Saturday, February 28, 2015

Video Of The Week: Information Society

As a tribute to Leonard Nimoy, I thought I'd feature a song that samples three Star Trek episodes for the voices of Nimoy, DeForest Kelly and William Shatner - Information Society's What's Going On (Pure Energy).

It's 1980s pop, shock-full of bright colours and electronic drums and creepy haircuts and pseudo-British accents and ridiculousness. Fun? Maybe. Good? Not quite.

Over time, InSoc - as fans refer to them - turned to industrial, and I'll admit I'm a tad curious to hear what that act sounds like without the over-brightness... but not enough to look into it tonight. Plus, they went back to brightly-coloured pop in the last decade, reuniting for some reason after a TV show failed to have them do it.

Oh, and in case you didn't think it was 80's enough, David Copperfield uses it in his act (yes, that's where the movie The Incredible Burt Wonderstone got the inspiration for Steve Carrell's character's cheesy theme song by Steve Miller Band), and plays in the movie American Psycho.

In Russia, Words Kill You

In a recent interview, Russian opposition leader (and former deputy Prime Minister) Boris Nemtsov said:
(My mother) is truly scared that (Vladimir Putin) could kill me soon for all of my statements, both in real life and on social networks. This is not a joke; she is a smart person.
Yes she is, and so was he.

He was murdered on the street, coming out of a radio station in which he asked people to come out to a protest march this weekend. 1990s style, with the Kremlin as the background of a gruesome, mafia movie-like scene.

Scarier still? Putin said he would personally overlook and lead the investigation. It's a plot twist you wouldn't have believed if it happened on House Of Cards...

Senator James Inhofe Is Both Stupid And An Asshole

I'll classify this video as ''humour'' because anyone with a brain will find it ridiculously funny.

Unfortunately, it wasn't a joke, Senator James Inhofe (Republican from Oklahome) was, in fact, serious, when he did and said this:

He's smiling, yes - the smile of an asshole who thinks he just won a debate but doesn't realize his entire side just facepalmed themselves so hard it sounded like the world's biggest self-inflicted slap in the face, which is probably how Oklahoma people feel right now about having elected him. Congratulations, hicks: if you want people to start taking you seriously, select representatives that don't make you all seem like white trash invited to a frat party.

Friday, February 27, 2015

What Colour Dressed Him Best?

Blue and black, or gold and white?

(yes, that's a dress joke).
But it leads me to Leonard Nimoy, who died today due to complications from COPD (chronic pulmonary disease, something that runs the gamut between severe asthma and lung cancer).

He was an actor, of course, but also a writer, poet, film director (including two of the Star Trek series and Three Men And A Baby), and an inspiration to many. He struggled with his Spock character for a long time, but seemed to come to terms with it in the 1990s, concluding decades of soul-searching with his second autobiography, 1995's I Am Spock (after 1975's I Am Not Spock).

I'll watch Galaxy Quest (in which Alan Rickman's character is a clear homage to Nimoy himself) tonight, to mix some laughs with my sadness.

Live Long And Prosper, concluded the 83-year-old man, in his final tweet earlier this week, publishing his last poem at the same time, for the whole world to ponder:

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Alice N' Chains

We all know that Alice In Chains had a hair-metal past. We just never knew the extent to which they did.

Now we do:


Also, back then, the band went as... Alice N' Chains. Just... wow.

Good drummer, though.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Warren G And Kenny G... angsta?

Jimmy Kimmel does many things with his talk show, using social media to pull pranks on YouTube, starting fake fights with his ex-girlfriend Sarah Silverman involving sleeping with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck... and using the Monday Night music slot for ''mash-ups''.

This one, with Kenny G teaming up with Warren G who is celebrating the 20th anniversary of his groundbreaking 1994 hit Regulate (featuring Nate Dogg at the time, he's the pre-recorded voice you hear), may have been his best yet - and the only time I sat through a Kenny G song throughout:

I must admit the easy-listening superstar was a good sport to participate.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Stupidest Lyrics Of All Time

One of my pet peeves is dumb lyrics. The main culprits, in my opinion, are Black Eyed Peas ("My Humps", the repetitive blandness - and terrible spelling - of "I Gotta Feeling", and most of the oeuvre since Monkey Business, really), The Beatles (I can forgive the drug-fueled weird-word associations like "I Am The Walrus" and "Strawberry Fields Forever", and I'll forget that "Let It Be" and "Hey Jude" are nothing but na-na-na sing-alongs for most of their duration, but there is no going past "Love Me Do", "Scrambled Eggs", "It's Only Love", "Birthday", and their worst culprit, "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da", urgh) and The Police ("De Do Do Do, Da Da Da"), but Drake (90% of it) and Queen ("Radio Ga Ga") surely deserve nods as well.

Montréal-based Top-10 list makers WatchMojo found and shared eight more in this video:

I can't help but feel that our civilization is doomed, if this is the culture we're spreading from one generation to the next, while self-serving McDonald's are popping up everywhere to feed us.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Video Of The Week: Danko Jones

Danko Jones is a Toronto singer-songwriter who sings and plays guitar in his eponymous band. They started out in 1998, first known for their live acts and songs that dealt with Jones' life and personae - mostly how he's always craving sex, but also issues of race, such as The Mango Kid.

Musically, it's blues-based riff rock in a trio setting. Right before the turn of the millennium, his band, mine and a few others were often put in the ''Jon Spencer Blues Explosion'' basket, which in 2002 or 2003 became the White Stripes basket, because their success far exceeded that of Spencer's group.

And I think that may have gotten to Jones, because his output was uneven from then on. Or maybe it's because he's more comfortable in an EP setting instead of full-length albums, but some of those records from 2003-2010 seemed like they contained more filler than killer material. This year's Fire Music is steadier, but lacks the surprise and, dare I say, lyrical directness of the first few releases. I'd still rate it a solid B, but it's the straightforward pieces like Do You Want To Rock (featured below) that work best, while his more personal songs (Getting Into Drugs is so-so and predictable, I Will Break Your Heart is borderline emo, and She Ain't Coming Home sounds like all the awful recent Metallica songs blended into one) fail to bring the point home.

One area where Danko Jones (the band) compares to rock royalty (Pearl Jam, The Ramones, Spinal Tap) is their heavy rotation of drummers; while Jones himself and bassist John ''J.C.'' Calabrese have been there from the beginning, Rich Knox is their seventh official, full-time drummer. That's right, seventh; they seem to have a two-year shelf life, more or less. Those from the past: Atom Willard, Damon Richardson, Dan Cornelius, Niko Quintal, Michael Cari Cari, and Gavin Brown.

The video for Do You Want To Rock was directed by Lisa Mann, who has previously worked for/with Apocalyptica, Cascada, Hedley, and The Used.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

A Tim Curry Time Warp

 The are ''cult movies'', then there is The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the longest-running (consecutive) theatrical feature of all time. And because of its cult following, all speaking parts in it (and some silent ones, including even a stuffed bird) are well-known and all actors recognized and worshiped, but none more so than Tim Curry, Frank-N-Furter himself in both the film and the stage show before it.

Here he is in a rare interview about the film, a topic he usually avoids nowadays. Notice how he looks like a humble Freddie Mercury in it (it's the mustache)!

Joe Biden's Butt Buddy

You know, Joe Biden's one complicated fellow, in that he's both a simpleton and a man with good ideas. He's like a Bizarro George W. Bush, in that he'll ALWAYS say the wrong thing in public as well, except instead of starting useless wars based on lies for his puppeteer buddies to profiteer on, he'd probably institute a country-wide public transit system.

But the delivery system for those good ideas inevitably always snags, as if there was a disconnect or distortion on the way from his brain to his mouth, like here:

There are words, expressions, and just things you don't say in front of crowds and rolling cameras. But Biden has no clue; he'd probably be the President who'd actually provide Reparations to Black folks, but in his speech to do it would refer to them as Colored, not because he's racist, but because his mind would escape to Boardwalk Empire mid-speech and in it, even Michael Kenneth Williams (Chalky White) talks about his peers in it that way, not meaning any harm, just totally wrong.

Another Bizarro Bush thing is how under Bush, the True President Dick Cheney was always hidden ''for security purposes'', whereas Barack Obama keeps Biden from appearing too often because it's one guaranteed huge gaffe per outing, and he wants to minimize those.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Video Of The Week: Will Butler

Will Butler's name might ring a bell, considering he's a key member of Montréal band Arcade Fire - and its leader Win Butler's brother. You might also know him for his Oscar nomination (for the score to Her in 2014 with AF frequent collaborator Owen Pallett).

When the end of March comes along and his solo album Policy comes out, you'll get to discover more of his own side of creating AF's sound, and judging from the debut single Anna, he's responsible for a lot of their 1980s-pop sounds; the first 15 seconds or so, I was afraid it might be too pop for my taste, that I might get tired of it too soon, but when the ''pam papam pams'' started coming in different keys with nods to seminal acts Talking Heads and The Cars, I knew I was hooked no matter what.

Truly, my first musical crush of 2015, in a video starring only himself and subtle white-boy moves from the '80s, directed by the man himself. That's how you spell ''statement''.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Julian Edelman: Totally Fucked?

NEVER READ THE COMMENTS SECTION. I fail to abide by this rule, pretty much daily.

In the case of this non-news where a reportedly single football star (Julian Edelman) who may or may not be romantically involved with a model (Olivia Frischer, though they are not married) seen in a post-sex selfie, sleeping, with Boston-area girl Sabrina Dudish bragging about it via her Tinder profile icebreaker:

The internet went all mean and all-out on her, calling her the nastiest things, ''whore'' and ''slut'' among the most common - and nicest. One Massachussets bar owner banned her from his establishments - noting he had never done so about anyone else before. That's right: murderers and rapists, politicians, crooked cops, terrorists, kidnappers and wife beaters (three of those may apply to NFL players) are fine, but not Sabrina Dudish. Also, that misogynistic asshole (Michael Winter) went as far as to rate her a ''5'', I guess because if she'd have been a ''10'' it wouldn't have been the same? I'm fairly certain a lot of his bars are full of ''8s'' going to hotel rooms with married athletes (and married men in general), but somehow he's totally cool with that. Unless I'm missing the story about his bars being ''No Hookup'' establishments...

Again: a single woman bragging about fucking a single man, not destroying his family or public life. This is called slut-shaming, though we really need a better term, because nothing here actually proves her to be a slut. She's had to shut down most of her social media accounts because of the backlash, but forgot about her MySpace, so there are pictures of her looking a little too young making the rounds that some folks are searching for and staring at...

Guys are rarely judged by the amount of women they bang, unless it's negatively for not having had enough (''Oh, just 10? Sorry.''), but girls have to be virgin prudes, right? Then who would the guys be fucking?

My only interrogation with this is that she used it on her Tinder profile, meaning she's using it to lure men into contacting her to meet up. As a musician and former athlete, I understand there's an aura around going after men who've had many conquests, and there are plenty of Psychology 101 reasons for that, but I'm not certain it goes both ways: I fail to see how this one woman thinks sleeping with a man who has slept with hundreds of women makes her look attractive. But I guess that's the feminist in me, where I'm not slut-shaming her, but him instead. (I guess that's Psychology 102).

I guess that's the day and age we're in, though, right? Instant celebrity and a global network that renders your most stupid decision of the day a permanent fixture on the interwebs, for generations to marvel at. Like all those idiots from Florida. Paris Hilton showed the world (well, North America, anyway) that a complete dunce could market herself by just exposing herself to the masses, and they'll not only follow but want to join in. We're way past the Decline of Western Civilization, we're going for rock bottom.