All posts tagged: Steve Martin

Notable music highlights from 2015 included the hip-hop “Hamilton;” Adele’s omnipresent “Hello;” Katy Perry’s sharks; Elvis Costello’s book soundtrack (not to mention the book); and Ryan Adams morphing into Taylor Swift. Photos: Joan Marcus/The Public Theater; Virginia Sherwood/NBC; Wikimedia Commons; Courtesy Photos.

20 2015 Music Trends That Probably Weren’t Actually Trends

After running down the best 2015 albums from classic rockers and taking a look at the rock/pop and country/rootsrecords you don’t want to miss from the past year, you’d think there would be nothing left to report. But there were a few stragglers left in my music inbox that I felt compelled to share. Herewith, then, my 2015 music notables (which is a lot nicer than saying “leftovers”). Notable Release of Live Soundchecks: Leonard Cohen, “Can’t Forget.” Cohen seems determined to officially release live versions of his entire back catalog, and good for him — his ancient baritone has developed character that suits his subject matter. Notable Odd Outbursts: Nate Ruess, “Grand Romantic.” The Fun singer’s solo debut has some fine tracks, but they tend to go off the rails when he breaks into bizarre and possibly involuntary hiccups and squawks, like he’s trying to walk into a freezing cold swimming pool. Notable Use of Sharks: Katy Perry, Super Bowl XLIX. Notable Use of Everything Else (Mentos, giant eyeballs, duct tape, Stars of David, rainbow …


10 Movies…That Are Remakes of Classic Horror Films

Horror movies derive most of their power and enjoyment (you sicko) from a combination of novelty and surprise.The novelty: how the filmmakers will have this particular bad guy stalk and kill the good guys. The surprise: OHMYGODLOOKOUTBEHINDYOUDREWBARRYMORE! Nevertheless, because horror movies are eternally popular, Hollywood remakes the biggest ones, as they would any genre of film. However, horror movies also boast extremely devoted and defensive cult bases, so time will tell if this weekend’s Evil Dead reboot is as good as Sam Raimi’s original 1981 classic, despite Sam Raimi’s seal of approval and active involvement. Here then are 10 more notable horror remakes. Friday the 13th (2009) There was once a rumor that they were going to eventually make 13 Friday the 13th movies. But after sending camp drowning victim/supernatural hockey mask-wearing murderer Jason Vorhees to space, hell, and Freddy Krueger, the franchise ran out of steam at 11 movies. So in 2009 they rebooted the franchise by remaking the original 1980 film, set at the proven horror setting of a summer camp full of …


DVD Review: “Steve Martin: The Television Stuff”

The target audience for the new Steve Martin box set will remember a time when “on-demand” meant tuning into a television program at the scheduled time, or buying tickets to go see a particular event. As the internet talking heads love to tell you, there was no Youtube and there weren’t convenient portable iPod-like devices that could store hours of video or thousands of albums in a format that you could carry around in your pocket. Life was indeed hard, looking at the above amenities that we were forced to live without, so thank goodness we had a guy like Steve Martin around to make everything all better. In a world so jaded by a box set and super deluxe edition for nearly everything you could possibly think of, Steve Martin: The Television Stuff is still pretty unbelievable. Like a lot of things that Shout! Factory releases, this box set feels a little bit too good to be true. The contents collected within the three DVD set bring together a treasure trove of Martin’s classic …

Ticket Stub: Alabama in Alabama, February ’82

I’m not gonna lie, I was shocked to find out that Alabama actually played concerts outside of Alabama….that is, at least one time in Salt Lake City where they played a short acoustic set for a bunch of Mormons that were all jacked up on caffeine pills, the same kind of pills that eventually led Billy Idol to write “White Wedding.” With the exception of the Salt Lake City part, all of the previous is one big Southern fib, but it made for a good intro and it also got me thinking.  If you were a band named Alabama, why wouldn’t you just tour the entire state playing every nook and cranny hole in the wall bar that you could possibly find?  Think about all of the cash that you could make as a band with that plan! And that’s the thing, Alabama definitely took that thought to heart and expanded on it to become one of the most successful bands in the country music genre, playing more than 300 shows per year.  It’s the …

Farkakte Film Flashback: Strange Magic

There is a new Harry Potter movie out this week, which millions of fans are extremely excited about, even though they’ve all read the books and know exactly what’s going to happen. Also, they don’t seem to mind that it’s based on the one that was mostly flashbacks, meaning there’s less Harry than in the other movies – although we do get to see young Dumbledore, who, rumor has it, looks exactly like Chris Pine. I’ve read all the books, and one thing I enjoyed about them was the way J.K. Rowling wove the world of magic so cleverly in with our own. Somehow, the wizardry practiced and taught at Hogwarts seems to make logical sense – it propels the story while at the same time serving as a sharp satire of academia, and as an added plus it steers unsuspecting young readers toward godless occult practices. Wait, wasn’t that the idea? Regardless, in the Harry Potter films, such a rich and layered portrayal of the existence of magic is unusual for cinema – mainly …

CD Review: Steve Martin, “The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo”

If, upon hearing the news that Steve Martin has a banjo album, you have an image of Martin in overalls and a straw hat displaying a novice’s banjo-picking skills while singing about shit and Shinola, you’re not alone. (Conversely, if you have an image of Martin in a suit with an arrow through his head, playing the banjo and singing about grandma, you’re not alone either.) The joke’s on us, however, because Martin’s appreciation for and mastery of the banjo is deeper than anyone but the most devoted fan might anticipate. Martin originally picked up the banjo to add another talent to his one-man show, and over time added satirical banjo songs. His comedic career took off, but he never set the banjo down. In 2001, he played with Earl Scruggs on the tune “Foggy Mountain Breakdown,” for the album Earl Scruggs and Friends, which won him a Grammy for Best Country Instrumental Performance the following year. In 2007 he played his own tune, “The Crow,” with Tony Trischka on Trischka’s album Double Banjo Bluegrass …

The Year in Rock: 1978

Although released in late 1977, the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack would be impossible to ignore for much of 1978, with the Bee Gees’ “Night Fever” and “Stayin’ Alive,” as well as Yvonne Elliman’s “If I Can’t Have You,” all reaching #1. At several points during the first half of ’78, the soundtrack album was selling over 1 million units a week. Bee Gees – Stayin’ Alive Bee Gees – Night Fever (w/ More Than a Woman)

Lost in the ’70s: Steve Martin, “Grandmother’s Song”

You know what I miss? Novelty songs. Not just the typical “Weird Al” parodies, but wholly original works that slipped into the mainstream and became pop hits. Even crap like “The Streak” or “Disco Duck” was amusing on some level. We just don’t have those kind of hits anymore (although “Dick In A Box” has come the closest in recent years). Steve Martin scored big with “King Tut,” but it was his first chart hit in 1977 that’s become Lost in the ’70s. “Grandmother’s Song” was the single off Steve’s debut album, Let’s Get Small, a record that blew my grade school mind. Small was my introduction to Martin (since I was too young to stay up to watch “Saturday Night Live,” not that I’d be allowed to anyway), and more important, my first exposure to absurdist humor as a legitimate art form. While all children dabble in meaningless jokes, Martin was the first adult I heard making nonsense and making other adults laugh instead of irritated. It was one of those clouds-parting-sunlight-beaming-down moments.