Since everyone else does these bloody things, I thought I’d toss my own list out there. This is the first part of what will undoubtedly be one of the most epic posts in the history of the internet. In 2123 the great-great-grand-second-nephew of Rick Riley will proclaim this series of posts the Magna Carta of interweb posting on a retrospective documentary detailing early 21st century lifestyles. Then he will turn on his jetpack and fly to Neptune to take out a hostile band of aliens from the galaxy Nefaria. A note of disclaimer: the following list is in no particular order, and consists solely of events, items and curious incidentals which at one point or another have caused me to shimmy my buttocks in a happy dance while wearing nothing but socks and boxers. Without further ado:
Fallout 3: “War. War never changes.” Ron Perlman’s narration begins an epic game which finds the player leaving the safe confines of the vault for the Wasteland-a post-apocalyptic Washington DC overrun with Super Mutants, Raiders, feral ghouls and all sorts of other beasties. Development Studio Bethesda gives the player complete freedom over the game, allowing one to tackle the main quest or dozens of side quests at their own pace. If you’re familiar with the studio’s previous effort, the mammoth RPG Oblivion, you’ll appreciate the improvements in combat (with the target VATS system, which works kind of like a digital 20 sided die), graphics, sound and overall playability. You can spend nearly a hundred hours playing without touching the main objectives at all. After beating the game as a “good” character, I decided to begin from scratch and play as a real bastard. Few moments in gaming history have given me as much joy as pressing a detonator which set off a nuclear warhead that obliterates one of the few remaining functional settlements of the game. There are few moral quandaries more satisfying as deciding whether or not to pay a Scavenger for needed ammo, or just taking out the Ripper and gutting him from head to toe, then pickpocketing the corpse for what you need. Taking audio cues from Bioshock, Fallout integrates a pair of radio stations, one carrying patriotic messages and music from President Malcom McDowell, the other playing old-timey crooners, which adds to the creeptastic atmosphere. There’s few things moe disturbing than getting bashed around the head and neck by a giant mutant while ella fitzgerald quietly sobs for lost love in the headset. Even better, the studio has announced downloadable add-ons for XBOX360 owners that should be available by springtime, which will add dozens more hours of mutant blasting.
1. Doris Kearnes Goodwin’s “Team of Rivals”: Granted this came out in ’05 to much ballyhoo and acclaim, and earned Goodwin the Pulitzer Prize, but its cache rocketed once the title became permanently affixed to the Obama transition team’s strategy of putting together a cabinet consisting of people that would have gladly nudged him in front of fast moving oncoming traffic mere months ago. The narrative details Lincoln’s gift for grassroots politics, his ability to forgive grudges against rivals and keen insights on reading public sentiment as the tools which first, won him the 1860 nomination against candidates thought better suited to the job, and as the country ripped itself apart in the Civil War, Lincoln harnessed these gifts as a means to keep an administration (largely) loyal to his desired course of action. For those that are historically challenged, please allow me to spoil the end for you: the north wins and lincoln gets shot to death.
I Love You Beth Cooper (Larry Doyle)-Jesus I hope this guy publishes more stuff. I haven’t laughed so hard reading since Youth In Revolt. Here’s a quick summation: A nerdy high school valedictorian that no one has ever seemed to notice to use his graduation speech to say “fuck it” and a)Tell anyone and everyone who has ever crossed his path what he really thinks of them, tearing folks a new bunghole along the way and b) telling the lady of his dreams (3 guesses as to her name) that he fancies her. After this, hilarious hi-jinx ensue. Think of this movie as if Say Anything was put into novel form, except Diane Court was a chain-smoking alcoholic nympho with a nice career as late-night Denny’s waitress waiting for her instead of a scholarship to England. Also, expect slightly less kickboxing and Clash on the sound track, but a hair more lesbian experimentation. Apparently, the movie version comes out summer ’09 and stars the cheerleader from Heroes, which means it will probably be billed as “Superbad meets Say Anything” except it won’t really be anything like that and I’ll just be bitter that’s someone got paid to steal my byline.
