Monthly Report: June Albums

Tuesday, June 30, 2009
1. DJ Quik & Kurupt - BlaQKout
It'd be very easy to talk about how adventurous and creative the production is on the album, but that'd probably make it seem like some noisy Def Jux bullshit, when DJ Quik is quite simply taking his 20 years of experience in making G-funk and laid back Cali rap to tweak the formula in distinctly different ways on every song while still maintaining the filthy party rap vibes, dropping weird esoteric "hip hop is the music of the devil"-type lines into songs about fucking. "Whatcha Wan Do" and "Hey Playa!" are trunk-rattlers with only slightly unorthodox production elements, but Quik goes all out on "Jupiter's Critic & The Mind Of Mars," adopting one of the many vocal effects besides AutoTune that's usually ignored by hip hop to dart around the hyper beat, mixing wisdom with nonsense: "I don't talk about swag, what is it? A blizzard, can you thizz it? Can you diss it? IT'S CHARACTER! You miss it? It's America, you visit? Did u get on a boat without a ticket?" Any aging rap veteran that's just coasting on diminishing returns and forgetting how to flow needs to listen to this album and feel ashamed of themselves.

2. Sonic Youth - The Eternal
Now that the decade is coming to a close and Sonic Youth have released their 5th album in it, I think it's fair to say they've equalled and then surpassed their '90s output -- Murray Street and Sonic Nurse are two of my favorite rock albums of the past 10 years, and this one is quickly coming up as my third favorite of that period. I was a little afraid that another 12-track album would mean that, like on Rather Ripped, they'd pare down the extended instrumental sections in search of more songful material that doesn't necessarily suit them best. But somehow the balance is achieved between 2-minute bursts like "Sacred Trickster" and the more luxurious jams of "Massage The History," and "No Way" might be their tightest indie guitar swing anthem since Dirty. Every time I listen to this album, new pockets of gorgeous noise seem to open up where I'd never noticed them before.

3. Dinosaur Jr. - Farm
The last two months bringing new albums from Sonic Youth, Dinosaur and the Meat Puppets has been a real bonanza for someone like me who grew up devouring SST's back catalog. The other day I joked to somebody that it's like the return of "the 1987 i've been pining for since 1994." I'm not totally sold on this one as much as a lot of people seem to be, though; I definitely don't like it as much as Beyond, and J's guitar seems way too prominent in the mix in a way that I've never noticed with previous records. Plus it kind of throws me off to have a Dinosaur Jr. album that's over an hour long, considering that every previous one's been under 50 minutes, usually by a lot. Or maybe there's just no way this album can live up to the incredible cover art. It gets better towards the end with "See You" and "I Don't Wanna Go There," though.

4. Mama Digdown's Brass Band - We Make 'Em Say Ooh
Although I played in marching band in high school, I don't really know much of anything about New Orleans brass bands (although once years ago I got a Youngblood Brass Band album that was pretty good). But a guy I kinda know from bullshitting on message boards about music with, Jordan, plays in a pretty good brass band that came through town recently, and I reviewed the show and got a copy of their new album, which is a lot of fun.

5. Elvis Costello - Secret, Profane and Sugarcane
The conventional wisdom about Elvis Costello's catalog for non-diehard fans is to avoid the restrained genre pastiche museum pieces and just follow his rock records. And generally speaking that works out pretty well, but for the first time in a long time, perhaps ever, the former is better than the latter with regards to the rootsy, downtempo Secret and last year's Imposters record, the utterly lame Momofuku. Maybe I'm benefitting from lowered expectations, since this album is a spiritual descendent of King Of America, which I've always regarded as pretty overrated, but it just feels so much more comfortable and relaxed, with the added feel of off-the-cuff spontaneity that the first track abruptly cutting off lends to what follows.

Monthly Report: June Singles

Monday, June 29, 2009
1. Black Eyed Peas - "I Gotta Feeling"
It's kind of weird to have Eminem and the Black Eyed Peas as the biggest selling rap releases of the year, it's like we're back in 2004 all over again. I wasn't too surprised about BEP coming back big, especially after the Fergie Revolution (as it will be known my future generations), but really "Boom Boom Pow" was some flaccid faux-energetic bullshit. This song, however, is a summer jam par excellence, and I was so powerless to resist it that I ended up playing it like 4 times the first night I heard it, which almost never happens with me.

2. Mariah Carey - "Obsessed"
This is another one that seems like it should be so stupid and charmless on paper, but the beat and all the funny little vocal hooks just steamroll over any kind of rationalization I could every try to come up with to say this isn't great.

