Friday, February 26, 2010

A Little Bit Of Resolve

As I've mentioned in a few recent posts, I moved recently. The new apartment rocks, but whoever repainted the apartment before our arrival was not very good about cleaning up paint dribbles. Our bedroom carpet had paint stains all over it when we moved in. I say "had" because I spent a good hour on my hands and knees today cutting that dried paint off the carpet with a razor blade. My left thumb took a little cut from the razor blade and I left a few blood droplets on the carpet. No big deal as we have a trusty bottle of Resolve Carpet Cleaner handy for just these type of situations.

As I was spraying the blood stains with Resolve, I started singing the Foo Fighters song "Resolve" from their excellent In Your Honor album to myself and it got me wondering if the Foos might have ever been approached to license their song for use in said product's commercials. The first line of the chorus ("A little bit of resolve is what I need now") on a loop while some happy housewife cleaned up mud or fruit juice or something of that nature off the carpet while her goofy kid and shaggy sheepdog looked on would work perfectly.

My god I am a genius. I should go work for an ad agency.

[For the record, I sincerely doubt Dave Grohl and Co. would ever allow their song to be used to sling carpet cleaner. Unless of course for some reason they were tremendous fans of the product which would be unlikely because I don't think anyone is that enthusiastic about carpet cleaner...besides the creators and manufacturers of it of course.]

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I'm Not Going To Cop Out On Hot Tub Time Machine

Coming back from The Wolfman in such a bad mood due to rude movie patrons and in general being underwhelmed by the movie, I had forgotten that I had picked up the above button at the ticket counter when I bought my ticket (a magnet would have been much I'm really going to wear that button on any of my jackets). Now The Wolfman may have sucked, but I am supremely confident that the above advertised comedy will be one of two upcoming movies that will not suck.

First, Cop Out. How could a buddy cop comedy starring Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan not be funny? They would have to go out of their way to screw it up. And love him or hate him, Sean William Scott is always solid. Throw in Kevin "Too Fat To Fly" Smith directing and you've got a winner.

Second, Hot Tub Time Machine. "Four guy friends, all of them bored with their adult lives, travel back to their respective 80s heydays thanks to a time-bending hot tub." Sure, that description sounds like something you might see on Showtime at 4am on a Tuesday, but then again look at the cast: John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson (Darryl from "The Office"), Crispin Glover (?!?!) and Chevy Chase. This movie has fantastic potential and the preview looks awesome (of course previews can be misleading, but sometimes they are spot on and I think this one will wind up being the latter and not the former).

Excuse To Eat Popcorn and Junior Mints: The Wolfman

I just got back from seeing The Wolfman and while I didn't think it was the worst movie I've ever seen, it definitely was not worth the time or money. The fact that the only other people in the theater were two assholes who insisted on talking to one another the entire time (and one of their cell phones went off as well) did not help to enhance my enjoyment of the movie either. At least they were gracious enough to whisper their conversation. How two adult men do not understand the concept of not talking during a movie is beyond me. Manners 101 people. Well, karma will certainly bite them in their rude asses someday.

As for the movie, well if you can't figure out what The Wolfman is about from the title and the movie poster, then....

I've never been a fan of monster movies, so while this had some nice gore, it didn't really hold my attention. If you are a big fan of the classic monsters like werewolves, mummies, Frankenstein, Dracula and the lot, then this is probably up your alley. If monster flicks aren't your thing, then stay away. I got sucked in because of the resume and pedigree of the actors involved, but ultimately it is about the story and the story was just not that interesting to me.

Vulgar Display Of Power

18 years ago today, Pantera's legendary Vulgar Display Of Power was released. One of the greatest metal albums of all time, it redefined what heavy metal could be and it's influence on metal music is still undeniable today.

I remember listening to this album non-stop for years and have a big poster of the image from the back cover framed and hanging in my home office. This would certainly be one of my "desert island discs". If you haven't given it a spin in a while, then bust it out and listen to the glorious sounds of one of the greatest metal bands of all time in their prime. It absolutely rules from beginning to end.


"Mouth For War"

"This Love"

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Records Jesus Would Dip His Balls In

The Vatican newspaper (L'Osservatore Romano) recently released their top ten pop/rock records of all-time list:

1. Revolver (The Beatles)
2. If I Could Only Remember My Name (David Crosby)
3. The Dark Side Of The Moon (Pink Floyd)
4. Rumours (Fleetwood Mac)
5. The Nightfly (Donald Fagen)
6. Thriller (Michael Jackson)
7. Graceland (Paul Simon)
8. Achtung Baby (U2)
9. (What's The Story) Morning Glory? (Oasis)
10. Supernatural (Carlos Santana)

There is definitely an inappropriate (and hilarious) joke about child molestation and Catholic priests regarding the inclusion of a Michael Jackson record on this list, but I'm not going there. I own half of the list (#1, #3, #4, #8 and #9) and have to say this list is surprisingly hip and a head scratcher at the same time. Donald Fagen? David Crosby? To be fair, I've never heard the albums, so who am I to judge, but just surprising to see those names included.

