Saturday, August 12, 2006

First Impressions: Three Moons Over Milford

Three Moons Over Milford

Where the music industry fail at every turn when it comes to the internet, television on the other hand seems to get everything right. And no one is above the curve more than ABC. They were the first to put up their shows on iTunes and also were one of the first to give viewers the ability to stream shows for free after they aired with very little commercial interruption. They have also been out in front promoting their cable outlet ABC Family last month giving people a chance to download their new series (which I skipped on account that the no belly button dude creeped me out) for free and continued that trend with its latest series Three Moons Over Milford (click image above to download it yourself). Much like The Amazing Screw-On Head (see my First Impression), I probable would have never scene the show had it not been available on the internet. Now if only the music companies would take note and stop suing people and make the music more accessible not less.

Three Moons Over Milford focus on a small town in Vermont where all the townspeople think it’s the end of the world as they know it (and they don’t feel fine) after an asteroid hits the moon splitting it into three segments, one of which is forecasted to hit squarely on the town sometime in the future, when no one is really for sure. Most specifically, the show centers around a family in the small town whose post-moon split was affected the most when the patriarch, some big science dude with a major company, decides to spend out the rest of his days in a teepee. A very high tech teepee. It’s not very clear if he and his wife, played by (She’s Having a Baby), got a divorce because of the spilt and I’m not sure if the townspeople know either as one asked if he should call her Ms. or Mrs. (she did reply Mrs.).

The kids in the family seem to be spiraling out of control with the eldest just getting his license and he wants to make the most of what may be his short life. This includes getting involved with a worker at his dad’s company who was most likely in high school when he was born, not that she knows this as he lies to her and tells her that he was in college (keep in mind this is airing on ABC Family). The there is the younger daughter who turns to witchcraft (keep in mind this is ABC Family) in hopes to put the moon back together, but things don’t go well for the novice. Rounding out the cast is the resident lawyer/plumber (which isn’t as cool as Ed’s layer/bowling ally combo) played by Rob Bolton (nothing you would know) and veteran Nora Dunn as a ruthless real estate agent, and surprisingly business is boom despite the whole end of the world thing.

Despite the interesting concept of people facing the end of the world (beating out the CBS the end is near show Jericho by a couple weeks), at heart it’s still a small town dramedy, but unlike similar shows like , , , and the previously mentioned Ed, there is a sever lack of quirky characters to play off the straight lead. Also there is something to be said about the show being on ABC Family with it’s un-family like storylines like statutory rape, Wicca’s, and the occasional swear word. Ever since ABC took over the channel from Fox, they have treated it more like a secondary channel outlet than an alternative for families. Seriously, what family sits down to watch The Bachelor marathon? But when it comes down to it, Three Moons Over Milford is too edgy for families, but really not edgy enough for regular viewers.

Verdict: There is a possibility that the show could get better, but unless it continues to be free to download at my convenience, it’s not something to go out of your way to watch. Three Moons Over Milford airs Sundays at 8:00.

Friday, August 11, 2006

I’ll Sing this Song and All My Friends Will Sing Along

Bleeding Heart Graffiti - Nina Gorgon

Most people will know by the nineties alternative band . But much like the other female led alt-girl bands of the era (think ) I really didn’t care for them and didn’t mind that they went back into obscurity as quickly as they escaped it (although I did like ). But after leaving the band, Gordon drifted more into the silly named adult alternative genre and released one of my favorite songs of 2000 with Tonight and the Rest of My Life (coming in at number eighteen in my end of the year list) that feature a more mature artist that got rid of the bratty persona that her former band was named after (think Willy Wonka). But that was six years ago and now Gordon is back with her sophomore effort .

It’s easy to compare Nina Gordon to as both were indie-rock chicks who have morphed themselves into more of a pop/rock acts, but where Phair has started to come off as an older version of or a better singing which means more catchy songs but tend to be disposable, Gordon has transitioned herself more gracefully as her music is accessible without losing any integrity like an Americanize version of . Bleeding Heart Graffiti is an album in every sense of the word with the mood setting intro of the title track all the way to the short outro of The Crickets Sound like Sleigh Bells which really isn’t a holiday song much like Christmas Lights early on the album.

There are plenty of stand out tracks here like the previously mention Christmas Lights that hits all the right notes and when she sings the line, “Tonight I’ll sing out as loud as I can like a die hard fan for my favorite band, loud as I can,” you want to be there stand right beside her. The vulnerability in Gordon’s voice on Don’t Let Me Down can melt your heart. The song Turn on Your Radio is exactly what you should do with this song if you ever find yourself driving on a country road at night in the summer time. It also doubles as a great post-break up song with lyrics like, “I wanna write a song that will break your heart.” The guitars that start off and end When You Don’t Want Me Anymore have a cool Baby I’m Amazed feel to them. Bones and a Name starts as a slow moving introspective acoustic song that builds and builds only to be brought back down to the bridge and crescendos again for the end of the song.

There are a few songs though that are skipable. It may be the chauvinist pig in me, but Suffragette (much like The Man Show dudes, I think we should put an end to the suffrage) just didn’t do for as it seemed a little too poppy for me. Pure is a little sappy, but the track does finish up strong with its overlapping vocals. But even though nothing on this album as good as Tonight and the Rest of My Life (there is an acoustic version of the song on the iTunes version of Bleeding Heart Graffiti), there are plenty good songs that much the album worth listening to.

Song to Download - Bones and a Name

Bleeding Heart Graffiti gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Wait, Why Do I Get the Girl Gun?

Mr. & Mrs. Smith

The movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith will always be remembered more for what happened off the set with and then what happened on screen. But since this blog doesn’t deal with salacious news, I won’t comment on any off the off screen happenings or the irony that the movie that stared Jennifer Aniston’s future ex-husband also featured future (alleged) husband. Nope, not gonna talk about that kind of stuff.

The plot features something I’m sure more than a few people can relate to with a married couple in a stale marriage that is filled with lies, except their lies are a lot bigger than most couples in that they both are hired assassins. In the beginning we spend some time watching their mundane lives which is, well mundane to watch. I know I said this when I reviewed The Matador (see my review - Oh, So Now Killing People is a Good Time), but movies about assassins should never be boring at any point. Seriously, is it that hard when you run into a down spot to just randomly have a cut scene with some dude getting off-ed in some creative way?

Another problem early in the film was the introduction of the from The O.C. as some random dude who seemed important and just disappeared. His storyline gets resolved late in the movie, but I spent the middle part wondering if I missed something. Also not given enough screen time was as ironically Pitt’s buddy/co-worker. Another way they could have solved the mundane scenes was inject more Vaughn throughout the movie. At least he faired better compared to Jolie’s buddies/co-workers who had less screen time and then had divide the time with four other actresses. How you don’t exploit a group of female assassins in beyond me.

But with all those complaints, when the movie did kick into high gear it was gripping. Each action sequence is more jam packed then the next all peppered with the right amount of humor and violence. This is highlighted by when the Smiths go after each other in there own home. And when they both lose their weapons there, the battle only gets better because well, guns are for wusses; real men (or women) will beat you down with their hands. There is also a great car chase where with a soundtrack of oddly enough of Making Love Out of Nothing at All (which the person I watch it with wrongly tried to argue Meatloaf when I said it was ; a lesson to all, never question my knowledge of cheesy music). Mr. and Mrs. Smith may have some down points but at the very least it’s a good waste of ninety minutes.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

If You Love Me, Come Find Me

There have been a couple of videos that have caught my eye lately so I though I’d give them some love since the death of Musical Television left a void for a forum on the art form so here they are courtesy of . I advise you to watch them before you read my reviews if you don’t want me to spoil things. If you are interested in buying the video through iTunes, click the title link (where available). If you are interested in buying the song, look for a link in the analysis.

Evanescence - Call Me When You're Sober

This is the coolest video based on a children’s story since Tom Petty’s Don’t Come Around Here No More. Granted I think it’s the only one besides the cheesy claymation video by Green Jello Jelly (am I the only one that remembers it?). This sounds pretty mosh like previous songs so it will be interesting how the rest of the new album sounds without Ben Moody.

Better Than Ezra - Juicy

Please don’t think less of because this song was featured in a Desperate Housewives commercial last year. I do kind of wonder if the line dancing older woman is a slight jab at the show, so in a way, they may have redeemed themselved.

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Tell Me Baby

Now that there really isn’t an outlet for music videos, more and more of them have gone with cost efficient video, it seems to spawn creativity especially with the surprising some fans by jamming with them. Interestingly enough this video was directed by the Dayton/Farris team that was behind 90’s iconic high concept videos by the Peppers and Smashing Pumpkin among others

OK Go - Here it Goes Again

Speaking of low budgets, this could possibly be the lamest video I have ever seem, yet I couldn’t stop watching the dancing fools of .

Everclear - Hater

Here’s a video for those that subscribe to Us Weekly or watch too much of the E! channel. I’m not the biggest fan of salacious news, but I couldn’t stop laughing throughout the video. Yeah a few of the break-up’s were a while ago and I’m not sure why brought up such forgettable break-up’s by Joey and Phil Collins (is there a good story behind that one that I missed?).

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

It's Not That Deep

Cassie - Cassie

Things are definitely changing in the music business with new ways to find artist the biggest of which is the social networking site . Now I have never been to the site on account that dudes my age on the site tend to end up on Dateline NBC. But anyways. For the most part the site has catapulted bands into record contracts before they have ever played live. But now the site has its first R&B success story in who sparked a bidding war after she uploaded some demos to her space including the current hit, Me & U. Unfortunately for Cassie, Bad Boy ended up winning because is notoriously (pun intended) for not properly promoting his artists that don’t change their name every six months and with his own album slated for the fall it’s only going to get worse.

So to capitalize on her MySpace buzz, a self titled album was rushed to supply the demand and the rush job shows as every song on the album sound pretty much the same and Cassie’s singing on Prozac sound doesn’t help. She makes ’s vocal stylings sound like in comparison. Throw in the uber-short run time, I have EP’s that are longer, and the album isn’t worth it at any price. Well maybe except for free. Cassie only switches things up on Long Way to Go where she goes the Promiscuous pseudo-rap route, but comes off a lot less catchy. Cassie also brings in some other singers to duet with on Kiss You, Just One Night and What Do U Want but the nondescript dudes are just as anemic as she is.

The songs are your basic run of the mill R&B lyrics that are slightly changed to protect against plagiarism charges while the beats are barely tweaked from song to song. The only lyrics that stand out are on two songs (in not necessarily good ways). Fist there is Ditto, a song based on a cheesy movie that is probable older than Cassie herself. Then on Call U Out (what’s with all the numbers and letters in the title, who does she think she is, ?) where she proclaims, “I’m the illest chick you ever met you know that’s a fact. I’ll cut you up in a minute if you made me.” Whoa, slow down chica. When admitted to destroying some guy’s car for cheating is understandable (see my review - Oh, There's Nothing Like Oklahoma), but can’t be going around cutting dudes. That right there makes Cassie undateable. Yeah she’s attractive, but I could go down to the local dormitory and find five to ten co-ed that are hotter. And there in lies the problem with MySpace (asides from the previously mentioned dudes who show up on Dateline) wherein marginally attractive chicks (or pseudo-punk bands) with no discernible talent can score a record deal just because the have enough “friends” on the site.

Song to Download - About Time

Cassie gets a Terror Alert Level: Low [GREEN] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Monday, August 07, 2006

First Impressions: Celebrity Fit Club 4

Big PussyMy sources tell me that Flavor of Love (see my First Impressions) wasn’t the only Celebreality show to debut last night on VH1 as Celebrity Fit Club also started its fourth season last night. Although it was obvious which show the channel cared more about as a running clock let us now just how much time until Flavor of Love started (get it, a clock, so you know what time it is, oh never mind). But Celebrity Fit Club, albeit without ghetto fighting within the first twenty minutes, is more educational as you can take actual health tips away from the show.

Tina YothersCelebrity Fit Club first started out basically as a Biggest Loser clone but with Surreal Life level celebrities (or lower) filling in for regular people as the compete to see who can lose the most. But instead of people getting booted every week until there is a winner; Fit Club instead splits the pseudo celebrities into two teams of four to see which team loses the most weight. And although there hasn’t been any ghetto fights in Fit Club history, each season has been good for a meltdown or two (see the fat Baldwin, Kenickie, and the other guy from Charles in Charge not named Scott Baio).

