The Riff - July 2008

Aboriginal Singer Tops Australian Independent Music Charts

| Thu Jul. 17, 2008 8:19 PM EDT

mojo-photo-yunupingu.jpgAn indigenous Australian singer has topped the Australian independent record charts with an album recorded mostly in his native Yungul language. The 37-year-old singer, Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, has been blind since birth, but has already become an accomplished self-taught musician—he might be known to some world music fans as a sometime member of the Yothu Yindi band. But it's his debut solo album that's causing a sensation, mostly due to Yunupingu's voice, which the Sydney Morning Herald called one of "absolutely transcendental beauty." The singer is a bit of a recluse, since he apparently speaks little English, and Australia's ABC News calls him "very shy." But that didn't stop him from selling out the Sydney Opera House twice last weekend, and the UK Guardian says Elton John, Sting, and Björk are fans.

After the jump, check out "Wukun," a track from the new album that foregrounds the clear, shiver-inducing tones of Yunupingu's voice against a simple guitar melody that's almost like a lullaby.

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New Music from Around the Blogs: Machines Don't Care, Kid Cudi, Santogold, Lykke Li

| Thu Jul. 17, 2008 7:51 PM EDT

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The hotly-anticipated full length from electro supergroup Machines Don't Care (comprised of Party Ben faves Sinden, Herve, Trevor Loveys, and more) just released their full-length effort this week; The Docking Station has a few tracks and a mini-mix. Try out "Spycatcher" if you miss the old rave days but love the new wobbly bassline sound—it's got both! (For fans of: Moby, Joey Beltram, glowsticks)

For edgy hip-hop with some depth, check out Cleveland's Kid Cudi, whose "Day N Nite" has a melancholy style that's a throwback to '80s tracks like Oran "Juice" Jones' "The Rain." Remember that one? "I saw you, and him...?" No? Oh well. Gorilla vs. Bear's got the mp3. (For fans of: Lil Wayne, Paul Wall, Cleveland)

After the jump: taking the Clash back to their reggae roots, and hipster head-explosion fun times!

The Emmys: No Wire, Lots of Mad Men, Buckets of Yawns

| Thu Jul. 17, 2008 3:32 PM EDT

mojo-photo-emmysnowire.jpgA quick scan of Google headlines for "Emmys" tells the story: "The Emmys Wimp Out," "The Ineptitude of Emmy Voters," "Did They Get Them Right?" Oh yeah, and the requisite "Emmys Go Mad for Mad Men!" Give that guy a Pulitzer. Sure, the detail-obsessive AMC show deserves its 16 nominations (including Best Drama), and you gotta love 30 Rock, whose 17 nods include Best Comedy (and seven for guest actors, is that cheating?). But in that category alone, you also have the increasingly-irrelevant Entourage, the past-its-prime Office, the suitable-for-torture Two and a Half Men, and Curb Your Enthusiasm, which, with all due respect, I didn't even know was still on the air. Flight of the Conchords, Family Guy, Monk, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, South Park, Weeds?

IvyGate to Facebook Gen: Watch Out

| Thu Jul. 17, 2008 3:26 PM EDT

IvyGate, the snickering blog that chronicles the goings-on of all things Ivy League, is keeping a steady eye on your potential gaffes. Don't take that in an entirely Big Brother-y way—they're only watching you if you're at all related to the Ivies (Because that's where they think America grooms all its leaders.)

Of course, IvyGate is only a fraction of the machine that allows raunchy nights of adolescent debauchery to live on in virtual eternity. Perhaps the real lesson to politicians currently in office is to keep a closer eye on their Generation Facebook kids and relatives.

Remember last year when Rudy Giuliani's estranged daughter was revealed as an Obama supporter?

Top Five: Obscure Cure

| Wed Jul. 16, 2008 8:05 PM EDT

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Want to feel old? Chew on this: the Cure got their first record deal 30 years ago this September. Where's my walker? Fortunately, band leader Robert Smith isn't showing his age, and in anticipation of the band's forthcoming (as yet untitled) 13th album, they're releasing a single every month this summer. The latest installment, "Sleep When I'm Dead" (below) is a rerecording of a rejected track from the 1985 Head on the Door sessions, and it has that era's quirky, jaunty feel, like a darker "Let's Go to Bed."

