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by Darren Ratner

5 Mar 2010


Everyone can appreciate a good train wreck, and Courtney Love has become one of America’s finest. Keep that in mind and you’ll see that the birthing of some new Hole tunes doesn’t seem so intolerable - especially when the band’s new single, “Skinny Little Bitch”, sounds like a heroin-induced bitchslap. The new album, Nobody’s Daughter, drops April 26. Judge for yourself.

by Crispin Kott

4 Mar 2010


Maybe I’m showing my age here, but I can actually remember information gleaned more than five minutes ago. Sure, in an increasingly Twitterized world, if it didn’t just happen, maybe it never happened at all. But are there really people over two weeks old who don’t know who John Lennon is?

That’s apparently Sean Lennon’s fear. How do I know? Because the deceased former Beatle’s youngest son said exactly that on his official Twitter page. Or rather that’s what he tweeted. Twittered? Twaddled? Forgive me—I’m too consumed with moral Beatle outrage to keep up with the terminology.

by David Abravanel

4 Mar 2010


Transient Songs
Cave Syndromes
(Indian Casino)
Releasing: 25 May

Seattle-based dream-rock maker John Frum (Transient Songs) is set to release the debut full-length, Cave Syndrome, on May 25. The track “In the Darkness Light Seeps Through” is available as a free teaser—see below for stream. With an earthy psychedelic sound reminiscent of Mercury Rev and Galaxie 500, expect Cave Syndrome to be something special.

SONG LIST
01 In This Darkness Light Seeps Through
02 Smoking Slows the Healing
03 Greenwood Backyards
04 The Cancer in Our Bloodlines
05 Wide Open Skies
06 Sin Through the Summer
07 Golden Gardens (Lungs & Livers)
08 Astoria
09 A Burrow Patch
10 Cave Syndrome

In This Darkness Light Seeps Through [MP3]
     

by Jessy Krupa

4 Mar 2010


NBC desperately wants its new family dramedy Parenthood to be a success. For months, the show has been advertised online and in magazines with such tired clichés as “Parenthood is realizing you’ve become your father” and “Parenthood is reading more Dick and Jane than Moby Dick”. Its premiere episode was hyped as “brought to you with limited commercial interruption by Nissan”, so I thought I was in store for a rip-off of Brothers and Sisters or Modern Family that served as a cheap infomercial for minivans. Furthermore, the show is loosely based on the 1989 movie of the same title that started Steve Martin. However, it’s better than advertised.

One problem with the show, though, is the fact that there are so many members of the Braverman family to keep track of. A large focus of Tuesday’s episode was single divorcee Sarah (Lauren Graham) who picked up her spoiled brat daughter, Amber, and seemingly normal teenage son, Drew, and moved back home to her parents. However, a more interesting character on the show is Sarah’s brother, Adam (Brian Krause). After losing his position as Little League coach when he fights with the umpire over a call involving his son, Max, he argues with his pushy dad (Craig T. Nelson) over a nosebleed he apparently caused by pushing Max to play basketball. After a violent outburst in school, Max is diagnosed with Asperger’s Disease. The two most poignant moments in the episode dealt with Adam and his wife, Kristina, dealing with this news and the grandfather’s realization that “something’s wrong” with Max. Less interesting is the plight of Sarah and Adam’s slacker brother Crosby (Dax Shepard), a recording engineer who reluctantly agrees to have a baby with his record producer girlfriend within three years, after learning that she was looking for a sperm donor. A supposed cliffhanger is his discovery that he fathered a son named Jabbar with a stripper named Jasmine. What I find more interesting is Braverman sister, Julia, (Erika Christensen) a working mom who is beginning to realize that her daughter, Sydney, prefers her stay-at-home dad to her.

As typical of a family drama, family crises occur. Amber gets herself and good-girl cousin, Haddie, arrested for drug possession and Drew runs away to live with his father after seeing his mother slugging wine in the kitchen with her new date. Also, Sarah believes her father could be having an affair. By the end of the episode, the whole clan comes together to cheer on Max at another baseball game.

For a show that proclaims to be all about family, it’s ironic that Parenthood is not a show that a family could watch together. It’s too soon to know where the series is headed, but with a little tweaking, Parenthood could become the next 7th Heaven or Eight Is Enough, or at the very least, be the show that Life Unexpected pretends to be.

by Alex Suskind

4 Mar 2010


Broken Bells
Broken Bells
(Sony)
Releasing: 9 March

Broken Bells brings together two of today’s brightest and most innovative musicians: Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse), best known for his work as one half of Gnarls Barkley and James Mercer, principle songwriter for indie-pop darlings the Shins. According to NPR, the duo met six years ago and finally found time to record together this past year.

Despite clocking in at only 37 minutes, Broken Bells’ self-titled debut is complete with signature sounds from both members—light harmonies and catchy hooks reminiscent of Mercer’s Shins and haunting organs and dark synth riffs from Burton’s production on Gorillaz’ Demon Days from 2005 and Beck’s Modern Guilt from 2008.

The upcoming release of this album (9 March) comes as bittersweet news to Shins’ fans, who have been waiting three years for a new record. Instead, they get a glimpse of Mercer’s songwriting ability outside the indie pop sound that made him big. At the very least, Broken Bells will keep them entertained in the meantime.

The album is currently streaming over at NPR. The music video for their first single, “The High Road” is below.

SONG LIST
01 The High Road
02 Vaporize
03 Your Head Is on Fire
04 The Ghost Inside
05 Sailing to Nowhere
06 Trap Doors
07 Citizen
08 October
09 Mongrel Heart
10 The Mall and Misery

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