It came from – The Roots, “How I Got Over” and more

After the last two downer releases, and a new gig as house band for the Jimmy Fallon show, I for one wasn’t expecting a good showing from South Philly’s Roots crew.  The new album, “How I Got Over,” features a return to the sounds of their earlier records with an emphasis on a soulfulness, a marked departure of their recent recordings. 

The two tracks for preview are the title track (featuring Dice Raw), a meditation on the streets that plays over a funky soul beat, and the song “Dear God 2.0” which features a sample of  Jim Jones and the Monsters of Folk.  Both singles are wonderfully roomy and great listens. 

Download How I Got Over from The New Montreal.

Download Dear God 2.0 from Backseat Sandbar.

While at the Backseat Sandbar page, download the track “Rill Rill” by Sleigh Bells, a great summer track that will definitely be a contender for my end of the year top 25 tracks.  Fun, breathy girl vocals over laid back pop instrumentation, it’s everything you want while driving down a sun-drenched highway (they’ve even got fingersnaps!).

If you don’t like Outkast, then you probably need to jump off a bridge and kill yourself.  Yes, that’s how I feel about the duo from the ATL, who match propulsive beats that force movement from stiff limbs with an entertaining sense of lyrical humor in their rapping.  Now comes a solo record from Big Boi, the lothario of the duo, that is essentially one long come-on made listenable due to the same dynamic of Outkast success: big bass and creativity.  “Shutterbug,” a track featuring Cutty, is a bouncy track that should be playing at the clubs right now.  “Lookin’ For You,” the only track that features Andre 3000 (who apparently was kept from the project due to record company politics), is a more straightforward song compared to the more creative “Shutterbug,” but leaves the Outkast fan wanting the duo to come out with a new Outkast record.

Download the tracks “Shutterbug” and “Lookin’ For You” from Musical Pairings.


News – Hot FB spy, Comic Con, b—-, stars, and Boney M

‘Hot’ Russian spy leaves enigmatic Facebook trail

MOSCOW (AFP) – Two weeks after 10 Russian spies flew back from the United States to Moscow, the buzz of interest around redhead Anna Chapman shows no signs of receding as she has stayed in the news by writing enigmatic Facebook updates, including the mysterious “I love taro frozen yogurt,” profile update, “Team Edward” fan page addition, and cryptic photo albums filled with friends’ babies doing nothing of interest.

Comic-Con Wrestles with ‘Booth Babe’ Controversy

While costumed fans of both genders are enthusiastically welcomed by the comics industry, hired promotional models have caused some controversy among fans, particularly since Comic-Con’s attendees are now 40 percent female. Much of the outrage last year came when EA Games ran a Comic-Con contest encouraging men to “commit acts of lust” toward “booth babes”, resulting in at least one floor model getting a not-so-friendly goosing. EA Games later apologized for the contest but showed that they didn’t learn anything from the debacle when they announced this year’s contest, “Grand Theft Autoerotic-asphyxiation.”  

Wis. candidate can’t use controversial description

MADISON, Wis. – A legislative candidate from Wisconsin can’t use a profane, racially charged phrase to describe herself on the ballot, an election oversight board decided Wednesday. Ieshuh Griffin, an independent running for a downtown Milwaukee seat in the state Assembly, wants to use the phrase, “NOT the ‘whiteman’s b—-.'”  Andrew Breitbart promptly misrepresented the phrase to read “the white man’s a b—-.”

Scientists find most massive star ever discovered

LONDON – Scientists were shocked that the star, called R136a1, was already discovered by TMZ.

Boney M asked to skip hit in West Bank gig

RAMALLAH, West Bank – When the iconic 1970s disco group Boney M rocked Ramallah this week, the local music festival prevented the band from performing one of its biggest hits. Lead singer Maizie Williams said Palestinian concert organizers told her not to sing “Rivers of Babylon.” The song’s chorus quotes from the Book of Psalms, referring to the exiled Jewish people’s yearning to return to the biblical land of Israel.  The band was also asked not to play their other hits, “The Mossad Shuffle,” and “Never Gonna Give It Up (the West Bank).”

Movie Review – One of the Best Movies I’ve Ever Seen, and “Predators”

Let’s get this out of the way first: “Predators” is a perfectly fine summer movie that most people will have a decent time attending.  You read that and probably come to the conclusion that I’m lukewarm on the movie, and you would be correct.  The movie is an entertaining reboot/continuation of the Predator franchise, a saga that is linked with the far superior Aliens series due to two terrible “Aliens vs. Predator” movies.  Luckily, no Aliens in the new Predators movie, but we do get a buff Adrian Brody, which is, well, something I guess.  To tell you the truth, I probably wouldn’t have seen this if it weren’t for my two friends, Wheel and Giles, who are 80’s action movie savants and capable of quoting long stretches of dialogue from such classics as “Commando” or “Delta Force.”  To tell you the truth, I envy their ability to enjoy without irony some of the worst movies of all time (I’m looking right at your appreciation of “Rat Race”, Wheel).  So, when I got the call about a screening with these two, one of whom can recreate the Predator vocalization, I couldn’t wait for the experience.

So, what was enjoyable? First, sneaking in beers to a multiplex was surprisingly easy and fun throw back to teenage years.  Second, the “Machete” trailer (an upcoming Robert Rodriguez action splatterfest), which led to the best moment of the movie: at the beginning of “Predators,” we meet the cast of characters as they encounter each other while walking through a foreign jungle and the camera comes upon gun-toting Danny Trejo, who happens to be the star of “Machete.”  Giles, recognizing Trejo, enunciates Ma-chet-te, getting several of the audience to laugh.  Third, the overt nods to the previous Predator movies were especially satisfying, especially connections to Arnold’s original character (Brody’s mud covered homage of “Come on! Kill me! I’m here!” was particularly awesome). 

For the most part, the movie isn’t that bad.  The acting is fine, with Topher Grace properly slimy, Adrian Brody effectively mercenary-ish, and Laurence Fishburn delightfully bat-shit.  The action is decent, though a bit subdued for a sequel-type movie: I actually wanted more elaborate set pieces, something as memorable as Jesse Ventura’s kill sequence (the production attempted an equally epic samurai showdown, but the battle was a bit of a letdown).  The plot, the dialogue, the everything else of the movie left me with a distinct flavor of “mehhhh,” a watery nothingness that wasn’t unpleasant.  The only disgust – leaving out the best shot from the trailer…read this explaining Rodriguez’s decision to film a scene that was never intended to be a part of the finished film.

Watch this movie if you are a fan of the Predator movies or if you want a mindless summer escape (this movie has got to be 10 times better than A-Team or crap of that ilk).  Other than that, skip it for the movie below.

“Predators” gets a 2 1/2 out of 5 for me.  Check out a matinee if you want.  I would nominate this film for Best Series Resurrection After Some Bad Sequels (the honorary “Dark Knight” after “Batman and Robin” Award), Best Movie Made Better By Beer, Best Machete Tie-In, and Best Unexpected Reason to Have a Debate on Evolutionary Divergence (Two Species?!!).

By now, you’ve heard about this little $60 million weekend box office smash film called “Inception.”  There’s so much going for this film (A-list writer/director Christopher Nolan, A-list actor Leonardo DiCaprio, A-list ironic pregnant teen/pedophile killer/commercial star Ellen Page, A-list martian Joseph Gordon-Leavitt) that going into the screening, I have to admit some nervousness.  The last movie I went into knowing little about the story yet shrouded with high expectation was James Cameron’s “Avatar,” a visually stunning but ultimately forgetable movie — “Inception” had a possibility of being a looker with a terrible story.  Thankfully, Nolan delivers a genuinely great film, a satisfying story told with great acting and mind melting cinematography.  There are points in this film where I literally was at the edge of my seat with a smile from ear to ear, enthralled by the evidence on screen of the audacity of Christopher Nolan’s imagination.  There are scenes that will make you fall in love with movie making again — the rotating hallway fight sequences are seminal shots that will be studied by film students from this point on.  The entire dream-within-dream concept is dizzying, yet surprisingly clear in the editing.  There’s no way around it, I have to simply say that I love this film — just give it the Best Picture award right now.

