Saturday, August 10, 2013

Best of the Week: 8/10/13

Quote of the Week: Entonces sólo eres un asesino en serie si te gusta. (Fausto Galvan, The Bridge)

Song of the Week: Get Lucky – Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams (The Colbert Report)

Scene of the Week:

Big News of the Week: Do Not Piss Off Stephan Colbert: Stephan Colbert has been hyping a Daft Punk appearance for a while now which was a pretty big deal considering the robot duo does not do much television. They have not done anything since releasing their last album in May. But Tuesday came and went and no Daft Punk. The reason was not some canned excuses like illness and Stephan was more than willing to tell everyone the real reason Daft Punk did not show up: they were already booked exclusively to make a surprise appearance on the Video Music Awards sometime in September on VH1 hosted by Chris Brown (at least according to Colbert). So, surprise.

Sure the controversy does not quite pass the smell test considering Viacom owns both Comedy Central and MTV and it took an entire month to notice the conflict of interest. Not to mention Colbert says he did not learn of Daft Punk’s cancellation until Monday but had enough time to book Robin Thicke, who has that other massive summer hit, to replace Daft Punk (oh yeah, and it turns out he taped that segment last week) and create a video featuring Hugh Laurie, Jeff Bridges, Jimmy Fallon, the cast of Breaking Bad and America’s Got Talent, Jon Stewart, Matt Damon, and Henry Kissinger. But hey, Daft Punk is essentially confirmed the VMA’s which means there will be at least one reason to watch it. That is one more reason that last year’s show.

Preview Picture of the Week:

"Asylum" Perception, Tuesday at 10:00 on TNT

Free Download of the Week: The Wrong Direction EP – Passenger (NoiseTrade)

New Album Release of the Week: Paracosm - Washed Out

New DVD Release of the Week: Emperor

Video of the Week: We are seven week out until the third season premiere of Homeland and the series premiere Masters of Sex and Showtime recently released full trailers for both. Not that surprisingly the Homeland trailer features bombings, congressional hearings (they blew up the CIA last season all), a crazy wall map, and Brody sheering his signature ginger hair (although the only people that will not recognize him are the same people who do not recognize Superman when he is wearing glasses). And as I predicted way back in the first season, it looks like Dana may finally be converting to her father’s religion. But also a few shockers most notably Carrie in a hospital gown and handcuffs. Uh oh. And Dana texting seems like a creepy storyline. But then again it cannot be worse than the hit and run storyline. Feel free to watch the trailer on a loop for the next seven weeks, I probably will.

Showtime also released the first full trailer for Masters of Sex, but to be honest, they already had me at Lizzy Caplan starring in a show called Masters of Sex.

Next Week Pick of the Week: Franklin and Bash, Wednesday at 9:00 on TNT: Another TNT shut up for the summer next week and Franklin & Bash will be going out with a bang as the promo monkeys promise a guest star so big they cannot tell you who it is. Um, I hate to break it to you promo monkeys, but anyone who watched last week already realize that it is Rob Lowe. Pinder has been stalking him all season and even popped up at the end of the last scene, just seconds before you hyped a guest star so big you cannot tell us who it is. I really hate promo monkeys.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Around the Tubes: 8/9/13

I have gotten a plethora of cool press releases have been flooding my inbox recently that you may find interesting. This post will include blurbs on Heroes of Cosplay, Americans in Bed, Enough Said, Breaking Bad, Jack Black, Poor Remy, Bel Heir, Jessica Campbell, The Breedings, Haven, and PBS.

- The new Syfy series, Heroes of Cosplay premieres Tuesday at 10:30 (after a new season of Face Off) and here is a first look:

- The U.S. has one of the highest marriage rates in the developed world, as well as the third-highest rate of divorce, with as many as half of unions failing. Brimming with genuine emotion and honesty, Americans in Bed, premiering Monday at 9:00 exclusively on HBO spotlights some of the many reasons people come together - and grow apart. Check out the trailer below:

- Last week I shared the Enough Said poster and now you can watch the trailer for the film starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini over at Apple Trailers.

- My sources tell me the final season of Breaking Bad started up this weekend and has a parody video looking at what Jesse just might do after the show ends and he gets his own spin-off.

- If you are having a Breaking Bad viewing party this Sunday and want to make sure they did not bring any meth to celebrate, try Touch and Know USA test 22 illicit substances.

- Football Fandemonium is upon us! Kick off the season with Jack Black, the leader in premium grooming products! In celebration of the return of football, Jack Black wants to give you and a friend the chance to win tickets to a professional football game. Click here to enter to win tickets for two to a local 2013 NFL game, a Jack Black gift set and weekly random drawing to win Jack Black products.

- If you cannot get enough of the folk rock explosion boom, check out Ohio’s own Poor Remy below.

- If you enjoy the more moodier sounds of Daughter and The Neighborhood, give Bel Heir (no relations to the Fresh Prince) a try.

- Nashville-based singer-songwriter Jessica Campbell is taking part in the current installment of Crate & Barrel’s “Get The Download” offer. Campbell’s song “Be You” is available via free download from Crate & Barrel; the offer is presented on in-store cards (while supplies last), as well as online at the Crate & Barrel website and in Crate & Barrel catalogs. The promotion runs from August through October 2013.

- The Breedings are a brother and sister country duo based out of Nashville, TN. Originally hailing from Lexington, KY, the duo sings original material penned by singer/songwriter Willie Breeding, who released two solo albums while living in Brooklyn, NY. Big sister Erin, who was working as an accountant in Boston and singing occasional backup for her brother, stepped up in 2008 to become the lead singer. Stream their album Fayette at

- Emma Lahana (Hellcats, Emily Owens M.D.) and Christian Camargo (Dexter, The Hurt Locker) will join the cast of Syfy’s popular sseries Haven when the show returns for its fourth season on Friday, September 13 at 10PM (ET/PT). Both actors join Colin Ferguson (Eureka, Coupling) who portrays William, a handsome mysterious stranger whose secret agenda leads him to Audrey (Emily Rose), as recurring guest stars this fall.

- PBS had their TCA session earlier this week and announced a few new programs. Here are some highlights:

THE BLETCHLEY CIRCLE to Return to PBS for Second Season Bolstering Sunday Night Drama
THE BLETCHLEY CIRCLE is returning to PBS for a second season. The four-part series will air on Sunday nights in spring 2014. A production of World Productions (United, “Line of Duty”) and distributed worldwide by Content Television, the series premiered in the U.S. last spring to critical acclaim. The show will top off an evening of destination drama on Sunday nights on PBS, including season three of CALL THE MIDWIFE at 8:00 p.m. and season two of MASTERPIECE “Mr. Selfridge” at 9:00 p.m.

PBS announced the premiere of COMING BACK WITH WES MOORE, a three-part special that personalizes the experiences of returning veterans and celebrates the lives of this group of exceptional people. The special, hosted by combat veteran and New York Times best-selling author Wes Moore, is slated to premiere in May 2014 on PBS. The program tells the personal stories of returning U.S. veterans, the challenges they face readjusting to life at home and their courageous efforts to overcome obstacles in the quest to forge lives of meaningful service in their communities. The program adds touching and humanizing context to the reintegration process of our service men and women.

HOW WE GOT TO NOW With Steven Johnson
PBS announced the premiere of HOW WE GOT TO NOW with Steven Johnson in fall 2014. The six-part series, to be produced for PBS by Nutopia and hosted by the popular American science author and media theorist, explores the power and the legacy of great ideas. Topics explored in the series include why and how ideas happen, and their sometimes unintended results, including how the search for clean water opened the way to invention of the iPhone, and how the nagging problem of overheating in a New York printing business led to the invention of air conditioning, which inspired mass migration and a political transformation. Johnson explains how the answers to the questions he poses in each episode — such as “how do we make something cold?” or “how do we create light?”— have driven other discoveries through the web of ideas and innovations that made each finding possible.

Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff will be co-anchors and managing editors for the PBS NEWSHOUR. Ifill and Woodruff will anchor the broadcast together Monday through Thursday each week. On Fridays, Woodruff will anchor solo as Ifill hosts WASHINGTON WEEK that evening. This will mark the first time a network broadcast has had a female co-anchor team. It was also announced that Hari Sreenivasan will serve as Senior Correspondent for the PBS NEWSHOUR with Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff, reporting several times a week from WNET’s Tisch Studios in New York, along with his duties anchoring PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND Saturdays and Sundays beginning September 7.

Additional information was also shared today on two previously announced programs:

PBS Pays Tribute to President John F. Kennedy with Week of Special Programming
PBS announced today the details of a series of primetime special programs to commemorate the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s death that airs November 11-13. The specials will offer new perspectives on the life and death of President John F. Kennedy, as well as provide audiences with a comprehensive examination of timely issues.

PBS ARTS FALL FESTIVAL 2013 Kicks Off October 18 Festival Spotlights Broadway Shows and Top-Flight Stars
The 2013 PBS Arts Fall Festival returns in October with seven weekly programs that highlight Broadway classics, music from around the country, and legendary superstar Barbra Streisand. Underscoring PBS’ ongoing commitment to giving audiences a front row seat and a backstage pass to the best of the arts on-air and online, the series will be hosted by award-winning television, film and stage star Anna Deavere Smith (“Nurse Jackie,” “The West Wing”) starting Friday, October 18, 2013 at 9 p.m. ET (check local listings).

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Feed Your iPod vol. LXXIII: Clarity

John Mayer releases a new album later this month which may be for the best because the last one released just fifteen months ago was a bit of a bore, and the one before that was his worst of his career. But his first three stand up as one of the best trio of first three albums by most artists so hopefully Paradise Valley rekindles some of that magic (first single Paper Doll is already better than anything on Born and Raised). It is a little disconcerting that Mayer’s second album Heavier Thing turns ten years old next month. My favorite track off that album was the second single Clarity which undeservedly floundered on the charts. It is an uncharacteristic John Mayer song, the guitar is pushed to the back in favor of piano and horns section (the song also features Questlove on the drums). As Heavier Things hits the decade mark, it is time to go back and give it another listen, especially Clarity.

Clarity – John Mayer

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

What Rhymes with Hug Me?

Blurred Lines - Robin Thicke

Had you told me back in January that the song of the summer would end up coming from Robin Thicke, I would have thought you were crazy (granted had you told me in January 2012 that the song of that summer would come courtesy of a Canadian Idol castoff, I would have thought you were much crazier). Nothing against Robin Thicke, but up to this point he had been making middle of the road blue eye soul that was much more suited for the bedroom than the block party. Yet here we are in the middle of summer and it looks like Blurred Lines will end up edging out the superior Get Lucky as the unofficial song of the summer.

Sure Thicke has an unfair advantage considering that the song was already an established summer jam when Marvin Gaye released the song under the title Got to Give It Up, Pt. 1 all the way back in the summer of 1977 (well that and hot naked chicks). Much like the song, the album Blurred Lines is Robin’s first full foray into dance music. There really is only one slow jam, and the Rest of My Life does not even show up until late in the album at track number nine.

Thicke’s transition into dance music is not as smooth as the song Blurred Lines the song would suggest. The lyrics can get very cringworthy like the obvious date-rapey vibe of the title track (though I find the lyrics to sound like that of a middle school boy hoping to get lucky by being persistent). Even worse is when he actually admits, “I want to shop for your underwear” during Take it Easy on Me. The beats are not much better. Unfortunately Pharrell only produced the title track while Thicke himself co-produced over half of the other tracks. Dr. Luke produced the worst track on the album Give it 2 U which sounded like a LMFAO castoff that Thick tried to imagine.

The album is so derivative, there are times where I actually thought I was listening to a new Justin Timberlake song (most notably Ooo La La), and that is not meant to be a compliment. The best track on the album is one of the few non-dance songs and is not even a baby-making song. The Good Life is a mid-tempo driving with the windows on a summer evening kind of song. Almost modern do-wop but not too much where it sounds like he is stealing Bruno Mars soun. The album would have been much better if there were more songs like this and fewer songs that were completely derivative of significantly better songs.

