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by Jonas Jacobs

9 Feb 2010

I just finished watching the sexy 1989 thriller Sea of Love that I picked up from the library. The title intrigued me, and it was a VHS. My DVD player is broken, so I’ve been renting VHS tapes. Well, the movie was a gem; if you haven’t seen it, you should. More appropriately, the film piqued my curiosity about the song it was named after, “Sea of Love”. 

The song was written by Phil Phillips and George Khoury and, in 1959, Phillips’ version of the song charted at #1 on the Billboard R&B chart and #2 on the Billboard top 100. It’s had several reincarnations. In 1981, ‘60s rocker Del Shannon took the tune to #33 on the Top 40. In 1983, the Honeydrippers (Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, Jeff Beck et al) launched their version to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Since those early ‘80s covers of “Sea of Love” topped the charts, “Sea of Love” has come in to the hands of two less mainstream artists who have made it their own for respective soundtracks. Tom Waits covered it specifically for the aforementioned Sea of Love film. Indie crooner Cat Power played it as part of her 2000 album The Covers Record and her version was catapulted into the pop culture zeitgeist on the Juno film soundtrack.

Here are the different versions of the song in chronological order.

by Meghan Lewit

9 Feb 2010

Call this episode a hooker with a heart of gold. Project Runway oh-so-cleverly spent an entire show shilling for Campbell’s Soup, and managed to look noble in the process.

The challenge was to make a red evening dress for a gala sponsored by Campbell’s AdDRESS Your Heart Program. The crassness of the designers being forced to incorporate the brand’s logo into their garments was somewhat leavened by the fact that the models this week were real women who had survived heart disease. Confronted with altruism and normal-sized women (two things that cannot be found on the Bluefly accessory wall), several of the designers seemed to lose their ability to form rational sentences. To wit:

by Michael Buening

8 Feb 2010

As you have no doubt heard, the Academy Awards nominations were announced on Tuesday. For the benefit of film-loving book geeks I have put down my Walter Mosley to ridiculously overanalyze that most writerly of Oscar categories, Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay), to try and determine this year’s champion based on the completely unscientific merits of the past winners.

Before we begin, this year’s nominees are as follows:

District 9 - Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
An Education - Screenplay by Nick Hornby
In the Loop - Screenplay by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche
Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire - Screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher
Up in the Air - Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner

by Kevin M. Brettauer

8 Feb 2010

“If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him”.
-  Voltaire

Many things can be said about the latest Vertigo work to emerge from the team
of Mike Carey and Peter Gross. It can be said that The Unwritten is an examination of the human need to escape into a fictional world during troubled times. Or The Unwritten is metaphorical look at just how powerful the creative process truly is. Or a profound meditation on individuality, identity and the all-too-common theft thereof. Or a warning to pay attention to our own history so that we don’t repeat the mistakes of our ancestors. Even an outward strike at J. K. Rowling seemingly “borrowing” concepts from Gross’ Books of Magic for her records-breaking Harry Potter cycle.

In all honesty, The Unwritten is all these things and more.

by Donal Mosher

8 Feb 2010

Danny Paul Grody’s Fountain is the first full-length solo recording by one of the founding members of San Francisco’s Tarentel and the Drift. For those familiar with these music/art based acts, Fountain is a sweet reminder of Grody’s subtle guitar work—a cornerstone of both projects that often doesn’t get center stage in the ambitious mix of instrumentation, field recordings, and sound-scapes that make up the bulk of these bands’ output. Not that Fountain doesn’t use employ these techniques. There is no shortage of organ and feedback drones, recorded environments, modulated delay and ambience, but the album’s core is Grody’s evocative finger picking style—a style he says is an attempt to integrate something of psychedelic folk masters of the ‘60s, contemporary minimalist composers, and African thumb piano music structures. The result is pattern heavy music that achieves depth through very little surface movement. Repetition is the key to Grody’s compositions and a patient, quiet, even half dreaming approach to listening yields the best results.

Grody once went under the moniker of Furniture—a name copped from Eno’s idea that music should become furniture in the room. Like many of Eno’s concepts, this one is not quite as ephemeral as it seems. Furniture after all is integral to a room’s atmosphere as well as its functionality. The deceptive stillness of Fountain achieves both aspects of this concept quite nicely, creating an almost marginal backdrop while at same time giving us solid, haunting melodies that are perfect for resting our thoughts and memories upon. While some of these pieces are certainly stronger than others, hopefully Fountain is just the beginning of a wellspring that Grody will continue to draw from.

Fountain is available at Root Strata. Grody’s award wining soundtrack collaboration for the documentary feature October Country will be available soon and can be heard at the film’s New York release Feb 12 -18th at the IFC Center in NYC.

Danny Paul Grody
“Dawn” [MP3]
     

“Well Wisher” [MP3]
     

“Eve” [MP3]
     

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