Monthly Archives: February 2013

Roasting Guy Fieri: Parody Site Takes On Frosted-Tipped Flavor Explosion King

Oh, Guy Fieri. First, your restaurant gets one of the most scathing, vitriolic reviews in the history of restaurants in the New York Observer, citing his birth as “the beginning of a year when the world caught on fire” and then just getting more hateful from there. Then, the New York Times’ Pete Wells reviewed the restaurant in a series of the most deliciously snarky questions ever put together into a single review, including “Hey, did you try that blue drink, the one that glows like nuclear waste?” and “Is this how you roll in Flavor Town?”

Now, we learn that Guy Fieri has not parked the guysamericankitchenandbar.com URL. We know that because of this completely awesome parody website/menu. Our favorite details might be the bidet that plays Smash Mouth or the picture of David Lee Roth stapled to a deep-fried snake, and really, you just need to read the whole brilliant thing.

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Alicia Keys at the NBA All-Star Game: This Girl Is On Fire, If By Fire, You Mean Potential Mid-Career Flameout

So, half-watching the NBA All-Star Game last night, waiting for the game to get interesting, and halftime rolls around. Alicia Keys is doing the halftime show, which seems sort of expected and non-spectacular. Plus, the NBA trying to do something spectacular in an arena is just doomed to fall short when doing it when compared to the Super Bowl halftime show, especially now that Beyonce dismantled the entire State of Louisiana’s power grid with her “Single Ladies” dance routine.

But there was something about Alicia Keys’ performance we noticed, and not in a good way — her voice seemed to be leaving her in spots, and the dance routine looked less than inspired, and the song selection seemed a little off. Disaster in the making? Well, observers like Idolator seemed to think so, though some defenders used the “She’s obviously sick; it’s hard to run around in all climates and promote yourself” line of justification. Career-ending? Probably not. But career-hiccuping? Most certainly.

Today’s NBA Stars: They Can Beat Michael Jordan at Something

The always-excellent crew at The Basketball Jones, our favorite Canadian-based basketball and pop culture podcast, is down in Houston for All-Star Weekend, and with it being Michael Jordan’s 50th birthday this weekend — a fact not lost on Fall Out Boy in their random duet with 2 Chainz — they took it upon themselves to ask the participants in this year’s All-Star Game to come up with things they’re better at than the Greatest of All Time. Answers included Uno, Checkers, dressing, drawing, mouth-grape-catching (of course), and a whole lot of video games. And, from the Matt Bonner we’re clearly all fans of, cribbage.

Let Everybody Know!: More YYY Preview, Now With More Shimmery Guitars

So, Mosquito‘s coming — the first album in far-too-long from Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The second teaser preview is now up, shown here on NME, but it’s really everywhere — and it’s a more shimmery, elegant, ’90s sounding effort that seems a bit surprising (given the muscle of the title song and the Garbage Pail Kid on the cover). But since that seems to going around a bit these days, with the new My Bloody Valentine and all, maybe it’s right in line with what’s shaping up to be Shoegaze Year.

Let Everybody Know!: Cold War Kids Might Very Well Be Back

The perhaps back-in-form Cold War Kids.

Cold War Kids give their first glimpse of the pending April 2 release of Dear Miss Lonelyhearts with a (cue Rock Critic Adjective Generator) soaring, anthemic, urgent song called “Miracle Mile.” After the commercial-leaning, glossy disappointment that was 2011’s Mine Is Yours, which laid in sharp contrast to the brilliance of their earlier, rawer work.

There are some generally encouraging video hints to other album tracks here, with their arty black-and-white aesthetic fully intact.

Between this and the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs (more on this tomorrow), we may just spend April under headphones.

Happy Valentine’s Day from Porter Wagoner!

Going waaaaay back for this one — so, so wrong, and yet so, so right. No one writes lyrics like classic country artists, ya know?

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Liking the Art But Not What the Artist Did: Stereogum Reconciles Liking Chris Brown and Surfer Blood

There’s an interesting debate that Stereogum opened up on its site today — at face value, and based on the splashy photo, it looks like it’s going to be another “Chris Brown is bad” article, but it also brings up the domestic violence charges to which that Surfer Blood singer John Paul Pitts plead no contest — and the interesting question of when do we or do we not stick up for our favorite musicians and artists, even when they do loathsome things. Of course, the degree to which Chris Brown is awful, highlighted by one of The Onion’s finest moments in recent memory, overshadows what limited pop appeal he has, whereas the implication of the Stereogum article is while Pitts’ episode isn’t as egregious as Brown’s dubious rap sheet and accompanying bad-boy antics, Surfer Blood’s level of indie success is relatively low-watt.

(Where it gets interesting and gets to be a really tense, telling debate is where it got with Michael Jackson. First, he was an extremely rare artist in that he had extraordinary commercial and artistic success, crossing over globally like no one since the Beatles — or, perhaps, even more so, who was then accused of unspeakable crimes and succumbed to increasing aberrant behavior, and then died dramatically, creating a pandemic of mourning — and, as I’ll never forget, the first time I’d ever seen a single event wash over my Twitter feed into The Only Thing Everyone Was Talking About in a matter of minutes. Nothing had hit home before or since as to how connected music makes us and how technology allows us to do that, cutting across geography and caste and culture, in the moment.)

