The Drums - Self-titled (Moshi Moshi/Island)
The Drums veer between early 80s postpunk/New Wave and early-2000s hipster imitation. Specific comparisons from the more recent camp: Bloc Party; Phoenix; Peter, Bjorn and John. Some songs are kinda catchy, but they don't inspire repeated listens as the aforementioned bands did. Halfway decent, but only halfway.
Heaven Shall Burn - Invictus (Century Media)
The latest from these German metal warriors has an excellent production sound, with particularly brutal vocals. Unfortunately, their continual reliance on mid-paced riffing makes the songs blend together after a while. One song on a mix will sound great, but the album as a whole will tax attention spans.
photo by Amanda Gold
Monster Violence - Parasites (myspace.com/monsterviolence)
Local kids mix Genghis Tron's synth-grind style with Job For A Cowboy's death-metalcore. The clean vocals cry out for pitch-correction, and the growly vocals are also pretty obnoxious, but the music has some merit. They haven't transcended mediocrity yet, but the potential to do so is there.
Because of privacy reasons information in regards to location and date have been omitted.
First off, let me start by saying that while I honestly enjoyed Jonah Hex, the film itself is a mess. I went in thinking that at best I was going to see a good bad movie because the previews led me to believe there was no way this would be a truly good film. Boy, was I right. While the film is enlivened by a terrific score and features several fine performances, this is clearly a picture with a troubled history. Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor wrote the film and were set to direct, but creative differences led to their departure from the project, and Jimmy Hayward wound up in the director’s seat. All I can say is that whatever happened during the making of this picture, there was clearly a lot of confusion, and the film plays like something hastily assembled.
Jonah Hex (Josh Brolin) is a Civil War soldier who turns his back on the war only to have his sadistic commander murder his family right before his eyes and scar him for life with a brand. The character survives, removing the brand with a hatchet and making the scar on his face infinitely worse. This scar represents one of the films biggest problems, as I don’t know how many audiences will enjoy looking at the title character for the film’s scant 81 minute running time. Additionally, the scar is very over-the-top and doesn’t look incredibly realistic. Most problematic is the strand of flesh that stretches from the character’s upper lip to his bottom lip. It looks about as ridiculous as it sounds, and initially it is very hard for us to see the character as anything but a farce because of the make-up. I will give credit here to Josh Brolin, who is absolutely terrific in a part he invests such sincerity in that at times he is almost able to make us forget about the garish design of the character. His brooding presence was probably the film’s strongest asset.
I think we would all be surprised by how few of the most obvious ideas actually come to fruition. For a second, imagine an all-acoustic music festival that takes place on Belle Isle. A venue that has usually been associated with Slaughterama could act as a new ground zero. With the Summer Solstice Island Power Jam, it asks questions about our preconceived notions regarding shows and their venues. It also can make one dream of the endless possibilities and ideas that could flourish in order to bring like-minded music fans together. On this June 19th, hopefully friends and strangers alike will find reason to rejoice the summer weather and acoustic jams.
I was lucky enough to talk with Organizer and Color Kitten Robert Barrow about the forthcoming event. We cover the early ideas that lead to its inception as well as why can’t we all create our own music scenes as opposed to adhering to what already exists.
Displaying art whose origin is within a notebook seems almost contradictory; if the intent was display, wouldn't the work have been produced on canvas, large paper, or any medium that isn't designed to be closed and sealed? Perhaps that's the appeal of these works; I feel as if I'm privy to something that might not have been meant to be seen by the masses. These images work with a medium easily, both conforming and breaking standards. Also, Moleskine journals are fantastic, I have several. Found on Glibert Musings.
ADA Gallery is having a garage sale (read: cheap) through the end of June.
Coming up at The National, The Smashing Pumpkins are still at it. The song is about Indie Rock and Corgan's perception thereof; it's a personal irony, because it's probably the last song / album they released as an indie band, seeing as how the song was nominated for a Grammy and skyrocketed the Pumpkins to their current, and apparently lasting fame.
