Wednesday, May 31, 2006

As I may have mentioned once or twice, I toyed now and again with a Pulp-specific blog. For the time being, let me pass on two tidbits. First, the band Washington Social Club has a song called "Jarvis Cocker" and it's worth hearing here or here. Second, according to this site, three Pulp albums are set to be reissued with a second disc of who-knows-what. Someday, I'll have a proper forum and be in the right head to tell you why this band is so worthy of reappraisal, how deeply relevant they continue to be. I'll let you know when that day occurs.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The two-hour season finale of Lost airs tonight, allowing me to reflect a bit on why it’s the only mega-popular TV show on the air right now that I deign to watch.

First of all, I should outline what aren’t reasons I watch it: I don’t watch for the dorky cross-references and “clues” the writers like to dole out. Also, I generally don’t go online to read message boards and whatnot. When watching TV, movies or reading books, I’m not so much into puzzle-solving. I like being swept up, struck dumb even.

To that end, the writing, directing and editing on Lost are firmly dedicating to ratcheting the suspense up and down at all the right moments. Also the music -- I was obsessed with the severe trombone glissando that would usher in many a commercial break in Season 1. To my disappointment, it was used only once (I think) in the second season, but Missy Elliott or someone should still base a song around it.

The acting is hit-and-miss, with Terry O’Quinn and Naveen Andrews as the most redoubtable. At the opposite end of the spectrum are people like Dominic Monaghan, who maintains my interest only when I’m trying to figure out which British rock stars his character is modeled after. (I think it’s Damon Albarn’s hair-when-he-had-hair, plus Pete Doherty’s heroin addiction, plus Ray and Dave Davies’ familial issues.)

None of this, however, fully explains the unique appeal of the show. It’s a little perverse, what makes Lost especially exciting for me. Basically, I’m waiting for it to suck.

See, I think I’ve watched enough DVD commentaries from TV writers to come to the depressing realization that most of these folks do not in fact have a grand masterplan for story arcs or a series in its entirety. Many times, they don’t even have an episode-to-episode strategy. This is especially, painfully apparent with Lost. And yet, the show maintains its iron grip on me every Wednesday night – partially because of the show’s Hitchcock-on-a-rollercoaster intensity, but also because there’s a tension in wondering just how long the writers can keep all these balls in the air before it all comes crashing down, and the next thing I know, it all feels like a latter-day episode of Twin Peaks.

Or maybe it’s already at that point. I only realized the TP Windom Earle episodes were crap in hindsight. I’ve cut Lost slack in regards to its delayed revelations and red herrings, mainly because I think the good still outweighs the bad. I do, however, have one request: No more coincidences among the castaways. We get it. They’re all on the island for a reason. In fact, I’d love to see an episode that tracks two seemingly disparate castaways and eventually reveals at the end that they in fact were complete and total strangers who led totally differing and unconnected lives before the crash.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Oh man. Wish I was going to L.A. now. I'm already jealous of whoever will get to own Franklin.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Pretenders' Pirate Radio boxed set is as spotty as you'd expect, coming from a band whose reputation is almost wholly based on their first album. Nevertheless, I'm glad the latter discs reacquainted me with a few songs, such as the '95 live acoustic version of the obscure "Criminal." Apart from a cliche-ridden, place-holding second verse, the song is a wholly devastating dissection of a busted relationship. And Chrissie Hynde's wounded vibrato is the kind of tight close-up you wish more dramas would give you. Or maybe not; maybe it would be too painful to have to witness that kind of thing on a semi-regular basis.

Anyway, nothing on Pirate Radio is as bad as the stuff on the last disc of Bowie's last box.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Work and things have intruded on the maintenance of this blog. However, let me just say that this sounds a whole lot like this. 'Nuff said.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

My slow but certain rise to the upper echelons of punditry continues here.

Watch your back, Alan Light.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Column here.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Not on the web, but on newstands now: I wrote a piece on fab Philly band Audible for the current issue of Philadelphia Style magazine.