27 October 2010

BRAVO, HOORAY

So, the premiere of AMC's television adaptation of Robert Kirkman's Image Comics series The Walking Dead was last night, and while I might not be the most unbiased reviewer you could encounter, I have to say: It was pretty damn good. Frank Darabont wrote a fantastic pilot, Andrew Lincoln is the perfect Rick Grimes and the cinematography and special effects were nothing short of outstanding.

I've worked with Robert for close to a decade now, but it seems like only yesterday that he first pitched this comic book about he described as "a zombie movie that never ends" to us. Not particularly giving a shit about zombie movies, I wasn't exactly blown away, nor was then-Image Publisher Jim Valentino, but Robert's enthusiasm for his subject won us over, and here we are in October 2010 watching this thing in one of the best movie theater in all the world. I couldn't be prouder of Robert, his collaborators Tony Moore, Charlie Adlard, Cliff Rathburn and Rus Wooton, and I honestly couldn't be more amazed by how successful this book has been since its initial release in 2003.

Again, I'm a bit biased, but this is seriously good stuff.

Find out for yourself when The Walking Dead debuts this Sunday at 10 pm.

WEDNESDAY GIRL

Jane Fonda

26 October 2010

L.A.

Heading down to Los Angeles today, so here are my top 10 favorite songs about that bittersweet city by the sea...

1. Beach Boys - "Surf's Up" (1971)
2. Neil Young - "Revolution Blues" (1974)
3. Harry Nilsson - "Fairfax Rag" (1969)
4. Art Brut - "Moving to L.A." (2005)
5. Love - "Maybe the People Would Be the Times or Between Clark and Hilldale" (1967)
6. Ryan Adams - "Goodnight, Hollywood Blvd." (2001)
7. The Decemberists - "Los Angeles, I'm Yours" (2003)
8. Morrissey - "First of the Gang to Die" (2004)
9. Steely Dan - "West of Hollywood" (2000)
10. The Kinks - "Celluloid Heroes" (1972)

25 October 2010

A PIECE OF THE ACTION

My top 10 favorite songs by Reg King and The Action:

1. "Brain," (Rolled Gold, 1968)
2. "Something to Say," (Rolled Gold, 1968)
3. "I'll Keep on Holding On," (single a-side, "I'll Keep on Holding On," 1966)
4. "Twenty-Fourth Hour," (single b-side, "Never Ever," 1967)
5. "You Go Have Yourself a Good Time," (Reg King, 1971)
6. "Really Doesn't Matter," (Rolled Gold, 1968)
7. "Shadows and Reflections," (single a-side, "Shadows and Reflections," 1967)
8. "Wasn't it You," (single b-side, "Harlem Shuffle," 1969)
9. "Till I Lost You," (w/ Andy Lewis, Billion Pound Project, 2005)
10. "Gone Away," (Reg King, 1971)

24 October 2010

A TRIBUTE TO A KING

Well, this is just plain depressing: Reg King of The Action has died.

There's a good chance you've never heard of The Action, because the history of '60s rock has been distilled to Beatles, Stones, Dylan, Hendrix, Who. That may work well for the editorial staff at MOJO when they're picking covers each month, but there were a great many bands from that period who deserved more acclaim than they ultimately received and The Action were definitely one of the best.

If you have never heard them, here are a couple examples. Video quality isn't great, and yeah, one is a Marvelettes cover (indeed, covers make up much of The Action's recorded output), but Reg King possessed one of rock's great voices and hopefully that shines through.


23 October 2010

IN THE STREET TODAY

The Lafayette Coffee Shop (date unknown)

WE'RE A WINNER

Giants 3, Phillies 2.

22 October 2010

GOD BLESS AMERICA

More swooning, courtesy of Zooey Deschanel...

21 October 2010

WELL, WELL, WELL

New Duffy.

Swoon.

TALK, TALK ,TALK

Do you like long-winded interviews with indie comic book publishers? If so, you're in luck, because you can read one with me right now over at bleedingcool.com.

