This week in popular culture: Philippa Gregory, “The Get Down” and “Pete’s Dragon”

three-sisters-three-queens-9781476758572_hr“Three Sisters, Three Queens” by Philippa Gregory (Touchstone). The best-selling historical fictioneer takes on King Henry VIII’s sisters Mary and Margaret, along with Katherine of Aragon, which I didn’t mean to read as “Angelica! Eliza! And Peggy!” as it does. (Aug. 9)

  “The Get Down” (Netflix). Baz Luhrmann recruited writer Nelson George (as well as Grandmaster Flash, DJ Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa) to contribute to this insanely ambitious-sounding new Netflix musical drama about New York during the 1970s and the rise of hip-hop, punk and disco. Starring Jimmy Smits, Giancarlo Esposito and Jaden Smith. (First six episodes released Aug. 12)

  “Pete’s Dragon.” Texas director David Lowery remakes the 1977 Disney animated film as a live-action adventure with a CGI dragon, transporting the action from early-20th-century Maine to the modern Pacific Northwest. With Robert Redford, Bryce Dallas Howard and Oakes Fegley as the orphan Pete. Look for an interview with Dallas director David Lowery and a review on Thursday.  (Aug. 12)

 Rae Sremmurd, “SremmLife 2” (EarDrummer/Interscope). There have been so many singles (four) over the past six months for this thing that I thought it was already out. But, nope, here is the second album from the Southern hip-hop duo. (Aug. 12)

The Dead C's "Trouble" (photo: Ba Da Bing)
The Dead C’s “Trouble” (photo: Ba Da Bing)

The Dead C., “Trouble (Ba Da Bing). The newest album from this long-time New Zealand trio, which, in its 30 of so years of existence, have become underground rock icons for moving from rough-hewn, no-fi noise rock to long improvisational excursions. They still sound like nobody else, and nobody else sounds like them. (Aug. 12, but probably in stores now)

This week in popular culture: “Ghostbusters,” Jessi Klein and Clams Casino

klein_grow_out“You’ll Grow Out of It” by Jessi Klein (Grand Central). Essays on 21st century womanhood by comedian, television writer (“Inside Amy Schumer,” “Transparent,” “Saturday Night Live”) and “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” panelist. Could be this year’s “Bossypants” or that book Lena Dunham wrote. (July 12)

“Ghostbusters.” One of this year’s higher profile reboots as Paul Feig (“Spy”) directs Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones as the titular paranormal hunters (huntresses?). Chris Hemsworth holds down the Annie Potts part, which is inspired. (July 15)

“32 Levels”

Clams Casino, “32 Levels” (Columbia). The somewhat-anticipated début album from an increasingly popular hip-hop producer whose stage name suggests that perhaps we are running out of names for hip-hop producers. Expect guest appearances from Vince Staples, A$AP Rocky, Lil B (July 15)

The Earls of Leicester, “Rattle & Roar”(Rounder). Second album from these Grammy-winning, bluegrass ninjas led by dobro god Jerry Douglas. (July 15)

Steven Tyler, “We’re All Somebody From Somewhere” (Big Machine). Steven Tyler (yes, that one, from Aerosmith), goes country and gets big name country producers such as T-Bone Burnett and Dann Huff to help him. Tyler plays July 26 at Bass Concert Hall. (July 15)

Ten records to look out for on Record Store Day

Love it, hate it, look forward to it or avoid it, April 16 is Record Store Day.

Here are 10 records that caught my eye, in no particular order.

