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.

Keane and the Gross Problem of List-Making

Posted in Column, Music, Sam by Sam Unsted on February 24, 2008
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The nature of lists is that they often reflect a mean opinion, an average settling of general consensus. It’s the very nature of democracy except with music albums lists, there is no-one specifically highlighted to vote for. Well, there is, but more of that later. Lists are popular with readers and fans for a number of reasons, and I am referring specifically to music lists here.

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Diggin’

Posted in diggin, Sam by Sam Unsted on February 16, 2008
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Music: I’ve been listening to quite a few records in the last two weeks, helping me to sleep while Betty’s in San Francisco. While making shelves last week I listened to Awesome Color’s self-titled record. They’re a collective from Ann Arbor and strictly adhere to the musical heritage of the town by referencing liberally from the first three Stooges LPs. I’ve also fallen back in love with a host of female singer-songwriters, notably Laura Nyro and Nina Nastasia. On the other side of the coin, I’ve been very much enjoying early Murcof micro-house productions and am currently obsessed with any version of ‘Into The Mystic’ I can find.

Film: It’s been a good time for films but one has towered above the rest. There Will Be Blood ranks right up with the finest American movies I’ve ever seen, a brutal and bleak exploration of capitalist roots and the making of a nation. Daniel Day Lewis is good enough that many other actors may feel giving up could be a good route. Michael Clayton was dense and intelligent, I would expect nothing less from the low-key stable of Clooney. Oddest was Slipstream, the very-little-seen directorial debut of Anthony Hopkins which was utterly baffling until its final reel and honestly, I really liked it. It’s score on Rotten Tomatoes is terrible but it seems like many just were upset that he referenced David Lynch, after they’d recognised this, they put on their protective helmets and prevented themselves from liking it. Or they just hated it. Either way, it deserves more praise than its getting.

TV: I’ve been entrenched in two shows recently, Oz and Battlestar Galactica. Oz was the seed from which HBO grew into its golden age and is still astonishingly shocking, difficult to watch and thoroughly rewarding. A major review of it will soon come to the site as the inaugural part of a new feature. Battlestar I’m loving but not as much as people would want me to. But I can’t deny its qualities; great acting, three dimensional characterisation and, for the budget especially, jaw-dropping special effects. It’s politics are a little muddy and heavy-handed at times but it’s still a fine work.

Books/Comics: I finished RJ Ellory’s A Quiet Belief In Angels which really lost its way and didn’t manage to finish with the same grace it started with. I’m currently on The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright, a history of Al Qaeda and the reason for 9/11 happening. It won the Pulitzer last year and it’s just fantastically written and utterly fascinating. I can hear the sound of Republicans everywhere not understanding the need for a book on the subject.  I just got through the tenth volume of Powers which I’ve been awaiting for flipping ages and I got the Best American Comics 2007 which is just marvellous. Edited by Chris Ware and packed with clever, odd little strips.

Anything Else: I’m really liking The Guardian at the moment, it just seems better than all other papers despite the spelling errors. Also magazines are still piling up and the decisions haven’t been made on what to subscribe too! I’m currently working on three new subscriptions as a frame so maybe you can help me decide. The choices are: The Economist, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, GQ (US Edition), Details, Newsweek. What do you think folks? Is there one I’m missing…

You’ve Lost That Linking Feeling

Posted in Beth, Links, Sam by Sam Unsted on October 1, 2007

 

Stephen Colbert

Oh, woe is me. ‘Tis raining and cold and dour, just as England should be I suppose. The only way I can cheer myself up is to provide you all with links to morsels of information and loveliness across this worldwide interweb.

The always wonderful AV Club provides a superb list of films too much for a second viewing.

The equally great PopMatters gives a treatise on the still underrated Ween.

Stylus aims its arrow towards the niche set and gives a guide to Balkan music.

The Guardian‘s Peter Bradshaw discusses Control and its depiction of disability.

The Times talks about Radiohead’s decision to test the honesty of its fans.

The New York Times shines a light on a leading, well, light in lesbian pop culture.

Stephen Colbert asserts his patriotism all over USA Today.

The creators of Lost have put up a new podcast. And here’s some bloopers, to remember what the cast look like.

If you type Wanker into Amazon.co.ukthis comes up. Couldn’t agree more.

Creed from The Office is interviewed here… I love this guy.

Beth’s off to see The Darjeeling Limited tomorrow night, and will let you know how it goes asap… in the meantime, here’s the trailer. It looks great.

The Piano Has Been Linking (Not Me)

Posted in Beth, Links, Sam by Sam Unsted on September 28, 2007

Cat Power

The beautiful, effervescent, eminently cool and general all around good egg Cat Power is returning soon(ish).

The AV Club holds its Comics Panel including the new one from low-key genius Adrian Tomine.

Slate’s sex talk season reaches a deeply confusing apex on the question of sexes and the sex leaks into its arts section with its review of Ang Lee’s charged Lust, Caution.

Wim Wenders opines on his friend Samuel Fuller on The Guardian.

Semi-legendary indie rockers The Rentals stop by Daytrotter for a session.

Mary-Kate & Ashley’s clothing line The Row has come to London’s Harvey Nicks, and kooky MK is interviewed with Lauren Hutton in US Harper’s Bazaar.

And how’s this for a show singalong to end the links list? … I love Rilo Kiley

Linky and Perky

Posted in Beth, Links, Sam by Sam Unsted on September 27, 2007

New Kids…

 

Sam Beam discusses the use of his songs in other media with the AV Club and talks about his new record with The Austin Chronicle.

Slate throws a rare dissenting voice at the work of Wes Anderson.

LA Weekly sings the praises of the superb TV show Pushing Daisies.

Susan Faludi talks to the New York Times about the reassertion of traditional sex roles in a post-9/11 America.

Seinfeld is back and Time talks to him about moving into the kids market.

The Independent pays tribute to The Boss.

I think my life would be complete with this New Kids On The Block t-shirt

 

Guardian wardrobe dilemma: What do fashion editors wear at Fashion Week?

 

Check out this enchanting London-based band – The Heart Strings -they’re playing at the Buffalo Bar, Highbury&Islington on 24th October.

 

Download the Best Of PopCandy Podcast – Whitney’s a popculture whiz!