Category Archives: Music

Beck: “Morning Phase”

Alright, at first I thought this whole Kayne West vs. Beck at the Grammys thing was kind of funny and just further proof of what a total fucking idiot Mr. West really is. But after spending just about every waking minute since Sunday night listening and re-listening to Morning Phase — which I got for Christmas and is already right up there with Mutations and Sea Change as one of my favorite Beck albums of all time — I’m done thinking it’s funny. And actually, I’m kinda pissed.

Morning Phase is a gorgeous, shimmering piece of folksy pop/rock perfection. Seriously, I want to just close my eyes and dive into some of those songs, this is Beck on overdrive and this album is freaking glorious on every level. And for anyone, anywhere to even remotely suggest that this lush, sensual album for the ages is in any way not Grammy-worthy is just fucking crazy. Yeah, I know, I dropped two F-bombs in one blog post, sue me.

The other thing that really irks me is that Beyoncé (who, by the way, is totally blameless here. It’s not her fault Kayne is an asshat!) already has a staggering 20 Grammys to her name. In fact, she is the most nominated female artist in Grammy history and the second most honored female artist at the Grammys like, ever. Trust me, Sasha Fierce don’t need no more Grammys.

By comparison, Beck has won six career Grammys. Six! When Star Wars: Episode VII opens this May there will be more Star Wars movies than Grammys with the name Beck on them in the world. And as much as I love me some Star Wars, that is just plain crazy.

So, even though this will cost me another quarter in the swear jar at home, I gotta say it: go fuck yourself, Kanye! Whew, I feel so much better. Thanks. Now, if you haven’t already checked out 2014’s Album of the Year, get stepping. It’s amazing!

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Oscar Nominees 2015

OK, let’s just start with the biggest upset of the morning, no LEGO Movie Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature? What the hell?! To steal a line that has been tweeting around the internet all morning: everything is NOT awesome. Seriously, even the Best Original Song nomination for the film’s crazy-addictive “Everything is Awesome” can’t numb the pain of losing out on what many considered to be sure bet for Best Animated Feature. Wow…still totally shocked.

Also very disappointed to see Nightcrawler’s Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo overlooked in the acting categories. They both deserved serious consideration for their stellar work in the film, but, I am thrilled to see it score a Best Original Screenplay nod for writer/director Dan Gilroy. Nightcrawler was one of my favorite films last year and I’m definitely rooting for Gilroy to take home the gold, so, rock on, dude!

If I had one major gripe — aside from the two mentioned above — it’s that the Academy showered so much love and so many nominations on movies that, in my mind, were just OK. I mean, seriously, Whiplash and Foxcatcher for Best Picture? Yikes…

And while I’m delighted to see J.K. Simmons finally getting some Oscar love for his kick-ass turn in Whiplash, I gotta say, the rest of the movie is completely overrated. A total “actors movie” with a lot of showy stuff going on but not much else. Same thing with Foxcatcher. Again, very happy to see Steve Carrell finally snare a richly-deserved Best Actor nod, but, beyond the acting the movie was a mess and the fact that it scored Best Adapted Screenplay and Director nods is completely flabbergasting. Wow…

On the plus side, I actually yelped out loud (OK, more like screamed) when Laura Dern’s name was read in the Best Supporting Actress category. She gave an absolutely transcendent performance in Wild and if you ask me, this is her time to shine. She was the heart and soul of the film and literally lit up the screen with her powerful, soulful work. I think she was my favorite nomination this morning. Very excited for her!

I’m also totally stoked to see Boyhood continuing it’s climb to the top in a very chaotic award season. This movie has haunted me more than any other this year and I’m hoping it wins everything it’s nominated for. And yes, I know that means Patricia Arquette would beat Laura Dern in the Best Supporting Actress race, but, hey, there’s room for more than badass mother performance, so, I’m hoping for a tie!

Another cool surprise was the Best Original Song nomination for “Lost Stars” from another one of my favorite films last year, Begin Again. That movie was amazing and even if they didn’t get nominated for their performances in the film, I’m gonna pretend that Kiera Knightley and Mark Ruffalo’s Oscar nominations this morning — for The Imitation Game and Foxcatcher, respectively — were for that movie instead. Either way, glad the stodgy old Academy remembered this lovely film.

