Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Completely Conspicuous 356: Down for the Count


Part 2 of my conversation with guest Jay Breitling as we discuss the year in music. Listen to the episode below or download directly (right click and "save as").



Show notes:
- Recorded at Clicky Clicky World HQ
- Dog talk
- Honorable mentions
- JK: New Pornographers, Spoon are consistently excellent
- Bob Mould, Stephen Malkmus, War on Drugs
- Mark Kozelek is having fun trolling everybody
- Good EPs from Krill and Speedy Ortiz
- Run the Jewels released another good album
- Ryan Adams released a rockin' singles series EP
- JB: High grades for Nai Harvest, White Laces, Nothing, Wrong Shapes, Sneeze, Burning Alms, Cymbals Eat Guitars, Room Runner
- JK: Check out the free Exploding in Sound sampler on Bandcamp
- JB: New Two Inch Astronaut album is great
- JB's #10
- Radiator Hospital has been prolific and good
- JK's #10
- Hallelujah the Hills with a quality release
- JB's #9 and JK's #7
- The first Soccer Mom album is also their last
- JK's #9
- Unlikely release from Gord Downie and the Sadies
- JB's #8
- Literature is yet another good band on Slumberland
- Spotify usage habits
- JK's #8
- Comeback album for Death From Above 1979 has tons of great riffs
- JB's #7
- Ava Luna brings interesting approach to funk and punk
- JB's #6
- She Sir's latest was years in the making
- JK's #6
- Mary Timony's latest project harks back to '70s NYC punk scene
- Next week: Our top 5 albums

Music:
Hallelujah the Hills - Pick Up an Old Phone
Soccer Mom - Orejas
Ex Hex - Don't Wanna Lose

Completely Conspicuous is available through the iTunes podcast directory. Subscribe and write a review!

The Hallelujah the Hills song is on the album Have You Ever Done Something Evil? on Discrete Pageantry. Download the song for free from Stereogum.
The Soccer Mom song is on the band's self-titled album on 100m Records. Download the song for free from Soundcloud.
The Ex Hex song is on the album Rips on Merge Records. Download the song and album for free at KEXP.
The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Find out more about Senor Breitling at his fine music blog Clicky Clicky. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Completely Conspicuous 355: Peace Sells...But Who's Buying?


Part 1 of my conversation with guest Jay Breitling as we discuss the year in music. Listen to the episode below or download directly (right click and "save as").


Show notes:
- Recorded at Clicky Clicky World HQ
- Still searching for a beer sponsor
- An annual tradition
- JB: Post-device lifestyle
- Streaming options abound
- JK: Still use the iTunes player
- Nobody's buying music anymore
- Vinyl found a niche with hipsters/indie rock fans
- Another big year for pop
- Taylor Swift had the only platinum album of 2014
- The spirit of radio is on the ropes
- More music out there than ever
Noise for Toys benefit at Great Scott, 12/16
- Missed the Replacements show in Boston
- JK: Saw lots of good live shows in 2014
- Parquet Courts, Protomartyr, Ty Segall, Sloan, GBV, Afghan Whigs, Caspian
- JB: Hoping for a Ride show in Boston next year
- Next week: Our favorite music of the year

Music:
Bob Mould - Hey Mr. Grey
Dum Dum Girls - Under These Hands
Radiator Hospital - Five & Dime

Completely Conspicuous is available through the iTunes podcast directory. Subscribe and write a review!

The Bob Mould song is on the album Beauty & Ruin on Merge Records. Download the song for free from KEXP.
The Dum Dum Girls song is on the album Too True on Sub Pop. Download the song for free from Soundcloud.
The Radiator Hospital song is on the album Torch Song. Download the song and album for free at Bandcamp.
The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Find out more about Senor Breitling at his fine music blog Clicky Clicky. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Senses Working Overtime: Go

Editor's note: Senses Working Overtime is an occasional series (VERY occasional; there's only been one other entry and that was three years ago) in which I recap movies that didn't get (or warrant) much attention when they came out.