I'm also assuming that inclusion on this list means that all the artists are getting into heaven which is good news because I've sinned a hell...err, I mean heck of a lot less than Oasis or David Crosby or the members of Fleetwood Mac (and probably everyone else on the list), so I'm thinking I've got a pretty good shot with St. Peter when my number gets called.

I wonder if Stryper and Lifehouse are bummed out they didn't make the cut though? I'll give 'em some love here. I'm such a good Catholic.

The Death Metal Soundtrack For Running In Place

Yesterday and today I gave treadmills a shot again for the first time in about 12 years. I didn't have a bad experience with them the first go round, but just never got hooked on it. I didn't become a regular "runner" until about two years ago and I still have stretches of a month or two where I'll fall out of the habit of doing it regularly, but I do try to get back to it because I feel so much better and have a ton more energy when I'm running on a regular basis. I hadn't run for the past two weeks while dealing with a move, but my new building has a 24 hour gym in it and while I prefer running outside, it has been cold and rainy the past two days, so I decided to give the treadmills a try again.

Today I set the treadmill to 60 minutes and prepared to grind out 5.5 miles. I hadn't put much thought into what to listen to while running and just hit play to continue whatever was happening on shuffle from the previous day's run. Yesterday I did not fast forward once, but today I definitely needed more motivational music to keep me going. I powered through a Band Of Horses and a Dredg song, but picked up my tempo a lot more during jams by Nothingface and The Toadies. As the run got into the final stages I had to skip The Verve, The Flaming Lips, Jason Isbell and a few others on a quest to find something to keep my legs pumping and finally stopped on Gorguts.

I own the Gorguts 1998 album Obscura and listened to it once half-heartedly and thought it was good, but haven't gotten around to revisiting it yet. I really paid attention to this song though and found it not only to be great running music, but also understand from this one song why they are always cited as being ahead of their time in the death metal genre. I also recently discovered the death metal veterans Asphyx and am looking forward to playing their album Death...The Brutal Way back to back with Obscura in the very near future (like as soon as I hit "Publish Post" on this).

Gorguts "The Art Of Sombre Ecstasy"

Asphyx "Death? The Brutal Way"

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Technical Difficulties With New Deftones Single Download Fixed

As a follow up to the below post, I received the following email from Warner Bros. Records customer service regarding the technical difficulties downloading the single:

Dear Deftones Fan:

We apologize, due to overwhelming demand; our site was experiencing technical difficulties last night. This has been fixed and if you visit you will be able to complete your download.

There is no code necessary, please refresh the page or clear your internet cookies if you do not see the download now prompt.

Warner Bros Records Online Customer Support

Hit the link in the above email, right click on "DOWNLOAD NOW" and you are off to the races. Interesting to note that the original format asked for your email address and an opt-in for future email newsletters about the Deftones as well as your country of residence before you could retrieve the single and that is all now completely removed.

Good stuff!

Get Yourself Some Rocket Skates

It's been a frustrating day thus far, but one thing making it infinitely better is the fact that a new Deftones song has been released. "Rocket Skates" will appear on their forthcoming album Diamond Eyes which is out on May 18th. You are supposed to be able to download the song for free for a limited time at this website, but every time I've tried to get the song I've gotten an error message about the code (which is provided on the site in the instructions for downloading) already being in use and to try again later. From what I've seen on Facebook and message boards, I'm not the only one having this issue. And as of the time of this writing, the Deftones official website is down, so the whole thing looks to be a debacle. Kudos to Warner Bros. Records for setting up a shitty website where fans can't get redeem the song as advertised. Thankfully the song is up on the band's YouTube page, so you can hear it below. It, not surprisingly, sounds fantastic:

Tuesday February 23, 2010 New Music

I've been a HUGE fan of Alkaline Trio since I first sat down and listened to 2001's From Here To Infirmary. From there, I became equally addicted to their previous releases, Maybe I'll Catch Fire, Goddamnit and the self-titled collection of out of print EPs, 7"s and one-offs. The last album I really liked a lot was 2003's Good Mourning though. The two albums released since then, Crimson and Agony & Irony, are both good, but the angst and rawness that was a huge part of the appeal of their earlier material is gone (and had started to disappear rapidly on Good Mourning). The band has now started their own imprint and signed with legendary punk label Epitaph to release their latest album This Addiction, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything as Epitaph isn't just all about Pennywise, NOFX and Bad Religion anymore and has their fair share of emo bands on their roster with pretty haircuts belting out completely generic material. But like I said, I haven't disliked anything Alkaline Trio has put out, I just happen to like the earlier material better, so this album in my mind is certainly worth getting and while I know it won't be a return to the sound of Maybe I'll Catch Fire or Goddamnit, I'm at least hoping I'll hear strains of Good Mourning or hopefully From Here To Infirmary.

