Thursday, December 28, 2006

My Night With Pounds

I've lived in Lovely Southern Connecticut for almost three years now, but that doesn't mean I'm familiar with public-access TV. I always thought that was a really good thing, though.

But with a cold forcing me to stay in my apartment night after night, I've been relegated to watching lots of television the last few evenings. Lucky for me, it seems like there's a "Law & Order" on at all times, on like three different channels.

But what happens when you've seen the episode not so long ago, it's 11 p.m., there's nothing even remotely watchable on and you can't listen to music because you're deaf in one ear because of sinuses? Well, you watch Pounds.

About six months ago, I was flipping through the channels and found some wacked-out show hosted by Beatnik 2000 regular Floatin' Fred. I had met the man a few times, but never knew he had some odd gig — flailing his baton around while local musicians dance. Well, last night I found "The Underground with Pounds." What a score.

Normally, I would just keep on flipping through the public-access stations, but this one caught my eye because it was a "Tonight Show"-like show and Pounds' guest was The Broken West, a California band that has a four-star disc hitting stores next month. You might remember that I gushed over these guys before their gig at Cafe Nine in late October, then when I went to see them again the next night in Boston.

Pounds is quite the guy. He may not have the best interview skills, but what he lacks in those, he makes up with in pure energy, and, of course, the skeleton costume that he wears. The self-proclaimed filmmaker/skateboarder, according to the credits, hosts the show, produces it, writes it, edits it and is the sound engineer. That's a whole lot of hats.

"The Underground with Pounds" also splices in numerous scenes from "Gremlins," over and over again, for no particular reason. I wonder if the studio gave Pounds credit to use the clips. Doesn't matter, though. The Broken West actually performed a couple songs on the show acoustically, and it sounded damn good.

Anyway, take it from me, if you can't leave your couch, try to find Pounds. Who cares if he wears a skeleton costume, seems a bit controlling and instead of asking questions merely mutters statements to comment on? He had The Broken West on his show months before the band's debut disc came out. That's good taste, and "The Underground with Pounds" is a great mixture of good TV and unintentional comedy. Good stuff.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Long Time No Speak

Well, hey everyone. Here's hoping you all had a nice holiday. Besides my ears feeling like they're going to explode at any moment due to congestion, I had a pretty good one, too.

As you know, since you check this site daily, like a drug addict needing a fix, it's been almost a week since I wrote something. It's tough this time of year. Besides days off, nothing really happens in the entertainment world (farewell James Brown), especially the music one. No CDs worth a mention have hit streets in the past couple weeks, no big shows are coming up and I haven't seen any great live music lately.

It all sounds so depressing, but it isn't. Once we get through this week, everything will get back to normal. We've got some good music coming up in January, some of which I just can't wait to hear. We've also got the football playoffs beginning in a little over a week, and that's certainly one of the year's highlights — and I'll definitely publish my (usually bad) predictions on here.

But in the meantime, Friday's Weekend is full of good stuff. Definitely pick it up to see my top-20 records of 2006, a local-music-of-2006 mixtape, Joe Amarante's best TV of the year and, of course, the second part of Todd Lyon's best restaurants of the last 12 months. That's a whole lot of best-of articles, and a whole lot of fun.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

O'Donnell Gets Trumped

Sometimes people say the darnedest things.

So I guess Rosie O'Donnell made some mean comments about Donald Trump on "The View" the other day, after the gazillionaire let my favorite Miss USA ever off the hook for boozing it up and kissing Miss Teen USA. Good ol' Rosie even questioned The Donald's finances.

Well, you can't play with the bull without getting the horns (is that the ridiculous expression?). "The Apprentice" star fired back with this statement, my favorite quote of the week:

"You can't make false statements. Rosie will rue the words she said. I'll most likely sue her for making those false statements — and it'll be fun. Rosie's a loser. A real loser. I look forward to taking lots of money from my nice fat little Rosie."

Monday, December 18, 2006

Good for Yul

Yale Law grad Yul Kwon won Survivor last night. I watched.

I have to admit, it was a pretty good episode, suspenseful right down to the end. The whole season was good; it was one of the better ones.

One criticism is obvious: CBS forget to tell viewers who voted for who. Instead of letting us know which contestants voted for Yul and which voted for Ozzy, the network forgot and we were left with a 5-4 vote. Big mistake. It didn't ruin the episode, though.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Baby Blogging

As my colleague and fellow huge music fan Mike Foley points out in his Kid You Not blog, Mates of State now have a blog up on the "urban parenting" site Babble.

You remember earlier this year when the former East Havenites set out on their tour promoting the new disc? Well, you see, they did it with baby Magnolia in tow.

So the two (well, Kori, really) write about their experiences touring with a baby in the appropriately named Band On The Diaper Run.

Now, you might think that this may not be of much interest to us non-parents, but the blog is actually a good read and funny. Plus, big fans of the Mates get a little inside info.

Oh yeah, there's a reason we should care about this: The duo is a really great band. Check out Kori and Jason out at Toad's Place Jan. 13.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Eye of the Tiger

Never before in my entire life have I dealt with such a difficult question: Go to the press screening of "Rocky Balboa" or not?
I am looking forward to this movie more than any mature adult should be. I guess that means I may not be mature.
Whenever the trailer comes on TV, I get goosebumps and my heart races. So do I wait for Christmas and watch it with friends who will be just as excited as me, or do I run out to the press screening and get to see the Italian Stallion a little early?
Man, I need help. But just look at the photo. Look at Rocky beating that dude. It's so amazing. He's 95 years old! Who cares, though?
OK, I admit it: I'm just kidding about all of this. Or am I?
Is anyone out there excited? I mean, seriously, this is one of the toughest movies in recent memory to guess its box-office fate. One of my many useless talents is an almost-innate ability to predict box-office returns. "Rocky Balboa" could come in at anywhere between $8 million and $24 million for the first week. I can't decide where it'll fall.
Any guesses? Post them here. This could be fun.
If anyone can guess the film's first-week haul, I'll put a little prize in the mail, some swag that you'll totally like. So now begins the first Blog Like An Egyptian contest. Let's go.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Folkie Fugazi

Ian McKaye hates it when you mention his current project, The Evens, in the same sentence as his legendary post-punk band Fugazi. What can I say? Folks hate me for many a reason.

Anyway, The Evens play The Space tonight, so Fugazi/Minor Threat/McKaye disciples (and there are tons) take note: Ian will be in Hamden. Ian will be in Hamden.

But if you're looking for post-rock, you won't get it with The Evens, a duo (with Amy Farina of The Warmers) that's put out two very pleasant, atmospheric folk records. And I know this is sacrilegious, but I actually like some Evens stuff better than a lot of Fugazi. Wait a second while I wait for lightening to strike.

It didn't happen. I guess the Register building is impervious to bad weather. So for only $5, head over to The Space for the 8:30 p.m. show tonight. I'll make it if I'm not dead.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Oh, Grammy

I call my grandmother "grammy." Why do I bring that up? Because I love her. And because I think good ol' Grammy knows more about music than the 14-year-old teenybopper girls who vote for the Grammy awards.

Now I know there's no proof that Grammy voters are all young ladies, but the evidence is strong. How else could Connecticut's own John Mayer receive five nominations, including one for rock album of the year for his crappy blues CD?

In fact, you could say Mayer got 10 nominations since James Blunt also got five, and isn't he and Johnny the same dude? You know, the sensitive, dreamy white guy playing generic, Air Supply-like soft rock for young kids and older women? I'm swooning just writing this.

The one positive thing this year is that commerce and art came together. It happens once every five years, but sometimes great albums sell tons of copies and are heard all over the radio. Gnarls Barkley's "St. Elsewhere" is one of the best records of this year and it was nominated as such. Thank God.

Other fun tidbits include The Red Hot Chili Peppers "earning" six nominations for a disc that would be good if, no exaggeration, it was 60 minutes shorter. Sixty minutes! Mary J. Blige and the Dixie Chicks also got a bunch of nominations. And that's a good thing since both records are solid.

I know I sound like a broken record, but this is the saddest award show. People used to care; now nobody watches. It has no cred. Pardon me while I go cry now.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

New Music Tuesday

Here we go, another week and a few more releases. Man, it's slow come the holidays.

Nobody wants to put out a disc now. It'll be a little slow for the next month, but we do have some things. Look for full reviews of these three albums in Friday's Weekend. Here we go:

Gwen Stefani"The Sweet Escape"
one-and-a-half stars

Various artists"Eminem Presents the Re-Up"
three stars

Various artists"The O.C. Mix 6: Covering Our Tracks"
Warner Bros.
three stars

Monday, December 04, 2006

A Post for a Blogless few days

Occasionally I'm just a little too busy to update this blog. Well, hold on, let me be honest: I was too busy Thursday, and then I was too lazy this weekend. With all that said, I've got a few things on my mind, so we're going to do a notes column.
  • Why do people feel the need to write me angry e-mails about CD reviews? In last week's Gift Guide IV, I wrote a review of Hall & Oates' Christmas record. The disc stinks. It flat out brings nothing to the table, no good arrangements, half-hearted renditions ... I could go on. I've gotten about 25 e-mails, all nasty, about this review. Only one person wrote in to tell me how right I was. Of course, of those 25, only three admitted to owning the disc. But the point is this: If you like the CD, who cares what I think? I listen to plenty of music that I would not give a good review to. You don't need me to validate your musical choices.
  • Tonight's the Billboard Music Awards, one of the worst shows of the year. Paris Hilton and Britney Spears were set to host, now both have pulled out. I'm sure this is going to be fun. Look for my diary of the night in Friday's Weekend section.
  • Even though the Patriots keep winning, I'm not a believer yet. Tom Brady hasn't looked like himself all season and the offense is turning the ball over at an alarming rate. And speaking of sports, as a Red Sox fan, I'm not happy about JD Drew.
  • Two very good local discs will see the light of day this week. Make sure to check out Mike Lasala's "This Strange Place" and the new EP from Shadowgraphs. Both would make a great gift your favorite local scenester. And both will be talked about in Friday's Weekend.
  • Speaking of local scenes, last week's Weekend featured a Making a Mix on the "Towers of New London Volume IV." A lot of those bands will be appearing at The Oasis soon. The venue is a club now being booked by Sean Murray, a guy who knows good music and will bring the great Tim Easton to the New London bar this Friday.
  • Just got off the phone with a 72-year-old ex-DJ who wanted to know why there's no commercial radio station playing old-time country. I wonder myself. He can't stand new-school Nashville. Who can?
  • Haven't heard the entirety of the new Shins record yet, but let's just say that when the album hits stores in January, fans of the band will surely have their lives changed again. The "Garden State" rockers' new song, "Phantom Limb," is totally amazing, way better than ANYTHING they've done to date.
  • I'm about done now. Let's talk again, soon. OK?