My British (TV) Invasion

January 30, 2013

BritishFlagTV
It started a few months ago with Doctor Who, then came Downton Abbey, and now Sherlock. I don’t think I’ve really even watched a new American show in months.

I remember making the decision to watch Doctor Who. I was flipping through Netflix trying to find a new series to watch after finishing Mad Men. I’d seen mentions of Doctor Who around the interwebz and figured if my nerdy friends like it, I might too. But after the first episode I found it to be annoying and the aliens to be reminiscent of The Power Rangers in the ’90s. I was disappointed, but I continued to watch a few more episodes. Then I was hooked. I spent most of my days with the Doctor and his various companions — Rose is still my least favorite. (The Daleks still make my ears bleed, every single time they talk. I hope the Doctor EX-TERM-IN-ATES them for real. They don’t even creep me out like other creatures do, they just annoy the shit out of me.)

Eventually I ran out of Doctor Who episodes on Netflix and had missed season 7 on BBC America (which my cable provider doesn’t offer in HD so, that sucks, a lot). I saw that all the episodes would be airing prior to the Christmas Special, so I set up the DVR and snagged them all. Moving from the HD, commercial-free Doctor Who to non-HD commercial-ridden Doctor Who annoyed me to no end. You mean this is how regular people watch this? That’s awful. Poor people. #Sadface.

After watching a few horrible movies, I decided to watch Downton Abbey (the buzz and all that). Of course, I got sucked into it. I’m so typical. But I just had to see if Mary was ever going to tell cousin Matthew that she really loved him (if you haven’t seen it, that last sentence won’t make much sense to you, but yes, it’s just as messed up as you can imagine. But it was 1920s England, apparently that shit was ok.) Netflix only had season 1, so I had to use up another free trial over at HuluPlus to watch season 2. I finished it in time to be all caught up before season 3 started.

Now that I’m on a weekly schedule with Downton Abbey (thankfully commercial-free), I needed something else to watch.

I’ve had Sherlock in my Instant Queue since I started Doctor Who and decided to give it a whirl. The thing that prevented me from watching it sooner was the limited amount of episodes. Yes, they’re 90 minute mini-movies, but there are only six. SIX!! That’s it. That’s all you get. (Thanks Moffat, you dick. It’s not like you’re working on another major show or anything. KIDDING!!). Last Friday I watched three episodes. Yesterday, I watched the remaining three episodes and now I have nothing. And of course, it ends on a serious cliff hanger! Arrrrggggghhh!!

According to Wikipedia, season 3 isn’t even in production yet, that’s apparently supposed to kick off in March. That means a few months of taping, post-production, blah blah, and hopefully it’s aired concurrently in the UK and US, unlike the whole Downton Abbey thing, by the end of the year. Chances are though, I might have to wait until early 2014. I figure I should be able to finish all 50-ish Sherlock stories by then (haha!) and I’ll be way ahead of the game. I haven’t decided if I’m going to start with the obvious next story, or if I’m going to start from the beginning.

I watched an episode of Ripper Street last week and really liked it, but the fact that BBC America isn’t in HD really limits how much I can enjoy it. Also, it hurts my eyes. I need to get in contact with my cable company and have them fix that. My HD options are seriously limited and it’s 20-freakin-13, c’mon now!

I don’t know what’s up with my latest obsession. I mean, I watched four seasons of Breaking Bad in the same time, and I love that show, but there’s something novel about British TV that appeals to me. Or else I’m just a closeted hipster turning my back on American TV like everyone else in America. Although it probably has something to do with the fact that popular American TV is made up of a lot of reality shows (Honey Boo Boo, Kardashians, whatever shit MTV is calling TV these days, etc) and that crap is getting annoying. I don’t even care about American Idol this year, for the first time in a decade, and most network TV shows suck. I can only DVR so many cable shows before my DVR fills up and I delete them to wait for the commercial-free versions on Netflix.

Or maybe British TV is just better than American TV and I’m just now realizing this.

Advertisements

I spent this past weekend at my parent’s house. Friday night I walked into the family room and my dad was watching “Live from Daryl’s House.” Dad asked, “Ever seen this show? It’s great.” Of course I hadn’t since I don’t even have sweet channels (if I do, they’re not in HD. So in my mind, I don’t have them). Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to watch it because mom needed my help with something. So, I just went about my weekend and didn’t think about it again.

Then on Sunday my dad gave me a flash drive of new music (he usually does this in a “hey check these guys out” sort of way). To be honest, I didn’t even see who was on it, I just put it in my computer, transferred the files and that was it. Today I finally had a chance to look at what he gave me.

