Later and later, my friends – but it’s midterms, and shit’s getting hardcore. I am truly sorry for falling behind.

I gotta’ tell you guys, I LOVE my co-conspiritors in this endeavor.

Jeb, your insight has had me chasing down quite a few things I might not have found otherwise – and I love that you’re onboard with The Chris Isaak Show.

And Tony – thank you for your courage through the dark years. I can’t help you with what you must soon face, except to tell you that the future is not set. You must be stronger than you imagine you can be. You must survive, or I will never exist.

I have no idea. So…MOVIES! Let’s look at them!



I still have a soft-spot in my heart for Cammy, but that’s probably because I’ve got a thing for trampy dingbats. Ask anyone who’s seen me date.

Anyway – everyone makes like Diaz is a hasbian, but it turned out she just needed the right vehicle. Movie was a legit little hit, and looks pretty funny.



All these years later, and I still can’t figure out if Marty was making a comedy here. If so, it’s not as funny as Cape Munster. If not…it’s almost as funny as Cape Munster. Charles Barkley can tell you how ungood this movie is in one word – without the use of vowels.

Was that reference a stretch? I just don’t know anymore…



From the legendary director of KINJITE: FORBIDDEN SUBJECTS (and the original Cape Fear), comes an all-star WWII MoM flick about a group of Brits tasked with taking out an axis superweapon. Avoid the sequel.




If you’re at all a fan of the film (in the last few years, it’s become trendy to not be), this is what you’ve been waiting for – at least in terms of image quality. There are still issues, but they stem from early (read: problematic) digital film readers/writers. The miniature work, while boasting heretofore unseen clarity and detail, is made to look weak because of the digital processing/and compositing of the day. And yet the film itself is shockingly vibrant – flame is intense in its red-orange hue, and the exteriors have a cool blue feel to them rather than the drab grays the old VHS/DVD taught us to love.

Extras are pretty much ports from the ol’ skool two-disc DVD – with the exception of a new Alex Proyas commentary. Sadly, we’ll never see the batch of extras initially prepared for the film, as producer Jeff Most (the guy most responsible for running the films into the ground) objected to his depiction in them. The awesome author David Schow, Proyas, and Crow creator James O’Barr have all at one time or another spoken of the battle to keep Most from turning this film into something akin to Randy Rhoads returning from the dead to visit vengeance on some douchebags.

Maybe I picked the wrong metal dude? If I swapped out Rhoads for Jon Mikl Thor, I think I might have a little something…


Attack on Leningrad
Bad Teacher
Batman: Year One
Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest
A Better Life
Cape Fear
Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore
The Clowns – Fellini’s pseudo documentary celebrating his fondness for clowns. Clown’s are grotesque.
The Crow
Darkness Falls
Dragon Ball Z Kai: Season 1
Dream Theater: Live at Budokan
Full Metal Panic: Second Raid Collection
The Guns of Navarone
Happy Feet
Harimaya Bridge: Live Action Movie
Hellraiser: Revelations
The Hollywood Knights
The Howling: Reborn
In A Glass Cage
Kevin Smith: Too Fat for 40 – at least he didn’t call it “Too Fat to Fail” – ‘cause, well…not true.
Kuroneko (Criterion)
The Last Circus – Alex de la Iglesia
March of the Penguins
Monte Carlo – I’d hold Katie Cassidy’s purse while she shopped, but I have no idea what this is.
Page One: Inside the New York Times
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – I’m one of the biggest 3D cheerleaders you’ll ever meet. I will never see this film.
Queensryche: Mindcrime at the Moore – “Do you want freedom? Do you want equality? This country is changing! It’s not for all the people! It’s for some of the people!”
Red State – not with a bang…but with a whimper.
Star Wars – The Clone Wars: The Complete Season Three
Under Suspicion
V: The Complete Second Season
Where the Wild Things Are
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – same Blu as before, with some added-value trinkets.




Hot on the heels of the new Bjork album, here’s another collection of anti-rock artsong from a woman whose striking vocal abilities help carry the music over the occasional melodic or thematic rough patch. Reuniting with the classical ensemble yMusic (who have also worked with Bon Iver and Antony and the Johnsons), Shara Worden shapes stunning sonic landscapes from her perspective as a new mother: she’s sodden with love for her new son, and wary, to the point of anger, of the world she’s brought him into.

Opener “We Added It Up” (“Confusion makes the world go round“) sets the tone, with her playful vocals bouncing along to Sondheim-like woodwinds counterpointing jazzy guitar chording. Worden continues to find new things to do with her classically-trained voice; there’s little belting here, with flights on beyond falsetto taken in muted tones. “Reaching Through To The Other Side” opens with ominous, echoing drumbeats as winds and strings seem to debate behind Worden’s recollection of the revelation of her son’s birth: “Oh, how gorgeous / Oh, how gorgeous,” while acknowledging that both mother and son had to struggle to achieve it. “In the Beginning” is a creation story set against gentle pizzicato strings and warbling trumpet: “There was no time / All of life suspended / And when you spoke / One heart jumped into action.” Central to the album, though, are several tracks that feel like Worden’s nod to the protest politics of Woody Guthrie, opened to new melodic possibilities and brought up to date, including “High Low Middle,” the closest thing to a conventional rock arrangement on the album (“When you’re privileged / You don’t even know you’re privileged / When you’re not /  You know“), and the chirpy polemic-masquerading-as-children’s-song, “There’s A Rat” (“Bankers, lawyers, thieves / Governors, mayors, police / I ain’t gonna let you keep on takin’ and takin’“). Her son’s new world, she tells us, is in desperate need of remaking.

In the end, we get a beginning: on “I Have Never Loved Someone,” Worden’s pump organ pedals simulate a noisy cradle while delivering her most heartbreakingly lovely vocal of the album. Though it opens like a traditional lullaby ( “I have never loved someone the way I love you / I have never seen a smile like yours / And if you grow up to be king or clown or pauper / I will say you are my favorite one in town“), it takes a sober turn, acknowledging reality: “And when I grow to be a poppy in the graveyard / I will send you all my love upon the breeze,” before gliding to its glorious close: “And if the breeze won’t blow your way / And if the rain won’t wash away / All your aches and pains / I will find some other way / To tell you, you’re OK,” fading away on a chorus of murmured “You’re OK”‘s. Worden doesn’t dodge sentimentality here, she embraces it, which is an appropriately conventional way to end an entirely unconventional pop album.



The fact that Lollapalooza developed out of JA’s first “farewell” tour places these guys in important historical perspective: its success (and that of Pearl Jam’s original “Fuck You!” to Ticketron at Coachella two years later) might have done more to shape the modern music scene than any other single event. For decades, the conventional wisdom was that you toured to promote record sales; in the wake of the Wall Street crash of the late 80’s, and the emergence of digital downloads, Lollapalooza helped demonstrate a way to start turning that equation on its head, and multi-artist, multi-day music festivals continue to proliferate. Which is sort of a long way of saying that the fact that Farrell and company still seem to be running a twenty-year-old playbook may not be exactly pioneering, but they do have some laurels worth resting on.

And I doubt that’s what they originally set out to do. They recruited TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek to sit in on bass (along with Chris Chaney), and coaxed some songwriting out of him. A lot of the press leading up to the album’s release talked about “new directions” – but, then, that’s what everyone always says, isn’t it? “Underground” opens the proceedings with appropriately large, imposing sound, with Navarro snaking guitar lines in and around the echoplexed choruses… which, one has to admit, would betray some uncomfortably musty hair-metal overtones without the FX.  A nice monster riff slams “End of the Lies” home, but lines like “You never really change like they say / You only become more like yourself” feel like rather mild medicine for the amount of energy being expended on their delivery. Throughout the album, as promised, there’s more keys and synth from Navarro than guitar, and I like the occasional change-up like the funky kick-drum propelling “Curiosity Kills” and the mysterioso intro of “Twisted Tales.” You certainly can’t fault the production itself: it’s always huge and booming, helping to swallow the recycled riffing and harmonies and spit them back out into a massive sonic attack. But the aural imagination seems to falter a bit as we round the home stretch, with the thudding “Ultimate Reason,” the strained metaphor of “Splash a Little Water On It” (“You’ve got to treat her like a flower  / Women need time to recover“), and the cluttered arrangement that weighs down “Broken People.” Things seem to have reached the point of insufferability with the spoken intro to “Words Right Out Of My Mouth,” but the song recovers once the band kicks in, sending the album out on a peak of energy, if not craft. Not a bad album, really, just one that feels a couple of decades late.



