Monday, May 30, 2011

Barcelona Wins Champions League Final

As many had predicted, Barcelona outclassed Manchester United in Saturday's highly anticipated Champions League final, running out to a 3-1 win. And as many had hoped for, it was a game for the ages. Stylistically, technically and tactically, it was perhaps the best title game in recent memory. And perhaps the best game in all the memory that's been lost since then, too.

In spite of heavy speculation that ageless United manager Sir Alex Ferguson would be throwing a tactical wrinkle at his counterpart, boy wonder Pep Guardiola, he fielded his usual 4-4-2 setup with Wayne Rooney playing in the shadow of deep striker Javier Hernandez.

While the tactics didn't surprise, what did was United's thundering opening to the game, when the Red Devils weren't shy about pushing forward. This unsettled Barcelona, which is used to taking control of the game by slowing down the pace. But United started off in a full sprint, playing at a frantic pace and forcing small mistakes from Barca's lauded ball handlers.

Most of all, United forced Barca playmaker Xavi to come back and help out on defense, which he isn't accustomed to doing and which upset his side's offensive rhythm by robbing it of the outlet option. For about a 10-minute spell, Barca teetered on a feeble back foot and looked set for a fall.

But United couldn't keep up its frantic pace, as Barca discovered the bearings they had misplaced and gathered together enough possession to stop having to defend continuously.

By the 27th minute, Barca had slowed down the pace to its liking and advantage. Then Xavi, the genius of passes both long and short, managed to slip behind Carrick and Giggs, receive the ball and, with the outside of his foot, send a masterful ball through an immense amount of traffic into the side of the box, where a grateful Pedro controlled it and slid it past Edwin van der Sar at the near post for the opening goal.

Following the opening goal, though, United did dare to venture out of its half, refusing to pursue only the quick breakaway. On a nice attack, achieved through an overload on the right side of the field in the 34th minute, United got the ball to Rooney. He played a give-and-go with Carrick, then slipped it to Giggs, who was playing off the last man's shoulder. When central defender Gerard Pique stepped out on Giggs, Rooney was free to swipe the back pass from Giggs past Victor Valdes to achieve the gorgeous equalizer.

The second half brought more of the same. Barca settled onto the ball and United had to shrink into its territory to try to avoid more serious damage. But all the while, United, to its eternal credit and running counter to the vast majority of the teams that face Barca, still very much tried to play the game positively, venturing forward when it finally managed to break the Catalans' spell on the ball.

But this occasional venturing into the opposing half left the room for Xavi to play a ball square to Iniesta in the 54th minute. Iniesta played it back into the same direction it had come from, to Messi this time. The Argentine mighty mite then took a touch inside, pivoted past the on-rushing Patrice Evra and discovered that Nemanja Vidic had failed to step out on him and was protecting only his privates, rather than the goal. Needing no reminding of the task at hand, Messi quickly thumped the ball past van der Sar.

It was in another one of those periods in which United ventured out over the wings that Barca created the third chance in a five-minute span. This time though, a great run from Messi was cut short in the box. When the ball eventually caromed to Sergio Busquets, he played it off to David Villa, who found enough room to curl a stunning shot around a charging Rio Ferdinand and past van der Sar's reaching fingertips to settle into the goal's top corner.

And that, with a mere 70 minutes played, put an end to one of the more impressive sights seen in a soccer stadium in quite some time.

United was defeated, physically and emotionally, outwitted and outplayed. A worthy opponent it was, for a worthy final between two giants of the game.

Barcelona is European champion for the second time in three years.

And for their play, we can do no more but doff our caps and be grateful that we got to witness such a display.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Lonely Island - "3-Way" (2011)

And all of that was OK, cuz it was in a three way, yeahhhhhh

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Murray Head - "One Night In Bangkok (Vinylshakerz Remix)" (2005)

"One Night in Bangkok" is a song originally sung by Murray Head on the 1984 concept album for the musical Chess. Its music was composed by former ABBA members Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, with lyrics written by Tim Rice & Björn Ulvaeus.

The release topped the charts in many countries, including South Africa, West Germany, Switzerland and Australia. It peaked at #3 in both Canada and the United States, and at #12 in the UK.

In 1985, Thailand's Mass Communications Organization banned One Night in Bangkok, saying its lyrics "cause misunderstanding about Thai society and show disrespect towards Buddhism."

In 2005, the track gained new popularity in Europe, thanks to a remix by the dance act Vinylshakerz. The producers sampled the chorus of the song and turned it into a modern dance track. The remix became a success in several European countries, and found its way into clubs throughout the spring of 2005.

Former pro boxer Mike Tyson sang a cover version of the song for the 2011 film The Hangover: Part II.

Spotlight: Adam Reed & Matt Thompson

Adam Reed and Matt Thompson founded 70/30 Productions, an animation production house located on the south side of Atlanta, Georgia. The company's name came from the plan that Thompson would do 70% of the producing and 30% of the writing, with Reed doing the reverse.