2. Rhapsody music service: If you love music, then Rhapsody is like crack cocaine, if all the crack cocaine you wanted to consume cost you $15 a month and didn’t lead to cold sweats, paranoia, convulsions, manic fist fights with biker gangs, stealing money from your kids’ piggy bank, scabbies, and eventual death from one’s heart bursting inside the chest. With over six million songs in the data base, a simple user interface, easy to create playlists and a better internet radio service than Pandora, Rhapsody is the best way to listen to music online. Not only was I able to find anything and everything from mainstream artists like Springsteen, U2, REM and others, I’m constantly amazed my the staple of independent artists i find on their site. A quick check of my artists page finds diverse acts like the New Dumb, the Mishaps, Atom and His Package, Lifetime and more right at my fingertips. I can’t recommend this site strongly enough.
DarkHorizons.com: as a movie nerd, this is my one stop shop place to grab all the latest headlines. Whether it’s all the latest bits of trade gossip, updates on the status of upcoming films or behind the scene interviews with the cast and creators, Dark Horizon has it all. On top of that, there’s a massive directory of movie trailers, most available in high def. It’s the perfect way to treat a Sunday morning hangover. Finally, the site excludes a “talk back”forum, so you don’t have to have your manhood challenged, nor the integrity of one’s mother’s virtue called into doubt simply because you didn’t feel like a season 3 episode of Heroes is the television equivalent of filling a potato sack with cherubic little infants, then smashing said bag repeatedly over a rock.
Okay that’s it for part one. Part two is a mere twenty four hours away. Digg it people.
Do yourself a big favor: Set aside a couple hours and start rummaging through www.ifyoumakeit.com This is a fantabulous music site with an easy to peruse layout, tons of show videos, short films and a home made live movie series. Plus it’s the only site I’ve ever come across that’s spot-checked Canada’s answer to Jawbreaker, M Blanket. Pardon the tangent for a second, but the M Blanket seven inch containing “Even the Score/Processing Yer” could be the best two songs ever committed to A-side wax. Okay, back to this site: Start with a slew of demos posted from bands like Get Bent (still the best thing I’ve heard all year), Sex and Hosses, Iron Chic and more. On top of that there are individual MP3’s posted.
There’s also short videos posted from a ton of live shows and short films. Haven’t waded much through them yet, except for the Ergs! Down in the Dumps and Lemuria so far. There’s well over 100 videos posted, and the few I’ve seen have very good audio and video.
The real gem of the site is the “Pink Couch” series where touring bands break out the instruments and bust out some music while seated on an overstuffed pink couch. Again, picture and sound quality is top notch. The best part of each video is the facial expressions of each musician suggesting that while they’re having a great time, they’re feeling awkward about being smooshed in on a couch. Perhaps there’s something sharp sticking out of the cushions, and it’s perilously close to the butt. Who knows? Videos are posted my Lemuria, Bomb the Music Industry, Defiance, Ohio, Bridge and Tunnel and others.
Overall, it’s a fantastic site to check out new music or hear your favorite bands in a completely different way. Definitely bookmark this site and kick it a few bucks via paypal.
The last day of the Gainesville fest was a lot more laid back and subdued, at least for me (no booze). My feet and knees were killing, and there’s only so many smell fat dudes with beards you can be around (feel free to insert a picture of a bot and a kettle here). After catching a fun and bouncy set from Armalite (Atom from..”and his Package, the omnipresent Dan Yemin and the Mike McKeen of amateur Party who suffers from a hysterical inferiority complex) I went with Joan to the 2nd St Bakery for some acoustic sets. This was the only club not near any of the others and was the encampment of the crusty kids. There’s nothing like a jackass in an ongoing war with hygene that let’s his dog run around with traffic to piss you off. Please some one tell these jackasses that pets aren;t an accessory to a lifestyle.