There was an awful lot of cute-to-interesting-to-good music on the Purple Periphery back in those heady Paisley Park days, and in the space of just four albums, Morris Day and The Time managed to run that entire gamut. On the evidence here, they haven’t re-formed under their new name just to push 80’s nostalgia at us, which is all to the good… but what they are pushing is somewhat less tasty than, say, an Ice Cream Castle.

Granted, the cartoon voices and general air of wackiness that are mostly missing here used to get a little tiresome back in the day, but they were at least a signifier that set The Time apart from the dozens of Prince imitators that lacked their specific access to the little guy. Too often on the sixteen tracks here (more than twice as many as most of their previous albums had), the onetime bad boys feel as though someone asked them to start acting like grownups, which they seem to think means “conventional.” The title track, about how Morris is still too slick to sweat, is introduced by a “Press Conference” where a young female reporter asks him if he’s no longer “cool.” It’s not particularly funny, but it’s a promising conceptual direction that quickly gets dropped in favor of perfectly passable smoove-groove numbers like “If I Was Yo Man” and “Lifestyle” that are going to slip right past the tween radio audience, though it wouldn’t be hard to imagine an evening of them on American Idol. Songs like “Sick” and “Role Play” make a reach for the old funk, but there’s an excess of polish, a sheen that has you straining to figure out where the hell the bassline went. I have no idea if these guys are planning to tour, but I’d lay money that stuff like “One Step” and “Cadillac” will play a lot rougher and looser out of the studio confines. Too often, Day and company bear down on something like “Hey Yo,” that, for all the sweat (excuse me, “condensation”) the band puts into it, play a bit like your thinks-he’s-hip-at-the-wedding-reception uncle. The high points, like “Toast To The Party Girl” and “Strawberry Lake,” are strong, listenable toe-tappers, but like too much of the album, they’re rather lacking in personality, which is something these guys used to have coming out their ears.



It’s a shame that The Chris Isaak Show will likely never turn up on DVD (the frequent musical guests would create a licensing nightmare). It was a TV anomaly: an hour-long program that derived comedy not from snappy sitcom one-liners and putdowns, but from strong characterization (both of the band members – particularly wonderfully droll drummer Kenny Johnson – and the supporting cast, including Dexter‘s Kristin Dattilo), writing that felt lived-in, and a Seinfeld-like ability to mine small details for large payoff (one episode had Isaak’s manager buy him a new GPS for his car, only to have the voice turn out be an ex-girlfriend, putting Chris through a weird, funny, introspective form of therapy). The whole thing was solidly anchored by Isaak as the perfect post-modern straight man: equally frustrated and bemused by the absurdities around him, his comic timing perfection, and with his status as a marginally successful pop star allowing him to claim Everyman status without fudging too terribly.  He brings that same sense of perspective to this set of covers of the music that inspired him: Isaak knows he’s nothing like the wild men that cut these sides back in the early days of rock and roll; in fact, he understands that the impulses of that generation would feel alien and out of place today. But he’s astute enough not to simply embalm the originals: he casts a wry eyebrow here and there, never slides his tongue too far into his cheek, while keeping the arrangements tight and the pace brisk.

