Capitol Records is reissuing the Beastie Boys’ catalog, so I took a listen to the “Root Down” e.p. The album track is featured here, along with two additional remixes, the Free Zone mix and the Pop Balloon mix.
The remains twelve tracks are fleshed out with performances from the band’s triumphant 1995 European Tour, when their Lp “Ill Communication” was everywhere. Though the crowds seem a bit subdued, the Beastie Boys give it their best. Completist fans will want this.
Neil Young/Colorado (Reprise)
Van Morrison/Three Chords & The Truth (Caroline)
Ringo Starr/What’s My Name (RS)
Old Dominion/Old Dominion (Sony)
Harry Connick/True Love (Columbia)
After appearing in a 2011 episode of VH1’s “Bands Reunited,” the idea of seeing a future for the legendary synth band seemed feasible. Although vocalist Terri Nunn had fronted several versions of the band, their episode of the series would be the first reunion of the classic line-up. Somewhat surprised by the interest generated, original members John Crawford and Dave Diamond agreed to meld with Nunn’s touring band and have another go ‘round.
For Berlin fans, “Transcendance” is a dream come true. It’s a nearly perfect blend of modern and retro 80’s sounds, coupled with Nunn’s still-impressive vocals. She, along with Crawford, penned the group’s biggest hits, and the old magic is still there. “I Want You” is a smokey ballad, and the pretty “On My Knees” digs up every painful breakup. “Show Me Tonight,” full of bleating synth bass and throbbing beat, wag a finger at agism & sexism. “Transcendance” is a high-water mark for the band.
The Addams Family has been rebooted a number of times, and this incarnation captures more of the original 1960’s T.V. series’ charm than several previous attempts.
In particular, Charlize Theron as Morticia and Oscar Issac as Gomez, play the dreadful-ever-after husband and wife duo, alternately expressing their affection with headless roses and skull crushing. Also carrying more than his weight is comedian Nick Kroll, who gives his Uncle Fester the perfect amount of Jackie Coogan silliness with his slurred speech affectation.
The plot revolves around a home improvement show that aims to build the perfect suburb in the shadow of The Addams Family’s mansion. Conspiring to run the weirdos out of town is show host Margaux Needler, voiced by Allison Janney. Needler’s quest to build, and ultimately profit by selling, the perfect town, leads her to fall out with her daughter, who is a teenager struggling at school with a Taylor Swift look-a-like bully. Needler’s daughter becomes fast friends with outcast Wednesday Addams, as the two learn in tandem just how cruel or nice the world can be.
The animation is first-rate, and in some sweeping scenes, even the 2D version I saw gave me a touch of vertigo. Though not quite Pixar-level greatness, it is definitely a visual feast. Produced by Bron Creative and Nitrogen Studios, it’s definite proof that the competition is improving, which is good news for animation fans.
My only negative feeling about the film was the running time. Although it clocks in at the standard hour and a half, the story did have moments when it dragged, which might make younger viewers a little restless. Other than that, it’s a pretty strong entry in the family entertainment category.
It’s unfortunate that Zak Brown and his band haven’t been given their due. While it is true that they’re a popular country act, they are of the few interesting bands in modern country, carving out an identity that is equal parts country, Southern rock, blues and a bit of pop production thrown in for good measure.
The opener, “The Wood,” is a first-rate head-bobber, guaranteed to get your blood pumping. The haunting, folky “Someone I Used To Know” is equally as memorable, buoyed by Brown’s unique voice. Sounding nothing like this year’s crop of flannel-clad Marlboro men, his style is almost a complete anomaly. Great songs, pleasantly-varied performances. More of this, please.