All posts tagged: Dw. Dunphy

Recollections of 2010: Guided by Voices

If there was an event in this passing year that I wish I could have attended, it would have been the “classic” lineup reunion tour of Guided By Voices. This would have been the line-up most recognized for the albums Propeller (1992), Bee Thousand (1994), Alien Lanes (1995) and Under The Bushes, Under The Stars (1996) and most notably featuring Tobin Sprout as a co-contributor. Sprout was always a good foil for GBV headman Robert Pollard. The former was folkie and poppy, where the latter liked louder guitars and sometimes drifted into proggy tangents. Of course, these wouldn’t be evident until later on (of around, let’s say, Mag Earwhig (1997), when Sprout was gone and most of the band was replaced by indie glammers Cobra Verde ) but the tendencies were there in those early 4-track cassette recordings. Unlike a lot of GBV die-hards, I also have an appreciation for the over-produced major-minor days on TVT Records, as well as the subsequent return to Matador Records, when the band name was finally retired (and to …

50CCM50, Part Three

Well, this is getting to be a pretty lousy habit, now isn’t it? Coming into the middle part of December, I had severe computer and Internet connectivity problems, my car’s radiator was leaking severely, my dog ate my homework, I ran out of gas, I, I had a flat tire, I didn’t have enough money for cab fare, my tux didn’t come back from the cleaners, an old friend came in from out of town, someone stole my car, there was an earthquake! A terrible flood! Locusts! IT WASN’T MY FAULT!! (Stay tuned for a very special Consumerism column where I go into detail about the one in that list that’s the real problem, and the other that’s becoming so.) At any rate, There is something that needs to be addressed here, and that is the list of albums that nearly made it, but not quite. If the list was 75 items long, they’d surely be here but, for one reason or another, I couldn’t quite fit them in. Daniel Amos – Darn Floor Big …

Dw. Dunphy On… Crawling Through a Winter Wonderland

Hey, East Coast, are you feeling a little European today? It’s the last great Blizzard of 2010, folks. I have just finished digging out our driveway (thanks to the neighbors for the snow blowing, shovel assistance and the salt) and the sun has come out. Even so, with a six-foot drift in the backyard, icy winds blowing and the main roads still awaiting a plowing and salting, now may be a good time to try out that Wii you got for Christmas, or maybe hit Netflix for some movies. Here then are some movies you may not want to rent today. The Shining (1980) – The Stanley Kubrick classic based on Stephen King’s novel about a family taking care of a hotel for the winter. Hijinks ensue when the ghosts of the manse, as well as the snow outside and the stir craziness inside, start to take their toll. Writer Jack Torrence (Jack Nicholson) seethes, hyperventilates and hacks away, terrifying his wife and son. This is not a feel-good snowball fight kind of flick. Misery …

Three Lovable Flops: The Philadelphia Experiment, Krull and Buckaroo Banzai

I have a soft spot for some of the near-misses from the 1980’s, typically big-concept genre movies that were either too earnest, too cheap, too goofy or too Too for their own good. Sometimes they win you over on merit and other times, it’s just a matter of crying “uncle” and letting the insanity win. I will leave it to you to decide if these three films have what it takes to be flop-classics, or just plain flops. The Philadelphia Experiment (1984) Briefly, two WWII Navy guys are swept into the future (circa 1984) when the experiment to radar-cloak warships goes awry. David Herdeg (Michael Pare) and Jimmy Parker (Bobby DiCicco, who was a primary actor in another lovable bomb, Steven Spielberg’s 1941) are being sucked back into a time vortex, on a molecular level, where their ship and a chunk of a town are trapped. Yes, it is just as daft as it sounds. Along for the ride is Nancy Allen as Allison, cute and red-haired, with a mousy-behavior and an inclination toward eye-humping …

Popdose 2010: Dw. Dunphy’s Top Albums

2010 was a difficult year for music, despite there being so much of it to choose from. Some high profile albums made no mark on me, while some that crept in under doorway became obsessions. There were albums from other years that arrived and had the same effect, but for the purposes of this rundown, I have focused solely on releases from the calendar year 2010. So here we go! 10. TIE – How I Got Over – The Roots: It’s become a mantra around here – The Roots can do anything they want. On this album, they prove it once again. Something for Everybody – Devo: All Devo had to do was sound like themselves without flaccidly mimicking their older material. Amazingly, they pulled it off. 9. We’re Here Because We’re Here – Anathema: It doesn’t matter that they’re light years away from their black metal roots. Anathema’s return brings beauty, guitar firepower, positive energy and an incredible track like “Dreaming Light” to an already transformative discography. 8. Heaven Is Whenever – The Hold …

Dw. Dunphy On… “Symphonica Transistori” and “Built on the Bones EP”

It was a tough day, the day I finally realized I’d never make a living as a musician. I think it was my 40th birthday when it happened. I woke up to find myself chronologically 40, but not really feeling like it or interpreting myself as such. I still had crystal clear recollections of elementary school days, so how could it be that I was four decades on? Hell, I still remember meeting Carol McLean that first day back at River Plaza, and her threat that she was ready to “kick my third-grade ass.” By sixth grade, she was still threatening that, and was probably completely unaware of the crush I had developed over her. Ah, but I always was a fool for the redheads. Now there, at 40, and here at 41, I would have thought such details would have drifted out of my head and into the ozone by now, and so it hardly feels like I could have turned a corner away from the possibilities of making music and a living at …

Dw. Dunphy On… Trailers Gone Wild

There’s one thing you have to say about the editors of movies and their trailers, and by extension, those who score the movies afterward. Even if the director has an iron hand and insists on leaving his mark indelibly on a production, it is the post-production team that puts the fire on the brand. If there’s any question of this, take note of another YouTube video subgenre, the trailer re-cut. As seen below, with a forceful vision, a convincing soundtrack and maybe a slight tinting trick or two, you can turn a movie trailer inside out. Here are some examples to clarify the point. Mrs. Doubtfire as psychological thriller. She seemed like the perfect nanny, but the eyes can lie! Happy Gilmore as inspirational sports flick. He’s just a guy with a dream. The Shining as family/rom-com. A little bit o’ love can drive you crazy. Mary Poppins as horror flick. A spoonful of sugar helps the demons go down. And Sleepless In Seattle… And Uncle Buck… But not The Ring. And finally, we know …

CD Review: Michael Jackson, “Michael”

In time travel movies, the big difficulty the characters are always  concerned about is the paradox. Don’t do this, this or that or else you’ll bring on a paradox, it’ll destroy time-space and we’ll all cease to exist, etc. and so on. There are paradoxes in reality too, impossible to reconcile so easily as “don’t cross your mother and father in the 1950’s.” Try this one: the first posthumous collection from Michael Jackson, titled Michael without a hint of irony or levity, would have brought back his career based on the music, but first he had to die. I wasn’t a fan of Invincible, his last studio album in life. I thought it was leaden and disjointed. It did not have a single song on it that grabbed me and, consequently, I found it easily forgettable. Yet at that time, his controversies and scandals were still front-and-center and yes, no matter how much someone wants to deny that has an effect on the decision-making process, it certainly does. In some twisted way, his death made …

Popdose Tributes: Leslie Nielsen and Irvin Kershner

The Reaper respects no holiday, and so it is that two film luminaries passed this past weekend. The first, Leslie Nielsen, needs no introduction. While he first came to notoriety as a dramatic actor, with the sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet jumping immediately to mind, it was his string of spoofs with the Abrhams and Zuckers of the world that will immortalize him – Dr. Rumack in Airplane!, Lt. Frank Drebin in the Naked Gun films. There are too many gags, one-liners and pratfalls to adequately reel off. So cyclical was his career that when he returned to a dramatic role, such as that in Barbara Streisand’s Nuts, it was first a shock to see him in that context, and second, a shock he was so good at it. He assumed his comedic turns so thoroughly that he made you forget the funniest aspect was he was always playing it for real. Latter spoofs from other creators like Spy Hard and Dracula: Dead and Loving It failed to fully capture the helzapoppin’ energy, and sub-machine gun …

CD Review: Cee-Lo Green, “The Lady Killer”

The biggest fault with The Lady Killer is its viral sensation, the track “Fuck You.” It is an effervescent, light-spirited Motown-styled pop song that needs to have it’s mouth washed out with soap. So many other records should have it so good. The rest of The Lady Killer has virtually no profanity attached, but more important, it is filled with songs that actually top its high-profile anchor track. For instance, “Bright Lights Bigger City” is an ’80s synth-soul sing-a-long complete with rolling strings and a bassline homage to Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.” “Wildflower” could have arrived in the 1970’s and found a home on the Tamla Records label, and true to Cee-Lo’s patented eccentricity, his cover of Band of Horses’ “No One’s Gonna Love You” makes the tune his own. It becomes an embarrassment of riches; so much so that one has to ask if the album really needed a stunt such as the now scrubbed-clean “F— You” or worse, “Forget You.” As stunts go, this one is no Jackass base-jump off a backyard shed, …

CD Review: INXS, “Original Sin”

There has been a wave crashing over the entertainment industry, not just music but movies, television, books, just about any sector that has enjoyed a sense of history. This wave is one of a lack of necessity, not necessarily of “a bankruptcy of new ideas” as has been reported. For example, you take the first two Batman movies under the helm of Tim Burton; both were entertaining and took the character to the dark, complicated and troubled heart of the original Batman comic. It was not necessary for latter attempts to reintroduce the campiness of the TV series. Those films harmed the franchise and, in turn, necessitated rehabilitation. Along came Christopher Nolan, who succeeded smashingly. How many “great” bad ideas have stumbled out of the Hollywood talking points arena lately? Do we need Robert Zemeckis to do a remake of The Wizard Of Oz that is faithful to the original script, and is the old version that difficult to stomach by new audiences? In music, is it necessary to try to wrestle the past down …

CD Review: Daft Punk, “Tron: Legacy” Soundtrack

The movie Tron: Legacy arrives at a point of very good fortune, and it is the most unlikely of comebacks. First off, it’s a sequel that never should have happened. In its original release in the early-1980’s, it was a bona fide flop, the target of critical lambasting for a near incomprehensible, geek-speak  script. Yet the film struck a chord with a small but loyal few, and when CG visual effects overtook all other processes, it became something of a historical precedent (although in truth, there are very few instances of computer graphics in the movie. A lot of the visuals are standard animations backlit to have a synthetic look). The original soundtrack for the first film was by Wendy Carlos, of Switched On Bach fame. Unlike electronic soundtracks of the time from Giorgio Moroder (Midnight Express), Vangelis and Tangerine Dream, Carlos’ mission was to create a score that was made via synth but had the layers of an orchestral composition. It stood out, but at the same time was jarring. It was another strike …

50CCM50, Part Two

Welcome back! Apologies to all who have been waiting for Part Two to arrive in a timely manner. It’s been, shall we say, an interesting few weeks at Dunphy Central, but let’s step away from the train tracks and sit a spell & take a look at numbers 40-through-31. As always, when speaking about subjective topics like music, the value is in the ear of the beholder. My list might not jibe with yours, so if I choose an album you hate, or avoid an album you love, that’s just the nature of the game. Got it? Good. Let’s go. 40. Sweet Comfort Band – Cutting Edge (1982) Prior to Cutting Edge, Sweet Comfort Band had a jazzy edge about them. After the album, with the assistance of producers John and Dino Elefante, Perfect Timing had a synth-driven up-to-date (for the times) sound which initially attracted me. Perfect Timing was probably an apt title as it reached me precisely at a specific moment. Over the years however, I’ve found myself gravitating back to Cutting Edge. …

Dw. Dunphy On… Traveling “City to City”

At the moment, the news looks good. Gerry Rafferty was said to be gravely ill after collapsing at home last week and being admitted to the Royal Bournemouth Hospital. He was put on life support for “multi-organ failure.” Then, his kidneys started showing a hint of improvement and they removed him from dialysis. Now it appears he will be moved from Royal Bournemouth to a specialist clinic. At age 63, with a history of poor choices regarding his health (which at this moment seem inappropriate to rehash), and with the extent of internal failure taking place, his doctors were fearing the worst. And yet this Scottish legend appears primed once again to turn around, and we wish him the very best for his recovery. This was not how this piece initially began. In fact, I started this piece almost two weeks ago and have been hammering away at it sporadically since. I finished it up and put it in the posting queue two hours before I read the news of his health issues. Since then, …

Don’t Give ‘Em Any Ideas: “Zach to the Future”

We all know Hollywood is bereft of ideas and has been for a good long time. There’s still no reason why we should lead them to awful choices, and yet Popdose insists — nay, demands! — to speak the name of atrocity aloud. It’s called “Don’t Give ‘Em Any Ideas” for a reason, folks! Zach to the Future (2012): Between 2009 and 2010, Zach Galifianakis made over 14 different film and television appearances. He has been contracted to double that in 2011 alone, but that apparently isn’t good enough. Now, from visionary director Robert Zemeckis comes this fantasy tale of an overexposed comic actor sent to the past to star in EVERY MOVIE THAT HAS EVER BEEN! Through the miracle of CGI, Zach Galifianakis can be inserted into dead-eyed facsimiles of every movie ever filmed! Witness the splendor as he sets the South ablaze, literally, in Gone With Zach’s Wind, or dances a jig down the yellow brick road in The Galifiniakis Of Oz, or glares disapprovingly at Linda Lovelace in Zach’s Throat. But wait, there’s …

The Popdose Interview: Jon Bard and Bruce Brodeen of Rock and Roll Tribe

New media tends to identify itself as a youth market, and is very self-aware of this. So too, a person of a certain, shall we say, vintage might feel uncomfortable popping around Facebook (and there’s no need to delve deep into MySpace which recently has forsaken its social network roots to focus primarily on music, much like ReverbNation). Where there’s a vacuum, there’s a potential market. Jon Bard and Bruce Brodeen saw that group of people who, to be blunt, were tired of being shoved into the “adulthood” box. Their end result was a new social networking site called the Rock and Roll Tribe. While not excluding younger patrons, the space was designed with the 35-and-up crowd in mind; their goal is to create a web portal for the “adults” that just want to have fun again. The implied motto could be, “You’re not dead – so why live like you are?” The site fosters meet-up opportunities, chats and conversation and, as the site’s name suggests, lots of talk about a shared love of music. …

Dw. Dunphy On… Killogies: When Sagas Turn Soggy

There is no specific term for a film franchise that is directly undermined by later installments of itself, but there should be. If there are so many trilogies out there that have crippled themselves by simply not walking away while the getting was good, there ought to be a name for the phenomenon. I nominate: Killogies. A Killogy is, part-and-parcel, a product of diminishing returns, and except for only the most committed of fanboys, is easily dissected, one film from another, so that the offending bits can be ignored. Before we delve into what doesn’t work, it’s important to understand what does, and I have three examples to illustrate this. The best way to make a trilogy is to have a full grasp of a three-picture, three-act story mapped out. Peter Jackson knew the best way to adapt the three books of The Lord of the Rings was to do them all concurrently. It is murder on a film crew to commit to five or more years of an individual’s life to a single storyline, …

TV Preview: Ready Or Not, Here Comes Coco

So, what have we to talk about this week? The non-news that after scoring ridiculously high ratings, AMC has greenlit a second season of The Walking Dead? How about the box office for Dreamworks’ latest animated film Megamind? What of the Bruce Springsteen set The Promise, which documents the making of Darkness On The Edge Of Town? While all these are worthy topics, perhaps none is being so closely watched or hotly anticipated as the return of Conan O’Brien to late night television, premiering his TBS show in head-to-head competition with his former NBC dorm-mate Jay Leno. Between O’Brien’s headline-grabbing departure from NBC and his new show, he’s fostered a wildly popular Twitter feed, (Don’t knock it – if CBS likes it, they might give you a sitcom deal too), an unprecedented multi-city tour of live performances, recorded a live album at Jack White’s Third Man Records, and all with little to no financial backing in advertising. It is a rare exception where controversy was harnessed to make several enterprises run at once, mostly on …

TV Review: “$#*! My Dad Says” Is Still $#*!

How did I end up here, on a Thursday night, flipping through the channels and suddenly landing on CBS; y’know, the Tiffany Network, or more accurately as of late, the network where the cops are hunting down the killer/abductor/threatening presence against some stripper (as Roger Daltrey sings “Behind Blue Eyes” behind them). Worse than that, how did I land on $#*! My Dad Says, and when I did, was there any way the impact could have killed it? I’m not living in a bubble, I assure you. I know what people have been saying about the show, and in defiance of it, CBS not only seems to be behind it all the way, the organization has also optioned another Twitter-feed-based sitcom. A look at the credits would sway someone inclined to draw opinion from credits (TV nerds all, I assure you), with a cast including Mad TV alums Nicole Sullivan and Will Sasso, a go-for-broke  lead in William Shatner, and an equally game Missi Pyle as a boss-from-Hell. An associate producer is Laura Kightlinger who, …

Dw. Dunphy On… The Kids Are Not Alright

Sometimes nostalgia can sicken a person. Here’s an example: remember when you could get into a fight in school and only get your nose broken? Now you could get your head blown off for crossing some line you didn’t even know existed. Staring down the barrel of a generation, or at least that feels like what we’re doing. And how we wound up at this sad point in our history can be pinned on several contaminants, be they violent videogames, misogynistic music, the indifference and overall laziness of parents or, worse than that, a complicit parent that teaches bad lessons through their own actions. It brings to mind an old public service announcement where a livid dad confronts his son about his drug use. He shouts, “Where did you get this kind of behavior from?” The kid shouts back, “From you, Dad! I learned it from you!” The myriad weaponry of our times packs a hell of a recoil, too. With a webcam, or an internet account, or 2,000 Facebook friends in your circle, you …

CD Review: The Walkmen, “Lisbon”

The most frustrating aspect of reviewing music is the point where you appreciate something but aren’t entirely enthused about it. You’ve heard something enjoyable, but once it is over, you can’t say why you enjoyed it or whether you’d be inclined to enjoy it later. While The Walkmen’s latest, Lisbon, is a good album, it fails to announce itself as necessary. It’s a fine start, however, from the conceptual misstep of their complete cover album of Nilsson & Lennon’s Pussy Cats, has more interest points than You & Me did, and points to stronger futures than the present. Tracks like the cowpoke-ish “Blue As Your Blood,” followed by mariachi-cum-funeral-march of  “Stranded” make a case for ownership, as does the delicate “While I Shovel The Snow,” but the rest of the album tends to go by in a blur. If a friend was playing the disc, I’d appreciate it but wouldn’t insist on buying it for myself later on. And honestly, I can’t put my finger on where the disconnect is. There are no songs here …

CD Review: Keith Richards, “Vintage Vinos”

It would be wildly inaccurate to say Keith Richards’ solo work (and that with backing band, the X-Pensive Winos) was light years ahead of the Rolling Stones stuff from roughly the same time. In fact, both organizations were found to be hit-or-miss, but at least on his own, Richards’ engagement with the music is much more invested. I got the feeling that, quite often, his involvement on those Stones albums were more representation than anything else. “Without me, it’s not the Stones, so here I am. Now let Ronnie play the guitar.” The collection Vintage Vinos, trickily rendered in the graphic with the V’s interlocking into a W for “Winos,” presents cuts from Talk Is Cheap, Main Offender and the live Keith Richards and the X-Pensive Winos. As such, there’s nothing here honestly that the hardcore Stones fan and completist doesn’t already own, but a listen reveals the set to be a lot more enjoyable, at least to me, than Mick Jagger’s solo turns. Leaning heavily in his collaboration with drummer/bassist/whatever-needed-playing Steve Jordan, and not …