I was never the hugest Sleep fan (didn't love 'em, didn't hate 'em), but have found former singer/guitarist Matt Pike's work in High On Fire to be pretty solid. They aren't the type of band I leave on my iPod so that I can hear them any time I want or have them randomly pop up on shuffle...I have to specifically be in the mood for them, but when I am, their albums rip. They've gotten progressively better with each release and their last one Death Is This Communion was their best so far. Logic would dictate that they will continue to outdo themselves on their latest release Snakes For The Divine and from what I'm told by people who have already heard the album, that is certainly the case.

Mutiny Within is a new Roadrunner Records signing that is more in line with their current radio friendly bands then their classic bands of yesteryear, but they still have a fairly metallic edge (think Slipknot and Stone Sour more than Nickelback as these guys obviously own and enjoy a couple melodic death metal records). I've heard a couple tracks from their self-titled debut and they are intriguing. The singer definitely has a great voice and since it is on Roadrunner, it is worth checking out.

I Want Those 9 Hours Of My Life Back

I've been a loyal viewer of 24 since it first premiered in 2001. The first five seasons were thoroughly enjoyable, but the sixth and seventh ones started to really show the strain of trying to keep a show like this going. The eight season is now airing and last night I found myself more agitated than enthralled and deleted the series from my DVR's recording schedule after watching this year's 9th episode. I've officially quit on 24. Sorry Keifer, but I think you should do the same.

I was already skeptical about this season when I heard it was going to be set in New York City. My first thought was that they were going to do ridiculous things like have Jack Bauer get from one part of town to another in the middle of rush hour in some thoroughly unrealistic amount of time. And sure enough, early in the season Jack made it from midtown Manhattan to Queens in about 5-10 minutes during rush hour by car. Any New York native will tell you that is basically impossible. That being said, shows like this require that you ignore little details like that. The bigger problem with this season is that not only is Jack Bauer not as engaging and charming as he used to be, but the supporting cast is easily forgettable and completely uninteresting. The President and Renee Walker aren't likable at all, Chloe has worn out her welcome, the head of CTU isn't believable at all (and my friend pointed out that it is the same actor that played Forrest Gump's slow army buddy who loved shrimp which makes him an even harder sale as the head of a government agency) and the Russian and Middle Eastern bad guys are completley stereotypical. But the two characters who have really killed this season for me are Freddie Prinze Jr.'s character "Cole" and his fiancee Dana. FPJ is way too dopey looking and sounding to buy as a tough guy CTU agent and it is beyond annoying that YET AGAIN, CTU has had a flaw in their human resources department and hired someone who is not who they say the are in Dana or Jenny or whatever her name is. Her entire storyline is ludicrous. Are we really supposed to believe that an officer would be severely beaten on CTU property and there wouldn't be a serious lockdown and immediate investigation? And she goes missing in the middle of a crisis involving nuclear weapons and her boss never demands to know her whereabouts immediately? I'm sorry, but simply having someone "cover" for you isn't going to cut it in that type of environment.

I could go on longer, but I won't. I simply can no longer partake in the suspension of disbelief that is required by 24. They've asked too much of this viewer and I'm done dammit. DAMMIT! DAMMIT!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Excuse To Eat Popcorn and Junior Mints: Crazy Heart

Yesterday I took advantage of the fact that there is a movie theater across the street from my new apartment and saw the Oscar buzz film Crazy Heart. My girlfriend hated it, but I thought it was amazing (for the record, the only movie we've ever mutually agreed was a total suckfest was the abomination known as Transformers 2 and the only movie we've ever mutually agreed was great was Up, so take her opinion on movies with a grain of salt haha). I'm a big Jeff Bridges fan and this performance is up there with his turn as The Dude in the classic The Big Lebowski.

In this movie, Bridges portrays an alcoholic country singer named Bad Blake who is years past his moment in the spotlight and spends his time out on the road eeking out a living playing gigs at bowling alleys and dive bars and sleeping in rundown motel rooms. A stop in Santa Fe, NM for a two night stand at a local music joint leads to him meeting a young music writer named Jean Craddock played by Maggie Gylenhall and a courtship/romance ensues. His alcoholism is of course a major issue in not only his romantic life, but in his general well being and you see this play out. Colin Farrell (somewhat randomly in my opinion) shows up as Tommy Sweet (my guess is that the character is modeled after country singers like Kenny Chesney, etc.), a former protege of Bad Blake who has gone on to great success as a solo artist, but still trys to help Bad out when he can by offering him gigs and the opportunity for a nice payday if Bad will just write some songs for him. Bad has mixed feelings about his former protege's huge success and pride factors in to his decisions to accept Tommy's offers of help. Throw in a Robert Duvall cameo and you've got a pretty solid cast acting out a great story.

Some parts of the film are predictable, but predictable in this case does not equal unenjoyable. This is a wonderful story told through incredible acting performances (if Bridges doesn't win Best Actor it will truly be a crime) and with a message that all of us can apply to our own lives.