The writing-producing team came up with an idea for the show Sealab 2021 in 1995 while they were production assistants for Cartoon Network. They stumbled on a tape of the show Sealab 2020, a short-lived 1970s Hanna-Barbera cartoon, and wrote dialog to match the lips. Cartoon Network originally passed on the show because they did not believe it was funny. Five years after quitting Cartoon Network, the two went back to the original tape, this time making the characters do what they wanted. Cartoon Network bought the show, coincidentally around the same time that Adult Swim was created.

It premiered on December 21, 2000, and after five seasons the final episode aired on April 25, 2005.

They went on to create two seasons of Frisky Dingo, an animated series parodying superhero and action movie clichés. Both main characters, Killface and Xander, are voiced by co-creator Adam Reed. It debuted on October 16, 2006 and ended on March 23, 2008. A third season was in development, but in the absence of a renewal contract from Adult Swim, pre-production ceased.

A spin-off show, The Xtacles, premiered on November 9, 2008, but only two episodes were aired before Adult Swim declined to fund the production of any more episodes.

The production company itself, 70/30 Productions, subsequently went out of business in January 2009.

Adam Reed and Matt Thompson have gone on to produce the critically-acclaimed series Archer with Atlanta's Floyd County Productions, airing on FX Network.

More information:
» Creative Loafing's Cover Story on Archer
» The Ten Most Obscure Archer Jokes Explained

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Goldfish - "Get Busy Living" (2010) & "Fort Knox" (2008)

Goldfish are a electronica and dance group hailing from Cape Town, South Africa, consisting of Dominic Peters and David Poole. They create dance music containing elements of jazz and African music, combining live instruments like double bass, saxophones, keyboards, flute, and vocals with samplers, effects and synths. Their work features many different vocalists, including Sakhile Moleshe in "Fort Knox".

In 2009, they set a new South African Music Awards record for most nominations, with 8 nominations including Best Duo or Group and Album of the Year, clinching Best Producer and Best Dance Album.

Pogo - "Expialidocious" & "Alice" (2009)

Pogo is a South African electronic music artist living in Perth, Western Australia. His work consists of recording small sounds from a film or a specific scene, and sequencing the sounds together to form a new piece of music.

Although having exposure through YouTube, many of Pogo's tracks are available for download at

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Jay Electronica - "Dimethyltryptamine" (2011)

Produced by J Dilla.
Filmed in Kathmandu, Nepal in Fall 2008 by Decon.
Directed by Jason Goldwatch.

With a DYI approach, Jay Electronica has released mixtapes and singles, created artwork and sometimes videos for them, all himself to establish and hold one of the most remarkable buzzes in Hip-Hop’s history. So much in fact that there was a bidding war to sign him and he still till this day has never released an "official" project.

Elzhi - "Halftime" (2011)

In 2004, Elzhi released Witness My Growth, a double CD compilation of his unreleased solo material from as early as 1997. The double disc includes exclusive J Dilla collaborations as well as highlights from the Out of Focus EP.

His first solo project with national distribution, The Preface, was released on August 12, 2008.

On May 10, 2011, he released an homage mixtape called Elmatic with the band Will Sessions, in honor of Nas' debut album Illmatic.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sweetlife Festival 2011

The first big singalong of the day came during “Hang Me Up to Dry” by California’s Cold War Kids — the song’s titular refrain serving as a rallying cry while drippy skies overhead accelerated into a steady drizzle.

Alice Glass of Crystal Castles offered monochromatic yelps over distorted, industrial-grade dance tracks, backed by overwhelming strobe lights. Tracks like “Untrust Us,” “Not In Love,” and “Celestica” got huge receptions from the crowd. The cast on her left foot didn’t stop her from diving into the crowd — twice.

Lupe Fiasco had an hour-long set defined by his wordplay and rock-inspired crescendos. He was the first “rock star” in the festival’s lineup with major hit singles, and everyone was excited to see him. And he lobbed open water bottles into the crowd. Everyone was clad in camo fatigues, and Lupe donned a jacket with “Lazer Cub” emblazoned on the back while he powered through hits like “Kick, Push” and “Superstar” before encoring with “Daydreamin’.”

Gregg Gillis, the Pittsburgh mashup DJ known as Girl Talk, entered with an army of people to dance onstage with him, two of which wielded special guns that spun rolls of streamers out into the audience. He began with “Oh No,” the energetic first track off his most recent album, All Day. Balloons fell from the ceiling, confetti was everywhere, and the audience absolutely lost it.

Headlining the Sweetlife Festival’s first year at Merriweather, The Strokes finished off the day-long rock festival with a 45-minute endorphin rush of tunes. The band opened their set with the familiar track “Is This It” from their 2001 debut, and played a set filled with old hits. Their set was thankfully light on tracks from their latest album, Angles, which critics met with an average reception. They closed the set — and the show — with “Last Nite,” and “Take It Or Leave It.”

And despite that they’ve been around for over a decade and recently took a hiatus, the band has retained their signature swagger. Lead singer Julian Casablancas strutted around stage and said sweet nothings to the audience, who loved every bit of it. He once asked his bandmates, “What’s the first note of this song?”

More information:
» Festival Review at We Love DC

Tuesday, May 3, 2011