Unsolicited Endorsements: XVII

Because sometimes you just want friends to tell you about cool things… the Brew House team offers up its weekly mix of author-supported goodness.

Album: Katy B – “On A Mission”

Mark’s post about the beauty of dancing got me thinking about which albums are the most danceable, start to finish. Daft Punk, Hot Chip, and LCD Soundsystem have each crafted outrageously dance-y records in the past few years, but I think Robyn’s “Body Talk” wins, followed by Katy B’s debut full-length, “On A Mission.”

Watch Katy B’s “Broken Record” here. 

The 22-year-old British pop singer does everything right for the entirety of the 12-track album. The pace is relentless and propulsive, the melodies smooth and memorable, and the layers thick and rich. It’s diverse, moving from the straightforward thump of “Katy On A Mission” to the sideways skitter of “Why You Always Here” in a matter of minutes and back to the banging 4/4 of “Broken Record” a few tracks later. Katy B and Robyn — both European, both a little more interested in beats and music than vocal theatrics — haven’t affected the American mainstream in the same way as Katy Perry or Christina Aguilera, and that’s OK with me. I’m cool with dancing with myself (and Katy B and Robyn).  — Asher Fusco


Movie: X-Men: First Class

“X-Men: First Class” is the rare movie that seems, at first glance, lame for two reasons. It is a superhero movie, a once-proud genre now dictated by studio bullshit like “The Green Lantern” and “Ghost Rider.” It is also a sequel and not even really a sequel. It is the sequel’s stepchild, a prequel.

Quick: Name one prequel that surpasses an original movie or even an entertaining prequel, aside from “The Godfather Part II.” We know the Stars Wars prequels are worse than Roseanne re-runs. And we know that real Indiana Jones fans hate the “Temple of Doom.” So that said, “Casper: A Spirited Beginning” might seriously be the best one, and you hadn’t even thought of that movie in 16 years until I just mentioned it.

So I had these doubts about “First Class,” especially because the third X-Men movie sucked and, of course, so did the Hugh Jackman show that was “Wolverine:Origins” (though it was better than “Australia” YIKES!). I checked Rotten Tomatoes and saw that it was at over 85 percent, and then I watched, seeing the textbook example of how to make a prequel.

They took the most interesting parts (that went unexplored) of the first X-Men movie – Magneto’s time in the concentration camp and his adversarial yet friendly relationship with Professor X – and built from there. What followed was a movie about superheroes, Nazis and most importantly well-reasoned clashing ideals. Professor X and Magneto both have different opinions and views of the world. Neither of them is necessarily right or wrong, and the decisions they make based on those views are what makes this movie go.

Plus it has Jennifer Lawrence in it. And she’s a babe. — Mark Dent


Un-endorsement: Podcasts while you run

I’m making Brew House history here. This is our first ever “un-endorsement.” My recommendation? Don’t listen to podcasts while you run. This may sound strange. I, after all, became a staunch supporter of the podcast medium over the last year. And as a daily runner, this meant that podcasts became part of my running routine.

Load a couple on the old iPod, hit the streets, and spend 45 minutes listening to baseball chatter, or NPR’s Fresh Air, or the audio of Meet The Press, whatever.

But here’s the thing: Listening to the sound of people talking totally saps away at whatever creative juices bubble up during the run. I used to do some of my best thinking on long runs. And as a journalist, some of my coolest story ideas came around Mile 3 or Mile 4. (I would hear a certain song, hit a groove on the sidewalk… and boom, a new idea would crystallize in my head.)

I know there are minimalist types that believe you shouldn’t listen to anything during a run. And that’s fine. I’m cool with that. Just don’t listen to a podcast. It may be interesting, it may be worth listening to, but save it for the morning commute. — Rustin Dodd

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