• Earlimart’s ‘Hymn and Her’ Around the Corner June 28th, 2008 at 8:20 am · · Just wanted to point out that the new Earlimart album is getting a solid review from Andrew Leahey over at Allmusic, which only serves to whet the edge of my anticipation of Tuesday’s release of Hymn And Her. They’ll be at Spaceland mid-July to kick off support of the album. Guess you know where I’ll be. · (1)
  • Coolest WordPress Plugin Ever June 27th, 2008 at 9:08 pm · · Hey, this is off-topic, I suppose, but I swapped out the static, boring, life-throttling category list in the footer of this blog with a Flash-based revolving Tag Cloud. Scroll down and check it out. It rotates. It swirls. It moves. It’s so shiny. And it underscores the sad fact that I don’t have near enough of my posts tagged. Get it here. · (2)
  • Words

Fear Of English: complement vs. compliment

This came up today at work. I was working on a subtitle file for an audio commentary on an episode of Private Practice. Which episode is not important. Okay, it was called “In Which Dell Finds His Fight.” The title pretty much summarizes the thing, but here’s TV Guide’s summary:

Oceanside focuses on fertility and starts a dads-to-be class; Sam and Naomi struggle to figure out where their relationship is heading; Addison is conflicted about her status in the dating world; Cooper begins a secret affair with a colleague.

That’s not really relevant. I just wanted to share.

On the commentary are Taye Diggs (pictured, far right) and Chris Lowell (far left). And there comes a scene in which Kate Walsh and Audra McDonald are walking down a hall. You can almost hear Diggs and Lowell drool as they discuss the outfits the women are wearing. Diggs says, “Complementary outfits” and Lowell adds, “Complementary outfits, yes. Flattering.”

That’s how the subtitles were written. COMPLEMENTARY. And I had to fight the urge to change it to COMPLIMENTARY. I know the difference. If I compliment the dinner you just cooked, I loved it. If I complement it, I brought french fries. So in what way is the word being used here? What is the meaning?

There is such a thing as complementary clothing. As one might imagine, it’s clothing that belongs together, or is part of an overall outfit. But these were two outfits–dresses, actually–worn by two women, and they didn’t necessarily go together in that sense.

And Lowell actually says, “flattering,” which implies that the clothing was paying Walsh and McDonald a compliment, and not just a compliment but possibly an undeserved one. In fact, this clothing may have been downright sycophantic. Still, I think that was the meaning they were after. And though I can see the angle that suggests the dresses went with the natural “womanhood” of the actresses in question to form a complete whole, I doubt that’s the answer.

In spite of my misgivings, I left it COMPLEMENTARY, partly because, as Diggs himself says on the commentary track, all of ten people will probably listen anyway, and by my own estimate, of that ten, maybe only, like, eight, will turn on the subtitles.

But also, I didn’t want anyone to think they meant that the outfits were free.

Was I right to leave it? Is there an obvious meaning of complementary related to couture that I’ve missed? Let me know. I’m still working on the file, so there’s time to change it.

  • Music

Mix-Tape Madness (The Covers Project)

Thanks to Will (the other one) I got clued in to Ryan Zeinert’s mix-tape madness, so I thought I’d jump in on the action. Couple quick notes: What I created was not actually a tape. But then I don’t think anyone expected that. I’ve made more than my share of actual tapes, but I finally ditched my Aiwa dual cassette deck a couple years ago because after more than a decade of solid use, it was giving up the proverbial ghost.

Also, though I’m happy with the initial effort, if I did it again in a week, it would no doubt be something completely different. Moods change, ideas evolve, that sort of thing.

Anyway, that’s that. Here are the tracks, annotated in a fit of exhaustion, after the jump:

Read More »

    George Carlin, RIP

    Good gravy, I’m gonna miss this man. I have a lot more to say about him, but I haven’t the time this morning. I’ll write something decent later. In the meantime check out one of his best routines:

    • Cinema
    • Music

    X-Files: I Wanna Believe

    By now most people have seen the trailer for the new X-Files flick. And thanks to a comprehensive poll (some guy at the gym, a friend at work and Sparky, an overweight blue-point Siamese that lives in the neighborhood) I can say with authority that the public anticipation is luke-warm, tempered mostly by the worry that Chris Carter’s script might sink under the weight of his usual clunky rhythms and stilted dialogue.

    Mostly, these are Sparky’s concerns, though I share them. Carter isn’t good with the cinematic stuff. It’s kinda like George Lucas and his directing. He’s best when he doesn’t actually do it himself. Remember the last movie? He had a chance to introduce us to Scully and Mulder in the grandest of fashions, with big-screen flair and hair-raising drama. Instead, when they make their first silver screen appearance, they’re … brace yourself … chatting on the cell phone. It was one of the biggest wasted opportunities in film history (this also determined through diligent polling.)

    Still, though I expect more of the same, this X-Phile will be at the first available screening, legs kicked up, ready for action. Let’s hope Carter’s matured a bit in the ten years (ten!) since the last flick.

    • Music

    Boy On A Plane: An Airborne Fixx

    ‘D’y’ever do something once and have such a vivid experience doing it that you do it again? And then again and again until it becomes a sort of ritual? I’m not talking about something big, like surviving a plane crash in the Andes and then meeting with your fellow survivors once a year for happy hour at Chili’s. Nothing like that. I’m talking about small, nonsensical, peculiar, the kind of ritual that only you, yourself in this wide, overpopulated planet ever do, the kind that seeks to reclaim, without ever succeeding, something of the magic that befell you the first time you did it?

    I thought so, but I bet yours doesn’t involve The Fixx and a PSA jet.

    Here’s mine. Every time I fly, whether it’s from LAX to Sydney or Denver to DC or down to the Whole Foods on the corner, I have to listen to “Woman On A Train” by The Fixx. That’s right. Man on a plane listening to “Woman On A Train.” Yeah, I said I was unique. Here’s the song:

    The Fixx – “Woman On A Train”

    It all goes back to a trip my brother and I took way back when I was fourteen. We boarded a plane bound from New Mexico to California to visit friends, and we did it alone, without parents. Not our first orphan flight, but the first for me since making it into a roiling adolescence, and since discovering the raw, sexy, seductive allure of music.

    As the plane pushed off from the gate I had my Walkman in my hand–not an official Sony model; it was a Panasonic, I think–and a tape-recording on a Maxell C-45 of Phantoms by The Fixx scrolling insde on continuous auto-reverse infini-play. As the plane lifted off the ground, the song in question kicked in with its meticulous percussion, oleaginous synth pulse, ethereal guitars and deep, rolled-back bass. Synapses connected with a crackle of ozone.

    The song has since reminded me of airports and flight and Mr. Pibb in very small plastic cups and the wonder and fear and amazement at the mystery of onrushing adulthood, whose harbingers were giddiness, confusion and the soul-crushing grip of first love.

    Lyrics after the jump.

    And by the way, the first word in this post is pronounced “JEV-er” (Did You Ever?)

    On the web:
    buy the song on iTunes (not this version, which is inexplicably unavailable)
    official site
    tour schedule (they’re coming to LA, folks)
    Erlewine’s take on the album

    Read More »

    • Cinema

    For Princess Bride Fans

    Give it a moment. Very nicely done.

    • We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful June 13th, 2008 at 8:11 am · · I was working out at the gym on my lunch hour when I happened to look up and saw that my buddy, Mark Lawson was on the television screen. He had no shirt on. He was giving some sort of pep talk to some kid. Both of them had brilliant green skin and hair. When I got over the shock of seeing that Mark was getting work again I was trying to figure out what kind of off-beat Incredible Hulk tie-in I was watching when I realized that the television was apparently having color problems. The green was accidental. I was watching One Life To Live. · (2)
    • Ingrid Michaelson at El Rey June 11th, 2008 at 10:12 pm · · Hey, just wanted to say I’m listening to Ingrid Michaelson for the first time right now. Some of it’s very Grey’s Anatomy, and some of it’s pretty terrific. Some of it is actually both. See for yourself. She’s coming to El Rey on June 24th. · (2)
    • Music

    Siobhan Donaghy? More Please.

    Back in 1987 and thereabouts we didn’t have the internet. We didn’t have Allmusic or Pitchfork or Sixsquare. We just had the local record store. We’d go there every week and dig through the bins, see what was written on the board, flip through our favorite bands to see if by some chance Billy Squier had released something new that afternoon.

    Usually, he hadn’t.

    I kinda feel that way about the wait for something new from Siobhan Donaghy. I want something new, but aside from her well-publicized turn in Rent, the Intarwebs are notably quiet on her whereabouts. I’ve taken to popping round her official site on occasion, which, for all intents and purposes, is like dropping by the music store on a Tuesday afternoon.

    I was tipped off to her stuff last year by some music blog or other (I’d thought it was Scissorkick, but I can’t find the post) and I checked it out with more than a little skepticism. Donaghy had been a Sugababe after all. On first listen, I liked the collection. It had a musky, hi-tech swirl to it that was different than I’d expected. But I only liked it. I didn’t love it.

    Months later, I took it with me to Australia. High over the Pacific Ocean, the album began to reveal some more of its secrets, and I found that it gravitated towards the top of my playlists more and more. And there it has remained since, especially its opening cut and the three that close the album. There’s a dark majesty about Donaghy’s work. It’s pop with a dark side. It’s clever articulation of pop ideas that doesn’t insult the intelligence and, somehow, results in a clutch of tunes that stand up to repeated play.

    It’s easiest to demonstrate this by offering up the album’s title track. “Ghosts,” is the final cut on the album, and for good reason. It’s a peculiar beast. The lyrics are indecipherable. The melody, intricate. The production, layered and dense. Yet there’s something fascinating about it. Check out the song in its entirety first:

    Siobhan Donaghy – “Ghosts”

    Yeah, yeah, I know. Those lyrics aren’t in English. Not forward English, anyway. So let’s drop it on the turntable and listen to some of it backwards:

    excerpt: “Ghosts” in reverse

    same excerpt, forwards

    “She’s [doing something] to dresses. She can’t carry on. But her nimble fingers. Still feel the cold.”

    I can’t discern what Little Dorrit’s doing to those dresses, but who cares? And though this line is, in fact, reversed in this excerpt, elsewhere in the track she pronounces the lyric in reverse. It’s all so David Lynch. And live? Well, she just sings it outright, all the way through: link to one blogger’s tongue-in-cheek attempt at lyric-spotting, and another link to a low-key live performance, which, in spite of her awkward stage presence and the distorted sound, still manages to kick ass.

    All this fun from a single offbeat cut? And not even the strongest on the album, at that?

    I’m ready for more please, Miss Donaghy. I just wanna see what’s next. No pressure. Take your time. But hurry. Seriously, I’m patient. I can wait.

    Quick, K?

    • Music

    Heil/Klimek/Tykwer and ‘Perfume’

    Good things come to those who take their sweet-ass time. Tom Tykwer’s kinetic wonderland of a film, Run Lola Run ranks way up there on the list of all-time greatest influences on li’l old me, right up there with Manhattan, The Thin Man and Koogle. The Princess & The Warrior, Tykwer’s follow-up, was as intriguing as it was ultimately empty and Heaven served only to make us wish that Krzysztof Kieslowski were still alive. But Perfume: Story Of A Murderer I found immensely satisfying.

    It’s too late in the game to bloviate about the film and its merits and/or flaws. I’m late to that particular party, and I’m certain I don’t get along with many of its guests. But since I gravitate to all things musical, I thought I’d share a bit of the score, which was once again put together by Reinhold Heil and Johnny Klimek, the kids responsible for Lola’s musical pulse. And in this film’s peculiar and oddly moving climax, their music is what, for me, keeps the film from tipping into an failed sort of lunacy.

    Heil, Klimek and Tykwer – “The Perfume”

    on the web: ebert’s praise for the film, Radar article on the composers

    • Music

    Great Northern – Trading Twilight For Daylight

    Great Northern - Trading Twilight For DaylightI’m back, more or less. I’ve gone without internet for a while. Things seem to be hooked up and running at the new pad. I’ve been taken off of suicide watch. We’re good. And you know what? It’s impossible to get a feel for how much time a computer sucks into the void until it’s unplugged for a while. How does one fill the hours?

    I’ve had help from Great Northern. This is one of those albums that I’ve had sitting around for months, knowing I had to give it a spin and see what the fuss was about. Since giving it a try at last, it’s become the “default disc,” that thing I put in when I don’t want to think about choosing music, but I want something excellent. And the hours, they are filled.

    I’m not surprised that I find their brand of lush melancholia appealing. They have close ties with Earlimart, having actually intermingled with Espinoza and Co. in the way of membership (central band member Solon Bixler once played in that band.) I find that anything with close ties to Earlimart tends to have this gauzy aura of worshipfulness about it, like those foil Jesus paintings that heliotrope when you walk by. Maybe that’s just the effect of Rachel Stolte’s vocals, but whatever the case, I find “Trading Twilight For Daylight” lovely.

    Great Northern – “Our Bleeding Hearts”

    On The Web: allmusic, itunes, official site, myspace

    • Cinema
    • Music

    ‘Burn After Reading’ vs. Elbow

    Yes, it’s quiet around here. Yes, I know it. And no, I still don’t have internet at home. AT&T have delayed my hookup because they weren’t able to process that I live at an apartment that includes “1/2” in the address. They say Monday. I’ll believe that when I see it.

    Since I have to post form work, and that generally requires that I have some free time, I’m unable to post at all. At least not with any real substance. That’s why I’m all about the video posts these days. So here’s another. The trailer for the new Coen Bros. movie is online and not only does it look like classic Coen material, it kicks off with “Grounds for Divorce” by Elbow, about whom I just blogged. Remember? Nice use of the tune, naturally, which is why I’m posting about it. Synergy and all that.


    • Cinema

    Wanted: Russian Red Band Trailer = Wow.

    Another bit of video goodness for Friday. I stumbled across this thing at Trailer Addict. Early versions of the trailer did zero for my enthusiasm on this project, but this one, which comes from Russia of all places, does just the opposite. In fact, it seems like a completely different movie. Check it: