Thursday, May 28, 2009

No really, here's why Twitter is great.

I know what you're thinking and I already get the sense that you will feel like that me talking about the goodness of Twitter is old hat. And it is, quite honestly. The journalistic reasons of breaking news isn't really valid when most of the breaking news is too apathetic-sounding anyway, and I didn't get on Twitter with the intent of knowing what Demi Moore ate this morning. That said, there are moments that do make me smile and do give the feeling of community in Twitter and warm, fuzzy, cold, internet-based feelings of happiness for my fellow man:

- Amanda Palmer's Twitter account (

Ms. Palmer is the engenue behind the wildly fascinating punk cabaret group The Dresden Dolls and released a fine solo album last year. And in the past three months, she has taken to Twitter as something of a respite. Currently, she is in a fight with Roadrunner Records due to their poor efforts at promoting her work as well as an incident where Palmer's weight was questioned on the set of a music video. And yet because of her Twitter, you don't get the vibe that she's consistently angry about this, in fact, she's used it to better her career. She currently has around 25,000 followers, uses the account to inform about secret concerts, a high school play she is doing based around The Diary of Anne Frank and Neutral Milk Hotel (seriously), or to even bring up that she's drinking wine.

- Awesome Kong's Twitter account (

Might as well geekily explain, Awesome Kong is a female professional wrestler whose gimmick on TV is that of a pure monster. She never speaks and simply beats people up with no guilt about what she does. Which even in the world where she is obviously playing a character on TV is more strange when perusing her Twitter. She obviously speaks, and more than that, she's ACTUALLY FUNNY. A lot of it will be greek to non-wrestling fans, but eh, it's my blog and she's still funny to me, dammit!

- Eddie Argos (

A great man with a great semblance to myself. Only I haven't been involved in three great albums of music and might not entirely be excited about everything like Mr. Argos is. I'm also not 28 yet. I don't know where this is leading to, other than the fact that Argos once admitted that he shaved his mustache because it made him look like he was 40. Oh, and a friend tells me that he is great live. Take that for what you will.

Enough of this. Look up Twitter. Yes, even I'm on it.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Again in lieu of meaningful content, I will give you links to all of the music review work I've done for the CW in the year so far, just in case you missed it or you wanted to have intense disagreements about the quality of music. Anyways, here we go! (And this is in chronological order, even.) Also, remember the star ratings are out of four.

And obviously, on to the summer and next semester, there will be more reviews being done. Hope you enjoy what has come before, though.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A start to a lament on the film industry.

When I was in my early teens, you do not know the obsession that I had with movies. I watched dozens and dozens of movies in those days with an intent of having an opinion on them, and dammit, if anybody was going to ask me about the quality of Swimfan, then I would have a great answer for them. This I knew for certain.

Then I guess I grew up. My habit was plagued by poor economic circumstances mixed in with frankly having no desire to watch crappy movies. I once had a free ticket to Doom which I used. Also, I forgot how much I hated that movie until I reminded myself of that just now. But either way, I just lost it.

Worse yet, this year was the true moment of uncare. I finally realized at the ripe old age of 19 something that's been obvious for years, that films have simply lost their cahones. None of the major releases seem to take chances that lead to successful results. Tropes like the ridiculous action movie or even the film that takes a chance are the last bastions of true artistic expression we have as a society. Everyone's favorite movie when they were a kid was the Schwarzenegger/Stallone action films. Were any of these features smart? No. But they showed one guy killing a bunch of guys and things that only exist in the tropes of action movies. These things made two funny Hot Shots movies possible and made millions smile.

However, we're dawning into scary times. The Rambos of the world are dying off, and action movies that embrace pure ridiculousness are being seen by lesser and lesser people. And yet, PG-13 horror films, PG-13 comic adaptations that forget that the basic essence of the character is R-rated (Wolverine), and PG-13 genre flicks have ruled the roost, trying to pass themselves off as serious entertainment and taking no risks. Where is the cahones, guys?

Crank 2: High Voltage came out a month back to zero fanfare whatsoever. This movie is exactly the perfect hate it or love it film, however, because it is non-stop violence, non-stop depravity, and a complete embrace that everything that has happened in the film is completely ridiculous. It is disturbing at times and wonderful at barraging the senses with pictures that are hard to turn away from, all the while Jason Statham continues to add to a reputation as secretly one of the funniest guys in film. Crank 2 has made all of $14 million at the U.S. box office.

Watchmen would be another example of putting true cahones to an idea of making the exact film that you want. And yet, Warner Brothers has lost money on the project and even the same critics that would normally be impressed by a literal adaptation felt that the film was just not good enough.