Nick TurturroIn the beginning, it looked like it was hard to fight eight overweight celebrities, even the lower level ones, to come on the show and they even had to re-use the Snapple Lady twice. But now it seems like not only are they able to fine worthy celebrities for the show but many of this season’s cast even contacted the show in hopes to get on. This season on one team we have captain , who it would nice to call a one hit wonder because it would be saying Never Scared was an actual hit. Hanging out with Bone is who’s Wish I Didn’t Miss You still gets play on my iPod. Rounding out the team (no pun intended) is NYPD Blue and Baywatch vets and . Hopefully I don’t have to tell you which one is which.

Carnie WilsonOn the other side of the isle is the other captain Carnie Wilson who is quickly returning to her weight even after her much publicized gastric bypass surgery. Hopefully she is much better at keeping off the pound the real way as apposed to the hard way. Also on her team is not surprisingly Tina Yothers who was always referred to as the chubby one on Family Ties, that can’t be good for the psyche. Then there is the aptly titled who apparently wants the moniker to become ironic like having a bodyguard named Tiny. Filling out the team (again no pun intended) is some dude from the 70’s, but unlike VH1, I did not love that decade so I really don’t know the guy.

Bone CrusherThe first episode ran let every previous season with the contestants having one last splurge (which I always find to be a bad idea, but it does make for good TV) followed by an actual workout so they can assess the participants abilities. This led to the funniest moment with Big Pussy taking a face plant while attempting the long job but I was a little disturbed by Angie Stone’s four-plus minute quarter mile. For those keeping track at home, that’s over a minute per hundred meters. Then they had the first official weigh-in which was overseen by host Ant, the unfunniest gay dude ever. He should take notes from the gay dude from not named Will.

Verdict: As long as VH1 shows repeats of the show constantly, I’m sure I’ll see every show if I wanted to or not and sadly I’ll most likely be watching with a box of Ho-Ho’s and a bottle of Gatorade beside me.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

We Gon' Get it, Get it Started Again

Year of the Dog... Again - DMX

There is no rapper more quotable than especially when you need a good insult or need to describe a female that won’t be mistaken for a lady my personal favorite being, “You’re walking around like a brand new chicken about to be plucked” (there’s an unedited version of the same line that is arguably better). DMX also holds the distinctive honor of being the only rapper (possible only artist at that) to have their first five albums debut number one on the charts, and he is quick to let you now this at the start of his sixth Year of the Dog… Again.

The latest album can be divided into two different camps. For most of the first half of the album is classic DMX with club banger one after another. But the later half of the album is bogged down with over-semimetal song like on Goodbye where X gives his last farewells just in case. Now a couple of these types of songs are good for the diversity of the album, but when theirs is a bunch and all put in the back of the album, it just makes it seem long especially for a rap album.

But the first of the album will definitely get your heart pumping starting with the Intro that is too good and long just be labeled as on with the house party staple of call and response. And X brings in plenty of friends (maybe too many) to help him keep the party going. Long time collaborator Swiss Beatz plays the hype man on the first single We in Here. , always good for a classic guest appearance, shows up and cranks out the best track Come Thru (Move). plays the token R&B hook singer on the borderline cheesy Dog Love. , who were on X’s first hit, show up again on It’s Personal. DMX even brought in newcomers Big Stan for I Run (Expletive Deleted) (I could make a type joke here, but X scares me) and Bizarre Royale for the rock track Wrong or Right (I’m Tired).

Besides the latter track that bring done the album, the other aspect of the album that keeps Year of the Dog… Again from being as good as its predecessors are its beats, none of which come close to the ones on Get at Me Dog or What’s My Name? The one’s here are nondescript at best. The beat behind It’s Personal sounds like a second rate Dirt Off Your Shoulder while the rock track just fall flat. Maybe DMX needs to bring in some more producers the next time around to finally bring back his past glories.

Song to Download - Come Thru (Move)

Year of the Dog… Again gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

DMX on iTunes