Benign Advertising - How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Brand

Alex Moore :: Friday, May 28th, 2010 2:00 pm

A couple days ago Ozzy Osbourne released a totally hilarious video in which he goes into a wax museum and pretends to be a statue, waits for someone to sit down next to him, and scares the shit out of them.

The video starts with a super-awkward rally cry with Ozzy yelling into the camera, “I’m here to scare the shit out of my fans!” in an inflection eerily reminiscent of Grandpa Simpson.

The video is good for a few laughs, so we don’t care that the video is a promotional stunt for Ozzy’s new record, called Scream. We love hilarious videos and compelling stories, whether or not they happen to be packaged in advertising. Hell, half the time we love them when they are advertising, as evidenced by the frenzy surrounding Superbowl ads.

The same principle was exhibited nicely two months ago with Absolut Vodka’s presentation of NY-Z, the beautiful black-and-white 15 minute Jay-Z documentary, directed by Danny Clinch. Continue reading to watch both videos. MORE »



Finally - A Real Hoverboard!

Alex Moore :: Friday, May 28th, 2010 11:00 am

The question most confounding generations X and Y over the last 20 years, if we’re really honest about it, even more so than “how do we solve global warming” and “how do we achieve world peace,” has been “why the hell can’t I buy a hoverboard?”

Sure the iPad has gone a long ways towards assuaging our nagging desire for the world to be more futuristic, but really anything in this vein is only  pacifying us as we wait for what we’ve really wanted all along: hoverboards.

21 years later after Back To The Future 2, French artist Nils Guadignin has finally made a real, honest-to-goodness working hoverboard. Kind of. MORE »



Doodle 4 Google - The Death+Taxes Edition

Alex Moore :: Thursday, May 27th, 2010 5:30 pm

Doodle 4 Google’s winner was announced today, and needless to say, Death+Taxes did not win.

So here’s what we’re gonna do. New contest: Take the Death+Taxes logo from our site, redesign it to your liking based on the the theme “If I Could Do Anything,” and send it in to us at [email protected]. We haven’t decided what the prize will be. But it’s going to be way better than Google’s stupid $15,000 grant, we can tell you that much!

PS we think we won this Google thing fair and square. Our doodle is killer! Take a look. MORE »



Joe Cocker - Still Looking Autistic, Still Sounding Retarded

Alex Moore :: Thursday, May 27th, 2010 11:30 am

Joe Cocker appeared on American Idol last night to sing his special rendition of “With A Little Help From My Friends,” answering a question I used to ask myself every time I’d watch the opening credits to The Wonder Years: “Is this guy  drunk, or retarded?”

I think I actually asked this question of my parents once, was roundly reprimanded for using the “r” word, and then forced to watch Life Goes On as penance, whereupon I was distracted the entire time by the striking coincidence of the show’s reference to another Beatles song, “Oh Bla Di, Oh Bla Da.” What was it about Beatles songs and retards? Of course, I eventually did learn to stop referring to the mentally challenged as “retarded,” but, along with the rest of my generation, discovered that the word does commute quite nicely in the pejorative to describe other things in life, such as the television show American Idol.

Based on last night’s show, even though it was Woodstock, I no longer have to wonder whether Joe Cocker was just really trashed during the performance that made him so famous. The guy just looks a little retarded.



Regina Spektor To Perform At White House

Alex Moore :: Wednesday, May 26th, 2010 10:30 am

It was announced today that Regina Spektor will perform at The White House on Thursday at a reception to honor Jewish American Heritage month.

