• Music

Goldfrapp – “Happiness” Video

This video made me giggle. It’s reminiscent of Michel Gondry’s stuff, without the dazzle. And since it’s one of my favorite tunes of the year so far, it earns a post here on the ol’ blog. Goldfrapp happens to be on the mind again because I recently worked on a Grey’s Anatomy episode (“Where The Wild Things Are”) which used “Some People” very, very well.

Here’s the video. The only complaint I have is that it uses an edited-down cut of the album version, robbing it of some of it’s subtle production gleam.

  • Cinema

Singapore Ghost Video

This is really sweet. It’s The Ring, as directed by Mike Figgis, perhaps. Watch. Then read.

  • Music
  • Television

‘Bones’ vs. Michael Hedges (ZOMG)

I caught the season finale of Bones tonight. It’s weird having a new “show,” you know? I haven’t had a show since Buffy and Angel went off the air. So I suppose it’s fitting it’s another Boreanaz vehicle, but yeah, I thought I’d check it out. My friend, Ryan, thinks my fandom is insane, but as I’ve already laid out, there’s some stuff to dig about Bones. I still reserve my usual complaints about realism and transparent storytelling, but overall, it’s amusing stuff. The season finale was oddly disappointing, however. And yet somehow, it managed to make me love it by throwing a curve ball that I would have never predicted in a million years…

…or at least a month or two of serious guessing, anyway. Give me a moment to ‘splain.

From an objective standpoint it was just fine. A big, plot-heavy episode was what we expected from a lot of shows whose mid-sections were neatly excised by last Fall’s WGA strike, but this story, which involved the return of the “Gormagon Killer” (the show’s intermittent Boogie Man) was loaded with emotional potential that never quite pays off. That’s the sort of thing I can occasionally live with in a show I like; I’m always furiously rewriting these shows in my head as I watch them, anyway. But while the episode loitered in the lobby of greatness, it never took the elevator to the top floor. It never, as a way of comparison, came close to matching the average Buffy episode.

But a shocker in the final act was what stunned me into TV-love. The surprise came in the final act. No, it’s not the big character reveal about which the BonesBlogs are buzzing. This one comes just afterwards. A big action-y, revelatory scene unfolds. The FBI runs pell-mell in pursuit of a solid lead (for once without Dr. Brennan tagging along.) Guns out, tension rising, flashlights whipping about. Music playing…. And what music did they secure to go with it? Avenged Sevenfold, perhaps? Velvet Revolver? Hot Chip? She & Him? Nope, nope, nope…

Music spoiler after the jump.

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  • Music

Everything But The Girl – Back To Mine

At my idle suggestion, way back in 2001, some friends picked this album up and gave it a spin. They came back to me a bit later and pushed me around a bit. It sucks, they said. It’s not an EBTG album at all. It’s some stupid collection. I tried to clarify that that was exactly the point. The Back To Mine series is all about what makes artists move. What makes them who they are. It’s a chance for cool artists to throw down some tunes that influenced them. But these friends weren’t having it. They beat me up, as EBTG fans are wont to do.

But it was worth it. Not only is the this edition a fine collection, it’s one of the most perfect mixes I’ve ever heard. Every cut, from Beth Orton to Carl Craig to Slick Rick is perfectly chosen, craftily sequenced and folded together into a warm, seamless musical trip. Gorgeous from beginning to end. Hands down, my own fave track among the collection is “Funky For You” by Deadbeats. It’s become my opening cut when I chance to spin records in public; a rolling, bass-heavy trip down a shady, chilled-out avenue.

I only bring it up now because it made the perennial trip to the forefront of my consciousness on a drive last night down to Redondo Beach. If you make the drive without traffic, the disc lasts from Los Feliz to Redondo Beach to Hollywood. With traffic, it’ll get you eighteen feet down the 110 Freeway. But what a fine eighteen feet it will be.

Deadbeats – “Funky For You”

on the web: amazon, allmusic, “funky”, original version

  • Music

SAndra Collins vs. The Who

Work, work, work, drive, write, write, write, drink coffee. That’s been my schedule this week. So rather than post something insightful, which I usually do on Wednesdays, I’m going to give you a glimpse of the sleek, dirty sound that is Sandra Collins. I shot this with my camera at Coachella this year. I love the “Baba O’Riley” sample, but haven’t been able to ID the track yet.

Tonight I’m dropping by a CD release party for the new Love Psychedelico, which should be pretty cool. I’ll report on it later in the week. Promise I’ll arrange my nouns and verbs better next time.

  • Music

Death Cab For Cutie: Narrow Stairs

I consciously avoided Death Cab For Cutie at Coachella this year. I like them just fine. Plans was a mellifluous little collection of tunes that somehow today remind me of walking around Hollywood’s Farmer’s Market at Selma and Ivar. It was just that there were other acts that I’d wanted to see more. So I skipped them.

