Friday, December 28, 2007

The Reminder













The Reminder
Feist

Feist brings the total package when it comes to Canadian rock chicks. With a gritty sound, unique vocals, and songs packed with raw emotion, her album The Reminder goes down as one of the top albums of the year. Not to be compared to another female Canadian singer who sang Ironic in the 90's, Feist is in a league of her own. In an era where great female rockers are practically extinct, she comes in and drops a much needed album. The Reminder truly reminds us there is great music out there waiting to be found.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Ocean's Thirteen (DVD)













When hearing the name "Pacino", what is the first thing that comes to mind? Probably the words Mafia, Scarface, and crime to name a few. Well you had to assume it was only a matter of time before Al Pacino was recruited to star in a movie about a Vegas hotel heist. It's practically mandated in Hollywood that either Pacino or DeNiro star in films like these. (Could we possibly see Bobby DeNiro in Oceans Fourteen?) This time around, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and their gang are back in Ocean's Thirteen, the third film in the Ocean's series. The motivation for the heist this time is to hurt the pride of a shady hotel owner named Willy Bank (Al Pacino). It seems that Willy is quite the perfectionist in running his hotels, and with his new hotel called The Bank opening up, he is intent on winning a Five Diamond Award. That's where Danny Ocean (Clooney) and crew try and sabotage the hotel's grand opening, denying Bank the pleasure of getting another award. Why would Ocean's gang go to such trouble doing all this? Because in the beginning of the film, Bank cheated Ocean's friend Reuben Tishkoff out of a deal and also threatened to have him thrown off a rooftop. All of this drama wound up giving Reuben a heart attack. That would be all the fuel that Ocean needed to get revenge on Bank. The fun in watching this film is the tactics they used in sabotaging The Bank's grand opening. For example, I can't recall ever seeing a group of people actually pull off a mock earthquake to shake up a hotel. That is just one of the many clever, yet funny scenarios throughout Ocean's Thirteen. Overall, a great film where the "bad guys" are the heroes at the end of it all.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Bourne Ultimatum














It's hard to imagine that this is the same guy who had a cameo in Chasing Amy and starred in Good Will Hunting. Now Matt Damon is playing a CIA assassin. You never know where Hollywood can take you.

In case you didn't know, The Bourne Identity is out on DVD. Within the past month, there have been some great DVD's released. There's Live Free Or Die Hard, Harry Potter and The Order of The Phoenix, and now The Bourne Ultimatum.

I haven't watched the previous films in the Bourne series, but it didn't matter. The fast paced action along with a real smart plot outweighed any minor details that I didn't get. Although now I'm going back to the beginning to trace my steps and catch up with the story. Speaking of tracing your steps, Matt Damon did an awesome job playing an amnesiac Jason Bourne trying to find his identity. Any skeptic of Matt's work as an actor should check out his role here.

This is a film that combines explosive action along with a smart story that snatches your attention from the opening scene. Be sure to pay attention to every little detail, because by the end of the film, your head will be spinning as everything ties together. I will say this. If you like surprises, then you won't be disappointed. The special effects are nothing short of amazing as you are taken on a wild ride to places like Russia, Spain, Morocco, and New York City.

Now, since this is the DVD version, I have to mention the extras. Watching the behind the scenes on the DVD made me appreciate the film more. Within the special features, you get a glimpse of how much hard work went into creating the effects, and in filming at high profile locations such as London and NYC. This is not one of those movies which takes place in NYC but is filmed in Toronto. No, this was filmed right in the heart of the city. Living next to NYC, I can attest that traffic there is bad enough without having a car chase scene shutting down parts of 7th Avenue. Learning that they had to get permission from the Mayor's office to shut down the street while filming, I have to admit that is quite a feat! Not to mention that there were probably more than a few pissed off New Yorkers. But in the end, it's all for the good of the movie. And trust me, after seeing some of the film's car chases, that work definitely paid off!

So I guess the question after seeing the film is, "Will there be another?" We'll just have to wait and see. Until then, I'm making it a point to start from the first film in the series, and work my way back up to this one.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Silent Years are playing Santa









Ho Ho Ho! Whether you've been naughty or nice this year, The Silent Years want to give YOU a free download of their self-titled debut album. Take advantage of it now before the offer ends on December 26th.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE ALBUM!


And here's a video for their song "Someone To Keep Us Warm"

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

State Radio












State Radio
Year Of The Crow

Personally, I'm not a big fan of musicians with political agendas. By that, I mean music that ONLY has the agenda of convincing you to conform to their way of thinking. Now, I didn't say I was against artists expressing themselves and their worldview through songs. How could you not help but do that through art? I'm talking about artists that are more concerned with politics than making good art. Before I'm misunderstood, let me clarify some things. It's nice to see when artists use their inflated bank accounts to help others instead of blowing it on crystal meth and bling-bling. Let's face it though. Sometimes, mixing politics and art could be career suicide.

There are a few socially conscious artists that stand out though. I think of artists like Rage Against The Machine or Bono from U2. Even if you don't agree with their political stances, they grab your attention with songs that combine great sounds along with passion for what they're singing about. Another one I can add to that list is State Radio. On their new album Year Of The Crow, State Radio combines the political awareness of RATM with the ska/punk sound of Sublime. Coming from Massachusettes, they create an album full of raw sounds led by a singer who sings straight-up ragamuffin style. With song titles such as Guantanamo, CIA, and Sudan, I think it's self explanatory that current social issues are on their mind. Personally, I love reggae, ska, and punk. And to find a band that can mesh all three styles and have depth in their lyrics is rare. As far as agendas go, I think Chad Stokes from the band summed it up well:

“The ultimate goal of State Radio is to have people consider what I’m saying as they enjoy the music we create. I’m not looking to alienate anyone, but I hope I can enlighten some people.”

And that's echoed loud and clear on Year Of The Crow.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Live Free Or Die Hard















We’re given so many choices each day- paper or plastic, regular or decaf, widescreen or full. With the release of Live Free or Die Hard on DVD, you get the option of rated or unrated. I made my choice last night to go with the unrated.

All I can say is, “DAMN”.

What a freaking ride that was.

Bruce Willis is back again as John McClane, for the fourth time. Not only is Bruce old enough to be a grandfather, but he can still pull off the indestructible John McClane with style. Thanks Bruce for giving younger guys like me inspiration.

This one doesn't waste any time in bringing in the action. Just the roll of the credits, a brief argument between John and his daughter, and then, BAM! The fun begins.

There's much tension in this episode. While the previous episode dealt with a threat to the city of New York, Live Free or Die Hard deals with a national threat. Apparently, some computer hackers are threatening to literally shut down the country and cause all hell to break loose. And McClane, doing what he does best, indirectly gets involved and is now responsible for saving the day. What a guy!