3. Jesse McCartney - "How Do You Sleep?"
I guess technically the single version features Ludacris, but his verse really doesn't add anything to this. Anyway this kid's becoming a pretty consistent singles artist, "She's No You" was straight up classic and this is maybe the 4th or 5th good one since then.

4. Demi Lovato - "Here We Go Again"
All three singles from Demi Lovato's first album were really good, and I kept meaning to feature them in this space in previous months, but they kept coming and going in such quick succession that I never did, and now less than a year later another album and single are here. I don't know if I like this one as much as "La La Land" or "Don't Forget" yet, but if it grows on me as quickly as her songs usually do, I will soon enough. I guess it's all too easy to chalk it up to the fact that she listens to metal, but for whatever reason Lovato's doing chick rock better than any of her past or present Disney Channel peers, and it helps that she doesn't sing in a little girl chirp like most of them (or an annoying country-Alanis yarl like Miley).

5. The Alchemist f/ Maxwell and Twista - "Smile"
I love weird collabos like this that feature 3 people who do pretty different things really well, and somehow come together and make it all mesh, and incidentally in this case it's 3 people I like who are all dropping albums in July that I'm really looking forward to. This isn't quite as great as the first Alc/Twista collaboration from a mixtape last year, but it's still pretty good.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Here's the latest stuff I've had on the City Paper's Noise blog in the last month or so: a Club Beat column about DJ Manny, and live reviews of Illahpalooza @ Fish Head Cantina, Kadman/Birds And Arrows/Porcelain Doll Club @ Metro Gallery, The Matrimonials/Thee Lexington Arrows/The Sundresses @ the Sidebar, The Deleted Scenes/Math The Band/Weekends @ the Hexagon, the Double Bass Extravaganza @ An die Musik Live, and Mama Digdown's Brass Band @ Bertha's.

TV Diary

Thursday, June 25, 2009
a) "Web Soup"
It's becoming increasingly clear that "The Soup"-style clip shows serve the same kind of function for basic cable networks that aggregator blogs and RSS feeds serve for bored internet surfing, with everyone clamoring for their own show featuring a host riffing in front of a green screen, including official spin-offs on Style, Vs. and now G4 (The Dish is still the best offshoot, but none come close to Joel McHale on the original article). "Web Soup" isn't the first attempt to cram YouTube memes and 'viral' videos into a TV format, and it definitely won't be the last. But Chris Hardwick is kind of a weak host who probably could only really come off clever in the context of something as stupid as "Singled Out."

b) "Tosh.0"
Despite the garbage name and it being Comedy Central's off-brand "Soup" knockoff with the exact same concept as "Web Soup" that started airing the same week, this is way better, mainly because Daniel Tosh is a genuinely funny stand-up, and his ultra-dry and mildly envelope-pushing (but not Mencia-style broad "edgy") sense of humor lends itself well to this kind of show. Both shows seem to be starting with the concept that their viewers haven't seen all the big web memes of the past 5 years, and that they can fill a bunch of their airtime by reintroducing stale old stuff, but Tosh at least does more pre-taped bits (sometimes involving the original people from the videos) to make it more creative than just stock wisecracking.

c) "In Plain Sight"
I guess with various incarnations of "Law & Order" going to basic cable, now channels like USA are holding up the procedural drama genre more than the big 4, which probably is a good thing since these shows seem fairly cheap and plop out of an assembly line. This one is a variation on the form about people who work in witness protection; I got sucked into one episode because Lester from "The Wire" was the guest star, and it was pretty good. One of the main actors was a supporting player from "The Wire," too, one of the Greeks. Anyway, don't know if I'll keep tuning in but I kinda like the feel of the writing, show has potential.

d) "The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien"
I was an 11-year-old Letterman nerd when Conan began "Late Night," and was a big fan of the show in the early days when they were perpetually teetering on the edge of cancellation. So it's been really vindicating to see him ascend the throne now, even if ratings are already bad and after years of climbing he's kind of back in an underdog position. I just wish I had a chance to watch this more, but really anytime I'm awake past 11:30 these days it's because I'm covering a show or writing, so it's rare I get to see it. What I've seen has been cool, though...I wish Andy was back in his old role, or at least as prominent a part of the show as he used to be.

e) "Better Off Ted"
Really happy this show is getting renewed and they're actually airing all the episodes produced for the first season now (after airing a premature 'season finale' a few weeks ago). Still a little too broad and conceptual to be up there with the best sitcoms, but sometimes I like having something a little madcap to watch.

f) "True Blood"
This dumb trashy show never got me totally hooked, but it's decent enough that I'm still watching on season 2. And actually it's kind of nice to start a new season with all of these disparate plot strands and newly introduced characters, because you know they'll actually be exploring them, whereas it was kind of annoying towards the end of the first season when they kept bringing up new storylines that you know they wouldn't have time to get into in any satisfying way. I kinda hope I don't get too into it this season, though, since I'm planning on cancelling my HBO before this season's over.

g) "Pushing Daisies"
It was cool that ABC was apparently contractually obligated to air every produced episode of this even after they cancelled it, since it meant I didn't have to track down the last 3 episodes online or on DVD or something, but it was also really lame of them to wait to air them 6 months after the last episodes, on Saturdays in summer programming hell. So this last batch kinda felt too short and isolated to really be a satisfying end to the series, but they were still as consistent as the rest of the series. I'm glad it lasted as long as it did, actually, pretty cool show. I guess I should rent "Wonderfalls" and "Dead Like Me" now.

h) "Ace of Cakes"
The episode where they did the cake for "Lost" was pretty cool, partly because it was fun watching them totally geek out on the show like the rest of us and be super hyped to go to Hawaii, and then have the cast members come out and eat cake and joke around while still in the costume/makeup from a crazy dramatic episode. I don't know if it's more pathetic or less pathetic that I've had a hardcore crush on Elena from Squaaks since before she was on TV.

i) "Arrested Development"
I've been good and stubborn over the years about not liking what I've seen of this show, not being interested in really giving it a shot to grow on me, etc. law brought a DVD and got me to watch a good number of episodes and OK, it's alright, I don't totally hate it. I still get a little pissed when people compare it to the all-time great sitcoms, though.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Back in 2007 I met up with some guys who were making a documentary about Baltimore hip hop, and they interviewed me in a Reisterstown parking lot. And now the film, Paused In Time is coming out on DVD, and I'm going to be in it apparently. The trailer is on YouTube and there's going to be a release party at Sonar next week.

Monday, June 22, 2009
My latest blurbs and scores for The Singles Jukebox:

Beyoncé - Diva [2/5.82]
Lady GaGa - Lovegame [1/3.53]
Lil Kim ft. T-Pain and Charlie Wilson - Download [5/4.23]
Maxwell - Pretty Wings [8/7]
Anthony Hamilton - The Point of It All [6/6]
Ace Hood ft. T-Pain & Akon - Overtime [3/4.22]
Clipse ft. Kanye West - Kinda Like A Big Deal [4/6.4]
Keyshia Cole ft. Monica - Trust [5/4.92]
Amerie - Why R U [5/6.5]
Ciara - Tell Me What Your Name Is [7/6.55]
Young Money - Every Girl [8/5.64]
Drake - Best I Ever Had [3/5.27]
Black Eyed Peas - I Gotta Feeling [7/5.5]
Jay-Z - Death of Autotune [4/5.53]

Saturday, June 20, 2009

If R. Kelly didn't invent the remix in modern R&B terms, he at least has always been reversing the usual process, remixing his own songs and those of others, writing whole new hooks and verses himself instead of just letting a rapper put 16 bars on his track to make it hot. Throughout his career, he's had remixes of singles that were bigger hits than the original, from "Down Low" to "Ignition." Then he became the first R&B singer to drop a guest verse as if he was an MC on an all-star remix, first on "I'm In Luv (Wit A Stripper)" and then "Make It Rain" and "It's Me Bitches" and so on. Now, it's completely commonplace for other singers like T-Pain and Akon and Ryan Leslie (all of whom at least owe some of their success to Kells) to drop verses on remixes. Then a year or two back, around the time R. got off the hook on his court case and his career went strangely quiet, he started doing a lot of unauthorized remixes of current hits, and I assume he just felt like doing those on his own, not that any artist would really turn down an offer to have him on the official remix. And his versions of "Lookin' Boy" and "Flashing Lights" and "Touch My Body" were all pretty dope.

