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Tuesday, Jun 12, 2007

EXCLUSIVE Podcasts: Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer


Following in the footsteps of PopMatters’ exclusive five-part series of excerpts from the new Joe Strummer biography in May, we now offer the podcast accompaniment.  Chris Salewicz’s book, Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer, is the most in-depth and in-the-know look ever at Strummer, a genuine rock and roll legend, as well as the history of the Clash.  Pop these podcasts into your pod-like musical device or stream them right here.  Then head over to Amazon post-haste and pick up this essential book for any music fan.


In the first installment, beginning with news of Strummer’s death, Salewicz remembers Joe’s drive, humor, and constant internal conflict.
Read the excerpt here.
Part One: Straight to Heaven—2002 [MP3]
     


Hop aboard the Anarchy tour bus for an exclusive ride with everyman’s thinking man and his smart band: the Clash’s first tour, first single, and their first album.
Read the excerpt here.
Part Two: Under Heavy Manners—1976-1977 [MP3]
     


Strummer hangs with Warhol; Thatcher comes to power, and after a lot of sweaty work in a shadowy space in the back of a garage, London Calling is unveiled like a gleaming, bad-ass drag racer.
Read the excerpt here.
Part Three: Red Hand of Fate—1979 [MP3]
     


Megavitamins and beer, egos and conflict, Combat Rock goes on tour and Mick Jones gets the (combat) boot.
Read the excerpt here.
Part Four: Anger Was Cooler—1982-1984 [MP3]
     


Earthquake Weather sets Strummer wandering solo through his “wilderness years” in the not so barren climate of Southern California.
Read the excerpt here.
Part Five: On the Other Hand…—1988-1989 [MP3]
     


Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros - Redemption Song



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Tuesday, Jun 12, 2007

Thanks for all the interesting comments on my Sopranos post from yesterday.  I just wanted to add info about an interesting article I saw about the finale (and forgetting the numerous fits some writers threw over the non-ending), regarding the already infamous diner scene and the mysterious strangers there.  The New York Sun thinks that this is just indicative of the fear/suspicion that is and will be part of the family’s life and I like that as a metaphor. By now, with all the arguments about what happened or didn’t happened, I’m convinced that what went on right after the final seconds of the show (i.e. Tony’s life goes on or he’s murdered) isn’t as important now as our individual reactions to it.


Tagged as: hbo, sopranos
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Tuesday, Jun 12, 2007
by Edward Wasserman [McClatchy Newspapers (MCT)]

Journalists don’t usually under-react to bad news about their business, but Rupert Murdoch’s move to take over Dow Jones & Co. and its flagship, The Wall Street Journal, has done little more than raise a few eyebrows. With some brave exceptions—Tim Rutten at the Los Angeles Times and Jack Shafer at Slate among them—most commentators say Murdoch is a canny old bird who won’t do too much harm, since he knows better than to soil the franchise he’s offered the owning family a fortune to buy.


Hence, the independence of The Journal, its European and Asian sister papers, its print and online cousins—Barron’s, Factiva, SmartMoney, CNBC and 24 newspapers—is assured. Guarding their independence is in Murdoch’s own best interest.


That’s a reassuring argument. It’s also simple, logical and wrong, as H.L. Mencken once wrote. But it deodorizes the affair just enough to keep people from sniffing out how uniquely toxic this $5 billion takeover will be.


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Monday, Jun 11, 2007


June is typically touted – both in song and maxim - as busting out all over, but when it comes to digital product headed to your local brick and mortar, this month is shaping up to be simply a bust. The release pattern appears to consist of one or two name titles per week, followed by dozens of unknown efforts and unnecessary double dips. Take this upcoming Tuesday. We get an intriguing thriller, a wannabe popcorn blockbuster, and a bunch of lesser offerings. That’s it. In fact, if it weren’t for the independent distributors and outsider creations, we’d have a real dearth of DVDs on the market. And it’s not getting better anytime soon. The next 20 days will see some intriguing titles from Criterion, and another few mainstream hits, but that’s about it. So mark your calendars well – every release date will be very similar to 12 June. Here’s hoping July turns the tide:


Breach


Flying in under the radar this past February (just in time for 300 to steal all the box office fire) this intriguing real life story of international intrigue and Cold War espionage deserved better. Featuring fine performances from Ryan Phillippe and Laura Linney, as well as an award worthy turn by Chris Cooper as the rogue FBI agent selling secrets to the Russians, what should have been a sleeper hit was unceremoniously dumped into cinema’s supposed dead zone – a.k.a. the spring. There, it languished, receiving excellent reviews and good word of mouth. Yet for some reason, it failed to become a substantive hit. Now, thanks to a rapid turnaround on DVD, fans of tense, taut thrillers can enjoy this intriguing effort from screenwriter (Flightplan, Suspect Zero) and director (Shattered Glass) Billy Ray. His is a career behind the camera worth following.

Other Titles of Interest


Charly’s Aunt


Successful radio (and then TV) talent Jack Benny never seemed to get a handle on big screen stardom. In this, the sixth adaptation of Brandon Thomas’s celebrated cross dressing stage play, the comedian plays the title character, a student in drag helping out his buddies in the chaperon department. Naturally, hilarious hi-jinx ensure in what ends up being one of Benny’s most well known and triumphant cinematic jaunts.

52 Pick Up


It’s based on an Elmore Leonard novel. It was directed by the always intriguing John Frankenheimer. It stars Roy Scheider and Ann-Margaret in some of their best work ever. So why isn’t this film heralded as a mid ‘80s classic? Well, for one thing, the era was too high concept for such an old fashioned noir. Second, the lack of a legitimate DVD release limited its appreciation – until now.

Ghost Rider: Extended Edition


While not the worst comic book hero movie ever made, this take on the Devil’s diabolical bounty hunter is highly reminiscent of the recent string of studio-hindering hackwork that the genre has become known for. Star Nicholas Cage and writer/director Mark Steven Johnson obviously wanted to impart some quirk into the character, but the suits needed to satisfy the bean counters. Thus we have this amazing looking movie that’s lacking a serious superhero soul.

Primeval


It was promoted as a serial killer flick. Turned out, the title terror was a rogue crocodile eating people in South Africa. What a gyp! Anyway, critics weren’t confused by what they saw unfold onscreen. Many called it a below average ‘when animals attack’ effort with too little story and too much blood. That seems to sum it up quite well. For lovers of the creature feature end of the genre only.

Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girl


Continuing his commercial cottage industry sans his amazing Medea character, raconteur Tyler Perry delivers this interesting take on single parenthood and cultural class standing. Without the whacked out mother figure at the center of the story, the humor is more subtle and based around the interaction with children. Some will find its heart in the right place. Others will lament the lack of a delirious drag dimension.



And Now for Something Completely Different
Sex Hex


While horror is constantly harangued for offering nothing but the same old thing, it’s actually the softcore sex romp that deserves said detrimental delineation. While the fright flick tries to use the genre basics to deliver differing fear factors, it’s nothing but nudity and naughtiness in these fake fornication fests. Sex Hex hopes to shake things up by adding Airplane! style spoofing to the mix, as well as keeping all the gratuity strictly girl/girl. When an erotic succubus strikes a California company, Carl the Cable Guy turns into a fearless vampire hunter to catch her. The result is a very silly, very Sapphic slice of pseudo-porn. While the actresses are a little on the plastic fantastic side of attractiveness, they sure do enjoy their lesbian loving. The result is a DVD bound to tickle much more than just your funny bone.

 


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Monday, Jun 11, 2007
by PopMatters Staff

Socalled
(These Are The) Good Old Days [MP3] from Ghettoblaster on Jdub
     


You Are Never Alone [MP3]
     


Hip-hop/klezmer/pop, a real genre mash-up from this Canadian beatmaker.  Eclectic like we love it here at PopMatters.
[MySpace]


Okkervil River
Our Life Is Not a Movie or Maybe [MP3] from Stage Names (Jagjaguwar)
     


[MySpace]


Our Life is not a Movie or Maybe [Live KEXP broadcast from Austin City Limits - 3/16/07]


John Mayall
Palace of the King [MP3] from In the Palace of the King (Eagle Rock)
     


John P. Strohm
Sha La [MP3]
     



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