Latest Blog Posts

by Joseph Fisher

31 Aug 2010

These days, beer drinkers in the Washington, DC area—as well as in so many other American cities—can be guaranteed that the cascades in their pints of Guinness will not be settled before three or four new “microbrew” bars spring fully-formed from the city sidewalks. The trend is getting pretty expensive, and pretty tired. The trend is, also, not without its fair share of irony.

Witness BrewDog’s music-themed line of beers, some of which have migrated to Washington in recent months.

Here’s BrewDog’s Punk IPA.

And here’s BrewDog’s Hardcore IPA.

And here is the band Minor Threat performing their famous song “Straight Edge”, a track that found the architects of (DC) hardcore denying the imperative to mix alcohol with rock and roll:

Whether or not the latter should inspire us to protest the former is up for all of you to decide in the handy comments section below. No matter where we all come down in that debate, can’t we all agree that this whole End of History thing is a truly ghastly idea?

by Tyler Lewis

31 Aug 2010

If you came of age in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s then you know that the woman who first sang over hip-hop beats was not Mary J. Blige. She was Michel’le, a Dr. Dre protege who had a major hit with “Something in My Heart” from her self-titled 1990 debut and then spent the bulk of the ‘0s singing hooks for Death Row Records artists. She released a criminally underrated second album, Hung Jury, in 1998, which came well after most Death Row artists abandoned the label and the label’s dominance had waned.

Well Michel’le is back. And this trailer for her forthcoming video, “Freedom to Love” (wait, there are trailers for music videos now?), is a fascinating move. The trailer fails to do the song much justice, but does make one startlingly aware of just how beautiful Michel’le still is. The song has been available on iTunes since May and it’s good, but the video trailer mixes down Michel’le’s voice. It’s a shame.

Still, Michel’le is a lost treasure and it is nice to see her come back for another round. She more than deserves it.

by Jessy Krupa

30 Aug 2010

In recent years, Rolling Stone has found itself in quite a dilemma. Throughout the ‘60s and ‘70s, they were part of the voice of America’s counterculture, making a mark on music history with their infamous articles, interviews, and photography of the greatest artists of our time. However, the Rolling Stone of today is some sort of mismatched hybrid between Entertainment Weekly, Maxim, and Newsweek. For example, its most recent issue featured in-depth interviews with both Chuck Berry and the WikiLeaks hacker, but the cover glamorized a short, splashy interview with the nude, fake-blood splattered cast of HBO’s True Blood.

Still, despite their love of putting naked people on the cover, the magazine still tries to continue their musical credibility with special editions devoted to things that they were already supposed to writing about. Last month saw the release of the updated “500 Greatest Songs” list, in which for twice the price of a regular issue, you essentially got a great book about the past 60 years of popular music in a fancy magazine format. Unfortunately, that was somewhat spoiled by their publicity-seeking approach of presenting those articles and photography in a holier-than-thou list ranking the songs in order of their greatness. Many people out there shook their heads in disbelief at the notion of Rihanna’s “Umbrella” and M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes” being deemed greater than Elvis Presley’s “Love Me Tender” or the Beatles’ “Penny Lane”.

Now, perhaps in an effort to make up for that misstep or in order to become the talk of the town again, Rolling Stone has put out a special issue entitled “The 100 Greatest Beatles Songs”. “A Day in The Life” is deemed the greatest Beatles song, even though “Hey Jude”, “Yesterday”, “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, “Let It Be”, and “In My Life” all ranked higher than it on the 500 list.

Here are their picks for the top 10 greatest Beatles songs, though, and I’ll accept any excuse, no matter how inconsequential, to listen to and talk about the Beatles.

by J.M. Suarez

30 Aug 2010

AMC’s adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s zombie comics series, The Walking Dead, now has an official trailer. The series appropriately premieres on October 31st.

by Joseph Fisher

27 Aug 2010

It is mid-morning on August 23, 2010, and school bells all over the mid-Atlantic region are ringing once again. My academic year does not begin for another week, but, essentially, my summer is over as well. This week marks the beginning of my annual scramble to get prepared for the onslaught of the fall (and eventually spring) term. Finalizing my course syllabi, reading all the new books that I have assigned for the upcoming semester, triple checking the campus bookstore to ensure that all of those books have been ordered—all tasks that will keep my busy this week and that will bring my summer to a screeching halt.

Since I have been at this teaching thing for just about a decade now—and since I had a career as a student than spanned pretty much 2/3 of my life prior to purchasing large packets of red pens—I should not continue to be surprised when mid-August finds all manner of stress and trepidation bubbling to the surface of my consciousness. I have found that being “on the opposite side of the desk”, as the saying goes, does not make the beginning of any academic year significantly less anxiety-inducing than when I was searching for the latest Trapper Keeper design, or pair of Reebok Pump shoes, or copy of OK Computer, or edition of Foucault’s Discipline and Punish. Therefore, it never fails that the barrage of Back-to-School advertisements that flits across my television screen from roughly July 5 to about right now still causes me to cry out in anguish. (At the same time, snow days still bring me immeasurable amounts of giddy joy.)

Having said all that, I have to give credit to Brigham Young University, specifically the members of the Harold B. Lee Library Multimedia Production Crew, for producing what is probably the best Back-to-School ad this season. Riffing on the popular Old Spice campaign, Stephen Jones and co. make studying sound immensely more delicious than, say, the folks over at Ross do—despite the cotton candy:

Regardless of where and when you study, here’s to a great academic year for teachers and students alike. May the upcoming months bring all of us many celestial sandwiches. Oh, and a few A papers, too.

//Mixed media

The Hills Are Alive, But Nobody Else Is in 'The Happiness of the Katakuris'

// Short Ends and Leader

"Happiness of the Katakuris is one of Takashi Miike's oddest movies, and that's saying something.

READ the article