Mike Hale sang and played guitar for one of my all-time favorite No Idea bands (Gunmoll) and his current outfit (In the Red) sounds just like them. I was bummed I missed the ITR show during day one of the fest, but did manage to catch his solo act. It wasn’t bad, and “Leatherface Fan” is a near perfect tune, but I wish I could’ve caught a plugged in, full-on band set from this dude, rather than the laid back, everybody sitting down stripped bare acoustic set. Also, there was a terrifying woman who kept scream “I love you” over and over while alternately playing air drums and conducting a symphony with her hands. If you ever read that pieces of Mike Hale were found in the back of an ’89 Le Baron, you have your top suspect. Lost Hands/Found Fingers straddled the line between post hardcore crunchy guitar driven beard rock and doomish metal riffs. Very enjoyable.
My friends and I watched The Draft and Less Than Jake from the bar and couch area. As much as I loved HWM, I’m not sold on the follow up band at all. They sound too much like a band whose sole songwriting purpose is to come up with the theme music for a breakout teen show on the CW. Awesome musicians, but no spark. LTJ played a fun set for kids that absolutely flipped out for them. Not really my thing, but there’s way worse bands to kill an hour watching. To be honest, most of our section was watching the Patriot annihilate the Redskins 52-7, and we were high fiving each other like the Yah Dudes we deep down really are.
Small Brown Bike was the highlight of the fest for me. Getting back together for a short time in order to help a leukemia-stricken childhood friend pay for medical bills, the foursome from Michigan didn’t show any rust. From the moment my friend Joan emailed me to let me know the Bike was playing fest I had a ticket booked. Crushed up to the front of the stage, I spent the better part of an hour yelling myself hoarse to every song. Playing in near cronilogical order, SBB kicked it off with “The Cannons and Tanks” and continued on with “Curiousity Killed the Cat and I’m the Killed” “Zerosum”, “See You In Hell” among others. So many of their songs are about the tight knot bonds of family and long time friendships and what happens when those bonds are threatened or severed. They’ve always played with a sense of urgency and passion, with sweat andstrained vocals. Bassist Ben Reed paced the stage in frentic circles, head bowed, muscles tensed whenever there was a break in his parts, and it was palpable how much he wanted to just get to the next part. Guitarist Travis, a mountain of a man, eschewed the microphone for most of his backup vocals, choosing to lean over the edge of the stage and glare out at the audience as he screamed his head off, daring the crowd to exceed his volume. Every SBB release had a killer closing cut, and for the sets end, the boys played three closing numbers: “Bury You In Me”, with its amazing duel guitar intro and monster riff changes, “Table Four Four” with ultra passionate backup vocals and churning ending, and finally, their signature song, “Make This A Holiday” A perfect end to a fucking great weekend.
Travis from Small Brown Bike
the review should be up in another 48 hours, along with some individual shots, but if you want to check out a 125 or so photos from the past weekends’ Fest 6 in Gainesville, Fla, head over to my Flicker account.
The latest podcast is up and running and you can get it by going to itunes and searching the above term or if you want a handy dandy even easier solution, you can click the banner to your right and you’re one click away from subscribing.
Due to the advanced technical nature of today’s modern recording equipment and the vagaries of technology, the expected Serious Geniuses interview will not be appearing this week. Apparently it’s really important to hit save before closing your notebook up. We’ll sit down with these boys again at a later date.
In it’s place we have a fairly awesome show dedicated to bringing you some of the best local bands in the area right now, as well as Baltimore’s fantastic Dead Mechanical. Remember that show I told you people you ought to check out, all the way back one entry ago. Yeah, it was pretty amazing. It was definitely one of those rare nights when any one of the four bands could have headlined. Besides Dead Mechanical we’re bringing you music from showmates The Perennials, along with tunes from Yoni Gordon and the Goods, The Steamy Bohemians, The Cold Beat, The Closet Fairies and the Young Leaves.
