Wednesday, September 24, 2008

REVIEWS!

Okay, I need to review three huge things here soon, so I'm just gonna make them all short and sweet:

1. Metallica -
Death Magnetic

Their first new album in 4 years and the best thing they've done in more than 15 years, Death Magnetic sees Metallica's replacement of long-time producer, Bob Rock, with the amazing, mega-guru, "reducer-producer", Rick Rubin - an expert at whittling bands and solo artists down to their essence... and then letting them just rock that essence good and loud. He does it again here.

With 10 tracks, (that is, nine songs and one 10-minute instrumental onslaught,) and clocking in at almost 75 minutes, Metallica returns to the more progressive, hard-edged sound that they abandoned circa 1991, but that fans have been dying for ever since. It's dark, heavy, filled with amazing riffs and solos, a few power choruses, (but not too many,) and almost never lets up. This album will exhaust you. You can't listen to it all in one sitting very often, because each track (averaging 7 and 1/2 minutes each) is an epic experience unto itself. So, pace yourself, young rockers. The good ol' days of Metallica are here again.

Favorite tracks:
The End of the Line
Broken, Beat & Scarred
and
Cyanide

("METALLI-HINT": Try to get your hands on a rip of the Guitar Hero III version of this album - the final mix is deeper in dimension and fuller in scope than the CD release. Not a "night-and-day" difference, but enough to be appreciated more.)

2. San Diego Streey Scene - 2008

On my birthday, Friday the 19th of September, I was treated (by my most-awesome bro-hams, Rob and Reuven) to a ticket for Street Scene - the annual outdoor "91X" multi-band concert festival. Usually held in the downtown "Gaslamp" area, the event was moved to the Quaalcom Staudium parking lot for the past several years. But this year, it was relocated again to the downtown area - not exactly in the Gaslamp, but behind Petco Stadium, which was closer to the original sentiment.

It was pretty awesome. I met up with my cousin, Sean, and his friends, and it felt like a big party. We arrived around 6:30 just in time to see MGMT finish up a set, and then Michael Franti & Spearhead hit the big stage next. They were okay... a bit too reggae for me, but that's still cool. The big acts were TV On The Radio, Justice, Spoon, Vampire Weekend (who were playing on a smaller stage and got ditched quickly for the headlining act:), Beck!

Despite some technical problems, Beck and his amazing band rocked and rolled for well over an hour until about 11:45 PM. But Spoon and TV On The Radio certainly held their own again the blond, scientologist So-Cal native. We didn't go the second night, but that's fine by me, because headliners, The Black Crowes, canceled their appearence, and teh slot was filled by the totally irrelevant Devo. I would have liked to have seen The Hives and Cold War Kids, but no big loss. I definetly went on the right night!

Street Scene was a very unique show that turned me on to more than a few different bands and types of music. Thanks again to my homies Rob and Reuven. THANKS GUYS!

and...
3. NEW AC/DC!

As the old saying goes, "If AC/DC ain't broke... don't fix 'em!"

For the first time in the post-9/11 world, AC/DC returns with new music and... surprise! surprise! surprise! It's more the same than ever! Check out the new video for "Rock 'N Roll Train" from the forthcoming new album, Black Ice (due out October 20th).



Even moderate AC/DC fans will notice that the song and the video follow some sort of formula to which the band has stuck for many years now. And bands like Metallica could learn something from these never-changing aged rockers - "if it rocks, just keep doin' it." I've never met anyone who has commented that they're bored with AC/DC's sound. And I hope I never do.

That is all! GUH-BYE!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Album review - Lagwagon

Note: This album review post is written by my friend, the lovely Erin Euphegenia Feely:
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Originally based in Southern California, Lagwagon was an early favorite on the '90s punk scene. They've held strong through the years with ten full-length albums to their credit. Their last album, Resolve (2005), dealt entirely with singer/songwriter Joey Cape's loss of his life-long friend and band-mate, Derrick Plourde. The two formed one of my favorite bands, the now-defunct Bad Astronaut, in 2000 just so they could create music together.

Cape has also been promoting this album with his side-project - The Playing Favorites, working on his acoustic album - Bridge (due out in October), as well as playing guitar in the cover-band, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. Somehow, amidst Cape's busy schedule, Lagwagon - the band his fans know best - managed to pump out 7 new tracks.

Their latest effort, the EP
I Think My Older Brother Used To Listen To (Lagwagon), does not disappoint. As always, the band manages to delicately balance politics and private lives. Tracks like "No Little Pill" and "Live It Down" deal with current affairs like abuse of power and environmental uncertainty. To issues we describe in general with words like "depression," "addiction" and "corruption," Cape melodically lends names and faces, while "Errands" and "Fallen" return to the loss of Plourde and bring the album down to a very personal level. Plourde's death is still too fresh and bleeds through every song. There is a desperate vibe of "getting on with life" while still questioning past decisions. Although the lyrical content is profound, rhythmic guitar and relentless percussion make every song super-charged with energy.

My only complaint about the album is that there aren't more songs! The beats are so catchy that no sooner do you find yourself rocking out and singing along than you realize it's over!

Overall the EP is a great effort, mission accomplished.

Favorite song:
B-Side

Sunday, September 14, 2008

SNL '08/'09 Season Premiere


Although Barack Obama couldn't be there to perform as scheduled (due to his "Presidential" responsibilities, which called him down to Texas to oversee the rescue and clean-up efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike), Saturday Night Live kicked off their THIRTY-THIRD season with this awesome "cold open" sketch. (Tina Fey - who popped in to play the role she was born to play - and Amy Pohler reference this photo in the sketch. Check it out so as not to be left out of the joke.)



After that, it was pretty much down hill, except for a few shining moments, but the biggest problems were the show's host and musical guest. If anything was revealed to me about the mysteries of the universe last night, it was this: Michael Phelps is a great swimmer... and is great at NOTHING ELSE! Put that fish back in the water, cause this guy gets pruney when he's DRY! What a dork! His giant horse teeth kept him from actually enunciating any of his lines with any clarity or distinction. He's so tall that he kept having to stoop down to be in the camera angle with his co-stars, and he fumbled his way through everything with absolute minimum grace. What a tool! Damn you, you stupid NBC execs! You know NOTHING about entertainment!

And I'm not even going to get into how dumb this "Lil' Wayne" guy is. Somebody get that guy an oral surgeon - they can fix that stuff nowadays! (You too, Phelps!)

But I must admit, I've taken an early liking to new "featured" cast member (along with Casey Wilson, who has been a featured player for a year now), Upright Citizen's Brigade alum Bobby Moynihan, who was featured most prominently in the "10-to-1" sketch (the last sketch of the show) as a hilariously annoying waiter who "doesn't wait" or a server who "only serves Jesus" and is constantly overwhelmed by a powerful pepper smell that only he can sense - and he can't stop his hands from playing with the strings of his do-rag. (Nice touch!) With a little more plot to these skits, this could be a great character (a'la Horatio Sanz's "Carol"). Moynihan's performance was great and I think he's going to be a powerful addition to the cast.

And the rest of the usual suspects were still there, however: Kristin Wiig, Jason Sudeykis, Will Forte, Kenan Thompson, and the eternally necissary Darrell Hammond (since 1995!).

We still have the magnanimous team of Amy Pohler (who looks to be about 8 months pregnant at this point) and Seth Myers doing Weekend Update, which once again featured Fred Armisen as "Nicholas Fehn: Political Comedian" - the funniest un-funny guy in the world:"If you... if.. if we... I mean... just for one... ya know... I mean, okay... if... if... if you took out a patent... on an invention, and... okay... if... I mean, should we... if we should choose to... because.... if... if we all had headphones...."


And, thank the Lord, we still have Andy Samberg - the powerhouse of absurdist humor - doing our much-beloved SNL Digital Shorts. The thing that's so amazing about Samberg and his "Lonely Island" pals (who all produce the shorts together) is the high quality of the songs they often use in the videos. The songs are total cheese or parody and yet the production of them is top-notch.

This week's was one of the better shorts - you gotta watch this. These guys are nuts.



It seems that the great Maya Rudolph is gone now, but that's the only one we've lost. She will be missed. No more Nooni, Patti Sylviac (of "Pat N' Patti's Shack"), or Jo-Jessica (of "The Hip-Hop Kidz"). No more Beyoncé ("The Prince Show"), Charo, Diana Ross, Whitney Houston, Donatella Vercaci or Oprah Whinfrey (although Tim Meadows used to play her, too. So, I'm sure someone else will step in at some point. But Maya rocked that one!) We'll miss you, Maya.

Here are some of the other skits and videos that I thought were pretty funny:





Thursday, September 11, 2008

New Oasis Song is AWESOME

The new single - The Shock Of The Lightning (due out September 26th), from the upcoming new album "Dig Out Your Soul" (due out October 6th) - is the best Oasis song so far THIS DECADE! And it sounds even better in CD quality!

Dig these lyrics!

I’m all over my heart’s desire
I feel cold but I’m back in the fire
I’m outta control but I’m tied up tight
Come in, come out tonight

I’m coming up in the early morning
I feel love in the shock of the lightning
I fall into the blinding light
Come in, come out,
Come in, come out tonight

Love is a time machine
Up on the silver screen
It’s all in my mind
Love is a litany
A magical mystery
And all in good time
And all in good time

And all in good time…

I’ve got my feet on the street but I cant stop flying
My head’s in the clouds but at least I’m trying
I’m outta control but I’m tied up tight
Come in, come out tonight

There’s a hole in the ground into which I’m falling
So Godspeed to the sound of the pounding
I’m all into the blinding light
Come in, come out,
Come in, come out tonight

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Hypocrites Suck

I'm not saying Dems are all right and Reps are all wrong, but these particular jack-holes are total jack-holes.

Fill In The Blank

Introducing a brand new MIKE'S BRAIN LEAK interactive game!
It's pretty self-explanatory. Ready? Go!


1. I'm sad when ___________ is on the ______________.

2. I like ___________ in my _____________.

3. I'm in your _________, _______ing your _________.



Have at it, you creative little smart-asses!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

9021OMG!

OMG! OMG! OMG! They're back! They're back! The '90s are back!

This show will DEFINITELY be as popular... Scratch that... MORE popular than the original! Eat THAT, Donna!

Hollywood could learn something from the CW network: originality is LAME! Redo the shows that were popular years ago! Like Beverly Hills 90210 and Mama's Family!







I know, Brandon! We can't believe it either!

"In a world... where voice-over guys die!"

C'mon - you all know this guy.

"In a world..." was the famous and often-parodied opening line to countless movie trailers voiced-over by industry-renowned voice-over actor, Don LaFontaine, who died yesterday at the age of 68. Here's the full story.

If you have any appreciation for the film industry at all, please take a few minutes to watch this great little biographical video about the man behind the legendary voice - CLICK HERE.

And, be sure to watch this classic Pablo Francisco comedy routine honoring the great voice of Don LaFontaine - CLICK HERE.

And if you wanna check out more, here's the man's professional website.

Thanks for all your influence, Don. You shaped the way movies were introduced to the world for a long time. We'll miss you.