Movie Review: ‘Hannah Montana’ in 3-D

Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour: Aidin Vaziri I had never heard a song by either Montana or Cyrus until it came crashing down on my head in digital 3-D. Take a little bit of Avril, Ashlee and Gwen with wholesale swipes of melodies from ’80s hits like Kim Wilde’s “Kids in America” and Corey Hart’s “Sunglasses at Night,” and you get the general idea. Predictably, most of the lyrics seem to be about leading a double life along the lines of, “I’m just an ordinary girl living in an extraordinary world.” The only bit of real drama comes when she nearly slips off the shoulders of her backup dancers as they attempt to lift her up for one number. Spoiler alert – she survives; and if road life is difficult, she never lets on – Cyrus is shown as all-smiles throughout. The film also ignores the trail of angry parents and nightly news reports that seemed to follow the tour. If it wasn’t for the stellar 3-D effects, there wouldn’t be much to stop this hastily produced film from heading straight to DVD. But the scene at the end where all the confetti comes flying out and the pyrotechnics go off? Even I was willing to let out a little scream for that.. Continue reading.


Pop Quiz: Bob Mould

Aidin Vaziri | Even though Bob Mould has spent the better part of the past decade confusing his fans by becoming a writer for World Championship Wrestling, delving headfirst into dance music and posting pictures of his Christmas roast on his blog, it’s all helped him get back to doing what he does best. His latest solo release, “District Line,” is a throwback to the jangling, emotionally wound up guitar rock that made him a college-radio superstar in the ’80s and ’90s as the front man for Hüsker Dü and Sugar. We spoke to Mould, 47, by phone from his home in Washington, D.C.

Bob Mould
Q: Why haven’t you gotten in on all the reunion bucks?
A: Nobody’s come forward with a big fat check. I’m not interested in that. Hüsker Dü was a great band. The problem with going backward is I don’t feel that anger toward the world anymore. It wouldn’t look good for me to go onstage and do things from the Reagan era.
Q: VH1 said Hüsker Dü was one of the 100 most important hard-rock bands, coming in just behind the Rolling Stones.
A: God damn them.
Q: What’s the most rock ‘n’ roll thing you ever did?
A: I don’t know. I hate tour buses. They’re sort of weird. The first rule is you don’t s- on the bus. So I prefer to rent a Cadillac and drive myself to shows. It’s just a lot more civilized.
Q: And where do you go in the Cadillac?
A: You pull over. Continue reading.

Review: Hot Chip

Hot Chip ‘Made In The Dark’: Aidin Vaziri | Having managed to find an audience that actually wants to hear a bunch of guys who look a lot like junior bankers playing music that goes bliddly-bleep-bloop-bloop-bloop, British synth-pop import Hot Chip is on a hot streak. The group’s previous album delivered the much-blogged hit “Over and Over,” which featured the rather good lyric “Over and over, like a monkey with a miniature cymbal.” Its third and latest continues to mix the gags and grooves, with a sudden upsurge in dramatic ’80s power ballads. Singer Alexis Taylor has a surprisingly soulful voice for a guy who probably still plays with Transformers, and he uses it to varying effect to belt out hypnotic dance-floor stompers such as “Shake a Fist” and future prom staples such as “We’re Looking for a Lot of Love.” While the band has a tendency to stick its tongue too deep into its cheek (see “Wrestlers”), on the whole this is about as sublime as dance music gets these days.

Pop Quiz: Shelby Lynne

Aidin Vaziri | In 2001, Shelby Lynne won a best new artist Grammy. The only problem is that she has been making music since 1988. Whatever. The good news is that, with that logic, she just might win the trophy again next year with her new album, “Just a Little Lovin’,” a shimmering tribute to the late Dusty Springfield, produced by Phil Ramone. The disc includes Lynne’s take on nine classics, including “The Look of Love” and “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me,” plus one original. So what if it’s only January? We’re calling this the best album of the year … at least until the new Def Leppard arrives.

