Electricity & Lust

Links of the Week

Posted in Links of the Week by Sam Unsted on June 19, 2011
  • This AV Club article questioning whether cable TV is still delivering higher quality product than network TV in the US is one I disagree with nearly whole-heartedly, but it does at least make some interesting points about the slight increase in the number of really good network shows at the moment (The Good Wife, Community, Parks and Recreation). The point it appears to side-step though is that there are so, so, sooooo many terrible shows on network TV and the overall hit-rate (in quality terms at least) for the cable shows is way better. Also, the central argument surrounding the quality of network comedy is way off. There are a pile of really good comedies on network TV right now, but the absolute best at the minute, FX’s Louie, is a cable show. Anyway, enough debating. Read for yourself and comment away.
  • Staff at The New York Times Magazine have contributed their own selection of their favourite non-fiction books after The Guardian did the same last week. Probably a little too much to read now but I’m trucking on regardless.
  • I just finished Michael Lewis’ The Big Short and I’m planning on indulging in his Moneyball pretty soon. The trailer for Steven Soderbergh’s adaptation of the latter book, about the sabermetric approach to creating a successful baseball team used by the Oakland As. The film looks decent enough, with a strong cast and a great director behind it, though the screenplay has had runs over from Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian, which is never a great sign. I’m interested though.
  • The Atlantic has a copy of the handwritten draft of the song ‘Dance Music’ by The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle. He then goes on to discuss his songwriting process, which proves particularly interesting given that song comes from their absolute best record, The Sunset Tree.
  • The longlist for the Polaris Music Prize in Canada has also been released. I’m pulling for Tim Hecker and his stunning Ravedeath, 1972, the best album of an already stellar career.

Mountain Goats Obsessions

Posted in Music by Sam Unsted on October 14, 2008

Just a quick post but I thought I should share the ridiculous infatuation I have nurtured into bloom for ‘Sax Rohmer #1’ by Mountain Goats from their Heretic Pride record. Darnielle basically sings about some sort of war/peace gathering taking place at a harbour somewhere but, as with many Mountain Goats songs, the thing I’ve latched on to is the chorus. I honestly think John Darnielle must be among the best chorus writers in the business. There are three songs on their masterpiece, The Sunset Tree, which, despite the tone of the record being resolutely depressing, are rousing and beautiful and brilliant in ways only truly great songwriters can achieve. The best of the lot, ‘This Year’, is ostensibly about Darnielle stealing his father’s car and joyriding for a day, knowing it will mean hell to pay when he returns. Despite that underlying sadness, Darnielle has a gift for inspiring adrenaline-rush moments of romanticism meaning you are taken on the car ride, experiencing all the free abandon Darnielle feels in his moment of freedom.

‘Sax Rohmer #1’ is a prime example of chorus-writing skill, a surging, beating-heart chant that I find completely thrilling. It’s going to be among my favourite tracks of the year.

Here’s the video. Enjoy and let the obsession take over.

Carry on Wayward Link

Posted in Links by Sam Unsted on May 27, 2008

I’m digging this site. Digestible film reviews that don’t skimp on detail. Good stuff.

The new Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy record is getting some love.

So is the new Spiritualized.

The new Hold Steady single will come with tattoos.

Sigur Ros have nude folk on their new sleeve cover and will sing a song in English.

Sidney Pollack died today. Say what you like about Tootsie (I still enjoy it), Three Days of the Condor is a classic and Yakuza is something of a gem.

Here’s one of many, many tributes online.

Boyzone trying to be sexy? No thanks.

This American Life, and other shows from the Showtime stable, are now online.

HBO is developing a US version of Bad Girls.

Who are the least intimidating gangs in movie history?

Submit your questions for Yuko Yamaguchi, designer of Hello Kitty.

The Russians aren’t too happy about Indy’s new adventure.

Tarantino is finally going to make Inglorious Bastards.

Ron Perlman has joined the cast of FX’s Sons of Anarchy.

Woolworths has scrapped CD singles sales.

Mountain Goats did a session for Daytrotter.

PopMatters interviews Times New Viking.

Pop Culture Week

Posted in Links, Pop Culture by Sam Unsted on April 20, 2008

The Measure for Measure blog on the art of songwriting continues with Darrell Brown.

The Guardian interviews the premium baller currently playing and maybe, just maybe, the new Michael Jordan, LeBron James.

Acid-house survivors relay their tales.

Andrew Kuo creates a chart to explain his enjoyment of The Boredoms.

Here’s an interview with Gervais.

The Boss came out for Barack this week.

Bob Forster donates a loving tribute to his songwriting soulmate, the late Grant McLennan.

Pitchfork highlights a few new indie hip hop records that almost escaped its radar.

Robert Greenwald portrays the attack being made on Iran by, who else, Fox News.

Colbert serenades Mrs Obama.

Metal fandom with John Darnielle.

Also from PopMatters the post-masterpiece malaise which impaced The Jesus and Mary Chain.

Sasha Frere-Jones shows the love for Portishead’s Third.

I also want to point you folks to Pitchfork TV which really is darn tootin’ good.


Posted in diggin, Sam by Sam Unsted on March 15, 2008

Music: I’ve been taking in a few new records this week, notably the glammed-up wonders of Supergrass on Diamond Hoo Ha. Nick Cave’s Dig Lazurus Dig is pretty groovy, more Doors-y than I’d normally expect but still head-and-shoulders above most of the competition. The Breeders’ Mountain Battles is more of a mood piece but equally great in its own way. My favourite of the week was Mountain Goats’ Heretic Pride which follows the trajectory of Get Lonely in becoming less frenetic on the acoustic guitar and fuller in the songcraft.

Film/TV: I haven’t really seen anything this week barring a review screening of Horton Hears a Who which I actually liked quite a bit. It was defiantly silly and very odd in places. The main take-in for me this week was The Wire’s final two episodes which lived up to the tone of the whole run. It is officially the Greatest Television Show of All Time. The fifth was the weakest season so far but it’s still so far ahead of anything else that it really doesn’t matter. More on that soon.

Books/Comics: The Yiddish Policeman’s Union was magnificent. Michael Chabon’s entire body of work is now winging its way to me because the guy’s writing is just incredible. I cannot wait for the Coens’ adaptation.

Other: It’s been a podcast bonanza this week after I purchased a reconditioned iPod from Apple. My favourite thus far is KCRW’s Left, Right and Center on which Ariana Huffington proves you can talk like Audrey Hepburn and still be a storming authority on modern politics. Real Time with Bill Maher is no less of a left-wing polemic in audio form and I really loved the two Silence in C Minor podcasts. You can download those here. Also recommended is the Slate Political Gabfest and New Yorker: Out Loud.

You Only Link Twice

Posted in Links, Sam by Sam Unsted on February 18, 2008

Ewww. Sorry folks, but due to pestering from occasional contributer Tom, I’m doing Bond films this week. This will end.

Pitchfork loves the new album from Mountain Goats. A good starting point, if you like what you’ve heard, would be The Sunset Tree.

The AV Club lists twenty-two remakes which veer drastically from the path of the originals.

PopMatters has some notes on New York graffiti and Grant Wood’s American Gothic works.

Lindsey Lohan has recreated Marilyn Munroe’s last photoshoot for NY Magazine.

More details have emerged on the new Death Cab record.

E has invited the Queen to come and see Eels.

Could John McCain reinvent the concept of the Republican?

Sir Mix-a-lot would love the Ivory Coast.

What impact will the writer’s strike have on US drama?

America’s Next Top Model, officially the greatest reality show of all time, is coming back!

Chloe Sevigny discusses her new clothing line.

It is possible that James Franco may be doing some nude work for Gus Van Sant. Unsurprising given Van Sant’s delectation for a chiseled bod but Franco’s the man. Start rejoicing now ladies.

Natalie Portman’s directorial debut is going to be in Hebrew.

Senior Bush is getting behind McCain’s bid.

Finally, further James Franco-relatedly, is the trailer for Pineapple Express below which is somewhat not suitable for loud watching in the workplace.


In Da Link

Posted in Links, Sam by Sam Unsted on February 15, 2008

The AV Club has a beginner’s guide to The Kinks.

The future is not looking bright for HD-DVD.

Somewhat genius-like singer-songwriter Bon Iver donates a guest list of tunes he likes to Pitchfork.

Obama may have just won some supremely influential support.

Wanna speak Obama. Check this.

The Guardian has an interview with Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle.

A cleaned-up version of Dexter is coming to CBS.

Thank you so much to Pop Candy for this link. An excerpt from the novelisation of Roadhouse, the Patrick Swayze plays a zen-kung fu bouncer classic.

Zack Snyder is answering questions about Watchmen!

Newsweek has a fascinating article about poets and artists in Burma.

Sasha Frere Jones does not like the new remixes of Radiohead.

USA Today has the lowdown on when shows are expected back following the resolution of the strike.

The IHT reviews a new book claiming 1967 to be the most pivotal of filmic years.

American artist Phil Hanson has created some works inspired very directly by Amy Winehouse.

PopMatters thoroughly enjoyed the new book about The Replacements.

One of Betty’s birthday prezzies is we are going to see this young Gallic femme below.

Stuck Inside a Mobile With the Memphis Links Again

Posted in Beth, Links, Sam by Sam Unsted on November 21, 2007


Has fame gone to the head of MoveOn.org? Now it’s attacking Facebook.

Jennie Garth goes so Mel B is in the final of Dancing With The Stars.

Here’s the first image of the Spice Girls’ Cavalli-designed tour outfits!

The AV Club talks to Jennifer Jason Leigh and Crispin Glover.

Want to know what Oprah’s favourite things this year have been? Take a look… 

PopMatters has a review of a biography of the Chelsea Hotel (a Hotelography?)

Staff at Stylus suggest the movies of the noughties thus far.

The utterly magnificent and wonderful Mountain Goats have announced plans for their new record.

Another review of I’m Not There, this time from Slate.

Artrocker interviews the dirty/sexy/cool Duke Spirit.

Remember Dieter Brummer; Shane in Home & Away… who went out with Angel… who was played by Hollywood actress Melissa George? NO? Hmm. Anyway, he now works as a window cleaner. And has been arrested for drink-driving.

The Guardian offers an opinion on the Amazon Kindle e-book device.

The Office actress Angela Kinsey is expecting a baby! Lets hope this means a mini-Dwight onscreen…

How cute is Rachel Bilson? Very. 

And, to finish in true football hooligan stylee, – COME ON ENG-ER-LAND!