Thursday, March 29, 2007

Under The Covers

This week, we go "Under The Covers" with The Strokes. Last week's Radiohead covers didn't go over too well with some of you, so I hope you find these pleasing to your ears.

Ever since The Strokes' debut album hit stores in 2001, they've often been dubbed "the saviors of rock." And in many ways, they are. In my opinion, all three albums are stellar, with Room On Fire actually being my favorite. (P.S. Purchase Albert Hammond Jr.'s new solo album, it is bitchin'.)

Sure, everyone from hipsters to frat guys to your mom all listen to The Strokes now, but for good reason: they freaking rule (The Strokes, not your mom. Though I'm sure your mom rules too. I hear she makes a mean quiche). But when a band rules this much, they are bound to eventually attract the attention of a variety of people, including douchebags, which was very evident at the Strokes concert I went to last year. B-T-Dubs, that was one of the best live shows I've ever attended.

I've collected a few covers below, but the ones I'm dying to hear are from Ryan Adams' scrapped project, where he covers the entire Is This It album. I hear there may or may not be a song or two floating around in the blogosphere. If you happen to have an mp3, or even a live track of Ryan Adams covering The Strokes, please do send my way.

Check out the tunes below and leave a comment! Next week: The Rolling Stones.

"Heart In A Cage" - Chris Thile (Nickel Creek) [buy album]
VIDEO: "Heart In A Cage (live)" - Chris Thile
- My favorite cover on this list, and maybe one of my favorite covers ever. Absolutely amazing.

"Someday" - Basia Balut
VIDEO: "Someday (live)" - Basia Balut
- Definitely check out the video over the mp3 for a more polished rendition. I really hope she releases an "official" recording soon.

"Reptilia" - Howie Beck

"Last Nite" - Detroit Cobras [buy album]
"Last Nite" - Off The Beat (UPenn a cappella)

"Is This It" - Royal City [buy album]

And of course, The Strokes have covered a few songs as well...
"Clampdown (live)" - The Strokes (The Clash cover)
VIDEO: "Clampdown (live)"- The Strokes

"Life's A Gas (live)" - The Strokes (Ramones cover)
VIDEO: "Life's a Gas (live)"- The Strokes

"Walk On The Wild Side (live)" - The Strokes (Lou Reed cover)
VIDEO: "Walk On The Wild Side (live)"- The Strokes

"Mercy, Mercy Me" - The Strokes, Eddie Vedder and Josh Homme (Marvin Gaye cover) [buy album]


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Wusical Wednesday

How I Met Your Mother - "Moving Day" (B+)
For the most part, I was slightly disappointed with this episode. Then, the tag happened: Barney's Letterman impression while reading his "Top Ten Names I Would Have Given My Place If Ted Had Let Me Keep The Truck." And that bumped the episode up an entire grade point in my book. I just love puns that much. Watch the clip below in its extended, dirtier hilarity. My favorite: The Starship Enter-her-prise.

On an extremely disturbing note, there is a rumor that the show is on the bubble for next year. Does that stir a fire in your belly? If so, then sign the online petition here.

The Black Donnellys - "Lies" (B-)
Definitely better than the first two I watched, but still not enough to get me hooked. Oh well, at least you guys get the songs below.

Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll (F/A)
Before you judge, let me just say that my friend Michelle forced me to watch this show with her. It was not a voluntary viewing. Okay, now feel free to judge.

I cringed non-stop for about the first fifteen minutes. But after a while, somehow, something changes inside of you, probably your soul dying, and then the show's awfulness begins to morph into awesomeness. I really can't explain it. I'm in a downward spiral, and I need help. Someone please put Veronica Mars back in this timeslot.

P.S. OmG i'M LiKe sO ToTaLLy TeAm ChELsEa CaUsE ShE LiKe sO LoSt aLL ThAt FaT AnD StUfF, AnD LiKe ThAT BiTcH MeLiSsA S. AnD SiSsLy CaN LiKe sO GeT HiT bY a BuS CaUsE I'm LiKe ToTaLLy OvEr ThEm.

You know, it actually takes a lot of effort to type like that. Current Youth of America please take note, it's not worth the effort.

Andy Barker, P.I. - "Fairway, My Lovely" (B)
Co-written by screenwriter and blogger Jane Espenson, this episode was much more enjoyable than the pilot. It's still a bit lacking in the LOL department, but here's my quick fix: give Tony Hale more screentime. Check out his clips from this episode below:

Friday Night Lights - "Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes" (A)
Absolute perfection. I cannot stress enough just how much I want you all to watch this show.


