Ironically, going to his site triggered a Quicktime update message that crashed Firefox. The message noted that the latest Quicktime fixes many serious bugs. Indeed. But even though I was in the middle of writing this very post, Firefox restored this edit page with all my text in tact. Oh Mozilla, is there anything you can’t do? (Other than not crash in the first place?)
I was pretty blown away when I first heard M.I.A.‘s (Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam’s) debut album Arular. The Sri Lankan supercutie creates a mix of ragga and electro funk, so it’s like a dancey, electronic reggae (and I’m not a big reggae fan). The lyrics are nonsensical (or in some dialect of slang I’m ignorant of), but that doesn’t reduce the likeability. Her award winning follow-up Kala has more of a traditional electronic dance, clubby feel. It also includes a cover of the Pixies’ Where Is My Mind? (which samples New Order to boot).
Instead of continuing this awkward description, why don’t you just check out some videos? Like I said, she’s easy on the eyes…
I thought this was hilarious. It reminded me of when MST3K provided translated lyrics for the Jet Jaguar theme song. And in looking for the lyrics for that, I found the original. Ain’t YouTube great? Here’s both:
Natalie Portman naked. Normally those words are used to drive gullible people to fraudulent web sites. In this case, those words will drive you to see The Darjeeling Limited before it leaves theaters.
The film is preceded by Hotel Chevalier, a short film starring Natalie and Jason Schwartzman. It provides a little backstory and context for the main film. It also provides you with an excellent reason to shell out $10.
I could make this review entirely about Natalie’s glorious visage. Forget launching a thousand ships; she could make Farrakhan convert to Judaism1. But anyone who’d find that a worthwhile read is already at Fandango looking up show times.
And it would be unfair to the film, which is worth $10 on its own. For the first two acts, I felt this was Wes Anderson’s best work since Rushmore. Intriguing characters, great humor. Fantastic visual storytelling with beautiful sets. I can easily see this receiving Oscar nominations for art direction and cinematography. And speaking of beauty, Natalie isn’t the only babe in film. We’re introduced to Amara Karan, Sri Lanka’s answer to Rosario Dawson. And there’s even some gorgeous Louis Vuitton luggage (or is it baggage?) that gets its own prominent credit.2
Beyond the visuals there are some great songs on the soundtrack3. Instead of an original score, it comprises songs from other Indian films along with some British invasion classics. In particular, the theme song (Where Do You Go To (My Lovely) by Peter Sarstedt) has been stuck in my head since I left the theater. It tells the tale of a girl from modest means who enters high society in 1960’s Paris. Very Holly Golightly, causing me to draw further parallels between Audrey Hepburn and Natalie Portman. It’s first played during Natalie’s brief appearance, and I’ll probably forever associate it with her. It’s a hauntingly beautiful song, but don’t take my word for it. Have a listen (and pay attention to the lyrics):
My only complaint about the film is that pacing seemed to slow quite a bit during the third act4 . It made the film feel longer than it was, even though the run time is only 91 minutes. I began to expect closing credits at the end of each scene. However, I must give it props for a fitting and highly metaphorical final scene. It just takes a little while to get there.
Unfortunately, I can’t find it for sale anywhere, and it’s not listed on LV’s web site. I know it was custom made, as it was painted by Wes Anderson’s brother. But I was hoping to find a limited run somewhere, even if there’s no chance of affording it before I strike it rich. [↩]
A Crackteam agent sent me this link from YouTube and I HAD to share it for a good laugh.
It’s a rap video montage of clips from the movies of Weng Weng [from IMDb], and music stylings from The Chuds [from MySpace]. The collaboration was edited and produced by John R. of the R Room. It’s taken a couple views to really appreciate it since my attention during the first round went to the visuals and camera tricks. But the lyrics to the soundtrack song, “Weng Weng Overture,” are equally entertaining. They can be read at The Chuds MySpace page.
I’m a little late to the phenomenon of Weng Weng [from WikiPedia], but of all the Kung Fu and spy spoofs I’ve seen his look to be the most entertaining. Films credits include “For Y’ur Height Only” and “The Impossible Kid”, which received 8/10 stars on IMDb from 50 dedicated voters. There’s even a drink named after him, called the Weng Weng. Well, that may be a false claim but it should be true.
Upon first hearing Mindless Self Indulgence (MSI), I immediately wanted to learn more about them. And when I had done so, I knew I had somehow failed. How could music this good have eluded me for 7 years? I realized it was time to stop telling people I was into industrial music, since clearly I couldn’t be without hearing of these guys.
They’re super-catchy industrial/electro/DJ/hip-hop brilliance. The lyrics are out there, kinda self-deprecating, ironic, tongue-in-cheek rambling. But I really dig the energetic vocals of frontman Little Jimmy Urine. Uh, yeah, that’s his stage name, only to be topped by other band member “Steve, Righ?” (sic). My only criticism is that they can be a bit repetitive, as there’s not a ton of variation between songs. Well, they’ve got their style and they’re sticking to it. And there’s plenty of remixes to go around, from some of the coolest industrial bands (Front 242, KMFDM, FLA, and many others).
They’re compared to… well, who cares? Thanks to the wonderous glory of YouTube, I shall regale you with hand picked videos, allowing you to judge for yourself. I’ve moved them to the “more” section, partly because they’re not safe for work (well, maybe if you have headphones), but mostly to make the page load faster (and not have your workplace think you’re visiting YouTube).
BTW, they’re touring on the east coast, including Asbury Park and Philly.
Imagine Marc Bolan backed by Black Sabbath while Ozzy was on a bender, and you’ve got a pretty clear idea of Wolfmother. Aussie Ozborne, if you will. If you’ve got a healthy taste for classic rock, by which I mean the hard stuff, you’ll find their self titled album pretty fanstastic.
I’m ever impressed by bands these days who really capture a particular sound from years past. Interpol, She Wants Revenge – those aren’t bands that are influenced by the Manchester music scene of the 80’s – they’re the real thing. Wolfmother does the same thing for 70’s rock. I seriously doubt there’s a modern instrument among them.
Some people think embracing an era that strongly is lame and unorginal. I’m of the opinion that it’s actually way harder to pull off than anyone gives them credit for. Also, it sounds awesome. Also, my opinions count more than other people’s. Sorry, that’s just a fact.
You’ve probably heard Woman by now, and maybe Dimension if you watched Dane Cook’s Tourgasm. Here are some other tracks I thought were particularly good:
White Unicorn: Just the title is evocative of the 70’s fantasy literature and art embraced by bands like Rush (did you know they had a song called The Necromancer? And another about trees fighting each other?) and Led Zeplin (who weren’t afraid to sing about Middle Earth).
Mind’s Eye: little slower, but with a rockin’ chorus. Keyboards remind me of The Who.
Love Train: Little funk, little Latin vibe thrown in.
Masterchief submitted a fantastic video from Weird Al, rapping White and Nerdy. There have been others who’ve explored nerd-core, which is a sort of running in-joke for nerds, but in rap form. Most of it is simply OK – amusing lyrics, but mediocre skillz. The quality of Weird Al’s stuff is far superior, but let’s face it – it’s a parody. He doesn’t come up with the original music. Nonetheless, this may be considered the archetypal nerd-core track.