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25 Oct 2009 17:30


Politics: Max Headroom: Tongues still wagging over Fox News

  • Blaming Glenn Beck Former Fox News pundit Jane Hall, now a professor at American University, claims that the lessening debate on Fox News convinced her to leave. Oh, and also Glenn Beck, who she says is “way over-the-top” in his rhetoric.

  • Gangsta gangsta“You gotta love Sean Connery in that!” We can all agree that the clip Fox News played was pretty funny, but we don’t agree with the way that they’re trying to paint the White House like a group of Al Capones. Seems unbecoming of Fox.

  • Is it punishment?On “Meet the Press,” Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer goes on for a bit about how the executive pay cuts aren’t punishing corporate execs. Immediately afterwards, Republican Sen. John Cornyn calls the cuts “punishment.”

17 Oct 2009 14:16


Music: This week’s Saturday Mixtape covers some of 2004’s best tunes

OK, we're halfway through the naughts after this week. In case you haven't noticed, we've been going through some of our favorite songs of this decade, year-by-year, since August. Once every other week or so. This week, we hit 2004. (Want to hear the others? Click here: 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000)
  • 1. If we had to pick one song of the decade, this would be it. In four and a half minutes, The Walkmen’s “The Rat” nailed the unnecessary gravitas and self-seriousness that defined this decade. No other song has come close to best defining it.
    2. Animal Collective essentially did the opposite of what Radiohead did to become famous. Starting out as a strange, dense, openly experimental band, they found themselves making pop music by the beginning of 2009. We still heart 2004’s “Sung Tongs,” though, and “Who Could Win a Rabbit?” is the bridge between the two sounds.
    3. The Arcade Fire suffered greatly at the hands of overhype, like many other perfectly-good bands of the era – Bloc Party or Vampire Weekend, anyone? But they deserved every bit of the hype they got, especially on “Neighborhood #3 (Power Out).”
    4. The Streets – aka Mike Skinner – nailed the best album of his career in 2002 with “Original Pirate Material,” but as far as singles go, “Fit But You Know It” is easily his best. With that roughshod beat – the kind of beat that Lily Allen rides up the charts nowadays – backing a story of a drunk ticked about the unattainable hottie in front of him, it synthesizes the best of Skinner’s sound and storytelling.
    5. The great secret of Sufjan Stevens’ “Seven Swans” – an album openly loaded with religious imagery – was that you didn’t need to be Christian to be deeply affected by it. “The Transfiguration” is beautiful on its own terms, but not without questioning its listener: “Consider what he says to you, consider what’s to come.” source

11 Oct 2009 21:52


Politics: Max Headroom: Al Gore stutters, Keith Olbermann doesn’t

  • Inconvenient for Al Phelim McAleer, co-director of “Not Evil Just Wrong,” a right-leaning film refuting Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” happened to be at Gore’s first Q&A in four years, Gore stumbled through McAleer’s question. Then McAleer’s mic was cut. Hm.

  • Fox & the GOP in bed?White House Communications Director Anita Dunn made a harsh-tongued accusation against Fox News this morning, calling them the “communications arm of the Republican Party” and saying Obama treats talking to them like a debate.

  • It’s about … deathLast week, Keith Olbermann devoted a show to the health care debate. He prefaced it by saying that the debate was “about … death.” And he goes on, and on, and on. And a lot of it is pretty good and substantial. (Watch the whole thing here.)

04 Oct 2009 23:57


Politics: Max Headroom: Explain the UN’s relevance, U.S. ambassador!

  • What’s the point? U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice tries to explain in a no-BS fashion why the United Nations is more than just a spot for Libya’s leader to rant for hours.

  • Reveling in failureBill Kristol seems ready to pounce on Obama for his Olympic push. He compares him to George W. Bush, which just caused our brains to painfully implode. Uh … WHAT?

  • Trashing Glenn BeckJames Carville straight-up calls Glenn Beck nuts around 1:42. It’s an epic rant, one that makes us all warm and fuzzy inside. One of our favorite Carville rants ever.

19 Sep 2009 15:27


Music: Ah, vintage 2002. Our Saturday Mixtape takes a swig or two.

  • 1. Back in our noise-addled 2002 minds, Idlewild’s “You Held the World In Your Arms” was that explosion of R.E.M.-esque bombast that should have been huge in the U.S., but instead remained on the fringes.
    2. Consider this a placeholder for both the Roots and Cody ChestnuTT, who both released killer albums in 2002. (Lala, sadly doesn’t have ChestnuTT’s only album thus far, “The Headphone Masterpiece.”) A lot’s changed since this song came out – The Roots are on Jimmy Fallon, and ChestnuTT is … somewhere. Where did you go, man?
    3. When everyone was going gaga over Interpol (we didn’t get the hype), we were putting The Notwist’s “Neon Golden” on repeat. A slice of IDM+pop, “Pilot” is the German band’s best song.
    4. It wouldn’t be 2002 if we didn’t give due credit to Wilco’s “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot,” so here we are, giving it. They haven’t been as weird as “Radio Cure” since, but it was weird enough to get everyone to pay attention.
    5. Iron & Wine’s success was a starting point for 21st-century indie folk. The fact that Sam Beam’s been improving ever since doesn’t negate the fact that he wrote the template with songs like “Upward Over the Mountain.” source

08 Sep 2009 20:10


Culture: The truth about “Destination Truth”: It’s not very good


Ok, we’ll admit when we’re wrong. It may take a bit of waterboarding and pulled fingernails, but we’ll do it. The clip that the Not-Sci-Fi sent for "Eureka" was a tease to the actual point of the episode: Carter gettin’ some. We’re sorry, PR people. But to punish us with a full episode of "Destination: Truth"? Since we didn’t know the show, the elaborate press kit caught our eye with its slick packaging, so we took a look at its third-season premiere.
  • A package deal In a nutshell: Paranormal Travel show in the vein of Ghosthunters, featuring “paranormal researcher” Joshua Gates and his team investigating claims of the supernatural, mainly in the area of cryptozoology. A team filled with AV techs and not a single person with any scientific background.
  • The best bits The first part where the team gets to the remote location and the last bit with the actual experts. Gates and his crew are going to some truly remote areas, and aren’t traveling in first class. In the first part of our preview, the top of a plane ripped off. Happens every time we fly, guys.
  • And …The end of each episode involves actual scientists going over the “evidence”. In this case, each of them at points telling him he was making facts fit his conclusions, and one clearly wondering why he wanted to identify chicken and a cow bones. Watch it tonight at 10 on Not-Sci-Fi. source

06 Sep 2009 16:01


Politics: Max Headroom is loaded with Obama-drama this week

  • FDR or Jimmy Carter Joe Trippi, speaking off of comments by his old boss, Howard Dean, suggests that the Van Jones resignation may be an attempt to discredit a president gunning for the legacy of a great.

  • Al Franken dazzlesDespite his rep as a divider due to his years as a liberal icon, Minnesota Senator Al Franken managed to soothe the nerves of a motley crew of health care critics. Impressive, bro.

  • Newt’s got Obama’s backNewt Gingrich isn’t lining up with fellow Republicans to criticize Obama’s controversial upcoming speech to students. He greatly supports what he expects to be purely “positive.”


05 Sep 2009 16:08


Music: Our Saturday Mixtape decade-in-review continues with 2001’s best

  • 1. Rufus Wainwright came out of the gate strong, and maybe lost a little steam after the second album, but “Cigarettes & Chocolate Milk” definitely isn’t the point where he lost the plot.
    2. Quiet wasn’t the new loud, but the sorta-movement created a couple of pretty solid bands between Kings of Convenience and Turin Brakes, whose “Emergency 72” holds up well considering its current lack of musical context.
    3. Britt Daniel of Spoon made a compelling argument for “The Fitted Shirt,” a style that’s evolved from the days of “ma’am and yes sir” to the style of choice for the male on the prowl. In the process, he made a very compelling argument for Spoon.
    4. It’s interesting how a band known for its guitar-shredding, the White Stripes, first hit mainstream consciousness with “Hotel Yorba,” a three-chord acoustic guitar ditty. No worry; they’d quickly become one of the decade’s biggest bands.
    5. Two years after Dntel’s “This is the Dream of Evan and Chan” came out, the ideas of this song were further explored with the uber-popular (and woefully neglected) Postal Service. And it’s obvious why. Jimmy Tamborello’s glitches and Ben Gibbard’s vocals made perhaps the best argument ever for indie-plus-IDM. source

29 Aug 2009 18:57


Music: Our Saturday Mixtape fawns over female vocalists

  • 1. Sally Shapiro isn’t this dance singer’s real name. But it doesn’t matter, because the icy synthy Italo of “Looking at the Stars” is awesome no matter who’s singing it.
    2. The XX just got a killer review on Pitchfork, digging on their lean, mean R&B stylings, which remind us a bit of that Jesus & Mary Chain single with Hope Sandoval, “Sometimes Always.” Female vocalist Romy Madley Croft is front and center for most of the song.
    3. Kate Earl sounds like she’s going to be a huge pop star – which we don’t mind, because she also sounds pretty awesome. The Alaskan perhaps is most akin to Regina Spektor (with more record scratches) on “Melody.”
    4. Hearkening back a bit, Lush is one of many shoegaze bands to pop up in My Bloody Valentine’s wake, and the vocal layering on “Sweetness and Light” still sounds fawn worthy two decades later.
    5. Really, would a list like this be complete without Kate Bush? She’s like the biggest icon of independent female songwriting, ever, and “Hounds of Love” arguably is her musical peak. source

23 Aug 2009 22:26


Politics: Max Headroom: We want a Joe Lieberman/Alec Baldwin battle royale

  • Lieberman smacks back A while back, Alec Baldwin threatened to move to Connecticut to essentially run against Democrat-turned-indie politician Joe Lieberman. Lieberman’s response: “Make my day.” It’s on now.

  • Wrong place, wrong storyFox News gets this great idea: Let’s take Geraldo Rivera and put him near Hurricane Bill … so that he can discuss Obama’s declining poll numbers. Shouldn’t you be discussing the storm?

  • McCain misses Ted. Bad.It doesn’t matter that they’re in opposite parties: John McCain laments the declining health of Ted Kennedy and the fact that it’s kept him out of the health care debate. It’s tearjerking.