Shelby Lynne
Q: Out of all the people who have ever made records, why Dusty?
A: Well, you know Barry Manilow?
Q: Depends.
A: Well, he suggested I do this. He mentioned it to me way before I even considered it. So I put it back in my brain, and after my last record, I thought, “What should I do? Maybe it’s time I did covers.” Everybody loves Dusty Springfield, but maybe they’ve forgotten a little bit. So I thought, what the hell? It was a great idea from Barry.
Q: You know Barry Manilow?
A: We’re just acquaintances.
Q: How do you relate to Dusty as a person, other than thinking she has a really cool first name?
A: I didn’t know her. It’s difficult. You can pick up as many books and articles as you like, but without knowing a person you don’t know if you can relate to them or not. Paper will be still for anybody to write anything on it. You can’t believe anything you read. I always tell people not to believe anything they read about me. Continue reading.

Review: Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash ‘The Best of the Johnny Cash TV Show 1969-1971’: Aidin Vaziri | Forget sailing with Columbus or playing golf on the dunes of the moon, if you ever get the opportunity to travel back in time, head straight for the summer of 1969 to watch all 58 episodes of Johnny Cash’s short-lived weekly ABC variety show from the very beginning. This newly minted compilation of musical highlights offers slight compensation for not having been there, but every live performance is ceiling-punching great: Ray Charles’ glorious take on “Ring of Fire,” Tammy Wynette’s peerless “Stand by Your Man,” even Joni Mitchell’s lovely duet with the host on “Girl From the North Country.” Incredibly, Eric Clapton doesn’t mess things up, offering his first and possibly last stellar performance with Derek & the Dominos’ “It’s Too Late.” And while it rankles to think about who got left off to make room for James Taylor, it’s hard to complain with George Jones, Roy Orbison and Waylon Jennings all present and accounted for in vintage form. There’s also a separate four-hour DVD set available for those who prefer to watch.

Under The Covers With Foo Fighters

Foo Fighters’ favorite covers: Aidin Vaziri | While Foo Fighters’ by-the-numbers arena rock has mostly made us shrug over the past decade, there’s no knocking the band’s favorite source material. We hunted high and low (OK, mostly low) and came up with what we consider the 10 best cover tunes Dave Grohl and his ever-evolving cast of band mates have knocked out over the years. If you care to disagree, you know where to reach us. Here’s the list:

Band on the Run (Originally performed by Paul McCartney and Wings.) Foo Fighters bravely face down the multi-part Wings epic and dutifully rock its world. Look for it on the BBC Radio 1 anniversary compilation “Established in 1967.”

Holiday in Cambodia (Originally performed by the Dead Kennedys.) With System of a Down’s Serj Tankian sitting in with the band, Foo Fighters detonated their hotel room at last year’s MTV Video Music Awards with this primitive punk throwback. Kanye? 50? Grohl was the clear-cut winner. Continue reading.

Get Your Sleeveface On

Trend takes off as music fans take cover: Aidin Vaziri | Carl Morris was merely bored when he held the cover of an old vinyl copy of “McCartney II” up to his face while playing records at a club in Cardiff, England, making it appear as if the former Beatle’s heavily mulleted head had briefly replaced his own. “I thought it might be kind of childish actually,” he said. “What sensible grown adult would do such things?”But it was a moment so hilarious to those that witnessed it that soon other DJs across the United Kingdom started repeating the trick at their own parties, finding record sleeves of just the right dimension and comedic proportion to give their sets an ironic visual kick: Ted Nugent’s “Cat Scratch Fever,” Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life,” Joni Mitchell’s “Clouds.” Then a couple photos hit the Web, and things went seriously insane. Now the phenomenon has a name: Sleeveface. And on the rudimentary Web site Morris started after it caught on, it’s defined in a roundabout way as, “one or more persons obscuring or augmenting any part of their body or bodies with record sleeves causing an illusion.” Continue reading.