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by Steve Jansen

13 Oct 2011

There comes a point – some call it, the tipping point – at which the next musical revolution has to happen. A moment akin to ten seconds before the Sex Pistols jolted into life, when the past is just, well, not good enough anymore. And I felt it roughly the same duration into “The Ghost of Her” by Hurricane Bells: The inner-rage as my aging rock id sat bolt upright and howled at the injustice of our world right here, right now, synched as it clearly has become to the aesthetic parameters of the average cell-phone advert. 

Two minutes and 27 seconds later, “The Ghost of Her” had me feeling like I should go out and busy something corporate: A soft-drink or some ecologically-sound chinos, maybe the first 3G thingummyjig I see at the local store. And clearly it wasn’t just my will to think that was sapped, seeing as the video editor didn’t even bother to synch the gold-fishing vocal footage or the drummer to the track.

by Jeff Strowe

12 Oct 2011

It’s with great fanfare that Ryan Adams’ highly anticipated new album, Ashes and Fire, is released this week. The past two years have found Adams basking in the glow of marriage to Mandy Moore (who makes some guest appearances on this album), conquering some damaging dependencies, and struggling to combat Meniere’s disease. A few years before that, a stage fall and subsequent wrist injury forced him to completely relearn the guitar. So, needless to say, life is never dull for Adams, and he is back with a sparsely elegant album full of the acoustic balladry that has taken him about as far into rock stardom one can get these days.

This ‘50s inspired black and white video that accompanies first single, “Lucky Now”, finds Adams alternating between periods of brooding introspection while performing the song and then later navigating the vintage boulevards of a throwback Los Angeles in a fine looking classic car while being suspiciously eye-balled by a group of tatted-up, letter jacket clad cuties. The “Fire” of the album’s title is well-represented as both the burner on the stove and the fire in the fireplace is left alone to engulf Adams’ house in flames as he dismissively leaves through the front door. What’s less unclear is whether the gal pack from the street, wracked by vengeful thoughts, is partially responsible for the arson. Regardless, the imagery suits the regretful longing of the song’s tone well, and Adams’ voice is in fine form throughout.

by Cynthia Fuchs

12 Oct 2011

“He was the first one to describe it as ‘energetic,’” says Lt. Col. Jeffrey Adamovicz. The former director of the bacteriology division at USAMRIID (the United States Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases) is recalling Bruce Ivins’ reaction to the anthrax strain that was sent in letters across the country following 9/11. Originally one of the experts called on by the FBI to investigate the attacks, Ivins—who was well known as an “extraordinary microbiologist”—eventually found himself the subject of federal accusations. In Frontline: The Anthrax Files, a joint report by Frontline, McClatchy Newspapers, and ProPublica now on PBS and online, the case against Ivins comes under renewed scrutiny.

The program suggests that pressures mounted inexorably at the time, meaning at the time of the attacks and in the five years following, as the case remained unsolved. This followed a mistaken case against Steven Hatfill, who sued and won $5.8 million for “invasion of privacy,” among other malfeasances. To illustrate the absurdity of the steps in the case(s), Hatfill’s lawyer, Victor Glasberg, remarks on the federal officials’ increasing desperation in making their case against his client, calling the draining of a pond in Maryland only “the most outstanding example of really looney tunes behavior.”

by Brad Washington

12 Oct 2011

In 2005, Death Cab for Cutie released their mainstream breakthrough Plans, which went platinum in the US. “Narrow Stairs” (2008) followed and went to number one, while this year they released Codes and Keys. With the urge to keep delivering music to their fans, DCFC is taking the Kanye West approach in dropping a new song every week for their new remix EP Keys and Codes Remix EP until it’s release date of 22 November. The first remix, which debuted Tuesday, was “Doors Unlocked and Open” by Cut Copy. The track has an electric house party pop feel. Definitely a tune worth it’s seven minutes.

Death Cab for Cutie - Doors Unlocked And Open [Cut Copy Remix] by deathcabforcutie

by Jane Jansen Seymour

11 Oct 2011

Portland-based band Portugal. The Man. recently released a video for their song “So American” off the new album, In the Mountain, In the Cloud. Directed with a slight hand by Nik Zogratos, the footage follows the band through an idyllic day off. It begins with frolicking at the beach, showcasing juggling skills with empty Coors bottles and by nightfall a backyard BBQ with friends turns into a low-key jam session while passing the Maker’s Mark. These relaxing scenes belie singer/songwriter John Gourley’s pleading lyrics, “There’s a madness in us all.” And for now, the band is busy on tour (check them out at dates here).

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