Latest Blog Posts

<p>Arcade Fire&nbsp;</p>

Arcade Fire 


Review: Arcade Fire goes good and long for new 'Reflektor'

The young-art-student vibe gets a big dose of disco

Arcade Fire is still preaching, it's just from a more brightly lit mount. It's intentional to say that the Montreal-based band has allowed itself to make much for colorful, dance-embracing songs on new album "Reflektor," in that they've shown so much restraint to keep their personalities closely tied to their comfortable rock sound on their previous three sets.

On last album "The Suburbs," its standout "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)" succeeded in its lively retro sound, combining Regine Chassagne and Win Butler's strengths as vocalists and manic, holy messengers. On "Reflektor" -- both the first single and the album on the whole -- they took some of the same neon colors (no, not a Neon Bible) and flashing lights and applied it liberally, like an energy... and let LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy produce some, and David Bowie sing some.

Below is a track-by-track look at what makes "Reflektor" a solid, long and cerebral set, shy of the strings that was a signifier of the band before and bursting with a rejuvenated (if not downright young-artist) vibe of their future.

Opener "Reflektor" is such a bold statement to reform listeners' expectations of this album, it also just happens to sound like commerce. That super low bass, the piano tinkling like it did for "Neighborhoods #2 (Lies)," the “reflective age” in Regine Chassagne’s French lilting over the disco... it's instantly loveable, as well as a sign post pointing toward the rest of this long haul. 
We Exist” bears the Bowie influence in bassy gravitas plus the meandering space-age instrumental tail (and maybe the Thin White Duke’s own backup vocals?). The left-right faders give this late-night groover a third dimension and mid-tempo elegance.
The band truly stretches out here, marching through a dancehall and leaving the chamber pop outside. Win Butler’s whinny has echo and reverb for days. The sample-sounding horns try to tear through marimba and electric guitar loops, fading out into the sounds of a market or carnivale…
… which is what “Here Comes the Night Time” turns into. Sub-bass and rara-flavorings don’t drown out what is ultimately kind of a lamentation of wrong-headed foreigners and missionaries, a story Butler and his band have visited before, most strongly on “Neon Bible.” It plays into the longer love letter to Haiti that “Reflektor” is, holding an air of knowing and accusation (and mild pretension) that never makes their use of ethnic musics a neutral proposition.
 I find myself looking forward to the 2:30 mark, where in the post-chorus, an upright piano bleats like a slot machine meeting a bar-floor vaudeville show.
Normal Person”: “Do you like rock ‘n’ roll music? I don’t know if I do” Butler sneers into his mic, which – were it to have an odor – would be beer and sarcasm. I immediately think of the garbled ramblings that open “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” and this is among the first of many times I return to thinking about the White Album when I go over this set. And like that pop cut, the guitar lick here will either wither your soul or you’ll fall in love.
At the end, he waves thank you to an invisible crowd in a tiny club it seems, a fantasy for anybody who’s familiar with the expanse and influence of the sextet these days. (AF themselves, though, have tried to set up many a small rock club show in the run-up to promoting this album.)
Already Know”: Since the Smiths are never getting back together, there’s always this.
Joan of Arc” sounds like song that’s been incubated and nurtured, with lots of fine-tuned details, like the maxed-out gain on the opening vocals, the Gary Glitter ‘floor invitation amplified with Moog, the incantations in the backup vocals. It’s a treat by itself, and an excellent mid-point demarcation of this lofty album.
The band spookily hums back into “Here Comes The Night Time II,” strings whimpering and warning that this “feels like it never ends.” The lack of drums is very present in a drum-heavy album such as this, a quiet set-up to more noise to come.
And “Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice)” is that noise, as the mythical Greek nymph plays a passive role in this dream-like dystopia. The story is less important that the atmosphere, the claustrophobia of stacked synths bursting into three-part harmonies and a tinge of hope. 
But, really, this is all just a waiting period for “It’s Never Over (Oh Orpheus),” another song with James Murphy’s fingerprints all over it. They let up on any restraint to dance, the falsetto vocals soulfully responding to a turntable-worthy beat, using its title on repeat in both a threatening and promising fashion. Chassagne’s aggressive presence really lightens the mix up, too, making “Orpheus” really sticky but not at all messy.
Porno”: Taken as title-only, is sort of trolling. Here, Butler blames “little boys with their porno” for the hurt his subject’s endured. It’s that judgmental tone again. The offending specter is defined only by the lush keys and the rapping tappings of a rhythm section as Butler again sounds eagerly disappointed in something.
Afterlife” is such a crowd-pleaser, a combo of older material and this newer, disco-balling era. In the wake of first single “Reflektor,” you think nothing here can compare, but “Afterlife” nips at its heels, gloriously reveling in baritone sax.
Supersymmetry” sprawls -- instrumentally and in length, going for 11+ minutes. Congas tap, voices “la la la,” high notes flutter, the bass brrrrs, the ocean roars, babies are born, leaves change color, you see yourself when you're old and the universe is revealed in its utter worth. Sound exaggerated? That’s all this song is, and it’s bliss before the gentle “Revolution No. 9.”


Read Full Post
<p>Pearl Jam</p>

Pearl Jam

Win a Pearl Jam 'Lightning Bolt' prize pack! Enter our giveaway contest

Receive the #1 ltd edition album on vinyl, t-shirt, stickers, and much more

Pearl Jam’s 10th studio album, the excellent “Lightning Bolt” is atop the Billboard 200 right now, but if you weren’t one of the people who bought it upon release last Tuesday, here’s your chance to win it for free on vinyl.

But wait, that’s not all!  In addition to the album, you will win a prize pack full of other Pearl Jam goodies:

Prize pack Includes:
- Limited edition vinyl copy of 'Lightning Bolt'
- Limited edition Pearl Jam Blue Wrigley Stadium T-shirt (Size L)
- Lightning Bolt poster (Not featured in image)
- Lightning Bolt window decal (Not featured in image)
- Lighting Bolt sticker, Forestry Sticker, Handshake Sticker, and Wolf Sticker
- Don Pendleton 'Lighting Bolt' songs postcard set

Here’s how you enter:
*Retweet the below tweet about the contest AND follow me @HitfixMelinda



*Retweet the giveaway tweet and follow @Hitfix



RULES:  You must be a U.S. resident to win and your Twitter account cannot be set on private. Contest ends Nov. 1 at 11:59 p.m. PT


Read Full Post

'Homeland' hits a season high after the big plot twist

"Homeland" hits a season high after the big plot twist

About two million watched Sunday's episode.

Andrew Dice Clay and Justin Kirk are guesting on "The Blacklist"
Clay will play a plastic surgeon named Dr. Maltz. Meanwhile, William Sadler is also guest-starring.

Dina Manzo is returning to "The Real Housewives"
"The Real Housewives of New Jersey" star was gone for 3 1/2 seasons.

Jordana Spiro is going to "The Good Wife"
The "My Boys" alum will play a police detective in a potentially recurring role.

Read Full Post
<p>A moment from JT's latest</p>

A moment from JT's latest

Credit: RCA

Justin Timberlake in 'TKO' revenge fantasy music video: Watch

Why he's punching far above his weight in this misguided clip

Love is a battlefield, as Pat Benatar sang. Or in the case of Justin Timberlake, it’s a boxing match...even if you never step into the ring. 

In the new video for “TKO,” Timberlake and his lady, played by Riley Keough (in case you don’t know, the actress is Elvis Presley’s granddaughter) have what one might call a turbulent relationship...or so we're supposed to ascertain.

She mainly walks around their modern, gorgeous apartment in one of his shirts, pouting unless they’re having make-up sex on their kitchen island. He just stares off into the distance as an arty representation of his deep, existential unhappiness brought on by her borrowing his shirts without asking (or whatever, we don't really know).

The make-up sex clearly doesn’t solve their issues because next thing we know, she’s clocking him with a cast-iron skillet and somehow, he finds himself being dragged behind her pick up truck for miles and miles. He’s still able to sing in the laughably bad clip and doesn’t seem to be in any particular pain. The video doesn’t come to a good end for him, but, hey, his shirt and hair are perfect even when he’s getting towed behind the truck like a small boat.

I know we’re supposed to look at the clip as revenge fantasy and it’s all fun and games, but can you imagine the uproar if it were a man dragging his girlfriend behind the truck or if he slammed her with the pan? This is a misguided look at domestic violence and there’s really no way you can make it work unless you take a much more obviously  cartoon-y look than they do here (they already pull all their punches- the sex is pretty antiseptic, no blood after the skillet hit, he almost seems to be enjoyed being dragged)  or you really commit and go all out (and run a link to a domestic violence hotline afterwards). Actually, on second thought, you can't make it work at all. They should have just played off the "TKO" theme and done a fun remake of the Barbra Streisand/Ryan O'Neal movie "The Main Event" or gone darker but not had the domestic violence. The song doesn’t have the serious edge of Eminem/Rihanna’s “Love The Way You Lie,” which took a very dramatic look at an abusive relationship and it worked. You felt the horror. This is just a well-shot fashion shoot that goes awry.

Read Full Post
<p>Lady Gaga</p>

Lady Gaga

Credit: AP Photo

Lady Gaga's drops a snippet of new song, 'Mary Jane Holland'

She wants to take you higher

Have we met Lady Gaga’s new alter ego —move over Jo Calderone—or is Momma Monster just declaring her love of weed in the new snippet for “Mary Jane Holland,” a track from Nov. 11’s "ArtPop." 

In the 2-minute preview, Lady Gaga singing in an exaggerated mannered tone, extols the virtue of Mary Jane, hanging in Amsterdam, and generally looks at the fame game. It’s a driving, throbbing track that includes call-outs and psychedelic turns. In other words, it’s more like a bad acid trip than a mellow high.

“I know at the moment they think I’m a mess/but its alright because I’m rich as piss,” she grandly sings during a bridge as she prepares to light one up, making it clear that this whole track is Lady Gaga taking a look at fame and art and artifice. That doesn’t make it particularly catchy, though, does it?

Read Full Post
<p>A moment from &quot;Aningaaq&quot;</p>

A moment from "Aningaaq"

Credit: Warner Home Video

Exclusive: Could both 'Gravity' and 'Aningaaq' end up with Oscar nominations?

Separate trips to Greenland inspired a thoughtful addition to the space thriller

As you might recall from HitFix's Telluride Film Festival coverage, Jonás Cuarón's short film "Aningaaq" is a companion piece to Alfonso Cuarón's "Gravity." It depicts the other side of an SOS radio conversation between that film's main character, Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), and an Inuit fisherman named Aningaaq (Orto Ignatiussen) on the icy mass of Greenland. The short works both in tandem with the feature and separately as an emotional sliver of the greater work's themes. It could also join "Gravity" in the Oscar discussion later this season as Warner Bros. has submitted it for consideration in the Best Live Action Short category.

Read Full Post
"Top Gear"

 "Top Gear"

Credit: History Channel

Exclusive clip: It's one bad, bad ride on 'Top Gear'

It turns out a car/boat isn't as much fun as you'd expect

It seems like it should be a fun idea -- a car/boat! Alas, it's not so fun if you have to drive the hunk of junk, or at least that's what Rutledge discovers on "Top Gear" (Tues. Oct. 29 at 9:00 p.m. on History).

Read Full Post
Sarah Polley in "Stories We Tell."
Sarah Polley in "Stories We Tell."
Credit: Roadside Attractions

IDA Awards nominate 'Stories We Tell,' 'Act of Killing'

Is this a preview of the documentary Oscar race?

When it comes to the Best Documentary Feature Oscar, there's no particularly reliable precursor -- that branch of the Academy has a history of doing things their own way, after all. But the Independent Documentary Association (IDA) Award is among the most prestigious documentary prizes on the trail. Last year, they (along with pretty much everyone else) foreshadowed the Oscar win for "Searching for Sugar Man," and also pre-empted the Academy's nomination for "The Invisible War"; the year before, the Academy nominated none of their five chosen features. "Independent" is the operative word, then.

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;The Walking Dead&quot;&nbsp;has been renewed for a fifth season.</p>

"The Walking Dead" has been renewed for a fifth season.

Credit: AMC

AMC renews 'The Walking Dead' for season 5

You can't stop the enormously-rated zombie drama

AMC has renewed "The Walking Dead" for a fifth season, in a move so obvious that AMC's president Charlie Collier called it "one of the most anti-climactic renewal announcements ever."

Read Full Post

AMC renews 'The Walking Dead' for Season 5

AMC renews "The Walking Dead" for Season 5
Scott Gimple will return as showrunner in what AMC is calling "one of the most anti-climactic renewal announcements ever."

Read Full Post

Bob Barker will return to 'The Price is Right' to celebrate his 90th birthday

Bob Barker will return to "The Price is Right" to celebrate his 90th birthday
His return on Dec. 12 will mark Barker's 2nd appearance on "Price" since leaving the show.

"12 Years a Slave" director is planning an HBO drama about a black man in NYC
Steve McQueen is teaming with Russell Simmons on what is being described as "“Six Degrees Of Separation" meets "Shame."

John Laroquette joins "Almost Human"

He'll recur on the robot cop drama as a "sympathetic roboticist."

4 Non Blondes singer to star in VH1's "The Linda Perry Project"
Perry, whose only hit with her band was "What's Up?" in 1993, will be followed by cameras as she tries to relaunch her record label.

Conan kicks off his 20-year celebration

Last night's show featured "Late Night" clips from 1993 to 2003.

"Family Guy" books Maya Rudolph and Glenn Howerton
They'll guest star in the same episode.

Kristen Bell & Dax Shepard's wedding cost $142
They even had "The World's Worst Wedding" cake.

Animal Planet announces "Meet the Sloths"
The eight-part series, debuting Nov. 9, will tap into the sloth phenomenon.

Jon Stewart gives hosting advice to Pete Holmes

"The Daily Show" host appeared on the premiere of the post-Conan talk show to tell the importance of Purell.

Read Full Post
<p>Red Sox slugger David Ortiz</p>

Red Sox slugger David Ortiz

Credit: AP

TV Ratings: 'Voice,' 'Dancing' and World Series Game 5 battle on Monday

'Castle' and 'Blacklist' split the 10 p.m. hour again
Fast National ratings for Monday, October 28, 2013.
Another tight World Series game between the Red Sox and Cardinals gave FOX decent Monday ratings, but the baseball wasn't able to topple NBC and "The Voice" for the Monday ratings crown among young viewers.
FOX did still manage to win the night overall, holding off ABC, which had a narrow advantage over NBC in second.
The baseball game didn't take much of a bite out of the Monday competition, with "Blacklist" and "Castle" both posting tiny gains and most of the CBS comedies staying flat. The night's only notable decline came from CBS' "Mom."
On to the numbers...
Read Full Post