Barring calamity our next episode will be up in a week and will feature music and an interview with the reunited Scarce.
This is pretty sweet. I loved seeing shows in that basement. The kids that ran the house were always a great bunch, it was pretty roomy for a basement in Brighton, and at least for the shows I went to, the kids that attended shows were a pretty awesome bunch. My old band played their a few times, and it was always amongst the most fun basements to play out in. There were basement venues that came after the HOSS, but none of them can hold a candle to the sheer quality of bands or quantity of shows these guys put on for a brief stretch of time. It got to the point where they must have put on more shows that TT’s or the Axis. Even if you had no idea what was going on that night, chances are you could wander into the HOSS at 10pm and catch a few great bands, and even on the rare night where there wasn’t a show, you were more than welcome to drink beer and play Kid Icarus on the sofa. Unfortunately this place got a little too popular towards the end of its existence, and became a magnet for cops before finally getting closed down and condemned by the landlord.
Hopefully this dude will post more shows over time. This is a pretty sweet documentation of an awesome and exciting time in Boston’s independent music history.
Last night I may have casually insinuated that Fox/Myspace head honcho Rupert Murdoch likes to wear devil horns, eat live kittens and steal candy from children in my blog. I thought it was a pretty damn good post overall, and thought I’d send a myspace bulletin out to friends letting them know they’d like to check it out. And wouldn’t you know it, but i couldn’t seem to log in to my account. figuring it was late and that the Internet would be there in the morning, I stumbled bleary eyed into bed. After getting ready for work, I tried again to no avail.
Well Tom, here’s a word to the wise: I know you’re doing Murdoch’s dirty work and keeping me off the site you smug little pigfucker. You’ll get your comeuppance you digital-aged Goebbels. You’ve made a powerful enemy today indeed.
In a little under a week, the new television season is going to begin. DVR or no DVR I know my wife and I are going to be curled up on the couch for the season debut of Heroes, last season’s only new “Holy crap did you see that?” or “Dude if you spoil the episode for me I will punch you so hard in the balls your testes will pop out of your nostrils” landmark show. I’m up on the air about three or four other shows, and with the demise of the critically lauded/viewer challenged “Veronica Mars” there’s not too much on the networks that I’m too excited for.
What does have my interest piqued is the recent announcement that Ruport Murdoch is hiring top creative talent to expand MyspaceTV’s offerings. Murdoch has recently inked a deal with Marshall Herkovitz and Edward Zwick, creators of “thirtysomething and My So Called Life for an elven 8-minute myspaceTV exclusive episodes of “Quarterlife” beginning November 11. If the show is a success, the creators plan on then moving future episodes to their own site.
And yes I before you fill my mail box with hate and vitriol I am fully aware that Murdoch and Dick Cheney play “Rock, Paper, Scissors” every Monday morning to see who gets to glue on devil horns for the week and steal candy from little kids while letting it slip that neither Santa nor the Tooth Fairy are real. For the record, Dick always chooses Rock, though Murdoch has been slow to catch on. For the sake of argument let’s put the fact that he slathers abandoned kittens in butter and eats them whole aside for a while. Let’s think about the exciting possibilities this could open up for creator-driven “television” content.
We all have that show we feel got “screwed”. Every season passionate fans and critics rally around a program they feel isn’t getting a fair push from the network, taking extreme measures to keep the show on the air. Last season, desperate fans, sensing their beloved Veronica Mars was on the chopping block, sent CW Network head honchos so many Mars Bars that the country ran out. Sadly, especially for those that may or may not be tempted to push a small dimwitted child in front of a moving vehicle on the lovely Kristen Bell’s say-so, the gambit failed. Jericho fans were more successful in pelting CBS bureaucrats with nuts, and the show was renewed after the CSI: Des Moines pilot didn’t test quite as well as originally hoped, leaving critics, television viewers and Skeet Ulrich’s mom left to rub their chins and say, “Wait, Skeet Ulrich still has a job? In television? Really?” Fans of the brilliant Joss Whedon “Cowboys in Space” Firefly bought so many DVD’s and raised such a ruckus that Universal gave Joss a pile of many and told him to make a movie. Unfortunately, those same fans, who labelled themselves “Browncoats”, badgered so many people to see the (pretty brilliant) film Serenity that the general population, and even worse, sci-fi nuts who eat this stuff up skipped it out of spite, and back into obscurity and DVD bargain bins it went.