Back in the day, it seemed like the Cure could do no wrong: even B-sides and obscure album tracks were amazing. After the jump: five great Cure songs that never made it to the hit parade.

New Zach de la Rocha Sounds Like: Rage

| Wed Jul. 16, 2008 6:05 PM EDT

one-day-lion-200.jpgI guess it's no big shocker that One Day As A Lion, a new project fronted by Rage Against the Machine vocalist Zach de la Rocha, sounds pretty much kinda-sorta exactly like Rage Against the Machine.

The first song, "Wild International," which was made available on MySpace this week, is alright, but it could easily be mistaken for a middle-of-the-set song performed by Rage at Lollapalooza in the early 90s.

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About That New Yorker Cover...

| Wed Jul. 16, 2008 5:21 PM EDT

If you were one of those who thought the Right couldn't possibly look at the New Yorker cover and see it as an accurate or even semi-accurate representation of the Obamas, I give you G. Gordon Liddy:

"I don't suppose you've, by any chance, have seen the cover of the latest issue of the New Yorker magazine, which is, you know, a huge thing. It's got Obama in his Muslim dress with a turban, and he's there with his wife. His wife has a "mad at the world" afro, circa 1968, she — she's got bandoliers and an assault weapon, and there in their fireplace is burning the American flag. The New Yorker finally got it right."

When the cover came out, I was largely dismissive of the controversy. America needs to get a sense of humor. But I'm changing my position. G. Gordon Liddy knows the cover is satirical, knows it is hyperbole, even knows it is intended to make fun of people like him. But that isn't going to stop him and those like him from using it as anti-Obama propaganda.

Do these people make a mockery of themselves? Of course. Do they vote? Absolutely.

New Documentary: American Teen

| Wed Jul. 16, 2008 5:04 PM EDT

On the off chance that you haven't had your fill of this genre, in August you'll have the opportunity to see yet another set of jocks, popular girls, and band geeks prance around the screen in a new documentary called American Teen, directed by Nanette Burstein (The Kid Stays in the Picture).

Three MoJo staffers attended the San Francisco sneak preview on Monday. Read our discussion here.

Is Weeds Secretly Being Directed by Lars von Trier?

| Wed Jul. 16, 2008 4:49 PM EDT

mojo-photo-weeds-dancer.jpgDanish director Lars von Trier is nothing if not a rabble-rouser. His best-known films, Breaking the Waves, Dancer in the Dark and Dogville have inspired both critical praise and accusations of sadistic misogyny; in each, the female central character suffers brutally, as events seemingly conspire against her, agonizing twist after sickening injustice. After watching the latest episode of Showtime's Weeds, another half hour in which every possible thing goes wrong for our noble heroine, I wondered: is von Trier secretly manning the cameras?

Do GLAAD Network Ratings Matter?

| Tue Jul. 15, 2008 6:00 PM EDT

mojo-photo-gaynetworks.jpgThe Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation just released its annual "Network Responsibility Index," an exhaustive look at television programming that counts the percentage of a network's shows that feature LGBT people or characters. Once again, ABC was the queer juggernaut, so to speak, with gay-inclusive fare like Brothers & Sisters, Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty adding up to a whopping 24 percent of the network's prime time. The CW made it to 21 percent on the strength (?) of America's Next Top Model, and below that, things take a turn for the pathetic. Queers show up on CBS 9 percent of the time, on 6 percent of NBC's shows, and just 4 percent of whatever Fox does. Cable did a little bit better, as an FX viewer runs the risk of spotting a homophile 45 percent of the time, with HBO and Showtime just behind. A&E, Spike, TBS, TNT, USA all received grades of "Failing." Bravo doesn't seem to have been ranked, I'm assuming because it would have completely thrown off the grading curve: I'm sorry all other netverks, you are AOUUT, auf Wiedersehen.