Archive for the ‘David Owen’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: LATER WITH JOOLS HOLLAND (Ovation TV) (2010–but obviously not really).

I’ve known about Jools Holland for years, and even knew about Later… from some other source (maybe it was on BBC America?).  But anyhow it is now being broadcast on Ovation TV (and what is that?  I’d never have heard of it except that TiVo found a Flaming Lips show for me).

The premise of Later is that there is one center stage, and encircling it are five or so bands.  The bands all face the center (where the camera is) so they get to watch the other bands, too.   Each band plays a song or two or three (depending on popularity I guess).  And it’s live and fun and generally a good time.

This episode, as I said, had the Flaming Lips on it.  I noted that the TiVo info said 2010, but the Lips played songs from At War with the Mystics, so it was more likely 2006.  Also on the bill were The Divine Comedy (and I was very excited when it said 2010, because I thought that DC had a new disc out, sigh).  The Strokes, Cat Power and a couple other folks rounded out the bill.

It was quite a show, and felt like they packed in a lot more than an hour’s worth of music.  The Lips especially pulled of an amazing three song set (scattered throughout the program, by the way) with a ton of scaled back, but still fun live gadgets (oversized hands, confetti etc).  And, they did a rocking cover of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs.”

I asked TiVo to tape more Later.  If the diversity of artists here is any indication, I assume you;’e bound to get at least one band you like on every show.  Cool.

[READ: January 19, 2010] “The Dime Store Floor”

I don’t often review Personal Histories from The New Yorker, but every once in a while one grabs me.  And this is one of them.

I have to assume that everyone feels that smells are highly evocative, so I’m not unique in feeling that scent is super powerful.  And yet, I think I tend to overlook smells in my daily life, even though I’m always secretly hoping for one to whack me up the side of the head and say, hey remember this!

And this piece is all about revisiting scents: both intentionally and accidentally.

I really enjoyed the closing where he opens the Old Spice deodorant and flashes back to his father.  However, I had one major question/quibble with the author.  Well, two actually.

The first was this: “A few years ago, an online store I’d been using ran out of my regular brand of deodorant, and, because I was unable to think of anything else, I switched to Old Spice, the kind my father used.”  Okay, that, wait what?  You buy your deodorant online?  You couldn’t go to any store anywhere and just buy another roll-on?  What kind of unique deodorant could this possibly be and conversely how could Old Spice possibly compare?

The second, a little further down: “…went to a local drug store to buy replacement [toiletries].  There I saw that Old Spice deodorant comes in more strength, formulations and scents than I had thought and realized that the one I’d been using High Endurance Pure Sport couldn’t have been my father’s.”  Where exactly does David Owen live that he didn’t know Old Spice had a huge line of deodorants out?  Go to any store in America, heck open a magazine, you can’t miss it! I myself am monogamous to Tom’s of Maine, and even I know there’s like a half dozen Secret containers on the shelf!

Owen clearly has the internet, so it’s not like he’s unaware of the outside world, and the whole story is about interacting with others, so he’s not a recluse.  I’m just baffled by all this.  (And Sarah and I had a good laugh too). (more…)

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Because I TiVo, and since I don’t have an iPod, I never heard the Fratelli’s smash hit when it was a smash hit.  However, when I saw them on the Brit Awards, I was impressed enough to check them out.  And I really liked the debut a lot.  Costello Music was brash and snotty and a whole lot of fun.

The follow up, Here We Stand, shows the Fratellis maturing somewhat.  And by maturing that means mostly, slowing down a little and, unfortunately, making their songs a little bit longer.  Now, as anyone who has heard “Flathead” knows, the Fratellils write a great pop song.  Short and to the point.  The songs are simple, concise and very good.  However, on the more mature version, the songs aren’t any more complex, but they are a little longer.  And that’s not really a good thing. Longer songs are good when they have different parts, but just repeating the same parts MORE doesn’t make the song any more dynamic.

Having said that, the album overall is pretty good.  The songs are solid, if a little less catchy than Costello.  When I listened to it as background music I enjoyed it very much, for multiple listens.  (It was only under closer scrutiny that i didn’t like the longer song format).

Unlike most albums, I found that the last few songs were much stringer than the rest.  The first half simply doesn’t resonate.  It’s not bad to listen to, and can be quite enjoyable, it’s just doesn’t stick.  Starting with “Mistress Mabel” (the 6th song!) the album perks up a bit and the songs become more fun.  “Acid Jazz Singer” and “Lupe Brown” are the two real highlights of the album for me.  On these songs their raunchy/ silly/devilmaycare attitude really comes out.  It’s a shame it was hidden for much of the rest of the disc.

I hate to be part of the bandwagon that dislikes 2nd albums by bands.  It must be hard to know if you should repeat yourself or branch out, but I think a bit more repeating and a bit less branching would have served them well.

[READ: July 10, 2008] “Call Me Lloyd”

I don’t write about every article that I read in magazines, because honestly, that’d be ridiculous. However, this piece, a memoir, read enough like a story that it would be fun to include here. (more…)

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