I've had a bunch of different ideas for posts here in the last two weeks, but I have been too busy and/or lazy to dedicate the time to fleshing any of them out and writing a whole big thing. So I'm just going to go quickly here and see how much I can remember.
The new Beck record, Modern Guilt, is good but not great. The idea of taking a bunch of basically folk songs and letting producer of the moment Danger Mouse fill them out with artificial beats is interesting, but Danger doesn't add much if anything to Beck's style. His more minimalist, drum-and-bass percussion tracks expose the extreme simplicity of the compositions, many of which are just three- or four-chord chuggers. When working with his frequent collaborators the Dust Brothers Beck's skill as a musical collagist is emphasized; on Modern Guilt the tunes just sound like rock songs. Absent the sweep his band usually provides on his "rock" records (and Nigel Godrich's oversight), the result is often kinda boring, which hasn't been true of a Beck record in a while. The lyrics are more coherent than is usual for Beck's electric records, and I've always been a fan of his zippy fuzz bass playing. Chan (Cat Power) Marshall's backing vocals are a welcome third element on a few of the songs.
The pilot to "Fringe" was one of the worst-written pieces of garbage I've seen in a while on network TV. And that's saying something. The female lead is horrific, Josh Jackson seems asleep, and the whole thing is just another slap in the face to "X-Files" fans after the crummy movie and David Duchovny's sex addiction treatment. Absolutely not worth your time or anybody else's.