Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

New MGMT album 'Congratulations' available for streaming

MGMT's new album "Congratulations" leaked, so the band has responded by making the album available for streaming. It's the followup to their previous critically acclaimed debut "Oracular Spectacular," and is officially scheduled for release April 13.

The new album has a less pop, more laid back feel (similar to another new album I've been listening to, the Gorillaz' "Plastic Beach"). No song instantly jumps out as "Hey everyone, here's the new hit song!" The track that left the biggest impression on me was "Congratulations," which closes the album; the first single is "Flash Delirium," which you can hear streaming on the band's site.

You can hear bits of it here, as part of a wacky YouTube video produced by the group:

If you'd like to see MGMT live, they're playing the Saturday of next month's Coachella music festival here in Southern California.


Mike Tyson to star in pigeon racing reality series on Animal Planet

It was announced this week that Mike Tyson is going to be on a new reality show. I don't know that I have the words to do this justice, so I shall simply quote the press release.

"Animal Planet has announced a new show with Mike Tyson, currently known as TAKING ON TYSON, where the former heavyweight champion of the world will take audiences inside the intensely competitive and bizarrely fascinating world of pigeon racing."

Mike Tyson, Animal Planet, pigeon racing. I saw this and immediately had to know more, and if I knew when it would be airing I would immediately set my DVR. The show is sadly not scheduled to air until next year, but while I'm not normally an Animal Planet person, this may pull me in. (Sadly, he shall not be taking on the pigeons in footraces, but guiding pigeons as they race one another.)


Stealing from the president (at least in NCAA basketball)

Offices around the country have pools going for the annual tradition of the best single elimination tournament in sports, the NCAA Men's Basketball tournament.

Having trouble making your picks? Well, you probably won't go too wrong taking some inspiration from a prominent person who knows his basketball – President Barack Obama. Even the president has filled out a bracket and posted it on WhiteHouse.gov.

Check out ESPN interviewing the president about his bracket here:

Obama picked the winner last year, along with five of the Elite Eight, and in 2008, while he missed the champion, he picked three of the Final Four. I fully admit to stealing large portions of his bracket myself, given that I have no idea what I'm talking about when it comes to college basketball, though I played it a bit more conservative than the president. Will Obama's daring pay off? We'll soon find out.


New She & Him album available for streaming

NPR has a First Listen for She & Him's new album "Volume Two," available until the album's March 23 release. The collaboration between actress/musician Zooey Deschanel singer-songwriter M. Ward provides more indie pop reminiscent of Feist.

Deschanel's voice sounds like a wispier Regina Spektor. You probably know her best from her appearance in (500) Days of Summer, but she's been proving herself musically, including She & Him appearing on that film's soundtrack.

Check out the music video for the new album's single "In The Sun":

(Via Stereogum)


Spider-Man and Superman: Bad journalists?

I thought I was the only one at KPCC writing about comic books, but Kitty Felde brings up an interesting point on her blog: Spider-Man taking photos of himself, then selling them to the Daily Bugle in his identity as Peter Parker, seems to raise a variety of ethical questions.

I've always winced a bit at scenarios like that, as well as whenever Clark Kent would report on the big story involving Superman.

One of Peter Parker's key motivations has always been to provide for his Aunt May, widowed by a common criminal who Peter failed to stop through his own inaction when he had the chance. It might not make Peter a good journalist, but it makes him a likeable character as he sells photos to help his poor and at times seriously ill aunt.

You can see the highlights of Peter's story in the trailer for the first movie in the recent Spider-Man trilogy: