Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Second Podcast Talks How We Buy Music

Our second podcast is up and there's a link below to our Soundcloud!  We tackle everything from the vinyl resurgence, to the state of the music industry, to streaming, and how we buy our music.  Touching on illegal downloading and what constitutes a music snob, we hit so much in 16 minutes you'll be asking for more.  But don't fret!  Number three is on it's way next week where we'll switch it up and talk about movie award shows and our 5 favorite comedies of all time.  Look for it!!

Podcast #2: How Should We Buy Our Music?

Some Songs from Today's Playlist

1. Pig - Zip Tie Handcuffs
2. Ziggy Stardust - David Bowie
3. Black Shuck - The Darkness
4. Sell Your Soul - Black Beach
5. Ponytail - Chastity Belt
6. Make the Fonz Bleed - Harris Hawk
7. Runner - Laura Stevenson
8. 1984 - Shellshag
9. Horses - Patti Smith
10. Blank Generation - Richard Hell and the Voidoids

As Above So Below Has Surprisingly Original Story

I’ve been on a total horror movie kick lately but as is the case with your average 90 minute fright flick, they are typically easily forgettable.  That being said, I was actually excited to see John Erick Dowdle’s As Above So Below strictly on the basis that its concept was unique.  The movie focuses on amateur alchemist Scarlett Marlowe as she continues the work of her deceased father scouring the globe for clues to the location of the mythical Philosophers Stone.  After obtaining a key whilst searching in Iran, she is led to the catacombs beneath Paris.  Along with a cameraman named Benji and her former lover George, the three ask around and find a guide who will take them beneath the city into the maze of tunnels that make up Paris’ underground.  I didn’t know what to expect when watching in that I wasn’t sure what exactly the “horror” element would be.  I wasn’t sure if the danger would be the tunnels themselves or some sort of supernatural/creature type threat.  In the end, it was kind of a combination which was both good and bad.  I enjoyed it because it kept you guessing.  You weren’t ever quite sure why you were freaked out, you just knew that you were inching closer to the edge of your seat (something any decent horror movie should induce).  The converse is that it can be confusing at times as you struggle to find out what exactly it is you should be afraid of.  After becoming trapped underground, the team is eventually confronted with the choice to either wait for rescue or go through a tunnel which their guide Papillon says is the gate to hell.  Which do you think they choose?  I enjoyed the story of the search for the alchemist’s stone and thought it was a unique way to approach the idea of doing a horror movie centered on the Paris catacombs.  The location is so iconic that the obvious route to go is either A: a group of students get lost and die of B: a group of students get lost and uncover an ancient group of subterranean creatures hungry for human flesh.  As such it was nice to see the film go a different route.  The acting, while subpar is fresh in that the actors are relatively unknown adding to the “found footage” style immensely.  Found footage films almost never work with mainstream actors because duh, you know who you’re watching!  In the end, of the 15+ horror films I’ve watching in the last month, As Above So Below stands out for its original storytelling and surprising ending but I won’t go in to that, you’ll have to watch for yourself.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

New Music and Movie Podcast!!!

I've started a new podcast with a fellow music and movie lover here in Duxbury.  We'll bring fresh topics, interesting discussion, and all around good vibes to two subjects you could spend 10 lifetimes talking about.  Check back weekly for new additions.  Listen to the first iteration below.

Music and Movies with Mike and Ted

Screaming Females Deliver Powerful Smoothness on New LP

Following up with my recent post on DC’s explosive band PRIESTS, I figured I’d cover the other album I picked up at that show, Screaming Female’s latest full length Rose Mountain.  The Females have become without a doubt one of my favorite rock/punk bands EVER and most certainly one of the best guitar bands playing music today hands down.  Their sixth LP showcases not only continued growth but a self-assuredness which is both refreshing and exciting.  Marissa Paternoster’s guitar playing is unparalleled as the tiny shredder lays down riffs and solos that can stand up against any of the greats past or present.  Starting off with the steady, energizing “Empty Head” and “Ripe” you’re reassured that this new effort is still the hard hitting garage rock people have come to expect from the NJ basement trio.  However, it’s songs like “Wishing Well”, “Hopeless”, “Broken Neck” and the titular track “Rose Mountain” which show that Screaming Females have come a long way since 2006’s Baby Teeth.  Marissa’s voice is better than ever hitting a large range of notes while employing her iconic vibrato to punch the listener in the face with the sheer force of her lyrics and harsh squeal.  King Mike’s bass fills are increasingly present and offer chunky contrasts to Paternoster’s sharp solo’s and powerful hooks.  Jarret Dougherty’s drums are on point and push his bandmates to new heights while keeping them firmly grounded in unshakeable rhythms.  The band was concerned that their time may have come to an end last year when Marissa was diagnosed with mono and eventually fibromyalgia which saw them cancelling shows for the first time ever and returning home to take a break from their relentless touring schedule.  After bouncing back, the band is clearly at a point where they are happy with their music, their life, and each other and that comes out strongly in the tracks on Rose Mountain.  Having been a band for nearly 10 years, this violently cohesive, feel good power trio is here to stay and is committed to staying true to the DIY spirit that embodies their music, their label, and themselves.  I couldn’t be more excited for what’s to come.

Today's Playlist

1. Rose Mountain - Screaming Females
2. Hadley, MA - California X
3. Runner - Laura Stevenson
4. Kind of Like Smitten - The Ergs!
5. Weirdoz Everywhere - The Prefab Messiahs
6. Mesmerize - Temples
7. Oliver Twisted - The Vaselines
8. Johnny Hit and Run Pauline - X
9. Design Within Reach - PRIESTS
10. In My Eyes - Minor Threat

Lucy is Neither Science Fiction or Memorable

When I first saw the trailer for Lucy starring Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman I wasn’t too intrigued.  It seemed to be an interesting concept but one that would surely fall into the forgettable, 90 minute Hollywood “sci-fi” film category with films like Apollo 18 and Chronicle.  Then I found out it was directed by Luc Besson, the visionary directory who gave the world The Professional one of the greatest films of all time in this bloggers book.  I had to give it a try.  Going in with an open mind, I was surprised to find the film accelerate from 0-60 in no time at all.  After a random and unexplained opening scene the viewer is dropped right into the middle of a nefarious drug smuggling operation controlled by an unnamed organization of Asian mobsters.  Not what you were expecting right? Me neither.  Scarlett Johansson’s character Lucy is put in a situation in which she ends up ingesting a new mysterious drug she is supposed to be transporting.  Naturally, this has significant side effects including allowing her to, drumroll…..use 100% of her brain capacity as seen in the trailers.  Morgan Freeman’s random scientist character has almost no significant role whatsoever and serves as more of a narrator.  Someone who is describing what’s happening in a way that allows the viewer to kind of understand what’s transpiring.  The film felt very chaotic.  Jumping from one thing to the next in a series of violent random outbursts as Lucy attempts to secure more of the drug that is fueling her existential evolution while also trying to take down the mobsters who put her in this situation.  While certain moments were exciting, nothing jumped out as particularly memorable and to call the film science fiction is one hell of a stretch.  More focus on the science and less on the car chases would have worked to the films advantage but as I expected, the end product tries to be more of a Hollywood action flick than a thought provoking sci-fi film.  Mr. Besson, what were you thinking?? I should have gone with my initial instinct instead of sitting through a 93 minute cross between Taken and Limitless.  Thanks but no thanks.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Songs from this Morning

1. And Breeding - PRIESTS
2. Empty Head - Screaming Females
3. Juice - Slothrust
4. Misery Business - Paramore
5. Laughing Yet - Parasol

PRIESTS - Powerfuly Intense and Relevant Punk Rock

PRIESTS are scary.  And I’m not talking about the religious guys in robes.  I’m talking about the firestorm of intensity that is the latest post-hardcore band to come out of the prolific Washington, DC music scene.  Lead by enigmatic front-woman Katie Alice Greer, PRIESTS are exactly what post-hardcore is supposed to sound like, heavy and confrontational without becoming ironic or cliché.  The band, which formed in 2012 and put out two self-released tapes and a 7” on their own Sister Polygon Records, recently released their latest EP Bodies and Control and Money and Power on NJ indie powerhouse Don Giovanni Records.  Indeed all of those subjects are discussed in Greer’s demanding and profound lyrics which capture millennial malaise and coming of age frustrations felt by everyone who was expected to make a life for themselves in the wake of the economic recession.  PRIESTS state, or rather belt matter of factly, the feelings felt by many of the millennial generation and they do it alongside jarring punk riffs and funky interplay that crafts a sound completely unique.  Taylor Mulitz’s bass guitar comes through heavy on all songs and creates a haunting background to the jangly guitar leads brought to the table by guitar guru G.L Jaguar.  Drummer Daniele Daniele keeps things steady and cohesive making sure the rest of the band doesn’t lose track of structure completely.  Songs like “Right Wing” discuss Republican power dynamics alongside the powerful and ethereal “New” which deals with the frustrations of growing up only to realize that life is a lot scarier and darker than you were promised.  This is especially true of the Generation Y.  Growing up we were all told we were special and destined for greatness.  We were the “every kid gets a trophy” generation.  Now as we’ve all entered the real world, we’ve come to realize this was a lie and there is a certain amount of resentment towards older generations which fueled such dreams and now it seems are the ones in power preventing them.  PRIESTS capture this feeling perfectly in closing track “And Breeding” in which Greer screams “I’m trying to afford, everything I always asked for, everything they said was in store” and later “yeah I went to college, yeah I got a job, but I still can’t figure out how to join the mob”.  The song ends with Greer straining her throat yelling “Barack Obama killed something in me!” expressing the frustrations of young adults who put their faith in reform and change both in 2008 and 2012 only to have those dreams dashed after nearly 8 years of partisan gridlock.  Another track on the album, the fast paced “Modern Love/No Weapon”, showcases PRIESTS ability to compose striking and dominating instrumental powerhouses.  Each one of the albums eight tracks are different and bring something new and fresh to the table.  It doesn’t sound overdone, nor does it stress over the top musical diversity.  It’s just right.  I recently saw them on tour with Screaming Females, Vacation, and Tenement and while the other bands were fantastic including the Females, PRIESTS were something else entirely.  With whole portions of the performance devolving into atonal static and driving bass as Greer writhed on the floor screaming intensely politicized monologue, I was floored.   This is a band everyone needs to hear AND see.  It’s jarring, it’s in your face, it’s experimental, it’s punk rock.