Monthly Archives: February 2012

The Oscars: An Off-Key Affair

How horrible were the Oscars this year? Whether it be the corn-ball jokes of Billy Crystal, the non-stop feedback emanating from the microphone throughout every speech, or the shoddy production value within the montages – it all added up to what resembled a poorly managed dress rehearsal.  And what was the point of all the interview clips with actors and actresses telling us why they like movies? With a show that went 40-minutes over time, these seemed unnecessary and a bit demeaning (do we really need to be told why we like movies?).

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Filed under Bob Goes to the Movies

That Guy Who Sang “Closing Time”

As I watched Adele accept her Grammy for “Album of the Year,” I had a moment of surprise (the first shocker after three hours of predictable performances, winners, and speeches).  There, behind the teary eyed songstress, stood a be-speckled gentlemen with a goofy smile on his face. Something about the guy felt strangely familiar…and then it hit me. Dan Wilson! (Or as you may know him, the lead singer from the 90s alterna-pop band Semisonic.) I’ve been a fan of the band since I was 17, back then jamming out to “The Great Divide” on what seemed like a daily basis.   The instant I saw him, I knew exactly why he was there – he must have written music for Adele.

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Cloud Nothings “Attack On Memory”

Cloud Nothings

“Attack On Memory”

[Carpark; 2012]

Rating: 8

Steve Albini is the Greg Popovich of music (or vice versa).  This comparison goes beyond the obvious fact that they are both curmudgeons whose impenitent honesty has been known to ruffle feathers over the years.  While both have been hugely successful, they both enjoy downplaying their impact.   Albini has been known to insult the bands involved with some of his best work as a producer. He said the only reason he worked with Nirvana on “In Utero” was for the money, and he once called his work on “Surfer Rosa” with The Pixies “a patchwork pinch loaf from a band who at their top dollar best are blandly entertaining college rock”).  Popovich isn’t one to mince words either, victimizing the people who have helped seal his place in basketball history: the media, the league, and his players (he’s quoted as once saying of his best player “Tim Duncan doesn’t have to say much. I haven’t liked him for a long time”).

But what truly ties these men together is not their venomous assault on anything and everything – it’s their ability to take the one-dimensional and make it multi-faceted.  Popovich has been successful at this for years, making defensive players offensive threats (Bruce Bowen), picking players late in the draft that others have ignored and helping them become all-stars (Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker), or culling players from the depths of the D-League/CBA and making them productive cogs within his basketball machine (Jaren Jackson, Gary Neal).  Albini has  worked much in the same manner, helping bands refine their sound and then blow it up with distortion.  Despite both entering the second half of their life, they continue dominating their field. Popovich’s Spurs are currently 3rd in the Western Conference with an aging Tim Duncan and a sidelined Manu Ginobili, and Steve Albini’s fingerprints are deeply pressed into every nook and cranny on his latest work with Cloud Nothings.

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Filed under Album Review, Best New Albums