the deejay is picking up speed


I'd first like to welcome all the newcomers dropping by today through the new "free music" section over at the excellent & well-designed iPodlounge, who have an iPod year-in-review that's worth reading for any interested members of the iPod nation. The rest of us are in the middle of a mix.



Are you still paying attention, people? Today we reach the half-way point...

MP3 Belle & Sebastian - "Your Cover's Blown"
The first time I heard this track, which I had downloaded along with a bunch of other stuff, I had to stop everything I was doing I do a double-take with my iTunes. I didn't know what I was listening to, but it was knocking my socks off. I was suprised-yet-pleased to see that it was actually Belle & Sebastian, who I've always enjoyed since my college days - when everybody I knew was gaga for them - though I never went full-on gaga over them myself. But "Your Cover's Blown" didn't exactly sound like anything I had heard of their's, what with its disco beats, fat basslines & generally bold strokes, not to mention the synths. If You're Feeling Sinister this wasn't.

I was previously unfamiliar with this side of Belle & Sebastian, but I liked what I was hearing. Clocking in right around six minutes, the lead-off track from the band's Books EP (it's third post-Dear Catastrophe Waitress EP) moves through several movements & manages to cover a lot of territory along the way. It blew me away the first time I heard it, and it still does - which is why it's both the mid-point & centerpiece of Mix '04.



Track 01: The Arcade Fire - "Wake Up"
Track 02: Frou Frou - "Let Go"
Track 03: The Walkmen - "The Rat"
Track 04: Interpol - "C'mere"
Track 05: Franz Ferdinand - "Jacqueline"
Track 06: The Killers - "Somebody Told Me"
Track 07: Junior Boys - "Bellona"
Track 08: Kings of Convenience - "I'd Rather Dance With You"
Track 09: The Go! Team - "Bottle Rocket"

it's not tv, it's sunday nite tv


Last week, I began my attempt at some tv-related commentary, but never came back to it. Until now. I started with Tuesdays, so now let's move on to what I consider to be the best nite of the tv week, Sunday:


Just as The Wire's cops draw close, the noose tightens on Stringer Bell (Elba, right).

As HBO likes to boast, Sunday is their nite, and most of the time I'm watching their shows. And while it may not get the viewership of its HBO counterparts, crime drama The Wire is the pay-cabler's best original program, and the best show on television IMO (as I've said before, repeatedly). It may move slowly, but its storylines are gritty, its characters are real (as are its locations, shot entirely in Baltimore) & its storytelling is astounding, both patient & thoroughly engrossing. I can't praise the show enough, and it's hard to find the words to give it proper acclaim.

Last nite's penultimate episode of the third season was incredible. In striking parallel to season two's storyline w/port unionboss Frank Sobotka (Chris Bauer), both the cops & the thieves were closing in on the drug crew's #2 man Stringer Bell (played by the emmy-worthy Idris Elba), and just as the police got their break, the "bad" guys got to Bell first. Holy crap, it was intense. This season has seen another strong performance from actor Robert Wisdom, whose outgoing Major "Bunny" Colvin's "experiment" at turning a blind eye to drug trafficking has landed the department brass & the mayor in a political disaster, despite reducing overall crime significantly. As next week's season finale approaches, his character has become the series' centerpoint for the law, the street & the hall, and the imminent shake-up throughout is going to be fascinating. Wow.

ETA: I'm not the only one watching. Negro Please has the lowdown.



The second best show on television (IMO) is also tv's best comedy Arrested Development, which appears on Fox just before The Wire at 8:30pm ET. Last nite's episode may have been one of the show's funniest (and that's saying a lot), featuring a storyline in which Portia de Rossi's Lindsay Bluth is made to seem like a tranny & a large portion of the plot ended up revolving around David Cross' balls. The episode was even entitled "Sad Sack"!