Song to Download – The Good Life

Blurred Lines gets a Terror Alert Level: Guarded [BLUE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

I Don’t Want to Fight but I’ll Fight For You if I Have To

What exactly is going on with The Civil Wars? The release the best debut album of the decade so far, start winning Grammy’s with Taylor Swift, then out of nowhere while on tour in Europe, they canceled the remainder of that tour and went on hiatus due to “internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition.” What!?! Despite the discord they managed to record another album (or two if you count the predominately instrumental soundtrack to A Place at the Table with T-Bone Burnett). The discord continued with the lack of promotion of the album which so far has only involved two interviews by Joy Williams and a music video which is just a bare bones behind the scenes recording the song. The other half of the duo, John Paul White, has yet to say anything on the album or pretty much everything since the dilution of the tour last year.

In the interviews, Joy continually says that if you want to know to the group, just listen to the new album. We got a sneak peak last month when the duo released the first single of the self titled sophomore album The One that Got Away. As in “I wish you were the one that got away.” It actually reminded me of I Got This Friend from the first album with the line “If the right one came along” and The One That Got Away is the dark twisted sequel to I Got This Friend. The One That Got Away is that dark and ominous. Sure most of their debut was very moody, but The One that Got Away made most of Barton Hollow sound like I Want You Back. The Jackson 5 version.

On first listen as the album as a whole, it is hard not to dwell on the “irreconcilable differences of ambition” part of the statement because it is very noticeable who much more of Joy is heard on the album with John Paul relegated to just harmonies on half of the tracks. It is easy to assume that Joy is the more “ambitious” at least in terms of output which is backed up by she is the only one currently doing press.

After the first single the best song on the album is Dust to Dust (which follows the equally troublingly titled Same Old Same Old). The song features the closest thing the group has ever done to a groove, and it is a slow groove that could have become a Middle School slow dance staple if the subject matter was not so depressing. And to emphasize just how darker this album is (aside from the eerie cloud of smoke on the cover) is the choice of cover last time around. As previously mention lat time out, they turned I Want You Back into a ballad. On The Civil Wars, the do opted for Disarm, the one of the angstiest of all the angsty Smashing Pumpkins song which children of the nineties will remember as the song where Billy Corgan screamed over and over again, “I used to be a little boy.” The Civil Wars stripped the song of any angst, and pretty much everything else but an acoustic guitar and turned it into the most haunting song in the short catalogue. Which is saying a lot.

Much like Fleetwood Mac Rumours, the music The Civil Wars made out of internal discord is heartbreakingly awesome (The One That Got Away even features a similar bass breakdown from The Chain). Hopefully much like Fleetwood Mac, The Civil Wars can find a way to continue to make great music together for another decade. Or three.

Song to Download – The One That Got Away

The Civil Wars gets a Terror Alert Level: Severe [RED] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Monday, August 05, 2013

I Want My Music Television: 8/5/13

There have been a couple of videos that have caught my eye lately so I thought I’d give them some love since the death of Musical Television left a void for a forum on the art form. 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.

Picasso Baby – Jay-Z

Last month Jay-Z performed this song for about six hours straight and now we get to see why, he was just rapping it over and over again for people to cut it together for a “performance art film” which apparently is just music video with credits (which thankfully were there otherwise I would not have noticed the legendary Fab 5 Freddy). But seriously, when you spend your time hanging out with the cast of Girls, you have really lost touch with reality.

Wake Me Up - Avicii featuring Aloe Blacc

As far as modern dance music is concerned, the new Avicii song is actually tolerable, but I still wish Aloe Blacc would release an “acoustic” version of the song. Seriously, this song is a ballad; you should not be adding an electronic dance breakdown to it. And the music video is borderline offensive. They completely ripped of the concept for the No Rain music video but replaced the Bee Girl with an impossibly cute girl and her absurdly attractive sister (I am assuming). I am sorry if I do not feel bad for outcasts who look like they stepped right out of an Abercrombie commercial.

