The Brothers of the Head soundtrack contains the legendary nine tracks recorded by The Bang Bang for their aborted first album, the music artfully produced by Clive Langer to sound like the missing link between glam and the Sex Pistols. And that it is.


Formulated With SPF 30 So That Your Laptop Won’t Burn and You’ll Miss Little Sunshine
1. Thom Yorke, The Eraser (XL Recordings):
Sounds like the Radiohead leader has had his fill of major labels, crooning in falsetto over his patented plinking piano. “Are you only being nice because you want something?” he asks sardonically in the title track. “The more I try to erase you/The more that you appear.” If Yorke is trying to scare record companies away with his largely electronic cum techno solo exercise, he just may elicit the reverse, just like his famous band did with their stylistic left-hand turn. “There’s no time/To analyse/To think things through/To make sense,” he muses in “Analyse,” which sounds like it could’ve come from the kitschy future shock of Bowie’s Low or Gary Numan’s Tubeway Army. The “Clock” is ticking in the song of the same name to a metronome tribal trip-hop beat, while “Black Swan” is yet one more drum machine and organ tribute to the bleak vision of Suicide (“I made it to the top, made it to the top/This is fucked up, fucked up”). “Skip Divide” mocks our indulgence (“You are a fool/for sticking around”) and “Atoms for Peace” takes its name from an Eisenhower speech in the early ’50s about employing nuclear power for peace, with an acid-rock narrative in which Yorke tries to talk someone down from a bad trip. Lest you think it’s a solo effort, “And It Rained All Night” could’ve come off a Radiohead album, an urgent cry that essentially states the disc’s theme: “So I give in to the rhythm/The click click clack/I’m too wasted to fight back.” Yorke’s paranoia is given free reign in “Harrowdown Hill” as he whines, “I can’t take the pressure/No one cares if you live or die,” then follows with a potent negotiation point to his phantom suitors: “We think the same things at the same time/We just can’t do anything about it.” By the time, he orders, “No more conversation/You should took me out when you had the chance” in the closing “Cymbal Rush,” Yorke makes his intention pretty clear. When it comes to the band’s next record deal, he’s in the driver’s seat.
Roy Trakin

2. Little Miss Sunshine (Fox Searchlight): This indie fave—which set a Sundance record when it received a $10 million advance from Fox for distribution—is actually closer in spirit to classic Hollywood comedies like the Depression-era Capra-directed Kaufman/Hart farce, You Can’t Take It With You. Although it obviously has a kinship with dysfunctional family-on-the-road spoofs from National Lampoon’s Vacation and David O. Russell’s Flirting with Disaster to the recent RV, the feature debut from music video directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris gets its satiric edge from how it fearlessly tweaks America’s win-at-any-cost mentality. The film’s focal point is the hapless Hoovers, subjected to dad Greg Kinnear’s eyebrow-raising “9 Steps to Success,” which he doggedly tries to hawk as the proverbial roof caves in on his beleaguered middle-class strivers. It's up to his indefatigable wife Toni Collette to keep things together, while grandfather Alan Arkin is busy snorting heroin and chewing scenery and the wonderfully deadpan Steve Carell is a defrocked gay college prof recovering from a suicide attempt after learning he’s lost his lover to a rival Proust scholar. The real heroes of the movie, though, are the two kids, with a star-making turn by young Abigail Breslin as Olive, a precocious 10-year-old whose unlikely journey to the titular beauty contest in Redondo Beach leads the family into their rickety Volkswagen van, which becomes the metaphor for trying to catch up to a materialistic society that’s leaving all of us standing on the side of the road. Paul Dano’s sullen, Nietzsche-loving brother, who takes a vow of silence until he is accepted by the Air Force Academy to become a jet pilot, only to learn he’s color-blind and doesn’t qualify, is another rich example of how blood is thicker than anger. Dayton and Faris wrench laughs and tears in the same instant, especially the right-out-of Napoleon Dynamite denouement, which is a lot more traditional than the film’s independent pedigree would have you believe. Without having seen Talladega Nights yet, this is the best, most winsome American comedy of the year so far. —RT

