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Wednesday, Nov 28, 2007

The Brit Box collects 78 songs of UK alt-pop from 1985 to 1999. Rhino’s four-disc set traces the evolution of this music, from just after the neon lights of new wave died, through the Britpop explosion, and ending right before Coldplay emerged to rule supreme. This box is both an excellent survey and a very well sequenced 312-minute mix. Because Rhino didn’t stick to one genre, you won’t get fatigued by hearing the same style over and over. For Anglophiles and pop lovers alike, the Brit Box is quite a treat.


Oasis - Live Forever



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Wednesday, Nov 28, 2007

According to the noted agent provoc-auteur, celluloid is dead—and you’re tempted to believe him after witnessing this amazing three-hour digital dream. As maddening as it is majestic, overflowing with the noted director’s demented inspirations, what starts out as an actresses fantasy transmogrifies into a statement on women in general. After self-distributing the film throughout 2006, Lynch oversaw the meticulous DVD presentation, which includes a bonanza of behind the scenes material. We get deleted scenes, an onset documentary, a Q&A with the filmmaker, and a recipe for Quinoa. What more could you ask for?


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Wednesday, Nov 28, 2007

McEwan’s On Chesil Beach, a crisp and pocket-sized novel that takes place—with the exception of a number of flashbacks—over the course of a single summer night in 1962, is as tautly constructed as anything he has written, though sprawling in imagination. It’s emblematic of a generation, a semi-scornful elegy for a repressed age, sarcastic about mores and unrelentingly honest about psychological and sexual intimacy. It’s a big book in a little space.


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Wednesday, Nov 28, 2007

Hair metal is making a comeback in a big way. Thanks to a sweeping wave of nostalgia buoyed by the children of the ‘80s, now financially coming into their own, the much mocked and maligned genre is suddenly cool again. With the recent musical success of Motley Crue’s comeback tour, and the Crue’s Nikki Sixx and Poison’s Bret Michaels jettisoning themselves into the current landscape of pop culture relevance (albeit at very different ends of the spectrum), other alumni from the pop metal scene are trying their hand at a possible second-wind. In spite of having fallen off the radar, many of these bands never really went away. Still cranking out pentatonic-punctuated albums, these bands are finally re-emerging from the Aqua Net mist. The light-hearted, yet musically solid hallmarks of hair metal lend themselves perfectly to this sort of compilation. With tracks ranging from the good, such as Winger’s “Happy Christmas (War Is Over)”, to the cheesy-fun of Danger Danger’s “Naughty, Naughty Christmas”, Monster Ballads Xmas is a well-rounded disc of re-worked holiday favorites. Its charm lies within its lack of saccharine sap and the tongue-in-cheek presentation of many of the artists on the album. Although these bands have been out of the public ear for some time, devotees of the hard rock/pop metal genre will instantly recognize the signature sounds and styles of some of their favorites. This latest disc in the Monster Ballads franchise swells with a sizeable gift of holiday cheer. Just keep your Aqua Net-ted locks away from your menorah or Yule log.


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Wednesday, Nov 28, 2007

Radio is a sound salvation
Radio is cleaning up the nation
They say you better listen to the voice of reason
But they don’t give you any choice
‘cause they think that it’s treason.
So you had better do as you are told.
You better listen to the radio.


Elvis Costello, Radio, Radio


 



If you live in LA, you drive. No other option. Unless you work out of your home. But even then, unless you have livestock in the kitchen or a garden in the driveway, you gotta get in the car to stock the shelves. No other way to get around and get it all done. There is just too much space to traverse and too few locomotive options when picking up the coffee beans and bran muffins that get you going in the morning; the diet Dr. Pepper and donuts to get you over the afternoon hump; the pasta and salad stuff that fills you up in the evening; and the wine that brings you down, after the long day away.


Driving.


It’s like that R.E.M. song: about the constancy, the monotony, the inexorable crush of motion:



Maybe you did. maybe you walk.
Maybe you rock around the clock
Tick-tock. Tick-tock.
Maybe I ride. maybe you walk.
Maybe I drive to get off, baby.


—R.E.M., Drive



Over here, in L.A. maybe everyone drives to get off. Oh. Baby.


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