Friday, October 10, 2008

Save the date: November 23, 2008

It was announced today that GUNS & ROSES years in the making album - Chinese Democracy - is to be released on that date. And it will be available in the United States only at Best Buy stores.

In related news, a monkey just flew out of my ass.

Want a free subscription to ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY?

I received my renewal offer from Entertainment Weekly recently. EW is one of the few mags that I generally peruse from cover to cover every issue. I'd even venture that I read at least half of every single issue. For less than the cost of three issues on the newsstand I get roughly an entire year's worth [double-sized issues count as two issues]. I was pleasantly surprised as they're letting me renew at the exact same rate I initially subscribed at: $10.00 for 57 issues. But they went a step further in sweetening the deal: I get to give a 57 issue subscription to someone for FREE!!! This has proved to be more a more difficult task than I thought. I've asked several friends and acquaintences if they would like to be the recipient of the free subscription and nobody wants it. So I'm offering it up here.

If you're as obsessed with pop culture as I am email me the name and address you would like to have 57 issues of Entertainment Weekly sent to. That's it. No obligation to be my friend [but it would be sweet if you would become a follower and sing my praises!] or buy me dinner or anything like that.

I hate to see free magazines go to waste.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

New SATYRICON track streaming online

Satyricon's new album - The Age of Nero - will be released in a few weeks in Europe [I have yet to find a US release date]. The single "Black Crow On A Tombstone" is streaming online. All indications are that TAoN will pick up right where 2006's Now Diabolical left off. I know the band gets a lot of flack from the black metal denizens for not being trv and kvlt. But they sure do rock! Satyricon is slated to be the opening act on Cradle of Filth's US tour in early 2009. I'm not at all a fan of CoF but I'll be there solely to see Satyricon.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Happy 22nd Birthday to REIGN IN BLOOD!!!

Slayer's Reign in Blood was a life changing album for me. It took the fury of punk and crossed it with the speed of bands like Venom and Celtic Frost. But with great production value.
There were two kids that were in the same shop class as me in high school that had this underground metal fanzine [Skull Press if memory serves correct]. They were always coming in with the craziest stuff I'd ever heard. One day they came in raving about this advance album they received. They had been listening to it all weekend and made a cassette copy so that they could continue listening to it when they weren't at home.
Reign in Blood was love at first listen. It was short, fast, and sweet. It still is. There's rarely a day that goes by that I don't listen to RiB from start to finish. Often I listen to it several times a day. Twenty-two years have done nothing to diminish my love for this record. It still sounds as great today as it did 22 years ago. As a matter of fact...I think the production on this record beats many albums being released now. Rick Rubin produced one for the ages.
Would the overall history of the world have changed without Reign in Blood? Probably not. The Berlin Wall would still come down. The ATF would still raid the Branch Davidians. Seinfeld would still be about nothing. Princess Diana would still die tragically. Jihad would still occur on 9.11.01. The space shuttle would still explode on reentry. American Idol would still be the #1 show on television. The Red Sox would still win the World Series.
But it would have been much different living through it all without that perfect little 29 minute and 3 second blast of pure adrenaline. EXAMPLE: South Park would still be populated by hundreds of thousands of hippies. That alone is reason enough to praise a higher being for the creation of Reign in Blood.
Ultimately it was an anonymous fan waiting in line for the doors to open at a Slayer concert that summed it up best. When asked by a writer from Spin magazine if the fan thought the latest Slayer record was better than Reign in Blood the fan responded "What is?"

Monday, October 6, 2008

DOUBLE FEATURE: "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist" and "Blindness"

This past Saturday I spent the afternoon at AMC Northpark catching a couple of new releases. Both films are based on books neither of which I have read. So I can't offer any insight as to whether or not they stayed "true to the book" [and many films are?].

The first flick I saw was Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. I'd been looking forward to this film based the stars: Michael Cera and Kat Dennings. Cera is probably best known for the films Juno and Superbad but I first became aware of him as George Michael Bluth on Arrested Development [one of my all-time fave TV shows]. Denning had a breakout role as Catherine Keener's daughter in The 40-Year Old Virgin.
Cera's Nick is a recently dumped bassist in a band whose other members are homosexuals [Nick is hetero]. He's also a bit of a hipster doofus and makes numerous mix CDs in hopes of winning back the love of Tris [played by Alexis Dziena]. Tris is a bit of a twatwaffle and brings said mix CDs to school where she has a laugh with her friends at his desperation before tossing the CD in the trash. Norah [Dennings], who is a frenemy of Tris, rescues the assorted mix CDs from the trash because the compiler has really good musical taste [he is a hipster doofus after all].
Jump ahead to a club where Nick's band - The Jerk Offs - is performing. Tris is present with her new flicker of the moment and Norah is accompanied by her BFF Caroline [a delightful Ari Graynor in a breakout performance]. Without going into every detail of the story just suffice it so say that hijinks ensue. And you will never again share gum with someone.

The performances are pretty solid all around. The same can't be said of the story. It often felt to me that the script was a veiled attempt to name-check a bunch of hipster doofus bands [especially during the opening credits] while sending the characters all over New York City. It plays out like a cross between Before Sunrise and Bringing Up Baby. It's certainly not a terrible film. It just didn't work for me. I'm sure my parents probably felt the same way about all those precious John Hughes flicks of my youth. A good friend of mine saw it Friday night and enjoyed it. So give it a try. Maybe you'll feel it more than I did.

But take this as a warning: do not under any circumstances go see Blindness.

The film has an interesting premise [people suddenly go blind for no reason; hijinks ensue] and a solid cast. The first ten or fifteen minutes creates an appropriate amount of dread and then it just meanders. After what seemed like an eternity I glanced at my watch to discover that it had been about 50 minutes since the film started. That's when I realized that Endless might have been a more appropriate title. After sitting through the following 70 minutes I changed my mind. Pointless would have been a much more fitting title.

**********SPOILER ALERT***************
There's no explanation given as to why everybody [except for Julianne Moore] went blind nor why they suddenly regain their vision at the end.

Trust me on this. Blindness is two hours of your life that you'll never get back. As much as I hated Mama Mia at least that film made sense. I'd gladly sit through that again instead of Blindness. To put it differently...I'd subject myself to the "singing" of Pierce Brosnan if it meant not having to sit through the cool looking flick starring Julianne Moore. I can't put it any more plainly than that.