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by John Lindstedt

7 Jun 2010

After years and years of hearing what a lost treasure MTV’s The State was, I was finally granted access through it’s recent addition to Netflix’s Instant Stream feature. It more than lived up to its reputation, especially when compared to it’s lazy older brother, Saturday Night Live. Sketches on The State rarely outstay their welcome, you’re in and out before you know it. Even a weak concept is a low risk venture, because you know the shows rapid fire pace will soon move onto a new topic (often with a clever segue).

The one sketch that stood out for me the most was Ken Marino’s “Louie: The Guy Who Comes Out and Says His Catchphrase Over and Over Again”. Just as SNL was knee deep in characters like “It’s Pat” and “The Richmeister”, this sketch brings to light the lame and lazy formulas those SNL sketches often employ. A situation is set, be it a party, the beach, or what have you. An opportunity for entry presents itself, as in an unseen guest who is late to said party. Enter: familiar character. Cue applause. Character says line. Audience knows line, so audience laughs. If the character was withholding a treat, the audience would probably sit or roll over on command. As you can see, “Louie’s” catchphrase, “I’m going to dip my balls in it,” makes no attempt to be even remotely clever. That anti comedy aspect of it is what works for me, while the audience lapping up the seventh incantation of “Schwetty Balls” makes me want to put my face in my hands for a long time.

by Maria Schurr

7 Jun 2010

The video for Kylie Minogue’s latest single, “All the Lovers”, has just been released and it is just as pristine visually as the track is aurally. Not surprisingly, the video boasts a staggering amount of scantily clad PDA enthusiasts. “All the Lovers” will be made available for download on June 13. Minogue’s 11th studio album, Aphrodite drops on July 5.

by Arnold Pan

6 Jun 2010

Majesty Shredding
Releasing: 14 September

Considering that Superchunk pretty much churned out an album a year during the 1990s, it’s hard to believe that the quintessential power-punk band has basically been on hiatus since 2001’s Here’s to Shutting Up. In some ways, though, it hardly seems like they’ve gone anywhere, since the band’s mainstays Laura Ballance and Mac McCaughan seem ever-present building their label Merge from a respected indie into a cultural phenomenon in the interim. From the looks and sounds of the one-minute video trailer promoting the new album, Majesty Shredding, Superchunk might be headed back to the basics after leaving off with forays into a more mature sound, at least relatively speaking. Hear what could’ve been this summer’s soundtrack in the fall when Majesty Shredding is released on September 14 by—who else?—Merge.

01 Digging for Something
02 My Gap Feels Weird

03 Rosemarie

04 Crossed Wires

05 Slow Drip

06 Fractures in Plaster

07 Learned to Surf

08 Winter Games

09 Rope Light

10 Hot Tubes

11 Everything at Once

by Benjamin Aspray

4 Jun 2010

Full disclosure: my tolerance for neo-electro, or nü-rave, or whatever the hell you want to call it, began and ended with Justice. A handful of artists who may fall under these umbrella terms are still great—Hot Chip comes immediately to mind—but understand that they’ve remained so via genre dilettantism. The category itself, loosely defined by minimized acid house textures and hyper-compressed, white noise rhythms, is both redeemed and limited by its simplicity. The unanimous gushing over Sleigh Bells’ recent LP suggests that this big ‘n’ dumb thing still holds a lot of appeal for a lot of people, but not for this critic. A recent video from Mr. Flash, a member of the French-tested, Vice-approved Ed Banger label, seems to exemplify this: all T&A, bright lights, and shock value, but little reason to turn on the song on its own.

Color me surprised, then, when a friend tipped me off to Huoratron, and the high-concept film clip for his new single, “Corporate Occult”—and I liked it! Like, I could actually imagine LISTENING to it!  The severe-looking Finnish producer’s trick seems to be going for slight complexities—- an arrhythmic drum sample here, a demonic chipmunk scream there - where his kin may be content to turn up the volume.

The very NSFW video that accompanies it, directed by the undoubtedly talented Cédric Blaisbois (also responsible for the Mr. Flash video linked above) is similarly deceptively trite. What I first dismissed as yet another attempt to outdo Chris Cunningham is… still derivative of that iconic director, but it’s hard not to crack a smile at the outlandish violence. I won’t spoil it, but suffice to say that it plays like a cautionary tale about going home with the kinds of chicks you’re likely to meet at a neo-electro/nü-rave/whatever-the-hell-you-want-to-call-it show.

To close, I’ll leave you with a quote from my friend, on Huoratron’s pseudonym: “Huora means whore by the way. one of emancipative things i have been to has been their gig when the whole audience was shouting ‘huora, huora, huora’ together. It’s like a postmodern church.”

by Jonathan Simrin

4 Jun 2010

With Bill Condon attached to direct the pilot and Laura Linney in the leading role, The Big C very well looks like another one of Showtime’s hit series. Linney stars as a teacher recently diagnosed with cancer, who wants to make every moment count. Although that may come off as a cliche, The Big C seems to adopt a lighter tone that works in its favor. Oliver Platt and Gabourey Sidibe co-star as Linney’s husband and student.

//Mixed media

Because Blood Is Drama: Considering Carnage in Video Games and Other Media

// Moving Pixels

"It's easy to dismiss blood and violence as salacious without considering why it is there, what its context is, and what it might communicate.

READ the article