out today...7/1...mad men...swingtown...

Posted by Brad Schelden, July 4, 2008 03:41pm | Post a Comment
There have been so many new albums out in the last couple months, and we have some really exciting things to look forward to as well -- new albums from Ratatat and Beck next week, and a new box set from Yaz next week as well, which I will most likely be talking about. Yaz is also playing in Los Angeles next week and you know that I will of course be there. I have never seen them before and I am sure that this will be my only chance. There is also this new album next week from Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine and Patti Smith! I am very curious. Not exactly two people that I would expect to work together, but I love them both! Should be interesting. July 22nd is the date that the Dead Can Dance reissues finally come out. It breaks my heart a little bit that those albums have not been in print for a little while. I imagine some young kid coming into the store, trying to explore the world of Dead Can Dance and only finding the greatest hits sort of collection. Luckily, we have the used CDs in the meantime. I can't imagine my life without these Dead Can Dance albums and am happy to know they will soon be joining us again in record store land. There is a new Faint album on August 5th as well as the solo debut from Conor Oberst from Bright Eyes, but this week there is really nothing out in the land of music. At least nothing for me. There are new albums from G-Unit, J*Davey, Alkaline Trio, Deltron 3030, and Earlimart, but they are not exactly the albums that get me excited. It has been a while since there has been a week like this, but I guess it is bound to happen every once in a while, so I am forced to move my attention to DVDs-- and there is one excellent TV show out on DVD this week that I absolutely love. If you have not seen Mad Men yet, now is the time!

Hopefully you have already heard about the amazing show that is Mad Men. Billyjam blogged about the show last year, back when it was first on AMC. You can read that here. I really do love this show. They rarely make shows like this anymore, so when they come around every year or so, I get very excited. Six Feet Under was one of these shows. Twin Peaks was one of these shows. If you have ever seen even 5 minutes of Mad Men then you probably know that there is a whole lot of smoking in the show. They smoke in the grocery store, they smoke in the bathtub, and they smoke when they are cooking in the kitchen. They smoke everywhere. If you have recently quit smoking, you might want to wait and watch this later. But it is also a true test for an ex smoker: I quit over 3 years ago but I had no desire to smoke after watching the entire season. The packaging of this new DVD goes along with this smoking theme perfectly. The DVDs come packaged in an extra large lighter replica. The box set includes all 13 episodes from season 1. It includes some special features like interviews with cast members, a documentary on the world of Mad Men and a featurette on the music. It also includes commentaries on all 13 episodes, which is sort of a rare and amazing thing. I love the commentaries the most, so I can't wait to sit down and watch and listen to all of them. The DVD looks like it is just as great as the show. If you even think you might like the show a little bit, I guarantee you will love it. Just make the investment and pick it up and you will never regret it. I have never met anyone who has not liked this show! It really is that good.

The second season of Mad Men will be starting up very soon. Mark your TV calender for July 27th at 10pm-- you still have some time to catch up or watch them all over again. Mad Men is set in the advertising world of New York in the 60's. I love when shows dive into past decades, especially when they do it so perfectly. The costumes and hairstyles are all perfect. The set is perfect. You really feel like you are living in the 60's when you watch this show.

There is also another new stylized retro type show on the air right now. This time it is about swingers in the 70s, which just happens to be my favorite decade...maybe not the music, but for sure the style and fashion or the "look" of the decade. The show is called Swingtown. Swingtown just had its fifth episode this week. It is on Thursdays at 10pm on CBS. I recommend you jump right in and watch it if you have not yet. You can catch up later. Or you can even watch entire episodes on the CBS website. Or you can always wait for the DVD. It reminds me a bit of The Ice Storm or Dazed & Confused. Just like Mad Men, this show is cast perfectly. I can't really imagine myself doing a better job. Even on the first episode it seemed like the cast had been playing these characters for years. It stars Molly Parker from Deadwood, Grant Show from Melrose Place, Jack Davenport from Coupling, and Lana Parrilla from 24. Just like Mad Men, the costumes and hair are all perfect, and the sets and furniture all make you think the show is actually being filmed in the 70's. I am interested to know what the show could have actually been if it was picked up by one of the cable networks. Amazingly, they all turned it down and CBS ended up picking it up. I know they had to cut back some stuff. I am sure there would have been a lot more sex, but maybe this has just made the show better. I imagine they had to develop the characters and storylines more. I easily became addicted to the show during the first episode. The characters are all likable and fascinating, and there is something for everyone. They seem to be developing the younger kids' storylines as well, so it has a little bit of Wonder Years and Freaks and Geeks along with a little bit of Knots Landing and Dynasty. The perfect combination. That said, the show is not for everyone -- it might seem a bit too soapy for some. Still, I think it is for sure entertaining and easy to get addicted to. Give it a chance.

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Swingtown (1), Mad Men (15)