The Queen of Punk Cabaret has a new album out, Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under, as well as a brand new slick and glammy video for “Map of Tasmania”. You can catch that video below in its final form, but first check out this mini being-the-scenes featurette highlighting the making of the video. Decadent stuff, although one wishes the dude in the video had a bit more apparel on his bod.
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In the decade it was on the air, Mystery Science Theater 3000 made piecemeal of almost two hundred really bad movies, the host and his two robot sidekicks adding an additional audio track of sarcastic commentary and other irreverence. But another mainstay of the show was the bevy of short films that the crew riffed on. Not every episode featured a short, but the shorts remain popular enough today to have been collected more than once for the home video market.
The majority of these shorts were chosen from the slew of self-improvement films produced in America during the 1950s, ostensibly to be shown to junior high and high school students. These “mental hygiene” shorts stressed ideals like obedience, cleanliness, temperance and other traditional “family values” associated with middle America after World War II.
The schlock and awe of these shorts alone makes them ripe for the MST3K treatment, but one short in particular stands out. “A Date with Your Family”, produced in 1950, is an instructional film depicting exactly how to conduct oneself for a most pleasant evening meal. The social angst and oppression pulsates off the film in nearly palpable waves, assisted in no short order by the narration of Hugh Beaumont. Beaumont is, of course, most well known for his depiction as the wise head of the Cleaver clan on that staple of Americana TV, Leave It to Beaver. For this short’s purposes, the benign yet firm voice of this uber-paterfamilias brooks no backsass from any smart-alecks who may be looking to ruin their family’s charming dinner by having an opinion or an original idea.
Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy (as Tom Servo), and Trace Beaulieu (as Crow T. Robot) send this short up with evident glee. It is also interesting to note here that when this episode of MST3K first aired, it was the summer of 1994, the same year the Republican Party began its eventual take-over of the U.S. Congress with its “Contract with America”. This platform called for major cutbacks on welfare and other social reform and sought to return America to its original “family values”. These values were ridiculous enough in 1950, much more so in 1994.
But they do make for prime comedy material.
The Go! Team
Releasing: 1 February (US), 31 January (UK)
Britain’s genre busting Go! Team brings their third album to light in less than two weeks and, yep, there are guest appearances galore. Look for Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino on “Rolling Blackouts” and “Buy Nothing Day”, while Deerhoof’s Satomi Matsuzaki headlines on “Secretary Song”. As is becoming customary these days, there’s a full-prerelease stream, in this case on Soundcloud via Hype Machine.
02 Secretary Song
03 Apollo Throwdown
04 Ready to Go Steady
05 Bust-Out Brigade
06 Buy Nothing Day
07 Super Triangle
08 Voice Yr Choice
09 Yosemite Theme
10 The Running Range
11 Lazy Poltergeist
12 Rolling Blackouts
Icelandic composer Olafur Arnalds is kicking off 2011 with a brief North American tour behind his latest album, last year’s …and they have escaped the weight of darkness. also provide a chance for Arnalds to show off the new light and visual show that accompanies his performances to a whole new continent in one fell swoop… or at least to 12 cities on a new continent. The tour, which kicks off in Boston on the 24th of January, marks the first round of live appearances in the U.S. by Arnalds in several years. Don’t worry, though – we’re not taking it personally or anything.
Fans can win tickets to each show of his next upcoming of U.S. tours. Just share a link to the show via Facebook and send proof – via a link, screen cap, signed affidavit, etc. – that you did to Arnalds website, where you can, naturally, also find show dates, details on how to win tickets, and videos taking you backstage on the composer’s most recent tour.
Or, you could check out PopMatters interview with him from last summer, here. You know, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Releasing: 19 April
Animal Collective’s Noah Lennox releases his eagerly awaited fourth album, Tomboy, under the beloved Panda Bear moniker on 19 April. He’s been busy over the past months dropping singles across a host of labels and this Paw Tracks release will gather these all together in remixed form along with a number of new tunes. A bunch of these songs are available in the 7-inch versions as Soundcloud streams.
01 You Can Count on Me
03 Slow Motion
04 Surfer’s Hymn
05 Last Night at the Jetty
07 Alsatian Darn
09 Friendship Bracelet