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by Jimmy Callaway

12 Aug 2010


In the Delaware tribe of Native Americans, when a young boy begins to reach manhood, he is to undertake a “vision quest”, going into the woods alone to forge for himself and reach a greater spiritual awareness. To that boy’s counterpart in modern middle-class society, this may sound insane. This could be because that particular demographic is woefully displaced from the greater spiritual concerns of more indigenous peoples. Or it could be that those suburbanites’ own rites of passage are just as insane.

“Becoming a Man” is one of the six sketches troupe member Bruce McCulloch also directed for The Kids in the Hall. The sketch originally aired in 1993, and it deftly shows McCulloch’s fondness for exposing the surreality of the North American socio-cultural experience. As Chad’s father gets more and more drunk, McCulloch’s use of quick cuts captures the young boy’s jarring encounter with the grown-up world, as does the expression on the uncredited child actor’s face.  Also turning in a grand performance is troupe member Kevin McDonald. The Kids in the Hall as a troupe often played the female roles in their sketches, but in this case, it especially helps to lighten the darker undertone of the sketch, to provide a sort of comic relief, as it were. McDonald also aptly portrays the suburban mom: completely out of the loop as to the events of the day and left in the wake, forced to keep the party going, a smile plastered to her face. But upon Chad’s return, that genuine smile of understanding lets the audience know that Chad has at least some positive emotional base at home.

The rite of passage for young boys in our modern society is rarely heralded by fanfare; in fact, it is rarely acknowledged at all and has become more and more individualized over the years. But as The Kids in the Hall skews the tradition, it seems the greatest rite of passage, the one in common for all young men, is the day they realize their parents—and by extension, all adults—are as scared and weak and confused by life as they themselves are.

by Michael P. Irwin

11 Aug 2010


I woke up rather early the other morning, and almost immediately after opening my eyes I started hearing the often-imitated crooning of Elvis Presley echoing through my skull. That’s not entirely a surprise—I was flying to Las Vegas that day, so the fact that a song by the King popped into my head did seem somehow appropriate. I suppose that a selection from Tom Jones or Dean Martin would probably have fit just as well, but for whatever reason for me that day it was Elvis—and his music was stuck in my head all morning.

”…A little less conversation / A little more action please…”

by Nathan Pensky

11 Aug 2010


Being one of the most eclectic, innovative, and all-around brilliant musicians in the world, Brian Eno’s list of collaborators is a who’s who of art rock luminaries. He is a founding member of Roxy Music, a pioneering composer of ambient music, and the producer of records with John Cale, Robert Fripp, David Bowie, Talking Heads, Devo, U2, and many more. But while Eno’s reputation is certainly secure, the true measure of pop culture relevance is being linked by six degrees or less to that other bastion of prolificacy, Kevin Bacon. (Personally, I think Michael Caine is a much better choice for the Six Degrees game, or even Donald Sutherland, but no one asked me.)

Okay, let’s see…  1) In their most recent album Congratulations, MGMT name-drops Eno with a song entitled, appropriately enough, “Brian Eno”. That album also contains a track named “Song for Dan Treacy,” a reference to the lead singer and songwriter for the legendary punk rock band 2) The Television Personalities. That band’s repertoire includes a whimsical cover of the Syd Barrett-penned “Bike,” probably the most widely-known tune from Barrett’s run with Pink Floyd. “Bike” was also performed by punk outfit 3) the Vindictives on their album, Partytime for Assholes, an album that included the 4) Burt Bacharach/Hal David standard, “Magic Moments.” Bacharach wrote the music for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, which starred 5) Katharine Ross. Ross was in The Graduate with 6) Dustin Hoffman, who was in Sleepers with 7) Kevin Bacon. Okay, so not quite six degrees. Wait… Wasn’t Kevin Bacon in Arthur 2: On the Rocks? Whatever.

Seven is the best I can do, but this being the internet I’m sure someone will rise to the challenge. The important part is that Brian Eno IS a genius and, judging from his last album with David Byrne, isn’t going anywhere any time soon. And let’s not kid ourselves. This exercise was really just an excuse to dig up that Vindictives cover of “Bike”.

by Bill Clifford

11 Aug 2010


Photo: Ben Allsup

On September 21st, Boston based Ryan Montbleau Band will release Heavy on the Vine, the band’s third, independently released studio CD. The recording of the CD was financed by sales of a live, Ryan solo CD, Stages Volume II. Ryan was named the Best Local Male Vocalist in the 2007 Boston Local Music Awards, and won two awards the same year in the International Songwriting Competition. The band has become a regular on the festival circuit, and spent the past four months touring the country along side Martin Sexton (who produced Heavy on the Vine) as his opening act as well as his backing band for Martin’s own songs. Though the band has made a name for itself among the jamband crowd with a rigorous tour schedule, the real beauty lies in the poetic and lovely lyrics of the 33-year-old Villanova graduate, accentuated by the rhythmic roots rock from the six-piece band. The group has begun recording intimate videos of the 14 new tracks from Heavy on the Vine, and will post a new video each week until the new CD is released. Enjoy the video for the song “I Can’t Wait” below, and keep an eye out here at Mixed Media for the new videos each week until September 21st.

by PopMatters Staff

11 Aug 2010


Brooklyn’s Living Days specialize in the sort of glammy new wave that headlined the mid-‘80s. That means they know their way around a catchy tune, know how to dress snazzy and have a commanding lead vocalist (Stephonik Youth) with serious pipes. “Let’s Kiss” is the lead single off Living Days’ upcoming debut album, Make Out Room Part 1, releasing 24 August. The tune shows influences from the Human League, Flock of Seagulls and other romantic new wave leading lights and the VHS-look of the video plays off that ‘80s aesthetic quite nicely.

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