3. Brothers of the Head: Music from the Motion Picture (Milan): The best fictional band of the year isn’t VH1’s Supergroup Damnocracy or CBS Rock Star’s Supernova, but The Bang Bang, the mythic group formed by a pair of conjoined Siamese twins for Keith Fulton and Lou Pepe’s masterful faux rock doc. The soundtrack contains the legendary nine tracks recorded by the band for their aborted first album, the music artfully produced by Clive Langer of Madness, Elvis Costello and Lloyd Cole fame—who also played in the mid-’70s pre-punk band Deaf School—to sound like the missing link between glam and the Sex Pistols. And that it is, from “Two Way Romeo,” the song that gave its name to Ken Russell’s fake biopic about the group, to “Doola and Dawla,” a Langer/Pete Shelley composition that admits to copping a lick from Magazine’s “Shot From Both Sides,” though the liner notes incorrectly suggest the ex-Buzzcock was actually in the Howard Devoto-fronted spin-off. Songs like “Sitting in a Car” cite Jonathan Richman’s “Roadrunner” as inspiration, while “I Am A Sock” quotes both Dylan (“On my own/No direction home”) and Johnny Rotten (“No future”) with rockcrit aplomb. Twin brothers Luke and Harry Treadaway are mesmerizing as The Bang Bang’s singer Barry and guitarist Tom Howe, respectively, a more charismatic version of Jesus & Mary Chain’s Jim and William Reid. Their performances here might make them movie stars, but they could just as easily “double” as rock idols. —RT

4. Michael Des Barres & Free Love at The Mint, L.A.: The witty, articulate Des Barres is probably better-known as Murdoc in MacGyver or for any number of roles in series like Seinfeld, Ellen, Alias, Frasier and Melrose Place, in addition to being I’m With the Band author Miss Pamela’s ex. But he’s also a rock & roller in his own right, an original glam vocalist with Silverhead and, after moving to L.A. from England, Detective, the latter signed to Led Zeppelin’s Swan Song label. He was also a member of both Chequered Past (with Sex Pistol Steve Jones and Blondie members Clem Burke and Nigel Harrison) and Power Station (replacing Robert Palmer alongside ex-Durannies Andy and John Taylor). His latest enterprise is a total labor of love, a 10-piece soul band featuring a female trumpet and sax player and three chick backing vocalists, for a jukebox-styled rundown on some classic R&B warhorses. Resplendent in a red velvet cape sporting gold piping emblazoned with crosses and the legend, “Lord Have Mercy,” on the back, the white-haired Des Barres made it readily apparent that his main goal is to arouse the audience, kissing one delighted ringer on the mouth and spanking her behind to the beat of a set that segued from “In the Midnight Hour" to “Sex Machine,” Hendrix’s “Fire,” Prince’s “Kiss” and, to fully link Motown rhythm & blues with Motor City punk, a propulsive cover of the Stooges’ “Raw Power.” The celeb-studded crowd included Matthew Perry, Danny Goldberg, wife Rosemary Carroll and their two teenage kids, as Michael brought everyone onstage to boogie down for the cathartic finale, “Land of 1,000 Dances,” proving that, while rock & soul may never die, it does breathe awfully heavy sometimes. —RT

5. OK Go, “Here It Goes Again” (video): This viral phenomenon, coming on the heels of the clever Chicago post-punk band’s “A Million Ways” dance, proves that ingenuity, along with the Internet, can create an instant craze. It took the four bandmembers 14 takes, but they succeeded in a seamless, no-cut treadmill choreography that must be seen to be believed. The Busby Berkeley-esque clip has generated more than 2 million views on YouTube and has reignited the Oh No album, released almost a year ago last Aug. 30. For a Windows version, click here; for Real Player here, and for Quicktime here. —RT