Go (1999)

For some strange reason, 1999 has been resonating with me lately. Part of it is I've been binge-listening to the podcast Serial, which is produced by This American Life and in which host Sarah Koenig digs into the case of a 1999 Baltimore murder. It's garnered a ton of press and I finally checked it out this week; Deb and I both cranked through all 10 episodes in a few days. Anyhoo, it's focused a lot obviously on 1999 and what was happening then around this case.


Coincidentally, just a few days before I started listening to Serial, I watched the movie Go, which I saw not long after it came out in, yes, 1999. That was back when I used to see a fair amount of movies in the theater, but I'm pretty sure I saw it at home, either on HBO or as a rental. It was the third film by director Doug Liman, who had scored big a few years earlier with Swingers. I remember really enjoying it at the time, so when there was a free preview of Starz a few weekends back and I saw they were showing Go in the middle of the night, I recorded it.


Watching it again 15 years later, I was amazed at how much I'd forgotten about the basic plot. Coming out in the late '90s, there were plenty of Tarantino comparisons, especially given the fact that the story revolves around a drug deal from the viewpoints of three different characters in three sections. But unlike a lot of the QT ripoffs of the time, Go manages to establish its own identity. A big part of that is the strong cast: Sarah Polley, Scott Wolf, Jay Mohr, William Fichtner, Taye Diggs, Katie Holmes, Timothy Olyphant, Desmond Askew.

Although it's a crime thriller in some respects, Go never gets too serious, which I suppose was another reason for folks to write it off as Pulp Fiction Lite. And like Pulp Fiction (and Reservoir Dogs and Jackie Brown), the movie has some edge-of-the-seat moments and some hilarious ones. Polley is ostensibly the main character, and indeed I read that screenwriter John August originally wrote a short about her character Ronna but then expanded the story after getting questions about the other characters.

It's a funny, fast-moving flick that was pretty edgy by 1999 standards, anyway, what with all the kids taking the drugs and partying and the like. Of course, being of its time, there are bound to be some dated elements. The film's characters are all excited about one of those crazy rave party things, where everybody's stoned on whatever they could get and dancing with glow sticks and whatnot. I honestly don't know how much of that was cliche by that point; certainly raves had been happening for quite some time. There's a lot of pager use in the film, since cell phones were still rather large and not in widespread use in 1998, when this was likely made. And of course, the soundtrack is full of songs from late '90s alt-rock stalwarts like Len, No Doubt, Eagle Eye Cherry, Fatboy Slim and Natalie Imbruglia. At the time, it probably seemed like they'd lined up some heavy hitters.

It's interesting to consider what happened to the various actors in the film, who were all fairly young. Polley has gone on to a successful career as an indie director, Olyphant went on to star in two of the best TV series ever in Deadwood and Justified and Fichtner and Diggs have worked steadily in both movies and TV. Mohr seemed to be on his way to stardom in '99, having had a stint on SNL and then choice roles in decent movies like Jerry Maguire and this one, but it hasn't quite worked out that way. He still shows up from time to time and has a fairly successful podcast. Holmes was known at the time from her role on Dawson's Creek and made several movies over the next decade, but her biggest move was marrying Tom Cruise and becoming a tabloid spectacle. She divorced Cruise in 2012 and is still trying to rebuild her career. Wolf similarly was a TV star on Party of Five and had hoped to parlay Go into film roles, but it never really happened; he's still a busy TV actor. And Askew, who was good in Go, hasn't done much, at least Stateside anyway. And the film also featured minor cameos from Jane Krakowski and Melissa McCarthy, who would both become more prominent (especially McCarthy) years later.

Go was moderately successful, pulling in $28 million domestically on a budget of $6.5 million. Not a big hit by any stretch, but it made money. And it definitely still holds up as a time capsule from 1999.