Made To Love - John Legend

It looks like John Legend is jumping on the gratuitous nudity trend of 2013 though he does keep all the bits and pieces covered (it I only a matter of time before we get a “director’s cut”). Though it did distract me enough to forget to actually listen to the song. Is there any actually verses in the song or does he just repeat the chorus over and over for four minutes?

Hearts Like Ours – The Naked and Famous

The Naked adn Famous caught my ear two years ago with Young Blood, a song so catchy I informally created the Peter Bjorn and John Award for the Catchiest Indie Pop Song of the Summer (which I made a real thing the next year). The rest of the album was alright, but I wished there was more song that were upbeat like Young Blood and less drowned in synthesizers like the rest of the album. They have a new album In Rolling Waves coming out next month and though the first single is not as catchy as Young Blood, I think I do like it better than pretty much everything on Passive Me, Aggressive You. And the video reminds me of a darker version of the Young Blood video.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 8/4/13

Falling Skies: So Tom was able to figure out who the mole is because someone said something similar to what he remember Lourdes said hours before but did not realize it did not make sense to him when she first said it? I hate when writers continually put these kinds of revelations into scripts. Way too cute, just have someone walk in on Lourdes trying to kill Cochise. The reveal would have been more satisfying and less absurd.
You can download Falling Skies on iTunes.

Ray Donovan: I wonder what exactly Ray’s wife thinks he does for a living. Is she just a she no evil her no evil, blind to the fact who just does not ask as long as there is food on the table. Or the kind that does know deep down, but will not say anything because she has grown accustomed to her lifestyle. Or does she really know, does not care, and is just mad that he may be cheating on her and that is the preverbal line.

Switched at Birth: ASL karaoke: who knew? And I am not sure if I should have laughed at all the cheesy ASL pick up lines that Travis was trying. It should be interesting to watch his date with MaryBeth which I have a feeling may devolve into the episode of The Big Bang Theory where Raj went on a date with the chick who plays Daphne with Howard as the interpreter.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Switched at Birth on iTunes.

Siberia: When the show first appeared I theorized that it would turn out to be a rip off of The Cabin In The Woods, and if that is the case, the Powers that Be sure pumped in the pheromones this episode because there were people hooking up all over the place. I also had to think of another horror movie, Evil Dead, when the Serbian dude found the book. I was screaming at the dude, you do open up creepy books that are hidden. But at least he did not try reading from it. Yet.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Siberia on iTunes.

Pretty Little Liars: Oh Mona, you sneaky devil. But did she fall on the sword to make it up to Hanna for all the A stuff, or does she have a devious master plan that she is not letting on. Either way, she probably could get off, she worked out the self defense claim with Hanna, and worse case scenario, she could just e declared insane again and go back to Bradley, which may very well be her masterplan.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Pretty Little Liars on iTunes.

The Bridge: So not only is the creepy trailer dude not a murderer, he is actually coyote for Mexican prostitutes trying to get up from under the thumb from an evil sex trafficking drug lord(who can easily get a million dollars to Marco to pay for his other stolen property). Oh yeah, and he is so compassionate, he will even help snakes across the street. Alrighty. And it took me about half the episode to realize that was a clean shaven and fully functioning Johnny Crowder as the FBI agent. Considering what happened to him, it may have been better had I not recognized him.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download The Bridge on iTunes.

The Challenge: Rivals II: When I saw the title of this episode was Mortuusequusphobia‬, I got excited because I assumed it would be another spelling challenge this week. Silly me, they would never use a word longer than five letters in the spelling challenge. I guess it is safe to assume that mortuusequusphobia‬ is the fear of ketchup or condiments in general. But as great as the Jemmye mental breakdown was, the Jungle was as equally disappointing. C’mon promo monkeys, you do not hype the most dangerious elimination round ever only not to have one.
You can download The Challenge: Rivals II on iTunes.

The Hero: Patty?!? Seriously America? Apparently the only people who watched (and or voted) besides me bored housewives who thought they were Patty. And Patty winning is probably the best reason why there will not be a second season. If only the casted the inaugural season better.
You can download The Hero on iTunes.