September 2008

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Here are two quick videos from possibly the best band on the planet, Bishop Allen.

First, here’s “Middle Management”, from the Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist soudtrack:

And here’s a live version of “Butterfly Nets”:

via You Ain’t No Picasso

I’m not usually a big fan of period dramas. Or war movies. And lately I can’t take Tom Cruise seriously. But despite these things I’m looking forward to Brian Singer’s Valkyrie, a WWII drama based on the real July 20 Plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Cruise plays the ringleader of the plot, Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, a German officer who, after being injured in the North African campaign, conceives a plan to assassinate the F├╝hrer and make peace with the Allies. Joining Cruise are the always classy Kenneth Branagh and the usually-evil Terrance Stamp. Check out the trailer below:

Valkyrie hits theaters December 26th (though oddly enough UA’s marketing tagline isn’t “Spend Boxing Day with Nazis”)

Bruce Springsteen
Well, it’s not Aerosmith with ‘N Sync, but I guess it’s not too bad: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will play the halftime show of Super Bowl XLIII. Bruce joins Tom Petty (2008), Prince (2007), The Rolling Stones (2006), and Paul McCartney (2005) in the procession of “Male Performers Who are Old Enough to Know How to Keep Their Clothes On”, after Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” in 2004.

All kidding aside, Bruce kicks ass, so this is a good thing. Time for a poll:

[poll id=”11″]

Koufax, an American indie rock band
Named after a Hall of Fame pitcher and based in the midwest, Koufax is about as American as a band can be. Yet band leader Robert Suchan went all the way to Prague to write the songs for their latest album, Strugglers. The change in venue gave Suchon a different perspective on his native country, and resulted in 10 songs whose catchy exteriors mask the socio-political depth of their lyrics.

Suchon formed Koufax in 1999, choosing the Dodger pitcher’s name simply because it sounded cool. Over the years the lineup has shifted, but the band has managed to excel. They’ve released three full albums, played 14 countries, and opened for Wilco, Bright Eyes, and Nada Surf.
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Uncle Sam and Wilco want you to vote
You may remember that a couple of weeks ago our Random Cover of the Week was Wilco and Fleet Foxes covering Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released”. Well now you can get your very own MP3 of that cover, for FREE, if you promise Wilco that you will vote in the upcoming US Presidential election. It’s a kick-ass cover, and you should probably vote anyway, so head on over to Wilco’s site and make the pledge.

via BoingBoing

RIP – Paul Newman

Paul Newman as Cool Hand Luke
Actor, race car driver, and food pioneer Paul Newman died Friday at his home in Connecticut. He was 83. Newman starred in such classic movies as Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid, and The Hustler, but it was his role as Luke Jackson in Cool Hand Luke that cemented his legacy for me. Newman’s Luke is a pop culture icon, standing as the acme of stoicism, the ne plus ultra of manhood, and the epitome of cool.

Here he is singing “Plastic Jesus” in Cool Hand Luke, after learning of his mother’s death:

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If you’ve been reading PCWEI for a while you know we’re big fans of The Rosebuds. The band was one of the first Sunday Music Spotlights. Their song “Leaves Do Fall” was one of our best songs of 2006. So it was with great expectation that I listened to their upcoming album, Life Like. Would it live up to Birds Make Good Neighbors and The Rosebuds Make Out? Or would it be vaguely disappointing like last year’s Night of the Furies?
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Ben Folds live at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, DC
Ben Folds is the sort of musician who isn’t afraid to challenge his audience. Last night at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, DC, Folds kicked off his Way to Normal tour with a gutsy move: he came out and played 16 songs from his upcoming album Way to Normal, and the accompanying “fake” album he leaked to prevent the actual album from leaking.

In case you haven’t heard the story, Folds realized his upcoming album was probably going to leak before it’s September 30th release date. So he took a preventative measure. He booked a day of studio time for him and his band, and they recorded “fake” versions of many of the songs on the album. They wrote new lyrics and music to go with the titles of the real songs and laid down the tracks in just a few hours. Then they leaked that as the real album. Genius.
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Me First and the Gimme Gimmes

I’m not what you would call a big Billie Joel fan. I’m not really anti-Joel, but I certainly don’t go out of my way to hear “We Didn’t Start the Fire”. Sure, I own a copy of his greatest hits on CD (though I’m not sure where it is, and it’s never made it into iTunes), and I’ll happily sing along to Piano Man played on dueling piano (but only at Pat O’Briens’ in New Orleans). That being said, one of his songs that I legitimately like is “Only the Good Die Young”. Punk cover-meisters Me First and the Gimme Gimmes slip it some uppers and crank the energy up to 11 on this cover, from their latest CD, Have Another Ball!.

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I have to admit, I like it when you call me Big Poppa. And I like musical biopics (Ray, Walk the Line, Bird, etc). So I’m looking forward to Notorious, the upcoming biopic about the Notorious B.I.G., aka Christopher Wallace, aka Biggie Smalls, aka Big Poppa. I have no idea if the movie is going to be any good, but Biggie’s life definitely makes for an interesting story. And if nothing else, at least the soundtrack will be good. Check out the teaser trailer below:

Notorious brings gangsta life to the big screen January 19th.

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