For those of you who do watch, did you think the scene with Jason Street helping Saracen with his plays was foreshadowing a future for Jason as an assistant coach for the Panthers? Or do you think the fact that I put this much time and thought into fictional characters explains why I go to bed clutching a body pillow every night? Either way, I would love to see Jason eventually join the coaching staff of the Panthers. It'd bring Jason back into the fold and help his stories interweave with the others again. Of course, this is only possible if the show gets renewed. So again...

CATCH UP ON ALL EPISODES HERE. Tell everyone you know to support the show.

Grey's Anatomy - "Scars and Souvenirs" (C+)

Grey's Anatomy - "My Favorite Mistake" (C)

They've taken Izzie, a character I onced loved, and somehow made her more annoying than Meredith, a feat I once thought as impossible as George and Izzie shackin' up. If the show's slipping this much this season, can you imagine how heinous the spin-off will be? At least I still have my Pussycat Dolls for some good drama.

And did anyone else think that the make-up deparment went a little overboard on George this episode? I know he was supposed to be tired and all, but he looked sicker than Tom Hanks in Philadelphia. Get some rest, George, and stop banging Izzie.

Speaking of banging Katherine Heigl, my writing partner and I are going to a screening of Knocked Up tomorrow. I've been looking forward to this film for quite a while. Judd Apatow can do no wrong in my eyes. He's created some of my all-time favorite comedies in both television and film: Freaks and Geeks, Undeclared, Anchorman, and 40 Year Old Virgin, just to name a few. In Knocked Up, he's bringing together a lot of actors from past projects, including Seth Rogan, Paul Rudd, Jason Segal, Martin Starr, Jay Baruchel and Leslie Mann. Watch the trailer here, get excited and stop by later this week for a review. Also check out Judd Apatow's recent column for MTV concerning critic reviews. Oh, and can someone please prescribe some Ritalin for Their website needs to bring it down a notch.

South Park - "Lice Capades" (A-)
I never imagined laughing so hard at an episode devoted entirely to the lives of lice, but hey, Trey Parker is a genius, and he can make it happen. This is the best comedy on air. The ending was brilliant.

South Park - "Cartman Sucks" (B+)
Another solid episode. The show is getting even better with age; there's rarely been an off-episode over the past two seasons. Here's a clip from this episode:

Next week is the 24-themed episode, so make sure to tune in!

The Whitest Kids U'Know (A-, A-, B+)
Check out my previous post for a little intro to these guys, but hopefully, you all are already watching. Most of the sketches from the first two episodes were sketches they've performed before, but it was still great seeing them on television. A little surreal at times too because a lot of them were shot a few years back and often feature some mutual friends as extras. Shout-out to former roomie and one of my best friends, Devin, for his on-air cameo last night in this sketch.

I posted most of my favorites from the new material in my past post, but here's one more I watched for the first time last week and absolutely loved:

The first two episodes did really well ratings-wise for Fuse, not sure about last night's, but I imagine the numbers must have went up with the press starting to write more about them. Check out the recent NY Post and NY Times articles. So, again, tune into Fuse on Tuesdays at 11 PM ET/8 PM PT. Or pretty much every other hour since Fuse is re-airing the eps quite a bit. Let them know what you think on their website!

Alright, that's all folks. Click below for the songs, buy the albums and leave a comment!

The Black Donnellys - "Lies"
"Losing" - Tina Dico [buy album]
"40'" - Franz Ferdinand [buy album]
"The Salt Wound Routine" - Thirteen Senses [buy album]
"Goodnight Moon" - Shivaree [buy album]
"Cobrastyle" - Teddybears [buy album]
"Shelter" - Ray LaMontagne [buy album]
"Hold You In My Arms" - Ray LaMontagne [buy album]

Grey's Anatomy - "Scars and Souvenirs"
"Come To Me" - Koop [buy album]
"Girlshapedlovedrug" - Gomez [buy album]
"Hi" - Psapp [buy album]
"Land Of No Return" - Wild Sweet Orange
"Move You" - Anya Marina [buy album]

Grey's Anatomy - "My Favorite Mistake"
"Black Cat John Brown" - Alamo Race Track
"La Familia (Remix by Guy Sigsworth)" - Mirah [buy album]
"Still Alright" - Adam Merrin [buy album]
"All I Want From You Is Love" - Let's Go Sailing [buy album]
"Sideways" - Let's Go Sailing [buy album]

Scrubs - "My Scrubs"
"Courage" - Glen Phillips [buy album]

Scrubs - "My No Good Reason"
"Ain't No Reason" - Brett Dennen [buy album]

Friday, March 23, 2007

Under The Covers

Hope you guys enjoyed the Bowie covers last time. This week, we go "Under The Covers" with Radiohead.

There are a LOT of Radiohead covers out there, Wikipedia has a nice list going on, but honestly, most Radiohead covers tend to suck. There's an incredibly horrible tribute album called Anyone Can Play Radiohead. Oh, the irony. No, not just anyone can play Radiohead. Ever since Christopher O'Riley released those two jazz cover albums (both of which I enjoy sometimes), there seems to have been an onslaught of jazz/lounge/electronica musicians who are determined to butcher every Radiohead song. Well, all that is so yesterday (I wonder if there are any Hilary Duff covers out there), now all the cool kids are listening to country/folk covers of Radiohead. And I totally dig it. Especially Gillian Welch's cover of "Black Star", one of my favorite Radiohead songs ever, which you can find below.

A few tracks I don't have that I really want to check out are Duncan Sheik's cover of "Fake Plastic Trees", Nickel Creek's version of "Just", Brandi Carlile's take on "Creep", and Peter Mulvey's cover of "Airbag". If you happen to have any of these, my inbox is patiently waiting...
*EDIT: Thanks to everyone who emailed me these songs! Much appreciated! Still looking for the Peter Mulvey cover, so holler if you come across it.

Check out the tunes below and leave a comment! Any ideas for next week? The Beatles? Leonard Cohen? Britney Spears??

"Black Star (live)" - Gillian Welch [buy album]
*link removed per label's request, go buy it on iTunes though!!!

"Fake Plastic Trees (live)" - KT Tunstall
VIDEO: "Fake Plastic Trees (live)" - KT Tunstall

"Fake Plastic Trees" - Lori McKenna [buy album]
*Sorry, I only have this in DRM-encrypted format.

"Fake Plastic Trees (live)" - Duncan Sheik

"Lucky (live)" - Warren Haynes [buy album]

"No Surprises" - Amanda Rogers [buy album]

"Climbing Up The Walls (live)" - Sarah Slean
VIDEO: "Climbing Up The Walls (live)" - Sarah Slean

"Creep (live)" - Damien Rice
VIDEO: "Blower's Daughter/Creep (live)" - Damien Rice

"Creep (live)" - Brandi Carlile

VIDEO: "Creep (live)" - Jon Brion as Tom Waits

"Creep (live)" - The Pretenders [buy album]
*Sorry, I only have this in DRM-encrypted format.

"Knives Out (live)" - The Flaming Lips [buy album]

"Paranoid Android" - Sia [buy album]

"Kid A" - John Mayer

"High and Dry" - Jorge Drexler [buy album]
VIDEO: "High and Dry (live)" - Jorge Drexler

"Let Down" - Off The Beat (UPenn a cappella)

"Just (live)" - Nickel Creek

VIDEO: "Morning Bell" - Chris Thile (Nickel Creek)
VIDEO: "Nice Dream" - Nickel Creek


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Whitest Kids U'Know

Hey friends. Sorry I haven't posted the songs from this past week's episodes. Unfortunately, I haven't watched any TV lately. My writing partner and I have begun the insanity that is staffing season, so it's been a bit hectic. More to come on that later...

However, the one show that I definitely will watch today is The Whitest Kids U'Know on Fuse at 11 pm. I've mentioned them before, but now you all really need to pay attention.

One of the Whitest Kids, Trevor, is a friend of mine and used to be a fellow NBC Page just a mere three years ago. Now, his face is plastered on billboards in Times Square and Sunset Boulevard. His secret? A fairly complicated algorithm I'm unable to disclose here. Oh, and there's the seven years of hard work Trevor and his comedy troupe have put in, performing every Sunday at Piano's, a bar on the Lower East Side (and they still do, you can even catch them there this Sunday).

Their big break came last year when they won the Best Sketch Award at the HBO Aspen Comedy Festival. Variety then dubbed them one of the top ten comics to watch. They quickly scored a deal with Paramount to write, direct and act in their own movie, released an album, and obviously, they also got their own show on Fuse, executive produced by Jim Biederman of Kids in the Hall fame.

Not. Too. Shabby.

Kind of makes you take a look at what you've accomplished over the past three years. Personally, this 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle of Harry Potter has been a son of a bitch...