Also, Stereogum brings this up because the first glimpse of Surfer Blood’s new album, a catchy, off-kilter pop song with screaming and one-note piano worked into the hooky chorus, called “Weird Shapes,” just got released a few weeks ago. Stereogum calls it “Weezerly.” Even if it is, please, please never use that as an adjective in any scenario. The debate it opens up is perhaps too important to neglect or dismiss — even though the converge of Chris Brown and Surfer Blood news might be a slightly forced landscape in which to start it.

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ESPN’s Music Issue Lets You Know: Yep, It’s February

So, the Super Bowl’s over, the NBA’s heading toward the always-entertaining All-Star Weekend (but the admittedly lackluster All-Star midseason caesura), baseball’s not quite yet in preseason, and hockey’s made itself irrelevant — taking care of the Big Four sports. So ESPN The Magazine decided to make the latest issue “The Music Issue,” which means photo shoots in which willing athletes try to help you shake off the winter doldrums by posing in costumes made to look like album covers. So, Alex Morgan dresses up like Katy Perry (giggity), MLB stars dress up like Devo on the Freedom of Choice cover (why?), Ryan Lochte undresses up like the baby on the Nirvana Nevermind cover (double why), and Josh Freeman dons the white suit (and a stuffed baby tiger) to replicate Michael Jackson’s Thriller, forever making him “the guy who posed as Michael Jackson for ESPN the Magazine that one time.” And NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson as Bob Dylan? Imagined staff meeting at ESPN the Magazine this week: “Okay, the costumes were fun — NFL DRAFT IN TWO MONTHS! GET ON THAT NOW!”

Beyonce: Stage On Fire, Shower of Sparks Guitar, and Other Awesomeness From Last Night

Things we liked about last night’s halftime show at the Super Bowl, featuring an up-and-coming songstress named Beyonce, who you might know best from being a member of Houston-based R&B group Destiny’s Child:

1. The things on fire.

The pyrotechnics made us feel like Beavis and Butthead in vintage “Fire! Fire!” mode, as it looked like Beyonce, at points, was going to be engulfed by the flames on the stage, if not for her flame-repellent lingerie.

The best thing on fire might have been the guitar, though. Deadspin captures it nicely here, along with the observation that “Beyonce doesn’t do anything figuratively.” Of course, though, that moment reminded us of this Ace Frehley solo, which in turn reminded us of this Nigel Tufnel solo.

2. The “performance.”

Dancing. Lots of motion. Alleged singing (with mysterious vocals not created by any of the mouths on stage), with Shaq playfully adding his perspective to the Inauguration lip-synching controversy. This blogger, noting that Beyonce was an incarnation of the Hindu warrior goddess Durga on stage, also noted that one online critic panned the whole show as “Breasts of the Southern Wild.” Both views seem extreme. We do love that Beyonce inspires this range of reactions.

3. Production values

So, there was the stage itself, that looked like the cover art for a 1973 Alice Walker novel (amirite?), but there was also so much high-tech gadgetry and electricity in the halftime show that, when a power surge made the Superdome look like “every movie about football ever, minus the torrential downpour” (according to an astute Deadspin writer), that I called the inevitable flood of “Beyonce caused the blackout” tweets to follow.

4. Destiny’s Child reunion. We, of course, blew this call. After seeing Beyonce diva her way through this performance, we thought, “No way she’ll share the stage with them.” But, she made them pop up from under the stage, as if summoned (because she’s DURGA), and then made them sidekicks. Genius.

We loved it. (Then again, at that point, the game was awful. It was compelling late. But, wow, American football takes forever. Especially during the Super Bowl.)

My Bloody Valentine: The Indie “Chinese Democracy,” Unveiled

More than 20 years in the making. No, not kidding.

Gather ’round, kids, and let me tell you a story about one of the most heralded bands of the ’90s. They were called My Bloody Valentine. They were British. They were proponents of a movement called “shoegaze,” named for the predilection of bands in that movement to stare at their shoes (and, really more like it, their abundance of guitar pedals), while they played.

MBV leader Kevin Shields, in much the way that Billy Corgan is the leader/all-everything of Smashing Pumpkins, set out to make an album called Loveless — an amazing album that comes with its own cautionary tale of studio excess — which nearly bankrupted its record label and took so, so long to finally come out.

But not compared to this — there’s a new MBV album, called MBV, which Shields just casually announced on the Internets a few days ago, after an incubation period of more than 20 years.

Here’s the YouTube stream of the new album, as lovingly play-by-played by Gothamist. (The sound you’re hearing, aside from many individual guitar tracks painstakingly laid over one another by an engineer whose eyes are doing the ka-ching cartoon dollar-sign lightup, is the sound of Indie Nation collectively stopping to listen. Enjoy. If you’re truly indie, that is.)