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June 11, 2004

Caisson - The Anchorpeople Love Sayin' it.

MTV used to pour its movie awards program onto the pavement like shiny lacquer over dog shit. In 2004, the thing still stinks. But the network has finally admitted that its show is nothing more than a mobile platform for launching summer movie goo into Youth of America pineal glands. In between Lindsay Lohan costume changes and stilted B-lister banter (who the fuck is Shia LaBeouf?), vignettes trumping summer offerings prattled across the screen. Another Blade sequel (inexplicably co-starring that guy from Van Wilder and the pizza place sitcom); The Chronicles of Riddick (which looks like a patchwork of unused dailes from the Matrix finale); and the upcoming Michael Mann film that's chatted about like itís the madcap sequel to Booty Call when - despite the presence of Jaime Foxx - it seems like a typical Mann mood piece about wet work and the scruples of Man. On the plus side, MTV hired Li'l Jon to stalk the pre-show red carpet. This provided numerous and quite hilarious outbursts of "Yee-aah" and "Huh-whaAAT?"; it also established in reality Chappelle's bit about the guy, because when Mr. Li'l isn't crunkin', he's actually rather articulate. Pardon me ma'mm, do you smoke the reefer? Other notes on the show: Eve has a fabulous body; Scarlett Johansson is too hot to handle; Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal aren't, in fact, the same person; beards are evidently quite popular in Hollywood; the Beastie Boys are old; Owen Wilson is fucking funny even on tape; and Karen O looks like Marilyn Manson trying to look like an indie girl who herself is trying to look like Chrissie Hynde. All of that, and her performance of "Maps" was still the best thing about the event.

As for dog shit, well, Twiztid's new album isn't exactly that, but it's title is appropriate for we non-Juggalos. Cryptic Collection, Vol. 3 just doesn't have a lot of resonance outside the Psychopathic death circle.

Much better is Velvet Revolver's debut. "'Slither' is a hard orange gasoline drinker; it's 'Big Bang Baby's cocaine cousin, the cool one in the family with no need for sleep and exploits you read about...It's the politics of Contraband." Bad Religion also returned this week, backing up a spate of back catalog reissues with a solid effort called Empire Strikes First . "[BR] is best when standing defiant in the way...Their tone doesn't change, but the battles are always changing. Watch out, evildoers - Bad Religion is in your rear-view, and they're gaining."

Newsflash to the spineless - The Calling are your ball-less overlords. "With Two , there's no passion, nor any attempt to add even a bubble of individualism to the foamy spume of MOR...There's only the fallow soil of strip-mined Bono karaoke."

for as much grief as they've gotten over the years - a good chunk of it from my mouth - 311 really have turned into rock veterans. Their new greatest hits record chronicles the hits and highlights of the past ten years, and if you went to college at all in the '90s, it's a pretty enjoyable ride. Break out that 10-foot Graffix bong, put on the Dr.Seuss hat you found on the hill at Lollapalooza '95, and prepare to face your freshman year self. Chill!

Katie Melua is a lovely young woman from England who's trying to make her way onto American shores with Call Off the Search. It's nice enough - Katie's got more cojones than those goofs in the Calling - but at the same time you wonder just how much resonance she has outside of the Josh Groban/Charlotte Church, Borders register price-point arc. "Melua's debut sits pristinely in the shapable clay between pop, adult contemporary, and traditional American musical form. It's a comfortable, lightly melodic affair that drinks red wine in the middle of the road."

SHeDAISY. Pretty girls, pretty good songwriters. Too bad they're stuck in the gleaming Hat City sweatband."

As far as the Fork goes, I covered an interesting record by Tanakh called Dieu-Deuil. A meandering folk-psych thing that's well in line with the burgeoning underground folk movement (think playas like Devendra Banhart), there's an intangible quality to it that - I think, anyway - suggests this new broken folk music is finding favor with those left rudderless in the wake of Elliott Smith's sudden passing. On a lighter note, there's Vehicles & Animals from UK hippies Athlete, who delight in blending Super Furry Animals-style blooptronica with American indie drowse and Brit-pop holdover choruses. Cool stuff - and containing at least two totally awesome summer mix tape entries - but not quite memorable.

In the meantime, let's all head out to Ray's Music Exchange in Calumet City, and shake a tailfeather or two for our fallen pal Ray Charles.

JTL

Posted by Johnny Loftus at June 11, 2004 10:33 AM