6. The Reel Inn (18661 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu): Yeah, I know this PCH landmark, right across from the Topanga State Beach, is a bit of a tourist trap, but the prices are right, and even though on a recent Saturday night, the line to order, cafeteria-style, circled the restaurant and necessitated a 45-minute wait, you end up making friends and drinking Coronas as you decide between the red snapper and the crab cakes before claiming a picnic table and waiting for your order to be called. The New England style clam chowder—for $4, you get a large Styrofoam cup filled to the brim—is a must. The steamed clams went down easy before I sampled several spoonfuls of the delicious, garlicky broth left behind, though the crab cakes, even with some tangy tartar sauce, were nothing to write home about. Turns out we were about the only ones from the general vicinity there, which isn’t necessarily a putdown, as everyone seemed to be having a grand old time. After the meal, the parking valet watched our car as we crossed the highway and checked out the moon glowing over the Pacific, enjoying one of the true places of beauty anywhere in the world. Hey, it’s cheaper than Gladstone’s. Even if it isn’t exactly the “Real” deal. —RT

7. La Super Rica Taqueria (622 N. Milpas St., Santa Barbara): Sporting a snaking line outside its door like a Mexican version of Pink’s, this modest take-out/eat-in stuck in the middle of a working-class neighborhood is a tiny gem that people come to from far and wide. Touted as the late Julia Child’s favorite taco place, it uses fresh ingredients for its mainly traditional menu. My favorite is the chorizo and melted cheese, which comes with tortillas so that you can roll ‘em up and make tacos yourself. Anyplace that gets this much praise is certain to be a tad overrated, but for me, it’s become almost a tradition. When you’re cruising home to L.A. on the 101, a brief detour on the Milpas exit to this shrine of Mexican food is a must, if just in terms of the communal experience. —RT

8. Celebrity Fit Club 4 (VH1): If you can’t lose weight yourself, the next best thing is to sit like a couch potato and ogle B- and C-level celebrities trying to drop the pounds themselves, as they’re simultaneously bullied and cajoled by a panel that heartlessly places them on the scale. This new edition includes Carnie Wilson, The Love Boat’s Ted Lange, NYPD Blue’s Nicholas Turturro, Vincent “Big Pussy” Pastore, Family TiesTina Yothers, 400-pound-plus rapper Bone Crusher, R&B singer Angie Stone and former Baywatch babe Erika Eleniak, trying to shed some post-natal el-bees. The humiliation factor is high, as is the cringe factor, but anyone willing to subject themselves to this kind of regimen deserves, what? Our attention? Our sympathy? Our pity? At any rate, it’s pretty addictive, just like a snack before bedtime, which seems to plague at least a couple of our weight-watchers. That, and the barely suppressed smirk of otherwise straight-faced host Ant, turns this into a cautionary tale for fat and skinny alike. Don’t let yourself go, because you never know who’s watching. —RT

9. The Egyptian Theatre (6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood): One of those marvelous throwbacks to the grand movie palaces, this 77-year-old companion to Sid Grauman’s old Chinese Theater is now the home of the repertory American Cinematheque, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and restoration of film art, often an overlooked task in the home of movie production. The 70-foot screen is pristine, set below a wood-carved ceiling in the shape of a sunburst, part of a $15 million restoration undertaken for the theatre’s reopening in December, 1998. The Egyptian was the home for premieres of Ben Hur, My Fair Lady and Funny Girl in the ’50s and ’60s, and now programs rarities and revivals, including a recent screening of Brothers of the Head, which looked and sounded great on the giant screen as part of the venue’s annual “Mods and Rockers” series. —RT

10. Gripe of the Week: If the lack of outrage toward Jann Wenner’s firing of 20-year Rock and Roll Hall of Fame vet Suzan Evans is any indication, the so-called Council of Elders could be in danger of making their little fiefdom irrelevant. The ouster of Evans comes on the heels of poobah Jon Landau’s “form” letter dismissing most members of the Nominating Committee, including yours truly, along with other notables such as Danny Goldberg, Rosemary Carroll, Joel Selvin, Bud Scoppa, Claudia Perry, Steve Morse and undoubtedly many more, under the guise of finding “young blood” capable of making judgments on the ’80s and ’90s bands up next. Without even getting into the absurdity of that statement—though the Nominating Committee, long a bastion of aging white guys, was overdue for a shake-up—it’s plainly a coup d’etat designed to keep the selection process firmly in the hands of insiders, and we all know who they are. After last year’s fiasco involving Blondie and its ex-members, and the ever-diminishing crop of worthy newcomers, the Hall finds itself under siege. How many more generations of artists will be sucked into what is basically a fund-raiser for itself? And how will the rappers who are bound to be inducted over the next few years react? Will they embrace the Hall of Fame or decide it’s not the “hip” place to be? This housecleaning had better bring in some new blood; otherwise, there’ll be plenty of red ink spilled instead. —RT