Anyway, reviews of the show have been pretty favorable so far, but decide for yourself, here are a few clips from tonight's episode:

My Favorite WKUK Music Videos:
Hitler Rap
We Gon' Make Love

My Favorite WKUK Sketches:
Abe Lincoln
Sexy Fawn
Look What I Bought
The New Thing
*Side note: if the above "New Thing" sketch looks familiar, it's because Budweiser ripped it off in their Super Bowl commercial. It actually made headlines, including Page Six. The Kids now only drink Coors.

My Favorite WKUK Live Sketches:
Motorcycle Mama
Line Leader
Blind Comedians
Dinner Vote

If you guys like what you see here, check out their website for more videos. Not only are these guys some of the whitest and funniest guys I know, but they are also the nicest. They really do deserve all their recent success and more. So again, tune into Fuse TODAY at 11 pm for the season premiere of The Whitest Kids U'Know. Leave a comment and let me know what you think! *EDIT: Watch some videos, leave a comment or no new Wusical Wednesday! Yes, I've resorted to threats.

*UPDATE: SPD reader, Jordan C., recently emailed me a short comedy film he made with Sam Brown of WKUK. It's called Tim Warner: A Life in the Clouds, click here and check it out!

*UPDATE: Recently spoked to Trevor of WKUK, and he informed me that the show's premiere did EIGHT TIMES the numbers of Fuse's previous ratings in that timeslot!! Hopefully this means a second season is in store... tune in next week to keep supporting!

Friday, March 16, 2007

iPod Roulette

It was great to see how many of you played along last week, and even greater to see that most of you readers have amazing playlists, or at least very good luck. So, here it is again this week: the Playlist Shuffle. Again, the rules are simple. Put your iPod or iTunes or primitive music software (Windows Media Player) on shuffle and jot down the first ten songs that pop up. No cheating, no lying, honesty is the best policy, the truth will set you free, reading is fundamental...

Leave a comment with your own shuffle list!

"You Wouldn't Like Me" - Tegan and Sara [buy album]
"I, I feel like I wouldn't like me if I met me
I, I feel like you wouldn't like me if you met me"

Pretty much how I've felt over the past few months. But hey, tides are a'changing, leaves are turning over, cheesy metaphors are running out... to further quote the song, "don't you worry, there's still time."

"Passing Afternoon" - Iron & Wine [buy album]
The lyrics are absolutely amazing. Love that last line, "a baby sleeps in all our bones, so scared to be alone."

"Holding Me Up" - The Dandy Warhols [buy album]
I believe this was played in the Season 3 episode of The O.C., "The Perfect Storm." Remember that one? Ryan gets a job on a boat? *sigh* I even miss the bad times.

"Solitaire" - The Notwist [buy album]
With the huge success of The Postal Service, I don't understand why this band hasn't blown up in the same way. Enter Silly Pipe Dreams, boom, explosion, sold-out stadiums, you're welcome. But seriously, if you like Postal Service, you'll love this band. They've been around for a while, I think this is their fifth album. Love this song, but my favorite track off the album is "Consequence," which you can listen to on their myspace. And if you like The Notwist, you'll love my friend from college, Boy In Static, whom I've mentioned before, and was actually discovered by The Notwist. Check them both out.

"Bye" - Elliott Smith [buy album]
One of my least favorite Elliott songs, only 'cause it's a short instrumental, off my third favorite Elliott album, Figure 8. My favorite album, on most days, is Either/Or, followed by XO. Favorite track off Figure 8 really should be "Somebody That I Used To Know," but I have this odd infatuation with "Everything Means Nothing To Me." Good Lord, these songs are depressing. Now I'm gonna go watch Requiem For A Dream and call it a Friday night.

"Stoned (live)" - Old 97's [buy album]
The Old 97's is one of the rare bands where I consistently prefer their live recordings over their studio tracks. And that's not to take away from their studio albums, I love them, but the energy and charisma of their live performances breathe new life into every song on this live album, Alive and Wired. Shout out to my friend with impeccable taste, Michelle, who convinced me to purchase this at Amoeba Music. She has promised to take me to an Old 97's concert someday. You are now all witnesses to this agreement. "A verbal contract is binding in the state of New York." Friends reference, nerd alert.

"I'm With You" - Avril Lavigne [buy album]
Damn it Avril, you just went and ruined what could've been my best game of iPod Roulette ever. Why'd you have to go and make things so complicated? Har har. Get it?? You see, what I did there was use a song lyric from- oh, you get it? Sorry I didn't hear you laughing, my mistake.

