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...