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by Bill Gibron

20 Nov 2009

There is nothing worse than child abuse of any kind - physical, psychological, sexual. It’s a demonstration of power perverted, of adults taking advantage of impressionable and vulnerable minors in the cruelest, most shocking way conceivable. For a long time, it was a hidden shame, the subject of hush-hush whispers across suburban fences and the occasional sensationalized nightly news broadcast. But sometime around the mid ‘80s, the cause of exploited children everywhere gained a massive international profile. Today, we’ve gone to the opposite extremes, making the protection of kids our main social priority. No longer is the subject pushed back into the shadows of family scandal. Instead, it’s offered up as a kind of callous cautionary tale, a reason for mothers and fathers to stay ever vigilant - both of their own actions, and the unforgiveable acts of others.

So where does this leave a movie like Precious (actually entitled Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire)? Within its undeniably powerful narrative and bravura performances is something so dark, so literally unwatchable at times that the level of pain which our overweight teenage heroine endures seems worse than inhuman. It’s beyond Herculean and almost otherworldly in its terrifying truth. But this raises another, almost unthinkable issue. Why? Indeed, why does an audience have to sit through what ends up being nearly two hours of emotional and physiological torture for a final pronouncement that seems to do little except confirm the hopelessness of the situation? While amazing acting and concise direction can carry us past such problems, the overwhelming bleakness of being dragged through this character’s unfathomable torment leaves you feeling stained…and unsatisfied.

by Tyler Gould

20 Nov 2009

Savath y Savalas
The Predicate (Dub Version)
(Stones Throw)
Releasing: January [CD] Now [digital]

The Predicate (Dub Version) is a Guillermo Scott Herren (Prefuse 73) remix of his group’s La Llama, and if you find “Pavo Real Plucked” to your liking, you can pick up the digital pre-release over at Stones Throw.

SONG LIST
01 Adeu Salutation
02 Abri.l Closed
03 Pavo Real Plucked
04 Pajaros En Cadaques Shot
05 The Predicate and the Library
06 Me Voy and Resolved
07 La Loba Collection
08 There Is No Love in Your Heart
09 Me Voy Alone
10 Lamento Pobre Y Salida

Savath y Savalas
Pavo Real Plucked [MP3]
     

by Ian Chant

20 Nov 2009

For years, Michael Strahan was one of the single most feared forces in the NFL; quite a feat for a guy known off the field as something of a big softy. In his fourteen year career as a defensive end for the New York Giants, Strahan was selected to seven Pro Bowls, named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2001, and captured the NFL single season sack record.

After a stellar career on the gridiron, Strahan seems set to be as dominant on TV as he was on the field. He’s a host for Pros vs Joes and the star of the new sitcom Brothers, where he plays a retired NFL star named Michael. It’s all a little bit postmodern, yes. And like any retired football player worth his salt, Strahan is offering his thoughts on the current NFL season on TV every Sunday.

I caught up with Michael Strahan earlier this week to talk about his Super Bowl picks, his former team, the business end of running an NFL franchise, whether or not getting hit in the head for a living can ever be a safe occupation and of course, how he stays pretty for his new career in TV land.

by AJ Ramirez

20 Nov 2009

I mentioned in my review for Nouvelle Vague’s 3 that I found the French pop group’s cover of the 1984 Depeche Mode single “Master and Servant” lacking. Now, I don’t really want to rag on Nouvelle Vague (I do like the group’s music), but there’s simply no way that anemic faux-blues version could ever stand up to the source material. The original “Master and Servant” features the members of Depeche Mode in their musical prime, partway between their awkward early teen idols years and on the road to fulfilling their destiny as gloomy stadium gods. It’s also a song that shouldn’t be toned down into some easy listening version. After all, this is a tune explicitly about BDSM, a topic the group addresses both lyrically and sonically with full gusto. It’s no wonder that when Depeche Mode was creating this record, its chief inspiration was “Relax”, the innuendo-laced smash hit by Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

Ah, “Relax”: quite possibly the greatest dance track of the 1980s. The result of the occasionally inconsiderate creative drive of producer Trevor Horn (who was so intent on crafting a megahit for his label ZTT he didn’t even let the band play its instruments on the record), it’s a dancefloor masterpiece built upon an urgent, pounding bassline in the key of E and hooks that hit the listener with the force of a cinderblock. Oh, and its suggestive delivery (not to mention its promo material, the record sleeve, the original music video...) contained more than a few winks to the subject of hardcore homosexual sex. Despite a belated BBC Radio ban due to its content, “Relax” became a trans-Atlantic blockbuster and an inescapable pop culture phenomenon, exemplified by those legendary “Frankie Say Relax” T-shirts. To this day few dance songs can match its sheer power. Obviously somebody had to try and top it at some point. Enter the boys from Basildon, England.

by Mehan Jayasuriya

20 Nov 2009

If there was a checklist for Eels archetypes, “Little Bird”, the first track to see the light of day from the band’s forthcoming LP End Times, would fill up more check boxes than just about any other song that E has penned. A simple, delicately strummed melody with a capo at the fifth fret? Check. Direct appeals to God? Check. An avian-centric narrative? Check. Gratuitous use of the word “goddamn”? Check. Pining for a lost love? Double check.

That said, this is also quite possibly the best song that E has written since the landmark Daisies of the Galaxy. A spare, crushingly depressing, brutally honest confessional, the track finds E doing what he does best: moping. One listen to E’s gravelly voice as he admits, “Goddamn, I miss that girl”, should be enough to convince even the weariest of Eels fans that End Times just might be worth looking forward to.

Download the song using the widget below…

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