A few weeks ago, in search of a television show I could marathon that didn’t require too much brainpower, I decided to give Arrow a chance. The CW show is the sexy retelling of The Green Arrow, a character from the DC comic universe who fights crime with only his wits, a bow and arrow, and a multibillion dollar corporation that was bequeathed to him by his late father. It looked like a soap opera with action sequences. It looked dumb as hell.
It looked perfect.
Our beloved editor is typing her fingers to the bone, blogging for TIFF 2013, but that doesn’t mean you can’t check out all the great new stuff on Popshifter this week!
The Internet lost its hive-mind this past week when it was announced that Ben Affleck had been cast as Batman in the sequel to Man of Steel, but Paul makes a great case for why it doesn’t matter at all; Melissa gets greasy with Lux Interior; Chelsea gets ethereal with The Copper Gamins; new contributor Tim shines a spotlight on the venerable Pere Ubu; Brad goes into the light with his review of Fire in the Sky; Less Lee provides her recap of FanExpo Canada 2013; and finally, I start a new Waxing Nostalgic series and offer an essay about when movies were movies, not digital presentations.
“Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.”
—Arthur C. Clarke
In 1975, Travis Walton was abducted by aliens, and his abduction is one of the most well-known close encounters in history. Not only was a film made out of it, but those who conducted tests and the officers that were involved have also said it was not a hoax. This was due to the results of polygraph tests taken by those who witnessed the abduction.
In 1993, a film was made that scared the freaking crap out of me: Fire in the Sky. I was nine at the time of its release, and it has stayed with me to this day. If my memory serves me correctly, I saw it at the theater and again on a late night showing on HBO. I think being alone and watching it on HBO was what really did me in.
New this week on Popshifter: Jeff praises The Armoury Show’s “gorgeously slick cathedral Goth with strangely danceable grooves” in the Cherry Red reissue of Waiting For The Floods; Danny calls the new Meat Puppets album, Rat Farm, “the band’s most playful and diverse offering since 1985″; Melissa B. laments the passing of George Jones in her review of the CD reissues of George Jones Country and You’ve Still Got A Place In My Heart; I describe the “geographic grandeur” of the full-length, self-titled debut from Big Black Delta; describe how no-budget, sci-fi flick Manborg “comes from the heart”; explain the “nuanced, complicated” joys of A Royal Affair; congratulate Melvins on their excellent album of covers, Everybody Loves Sausages; and get excited and photo-happy about the upcoming Vicki Berndt art show in Los Angeles.
New this week on Popshifter: Luke encourages us to stop complaining about gaming and raves over Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance; Paul is righteously indignant about the sexist responses to Anita Sarkeesian’s first Tropes vs. Women video; Cait says Bowie’s The Next Day has “an urgency, an energy and intensity long missing;” Hanna calls Alasdair Roberts & Friends’ A Wonder Working Stone “truly remarkable;” Lisa feels Oz the Great and Powerful is “too flawed” for a popcorn movie; Chelsea encourages SXSW attendees to check out the rock en español of Café Tacvba, Bajofondo, and Molotov; I think Girls Names’ The New Life is “damn fine,” am impressed with the “outstanding performances” in Jack & Diane, get my hackles up about “mocktresses,” talk about upcoming horror film Lord of Tears, and give an overview of Canadian Music Week Film Fest 13.
New this week on Popshifter: John is in love with the Paul Williams: Still Alive documentary now on DVD; Chelsea explains how the reissued 1972 solo album from Emily Bindiger “transcends its time period” and delights in the “unexpected rewards” of Las Acevedo; I share new remixes and videos from Parenthetical Girls and David Bowie and recommend the new Skyfall Blu-Ray as “a huge leap forward as well as a return to Bond’s roots.”
Inside Llewyn Davis
New this week on Popshifter: Paul takes Men’s Rights Advocates to task in his article on Women in Gaming and tells tales of pro wrestling redemptions; Chelsea loves Lady Lamb the Beekeeper’s first full-length album RiPLEY PINE; I fawn over new releases from Parenthetical Girls, Dawn McCarthy & Bonnie “Prince” Billy, and Iceage, share the latest from Big Black Delta, and review French Horn Rebellion’s newest EP Love Is Dangerous; and Hanna admires both the humor and scientific methods found in The Marriage of True Minds from Matmos.
Kiss of the Damned (full poster)
New this week on Popshifter: I reveal a behind-the-scenes video on the making of the upcoming What The Brothers Sang album by Dawn McCarthy and Bonnie “Prince” Billy and weigh in on Suede’s new single and video; Paul praises Spotify but has stern advice for Prince; Cait has the scoop on the terrific new Omnivore Recordings George Jones United Artists singles compilation; and Elizabeth reassures us we can still call television “television.”
I think the moral lesson behind The Booth at the End is: Don’t over think things. It’s also worth noting that while neon signs still use tubes to convey messages, this is no longer true of modern TVs.
Two weeks ago I wrote a piece acknowledging Netflix as our new media overlords for the occasion of the premiere of House of Cards. The success of the first independent series produced by Netflix, along with the continued success enjoyed by web series and Hulu-produced content, has some scratching their heads about what to call this new viewing experience. I have an answer to this question: when enjoying The Booth at the End on Hulu or MyMusic on YouTube, one is watching television.
This search for another name for what we are doing while we enjoy Very Mary Kate or Husbands is pointless. That many consume this entertainment via a screen on what we now call a computer rather than on what we have traditionally called a television is immaterial.
By Paul Casey
When I had a talk before about why compilations needed to die, I was concerned about their tendency to solidify tastes rather than challenge them. I would stick to a handful of albums and obsess about arranging them, producing classy covers, and finding people to absorb my musical missives in good humor. Even though I have made attempts every few years to shake myself up and haul in new music to replace old, it was still such a costly exercise that I was rarely satisfied.
For those who have had Spotify available to them for several years, please forgive me for pointing out the obvious: It is possibly the greatest thing ever. Here in Ireland, being a largely backwards outfit, we have only recently been given the chance to put an ear towards such a severe streaming catalogue.
Ten euro a month is nothing for the quality of the service provided. Twice as much could be charged and it would still be an obscene bargain, especially for those humans who are still attached to the idea that financial recompense is a fair deal for created things. There are problems and quirks with Spotify of course, and a lingering question over whether this kind of subscription service can ever provide a living for artists. Seeing as the Internet has made solipsism the thing with music, I will ignore these for the moment and expand on how I have personally benefited from this service.