Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Intimate Jimmy Page Interview

Rolling Stone contributor David Fricke recently sat down with guitar legend and Led Zeppelin founder Jimmy Page to discuss everything from the Zep reissues released this year to his opinions on the O2 arena reunion.  The interview is funny, heartwarming, intriguing, and a little sad.  Read it below, you won't be disappointed.

Jimmy Page Interview

Songs From This Morning

1. I Believe You - White Lung
2. One Beat - Sleater Kinney
3. Be Easy - He Is Legend
4. Leave Me Out - JEFF the Brotherhood
5. Fazer - Quicksand

Transformers Age of Extinction Should Have Had More Dinobots

                The Transformers franchise is FINALLY free of Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox.  Depending on your personal taste this may be a good or bad thing but for me it’s liberating.  I always felt the one thing holding those films back was the awkward character acting brought to the table by the two stars.  That being said, having Marky Mark come on board as a replacement isn’t too much better but at the end of the day the reason anyone is watching these movies is to see Optimus Prime and the other Transformers duke it out in all their epic, mechanized glory so who really cares.  On this front, Transformers: Age of Extinction did not disappoint. 
                This installation in the popular series takes place five years after the Battle of Chicago which saw the death of Megatron.  Humans have become distrustful of the Transformers and break all ties with them forcing each one to go into hiding.  A secret CIA operation is deployed to eliminate the remaining Decepticons but its vengeful leader is also focused on destroying the Autobots.  He feels the world will never be safe while any of the Transformers, good or bad, are on the planet.  Cade Yeager (played by Mark Wahlberg) is an inventor who comes across a broken down truck he hopes to salvage for parts.  The truck turns out to be a rusty and wounded Optimus Prime and Cade, along with his daughter Tessa gets sucked in to all the drama surrounding the alien, metal titans as Optimus is forced to flee the encroaching CIA operatives and their vile Transformer bounty hunter Lockdown who is on a personal mission to find Prime. 
                This installation, much like the previous Dark Side of the Moon, gives us background into the history of the Transformers and the effects they’ve been having on Earth for millennia.  Secrets are revealed which put the future of both Earth and the Transformers in a questionable light as Optimus and his Autobots must decide whether the humans are worth saving.  As is the case with any Michael Bay big budget blockbuster there isn’t a whole lot of substance to the movie.  The point is the special effects, fight scenes, and explosions of which there is an ample amount.  Wahlberg’s relationship with his daughter feels forced and cliché as he spends the entire movie more focused on her hidden relationship with boyfriend/amateur racecar driver Shane than the imminent destruction of the planet and the unrelenting battle of good and evil.  In addition, the Dinobots have a very small role to play which was immensely disappointing as the trailers focused almost exclusively on the addition of the gigantic prehistoric behemoths.  Still, what we did get to see was spectacularly awesome and made the entire movie for me.  On top of this is the introduction of Galvatron, a new villain with a hidden secret you’ll have to watch to find out.  If you were a fan of the other three films then you will enjoy this installation as well.  It feels just like the others and is a somewhat logical continuation of the story line with some fun new additions to keep you interested in what’s going to happen next.     

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Knocks It Out Of The Park

                For the first time in a while a movie’s sequel was just as good as its predecessor.  The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was everything I had hoped it would be.  Giving us insight into Peter Parker’s past, as well has his present and in some ways his future, the film painted a picture of Spider-Man as a larger identity; one that is bigger than Peter Parker.  Again starring Andrew Garfield as Spidey and Emma Stone as his beautiful girlfriend Gwen Stacy the film picks up largely where the last left off making it a logical continuation.  While I was skeptical at first of the idea of having multiple villains, I think it ended up working really well.  Multiple villains was the downfall of Spiderman 3 and ultimately led to that franchises downfall.  Here however it makes sense as we get to see the rise of Electro, played by Jamie Foxx.  Electro acts as the main story line villain and takes up the majority of Spider-Man’s crime fighting time.  However, the rebirth of the Green Goblin was what I was most interested in and I feel as though the film did a splendid job with his character. 
                Returning home from boarding school, a young Harry Osborn inherits his dying fathers company only to learn his father’s disease is genetic giving him limited time to live.  His growing anger with his father, himself, and Spider-Man for refusing to help leads Harry down a dark path.  The films rendition of the Green Goblin is spot on and more true to the comic books than the previous Toby McGuire trilogy in which Willem Defoe portrayed a fully masked version of the high flying supervillain.
                Incorporating Peter Parker’s daily struggle of trying to mix his civilian life with that of Spider-Man’s is important and something every good superhero movie must touch on.  His indecisiveness is a focal point for the film and one that reveals a deep internal struggle brilliantly portrayed by Garfield.  I would definitely watch the movie again as there was so much crammed in to its two hours and change that a second viewing would only serve to enhance the first.  With plenty of action, emotion, and little laughter, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was a home run.

This Morning's Playlist

1. Dixie Cup and Jars - Waxahatchee
2. Archie, Marry Me - Alvvays
3. Spaceman - 4 Non Blondes
4. Your Weakness Give Me Life - Le Butcherettes
5. Back to the Shack - Weezer

Sleater Kinney Back Together!!

90's alt-rock giants Sleater Kinney have reformed and announced not only a new album slated for release in early 2015 but also a short tour of North America and Europe which will see the three piece hitting up the House of Blues in Boston! Guitarist/vocalist Corin Tuckin, guitarist/vocalist Carrie Brownstein and drummer Janet Weiss, have thrown themselves back into their Olympia, WA roots and will no doubt play to sold out shows at each of their 21 American and European tour stops.  Read the full Rolling Stone article below and be sure to get tickets to their HOB show!  They go on sale Saturday at 10 AM and will no doubt be gone within minutes.

Sleater Kinney Announce New Album and Tour Dates

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Quiet Ones Has Some "Hold Your Breath" Moments

                Since we’re fast approaching Halloween, I figured it was time I reviewed a horror film.  I chose The Quiet Ones, a British supernatural horror movie directed by John Pogue.  The film stars Jared Harris as Joseph Coupland, a university professor from Oxford who conducts an experiment to try and prove that demonic possession isn’t real and can in fact be cured as if it were any other affliction.  He recruits a student named Brian (played by Sam Clafin, Hunger Games: Catching Fire) as a cameraman to document the process and along with his two assistants, the four retreat to a secluded house in the country where they can perform the experiment uninterrupted.  The subject is a girl named Jane Harper who was abandoned as a child and has long been passed from home to home.  She continues to go along with the experiment believing Professor Coupland can cure her.  However, it becomes clear that the forces involved in Jane’s life are far more complex and evil than the Professor and his students imagined.  Still, in an attempt to prove his hypothesis, Coupland goes to extreme and inhuman lengths to get results.
                The film received largely negative reviews and for the most part felt repetitive and unoriginal.  That being said, I still found it entertaining for several reasons.  For one, there are many “stomach clenching” moments which leave you waiting anxiously for something horrific to happen.  This to me is the mark of a truly great horror film.  It’s one of the things that made The Blair Witch Project so successful.  Sometimes, the thought of something frightening happening is more horrifying than something actually happening and in this way the movie uses your own mind against you.  In addition, the film is “loosely based on true events” in that it mimics the Philip Experiment in which a group of researchers attempted to prove that ghosts and possession are merely manifestations of our own subconscious.  I found this very intriguing and the The Quiet Ones adapts this story lightly enough to allow for elaboration while still maintaining the core concept. 

                All in all, the film was creepy and worth the 92 minute run time just like most horror movies.  Horror is one of those genres where you almost always go in to it knowing that from a film standpoint it will probably be less than spectacular.  But that isn’t the point.  With the exception of the few horror films which transcend the genre and become classics, most scary movies are intended to do just that, scare you.  This film did that on some level and so I would recommend it for that reason.  But don’t expect to be wowed, just expect to be startled.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Today's Playlist

1. Face Down - White Lung
2. Liar - Bikini Kill
3. Lights Out - Screaming Females
4. Mess Around - The Pits
5. When I Go Home - Milk
6. Beowulf - Slothrust
7. Fire in the Fens - A Guy Name Guy
8. Dreams - Sebadoh
9. Destroyers - The Shrine
10. Food Fight! - Titus Andronicus

White Lung Deliver Clear Vocals and Hardcore Intensity

Deep Fantasy the third album by Canadian punk band White Lung combines the high pitched, supersonic guitar components of metal with the lightning drums of early 80’s hardcore giants like Minor Threat.  The quartet has been at it since 2006 and has three full lengths under their belt, all of which have received critical acclaim.  Their latest, just released in June of this year is a savage display of what makes hardcore so great.  Lead singer Mish Way delivers her vocals in a whiny squeal but sounds amazingly close to Meredith Graves while keeping her words clear and recognizable.  Notable tracks off Deep Fantasy include “Down it Goes” and “Just for You” which have superb sing-a-long choruses and are prime examples of the caustic intensity seen across the whole album.  Hardcore has always been a misunderstood genre and is difficult to do right but White Lung has struck up a balance which sacrifices lo-fi sincerity for pure, raw intensity.  While many bands in the genre trade clarity for breakneck speed and power, White Lung manage walk a line between their ferocious sound and Way’s clearly stated words.  It’s refreshing to hear a hardcore band find this balance incorporating rock and heavy metal influences with precise vocals similar to early bands like Morris era Black Flag or the Dead Kennedys.  All that said, the band clearly represents the direction modern hardcore is taking and overall, I’d say it’s an impressive one.  I’d love to attend one of their shows to see the crowd’s response as the attendees of hardcore shows are the unofficial “fifth member” of the group and the force they add to the music only serves to enhance the band’s sound and potency.  I’ll definitely be keeping my eye on White Lung and would love to see other hardcore bands adopt the precision and tightness seen on Deep Fantasy.