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Jun. 29 2010 — 8:07 pm | 903 views | 0 recommendations | 8 comments

Classic Lineup of Guided By Voices Reunites for Matador, Fall Tour

Alt-rock–reunion watchers, you can check off yet another big name: The so-called “classic lineup” of Guided By Voices has announced that it will perform at a celebration for Matador Records.

GBV will join an ever-growing list of cultish bands to have gotten back together in recent years — including Pavement, who will also perform at the event, to be held October 1-3 at the Palms Casino and Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Further notables on the impressive bill include Sonic Youth, Spoon, Superchunk, Belle & Sebastian, Chavez, and the original lineup of Come. The full list of participating bands will be announced soon by the New York City–based label, which is putting tickets on sale on Friday, July 9.

Other influential bands to reunite in recent years include the Pixies, Soundgarden, Slint, My Bloody Valentine, and Dinosaur Jr.

The musicians involved in the GBV reunion will be chief songwriter and lead singer Robert Pollard, guitarists Mitch Mitchell and Tobin Sprout, drummer Kevin Fennell, and bassist Greg Demos — not Dan Toohey, as has previously been reported. The five — who haven’t performed together in 14 years – were largely responsible for the landmark 1995 album Alien Lanes, Guided By Voices’ first on Matador.

Billboard reports that a fall tour will be announced soon.

Should your memory need jogging, a video from 1996 featuring all five musicians involved with the 2010 Guided By Voices reunion is below. And here is footage of Pollard performing more recently.

Mar. 25 2010 — 4:59 pm | 346 views | 0 recommendations | 7 comments

The 7 Lamest Pop-Culture Angels Ever

Add Legion — a recent apocalyptic fantasy film starring Paul Bettany — to the long list of movies and TV shows about angels to totally miss the mark.

Indeed, most pop-culture rangels — such as Clarence from It’s a Wonderful Life,  Michael Landon in Highway to Heaven, John Travolta in Michael, and Christopher Lloyd in Angels in the Outfield — have been as annoying as, well, Hell.


But at least one recent angel has been tolerable — even incredibly compelling. That’s the sarcastic protagonist of Mercury Falls, a hilarious apocalyptic novel that has consistently ranked among the top ten best-sellers in the humor section of Kindle Books on Amazon (and which can be yours for a mere 99 cents!), despite the fact that it’s entirely self-published.

I recently asked the novel’s author, Robert Kroese, a 39-year-old Bay Area computer programmer, to give me his list of the lamest angels of all time. And strangely, he complied. Probably because I went to junior high with him.

And no, one of his choices isn’t Kate Jackson from Charlie’s Angels, pictured above. “She’s freaking adorable,” says Kroese.

Tess (Della Reese) from Touched by an Angel

“If heaven is populated by overweight, mannish angels who dispense homilies that manage to be simultaneously trite and nonsensical (‘You don’t hit bottom … you hit God’), count me out,” says Kroese. continue »

Mar. 19 2010 — 4:34 pm | 643 views | 0 recommendations | 2 comments

Jonathan Coulton’s March Madness Bracket Dead Last in Pool

Yesterday, we asked musician Jonathan Coulton, a man who proudly, almost defiantly, professes to know nothing about college basketball, to give us his picks for this year’s NCAA March Madness tournament.

Last night and today, we have found out exactly how little Jonathan Coulton actually knows about college basketball.

Within hours of the tournament’s tip-off yesterday afternoon, JoCo’s bracket had been busted like a speeding tranny in the Bible Belt. While his Sweet 16 pick Old Dominion dutifully knocked off Notre Dame in early action, and he boldly predicted that Ohio University would decimate Georgetown, pretty much nothing else went Coulton’s way.

One by one his Final Four picks got humiliated. First, it was the Florida Gators (who Coulton picked due to the university’s affiliation with the Crocs brand of footwear). Then the Richmond Spiders, who Coulton improbably chose to win it all, bit the dust. Finally, Texas soiled the bed later that night. It was gruesome in every way, much like the expression “soiled the bed.”

All told, as of 4:15 p.m. on the tournament’s second day, with 19 games completed, he had correctly predicted the outcome of exactly 6 of them. “Obviously the system is corrupt,” says Coulton.

Not surprisingly, Coulton’s bracket, JoCo and the Spiders FTW, isn’t doing very well in the Awl’s official tourney pool. In fact, it’s dead last, out of 300 eligible entries. And what’s great about it is that it’s only going to get worse from here.

This couldn’t have worked out better for either of us.

Check out the screen grabs below. continue »

Mar. 16 2010 — 7:02 pm | 5,527 views | 2 recommendations | 7 comments

Jonathan Coulton Fills Out His First March Madness Bracket

jocoOur last conversation with musician Jonathan Coulton proved two things: 1) He has no clue about what’s on television these days and 2) his ideas for what should be on television are far more interesting than anything that has ever been broadcast.