As with every Die Hard film, there’s always something new to be learned. Here are a few from this release:

- How to use a fire hydrant to knock a guy out of a helicopter who’s shooting at you
- How to launch a car in the air to blow up a helicopter
- How to survive in a tunnel when a car is flipping in the air about to crush you
- And how to survive being shot at by a military fighter jet on the highway

You never know when those lessons may come in handy.

I never thought I'd live to see the day where Kevin Smith (a.k.a. Silent Bob from Clerks) stars in a Die Hard film. His cameo is hilarious as he plays a cyber-geek named Warlock whose services are needed to help save the country.

As much as this is a great action flick, I believe it says something to where we place our security. And what happens when what seemed so secure (technology) is taken over by the wrong people? As much as technology advances and we rely on it for our daily lives, it also gives a glimpse of how that can all change in a split second.

One of the benefits of having the special edition DVD is all the extra features. And one feature that stood out the most to me was the interview between Kevin Smith and Bruce Willis. It was funny and informational as they chatted about how Bruce really felt about the other Die Hard films, and a lot of other info regarding Live Free or Die Hard.

Live Free or Die Hard resurrected the legacy of the Die Hard films at just the right time.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Blood - Kevin Max











The Blood
Kevin Max

Just before 2007 comes to an end, Kevin Max brings us a new album called The Blood. I know this is something he's wanted to put out for some time. This one is not your typical K-Max album though, because, well it's a Gospel album. But before you roll your eyes and think this is another white boy trying to get down and sing some old spirituals, read this from his press release:

"I later began to understand the power of rock and roll....the depth of the blues and the harmony of R&B.....Led Zeppelin and The Beatles made sense after understanding the basics of gospel music....Elvis Presley understood that power and transformed it into rock and roll right before the world's eyes....to this day i hear the influence of Gospel music in the swagger of Morrissey's voice, in the intonations of Kanye West and the passion of U2... if i could make anyone understand my reasons for this undertaking i would tell them this; Gospel music has the power to make one understand the need for Christ and His power over death."

If Elvis and Johnny Cash did it, why not K-Max?

The actual release date for this is Dec. 26th. I was able to listen to an advanced copy of the album and it is something worth checking out. It's pretty bold when an artist who leans more toward alternative rock puts out a Gospel album. Anyway, if you have ever heard Kevin's distinct vocals, try and picture him belting out some old, stripped down, gospel tracks. And with all the guest appearances on the album, it's his vocals that dominate each song. I am not familiar at all with gospel music, but am aware of the deep roots it has in our culture. But there was still a lot about it that I was unaware of. Like, I never even knew Prince did a gospel song called The Cross, which Kevin also covers on here. Overall, this is a nice album by an artist who continues to be intriguing and unexpected.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Harry Potter and the Order Of The Phoenix













“What's life without a little risk?”
-Sirius Black

And risk is something that Harry would have to do to survive in Order Of The Phoenix.

2007 was a good year for the Harry Potter franchise. The Order of the Phoenix was released on the big screen, Deathly Hallows' anticipated book release in July was unlike anything I've ever seen, and Dumbledore came out of the closet. Now, to remind us how fast time flies from summer to winter, Harry Potter and the Order Of The Phoenix is being released on DVD! It seemed like last week I was watching this in the theater.

Things are not the same at Hogwarts anymore. With the threat of Voldemort’s return, Harry and his friends really have to learn to defend themselves. Unfortunately, they have no one to show them self defense since there have been certain “laws” made in school that prohibits everything other than breathing. You've probably seen the tag on the promotional posters that says "The Rebellion Begins". And a necessary rebellion it is for Harry and the rest of his crew. With the new legalistic structure at Hogwarts (courtesy of the character Dolores Umbridge, a.k.a. Super Bitch), they have to risk in order to survive- risk the threat of being kicked out of school for practicing self-defense on their own, and also risk their lives in standing up and facing the evil threat of the Dark Lord. As with every Harry Potter episode, there are strong themes in the story. There's the theme of how fear can distort your mind, how power in the wrong hands can be used for corruption, and how taking matters in your own hands when no one else is around to help you is sometimes necessary. This is a pivotal episode in the HP series because since Goblet Of Fire, it gets more serious and darker with the Dark Lord’s return and the death of certain characters becoming more frequent. Like the other films, the acting was great- from the students, to the professors, to Dumbledore, and the Death Eaters. It took a few viewings of episodes 3 and 4 to get used to Michael Gambon as Dumbledore. But by Order Of The Phoenix, he really seems like Dumbledore incarnate. After viewing this, I can’t help but get excited thinking about the next release to come on the screen, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Armor For Sleep












Smile For Them
Armor For Sleep

So there is emo that's enjoyable! Now I hate to admit this, but I am NOT a fan of emo music, at all. A lot of it sounds the same and lacks real substance. Well I found a band that proved my stereotypes wrong (I still don't like emo though!). The first time I heard them was on the Transformers soundtrack. Didn't know much about them at all. Their name is Armor For Sleep. I guess they would be thrown in the emo category, but they're music is different than most of the other whiny emo bands that appeal to pre-teens. They also get extra cool points for being from my home state NJ. On their new album Smile For Them, they create an album using witty lyricism and catchy instrumentals all throughout. One example is on Williamsburg, where they sing tongue-in-cheek about the hipster mecca known as Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I got a real kick out of it when they sang:

Passed out, sleeping at your party
Dream of leaving in the morning
You will all die in Williamsburg
Too hip to even clean your nose out
Your grave is pulling at your pants now
You will all die in Williamsburg



Hold The Door is another standout track which takes a more serious note compared to Williamsburg. Overall, a nice album by these boys from NJ.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Christmas Songs












Christmas Songs
Jars Of Clay

Jars Of Clay seems intent on redefining themselves. They recently split from their previous record label, and now venture forth with their own label called "Gray Matters". Their latest release (and first put out by Gray Matters) is Christmas Songs. Now before you roll your eyes and think this is another mediocre album by a band looking to cash in during the holidays, think again. This one actually caught me by surprise with the different sounds they experimented with. On Christmas Songs, they put a twist on some traditional tunes as well as adding new material. One thing that really stood out to me was the darker vibe on O, Little Town Of Bethlehem, which worked really well. There's covers of other songs where they reconstruct the sound like on "Christmastime Is Here" from A Charlie Brown Christmas, and Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime". A great album to break in the holiday season.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Devil Came on Horseback












I'm pleased to introduce a guest reviewer here on Society's Elite, my longtime friend Bernard Johnson. Among other things, Bernard makes some mean mojitos, and due to his stature, gets offers to be security for certain Canadian rock bands. Now, he contributes his critique for The Devil Came on Horseback.


