The Filtered Excellence: March 15, 2012

Bob Geldof once asked us, “Where is the filtered excellence!?” Its right here. Here are this weeks picks of what to WATCH, what to DO what to TRY what to READ what to LISTEN TO and more:



Detachment.  This upcoming film is being hyped as a return to form for Academy Award winner Adrian Brody and director Tony Kaye, who blew us away with American History X. Brody plays a substitute teacher whose one month stint at a Queens high school helps him, and everyone in his orbit, deal with the emotional scars that have left them, well, detached. With a cast that includes fellow Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden, James Caan, Bryan Cranston, and Lucy Liu, it’s certainly worth a look. As an extra bonus, Brody and Kaye will be doing Q&As after the 7pm screening at AMC Empire and after the 8pm screening at Village East Cinemas in New York City.  Opens March 16th and will be available on demand, on Amazon Instant and on Itunes.

Misfits. During those gaps of time where there doesn’t seem to be much on tv, we can all thank Hulu for the ability to watch a series we previously missed, in its entirety. If you haven’t caught Misfits, it’s well worth a Hulu. This British show follows 5 delinquent youths doing community service when a strange storm gives them super powers all related to their pre-storm personalities, gifts, and struggles. The true brilliance of the show is it’s ability to put a fresh new spin on so many Sci-fi standards; and at the same time be both respectful & irreverent towards the genre. All three seasons are available for free on Hulu.



Port of Morrow, The Shins.  Consider us adding to the chorus of early reviews calling Port of Morrow one of the first truly great albums of 2012. This, The Shin’s fourth album may be one of their best yet; an insta-favorite. For one thing, to say this album has been highly anticipated is an understatement. It’s The Shins’ first new album in five years. And even though frontman James Mercer is the only remaining member of the band’s original lineup, it is his songwriting and his voice which truly comprise the soul of the band. So, with shiny new band, excellent lyrics, harmonies and 60’s era style arrangements, Port of Morrow is near perfect indie pop full of infectious hooks as well as thoughtful writing that can feel so personal and universal at the same time.   This is an album you’ll know by heart in no time, it calls out for multiple plays in a row, you and your headphones… An excellent album. Listen to it now:

Voice of Ages, The Chieftans.  The Chieftains have been making the finest Irish music for over 50 years and playing backing band to a wide array of artists is some of what they do best. Voices of Ages is a T-Bone Burnett and Paddy Moloney produced album and an excellent example of these collaborations. In this latest album you’ll find indie folk rock, country, and bluegrass artists. Standouts performances are Bon Iver’s haunting rendition of  Down in the Willow Garden, and The Decemberists’ cover of Bob Dylan’s When the Ship Comes In, as well as a driving powerfully-voiced version of Pretty Little Girl, performed by The Carolina Chocolate Drops. It’s all very Americana and traditional Irish all at once, and perfect for your St. Patrick’s Day play-list.

Break it Yourself, by Andrew Bird.   On his seventh solo album, Bird, not surprisingly, releases another outstanding set of melodic and beautifully crafted songs. The lush instrumentation and, yes, the whistling remain intact, but this time his lyrics are more emotionally direct. The result is one of the best albums released so far this year. Standout tracks include Danse Carribe, Lazy Projector and Hole in the Ocean Floor.



Slicing Up Eyeballs.  Do you miss 80s college rock? If so head over to the Slicing Up Eyeballs blog, that obsessively chronicles the latest projects and releases from your favorite bands. The blog takes its title from a lyric in The Pixies’ Debaser, but if you’re still reading this you probably already knew that.



The Brooklyn Museum Exhibits Keith Haring.   The Brooklyn Museum will present Keith Haring: 1978-1982 through July 8th. It will feature rarely seen videos, journals, flyers, posters, photos and subway drawings.   An exceptional exhibit of an extraordinary artist.  Not to be missed.

The Suzanne Geiss Company Exhibits Rammellzee.  The Suzanne Geiss Company has collected 15 years of theories, manifestoes and works of hip hop/graffitti pioneer Rammellzee. Presented here for the first time, ‘The Racer Letter Racers’, is a look into the complex mind of one of New York’s most original artists.

The Pinburgh Match Play Championship 2012. Pittsburgh’s own Pinball Festival is great fun. It’s a competitive event, but you don’t have to be a competitive pinballer to attend or enjoy. Imagine a hall filled with 450+ pinball machines, available for anyone to play. It’s pretty amazing and just fun to walk around. The hall stays open late on Friday and Saturday night, and there’s also tons of food, and drinking to be had. Worth checking out for anyone who’s ever enjoyed pinball and might find themselves in the Pittsburgh area between March 30th and April 1st. We posted this a week ahead in case you want to make travel arrangements.



Trader Joe’s Milk Chocolate Covered Potato Chips.   I know what you’re thinking. “Salty and sweet. I get it.” Now take that pre-conceived notion of how good these savory treats are. Now double that. You heard me. DOUBLE! Seriously. they’re damn good. Pick them up, duh, at your local Trader Joe’s.