Twenty-three years ago this week: New Order released Brotherhood, gifting upon the world “Bizarre Love Triangle”, the only single from the album, which couldn’t manage to make it higher than #56 on the U.K. charts.
“As It Is When It Was”
“Broken Promise” (with “State of the Nation”)
“Bizarre Love Triangle” [Single released November 15, 1986]
The Flaming Lips’ “I Can Be a Frog” is the creepy-for-the-sake-of-creepy lead single from the new album Embryonic, which is set to be released on October 13th off Warner Bros. It is modestly strange—or strangely modest by the Lips’ standards—and possibly the weirdest empowerment song I’ve ever heard. “I Can Be a Frog” harmonizes Wayne Coyne’s ghostly falsetto and a quirky barnyard cacophony, courtesy of the one and only Karen O. This is all backed by a spooky soundtrack reminiscent of those Halloween mix tapes of “scary noises” your parents bought for the house in hopes of freaking you or your friends out when you were young and impressionable. Well, for the Flaming Lips, it works:
From Paris With Love Director: Pierre Morel
Cast: John Travolta, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Melissa Mars
Opening: 5 February 2010
Jonathan Rhys Meyers is a greenhorn at the U.S. Ambassador’s office, and John Travolta is a (possibly crooked) secret agent. The movie algebra on this one is pretty transparent: take the inverse of Training Day, subtract any modicum of authenticity, and add as many explosions as possible. The bouncing brass and rakish shuffle of the soundtrack, the Bond-aping title, and the references to The Transporter strongly suggest that this film is all shot, no powder.
Travolta plays what might be termed a “bad ass” for the umpteenth time, and watching him in the role is, as usual, perverse and uncomfortable. He gives the impression of an unsettled man, not in a villainous, sinister way, but in a slimy, insecure way. Like in the wretched remake of The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, he will swear copiously as his wormy muscles striate all over his body, and it will all seem very forced. The typical John Travolta rogue has bought into tropes of coolness and masculinity to such a degree that he exists only as a wrongheaded approximation of a man, a socially mutated human being, seething with misplaced hatred. He is such an unconvincing brute that I suspect if he does many more of these roles, scholars in later generations are going to think he’s a great satirist.
It’s a family affair for Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, whose new video for the single “All For The Best”, a Miracle Legion cover, is now available. Yorke and his brother Andy came together for the first time publicly to record the single, which is featured on the September 29th release of Ciao My Shining Star: The Songs of Mark Mulcahy. Andy Yorke not only performed on Thom’s song, but also contributed a track of his own.
The album, Ciao My Shining Star: The Songs of Mark Mulcahy, is a tribute to Mark Mulcahy and his late wife Melissa. Mulcahy is a former member of both Miracle Legion and Polaris, whose wife died suddenly in September 2008. The proceeds from the sale of the album will go directly to Mulcahy, for the raising of his young daughters and continuing his music career. The album features 21 exclusive recordings by his friends, including Thom Yorke, Michael Stipe, Dinosaur Jr., The National, Frank Black, and Juliana Hatfield among others, and another 20 tracks will be available digitally.
The appeal of music games, from PaRappa the Rappa to Rock Band, has never been tied to how close they simulate making actual music, but to the challenge of memory and dexterity, the excitement of trying to keep up with the flow of notes, and the euphoria of being in sync with the rhythm.
Activision’s DJ Hero, hitting North America on October 27th, provides another interface to that tried-and-true experience. The turntable controller has a crossfader and three color-coded buttons for the player to scratch and mash as they scramble to keep pace with the music. A number of artists (e.g. DJ Shadow, Grand Master Flash, Jay-Z) will be playable avatars in the game, and Daft Punk, in addition to their virtual likenesses, have offered some of their stage sets and the following new, exclusive mashups:
Daft Punk “Around the World” vs. Young MC “Bust A Move”
Daft Punk “Da Funk” vs. NASA “Strange Enough ft. Karen O, ODB and Fatlip”
Daft Punk “Da Funk” vs. Queen “Another One Bites the Dust”
Daft Punk “Robot Rock” vs. Hashim “Al-Naafiysh (The Soul)”
Daft Punk “Robot Rock” vs. Queen “We Will Rock You”
Daft Punk “Short Circuit” vs. Boogie Down Productions “Jack Of Spades”
Daft Punk “Technologic” vs. Gary Numan “Cars”
Daft Punk “Television Rules The Nation” vs. No Doubt “Hella Good”
There are three more unannounced mixes. Check the video below for some prerendered footage and brief glimpses of the gameplay.