So in one sense, R. Kelly releasing his first mixtape, The Demo Tape, this month, is a continuation of something he's been doing for over a decade. In another less true sense, he's behind the times, in an age when R&B singers like Trey Songz and Raheem DeVaughn and Amerie routinely make mixtapes full of 'freestyles' over popular songs. But Kelly's obviously been doing this longer outside that particular format, and he also does it better. The Demo Tape doesn't really feature his best work in that vein, though it's tempting to blame that on the source material, and the fact that he was probably just grabbing a bunch of recent songs at once instead of waiting fo rinspiration to strike. There's really not a ton of potential in songs like "Turn My Swag On" and "Love Lockdown" to begin with, although it's entertaining to hear him run circles around a faux-R. hit like "Birthday Sex," or do his own weird meta twist on The-Dream's own homage to R., "Kelly's 12 Play." The new songs, including the awful current single "Supa Man High" and AutoTune messes like "P.U.S.S.Y. Cry," don't bode especially well for his next album, Untitled. I never heard the album that was leaked and shelved last year, 12 Play: Fourth Quarter, but I can only hope that just like scrapping Loveland lead to the awesome The Chocolate Factory, tossing out one record will produce a great one in its place.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I wrote a feature about Sonny Brown that's in the City Paper this week. I've known Sonny for a few years and have a lot of respect for him, everyone in Baltimore knows him from hosting shows but I don't think they necessarily realize that he's a talented MC and hopefully the music he's getting ready to release this year will show that.

(photo by Christopher Myers)

The 2009 Remix Report Card, Vol. 6

Tuesday, June 16, 2009
"All The Above (Remix)" by Maino featuring Young Jeezy and T-Pain
I hate this song in all its empty "on a mission to be/ what I'm destined to be" platitudes and bad "Live Your Life"-knockoff beat, to the point that I don't even wanna listen to the remix and put up with the beat and the awful chorus one more time, but here we go. Maino kinda goes in, not unlike he did on the "Hi Hater" remix, like he seems to get a better idea of how to flow on a song once he gets a second chance at it, but still on some lame up-with-people shit. Jeezy still owns it, though.
Best Verse: Young Jeezy
Overall Grade: C+

"Always Strapped (Remix)" by Birdman featuring Lil Wayne, Rick Ross and Young Jeezy
When I first wrote about this track a few months ago, I praised it for featuring Wayne in the kind of dry deadpan style that he "hasn’t been focusing on regularly for 2 or 3 years now," not realizing that the reason it sounds like that is that he originally recorded it with Juelz Santana back in 2006, before he drowned in syrup and AutoTune and the sound of his own fake laugh. So it was kind of funny to first hear this remix when a DJ blended into it from the original, so you hear 2006 Wayne right next to cackling animated 2009 Wayne -- which isn't really as huge a step down as it would be if it were 2008 Wayne, which was probably his nadir as a rapper before he kinda pulled his skills back together, but he still kinda wastes space and doesn't drop a single hot line. The original's beat (co-produced by Lil C of "Shoulder Lean" fame) was killer but they change it up a little here and it ain't bad. Jeezy has one of those moments where he tries a flow that it's a little out of his comfort zone and you wanna give him credit for the effort but really you wish he'd just swing back in one of those familiar "YEAHHHH" type verses. Rick Ross gets the track's sole quotable with "spend a night with me, baby, you can write a book," which is a shame considering how easily the other guys on this should be embarrassing him.
Best Verse: Rick Ross
Overall Grade: B-

"Boyfriend #2 (Remix)" by Pleasure P featuring Flo Rida
This song was always kinda bland and generic to me in its original form, but somehow upping the tempo to a kind of jock jams beat and letting Flo Rida spit on it is a huge improvement.
Best Verse: n/a
Overall Grade: B

"Halle Berry (Remix)" by Hurricane Chris featuring Ludacris, Lil Boosie, Yo Gotti, Pitbull, Beenie Man, Yung Joc & C-Ride
This is definitely one of the best-looking remix lineups I've seen in a minute, but it kinda fails to live up to expectations right off the bat, with Luda dropping another weird verse sounding way off his game like on the "Rockin' That Shit" remix. Nice to hear Yo Gotti on a big remix like that although he sounds kinda out of his element, but funny how both Boosie and Yo Gotti go straight to Keyshia Cole when listing other famous chicks they like. I think every big posse remix should have a token dancehall guy like Beenie Man on it. Boosie kills it but his mini-me Hurricane Chris makes a pretty decent effort at trying to keep up.
Best Verse: Lil Boosie
Overall Grade: B+

"Magnificent (Remix)" by Rick Ross featuring Diddy, Special Ed, Big Boi and John Legend
Special Ed acquits himself pretty well in the old throw-an-old-school-rapper-a-bone remix guest spot, although I really did not need to hear him say "Twitter." It's pretty funny that they leaked a version of this without Diddy, then made a point of releasing the 'final' version with all his boring ad libs on here like it makes a damn difference.
Best Verse: Big Boi
Overall Grade: B-

"Must Be Love (Remix)" by Cassie featuring Busta Rhymes, Day26, Red Cafe and Diddy
The video for this song was so ill that for a second it almost made me think I might actually like the song, but coming back to it now yeah, it's pretty weak. Diddy letting his R&B game show flunkies sing on this is actually way doper than any boring rappers doing bedroom-voice flows over it.
Best Verse: Day26
Overall Grade: C+

"Stupid (Remix)" by Playaz Circle featuring Young Jeezy and Lil Wayne
I like Tity Boi and would like to see Playaz Circle do well, but this song is generic as fuck and the remix is no different, everyone goes exactly where you expect them to with the concept.
Best Verse: Young Jeezy
Overall Grade: D

"Swag Surfin' (Remix)" by Fast Life Youngstaz featuring Fabolous, Juelz Santana, Red Cafe and Maino
I had to look at wikipedia to make sure I had the name of the group that does this song right, these guys are so anonymous they make the Shop Boyz seem memorable. I literally have been like "beat's nice, I'll wait for the remix" since the first time I heard this song, although I was actually pretty late on hearing the remix, turns out it's been out a couple months already. Anyway Fab kills it as expected, Juelz annoying as expected.
Best Verse: Fabolous
Overall Grade: B-

"Who's Real (Remix)" by Jadakiss featuring DMX, Eve, Drag-On, Styles P. and Sheek Louch
If the whole Ruff Ryders core was gonna reunite on a remix of Swizz track, I wish it wasn't the whole with the stupid-ass "if you're real and you know it clap your hands" hook, but this song seems a little more decent without goddamn OJ Da Juiceman on it. DMX already posted some slightly pathetic tweets thanking Kiss for giving him the chance to appear on this remix, but his verse is at least a little less incoherent than his last big comeback remix appearance on "Touch It."
Best Verse: Jadakiss
Overall Grade: B-

2003 Reconsidered

Monday, June 15, 2009
1. T.I. - Trap Muzik
2. Freeway - Philadelphia Freeway
3. Kenna - New Sacred Cow
4. Three 6 Mafia - Da Unbreakables
5. Cex - Being Ridden
6. The Diplomats - Diplomatic Immunity
7. Carla Bozulich - Red Headed Stranger
8. R. Kelly - The Chocolate Factory
9. Lil Mo - Meet The Girl Next Door
10. 50 Cent - Get Rich Or Die Tryin'
11. Blink 182 - Blink 182
12. Grand Buffet - Pittsburgh Hearts EP
13. The Oranges Band - All Around
14. Jay-Z - The Black Album
15. Apollo Sunshine - Katonah
16. Nice Nice – Chrome
17. Led Zeppelin - How The West Was Won
18. Rod Lee – Vol. 3: Operation Shut ‘Em Down
19. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - Hearts of Oak
20. Steely Dan - Everything Must Go
21. Joan Of Arc - So Much Staying Alive and Lovelessness
22. Superchunk – Cup Of Sand
23. Ogun – The Movement
24. The Strokes - Room On Fire
25. Joe Budden - Joe Budden

This is about the point where it starts to get harder for me to complete the album lists, because this is going back to before I became a published critic so I wasn't actively seeking out stuff to write about. I listened to the radio a ton and went to shows pretty often, but buying albums wasn't a really big priority, partly because I was in college and couldn't really afford them. Still, some pretty good stuff that year, particularly mainstream, whereas most of the under the radar/indie artists I really liked at the time that dropped album that years for the most part weren't releasing their best material.

