AL7egiance

L7: Donita Sparks, Suzi Gardner, Dee Plakas, and Jennifer Finch (circa 2017)After whetting the world’s appetite with two well-received singles, the newly reunited/reinvigorated L7 are ready to go the distance and record a full-length comeback album. They’ve just launched a campaign on PledgeMusic to crowdfund the project, with plenty packages and perks to offer their supporters, from signed limited-edition vinyl to “Life’s a Bitch” beach towels!

The progress-o-meter thingy had already passed the 50%-funded mark before I got a heads-up e-mail (via the organisers of the Kickstarter campaign for their critically-acclaimed, award-nominated retrospective documentary Pretend We’re Dead), and it shot up to 75%-funded shortly after I pledged… before mysteriously dropping back down to 62%-funded for no apparent reason. Pesky! But, as the old song says, we’ve only just begun, and there’s the promise of more items (and merch) to be announced over the next couple months, so I’ve no doubt that they’ll meet their target, and I’ll be enjoying a shiny new album by my all-time-favourite-band-of-all-time in the not-too-distant future! Hurrah!

Oh, they’re also touring the world as well, if you happen to like loud sweaty rooms, and live somewhere on the planet Earth…

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“Shouting At Helicopters!!!”

Diane Morgan as ‘Philomena Cunk’ for “Cunk on Britain” (S1)Although I was bitterly disappointed when Charlie Brooker announced that he was too busy to write/record a satirical Newswipe summary of 2017’s tumultuous political/cultural shifts/schisms, the trade-off has been a truly epic Black Mirror episode, and a full series of fun with ‘Philomena Cunk’ (Diane Morgan), as she “takes [us] right up the history of the United Britain of Great Kingdom”. Huzzah! After two previous specials, and numerous “Moments of Wonder”, there isn’t much more I can say about the presenter at this point… as some critics have pointed out, Cunk isn’t particularly consistent or carefully crafted as a character, but more of a collaborative conduit for several different writers’ comedic-stylings (including Morgan’s own ad-libbing)… thankfully the individual jokes/segments are still funny enough in their own right to quell any complaints, imho. Long may she reign!

Meanwhile, I was heartened to see that Jimmi Simpson has received a “Best Supporting Actor” nomination from Bafta, for his exceptional performance in “USS Callister”… though sadly Cristin Milioti’s name is nowhere to be seen…

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Her Roanoke Nightmare

Susannah Flood as ‘Kate Littlejohn’ in “For the People” (S1)ABC’s zippy new legal drama For the People is easy to watch, but hard to invest in… possibly because it’s a little too zippy for its own good at times, rushing through several heavily abridged cases-of-the-week in every episode, and leaving little time for viewers to form any real attachment to any of the defendants, explore their own thoughts/feelings about the hot-button issues thrown up by the trials, or challenge their own pre-existing political/social/moral biases, before everything is wrapped up neatly with a verdict and immediately forgotten. Nothing sticks, and nothing carries over, beyond a little light team bonding/antagonising. That said, the dialogue is witty and sharp, delivered by a confident and winning cast (many of whom are young and relatively unknown), so I was a little disappointed when I saw the dismal ratings and reviews that it’s receiving, because I for one will miss the show if/when it’s cancelled… though that’s mostly because of my budding crush on the ensemble’s buttoned-down stand-out, Assistant US Attorney ‘Kate Littlejohn’, played by Susannah Flood.

A rival (defeated) attorney describes Kate as intense and uncompromising, with the ability to “instil in you an incalculable fear and dread”… a socially-awkward-but-insanely-brilliant legal-eagle, crushing opponents with her inestimable intellect, rigorous research, and righteous zeal for The Rule of Law. She’s exactly the sort of uncompromising “angel” you’d want on your side when you’re in-the-right, but would hate to have railing against you when you’re in-the-wrong… which you’re almost certain to be eventually, since she’s such an obsessive stickler. Still, as we learned in the most recent episode (#1.3, “18 Miles Outside of Roanoke“), Kate’s not quite as “stone-cold” as she might appear at first glance, and does experience softer human emotions… as evidenced by Flood’s masterful delivery of an increasingly-emotional (and Emmy-worthy?) 400-word monologue regarding a seminal school field-trip, that handily summarises her “secret origins” as a kick-ass prosecutor, while also breaking the legal deadlock in a sticky negotiation.

Susannah Flood as ‘Kate Littlejohn’ in “For the People” (S1)Although I enjoy the novelty of seeing the contrasting/conflicting sides of the cases these lawyers (briefly) tussle over every week, with prosecutors and defenders both inspiring a certain amount of sympathy and admiration, if the characters were separated into two competing shows to give everyone/everything more air/impact, there isn’t a scintilla of doubt which one I’d be cueing up to watch first (and third)… I’m “Team Kate”, all the way!

Note: An earlier version of this post included a poor attempt at wordplay, suggesting that she “puts the ‘cute’ in ‘prosecutor’”, but it was deleted on the grounds that it’s demeaning, and doesn’t really work in print. Bygones!

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Couched But Uncompromised

Garfunkel & Oates (aka Kate Micucci and Riki Lindhome)A couple years back, I wrote quite a dickish post about the Garfunkel And Oates TV series, and their chosen singing style within the context of that sitcom… but since then I’ve become addicted to their albums, and frequently find their songs ear-worming their  way back into my head. Since the demise of the duo’s own show, Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci have collaborated on songs for The Big Bang Theory (composing Howard’s geeky/wordy ode to his quarantined wife, “If I Didn’t Have You”), and Another Period* (which Lindhome also stars in and (sometimes) co-writes, while Micucci occasionally recurs in a supporting role), but this week saw the release of their first new song/video under their G&O guise in almost three years!

Apparently “Both Sides Can Laugh” was inspired by a condescending fanemy’s suggestion that they write more middle-of-the-road, apolitical songs that partygoers on both sides of the political fence could enjoy… and they obediently set about the task of being as inoffensive and universal as possible, spinning cute/corny rhymes about slow-moving traffic and lost glasses, before slipping back into snarky attack mode, suggesting that right-wing views are so inherently toxic that they taint all attempts at empathy and impartiality. In other words, it’s hard to shake hands with someone who’s holding a gun and won’t let it go. Besides being hilarious, biting, and catchy-as-hell, it’s also delivered in a single, rapid-fire take, with seemingly effortless synchronisation/harmony of vocals and expressions. Bravissima!

Garfunkel & Oates (aka Kate Micucci and Riki Lindhome) recording the video for "Both Sides Can Laugh"Note: The lyrics are transcribed beneath the video on YouTube, so you can better appreciate their brilliant wordplay. Hurrah!

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* The third season of Another Period ended earlier this week with a double-headed finale, which leaned heavily into topical Trump-bashing satire by setting spoiled/self-regarding/incestuous/illiterate man-child ‘Frederick Bellacourt’ (Jason Ritter) up as a potential Presidential candidate… shudder! In this scenario, I can totally sympathise with doom-mongering housemaid ‘Blanche’ (Beth Dover), and would be screaming in terror/horror right alongside her. After my previous posts, there’s nothing much more I can say about the series, except to applaud its enduring awesomeness, and the multi-tasking talent of its co-stars/creators, Lindhome and Natasha Leggero.

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The D+C Files

Daphne & Celeste in the video for "Alarms"Earlier this week, super-cute electro-pop-saviours Daphne & Celeste released the video for their latest single, “Alarms”, in which our heroines make first contact with an unidentified alien*, and proceed to feed it, read to it, and pillow fight it, until it (literally) coughs up its secrets. M’kay. Apparently the vinyl edition boasts a cover of “Hi-Fidelity” from Fame as a B-side, which isn’t available in a digital format as yet (boo!), but can be previewed at this handy site.

Meanwhile, they’ve also been giving plenty interviews to promote their imminent new album, including this one for Dazed in which they wax retrospective about their contemporaries from the turn-of-the-millennium music scene** … and this one for i-D in which they reveal that the “nice guys” from Slipknot offered them a (metaphorical) shoulder to cry on after being bottled off the stage at Reading festival, back in the day. Believe it or not, there’s actually a surprising/pleasing amount of crossover between D&C and many of my fave metal acts… such as the heartfelt tribute to Lemmy (of Motörhead fame) that Celeste posted via her Instagram page, following his passing. Bless.

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* Er… am I the only one who thinks that alien kinda looks like a giant furry phallus? Was that intentional…?

** They also discuss the original “darker” video for their debut single “Ooh Stick You”, which I never even knew existed before… it’s kinda like a lost episode of Misfits, with them using evil mind-control powers to make random Londoners lip-sync to the song!

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Get In!

Screen-cap of a web-search, circa 4/3/18This weekend, I was idly Googling for new Chelsea Peretti videos, when I was confronted with the results pictured here. I was actually quite offended (on her behalf) by the headline… and even more-so by the fact that when I followed the link, the article wasn’t really about Peretti at all… it’s a brief summary of Peele’s career to-date, featuring a single line identifying his wifey as a “comedian and Brooklyn Nine-Nine actress”, followed by a jokey tweet from her about Get Out. Meanwhile the largely-unrelated embedded video rather ironically declares that this is the year when “women are stepping into their power”. Dammit, InStyle, you really suck at Feminism!

That said, I was pleased to discover this morning that her high-profile hubby has become the first black writer to bag an Oscar for “Best Original Screenplay”, which he can now add to the many other awards that he and his stunning debut feature have collected thus far. The fact that he achieved this barrier-breaking feat with a horror-comedy flick is all the more impressive, and I’m extremely envious of how he managed to explore so many touchy cultural/political issues, while also scoring solid laughs, within the formula/framework of a “genre” story. Kudos!

P.S. Oh, and a shout-out to Allison Williams and Betty Gabriel for their sterling work as “supporting actresses”… I’d have given them both a nomination, at the very least…

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(F)unfactual

Diane Morgan a la "The Archiveologists"Two weeks ago, with eff-all fanfare, the Beeb began broadcasting The Archiveologists, a six-part series of spoof-documentary shorts, for which Diane Morgan and Joe Wilkinson have re-dubbed/re-purposed old-timey archive footage, to “put their own twisted comedy spin on British social history and institutions.” The result is a brief blast of sweary irreverence and absurdity that scored big laughs from me (once I became aware of its existence, shrouded in the late-night schedules, that is)… so snaps to them for that!

[It airs at 22:25 on Tuesdays, on BBC2, in case you’re curious… though I’m just watching it on the iPlayer myself]

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