Monday, 28 February 2011

Music: 1969 Live by The Velvet Underground

Today I will be presenting 1969 Live by The Velvet Underground, a seminal live record by the band of bands.

The Velvet Underground, active 1965-1970, with members Lou Reed, Moreen Tucker, Doug Yule, John Cale and Sterling Morrison, is seen as one of the most influential bands of all time. One popular saying is that while their first album The Velvet Underground & Nico, produced by Andy Warhol (Yes, the pop-artist himself) did not fair well in sales, everyone who did buy the album went on to make a band and become famous.

This first song, written in 1965, and aptly called Heroin, was unheard of during this time. To put this into perspective, in 1965, The Beatles were still in their mop-tops singing about "You're Gonna Lose That Girl", the jazz album "Getz/Gilberto" by the American saxophonist
Stan Getz won the Grammy Album of the Year, and Bob Dylan still hadn't gone electric.

Next we have Sweet Jane, in one of its debut performances, a full year before its first studio album appearance on Loaded (1970). It's a bit more peaceful then the final version, trading its future rock punch for a more serine vibe, and it in turn provides us with a more somber telling of the life of Jane, or could Lou be referring to a certain herbal leaf? You be the judge.

Lisa Says, written around 1968, and not released officially until VU (1985), a compilations and outtakes album, is an interesting fixture on this live album, as this track contains unique lyrics, never again recorded for this song. Like all songs by the Velvets, Lisa Says' lyrical content seems very tame, but turns racy once its true meaning is revealed.  In the case of Lisa Says, and all of the songs in the Says series (Candy Says, Stephanie Says, Lisa Says, Caroline Says), each song in actuality describes a series of trans-gendered prostitutes who hung around the band and its friends in the underground artsy New York Scene at the time.

Bonus video: I hesitated to include this in my post solely because of Lou's one minute pre-song introduction, even though this is one of the best on the album. Song starts at 1:28. Enjoy!

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed listening to my selection of Live 1969 by The Velvet Underground, I certainly had fun writing it. I'm interested in seeing how many people had heard of The Velvet Underground before this post? If so, what is your favorite Velvet period? If not, tell me what you think! 

Sunday, 27 February 2011

TV: The Office Post-Michael Scott

Today I will be examining my thoughts on how The Office (2005-Present) has dealt with the exit of Steve Carrell as regional manager Michael Scott, and how this will affect the future of the program.

Ever since announcing Steve Carrell's departure, the writers of the hit show The Office have been unleashing the show's best episodes, in my opinion, since the first few seasons. Why? Well, as a writing team, the makers of The Office have been crafting story lines made years in advance; which I would call "the big ones".
        These "big ones", aka long term storyline plans, such as Michael Scott's action film, Todd Packer's return, Holly's return, and basically anything involving Michael, all were saved for special events such as series finales and  holidays. But ever since the announcement, the writers have been forced to empty the storage closets, use up these story lines, and in turn give the audience the best laughs in years from this aging show.

I would also like to commend the writers for revitalizing the use of a 'montage' episode in "Threat Level Midnight". Within this episode, Michael Scott reveals he has completed his feature film Threat Level: Midnight, which contains the office workers - past and present, as actors. He then proceeds to show this film to the office, and we all get to tag along. It was trilling to see old show favorites, like Jan, Troy, Karen and Roy, return to the show via the screening of Threat Level, and a great send off for the shows upcoming shifts.

Finally, as IMDB suggests that there are only three more episodes until the two parter entitled Goodbye Michael Scott, we can be sure to expect some hilarious episodes from The Office. As for my predictions on what happens post-Michael Scott:

First off, it's obvious Michael is going to leave because Toby is coming back from his jury duty and he's going to want to go to Nashua with Holly. However, I believe that the guest appear from Ricky Gervais is a sign that Ricky will hire Michael to work for him in Nashua, solving the problem of where Michael will work. I believe this because in reality, the many of the actors on The Office are on the verge of Movie stardom - Ed Helms being a blockbuster, John Krasinski a woman-favorite, Jenna Fischer breaking out in comedies, and who can deny Rainn Wilson's breakout into film. Having a big name like Ricky Gervais would be a unwise move for the writers, breaking up an already powerful team.

Anyways, we know that Will Farrell has signed on to have a short story arc post-Michael Scott. I read this as Farrell will be playing some sort of temporary sit-in sent from Sabre to keep track of the branch until a "new" boss is promoted. Now my money is between Jim and Andy as the new boss, leaning towards Jim. Why? Well, everyone expects Jim, I know, but nobody in house other then these two would be able to keep a balance on the show. I'm leaning towards Jim over Andy because if  Jim declines the offer (which I doubt), Andy would be the only option.

What are your opinions on the show? Who do you think will be the next boss? Are you liking these TV/Movie Reviews, or would you like me to focus more on music? Comment it up!

Movies: Black Swan (2010)

In this post I will be providing a commentary on the Oscar nominated film Black Swan (2010) starring Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis as two competitive ballerinas battling for the prestigious position of the Black and White Swan in the New York City Ballet's production of Swan Lake.

Now I want to be very clear, for the men out there who won't see this film purely on its vaguely descriptive premise, Black Swan is about ballet as Star Wars is about space, or Indiana Jones is about being an archeologist.  Did you like the film The Shining (1980)? You'll like Black Swan. Did you like the film Inception (2010)? You'll like Black Swan! How about A Beautiful Mind (2001)? 

You'll definitely love Black Swan. 

Since this movie is still an 'active' picture, I will spare any meta-discussion until a later date. I'll conclude with the statement that if you have an opportunity to view this film, do yourselves a favor and watch it - watch it all. Ideally, you should watch this within a continuous sitting, as this is one of the very few  movies that really pulls your psyche into a new dimension.

PS: I would love to get comments on your experience with this movie, or if you haven't seen it, let me know what you think!

PSS: What was everyone's opinion on yesterday's music post? Is one a week enough, or could people handle  more then one, because I could do a daily album if I wanted to. What are your opinions?

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Music: Fantasies (2009) by Metric

Today I will be discussing the 2009 album by Canadian act Metric "Fantasies".

A tad late on a review, but I've recently been reintroduced with the album after sitting on it for a few years, and all I can say is this album ages well. In a decade where rock has all but vanished from the popular scene,  it is a breathe of fresh air to see Metric exploring their sonic landscape. When listening, you can feel the battle between mainstream and raw indy spirit, most notably in the tenth track "Stadium Love".

With "Help I'm Alive" and "Gimme Sympathy", Metric blasts off into pop-dom with iconic and career highlighting take on the direction of mainstream rock. The fuzz dominates in a powerful, yet synthetic manner that recall the greater days of rock - pounding verses, smart bridges and triumphant choruses that grab you and throw you off a cliff.

Finally, my personal highlight of the album, "Sick Muse" combines an inventive and addictive guitar riff with, in my opinion, immaculate vocals that bring you to a whole different place.

All in all, a great album, but its sad to see a band come so close to a perfect album, but miss the mark only slightly due too a few sinker tracks, *cough cough* "Front Row" and "Blindness". :/

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

TV: The Amazing Race

What can I say? I don't pick and choose my TV!

As you will hopefully come to learn, my show selections are all over the place, as I tend to, in life, not choose what I like based on genre or style, but instead on what I feel is successful, or at very least enjoyable.

Today I will be discussing the The 18th season of The Amazing Race.

The first leg of 18th season of The Amazing Race kicked off Sunday (Feb 20) with an 'All Star' cast of past contestants, none of whom won the top prize in their previous attempts. It's a mix of fan favorites, recent 'almost winners', the always required 'hot teams', and a few people who I don't recognize myself, but I'm sure fit into one of the categories. 

I'll be the first to admit that I am not one of the "hardcore" Amazing Race fans; I'll watch every other season, and sometimes my interest trails off once my chosen "team" gets the boot, but I do try and really get myself into the game, which brings me to the premiere. (On a personal note, I was disappointed to find out my all-time favorite team the Jumba's, of Youtube fame, contestants in the 17th season, did not get invited back, but instead a bland father-daughter team)

What really makes me excited with this upcoming season is that they are really shaking things up, or at least it's looking that way. Like all aging reality shows, the producers are constantly trying to spice things up - adding surprise eliminations right off the bat, new and (usually) confusing challenges; but this time the lay-of-the-land seems to be in a neo-classic style of game. By this I mean the producers seem to have taken off the 'added baggage' of later seasons, and reverted to a groomed and simplistic presentation - no surprise elimination, no silly tricks to add fake drama to the show - instead its back to the roots of travel scenarios, and how they can turn to the worst. 

I don't want to ruin the fun of the episode, but I just love when something happens that completely changes the team positions in the blink of an eye!

Nice To Meet You!

Hello, and welcome to What Goes On.

My name is Jonny Demelo, and the plan is to use this space to explore entertainment; music, television, movies, the arts. I have yet to figure out any sort of schedule or means to this madness, but I am leaning towards each day being a unique topic, where one day I will discuss a new album, the next a film, etc etc.

Hopefully I can keep this fresh and interesting, as I will cover both the new and old, the mainstream and the not-so-mainstream, and really get a good take on the idea of  'entertainment'.

Hope you enjoy, Jonny.