"Lo How A Rose E'er Blooming" - Sufjan Stevens [buy album]
With the amount of Christmas music on my iTunes, I'm surprised more holiday songs aren't popping. I'm also surprised I don't get beat up more often. Side note, I prefer Feist's cover of this song.

"Subterranean Homesick Alien" - Radiohead
Who here thinks The Bends is a better album than OK Computer? Granted they are both in the Top Ten Albums of All Time, and "No Surprises" is one of my favorite Radiohead songs ever, but I really think I'd put The Bends in either the #1 or 2 spot for Best Album Ever. Definitely my most played album since junior high.

"Beautiful Day (live)" - Kurt Nilsen [buy album]
Now you get a true glimpse of just how dorky I am. Kurt Nilsen was not only the Norwegian Idol winner, but also the winner of World Idol, beating out Idol winners from other countries, including Kelly Clarkson. This is the ripped version of him singing live on the show. The dude sounds just like Bono! He's also gap-toothed. The Lord giveth and taketh. Not a bad deal though. Hey God, wanna hook me up with some similar arrangement? Gapped teeth could help me whistle better.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Under The Covers

Sorry for the lack of posts this week. I'm in the midst of transferring the blog to the "new" Blogger template, which will hopefully bring the much-needed "tag" feature. In the meantime, partly out of laziness and mostly out of my love for covers, I've decided to start doing this weekly "Under The Covers" post. I've posted some covers in the past, but also check out Pop Candy for a list of Whitney's favorite covers. Hope you enjoy, buy some albums and leave a comment!

A Tribute To David Bowie
"Rock 'n' Roll Suicide (live)" - Rilo Kiley
Jenny Lewis, marry me.

"Life On Mars?" - Seu Jorge [buy album]
From The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou soundtrack. Not amazing, like I don't want to make out with it or anything, but it's nice to drink your morning coffee to. If you like it, also check out his cover of "Rebel Rebel."

"Five Years (live)" - Arcade Fire [buy album]
Rumor has it that Bowie chose five years as the length of time because of a dream he had where his deceased feather told him he must never fly again and would die in five years. Thank you, Wiki!

P.S. Buy the new Arcade Fire album.

"Modern Love" - The Last Town Chorus [buy album]
Featured on Grey's Anatomy, this cover definitely deserves the attention. This song is perfectly fit for her voice. However, I greatly prefer the live recording below.

"Modern Love (live)" - The Last Town Chorus

"Let's Dance" - The Futureheads

"Let's Dance" - M. Ward [buy album]
An amazing cover. On most days, I actually would pick this cover over the original. But that's because I'm a sad man inside.

"The Man Who Sold The World" - Nirvana [buy album]
Best Bowie cover ever.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Tunerrific Tuesday

The Black Donnellys - "The World Will Break Your Heart"
I haven't watched yet, nor do I want to, but the episode is available online here.

The Riches - "Pilot"
Been hearing great things about this new show. I love FX. Caught up on Rescue Me recently. What an amazing show. I'll have to post some songs from that series sometime because their music selection is wonderful, one of the best opening credit songs of recent memory ("C'mon C'mon" by The Von Bondies).

Anyway, I digress. I haven't watched The Riches yet, but you can catch up online here. I still need to watch Eddie Izzard: Dressed To Kill, which my friend Mike swears is the funniest two hours of comedy ever. Well, I'm not sure if he said "ever." But let's pretend he did. Pressure's on, Mike! So, be my Netflix friend and add it to your queue too.

South Park - "With Apologies To Jesse Jackson" (A-)
It amazes me how consistently funny this show has been for eleven years. This episode started off with a bang. Watch the first few minutes here. "Oooh, naggers. Of course." Hilarious. Also loved Cartman's Poltergeist reference, "Caroline, don't go into the light!" The latter half trailed off a little, but it was still a solid episode. I absolutely love how South Park always tries to show all sides of an issue. I thought they tackled the race card pretty well here.

Friday Night Lights
FNL fans, unite. We must implore NBC to renew this show. According to Variety, the chances of its survival are pretty good. This is the best drama on television right now. Watch all the episodes online and spread the word!

Grey's Anatomy
Some more casting news about the Grey's spinoff show. Why do I have a feeling this is gonna suck?

