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So far Rob Levy has created 109 blog entries.

The Curmudgeon vs. The Music of 2010

Katy Perry

Let’s establish a basic fact first before we get started. First, I really am writing this with a bias. I listen to a lot of indie rock and electronica throughout the year. Any soul and hip-hop I get turned onto is by word of mouth or from loads of press reviews or recommendations from people.

To be fair, I didn’t listen to a lot of pop music in 2010. I am rectifying that in 2011 and have already heard a lot more Keisha, Nicki Minaj, etc. Although I appreciate the production and style in most cases, a lot of popular music these days is pure excrement.

In 2010 there were two pop artists that I heard everywhere: Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. I appreciate each for different reasons. With Lady Gaga it is how she delivers a complete package of slickly produced pop, fashion, video glam and controversy in her work. I think it makes her far more interesting for the average person to watch and thus sells some records. The same can be said for Katy Perry, although her sugar pop is much more broad in scope and less reliant on effects and remixing. She also has a knack for having more infectious lyrics in her songs. They must be effective in some way because the critics loved them and they sold a ton of records.

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By | 2017-09-24T22:44:47+00:00 January 16th, 2011|Curmudgeon|2 Comments

The Curmudgeon: An Open Letter to 2010

2010 sucked

Dear 2010:

I am glad you are gone. You were an abomination, a horror and a bunion on the foot of progress.

I have been racking my brain to figure out some good things about you. The things that came to mind were Janelle Monae, Cee-Lo Green, Arcade Fire, The National, True Grit, The King’s Speech, Inception, meeting Fred Schneider, George Clinton and Kevin Spacey. Plus The Walking Dead, Sherlock, Luther and all the great Indian food I had this year. I am also lucky to have had a good radio show and done some decent work (I hope) on some podcasts.

I shouldn’t bitch too much because I have a roof over my head and have more then most people in my situation, but sadly Mr. 2010, the general consensus is that you suck!

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By | 2017-09-24T22:44:50+00:00 January 9th, 2011|Curmudgeon|0 Comments

The Curmudgeon vs. The Multiplex: Movies of 2010

Inception top totem

For starters, I see a lot of movies. I love them. But I love seeing them in theaters with an audience who is experiencing the same sensory adventure I am. I think that is the way the medium works best.

Sadly, I have come to view the relationship with filmmakers as almost adversarial. This is because so many dreadful films have come out in the last five years that I don’t expect much from them in terms of consistency.

Thus when I sit in the dark and wait for the film to begin I expect to be wowed or entertained. I think that it is only fair for me to assume that if someone is making a film, they are at least competent enough to tell a story that draws me in while remaining visually interesting.

As a lover of cinema, I can appreciate a well-crafted work of art as much as a kicksplat orgy of action. However I do expect a movie to not insult my intelligence. Which, in today’s film culture, is asking for the impossible.

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By | 2017-09-24T22:44:59+00:00 January 2nd, 2011|Curmudgeon|0 Comments

13 Days of Xmas 2010, Day 9: Christmas Wrapping

Waitresses: Christmas Wrapping

When The Waitresses recorded “Christmas Wrapping” in New York on a scorching August day back in 1981, they had no idea that it would become an indelible part of Christmas pop music history.

Although The Waitresses were the brainchild of Chris Butler–who incorporated his love of various musical styles, including new wave, pop and jazz, into the band’s repertoire–it was the band’s first vocalist, Patty Donahue, who got them noticed. Donahue was a presence to be reckoned with. Her Bacall-like bravado mixed well with her rapid-style brand of talking/singing. Donahue was a take-no-prisoners front woman who had no problem speaking her mind or interjecting her own emotions onto the band’s records.

Although The Waitresses were primarily active in early 1980s, they remain affectionately timeless. This is largely due in part to the skillful fusion of Butler’s lyrics, some snazzy horns, tight percussion and Donahue’s raw energy, which manifested itself almost a decade and a half ahead of the riot grrl movement.

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By | 2017-09-24T22:45:08+00:00 December 21st, 2010|13 Days of Xmas|1 Comment

Music Monday: Loretta Lynn, Diego and the Dissidents, & Grinderman

More music picks for your Monday. If you like what you hear, use the links provided to snag it for yourself from Amazon. Doing so through us gives us kickbacks, and those help pay for stuff like powered caffeine. And more music.

Loretta Lynn: Country Music Hall of Fame
Diego and the Dissidents: Contaminated Waters
Grinderman 2

Two tracks from Rob and one from me (Widge) this week. First up, we have Loretta Lynn and the most excellent title track from her second album, “You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man).” Basically, it’s same sort of posturing that happens in a lot of music…but this is a bit classier, methinks.
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By | 2017-09-24T22:45:42+00:00 November 29th, 2010|Music Whenever|1 Comment

A Conversation With Martina Topley-Bird

Martina Topley-Bird, live with Massive Attack

Martina Topley-Bird, performing live in South Korea with Massive Attack

Martina Topley-Bird first garnered critical acclaim with her contribution to Tricky’s debut, Maxinquaye. Her voice made the record iconic and established her as an artist with tremendous potential.

Her debut album Quixotic was nominated for Britain’s Mercury Prize and was a critical success. Her second record, the Danger Mouse-produced The Blue God, saw her work with Damon Albarn and expand her standing as a siren on the rise.

With her latest record, Some Place Simple, Martina has sprinkled four new songs amongst selections from her first two albums, both of which had a great deal of difficulty getting a Stateside release.

The first thing you notice about Martina Topley-Bird is her voice. It is magnetic, dreamlike and otherworldly in its power. Her progress as a songwriter has progressed as well as she undauntingly strips bare her previous work to remold it for this album.

Rob Levy exchanged emails with the soultress about her music, writing, and all the fishes in the deep blue sea while she was on the road in Montreal touring with Massive Attack and Thievery Corporation.

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By | 2017-09-24T22:46:23+00:00 November 5th, 2010|Interviews|0 Comments

In Praise of The Great Pumpkin

Welcome Great Pumpkin

The Great Pumpkin was first discussed in the Peanuts comic strip in 1959. And now, over fifty years later–and forty-four since the animated special based on the character and those strips first aired–it’s like most things involving classic Peanuts. It’s aged well and does not suffer from a senior moment. And when CBS first aired It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown in 1966, they had no idea that they were leaving a huge footprint on American popular culture for generations to come.

The third Schulz feature (and first with the brilliant Bill Melendez) Great Pumpkin helped turn Halloween into a big time holiday while introducing the catch phrase “I got a rock” to future generations.

The story is pretty basic. Charlie Brown, who still can’t kick any football Lucy puts in front of him, again goes through another drama on a holiday as he ineptly screws up making his ghost costume. Despite his wardrobe malfunction, he goes through the motions of Halloween only to be embarrassed at every turn.

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By | 2017-09-24T22:46:48+00:00 October 28th, 2010|Stimuli|0 Comments