I Listen to Music: Week of 3/6/16

Here’s a log of the music I listened to for the week of March 6, 2016:

Car Album of the Week: Protomartyr – The Agent Intellect

The I Don’t Cares – “Outta My System”
This is Paul Westerberg and Juliana Hatfield. Their debut album as The I Don’t Cares, Wild Stab, was released in January.

Susanna Hoffs & Matthew Sweet – “Cinnamon Girl (Neil Young Cover Live on The Tonight Show)”
I was reminded of the Hoffs/Sweet team-up because of The I Don’t Cares. They have released two covers albums together.

Canned Heat – “Let’s Work Together” and “Rollin’ and Tumblin’ (Live at the Monterey Pop Festival)”
Why a co-worker and I started talking about Canned Heat I don’t remember, but part of our discussion was a disagreement about the songs Bob “The Bear” Hite, or Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson sang, and who we liked better.

Julien Baker  – NPR Tiny Desk Concert
Baker is currently criss-crossing the country on tour, and stopped by the NPR studios in Washington DC for the latest installment of their Tiny Desk series.

Laura Nyro and LaBelle – “Nowhere to Run (Martha and the Vandellas Cover)”
The CBC DJ who played this track failed to mention that LaBelle is backing up Nyro. He also said, “Van-duh-las.”

Florence + The Machine – “Ship to Wreck
The next song after Nyro. I’m not going to switch stations if this song is on.

Liars – “Grown Men Don’t Fall In a River, Just Like That
My oldest literally fell in a river, so a co-worker passed along this song.

Skeletonwitch – “Well of Despair” and “Repulsive Salvation
New song with a new singer from this Ohio metal group. The second song is to remind myself what the last singer sounded like, and I think I like him better.

Head Wound City – “Scraper
Members of The Blood Brothers, The Locust, and Nick Zinner from Yeah Yeah Yeahs comprise this grindcore supergroup. They have a new album, A New Wave of Violence, coming out in May.

Blue Oyster Cult – “Burning for You
Tuesday was primary day here in Michigan, so I wondered if Bernie Sanders ever used this song at his rallies…

Mike Watt – “Burning for You (Blue Oyster Cult Cover)”
…which led to this odd Mike Watt cover.

Mexrrissey – “Estuvo Bien (Morrissey Cover)”
Did you know that The Smiths and Morrissey, in particular, have a very loyal Latino following? Well you do now, and here’s a link to a Spin article by Chuck Klosterman with additional information.

Sam Beam & Jesca Hoop – “Valley Clouds”
New song and video from this collaboration. They’ll be starting a tour in Ann Arbor in May.

Iggy Pop – “Lust for Life” and Post Pop Depression
NPR First Listen is streaming Pop’s latest (and last?) album. It’s his best in years, and he’s heading out on tour with Josh Homme later this month. Post Pop Depression is available on March 18.

The Beatles – “In My Life
Beatles producer George Martin passed away at the age of 90 on March 8. The harpsichord sounding bridge is actually a sped up recording of Martin playing a piano.

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – “Gamma Knife” and Live on KEXP
I have found my new favorite band. These psychedelic weirdos from Australia will be releasing their eighth album in four years, Nonagon Infinity, on April 29.

Louis Armstrong – “The Beat Generation”
An article about the Beats on Gawker contained a video of Louis Armstrong singing this song over the credits to the 1959 movie appropriately titled, The Beat Generation.

Click here for a Spotify playlist of these songs.

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Donald J. Trump Doesn’t Like Seth “Marbles in His Mouth” Meyers

My search through Donald Trump’s twitter account continues with this list of tweets about Seth Meyers:

Here are some responses to his followers about Meyers:

And finally this might be the meanest tweet of all-time:

If you’re wondering why Trump thinks Meyers is a “loser,” watch this clip from the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2011:

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I Listen To Music: Week of 2/28/16

Here’s a log of the music I listened to for the week of February 28, 2016:

Car Albums of the Week: Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly and Protomartyr – The Agent Intellect
To Pimp A Butterfly 
started this week in the CD player, but Detroit rockers Protomartyr made a return. Basically because it was the only other CD in the car, and I was looking for a change of pace.

Queen – “You’re My Best Friend”
Rush – “Limelight”
Double dose of quality rock from the local Detroit classic rock station. They probably followed this up with Phil Collins or Ted Nugent leading me to change the station, or play a CD.

Case/Lang/Veirs – “Atomic Number”
Neko Case, k.d. lang, and Laura Veirs announced their upcoming collaboration with this track. The album will be available June 17.

Neko Case – “Danny’s Song” (Loggins & Messina Cover from Vinyl)
This is the latest cover to be released from HBO’s Martin Scorsese/Mick Jagger produced Vinyl.

Explosions in the Sky – “Logic of A Dream”
Texan instrumental rock group, Explosions in the Sky, released the first single off their upcoming album, The Wilderness. The album will be available on April 1.

The Besnard Lakes – A Coliseum Complex Museum
A friend of mine’s band, Congress, will be opening for these Montreal rockers when they make a stop in Detroit next month, so I thought I would check out their latest album.

Robin Pecknold – “New Song” (Live)
The Fleet Foxes frontman has been opening for Joanna Newsom on her recent tour, and played a new song last week fueling speculaton that a new album from the band could be happening.

Beastie Boys – “A Year and A Day/Hello Brooklyn
Kendrick Lamar samples the same Isley Brothers song, “That Lady,” for “i” on To Pimp A Butterfly.

The Armed – “An Ode to No One” (Smashing Pumpkins Cover)
Smashing Pumpkins – “An Ode to No One” (Live)
The Pumpkins really rock out on this track from Mellon Collie during their “last show” in 2000 at the Metro in Chicago.

Kendrick Lamar – untitled unmastered
Apparently LeBron James convinced Lamar to release these tracks left off of To Pimp A Butterfly. Thanks LeBron!

Metallica – “Enter Sandman” (Smooth Jazz Version)
Rage Against the Machine – “Killing In The Name” (Less Angry Version)
A YouTuber named Andy Rehfeldt has been creating his own interpretations of popular rock songs for a few years now. His page is full of videos that will waste a lot of your time if you’re not careful.

Sturgill Simpson – “Brace for Impact (Live a Little)
The first track off Simpson’s upcoming A Sailor’s Guide to Earth that will be released on April 15.

The Replacements – Live at 7th Street Entry (1981)
An interview with author Bob Mehr about his new biography on the influential Minneapolis rockers led me to this gem on YouTube. When the Replacements weren’t wasted they could be an amazing live band.

Future – “Low Life” & “March Madness” (Live on Saturday Night Live)
The Atlanta rapper was joined on stage by The Weeknd during “Low Life”

Donald J. Trump: Movie Reviews

As we know Donald Trump has opinions (the best opinions, he would say) about a lot of different things. Here are some Twitter movie reviews from Trump:

Django Unchained (2012)

Lincoln (2012)

Breaking Dawn: Part 2 (2012)

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)

Unbroken (2014)

 The Interview (2014)

The Dictator (2012)

2016: Obama’s America (2012)

Movies Released in 2013

Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

WWE: The History of Wrestlemania (2004)

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) & The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

 

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I Listen to Music: Week of 2/21/16

Here’s a log of the music I listened to for the week of February 21, 2016:

Car Album of the Week: Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly
This album will most likely be in my car’s CD player for the next few weeks. This album is so brilliant, it really is shocking that it lost to Taylor Swift’s 1989 at the Grammys, but we are talking about an organization that once gave a Best Metal/Hard Rock Performance award to Jethro Tull.

Hevisaurus – “Juranoid,” “Saurusarmeija,” and “Viimeinen mammutti”
Heavy metal + Dinosaurs + Finland = Awesome. This band has released six albums, selling over 170,000 copies, and winning a Finnish Grammy for Best Children’s Album.

Goo Goo Dolls – “Long Way Down” and “Ain’t That Unusual” from A Boy Named Goo
The Goos are touring this summer with Collective Soul which led to a discussion at work about how they once kind of sounded like The Replacements, and these two tracks as examples.

John Carpenter – “Distant Dream” from Lost Themes II
Director John Carpenter (Halloween, The Thing) is also doing a small tour in support of his upcoming album. This song is pretty awesome with an 80’s horror/Kraftwerk vibe to it.

Glitterbust – “The Highline” from Glitterbust
Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth has a new band, and they released the first track from their upcoming album this week. 

Marlon WilliamsMarlon Williams
New Zealander Marlon Williams will be opening for Sam Beam (from Iron and Wine) and Jesca Hoop on their spring tour, and since I’ll be catching that show in Ann Arbor, I thought I would check out the opener. I’m really glad I did, because this guy is hugely talented. I’m really looking forward to seeing him in May.

Julien BakerSprained Ankle
Julien Baker is one of the reasons I decided to make this list because I completely forgot about her great debut album from last year when writing some of my year-end posts for The AP Party. She was recently on the Chicago based Audiotree where she performed one of that show’s best sessions ever.