1. R. Kelly - “Step In The Name of Love (Remix)"
2. Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz featuring The Ying Yang Twins - “Get Low”
3. Twista featuring Kanye West and Jamie Foxx - “Slow Jamz”
4. Talib Kweli - “Get By”
5. Linkin Park - “Faint”
6. Baby aka the #1 Stunna featuring The Clipse - “What Happened To That Boy?”
7. Alicia Keys - “You Don’t Know My Name”
8. Justin Timberlake - “Rock Your Body”
9. Freeway featuring Peedi Crakk - “Flipsides”
10. Cee-Lo featuring Timbaland - “I’ll Be Around”
11. Christina Aguilera - “Fighter”
12. Coldplay - “Clocks"
13. Missy Elliott featuring Ludacris - “Gossip Folks”
14. Joe Budden - “Pump It Up”
15. The Youngbloodz featuring Lil Jon - “Damn!”
16. Diplomats – “Dipset Anthem”
17. Pharrell featuring Jay-Z - “Frontin’”
18. David Banner featuring Lil Flip - “Like A Pimp”
19. Kelly Clarkson - “Miss Independent”
20. The Darkness - “I Believe In A Thing Called Love”
21. Sean Paul - “Get Busy”
22. Dido - "White Flag"
23. Bow Wow featuring Jagged Edge - “My Baby”
24. Lil Mo featuring Fabolous - “4Ever”
25. Tamia – “Officially Missing You”
26. Pink – “Trouble”
27. Monica - “So Gone”
28. R. Kelly - “Ignition”
29. R. Kelly - "Ignition (Remix)"
30. Fabolous f/ Lil Mo and Mike Shorey – “Can’t Let You Go”
31. Good Charlotte - “The Anthem”
32. Beyonce featuring Jay-Z - “Crazy In Love”
33. Juelz Santana featuring Cam’ron - “Dip Set (Santana’s Town)”
34. Da Band - “Bad Boy This, Bad Boy That”
35. Trina featuring Ludacris - “B R Right”
36. Nivea featuring R. Kelly - “Laundromat”
37. Aaliyah f/ Tank – “Come Over”
38. Jagged Edge - “Walked Outta Heaven”
39. Justin Timberlake – “Senorita”
40. Bone Crusher featuring Killer Mike and T.I. - “Never Scared”
41. Wayne Wonder - “No Letting Go”
42. Bubba Sparxxx – “Deliverance”
43. Kanye West - “Through The Wire”
44. The Foo Fighters - “Times Like These”
45. Busta Rhymes featuring Pharrell - “Light Your Ass On Fire”
46. Sean Paul - “Like Glue”
47. Justin Timberlake - “I’m Lovin’ It”
48. Christina Aguilera - "Beautiful"
49. Jay-Z - “La La La (Excuse Me Again)”
50. Fabolous f/ Tamia – “Into You”

This was such a ridiculously great year for popular music, Kanye and Just Blaze at their peaks as producers, Jay-Z and the Neptunes in their last stretch of really consistent hits, the trio of songs that signaled the beginning of southern rap's era of dominance ("Get Low," "Like A Pimp" and "Never Scared"), bands like Linkin Park and Coldplay dropping the best songs they'll ever make, R. Kelly being absolutely on fire. Probably the best singles year of the decade, really.

Movie Diary

Sunday, June 14, 2009
a) Get Smart
I gotta say, the word of mouth on this was pretty unenthusiastic, but I ended up really enjoying it. "Get Smart" was one of my favorites on Nick at Nite when I was a kid and while I would've been fine with more Mel Brooks-style comedy, I didn't mind the direction they went with it at all, definitely one of the funnier movie adaptations of a classic TV show.

b) I Could Never Be Your Woman
Yet another one of those crappy movies Paul Rudd made in between awesome ones, except when I caught a little of this on TV and got sucked into it, it turned out to be pretty decent. Could've been better with someone besides boring Michelle Pfeiffer in the lead role, and without the terrible narrative device involving Tracy Ullman, but otherwise fairly clever and funny.

c) I'm Reed Fish
I should've known better than to try and watch a quirky indie rom-com like this without getting angry, but by the time I had spent some time with it I decided to stick with it all the way to the bullshit ending. And I didn't even realize until the credits rolled that the movie was written by a guy named Reed Fish and is pretty much autobiographical, which makes the totally unlikable and irrational main character even more WTF.

d) Fun WIth Dick And Jane
This was pretty funny, for a latter day Jim Carrey flick. I liked that the whole theme of satirizing Enron-type corporate criminals manifested itself in a way that seemed to come from a really genuine place of anger, the movie would probably resonate with people more if it came out today for that reason. It was co-written by Judd Apatow, but this was a little bit before 'Apatow movies' became kind of a trusted brand in and of itself and, of course, people were good and sick of Jim Carrey by then.

e) Caddyshack
After decades of having this movie quoted to me but not actually ever watching the whole thing, my brother-in-law finally sat me down to watch it while we were on family vacation a couple weeks ago. And it's pretty funny, of course, especially the Rodney Dangerfield stuff, although it's definitely hit and miss, and I think it's more in league with, say, Meatballs than the best of the Ramis/Murray/Doyle-Murray/etc. comedies from that era.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

My latest local music review on is of the new album by Repelican, which is Jon from the band The Art Department that I interviewed a few months ago.