NBC’s new show The Voice premiering this Tuesday, 26 April, features celebrity judge Cee-Lo Green. I must confess: while I thoroughly enjoy Cee-Lo’s present, I thoroughly miss his Goodie Mob and Dungeon Family past. What few people realize or, dare I say, remember, is the lethal lyricist that currently lies dormant beneath that peacock feathered vest as Cee-Lo Goodie.
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L.A. radio station KRCW is featuring the sophomore release from Airborne Toxic Event as part of their Album Preview series. It makes for an easy publicity stunt for this heavily favored local band in a burgeoning music scene. The band hit the scene with their epic anthem, “Sometime Around Midnight” in 2008, about an impassioned plea to an ex-lover. The mix of indie rock and orchestral arrangements lends a grandeur to this quintet fronted by Mikel Jollett’s vocals. Their self-titled release will be supplemented by the new collection of songs due out April 26. All at Once begins with the rollicking drums of “All at Once” before “Numb” brings in sweet call back vocals by Anna Bulbrook. The third track is the single, “Changing”, which is already receiving heavy airplay and rightly so. It has the makings of a hit from the opening hand claps to the sing along chorus. The artsy video directed by Jan Danovic begins with “Sometime Around Midnight” on a car radio, then shows the band playing live with accompanying moves by L.A.-based dance crew, Strikers All-Stars, known for their community outreach (see below). The next acoustic entry, “All for a Woman”, gets bogged down by the simplistic lyrics: “Promising Everything to Everyone… You’re my favorite one.” But the band gets its groove back until another, more subtle acoustic ending with “The Graveyard Near the House”.
Proving himself to be the most music nerd friendly late night host ever, Jimmy Fallon hosted Wire in what has to be their first ever American late night appearance after 34 years as a band. Though the group is far from their artsier performance art antics of the early postpunk days, it’s still nice to see the boys aging gracefully. They were there to promote their new album Red Barked Tree, but while there they also rang out a rendition of their classic song “Map Ref 41N 93W”, perhaps the best cut from their best album 154.
Born in Brazil and living in Brooklyn, artist Vik Munoz believes that his decision to make art out of the garbage in Rio de Janeiro’s Jardim Gramacho landfill is a way to “give back” to the homeland he left so many years ago. As he puts it, “What I really want to do is be able to change the lives of a group of people with the same material that they deal with every day.” What happens is only something like that. Muniz soon learns the process is not only unidirectional and that the pickers—whom he employs in the assembly as well—have their own ideas about what constitutes art and life. As he and the workers help the makers of Waste Land, the documentary takes on an unusual shape—a collaborative project that acknowledges tensions and mutual responsibilities, and examines the relationships between artists and subjects. While Muniz made his name by incorporating “everyday objects into his photographic process,” as the film puts it, now he recognizes the ways is subjects are not such “objects.” As he directs the pickers to put together giant mosaics made of garbage, portraits of themselves based on his photos of them, Muniz explains, that from a distance, bits and pieces of waste can tell a story, they show a face or allude to an experience. But just as the art indicates a range of ways of seeing, so too do conversations among Muniz and his film team members, who mull over the potential effects of their intervention.
See PopMatters’ review.
“I predict big things for Josa Peit, based on the evidence here, for she is a force to be reckoned with, augmenting the hazy, late-night, dreamy quality of the recording that she backs up on seven of its nine tracks. I don’t know if she’s the next Esperanda Spalding in that she’s going to pull off an upset Grammy win next year, or even be nominated for that matter—owing that The Sleepwalking Society is on a tiny U.K. indie, and we all know that, barring Arcade Fire’s win, the Grammys generally don’t reward independent acts—but listening to her is a seductive experience.”—Zachary Houle, review of The Sleepwalking Society, 22 March 2011