Had I heard Narrow Stairs beforehand, I don’t know that I would have been so cavalier about DCFC’s set. While their last album was so jangly and well-intentioned, so full of cotton candy, this new one is a different beast entirely. It’s darker, it’s leaner, it’s more likely to lurk in alleyways than frolic in danedelion patches. Take “Your New Twin Sized Bed” for example, which kicks off with quiet stings and Ben Gibbard’s reclusive, spectral voice sounding not entirely unlike something Nineties-era Manchester might have given us, but then kicks up an insistent, orchestral flavored jam. Maybe it’s because I’ve been all over Saturdays=Youth lately, but it sounds like M83 without all the cinema.

It’s not a complex tune, but if this is the sort of stuff they were belting out on the Coachella stage sixteen days ago, I’m gonna have to take the ol’ DeLorean up to 88, if you know what I mean.

Death Cab For Cutie – “Your New Twin Sized Bed”

on the web: amazon, itunes, official site, allmusic (Andrew Leahey’s review)

  • Rush in L.A. May 12th, 2008 at 1:13 am · · Hey, I actually did go see Rush downtown last week. I would have written about it here, but new job, a DJ gig and the nascent apartment hunt made me fall behind over at metblogs. So here’s the link. From Portishead (coachella) to Young MC (wedding) to Rush, it’s been a helluva nine days. · (0)
  • Music

Elbow: The Seldom Seen Kid

Elbow never disappoints. And somehow, they always manage to release an album when I’m at some transition point in Los Angeles. Their new one, The Seldom Seen Kid, arrives just as I’m starting a new job in Burbank. It’s my first real job in years, and by real job, I mean nine-to five, Monday through Friday, 401K sort of job. Frankly, it’s a bit scary, but the short commute over the hill is softened considerably by this new Elbow venture, which takes about the full duration of the back and forth drive to play out.

As usual, Elbow has put together a collection of tunes that run the gamut between lush, mournful ballads to crunchy, energetic rockers. But there’s always one tune that grabs me from the outset and becomes the base camp for exploration of the rest of the album. On Leaders of the Free World it was, “An Imagined Affair,” and before that (Cast Of Thousands) was “I’ve Got Your Number.” This time around, it’s “Mirrorball.”

Check it out:

Elbow – “Mirrorball”

on the Web: allmusic, amazon, pitchfork

  • Music

Sian Alice Group – 59.59

59.59I’m off to the great foggy north. My long time friend, Dayle, is done with the single life (remember this?) and is getting married. For some strange reason, she’s asked me to spin some tunes. It’s the last major event (not counting the upcoming apartment hunt) I’ve got on my plate before my life pulls itself into some semblance of predictability.

And speaking of predictable (you’re welcome for the marvelous segue) that’s something that the first listen through 59.59, the debut album by Sian Alice Group just plain isn’t. SAG is Rupert Clervaux and Ben Crook, a progressive-minded duo that had the good sense to bring vocalist Sian Ahern into the fold. Adding a few more musicians turned them into a “group” in the proper sense of the word. The album is a disarming collection of tunes that flow from one to the next yet manage to stand out from one another in a way that’s adventurous and, well, unpredictable.

It’s tough to find a representative track on 59.59, but “Murder” does a good job of hinting at the album’s overall mood. The piano is front and center at first, but true to their process, the other musicians sneak in, one by one until Sian’s vocals step in and wrap themselves in the warm musical tones her bandmates have just spun. Check it out. I’d be curious to know what you think. The whole album is worth picking up, so get thee to a music shoppe. I’ll check in with you when I get back from the Beast (read “East Bay.”)

Sian Alice Group – “Murder”

on the Web: allmusic, myspace, pitchfork (7.7), itunes, amazon

  • Hollywoodland

iPod = History

Cat Burglar

I hung out at Hotel Figueroa on Monday night with some of my fellow Metro-bloggers. I was in no condition to be having any alcohol since my post-Coachella body was like one of those sponges you find abandoned in the desert. But I had some anyway, and it probably cost me my iPod.

Wait, no, no, it was just boring ol’ inattention and forgetfulness that did that. I left it on our table. It’s a black iPod and there were a lot of shadows draped about. The place was near empty as closing time was drawing near, so it made perfect sense to me, after getting off the Metro and realizing it was gone, that the only person who might have seen it would have been whoever bused our table. And since the world is a good and honest place, they’d have saved it for me. I was confident of that. I had some good karma saved up; On Sunday I saw a girl drop her Coachella ticket, so I picked it up and gave it to her. I should have gotten a reprieve for this one.

But no.

I called the Hotel Figueroa twice and then yesterday, in exasperation, went in and talked to the manager. I explained that I left my iPod and I just wanted to make a decent effort to get it back. He nodded and said he understood. In a very tentative and tactful way, he put forth the notion that there’s a chance someone NOT on staff found it (which put us in a weird semiotics zone, since it was suddenly becoming too easy for the word “found” to mean “stole.”) Yes, of course, I agreed. I’d already thought of that one. It was my second most-likely scenario, right above my vague suspicion that Muqtada al-Sadr stole found it. Since the bar was closed at the moment, there was not much else we could do, so I left him my phone number and he promised to call if they found it.

