Song of the Week: “Redemption” (Max Graham’s Dead Sea Mix) – Conjure One

11 Apr

Two artists at work here. First is Conjure One (Rhys Fulber from Delerium and Front Line Assembly). This project has produced some great music, notably his work with Poe, such as “Center of the Sun” and “One Word.” The other artist here is DJ/producer Max Graham, who does an excellent mix of this track from the Conjure One’s self-titled debut album. If you like this mix, I highly recommend Graham’s two-disc installment on the Transport series (#4).

Song of the Week: “Take the Long Way Home” – Supertramp

2 Apr

One of my favorite songs from the 70s, this is one of the band’s four hit singles from 1979’s chart-topping Breakfast in America album. The copyright holder is apparently a stickler, so I cannot find an album version on YouTube. The embedded video is a recent (2011) live performance by singer-songwriter Roger Hodgson. You can also try this video from Supertramp’s 1979 tour.

Song of the Week: “On My Own” – Peach Union

25 Mar

Peach Union (just “Peach” in the UK) was a great idea: a collaboration between Paul Statham (a songwriter and musician who’s worked with Peter Murphy, Natalie Imbruglia, S-Express, Bomb the Bass, others) and Pascal Gabriel (a composer, producer, and engineer whose clients include New Order, Erasure, Sarah Brightman, EMF, others)—and singer-songwriter Lisa Lamb. “On My Own” was their big hit off their one album, 1998’s Audiopeach. There were two follow-up singles, “Sorrow Town” and “From This Moment On,” but no great commercial success so the band dissolved without recording a follow-up record. Gabriel and Statham continued to work together, writing for Dido (“Here with Me”), Kylie Minogue (“Your Love”), and others.

Song of the Week: “Sultans of Swing” – Dire Straits

17 Mar

This was the band’s first single and first hit, off their 1978 debut album, Dire Straits. The longer versions of the song feature magnificent guitar work by Mark Knopfler, the best probably coming on their double live album, Alchemy. I can find the entire show on YouTube (here: “Sultan” occurs at 34:20, and don’t miss “Telegraph Road” at 1:04:40), but not the single track. So here’s a 1990s performance to catch your interest.

Song of the Week: “Fine Friend” – Pale Saints

10 Mar

Gray and rainy today, so I thought I’d post a melancholy shoegaze classic from the 1990s. Pale Saints released three albums and a few EPs on the 4AD label before disbanding around 1994. My college roommate called “Fine Friend” the “most perfectly mixed song,” sustaining its dreamy mood for nearly six blissful minutes. The track appears on their Fine Friend EP and Slow Buildings LP, with a longer version on the 4AD sampler All Virgos Are Mad.

Movie Synopses We’re Tired of Seeing

5 Mar

Now playing: At $15 per ticket!

Has your enthusiasm for movies been steadily drained during the last several years by the constant stream of lifeless, depressing films? Adult dramas revel in their own degeneracy and even children’s films are cynical and sexualized. Over and over you find yourself asking, “who would want to watch that for two hours?” Yet they just keep on coming, trying to outdo each other in stupidity or tastelessness or grim depravity.

With entertainment, of course, there are kettles for every fish; but the Maximum Know-How team thinks we as a society could use a little more life-affirmation. So here’s our list of typical film synopses (those fact-filled summaries in movie trailers and DVD cases to entice your attention) and our improved alternatives.

Typical: When an innocent child is kidnapped and brutally murdered…
Instead, how about: When an innocent child concocts a brilliant way to create a faster-than-light-speed pan-dimensional space craft …

Not a romp: Two brothers, one a man-child, the other a divorced sex offender, decide to kill every single…
Maybe a romp: Two brothers, one a blue-collar sports fan, the other a successful but bored defense attorney, decide to build a rocket in their backyard…

Old: A trio of slutty housewives, who live double lives as prostitutes…
Fresh: A trio of intelligent, capable housewives, who live double lives as superhero crime-fighters…

Ho-hum: In the shadowy underworld of sleek, teen, vampire assassins…
Uh, sure. We’ll try it: In the shadowy pre-dawn world of sleek, teen, long-distance runners in training… (okay, maybe not, but we need something new here)

Role models for our children?: In this gross-out teen raunch-fest, we watch a group of boring, brainless morons fail over and over to have a sexual experience…
Do they make these anymore?: In this funny teen comedy about rising above the exaggerated trials of modern adolescence…

:( Two cops, one a schizophrenic gun-nut, the other a suicidal misanthrope…
:) Two cops, one a jazz pianist, the other a father of eight…

I don’t get it. Maybe that means it’s deep: This symbolic adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey follows a brawny, bearded white man as he sails around the world chopping up people, set to the music of modern dubstep artists…
Why read the book?: This refreshing adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey follows an aging substitute teacher as she navigates the absurdities of a modern high school, set to the music of artists from the 70s TV show Midnight Special

Wow, if this is your entertainment, then what…?: Watch as a sadistic serial killer leaves a trail of grotesque clues carved into his victims’ bodies as he travels the country hunting homeless people…
But are there explosions?: Watch as a jolly, compulsive do-gooder leaves a trail of service and kindness as he travels the country doing entertaining activities with interesting people…

Par: Two inner-city high school dropouts, one a drug dealer, the other a rapper and pimp, fight “the man”…
Has this ever been made?: Two inner-city high school seniors, one a fast-food employee working toward college, the other a youth-club volunteer, fight the social pressure…

Never had children: In this animated “family film” punctuated with disdainful sarcasm, unrelenting violence, and poop jokes…
Knows their children: In this well-scripted, sharply animated adventure with interesting, relatable characters you enjoy spending time with…

Wait, this is fiction?: Two congressmen, one a heroin-addicted womanizer, the other a hitman for the mob, struggle to keep their secrets hidden…
Definitely fiction: Two congresswomen from different sides of the aisle struggle to battle mindless party politicking and corrupt special-interest lobbyists to actually get something done…

Science? You mean, like, flashing lights and buttons?: In this sci-fi adventure, rugged astronauts have sex during an alien attack…
Whoa, actual science?!: In this sci-fi adventure, astronauts maintain an uneasy alliance with an alien race as they work together to achieve a stunning breakthrough in faster-than-light-speed pan-dimensional travel …

Song of the Week: “The Miracle of Love” – Eurythmics

4 Mar

Listening to this wonderful band’s double live album again today, and this track really stood out. One of the greatest bands of the 80s, and listening to them always feels like returning to someplace comfortable.

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