7 items from 2016
Even legends have to start somewhere.
For the Doors — the psych rock pioneers who pushed the limits of minds and music with tracks like “Light My Fire,” “Love Me Two Times” and “L.A. Woman”— it can all be traced to the London Fog on Los Angeles’ Sunset Strip. Just months after forming, the nascent group was offered a residency at the down-at-the-heels club in early 1966. Having played little more than the odd college party for their UCLA film school friends, the London Fog became the Doors’ home base and testing ground. Six nights a week, from 9 p.m. to 2 a. »
- Jordan Runtagh
When Paul McCartney shocked the world in April 1970 with his announcement of the Beatles' break-up, drummer Ringo Starr added a surprise of his own by becoming (initially, at least) the most musically active member of the former Fab Four.
As he would later recount in the lyrics of "Early 1970," the deceptively jaunty b-side of his 1971 hit "It Don't Come Easy," Starr was the only Beatle who didn't have any serious beef with any other member of the band at the time. Feeling lost without the family dynamic of the musical »
Stephen Stills has always been a masterful songwriter. From his tremendous early days in the Buffalo Springfield and Csn/Csny and Manasas to his extraordinary solo output, he's canon of rock and folk-rock work is quite impressive. So it should come as no surpirse that his latest tune -- "Look Each Other In The Eye” -- should be excellent. And excellent it is! This timely pre-election song by Mr. Stills boasts a rhythmic Latin salsa lilt with simple but biting lyrics as infectious as anything he's ever released. "Look at what you started now..."
- Dusty Wright
There are a few songs that no movie about the 1960s should be allowed to use ever again. “Fortunate Son” is one of them. “All Along The Watchtower” is another. Cueing up one of these tracks sends a clear message to the audience: We won’t be showing you the ’60s, but “the ’60s,” a version of the decade informed entirely by cliché, received wisdom, and pop-culture osmosis. We are seeking a nod of recognition and that is all. In his tone-deaf directorial debut American Pastoral, Ewan McGregor dusts off one of these played-out jukebox signifiers: “For What It’s Worth,” that mellow movie-trailer staple from Buffalo Springfield, written about the curfew riots of 1966 but widely reclaimed as an anti-war protest song. By the time the tune arrives, however, its comforting dings announcing a clash of culture and counterculture, McGregor has already committed to a vision of the ’60s »
- A.A. Dowd
Spoilers! Warning! Danger! I’m going to discuss some questions raised in Captain America: Civil War, which means some plot points will get spilled. If you haven’t yet seen the film – it’s just out on Blu-Ray – you may not want to proceed.
There are a lot of things I enjoyed about Captain America: Civil War but what I liked best was the question that was at the center of the narrative. During an action in Legos involving Cap and some members of the Avengers, there is a mistake and an explosion and innocent bystanders get killed. This, coupled with the human collateral damage witnessed in previous Marvel films, causes members of the United Nations to create The Slovenia Accords – named after the site of the massive destruction in Avengers: Age of Ultron. »
- John Ostrander
Much like his beloved New York Mets, the novels of Philip Roth have repeatedly frustrated the grandest hopes of many a fervent follower, at least as far as film is concerned. From Ernest Lehman to Robert Benton, Barry Levinson, and most recently James Schamus, the author’s peculiar brew of existential angst has simply proven too elusive for filmmakers great and small.
And so it proves for first-time director Ewan McGregor, whose “American Pastoral” tackles the greatest of Roth’s late-period works with obvious admiration and attempted fidelity, only to see the beating heart of the book slip further and further from his grasp with every scene. Groping for grand tragedy and finding only actorly melodrama, shooting for political contrarianism but landing instead on reactionary conventionalism, “American Pastoral” is as flat and strangled as its source is furious and expansive.
In addition to directing, McGregor also stars as the ill-fated protagonist Seymour “Swede” Levov, »
- Andrew Barker
So this summer I've fallen back in love with vinyl, thanks in part to Cc editor Steve Holtje giving me a satchel of essential albums this past winter, thus forcing me to buy a new turntable. It seems like only yesterday when vinyl ruled my world -- when Tower Records was part of my weekly Saturday routine, when vinyl was both King and Queen, and when analog music was so much easier on the ears and a much more enjoyable listening experience. (And one had to actually participate in said experience by flipping the album over after one side was finished playing.) Now I get to replace most of the vinyl I sold or gave away with either 180 gram, remastered versions or pristine used copies found in thrift shops or on the numerous Facebook vinyl user groups I've recently joined. Please indulge me as I "wax" poetic about three new »
- Dusty Wright
7 items from 2016
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