Despite being on Fox, AD has been hilariously satirizing the Bush administration this season. First, the screw-up-yet-charming eldest son Gob (Will Arnett) fooled the Bluth company board into making him president with a magic trick (or "illusion"), then he froze for "seven minutes" once he found the evidence of his father's treasonous business dealings w/Saddam Hussein ("half in English, half in scribbly"). Then a Michael Moore look-alike challenged Bluth matriarch Lucille (Jessica Walter) to send one of her children to serve in Iraq, and she immediately volunteered her panic attack-stricken youngest son Buster (Tony Hale), who is now in basic training.

This week saw the return of John Michael Higgins (a regular of Christopher Guest's crew) as attorney Wayne Jarvis, the new prosecutor in the Bluth case who "uncovers" photos of WMD storehouses in Iraq, thought to have been built by now-fugitive George Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor). The US launches planes to bomb the sites, that is until the photos are revealed to actually be a close up of Tobias' (Cross) testicles, taken by accident while learning his new camera-phone. The fighter pilots are told to turn around, because they are "looking at balls" (The pilot's response: "Copy those balls, we're turning it 'round"). Fox even had to display a "coarse language" warning before coming back from commercial because of all the "balls" references.

Even better, Fox news broadcasted the balls photos, and issued an apology ("We Blew It!"). It was at least the third time I fell out of my chair laughing during the show. Oh my god, can you believe stuff this subversive (but funny) actually makes it on to network television? Brilliant! Sheer genius.

My other Sunday tv viewing includes The Simpsons (obvs) & Law & Order: Criminal Intent (I watch the late re-run of HBO's 9pm ET show), which has been a little disappointing this season (it was pre-empted last nite). After an outstanding season premiere, the show has been a bit dull thus far, which may have something to do with star Vincent D'Onofrio's recent health problems. Then again, I think I read somewhere that the producers were thinking of toning his often over-the-top detective Robert Goran down some this year, which would be a huge mistake IMO. I only watch D'Onofrio's L&O because of his performance, so I can only hope that things will get better.

Clearly, I have no time for Desperate Housewives, though my former NYU classmate Jesse Metcalfe (formerly of Passions) is on that show. I may try to catch up at some point, though I'm already watching too much tv as it is.

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Blogger Mitchell - Crumrine @ 12/13/2004 11:11:00 AM:

Sunday night is truly the best night of television and is why I need a Tivo! "We're looking at balls!" I nearly fell out of bed laughing... add to that the "Shemale" tank and last night was hilariously over the top. I live a half hour outside Baltimore and often The Wire is too similar to my nightly news, so I don't watch. I agree it's great, though. I chose DH over CI this year. Speaking of DH, I produced Jesse's color sync film and he was my normal acting partner in Actor's Craft. His skills aren't any better now than they were then, but all the women in my office are in love with him. Yeah, I'm the one working in an office, so who am I to judge.    


Blogger mr gilbert @ 12/13/2004 12:02:00 PM:

angie-

Jesse was in my sight & sound video (Jim Brown, reprazent), and I worked with him in writing workshop II. I still remember when we first took the Canon cameras out to Washington Square park to try them out for the first time, and Jesse was shirtless for whatever reason. I can't speak to his acting chops, but the guy has got great abs - which apparently is all that counts.

The Wire isn't for everybody, I guess. At least not anybody I know, so I've got no one to talk about the show with. So I just spout off on this website.    


Blogger Brad @ 12/13/2004 02:38:00 PM:

I join you in your Wire love. Best drama on TV, hands down (and yeah, AD is my favorite comedy as well). I was riveted last night... from the opening standoff through the final confrontation, just so brilliantly executed. Can't get enough of the show.

And a Dennis Lehane cameo, even. "Sullivan, Minor Irritations". Heh.

I hope the title of this article doesn't prove true...

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2004/12/10/DDG1FA8O1P1.DTL

Hey, thanks for the Air America Ted Leo clips. I've got some live stuff from Thursday night over at my place if you wanna check it out. http://www.bradleysalmanac.com    


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