You know, under a sofa cushion or something.

I don’t think I’ll see it again. I’m not devastated. It’s just a hunk of metal. I still have all the music here on Deep Blue. But seriously, what a pain. I especially believe that now because the other Will got me thinking about another potential culprit. I was so quick to blame a human, but what it had been cats? Seriously, cats with laser cannons? Or ghosts of cats? Or cats possessed by the ghosts of dead hotel residents? You know, cats’re pretty sneaky.

With all the threats out there, it’s hard to believe we hang on to our stuff as long as we do.

  • Earlimart at Echoplex April 29th, 2008 at 12:41 pm · · One of my fave live bands will be at the Echoplex on May 17th. Says Aaron Espinoza, “we’ll be previewing a bunch of new material from our upcoming release HYMN and HER we’re pretty damn excited!!! you know…..tryin’ some new stuff out. OH…and get yer tickets early!!!! think they’ve already sold a bunch.” For the record, the cost per ticket of this show is fifty cents less than I paid to see Rush in 1985. There’s a factoid for ya. · (0)
  • Reward: Lost Pig April 29th, 2008 at 12:17 am · · According to Listening Post at Wired Media, the Coachella concert promoters want the pig back. I suspect Roger Waters doesn’t care a whit about it, but Coachella is offering a $10,000 reward for the safe return of the pig. Let the hunt begin. · (0)
  • Music

Coachella Wrap

While Friday’s and Saturday’s schedules were jammed, I took it much easier on Sunday. I hung back a bit, and rather than race to the Polo Grounds I explored a nearby Nature Preserve (I know, weird, right? More on that at a later date) and sauntered in at about 4:30. I missed Stars, whom I really wanted to see, because I realized, just as I was approaching the gate, that I couldn’t remember locking my car, a mistake which, as any Coachellite knows, can cost you forty five minutes.

Anyway, once inside I opted out of the usual stage hopping routine. Instead, I parked myself at the beer garden while Gogol Bordello worked their high-energy magic, then stocked up on water and made my way to the front of the Coachella Stage. I claimed a small, four foot square plot of land and settled in. Sean Penn came out and drummed up support for Obama then My Morning Jacket hit the stage, belting out a terrific set. It’s nice to see them in such a prime slot; two years ago they played in the heat of the Outdoor Stage. Jim James and Company are moving up, it seems.

Finally, Roger Waters took the stage for what had to be one of the prime concert experiences of my life. I posted something about it over at Metblogs. Go look.

  • Music

Coachella Kicks Off

The desert is cooler than last year, and the crowds thinner, which actually makes for a more relaxing festival. I’m too tired to get into detail. I just finished a post for metblogs, however, so go check that out. Link here.

  • Music

Coachella Schedule

As expected, the Coachella schedule was released today. Time for us all to begin our fretting and planning. As I mentioned, it’s useless for me to actually make any plans. But it’s important to go over these and pick out the conflicts. Right off the bat, I’ve got a biggie. On Saturday. And I knew it was gonna happen.

Coachella Friday

There’s a lot of good stuff on Friday, not the least of which would be The National, Battles, Les Savy Fav, The Breeders, Sandra Collins, Dan le Sac & Scroobius Pip, Vampire Weekend (I suppose), Aphex Twin, The Swell Season and Goldfrapp, to name a few. The only real conflict I see is between Battles and Les Savy Fav, both of whom I really want to check out. I think Battles will win that one. Jens Lekman could be fun as well. But if I’m going to catch both Sandra Collins (who spins a mean set of prog house) and Goldfrapp, I may have to give Mssrs. Pip and le Sac the boot. My cousin Anna will kill me.

Coachella Saturday
Saturday’s conflict is a killer. Portishead vs. the Sasha/Digweed combo. I already know which will win, but even though I’ve seen Sasha & Digweed numerous times, I can’t justify missing the former. There’s just no way. Earlier there are a couple must-sees in St. Vincent and Carbon/Silicon. The later one-two punch of Junkie XL and M.I.A. might keep me rooted in the Sahara tent until the mass migration to Portishead. And then the counter-programming of Calvin Harris, Yelle and Enter Shikari up against Prince pretty much guarantees pandemonium at the main stage. I’ll report back on that.

Coachella Sunday
There’s a lot to like about Sunday, with the Plasticines, I’m From Barcelona, Stars, The Shout Out Louds, Austin TV, Autolux, Metric, Danny Tenaglia, Sons & Daughters, My Morning Jacket, Deadmau5 and of course, Roger Waters. No conflicts anywhere. I want to see most of those acts, but none in particular, though for this aging 80’s kid, Mr. Waters is a must-see. I’ll be there. If I have the strength afterwards to drag myself to the Sahara tent to catch Justice, I’ll finish off with them, but it seems like a long shot.