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Friday, May 6, 2011

Guilty Pleasures

There are times when living in the Northeast can be magical and inspiring.  On a glorious Spring Friday, with the weekend approaching, grilling, softball, and the celebration of moms everywhere...  crack the windows, raise a glass, and soak it all in.  Should you need some downloads for the MP3 player...  I bring you another edition of Guilty Pleasures.
There is a certain excitement as summer nears.  Soon, one thing will capture the essence of the season.  Maybe Fergie, Kesha or Lady Gaga will provide us with the "Soundtrack for Summer."  I might be rooting for Bruno Mars or Rhianna. As my daughter grows up, both the hits and non-hits provide tremendous memories.  "Young Folks" by Peter Bjorn and John, reminds me of Hilton Head.  "Billionaire" by B.O.B. is a Ft Lauderdale song.  This year?  Maybe one of these...

When my 8 year old turned me onto alternative/pop LA trio Foster the People I knew she was on to something.  Their catchy "Pumped up Kicks" has been on the alt charts for months now.  The new release "Houdini" might be a bit better.  Think "Scissor Sisters" with more masculinity.  Something about synths and soft voices that brings out the inner 80s in me.  And I will not be ashamed to put the Wang Chung on either.  Maybe the most underrated band of that decade.  For now check these guys out.  "Houdini"  "Pumped up Kicks"  lame homemade video (not by me!!)

Vampire Weekend has been around for a few years now, and has seen many successes.  After a while, or hell after one song, I can see many heading for zee hills.  Something about "White Sky" from their latest album, "Contra" stays with me.  Lead singer Ezra Koenig brings his big falsetto.  Island like beats and harmonies add a nice life to one of their better efforts.  Truth be told "Oxford Comma, " "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" and "A-Punk (used brilliantly in the opening credits of the equally brilliant "Step Brothers") are all solid pop gems.  Sure they are geeky, Upper East Side, starched shirt wearing frat boys.  But chances are you either were one, were friends with one, or dated and/or married one.

To wit:  "White Sky"  "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa"  opening of "Step Brothers"  "A-Punk"  Peter Gabriel and Hot Chip cover

Some repetition here, but I urge you to take a look/listen to these previous(ongoing) Guilty Pleasures.  Lykke Li "Get Some"  Percussion is hypnotic  The Naked and The Famous "Young Blood"  The perfect mix of harmonies, synth, and strings.  I don't care if this band makes another record.  This song is a marvel.  The Decemberists "This is Why We Fight."  Colin Meloy can flat write songs.  Maybe I am biased with some (read: barely any) English Lit background.  Lyrically the man is gifted, but his supporting cast is polished and driven.  Having seen him live, and going again next month, I know he can deliver.  Their latest album "The King is Dead" has provided many fine moments.  This song stands out.

More redundancy, but since I have not stopped listening in preparation of their Bowery show tomorrow...  give some Yuck a chance.  Somewhere between Sonic Youth, Local H, Dinosaur Sr, and the "My So Called Life" soundtrack, these kids are crafting their sound.  I could totally see Angela Chase and Jordan Catalano under the bleachers listening to them.  These guys are young and clearly not old enough to care.  Jealous much?  Below is an interview clip which shows the band at ease...  and I mean at ease.  Try finding that much jubilance in writing proposals, or spreadsheets, legal briefs, commuting, grocery shopping...  You get the picture.  I am very much living vicariously.  "Get Away"  "Holing Out"  Priceless Yuck interview.  You must take a look if only to see the drummers hair.  It ROCKS!!!

Since I cannot avoid the coverage, and for good reason, I plan on watching our President with "60 Minutes" Sunday evening.  Love him or hate him Mr. Obama is a compelling interview.  And with both a well timed execution and lack of Republican challenger, we may be seeing him for several more years.  His poise and charisma carried him to the highest office.  As the Country has gotten further and further into lunacy, and his hair whitens rapidly,  his interviews are must watch tv.   "60 Minutes, " and in particular Steve Kroft, handle these conversation better than anyone in the business.  Kroft is tough, fair and full of vigor.  Obama handles him with a remarkable ease and calm.  I wonder how much detail he will provide regarding the Seals operation?  Will Kroft kiss his ass and ask about the Chicago Bulls?  Doesn't matter. I will be tuned in.

Everyone has a movie or two (I may have hundreds) they stop on if it's on cable.  This week there have been a few for me.  And very glad to be sharing with an 8 year old I must say.  Wednesday night we got some edited "Caddyshack."  Perfect really for an 8 year old to be introduced to.  Rodney on the fairway asking "So What?  So Let's Dance??"  About that time my daughter sheepishly says "He has an awful lot in that golf bag."   Puke in convertibles, dancing gophers, Chevy Chase before he was an d-bag, and on and on.  Perhaps the best comedy of a very good decade for comedy.

Last night she had her first non-"Home Alone" John Hughes moment.  "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" might be Hughes' best work.  I always had something for "Some Kind of Wonderful."  Perhaps the fact that movie did not have the commercial success made me partial to it.  And believe me, if I see Mary Stuart Masterson drumming away I am not passing over the channel.  But from a school age set of eyes, which I am looking through many times, "Ferris" is a very special film.  The Wrigley Field scene.  Stock Exchange hand gestures.  "Yes, I'm Abe Froman, Sausage King of Chicago."  Catchphrases and icons that captured my imagination and never left.  Where have you gone Mia Sara??  Jennifer Grey's nose???  Jeffrey Jones reputation?  Charlie Sheen???!!!

Much has changed since 1986 for sure.  But kids want to skip school and act like kids.  Adults regret all they missed out on and try to squash their kids joy.  And each day we try to see some positives through the nonsense.  Optimism.  The exact point Ferris tries to drive home.  When Cameron finally releases the guilt and watches the Ferrari sail to its death things, finally, are going to be ok.  "It's like that car...  He loves the car, he hates his wife."  he tells Ferris early on.  That ain't cool.  Take notice now mom and dad.

And I will take notice now.  To my mother, wife, and all the mother's that read this: please have a great weekend and especially Sunday.  I understand the challenges and tumult that comes with motherhood.  As with everything there are the thankless moments.  Expectations sometimes go unfullfilled.  A mother has the ability to look past that and see the good in their children.   Unconditional love.  Happy Mother's Day.

Post Script: 

For those interested in learning about bands/upcoming NYC shows below is a nice resource.  Jaime Widder writes weekly for Bloomberg.  Below is an article and email/twitter info.  I was glad to see another one on the Caveman bandwagon.  If you email the address you can get on a well researched gig list.  - widder_twidder


1 comment:

  1. 2 things..let my kids watch Vacation for the first time on friday, with the hand on the mute botton and the fast forward. They are still talking about it. Second I pride myself on knowing alot of music but who are these bands ??
    How did I get left in the musical dust so bad ? My boys and I are off to Echo and the Bunneymen on friday night, Which the never short of confidence lead singer Ian McCollough, has described as a "MASTER CLASS IN ROCK AND ROLL"..I loved them in the 80's , and they are still the bar that alot of bands are measured against. I need re-educating on the music scene.