Showing posts with label music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label music. Show all posts

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Today is the 31st Anniversary of Siouxsie & The Banshees' "Peepshow"



As was noted today by Post-Punk (srsly, follow these people), and our own JimD (follow Jim, too, he could use the emotional support), today is the 31st anniversary of the release of Peepshow, the 9th album by Siouxsie and The Banshees.

Peepshow was one of those albums that, as the kids would say, got me through high school.*  While I liked the single of Peek-a-Boo when it debuted on MTV, I didn't actually buy the full album til the following year.  In practical terms, I listened to this album over and over, nurtured a fanboy crush on front woman Siouxsie Sioux, and felt things deeply while listening to said album on tape, which I was in danger of wearing out when I got my first CD player.



I tend to think of Peepshow as a very complete album.  It's more than a smattering of songs from a band, and it's not just that every song is single-worthy, or so I believe, but that the band found a flow to the songs that takes you from point to point.  It isn't a "concept album" nor does it tell a story, really, but it just clicks, track after track.  And, mostly, makes me miss the thing where you just lie on your bed, staring at the ceiling, listening to a record.

Here's to Peepshow, the first sexy depressing album with a dollop of S&M and pop fun that got me to hang posters of a woman on my wall that I know my mother did not approve of at all.

I did see Siouxsie and The Banshees in 1991 at the first Lollapalooza in Dallas, TX when they toured in support of Superstition, which also had some great singles.  And, yeah, they were pretty great despite the fact it was 98 degrees when they hit the stage.




*one day I suppose we should tackle this notion of "got me through high school" on the podcast with Maxwell and MRSHL.

Happy Birthday, Freddie

Because this and "We Will Rock You" were two of the first rock songs I remember, full stop.



I'll never not be sad I didn't see Freddie live.

Weird Al Watch: UHF (1989)



Watched:  09/02/2019
Format:   Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  No idea.  Must be a dozen
Decade:  1980's

My claim to fame is that I saw this movie twice in the theater.  Once - because it was summer, Weird Al had a movie, and it was mid-afternoon.  The second time I caught it was the day before I started high school, kicking off the tradition I kept up through college where you got and see a movie the day before the school year starts so you're thinking about something else.

You've either seen UHF (1989) or you haven't.  Starring "Weird Al" Yankovic, already quite famous by 1989 thanks to several hit novelty records and MTV airplay, the movie is basically a bunch of music videos and really funny sketches tied together with a razor-thin plot about running a broke, non-network TV station on the edge of town.  It's an underdog story about big corporate stations being run by mean people vs. underdogs who break the mold and come out on top thanks to creativity and a sense of community.  Or something.

It's also a reminder of how much weird comedy could get in the 1980's, with skits like Gandhi II and Spatula City, and that firing a firehose into a kid's face can be hilarious in the right circumstances.

The cast is weirdly impressive when you realize it features both Michael Richards and Fran Drescher just before they broke big just a few years later, but also Emo Philips, Billy Barty, David Bowe, Victoria Jackson, Gedde Watanabe, David Proval and a handful of "oh, that guy!" actors.  And, of course, in a stunning coup of casting brilliance - Kevin McCarthy as the evil network affiliate owner and operator.

I dunno.  There isn't much to say about the film.  It's still fun, even when you know not everything aged well or fallen out of relevance.  But a lot of it still has that magic (ex: Conan the Librarian continues to work all too well). 

And I genuinely like some of the gags, like the homeless guy asking for change to break a dollar.  Just gold.

Anyhow- for some early Michael Richards genius and pre-Nanny Fran Drescher, you can do way worse.  And Weird Al is just funny as all hell in this thing.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

PODCAST: "The Piano" (1993) - it's #3 in our 'What is Love?' series - w/ MRSHL and Ryan



Watched:  06/21/2019
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing: Second
Decade:  1990's

click for a complete list of tracks and Playlists from The Signal Watch PodCast

Become a Patron!


Just a couple of 40-something dudes, sitting around contemplating the nature of a woman's desire, the qualifications for feminist film, symbology and visual storytelling, and what's a woman to do when you find yourself in New Zealand in 1852 and married to a dud?




Music:

The Heart Asks Pleasure First - Michael Nyman, The Piano OST


Playlist - "What is Love?":

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Signal Watch is now a "Cats: The Movie" Stan Site



Look, it's @#$%ing inevitable that I'll watch the movie version of Cats, so I might as well lean into it.  I promise you can now look to The Signal Watch as Your News Site for the movie of Andrew Lloyd Webber's goofiest achievement (and he did Starlight Express), Cats.  And I hereby swear I will watch this movie opening weekend.