The Winner - "The Single Dates" (B-)
Without Rob Corddry, this show would be just another lukewarm sitcom with a laugh track, but Corddry elevates the material to a level where his lines are at least oddly endearing when they're not funny. Episodes are available online here. So far, I've only seen the first two episodes, and the second one is definitely better than the first. Good to see Rescue Me's Lenny Clarke here as the crazy dad too.

30 Rock
In the above "on the bubble" article, 30 Rock is also mentioned as a "safe" bet for a second season renewal. Another good sign: NBC has decided to cut short Andy Barker's run and bring 30 Rock back a bit earlier than intended on April 5, where it'll be part of a new "Super-Size" night of comedies. Also, on April 12, the show will switch spots with Scrubs and move up a half-hour to 9 pm. NBC, I, for once, genuinely salute you!

Autumn Reeser (A+)
Silly Pipe Dreams favorite, Autumn Reeser (Taylor on The O.C.), has been cast in an "Untitled Tom Wheeler Pilot" for THE CW. The show will revolve around a "brilliant graduate student (Ryan Devlin/Mercer on Veronica Mars) and his friends, who use their skills to solve crimes." Also known as Veronica Mars. Oh, snaps. Reeser will play the main character's down-to-earth girlfriend, a paralegal and daughter of an FBI agent. Nothing screams down-to-earth like paralegal and FBI agent. I will be eagerly awaiting the screener for this one.

Click below for the tunes, and leave a comment!

The Black Donnellys - "The World Will Break Your Heart"
"Across The Water" - Aeone
"Caught By The River" - Doves [buy album]
"It's Good To Be In Love" - Frou Frou [buy album]
"Boys Will Be Boys" - The Ordinary Boys [buy album]
"In Your Own Way" - Caleb Kane [buy album]
"Waiting For My Real Life To Begin" - Colin Hay [buy album]

Veronica Mars - "Papa's Cabin"
"A Night" - The Harlem Shakes
"Catch My Fall (In It For You)" - The Elliots [buy album]
*MySpace link

Scrubs - "My Fishbowl"
"Half A World Away" - R.E.M [buy album]

Friday, March 09, 2007

Race War

CARTMAN: "Race War's on everybody! It's going down! Shit is going down!"

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Coast With The Most

Alright nerds, you can finally add Jason Schwartzman's song, "The West Coast," to your MySpace profiles. I already did. No more listening to the version ripped from the episode with Ryan and Taylor talking in the background. What? You know what I'm talking about. No, you don't? Wow, I'm kind of a huge loser.

Anyway, the song is streaming in its entirety here. The album hits iTunes in April and stores in the summer. Huzzah!

*UPDATE: Here's the mp3 ripped from the above MySpace. Sound quality is a little weak, but at least you can listen on your iPod now. Of course, make sure you purchase the track when it's released in April.
"The West Coast" - Jason Schwartzman

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Wusical Wednesday

The Class - "The Class Goes Back To The Hospital" (A-)
Monday was the season finale of The Class. And to quote Richie from this episode, "You never know what's going to happen." At the beginning of the season, I had nothing but negative things to say about the pilot. I stopped watching all together after a few episodes. My ex then urged me to get back into it a few months ago. I did, and the show's slowly improved every week, culminating with this wonderful last episode. I never thought I'd say this, but I hope CBS renews this show.

I won't ruin it in case you all haven't seen it. And by "you all," I mean all two of you other regular viewers. But the episode had a great balance of heart and humor, and I especially loved The Lakehouse scene. You can watch the episode on Innertube.

Speaking of Innertube, you should also check out the behind-the-scenes footage available on there for How I Met Your Mother and The Class. Nothing gets me more excited to work on a show than watching table reads. Yes, I am a huge nerd. I will now return to playing Tetris on my graphing calculator.

The Black Donnellys - "A Stone Of The Heart" (C+)
Still feel the same way I did about the pilot, maybe a bit more adamantly now. Though I'm sure the ladies, and some men, didn't mind seeing Tommy half-naked for most of the episode. The dude works out. I thought he was just a lanky, art student in the pilot. I was wrong. I need to get on the Tommy Donnelly work out plan. I'm gonna give this show one more episode and then I'm probably gonna make like fabric softener and Bounce.

Friday Night Lights - "Extended Families" (A)
I absolutely loved this episode. Sure, the Waverly plot was a little weird. And yes, I want to kick Tim Riggins' new kid neighbor in the chins. But the end scene with Tami and Tyra, as well as the Jason/Lyla scene, more than made up for those minor annoyances.

ALL EPISODES ARE NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE. If you're reading this, you have internet, so you now have no excuse not to catch up on this show.

South Park - "With Apologies To Jesse Jackson"
Haven't watched yet, it's on the DVR, but I am insanely excited that the show's back. Last season had some amazing episodes ("Make Love, Not Warcraft," "Hell on Earth," etc). There's a quote from this episode already up on, with Cartman saying, "It's on! RACE WAAAR!! Race War's on everybody! It's going down! Shit is going down!" This reminds me of my friend Trevor's comedy troupe, The Whitest Kids U'Know, and their sketch, "Race War." The Whitest Kids' new show debuts March 20th at 11pm on Fuse. Below is one of my favorite sketches:

And here's another favorite sketch:

30 Rock - "The Source Awards" (B-)
This episode was a little below average for me. I didn't really like Wayne Brady's character, nor the LL Cool J story. Of course though, as always, there were still plenty of great lines:

GHOSTFACE KILLAH: "I'll get my rhyming dictionary."

JACK: "What the hell does she know? She's a Murphy. Bunch of mud farmers and sheep rapists."

LL's character insinuating that Tupac is still alive.

Tracy's Oprah impression.

Jack's list of rapper names, which included "MC Skat Cat" and "RiDonkeyKong."

All in all, kind of a slow week in TV Land. Sorry for the lack of posts this week, more to come over the weekend. And as usual, click below for the tunes and leave a comment!

The Black Donnellys - "A Stone Of The Heart"
"Handle With Care" - Traveling Wilburys
"Cannonball" - Damien Rice [buy album]
"Cold Water" - Damien Rice [buy album]
"Louie Louie" - The Kingsmen (covering Richard Berry) [buy album]
"Real Bad News" - Aimee Mann [buy album]
"Still Love" - Holly Brook [buy album]

Friday Night Lights - "Extended Families"
"Hope (Tell Everyone)" - David Usher
"Idlewild (Don'tchu Worry 'Bout Me)" - Outkast [buy album]
"Late Night Bedroom Rock for the Missionaries" - Broken Social Scene [buy album]

Scrubs - "My Night To Remember"
"Diner" - Martin Sexton [buy album]
"How To Save A Life" - The Fray [buy album]
"She Is" - The Fray [buy album]
"Winter" - Joshua Radin [buy album]
"Sometimes A Fantasy" - Billy Joel [buy album]
"The Candy Man" - Sammy Davis Jr. [buy album]
"Walking Next To You" - Acres [buy album]

Friday, March 02, 2007

iPod Roulette

I'm too lazy to finish my "A Year In Concerts" post, so we're going to play a little game I'm stealing from The Onion, which was stolen from my writing partner, which was probably stolen from a 13 year old in Suburbia.

The iPod Shuffle. You know the rules. No lying, no cheating, what you see is what you get. Alright, first ten, here we go...

"On Top" - The Killers [buy album]
Oh Brandon Flowers, why'd you have to go and make a bad Bruce Springsteen album? And then tell the world it was the second coming? It makes me miss even the lesser songs off of Hot Fuss, like this one, which is still pretty awesome.

"Take Me Anywhere" - Tegan and Sara [buy album]
If you haven't given these Canadian-born-lesbian-identical-twin-sisters a chance, you really should. If you have and you weren't impressed, then listen to this song again. Or this one. If you're still not a fan, then you're clearly prejudiced against lesbians or Canadians or twins. Shame on you.

"Answering Machine" - The Replacements [buy album]
A wonderful little, uplifting number for all of you in long-distance relationships.

"Try to breathe some life into a letter
Losing hope, never gonna be together
My courage is at its peak
You know what I mean
How do you say you're okay to an answering machine?
How do you say good night to an answering machine?"

"Back To Hell" - Alkaline Trio [buy album]
Any other Trio fans out there? If so, check out Matt Skiba's side project, Heavens. They're playing a few shows in LA in March, let's go!

"Your Legs Grow" - Nada Surf [buy album]
One of my favorites off their latest album.

"If you were here, baby, we'd increase the dose
There was no fear in my room when we got close
Call me anytime you've got a ghost
And you're the only person in the world I feel that way about
And if you move off to the side I'll get swept back out
Where it's cold but not that deep cause your legs grow"

"Cherry Bomb" - The Runaways [buy album]
I love you Joan Jett. Girls playing rock and roll in leather and lingerie never gets old.

"California" - Phantom Planet [buy album]
Ah, fitting. Anyone else feel weird yesterday without The OC? It felt like it should still be around, a phantom feeling if you will. Har har. Thank you.

