Tuesday, November 25, 2014

TUESDAY TASTE: New MST3K, Drunk History and Soundgarden rarities among new releases

Posted By on Tue, Nov 25, 2014 at 11:37 AM

Every Tuesday we let you know the best of the week's new music and video releases to help you decide how to spend your hard-earned cash. It's a slower week due to Thanksgiving, but there are a few things worth your consideration. Check 'em out: 


There are plenty of live sets, greatest-hits collections and "expanded editions" of old albums coming our way, as there always are this time of year. Two you might want to consider: 

Soundgarden, Echo of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across the Path. This triple-disc set is broken down into sets of originals, covers and "oddities," and will surely thrill long-time lovers of the Northwest crew more than introduce many new fans to their thud-rock sound. You'll get the full version of "Birth Ritual" from the Singles soundtrack, among other goodies. 

Rick Ross,
Hood Billionaire. The second release by the gangster poet follows on the drug-slinging themes of Mastermind from the Grammy-nominated MC. 


We're not going to lie — it's pretty slim pickings on the new release front for home video. There's the testosterone fest of Expendables 3, featuring Sly Stallone and a bevy of action stars young and old (and older). There's the sci-fi of The Giver, Tyler Perry's attempt at blending Christmas mirth and his Madea character, and the "wait, wasn't that in theaters, like, last week" flick A Merry Friggin Christmas, but I prefer to pretend Robin Williams never made that one. 

For my money, the only worthwhile releases this week come from television. 

Drunk History, the web series-turned-Comedy Central hit is one of the most entertaining half-hour shows to hit television in a long time. It's a collection of increasingly drunk comedians waxing on about important moments in history, and their rambling is then re-enacted by performers ranging from Jack Black to Winona Ryder to Kristin Wiig — it's a who's who of funny folks. The concept might leave you skeptical, but give it a shot. Now you can get the first two seasons of the show on DVD. Here's a bit of what's in store: 

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Vol XXXI: The Turkey Day Collection captures four episodes of the show — two from the Comedy Central era hosted by Joel Hodgson, and two from the Sci-Fi Channel era hosted by Mike Nelson. The four movies included and skewered by MST3K's Tom Servo and Crow are Jungle Goddess, The Painted Hills, The Screaming Skull and Squirm. Here's a look: 

And if you're looking to drive any lingering relatives or friends from the house after your Thanksgiving meal, consider popping in the ridiculously lengthy Lars Von Trier flick Nymphomaniac, a two-parter being released on video as a "director's cut" this week. The overabundance of Shia LaBeouf should be enough to get you some peace and quiet in no time. Take a peek: 

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

CONCERT REVIEW: Mötley Crüe's fiery final U.S. show

Posted By on Sun, Nov 23, 2014 at 12:28 PM


For their final North American show ever, Mötley Crüe set the Spokane Arena on fire. Or at least it felt that way with so many pyrotechnics displayed at last night’s beer-induced and packed-to-the-rafters show. All of the spotlights, strobe lights, fireworks and fiery explosions worked well to cover the fact that Nikki Sixx, Vince Neil, Tommy Lee and Mick Mars are no longer as pretty as they were in their 1980s heyday. And a little widening and wrinkling is expected of a band known for such hedonistic lifestyles.

No expense was spared for the Crüe’s farewell tour after 33 years (mostly) together – they even signed contracts in a publicity stunt press conference barring them from touring again. I can only imagine the pre-production meeting for the tour went something like this:

“OK, how can we make this tour the most outrageous and face-melting ever?”
- Have more onstage explosions than a Transformers film
- See how many times we can say "f—-" 
- Have Nikki Sixx’s microphone hang from the ceiling. Later he’ll light it on fire with his flame-throwing bass only to reveal a pentagram at the top of it
- Make Tommy Lee’s drum-kit not only spin in circles but float out over the audience on a track while slowly tumbling
- Tell our origin story in a testimonial style, explaining how we became the best hair-raising band in the entire world selling more than 100 million records worldwide (Nikki Sixx had the honors here, sharing how he moved from Jerome, Idaho, to Hollywood to become a rock star)
- Include flashy stripper-esque backup dancers
- Sing every hit (“Girls, Girls Girls” and their cover of “Smokin’ in the Boys Room” were particular favorites) and even a couple songs from our later records like the entertaining “Motherf—-er of the Year”
- Set up side stage extenders to get closer to the audience
- Make sure Mick Mars has time for a virtuoso guitar solo so insane people will think it’s Hendrix raised from the dead

And all of this was there and more. The audience lapped it up as they should have – this was a stage experience at the highest level. The fans were on point, too, screaming wildly, spilling beers and raising metal-hands to the sky. Some wore bad hair metal wigs and 5-inch platform shoes. One dude even smartly chose to wear sparkly purple spandex pants with no shirt (it was below freezing outside).

As for the music, sometimes it was challenging to hear Neil’s vocals, but for the most part it was all there and they’re playing better than ever. Neil can still sing and skip and run quickly across the stage, Lee’s drumming is just wild, Mars is still weird and Sixx had a flame-throwing bass!

And as they had to, they ended their final show of 2014 (they have final shows overseas next year) with “Home Sweet Home” on a platform in the middle of the arena. As the power ballad built to its ultimate climax the platform began to rise into the air – because of course it did. In the end, they thanked everyone profusely and the house lights came up.

Mötley Crüe claims this is their final tour ever, but it’s clear they love this too much. We’ll see what happens five years from now.

Admissions from the stage:
“I swear to God, our music is going to haunt you until the day you die,” Neil proclaimed near the end of the show.
“We f—-in love you guys! Thanks for putting up with our drug addictions. To the women out there, we’re sorry if we gave any of you diseases.”

Alice Cooper's enjoyably frightening stage setup at the Spokane Arena
  • Alice Cooper's enjoyably frightening stage setup at the Spokane Arena

Alice Cooper was the perfect intro to the evening. No one else can walk around a stage wielding a whip or a sword or wearing a straitjacket like he can. His set was a condensed version of his “normal” solo tour shows but he still managed to get all the nightmarish stuff in – like the guillotine, a huge-ass Frankenstein monster, and zombie nurse back-up dancers. It was just a thrill a minute. The 66-year-old is still singing like "I'm Eighteen” and that’s pretty damn amazing. 
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Friday, November 21, 2014

THIS WEEKEND IN MUSIC: Alice Cooper, the Hoot Hoots album release and Flannel Fest

Posted By on Fri, Nov 21, 2014 at 12:02 PM

Just one last weekend before holiday music-playing can commence. Yes, I have a strict policy of no Christmas music until after Thanksgiving. In the meantime, check out these awesome acts.

Barcelona isn’t from Spain; they’re an experimental pop three-piece from Seattle. Their 2014 series of three EPs called The Melodrama, about learning to love and be loved, is a poignant masterpiece. Catch them out at the Bartlett tonight at 8 pm … that is if you have tickets. The show is sold out.

The Lantern Tap House’s Flannel Fest is exactly what it sounds like. Show up wearing your best flannel and be prepared to drink beer. If you have a beard and thick-rimmed glasses you’ll probably have an even better time. Friday, local rockers the Camaros play and then Saturday you get Buffalo Jones and the Holy Deep. Both shows begin at 10 pm.

The Seattle-based Hoot Hoots come through Spokane often, and we appreciate that about them. Saturday, they’re back in town at the Bartlett touting a new album called Colorpunch. The 11 fresh tracks have so much verve for life, you’ll want to listen to it at home while dancing around in your underwear. At the show you’ll do the same thing, just with clothes on. The poppy synthesizers are infectious, everything about this fuzzed-out quartet is high-energized fun… and a little goofy. Especially look out for the song “See You” — you won’t be able to stop smiling. The all-ages show starts at 8 pm and is $12 at the door.

Singer-songwriter, folk and pop music. Saturday’s winning Big Dipper show runs the gamut of styles with Smokey Brights, Planes on Paper, Cold Mountain Yeti and Matthew Winters. The all-ages show is $8 at the door and starts at 7 pm.

We already wrote a sweet essay on the L.A. glam-metal pioneers Mötley Crüe and why it’s too bad this is their very last tour. Read that here. Also, be sure to read our review of the show Sunday. And what we didn’t have time to talk about is shock-rocker Alice Cooper! The man is crazy on stage — campy and over-the-top. But in real life, and this could be his craziest move, the guy is also a follower of Jesus. His opening set Saturday at the Spokane Arena is not to be missed.

Also, in case you’re into classical music, you won’t want to miss this. 
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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

TUESDAY TASTE: Awesome animation and Lorde takes on The Hunger Games in this week's new releases

Posted By on Tue, Nov 18, 2014 at 11:33 AM

Every week we help you figure out how to spend your home-entertainment dollar by sifting through the new music and video releases and highlighting some of the best choices. Let's do this.


TV On The Radio, Seeds. Unabashed alt-rock experimentalists TV On The Radio have a slightly poppier sound on their first new release since 2011 and the death of long-time bassist Gerard Smith. 

Bryan Ferry, Avonmore. The sultry man-voice behind Roxy Music is back with his 14th solo set, featuring contributions from The Smiths' Johnny Marr, Chic's Nile Rogers, Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea and more. 
Various Artists, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 soundtrack. The teens-killing-teens dramas have had some seriously strong soundtracks to date. The latest iteration is being "curated" by Lorde (whatever that means), and includes tunes from her as well as Chemical Brothers, Churches, Grace Jones and Bat for Lashes. Here's the "Yellow Flicker Beat" single from Lorde: 


The big releases this week include 22 Jump Street, the not-as-funny so-so sequel to the funnier-than-expected reimagining of the genuinely terrible TV show, and the sequel to Sin City, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, which was pretty much reviled by critics and audiences alike.

Your time is probably better spent checking out these flicks:

The Wind Rises is reportedly the final film from the legendary Spirited Away animator Hayao Miyazaki, who tackles the tale of a Japanese aviation designer in this one, featuring the voices of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, John Krasinki and Emily Blunt. The 2013 release was nominated for an Academy Award for "best animated feature." 

20,000 Days on Earth is not a typical rock documentary, delving into the creativity of musician Nick Cave through a fictional "day in the life" paired with real interviews with musicians, actors and friends who have worked with the cult icon, and filmed sessions between Cave and his therapist. Thankfully, there are also some stirring live performance clips filmed at the Sydney Opera House with Cave and his band the Bad Seeds. 

Alive Inside is the Sundance Film Festival audience award-winner for "best documentary" for its engaging exploration of how music can help combat memory loss. The filmmaker follows social worker Dan Cohen as he travels the country for his nonprofit Music & Memory and tries to engage with the convoluted healthcare system. 

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Monday, November 17, 2014

MUSIC VIDEO ROUNDUP: Lavoy, the Sweeplings, the Rustics, Illest Uminati

Posted By on Mon, Nov 17, 2014 at 2:32 PM

Check out these local music groups’ recent creative music videos.

Lavoy released this fresh video Saturday. The song "Here Comes the Night" comes from their EP released at the beginning of the year.

Cami Bradley just keeps pumping out the music videos. This “Give Me a Sign” video is with her new duo the Sweeplings.

This Rustics video reminds you of what it's like to be out in warm weather. We miss those days. 

Illest Uminati and Cordell Drake visualize their track “Killin’ Myself” with this music video released last month.

Also check out this music video we just discovered released in June by Moscow natives Psychic Rites (who now live in Portland). It’s so bloody, it’s beautiful.

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Friday, November 14, 2014

THIS WEEKEND IN MUSIC: Gwar and Shook Twins return, and Mootsy’s hosts live music again!

