Friday, February 16, 2007

Friday Afternoon Funnies: KaBlam!

It's four thirty in the afternoon. You've done your week's work, and there's still an hour and a half to kill before you go home for the weekend. Throw on your headphones and kill some time with Totally Claimin's "Friday Afternoon Funnies!" The boss won't know. And you'll be thankful for it! Today's funny is an episode of Nickelodeon's "KaBlam!"

KaBlam! is an American animated television series that ran on Nickelodeon from 1996 to 2000. It features a collection of short films in several different styles of animation, bridged by the characters of Henry and June, who introduce the shorts, and have adventures of their own. Wikipedia

This particular episode includes:

Action League Now! — Filmed in "Chuckimation", in which the characters/props are moved by unseen hands, or thrown from off camera, interspersed with occasional stop motion animation. Action League Now! featured a group of superheroes, played by custom-made action figures, who fight crime in suburbia despite being total idiots. The four superheroes are ThunderGirl, who has the ability to fly, Meltman, who has the ability to melt, The Flesh, described in the Action League Now! introduction as "super-strong and super-naked", and Stinky Diver, whose name derives from the fact that most of his diving takes place in toilets. Considered to be the best KaBlam! short, it briefly became a spin-off series in 2003. All the characters on the shorts were voiced by personalities from radio station WDVE in Pittsburgh.

Prometheus and Bob — A Claymation segment featuring the video record mission logs of Prometheus, an alien who comes to Earth attempting to teach the local caveman, Bob, all manner of things. From the use of fire to the act of ice skating, the result is usually a failure.

On Call With The Kings Of Leon

I try not to miss the opening act of any concert I attend. Back in 2005, I saw U2 at the Staples Center here in Los Angeles. Opening for them were "Kings Of Leon," a band that at the time was described as Lynyrd Skynyrd meets the Strokes. (Side note: Everything back in 2005 was compared to The Strokes.) I was already familiar with the band from their single "Molly's Chambers" and the accompanying car commercial it was featured in, but once I saw their live show, I was hooked. It smoked, and even as U2 fans were piling in to Staples, and the house lights were still up, the band played ferociously and demanded the audience to take notice.

Well claimers, after opening for such acts as Pearl Jam, Bob Dylan, and the aforementioned U2, it's time to take notice again. The Kings Of Leon have released their first single entitled "On Call" from their upcoming release "Because Of The Times." The follow-up release to
2005’s Aha Shake Heartbreak, is not all that you would expect from the Nashville-based quartet. “I think people tend to expect a certain sound from us,” says Kings of Leon’s drummer Nathan Followill, “but on this record, we tried to throw them for a loop.”

The new album, their third major label release, finds the band exploring their musical talents; a feat often found in a group that has established a steady footing in the band's identity, the security of fan loyalty, and their record label's confidence. “We took the limitations off of ourselves,” says frontman/rhythm guitarist Caleb. “We went into the studio with an open mind, thinking let’s do whatever it takes to get these songs to the next level. Because we really have a lot of music inside of us and a lot of different places we can go.”

Such exploration can be found in the band's forst single off of the new album, "On Call." It's a track that features the already familiar "Kings Of Leon" slow burn to pounding beat, but builds upon that tactic by using vocal effects. See if you agree, for your consideration, you can listen to the track below.

"Because Of The Times" will be released stateside April 3rd. If you would like to hear other tracks from the band, visit The Kings Of Leon at myspace.

For Your Consideration:
Kings Of Leon - On Call Mp3
Kings Of Leon - Molly's Chambers (Live Austin City Limits Music Festival: 2003 Collection) Mp3

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The British Are Coming:
An Overseas Office Visit!

Get ready for another British invasion. Only thing is though, this one ain't gonna be a musical invasion, it's gonna be a comedic one. In what could only be described as stunt casting of "Will And Grace" sized proportions, it looks like NBC's "The Office" is set to have members of the original UK cast appear as guest stars. Among those who could make cameos are "Pirates Of The Caribbean" star Mackenzie Crook who played Gareth (their version of Dwight), Martin Freeman (Tim, their Jim), and Lucy Davis who played Dawn (their Pam). American audiences might recognize Davis from her current role as comedy writer Lucy Kenwright on NBC's "Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip."

Executive Producer Ben Silverman of the US version of the show has said that it will be a case of Slough meets Scranton, and that characters from both shows will finally get to meet. Unfortunately, the big cheese, office manager David Brent, played by series creator Ricky Gervais will not appear with his co-workers in that episode. There are plans however for the meeting of minds between Brent and Michael Scott played by Steve Carell in a later episode to be penned by Gervais himself, and I for one, can't wait.

So for now, enjoy the theme from the UK version of "The Office," a wonderful cover of "Handbags and Gladrags" performed by Stereophonics. It's a sad ditty, one that immediately set the tone for a show about the mundane lives of the working stiffs at a small paper company. Here's the video:

For Your Consideration:
Stereophonics - Handbags And Gladrags (Theme To The Office UK) Mp3

- Handbags And Gladrags Live Acoustic Version (Theme To The Office UK) Mp3

Bono Sighting Across The Universe

Later this year, around September, Revolution Studios will be releasing "Across The Universe," an original musical from director Julie Taymor (Frida, Titus, and the Broadway smash hit musical "The Lion King") and writers Dick Clement & Ian La Frenais (The Commitments). The musical contains tons of Beatles music in it much like the recent "Cirque Du Soleil" production of "Love." Here's the trailer:

According to the movie's website, "Across The Universe" is "A love story set against the backdrop of the 1960s amid the turbulent years of anti-war protest, mind exploration and rock 'n roll, the film moves from the dockyards of Liverpool to the creative psychedelia of Greenwich Village, from the riot-torn streets of Detroit to the killing fields of Vietnam. The star-crossed lovers, Jude (Jim Sturgess) and Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood), along with a small group of friends and musicians, are swept up into the emerging anti-war and counterculture movements, with "Dr. Robert" (Bono) and "Mr. Kite" (Eddie Izzard) as their guides. Tumultuous forces outside their control ultimately tear the young lovers apart, forcing Jude and Lucy – against all odds – to find their own way back to each other."

Also worth noting is that one of my favorite bands, "The Secret Machines" contributed music to the soundtrack. That's the good news, but I can't help but think this might be another Bee Gees "Sgt. Pepper's" rehash. My case in point? Here is a still of Bono looking quite familiar. Is it me or does he look exactly like Robin Williams in "Night At The Museum?" Uncanny.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Real Scooby Snacks: The Chase Songs

Ok gang, it's time for another one of Totally Claimin's retro-posts. The Davy Jones/Brady Bunch posting was so popular that I figured it was time to return to the well. So, without further ado, it's Scooby Doo!

The original Hanna Barbera cartoon, "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!" was broadcast on CBS from 1969 to 1976. Some people like me say that these were they glory years for Mystery Inc. But in those years since, Scooby has never left our collective conscious. The characters from this cartoon have been on television in some way or another to this very day, be it on the Laugh Olympics or the current Scooby-Doo series, "Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue!" which airs Saturday mornings on The CW network. Repeats of the original series, as well as second-run episodes of "What's New, Scooby-Doo?", are broadcast frequently on Boomerang and the Cartoon Network.

"The plot of each Scooby-Doo episode followed a formula that would serve as a template for many of the later incarnations of the series. At the beginning of the episode, the Mystery, Inc. gang bump into some type of evil ghost or a monster, which they learn has been terrorizing the local populace. The teens offer to help solve the mystery behind the creature, but while looking for clues and suspects, the gang (and in particular Shaggy and Scooby) run into the monster, who always gives chase. However, after analyzing the clues they have found, the gang determines that this monster is simply a mere mortal in disguise. They capture the monster and have the criminal behind the mask or costume arrested. At this point, the criminal would utter the famous catchphrase, or a variation thereof: "I would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for you meddling kids!" Wikipedia

But to me, besides having a crush on Daphne (Wilma Flintstone wasn't my type), the cartoon was all about the groovy chase songs. When Shag and Scoob were being chased by those evil monsters, there was always some trippy song playing in the background. You don't know them by name, but you'll definitely know them by ear, trust me. My two favorite ones have got to be "Seven Days A Week" and "Love The World." They kinda have a Herman's Hermits thing goin for it, and whenever I hear them I have some sort of Pavlovian thing happening. I immediately want to eat a bowl of sugary cereal. You will too. For your listening pleasure at the end of this post, I have added a couple of those famous chase songs, Scooby's theme song, and bonus remix that can all be found on "
Scooby-Doo's Snack Tracks: The Ultimate Collection." Also included for ya is a great cover of the theme song performed by Matthew Sweet.

So, have you ever wondered how to make a Scooby Snack? Well, here is Shaggy's official recipe. Be sure to include the (Optional? Whatever!) 1 oz. of "finely ground herbal medicine," especially if you're planning to spend the night in an abandoned amusement park, a creepy mansion, or god forbid at Burning Man. (Click image for larger view.)

Hey gang, now we can all learn how to draw Scooby! ZOINKS! Here's how!
(For a larger view, click on the image)

For Your Consideration:
Hanna Barbera Music Studio - Scooby-Doo Where Are You! Mp3
Hanna Barbera Music Studio - Recipe For My Love Mp3
Hanna Barbera Music Studio - Seven Days a Week Mp3
Hanna Barbera Music Studio - Love The World Mp3
Hanna Barbera Music Studio - Scooby's Mystery Mix Mp3
Matthew Sweet - Scooby-Doo Where Are You? Mp3

The Black Crowes:
High Anticipation For New Material

Good news from the Black Crowes! Management for the band has confirmed that the Robinson brothers have been in the studio in New York and Los Angeles working on material for a new album. Pete Angelus, the band’s longtime manager, announced that the album is expected to be released sometime in 2007. It would mark The Black Crowes first album of new studio material in six years.

From the inception of their reunion,” says Angelus, “Chris and Rich have written a substantial amount of material which they have been sorting through recently with friend and producer Paul Stacey. We expect to continue recording at the conclusion of the fall tour and are planning for a 2007 release."

To celebrate this news, here are some live Crowes mp3s... kinda. Taken from their Halloween show in 2006, as tradition, The Black Crowes open their show in costume as a cover band. Older shows had them perform as BC/DC, dressed as Angus Young and the gang performing AC/DC classics (pictured left). For their 2006 show, held at the Riveria Theater in Chicago, the Crowes came out as "The Bitch Boys" and performed a couple of Beach Boys tunes, climaxing with the classic late 80's "Cocktail" hit, "Kokomo!" Enjoy.

Here's the setlist:

"The Bitch Boys"
1) Intro
2) Surfin' USA
3) Fun, Fun, Fun
4) You Are So Beautiful
5) Kokomo

For Your Consideration:

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Grammy Awards or:
How I Learned to Stop Listening and Love the Mediocracy

It literally took ten minutes into the show to make me recall how much I dislike the Grammys. Every year, it's the same old thing! It's almost as predictable as Dick Clark's American Music Awards. Actually, nothing is as bad as Dick's "Public Relations" award show, but it's getting damn close!

The Police opened the show with a smoking version of "Roxanne," and things were looking good. (In case you missed it, you can see the video below.) Then came the first award. Tony Bennett and Stevie Wonder win for Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals over the more worthy "Promiscuous" by Nelly Furtado & Timbaland, and the sinking feeling in my stomach of Grammy Awards shows past returned. So while Gnarls Barkley, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mary J. Blige, Carrie Underwood, and The Dixie Chicks were all winners, I won the award for "Best Traditional Upset Tummy." Wow, who could have possibly seen all of this coming? I did. See, I have a formula to predicting any winner for the Grammys. I swear to God, it works 90% of the time. Here is how it works: Look at the nominations, then find either the song or artist you are most sick of, or the song or artist that your parents most recognize. Odds are that the winner of the award will fit in at least one of those categories if not both.

Let's test this theory shall we? The actual winner of the category is in gold.

Best Electronic/Dance Album
(For vocal or instrumental albums. Albums only.)
  • Supernature

  • Confessions On A Dance Floor
    [Warner Bros.]

  • A Lively Mind

  • Fundamental
    Pet Shop Boys
    [Rhino Entertainment]

  • The Garden
    Zero 7
Of these albums, which artist does your mother recognize? If it were up to me, I would have handed the award to Zero 7, but no, Madonna gets it because my mother knows who she is. She has no clue who Goldfrapp are, therefore they didn't stand a chance. See this is why acts such as Bob Dylan and John Mayer win every year.

Let's try another one, shall we?

Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal
(For established duos or groups, with vocals. Singles or Tracks only.)

  • My Humps
    The Black Eyed Peas
    Track from: Monkey Business
    [A&M Records]

  • I Will Follow You Into The Dark
    Death Cab For Cutie
    Track from: Plans
    [Atlantic Records]

  • Over My Head (Cable Car)
    The Fray
    Track from: How To Save A Life

  • Is It Any Wonder?
    Track from: Under The Iron Sea
    [Interscope Records]

  • Stickwitu
    The Pussycat Dolls
    Track from: PCD
    [A&M Records]
So, which of these nominations are you most sick of? My point exactly. Is it possible they could use "My Humps" in more cell phone commercials please? For that matter, does your mom even know who Death Cab For Cutie are?




For your consideration, so you know what we're talking about, here are some Grammy Winning Mp3's. I've divided them up for you in two parts.

Part One Contains:
Bob Dylan - Someday Baby
Carrie Underwood - Jesus, Take The Wheel
The Dixie Chicks - Not Ready To Make Nice
Gnarls Barkley - Crazy
John Mayer - Waiting On The World To Change
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Dani California
The Flaming Lips - The Wizard Turns On...
Wolfmother - Woman

Part 2 Contains:
Beyonce ft. Slim Thug - Check On It
Black Eyed Peas - My Humps
Chamillionaire Ft. Krayzie Bon - Ridin'
Christina Aguilera - Ain't No Other Man
Justin Timberlake - SexyBack ft Timbaland
Mary J Blige - Be Without You
T.I. - What You Know

So there you have it, a full Totally Claimin Grammy wrap up. You can review a full list of the nominees and winners here Use my formula, see if I'm right. Disagree? Leave me a claim!

For Your Consideration:
2007 Grammy Award Winners Part 1 Mp3s
2007 Grammy Award Winners Part 2 Mp3s

Runnin' With The Method

If I told you that there was an original soundtrack of electronic music made where the tempo of the track begins at a slower pace to take you through a gradual warm up, then increases that pace over the course of the album, and then gradually decreases tempo as part of a cool down, what would you use it for? The dance floor or bedroom activities?

How about some exercise of a different, more literal kind? Running. Billed as a "45-minute continuous electronic music mix as a soundtrack for sport," one of my all time favorite electronic music acts, the Crystal Method's "Drive: Nike + Original Run" is an original soundtrack that can be used for just about anything you can think of, including those activities mentioned above.

"It's a challenge because usually when we create music, we're focused on what we like and what our fans will like. We're not accustomed to thinking about a particular activity that has to go with the music." Crystal Method's Scott Kirkland said. "For this project, we thought about the movement and the energy that goes into exercising and running and the sort of goal-oriented activity that goes along with working out. When I've worked's always about goals: 'I'm doing the uphill now, I've got four minutes until I get to the goal.' So we created songs that have a lot of dynamic motion to them, songs that go places." And while listening to this 45 minute continuous jam, oh those places you will go.

As for the group itself, all is quiet on the new release front, but you can currently catch The Crystal Method on tour and on the radio every Friday night as they host their own show called "Community Service" on LA's own Indie 103.1. The show is dedicated to "delivering the freshest breaks, beats, and electronic music to the masses." Be sure to check it out.

For Your Consideration:
The Crystal Method - Drive + Nike Original Run (Full 45 Minute Version) Mp3
The Crystal Methed - Drive + Nike Original Run (3 Minute Sampler) Mp3