TV’s driven by that magic “18 to 49” demographic. If the numbers fit, you can show an hours worth of pedophiles looking uncomfortable in front of the camera. Seriously, Deal or No Deal is a huge hit! Execs don’t care about things like characters, story, human emotion or plot unless it brings in the bucks. So even a show with a moderate following of five to six million can find itself gone before it even has the chance to find its legs and building an audience. The days of letting a show develop are sadly long gone.
But what if the moderately sized fan based pooled their money together and said, “Make us our show”? The “Quarterlife” deal is about $400K per episode, and unless my math is way off, a ten episode season at forty minutes an episode would translate into two million each episode. Granted, that’s one person with an assload of money paying for it. But how hard would it be to take this concept to the masses? If Rob Thomas posted on his site that he’d create ten episodes web episodes of Veronica Mars to wrap up any lingering story lines if two million people sent in $25 via paypal do you think people would jump on it? How much could Joss Whedon charge for more Firefly or Angel(personally I believe half of Bones audience just pretends that David Boreanez is shooting an Angel, that has covered himself in sunscreen so as to not burst into flames when walking around in daylight. It worked in Blade)? Oh, and keep in mind that this would free creators up to make a show free from all studio interference, letting their vision stay true to their own designs. Plus there wouldn’t be the hassle of extended breaks come December and early spring, which ends up costing some shows a huge chunk of their original audience when they can’t remember when its back on, there’s be no preempting for sporting events and few to no commercials. Do you think that product placement might work with this model once you sort through the demographics of who is sending the donations? If the creator can’t raise the needed funds in a certain amount of time, then the money would either be refunded back or donated to a previously agreed upon charity. Think the Jimmy Fund would except a few hundred grand or that most people would bitch about seeing their money go towards that?
This would be awesome for creators that have smaller, more personally involved projects that might not be right for the big screen but wouldn’t sustain itself for multiple seasons and story arcs. At this point creators are a brand name. When people tune into a Sorkin show, they know they’re getting a talkfest where every character is essentially a mouthpiece for the creator. Fans would follow Joss Whedon over a cliff. This past summer, every movie site talked about the “Judd Apatow Comedy Machine” after he continued his string of low-budget, huge box office hits with the awesome Knocked Up and Superbad. This could work!
Don’t like to gather around the LCD screen to watch your favorite shows? Fine. There’s only a million devices like Apple TV, media centers and the Xbox 360 that will stream DVD or even HDTV quality to your living room television. Ironically enough, Murdoch’s gamble with “Quarterlife” could provide a nail in the coffin of a television medium that is constantly bombarding us with crap, and could spark a whole new revolution in how we get our entertainment media.
Ah, this is a breath of fresh air. Hailing from Providence Rhode Island, Reports is the brainchild of Martin Pavlinic and whoever else he can get to join him for a recording session or the rare live show. The debut album, “Mosquito Nets”, is the result of (mostly) one fervent day of recording and six months leisurely tinkering and twiddling about with the tapes. The result is echo-drenched and fuzzed out trip down 90’s style indie rock memory lane.
At its best, there’s a casual, “huh, I wasn’t expecting that to happen” spontaneous to the feeling, as if the band just started jamming and all found the same grove then ran with it, rather than over thinking or over engineering the whole process. There’s an offhandedness to the whole affair, like they’d told themselves if it’s broken in the studio, we’ll patch it upon the mixing board so let’s not sweat it too much. It’s a spark that’s sadly missing from too much of today’s music.
At its quietest the pop moments are reminiscent of Providence’s early 90’s Small Factory, and its most raging blasts off like early Dinosaur Jr, harkening back to a time where fuzzed out and improvisational lead guitar didn’t have to stand mutually apart from indie. The bulk of the work manages to fuse the best fuzzed out garage aesthetic from the sixties side by side with Wedding Present meets Ben Lee vocal delivery. “Quarters” begins with over-amplified, nearly clipping bassline that seems to take inspiration from Queen’s Flash Gordon with a dash of the theme from the Monkees tossed in for good measure before the trebly, near staccato guitar lines jump in to give the bounce some direction. “Radio” starts with a simple drumbeat you’ve heard a million times before, until the distortion’s turned up on the cymbals, giving it a slightly out of the loop AM radio feel to it. Both tracks are, if not a call to arms, then a friendly cajoling to put down the backpack, uncross your arms and get on the dance floor to shake it for a few.
The only tune that doesn’t work for me here is the ponderous “Outside“. With its minimalist instrumentation and far off in the background vocals, it comes off too much like the “Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory” Guided By Voices and try as I might, I can never get too into that style.
Reports “Mosquito Nets” can be in your grubby mitts one of two ways. You can download the album as a zip file at inman street records for a recommended $5 donation or you can purchase one of 250 hand-screened lps from the band directly at papercities.
A band name like “Witches With dicks” is sure to conjure up some pretty specific stereotypes before a first listen. Namely, the band will consist of pre-op transsexual wiccans with a fetish for twelve sided die and king richard’s faire. And while that may indeed be true of these guys in their private lives, they bring a decidedly aesthetic flair to their music.
witches with dicks play fast, catchy, hook-laden punk rock, with trade off lead vocals and anthem driven choruses much in the vein of dillinger four. This four piece harken back to the days of all ages Saturday Matinees at the rat, when kids would sweat up a storm franticly pogoing of each other, start up circle pits while all the while screaming themselves hoarse singing along to the choruses. clocking in at just over a minute long the opening number “how to cook forty humans” wastes no time in stating who they’re playing for when over breakneck drumming and ringing guitars they ask “are you one of those kids who fucked up all the time are you one of those who fucked up thinking everyone’s against them?” before proudly aligning themselves with the misanthropic youth of the world proclaiming “we are those kids that fucked up”.
I damn sure wish there were more bands like witches with dicks playing this brand of high energy pop-punk in boston. Although you get goofball song titles like “one whopper for the copper”, “your job does not rock balls” and “skate or die two is going to be awesome when it comes out” making you thinking you’re going to get joke-punk in the vein of boris the sprinkler the actual tunes are as straight forward as can be. witches plows through subject matter about the alienation every kid feels when he feels painfully apart from the world going on around him and the mind crushing drudgery of punching a clock for a job and boss you despise. that they’re able to do this while building their songs around whopping guitar hooks reminiscent of the broadways and and buzz-word choruses you can’t help but shouting along to. when you’re singing along to these songs, fists raised in the air, feet off the ground, and you look around seeing a room full of misanthropes and screw-ups and castoffs doing the same, you can’t help but think you’re not so alone in this world after all. this music is all heart. with his gruff vocal delivery, jeff poot comes across like the kid brother of crimpshine/fifteen’s jeff ott. with this debut full length, witches with dicks have come up with a collection of songs that some fifteen year old kid is going to come across and react to just like these guys probably did the first time they heard crimpshine or the descendents and bands of that ilk.
aside from the opening other highlights include The Catchy as all hell “die painfully” which adds a fun keyboard line reminiscent of screeching weasel’s stuff on “bark like a dog” which kicks in with the rest of the band after the chuggy guitar and vocal opening. as long as these guys don’t pull a bad religion and release a follow up album of synth pop i think they’re gonna be all right.