Latest Blog Posts

<p>Fitz &amp; The Tantrums</p>

Fitz & The Tantrums

Credit: Dangerbird

Interview: Fitz & the Tantrums on Coachella crowds and crying on stage

'I don't want to suffer from the sophomore slump'

After years and years of what Michael Fitzpatrick calls “failing,” Fitz & the Tantrums are finally having good years. In fact, 2012 is already shaping up to be their best. 

As of today, the soul-rock band is officially part of the 2012 Outside Lands music festival lineup in August. This week, the six-piece is in between weekends playing at Coachella, the kickoff to their spring tour. That stint segues directly into stints opening for Dave Matthews Band and recent Immaculate Noise interviewees the Flaming Lips and performing at major festivals like Bonnaroo and newly minted The Great Googamooga in Brooklyn. Palladia is airing concert film “Fitz and the Tantrums: Live at the Metro” starting this Saturday (April 21). All this, and the band will be releasing their second effort for indie Dangerbird later this year.
 
Fitzpatrick and his cohorts – co-vocalist Noelle Scaggs, saxophonist/flutist James King, bassist Joseph Karnes, drummer John Wicks and keyboardist Jeremy Ruzumna – have exhibited an astonishing devotion to the road and to the social mechanics that normally destroy bands half their size. There’s just a rare commitment and collection of talent that has resonated with fans, beyond just their outta-nowhere hit “Moneygrabber” from their debut “Pickin’ Up the Pieces.”
 
Below is an abridged interview I had with Fitzpatrick at the end of this winter. For aspiring bands, it’s almost a check-list or outline of what it is to slog, and to succeed in slogging.
Read Full Post
<p>Nary and Jamie of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>

Nary and Jamie of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

HitFix Interview: Jamie & Nary talk 'The Amazing Race'

The federal agents talk tent-building and teacher-playing
There are two very different approaches to touting your credentials as a federal agent on a reality TV show.
 
There's The Phillip Sheppard Method: The "Survivor" contestant announced his credentials as a former federal agent so early and so often and with such outspoken enthusiasm that his fellow contestants either doubted his background or doubted his sanity. He made it to the end of the season in part because Boston Rob knew he couldn't possibly win and carried him along.
 
Then there's The Jamie & Nary Method: The "Amazing Race" team decided they were going to tell their competition that they actually worked as teachers, rather than as federal agents. This strange plan sprung a leak when another team, border agents, began to suspect them of being in law enforcement. This led to fighting and variably passive aggressive hostilities, but not much else.
 
Jamie Graetz & Nary Ebeid were able to weather their difficulties with Art & JJ, but the federal agents were unable to overcome a multi-hour deficit and a Speed-Bump on last Sunday's (April 15) Leg of "The Amazing Race."
 
It was still a solid run for Jamie & Nary, who made it through more than half of the Race without internal bickering and definitely came out of FederalAgentGate looking saner than Art & JJ.
 
In their exit interview, Jamie and Nary discuss the strategy behind their professional obfuscation as well as the difficulties of the tent-building challenge that ultimately proved to be their undoing.
 
Click through for the full interview...
 
Read Full Post
<p>Are the Oscar nods ready for prime time?</p>

Are the Oscar nods ready for prime time?

Credit: AP Photo/Nick Ut

As the NFL schedule is announced, should the Oscars take note?

Maybe it's time for the Academy to reveal nominees in prime time

After revealing which teams would play each other in the 2012 football season a few months back, the NFL has just announced the official schedule with dates via a prime time special on the NFL Network. (I plan to be in DC for the Falcons in October, thank you.)

It got me thinking. Why debut this kind of thing at 7pm ET and miss the day's news cycle entirely? The answer, of course, is ratings, monetizing the information and its dissemination. And suddenly it occurred to me: Should the Academy take a similar tack in revealing its annual list of Oscar nominees?

This isn't a new idea. The concept of transforming the nominations announcement into a prime time special has been whispered about for years. Recently, the LA Times' Patrick Goldstein offered up his thoughts on the idea back before this year's Oscarcast and David Poland voiced his approval. Goldstein even mentioned sports in his piece to further his point.

Read Full Post
<p>Maxwell</p>

Maxwell

Credit: AP Photo

Maxwell is probably not coming to a town near you on 3-city tour

R&B superstar will play entire albums each night

Maxwell will hit the road, in a very limited way,  for the first time in two years this summer when stops in three cities to perform his four albums in their entirety.