Barack Obama, self-professed Jay-Z fanatic, is possibly our first president with anything that resembles good taste in current music, which has played out in a string of pretty cool performances at the White House: Beyonce, Fergie (for the Easter Egg Roll), Rodrigo y Gabriela (I heard their set was muy caliente) and Paul McCartney, who will rock the House June 2nd at an epic celebration honoring himself. MORE »



Byrne Sues Crist - A Left-Wing Rock And Roll Tradition

Alex Moore :: Tuesday, May 25th, 2010 6:30 pm

David Byrne said something interesting about the lawsuit he’s filed against Florida Governor Charlie Crist, who illegally used Byrne’s song “We’re On A Road To Nowhere” in his senatorial campaign. “[The suit] is not about politics. It’s about copyright.” Crist is running as an independent. His Republican opponent Mark Rubio is simultaneously being sued by Steve Miller for illegally using his song “Take The Money And Run”—a splendidly fitting choice, in this case.  There is a deep and hilarious history of right-wing politicians getting sued for campaign songs written by left-leaning musicians. Let’s take a look back—these guys can say this isn’t about politics, but I’m sure I’m not dropping a huge spoiler here by saying there isn’t a Democrat on the list. MORE »



The Most Monumental Rock Injuries of All Time, Inspired By Bono’s Tour-Postponing Back

Alex Moore :: Tuesday, May 25th, 2010 1:30 pm

U2 has confirmed that they will postpone this summer’s North American tour in the wake of Bono’s recent back injury, sustained during a rehearsal. Let me repeat that—during a rehearsal. Sure, there is a long and celebrated history of rock stars getting so hyped up on stage that they strain themselves, fall off stage, light themselves on fire, or have heart attacks and just plum die. But in a rehearsal? Either Bono is getting so old that his “trick back” is as vulnerable to injury as your grandpa’s every time he gets up to refill his Ensure, or U2 is clocking some seriously badass rehearsals.

Personally, I prefer to imagine the injury was sustained in some kind of over-the-top dress rehearsal replete with pyro, with Bono suspended in a flying harness hundreds of feet in the air and potentially riding a floating surfboard a la David Lee Roth on 1988’s Skyscraper tour.

So how does Bono’s injury stack up next to some of the most monumental on-stage calamities of the last 30 years? Let’s take look. MORE »



The Best Box Office Bombs Of All Time

Alex Moore :: Monday, May 24th, 2010 1:39 pm

It’s always easy to kick a guy while he’s down. Especially if that guy happens to be named MacGruber.

Even though the advance press for MacGruber was positive, the movie’s admittedly embarrassing $4.1M box office performance has turned most of the press sour as kitty litter and raised calls for SNL producer Lorne Michaels to stop spinning SNL skits into feature films.

But great movies don’t always perform well at the box office, and I don’t care what anyone says—MacGruber is awesome. Its jokes are outrageous and unexpected. I felt what I imagine it might have been like to see Airplane for the first time.

Keep reading for a list of the 10 greatest movies with the worst opening-weekend box office performances in recent memory. MORE »



Auolux to release Transit Transit August 3rd

Alex Moore :: Monday, May 24th, 2010 11:15 am

Los Angeles trio Autolux has announced the follow-up to its 2004 debut, titled Transit Transit, will release on August 3rd.

While 2004’s Future Perfect was a totally respectable record that deserved all the praise it got, the real juice to this band is their live show. It’s always fun seeing a truly badass female drummer, and drummer/ vocalist Carla Azar will melt your face. Which is probably one of the reasons the band has been invited to play with everyone from PJ Harvey to Thom Yorke in the last two years.

Check here for tour dates and more info.



MacGruber: All Man

Alex Moore :: Friday, May 21st, 2010 5:15 pm

macgruber1Yesterday we ran an exclusive interview with MacGruber star Will Forte, in which he described himself as “one moustache away from a very realistic looking sex offender.”

Today, on MacGruber release day, Kristin Wiig gives an interview in which she describes Forte’s prowess as an on-screen lover as “loud, aggressive, very sweaty and goal-oriented.”

Would we expect anything less from a man who has been most frequently pictured over the course of his career doing ninja air-chops in front of a wall of fire? Hell no. So where does MacGruber go from here? As Forte told Death+Taxes, “MacGruber 2 — the budget is going to be 250 million dollars, but it’s all gonna go towards blow and grass.” MORE »



What Do Lindsay Lohan and Poster Boy Have In Common?