The soundtrack is also fantastic if you have a place in your heart for "true" country and maybe even if you don't (and is currently only $5 on Amazon for the MP3 version). Jeff Bridges and Colin Farrell sing their own songs which is always a nice touch.

I give it two enthusiastic thumbs up and plan on picking this up on DVD to have around to watch many more times.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ear Candy: White Wizzard

If you are a fan of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Dio, Rush, Dokken and other bands of that nature that ruled the 80's, then Los Angeles' White Wizzard is a group you need to check out. These guys have been on my radar for a while since my buddy Buckshot is working with them (Buckshot is also the bassist for a kick ass band of his own called Moth Eater and the author of Mosh Potatoes, a cookbook coming out in October 2010 that will no doubt be the most metal cookbook of all time) and when he first told me about them I incorrectly assumed they were just another faceless, forgettable band in the wave of retro metal bands that seem to be popping up all over the place right now, but these guys actually make it work. There is a fine line between paying homage to your musical idols and completely ripping them off. The former works because the music is fun and exciting and the latter does not because it just comes across as a retread and boring. White Wizzard falls squarely in the 'paying homage' category. The riffs and the vocals are killer and in watching the videos you get the impression that the band is in on the joke and not taking themselves too seriously, but certainly not mocking the music they are paying tribute to or the scene it emerged from. But don't take my word for it (although you should) and check out the videos below for yourself.

"Over The Top" technically won't be released in the U.S. until March 9th, but if you are dying to have it now, then you can get it on iTunes.

Also, Jon Leon (who is listed as bassist and guitarist on the band's Myspace page) is currently the only original member left from White Wizzard's original incarnation as he fired everyone else in the band in 2008 over the ever popular "artistic differences". Those original members went on to form a new band called Holy Grail which plays a similar retro style to White Wizzard. They will be releasing their debut album Crisis In Utopia on Prosthetic Records this year. I've heard a couple songs and I dig them as well.

"Over The Top"

"High Speed GTO"

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tuesday February 9, 2010 New Music

Back in November I wrote about a new Fear Factory song that had been leaked and now the full-length album that song appears on has been released. Early reviews that I've seen say Mechanize doesn't quite measure up to their classic albums Soul Of A New Machine or Demanufacture, but I don't think anyone expected it to. Still, being a fan of the band I am curious to hear what the reunion of vocalist Burton C. Bell and guitarist Dino Cazares along with the powerhouse rhythm section of Byron Stroud and Gene Hoglan sounds like.

Orphaned Land is an Israeli heavy metal band which is certainly not something that is exactly considered common. I have their 2007 release Mabool - The Story Of The Three Sons Of Seven and think it is a fairly interesting album. It isn't something I keep on my iPod or listen to on a regular basis as it falls under my "Opeth Rule" I have to very specifically be in the mood to listen to it. That being said, the album's seamless blend of prog metal, death metal and Middle Eastern influences is nothing short of extremely impressive, so I am curious about the new album The Never Ending Way Of ORwarriOR.

Overkill are one of my favorite bands from the 80's thrash movement and one day I am going to write an in depth blog about why I think they rule so much. Their formula hasn't changed much over the two plus decades they've been at it and I'm sure Ironbound qualifies as a "for fans only" album, but I'm a fan, so there you go. [Side Note: I know I'm getting old when I'm psyched for new albums from bands I've been listening to since 1989.]

Monday, February 8, 2010

Fist Fight In The Parking Lot!

I haven't been a loyal Saturday Night Live viewer since....well, ever really, but in recent years I certainly never go out of my way to watch it. I stayed home this past Saturday night and my girlfriend and I decided to give it a shot. Ashton Kutcher was hosting which was already one strike against this episode in my book, but I didn't mind the prospect of seeing Them Crooked Vultures perform even though I find their album pretty lackluster.

There were a couple funny skits, but the best one by far was towards the end of the episode and featured Dave Grohl of Them Crooked Vultures (and of course Foo Fighters and Nirvana fame) doing a bit of "acting". Anyone who has ever seen the Foo Fighters live know that Dave Grohl's between song banter has some genuinely entertaining stand-up comedy elements to it and there is more than one pretty funny Foo Fighters video out there ("Big Me", "Long Road To Ruin", "Learn To Fly" and "Low" come to mind with the latter two both featuring cameos from comedian Jack Black), so it isn't terribly surprising to see him show up in a SNL skit. The clip is below and absolutely worth the 3 minutes it will take you to watch it. To sum it up briefly, the skit is set at a wedding where the father of the bride asks to bring up his old bandmates to play a song for his daughter and her new husband. The band turns out be a bunch of raucous punk rockers from the early 80's and proceeds to tear the room apart. Grohl plays the drummer, has a few lines and I have no doubt that he actually wrote the song they play. Grohl has made no secret of being a fan of 80's hardcore and metal and the song unabashedly pays tribute to Black Flag, Suicidal Tendencies (the song is mostly a rip off of the ST classic "Institutionalized" to my ears) and early Corrosion Of Conformity (the ficitional band is probably not coincidentally named Crisis Of Conformity).


Heidi Definitely Would Have Boned Him

THIS IS JUST AMAZING! The description from the user who posted it:

"here's the thing. I made this, back in '87, because I was totally in love with this girl Heidi, and I was going to send it too her. after finishing it, I regained my sanity and this went into my "skeleton" closet never to be seen again. Recently(being right before I moved out to LA in November of 06), I started to think, what the hell? It's totally embarrassing but so f'ing what? If you can't laugh at stuff like this then you might as well be dead. dead I say!"

Dave and Dave Reunited

In the "AWESOME" news department, MetalSucks gives word that Dave Ellefson, Jr. has rejoined Megadeth as their bassist (technically I heard via my friend Pat's Facebook update first though). Ellefson was always the mainstay in Dave Mustaine's ever changing Megadeth lineups up until 2002 when he quit the band. The post-Ellefson material has been alright, but it has never felt quite right without him in the band as he played on all of Megadeth's classic albums (of which there are a few). Now I'm even more bummed that the Rust In Peace 20th Anniversary Tour isn't coming near New York City. Seeing Mustaine play Rust In Peace in its entirety with Ellefson on bass would be amazing (not to mention Testament and Exodus are the openers for that tour). I'm hoping their newly rekindled friendship/business relationship holds together through the summer so that I can see Ellefson play with them on the American Carnage Tour with Slayer and Testament.

Ellefson replaces current Megadeth bassist James Lomenzo who was previously in Black Label Society and before that played in White Lion. That would be awesome if this somehow facilitated a reunion of the original White Lion lineup, but that apparently isn't very likely.

"Holy Wars...The Punishment Due"

"In My Darkest Hour"

"Wake Up Dead"

Die Yuppie Scum

Since I've already done two posts about commercials today, I figured why not do a third!

Every year, at least one commercial or advertising campaign comes along that really raises my ire. Last year it was Toyota's maddening "Saved By Zero" campaign (which I believe they are currently receiving a karmic bite in the ass for with their recall woes) and this year it is the Chase Sapphire commercials. Technically this campaign started last year, but I didn't really get fully aggravated by it until this year when the second commercial in the campaign went into heavy rotation. The commercials feature a yuppie (for lack of a better term) couple who are living a more than comfortable lifestyle and discussing or taking part in what appear to be expensive vacations.

The first commercial:

This commercial bugs me because I don't think there are too many husbands/boyfriends out there who would just smile and laugh if their wife/girlfriend went ahead and used accumulated points on a joint credit card to purchase an evening dress instead of seeing if maybe the husband had plans to use the points to go on a nice vacation together. I mean how selfish is she? And lest you think I am being sexist, if the commercial featured the husband buying a set of golf clubs without conferring with his wife first, then I would feel the same way. I found this commercial to be fairly stupid, but then it was followed up with this commercial:

How annoying is the wife? And how stupid is the entire premise of the commercial? Who would actually have that conversation? And who would take their cell phone on a ski lift? And is this really a wise advertising campaign to have in the middle of an economic crisis? Doesn't Chase realize most people are not relating to nor admiring this couple? And most importantly, does anyone believe that you could call ANY credit card company and not have to push 800 BUTTONS to get through to an operator?!?!?!??!?!? Not buying it! This commercial drives me NUTS! The mere site of this couple sends me into a minor rage.

When I become a multi-millionare I will never use a Chase Sapphire credit card and might even use some of my money to buy billboards that mock them for this advertising campaign.

Gladiator In Tights?

During last night's Superbowl, a spot aired for the new Ridley Scott directed Russel Crowe movie "Robin Hood". I wasn't even aware this movie was coming out, but it looks pretty good. Scott and Crowe were previously teamed together to make Gladiator which was an enjoyable action flick and this basically looks like Gladiator set in Sherwood Forest, so I expect it to be enjoyable as well. I also think Cate Blanchett is super attractive, so that's a bonus that she is a co-star in the movie.

Craving Snickers and The Who, But Not Doritos or Bud Light

"Mike, you're playing like Betty White out there!"

"That's not what your girlfriend says."

Last night's Superbowl commercials were disappointing across the board with the exception of the above Snickers commercial which I thought was pretty darn hilarious. You really can't go wrong with Betty White and Abe Vigoda as your celebrity endorsements.

The David Letterman promo really surprised me with the inclusion of Jay Leno. Great PR move on Leno's part, but surprising that Letterman invited him to do it (the spot was Letterman's idea) considering their history and Letterman's recent tirades against Leno. They were discussing it this morning on Howard Stern and apparently Letterman also wanted to include Conan, but the logistics weren't going to work out, so they scrapped that idea.

