‘CQ’ an affectionate homage to ’60s sci-fi

Coppola wines were doing okay in 2001. The Coppola kids too. Although screened out of competition that May, CQ followed The Virgin Suicides a year earlier by also debuting at the Cannes Film Festival. Roman Coppola’s film, however, didn’t get half the attention that Sofia’s did. She had the pedigree (an adaptation of Jeffrey Eugenides’Continue reading “‘CQ’ an affectionate homage to ’60s sci-fi”

Cover songs that compete with originals

Unlike many of my lists, this one isn’t categorical. I can triple it. Inspired, again, by a long intelligent Facebook discussion in which The Bangles’ cover of a Simon & Garfunkel number demolished the pallid original. Great covers illuminate the possibilities of those originals. Bryan Ferry’s classic run of Dylan reinterpretations coaxed out the hisContinue reading “Cover songs that compete with originals”

The party of Reagan = the party of Arpaio and Trump

Of course Chuck Todd said the GOP is keeping silent about the pardoning of Joe Arpaio. I can lay the encouragement of Arpaio’s sadism across the lap of a generation of Republican legislators. Scott Lemieux: Trump’s decision to pardon Arpaio, like Trump’s success in the Republican primary, is an outgrowth and an emblem of theContinue reading “The party of Reagan = the party of Arpaio and Trump”

Harvey horrors #32: islands of fire ants

Besides displacing thousands of residents in southern Texas, Hurricane Harvey kicked up a host of unpleasant critters, one of whom intends to visit the region with the First Lady this afternoon. Bigger problems include the usual marooned snakes and alligators and, well, islands of fire ants: The ants, known officially as red imported fire ants,Continue reading “Harvey horrors #32: islands of fire ants”

The urgency of now: the best of the Smashing Pumpkins

To imagine twenty years ago that I’d compile a twenty-song Smashing Pumpkins list in 2017 is like assuming I’d deliver Ronald Reagan’s eulogy. But the Pumpkins, whose innovation was to find hard rock wrinkles in Butch Vig and especially Alan Moulder’s shoegaze mixes, were intermittently formidable, despite Billy Corgan — in every sense. I recoilContinue reading “The urgency of now: the best of the Smashing Pumpkins”

Veteran envy and veterans: The War on Drugs and Filthy Friends

I like to write these posts for the benefit of friends who avoid social media (saludos, Gaucho!). Last week I reviewed The War on Drugs, a Philadelphia band appreciated for its guitar grandstanding and for the unsubtle manner in which singer/leader Adam Granduciel compels reviewers to mention Dire Straits, Don Henley, Tom Petty, or whoeverContinue reading “Veteran envy and veterans: The War on Drugs and Filthy Friends”

‘Logan Lucky’ pulls off its heist, not much else

From his flop The Underneath to the triumph of Out of Sight and the box office success of Ocean’s 11 and even The Informant!, Steven Soderbergh has relished taking heists apart and reassembling the pieces. He’s even better at filming the heist itself as if it and the players formed part of a ball ofContinue reading “‘Logan Lucky’ pulls off its heist, not much else”

Anthems for doomed youth: the best of The Who

What a relief to hear “Eminence Front” in car commercials: the heretofore forgotten 1982 track, distinguished by a burbling synthesizer loop and a steady Kenney Jones drum track that’s like a metronome and for once doesn’t make me miss Keith Moon, now is among The Who’s most streamed and downloaded songs. “Eminence Front” also redeemsContinue reading “Anthems for doomed youth: the best of The Who”

‘Few bullies as pernicious’ as Joe Arpaio

Astute readers of Donald J. Trump before crowds can distinguish the insincere bombast from the sincere bombast. When Sheriff Joe Arpaio came up last Tuesday in Phoenix, I heard a catch in the president’s voice, like the septuagenarian Bernstein remembering the girl with the parasol in Citizen Kane. On an afternoon when he knew theContinue reading “‘Few bullies as pernicious’ as Joe Arpaio”

I fell right into the arms: the best of Television, Richard Hell, and Tom Verlaine

Matching guitar crosstalk with a lead singer whose pinched tones were like balsamic vinegar on the arugula-dry instrumental bits, Television remain sui generis. My introduction was their 1992 reunion album, which, I swear, deserves to be embraced as fully as their seventies work.

‘I don’t like your little games’

Taylor Swift – Look What You Made Me Do Electronic swoops, piano on the bridge, lots of boom boom bap — this single could be the new St. Vincent, or, to return to once upon a long ago, to a track from Lorde’s estimbable Melodrama, a flop also largely co-written with Jack Antonoff. A skepticContinue reading “‘I don’t like your little games’”