Posted By on Fri, Nov 14, 2014 at 12:06 PM


One singer-songwriter performing on stage can be quite inspiring. But why not add two more musicians, a spoken-word poet and a visual artist to that performance stage? The Round, a new-to-Spokane collaborative art series, does just that. Already, Rounds have taken place in Portland, Seattle, Tacoma and Anacortes. Last month, the Bartlett hosted the first one in Spokane. Tonight, the performance-art event features local musicians Duke Hogue and Hannah Reader, along with Galen Disston from the awesome Seattle soul-rock act Pickwick. Kurt Olson performs his poetry and Tiffany Patterson’s drawings will thrill. The show starts at 8 pm and is $8.

Elvis lives on. He’s not alive per say, but in the form of Spokane-native Ben “Preslee” Klein and his band the Rockabillies it’s almost like he’s here in the flesh. The tribute act plays a benefit show for the Harvest Food Bank. Bring canned food items for donation. Just Plain Darin is the opener for the $20 show that begins at 7:30 pm at the Service Station. Read our 2012 cover story on Klein here.

Mootsy’s has a show Saturday night and we couldn’t be happier. The traditional Spokane music venue hasn’t hosted too many music events to speak of lately. Saturday, they have Seattle crazed-out rockers Communist Eyes (which features members of the Derelicts), the Blowouts and the Tri-City-based RedVolt. Check it out starting at 9 pm for $5. Be sure to grab a PBR. 

Katelyn and Laurie Shook, their long blonde hair and big golden egg are back in Spokane Saturday. The Sandpoint natives now call Portland home but they still make time to hit up the Inland Northwest. The Shook Twins play their brand of eccentric fold at the Bartlett at 8 pm for $15. Josh Hedlund opens.

She calls her music neo-traditionalist synth folk-pop, but mostly Tristen gives off a big Tegan and Sara vibe with a dash of '80s pop. The Nashville-based singer-songwriter hits up the Big Dipper Saturday. Local acts Sea Giant, Bandit Train and Quinell open the show, which is $10 the day of.

Last October, we interviewed Gwar’s lead singer Dave “Oderus Urungus” Brockie, previewing his then-upcoming Knitting Factory show. In March, Brockie died of a heroin overdose, leaving his theatrical thrash-metal act without any of their founding members. The band, around since 1982, decided to continue on without their fearless leader, as they forged on in 2011 after guitarist Cory “Flattus Maximus” Smoot was found dead on their tour bus. Of that event, Brockie told us this: "I'm not going to lie and say it wasn't difficult, we miss [Cory] every day. But there would have been a worldwide outbreak of fury if we didn't continue." This weekend, the resilient band brings its ferocious stage show — watch out for flying fluids — through the Knitting Factory once more. After all, no one wants a worldwide outbreak of fury. The all-ages show is $20 and begins at 8 pm.


The Bob Curnow Big Band plays Monday night at the Big Dipper; the last time before they resume in February. This isn’t some Glenn Miller knock-off act; every song played by the group was transcribed, arranged, produced or composed by Curnow. The group’s take on Radiohead — a band majorly influenced by jazz music, believe it or not — is especially exciting. Jazz legend Curnow had a major influence on Spokane rocker Myles Kennedy and the band also features Cameron "Sparky" LaPlante, a member of the local hip-hop act Flying Spiders, on saxophone.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

TUESDAY TASTE: Foo Fighters record a roadie and Monty Python hit the stage in week's new releases

Posted By on Tue, Nov 11, 2014 at 12:22 PM

Each Tuesday we're here to help you figure out how to best spend your home entertainment dollar, specifically through highlighting some important new music and video releases. Here are some choice cuts among the releases out this week: 


The New Basement Tapes, Lost on the River. This is a project in which your excitement level will correlate directly to how much you like the artists involved — Elvis Costello, My Morning Jacket's Jim James, Mumford & Sons Marcus Mumford, Dawes' Taylor Goldsmith and Carolina Chocolate Drops' Rhiannon Giddens — and how much of a Bob Dylan completist you are. The group took a bunch of recently discovered Dylan lyrics penned in 1967, around the time he recorded the famous Basement Tapes album, and put them to music. The results are pretty great. Here's James doing a song called "Down on the Bottom:"

Foo Fighters, Sonic Highways. One of the few ways Dave Grohl and Co. could make a new Foo Fighters album sound at least a little bit different from the band's past releases is the experiment on Sonic Highways, in which they travel to eight cities and record a song in each, using local talent, ala horn players in New Orleans, or punk producer Steve Albini in Chicago. The HBO series tracking the band's recording for the album is better than the resulting tunes, but Foo Fighters are pretty critic-proof at this point. Here's the band doing new tune "Something from Nothing" on a recent Letterman: 

Continue reading »

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Friday, November 7, 2014

THIS WEEKEND IN MUSIC: Loretta Lynn’s grandkid, Tedeschi Trucks, double show at the Hop!

Posted By on Fri, Nov 7, 2014 at 12:22 PM


First off, tonight is First Friday. Check out all the art and live music happening all over Spokane. Many of the venues offer alcohol tastings and even some free nibbles. 

Trying to go out to Harrington, Wash., tonight? Tayla Lynn, Loretta Lynn’s granddaughter, plays the Harrington Opera House at 7 pm. And just like her legendary grandma, Tayla plays a fine blend of country and Americana music; just don’t expect the big-ass dresses on stage. Accompanying her is Grammy Award-winning guitarist Eric Tingstad. Tickets are $20.

Every time you hear the local Americana act Marshall McLean Band you know you’re going to get a highly consistent set full of catchy, original music. Saturday, the act plays an all-ages show at the Bartlett at 8 pm. Tickets are $15 the day of. 

The rock group Tedeschi Trucks Band, which features Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, was just here last December (read our story here). But the band is back again, this time at the INB Performing Arts Center. The show starts at 8 pm and is $35 and up.

The Hop! doesn’t have one show Saturday night, it has two! So much loud, hardcore music is about to be unleashed. Show up with $13 at 6 pm for the early show, then stay for the late show, which starts at 9 pm. As the Facebook event page for the event states: If you don't want to get hit, stay out of the pit.

EARLY SHOW: Desolated, Benchpress, Extortionist, Groundfeeder, Keep In Check
LATE SHOW: Lord Dying, Castle, the Drip, Mercy Brown

The Viking hosts the rock band Divides (the one from Portland, not the U.K.) and local acts Boat Race Weekend (although they’ve recently moved to Seattle) and Jordan Collins.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

TUESDAY TASTE: Neil Young's orchestral pop, Hoffman's last film hurrah among today's new releases

Posted By on Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 11:05 AM

Even Election Day isn't enough to keep us from scoping out some new music and movie releases. In fact, it's hard to think of a better way to rid the mind of the onslaught of political ads and talking-head yammering than delving into something new on TV or in your headphones. 

Here is what’s new and worth your attention, released Tuesday, Nov. 4: 


Deerhoof, La Isla Bonita. Twenty years into their life as a band, San Francisco crew Deerhoof continues making some of the most interesting indie-rock around. Their latest was recorded live in guitarist Ed Rodriguez's basement during what they called a "weeklong slumber party." Here's a taste: 

Mariachi El Bronx, III. If you think the alter-ego of long-running punks The Bronx is a joke, you're mistaken. Their reverence for authentic mariachi music comes through loud and clear on the band's third release of West Mexican traditional tunes. Here is an audio-vid of new song "Wildfires:"

Neil Young, Storytone. If you're looking for Crazy Horse-style Neil, keep on moving. This is Neil Young delving into lush orchestration and crooning (at least as much as Neil Young can croon). Like most of Young's releases, this one will prove divisive among fans. Here's a sample: 


The monster-sized mainstream releases this week include The Rock doing his best Hercules impression, and Angelina Jolie in the generally well-received Maleficent. There are a few smaller films that deserve your attention, though: 

A Most Wanted Man is well worth seeing just for Philip Seymour Hoffman's outstanding performance, one of his last, as German security agent Gunther Bachmann. He's tasked with tracking Muslim terrorists active in Hamburg, Germany, where the 9/11 plot was hatched. Far from an action flick, it makes for an interesting look at spy strategies and international politics, with Hoffman joined by strong roles for Robin Wright and Willem Dafoe. 

