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Can’t we encourage instead of belittle, help instead of deride? Aren’t we all in this together? And shouldn’t all comments be labeled for what they are—opinions—which, along with an asshole, everyone has.

WEAKEND PLANNER IS IN A COMA

We’re Dreaming About Being That Idiot in the Carl’s Jr. Commercial, Saying, “Don’t Bother Us, We’re Eating…Raw Slugs on Fear Factor!"
OY! OUR TRAKIN'S BACK
1.
2006 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony (VH1): To his credit, ace producer/director Joel Gallen didn’t smooth out any of the rough edges, so we get Blondie’s Frankie Infante practically begging Debbie Harry to perform with the group, as she coolly informed him her band was already on-stage, while he muttered, “They’re not the ones being inducted.” And then Rolling Stone’s Jann Wenner stumbling through a reading of the Sex Pistols’ diatribe as to why there weren’t there to collective snickers, though Blondie offered their own take when they closed their set with a snippet from “Anarchy in the U.K.” Otherwise, the only thing missing was most of the inductees, including the late Miles Davis, several members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, including lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, and a performance by Black Sabbath, who were more than glad to cede the spotlight to Metallica, whose James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich inducted the heavy metal legends with witty, reverential speeches before taking the stage for a blistering rendition of “Iron Man.” The opening Wilson Pickett tribute was a hoot, as the humongous Solomon Burke, glued to his large throne, urged everyone else to their feet, with soul singer Leela James and singer-songwriter Marc Broussard paying spirited homage. The Skynyrd set, featuring Kid Rock, launched into a 10-minute “Freebird,” which brought out Kirk Hammett’s Bic, with Hetfield playing air guitar and Ulrich miming the drums. The closing New Orleans tribute, with Elvis Costello, Crescent City legend Allen Toussaint and Robbie Robertson, turned out to be an extended promo for Costello and Toussaint’s upcoming collaborative album, though Buckwheat Zydeco on squeezebox and the colorfully festooned Wild Magnolias brought the festivities to a climax with an extended “Iko Iko.” And while the evening was short of star power, the feeling of honoring musical roots, and torches being passed, was hard to shake, let alone rattle and roll. Of course, as ‘80s bands start to become eligible, the pickings are going to get rather slim, which means it’s time to start honoring those who’ve been overlooked, including heavy metal acts Alice Cooper, Van Halen and Kiss, cult legends like the Stooges, Patti Smith, New York Dolls and Roxy Music, prog-rock bands such as Genesis, Yes and ELP, and pop icons Neil Diamond and Hall & Oates.
Roy Trakin

2. The New Cars: It was rather ironic that manager Allen Kovac took the occasion of the Hall of Fame ceremony to introduce the new lineup, which matches original members Elliott Easton and Greg Hawkes with Todd Rundgren, ex-Utopia bassist Kasim Sulton and sometime Tubes drummer Prairie Prince, and a summer jaunt featuring management stablemates Blondie on their final tour. The announcement seemed to inspire a slew of online playa-hating bloggers, who ridiculed the combination, with several comparing it to one of those old a cappella and soul outfits that tour with one or two original members, billing themselves under their old names. What about groups like Fleetwood Mac, AC/DC, Van Halen, INXS, Alice in Chains, Journey, The Doors, Judas Priest or Motley Crue, all of whom changed lead singers in midstream, with various degrees of success. The HOF ceremony offered its own example in Lynyrd Skynyrd, with kid brother Johnny Van Zant ably filling in, spiritually as well as artistically, for his late brother Ronnie, and that hasn’t seemed to bother anybody. And let me add the disclaimer right now, while I worked on this project for awhile at 10th Street, I have no interest, financial or otherwise, in its success, only the desire to see these musicians, who have become friends, reinvent themselves, continue their careers and care for their families. Before you kvetch, take a listen. With Rundgren as front man replacing the dour, uncommunicative Ric Ocasek, The New Cars are a much better live band than the original, and the new song, “Not Tonight,” is a reasonable facsimile, a chance for Easton and Hawkes, so influential in creating a sound that has been aped by everyone from The Killers and Franz Ferdinand to Panic! at the Disco, Hot Hot Heat, the Strokes and the Bravery, to reclaim their material for old and new fans alike. —RT