Fact:  I saw the musical of Cats touring once when I was sixteen and a theatre-kid in high school.  I mostly remember dancers in very tight costumes bending and flexing a lot and the woman playing Grizabella knocking it out of the house.

Fact:  I subsequently owned the two-tape soundtrack to Cats which I listened to twice before realizing "I do not think I actually like 85% of the music in Cats" but felt that as a theater-kid, I couldn't get rid of the tapes - but I did quietly migrate them to my mom's tape collection.

Fact:  I saw Cats a second time in college when it came through Austin and a friend said "hey, I've never seen Cats", and I was like "well, you should see it sometime," and then me and Peabo got tickets.  We looked at each other during the first number, realizing "oh god, we've made a horrible mistake" and that feeling never let up til the final curtain.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Poppins Watch: Mary Poppins Returns (2018)



Watched:  07/13/2019
Format:  BluRay
Viewing: Second
Decade:  2010's

Y'all, I @#$%ing love Mary Poppins. 

I already talked a bit about this movie back in December when we went to go see it as a holiday-timed family outing. 

Honestly, as much as I liked it the first time, on a second viewing, I liked it even more.  Once you're past the "what am I looking at?" aspect of such a big production and get over everything they're throwing at you and can process it as a movie with a story and things happening and songs you're not hearing one after another for the first time and dance sequences you're just trying to process...

Honestly, it's really a very well put together bit of entertainment and a fine companion piece to the original.  And I like it quite a bit. 

Yes, you can still both absolutely map the movie scene for scene as a remake of the original, but it is, in fact, a sequel, so it also has a new plot and new problems and works in elements of the original as plot points, creating some terrific continuity.  I *liked* the songs the first time, and on a second viewing, I really liked the tunes.  They may not have the immediate impact of soft-rock favorites in the manner of Moana or Frozen, and they remain so much in the vein of the Sherman Bros., we aren't going to get a Broadway showstopper akin to Let It Go, but the song-craft is still tremendous and the songs almost as powerful as carrying the story forward as Moana

And, of course, Emily Blunt's take on Mary Poppins is...  well, she's pretty great.

Anyway - I won't belabor it.  I rewatched the film, enjoyed it again, and will watch it again in the future.  This movie could have been a trainwreck and dimished the original - instead, the level of attention of detail in recreating the world of a movie from 60 years prior and updating it to a different period is phenomenal.  Not to mention the recreation of Disney's 2D circa 1960 animation house style brought into this new film.  The spirit is so much the same from head to tail on this movie, it's an astounding feat.

And whether it's the Julie Andrews original film or this belated follow-up, I still @#$%ing love Mary Poppins.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Rock Watch: Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)



Watched:  06/15/2019
Format:  BluRay
Viewing: First
Decade:  2010's

One of my earliest memories is being about three, hanging from the inside of the garage door and singing "We Will Rock You" and kicking the garage door to the beat.  Who knew a 3 year old would have that kind of appreciation for a Brian May guitar lick?

It's hard to piece together what I knew about Queen and when. It doesn't help that time for kids is so distended, and what were minor hiatuses for the band were epic blocks of time to me back then.  I do remember them coming back into my consciousness with "Radio Gaga".  I remember a bit of Live Aid on playback (but not live).  I remember Freddie passing.

And, of course, anyone around at the time remembers the post-mortem, Wayne's World supported explosion of "Bohemian Rhapsody", a song I can't say I'd heard before.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Friday, May 10, 2019

PODCAST(s)! "Legend of Billie Jean" (1985) and "Pump Up the Volume" (1990) - Teens in Revolt! w/ Maxwell, Marshall and Ryan!


Watched:  05/02/2019
Format:  LoBJ - Amazon Streaming, PUtV - DVD
Viewing:  LoBJ - First!, PUtV - unknown
Decade:  1980's, 1990s

For more on The PodCast - where to find the podcast with your favorite service, etc...

The Signal Watch blog - we also write essays and review movies and stuff

Become a Patron!

*NSFW* Maxwell and Marshall come into the studio to talk TEENS IN REVOLT!  It's "The Legend of Billie Jean" (1985) and "Pump the Volume" (1990), two movies where teens grab the airwaves and tap into the spirit of being a teen and find themselves on the wrong side of the law!  We take a look at two classic teen movies for our generation and try to decide: what are these kids so dang grumpy about?

Part 1



Part 2




Music

Part 1
Invincible - Pat Benatar, Legend of Billie Jean OST
Rebel Yell - Billy Idol, Legend of Billie Jean OST

Part 2
Everybody Know - Leonard Cohen, I'm Your Man
Titanium Exposé - Sonic Youth, Goo/ Pump Up the Volume OST



High School Movies


Friday, April 12, 2019

44



(Fast) Slow Disco - St. Vincent

I sway in place to a slow disco
And a glass for the saints and a bow for the road

Am I thinking what everybody's thinkin'?
I'm so glad I came, but I can't wait to leave?

Slip my hand from your hand
Leave you dancin' with a ghost
Slip my hand from your hand
Leave you dancin' with a ghost

There's blood in my ears and a fool in the mirror
And the bay of mistakes couldn't get any clearer

Am I thinking what everybody's thinkin'?
I'm so glad I came, but I can't wait to leave?

Slip my hand from your hand
Leave you dancin' with a ghost
Slip my hand from your hand
Leave you dancin' with a ghost

Don't it beat a slow dance to death?
Don't it beat a slow dance to death?
Don't it beat a slow dance to death?
Don't it beat a slow dance to death?
Don't it beat a slow dance to death?
Don't it beat a slow dance to death?

Slow Disco


Slow Slow Disco


Official Video Slow Disco


ACL Fest Slow Disco

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

PODCAST! "Captain Marvel" (2019) - Jamie, The Dug, K and Ryan and a Not Quite Chronological Countdown



Watched:  03/09/2019
Format:  Alamo Slaughter Lane
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2010's

Jamie's brother and sister-in-law were in town, and we all saw the screen debut of Marvel's cosmic-type Avenger. Join Jamie, The Dug, K and Ryan as we share our "first reaction" takes on what happens the 90's collide with aliens, space faring adventure, Annette Benning, and Marvel's first female lead (it's about time, y'all).




Music:
Captain Marvel Theme - Pinar Toprak, Captain Marvel OST


Patreon:
Become a Patron!


Avengers Chronological Countdown



Thursday, February 14, 2019

PODCAST! It's High School Musicals with "Grease" (1978) and "High School Musical" (2006) - Maxwell, Mrshl and Ryan




GREASE (1978)
Watched:  01/28/2019
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  Easily my 15th or 16th, maybe more
Decade  1970's

High School Musical (2006)
Watched:  02/08/2019
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2000's

Maxwell and Ryan welcome Marshall to the PodCast as they discuss "Grease" and "High School Musical", two movies that are about finding love and finding out who you are in the nightmare factory that is the American Public High School.  One of these films is definitely for kids, and the other... really, not for kids, no matter what America wants to think.




Music:

Summer Nights - Grease OST - cast
We Go Together - Grease OST - cast
Grease - performed by The Signaltones

High School Movies:

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Musical Watch: High Society (1956)


Watched:  02/05/2019
Format:  TCM on DVR
Viewing: First
Decade:  1950's

So, this is a musical version of The Philadelphia Story - the classic flick starring Hepburn, Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant.  Apparently that play became the movie of The Philadelphia Story, which became the stage musical High Society, which became this movie.

This movie isn't... great.  It's not bad, and I laughed out loud at a number of things, but on the whole, I'd rather be in Philadelphia.  And I say that as someone who is a fan of Bing Crosby movies and likes Cole Porter.

What this movie does do is let Louis Armstrong play himself, and give him time to appear quite a bit in the movie.  And he's not bad!

This is also the movie that dares to remind you that Grace Kelly was very, very good looking* - which, as she is not Kate Hepburn, seems to be the primary driver for why men are after her (ladies, believe it or not, personality and wit go really, really far.  Be a Kate Hepburn.).

I dunno.  I wish the music had more zip and it didn't feel like an echo of something else, but Bing looks like he's having a ball with Frank, and a gentleman in tophat and tails, suffering from a hangover, yells at a bird, and that was one of the funniest things I've seen in, like, a week.


*again, very attractive, that Grace Kelly

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (2016)



Watched:  01/05/2019
Format:  cable on DVR
viewing: first
decade:  2010's

A lot of this movie worked for me for what it was.  I suspect the less than amazing box office (a total domestic take of $9.6 million - no international numbers reported) for the movie may be attributed to the oddball place it found itself in, demographically.  Had this movie arrived in the early 00's, I think it would have been a $60 million or more earner, but the approach hails from the 90's and 00's - where the structure is utterly predictable, it's far more about what the movie hangs on that skeleton via gags and jokes.  The stars of the film and pop scene isn't really the focus of Gen-X'ers, and, to be kind, the view of Millennials re: pop music seems to be a hearty embrace, free from irony and with a big thumbs up to being marketed to.

But, yeah, if you're into Andy Samberg's brand of humor, this is that. For 90 minutes.  And there are so, so many cameos, many of which are almost funnier just based on the timing of when and how the star appears (hats off to Mariah Carey, in particular).   And, Tim Meadows, as always, the most underutilized, funniest guy in anything. 

This is in no way essential viewing, but Jamie watched it once and said "yeah, it's better than you think", so we watched it.  And, yeah, it did the trick for a second movie on a Saturday evening (especially after Thor 2).






Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Musical Watch: Call Me Madam (1953)



Watched:  12/30/2018
Format:  disc
viewing:  first
decade:  1950's

When we were kids Ethel Merman was still part of the popular consciousness, but I'm not sure what folks my parents' age thought of her (I can pretty much guarantee my dad found her annoying).  Merman was a Broadway performer with a brassy voice and who had a sort of streetwise persona paired with a self-deprecating wit.  I think. 

Call Me Madam (1953) was originally a Broadway show with music by Irving Berlin and starring Merman, apparently a Tony Award-winning show.  I only listened to about five minutes of the commentary, but the narrator was quick to leap on the notion "look, this was based on stuff everyone in 1953 would have just known from the news, but hasn't really remained in the zeitgeist".  Despite the fairytale-like story, apparently Call Me Madam is loosely based on a real person and events. 

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Holiday Watch: White Christmas (1954)


Watched:  Some time in December
Viewing:  Unknown
Format:  Netflix
Decade:  1950s

I watched White Christmas (1954) a couple of weeks ago and forgot to write it up.  It's a Michael Curtiz flick, which means it's automatically a decent sort of film.  I understand Bing Crosby thought the film's final product was a disappointment, and I have to say - there's something odd about the movie I can never quite put my finger on that doesn't work.

Likely my main issue is that the third act misunderstanding between Rosemary Clooney and Crosby makes no sense at all (and seems like a single question posed by Clooney's character would have cleared things up).  And I learned this viewing that the part played by Danny Kaye was originally supposed to be Donald O'Connor, which...  we'll just have to let our imaginations fill in the blanks, but some of what's in the script makes more sense if that's who you wrote the part for.

While mostly a bit of holiday fluff, it is an interesting peek into the Post WWII American mindset and does give us a bit of the returning soldier's melancholy as some try to find their useful place in society when they aren't commanding a regiment.

Also, Rosemary Clooney wears a black dress that Jamie and I are going to have to agree to disagree about.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas Eve from The Signal Watch



It's Christmas Eve here at The Signal Watch.  By now the sun is down and, if you're lucky, there's not much to do but make yourself a cup of cocoa or pour a cocktail or two.  Unless you're headed for Midnight Mass or late service.  If so, we'll catch you on the other side.

I hope your Christmas Eve is spent as you'd wish.  For me, it's a small gathering of family.  We're planning to eat tacos and tamales (this is Texas, after all), and stay up a bit late watching movies and maybe indulging in those cocktails.  I'll be the last one up, most likely.  I am every year and have been since I was a kid.

stockings are hung by the chimney with care

I like that image from Paul Dini and Alex Ross's graphic novella Peace on Earth.  As Scrooge might have learned on his own Christmas Eve - there's more joy in others than in the accumulation of riches, more satisfaction in knowing we've reached out somehow to our neighbors here on this big, blue marble.  Let's all strive to do better and raise each other up in 2019.

For the past several years I've closed out with Ms. Darlene Love and one of my favorite Christmas tunes.  If I didn't love the song before (and I did), then seeing Ms. Love perform the song as her show closer here in Austin a few years back was one of the best live performances I've ever seen.  After the melancholy tunes of the Vince Guaraldi Trio, some Nat King Cole, some Sinatra and some new favorites - this is how I want to say goodnight before Christmas morning arrives and a new round of celebration begins.

This version has the incredible addition of Ms. Patti LaBelle.

Peace on Earth.  Goodwill towards all.  God bless us, every one.




Monday, December 10, 2018

Christmas Watch: "Holiday Inn" (1942)


Watched:  12/07/2018
Format:  streaming on Prime, I think
Viewing:  7th or so
Decade: 1940s

Holiday Inn (1942) is a terrific movie, except for the deeply problematic blackface sequence.