Hola, amigos! So sorry that it's been a minute since I rapped at ya — with this particular business trip, I definitely overestimated the amount of time I'd have left over for writing after checking out of the office every day. I'll be out of town again in a couple of weeks; hopefully that trip won't take such a bite out of my creative productivity. Fingers crossed!
Anyway, as you've probably already guessed, last week left me unable to listen to as much music as I normally do. But I did spend a solid day with Soft Spot, the 2022 album from the California Honeydrops, on repeat, and that was a most enjoyable day. (I'm noting here that a deluxe edition was released in 2023, but I did not listen to it, because deluxe editions are mostly bullshit, especially ones that follow less than 20 years after the original release date.)
I'm still getting settled in after touching down Saturday night, so I may not be quite as loquacious as I ordinarily am with these daily posts. Here's what I want to tell you about Soft Spot: If you're looking for an album that brings the funk with slinky beats and a ton of brass, but is also smooth enough to share with folks who are still learning how and when to make a stank face, you could do a whole hell of a lot worse than what the Honeydrops got up to here. It's also pretty eclectic as far as these things go — I don't know if this is the case where the rest of their catalog is concerned, but these songs give you touches of everything from Southern soul to township jive. I am a fan. See what you think:
Movies and TV: On my flight back from my previous business trip, I started the first little bit of Michael Mann's Collateral, so I was looking forward to finishing it on my flight out last Sunday — but then the Vudu app decided to flip me the bird an hour and ten minutes into the picture, outright refusing to show me the rest. Filled with righteous fury, I tried a different film — The Long Kiss Goodnight — only to suffer the same fate at the same marker. Resolving to tackle the issue once I had access to hotel wifi, I consoled myself with the first chunk of the 1988 remake of The Blob. Quite the cinematic journey, starting with a high (I do dig me some Mann and I'm not sure why I waited this long to sample this particular ware), plummeting to a low (The Long Kiss Goodnight is tremendously dumb and also kind of gross, which I should have known going in, given that it was directed by Renny Harlin and written by Shane Black), and then slightly rebounding to "fine" (I will rarely say no to a movie that was released in the late '80s).
As for stupid Vudu, the problem remains unsolved, partly because I realized that the latest iPadOS update doesn't seem to be strictly compatible with it. The biggest change appears to be that you've lost the ability to download stuff in high definition, which is super duper ass and something I refuse to put up with. On the way back, I screened Get On Your Knees, the new Netflix comedy special from Jacqueline Novak — it's basically a one-woman show about blowjobs, but not nearly as bawdy as that description might suggest. It's actually really clever, emotionally raw, and overall very funny.
I also finished Moonlighting while I was away, so I will trouble you no more with speedily written reviews of episodes from its final season. I've moved on to Season 3 of Slow Horses, the Apple TV+ series starring Gary Oldman as the slovenly, alcoholic leader of a group of MI5 agents who've been deemed irredeemable fuckups for one reason or another. The narrative around Apple TV in general is that it's "the streaming service no one subscribes to," which is sad, because while they may not poop out product as strenuously as Netflix or some of the other platforms, I think they have an impressive batting average in terms of delivering stuff you'd actually want to watch. Slow Horses is one of the best shows on TV right now — it's worth watching for Oldman alone, and he's just a small part of what makes it such a good time.
Reading: Past the halfway mark with William Diehl's 27. Our hero Francis Keegan is now hot on the trail of the sleeper Nazi agent who's been masquerading as an American citizen for years, hellbent on catching the spy and making Germany pay for murdering his girlfriend at Dachau. It's extremely overheated stuff — Keegan gets his security clearance straight from FDR, who owes him one thanks to the years Keegan spent rumrunning for the future President during Prohibition, and he's also already schtupping someone new — but it moves at a very quick clip and it's probably twice as clever as it needs to be.
Elsewhere: My latest General Hospital column for Diagnosis Daytime was posted today, and Matt and I have also come in super hot for 2024 where the Record Player is concerned. We've dropped three whole episodes since the start of the year! The latest finds us joined by Bill Lloyd, formerly half of Foster & Lloyd, former member of the Sky Kings and Cimarron 615, and reliable dispenser of pure pop goodness for 35 years and running. Bill stopped by to talk about Todd Rundgren's classic double-LP set Something/Anything?... and to promote his new album Look Into It, which rules with a rock candy fist. Visit Bill here, and listen to the episode below (or wherever you get your favorite podcasts):