Tuesday, November 27, 2007

TV: "WordGirl"

Recommended whether you have children or not: "WordGirl" on PBS. Smart, silly cartoon fun, in the grand tradition of "Rocky & Bullwinkle" and "The Tick". Here's a sample on YouTube. Jim Lehrer (and his button eyes) got an exclusive interview.

Was she named after the Scritti Politti song? And don't miss "The Sweetest Girl" and "Wood Beez". I had never heard his Beatles' cover, "She's A Woman" or his Stevie Wonder cover, "I Don't Know Why I Love You".

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Feeble Attempt At Humour

While Don Henley was recording the "One Of These Nights" album with the Eagles, he heard some nasty rumors that his wife was cheating on him with the entire offensive line of the University of Illinois football team. He laughed it off, until he happened to come home early one day and saw a bunch of cars parked in the driveway - with Illinois license plates.

Henley rushed up the stairs and into the bedroom. As he entered, he saw the closet door slam shut. Bare feet poked out from under the curtains. And the bed was raised up off the floor, and teetered from side to side.

His wife, out of breath, pretended to brush her hair at the dressing table. "Hi Donny," she said, "what's wrong?"

Henley exploded.

"You can't hide your Illini."

Friday, November 23, 2007

Sports: Les Miles

Watch LSU coach Les Miles' press conference where he dismisses talk of him going to Michigan by stating "I'm preparing for Ar-kansas" (pronouncing the final "s").

The state of Arkansas passed a resolution in 1881 that the "s" should be silent. There was a filthy Ozark recitation on the subject.

Quite apart from his mispronunciation, I dislike Miles' style of speaking, which is reminiscent of our current President's. Why do coaches talk in this overly dramatic, overly emotional, us-against-the-world way? (OSU's Mike Gundy is still the one to beat for 2007.)

And why oh why is "Coach" treated as a title for life, a la "Maestro"? Didn't they fight a revolution in this country to get rid of titles?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Lyrics Quiz: Few Hit Wonders

Here's a lyrics quiz featuring One Hit Wonders (or not many hits, anyway) from the 1970s. The Comments section has the answers, and links to YouTube videos for each.

  1. C-c-come, come inside. I've been expecting you to arrive. Your sh-sh-shoes, shake 'em off, while I go and turn the music down soft.
  2. Sam, you've been waiting much too long. Now it looks like she's not coming home. Sam, you've been loyal, true and faithful, all this time with being alone.
    If I could get that same dedication, I'd give you everything in creation, if she doesn't come back.
  3. If you're a stranger here, and you need some action, we have a remedy that could really catch on. Pleased to see another face at light-up time. If you're feeling dull and run down, we can really make you shine.
  4. No, sir, I don't feel very much like talking. No, neither walking. You wanna know if I can dance. Yes, sir. Already told you in the first verse. And in the chorus. But I will give you one more chance.
  5. Where you can hear a country song from far, and someone play the honky-tonk guitar. Where all the lights will go out one by one, the people join the sun, and the wind takes it away.
  6. Ain't it good, ain't it right that you are with me here tonight? The music playin', our bodies swayin' in time. (In time, in time, in time.)
  7. Sunday morning, up with the lark. I think I'll take a walk in the park. Hey hey hey, it's a beautiful day.
  8. I gave you love. I thought that we had made it to the top. I gave you all I had to give. Why did it have to stop?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Music: Albums That Are Too Long

The AV Club had a recent piece on albums that would have made better EPs. I'm thinking of albums that were just one or two songs too long.

  • My Morning Jacket, "It Still Moves" (even Pitchfork agrees)
  • The Stone Roses, "Second Coming"
  • Matthew Sweet, "Altered Beast"
  • Spiritualized, "Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space" (should have stopped before "Cop Shoot Cop")
  • Tindersticks, first and second albums (blasphemy, I know)
  • Every Prince album after "Purple Rain"
  • The Beatles, "White Album"?

Which albums are too short?

  • Tindersticks' "Can Our Love.." 45 minutes, but only 8 tracks)
  • Weezer, the Green album
  • Every country album ever made

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

YouTube: Haughty Speak-Singing Females

Earworms The Size Of Texas has a YouTube video of Charlotte Gainsbourg "singing" with Air on French TV.

If you like haughty vocalists who speak-sing their songs, you probably liked "The Facts Of Life" by Black Box Recorder.

Here's BBR's Sarah Nixey solo, covering the Human League.

Sexy sisters The Pierces have perfected that bored voice, and did I mention they're sexy sisters?

And here's the original of the species, the Flying Lizards.

Another pioneer of this vocal style was Cristina - here's audio only of her version of "Is That All There Is?" ("he beat me black and blue and I loved it"). And here's her Christmas classic, "Things Fall Apart"

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Music: Ukulele

Who doesn't love the sound of a ukulele? (Name comes from the Hawaiian for "jumping flea".)

YouTube has lots of videos by UK uke duo, the Re-entrants, including Cameo's "Word Up".

Here's a dude playing the "Star Wars" theme on his ukulele.

Ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro is about as far as you can get from George Formby (although George played a banjo ukulele).

The Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain doing "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and "Life On Mars" (including, appropriately, "My Way" among other tunes).

If you like Jens Lekman or Jonathan Richman, you have to visit the MySpace page of Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele. He has a free EP for download, which includes a Prince cover.

Also try Bohemia Ukulele Band, a six-piece from Hastings. They have a lot of other ukulele friends, like Sweet Soubrette, Ukulele Girls (French girls doing "Gangsta Paradise"), Perrecy (German guy doing Smiths covers in German, like "Dieser Charmante Mann").

You can learn to play online at Pineapple Pete's Uke School.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Hoax: Fecal Matter Drug?

Are kids getting high from fermented sewage? Snopes says the "Jenkem" story is "undetermined". (And jeers to Snopes, by the way, for having pop-up ads.)

I just hope I'm not busted for running a drug lab, 'cause my shit is primo.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Music: MySpace

MySpace goodies

  • Tacks, The Boy Disaster - Austin, TX band with a terrible name but a great sound. Recommended if you like Midlake, the Flaming Lips. (I was going to add Ben Folds, because of the prominent piano, and then found this Guardian piece compares them to "when Ben Folds Five did a Broadway musical-style version of Flaming Lips' She Don't Use Jelly".)
  • ohbijou - yet another Canadian band with many members. Recommended by Chromewaves. For fans of Lisa Germano, Joanna Newsom, Hayden.
  • A Girl Called Eddy - New Jersey girl living in England. Her album came out in 2004, so I'm really behind the times. Her MySpace bio boasts kudos from Nina Persson and Eric Carmen! Not a million miles from Aimee Mann.
  • Bobb Trimble - Massachusetts artist from the early '80s whose albums are being reissued. See Guardian article for the full story. Not sure what all the fuss is about. Sounds like Russell Mael fronting Fleetwood Mac on downers.
  • Julia Kent - NY cellist. Recommended if you like the cello.