Five Things that are Srsly Happening – Vol. 1

A few weeks ago (OK like… 2 months ago ) I said I was going to start posting here more regularly. I come across lots of interesting bits and bites of music and pop culture lore on a weekly basis and I have this forum for sharing so why not?

Anyways lots of stuff came up between now and then but I figured better late than never. So here goes: five things that are currently on my mind:

1. Portishead is prepping a new record

This is outstanding news. Last time Portishead announced they were releasing a new album it was after a 10 year hiatus and it probably came as a bit of a surprise to fans and critics alike. How often does that happen and more importantly when it does how often does the band actually pull it off? Well 3 was a fantastic record that somehow managed to perfectly part ways with Portishead’s erstwhile sound while retaining just enough of their tone to be recognizable. It was all over top 10 lists that year (including my own) and I have high hopes for a new one.

Notably this is one of the best live bands you will ever see. I had the chance to see them right before Prince at Coachella a few years ago and the whole thing made for a mind-blowing experience.

The video above is for a song they made for Amnesty international back in December. Cool beans! Also in the "news" department today Geoff Barrow went on Twitter to talk about how much he hates Twitter but uh… who cares?

2. Peaches and Gonzales did some performances of "Peaches Christ Superstar"

I hate musicals so much but for some reason I make an exception for Jesus Christ Superstar. In fact every Good Friday in recent history I have invited all my friends over bought a ton of beer ordered fish ‘n’ chips and had a viewing party. Full passionate sing-alongs inevitably ensue. I’ve never been a massive Peaches fan or anything but she’s always struck me as a musician with integrity to spare and on last year’s Flaming Lips/Stardeath & White Dwarf cover album of Dark Side of the Moon her interpretation of the Great Gig in the Sky vocals really blew me away. I have faith that her rendition of Blood Money will be similarly jaw-dropping so here’s hoping she’ll schedule more tour dates or release a DVD or a youtube or something. For the time being we can all rock out to the badass original:

3. NBC is bringing back Parks & Recreation

This is pretty old news but the best comedy show on TV right now is coming back for a third season. It was never quite cancelled but NBC decided to make it a mid-season replacement after its fantastic (i.e. critically acclaimed but people would rather watch crap shows like 2 1/2 Men or How I Met Your Mother somehow…) second season.

Parks & Rec had a slow start. The first season was less than a dozen episodes long and at the time it seemed like a half-baked effort to cash in on the success of the mockumentary feel of the Office. Fortunately Amy Poehler and her excellent excellent excellent co-stars turned things around by the start of their second season and the show has really come into its own. Check it out lest it go the way of Arrested Development…

4. Un Prophète is a really good movie

I was in Switzerland over Christmas visiting some family and grippin’ & rippin’ in the Alps. Every single thing you’ve ever heard about European skiiers is 100% true. MAN French people! Get off my skis guys! Putin!

Shortcomings on the slopes aside though French people make some good frigging movies and Un Prophète is a prime example of that. I watched this in two sittings half on the way there (while I was trying to avoid thinking about sleeping on the plane) and half coming home. Honestly the first half was so intense that I had to shut it off… very very intense extremely powerful performances from all actors involved very gripping story. This is a film that shows you life through the eyes of an illiterate Arab-French juvenile delinquent clawing his way towards survival in a vicious corrupt prison system. It’s bloody it’s relentless and it’s very good. Thanks KLM! Also thanks for my A/V system busting halfway home leaving me stranded with only 15 minutes of the Social Network which I really would have enjoyed…

5. Brian Eno and his "paintings" are in town for the High Performance Rodeo

Eno’s talk at Jack Singer last night clocked in around the 2.5 hour mark (a bit much by my standards) but it was compelling enough to keep me awake and the legendary producer’s dry British wit helped make the minutes tick by a little bit more easily. Not so for everyone—one fellow attendee speculated to me that Eno has spent a bit too much time "drinking his own bath water." I don’t know if I agree completely but I found myself feeling a bit sympathetic. Seriously 2.5 hours.

That said there’s no good reason not to check out his 77 Million Paintings installation at the Glenbow Museum. My understanding is that it’s a 3-screen audio-visual affair where a computer randomly picks paintings and sounds from a bank of several hundred and cross-fades them together very very slowly. The result according to most of the critiques I’ve heard is that it seems like everything’s changing at the same time even though it feels like nothing’s changing at all. Also there are comfy couches.

The Glenbow’s pay-what-you-can launch party is on January 15th from 7:00 PM onward so that might make for a great opportunity to head down and check it out. Bonus: seems like Chad Van Gaalen will be premiering a new short film!