One of the artists was Allen Stone. I’d never heard of him before so I did what I always do and hit “play” on iTunes and started Binging (yeah, I’ve fully converted to Bing and never use Google anymore). One of the first links that popped up was “Live from Daryl’s House” featuring Allen Stone.

So I clicked and watched.

Amazing.

It wasn’t so much that Allen Stone is an amazing artist (because he totally is), but the show as a platform is pretty fucking sweet. I thought it was incredibly awesome that Daryl’s band learned Allen’s songs and he basically just showed up and played with an entire band that sounds like they’ve been playing with him for years. Obviously that’s not the case. So, in short, there’s an incredible group of musicians who are working on this show. The artists who stroll through “Daryl’s house” are pretty great too.

He’s had Cee Lo Green, Eric Hutchinson who drives himself to Daryl’s house, which is unusual based on the episodes that I’ve seen, (he’s also one of my favorites ever, so… I’m totally biased), Jason Mraz, who has a really interesting (in my opinion anyway) dinner conversation with the group, Fitz and the Tantrums, which is a great episode, mostly because I LOOOOOVE Fitz (but the music is stellar! Watch it!!), and Rob Thomas also has a great episode.

Apparently the show has been around for a while on the internet (and some random TV station my dad has), and once again, I am late to the party. Better to be late than not show up at all, right?

**UPDATE AT BOTTOM**

I haven’t done a music post in a while (a very long while) and was inspired to do another one by my friend @BrainLemon (check out his music post).

The other day, I was looking for more “workout music” because I’ve been doing that sort of stuff for a while (check out my running blog). I just happened to come across a few new bands that I think might be of interest to some of you and one I’ve been meaning to show you guys for a while now.

First, Of Monsters and Men. I actually scolded my twitter followers for failing to tell me about them sooner. Their album “My head is an animal” is great! It’s a bit Mumford but not so bluegrassy and it’s kinda whisper-y like Bon Iver. But that’s not really accurate either, they’re sort of hard to explain, they’re an indie-pop-rock group, kinda (does that make it any more clear?). But here’s what I’ve learned so far: They’re from Iceland. Won a battle of the bands contest in 2010. Landed a record deal in early 2011. Released their first album “My head in an animal” later that year in Iceland. They released the album in the US in April of this year.

The first song I heard was “Little Talks”. I believe I first found it on Cities97.com’s Studio C (<– that's a great live performance. Meaning: it sounds just like the studio version, if not BETTER. You don't see that very often). It's catchy and poppy (totally my thing) but it's also kinda sad (not my thing, but I love the contrast).

After listening to the album twice now (remember, that’s the rule, you MUST listen at least twice before making any judgments. Unless that song is “Whistle” by Flo Rida, then you can judge it instantly) I think my favorite song is “From Finner.” The lyrics are a little confusing (is it a giant metaphor or just strange a LSD trip?) but the music is wonderful, especially Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir’s vocals (she looks like a reincarnation of Bjork but prettier, and yes, I C&P’d her name). They’re amazing.

(Favorite part of the video, aside from the performance: “hahaha… spilled your beer…” It made me chuckle.)

You can quote me on this: they’re going to be big.

The Lumineers. I’m torn on this group. I’m just not a HUGE folksy-roots fan. That said, I’ve had a few of their songs literally stuck in my head and I just can’t be upset when I listen to their music. Most of you have probably heard “Ho Hey” on the radio, and while it’s a great song, I think “Stubborn Love” is far better.

My only gripe about that song is the stupid lyric (at 1:15): “It’s better to feel pain… than nothing at all…. The opposite of love’s indifference…” it feels like they tried way too hard to add something profound there, and that’s annoying. But overall the song is wonderful.

little hurricane (not a failure to capitalize properly, that’s actually their name). This is a band that my dad suggested I check out after I made him listen to The Black Keys. They’re kinda White Stripes meets The Black Keys with some more poppy-rock mixed in (same format as WS: female drummer, male guitarist-vocalist). I love this group. Hope they get HUGE!

If you have any suggestions for music to check out feel free to leave a comment, or send me a tweet.

Got this band from my Twitter friend @DIVx0, She Keeps Bees. You guys MUST check them out. They’re like bluesy-soul-rock-awesomeness. I don’t know how to explain this duo, but, just listen (you can listen to all their self-recorded/released music on their website).

(I wish more bands did that ^^)

Thumbed Up on Pandora

January 12, 2012

Pandora seems to be the best way for me to find new and awesome music and also old music that I love. So, these are the last 10 songs I “thumbed up” on Pandora, excluding songs I’ve already mentioned in previous music posts. (if you don’t use Pandora, you’re really missing out).

Bon Iver – Skinny Love

The Band – The Weight

The Black Keys – Next Girl

Adele – Melt My Heart to Stone

Alain Clark – Blow Me Away

Needtobreathe – Won’t Turn Back

The Beatles – Dear Prudence

Jimi Hendrix – All Along the Watchtower

The Pimps of Joytime – Workin All The Time (One of my favorite band names ever!)

Derek James – One More Day (Live youtube videos blow, but this is the best I could find. You can and should listen to it on Grooveshark)

Oldies but goodies

December 19, 2011

Yes, it’s another music post.

Here are some of my “classic” favorites. Everyone knows and loves most of these. Others might be more obscure, depending on if you have good taste in music or not.

Billy Joel – Vienna




Elton John – Bennie and the Jets

Tell me you don’t “rock out” to this song when it comes on in the car. You can’t. Because everyone does.




The Beatles – I am the Walrus




Boston – Foreplay-Longtime

One of my favorite Boston songs of all time.




Frank Zappa – Muffin Man

This is the album version, which is fan-freakin-tastic.



Here’s the live version, which includes one of my favorite mind-blowing & face-melting Zappa solos.



Electric Light Orchestra – Mr. Blue Sky


Stix – Renegade


Led Zepplin – Bron Yr Aur

One of my all time favorite lyricless songs. It’s just beautiful.



Seals & Crofts – Summer Breeze


Here’s another version by Jason Mraz that I love too.


Pink Floyd – Fearless


The Animals – House of the Rising Sun

Interesting note: one of the first songs I learned on the guitar. Of course after the beginning of Stairway, like everyone else.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a “music” blog post.

Anywho, this is what I’ve been listening to recently.

The Black Keys.


I know they’re kind of a hipster staple, but I have to be honest, I kinda love these guys. Pandora first played me “Tighten Up” and I looked it up on YouTube and fell in love with the video. Mostly because it made me laugh.




Then Pandora started playing more Black Keys and with every listen, I started to like them even more.


“Psychotic Girl.”



Their latest single, “Lonely Boy” is great. The video is even better.




They’re just the sort of band my Dad would love. If only he’d listen to me.

Dan Auerbach.

He’s the guitarist/vocalist from The Black Keys. Pandora played me “Real Desire” and I was hooked. LOVE THIS SONG!! There’s something of an off-beat throughout the song on the drums, which I picked up immediately and at first, it really irked me, but now it’s one of the reasons I love this song so much.



“My Last Mistake” is another one of my favs.



Fitz and The Tantrums.
This is one of those bands where my dad and I practically said “Hey have you heard Fitz and the Tantrums?” at the same time. I love them mostly because of their ’50s/’60s R&B feel. Sure, their music has mostly been breakup songs, but they’re a blast to jam to. Like seriously, I do a lot of car singing and dancing when I listen to Fitz.

“Don’t Gotta Work It Out” is probably one of my favs. Just an all-around fun song from start to finish.



“Rich Girls” is another great song.



Ryan Adams.

Man, there’s so much to love about this guy. I really just love his voice. He’s been around a while, and I’ve listened to him on and off, but recently started diving more into his music.

“Come pick me up” is one of the first songs I feel in love with. It’s just a great tune. I really don’t have much else to say about it.



I also love his cover of “Wonderwall” by Oasis. It’s just so stripped and raw, I honestly like it better than the Oasis version.



From his newest album, “Lucky Now.” It admittedly has a slight country thing happening, but it’s a classic songwriter song. And I love it.




Mat Kearney.

I’ve had a “OMG I LOVE HIM!!” “Ugh I can’t stand this song” relationship with Mat. But you can’t deny that “Hey Mama” is a freaking catchy song. It’s impossible to not get it stuck in your head. Catchy songs are clearly my weakness.



Foster the People.

My dad actually suggested that I listen to these guys (and Arctic Monkeys, but I don’t like them as much.). Of course everyone who listens to the radio anywhere in America has heard “Pumped Up Kicks” on the radio. And while the song is catchy and the band is very unugly, it’s not my absolute favorite. I like to compare Foster to that music you hear blasting at stores in the mall: Annoying Hipster Crap. But I still kind of dig it.



“Call it what you want” is a great tune. It’s kinda got this weird ’90s pop/dance thing going on. But whatevs. I like it.