  1. “Doctor Who: Genesis of the Daleks” (Demon). A story-telling record (Remeber those? “Rebel Mission to Ord VBDaleks_CD4pp.inddMantell,” I will never forget you)  on “‘70s Tardis blue colored vinyl.”  LP. Tom Baker (The Fourth and most famous Doctor) narrates one of the key episodes in the extremely long-running series, as the Time Lords send the Doctor on a journey through space and time to try to prevent rhe Daleks from being created. My kids are getting into Doctor Who, maybe they would like it.
  2. David Bowie, “I Dig Everything: The Pye Singles 1966” (BMC/Sacntuary). A six song EP of the tunes a very young Bowie knocked out for Pye in ’66. Bowie before he was BOWIE, essentially.
  3. Buzzcocks, “More Product in a Different Compilation” (ORG): Almost all of the A-sides and a whole mess of B-sides from first-wave punk’s greatest singles act. All of these bangers appeared between 1977 and 1980.  It’s an expanded version of “Singles Going Steady” sort of. Perfect for the younger person in your life who keeps listening to terrible pop-punk. (Do young people still do that or is it all stuff like Bring Me The Horizon now?)
  4. 418457270158-284D.O.C., “No One Can Do It Better” (Get On Down): First time in print on vinyl since this West Coast hip-hop classic dropped in 1989. A rapper from Dallas, production from Dr. Dre, NWA guest
    appearances: What are you waiting for (other than Record Store Day)?
  5. Alejandro Escovedo, “Gravity” and “Thirteen Years” (New West). Two early (and extremely heavy) solo albums from one of Austin’s most beloved are realaunching the defunct Austin label Watermelon as a division of New West.  On 180 gram vinyl.
  6. Fleetwood Mac, “The Alternate Tusk” (Rhino): The “alternate version” (read: alternate takes of songs from) of “Tusk,” previously released on CD in that massive “Tusk” reissue, now on double LP. A few songs really do sound like Pavement.
  7. Ida “Will You Find Me” (Polyvinyl): I used to think you could find this excellent 2000 LP anywhere, but it’s currently going for about $30 on discogs. (That said, if you want it on CD, it will cost you a dollar.) A double LP, gatefold version mastered at 45 for maximum sonic whump. Perhaps these acoustic singer-songwriter-indie-folk-rock titans made a bad record, but I sure haven’t heard it.
  8. The James Brown Revue, “Get Down at the Apollo with the J.B.’s” (Get On DGET54082-LP_JAMES BROWN_LIVE AT THE APOLLO '72own). A full 1972 set from Brown and his funk machine, then operating at yet another heady peak. Previously available as as download but not on LP. As I said, I am not made of stone, people.
  9. Lydia Lunch and Marc Hurtado, “My Lover the Killer” (Munster): Latest collaboration between Lunch, a queen of musical-and-lyrical transgression (both major and minor) since the 70s and Hurtado, one half of the French industrial duo Étant Donnés. I will always give at least a listen to whatever Lunch is up to.
  10. Superchunk, “Tossing Seeds: Singles 1989-91” (Merge): The first LP Merge (Arcade Fire, Neutral Milk Hotel) ever released. The Platonic ideal of early ’90s indie rock and a perfect album. Not a bad pairing with the Buzzcocks joint (for obvious reasons).

There are, obviously, dozens more.   Check it out for yourself.

What say you, Austin? What are you looking forward to?

Welcome to Check It Out. Feel free to leave your shoes on, it’s cool.

So, there will be a lot of different stuff going on in this blog:

All sorts of television – the great, the not-so-great and “Vinyl,” a show that should really be called

The correct title. (Thank you to the brilliant David W Alexander Parker for creating this image)
The correct title. (Thank you to the brilliant David W Alexander Parker for creating this image)

Movie things that don’t fit in the Austin Movie Blog (cool home video releases, what’s new in streaming, supplementary notes about movie reviews or maybe some of the angry trolling I got about this thing.)

Music things that aren’t quite right for the Austin Music Source (cool band I find on, say, Bandcamp, what I’ve been listening to, etc.)

Books things that might not be right for the Reader (including comics, comics and more comics).

Cultural detritus from around the Web. A place to discuss all that is new and interesting in culture, or old and interesting in culture, popular or otherwise.

And if I use the word thinkpiece, please feel free to send me a strongly worded note.

A word about the blog name:

I thought I was making a horrible pun that maybe three people would get, as in

a) this blog I would love for you, the reader, to in fact check out, and

b) it is the catchphrase, more or less, of one John Brannon, one of the greatest punk frontmen who ever lived and a man possessed of a truly singular vocal roar. He fronted Negative Approach, one of the three or four best first-gen American hardcore punk bands; Laughing Hyenas, a truly mighty indie rock force back when indie rock could mean everything from the Jesus Lizard to Heavenly to Yo La Tengo to Fugazi; and Easy Action, whose “Kool Aide” is one of my all-time favorite Brannon joints.

Anyway, this is what he looks like:

the Voice
The Voice

And this is the photo that made everyone familiar with both of us laugh out loud:

some dude
Some dude

See? Dumb joke.

The problem, of course, is I completely and totally (and I mean this sincerely) forgot about the phrase’s association with these guys:


In fairness, that (admittedly Grammy-nominated and very popular) song is on “To the Five Boroughs,” which I do not recall as an album with which I spent a whole lot of time. That said, I understand why SEVERAL people have said, “Oh, like the Beastie Boys song?”

No, not like the Beastie Boys song. And definately not like the John Cougar Mellencamp song. Never, ever that. Ever.

In sum, welcome to Check It Out. Watch this space.