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by Thomas Hauner

5 Nov 2009

Not even tickets to game six of the World Series could dissuade some fans from settling down to two-and-a-half hours with Lyle Lovett and his large band—though several Yankee ticket scalpers still paced outside the Beacon Theatre, miles from the big game in the Bronx.  It was pretty fulfilling to see so many eschewing the conspicuous pomposity of yet another pinstriped championship for the antithetic Lovett.  At times self-deprecating, but always dapper, demure, and humbling, Lovett led his 14-piece ensemble through a broad setlist of sounds old and new, big and small.  Though supporting his most recent release, Natural Forces, and its decidedly country sound was the tour’s ostensible objective, Lovett indulged the crowd using his entire repertoire and array of styles (“My Baby Don’t Tolerate,”  “Cute as a Bug,” “L.A. County,” and “I’ve Been to Memphis.”)  His masterful band, brilliantly agile and polished, was up to the task: condensing into a bluegrass quartet with mandolin player Keith Sewell sidling up with Lovett for perfectly symmetrical harmonies (“Up in Indiana”); or expanding into a riotous blues band, guitars firing on all cylinders (“It’s Rock and Roll.”)  One of Lovett’s most endearing attributes is his refusal to take himself seriously, and songs like “Pantry” (about food adultery) and “Farmer Brown/Chicken Reel” (chorus:  “Choke my chicken till the sun goes down”) exuded that.  At the same time he takes his craft and blessings seriously.  Intimate numbers like “Nobody Know Me,” “Natural Forces,” and “Fat Babies,” all laced with tangential stories and quips, made the night seem like our very own Vh1 Storytellers—in a good way.  Lovett, astute showman that he is, didn’t shy from pulling out “If I Had a Boat” when the moment called for it, and, always the modest gentleman, deflected the crowd’s praise at his band until the end.

by Mehan Jayasuriya

5 Nov 2009

Last night, two of the most buzzed-about new bands of the moment rolled through Washington: San Francisco’s Girls and New Jersey’s Real Estate.  Though both bands mine similar sonic territory (lo-fi indie-pop,) and have impossible names to google, in a live setting, their approaches clearly diverge.  Real Estate ably demonstrated that beneath all the haze hides a tight ensemble.  Belying their beach bum reputation, there was nary a stray note to be found in the band’s set, though they certainly made it look effortless.  What’s more, the band imbued their sunny, midtempo compositions with a palpable sense of warmth, rendering tracks off of their self-titled full-length even more inviting than they are on record.  Girls, by way of contrast, felt sluggish, though the slower tempos of their songs could be partially to blame.  Still, they seemed to lean too heavily on frontman Christopher Owens’ unhinged personality, relying on his delivery to carry most of the songs’ weight.  When this approach worked—most notably on the skuzzy shoegaze of “Morning Light” and the bouncy breakup pop of “Laura”—the results were stunning.  When it didn’t, the set tended to drag.  While Girls show a great deal of promise, they clearly still have a ways to go as a live act.  They might want to start by learning a thing or two from their tourmates.

by Allison Taich

5 Nov 2009

It truly was a family affair for the Yonder Mountain String Band (YMSB) in Chicago last week as the newgrass quartet kicked off their annual two day run at the House of Blues.  Opening the show was banjoist Danny Barnes, accompanied by YMSB mandolin player Jeff Austin.

by Katharine Wray

5 Nov 2009

Annie
Don’t Stop
(Smalltown Supersound)
Releasing: 17 November (U.S.)

Norwegian dance phenom Annie is releasing the already-out-in-Britain Don’t Stop in the U.S. of A. later this month. There is nothing confusing about Annie’s electro-pop that is both catchy as hell and intelligent.

SONG LIST
01 Hey Annie
02 My Love Is Better
03 Bad Times
04 Don’t Stop
05 I Don’t Like Your Band
06 Songs Remind Me of You
07 Marie Cherie
08 Take You Home
09 The Breakfast Song
10 Loco
11 When the Night
12 Heaven and Hell

Annie
I Don’t Like Your Band [MP3]
     

My Love Is Better (Sunkh Knight Remix) [MP3]
     

 

by Timothy Gabriele

4 Nov 2009

About partway through ABC’s adaptation of the Reagan-era sci-fi drama V, an FBI counter-terrorism agent, played by Steve the Pirate from Dodgeball, kicks down a door to a suspicious rusty old shed discovered while hot on the trail of a suspected terrorist. “Nothing!”, he proclaims as the interior reveals the banal components of your average quotidian shed, wishing to seek no further.

It turns out that the FBI agent was deliberately defeatist because he didn’t want his fellow spooks sneaking into his secret lair. Still, this disavowal pretty much sums up V;  a dramatic entrance (the arrival of a spaceship/flying LCD screen) and a subsequent failure to carefully examine interiors. Who would believe for one second that a counter-terrorism agent would surrender so easily on the trail of a terrorist cell recently found to be making massive purchases of C-4?

The rejection of surfaces is pretty much the thesis of V‘s first episode, but it’s a thesis upheld by the lazy sci-fi shorthand of a singular empirical reality laying beneath the surfaces. We know the good guys are good, because they know what’s really going on, whereas the suckers pledging a dogmatic “devotion” (the show’s big buzz word) to the new movement are apparently just dupes lured in by the Id-drive to fuck galactic travelers or the desperation-drive to accept anybody offering peace and prosperity in a time of turmoil.

//Mixed media
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The Moving Pixels Podcast Looks at the Scenic Vistas and Human Drama of 'Firewatch'

// Moving Pixels

"This week we consider the beautiful world that Campo Santo has built for us to explore and the way that the game explores human relationships through its protagonist's own explorations within that world.

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