The single-disk version kicks off with “Ring of Fire,” and Isaak gleefully embraces the cheese of the original, with wobbly Tex-Mex brass soundings, and a vocal that sounds less like a man trapped in a circle of hell, than of an acolyte marveling that Carter and Kilgore came up with that metaphor in the first place.  “Trying To Get To You” and “I Forgot To Remember To Forget” are rollicking Sun-era Elvis classics that Isaak delivers with a vocal lightness that reminds us how much The King’s voice, and worldview, darkened and deepened over the course of his career. “Great Balls Of Fire” reads like an odd choice for the generally laid-back Isaak, but that’s largely because there’s a mistaken image of Jerry Lee Lewis is as a shrieking white version of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. In fact, Lewis was a sly, canny vocalist who never pushed when he could insinuate, and Isaak nails that: his offhandedly dirty delivery of “Kiss me, baby” and “It sure is fun” restore the original disquiet of the song’s sinful marriage of gospel and carnality. And for every too-obvious choice (we probably didn’t need both “Ring of Fire” AND “I Walk The Line”) there’s a “Miss Pearl” or “Dixie Fried” (or the sole Isaak original, “Live It Up”) to liven the party. The conclusion goes right back to the heart of the Sun experience, with a sweetly sentimental “My Happiness,” the first song that Elvis recorded, as a birthday gift for his mother (and no matter how much reality may diverge from legend, in Elvis’ case, nothing could be closer to The Truth than that gesture). Though the band mostly plays it straight, it’s worth noting that the rhythm section of Kenny Johnson and Roland Salley have this music in their blood, and that guitarist Herschel Yanovitz is one of the most versatile guys in the business, with a Frisell-like ability to get to the heart of virtually any genre.

While one disk of this is probably as much as anyone but the committed fan needs, it’s worth mentioning that some of the best stuff comes on the second disk of the 2-CD version, including the rollicking “Everybody’s In The Mood,” Isaak’s ballsy take on the untouchable “Oh, Pretty Woman” (fuck you, Diamond Dave) and two of Elvis’ oughtta-be-better-known classics, “Love Me” and “Doncha Think It’s Time.”


Drake – Take Care. As in “Take care not to leave your girlfriend unattended around this smoothy.”

Iced Earth – Dystopia. My thoughts are boiling and I’m full of rage / I think I’ll lose my mind / I’m full of hate / I’m a time bomb…”  Noted. And I wonder if they knew that “V” had already been cancelled when they wrote a song about it. Might be why they’re so mad.

Joe – The Good The Bad The Sexy. Another one you want to keep an eye on with your woman nearby. “Dear Joe” may be a little self-serving, but on “Pull My Hair” he hears his lady getting it on with another dude, which is a nice dose of humility.

Vince Gill – Guitar Slinger. Less exhausting than 2006’s 4-disk These Days, this kicks off with an uptempo toe-tapper, then proceeds to derive inspiration from Henley and Petty more prominently than, say, Cash or Nelson. Tracks like “Tell Me Fool” and “When The Lady Sings The Blues” slip some contemporary R&B into the corn, and the slow ones drag when he pushes past the four-minute mark. But his voice retains its unimpeachable honesty, even through the treacle. A bit more guitar would have been welcome, though.

Real Estate – Days. An aural vision of the 60’s through the haze of a smoke-filled dorm room. Remember, though – Brian Wilson’s not just a nostalgist; he’s crazy, and if you want to play in his sandbox, it helps to be at least a little more unhinged than this.

Body Language – Social Studies. It’s like having a Raphael Saddiq cover band playing at your party: don’t think too much, or listen too closely, and you’ll groove just fine.

Martin Simpson – Purpose + Grace. Simpson deploys his astringent voice and omnivorous fretting abilities on selections obvious (“Little Liza Jane,” “Barbry Allen”) and unusual (“Don’t Leave Your Banjo In The Shed Mr. Waterston”), including a sober reading of Springsteen’s “Brothers Under the Bridge,” and a version of Richard and Linda Thompson’s “Strange Affair” that comes closer to Linda’s original than any human male has a right to, with sympathetic accompaniment from her ex.

M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming. The singing is a little all over the place, but when your collaborators include producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen (who’s worked with Beck, NIN, The Mars Volta, and Goldfrapp), Brad Laner, Morgan Kirby, and Zola Jesus, you’re entitled to take a couple of disks to work it all out.

T Bone Burnett Presents The Speaking Clock Revue – Live From The Beacon Theatre. Benefitting arts and music education in public schools, a great sampling of unreleased live material from Burnett with Elton John and Leon Russell, Elvis Costello, Gregg Allman, Ralph Stanley, Jeff Bridges, Neko Case, Yim Yames, The Punch Brothers, The Secret Sisters, and more.

June Tabor and the Oysterband – Ragged Kingdom. Tabor’s dark, somewhat affectless voice has always been at its best when paired with a strong, contrasting singer (Maddy Prior, for example), so with her taking lead on this reunion with Oysterband on a collection of excellently-played trad folk and pop covers, she can get a little numbing after a while, and only a few of the selections (“Judas Was a Red-Headed Man,” “That Was My Veil”) veer from the overdone. It’s all solid and listenable, but with a millennium of traditional material to choose from, was another cover of “Love Will Tear Us Apart” really necessary? To top it off, the album concludes with Tabor and the Oysterband’s John Jones duetting on “Dark End of the Street,” arguably the greatest cover that Richard and Linda Thompson ever recorded (never mind Percy Sledge), which makes you want to reach for your copy of Hokey Pokey or Guitar, Vocal, rather than putting this album on again.

Montgomery Gentry – Rebels on the Run. No love here for any damn Occupy hippies, but for those who believe that there’s something left to be said about redneck pride and raising hell, and aren’t bothered by carbon-copies of every good ol’ boy who came before, well, then, yeee-hah.

Screaming Trees – Last Words: The Final Recordings. Haven’t previewed it yet, but essential for fans, I’d assume.

Lalah Hathaway – Where It All Begins. It’s great that she’s a “Strong Woman,” but admonishments about not keeping up with the Joneses, and advice like “You never know what you got till it’s gone,” mean that she’s strong in more generic ways than you’d hope for from a two-decades-on veteran that actually writes some of her own stuff.

Everlast – Songs of the Ungrateful Living. See, it’s, like, the opposite of the Grateful Dead. Get it? “I Get By” is such a bald statement of contemporary rage (“Park my truck on another block / Cause the subprime loan got my ass in hock”) that you forgive the occasional cliché.  And Schrody’s even closer than Tom Waits to being today’s Captain Beefheart.

Sting – Best of 25 Years. The singles you gradually learned to detest on the radio, plus live versions of the Police songs you’d rather be listening to.

Shelby Lynn – Revelation Road. I give her credit for not following her sisters down the path of hair-metal-country or big-diva-country. There’s more effective introspection in her intelligent singing than in her somewhat generic writing, and Garrison Keillor has ruined the word “Woebegone” for everyone, but recommended for those seeking modern female country that understands the virtues of subtlety.

Jeff Beck – Live at B.B. King Blues Club: The Collector’s Edition. Just what you need to wash away the taste of last year’s Emotion & Commotion (an album so depressing that it won TWO Grammys): Beck, Bozzio, and Hymas in a no retakes/no overdubs live shredding set from 2003.


Leonard Cohen, Complete Columbia Studio Albums Collection – including Songs Of (1968), Songs From A Room (1969), Songs Of Love & Hate (1971), New Skin For The Old Ceremony (1974), Death Of A Ladies Man (1977), Recent Songs (1979), Various Positions (1984), I’m Your Man (1988), The Future (1992), Ten New Songs (2001) and Dear Heather (2004). Given the fact that, so far as I know, Cohen is still being jobbed out of the royalties for this one, I’d suggest ordering the set that’s offered at his website, which includes all eleven of these, plus the recent live albums, Live in London and Songs From the Road. Actually, given the varying quality of musical settings that his songs received over the years from Columbia, you could do worse than just buying the live albums by themselves.


Dave Swickard – longtime chewer and lover of music, sees fit here to elaborate on Jeb’s assessment of the new M83 recording. And I’ve seen fit to let him. Wanna’ do the same for a specific release – shoot me a message in the PM’s – we’d love to have you, longshanks.

PLEASE NOTE: The following comments are not endorsed by Jeb Delia, WGN Television, the Chicago Cubs, or Major League Baseball.

I remember reading somehwere that Anthony Gonzalez said that the next m83 venture would be an “epic double album,” combining elements of the fantastic previous effort Saturdays = Youth (“Skin Of The Night” is one of my favorite songs ever made) and its predecessor, Before The Dawn Heals Us. Allow me to make friends and tell you I hate hearing/reading/using the word “epic“ these days because “hipsters” have overused the shit out it on not-so-epic things — like Sufjan Stevens and ironic t-shirts. Nonetheless, Hurry Up We’re Dreaming actually FEELS epic.

“Intro” begins constructing Gonzalez’ Dreamscape (just wanted to type it) with the help of Zola Jesus (pick up Conatus if you haven’t already), who with the first two stanzas, “We didn’t need a story/We didn’t need a real world” lets us know what we are in for — a lot of swooning. “Reunion” seems to function as a memory of young love, which managed to move me even though I was a shy, angry young man who wasn’t a hit with the ladies. It’s when you reach “Wait” that you realize Gonzalez is truly coming out of his shell as a singer. It’s also the sweetest song you’ll find here, and bound to be on that future mix CD or playlist you’ll give to your lady/man friend (people still do that right? Am I the only one? Maybe that’s why I’m single).

Disc Two continues the journey through this Freddy-free dream world of love and longing with “New Map” and “OK Pal,” two definite highlights engineered to keep that soaring feeling alive and…soaring. “Steve McQueen” is easily my favorite on this platter. It feels like I’m making out with Jewel Staite (probably in wine country, knowing that lush) but then my luck dragon shows up and says, “Let’s go punish your enemies!” So at first, I’m upset he interrupted, and I wonder how long he’s been watching – but then I decide to compromise. I tell Jewel to slip into her mechanic garb for when I get back, and then I’m off  – but instead of chasing my foes into dumpsters, my luck dragon is EATING THEM ALIVE like the Josh Homme/Steve Agee-looking dude meets his end in Cloverfield.

I think my point is Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming is one of those albums where your imagination will surely get the better of you.

Or that I like the idea of having a luck dragon and making out with Kaylee.

My only two complaints are wishful “what-could-have-made-this-even-more-rad” critiques at best. I’ll cop to it — I wanted more Morgan Kibby. Her presence is missed here — her most prominent work here being a spoken word piece in the middle of “Reunion.” Also, the (mostly) instrumental tracks feel more like bridges between actual songs rather than stand-alones, which I totally get is the way it generally rolls with double albums — but songs like “Where The Boats Go” and “Another Wave From You” could have used some more time.

If it’s not abundantly obvious from the ramblings above — buy this one. So do!

Thank you, David Swickard, for that thing you do!

TONY’S PLAYIN’ GAMES – or, maybe this week it’s just GAME. Let’s look…


I should be playing this right now. At this very moment the game is taunting me with it’s surprisingly cool looking pause screen. I just want to unpause that shit and start hitting thugs with themed outfits. Just before I paused I finished a fight with about twelve prison inmates armed with guns and baseball bats. And I managed to gracefully kick the living piss out of each and everyone of them and then zip away to the rooftops to stalk more prey. Because holy shit; look mom, I’m Batman. Rocksteady got it right the first time, so it’s no surprise that playing this game feels like what you always wanted your Batman action figure to do. I don’t know how they do it, maybe it’s the animation and combat alone or the little ways they keep reminding you Batman is human, but Rocksteady gets the whole playing as a superhero thing. You’re a rich ninja who punches people already in prison and it feels good. It feels right. The second (and a little before) I put on the cape in this game, I was already thinking of new ways to stalk and stomp people. I’ve mostly been playing psycho vigilante mode, but the bits of story I sampled have already peaked my interests more than Asylum did. So much so that I’m going to stop writing and play this shit, because I want to be Batman and punch people.


I’m going to speed through the stupid shit this week, because Batman. And really, you need to stop reading this and play Batman. Or Everybody Dance, if that’s your thing. That also out this week. And Rocksmith. Because Ubisoft is French and fashionably late. Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One. Could be fun. Isn’t Batman. Somewhere, someone out there has a boner for Ben 10: Galactic Racing. And it’s probably their first one. Batman has some competition with The Sims 3: Pets. Might be tough when everyone’s ex-girlfriends and mom plays that game. I’ve done my duty and said snarky things about games no one cares about, now let’s get on some motherfucking Batman.

Thanks,  Tony!

So, obviously, the big story this week is 50 CENT: BLOOD ON THE SAND.

Is it weird that I wish R. Kelly would re-record his ridiculous Batman song to tie into this game release? Chris Nolan could shoot the video…thinkaboutit.

Anyway. Done. Over. You might even say FIN.