Taking a page from acts like Steely Dan and Bruce Springsteen, the R&B superstar will devote the evening’s performance to “Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite” and “Embrya” or the combo of “Now” and “Blacksummers’night.”

Read Full Post
<p>Jason Mraz</p>

Jason Mraz

Album Review: Jason Mraz's 'Love is a Four Letter Word'

The 'I'm Yours' gets all 'we are the world' on new set

We’ll have whatever Jason Mraz is smoking, please. On “Love Is A Four Letter Word,” out today, Mraz is at his hippie-dippiest, peace-loving, live-in-the-now best. If you thought he was mellow before, just wait until you check out the new material. Throughout the album’s 12 songs, he explores love in all its forms and it’s safe to say, he’s for it.

In these troubled times, Mraz is here to tell us that everything is just as it should be, right here and right now. It’s Up With People set to a slight reggae beat. If such affirmations were used sparingly, it would be fine, but “Love” drowns in them so aggressively that it feels like the album should come complete with rainbows, unicorns, fluffy puppies, and tweeting love birds.

Read Full Post
Listen: A$AP Rocky's 'Goldie' shines
Credit: RCA

Listen: A$AP Rocky's 'Goldie' shines

Produced by 'N*ggas in Paris' hitmaker Hit-Boy

A$AP Rocky wasn't on our Hip-Hop's New Class list for nothing. The general behind-the-beat swagger of the rapper's new "Goldie" is no "understatement," aided by the big beat of Hit-Boy.

For those playing at home, that producer was the same hitmaker behind Lil Wayne and Eminem's "Drop the World and Kanye West and Jay-Z's "N*ggas in Paris," and is a firm associate of Ye's G.O.O.D. Music label. (Perhaps he'll be contributing to that forthcoming compilation?)

"Goldie" is off of A$AP's forthcoming RCA debut "LongLiveA$AP," out in July, not to be confused with recently re-released mixtape "LiveLoveA$AP." The track features an easy beat and Rocky dropping his vocals an octave for the refrain, a la Tyler's Golf Wang Goblin growl. No zingers stand out more than others, though I could swear there's a Naked And Famous name-drop in there and I could definitely do without the "ch*nk eyes" reference. However, his voice fits in a perfect mix range, where the rhymes rattle off like a drum. He's got a good grip on Hit-Boy's particular brand. Hopefully there will be another pairing in the future.

 

Read Full Post
<p>Chris Hemsworth in &quot;The Cabin in the Woods.&quot;</p>

Chris Hemsworth in "The Cabin in the Woods."

Credit: Lionsgate

On 'Cabin in the Woods,' 'Prometheus' and spoilerphobia

Are we too concerned about knowing too much?

"I hope you die." "Were you bullied as a child?" "Go fuck yourself." "Learn how to write." "You're a haemorrhoid." "How do you still have a job?"

Any film critic even passingly acquainted with the internet must by now have got used to the idea of being reviewed themselves. Twitter, blog culture and the decidedly mixed blessing of commenting facilities have made it easier than ever for disgruntled readers to let critics know precisely how much they disagree with them, and in some more simple-minded cases, how inept this difference in opinion makes them. Some may say professional criticism is an increasingly irrelevant art, yet the critic-reader dialogue has never been so active.

Even in this climate, however, the comments above -- culled from reader responses to a single review last week, some of them corrected for spelling and grammar -- are exceptional in their biliousness. These are not the standard dull-witted complaints from movie fans struggling with the concept of objectivity; in many cases, they're from readers who haven't yet watched the film in question. These are the complaints of viewers, or potential ones, who somehow feel that their filmgoing experience has been violated. The film is Drew Goddard's acclaimed po-mo horror flick "The Cabin in the Woods," the critic Mark Olsen of The Village Voice. The crime: a spoiler.

Read Full Post
<p>Metallica</p>

Metallica

Metallica, Stevie Wonder, Neil Young & Crazy Horse headlining Outside Lands

Jack White, Foo Fighters, Beck, Skrillex... so many dudes

Outside Lands has confirmed its major lineup announcement, with Stevie Wonder, Metallica, Neil Young & Crazy Horse and Jack White leading the way for the weekend music and food festival.

The San Francisco event runs Aug. 10-12 in Golden Gate Park. Tickets go up via the Outside Lands website on Thursday (April 19) at noon PST and, judging from years past, get 'em quick: it will likely sell out, particularly with a few factors in mind...

First, Metallica's from there, folks, and have no other U.S. tour dates on slate this year except for June 23-24 at their own Orion Music + More Festival in Atlantic City, N.J. Furthermore, the Metallica 3-D movie is slated to start shooting in August, and you can bet there will be footage taken at this Outside Lands gig. If you're a fan, fight to the front.