Despite the near perfect record of Pixar Animation Studios, it was difficult not to have doubts about Toy Story 3. It is not just because it is the third part in a series, or that there was a staggering eleven year gap between parts 2 and 3. The main reason for doubts stem from the fact that Pixar was not originally keen to make this movie. As the story goes, when Pixar and Disney began having creative differences in 2004, it seemed the two companies were going to part ways. Fortunately for Disney, they own the rights to all the previous Pixar films and characters. They began work on a direct to DVD Toy Story sequel. However, when Disney and Pixar mended their relationship, Pixar agreed to make a full fledged Toy Story sequel on the condition that Disney scrap their cheap and dirty production. As difficult as it is to believe, the final product of all that drama is an absolutely outstanding follow up that recaptures all the heart and charm of the first two films in the series.
In this day and age, seeing comic book characters come to life in movies or television shows has become rather old hat. It’s probably difficult for the youth of today to understand that for those of us who once wore the Generation X label it was rare to see one of our heroes from the funny books taking part in a film or a television broadcast aside from the cartoons we so treasured. Yes, there were reruns of Adam West’s Batman, an absurd chapter in that character’s legacy that I still treasure, and sometimes Spider-Man made a guest appearance on The Electric Company, but what else was there? I would like to forget Reb Brown’s Captain America, but that lame take on the character seemed like a masterpiece in comparison to Nicholas Hammond’s Spider-Man. Both of those efforts aired sporadically, so sporadically in fact that many of my peers thought I was lying about the existence of both ill-advised ventures. For the purpose of this argument I’m giving Wonder Woman a pass because Lynda Carter was nice to look at no matter how bad that show was, and I don’t know if you could make a good program with invisible planes and lassos of truth with modern effects. For the most part, in the late 70s and early 80s the industry simply wasn’t prepared to utilize comic book characters in entertaining and competent presentations.
That changed with Kenneth Johnson’s development of The Incredible Hulk for CBS in 1977. Like many, I would race to the television set when I heard that show’s opening theme throughout its 5 season run, and I would watch every episode from start to finish even if I had already seen it ten times. Like many, I was continually surprised that the makers of this smash hit were able to interest me in David Banner (Johnson didn’t like the fact that Stan Lee liked characters whose first and last names begin with the same letter) and his unique exploits to such an extent that it didn’t matter if the Hulk only showed up for a few minutes at a time to toss stuntman around and roar and flex in slow-motion. It also didn’t matter that the show utilized Lou Ferrigno sprinkled with green dust and sporting a lousy wig as the Hulk, because as primitive as that approach may have been, the end result was rather admirable. I still think it might stand as the best representation of the character even after two recent motion pictures used CGI to generate the title character.
I tuned in week in and week out to watch David’s woeful journey through a television landscape that could best be described as TV America, a land populated by engaging characters in quaint little communities where it was never hard for David to find work or conflict. Each new town presented our hero with another nice job and several honest people to call friends, and each time he grew comfortable just in time for all hell to break loose, forcing him to become the hulk and save the day.
This endless cycle always led to the arrival of David’s nemesis, tabloid journalist Jack McGee, expertly played by Jack Colvin, who would show up, snoop around, and force our lonesome hero to move on after sacrificing his brief stint of peace for the good of those who showed him kindness. It was heartbreaking without that sad music, and if you liked the show even half as much as I did, you can probably hear it playing right now. It’s the sound of leaving, the sound of turning your back on what you want because you know it’s the right thing to do. It’s the sound of nobility giving way to tragedy.
Yes, I own the box set with every episode of this landmark series. Yes, I still watch it and enjoy it, and my daughter (who is 4, the same age I was when I met David) likes it almost as much as I do, so it still has some resonance even in this day and age. According to Wikipedia, the series still has a worldwide fan base and should be considered a true cult classic, a point I won’t argue. Since I love the show so much, it’s no wonder I found myself thinking about David Banner earlier today. In fact, I found myself wondering what exactly happened to that hero from my youth, the one legitimate success that emerged from the efforts to televise the exploits of a superhero for comic fans of a bygone era. David was a good guy, a hell of a man really, and the fact that he was played by a thespian like Bill Bixby never hurt matters. It was easy to like Bill, and he made it even easier to know and love David Banner. With that in mind, here are a few things I hope he found along the way: