stop pounding their Devil stick or ringing the Devil’s doorbell.
Or so he was screaming... when he was arrested for jerking off in public. (Irony #1)

He didn't mind going to jail, though, because:
I want to apologize to all my amazing fans out there, I love and miss you all. You have my word that I will make the most of this bad situation. Jail is just a hotbed for self-rape and immoral acts. I plan to do everything in my power to stop the masturbation currently happening in this jail.
That's kind of where they lost me, but at least I still found more humour along the way, such as this quote from Lonnie Childs, his boss at Stop Masturbation Now:
Thanks to your tax dollars, Fappy has helped tens of thousands of adults and children learn to live a masturbation-free lifestyle. During his visits to schools around the world, Fappy has collected thousands of signatures from children promising to never masturbate; he has done great things. (...) He’s passionate about his work, he loves being Fappy, he loves the kids. They even have a nickname for him, they call him the tickle monster. (...) I have activated my prayer app and I ask each and every one of you to keep Fappy in your prayers until this incident is resolved. Praise Fappy!
Of course your tax dollars would go to a religious organization whose main point of contact with kids would, uh, well, make physical contact with kids! That's never led to any trouble - ever!

And so, as a double-dose of irony, comes the story about the Governor's pardon, in a state that rarely gives any. And her comments on the case:
I did a lot of soul searching before making this decision. We all make mistakes in life. When it comes down to it, we must ask ourselves, would a person like Paul Horner be better for society locked up behind bars or outside helping the children of this great country learn about the dangers of masturbation? I think the question answers itself.
Again, in a country where Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann can get elected, perhaps some people and elected official really think masturbation is dangerous, and we should really ''think about the kids''...

Also, Horner? Really? And here's what Mr. Horner had to say upon his being pardoned:
This makes Fappy® very happy. To be honest I would have been fine either way, in jail, out of jail, it doesn’t matter; my message always stays the same. The prisons in Arizona are just a hotbed of self-rape, that I had planned to fix. Maybe I’ll get a chance to do this the next time I get arrested.

Stay tuned for the sequel!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

This Week's Top 10s

Top 10 Songs:

10. HIGGS BOSON BLUES, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (2013)
9. INSTANT CRUSH, Daft Punk (feat. Julian Casablancas) (2013)
8. NOT UP TO ME, Kandle (2014)
7. SHARP, Red Mass (2014)
6. WE EXIST, Arcade Fire (2014)
5. LAZARETTO, Jack White (2014)
4. SWEATPANTS, Childish Gambino (feat. Problem) (2014)
3. RIGHT TIME, Nikki Lane (2014)
2. ALL THE RAGE BACK HOME, Interpol (2014)
1. SMOOTH SAILING, Queens Of The Stone Age (2014)

Top 10 Favourite Actresses At The Moment:


R.I.P. Tommy Ramone

One by one, all the members of The Ramones will have moved on soon. Already, yesterday, Tommy Ramone (born Erdelyi Tamas), the last surviving member of the band passed away.

He was the first drummer the public associated with the group - Joey had started out on drums but quickly moved to singing. The rest of the original line-up had passed away more than a decade ago: Joey (lead vocals) died in 2004, Dee Dee (bass) in 2002, and Johnny (guitar) in 2001.

C.J. (bass, 1989-1996), Elvis (drums, 1987 and 2004), and Richie (drums, 1984-1987) are still alive, as is Marky (drums, 1978-1982, 1987-1996), who many consider the band's ''real'' or ''classic'' drummer, seeing as he was part of every incarnation of the band with all of its members save Tommy.

The band was inducted in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2002.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Video Of The Week: Interpol

For a guy who claims to have always hated Pearl Jam's music, Interpol's lead singer and songwriter Paul Banks sure went out of his way to write a slow-building song (like Unthought Known, I Got ID and 80% of PJ's catalog) with an energetic chorus (Alive, Do The Evolution, Given To Fly) and co-directed a video (with Sophia Peer) with a lot of water (Amongst The Waves), waves (Can't Keep) and surfing (Oceans) in it... in black-and-white (Oceans, Amongst The Waves).

Don't get me wrong, it's his best song in years, and hints that the upcoming album El Pintor may finally live up to the promise of the band's first two (Turn On The Bright Lights and Antics) after pretty much a decade of disappointment, on record at least. Because I have to admit Interpol still delivers live, and are now a far ways away from just mixing Joy Division-type of songs with modern indie rock: they have their own, distinctive voice, their own vibe and energy, and create their own experience. And I'm certain that this new song, All The Rage Back Home, will be the new staple of their shows.

Another song about failure and heartbreak? Yep, and a mighty good one too.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

(Last) Week's Top 10s

Top 10 Songs:

10. WE EXIST, Arcade Fire (2014)
9. INSTANT CRUSH, Daft Punk (feat. Julian Casablancas) (2013)
8. PLAYIN' WITH FIRE, Katie Armiger (2013)
7. HIGGS BOSON BLUES, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (2013)
6. SHARP, Red Mass (2014)
5. NOT UP TO ME, Kandle (2014)
4. LAZARETTO, Jack White (2014)
3. SWEATPANTS, Childish Gambino (feat. Problem) (2014)
2. SMOOTH SAILING, Queens Of The Stone Age (2014)
1. RIGHT TIME, Nikki Lane (2014)

 Top 10 2013-14 NHL Playoff Performers:

10. RYAN McDONAGH, New York Rangers
9. HENRIK LUNDQVIST, New York Rangers
8. BRENDAN GALLAGHER, Montréal Canadiens
7. MARIAN GABORIK, Los Angeles Kings
6. PATRICK KANE, Chicago Blackhawks
5. P.K. SUBBAN, Montréal Canadiens
4. JONATHAN QUICK, Los Angeles Kings
3. JONATHAN TOEWS, Chicago Blackhawks
ANZE KOPITAR, Los Angeles Kings
1. JUSTIN WILLIAMS, Los Angeles Kings

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Video Of The Week: Jack White

Ok, so Jack White has been on a tear lately, prepping for his tour of festivals. The important thing is: can he still deliver the goods, musically?

His recent performance at Glastonbury would show that's a resounding ''YES'', despite being very drunk (and at times angry). And despite briefly quoting Metallica's Enter Sandman.

In the video for the title track off his most recent album, Lazaretto, he enlisted directors Jonas & François, a French directing duo specializing in advertizing who had previously worked with Kanye West, Justice, and perhaps are best known for 4 Minutes, the Madonna song with Justin Timberlake and Timbaland.

The black and white video focuses mostly on White, his bandmates getting some air time, particularly his spectacular drummer Daru Jones. Musically, it follows in the logical paths White has been exploring since The White Stripes, with overblown blues-meets-funk riffs delivered with fiery passion, while lyrically, the delivery is more aggressive than ''regular Jack White'', and even includes Spanish sentences, a theme more present since he moved to Nashville, and since the WS song Conquest in particular.

Happy 4th Of July