Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ear on TV: Week of December 22

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through TV, not a talk show was airing, except Spectacle: Elvis Costello with..., welcoming singer/songwriter James Taylor to the stage. It's obviously a slow week, and it's probably telling that the Taylor (and next week's Tony Bennett) appearance are scheduled for a holiday evening, but between the music performed and the way Costello handles his guest, there really aren't any throwaway episodes of Spectacle that I've seen so far.

Even though Sweet Baby James has never captured my attention much, the stories of his early days are fascinating, and Costello will no doubt delve into his days on Apple Records (The Beatles). Taylor also famously had a heroin problem in those early days, but those are the sort of subjects that Costello has understandably shied away from (see: Lou Reed). I suspect the only the only subject along those lines that might be covered would be his short marriage to Carly Simon. Or maybe that's just me wishing.

Elsewhere this week is an artist I'd much prefer getting the Spectacle treatment in Todd Rundgren, who promotes his latest release Arena with an appearance on Letterman Monday. His latest finds legendary songwriter/producer in a fist-pumping rock mood, with nods to AC/DC, Boston and other late 70's rock fare. He's also on board to produce the next New York Dolls album, so hopefully his stint as the lead singer of The New Cars is over and done with.

Playlist: Picks for the week
Monday, December 22
ABC: Jimmy Kimmel Live: Keane
CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: Todd Rundgren
FUEL: The Daily Habit: Japanther
NBC: Late Night With Conan O'Brien: Bela Fleck and the Flecktones
NBC: Last Call With Carson Daly: The Airbourne Toxic Event (REPEAT)
Tuesday, December 23
CBS: Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson: Conor Oberst
IFC: Music Blast/From the Basement: Jamie Lidell, PJ Harvey
FUEL: The Daily Habit: Roll the Tanks
NBC: Late Night With Conan O'Brien: Old Crow Medicine Show
Wednesday, December 24
SUNDANCE: Spectacle: Elvis Costello With...: Elvis Costello, James Taylor
Thursday, December 25
NBC: Last Call With Carson Daly: Cut Copy (REPEAT)
Friday, December 26
FUEL: The Daily Habit: Longwave
NBC: Late Night With Conan O'Brien: Isaac Hayes (REPEAT)

Saturday, December 27
PBS: Austin City Limits: Wilco (REPEAT)

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