Stuck In Thee Garage #60: December 5, 2014

I like to count...and so do musicians, judging by the crazy amount of songs with numbers in the title. This week's Stuck In Thee Garage features an hour of number songs, although none by this guy:



The numerically awesome playlist:

Hour 1
Artist - Song/Album
The Sheila Divine - Watch Out for Us/single
Greylag - Yours to Shake/Greylag
Meatbodies - Mountain/Meatbodies
Interpol - What is What/El Pintor B-side
Dream Police - Hypnotized/Hypnotized
Ex Hex - War Paint/Rips
The Kinks - Where Have All the Good Times Gone/The Kink Kontroversy
Obits - Two-Headed Coin/I Blame You
Les Savy Fav - The Year Before the Year 2000/Let's Stay Friends
The Amps - I Am Decided/Pacer
King Khan - Shivers Down My Spine/Three Hairs and You're Mine
Mind Spiders - World's Destroyed/Mind Spiders
Jane's Addiction - Ain't No Right/Ritual de lo Habitual
The Hellacopters - Throw Away Heroes/High Visibility
Black Sabbath - Killing Yourself to Live/California Jam 1974

Hour 2: Numbers
Mission of Burma - 1, 2, 3, Partyy!/The Sound, The Speed, The Light
Robert Plant - Burning Down One Side/Pictures at Eleven
Husker Du - Could You Be the One?/Warehouse: Songs and Stories
Spoon - The Two Sides of Monsieur Valentine/Gimme Fiction
The Lemonheads - Rule of Three/The Lemonheads
The Gentlemen - Three-Minute Marriage Proposal/Brass City Band
Okkervil River - The Next Four Months/Black Sheep Boy
The Raconteurs - Five on the Five/Consolers of the Lonely
The Jameses - Fifth Dimenson/Caribou
Big Black - Deep Six/The Hammer Party
The Cure - Six Different Ways/The Head on the Door
The Clash - The Magnificent Seven/Sandinista!
David Bowie - Eight Line Poem/Hunky Dory
The Twilight Singers - Number Nine/Blackberry Belle
Julie Ocean - Ten Lonely Words/Long Gone and Nearly There
Big Star - Thirteen/#1 Record
The Dirtbombs - 21st Century Fox/Dangerous Magical Noise




Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Completely Conspicuous 354: Rage in the Cage


Part 3 of my conversation with guest Matt Phillion as we discuss media-driven hysteria. Listen to the episode below or download directly (right click and "save as").


Show notes:
- Check out Matt's new book, The Indestructibles: Breakout
- What's the next big media story?
- Charlie keeps butting in
- It's amazing what gets people upset
- Reality TV plays into outrage culture
- Internet comments reach new depths
- Easy to be cynical about politics
- Would you ever run for office?
- Vote Beelzebub
- We were inundated with New Hampshire political ads for two months
- The importance of reading cue cards on SNL
- Chris Rock caught some heat for telling jokes about Boston Marathon
- Post 9-11, humor became a touchy subject
- Everybody's waiting to be offended
- Know your audience, like the Duck Dynasty guys
- The risk of alienating your audience
- We never really fix anything

Music:
The Sheila Divine - Watch Out for Us
Meatbodies - Mountain
Interpol - What is What

Completely Conspicuous is available through the iTunes podcast directory. Subscribe and write a review!

The Sheila Divine song is available for free download at Bandcamp.

The Meatbodies song is on the album Meatbodies on In the Red Recordings. Download the song for free at KEXP.
The Interpol song is a B-side from the album El Pintor on Matador Records. Download the song for free by entering the words "Everything is Wrong" on the band's website.

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Find out more about Senor Breitling at his fine music blog Clicky Clicky. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Stuck In Thee Garage #59: November 28, 2014

We're all a little lethargic today, in that post-Thanksgiving haze. But this installment of Stuck In Thee Garage radio hopes to wake you up a little with two hours of kickass rock music, including an hour of songs about family. Just a little music to enjoy while you're digging into a turkey leg.