The Devil Came on Horseback

I've been a movie buff for most of my life now, big budget movies, small priced films, anime, and even some occasional indie films. But after reviewing this film, I can add documentary to the list. Most documentaries open the backstage for events or people that we never really knew much about. However, "The Devil Came on Horseback" opened the world's eyes to events and actions that most of the world knew nothing about. The images and the events that were witnessed by the narrator and photographer, U.S. Marine Captain Brian Steidle, were that of pure horror and dismay. I would say that if the Marines keep producing men and women like this, those who can do this job and keep it together, then they're doing their jobs accordingly. He truly captures crimes against humanity in Darfur that would make one wonder what other dark parts of this planet do we not pay attention to, and to whom are they being done against. I would warn, that if you are of the faint of heart or produce waterworks by passing road kill on the highway, then stray away from this one. At the end of the film, Cpt. Steidle tries to get global attention for the cause, which was the saddest part of the film, because attention was needed to begin with. He accomplishes his goal, but not without opposition from all angles, including those from the third world hell who don't believe his stories or graphic pictures to go with them. As I turned my DVD player off, I couldn't help but wonder who were the real victims in this film, the poor people of Darfur or the people like me who get to even have a DVD player and go to bed with the promise to arise tomorrow.

-Bernard Johnson

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Painter (and his junk)

They cheered for the teacher
They cheered for the student
They cheered for the habitual sinners dressed in cheap denim
They cheered for the dancer, bouncer, and waitress too
And threw fake dollar bills on the table in the back

They opened their mouths to get a taste of fine liquor
And got the backwash of a mystery guest instead

And all they wanted was "The Dream"...

We chase cars to drive slower, and the toll booths are backed up...

Meanwhile we wait for... a story

The story of a painter
Who's a legend of old
Where he sells bits of wisdom, and junk...

Because in the wisdom lies junk, and in his junk lies wisdom...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer












Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

I guess one good thing about not being a comic book fanatic, is that you can enjoy the movie version without nitpicking every little detail that was overlooked, inconsistencies in the story, blah blah blah. Usually, I’m the black sheep among other movie buffs I know when it comes to comic based films. While they can't seem to enjoy a film because of the frustration of it not living up to the comics, I can enjoy it without constantly comparing it to the stories.

With the Fantastic Four, I’ve always been familiar with the characters growing up, but didn’t know much about them other than what they looked like. So when I saw the original F4 when it came out in ’05, I actually (gasp!) enjoyed it! I know some people that would accuse me of lunacy for saying that. But yeah, I thought I got my money’s worth. The only issue I had was how fast the F4 finished off Dr. Doom. It seemed that just as the climax was reached in the film, they finished it too quickly. But hey, it was pretty good for an intro to the F4 characters on the big screen.

If you saw part one, you know that Dr. Doom wasn’t technically dead, so a sequel was inevitable. What threw me for a surprise was that another comic legend Silver Surfer would be included in the sequel. Personally, I thought they couldn’t have chosen a better character to fit in here. Rather than have a formulaic approach when making this film, where they could have had another round of F4 vs. Dr. Doom, they bring in Silver Surfer, which adds a twist to the plot. What makes this a little more intense than the original is that there’s a global threat with the character Galactus, who eats planets for meals. And he's on his way to Earth. The only thing that can stop him is Silver Surfer, who just happens work for him. So the F4 find themselves in a predicament, because not only do they have to worry about the return of Dr. Doom, they now have to prevent Galactus from eating our planet. And to do that, they have to convince Silver Surfer to stop him, which will take a lot more than begging.

So, who’s the real star in this movie? Silver Surfer or F4? I guess you’d have to say they’re equally important. Because while Silver Surfer is much more stronger than the F4, without them, there would be no hope as Earth would get devoured by Galactus. This sequel is definitely an improvement on the original, and a great introduction to the Silver Surfer.

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows












This was an extremely important review I've been meaning to post, considering it's one of the best literary works of all time. I know, the book came out in July, and I was going to post on it in September. But, I'm just getting to it now. Actually, I can't take credit for this review, since my wife Mica is the one who so graciously provided it, along with her indepth knowledge about the world of Harry Potter. If you haven't read the book yet, I have to let you know there are spoilers ahead. Otherwise, read on...



Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows

I had intentionally delayed reading The Deathly Hollows to avoid getting distracted by all the commotion during the book’s release. The final tome was going to reveal the end for Harry Potter and, thus, my long journey alongside him and his world. This was a big deal for me. Naturally, I wanted a clear head. But of course, the media coverage was nothing short of fierce. However, nothing was going to spoil it for me. I simply turned on the “see-no-potter, hear-no-potter” approach even if it temporarily turned me into a virtual zombie. Absolutely nothing spoiled it for me, well, except me of course, well, almost. I was already halfway through the book when I just couldn’t find the willpower to resist the gnawing temptation of knowing the end any longer that, with feigned reluctance and forced inattentiveness, I quickly turned to the last chapter and skimmed through. The forced reluctance worked. It was a marvelous thing, especially for someone (as in me) who has a horrible habit of jumping to the conclusion of any story I read. Blame it on ADD, which I’ve willingly diagnosed myself with. I just can’t handle the awful anticipation of discovering the end once the book’s in my hands. Anyway, all was safe, because I was “able to not remember” any significant context from zipping through the last pages that, while simultaneously guilt-ridden and relieved, I was able to return where I had left off and ride all the way through the chapters. The read was as exhilarating and intense as what a ride on a nimbus broomstick might be, because The Deathly Hollows is brimming with a bit more surprising twists, abrupt turns, and sudden dips and ascents, not to say that the previous six books didn’t have their own intensity.

I devoured the book slowly for about a couple of weeks. Now, taking that much time to cover any book that I’m fascinated with is rather unusual for my nature. In fact, it had only taken me a day or so to finish each of the previous six books since I was completely captivated by the Potter story right from the start. This time though, I don’t know if I just wanted to avoid the end because that would mean, well, the end, or if I just wanted to savor the grand finale, or, still, if that was all the time I could spare every night before I fell asleep. Nonetheless, my time to face the end came and I finally got my closure, like the multitude of others who had followed Harry’s journey since his birth.

One thing I was right about was Snape’s character not being the vile man he played prior the revelation in this book. This inkling started to simmer in my head after reading Order of the Phoenix, when Snape truly, however harshly, showed his desire for Harry to learn occlumency. My suspicion brewed further because Dumbledore’s support for it was so blatant, when he should have been wary of the severe danger he would be dropping Harry in by delivering him straight into Snape’s clutches. This hunch that Dumbledore and Snape were actually allies only intensified in The Half-blood Prince. The story began with Snape’s pledging his allegiance to Narcissa for her son’s sake. Again, that act was so blatant that it revealed something else that normally wouldn’t be obvious right away. (I suppose that real evil would be extremely cunning, careful, and subtle in carrying out its schemes.) Snape also clearly hesitated right before pointing his wand at Dumbledore and only actually called out the killing curse after Dumbledore had pleaded. At this point, I believed that Dumbledore and Snape had a bond that was going to be revealed in the final book. And it was. And I was so glad for it, despite the tragic way it was revealed, which was through Snape’s death. That bond and Harry’s realization that the only way to beat Voldemort at his own game is by facing death, which incidentally was the only thing Voldemort feared, were the main highlights of the story for me.

J.K. Rowling is nothing short of brilliant in conveying an enormous fantasy story on a very human level that people could actually relate to. The stories are timeless in quality with its fundamental themes of loyalty, friendship, courage, nature of good and evil, life and death, and ultimately love; and truly magical in its writing style which would make you laugh, cry, and ponder. And perhaps, The Deathly Hollows will only make you want to relive the journey all over again.

Winter Bed

Her mind left room for thoughts that impress
I left room for thoughts that undress
Star-crossed lovers doing a tango in Paris
My heart, her heart, together we were tightly knit
I dare to say, "Not me!"
And stare at my breath in the cold winter night, alone...
Shaken by the sudden chill of defeat...
Or is it victory?
I can't tell

The only clue left was the empty bed I slept in...

Polysics Or Die!!!! Vista












Polysics

As cynical as I am of Myspace and how trendy it seems, at least their record label has a potential gem on their hands. Introducing, the Polysics. Finally, a band that can take the craziness of Japanese culture, the style of certain 80’s artists (i.e. Devo, etc..), and the energy of Richard Simmons on speed, to create songs that give you a rare sonic experience. Mostly, the Japanese are known for their advanced technology, not really for cutting edge music. It’s rare that you see a Japanese artist break into the US music scene. But it would make sense if one did considering how influenced they are with American culture. Coming from Japan, the Polysics combine electronic, dance, rock, and any other audible noise that exists to make a deliciously catchy album. In most of the songs, they blurt out unintelligable phrases. Half the time I don’t know what they're saying, but who cares! This is not a band that provides philosophical wisdom in their music! Instead they make some real noise that appeals to the cynical American music afficianado that I am. Maybe we’ll start to see a trend in more out-of-the-box Japanese artists like this in the US.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Typical - Live at the G-Rock studio

Mute Math singing a stripped down version of Typical at G-Rock radio in Jersey. I'm used to seeing Paul jump off the piano when they play this song live. Doesn't look like there's much room in there to do that...


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Remedy













Remedy
David Crowder Band

There's more to him then the beard... or the hair... or his keytar. DCB's music is unique in that it's blatantly spiritual, but minus the "cheesiness factor" that comes from other similar artists. This band actually works to create music that's out-of-the-box. And their latest album Remedy definitely shows the progression they've made. Never afraid to experiment in the area of sound, DCB find a great balance in electronic and guitar driven songs led by Dave's trademark vocals. Listen closely in certain songs and you'll hear a subtle "blip" here and there, as if you were playing some old-school Nintendo game. Something else worth mentioning is that Ted Nugent (The Motor City Madman) lends his guitar skills by tearing it up on the song "We Won't Be Quiet". This is a good album to start with for anyone not familiar with their sound.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

You can never get too much of a good thing...

Two albums that are worth mentioning again are Mute Math and Luna Halo. The Mute Math album I've had for over a year and a half and I still haven't gotten tired of the fucking thing yet. Utterly amazing, I must say. Luna Halo's album is another that I also find myself playing quite frequently. If my intuition is right (as it was when I knew in 2005 that Mute Math would eventually blow up), then these two bands have quite a ride ahead of them. Just wait and see.

Write

The wisdom of the old man told me, "Write"
I wrote...
Not on scrolls, not on decrees, not on walls inside the cell
I wrote...
Not with shallow words, not with platitudes
I just wrote...
The old man was RIGHT when he told me to WRITE

Monday, November 12, 2007

Everything Must Change












Everything Must Change
Brian McLaren

Start on page 77. That's what my advice would be to anyone reading the book. The first 76 pages almost bored me to death with the statistics, science facts, etc. Ok, maybe I'm being a bit harsh. But I can't lie. I almost fell asleep at certain parts, especially when I couldn't figure out if I was reading a biology or sociology book. (Snore)

I'm a bit disappointed becuase I like Brian McLaren's books. Some of the stuff he writes has me feeling like he can explain the jumbled thoughts in my head. But this one just didn't do it for me. No doubt, there are some valuable pieces of info to pick up in this. He covered some heavy topics dealing with the main social issues of our time. And he gets props, in my opinion, for speaking out on things that most people don't touch. It's just the way it was written was, well, boring. I can see where he was trying to go with this book, but I held my breath too many times waiting for it to kick in.

Maybe next time Brian.

Thursday, November 08, 2007












As the holidays are approaching, I'm reminded of why I love living in the NYC area. Apart from being the cultural mecca that it is, it's also one of the best places to be during the holidays. Sometimes I take it for granted since I practically lived here my whole life. Most people who are from the NYC area don't really "do" the tourist spots much. I even know people here who still haven't been to the Statue Of Liberty. Anyway, one thing that's awesome about NYC around the holidays is Rockefeller Center. Right next to the NBC studios, the tree at Rockefeller illuminates the center, and mobs of people try and get a glimpse of this massive attraction. It's cool to be among this crowd once in a while and just take in a breath of cold air while observing the scene.










As crazy as life was growing up, I have this memory of being taken as a kid to see Santa at Macy's. He definitely was better than the ones in the mall that had the beard you can pull off. No, this guy was the real deal. Anyway, with the weather getting colder and all the holiday buzz starting to fill the air, I was reminded of how I like the holidays around here, and the childlike feeling it brings.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A Lifetime Of Secrets












The newest addition to Frank Warren's Postsecret books has been released. This one's called A Lifetime Of Secrets. Some of the confessions in here are hard to read. Not because they're so shocking (which some are), but because some of them hit so close to home. And I'm sure it's the same for anyone who reads this. What's different about the way this book is organized is that it starts with secrets (anonymously) submitted by young kids and teens, and works it's way all the way up to the older generation, hence the title A LIFETIME Of Secrets. Want to try and understand the baggage some kids are carrying? Flip through the first section of the book. Want to understand why your parents don't have it all together? Check out the confessions of some parents. Since the book covers the different age groups, it helps to understand other people more, as well as ourselves. You never know if some of the submissions are by people who made up their secrets. But since you can't tell, the words and images that stare at you on each page have something to say to our lives.

Polysics

With the right amount of practice, you too can learn to dance like this...

(This is off the hook)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Reversed Perspectives

"When you're a kid, you can't wait to grow up and be free from parental guidance. When you're older, you want to be a kid again..."

A picture that needs no explanation...

Monday, November 05, 2007

Planet Terror












When Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk ‘Til Dawn came out in 1996, I watched it in the theater and realized it was the perfect combination of horror/comedy for a vampire film. And to make it better, it had Quentin Tarantino’s fingerprints in the story as well. I freaking loved it. So when I heard the terms “Rodriguez”, “Tarantino”, and “zombies” used in the same sentence describing the recent movie Planet Terror, I couldn’t wait to check it out. Planet Terror is part of a double feature named Grindhouse, which pays homage to cheesy, low budget films from the 70’s and 80’s.

Ok, first off, this movie is bloody as hell. A lot of the scenes are probably too gross for anyone with a weak stomach, but just enough for any horror fan, or if you're a mortuary student. I never knew blood could splatter in a movie as much as it did in this! In fact, it’s hilarious at how over-exaggerated the scenes are whenever someone is shot. Second, this movie is not to be taken seriously. This is made intentionally to come off as a low-budget horror film. And it seemed that Rodriguez went all out to give you the feeling of sitting in a cheap Grindhouse theater, complete with grainy picture, and even at one point, the film being stopped because the movie reel has “melted”! For someone who was too young for the original Grindhouse films, but who’s watched his fair share of B-movies, and experienced a movie reel melting in the theater (Pirates Of The Carribean: Dead Man’s Chest, Man I was pissed), I got a good laugh out of these small details.

As with most action or horror films, there’s always some type of hero. The heroine here is none other Charmed star and former Mrs. Marilyn Manson, Rose McGowan. She plays Cherry Darling, the machine-gun legged girl who helps save our world from flesh eating zombies. Just as George Clooney kicked some vampire ass in From Dusk ‘Til Dawn, Rose's character Cherry uses her leg to help wipe out the infestation of zombies. Cherry is an unlikely hero though. In the beginning, she’s an unhappy go-go dancer who quits that to pursue a career as a stand-up comedian. On her way out of town she bumps into a guy named El Wray (who also kicks his share of zombie ass). Cherry seems frustrated with the cards that life has dealt her. And when talking about goals in life, she says, “That's the problem with goals, they become a thing you talk about instead of a thing you do." Well, Cherry Darling never did get to become that stand-up comedian. Instead she was destined to become something bigger. She helped save the world from zombies!

Along with Rose McGowan, there’s a diverse cast consisiting of Bruce Willis, Josh Brolin (yes, that guy from The Goonies), Quentin Tarantino, and even Fergie (who's character winds up becoming 'roadkill')!

Like I said, this is a horror movie not to be taken too seriously. But it’s seriously a zombie movie in it's own class.

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

Friday, November 02, 2007

Transformers - The Movie (20th Anniversary Special Edition)
















Transformers - The Movie (20th Anniversary Special Edition)

With the hype of latest Transformers movie, I figured this would be the best time to write about the animated movie from the 80's. Last year they released
Transformers - The Movie (20th Anniversary Special Edition) , which I just watched the other day. The Transformers played such a big part of my childhood. I watched all the shows and had most of the toys. I remember vividly seeing the ongoing battle between the Autobots and Decepticons and the tension between their leaders, Optimus Prime and Megatron. With the animated version of the film, there was closure to their ongoing battle. Unfortunately, Optimus' fate didn't turn out so good as he was killed off in the beginning, traumatizing every childhood fan! But, all was not lost as the Autobots fought to the very end, with an unlikely hero named Hot Rod rising up to keep hope alive. It was awesome to be able to relive those childhood memories while seeing this animated version again. And as much as I liked the recent film, it didn't bring me back to my youth like this one did. On top of that, this DVD contains a bunch of extras, like Q&A sections with the producers. This is great for anyone looking to find out why the hell they killed off Optimus, as they answer this in some of the interviews on the DVD. If you never grew up watching the cartoon, but loved the latest movie, watch this one. It'll give you a glimpse of why this became such a phenomenon.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Essential Jars of Clay












The Essential Jars of Clay

I guess greatest hits albums sometimes give you a better appreciation of an artist. If you're a die hard fan of a particular artist, then naturally you'll love their greatest hits compilation. Now I'm not a die hard fan of Jars Of Clay. In fact, up until their release of Good Monsters, I kept waiting for them to make some real noise. They had their breakthrough debut album when they released Flood, but they haven't made any big waves in the music scene since then. But something in me knew they had hidden guns just waiting to be pulled out, and they did just that with Good Monsters. I think at this point in time, with such a wide open field of music styles, it's the ideal moment for them to flex their skills. So in light of the Good Monsters album, and now The Essential Jars of Clay, I can appreciate their work more. Looking back on their older songs in light of their newer ones shows the potential they always had. The Essential Jars of Clay is basically a greatest hits album spanning their career from when Flood was released up until now. There's a couple tracks I was surprised that didn't make it (Show You Love for example). But it's a good compilation to cover the progress they made through the years.

* Funny observation: If you look on the right of the album cover, Steve Mason looks stoned out of his mind. Just thought I'd add that additional info. Haha...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Straight from the Pumpkin's mouth...












“In Pumpkins logic, if you’re going to make people wait for six minutes for the payoff, the money shot better be good. Ultimately, this became the musical statement of the album. The drum take is one of Jimmy’s crowning achievements. It’s worth the price of admission. Lyrically, the song reflects the decision I made when we were in Scottsdale to stop watching all network or cable news. I noticed the effect that had on me–I stopped being afraid. In general, I’m not afraid of getting on the stage in front of 60,000 people, so why should I be afraid of a plane crashing into my house? I was trying to wrap my head around the way we’re being force-fed a level of paranoia. It’s a personal reflection on what it all means. The ‘revolution’ in the lyrics isn’t the revolution of picking up a gun. That’s never worked, and it never will work. Jesus was right.”

Billy Corgan - commenting on the song United States

Monday, October 29, 2007

Paper Darren

Full-time drummer, part-time actor. Darren King of Mute Math in his acting debut. Watch out Hollywood, he's on the move.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Thought of the day

A friend to all is a friend to none...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Sin City Volume 1: The Hard Goodbye












There's something about Marv...

As I finished the last page of Sin City Volume 1: The Hard Goodbye, I sat there and saw Marv's face staring at me, dead in an electric chair, yet still seemed alive. In fact there are so many times throughout this series where Marv should have been killed, but wasn't. The guy would not die! I really liked Marv. He was hell-bent on getting revenge for Goldie. Who's Goldie, you are wondering? She's a hooker who showed him kindness before she was killed, a kindness that Marv never felt before. So when he finds out she's been killed and he's been framed for the murder, he goes on a mission to bring justice in memory of her. And he will do it no matter what comes his way. Nothing can stop him. Nothing. Not the corrupt cops, not a vicious dog, not a twisted cannibalistic fuck and his priest friend. And toward the end it seemed not even an electric chair, which turned out to be the only thing that would finish him. What a great story in which a guy seeks justice for a murdered girl who most of the characters brush off as a "worthless whore"..

You can't keep a good man down, not even Marv...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Danielson: a Family Movie












Danielson: a Family Movie

I would have never known about Danielson if it had not been for Sufjan Stevens. And ironically, if there were no Danielson, there would be no Sufjan (musically speaking). I just watched a good movie/documentary over the weekend about Danielson Famile called Danielson: a Family Movie. It follows the siblings' story from their beginning when Daniel Smith was in Rutgers University, to the indie icons they (and Sufjan) have become. In the movie, you travel with them to various shows and get to see parts of their performances, along with fans who really dig the music but can't quite figure out the band. Included also are narratives by the band members, interviews, and home video clips giving a close look as to what moves this creative monster of a band known as Danielson.