Sturgill Simpson – “The Promise” (When in Rome Cover) from Metamodern Sounds in Country Music
If it wasn’t pointed out to me that this was a cover by CBC Radio 2 this week, I would have never found out.

Kathleen Edwards – “Empty Threat” from Voyageur
Probably my favorite Canadian musician who has never “made” it in the States. This comes from her great Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) produced album from 2012. She quit music and opened a coffee shop in an Ottawa suburb in 2014.

The Jayhawks – “Waiting for the Sun” from Hollywood Town Hall
The Jayhawks have been doing this for 30 years. This track is off their breakout album from 1992.

Astro ChildrenPlain and Fancy Killings
This week I read an article about Millie Lovelock who is working on a Master’s in English with a focus on fandom, and One Direction in particular. She is also the lead singer of the New Zealand band, Astro Children.

Chris Stapleton – NPR Tiny Desk Concert
Stapleton’s Traveller was one of my favorite albums from last year, and the Tiny Desk series from NPR is usually very entertaining. This performance from Stapleton is no different.

When in Rome  – “The Promise” from When in Rome
After hearing the Sturgill Simpson cover I had to seek out the original.

Tancred – “Sell My Head” from Out of the Garden
Tancred is the solo project of Now, Now’s guitarist Jess Abbott. This track off her upcoming album, and has a very 90’s power pop sound to it. 

Neko Case – “Man” from The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You
I love this song (and Neko Case) so much. She’s super cool.

Noisey Forever Vacation: Converse Rubber Tracks video featuring Water Rats
This short film follows the Brazilian punk group Water Rats as they travel to Seattle to record with legendary producer Jack Endino (Nirvana, Mudhoney). Also, Thurston Moore shows up for some reason.

John Mellencamp – “Jack and Diane” from American Fool
It was on the radio, and I didn’t change stations…and, yes, I sang along.

Shovels & Rope with Preservation Hall Jazz Band – “Perfect Day” (Lou Reed Cover) from Busted Jukebox, Vol. 1
Not a huge fan of this cover, but Shovels & Rope are a neat country duo from South Carolina.

Iggy Pop – “Sunday” from Post Pop Depression
The latest track released from Pop’s upcoming album with Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme. This might be my favorite of the three tracks released so far.

The Rentals – “Friends of P” from The Return of the Rentals
Who knew that The Rentals biggest hit was named after model Paulina Porizkova? According to AV Club’s Hear This!, Porizkova told Rentals frontman Matt Sharp that she had never had a song named after her, and Sharp went out and named this song after her.

If you want to listen to a playlist on Spotify click here.

Root Beer Film Festival: The Steel Helmet

Samuel Fuller’s The Steel Helmet is more than a war film. It’s a film about America in the early 1950’s, about race relations, and our changing viewpoints on war itself after the end of World War II. The Steel Helmet was the first film about the Korean War released only eight months after that conflict began. It was also Fuller’s first foray into war a subject he would return to several times during his career.

Fuller, an infantryman during World War II, used his own experiences and those of returning GI’s from the Korean Peninsula to craft the tale of Sergeant Zack and a group of soldiers given the task of occupying a Buddhist temple as an observation post. The film was made for less than $200,000, but was a box-office success establishing Fuller has a legitimate director in Hollywood.

The Steel Helmet like many of Fuller films does not shy away from controversy, and it centers on two main themes race relations and the horrors of war that stay with our soldiers. At the time it was considered by some to be “pro-Communist.” Scenes involving a North Korean POW asking an African-American and Japanese-American how they could fight alongside the white man borrows from Communist propaganda used during the Cold War. Both soldiers dismiss the POW, and the average American might agree with the soldiers, but it is clear Fuller is using the POW to bring up topics rarely seen in theaters in 1951.

By the end of The Steel Helmet the soldiers we have been following are either dead, injured, or in shock. For those remaining nothing will be the same, they’ve all seen death too many times. It’s not a happy ending, but it shouldn’t be.

The Steel Helmet is not just a great war film, but a great film in general. It is tense and filled with action while making the viewer think. It is a credit to Fuller as a writer and director that he is able to combine the two without letting one overtake the other.

Root Beer Film Festival: The Stuff

The Stuff has most of the classic elements of a 1980’s horror film: bad special effects, a terrible script, awful editing, a kid in danger, a bunch of bad acting, and it’s not all that scary. The Stuff isn’t so bad it’s good on the level of a classic like Night of the Creeps, but it has its moments.