A laundry list of these films could be placed: Next Day Air, which actually has the wherewithall to make its stoner leads unlikable, is currently getting beaten by the stunningly casual Star Trek. Observe and Report failed because Hannah Montana is more popular (and okay, a dark R-rated comedy doesn't beat a G-rated family pic). I'd even go so far as to say that Battle for Terra was a risky picture that just unfortunately failed (and was oddly message-filled for a kids film, similar to another risky failure in 2008's City of Ember). 

Either way, I'm a little disappointed for the future. I won't suddenly hate movies or anything, but please, someone, I'm begging you, take that risk and just go out there. I don't know if I'm fully ready to swallow another Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Things that are good right now:

- Bat for Lashes

The latest album from the British chanteuse is entitled Two Suns, and my god, it is wondrous music. There is not enough music these days that mixes a sensual atmosphere with heartbreaking lyrics and makes everything work. It isn't even too woe-is-me in comparison to Portishead (and I love Portishead). All the raves Two Suns has earned in the American and British press are pretty well justified, it's a solid contender for record of the year.

- St. Vincent

Since I got a listen to St. Vincent's second full-length record Actor, I found myself falling in love with this delicate woman named Annie Clark. Annie Clark is the curator of St. Vincent, a project that managed to come out of the ground after Clark toiled in obscurity with indie rock titans Sufjan Stevens and The Polyphonic Spree. Before, I mentioned that her first album was a great buried find in the recurring feature (recurring as in once) The Hidden Stuff on this very blog. However, Actor is a natural evolution in a good way. Clark's quirky instincts make her experimental instincts make sense. And Actor is just awesome.

And now, other things that I'm too lazy to write about, but that if you look up, you'll love:

- Stereolab
- Deerhoof
- Joakim Noah's perplexing behavior
- NewsRadio on Hulu
- the WHO's idiocy causing 300,000 pigs to die because the thing is called SWINE flu
- women, if they criticize guys for going to movies fully intent to see attractive women in it, when the only reason any of them enjoyed Wolverine was for eight-pack Hugh Jackman
- The Bulls/Celtics series, except for the last game
- Crank 2
- I'm out of things to write.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

John Madden retires.

Breaking story for the two of you who don't look at Yahoo every day. The guy responsible for the Madden in that football game you play every year is calling it quits! John freakin' Madden leaves the booth after three decades of service and he has been an entertaining man at the very least and the most distinctive voice of football at the most. In tribute, here is a fine speech he did when he was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2006.

We'll miss your commentary, John, because I wouldn't want anyone else to tell me that 90% of football is half mental.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Ok, let's face it.

Music currently sucks. Badly.

Let me explain: I looked at the release charts mere moments ago, noted that Metric, k-os, Neil Young, Mastodon, The Decemberists, Kelly Clarkson, and Handsome Furs have all released albums in the last month, and I have cared nothing to listen to them in their entirety. And I like most of these artists (Mastodon not so much, but they're hipster-friendly metal so they get mentioned). And I wonder to myself why I am not excited to hear any of their new material and I suspect there's a major chance that I might be so uncaring that I don't really want new stuff from groups I know. 

However, I think that it is a failure on the label system's part.

Almost all of these acts have a major label tie-in, and none of them have been given enough of an opportunity to really promote the quality of their new material. Only Clarkson had a heavily talked about release, and in truth, Nostradamus doesn't have to tell you that after My December didn't destroy sales records despite being pretty good that Clarkson's next record would be more bland pop jams about life sucking without a guy and about the power of men helping women versus the empowerment and emotion of a woman being a woman.

I'm also "friends" with k-os on MySpace and didn't know he had an album out until this moment, which might be a failure on one Kevin Brereton's part but is more likely a failure of the label's part. (Which as I write this, Wiki is wrong again as the record is set for April 14th in Canada with no U.S. date announced.) But nonetheless, there is a clear problem here that I'm noticing. The blogosphere isn't nearly as concise as of late in terms of introducing "hot new music" to people's ears, and I'm certain of this because Wavves is okay, but not that great and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart are a fine band that has been the only thing new that this year has also been great.

Maybe my lament is that these albums are probably good and probably not great. Ah well.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I admit the greatness of Mötley Crüe.

Yes, I realize that this is a little bit of a massive left field in comparison to my uber-indie elitist whiny music tastes. But the Crüe is plain awesome. And not in that guilty pleasure way, really, because I'm admitting it and I don't feel guilty about it in any way. I'm only guilty of gaining enjoyment out of a band that once wrote "When we started this band/All we needed, needed was a laugh/Years gone by...i'd say we've kicked some ass". Yes, yes you have.

The greatest video of all time, the one for "Home Sweet Home", in which beaches, bikini clad women and multiple uses of the phrase "I'm on my way" are used.
Video for "Kickstart My Heart," which appears to be about cars. Now who would've thought that?
Video for "Live Wire". What was the point? I don't know.

This was clearly my high point in music criticism.