Neil Young & Crazy Horse are releasing their first new album in 15 years ("Americana") on June 5, but the band's status in rock annuls was marked by their electric live concerts. The collaborative group has only played one show this year, and this gig is only their second announced.

Stevie Wonder -- for all anybody cares -- can just continue being Stevie Wonder as his marquee moment this year.

Jack White seems to be sticking largely to festival bookings to support his solo album; Beck already signalled a return to the stage with his headlining gigs at the Governor's Ball in New York and Sasquatch! in Washington state; and, yesterday, we explained that the Foo Fighters were plotting to record new material later this year, in addition to promoting Dave Grohl's "Sound City" documentary.

Read Full Post
<p>Owl City's Adam Young</p>

Owl City's Adam Young

EXCLUSIVE first listen: Owl City combines with Mark Hoppus for new track 'Dementia'

Blink-182 singer and electro-pop star are a perfect combo

Well, look what just flew onto my desk. A brand new Owl City song "Dementia" has surfaced, signalling the way for a fresh album from the electro-pop star.

And it appears that Adam Young has made some more famous new friends. Mark Hoppus -- singer for Blink-182 and +44 -- helps out on vocal duties for this high-energy track. I can't tell if Hoppus also had a hand in producing this sure-fire radio hit, but he has helmed for acts like Motion City Soundtrack, Fall Out Boy and New Found Glory. So this particular combo is just slightly out of each artist's usual arena, with Owl City branching out into a much more rock-reliant sound.

Read Full Post
<p>What is Chris Evans laughing at?&nbsp; I'll give you a hint... you wouldn't like him when he's angry.</p>

What is Chris Evans laughing at?  I'll give you a hint... you wouldn't like him when he's angry.

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans assemble for 'Avengers' interview

What power reduces Captain America and Thor to tears of laughter?

A year from now, when you look at me and I'm 60 to 70 pounds lighter than I am right now, you can trace that decision back to the moment I was sitting across from Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans and felt like the most horrifying specimen of manhood of all time.

Look, I get it… these guys are paid to be superheroes.  But nothing will make you question the genetic lottery more than a full day spent talking to the actual physical embodiments of Thor and Captain America.  It would be easier to take if I could report back that they are terrible people, rude and abrasive and totally hung up on the whole movie star thing… only that wouldn't be true.  In actuality, everyone in the cast seems to be really centered and smart and grateful for what they're doing these days.

Hemsworth has come a long way in a few short years, and it's funny to look at him in "Cabin In The Woods," before he had any idea he was going to suit up as the God of Thunder, while Evans seems to have completely left behind any thoughts of the "Fantastic Four" films he was in, embodying a totally different personality as Steve Rogers.

Read Full Post
<p>Daniel Craig returns as James Bond in &quot;Skyfall.&quot;</p>

Daniel Craig returns as James Bond in "Skyfall."

Credit: Sony Pictures

James Bond and Silva have an explosive moment on the set of 'Skyfall'

Chris Corbould says it's the best Bond script he's ever read

LONDON - On a rainy Tuesday afternoon, about 30 international journalists and 15 or so other visitors to the set of "Skyfall" sat on the famed 007 sound stages at Pinewood Studios in London in front of a large monitor.  We were about to see a massive "event" happen during a live scene being filmed for Sam Mendes' new James Bond flick.  Our earplugs were in place and we were ready to be wowed.

And we waited.

And we waited.

In fact, we all waited for a good 90 minutes.  Quietly, like a congregation in a cathedral paining for something exciting to happen.  Would it be worth it in the long run?

Read Full Post
The Voice Christina Aguilera

Christina Aguilera shakes things up on 'The Voice'

Credit: Lewis Jacobs/NBC

Recap: 'The Voice' quarterfinals - Team Blake and Team Christina

Two surprise eliminations close the night

The coaches are down to four contestants apiece, and favorites have started to emerge.

Odds are good that coaches' darling Jesse and darkhorse Lindsey will advance on Team Christina (though I'm still partial to teen rocker Ashley). While Team Blake offers more suspense, though I would guess RaeLynn and either Erin or Jordis are the most likely to move forward this week.

But tonight Christina and Blake each get their own chance to alter the competition: They both have to eliminate one contestant before voting even opens.

Oh, I love it when they force the coaches to be mean! And I'm sincerely glad these decisions aren't left entirely up to America...

Read Full Post
BLOGS BY NAME