Michael Moriarty is pretty entertaining as Mo Rutherford, an industrial saboteur who is investigating a mysterious dessert called The Stuff. He very quickly starts dating the ad executive who created the campaign that makes The Stuff so popular, and soon they rescue the only boy in America who knows The Stuff is bad. The three of them along with a militia group led by Colonel Spears (Paul Sorvino) end the menace of The Stuff. A bunch of random other things happen involving “Chocolate Chip” Charlie (Garrett Morris), a few creepy Southern towns, and Danny Aiello being killed by his dog.

Every Saturday afternoon when I was a kid one of our local channels would show a double feature of horror films, and The Stuff was a staple of their line-up. I probably have seen the entire movie, but I don’t think I ever sat and watched the whole thing in one sitting. Outside of using “Whole Lotta Love” for their theme music the only other thing I remember about the “Thriller Double Feature” is The Stuff and Troll.

I love corny horror movies, and The Stuff is really close to making that list, but it’s missing the whole classic element to put it over the edge. It doesn’t have a great one-liner from anyone. Moriarty doesn’t have a great line, and outside of “Chocolate Chip” Charlie repeatedly saying his fists are “deadly weapons” nothing comes close. I need that line that just makes you laugh when you really shouldn’t be. The Stuff sadly doesn’t deliver it.

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Root Beer Film Festival: Gentlemen Broncos

Gentlemen Broncos made $118,492 at the box office, and cost $10 million to make. It was a commercial and critical failure for Jared Hess who had previously directed Napoleon Dynamite and Nacho Libre. Hess has directed exactly zero movies since Gentlemen Broncos was released and bombed in 2009.

This movie is so stupid and ridiculous, but also sometimes so funny that it’s actually kind of good. Ten years from now it may be considered a cult classic along the lines of Walk Hard and The Big Lebowski. A movie that originally made almost no money, or lost money, but eventually found a second-life through DVD, midnight screenings by fans, and Comedy Central.

When I was selecting movies for this little experiment I really wanted to find something starring Sam Rockwell to watch, but by Friday night had come up empty. It shows how little I remembered about Gentlemen Broncos that I forgot Rockwell plays Bronco, the antagonist that Dr. Ronald Chevalier (Jemaine Clement) steals along with his entire “Yeast Lords” story from Benjamin Purvis (Michael Angarano). Chevalier turns Bronco into a transvestite and re-names him Brutus. Rockwell plays both Bronco and Brutus and is so great that you end up hoping he’ll re-appear as either sooner rather than later.

Gentlemen Broncos was the victim of terrible reviews. It only ever reached 18 theaters before being pulled after 42 days. Currently, it holds an 18% on Rotten Tomatoes, but I just think critics didn’t get it. They were most likely expecting another Napoleon Dynamite or Nacho Libre and instead they got this weird story about a teenage sci-fi writer that occasionally cuts to a bearded Rockwell riding a deer or barfing on a deer. It’s weird, but fun.

Louie Bluie
This hour-long documentary of the late, great country blues musician Howard “Louie Bluie” Armstrong is filled with great stories and music from the man himself. This is director Terry Zwigoff’s first documentary. There is an odd scene with Armstrong going through a book of his writing and art on pornography that he keeps locked in a box. It fits in nicely with Zwigoff’s next subject the cartoonist Robert Crumb.

Movies watched: 5 (Moonrise Kingdom, Bronson, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Gentlemen Broncos, Louie Bluie)
Root Beers consumed: 5 (Stewart’s, Brownie, Mug, Boylan’s, Dang!)

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Root Beer Film Festival: X-Men: Days of Future Past

Here are the last four movies I have watched in a theatre: Man of Steel, The Avengers, Django Unchained, and Iron Man 2. All four I watched alone with strangers, and this morning was no different when I entered a darkened theatre at 10:25 with my overpriced popcorn and Mug root beer for X-Men: Days of Future Past.

“Days of Future Past” is one of the quintessential X-Men stories created by a classic X-Men creator line-up of Chris Claremont, John Byrne, and Terry Austin. The two issue story involves Kitty Pryde/Shadowcat traveling back in time to stop Mystique from assassinating Senator Robert Kelly, and starting a war between mutants and humans. The movie shifts this story around a bit to feature the more popular Wolverine, but the basics are the same.

I am a big fan of X-Men: First Class and was somewhat disappointed that director Matthew Vaughn would not be returning to Days of Future Past, but thankfully Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy did return as Magneto and Xavier.

I would love to write a ton of words about Days of Future Past. I liked it, but thought it had some flaws. To same time here are my five favorite things (in no particular order) in Days of Future Past because lists are easier:

Quicksilver
I guess you really shouldn’t judge a book by its cover because I was really expecting to hate Quicksilver based on his costume alone. And then I noticed the Pink Floyd shirt, and then I saw a really fun performance by Evan Peters, and Quicksilver quickly (pun intended?) grew on me. Sadly, he didn’t have enough screen time, but that time was the comic relief and filled with a couple of neat little easter eggs for comic fans. The bar has been set kind of high for Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Quicksilver when he appears next summer in The Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Hugh Jackman
Did you know they originally cast Dougray Scott as Wolverine for X-Men? Dougray. Scott. Jackman has portrayed the Canadian mutant in seven movies now, and I can’t really picture anyone else playing him. He may be too tall, Australian, and possibly too handsome, but he has been pretty great in all seven appearances (which can’t be said about the movies themselves). He even makes that stupid haircut work somehow. Could Dougray Scott have done that?

JFK
I’m not going to spoil anything, but I liked this subplot that they obviously did not have time to venture into. It was about five minutes of the movie. Thankfully the producers created a neat website to fill us in on some of the details.

Post-Credits Scene

I have been watching the credits of movies for years. Even before the current trend started I was sitting (usually alone) watching the names of every gaffer and design producer scroll by. Two movies are the cause of this: Hot Shots! and Wayne’s World. Both had post-credits scenes, and I figured I never wanted to miss one of those again. Anyway, a lot has been made of the post-credit scene involving Apocalypse because no one knows who he is…well he’s Apocalypse and it appears he has four friends on horseback.

Michael Fassbender
Can we get a Magneto solo movie? I just want to watch two hours of Fassbender bending metal, being cool, reconnecting with other mutants (maybe a son or daughter?) and kicking anti-mutant ass. Is this too much to ask?

Days of Future Past was good not great. I have a lot of questions, but I also am happy that it sort of rebooted everything after X-Men: Last Stand. The franchise is going to continue moving 10 years into the future with X-Men: Apocalypse which will take place in the 1980’s and be released in 2016.

Root Beer Bulletin – I thought the “letters” section needed a name.

What’s your rating scale? Is it how many root beers you would give a movie? Are you rating the root beer too? – Kat from Whitmore Lake
Hey! A real not made up question everyone! I don’t think I have a ratings scale. I’m a terrible reviewer. It’s either good or bad or meh. I have problems expressing what it is I like or dislike about things, so I’m terrible at parties. Maybe I’ll list the movies in order of enjoyment when I’m done. I’ll do that with the root beer too.

What are you wearing right now? And what are you doing? – Murray from Richmond
Thanks for the question Murray. I am wearing a Captain America t-shirt and shorts. I am watching the French Open because I enjoy watching tennis. Also, I am answering your question.

Movies watched: 3 (Moonrise Kingdom, Bronson, X-Men: Days of Future Past)
Root Beers consumed: 3 (Stewart’s, Brownie, Mug)

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Root Beer Film Festival: Bronson

Michael Peterson a.k.a Charles Bronson sounds like an absolutely horrible person. His claim to fame is spending most of his adult life in solitary confinement, and becoming England’s most famous prisoner. Essentially Peterson/Bronson is a petty thief who likes to take people hostage, and beat up prison guards. You don’t get to spend a lifetime in prison for stealing a ring, but if you continually threaten people trying to help you it will add some time to your sentence.

The film Bronson is the dramatized account of his life, and has the feel of a lot of British crime films of the past 15 years. It is kind of all over the place, but is carried by the performance of Tom Hardy.

Hardy’s performance as the title character is pretty amazing. Portrayed as the cross between a vaudeville performer and a lunatic, Peterson/Bronson gives Hardy enough juicy material to chew up scenery. It almost makes you wish that Peterson/Bronson was a likable character, but he isn’t. You’re glad he’s locked up, and he’s probably happy that he is as well.

LETTERS

Is Billy Joel’s “Root Beer Rag” the unofficial theme song of the film festival? – TJ from Stone Mountain, GA
No. The official theme song is “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”

What happens if you don’t get to watch every movie?
– Jerry from Akron
I’ll never get this chance again, so I need to watch them all.

Will you be making root beer floats this weekend?
– Chuck from NYC
So many root beer floats. Like two.

Movies watched: 2 (Moonrise Kingdom and Bronson)
Root Beers consumed: 2 (Stewart’s and Brownie)

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