Land Ho! is a charming trifle of a movie about two elderly gentlemen, friends and former in-laws, who take off to Iceland for a trip to take their minds off an unwanted retirement and unhappy divorce. It's a road-trip flick, a travelogue of one of the most beautiful countries in the world, and a buddy comedy that goes down easy. 

The One I Love joins Mark Duplass, the seemingly omnipresent indie force, and Mad Men's Elizabeth Moss in a twisted rom-com mystery in which a couple heads to a weekend retreat in an effort to rejuvenate their marriage, only to discover something that makes them reevaluate everything they thought they knew about each other. 

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

TUESDAY TASTE: Flaming Lips' album-length cover of The Beatles among today's new releases

Posted By on Tue, Oct 28, 2014 at 12:31 PM

Each Tuesday, we’re going to make sure you don’t miss out by highlighting a few new music and video releases to help you figure out how to spend your hard-earned home-entertainment dollar.

Here is what’s new and worth your attention, released Tuesday, Oct. 28: 


The Flaming Lips, With a Little Help from My Fwends. This is bound to be a divisive release, but can you think of a better band to cover/reimagine The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in its entirety? No way. I'm even giving them the benefit of the doubt on including Miley Cyrus. Twice. Check it out:
Rancid, ... Honor is All We Know. The quartet doesn't vary much from their retro-punk and ska sound, and with good reason — few punk survivors are as capable at sounding fresh and vital as Tim Armstrong and Co. Here's a live taste: 

Jerry Lee Lewis, Rock & Roll Time. The Killer is back with an album evoking his Sun Studios roots in Memphis, with guests including Keith Richards, Neil Young, Robbie Robertson and more classic rockers influenced by the piano wildman. The clip below has no moving images, just the distinctive sound of Lewis's voice: 


There are plenty of new releases coming out today, including romantic musical Begin Again from the writer/director who made Once, and supernatural thriller Deliver Us From Evil. But you might want to consider these releases first: 

Life of Crime is the latest Elmore Leonard novel to get the movie treatment, and while the reviews were so-so, it's hard to imagine a cast that includes Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) and John Hawkes playing younger versions of the Samuel L. Jackson and Robert DeNiro characters from Jackie Brown being too bad. Tim Robbins, Jennifer Aniston, Will Forte and Isla Fisher also appear in an extortion caper that should be good for some laughs.  

If you loved Garden State, well, that doesn't necessarily mean you'll love Zach Braff's follow-up, Wish I Was Here. It didn't make much of an impression on critics or audiences beyond Braff's decision to crowd-source the film's funding. Braff plays Aidan Bloom, a financially struggling actor, father, and husband with a dying father played by Mandy Patinkin, and an irresponsible brother  he can't rely on played by Josh Gad. Expect a better soundtrack than film, much like its predecessor. 

WKRP IN CINCINNATI is an often-overlooked sitcom of the late '70s/early '80s that is finally making its way to DVD in complete form. Set in a radio station that decides to make the switch from an all-news format to rock 'n' roll, it's a hilarious-if-dated office comedy that was stuck in home-video limbo for years because of all the real rock music used on its soundtrack. Thankfully, the rights to use most of the original songs were finally attained, meaning these videos will have plenty of the Rolling Stones, Elvis Costello, Bob Marley and The Police that helped ground the slapstick shenanigans in reality. And if you've never seen or heard of WKRP, you've missed out on one of the best Thanksgiving episodes of TV, like, ever

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