That said, there are some serious problems with the movie.  First, if your idea of summer entertainment doesn’t include using your brain, then you will want to skip this picture.  As we were walking out of our screening (which at one point had ~25% of the audience asleep; in their defense, it was midnight), we overheard several people expressing confusion or disinterest in the plot.  Admittedly, the first half of the movie can be confusing as there is a lot of (necessary) plot exposition the occurs before the main caper begins, and the film does drag a bit for the middle 30 minutes.  Yet, the payoff (the last hour) is well worth the investment of your attention, if you have the desire and/or ability.  For those of you who don’t want to think or find science fiction elements in a story nerdy or boring will not like this movie — you can always wait for the eminently more accessible Bourne-lite “Salt” opening this Friday. 

This is not a perfect movie (holes in the plot are easy to find) but this is a thrilling, inventive, excellent film.

“Inception” is a Five out of Five — this will be the best picture winning for 2010.   I nominate this film for all of the top awards at the Oscars, plus Best Easy Paycheck Role for Michael Caine, Best Method to Revive Interest in M.C. Escher, Best Way to Make Hummers Cool Again, Best Sarcastic Use of the Word “Darling.”

It Came From – Mountain Man, “Honeybee”

Mountain Man, a misapplied name for a band of three women, are all harmonies and beautiful sounds.  Check them out at their mp3 page.  The songs that I’m really enjoying are “How’m I Doing?” and “Honeybee.”

A new track from The Walkmen’s album “Lisbon” has me remembering a particularly flabbergasting conversation with StandardJeff, wherein he professed a strong dislike for all horns.  Listen to the track “Stranded” (download from This Music Wins) for the beautifully warm horns.  I cannot wait to check out this record.

Check out ceo and their fun dance track, “Everything Is Going to Be Alright,” which you can grab over at Consequences of Sound, along with a bunch of other track (including Mountain Man’s “Honeybee”).

News Section – July 15, 2010

This edition of the News Section: Texas Nomenclature news! Immigration Law news! Roman Polanski news! Wall Street Bill news!

AUSTIN, Texas – University of Texas regents agreed Thursday to strip the name of a former law school professor and early organizer of the Ku Klux Klan from a campus dormitory.  The dorm named after William Stewart Simkins will now be known as Creekside Residence Hall.  The board of regents have not decided if they will change the name of a similarly controversial campus building, Sam Waggoner Academic Hall.  Sam “Puppy” Waggoner, an alumnus who served 8 terms in the Texas legislature, was infamous for his racist support of Jim Crow law, his “Texas Institute of Eugenics Study”, as well as being an avid sport dog fucker.

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DETROIT – States have the authority to enforce immigration laws and protect their borders, Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox said Wednesday in a legal brief on behalf of nine states supporting Arizona’s immigration law.  Cox, one of five Republicans running for Michigan governor, said Michigan is the lead state backing Arizona in federal court and is joined by Alabama Attorney Dick Ildo, Florida Attorney Peter Schwang, Nebraska Attorney Terry P. Enis, Pennsylvania Attorney Wallace Kochsucer, South Carolina Attorney Dong Throbber, South Dakota Attorney Yeardley Fallus, Texas Attorney Mushroom Stamp and Virginia Attorney Rex Racehorse, as well as the Northern Mariana Islands Attorney Erect Veiny Pants Monster.

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GENEVA – Roman Polanski may once again be seen on the red carpet at Cannes — but he won’t be attending the Venice Film Festival or the Oscars anytime soon.  Freed from Swiss house arrest after the government refused to deport him to the United States, the 76-year-old movie director still faces an Interpol warrant in effect for 188 countries for a 1977 child sex case.  That means now, more than ever, Polanski is truly safe from arrest only in his home nations of France and Poland, and — due to this week’s stunning decision — Switzerland.  Polanski, as is his custom, marked the day by throwing a lavish party, including buttons that were passed out to all guests that read, “Three out of 191 Ain’t Bad!’

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The broadest overhaul of U.S. financial rules since the Great Depression was on its way to becoming law on Thursday after it cleared a crucial hurdle in Congress.  Though the track was wet from storms that swept through the region, the Wall Street reform bill demonstrated sure footing as it lept over the hurdle, as it turned the corner and eyed the finish line with the look of a champion distance runner, legging out a distance run, with iPod earbuds blaring out “Eye of the Tiger” and Gatorade G2 Series erupting out of overacting pores of victory.  

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