PopMatters’ C.L. Chafin on Further Complications: “Angela”, the first track released to the blogosphere (i.e., its “lead single”), is a prime example of the album’s rockism. Cocker’s whispered come-ons hang on a distorted guitar riff and deliriously simple drumming, backed up with a willfully atonal and actively apathetic chorus of “Angela”s from the band. It’s like Cocker wandered into someone’s garage with some lyrics written on a few crumpled pages and they all decided to give it a go. “Caucasian Blues”, “Homewrecker,” and the title track all proceed in a similar fashion: Jarvis fronting the Animals.
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Band of Skulls, that new bluesy and gritty power trio from Southhampton, England, play a 20-minute set for ShockHound. Songs include “Patterns”, “I Know What I Am”, “Death by Diamonds and Pearls”, “Blood”, and “Impossible”.
Believe it or not, it’s been 20 years since a young independent filmmaker named Steven Soderbergh put the outsider genre on the map with Sex, Lies, and Videotape, his stunning Golden Palm win at the Cannes Film Festival. Even more amazing is the fact that he turned such an arthouse award into such a stunning run of mainstream success. Sure, he’s crafted such commercial hits as Erin Brockovich, Traffic, and the Oceans franchise, but he always goes back to a more “personal” style of filmmaking, branching off and exploring the medium in efforts like Bubble, Full Frontal, and his most recent turn, The Girlfriend Experience. Shot on digital and budgeted at a mere $1.7 million, this calm character study stands in direct contrast with his last film—the big, bombastic, and epic biopic Che! To say the two films couldn’t be more different would be an understatement. To say they represent the competing facets of Soderbergh’s artistic temperament would be right on target.
Dan Brown has no real literary legacy. He’s the fast food of novelists, a summer beach read that pretends to say something profound about the secret state of organized religion. With books like The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, he has extrapolated out stories that deal in centuries old conspiracies and the post-modern means of covering them up. Like Michael Crichton or John Grisham, he takes real elements within his subject matter and works up a whopper of a tale exposing them. Sadly, unlike the previously mentioned authors, his books read better than they play out on the big screen. This was especially true of Da Vinci. Now comes its sequel/prequel, an adaptation of Brown’s first Robert Langdon yarn complete with death, deception, and lots and lots of dialogue. While Angels and Demons surpasses its predecessor in every way, it’s still a sterile, inert thriller.
John Bergstrom recently said of the Pet Shop Boys new album Yes that “in an era when pop is going sour, it’s sweet and fresh. It’s the moment when Pet Shop Boys became relevant again.” The latest video from said release garnering a 7 from us is “Did You See Me Coming?”.