Blogs > Tuned in to Pop Culture

They’re not standing around the watercooler, but Cheryl Sadler, Mark Meszoros, Mark Podolski and Nicole Franz are talking about what they’ve been watching, listening to and playing during their free time.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Chemical Romance - Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys

“Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na”

And with that, after four years of waiting for something, anything, My Chemical Romance unleashed their first single about a month before their fourth studio album was released on Nov. 22.

When I was expecting something so much more, the above lyrics are simply the lyrics of the lead single’s chorus, appropriately titled “Na Na Na.”

Don’t get me wrong, the song is undeniably catchy, possibly the catchiest rock song of the year.

It’s just with listening to My Chemical Romance for the past nine years, there is a certain tone, or a certain mood, that is expected from their music. 

Their first three albums were filled with darkness flooded with songs about death, loss, redemption, cancer, vampires — lots and lots of vampires. The Black Parade was a concept album surrounded by its main character, The Patient, who was dying from cancer. Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge was another concept album about a person who is killed, and makes a deal with the Devil to see his lover again, but must first bring the souls of a thousand evil men to Hell.

Their first album, I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love is all about vampires.

The themes of the three albums stick together. The songs play off each other. They flow effortlessly.

Lead singer Gerard Way is an avid comic book fan. So much so that he writes his own comics. It’s been said most of his lyrics and music are inspired by the comics that he writes.

Quite an imagination that Way must have.

But back to Danger Days, which was released the same day as Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in a day that will forever be remembered as two artists who tried to release an album with the longest title. In that regard, MCR wins. In who released the album of the day, well, that isn’t even up for debate.

However, Danger Days is still a good album if you can get over the fact it’s not really like anything else the band has done before.

It sounds like them, to be sure. It’s just, again, the mood and the tone is certainly different. It’s much more non-serious and lighthearted than any of their other work. It also has more of a techno-feel to it as there are plenty of electronic instruments added to many of the songs.

About three years ago, the band said they were out to create more of a 1980s punk rock record and I guess in that regard they have succeeded. Much of the album sounds pretty raw, fast, energetic rock with numbers like “Party Poison,” “Na Na Na,” “Vampire Money,” and “Planetary (GO!)”

On first listen, three out of those four songs, I didn’t like it at all. After several listens, they have grown on me plenty.

But as usual, the band is best when it goes to its darker side with songs like “Save Yourself, I’ll Hold Them Back,” “The Kids From Yesterday,” “The Only Hope For Me Is You,” and “Summertime.”

Then there are songs I’m not quite sure what to think of like “S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W” and “DESTROYA,” the latter of which sounds like a cross between Nine Inch Nails and Janes Addiction. I’m not sure whether I love it, or should be offended by it.

While a decent album, Danger Days is nowhere near the level of The Black Parade or Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge. It’s really their first album with no theme, no certain direction, no concept, just a batch of songs, which is OK for most bands, but with some artists, you just come to expect a certain sound.

In that regard, Danger Days comes off as a bit of a disappointment.

-Nick Carrabine

Christmas countdown: 25

Which one of the Miser brothers do you prefer?

-- Cheryl Sadler

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas countdown: 26

You know, last Christmas, I gave you my heart. The very next day ...

-- Cheryl Sadler

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

First Black Friday experience

I don’t think the big parking lot at Wilson Mills Road and Alpha Drive has hosted that many cars since Phil Donahue played the Front Row.
It might have held many more in years past, but this was my first venture into Black Friday, and it was the most I’d ever seen there.
I had never joined the shopping masses on the day after Thanksgiving for two reasons: 1) I never wanted a product so badly that I was willing to wait outside the store for hours on end to get a good spot in line; 2) When we finish updating our website and put the paper to bed for the night, it’s just late enough that the lines are already long, but also too early to wait around for a few hours for the stores to open.
Then Kohl’s announced it was opening at 3 a.m. this year. Even though other stores had opened earlier in the past, this for me was the year when Black Friday became Black Late Thursday Night. I decided to check it out just to see what it was like.
The parking lot was full back to Denny’s.  As I was walking in the store, there were already people walking out with their purchases. Those people must have really known what they were doing.
That part I underestimated, because I thought it would take a little while for the checkout line to form while people shopped. While I was walking through the store, I noticed a few people about halfway back just kind of standing there. I thought it was odd that they weren’t doing anything. Then I realized, “Oh, that’s the line!” Then I looked another 20 feet back and realized “Oh, wait. THAT’S the line!” Then I walked to the back of the store, saw even more people wrapped around the corner and wondered if the line ended.
In fact, it did. Normally, I would have put my selections back and returned another day. But I was there, and I decided to see it through. It ended up being about 45 minutes.
Oddly, the wait wasn’t as bad as you’d think. This was the anti-post office line. Everyone was remarkably calm and patient. No angry outbursts or long sighs. Perhaps it was because people knew what they were getting into. Perhaps it was the mood music playing overhead and the cheerful employees passing out candy. Perhaps it was because it was 3:45 a.m., and everyone was either half-awake or half-asleep, depending on if it was a late night or early morning for them, and they just didn’t have the energy.
I doubt I’ll be an early morning Black Friday shopper again – I still don’t need anything that badly. But it was it was fun to try once to see what it was like.
- Howard Primer