The provocative results of that discussion about Fall TV convinced us that Coulton should be our go-to expert on any subject that he has limited knowledge of. Given that none of his infectious songs touch on sports, we suspected that another such topic would be the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, starting this week. And we were right again!

“I have never cared about college basketball,” says Coulton proudly, almost defiantly, by phone from his Brooklyn apartment, a few days after returning from a tour opening for They Might Be Giants. “Frankly, I don’t even understand precisely what March Madness is.”

In our mind, this bold declaration — along with another mind-boggling claim: “I have never filled out a March Madness bracket” — makes him the perfect person to help us fill out our March Madness bracket.

After all, even the boss’s daughter won the office pool that one year, and studies have shown that picking well may be entirely arbitrary anyway. With a little luck, Coulton might provide every bit as much insight as the next guy — or at least an eight-year-old girl.

“But,” wonders Coulton, “don’t you have to make your picks with some sort of plan?”

We’re about to find out. Only time will tell how Coulton — whose latest opus, Best. Concert. Ever., culls from his shockingly frequent live shows — fares as a one-day sports pundit. But we’re never going to bet against a guy who pals around with John Hodgman and who will be performing live in New York City twice during Final Four weekend.

Read on for Coulton’s take on all 32 first-round matchups (his picks are marked in red) and click here to see a PDF of his unconventional, upset-heavy bracket.

UPDATE: We’ve entered Coulton’s bracket in The Awl’s NCAA Men’s College Basketball giveaway under the name JoCo and the Spiders FTW. As this pool is open to the public, we highly recommend you enter — the winner gets two Jock Jams CDs!

continue »

Feb. 23 2010 — 7:48 pm | 699 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

‘Tales of the Gold Monkey’ To Be Released on DVD

goldmonkeyI recently told you about 5 classic TV shows that need to be released on DVD. One title that I strongly considered including on that list is Tales of the Gold Monkey, a short-lived but thrilling action series that was broadcast on ABC during the sensational 1982-83 television season.

I wish I had, because then I could have taken credit for being the impetus behind this incredible news:

Get ready to take on a thrill-ride to a backwater corner of the South Pacific as Tales of the Gold Monkey The Complete Series comes to DVD for the first time in North America on June 8, 2010 from Fabulous Films, distributed by Shout! Factory. Fans can relive the adventures of this much loved television show in a 6-DVD collectible box set featuring all 20 action-packed episodes, original pilot episode, a treasure trove of DVD bonus content, a special collector’s booklet and more! The collectible Tales of the Gold Monkey The Complete Series DVD box set is priced to own at $49.97.

Created by Don Bellisario and starring Stephen Collins (Private Practice, 7th Heaven), Caitlin O’Heaney (The Charmings), Roddy McDowall (Planet of the Apes), Jeff Mackay (JAG), Tales of the Gold Monkey aired on ABC in early 80’s and became a popular hit following the success of the Indiana Jones films. Set in 1938, this adventure series captures the ambience and character of a mysterious romantic era and chronicles a young American adventurer Jake Cutter (Stephen Collins) and his ragtag group of friends as they become involved involved in death-defying hi-jinx, transporting people-on-the-run in a well-worn Grumman Goose seaplane.

What’s left unsaid here is that Tales of the Gold Monkey is one of two shows to debut in the fall of 1982 that resembled Raiders of the Lost Ark. continue »

Feb. 22 2010 — 5:20 pm | 1,166 views | 0 recommendations | 1 comment

This Stick-Meat Chicken Looks Unbelievably Tasty

I’ll admit it — I’ve never eaten at Juan Pollo. Clearly, this is my loss. I mean, just look at that delicious chicken!

But the restaurant chain, which operates dozens of locations around California, has more to offer than just splendid-looking char-broiled chicken. It also has an amazing Web site.

You get the image of the woman holding stick meat. You get an animated hen in a sombrero and poncho grooving to the “Chicken Dance.” You get to peruse the Tex-Mex menu, which lists a dish called Juan’s Big Bowl. And you get to read a note written by the chain’s founder that reveals his plan to outsell KFC one day. And who’d doubt him?

[Note: The restaurant chain is in no way affiliated with the crazed Juan Pollo fan in this YouTube video.]

If anyone knows of a more awesome website for a thriving restaurant chain, feel free to leave the information in the comments section. But it’s pretty tough to beat a woman holding stick meat.

Feb. 5 2010 — 1:33 pm | 25,957 views | 2 recommendations | 5 comments

Wayne Coyne Confirms Google Street View Sighting

coyne2I’m not saying that it’s surprising that Google Street View captured Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne sitting on his front lawn in a bathtub. But I am saying that it’s amazing.

The affable, outspoken Coyne — the man behind the indie hits “Do You Realize??” and “She Don’t Use Jelly,” an impressive 1995 appearance on Beverly Hills, 90210, and a weird 2008 space movie in which he plays a martian — was snapped by a Google mapping vehicle as it zipped down Coyne’s street in Oklahoma City, where the dude has lived all his life.

How do we know based on this blurry photo that this is actually Coyne? Well, there’s the fact that the subject in question seems to be wearing one of Coyne’s signature dapper suits, and that he also appears to have tell-tale bushy, salt-and-pepper hair. And there are these photos from the Flaming Lips’ MySpace page, depicting Coyne and his wife setting up the bathtub, with a gaudy sign reading “Blob in the Bath,” for a Halloween bash they threw in 2007.

But not wanting to risk posting about this only to find out later that it was all a clever hoax, I took it straight to the source.

“Yes, that’s me,” says Coyne by phone from Oklahoma City.

Coyne, who recently confirmed that the Flaming Lips will play a set of their own music as well as the entirety of their take on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon at this year’s Bonnaroo, says he (and his Google Street View costar Justin Duda, a former Lips roadie) had been working all day in the yard to prepare props that would “scare the shit out of these little kids from the neighborhood.” He didn’t see the Google car drive past.

“I’m sure the people who were in the car didn’t care either,” he laughs. “They were probably like, well, this is a street, so let’s drive down it!”

While news about his Google Maps appearance has spread only recently, Coyne first learned about it a week after Halloween in 2007. “It’s funny sometimes what will grab people’s attention when,” he says. “People have been coming up to me for the last month or so telling me about it — but it’s almost three years old.”

Still, he’s as amazed as anyone. “If you’re outside from when the moment the sun comes up to midnight,” he says, “you probably have a much better chance of being on Google Maps than if you’re only out there for a moment feeding the birds or something.

“But a car that drives around on every street with a 360 degree camera? We live in fucking good times, don’t we?”

Check out more views of Coyne from Google Maps on the next page, including an angle where he and the bathtub seem to disappear.
continue »

Jan. 22 2010 — 2:14 pm | 95 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

Fight Songs Prince Should Have Written Instead of ‘Purple and Gold’

The unpronounceable symbol (later dubbed "...

Image via Wikipedia

So, Prince has written a terrible fight song for the Minnesota Vikings. It makes you wonder, for the sake of Vikings fans everywhere, why he just didn’t change the lyrics to one of the actually good songs he’s already written instead. I mean, check out the possibilities.

“When Saints Cry”

“Why You Wanna Treat Favre So Bad?”

“Purple Reign” (thanks, Andreaitis!)

Darling Percy

“Nothing Compares to Brad Childress”

“Not-So-Manic Sunday”

“Sign o’ the Adrian Peterson”

“I Would Die 4 a W”

Considering that the dude has written more than a thousand songs, there are virtually endless combinations. Got a good one? Leave it in the comments section.

Jan. 22 2010 — 12:47 pm | 649 views | 0 recommendations | 6 comments

Prince Pens Horrible Fight Song for the Minnesota Vikings

princeIt is undeniable that Prince, aka the Artist Formerly Known as the Artist Formerly Known as Prince, earned his induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for the countless amazing songs that he has written.

It is also undeniable that his latest song is the worst thing he’s ever released. And that includes “My Name Is Prince.” I never thought he’d commit an atrocity greater than that.

According to Fox 9 in Minneapolis, the diminutive musician penned the offending track, “Purple and Gold,” as a way of promising certain victory for the Minnesota Vikings in their tough NFC Championship matchup on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. “I saw the future,” said Prince.

But in my experience, something this terrible — and even Prince fanatics seem to understand how bad it is — can only herald doom. Which is why I predict the following: The Vikings will lose on Sunday because Prince wrote this horrible, horrible song.

Read the ridiculous lyrics and hear the crazy song below.

continue »

Jan. 13 2010 — 2:02 pm | 8,755 views | 2 recommendations | 16 comments

Pat Robertson Says Haitians Brought Earthquake on Themselves

patIt’s pretty hard to believe until you watch the video, but Pat Robertson essentially told CBN viewers this morning that Haiti brought yesterday’s devastating earthquake on themselves. Only he pronounced the disaster-stricken nation as “Haitia.”

Daily Kos member Username4242 has helpfully typed out a transcript of the appalling statement, which occurred during a solicitation for donations to help victims of the crisis.

And you know Christy, something happened a long time ago in Haiti and people might not want to talk about it. continue »

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