3. The Arctic Monkeys, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (Domino): Speaking of the Sex Pistols, and the Clash, for that matter, this might be the best debut by a U.K. band since those halcyon punk-rock daze. While it sounded a bit brittle and thin at first, after seeing the live show, the album opened up like a blooming flower, at once solid and beefy, with hooks galore coming fast and furious underneath the hairpin turns. Lead singer/guitarist Alex Turner is the center of attention, but the rest of the band are no slouches, either. “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor” captures your attention at the outset, but the other tracks begin to kick in big time, including the brilliant, vituperative “Fake Tales of San Francisco,” the emotive “Still Take You Home” and “When the Sun Goes Down,” the biting “Perhaps Vampires is a Bit Strong, But...” and the moving closer, “A Certain Romance.” It may not be Meet the Beatles, but then again, the times are different. One thing’s for sure—these Monkeys should be hanging around for awhile.
RT

4. Art Brut, Bang Bang Rock & Roll (Banana Recordings/Fierce Panda), live at the Troubadour, L.A.: Yet another product of the new British Invasion, this five-piece outfit from the south coastal U.K. town of Bournemouth (home of King Crimson) has the ragged feel of a hastily assembled art project, but the unmistakable commercial clout of catchy songs and a scrappy, dynamic stage presence similar to Bloc Party and The Go! Team. The album starts with the memorable “Formed a Band,” with its line about "writing a song that makes Israel and Palestine get along” and the other songs are equally self-explanatory in a Jonathan Richman sort of way, with the highlights the very Kinks-like “Emily Kane,” the wham bam thank you ma’am title track and “Bad Weekend,” which claims, “Haven’t read the NME in so long, don’t know what genre we belong... Popular culture no longer applies to me.” Floppy-haired lead vocalist Eddie Argos has the same sort of un-rock star appeal as Ray Davies or Richman, and the band even pays tribute to its influences by interpolating “You Really Got Me” into their closing number, the bookend, “Good Weekend.” Add in a superb rhythm section in female bassist Freddy Feedback and stand-up drummer Mikey B, and two complementary guitarists in the nimble leads of Ian Catskilkin and the slashing rhythm of spread-eagled beanpole Jasper Future, and you have a formula for the kind of dance-rock that brings to mind other groundbreakers such as Gang of Four and The Fall. The album title says it all. —RT

5. Big Love (HBO): Like Six Feet Under, this series from creators Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer offers an unorthodox view of heterosexual family life from a gay perspective, in this case, focusing on a polygamous Mormon family living in Utah in a three-house compound headed by patriarch Bill Paxton, with Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloe Sevigny and Ginnifer Goodwin as the rotating concubines. Even though an end credit claims there are anywhere from 20,000-40,000 families living in this sort of arrangement in Utah and Northern Arizona, it’s hard to believe they’d be this upscale, as the logistics of satisfying the unending demands of three families drives Paxton to continuously gulp Viagra to "keep up" with his husbandly duties. The three wives are wonderful, especially the child-like Goodwin, who played Johnny Cash’s first wife Vivian in Walk the Line, and the sex is both more erotic and explicit than anything you’ll see in a theatrical feature. Paxton’s modern family is juxtaposed with the more traditional, backward one he left behind, including the marvelous Harry Dean Stanton as the sinister polygamy cult leader (complete with a new teenage wife) and father to Sevigny along with Bruce Dern and Twin Peaks’ marvelously loopy Grace Zabriskie as his rather addled parents. The effects of the arrangement on their teenage children is also pretty telling, as they struggle to reconcile their family’s strange beliefs with growing up in the outside world of fast-food restaurants, drive-in movies and sleepovers. The premise may be weird, but again, like Six Feet Under, the family dynamic remains the constant, as Father Knows Best turns into Father Has To Satisfy Three Wives. Don’t quite know where this one is going, but I will be TiVo’ing it for now. —RT

6. Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride: Not quite as groundbreaking as The Nightmare Before Christmas, Burton’s Oscar-nominated animated feature is a retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth, with Johnny Depp’s lead Scissorhands-like Victor inadvertently proposing to the skeletal remains of the title character (voiced by Burton’s significant other Helena Bonham-Carter) on the eve of his arranged marriage to the lovely Victoria (Emily Watson). There’s plenty of rattling skeleton bones and popping eyeballs, as well as a squiggly maggot with the voice of Peter Lorre who lives in the Corpse Bride’s eye socket. It’s all very Beetlejuice, but there’s always some kinetic piece of eye candy going on to keep you engaged. Unfortunately, frequent collaborator Danny Elfman’s songs aren’t his strongest, which hurts the film’s momentum. But when you step back and realize the plot is based on a man attracted to a dead woman, the subversive quality of Burton’s vision becomes that much clearer. —RT

7. The Sopranos, “Join the Club” (HBO): After getting off to a rousing start, David Chase turns all arty in episode two, with a strange, elongated Tony-in-a-coma dream sequence introducing an alternative reality in which the powerful Mob boss is a mild-mannered medical supply salesman who even gets slapped around by a Zen Buddhist monk, giving James Gandolfini a chance to explore other sides of his larger-than-life character. The interlude also enables Edie Falco to put on a sure-to-be-Emmy-nominated performance as she frantically hovers, sans make-up, over a heavily breathing Tony, while heir apparent son Robert Iler grows nastier and more rebellious, mirroring his father’s bull-in-a-china-shop persona and grasping materialism, proving the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Of course, the absence of Tony will set the wheels in motion for a power struggle that promises to close out the season with a Shakespearian bloodbath. —RT

8. World Baseball Classic: For all you disgruntled USA baseball fans scratching your heads about how we’re losing ground in another sport we invented, don’t be surprised. After all, when Japan pummeled Cuba 10-6 to win the whole thing, long after the U.S. team was eliminated, it took place in the very same week General Motors announced it was offering 35,000 employees early retirement in an attempt to stave off its own collapse. Where once we reigned supreme in car manufacturing and baseball, the Japanese have taken over by producing efficient, long-lasting vehicles, just as their stoic manager, the great Sadaharu Oh, and his expertly coached team turned an almost robot-like commitment to the sport’s fundamentals to whip us at our own game. —RT

9. Gripe of the Week: The record business is hard enough without people standing on the sidelines hoping for the participants to fall on their faces. I’m tired of the bloggers and so-called pundits, the Monday morning quarterbacks who wouldn’t know how to break a record with a hammer—and you know who you are—making their snarky comments and huffy predictions, often without the benefit of facts or knowledge of how something actually comes together. Can’t we encourage instead of belittle, help instead of deride? Aren’t we all in this together? And shouldn’t all comments be labeled for what they are—opinions—which, along with an asshole, everyone has. Guess some people just aren’t team players, especially in this business, where your own success isn’t anywhere near as satisfying as someone else’s failure. —RT

10. The Big Show: I was about 10 minutes behind real time watching the Gonzaga-UCLA clash of the West Coast titans last night, with the Bruins having cut six points off a 17-point deficit when I got a call from my UCLA alumnus pal. When I told him where I was in the game, he thoughtfully hung up, but the call did arouse my suspicion that something unexpected might transpire before the game clock hit 00:00. Earlier in the evening, LSU had pulled off a stunning upset of tourney favorite Duke, and just a few minutes previously, CBS had cut away to show the thrilling finish of the Texas-West Virginia game, which the Mountaineers had tied up on a three-pointer with five seconds left, but the overtime Kevin Pittsnogle 's clutch trey had seemed to force evaporated when the Longhorns hit a three at the buzzer. As it turned out, UCLA’s logic-defying win was even more dramatic, topped off by unforgettable shots of the Zags’ great Adam Morrison face down on the court, his body heaving with sobs, with UCLA's Arron Afflalo bending down to comfort his distraught rival. If you’d scoffed at Billy Packer and Beano Cook when they proclaim that the NCAA Basketball Tournament is the greatest event in all of American sports, this Thursday night spectacular was enough to turn you into a believer. Wow.
—Bud Scoppa 

CALENDAR
Friday, Mar 24th
4:10pm
Villanova vs. Boston College (CBS): This game is going to be a war.

