This cartoon band created by Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewitt in 2001 is embarking on a tour with performers in front of a screen showing the cast of characters—last tour it had them playing behind it to keep the guise going. The David Letterman Show hosted the group on the eve of its gig at Madison Square Garden for the “Live on Letterman” series Friday, October 8th as a lucky audience witnessed one incredible dress rehearsal. The camera goes back and form from cartoons (loved the children’s choir) to musicians while they dug into the playlist. The first song, “Kids with Guns” off of Demon Days got the funky groove going before the band lashed into newer tunes off of the new CD Plastic Beach. Some weird feedback had Albarn apologizing but who could complain? By the time the hits were rolled out for the closing, “Feel Good Inc.” and “Clint Eastwood” almost half the audience was on stage—since it was practically on crowd level things were just too tempting not to start a dance party. The non-dancers stayed in their seats hardly moving, making for an interesting juxtaposition indeed.
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With the assistance of David Guetta and Jean Baptiste, Kelis went full on technopop with her latest album. And if that’s not enough zeitgeist for you, her latest video is in flipping 3-D. I’ll let all the cult studies folks out there rip apart the too-easy targets of the jiggling three-dimensional boobs and the chains. In the meantime, this is meant to be out there to be consumed as spectacle, so let’s put it in the world and get the thought pieces lined up in queue.
Julie Taymor’s adaptation of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest was recently featured as the centerpiece at the 48th annual New York Film Festival. Despite this honor, the film—which stars Helen Mirren in the masculine role of sorcerer Prospero—the film left mutterings of dissent in its wake. The trailer does little to dispel gripes that Taymor’s vision is kitschy, over-reliant on CGI, and hampered by the fact that Russell Brand is really, really annoying. Having been in attendance at the NYFF screening, I can attest that, while The Tempest has its faults, it is also a visual delight and a unique diversion from the usual cinematic treatment Shakespeare plays usually get. At the very least, I highly doubt any other movie this year will feature a transparent, asexual sprite, or at least not one with a head of hair so fantastic.
Though the lead singer looks terminally bored in this video, this is truly gorgeous stuff. Translated from granular distortion and marble-mouthed vocals into something discernible, even terrestrial, Memoryhouse’s cover of My Blood Valentine’s “When You Sleep” still feels synchronal to the original. Like the Scissor Sisters’ disco take on 1979 pop-prog, Memoryhouse supplant shoegaze for something that could of floated out of some liminal space between the K Records and Red House Painters axis. Actually, there’s something about the piano line too that suggests this cut could have been the perfect addition to Jon Brion’s soundtrack for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Memoryhouse have dissected the bittersweet dynamics of MBV’s harsh sound and extracted just the sweet, but it turns out that the sweet’s pretty delectable all on its own.
Solo artist and Black Sabbath singer Ozzy Osbourne has recently covered John Lennon’s song “How?”—from Lennon’s classic album, Imagine (1971). Osbourne has always voiced his love and admiration both for The Beatles and John Lennon, and his tribute will benefit Amnesty International. For clear evidence of Lennon’s influence on Osbourne, watch Osbourne’s “Dreamer” video. Also, Lennon’s own video for “How?” would be critical if one wishes to compare or contrast the two.