Friday, Aug 11th
Carrie Underwood on Good Morning America Concert Series @ Bryant Park (ABC)

Shakira @ U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix

Giants vs. Dodgers @ Chavez Ravine (Prime Ticket): The hated Giants return to Dodger Stadium to battle the Blue Crew.

Parlour Boys @ The VOUGE Midwest Music Summit in Indianapolis

Saturday, Aug 12th
Giants vs. Dodgers @ Chavez Ravine (Fox)

Champions on Ice @ Staples Center: While promoters caution that the cast of skaters is ''subject to change due to injury and other unforeseen circumstances,'' expect to see Michelle Kwan make a triumphant return after her disappointing ordeal in Torino, along with performances by Olympic medalists Sasha Cohen and Irina Slutskaya. Russian men's gold medalist Yevgeny Plushenko is on the docket, as well as America's Johnny Weir, who placed a distant fifth at the 2006 Games. The dynamic ice dancing duo of Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto have also rejoined the tour, fresh from scoring the silver medal in Torino...and that's just the tip of the ice (skating) berg.

Ben Harper w/ Damian Marley @ The Greek

Dashboard Confessionals @ Radio City Music Hall
Wu Tang Clan @ Congress Theatre in Chicago

Sunday, Aug 13th
Giants vs. Dodgers (ESPN): Maddux against Schmidt in the concluding game.

Death Cab for Cutie @ The Greek.

World Trade Center
Nicolas Cage, Michael Pena, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Maria Bello
Based on real-life events during 9/11.
I saw this movie opening night, and I have to say is it’s pretty intense, as you probably figured. To relive that moment again, it just brings back so many emotions that I found myself tearing up as soon as the incident happened. The performances are amazing, and it’s a movie everyone should see.

Other movies opening this weekend:

Step Up

V for Vendetta:
If you never got a chance to see this movie, don’t hesitate. This is my favorite movie of the year so far. It’s a comic book adaptation, and yet it speaks volumes about what is going on in society today (see below).

V for Vendetta:
This is my favorite movie of the year so far, for many reasons. It's more than just a comic book adapted for the big screen; it’s a movie that makes a big political statement that we can all relate to these days. Definitely a movie that was slept on, and I advise everyone to check it out if you haven't yet.
X-Men III: The Last Stand: If this is the last one, it certainly satisfied my appetite. It had it all, including some incredible action sequences.
Pirates of The Caribbean: Simply Awesome!!! Johnny Depp is brilliant Bill Nighy is creepy Keira Knightley is sexy and it has great special effects and non-stop action.
Mission Impossible III: OK, people are getting sick and tired of Tom Cruise, but if you can just get past him, this movie is actually really good. A lot of people are missing out because they’re so turned off by the star’s off-screen antics.
An Inconvenient Truth: The most important movie of the year… A MUST-SEE!!!
Nacho Libre: The funniest movie of the year. Jack Black rocks.
The Devil Wears Prada: This movie is making my list because Meryl Streep was truly brilliant, and if you haven’t seen it, or are on the fence about seeing it, go for her performance, if nothing else.

ATL legend (6/17a)
High times in Inglewood (6/20a)
Collect 'em all (6/20a)
Sloshing through the fun (6/20a)
Black Music Month in the ATL (6/18a)
Who's already a lock?
Three chords and some truth you may not be ready for.
The kids can tell the difference... for now.
The discovery engine is revving higher.

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