Month: January 2009

Album reviews: Unpacking the Trailer… & Gravity and Air

Album reviews: Unpacking the Trailer… & Gravity and Air

Music
It's certainly too early to predict whether or not 2009 will best last year in terms of quality musical output, but a pair of new releases from the fledgling New Amsterdam label already has it off to an interesting start.  The imprint, which opened its doors in January 2008, has become a showcase of sorts for a diverse group of artists based in the greater New York City area. The first of these acts with a new release is QQQ, a modern chamber quartet made up of two husband-and-wife teams (Dan Trueman on Hardanger fiddle, Monica Mugan on classical guitar, Beth Meyers on viola, and Jason Treuting on percussion). When I gave a spin to the group's debut album, Unpacking the Trailer..., the first comparison I thought of was with Build, another New Amsterdam act.  QQQ's style of music is a
Album cover of the week: The Who Sell Out

Album cover of the week: The Who Sell Out

Album Cover of the Week
I'd wager that if you ask most casual Who fans what their favorite albums by the group are, and they'd probably say Tommy, Who's Next and maybe Live at Leeds.  All fine choices, of course, but before any of those were even released there was my favorite - 1967's The Who Sell Out.  It was Pete Townshend's first crack at a concept album, although this is more of a theme album actually.  The premise is that the entire album (complete with radio jingles) is actually a broadcast from the pirate station Radio London. It's the commercials, not the songs, from which the design for The Who Sell Out is inspired.  And it is inspired. That's Townshend and Roger Daltrey on the front, pitching Odorono and Heinz Baked Beans respectively.  Honestly the image of Daltrey sitting in a tub of beans
English manglage: Spit take

English manglage: Spit take

Blogstuff
I can only imagine that the only thing worse than being hit in the eyes by the venom of a spitting cobra would be being hit in the eyes by the venom of a spitting cobra and then having to try to edit an article about said cobra.  That's the only explanation I can think of for the gaffes in this recent article from Yahoo!  (courtesy LiveScience.com): Man that's gotta suck.  Not only does the cobra nail you with some venom but it shouts at you too.  "HAVE A FACEFUL OF THIS, JERKOFF!!!#!@  WOOO!$!!@#"
Retrotisement – Peter Gabriel III

Retrotisement – Peter Gabriel III

Advertising, Retrotisements
Tucked away on a bootleg Genesis concert recording from 1980 is this little gem I want to share with you.  The concert was aired on BBC Radio in June 1980 and this commercial is for former bandmate Peter Gabriel's third self-titled album - retroactively referred to as Peter Gabriel III or Melt.  The record was Gabriel's strangest and darkest effort to date, and this radio ad brilliantly plays that up.  It intersperses song clips with snippets of people talking about how they use the music to scare pigeons or to put their baby to sleep. God I love British humor.  Sorry, humour. As a bonus I've included the rest of the commercial break.  In it you get ads for a rental Ford Fiesta, a concert (featuring Bob Marley & The Wailers, Average White Band, Q-Tips, and the Joe Jackson Band),
Tube talk: Lie to Me

Tube talk: Lie to Me

TV & Radio
I'm tired of always being Johnny-come-lately when it comes to hip new shows.  So when I saw the previews for Fox's newest drama, Lie to Me, a few weeks ago I thought it looked like a good chance to get on the ground floor of something decent.  Having watched the pilot episode I think I may have found something worth following, which means it will probably be canceled by February.  That's not to say I was blown away by it, but I'm intrigued enough to set a series recording on my DVR, so that's gotta be worth something. Here's the gist of Lie to Me: It stars Tim Roth as Dr. Cal Lightman, a freelance expert in the practice of detecting deception (the character is based on real-life deception expert Paul Ekman).  He was formerly employed by Uncle Sam, but now runs the for-profit Lightman Gr
Album cover of the week: Surf’s Up

Album cover of the week: Surf’s Up

Album Cover of the Week
Surf's Up?  Isn't that a Beach Boys album?  Well sure, it's the middle of January and as I look out my window there is snow on the ground.  But as far as I'm concerned any time of year is a good time to talk about the lads from Hawthorne, California. By the time of this album's release in August 1971, the salad days of the Beach Boys seemed like a distant memory.  Brian Wilson, the main creative force behind the group since its founding 10 years prior, had fallen deeper into into drug use and depression.  Younger brother Carl has assumed his place of prominence within the Beach Boys. After releasing a series of commercially disappointing records (including the excellent Sunflower in 1970) the Beach Boys hired DJ Jack Rieley as their new manager.  Rieley set about to reverse the band'
GFS on Facebook

GFS on Facebook

Blogstuff, Internet
I believe the technical term for someone like me is "late adopter."  I was slow to warm up to the iPod, but I now view it as one of the greatest things since the miniskirt.  And I was never real big on the whole social networking internet thing.  All that has changed, as I've spent the last several months hip-deep in LiveJournal and now Facebook. And now I've reached the logical conclusion of all this, and that's mingling the two worlds - so today I started the Man in the Gray Flannel Suit Facebook fan page.  It's an extension of this site and a good place to find other Facebook friends with similarly great taste in websites.  So if you're on Facebook stop by and declare your fanhood! Hopefully the page will thrive on Facebook, and seeing as it contains no nipples yet it should....
The apocalypse will be televised: 6 visions of the future in music videos

The apocalypse will be televised: 6 visions of the future in music videos

Music, TV & Radio
Since time immemorial, mankind has approached the future with a mixture of wonder and fear.  From primitive days to Biblical times, and even in our modern, sophisticated age we have imagined ourselves either ascending to the pinnacle of enlightenment and peace or descending into a living hell on earth. Somewhere in between those two extremes lie the visions of the future shown in music videos.  These glimpses into our possible futures show us what most likely lies in store for us - a world that is bleak and hopeless, but still has a pretty kickass soundtrack. Kiss - "All Hell's Breakin' Loose" The scenario: This is pretty much your stock "post-apocalyptic rock world" video as you'll soon see.  Dirty streets, lots of fire, and desperate women in tattered clothes are all in abundance he