20 October 2010

RUN TO ME

WEDNESDAY GIRL

Celia Garcia

19 October 2010

SOMETHING SPECIAL

This is neat: I just received the press kit for AMC's upcoming television adaptation of Robert Kirkman's Image Comics series, The Walking Dead, and it is jam-packed with fantastic promo items. There's a print by legendary poster artist Drew Struzan, a hardcover book filled with photos and behind the scenes info, two DVDs containing the first two episodes and a bevy of production stills, and best of all, a miniature reproduction of Rick Grimes' Colt Python pistol. The attention to detail is just phenomenal, and this is easily some of the coolest swag I've ever had in my possession. Take a look...

The Walking Dead debuts on Halloween night: Sunday, 31 October at 10 pm during AMC's Fearfest.

If you can't wait 'til then, you can find The Walking Dead comics and graphic novels at finer comic book shops everywhere, along with comics-friendly bookstores like Borders, Barnes & Noble and amazon.com.

17 October 2010

END OF THE SEASON

Mad Men Season 4 concludes tonight, which seems like as good a reason as any to direct your attention to the latest set of Mad Men posters by artist Christina Perry:

More info here.

16 October 2010

SHE BELONGS TO ALL

Woke up with this song – Stephen Duffy's "She Belongs to All" – in my head, and what do you know, someone made a video for it out of footage from Godard's A Woman is a Woman. Thank you, Internet!

OH NO! IT'S HAPPENING AGAIN

15 October 2010

LIFE'S A MIRACLE

Passed to me by a stranger in a bar, I'm not sure if this was meant as encouragement or just a statement of resignation...

14 October 2010

PAST MEETS PRESENT

These are really cool: A series of classic retro-styled posters designed by Olly Moss for the recent 2010 Alamo Drafthouse/Levi's Rolling Roadshow tour.

You can see more at ollymoss.com.

13 October 2010

SOMETHING GOOD

I'm not a very good photographer. I have a couple real cameras, but I'm too forgetful to actually take them out places, so I typically just point my iPhone at things and click away, hoping to capture at least a few images worth saving.

In this instance, I cut off my subjects' feet in every one of a dozen photos – and almost all of them are somewhat blurry – but somehow, the beauty and personality of the people pictured still managed to shine through.

We were at a bar in Berkeley for karaoke and since there were a couple smokers in our group, we wound up outside, where this fellow was sitting with a boom box, blasting soul music and panhandling. I have no idea what his story was, but there was something incredibly cool about him. My friend made some song requests and to all of our surprise, he actually had a stack of CDs. He put on Sam Cooke, they started dancing, and there was just something really lovely about the two of them grooving away there on the sidewalk – one of those brief, wonderful moments when everything seems just right for no particular reason other than that somebody was having fun.

WEDNESDAY GIRL

Angela Lindvall

11 October 2010

GIGANTIC

Giants 3, Braves 2.

10 October 2010

SOUL LAMENT

John Lennon would have been 70 yesterday; soul singer Solomon Burke was 70 and he died today in the Netherlands, where he was actually due to perform. Probably best known for his hit "Everybody Needs Someone to Love," Burke was a hugely influential figure on the R&B and soul scene, and his songs were covered by everyone from Otis Redding to The Rolling Stones, from Wilson Pickett to Duffy, and of course, The Blues Brothers. (You could even add the Small Faces to that list, as their hit "What'cha Gonna Do About It?" is more or less the same song with different lyrics...)

For a man of his age, who had been confined to a wheelchair since 2004, Burke was extremely productive over the last decade, recording no less than six albums, including the excellent and critically acclaimed Don't Give Up on Me in 2002. Consider that there have been three albums by The Strokes, a working band whose members are still less than a third of Burke's age, over the same period of time and it's actually kind of staggering.

My favorite Solomon Burke song is a b-side from 1963 called "Home in Your Heart," but here's "Don't Give Up on Me," along with two renditions of "Everybody Needs Someone to Love." One is from a UK performance on Top of the Pops (also sadly gone); the other features Burke performing his hit with the Stones, including some amusing commentary by Jagger, Richards and Wood.




09 October 2010

IT'S JOHNNY'S BIRTHDAY

John Lennon would have been 70 today.