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Christmas countdown: 27

Debbie Downer does Christmas

-- Cheryl Sadler

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Christmas countdown: 28

We here at The News-Herald like this song because one of our co-workers shares a first name with the title character.

-- Cheryl Sadler

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Christmas countdown: 29

The Christmas season officially starts now, and I'm going to countdown the next 29 days with some of my new and old favorite Christmas videos. Let's start this countdown with a recent classic:

-- Cheryl Sadler

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Remembering a Thanksgiving tradition: The original King Kong

There once was a day when my Thanksgiving always got a bit hairy.

With loud roars.

And a beautiful blonde.

Confused? Not if you're old enough to remember a time when the classic 1933 "King Kong" was as big a part of Thanksgiving as the Detroit Lions, stuffing, turkey and pumpkin pie.

No one knows for sure why "King Kong" became a Thanksgiving tradition on WUAB Channel 43 at 8 p.m. We're talking about 30-some years ago in the 1970s. At least that's when I remember watching "King Kong" on Thanksgivings.

I'm not sure when it stopped, but as my 2-year-old son and I get older, I'd like to one day start that tradition again. The reason is simple: "King Kong" is one of the five best movies ever made. The special edition DVD release of the movie in 2005 is a must-have for Kong fans.

For those who've never seen the classic, you might chuckle when Kong first graces the screen, considering the ape was an 18-inch miniature made of a metal frame, rubber and fur, and came to life thanks to Willis O'Brien's ground-breaking stop-action motion photography. Remember, this was 1933 and the world had not seen anything like Kong on the big screen.

Moviegoers were stunned and taken back at the realism of Kong in the picture. So was a young boy who  believed every Thanksgiving Kong was King.

- Mark Podolski

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Kanye West: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Don’t be foolish, no one like Kanye West.

I’m not so sure Kanye West likes Kanye West.

Sometimes I feel West backs himself into a corner on purpose just so he can entertain himself to find out how he’ll get out of whatever controversy he’s in. How else can you explain “George Bush doesn’t care about black people,” “Beyonce had the best video of all-time,” or “Coldplay is better than The Beatles.”

I don’t know if Bush cares about black people. I’m guessing he does. Whites too. Beyonce didn’t have the best video of all-time, it was actually very stupid and no one is better than The Beatles. So Kanye, cut it out.

If he opens his mouth, it’s controversial.

Luckily, he opens his mouth on the microphone in the studio, which is really, the only time he should ever exercise his jaw.

So don’t be foolish. No one like West’s personality, but his music is a whole other ball game.

Monday, West will release his fifth studio album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, which follows up his experimental album, 808’s and Heartbreak released two years ago.

By now, everyone knows about West — his rants, his child-like tantrums and his various poorly-timed outbursts. Following storming the stage at the 2009 MTV Music Awards during Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech, West sort of fell off the face of the earth.

I think for the first time in West’s career, he had begun to realize how much an egotistical jerk he really was.

While keeping out of the public eye for a good while, he began penning My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. The first single “Power,” was released on the internet months ago. He doesn’t address the Swift incident once on the album directly, nor does he offer any type of direct apology to anyone. But it's clear he understands the damage he has done to his reputation throughout the past few years.

“I embody every characteristic of the egotistic
‘He know, he so, (expletive) gifted’
I just needed time alone with my own thoughts
Got treasures in my mind, but couldn’t open up my own vault
My childlike creativity, purity and honesty
Is honestly being crowded by these grown thoughts
Reality is catching up with me
Taking my inner child, I’m fighting for custody
But these responsibilities that they entrust in me
As I look down at my diamond-encrusted piece thinking
No one man should have all that power
The clock’s ticking, I just count the hours
Stop tripping I’m tripping off the power
21st Century Schizoid Man.”

And on “Runaway” you better believe he’s talking about himself when he says “let’s have a toast for the scumbags,” and a toast for many other uninviting adjectives that I cannot type on this website to describe himself before telling listeners to “runaway as fast as you can.”

But nevermind about Kanye West as a person, its his music that I’m judging right now and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy may be West’s best work to date.

It’s a very non-traditional, non-radio friendly album that comes off so unexpected and so unpredictable compared to any of his previous work or really, any other artist out there today.

Five of the 13 tracks are at least six minutes long. Most of the others are well over five minutes. Just when you think the song is over, another chorus, or another verse unexpectedly appears (“Dark Fantasy,” “Devil in a New Dress,” “So Appalled”).

The beats are incredible as almost every song uses piano, keyboards or guitars. Even Elton John has his own guest spot, playing the keys on “ All of the Lights.” (But then again, who doesn’t have a guest spot on “All of the Lights” as the track also features Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Fergie, The Dream, Ryan Leslie, Charlie Wilson, Kid Cudi, John Legend, Tony Williams and Elly Jackson. I guess my invitation got lost in the mail.)

When I first saw the track listing to this album, I was worried with the extensive length of most of the songs as well as the guest appearances but the album works out flawlessly.

“So Appalled” is absolutely haunting with guest vocals from Swiss Beatz, Jay-Z, Pusha T, Prynce Cy Hi and The RZA. Although there are six guys on the track, it never feels too crowded. The piano loop on “Blame Game” is equally as impressive, even when comedian Chris Rock is talking over the beat for the final three minutes, quite explicitly hilariously, you can’t help but keeps your ears pinned on the soft, mellow sound of the piano playing in the background. It's beautiful.

West has succeeded in making his album beautiful, dark and twisted. He has completely dusted off all the dirt that has been thrown on his name with this album.

He could have made an album full of self-pity, begging for forgiveness, claiming he’s misunderstood, misguided or misrepresented, but instead he makes an album that’s honest, straight forward and has an I am who I am type-of-feel so take it or leave it.

When everyone wanted him to address all the controversy he has caused, when everyone expected to hear some sort of apology or what he has been doing since last year’s MTV Music Awards, he offers what he could have done on the opening track, “Dark Fantasy”:

“The plan was to drink until the pain over
but what’s worse, the pain or the hangover?”

Don’t ever for one minute expect Kanye West to change who he is and musically speaking, that’s a good thing. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is absolutely incredible from the production, to the lyrics, to the performances and will be talked about for a long, long time. It's a musical journey, an experience to listen to.

Simply put, it's the best album of Kanye West's career.

-By Nick Carrabine

Thursday, November 18, 2010

TV's hidden gem: Syfy's Hollywood Treasure

Sometimes, the best discoveries are the ones you were never looking for in the first place.

Such is my story about what I now consider the most addictive show on TV: Syfy's Hollywood Treasure, a show I stumbled across while channel surfing a month ago.

Calling all movie, TV show and pop culture buffs. This show is for you! I promise you will not be disappointed.

The show's premise is simple. Joe Maddalena is the star and the world's largest auctioneer of original movie, TV and pop culture memorabilia. Each episode, Maddalena and his team hunt the world for  some of the most sought-after items in pop culture history, then hold an auction at the end of each episode, selling them off to the highest bidder.

That's where the show gets the most interesting.

In this week's episode, the actress who played the annoying Veruca in the original "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" agreed to submit her golden ticket prop from the movie for auction. Maddalena estimated the golden ticket is valued between $10,000 to $15,000. At the auction, it goes for a whopping $80,000. The show is eBay on steroids.

For most of us, those bidding exist in a world we could only dream of, but that's the beauty of the show. If you're a fan of "The Wizard of Oz," how cool would it be to own the wicked witch's hat? You could have had it for about $100,000.

