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<p>Spiritualized's &quot;Sweet Heart, Sweet Light&quot;: really?</p>

Spiritualized's "Sweet Heart, Sweet Light": really?

Review: Spiritualized, 'Sweet Heart, Sweet Light'

Can Jason Pierce find new converts or is he preaching to and with the choir?

Spiritualized’s head pastor Jason Pierce, after 20 years of album-making, has forced himself into re-working well-trod scripture and reiterated motifs. Because it’s not broken, he doesn’t fix it. It’s hard for these new tunes on “Sweet Heart, Sweet Light” to not sound like something that’s been made before. 

The group boasts the same confluence of influences from the ‘60s and ‘70s into a pop pickled in psychedelia. Sonically skronky songs like “Headin’ for the Top Now” and Dr. John co-penned “I Am What I Am” drone into musical wallpaper, sitting instrumentally on top of a single note or oscillating between two as J Spaceman (Pierce’s other name) slides off-key up and down his easy melodies, a pack of wild cheerleaders leading the way. On single “Hey Jane” and “Get What You Deserve,” he again gives way humping Lou Reed’s grave even before the Velvets’ main man is even dead (something to which Mr. Reed may not be all that averse) with climactic bursts of blissed-out white noise.
 
And I don’t mean the sexual metaphor purely provocatively: violence and pleasure, death and life and borrowing and taking are among Pierce’s favorite lyrical themes, with a couple cameos from recurring character Jesus, on whom Pierce places some of his most despairing and simple lyrics. These sometimes border on false profundity, like on woozy “Freedom” and sing-song ballad “Too Late” (which is a perfect partner with “Baby I’m Just a Fool” from 2008’s “Songs in A&E”).
 
All these are good for collectors to hear, but it’s the clincher – album closer “So Long You Pretty Thing” – that could make new converts. The track’s epic proportion still feels familiar, with Spaceman’s inviting vocals paired with his instrumental kindred in a plonky-plonk banjo, the slow-burn swelling into a choir of “help me Lords” and schemes that put rhyming bedfellows radio/souls/and rock ‘n’ roll together.
 
This current Spiritualized devolution of genre is still blurry, but bright, tied together with cacophony and clarity. Pierce’s ability to write lasting songs is still skillful and strong, and will doubtless keep his patrons coming back.

 

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<p>A new picture of the same &quot;American Idol&quot; Top 7</p>
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A new picture of the same "American Idol" Top 7

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Top 7 Performances - Take Two

After last Thursday's Save, the 'Idol' singers tackle two songs apiece

It's a night of Doubt Deja Vu on FOX's "American Idol."

For the second straight week, we're getting performances from this season's Top 7, following last week's shocking elimination and not-so-shocking save of Jessica Sanchez. And after we hear performances from the Top 7, we're gonna turn right around and hear another set of performances from the Top 7.

Yup. "Idol" is figuring we're gonna fit in 14 performances tonight. 

Could be crazy. 

Click through...

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Dick Clark in 1959
Dick Clark in 1959
Credit: AP Photo

Reflections on a childhood spent with Dick Clark and his unforgettable advice

Memories of "American Bandstand" and more

My childhood had two DJs: Casey Kasem and Dick Clark.

Long before I started to develop my own musical taste, it was dictated to me weekly by these musical titans: Clark through my weekly dose of “American Bandstand” on TV and Kasem via “American Top 40” on radio, which started at noon on Sundays (which meant I inevitably missed hearing Nos 40-36 since we wouldn’t be home from church yet when the countdown started, but that’s a story for another time).

When word came down of Clark’s passing today from a massive heart attack at 82, my memory immediately turned to Saturdays at 12:30 p.m. in my living room in our house in Raleigh, N.C.  My older sister, Jeannie,  and I would plunk down in front of the TV and watch Dick Clark and his long white microphone.  We knew all the star dancers by name (I vaguely remember a Louis and a Karen), and wondered if they were couples off-screen. We’d ooh and aah as they gyrated in a very G-rated fashion—unlike on “Soul Train”— in their polyester prints (this was the ‘70s, after all). The boys/men all had their hair parted in the middle, with their shirts unbuttoned down their chests, and the girls’ hair was straight as a stick, until “Charlie’s Angels” debuted, and then imitating Farrah Fawcett’s feathered locks became all the rage—for both the guys and girls. When The Village People craze began, there were  cowboy and construction worker wanna bes strutting their stuff on “AB.”  As much as “American Bandstand” set trends, it picked up on them just as quickly, especially during the “Saturday Night Fever” days.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>A scene from &quot;Once Upon a Time in America.&quot;</p>

A scene from "Once Upon a Time in America."

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

269-minute 'redux cut' of Sergio Leone's 'Once Upon a Time in America' to premiere at Cannes

'Thérèse D.,' the late Claude Miller's final film, will close the festival

Tomorrow, at last, will bring the months of Cannes speculation to an end, as artistic director Thierry Frémaux announces this year's official festival lineup. Anybody with at least half an ear to the ground has some idea what to expect: Walter Salles's "On the Road" and Michael Haneke's "Love" (predictably picked up yesterday by Sony Pictures Classics) are among the inevitabilities, but we can hope for a few wild cards too. Last year shook up the formula slightly by adding two debut features to the Competition lineup: reaction was mixed (and neither film won a thing), but will Frémaux  and company take a similar chance this year?

Whatever aces they may have up their sleeves, the festival may well have stolen tomorrow's thunder with one of today's announcements. The news that an extended, 269-minute "redux cut' of Sergio Leone's compromised 1984 masterpiece (no, I don't use that term lightly) "Once Upon a Time in America" is to premiere on the Croisette this year rather dwarfs the Competition conversation. Indeed, it'll be a remarkable lineup indeed if any one of the contemporary selections tops the restoration of Leone's gangster saga, which premiered at the same festival 28 years ago.

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<p>Nelly Furtado's &quot;Big Hoops&quot;</p>

Nelly Furtado's "Big Hoops"

Listen: Nelly Furtado returns with 'Big Hoops' from new album

Who does she sound like to you?

Nelly Furtado, who’s traversed a number of musical styles over her decade-long career, lands squarely in Rihanna territory with “Big Hoops (Bigger The Better),” the first single from her June 19 album,  “The Spirit Indestructible.”

Produced by  Rodney Jerkins, the tune, co-written by Furtado and Jerkins, has the rat-a-tat swagger of “Rude Boy” as Furtado, in her best street patois, lets us know, “I can go fast, I can go slow, I can go places nobody else goes.” It’s a meaningless little ditty that is all about the military beat and bragging rights (though she throws out a fun shout out to early ‘90s R&B boy band Another Bad Creation). It doesn’t have enough of a hook to work its way up the radio charts (especially since the shift to pure pop), but will likely do very well in the clubs.

[More after the jump...]

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Marilyn Burns in "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre"
Marilyn Burns in "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre"
Credit: Bryanston Distributing

'Cabin in the Woods' inspires a look back at the scare that imprinted

You never forget your first

This past weekend, the deconstructed slasher flick “The Cabin in the Woods” opened in theaters. From the mind of Joss Whedon and his co-writer/director Drew Goddard, the film sets up multiple horror archetypes and then soundly and with a great sense of humor and affection for the genre breaks them down. As a woman who was once deeply enamored of the scary story, the release has called to mind what was, for me, the first moment that a chiller set itself deeply and irrevocably into my psyche.

There are horror films that I have found beautiful, poetic and masterfully crafted and still others that have simply opened a previously unknown gate of fear in me. But it is the sequence in “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” described below that forever remains the first time a scene delved into my id and burned itself onto my conscious mind.

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<p>Gotye at Coachella</p>

Gotye at Coachella

Credit: AP Photo

Gotye becomes 'Somebody' with a No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100

Australian singer displaces fun.'s 'We Are Young'

It started as a internet viral sensation months ago, and now Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” featuring Kimbra has found its way to the top of the Billboard Hot 100.

Propelled by Gotye’s performance on “Saturday Night Live” on April 14 and Darren Criss and guest Matt Bomer’s remake of the song on April 11’s “Glee,” the song rocketed in digital downloads last week, soaring to 542,000 copies. That was enough to send it past the  521,000 tally that Justin Bieber hit just two weeks ago with “Boyfriend.” The highest weekly total still belongs to Flo Rida’s “Right Round,” according to Billboard, at 636,000 in 2009.

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<p>Max Greenfield and Hannah Simone in &quot;New Girl.&quot;</p>

Max Greenfield and Hannah Simone in "New Girl."

Credit: FOX

'New Girl' - 'Kids': The babysitter and the brassiere

Jess babysits Russell's daughter, with disastrous results

A review of last night's "New Girl" coming up just as soon as Drea de Matteo is scheduled to appear...

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<p>Axl Rose performing in London in 2010.</p>

Axl Rose performing in London in 2010.

Credit: AP Photo

He's Back! Axl Rose pens another missive, apologizes to Cleveland and fans

Does he regret standing up the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame?

Is Axl Rose having second thoughts about not showing up for Guns N' Roses' induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on April 14?

For the second time in a week, Rose has taken pen to paper to eloquently reveal his thoughts about the matter.  As you recall, last week, he wrote a letter about why he would not attend the ceremonies.On Tuesday night, he posted a letter on Guns N' Roses website apologizing to the city of Cleveland for not showing up. We've printed it in full below, but it sounds like part of him was just plain scared of the reception he'd get (By the way, the former members of GNR who did show up looked like they were having a blast).

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<p>Stupid dream sequences</p>
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Stupid dream sequences

Credit: The CW

'Ringer' finale offers a fitting end to a disappointing season

Fans probably didn't get what they wanted, but what else is new?
I've said this to a number of people, so I might as well say it to you, Dear Readers:
 
I've watched every episode of The CW's "Ringer," but if I'd thought there was the slightest chance that the show could be renewed, I'd have quit watching months ago.
 
That sounds counter-intuitive and I know it doesn't line up with conventional wisdom about serialized TV from fans who have been burned so frequently that they refuse to tune in to any show without some assurance that it will be moving forward, that questions will be answered and resolution reached.
 
Nope. I kept watching "Ringer" because I knew The CW would air every episode, but it simultaneously felt like there was little risk of a not-particularly-cheap drama drawing barely over a million viewers would get a second season. I figured that if I could read those signs, the "Ringer" showrunners could read those signs and that, facing the end of the line after 22 episodes, the writers could figure out the story they really wanted to tell, condense it and take viewers to a satisfactory conclusion.
 
The more fool me.
 
Tuesday (April 17) night's "Ringer" finale, tamely titled "I'm the Good Twin," played as a brazen and irritating plea for a second season from a show that has done nothing, in terms of either quality or ratings, to earn any kind of reprieve from The CW.
 
I can imagine the show's fans -- there are a couple dozen of them out there -- getting stirred up to beg for another season, but that's only because the finale accomplished almost none of the things it hypothetically could have accomplished. While it left many things unresolved, I'm not sure that the pending issues for an imaginary season two are all that interesting, but that's all that fans were given.
 
More after the break...
 
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<p>That's the same look I had on my face the first time I rode Disney's Mr. Toad's Wild Ride attraction.</p>

That's the same look I had on my face the first time I rode Disney's Mr. Toad's Wild Ride attraction.

Credit: Walt Disney

Disney develops new film based on 'Mr Toad's Wild Ride'

Anyone want to lay bets on whether the film ends in Hell or not?

On Allen's fourth birthday in March, we took him to Disneyland.  This was his third trip, and we're still adding new rides each time we go, figuring out what he and Toshi like the most,  and there are rides we still haven't been on.  This past time was their first experience with Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, and it was a big hit with them.

They don't know the film "Wind In The Willows" at all, though, and I've noticed that as a big part of the Disneyland experience for kids.  They don't actually know many of the films that inspired the various attractions, but they enjoy the rides anyway.  As my friend who joined us at the park pointed out, it's surprising they haven't taken Mr. Toad's Wild Ride out or changed it, since the ride quite literally ends with you going to Hell.

When Disney says that they're planning to develop a film based on the ride, though, I must admit I'm a little confused.  Does that mean they're going to do a new adaptation of "Wind In The Willows" using these same character designs?  Or are they going to throw out the story completely, take these characters, and build something totally different?  That's kind of a weird idea, considering the ride was adapted from a film that was adapted from a book.  It's like Disney is playing a pop culture game of telephone, and getting further from the original idea each time out.

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Justin Bieber on this evening's episode of "The Voice".
Justin Bieber on this evening's episode of "The Voice".
Credit: NBC

Watch: Justin Bieber announces release date for 'Believe' on 'The Voice'

Plus, gives the 4,356 sneak peak of 'Boyfriend'

OK, this is getting ridiculous. Justin Bieber showed up on “The Voice” tonight to show “the world premiere from a clip of my video, ‘Boyfriend’.”

For those who are counting, this is the fourth teaser from the video and we still don’t know when the full music video is premiering. That will be an announcement for another day. Drip, drip, drip.

[More after the jump...]

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