Friday, March 30, 2012

Bonnaroo Announces 2012 Comedy Lineup

A few short months after dropping a stellar list of bands for 2012's Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival (including Radiohead, the Beach Boys, Bon Iver, Phish, Skrillex, Das Racist, tUnE-yArDs, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers just to name a few), the folks behind the four-day affair in Manchester, TN announced their hotly anticipated comedy lineup, which has been a festival mainstay since 2005. This year's roster of funny folk does not disappoint. We already knew Aziz Ansari would be performing since his name was announced with the initial offering of bands, but he will now be joined by comedy greats such as Steven Wright, Brian Posehn, and "World Champion" Judah Friedlander (perhaps best known as supernerd Frank on 30 Rock). The festival's official website promises more names have yet to be announced, but be sure to check out the full list so far after the jump.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

From the 'Net: Look At This Fucking Jeopardy Contestant

Image courtesy of
If someone says "classic game show," the first thing that should come to mind is the timeless quiz show known as Jeopardy! (If you said Wheel of Fortune, get the hell out of my sight.) For over four decades, Jeopardy has been a regular fixture in American households and continues to enjoy regular viewership from every demographic.We here at the Myxem staff are huge fans; I've got my DVR set to record every episode and recently took a test to appear as a contestant (a lifelong dream of mine, wish me luck!).

Now, being the cynical sort of fellow that I am, I've been known to poke fun at contestans, pick favorites, and root for others to fail miserably. I laugh at their misfortunes and revel in their successes. As such, I was absolutely thrilled when I stumbled across a Tumblr page entitled "Look At This Fucking Jeopardy Contestant", updated regularly with pithy observations, anti-contestant rants (the blogger who runs the site is particularly concerned by contestants who don't dress up to appear on television), and hilarious/perfectly timed screen captures. It's all way funnier than I'm making it sound. Be sure to stop by at and check out a few of our favorite pictures after the jump.

Earl Scruggs, Banjo Pioneer, Passed Away at 88

Earl Scruggs, front, with long time partner Lester Flatt, rear
Out of Nashville Wednesday morning came the unfortunate news of banjo legend Earl Scruggs' passing at the age of 88. A true pioneer of the banjo, Scruggs not only popularized the instrument, but developed and perfected a playing style that was wholly his own. Known simply as "Scruggs Style," it uses the thumb, index and middle fingers to pick strings in rapid succession. While that may not sound revolutionary, it is important to bear in mind that Scruggs Style is credited with introducing the banjo to bluegrass music.

In 1945, when Scruggs joined Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys, the banjo was seen as little more than a novelty instrument, a holdover from the antebellum south. When they hit the stage at the Grand Ole Opry, Scruggs' unique picking style would bring new life to the instrument and the Blue Grass Boys' lineup (upright bass, mandolin, fiddle, guitar, banjo) would become the de facto standard for many bluegrass bands to follow.

In 1948, he and guitarist Lester Flatt split from Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys to form the Foggy Mountain Boys, later simply known as Flatt and Scruggs. Flatt and Scruggs recorded "Foggy Mountain Breakdown," whose syncopated banjo and soaring fiddle is immediately recognizable. Featured prominently in the 1967 film Bonnie & Clyde, the piece has been twice honored with a Grammy Award. In 1962, Flatt, Scruggs and vocalist Jerry Scoggins would record "The Ballad of Jed Clampett," the story of a man named Jed, the rural mountaineer that winds up in the Hills of Beverly.

The duo would perform together until 1969, when Scruggs' open-mindedness, such as adding Bob Dylan songs to their repertoire, conflicted with Flatt's conservatism and the duo dissolved. The duo would go on to be inducted to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1985. In 1991 and '92, he was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor in Kentucky and received the National Medal of the Arts, respectively. 

As a pioneer of the banjo, Scruggs' legacy is cemented in the rich musical heritage he helped to create. Bela Fleck, banjo virtuoso and newgrass pioneer, cites Scruggs as an influence. It's obvious to make the connection, Scruggs' pioneering work in changing the public perception of the banjo by changing the way it was played would obviously influence Fleck, whose genre-bending banjo playing has revolutionized the instrument again. Now, we can hear Scruggs' work even on Top 40 radio and through major national acts, as The Avett Brothers, Mumford and Sons, and The Carolina Chocolate Drops once again bring the syncopated Scruggs' style of banjo to a large national audience.

From The 'Net: Charles Barkley's Golf Swing

Golf aficionados, weekend warriors, and even, perhaps, those diehard Charles Barkley fans more than likely know the story. Sir Charles Barkely, The Round Mound of Rebound, has taken up golfing in the years since his retirement. Of course! Why not?! That's what retirement is for! Except in Charles Barkley's case, he has two things that distinguish him from your average plaidpant at the country club: (1) immense public recognition and (2) a golf swing that makes the Tin-Man look like a prima ballerina. Complicated analogy? Possibly, but watch:

See? If there's anything more complicated than that golf swing, it's the kind of analogy one would be forced to use to describe it. This is a golf swing that's so bad, even a novice golfer like myself, whose meager experience amounts to no more than 36 holes, can be moved to audible laughter at it. It's the kind of swing that Kevin Nealon finds "entertaining" and the kind that makes John Elway "cringe when [he] see[s] it." (link - There has even been a reality show, The Haney Project: Charles Barkley, on the Golf Channel, where former Tiger Woods coach Hank Haney attempted (and failed) to correct the hitch in Barkley's giddy-up. In any case, there are no less than 7 danzigs of videos on YouTube celebrating Barkley's swing. More videos after the jump!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Shakori Hills Spring 2012 - The Local Bands

With over 60 bands attending the four-day festival,Shakori Hills' spring 2012 iteration has more than enough variety to please every taste. We're going to be taking the weeks leading up to the festival to introduce you to some of the acts we're most excited about. It's starting today with bands from the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill Triangle and North Carolina as a whole. Look for new Shakori updates every Wednesday.

Saturday, Grove Stage: 11:00pm

As one of the resounding highlights of the Hopscotch Music Festival, Bombadil was a not-so-surprising but thoroughly exciting addition to the Shakori Hills line-up. Having recently released their second album, All That the Rain Promises, Bombadil's star is rising. After a hiatus related to health issues, Bombadil is roaring back to form, expertly crafting their singular mixture of Bolivian folk, roots rock, and chamber pop as if they'd never missed a beat. It is highly recommended that everyone make every effort to catch their set at the Grove Stage Saturday night. This is a quartet of masterful musicians and unparalleled showmen whose live performances vacillate between bombastic energy and restrained solemnity.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

In Brief: Future Heart Drops Flaming Lips/Bon Iver Track From Upcoming Album

The Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne on a
typical Tuesday Morning, 10am
Oklahoma City's golden children, The Flaming Lips, have plans to release their star studded double LP, The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends, as a Record Store Day 2012. Boasting an almost unbelievably diverse cast of performers, Heady Fwends includes Bon Iver, Erykah Badu, Nick Cave, Yoko Ono, Neon Indian, Ke$ha, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Lightning Bolt, Biz Markie, New Fumes, Chris Martin of Coldplay, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero, among others.

The first of many tracks that will no doubt surface between now and Record Store Day, "Ashes In The Air" features Bon Iver joining the spaced-out, psychedelic, okie-indie-popsters. The Future Heart, whose aim is to chronicle their "enthusiasm for life, rock n’ roll, pop culture and The Flaming Lips," released the track earlier this evening to both the internet and Sirius XM DJ (and one of my many twitter nemesis), Jenny Eliscu. Eliscu premiered the song on her XM U program.

You can preview the track after the jump.

Monday, March 26, 2012

From the 'Net: Tim Tebow's Exciting Press Conference

Tim Tebow, the former Denver Broncos quarterback, has been in the news a lot recently. The football sensation that captured our nation with sheer jubilation, Tebow was recently ousted from the Mile-High City, who signed Peyton Manning. Manning had previously been under contract with the Indianapolis Colts, with whom he twice attended and once won the Superbowl. These, I imagine, are exciting times for football fans. Having been recently signed to the New York Jets (the Jets?),Tim Tebow himself is excited. So excited, in fact, at a recent press conference discussing his relationship with the aforementioned Jets of New York he managed to utter "excite" in a great deal of tenses and variations a total of 44 times. The video is below: