Unspooled: the older brother problem

What kind of profile do Neil Finn and co. boast? I fell in love with Crowded House the way Matos did with Marshall Crenshaw’s Field Day. For reasons I don’t know, “Don’t Dream It’s Over” experienced a revival in the fall of 1992. It was all over the radio, its stately gait, unforgettable guitar hook,Continue reading “Unspooled: the older brother problem”

Point and shoot

Brothers confirms three things: (1) while Natalie Portman has gotten so gangly-gorgeous that I considered reparative therapy, she recites lines like an assistant director keeps walking out of her line of vision with the cue card; (2) Jake Gyllenhaal, after a series of somnolent do-gooder performances, delivers his best work since Brokeback Mountain, taking hisContinue reading “Point and shoot”

Remembering ‘Don’t Try This at Home’

Johnny Marr earned so much good will from his work with The Smiths and on Electronic’s eponymous album that his participation on Billy Bragg’s “Sexuality” persuaded me to trust him one more time (I avoided his work on The The’s Mind Bomb). Propelled by a sequencer track and Marr’s foregrounded acoustic strum, the track screamsContinue reading “Remembering ‘Don’t Try This at Home’”

News flash: Western civilization “a slowly sinking ship”

John Derbyshire, whose crankiness fails to amuse, proves why conservatism has had trouble attracting the young. He also sounds, oddly, like Gore Vidal: It’ll be over soon. We’ll be down in the cold, lightless depths of imperial despotism — in which, after all, the great majority of human beings, throughout history, have always lived. It’sContinue reading “News flash: Western civilization “a slowly sinking ship””

Too much information

So long as it sticks to its roots as a nasty political comedy with a few thrills instead of a suspense film, The Ghost Writer justifies the accolades heaped on it by critics eager to support Roman Polanski’s art yet willing to scratch their heads at his moral and legal acumen. Most of the castContinue reading “Too much information”

Alex Chilton: RIP.

Like a lot of eighties kids, my first acquaintance with Alex Chilton happened when I fast forwarded around The Bangles’ cover of “September Gurls” on Different Light. A decent cover — sung by (I think) bassist Michael Steele, with the right amount of rue. Most importantly, the album’s multiplatinum sales garnered Chilton maybe the decentContinue reading “Alex Chilton: RIP.”