And speaking of memory (I know, nice transition here, sorry) I am so excited to see Julianne Moore in the Best Actress race for her career-best work in Still Alice. That movie devastated me and her performance is definitely the stuff Oscar gold is made of. And if you ask me, it’s about freaking time Moore takes home an Academy Award. No one even came close to her this year…she’s probably the one sure bet this season and she deserves everything she gets. Rock on, red!

And even though Guardians of the Galaxy missed out on a Best Picture nomination, it did score a Writers Guild of America nomination last week and picked up two Oscar nods this morning as well. One for Best Visual Effects, (go, Groot!) and one for Best Make-up and Hairstyling (go, Gamora!) so, I’m not complaining. On a related note, it was very cool to see something other than stuffy English period films in the Best Costume Design category with Maleficent and Inherent Vice picking up surprise and totally deserving nominations. Rock on, crazy Maleficent horns!

Speaking of Inherent Vice, even though I only liked the first hour of the film (which is perfect!) and it descended into total madness in the second half, I have to admit I am glad to see writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson nominated in the Best Adapted Screenplay category. Knowing Oscar voters, who have a rich history of rewarding people for the wrong movies, Anderson, who should have won for Boogie Nights, Magnolia and There Will Be Blood, will finally win an Oscar for his work here.

The bad news is that two really deserving writers got totally shut out in Anderson’s Adapted Screenplay category. Novelist Nick Hornby’s script for Wild was incredible and deeply moving. And though I haven’t seen it yet, Gilian Flynn’s adaptation of her novel Gone Girl is supposed to be pretty badass too. Sadly, their slots got taken by the likes of total groaners like Foxcatcher and Whiplash instead. Oy…makes me want to groan again.

And finally, even though Bradley Cooper knocked Jake Gyllenhaal out of the Best Actor race, Cooper gave one of the best male performances of the year in American Sniper and I was really glad to see the film pick up so many nods this year. It’s a really great flick with a, pardon my French, fucking doozy of an ending. Amazing!

OK, that’s all for now. You can find a complete list of this year’s nominees here. And, as always, I’m dying to hear what you guys think of this year’s crop of nominees, so, comment away!

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The Final Countdown Part II

I’m sorry, but my deep, abiding love of awesomely cheesy 80’s pop music could not let me use the title “The Final Countdown” for my previous post without paying tribute to the band that made those words famous. Europe’s rocking ode to the end of things has been in my head all weekend, and now, it will be in yours as well. You’re welcome!

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“Country: Portraits of an American Sound” at the Annenberg Space for Photography

Last weekend, we headed to the Annenberg Space for Photography in Century City to check out their spanking new exhibit, “Country: Portraits of an American Sound” and lemme tell ya, it kicked ass. Seriously, even people who don’t like country music will enjoy the very cool array of photographs on display. And if you love old school Grand Ole Opry stars like Ernest Tubb, Loretta Lynn, George Jones and Patsy Cline as much as we do, well, prepare to be dazzled.

"County: Portrait of an American Sound" @ The Annenberg Space for Photography (2014)

"County: Portrait of an American Sound" @ The Annenberg Space for Photography (2014)

Featuring work from a number of photographers covering the country music scene in Nashville and beyond, the show spans the post WWII period straight on through to today. One of Greta’s favorite shots was a very recent portrait of that little firecracker Kasey Musgraves. Musgraves took home the Grammy for Best Country Album earlier this year for her boot-stompingly good major label debut “Same Trailer Different Park.” And of you haven’t heard her music yet, well…you will!

My favorite pic was the insanely cool Tammy Wynette shot featured on the poster below and an action pic of Loretta Lynn jumping for joy after hearing that she’d been asked to join the regular cast at the Opry. Classic! And if you love Johnny Cash like we do, there are some great photos of him through the years as well. Honestly, every photo in the show is amazing and the documentary the Annenberg produced in conjunction with The Country Music Hall of Fame is positively riveting. Seriously good stuff all around.

"County: Portrait of an American Sound" @ The Annenberg Space for Photography (2014)

"County: Portrait of an American Sound" @ The Annenberg Space for Photography (2014)

And those with wee ones will appreciate the show’s super cool hidden item game which encourages kids to find items from a brochure in the photos on display. Greta loved it and actually, it was fun for adults too. In fact, some of the items were so difficult to find that we had to ask for help.

So, if you live in the area (and even if you don’t!) get thee to the Annenberg Space for Photography and check out this little gem of a show for yourself. The cost of admission is free and parking, with museum validation, is only one dollar. So, how can you lose?

I should warn you though, this show will fuel your desire for country jams like never before, we’ve been playing nothing but Dolly, Emmylou Harris and Porter Wagoner all week…it’s been awesome!

"County: Portrait of an American Sound" @ The Annenberg Space for Photography (2014)

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Record Store Day 2014

I know Record Store Day actually took place a couple of weeks ago now, but, I had such a blast celebrating it this year, and I took so many cool pics, that I simply had to share them again here. So, bear with me…Facebook friends.

Record Store Day 2014

Unlike in previous years, Record Store Day 2014 fell on Easter weekend this year, and since we always spend Easter at my Mom’s place in San Diego, we got to check out a couple of different record stores this go around. So, yay for us!

First up was a cool little place in the grungy-hip North Park neighborhood called Off The Record. And though the selection was pretty decent — but nowhere near the awesomeness of our local Amoeba Records in Hollywood! — the prices were fantastic, so, I would totally hit them up again. I bought a brand new Nina Simone CD for $5.99 and my brother-in-law walked away with a handful of very cool used CD’s for around $10-$15 bucks for the lot of them. Not bad.

Record Store Day 2014

But our next stop was even cooler. San Diego’s M-Theory Records has been rated one of San Diego’s Best Record Stores for years and it’s not hard to see why. Although their selection seemed much smaller than Off The Record’s, the depth and quality of M-Theory’s inventory was amazing. I’m not kidding, man…they had some really eclectic shit in there.

Even more surprising than M-Theory’s artfully curated vinyl stash was the totally disarming coolness of their staff. Friendly, smart and totally knowledgable, the clerks at M-Theory seemed determined to dispel the myth of the surly hipster record store clerk once and for all. And all I can say to that is: “Amen, brother!” Record Store Day or not, I can’t wait to spend more money in that joint next time we’re in town!

And even though I wasn’t able to find that David Lynch record or the Original The Muppet Movie Soundtrack vinyl reissue I was looking for, I still had a blast. So, rock on, San Diego record stores…see ya next year!

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“Love is an Open Door” clip goes viral

If you thought the pop-culture juggernaut that is Frozen peaked with the film’s two big wins at the Academy Awards or yesterday’s eagerly-awaited home video release, think again.

Proving that Frozen mania is here to stay, a new wave of videos featuring people singing and/or lip-syncing songs from the movie have gone totally viral. And this time, they’re singing something new. So, move over Adele Dazeem (aka Idina Menzel) because “Love is an Open Door” is definitely having a moment.

And while it may have all started with the charming, “good-looking couple” in the first clip shown above, the list of spoofs and imitators on YouTube is growing by the second. There are even imitators of the imitators…it’s crazy! But also, kind of totally awesome.

Long live the Frozen phenomenon!

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Happy 79th Birthday, Elvis!

Although we didn’t celebrate Elvis Presley’s birthday with our usual flair this year — the truth is we’re still recovering from the holidaysGreta and I still managed to pay tribute to The King via the artful use of our leftover Halloween and Christmas candy!

And though we weren’t lucky enough to be visited by the man of the hour on his actual birthdate (Presley would have been 79 years old on January 8th) we had a blast creating these mixed media works of art and ate plenty of candy in his honor, so, I’m sure he would have totally approved.

Happy birthday, Elvis!

Happy Birthday Elvis! (2013)

Happy Birthday Elvis! (2014)

Happy Birthday Elvis! (2014)

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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