My top 10 favorite songs from his solo years:

1. "Instant Karma!," (single a-side, "Instant Karma!," 1970)
2. "#9 Dream," (Walls and Bridges, 1974)
3. "Jealous Guy," (Imagine, 1971)
4. "Working Class Hero," (Plastic Ono Band, 1970)
5. "Gimme Some Truth," (Imagine, 1971)
6. "Imagine," (Imagine, 1971)
7. "Love," (Plastic Ono Band, 1970)
8. "God," (Plastic Ono Band, 1970)
9. "Mind Games," (Mind Games, 1973)
10. "(Just Like) Starting Over," (Double Fantasy, 1980)

06 October 2010

WEDNESDAY GIRL

Annie Monroe

04 October 2010

DROPPING BOMBS ON THE WHITEHOUSE

Another Style Council ad – this one from 1985, for the first single from Our Favourite Shop, "Walls Come Tumbling Down!" Quite different from the band's earlier promo images, there was a clearer emphasis on the political content of the lyrics here, and indeed the Council's first single of '85 was one of their most overtly political songs yet. (As opposed to overtly political titles; their first LP, Café Bleu, was originally going to be called "Dropping Bombs on the White House," but that title ultimately only surfaced as one of the first album's instrumentals.) Extolling the virtues of strength through unity, the song itself sets the agenda early by opening with that line from the poster, "You don't have to take this crap," and what follows can only be described as socialism mixed with Stax. Reagan had just been re-elected to a second term and Thatcher's exit was still years away, so Paul Weller's message of unity in the face of Right Wing oppression stood in stark contrast with the sombre reality of the times, but "Walls" remains one his best TSC songs, and that advert is pure class.

03 October 2010

HIT PARADE

1. Belle and Sebastian - "Write About Love"
2. Belle and Sebastian - "I'm Not Living in the Real World"
3. Manic Street Preachers - "Hazelton Avenue"
4. Morrissey - "Let the Right One Slip In"
5. The Like - "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?"
6. Ronnie Lane & Slim Chance - "Don't You Cry for Me"
7. Garotas Suecas - "Sunday Night Blues"
8. Gene Clark - "One in a Hundred"
9. Laetitia Sadier - "Natural Child"
10. Paul Heaton - "Acid Country"

02 October 2010

YES

People like to use Yes as an example of everything that was wrong with rock music pre-punk, but honestly, I think nearly every album they recorded up through 1974's Relayer is worth a listen. And this song, from their 1972 masterpiece, Close to the Edge, probably ranks as one of my top 10 favorite songs of all time. Beautifully performed here in Montreux circa 2003 by Messers Anderson, Howe, Wakeman, Squire and White, this is Yes at their finest...

01 October 2010

THE PEOPLE WHO GRINNED THEMSELVES TO DEATH

I know I just posted about The Housemartins a couple weeks ago, but the more I read and hear about the Tea Party movement, the more I think of various Housemartins songs. First, it was "Sheep," this time it's "The People Who Grinned Themselves to Death." Written about England in the late '80s, but still strangely applicable now...

They smiled so much and waved their flags
As she saluted to the military band
Most of the people failed to see
She had a broken bottle in the other hand

She took them by surprise when she took them by the throat
And said, "My friend, you're not allowed to vote"
But they shook it all off with a nervous laugh and cough
"Next time," she said, "I'll let those people choke"

The people who grinned themselves to death
Smiled so much, they failed to take a breath
And even when their kids were starving
They all thought the queen was charming

The people who grinned themselves to death
Smiled so much, they failed to take a breath
And even when their kids were starving
They all thought the queen was charming

She polished all upon the wall
And ran her hands right through her hair
So if the lady took the time to call
All the houses on the street would not compare

And she thought it really funny that she hadn't any money
But those she looked up to, they had
But they shook it all off with a nervous laugh and cough
And when they took her riches, it was sad

The people who grinned themselves to death
Smiled so much, they failed to take a breath
And even when their kids were starving
They all thought the queen was charming

The people who grinned themselves to death
Smiled so much, they failed to take a breath
And even when their kids were starving
They all thought the queen was charming

The people who grinned themselves to death
Smiled so much, they failed to take a breath
And even when their kids were starving
They all thought the queen was charming

The people who grinned themselves to death
Smiled so much, they failed to take a breath
And even when their kids were starving
They all thought the queen was charming

If you live in the United States, you can register to vote here.