"Fuckin' In The Bushes" - Oasis [buy album]
I forgot I had this song. First heard it in Snatch. Random fact of the day, the song contains samples from Murray Lerner's documentary, "Message to Love - Isle of Wight 1970".

"You Got Me All Wrong" - Dios Malos [buy album]
Geez, do I have any songs not featured on The OC?? The correct answer is no.

"Fall In Two" - Guster [buy album]
Off their album Parachute, this is a fun song, reminiscent of Simon & Garfunkel. I'm generally not a huge fan of Guster's earlier material though, only because I think it furthers people's assumptions that they are just another "college frat boy" band, which is definitely NOT the case. Listen to the albums Keep It Together and Ganging Up On The Sun. Amazing songwriting and harmonies. Check out their myspace, I love their "Joe's Place" videos.

Phew, done. Nothing too embarrassing. I'm just waiting for "Shape Of My Heart" by the Backstreet Boys to pop up one of these weeks. Leave a comment with your iPod shuffle list!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

I Rish Black Donnellys Didn't Suck

Wow. That was a horrible pun. Was that even a pun? I don't think so.

I finally watched The Black Donnellys pilot. And my first reaction: I still don't care for Paul Haggis. But that's more of a personal problem I've carried over from Crash and The Last Kiss.

I REALLY wanted to like this show. Love that it took Studio 60's spot. Was anyone still watching? Love Olivia Wilde. So hot as Alex on The OC. Love mob stories. Goodfellas is one of the best movies ever.

Yet, I just couldn't get on board.

Now, I'm all about suspending disbelief for the sake of entertainment. Veronica Mars? No problem. The OC? Sure. But here, I could not. The show, much like Studio 60, seems to take itself way too seriously. You can hear them telling you in every line, every scene, "We think this is gripping television, are you on the edge of your seat? We bet you are." I wouldn't be surprised if that line was actually uttered in a deleted scene.

But let's even put aside my perception of pretentiousness for a moment. Why am I supposed to root for these brothers in this pilot? In a full-length feature, like Goodfellas, you have plenty of time to show a lot of backstory, so we can understand and relate to a character as the plot thickens. Here, they try to give you some backstory, but there's only so much you can fit into 45 minutes before it starts to seem contrived. Before I could even begin to match each name to the right Donnelly brother (not sure if I ever got that down), the story was off to the races, and I wasn't sure why I should care, or who I should care for.

And when is this story supposed to be taking place? Are we really expected to believe that this is modern day Hell's Kitchen? I lived in Hell's Kitchen, and it's nothing but high-rise luxury buildings filled with investment bankers and a few tasty Thai places (if you're in NY, go to Pam Real Thai on 49th b/w 9th & 10th and order the Pad See Ew. Tell them Sonny sent you. They'll probably stare at you blankly).

Another gripe. Isn't the term "Black Irish" supposed to describe persons of Irish descent with dark hair? Three of the four brothers have light brown hair. Maybe I'm missing something.

Lastly, the VO. God Almighty. This wasn't Last Kiss bad, Haggis at least used the device of Joey "Ice Cream" telling the story to the cops to put the VO in motion, but it still hurt my soul. How does Joey know everything? How does he know what every character is feeling? A few times, he admits that he's lying or that he was mistaken, which was funny. But if our main narrator isn't a trustworthy source, how do we trust him when he's telling us about scenarios he never witnessed, moreover, other people's thoughts he could in no way possibly know?

Alright, I'm probably pissing some of you off with all this whining. So, I will say that I enjoyed the chemistry between Tommy and Jenny. The last ten minutes had some nice "twists" as well. Twists that could've made the ride somewhat entertaining had I ever hopped on to begin with.

All that being said, I'll probably still watch another episode or two. Pilots are tough, and it took me a few episodes to get into some of my favorite shows this year (Friday Night Lights, Heroes). Watch for yourself online, or download for free on iTunes, and let me know what you think in the comments!

P.S. According to Stereogum, the last scene was supposed to have Arcade Fire's "Rebellion (Lies)" playing, but Arcade Fire repeatedly rejected Haggis, so they had to opt for Snow Patrol's "Open Eyes" instead. Here's the original scene with the Arcade Fire song intact:

God, I love that song. If you don't already, you should too:
"Rebellion (Lies)" - Arcade Fire [buy album]

P.P.S. You can stream Arcade Fire's new album on NME.