The rest of the advertisers' commercials were largely forgettable with the exception of Bud Light and Doritos, but that is simply because of the sheer volume of advertising those two products had. Actually, the one Doritos commercial where the guy was hiding in a coffin buried in a pile of Doritos watching TV really stood out to me because it was borderline offensive. I can't imagine that many people were laughing at the thought of a guy who would fake his own death to hide in a coffin eating Doritos and watching TV. If somebody like that really exists, then I hope they never reproduce. Personally, this commercial makes me never want to eat Doritos again.

The Bud Light commercial with T-Pain is one that I have a feeling will wind up being popular even though I found it to be particularly stupid. I will admit that I cannot stand Bud Light, but that doesn't necessarily make me averse to their advertising as they have had some fairly funny commercials in the past. This one is a tremendous failure in the humor department though.

Besides the commercials, the other main (dis)attraction aside from the actual game itself was the halftime show. The Who were the musical guests this year and I really enjoyed their performance. Sure, Roger Daltry and Pete Townsend look like absolute hell and Keith Moon and John Entwistle are arguably irreplaceable, but they came out and played some classics and played them well. Lots of people have been saying they sucked and music industry pundit Bob Lefsetz went so far as to say that they were "Lame. Killed classic rock overnight.", but I completely disagree. I'd rather wheel out some aging rockers who play and sing live than suffer through some mindless, soulless performance by a pop act like The Black Eyed Peas.

And then there was the game itself. Being neither partial to the Colts nor the Saints, I was simply rooting for a good game and felt like we got one. I felt a little sorry for Peyton Manning, but am happy for the city of New Orleans. Combine the first Saints Superbowl victory with the beginning of Mardi Gras next Tuesday and NOLA is going to make Sodom and Gomorrah look like Salt Lake City, UT these next few weeks.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Why I Refuse To See Avatar

It seems the entire world is raving about how great James Cameron's new film Avatar is. When I first saw the previews for it I was quite intrigued and was fairly certain I would commit to seeing it in the theaters; however, now that the film has been released, I have lost all desire to see it. Sure, it is the highest grossing film of all time, Cameron won a Golden Globe Award for Best Director and the majority of people who have seen it seem to love it, but after reading an article on about some people who "have experienced depression and suicidal thoughts after seeing the film because they long to enjoy the beauty of the alien world Pandora", I want nothing doing with this movie.

Why you ask? Am I scared that I too will become so engrossed in the fantasy land of Avatar that I will sink into a depression because I cannot actually live there? No, not quite. Not unlike Belinda Carlisle, I believe that "Heaven Is A Place On Earth" and am fairly content here. To explain what has me so turned off, I am going to make a comparison to my two most hated musical groups of all time: Dave Matthews Band and Phish. It takes about two notes of either one of these band's music before I tense up, start seething with rage and my brain feels like it is about to explode. Whenever someone asks me why I have such adverse reactions to these two bands and how I could possibly hate them so much, I always have the same explanation: I actually believe that they are both comprised of quite talented musicians who I wish no ill will upon, but I simply cannot stand their hardcore fan bases. If in some bizarro universe Phish was adored by nothing but Slayer fans, then I'd probably be alright with them, but the reality is that they have a bunch of goofy hippies as their bread and butter fan base and I cannot get down with that. Dave Matthews has a similar fan base except with better haircuts and a lot more disposable income. A few years ago I met a girl that I dated for about a month. She was attractive, very nice and pleasant enough company, but Dave Matthews was her favorite band of all time and her extreme love of them and my extreme disdain for them wound up being the deal breaker for both of us. And the one ex-girlfriend of mine that I absolutely cannot stand and wouldn't pee on if she was on fire was coincidentally a huge Phish fan. Now I know what you are thinking..."he hates these two bands because of bad memory association with women from his past", but my hatred of these two bands started well before I met either one and stems from the fact that I went to a college where these two bands were quite popular with the relatively non-culturally diversified student body. These folks were content to sit around in khaki pants and A&F hats and smoke pot and listen to Phish bootlegs and talk about how awesome "Dave" is. If the thought of that doesn't make your skin crawl, then you and I have dramatically different musical tastes and life views.

Anyway, the whole point of the above rambling is to make the point that since there seems to be a fan base for Avatar that is so obsessed with the film that at least one has been brought to the point where they "contemplate suicide thinking that if I do it I will be rebirthed in a world similar to Pandora and the everything is the same as in 'Avatar.'", then I want absolutely nothing to do with these people and the object of their adoration. These people are in league (and perhaps beyond) Trekkies and the Stars Wars fans Triumph The Insult Comic Dog pooped on. (And for the record, I love the original Star Wars movies [Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Return Of The Jedi], but I got into those when I was a little kid and had no awareness of the larger fan base that was taking it a little too seriously.)

I realize that not wanting to see a film because a couple of people are geeking out on it and quite obviously taking it too seriously seems a bit irrational, but I fully admit that I often make snap decisions about films, TV shows, music and books based on this type of rationale and am more than comfortable with it.

So, in closing, I would just like to say to anyone who wants to go live on Pandora:

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The New Ratt Song Is Good...No, Seriously It Really Is

A couple weeks ago, my buddy was on Twitter/Facebook saying that the new Ratt album was amazing. I never thought any of Ratt's albums were "amazing", but their greatest hits package is certainly worth owning because they do have some fantastic songs in their catalog.

Roadrunner Records has put up Ratt's new single "Best Of Me" on their website and I have to admit that the song is definitely in line with the Ratt hits of old and is quite frankly downright enjoyable. I'm curious to see if the whole albums winds up being "amazing" like my friend swears it is, but I'm dubious considering my opinion of their previous albums being a couple hits surrounded by filler. Either way, at least we are getting another awesome Ratt song to enjoy (and did you ever think you'd be saying that in the year 2010?).

LOST (In The Garden Of Eden?)

I'm one of those people that loves the show Lost, but I am not one of those people that reads all the blogs out there that really delve deep into the hidden meanings of the show. I do enjoy Jeff Jensen from's weekly column about the show and I'm told Lostpedia is fairly entertaining, but for the most part I simply watch enthusiastically every week and try to keep up with what the hell is going on.

The new season premiered last night and it was a total head scratcher. I'd imagine the Lost blogosphere is losing their collective minds over it and I have to say my head was spinning when hour two of the two hour premiere came to a close.

From what I gathered on my own and from my discussions with fellow fans, there appears to be a tale of two worlds being told. One where the castaways never crash on the island (and the island has apparently sunk to the bottom of the ocean), but are still being brought together by random circumstances and one where they are still on the island and very much in danger because Jacob, the all-powerful leader of the island and source or controller of its magical powers, has been defeated by his arch rival who has possessed John Locke's body and is also the smoke monster. Phew. Got all that? Me neither. The good news is that Jeff Jensen had the following to say in his EW article:

The good news I have for you today is that Lost exec producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have valuable intel to share with you to help your reading of the show. You can check out our Q&A with them if you haven't already. But the main ideas are these: (1) You are not as confused as you think. The questions you are asking are questions you should be asking. (2) You will get answers to these questions — but patience will be required. (3) The temptation will be to dismiss the sideways story as ''What if...?'' trivia, but we should trust that we're being shown this story for a reason, and so we should take the leap of investing in its reality.

"sideways story"...I like that and it makes it sound more interesting than simple alternate reality. I am very curious to find out who these new characters are that are running the temple. My first guess as to their activities upon capturing the castaways is that they were trying to prepare Sayid's body to be a new vessel for Jacob and it appeared at the end of the show that the mission was accomplished. But this is Lost, so it could simply be that Sayid took a little longer to wake up than expected. Who the heck knows, but maybe we'll find out if/when they reveal the content of the letter they found in the wooden cross. I am curious to find out what the temple guys wanted to talk to Jack in private about so urgently, but my first guess is that it has something to do with his father's ghost that keeps popping up all over the island. And where was Locke/Smoke Monster taking Richard? And what the heck is Richard's deal anyway?

So many questions, but the good news is that they will supposedly all be answered by the end of this season as it is the show's final one. I for one cannot wait for next week to see what answers and new questions we are given.

Rockin' Out: The Great Misdirect Tour @ Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza 01/30/10

The Great Misdirect Tour featuring headliners Between The Buried And Me with openers Cynic, The Devin Townsend Project and Scale The Summit rolled into NYC this past Saturday. Being a fan of all four bands, I was very excited for this show and my expectations were high. Unfortunately, my expectations weren't quite met. [And my expectations that I would have good pictures to post since I remembered to bring my digital camera with me and wouldn't have to rely on my Blackberry camera weren't quite met either. Perhaps I'll have better luck next time.]

First up was Scale The Summit. I would have caught their whole set had I not spent the first 15 minutes of it in the coat check line. Seriously? Have you ever heard of a coat check line being that long? And to add to the aggravation of waiting in a long line, I had the most annoying kid in the world standing in line behind me. He didn't speak so much as he yelled and everything out of his mouth was nonsense. He had a theory that all good merch was sold out before the first band went on which anyone who has been to a show before would tell you couldn't be further from the truth. But his major offense besides simply being loud and stupid was that fact that this WHITE KID dropped the n-word about 10 times like he was Jay-Z. There is nothing more offensive than a white person using that word and even if he didn't mean it maliciously, he was still WAY OUT OF LINE. The icing on the cake was that his midget girlfriend kept jabbing me in the lower back with her ridiculously over-sized bag. I hope they all got punched in the head in the most pit. Anyway, after grabbing a much needed alcoholic beverage, I caught the last bit of Scale The Summit's set and thoroughly enjoyed it. These guys are young and have some serious chops and, along with fellow instrumentalists and label mates Animals As Leaders, look like they have a bright future ahead.

