Category Archives: Media

Sequestered in Winterfell? The Hold Steady Helps Soundtrack Game of Thrones

During this past Sunday’s HBO premiere of Game of Thrones Season 3 Episode 3, a group of rogues sang a song called “The Bear and the Maiden Fair,” a boisterous drinking song popular in Westeros. After the episode’s dramatic SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT conclusion, an especially boisterous, fully-rocked-out version of the song played over the closing credits, courtesy of The Hold Steady — in a hipsters-meets-Lannisters treatment previously journeyed to via The National’s “Rains of Castamere.” Wired explores the phenomenon smartly, and reveals the news that the Hold Steady’s version will be available in our world’s version of celebrating Ye Olde Mystical Tymes — for Record Store Day on April 20.

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Speaking in My Official Capacity as a Pulitzer Prize Winner, Your Movie Sucks

In honor of the life and career of game-changing film critic Roger Ebert, a delicious highlight reel (as it were) of some of his all-time classic digs at bad movies. Our favorite line? “Add it all up, and what you’ve got here is a waste of good electricity. I’m not talking about the electricity between the actors. I’m talking about the current to the projector.”

Yes, Nick Cave Is Singing About Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus

Nick Cave: Genius? Crazy? Both? We’re leaning both, after not only confirming today on chance listen to “Higgs Boson Blues” from his amazing new album, that he does indeed rhyme “Hannah Montana” with “African Savannah” to start off a verse. He also envisions Miley Cyrus at Toluca Lake, and invokes Robert Johnson. Well, we were at least expecting that last one.

Have a crack at the lyrics yourself, on the laughably-named Song Meanings website.

(Says one fan, “in my opinion it’s about someone who checks into a motel who writes down everything he is experiencing on his trip and stay there. i’m pretty sure it’s drug related.” You think?)

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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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.)

Least Shocking Development From a Super Bowl Media Day Ever

What do you mean, a retiring, controversial-yet-beloved NFL player doesn’t want to talk about new allegations about using performance-enhancing drugs or old allegations about his role in a double murder? Really, Yahoo! Sports? (Related: Jim Harbaugh wears a Sharpie as a necklace? Tell me more!)

Harry Potter as Ginsberg: No Kidding (And Other Tidbits From Sundance)

This in from the LA Weekly on Sundance, via an “I’m clicking on that” headline about “Sex with James Franco” (which is really just a pretty-much irrelevant tidbit at the end of the article about a project that not that many people will end up seeing, unless the 50 Shades of Gray wave is cresting rather than crashing against the shores of cultural relevance). The big news in the early reporting is an intriguing love triangle gone wrong movie called Kill Your Darlings, starring Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter himself) as a young Allen Ginsberg, with Ginsberg-esque Jew-fro apparently rocked. Apparently, from this report in the Huffington Post, it’s steamy and heralds what could be a pretty risque year in film.

Let Everybody Know!: Backing Into Details on the New Yeah Yeah Yeahs Album

[youtube http://youtu.be/_Ce365czGC0]

Today, the fine folks at Stereogum reported that the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (one of our favorite bands, except for the annoying habit of taking three years to record a studio album) debuted two songs from the anticipated upcoming album at a show in Pomona, Calif. on Friday night. The hilarity of Karen O yelling, “YEAH, Pomona!” was only matched by Stereogum committing some pretty egregious dancing about architecture. (“A simplistic and confident martial stomp,” anyone?) That song (which might be called “Suck Young Blood,” according to Stereogum, or possibly “Mosquito”, plus another new one which might be called “Earth,” have a definite return-to-Show Your Bones-era-YYY feel about them.

Then, an hour later, the band revealed the album’s new name (Mosquito), the release date (April 16), the album cover (which is a hideous-yet-hilarious shout out to the Garbage Pail Kids), and the mystery You Tube clip at the top of this post, which looks/sounds like the first gathering minute of something totally explosive and wonderful, though, on further, repeat, obsessive listens, it’s a sampling from the near-end of “Mosquito.” (Stereogum termed it “a not-very-revealing minute-long trailer for the album,” but then again, Stereogum commenters had to point out the obvious GPK reference.)

Anyhow, new Yeah Yeah Yeahs approaching. There’s a new Justin Timberlake jam featuring Jay-Z leaked today, for God’s sake, and yet, we’re more excited about this.

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One More Reason to Love Anne Hathaway

So, on the heels of Anne Hathaway’s classy, brilliant, PR-approved¬†and/or triumph against the men-being-pigs patriarchy (depending on whether you subscribe to both, one, or none of these POVs, but they’re both worth knowing about …

… and the whole having to endure the awfulness of paparazzi taking upskirt photos of her and then posting them with the intention of going viral …

… comes the revelation, in yesterday’s New York Times, that Anne Hathaway is something of a Macklemore and Ryan Lewis fan.

In between fielding a flurry of media calls regarding yesterday’s many Oscar nominations for Les Miserables, Hathaway revealed that she was delightedly singing the “This is f-ing awesome” hook from the rapper/producer’s “Thrift Shop.” (Which would, in a just world, be up for an Oscar next month for best music video. Why isn’t this a category by now?)

Hathaway and co-star Hugh Jackman also expressed regrets that director Tom Hooper wasn’t nominated for best director. But that’s the trick with the Oscars — ten nominated for best picture, only five nominated for best director. It’s bound to happen, especially in the types of films where the subtleties and artistic nuances of directing might be more immediately evident.