4:27pm
Wichita St. vs. George Mason. Who would have thought these two teams would have made it this far? This is what we love about the NCAA Tourney!!!

6:40pm
Florida vs. Georgetown (CBS): This is one of those sleeper games, where on paper it looks like a good matchup but not like Villanova against Boston College. Nonetheless, I’m betting this game will go down to the final seconds. The match-up to watch is the Hoyas 7-2 sophomore center Joe Hibbert against the GatorsJoakim Noah.

6:57pm
UConn vs. Washington (CBS): It’s Huskies vs. Huskies in a game that will feature a bunch of players who will be playing in the NBA soon, if not next season. Will Washington’s amazing run come to an end?

7:00pm
The Horrorpops w/ The Aggrolites @ House of Blues on Sunset

9:00pm
Guster @ The Roxy

Damone @ The Whisky

Saturday, Mar 25th
12:30pm
Wizards vs. Clippers @ Staples Center: An afternoon affair, as the Clippers wind down the regular season and look to gear up for the playoffs. Come cheer on the home team, or watch the game on

7:25pm
A Sounds Eclectic Evening 2006 @ Gibson Amphitheatre: KCRW has launched its Sounds Eclectic benefit in order to continue furnishing SoCal with quality music not found on the city's Top 40 stations. And, as always, the charitable concert—whose proceeds go towards supporting KCRW's broadcasting services—pulls in some serious heavyweights. This year, indie darlings Death Cab for Cutie come to KCRW's aid, as well as folk-rock superstar Ben Harper and Zero 7 songstress Sia. Don’t we write purdy?

8:00pm
Coldplay @ Continental Airlines Arena, Meradowlands, NJ

The Sounds w/ Morningwood @ Majestic Ventura Theatre, Ventura

Sunday, Mar 19th
8:00pm
UB40 w/ Elan - House of Blues, Downtown Disney, Anaheim

9:00pm
New Family Guy on Fox.

 JE-C’S NEW-MOVIE RUNDOWN
Inside Man
Starring: Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Christopher Plummer
Synopsis:
NYPD hostage negotiators Detective Keith Frazier and Bill Mitchell are dispatched to a bank heist perpetrated by Dalton Russell. But the canny crook has a meticulous plan to disorient both the cops and his hostages. Soon, Frazier begins to think that Russell isn't working alone, suspicions that aren't eased by the appearance of Madeline White, a mysterious power broker who wants a private meeting with the thief. The bank's director is inside the building, and it's possible he's not on the up-and-up either. With lives at stake and a crowd of curious New Yorkers outside, Frazier can't afford to make one wrong move.
Thoughts: This movie has a great cast, an awesome director, and a pretty intriguing plot, lets hope the movie doesn’t disappoint.

 

REPUBLIC UPS GOLDSTEIN, ROPPO TO CO-PRESIDENTS
Team Lipman doubles up. (11/26a)
CHART FINAL:
THE BIGGEST BOW
OF THE YEAR
Big numbers for "30." (11/29a)
COUNTRY GRAMMYS' ROOTS ARE SHOWING
Deck the Grammys with boughs of Holly. (11/24a)
THE BRITISH
ARE COMING
Rolling out our U.K. Special print issue (11/24a)
PUTTING THE POP
IN POPCORN
Putting the audio into audio-visual. (11/29a)
TURKEY
Basting.
STUFFING
Stuffing.
YAMS
Candying.
PUMPKIN PIE
Stuffing (in face).
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