Next up was the act I was most excited for: The Devin Townsend Project. And judging by the crowd reaction, I wasn't the only one feeling that way. Devin started the show telling a story about the, uh, bowel movement he took earlier in the day. Truth or fiction? I do not know, but the crowd was laughing and cheering regardless. Devin pulled his set list from his catalog of "solo" (The Devin Townsend Project, Devin Townsend Band, Devin Townsend) albums, but sadly only had 30 minutes to work with. I think the crowd would have gladly accepted another hour of material from Mr. Townsend, but enthusiastically soaked up the 30 minutes they were given. It was an incredible performance, but unfortunately for the two acts that had to follow him, perhaps it was too incredible.

Cynic followed The Devin Townsend Project and this is, in my opinion, the fatal flaw of this tour. Cynic has two albums out. One released in 1993 and one released in 2008. They are both good and I was looking forward to seeing them live for the first time. I don't know if they were having an off night or what, but their set was beyond BORING. I mean it was an utter and complete snoozefest. I think the major problem was that Devin Townsend was so high energy that Cynic seemed like Dave Matthews coming on after Metallica. I don't know how it was determined that Cynic be direct support, but they most definitely should not be. Devin would make so much more sense in that slot and the show would flow much better. I have to admit that this really soured me on Cynic and I will never go out of my way to see them live in the future.

By the time Between The Buried And Me hit the stage, my energy had been completely deflated by Cynic and all I could think about was where we were all going to hang out after the show. I love BTBAM. I own all their albums and have seen them live before and thought they ruled, but tonight I was just not feeling it. And again, I completely blame the choice of Cynic as direct support for this. They really destroyed the vibe for me. That being said, I won't hold it against BTBAM and most definitely would go see them again.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tuesday February 2, 2010 New Music

Only one release coming out today that is on my radar and that is the self-titled debut from Charred Walls Of The Damned. This is a solo project of sorts for metal drummer extraordinaire, stand-up comic and (what he is probably most well known for) Howard Stern sidekick Richard Christy. He, of course, plays drums (and wrote the majority of the music) and recruited Tim "Ripper" Owens (Judas Priest, Iced Earth) to provide vocals, Steve DiGiorgio (Death, Testament, Sadus) to play bass and Jason Suecof (a producer who has worked with Trivium, All That Remains, Chimaira and God Forbid to name a few) to play guitar.

I've heard a few songs and it sounds not unlike what one would expect a record that guys with the collective musical resumes they have would make. For those who don't know what that sound is....think aggressive, thrashy, non-theatrical power metal with soaring vocals and superb drumming and bass playing (I'm not familiar enough with Suecof's guitar playing to qualify it as superb, but the guy is in incredible company in this band, so it is probably safe to assume that he can hold his own).

I had the pleasure of meeting Richard Christy this past Friday evening and I must say that he is one of the nicest "celebrities" I've ever met. My girlfriend and I must have taken 800 pictures with him (actually it was only 4) as we are both huge Howard Stern fans and he was completely gracious and polite to us and he also, like everyone else, thought my Iron Maiden scarf was awesome. He is certainly a good ambassador for not only himself, but also The Howard Stern Show.

I am definitely going to purchase the album because even if I wind up hating it, I won't care because I don't mind supporting Richard who I think is a super nice guy, an incredible drummer and a great comedian (let's face it...his prank calls on Howard Stern are one of the highlights of that show).

Monday, February 1, 2010

Faith. No. More.

Today has been a great day for me as I've gotten good news about more than one of my favorite bands. First, the Drive-By Truckers released a brand new track on their website and now Faith No More has announced their first non-festival US show since reforming last year. They'll be playing a warm-up show on April 14th at The Warfield in San Francisco before their appearance at Coachella a few days later. A full US tour is supposedly in the works, but if I can manage to be one of the lucky few to get through on Ticketbastard and score a ticket for this show, then I am just going to have to book a flight to San Francisco. It would be a great excuse to visit the most amazing record store in the world, Amoeba Music, and gorge on the amazing Mexican food that Northern California has to offer. Maybe I'll even take the Kitchen Sink Challenge at the San Francisco Creamery Co.

"Midlife Crisis"



"Last Cup Of Sorrow"

New DBT Music

One of my favorite bands, the Drive-By Truckers (who I've written about before) released a new song entitled "Birthday Boy" for download on their website today. This is the second song they've released from the forthcoming new album The Big To-Do (you can get the first one, "This Fucking Job", here) and based on these two tracks I'm beginning to get a gut feeling that it will be their best effort since their 2004 masterpiece The Dirty South. The albums released in between, A Blessing And A Curse and Brighter Than Creation's Dark, are both excellent in their own right, but the former sounded like a band divided (and Jason Isbell's departure after that album lends a fair amount of cred to that observation) and the latter sounded like a band trying to find their way again. These two new songs sound like the work of the well-oiled rock n roll machine the band was on earlier releases.

I guess I'll have to wait until March 16th to find out if my hunch about exactly how good the album will be is, but I know no matter what I won't be disappointed.