Other items found and put up for auction so far this season include 6-year-old Damien's suit from "The Omen," a minature plane from the original "King Kong," the car KITT from the TV show "Knight Rider," and the head costume from "Alien." Perhaps the coolest item of all, the classic car from "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," was found in England and the owner agreed to sell. A future episode surely will show what should be an interesting auction for an item estimated to be worth about a million bucks.

The first season of Hollywood Treasures is only eight episodes in, so there's time to catch up online. Syfy airs two episodes every Wednesday starting at 10 p.m.

Until next week's episode, here's one man's top 5 list of Hollywood Treasures I can only dream of one day owning:

5. Hurley's golf clubs from "Lost"

4. The Batpod from "The Dark Knight"

3. Indiana Jones' whip from "Raiders of the Lost Ark"

2. 18-inch ape miniature from the original "King Kong"

1. The heavyweight championship belt from "Rocky II"

- Mark Podolski

The magic of Harry Potter

When I was thirteen, I thought I was the height of cool.

I was in the eighth grade, which meant a lot of things. I had my own phone in my bedroom which was useful for gossiping with my friends and making prank phone calls during slumber parties. I was allowed to be home alone sometimes, and I had my own house key. I went to my first boy-girl party when I was thirteen. I thought about music and movies, and watched MTV. I wore a bra. I was a teenager, and it was pretty freakin’ sweet.

That year I was taking pre-algebra. My teacher, a portly man with glasses and a penchant for wandering off the topic of linear equations to discuss the Civil War, was married to my elementary school librarian. Mrs. Mentch loved me in elementary school, and upon learning I was in her husband’s class she would send an occasional message for me through him.

“Tell Danielle hello,” was common. “Congratulate Danielle on her excellent test score,” never came. (Math was never my strong subject.)

“Ask Danielle if she has read this book yet!” was pretty familiar, and I admittedly didn't always make a point to follow her recommendations. After all, she was the librarian at my elementary school, surely her book recommendations were below me in all my teenage glory.

“Tell Danielle she needs to read Harry Potter!” Well, I most certainly was not about to do that. It was a kids’ book. I had heard about the book plenty on television and knew it was gaining in popularity among children. I was not a child. I was a teenager. Teenagers don’t read kids’ books for pleasure.

However, I one day found myself in possession of a paperback copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I read that book straight through in a couple hours. The rest, as they say, is history, as I spent the next 11 years of my life obsessing with the rest of America over J.K. Rowling’s fascinating “Potterverse.” Apparently plenty of other thirteen year olds were reading for pleasure (gasp!), because I was hard pressed to find somebody who had not fallen in love with the young hero and his magical world.

Harry Potter fans spread a wide range of age groups, but many of the original fans, those who started reading the books from the start of their rising popularity, are in or near their twenties. Interest in the so-called children’s books hasn’t faded with time, however; it has only grown stronger, gathering more and more fans across the world. On the eve of the release of the final movie installments in a series that has spawned a cultural phenomenon, a generation of fans will flock to theaters this weekend to witness what will undoubtedly be the start of a bittersweet end to an era.

It pains me more than I can express in words to say that my schedule does not permit me to be among the most dedicated Harry Potter fans for the midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I. Trust me, this has left me quite depressed--I've been waiting for this moment ever since that day over 11 years ago that I picked up the first Harry Potter book.

And nevermind that I’m now a 24-year-old college graduate with a full-time job and a car payment; my spectacular Platform 9 ¾ sign still hangs on my bedroom wall, and I’ve even been spotted wearing a lookalike track jacket like the ones worn in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

The thing is, for those of us who really got into the books (and movies!) back then, Harry Potter is more than just a well-written fantasy series. We literally grew up with the cast of characters, watching them go through school, fall in and out of love, and, you know, fight off the most evil wizard of all time.

The characters are written so well, so true-to-life, that it was so easy for this generation of fans to feel so deeply connected. Unlike other popular youth literature (I'm looking at you, Twilight!), there is so much depth to everything--like how the hero and villain share parental abandonment issues, the underlying racial tensions that form the basis for the entire magical war, and the blatant religious symbolism that really comes to a head in Deathly Hallows. All of these issues are wrapped up in sparkly, magical packaging full of delightful treats such as butterbeer and sugar quills and sports played on flying broomsticks.

