Thursday, May 28, 2009

I Am a Cliche

You guessed it. The de riguer hiatus. In the past few weeks I've started to post several times before giving up. Not really sure why, but can no longer pretend that the feeling of burn out isn't real. So, rather than fight it, I've decided to give into the ennui and take a break. A few months is what I'm thinking now, but who knows. In the interim, feel free to e-mail me at or follow me on Twitter (tosyandcosh).

Happy summer to all!

Until Whenever

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Discovering Songs

After watching the Scrubs finale I simply had to go get the song used in the fantasy future montage at the end - Peter Gabriel doing a cover of The Magnetic Fields' "The Book of Love."

I did not know this song, either the original or this cover, before, but was instantly smitten, which almost never happens for me with songs on a first hearing. What I find very surprising is that iTunes didn't have it for sale on its own, but only as part of the soundtrack to the Shall We Dance Richard Gere flop. Why oh why do they do this? Isn't the ability to buy jiust the song you want kind of the point of iTunes?

Thankfully, I was able to get the audio off of the YouTube video and rip an mp3 that way. And now Peter Gabriel doesn't get amy of my money. Smart, iTunes.

Until Whenever

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Random TV Notes

(That Also Contain Random Spoilers)

  • The House finale was fun, but I really hope they don't abandon the "House in a loonie bin" angle too quickly. There's lots of potential there, but I fear that, come Fall, the show will revert to the status quo too quickly to make use of it.
  • I appreciate that, on The Big Bang Theory they are trying to take a very slight hand to the by-now obligatory sitcom cliche of the unrequited love angle, but the CBS marketing monkeys really should get on the same page. They promo'ed the finale as a big Leonard/Penny moment when the reality was much more subtle than that.
  • It's been intimated elsewhere that we won't meet How I Met Your Mother's titular mother until the series finale. I know many are fine with this, but I really like this part of the show, and think they need to move faster on it. I'd really love to see a few seasons of the mother integrating with the group. Unless they go with a Will & Grace model, with Ted unable to find true love until he lets go of his college friends. That doesn't feel right here though. The central relationship on W&G was always portrayed as (partially, at least) unhealthy. You never get that feel on HIMYM.
  • When Family Guy did a Stephen King night, didn't it feel way too soon to have a Shawshank homage? And then I remembered that that film came out 15 years ago. Yikes.
  • The Office has been so good, so assured, that I might actually be looking more forward to its finale than Lost's.
  • When watching American Idol last week, one of my five-year olds, shortly after Gokey started "Dream On," said "they're (the judges) not gonna like this."
  • Lost has been doing a LOT of set up the past few episodes, so much that I'm actually kind of nervous about their ability to pull off a finale that justifies all of it. Still, fingers crossed.

Until Whenever

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

He’s No Superman

In honor of Scrubs’ series (season?) finale tonight, here are my ten favorite uses of music on the show, in no particular order:

J.D.’s first emotional connection to a dying patient is scored to – NOT Jeff Buckley’s "Hallelujah,” but John Cale’s!

Turk and Carla, and J.D. and a brief girlfriend whose name I don’t remember, settle down to watch Sanford and Son, with Turk singing improvised lyrics.

Turk races to find a pregnant teen in the park during a Christmas episode over Nina Simone's "Sinnerman"

Ted's a capella band performs a killer version of the Underdog theme song.

Colin Hay does an acoustic "Overkill"

Ted's band does "Over the Rainbow"

Cox loses it after losing one too many patients

Everything Comes Down to Poo

Guy Love

Ted's girlfriend's song

Ted does Hey Ya at the janitor's wedding

I hope they bring Scrubs back just for Ted.

Until Whenever
I Sound Like I’m From Joisey. Who Knew.

If you are not listening to the all-cover songs, all the time podcast Coverville, well than there’s no hope for you. Brian Ibbitt puts together a roughly thrice-weekly show full of cover songs, with pretty much each show unearthing a great cover you probably never heard before.

As part of his “request” shows, Brian features a “musically challenged” trivia contest, in which listeners record and send in short music trivia games that Brian (along with wife Tina) compete in. And in the current episode, the “musically challenged” is a submission by Tosy and Cosh.
Go over and have a listen. But more importantly, go over and subscribe. You won’t regret it.

Until Whenever

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Three by Three


Three things I liked about The Reader

  • Kate Winslet’s performance, which was better than I had heard. Sure, she’s winning for not only doing a Holocaust film, and an accent, but for doing the whole “old-age makeup” thing as well, but she is really good here.
  • The piano-heavy score, by newcomer Nico Muhly (whose name makes him sound like an old Italian composer, but who on the special features is revealed to be a shockingly young-looking American), which steers (mostly) away from heavy-handedness in favor of subtle, quiet moments.
  • The production design, which made all of the locations, especially the apartments, feel very real and lived in, and evoked a wide range of eras very nicely indeed.

Three things I did not like about The Reader:

  • Davis Kross’ performance as young Michael, which felt very flat to me, tentative and insecure – the bravado the character unleashes at several moments never felt earned.
  • As much as the film tried to avoid sensationalism and cheap emotional ploys, it did succumb a few times – Hannah’s suicide, for example, which they tried to underplay by not showing the actual moment, still felt overly dramatic, what with her stacking books to stand on and the close-up of her shoes and laces.
  • The mini-drama between Michael and his parents, which felt very tacked-on and undercooked. Better to have been cut altogether, I think.

Until Whenever

Monday, May 04, 2009

And the Streak Continues

I’ve never been to a smoky, wood-floored, gritty bar on the Mexican border. And yet I can’t help but imagine that Bob Dylan’s new album captures what being in one would feel like. Is this a masterpiece on the order of Love and Theft? No. But it is a remarkably strong album, with the old-timey, Tin Pan Alley colors and flavors of that album, or the in-the-groove 50s dance hall band feel of its immediate predecessor, Modern Times, replaced by a distinctly Latin-flavored color here, primarily added by David Hidalgo’s accordion.

The opening track, “Beyond Here Lies Nothing,” has a careless, tossed-off feel, almost like a warm-up, but the second track is a real keeper, a delicate rumination colored by trilling banjo and defined by a stuttered, halting, earnest melody. And the wheezing, charming, accordion-driven up-down riff in “If You Ever Go to Houston” is a great engine, with more complex harmonies underneath than might be immediately apparent.

There’s blues here (in the shuffling one-two beat of “My Wife’s Hometown,” and balladry, but none of the more straight-ahead rocking that modern Dylan has favored (nothing like Love and Theft’s “Tweedledee and Tweedledum” or Modern Times’ “Thunder on the Mountain”). And yet it doesn’t feel missing.

This is another in a series of albums that are very much of a piece, with a definite sound and color palette unique to themselves. And, lest we forget, it’s an album written and sung by a 67-year old. Lots of singers have kept on recording great stuff well into their dotage, but have any songwriters? It’s looking increasingly like Dylan is going to have a career more singular than anyone imagined.

Until Whenever

Friday, May 01, 2009

Doin' the Friday Shuffle

For today's shuffle, I'm shuffling in only songs I've labeled "Rock" (which in my system really just means rock and pop) and that have been labeled four or five stars:

1. "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" - The Beatles - Rubber Soul
A wonderfully lilting melody, with that step-wise melody in the verse. Still, I'm often struck by how much of the Beatles catalog is barely "rock." Kind of odd that the biggest and most influential band either did do relatively little straight-on rock, and so much music hall-influenced melodic pop.

2. "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes" - Paul Simon - Graceland
I absolutely love the opening, with Ladysmith Black Mambazo providing a great counterweight. and that feather-light guitar enters with the shuffling percussion. Great song.

3. "My Funny Valentine" - Elvis Costello - Armed Forces
Solo guitar, kind of menacing, then sweet, and delicately sung. Suck it, American Idol guy!

4. "Mary's Place" - Bruce Springsteen - The Rising
Springsteen does a big 'ol rave-up better than just about anyone.

5. "The Mayor of Simpleton" - XTC - Upsy Daisy Assortment
I can never hear this song the same way again after having it pointed out to me how similar it is to Tears or Fears' Everybody Wants to Rule the World.

6. "Angelina" - Bob Dylan - The Bootleg Series Vols. 1-3: Rare and Unreleased
A slow-burning, quasi-gospel, piano-driven lost track.

7. "I Threw It All Away" - Bob Dylan - Nashville Skyline
Bob in crooner mode. Sweet and sad song of loss.

8. "The Levee's Gonna Break" - Bob Dylan - Modern Times
Bob settles into a sweet groove.

9. "There There (The Boney King of Nowhere)" - Radiohead - Hail to the Thief
I love Radiohead, but does anyone have any idea of what their songs mean?

10. "Jerry" - John Mellencamp - Mr. Happy Go Lucky
A slightly sinister, insistent Bo Diddley beat anchors this song.

Until Whenever