February 19, 2010

Happy Music: 'One Life Stand' by Hot Chip

This fun and quirky electropop band, Hot Chip, seemed
(to me, anyway) to totally come out of nowhere and hit me
like a train! They've actually been together since 2000, and just released their fourth album as of Feb. 1st, 2010. So, obviously, they didn't "come out of nowhere"... The problem was that I hadn't been paying any attention during that time. But I certainly was the other night, when I saw the music video for, 'One Life Stand', the first single off of their new album!

I instantly liked it because I'm a big fan of the whole electronic/pop/dance genre of music, and it has a real catchy beat from the very start. But as the song and the video played on, I liked it even more! I think it's great what the lyrics are saying, especially in the chorus:

"I only wanna be your one life stand
Tell me do you stand by your whole man?"

It wasn't only the groovy beats and lyrics, though. I think what really put a smile on my face was seeing how much fun those guys clearly had making the video. They're just goofin' around, being totally silly. Serving it all up with a deadpan delivery. Basically acting much the same way I'd imagine me and my own friends acting if we made a music video. I guess that some might watch it and think they're all just trying too hard to be wacky, but I was cracking up the whole time! I got the feeling they were all very comfortable and just genuinely being themselves. Did I mention that three of the five of them were old school mates? There's comfort level, right there. Plus, look at them. They must all share the same zip code... in Dorksville! But I truly do mean that in the best possible way because I think they're all totally rockin' that whole "geek chic" thing! Also, isn't it nice any time we see people in the entertainment industry that aren't cookie-cutter-perfect-looking or don't have what many consider to be an ideal body shape?!

Anyway, Roel Wouters, the director, devised a unique concept for the video shoot. He wanted to create an experimental environment in which the band were left alone to explore and develop their own music video. With the rest of the crew closed off from the set, the band became director, cameraman and even choreographer to create a promo that is nothing but "Hot Chip". The band had a minimal set-up to play with of just one fixed camera, one handycam and their instruments. A silver sphere was also suspended in the middle of the room giving the band further creative scope to experiment with different perspectives. The constant revolutions of the band, the sphere and the cameras moving around each other all work to create a surreal and almost trippy experience for the viewer. These visual elements together with the experimental nature of the video and the band's spontaneous input, combine to give the track's hypnotic rhythm a perfect visualization.

In other words, it's way cool! Enjoy...

~Hot Chip photo via Google Images~
~All 'One Life Stand' music video information, including director Roel Wouters, via CreativeBoom~

February 13, 2010

Sweet Mother of Jesus! - Madonna's 'Sticky & Sweet' concert DVD out March 30th, 2010

I think I might have mentioned before that regardless how much I really like Madonna, I've yet to be *fortunate (*translation: rich) enough to experience her live, in concert. Well, I suppose that I could buy somewhat affordable tickets, but they'd be way up in the nose-bleed section, or so far away that Madonna would just look like an ant! And I see no point in that at all. If I can't go see somebody I really like perform, and actually see them clearly, I'm not going to waste my money on it! But I would be willing to pay kinda crazy prices if I knew I was going to get excellent seats. Only problem with that is, "kinda crazy" ticket prices don't exist in Madonna's concert world! I don't know if you've ever priced them before, but when I checked them for the 'Sticky & Sweet' tour, seats on the floor close enough not to require a telescope were going for HUNDREDS of dollars! It's real insane. I don't get how she manages to keep selling out her shows when the pricing is so damned cost prohibitive?! Yet she just keeps on doing it, even in this awful economy! Where are those people finding the money?! Are they going into major credit card debt just so they can go see their favorite pop star perform live? I'm not willing to do that. Not now, anyway. Not at this age. I probably would have done something foolish like that in my early 20s! Lord knows I did my share of foolish, impulsive things back then...

Anywaaay, thank goodness (and thanks to the magic of DVD) the rest of us poor souls haven't had to go completely without ever seeing Madonna in concert. We've at least been able to see her on film! And frankly, most concert movies end up showing you way more than you'd ever see at a live show. Plus, it's a heck of a lot cheaper! So if you were like me and couldn't make it to the actual 'Sticky & Sweet' concert in person, you may soon rejoice!

Madonna's 'Sticky & Sweet' concert on DVD/Blu-Ray will be released this March 30th. Filmed in Buenos Aires, over 4 days to a crowd exceeding 256,000 fans, the concert includes a show-stopping moment when Madonna performs a historic, 'Don't Cry For Me Argentina', to a thunderous audience response from her Argentine fans. Of course, also included are several hits from the multi-Grammy winner's most recent CD, 'Hard Candy', which debuted at #1 in 37 countries. And the DVD even has 30 minutes of exclusive footage filmed behind-the-scenes during the course of the tour!

Here are a few of the reviews:

"A night of triumph and defiance... A two hour multi-media juggernaut", glowed the LA Times.

"Part concert, part block party and all fun, there is still only one Madonna", raved the Oakland Press.

"Our lady of perpetual motion... This may be the best tour she's ever stitched together", claimed the NY Post.

And here are some fun shots from the show, just to hold you over until we can get our hands on the DVD next month. Enjoy...

~All images and info via madonna.com~

February 7, 2010

The Worst Album Covers Ever!: 'Carpet Square' by Sharron L. Lucky

Artist ~ Sharron L. Lucky
Title ~ Carpet Square

Cover notes do little to explain this bizarre album -
"The stimulation of the student's creativity is a feature of
'Carpet Square'. Standing on carpet square (nap down),
student does twisting motion which propels him across
the floor... Shag carpet is not recommended."

Okay. Is it just me, or does this activity seem like something that would be done with "special" children only? I mean, all they do is stand on a square of carpet (Nap DOWN!) and twist. But none of those kids on the cover look "special" to me. Except for, maybe, that black boy in the center of the group... he does look a bit vacant, or something. Whatever the case, most of them look like they're having a total blast!

And, at the end of the day, isn't that what really matters?

~Image and info taken from the book, 'The Worst Album Covers Ever!' by Nick DiFonzo. Published by Barnes & Noble, Inc.~

February 3, 2010

The Worst Album Covers Ever!: Our first of the worst.

In case it wasn't obvious by my infrequent posting, I've been having some trouble finding new "acts" that I want to "book" for my circus. And it's not that there aren't plenty of wonderfully talented, interesting subjects to choose from... because there certainly are! That is perhaps what I love most about pop culture - it encompasses such a big variety of cool and fun things! I think that the problem has been mainly a lack of inspiration on my part because I've been dealing with a lot of emotional stress behind-the-scenes, lately. I'll spare everyone the details because I'd like my circus to remain a happy place. In fact, I'd love it if Pop Circus developed a reputation for simply being a nice, happy and fun blog to visit. Especially, if one wants a good hearty giggle!

Anyway, back to my lack of inspiration. So it had been almost 2 weeks since my last post (and my "creativity block", or whatever you'd call it, was driving me absolutely bananas) when Tommy and I visited a local used bookstore, over the weekend. And there on a shelf amongst many, many other previously owned/presently unwanted books, sat what I instantly knew could be the source for a few (if not a series of) fun posts! It was a slick, coffee table-type volume of collected record album covers. Really BAD album covers! So it was no surprise that its title was, 'The Worst Album Covers Ever!' by Nick DiFonzo. I stood there flipping through the pages, trying best I could to stifle my laughter. Then, before I drew too much attention from others around me, I walked up to the register, paid the cashier and thereby instantly "booked" several new future "acts" for my circus!

Sooo, without any further ado, I present this magnificently terrible first 'Worst' selection for your perusal...

Artist ~ Tino
Title ~ Por Primera Vez

Tino (Constantino Fernandez) was a member of
the popular Spanish kid's group, Parchis. Their
first international hit was a cover version of the
Village People song, 'In the Navy'... Need we
say more?

That's all for now, but the fun will continue on in this series with more handpicked favorites taken directly from the book! And I just know you'll get a kick out of 'em! So make sure to come back 'cuz they're all awfully weird (and weirdly awful)! Remember, they're not called 'The Worst Album Covers Ever!' for nothing, you know...

~All images and info taken from the book, 'The Worst Album Covers Ever!' by Nick DiFonzo. Published by Barnes & Noble, Inc.~
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