Before I spoil the whole series for the 3 or so people left on Earth who have not read the books or seen the movies, I just want to urge everybody to check them out. Really, the magic of the whole series is how Rowling was able to combine the surface-level entertainment of the wizardry and the traditional good vs. evil battle with topical and important political, psychological and philosophical issues. There is truly something for everybody--just ask my grandmother's cousin who is just as excited as I am for the movie!

The Harry Potter novels are more than just kids' books. Maybe I didn't realize that when I was 13, but I sure do now.

And for those of you seasoned Harry Potter fans, how super pumped are you for Part I of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows? Are you going to see the movie at midnight? Let me know what you think--I'll be posting my thoughts after I see the movie on Friday and I'd love to post your input too!

Here is a review by Entertainment Editor Mark Meszoros.

Here's the trailer if you haven't seen it--or want to see it again for the 700th time before you see the movie!

--Danielle Capriato

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Carey Mulligan is Gatsby's Daisy

Associated Press
I blogged last month about Baz Luhrmann's upcoming film adaptation of "The Great Gatsby". Now Deadline is announcing that Luhrmann has found his Daisy: Carey Mulligan.

I haven't seen her in action, but the star of "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" and "An Education" really looks the part. She is simple but glamorous, sophisticated but innocent. She's blond and beautiful, and exactly as I would picture Daisy Buchanan.

She's gotten great critical review and should fit in well beside Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby. I'm really beginning to look forward to this adaptation of one of my favorite books.

-- Cheryl Sadler

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Imagine all the downloads

Come together, twist and shout, because The Beatles are available for download on iTunes.

Is this cause for celebration?

I'm more or less indifferent about the announcement. I own several Beatles albums and can't see myself downloading any that I don't have. I'm someone who prefers the packaging of a CD case when buying music from my favorite musicians. I figured that at this point -- nearly 50 years after The Beatles hit American shores -- that most people have been exposed the music through living through the 1960s and 1970s, or through listening to their parents' albums. I assumed that saying you liked The Beatles was akin to listing your interests on Facebook as "music," "hanging out" and "family and friends." Maybe I'm just projecting my own childhood onto the rest of America.

I was talking with a few of my co-workers about the Beatles-iTunes announcement to see if others had the same ho-hum attitude I did. Business Editor Brandon C. Baker surprised me when he said he didn't have any Beatles music and was happy for the opportunity to explore it via iTunes. He recalled one evening over the summer when I had friends at my house to play a spirited game of Beatles Rock Band. Brandon said he didn't know many of the songs we rocked out to and tried to search for them on iTunes -- with no success.

My assumptions about people's access to The Beatles was clearly wrong. And maybe all the kids out there who are exposed to music only through the Internet, social media and iTunes will form a new Beatles audience. Or, perhaps fans who have records, cassette tapes and damaged CDs will look at this as an opportunity to buy good, digital versions of their favorite songs.

(And if you don't have any Beatles music, $149 for all of the band's studio collections [titled The Beatles Box Set] seems like a pretty good deal to me.)

Coverage of the decision via The Associated Press can be viewed here, and read more about the agreement here.

-- Cheryl Sadler

P.S. Addendum: I don't condone illegal downloads, but this graphic representation of whether one should buy Beatles music on iTunes more or less follows the train of thought I had when I heard about the announcement. I just figured most people had the music or could easily borrow it from the library, friends or family.

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sorry readers, I will not be the next Iron Chef

I mentioned in an earlier blog post that I'm not much of a TV watcher because my schedule and lack of DVR have prevented me from watching the prime-time shows.

But I recently discovered Time Warner On Demand.

On Demand is literally the poor man's DVR. For the price of digital cable, I can watch several shows from several networks whenever I want for as long as they are available (and as long as I'm not too picky about the shows because there are only a handful of networks that have a handful of shows available).

One show that On Demand has gotten me into is Food Network's "The Next Iron Chef". I love "Iron Chef" and I love competition.

The premise of the show is fairly simple: 10 chefs are vying to be the next "Iron Chef," so they compete in challenges in which they are judged by each other and a panel of judges (including Cleveland's own Iron Chef, Michael Symon). Each week someone is eliminated; Sunday's episode is the seventh. The challenges are getting progressively tougher, and host Alton Brown appears to be getting more in-your-face to the competitors during the show. (I'm even intimidated by him, so I clearly do not have what it takes to be the next Iron Chef.) Two of my favorites were eliminated in weeks five and six, but another of my favorites is still in the game for now. Let's hope that chef makes it through tonight. Actually, I might be happy with three of the four remaining as the next Iron Chef; one of the competitors is really burning my muffins and I'd like to see that chef gone.

To get a taste of the show, check out Iron Chef Symon's take on the first episode (which includes who gets eliminated in the first challenge):

-- Cheryl Sadler


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Conan returns -- with 4.1 million viewers

Conan O'Brien did pretty well in his first night back as a late-night talk show host.

From The Associated Press:
The former host of “The Tonight Show,” who left NBC eight months ago, returned on Monday with a new talk show, “Conan,” premiering on basic-cable network TBS.
In the 11 p.m. Eastern hour, O’Brien’s opening night throttled his direct rivals on Comedy Central. “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” was seen by 1.3 million viewers, followed by “The Colbert Report” with 1 million.
But the curiosity factor clearly brought new viewers to the scene. Even against the debut of “Conan,” the “Daily Show” audience dropped by just 200,000 viewers from its season-to-date average for Monday episodes. Viewership for “Colbert” dropped by only 150,000 from its season-to-date average.
Conan beat Jay Leno, the host who reclaimed the “Tonight Show” chair from him. Starting at 11:35 p.m. Eastern, “Tonight” attracted 3.5 million viewers. But “Tonight,” which overlaps with “Conan” by 25 minutes, was down by just 100,000 viewers. Season-to-date, “Tonight” is averaging 3.6 million viewers, according to the Nielsen Co.

I tuned in only for the monologue (there's this thing they keep talking to me at work about called "deadline" that I was working against last night). But from what I saw of the show, it looks to be a much more cable-friendly flavor of Conan. A colorful joke about Brett Favre's recent ... indiscretions ... never would have made it to air on NBC. The format of the show and even the set reminded me of "Tonight" show Conan, so "Conan" may provide viewers with a less censored version of what they enjoyed on NBC. As is usually the case with new shows, Conan's viewership likely will drop off after the first week or so, but the show surely will be staying on for a while.

More Coco coverage:

-- Cheryl Sadler

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Bad Books: Self-titled

Projects like these don’t come along that often.

Often times, you’ll see two rappers collaborate to make a full album, but rarely do you see it in the rock genre.

Bad Books, a band that consists of all five Manchester Orchestra members and solo artist Kevin Devine, released their debut, 10-song self-titled album on Tuesday.

I’ve been dangerously obsessed with Manchester Orchestra since I first heard of them a little more than a year ago, when I saw them open up twice for Brand New in a span of two months. I’ve never considered myself a fan of Devine, but have always respected him as he is closely associated with Brand New. He too normally opens for Brand New on their tours and is good friends with the band’s lead singer, Jesse Lacey.

And after all, if you’re in good with Brand New, you’re in good with me.

Bad Books started as a side project between Manchester Orchestra’s lead singer Andy Hull and Devine, but eventually Hull’s full band joined in on the fun. They insist their debut album isn’t a one and done project and have plans to release several other albums and at the pace they work at, follow-ups could be soon as this album was created in just a few short months.

At 10 songs, Bad Books have created a pretty short album, and actually, by far the best song on the album, “You Wouldn’t Have To Ask,” is less than two minutes long.

It’s a bit hard to describe the sound of Bad Books. It’s not too far off what a normal Manchester Orchestra song or Kevin Devine song may sound like who both incorporate an indie, almost folk-like rock sound into their music.

“You Wouldn’t Have to Ask” and “Please Move,” are the two best songs on the album, both of which have been floating around on the internet for the past three months.

“Baby Shoes,” sung by Hull by himself, sounds like a soft Nirvana song and “You’re a Mirror I Cannot Avoid” sung by Devine sounds eerily similar to Death Cab for Cutie’s “I Will Follow You Into the Dark.”

The tone of the album is soft without being too dark, but maybe a little too soft. There’s not too much electric guitar on the album at all. Many of the songs feature Hull and Devine layering vocals on top of each other throughout the entire song. Their voices compliment each other well and they sound like they’ve been making music together for a while now.

Bad Books debut album is good, but I suspect their best work is yet to come. In the meantime, Manchester Orchestra’s third full-length album, Simple Math, will hit stores in March 2011.

This should hold me over until then.

-Nick Carrabine