Movies, Podcasts

The FilmCouch is empty, and a Monkey weeps

OK, perhaps a little too dramatic of a headline. But the Monkey is sad to report that the FilmCouch podcast from SpoutBlog is no more. This week’s episode #114 was the last.

The Monkey was a latecomer to the podcast, having heard about it through cross promotion on the Filmspotting podcast. But during his short time with the show, he grew to like the offbeat approach of hosts Kevin Buist and Paul Moore, and the regular appearances of film critic Karina Longworth.

Like another late great podcast, All About Movies, what FilmCouch did best was incorporate lots of different ideas into each episodes. There would be some talk about new movies, some talk about old movies, and some unusual side trips into short films, film festivals, and other related topics.

It is hard to encapsulate the show into a few words because each week seemed to be a little bit different. But there was always something interesting to hear.

If you only listen to one epsiode, you should check out #99, which features a truly unusual interview with video artist Eric Fensler (the creator of the GI Joe PSA parodies) and a breakdown of the Robert Redford-Demi Moore- Woody Harrelson flick Indecent Proposal.

Where else is the Monkey going to find something like that?

Oh yeah, if you only watch one Fensler GI Joe PSA parody, it should probably be this one.

Shameless self indulgence

Yet another exciting day at Monkey Central

The following incidents took place during the hours of 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, March 28.

  1. Wake up to infomercial for a program that teaches babies how to read at an extremely young age. Note how commercial subtly suggests that parents who fail to get this program will put their children at a competitive disadvantage. Does a two-year-old really need to know how to read?
  2. Law and Order SVU Marathon begins on USA Cable Network. Briefly consider watching entire thing and doing a live blog-a-thon. But then realize that horrendously bad acting and convoluted plot twists are sure to cause insanity by episode 3. Instead call cable provider and ask for removal of USA network.
  3. Use internet to find out more about the Entrance Band (see previous post) and become increasingly intrigued with imagery of Nightmare Hippies. See band website here
  4. Download four songs from itunes, including two brand new songs by new Jack White side project The Dead Weather. One of the songs, called “Are Friends Electric?”, is great. See band website here.
  5. Drive to guitar lesson on less than a 1/4 tank of gas. Experience a vague sense of unease that continues to grow throughout the day.
  6. With the help of multiple program crashes and unasked-for page redirects, discover that Firefox no longer works on computer. Curse gods. Wonder if recent Firefox update is the cause of the problem.
  7. Get sucked into watching second half of exciting Pitt-Villanova basketball game. Wonder why announcer insists on referring to the feet of the basketball players as “puppies.”
  8. Play guitar literally until fingers bleed. Admire self in the mirror and ponder name change to Brian Adams.
  9. Discover that MSNBC is running a marathon of prison documentaries. Watch three hours of marathon and begin to experience paraniod fantasies that roomate will shank me at first opportunity. Begin to sharpen toothbrush against floor to use in self-defense.
  10. Drift off into restless sleep. Do Monkeys dream of electric bananas?
Music, Podcasts

Is This the Best Music Discussion Group out There?

The more the Monkey hears of the All Songs Considered Podcasts that feature the group discussions of NPR staffers Bob Boilen, Robin Hilton, Stephen Thompson, and Carrie Brownstein, the more he thinks that they might be one of the best things going in the world of rock criticism these days.

The group does not appear together on a weekly basis, but does semi-regular sessions to cover major events in the music business (Spring Music Preview, Fall Music Preview, South By Southwest Festival Previews, Year in Review and so on).

Click here for their latest discussion in advance of the SXSW Music Festival.

These are funny, informal chats by four people who really like music and play well off each other. Each of them has their own particular tastes, and they are not afraid to let each other know when they disagree on something.

Brownstein and Thompson in particular have a great chemistry, but the shows wouldn’t work as well without all four of them.

Your Monkey host could try to describe the humor, but that’s just lame. Listen to the podcasts, brother.

It is important to point out that the discussions are not negative or overly snarky.  They don’t hate everything and aren’t afraid to make fun of themselves.

And even if you don’t like everything you hear, it’s a great way to get exposed to a bunch of new music.

This again goes back to the Monkey’s theory that the future of “radio” will be to:

a. put a bunch of interesting people in a room

b. play a mix of known and unknown music that crosses over genres

c. talk about the music in a unique and interesting way

Pretty simple, isn’t it?

Now who wants to give me a job?

Here is the video for one of the songs that Brownstein highlighted on the show. It’s a good old-fashioned fuzzy focus multiple exposure psychedelic freakout.



The Boston Globe likes Ida Maria, too!

The Boston Globe website is now featuring an article on Norwegian singer Ida Maria, whose new album Fortress ‘Round My Heart came out on Tuesday.

Maria might be the flavor of the moment, but something tells this Monkey that she’s going to be around for a while.

The article on the Globe site is written by the excellent Joan Anderman. One highlight is the revelation that Maria has a condition called synesthesia, or sense confusion, which causes her to see colors when she hears music.

Read more here.


Today is a Day for Mastodon

Your Monkey was going to spend today writing clever posts about how worthless and unrewarding his corporate copywriting job is. He was going to use allegory and allusion, metaphor and simile to craft tiny gems of literary wisdom that would make you, Dear Reader, shake your head and smile at his command of the language.

But this is not the kind of day for positive thinking and diligent work. This is the kind of day for crankiness, eye rolling, and a general disgust with all this blogging and twittering and facebooking and social networking and websites with tips for job hunting and personal growth and financial success.

This is the kind of day for snarling, gut punching, straight ahead heavy metal.

OK, we can compromise. How about some heavy metal with metaphors and allegories and allusions. Maybe metal that references that great white whale Moby Dick?  How about some Mastodon?

Mastodon, by the way, has a new album that just came out. It’s called Crack the Skye, and it sounds pretty good. Find the band’s website here.

Music, Podcasts

Bell X1 writes the next great Talking Heads song

Your Monkey protagonist listens to a lot of podcasts over the course of his workday, and his patience can be tried from time to time. Not everything he hears strikes a chord with him, but there is so much time to kill every day, and so many podcasts out there, that he often has to kiss a few frogs before finding a Monkey Princess.

That princess, so to speak, came in the form of a new song by Bell X1 called “The Great Defector”, which was featured on the Minnesota Public Radio podcast “The Current Song of the Day”.  Check out that feed here.

Sounds a lot, a lot like the Talking Heads, but the David Byrne-style of music is working for those of us in Monkey copywriting right now.

Check out these videos for the Great Defector and Byrne’s new “Strange Overtones” collaboration with Brian Eno.

The first is a live performance and the second is (I believe) an independent video artist’s interpretation of the song, and not the official video. The imagery seems a little harsh for such a danceable song, but hey, I’m just a typewriting Monkey.

What do I know?


Ida Maria, so glad to see ya!

The new Ida Maria album, Fortress Round My Heart, is finally out today. Ida Maria is a Norweigian singer who makes the most energetic music this Monkey has heard in a long time. Apparently she is big in Europe, but this may be her first real chance to gain exposure here. The album is reviewed in the most recent issue of Rolling Stone.

Enough from the Monkey, here’s some Ida Maria. This is a great song, and the Monkey would be remiss not to mention the JeffMix Podcast, where he first heard it many months ago.

If you don’t find this song infectious, your immune system is too strong!