Alex Moore :: Friday, May 21st, 2010 12:45 pm

Picture 5What do Lindsay Lohan and notorious NYC street artist Poster Boy have in common? (Other than both being serious artists who espouse biting cultural commentary, of course.)  They have both been having some serious difficulty showing up at their court dates, incurring penalties worse than the ones they received for their original offenses. Gawker today reports that Poster Boy is free on bail after a week at Riker’s Island, and Loahn yesterday avoided imminent arrest by coughing up bail of $100,000 before returning to the States. MORE »



Interview: Rand Paul

Alex Moore :: Wednesday, May 19th, 2010 7:45 pm

Rand Paul emerged from the shadow of his father’s legacy on Tuesday to win the Republican Primary race under the auspices of the Tea Party.

Paul, like his father Ron Paul, has positioned himself as a populist, anti-party, anti-government candidate. But in aligning himself with the Tea Party, Paul wagers that the movement’s “anti” stigma will make it a legitimate place for libertarians and populist idealists, rather than being simply an extreme faction of the Republican party itself. By aligning with the Tea Partiers, is Paul building a platform for an issue-based candidacy, or by November will the “Tea Party” be synonymous with the GOP and lock him into the same dogmatic party line that seem to hamper most electoral politics in this country (and certainly all victorious electoral politics)?

A few weeks ago Paul granted an interview to Death+Taxes, in which he said, “I do think [The Tea Party] will definitely have influence in 2010, 2012 – probably through the two-party system.” Will his strategy work out, or backfire? Click here for more with Rand Paul.



Parks And Recreation’s Chris Pratt: NBC’s MVP

Alex Moore :: Wednesday, May 19th, 2010 4:30 pm

Story by Amelia Kreminski

Photos by Joseph Cultice

View Photo Gallery

Chris Pratt has been having a hell of a year. The season finale of Parks and Recreation airs tomorrow night, having racked up enough accolades this year to unofficially claim the “most improved” award in NBC’s sitcom stable, and Pratt has been at the heart of many of the gushing superlatives.

Playing the affably slow Andy Dwyer, Pratt has become one of TV’s breakout success stories of the year, having edged himself into more and more screen time as lines like, “Andy Dwyer by day, Andy Radical by a different time of day” have earned him a budding Pratt-quoting cult following.

We got together with Pratt for a special interview and a photo shoot so insane we’ve started calling him Chris Radical. MORE »



Lars Ulrich remembers Ronnie James Dio

Alex Moore :: Monday, May 17th, 2010 12:30 pm

One of rock’s most illustrious screechers, Ronnie James Dio, passed away on Sunday at age 67 of stomach cancer.

And one of rock’s most illustrious over-doers has issued a sincere, if over-done rememberance of the legendary frontman.

In a post on Metallica’s official website, Ulrich writes, “In the fall of 1976, when you played your first show in Copenhagen, I was literally in the front row and the couple of times we made eye contact you made me feel like the most important person in the world.”

Sounds kind of like falling in love, no? It’s cool, I hear you, Lars. I feel that way about Bono every time I see U2. I try not to, but I still do.

In the course of his career Dio graced the front ends of Black Sabbath, Elf, as well as his own band, Dio. And made some dope goth videos straight out of middle to boot. Continue reading to watch. MORE »



Watch: The Hold Steady on Stephen Colbert

Alex Moore :: Friday, May 14th, 2010 2:30 pm

The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn and Tad Kubler appeared on Stephen Colbert last night. Finn did most of the talking and his interaction with Colbert is pretty amazing. Unlike most staunchly atheist artists appearing on Colbert, Finn is actually religious and identifies as a Catholic, which keeps his interview from the predictable, canned sarcasm that can tend to inhibit artist interviews on the show.

When asked to explain the title of the new album Heaven Is Whenever, Finn says, “Heaven is this ultimate reward. Living a righteous life, you’re rewarded every day.” Where Colbert’s interviews can degenerate into two people out-sarcasming each other, Finn is totally serious, which makes the interview way more interesting.

See here for an in-depth interview with Finn and Kubler for Death+Taxes. Continue reading to watch the Colbert interview and watch the accompanying performance of “Hurricane J.” MORE »