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Wednesday, 19 December 2007 00:00

Recommended diversions

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Flight Of The Conchords on DVD

Two discs of complete silliness from Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, New Zealand’s “not quite best but pretty good” digi-folk satire band, Flight Of The Conchords. It’s an oddball blend of sitcom and musical theater, with whole sections of dialogue morphing into twisted tunes that deal with subjects like the relative hotness of one’s girlfriend in relation to any other women within the general vicinity of room, street or block.

Then there are the random late night visitations by various incarnations of David Bowie, providing what turns out to be nothing more than really bad advice. They have a completely inept manager, a rabid fanbase (more like a rabid “fan,” in the singular sense) and have no business whatsoever wandering the sidewalks of New York. But they get by somehow, having to explain constantly that they’re NOT Australian, trying to convince their manager to book one of those dangerous “night” gigs, or defending themselves against xenophobic fruit merchants. It’s hilarious.

 

Ch-ch-ch-changes

Let me apologize in advance for the second Bowie reference — just couldn’t help myself. As it is with every year, every passing moment, people and things come and go from our daily lives. Things that you grow accustomed to get shaken up, and all that’s left to do is adapt and appreciate it for what it is. Longtime local noisemakers the Shinerminers will soon be losing (I prefer to think of it as a little break) their vocalist and wordsmith to the pursuit of higher education somewhere in the wilds of Kentucky. Coffee Underground has undergone some serious renovations — three cheers for the espresso machine! Getting used to ordering and paying at the opposite end of the shop is a little difficult, but doable- and the place just looks bigger. Guadalupe Café has some renovations planned, and the booking (as well as the consistency of weekly entertainment) has improved greatly. Especially in the case of the last two, it’s nice to see that these “changes” represent real growth, as opposed to closing down, as many storefronts around Sylva have been prone to do over the years.

 

Music that I should’ve paid more attention to at first

Why the heck did I dismiss the Decemberists at first sight? Why didn’t somebody shove a copy of The Crane Wife in my ear as soon as it came out? Really, it’s one of the most satisfying album experiences I’ve had in too long to recall, and one of the few that I can listen to weekly (sometimes more) and not yet get completely bored with. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals’ This Is Somewhere is wonderful stuff as well, tuneful and gritty and smart through and through. Bombastic and over-reaching as it was, Muse’s Black Holes and Revelations managed to be a continuation of what you’d expect from the band (goofball sci-fi storylines, crafty guitar playing and over the top wailing from frontman Matthew Bellamy) while simultaneously showing development in regards to use of space, instrumentation and texture. And Fatboy Slim’s collection of remixes on the most recent of the LateNightTales series plays out like the best feel good radio station you’ll ever find on a cross-country road trip. Or something like that.

— By Chris Cooper

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