The leftover playlist:

Hour 1
Artist - Song/Album
King Tuff - Eyes of the Muse/Black Moon Spell
Thee Oh Sees - Savage Victory/Drop
TV On the Radio - Careful You/Seeds
The Both - The Gambler/The Both
The Black Lips -  Body Combat/200 Million Thousand
Ty Segall and Mikal Cronin - Drop Dead Baby/Reverse Shark Attack
Mikal Cronin - Green and Blue/Mikal Cronin
Sebadoh - Inquiries/Defend Yourself
Redd Kross - Choose to Play/Researching the Blues
Cymbals Eat Guitars - Keep Me Waiting/Lenses Alien
Purling Hiss - Lolita/Water on Mars
Low Fat Getting High - Can't See Anymore/Low Fat Getting High
The Black Black - The Plan Is...There Is No Plan/Boogie Nights
The Amputees - Ted/Amputees
The English Beat - Save It For Later/Special Beat Service
The Police - Miss Gradenko/Synchronicity
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - Wings Off Flies/From Her to Eternity

Hour 2: Songs about family
The Beach Boys - Child is Father of the Man/The Smile Sessions
Cheap Trick - Daddy Should Have Stayed in High School/Cheap Trick
Elvis Costello - Daddy Can I Turn This?/When I Was Cruel
PJ Harvey - Down By the Water/To Bring You My Love
Danzig - Mother/Danzig
The Upper Crust - Tell Mother I'm Home/The Decline and Fall of The Upper Crust
Buffalo Tom - The Kids Just Sleep/Skins
Gang of Four - I Will Be a Good Boy/Songs for the Free
Jarvis Cocker - Fat Children/Jarvis
War - Me and Baby Brother/Deliver the Word
Urge Overkill - Sister Havana/Saturation
Alice in Chains - Brother/Sap
Elliott Smith - Christian Brothers/Elliott Smith
Frank Black and Teenage Fanclub - Sister Isabel/The John Peel Session
Beastie Boys - The Cousin of Death/The Mix-Up
Guided by Voices - Uncle Dave/Learning to Hunt
Van Halen - One Foot Out the Door/Fair Warning






Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Completely Conspicuous 353: The Fake Headlines

Part 2 of my conversation with guest Matt Phillion as we discuss media-driven hysteria. Listen to the episode below or download directly (right click and "save as").



Show notes:
- Check out Matt's new book, The Indestructibles: Breakout
- Reading newspapers was once a thing
- Boston was a strong two newspaper town
- The Herald used to delight in tweaking the Globe
- Election ads go for the blue collar vote
- "Like hugging a Chicken McNugget"
- When your new boss is an uninspirational leader
- Matt: The end user is the product
- Pop-up ads are the worst
- People don't want to hear bad news
- It's entirely possible to avoid anything you disagree with
- Nobody wants to find middle ground
- News networks try to ratchet up the hysteria
- Fragmented workplaces
- Friends who aren't on social media are easily forgotten
- Jay: I don't talk to anyone on the phone anymore
-Another Charlie interruption
- To be continued

Music:
King Tuff - Eyes of the Muse
Greylag - Yours to Shake
Dream Police - Hypnotized

Completely Conspicuous is available through the iTunes podcast directory. Subscribe and write a review!

The King Tuff song is on the album Black Moon Spell on Sub Pop. Download the song for free at KEXP.
The Greylag song is on the album Greylag on Dead Oceans. Download the song for free at KEXP.
The Dream Police song is on the album Hypnotized on Sacred Bones Records. Download the song for free at KEXP.

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Find out more about Senor Breitling at his fine music blog Clicky Clicky. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Trust Fund Challenge #7: Satan's School for Girls (1973)

The latest installment of Trust Fund Challenge finds Ric and I tackling a classic old TV horror flick produced by none other than Aaron Spelling, Satan's School for Girls. This 1973 ABC movie of the week featured two future Charlie's Angels, Kate Jackson and a very young Cheryl Stoppelmoor (aka Cheryl Ladd), as well Roy Thinnes, Lloyd Bochner and Pamela Franklin. The film definitely influenced other, more well-known movies and even inspired a "modern" update in 2000 starring Shannen Doherty. Settle in and grab a gigantic glass of wine...