And if you're still not interested, just see it to watch a band perform on stage with matching nurse uniforms. It doesn't get any cooler than that.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Maximo Park












Never heard of this band before. Out of the blue I got an email about them, and I decided to check out their album Our Earthly Pleasures. One distinct feature is the thick British accent in the singer's voice. You know how when some musicians from Britain sing, they lose their accent (i.e. Elton John, Sting, etc)? Not Maximo Park. Take a listen and you'll get a full dose of some jolly good Brit accents. Of course the accent is not the only thing worth checking out. But it does feel like your listening to a real Brit rock band. Add in hyperactive pop/punk background music, and you have a group that seems like they could give bands like Franz Ferdinand some competition.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Eisley w/ Mute Math @ The Filmore, Irving Plaza NYC (10-18-07)

Last night marked the third time I saw Mute Math live in NYC, and the first time for Eisley. If you weren't aware, Eisley has been opening up for Mute Math on their current tour. Although Eisley is an opening act this time, they could easily have headlined their own tour.










First off, the girls' harmony in the songs is hypnotizing. If you heard their album, you know what I mean. But hearing them live, their voices get magnified and you just get taken away by each song. Take Many Funerals for example. A great song. There's something about the part in the song when they sing "Rain, rain dowwnnnnn..." that gives you a high. And I only had one beer last night, so I knew it must have been the music that had me buzzed. (I'm wondering, since their music provides a natural high, a more fitting tag for their show could be "Get High With Eisley!" I should get that copyrighted.) Anyway, as I was saying about the show. It was amazing.










Throughout their set they played some other tracks from their latest album Combinations, as well as some older songs that I wasn't familiar with. But after hearing them I will now make it a point to check them out. Then came their closing song Invasion. They couldn't have picked a better song to close with.

After their set, Mute Math came on. Put it this way, my ears are still ringing fifteen hours after the show ended. Loud, chaotic, energetic. Everything you'd expect from one of the best bands out there.


World Peace: Courtesy of Air Supply

I have a solution for World Peace. It occured to me while driving to work. I was thinking of all the different ways people work towards world peace. We have summits and peace treaties out the ass. I'm sorry, but those sound BORING. I imagine that about 20 minutes into those summits, 95% of the audience's attention is lost on something more interesting, like text messaging. So what, exactly, is involved in this peace plan?

2 words: Air Supply.

You know that mushy feeling you get when an Air Supply song comes on? Well imagine a world, where instead of spending billions of dollars on defense to support a war, why not use the money to give your enemies Ipods filled with Air Supply songs? Imagine the results. Why waste time trying to bargain with the president of Iran when you can just provide him an Ipod full of Air Supply songs! He'll be putty in your hands. So instead of bombing our enemies, let's save the earth, with the help of Air Supply.













And remember, you heard it here first...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

New Luna Halo Album! (Finally...)












After much delay due to changing labels (Warner Bros to Columbia), and God knows whatever else put this on hold, the word is that Luna Halo's new album is being released on October 30th. Since it's my pleasure to recommend good music to you all, I have to mention this one. So, after hearing the advanced copy of the album, all I can say is, "This album is gonna fucking rock."

Nuff said.

Do check it out and let me know what you think.

That's The Way (My Love Is)

How deep is your love?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

About that infamous comment...
















"Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. ... We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first-rock 'n' roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me."
-John Lennon

And so the Holy War began against John Lennon and the Beatles. I'm too young to have been around then, but I think it would have been funny to see all the religious folks get all uptight and fired up.

Maybe to stick it to them I would have said: "Life is very short, and there's no time for fussing and fighting, my friend. We can work it out."

But seriously, I was just listening to the Beatles and I remembered that statement by John. I think people totally missed the point of what he was saying. Check out the last part of his statement again.

"Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me."

To that I say, "Yeah John!"

Any haters out there, you may now fire away at me...

"Christ you know it ain't easy,
You know how hard it can be.
The way things are going
They're gonna crucify me."

Monday, October 08, 2007

M.I.A.












This a jungle banger, I said cold jammer
I'm bored of banana want gwanabana
I gon warm my buns this summer summer
Coz I'm sitting down chillin on gun powder
Strike match light fire, who's that girl called Maya
M.I.A. coming back with power power
I said M.I.A. is coming back with power power
I said M.I.A. is coming back with power power!!


-from the song Bamboo Banga

M.I.A.
Kala

Damn I love this album. Where to begin about M.I.A.? She grew up in Sri Lanka and London. She uses her A.D.D. (who doesn't have A.D.D.?) to create music in which she raps, chants lyrics in Jamaican lingo, and makes her own beats. Sound interesting? Well it is. This is also not some mindless club music that is only good for the beats. If you tune into what she's saying in her songs, you'll find some socially/politically conscious lyrics in there. For a girl who grew up in a war torn area before moving to London, she sure as hell used those experiences to her advantage. A very gritty and eclectic piece of art. You'll just have to listen for yourself.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Vote for Arcade Fire!

Since MTV started out as "Music" television, it's ironic that nowadays they play everything BUT music. And the small chance they do play music videos, good luck trying to find anything other than the same pop/emo/Top 40 rock that drives pre-teens gaga. I normally don't keep up with what's going on at MTV, but upon hearing that Arcade Fire is up for an award, I wanted to encourage everyone to flood MTV with votes for them. It would be bittersweet to see them win. And who knows? Maybe we'll see bands like them given more airplay. Unless we're satisfied with Justin Timberlake and Fall Out Boy... ;)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Disappointed By Candy












Disappointed By Candy

Have you ever been disappointed by candy? Where you expected candy to taste a certain way and you were let down? And speaking of candy, the other day my son gave me some Bertie Botts, the very unique flavored jelly beans like the ones in the Harry Potter films. When I say unique, I mean flavors like vomit, earwax, earthworm, grass, soap, and sardines. And man do they live up to the flavors! Blecch! Anyway, where am I going with this? I was thinking of the name of this band called Disappointed By Candy. I wonder if they had a traumatic experience with candy (like I did with Bertie Botts) that scarred them permanently, thus leading to the name of their band. All kidding aside, they did find a catchy name for their band, don't you agree? So the next thought in your head is probably, "Yeah their name is catchy, but how the hell is their music???" Sometimes I notice that bands will use a real witty name to make up for the lack of creativity in their music. That's not the case with these guys. How do I know? I have in my possession an advanced copy of their new CD. The band consists of Gabe Ruschival and Jeremy Lutito, who also happen to play with Jars Of Clay on tour sometimes. Their musical experience and influences displayed on the album show their appreciation for good sounds. Not settling for mediocrity, they combine multiple styles (including a nice 80's influence) while retaining a consistent sound throughout. A pretty damn good album by this up and coming band. Look out for their new release soon. Now if I could just figure out the meaning behind their name...

One by One








Time is short, and mystery's lacking
I taste the bitter drink, and my insides cringe
I crave the pure wine, which is harder to find
Like a treasure buried in the Caribbean
Like a song only found on an 8-track
I stumble for meaning, and purpose is tiring
So I find my hands withering under the sun
I kicked the dirt, I cursed the sky
I stared in the mirror at a familiar stranger
Consumed with revenge, I said "Your death will come swiftly"
And at the end of it all, I'm back to square one
Where the beginning meets the end
Where the rubber meets the road
Where liberty is taken
And where secrets that were hidden, are killed off one by one

Monday, September 24, 2007

Paganistic Publicity?











It was a beautiful fall day. The sun was shining, the wind was blowing a slightly cool breeze, and I just parked my car near a tree to read my bible of pagan spirituality. As I cracked open the book, I found myself getting more and more excited to practice pagan spirituality (Wicca in particular) as the story promotes it so well. Just like watching the movie Back To The Future encouraged me as a kid to build a time machine, Batman made me want to get a tight-ass outfit and fight crime with my own hands, and Scooby Doo made me smoke weed and find a dog that could talk, now the Harry Potter story has me wanting to get back into Wicca!

Can anyone recommend a good covenant?

Of course, with my tongue firmly planted in cheek, I'm bullshitting right now. And speaking of bullshit, is anyone other than me sick and tired of all the "Harry Potter promotes evil" garbage? I am. In fact, I think the ones who rail against the HP series so much are actually creating their own monster. How? Well rememeber when you were young and your mom or dad told you NOT to do something? Like, "Now stay away from this movie because it's no good for you." What's the first thing that comes to your mind after they tell you that? To go and see the movie the first chance you get! As well meaning as they were, they peaked curiousity in your mind, with fear as their motivation. I swear, I have been a huge fan of the HP series, and I never once got curious about checking out Wicca or anything like it because of the stories. Now I'm not into Wicca, but I used to be. And nothing encouraged me to get into Wicca other than my own curiosity. You see I was spiritually searching for something. And Wicca happened to be one of the paths I chose, but certainly NOT because of some fantasy story! In fact, what did influence me from the HP series are things like sacrificial love and loyalty.

So to all of the anti-Harry Potter arguments going on, I say "Accio-Bullshit"!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Version












Mark Ronson
Version

A good DJ is someone who can breathe life into a dead song. On the chance that a DJ happens to make his own album, a good DJ will always recruit the top artists. Mark Ronson did just that, bringing in Lily Allen and Amy Winehouse to contribute on his album Version. The opening track God Put A Smile Upon Your Face sets the tone with a nice instrumental mix then jumps right into Oh My God featuring Lily Allen. Three songs after is Valerie featuring Amy Winehouse. Now I don't know who would win in a catfight, but Amy's vocals definitely blows Lily's out of the box. But Lily has her own unique style which sets her apart, so having both of them on here was a definite plus. One thing you will notice is that trumpets play a key part all throughout the album, giving it a nice jazzy feel. Overall it's a nice album to dance or chill to.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Graduation










Kanye West
Graduation

When I was a teen growing up in NJ, I consumed massive amounts of hip-hop, most of which came out of NYC. There were bands like A Tribe Called Quest, Naughty By Nature, Das EFX, Black Sheep, Redman, Wu Tang Clan, Nas, and countless others. I had a hunger for hot beats and great rhymes. It used to be that you could only get your hands on mixtapes by guys like DJ Clue if you went to NYC yourself, or if you knew anyone who had a copy. Those days are long gone. Artists now in the hip-hop scene have more potential to reach a larger audience other than those in "the hood". Not only that, but we are seeing many artists cross genres to make songs with musicians in other scenes. And what better example of that than Kanye West. You gotta admit, the man knows how to promote himself. From public rants to a confidence that's mixed with a narcicisstic complex, he draws attention. So naturally you had to assume there would be much publicity surrounding his latest album Graduation.

The guy's not a drug dealer, didn't grow up in the hood, and doesn't have much street cred. But he's a slick musician. And that's evident all throughout the album. Whether he's doing a collaboration with Coldplay's Chris Martin on the song Homecoming, or banging out a radio hit like Stronger, his capability to cross musical genres puts him at the top of his game. You'd find more lyrical depth in his songs more than you would other rappers as he sings about persistance in reaching for your dreams and the flesh and blood of striving for a better life. Sometimes I think the guy bitches too much and tries to make a scene all to promote himself. But listening to his music, I realize it's not all hype and he is talented in his craft.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Work

I never knew Professor Snape was the singer for Jars of Clay?

Mythmaker












Skinny Puppy
Mythmaker

I was never much of an industrial music fan. I had an appreciation for the way they tried to infuse techno and rock, but it never really peaked my interest. I remember the first time I was introduced to Skinny Puppy. I had a friend back in 1996 who was heavy into acid. And you can tell how much LSD this guy consumed in his teens due to his twitching and the flashbacks he got. It was a mess. He was a poster boy of why you should not try acid. Anyway, another thing I remember about him was that he had music a lot of people weren't familiar with. There was DJ Keoki and another band called Skinny Puppy that he always talked about. DJ Keoki I thought was ok, since he was more in the rave scene. Skinny Puppy I had a hard time getting into. Nothing against them personally, it just wasn't my thing. So, that's how I got introduced to them. Fast forward to now and I recently heard they put out a new album in 2007. Again, I wasn't that interested in checking it out, until I read a press release quote about the song "ugLi", by the singer Ogre:

The simultaneous percolating and grinding “ugLi” (with its refrain “Jesus wants to be ugly”), is not an attack on spirituality, but a treatise on how religion is used as a tool by the morally bankrupt as a means of control. “I wrote those lyrics over a year ago, because I felt that the concept of Jesus was being used in an ugly fashion,” says the singer. “Now, you’re seeing a large body of the Christian movement questioning that utopian union and questioning the morality of the current administration.

There's a lot of truth in that quote. Since I related to what he said, I was now intrigued to hear the album. Soundwise, the music is what you would normally expect from an industrial album. Themes include questioning the current political administration, as well as dealing with issues of trust. Along with the mesasage in the song ugLi, the aggressive beats in it are probably the best on the album, making it the standout track for me. I'm still not much of industrial music fan, but I can appreciate the approach that was taken on this.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Pretender

What if I say I'm not like the others?
What if I say I'm not just another one of your plays?
You're the pretender
What if I say I will never surrender?


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

1-18-08
















The suspense is killing me.


Reflections on Cohen









Taken from Leonard Cohen's Book Of Longing, which I wrote about in a previous post.

Pardon Me

Pardon me, lords and ladies,
if I do not think of myself
as the disease.
Pardon me if I recieve the Holy Spirit
without telling you about it.
Pardon me,
Commissars of the West,
if you do not think
I have suffered enough.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

They're baaack...

All New York and New Jersey dwellers. Get your asses out to see Mute Math On October 18th, at Irving Plaza. Trust me on this.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Consistent Inconsistencies

In what began as an attempt to break down barriers and smash the shit out of "stereotypes" that label and box people in, this website provides great relief for me. You never know what you'll get. And I like it that way. Sometimes you may read about music, books, life, God, and every other thing I happen to be into at the moment I type on this computer. You see, there really is no agenda here. It's mainly to put out what's been floating in this complex head of mine. So if you're looking for a consistent flow of things, you won't get one. I can't be pinned down to one thing in life (except my awesome wife), so don't expect that here. If you do happen to benefit or get enlightened from what you read, I'm grateful. I have visions and dreams just like everyone else. I could probably make a good cult leader, but I don't have enough time on my hands. I would love to be in a world where things like pollution, oppression, racism, and poverty are non-existent. But it's a pretty fucked up world. We can just work and hope for the better.

If I had an agenda, it would have been evident by now. If I sat down and said, "I don't like the Iraq war, so I'm gonna start a website to rant", then you can label this an "anti-war website". But it's not. Like I said, I hate labels. They fucking scare me. From the little kid who is quiet that gets labelled "shy", to the artist who is a Christian, but somehow gets the label "Christian artist" slapped on their back (a big shout out to Mute Math for helping to stop such nonsense). Anyway, I'm happy with the direction this site has been going. Yes, a lot of the time you will read about music and books, because those happen to be some of the passions in my life. But you'll also get to read other things too. I just can't say what those things will be. It depends on which thought in my head is screaming the loudest to get out. So come here and enjoy what gets posted. Invite your friends, lovers, family, and neighbors too. The more, the merrier. It feeds my ego and rekindles the creative flame within. Hahaha...

Peace and love...

Friday, September 07, 2007

300









300
Dark Horse Comics

"This is SPARTA!!!"

I remember when I first saw the movie in the theater. That one scene when King Leonidas shouted that line and booted the messenger of Xerxes into the pit gave me chills. For the rest of the film, I was in awe with what turned out to be one of the most intense movie experiences I ever had. It really made an impact on me. Not too long ago, I was strolling through the crackhouse for book lovers everywhere, Barnes and Noble. While there, I happened to see a book on the shelf with a cover that had the number 300, and a Spartan helmet on the front. I immediately opened it and flipped through this harcover, comic book version of the movie. And what an awesome book it is. The illustration is amazing in how it captured the emotion of the film. Someone who never saw the film can read through this and get the entire story, as all the important scenes are in here. I was never much of a comic book fan, but this version of the movie 300 is top notch. So I have 300 on DVD and now in the hardcover book version. All I need is a red robe, some killer abs, new sandals, and my Spartan training will be complete.

PREPARE FOR GLORY!!!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Cinematics












The Cinematics
A Strange Education

I first saw these guys when they opened for Mute Math in NYC this past March. A couple of their songs caught my attention, but I wasn't really blown away. Maybe it was because I kept thinking, "Hurry the hell up and finish your set so I can see the band that I came to see play." But if I wasn't so impatient that night, who knows? Maybe they would've sounded different. After I went to that show, I started seeing their name over the internet, and heard clips of their songs that sounded somewhat familiar to what I heard that night. So I decided to check out the CD and see if I misjudged them. The album is not bad at all. Listening to their songs, I hear sounds influenced by Franz Ferdinand and little of The Cure. My favorite part of the album is the back-to-back songs Break and A Strange Education, Break basically has the singer talking about life sucking, and right after that comes the song A Strange Education which has him crying out for something out of desperation. Check these lyrics from the song:

"I've walked this long road
Trying to get home
To someone familiar
Like this voice on the phone

Oh, have you come for me?
Oh, have you come for me?

Pull me out of the ocean
Take me up in your arms again
Cast away, with the love you send
Such a strange education
Sends me into your arms again
Cast away, lost again"


So we got Franz Ferdinand, and now The Cinematics. Two bands from Scotland making an impact in the music scene. Time will tell if we'll get to see them put on a show together wearing kilts. You never know...

Friday, August 31, 2007

We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank












Modest Mouse
We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank

This is one of these CD's I can't decide how I feel about it. I mean, there's the song Dashboard that caught my attention on the radio, which prompted me to get the album. But the rest of the songs are... I don't know. Sometimes the lead singer sounds like he's stoned or drunk out of his mind just goofing off on the microphone. He sounds like a drunk version of the singer for Talking Heads. It's not that it's a bad album, but I think it's one of those albums that you have to be in the right frame of mind, or a die hard fan, to enjoy. I guess if you're already a big fan of Modest Mouse, then you'd probably enjoy the album. If you're not already familiar with them, then I wouldn't start with We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank. Although the song Dashboard is a very catchy song, so I would recommend checking it out. But hey, I give them credit for trying to do something different other than "the norm".

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Combinations












Eisley
Combinations

Eisley. Maybe you've heard this band from Tyler, TX. Then again, maybe not. Either way, it would do you good to check out their new album Combinations. I believe this album will increase their fan base immensely and get them one step closer to taking over the world. Well, maybe not take over the world, but be ready to hear more about Eisley within the next year. Combinations is a well crafted album that takes you away with hypnotic melodies and vocals from a lead singer that really sounds like Leigh Nash from Sixpence None The Richer. This album came at the right time because I was frustrated with most recent music and wanted to hear something new. But most of what's out now doesn't really do anything for me. We have a million different Pop, Emo, Rock, and R&B bands, and everyone's doing the same shit. Even the bands that go out of their way to be different wind up sounding the same, because they all try to do the same thing to sound different! (You catch what I'm saying?) So when I heard this album, I felt that I had found a band that's really doing something new. If you're looking for something fresh and creative to listen to, then check them out. And with their upcoming tour with Mute Math (scroll to banner at the bottom of this site), all the more they get to show their skills to audiences all over.

Eisley - Invasion

Great song, great video, great band. See for yourself.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tohuvabohu












KMFDM
Tohuvabohu

TOHUVABOHU! Tohuva-what?!?!?! What language is that?!?!? Since most of you are probably as clueless as I am to know what that means, let's consult Wikipedia. Here's their definition:

Tohu va bohu (תֹ֙הוּ֙ וָבֹ֔הוּ) is a biblical Hebrew phrase found in Genesis 1:2. It means "formless and empty," and describes the condition of the earth before God said, "Let there be light."

Oh and I forgot to mention it's the title of the new album by veteran industrial band KMFDM. It's everything you'd expect by a band with credentials such as KMFDM. The title track Tohuvabohu is an example. It's over five minutes worth of electronica and hard rock mixed together with that mysterious word repeated over and over in the chorus, "TOHUVABOHU". The themes on the album are pretty intense as they explore war, hatred, etc, so don't really expect a "positive" vibe here. But what you can expect is a chaotic album with some slamming beats.