Monday, May 31, 2010
I'm going to be honest with you, I know next to nothing about this band, but I will share what little I do. The Chicharones are an indie hip-hop project, started by two successful artists, Sleep, and Josh Martinez, in early 2001. The group has a free album available for download on their website, a compilation of older, and previously unreleased music. One of the tracks that really stands out, is today's song of the day, Hi Hey Hello, which highlights the style of this incredibly unique band.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
In January of 2008, Eric Victorino, the frontman of the alternative metal band Strata, decided that he had grown "tired of the band politics," and that he needed another music outlet that wasn't so dark and heavy. So teaming up with multi-instrumentalist and producer Giovanni Giusti, the two created the electropop band The Limousines. The band hasn't released much music in their short time together, as they only have a four song EP out now. Even though their currently not signed, the Universal Records label released a single of theirs, today's song of the day, Very Busy People. If the songs we've heard so far are any indication of their talent, we can only hope that they get signed soon, so a record can be released to us.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
In honor of the Chicago Blackhawks playing the first game of the Stanley Cup Finals today, I picked their official playoff goal song, Chelsea Dagger, by The Fratellis. The Fratellis are a Scottish alternative rock band, signed in 2005 shortly after a talent scout saw them play, which led to multiple records later fighting for them. Their debut album, Costello Music, was released in September of 2006, leading to mixed reviews, as most reviewers loved the sound, but not so much the message. A second album entitled Hear We Stand, received more positive reviews, it would however, come to be their last release as a band. The band promised moew album in 2009, but only last month, the band confirmed rumors that they has split, say that they are working on music, just not with each other. If you need a Fratellis fix though, you can always check out Codeine Velvet Club, the new band fronted by Jon Fratelli, whose debut album has been a blast. Also, don't forget to cheer for the Blackhawks tonight!!!
Friday, May 28, 2010
Matisyahu is probably the only artist around with the unique distinction of being a Jewish rapper, known for his innovative blend of reggae and alternative. The musician clearly has a great ear for hot beats, and is an incredible beatboxer as well, a skill he likes to show off at his live shows. He became known for his single King Without a Crown, but he hit mainstream with his latest album, Light, namely the song One Day. Today's song of the day is also off that album, the second track, We Will Walk.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
I really wish that I could tell you that Felicia D Henderson's learned from the criticism of her last issues, but I can't. I wish I could tell you that the book is getting better, that there is a reason to continue to spend the $3.99 on it each month, but once again, I can't.
Issue #83 of this series picks up on the story thread of Wyld, the creature that has taken Raven to another dimension. Henderson has clearly run out of ideas already, with yet another save Raven story line that we have seen so many times throughout the years. The plot in a nutshell is pretty simple: The Titans join forces with a couple of CADMUS Labs scientist in order to track Wyld, and in turn Raven. While the scientist work at finding a portal of some sort, an ailing Miss Martian is nursing back to health, and another Titan, Jamie a.k.a Blue Beetle, decides it's time to go home. In the end, the scientists find a portal, with the key being deep within the ocean, and the door being on an island used by the Russian Navy. In three sentences, I told you everything you needed to know about the story, yet somehow, Henderson managed to make a useless twenty-two pages out of it.
Last month in my review of Teen Titans #82, one of my complaints was Henderson's inability to find the voice of the characters. That complaint is still valid this issue, as she swaps story telling for bad innuendo, and teen drama reminiscent of middle school. Connor and Cassie's petty bickering, leading them to get a little heated and lusty before being interrupted. For some reason, Connor feels the need to tell Bart about him and Cassie almost hooking up, all of this Cassie hears, causing another fight, with Connor finally flying off. Not sure why any of that was necessary, these fickle emotions she pushes on these characters. Also, it always seems like Aquagirl is always looking to get some nookie, especially from Connor. What?
It seems like Henderson is trying to make these characters actual teenagers, annoying ones that can be seen on any lame MTV show. It's just not working for her, and I'm not really sure she knows how to fix it herself.
I hate campaigning for someone to get fired, but Henderson really needs to give up the title, almost anyone would be better. There was a rumor that ran on Bleeding Cool a couple weeks ago, about JT Krul possibly becoming the writer of Teen Titans due the reaction Henderson has been getting. While Krul isn't the best writer around, as noted by his Rise of Arsenal miniseries, his work on Blackest Night Titans, and the two parter in the ongoing certainly have earned him at least an opportunity to try his hand at the book. This book is like a sick puppy, one that you love, but hate to see suffer. Someone please put this book to rest before the characters are ruined for all of us.
In 2007, multitalented actor and funny-man, Jason Schwartzman, released his debut album, under the name Coconut Records. With some help form other famous friends, such as Kirsten Dunst, Zooey Dechannel, and brother Robert, who is also an actor, Jason crafted a great album, one that he wrote and recorded all the music on. The indie pop record grabbed many fans, namely by the main single, NIghttiming. But I think the record had two other excellent tracks on it, on being West Coast, the other being song of the day, Back To You.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
In Boston, there were two musicians, each doing their own solo projects. They eventually became members of each others band, also becoming romantically involved while touring Europe. After Europe, they decided to move to LA, where after four years, they called it quits on their relationship. Still writing and recording music, they discovered that all the songs they wrote were about each other, so they once again attempted this relationship, personally and professionally. Thus, The Submarines were born, the indie pop/rock duo that won fans with their sweet, simple tunes. You most likely know them for being the background music to two separate iPhone commercials, two instrumental tracks that appear on their album with words. But you also may know them from the Nick and Norah soundtrack, they catchy tune and song of they day, Xavia.
Only two weeks removed from the prehistoric Batman story, DC has released the second issue of Return of Bruce Wayne today, an issue where Bruce tackles the Puritan age. This chapter picks up immediately where we left off, and shines a little more light on the mystery that permeates Grant Morrison's Bat titles.
Bruce awakens by the unnamed woman, and quickly springs up as the large octopus monster is about to attack. As he grabs a sword, he tells her to run, and then bravely and foolishly attacks the monster. The monster though, is way more powerful than him, and knocks him unconscious, leaving the girl to rescue Bruce. Bruce once again awakens, this time to the sound of an unknown tongue, and he sees that he's in cave. The woman, and her pet ferret, have been nursing Bruce back to health, and her attempts appear to have been fruitful. Bruce opens his eyes, and notices some familiar charms hanging from the woman's neckless: The symbols of Superman and Wonder Woman. He attempts to speak, but he's still disoriented though, so the woman tells him to quiet, as she says something almost prophetic: "A Great Dark God has set his hand upon you. But stay with me and I'll love you. Until the end of time..."
Booster Gold, Skeets, Rip Hunter, Hal Jordan, and Superman arrive at Vanishing Point, the end of time, where they are attempting to learn any evidence as to Bruce's whereabouts, but they are limited to ten minutes there, ten minutes before the station is lost in the end of time itself. Their guide at Vanishing Point is biorganic archivist, a mysterious creature with long ears coming from it's head, a glowing left eye, and whose body appears to be covered in a curly fur. Superman asks the archivist if he can continue to trace Bruce's omega trail, so they can locate the lost hero. The archivist tries to explain the difficulty of this feat, going on to talk about time's ability to move forward and backwards, creating multiple vibrations of time. Rip chimes in about a track of time that is perpendicular to theirs: Cube Time. Archivist detects an infestation of something called hyperfauna, and a picture of the octopus monster appears on his screen. Superman realizes that then are essentially playing hide and seek with Bruce, who is a needle in a cosmic haystack as he puts it.
Back is the Puritan timeline, Bruce has taken the identity of a man named Mordecai, a devout man of God, and an ivestigator of sorts for the small village of Gotham. He's currently visiting upon a Mistress Tyler, who had a bat nailed to her door with a large knitting needle. Miss Tyler believes the bat was an omen put on her by a woman named Annie, who she believes works for the devil in the woods. Bruce isn't so sure though, and begins to take notice of random clues, such as Miss Tyler's large needles that she uses, her missing iron ladle, and her missing husband's clothes which have been mended. All of this points to Miss Tyler murdering her husband, and as Bruce says these things, a man named Malleus appears, and demands that Miss Tyler be taken away for her crimes as a which, only problem being that he has no evidence of witchcraft.
Miss Tyler is being tortured by the Malleus, drowning in a small lake. But Bruce/Mordecai storms in, and demands she is released for with crimes, saying that if she must be prosecuted, prosecute her for murdering her husband. Malleus is not happy about this, and says that Mordecai was sent to them to help rid them of witches, yet he won't let any executions take place. Bruce says that he has saved his fire for foes who've earned it, and he heads off into the woods.
In the woods, Bruce meets Annie, the woman that previously saved him, who lives all alone due to being shunned by the community for thinking she's a witch. She says that Malleus is terrified of "witches" since they can discover his true name, an identity who he wants no one to know. Bruce tries to rationalize their fears, explaining that when people are scared, they turn to explanations that are hard to be explained. Bruce becomes distracted though, as he begins to wonder why his memories only stretch back ten days, but Annie tells him not to ponder it, and kisses him.
Later, Bruce is getting his portrait drawn by an artist named Martin Van Derm, whose job is to document the Gotham community in illustrations. Bruce instructs Martin to pay close attention to every detail, highlighting the sketchbook Mordecai was holding in the pages of Batman and Robin #10. As the two make small talk, Malleus storms in, and begins to inquire of Bruce/Mordecai, asking why he talks so strange, and why he feels the need to have a portrait made. Bruce brushes off the verbal jabs, but Mordecai was there for a more important reason: The Dragon, or devil they believe, has been spotted in the woods, so Bruce, Mordecai, and two others run off into the woods.
In the woods, a man relates his sighting: A dragon with seven heads and ten horns, similar to the picture painted in the book of Daniel and Revelations. Malleus sees this as evidence of the devil, but Bruce is still not convinced, saying that the creature probably has descended from Earth, and not from Hell. This infuriates Malleus, who sees it his duty to protect Gotham from the devil. He begins to rant about a supposed eclipse that is set to occur, an eclipse that will let the devil walk in the day. The word eclipse seems to strike a chord with Bruce, as he vaguely recounts the eclipse that occurred in his last life, leading him to the present.
Bruce runs off to find Annie, and tells her that the woods are not safe, as the creature he encountered when he appeared is stalking the area. He then is struck with another revelation: He realizes that he's not Mordecai, Mordecai was the man that was killed when he appeared; Annie just dressed Bruce in his clothes. Annie confesses that Bruce is not from the church, and says that she "called," and Bruce came. He demands to be taken to the location where he was found, and Annie leads him to some ancient caves, caves that were once inhabited by people called Miagani, which means Bat-People. Bruce comes to realize the bats as a theme of sorts, and he also recognizes the caves, "from another life" he puts it. He now understands that Annie somehow summoned him and the dragon, which made them both appear, killing Mordecai. She says that she asked the heavens to send her an "angel" to rescue the native people from the settlers, so she wouldn't have to fight alone. Bruce once again warns her that they must leave, since the creature is running amok. As the words leave his mouth, the octopus monster emerges from the bottom of the cave, and attacks again. He tells Annie to once again flee, saying that monster is his responsibility since he brought it there.
Annie runs back into the village, to warn that the dragon is attacking. Malleus though, sees this as an opportunity to capture Annie, alleging that she used the lord's name in vain, and deeming her a witch. Him and his men begin to take a frantic Annie to the burning post, as she tries to warn them of Bruce/Mordecai's danger.
In the cave, Bruce is fighting off the monster, cutting off a few tentacles, and then throwing a flaming torch into it's mouth. With the creature down, Bruce goes for the kill shot, and then yells to Annie that something is wrong.
At Vanishing Point, there is three minutes left until the end of time, an event that even Superman couldn't survive. Just at this crucial moment, The Archivist shuts off, and begins to speak of the point in time Annie died at. Archivist then apologizes to Rip Hunter, saying though, that he can't be stopped after what he's been though to get there. He touches his head with a wirey finger, revealing the face of Bruce. "It's not over yet." he says, "So you'll all just have to trust me."
Superman begins to yell back at him: "You've been booby-trapped! Darkseid turned you into a doomsday weapon and aimed you at the 21st century.If you go back, you'll kill everyone."
He warnings are fruitless though, as Bruce takes control of the time sphere, and leaves them stranded.
Back at the village of Gotham, Annie is being hung by Malleus, citing her crimes as a witch. She tells him he'll pay though, as she knows his real name: Nathaniel Wayne. She curses him and all his kin until the end of time, and is then dropped to her death.
A last scene of the Puritan age reveals that Gotham was fruitful after Mordecai killed the monster, and he became somewhat of a legend in the community. But it gives the ominous warning that the devil was not done with Gotham...
Bruce emerges from a large body of water, loudly yelling Annie's name. He stumbles onto the sand of a beach, right under the boot of Blackbeard the pirate.
The second chapter of this Bruce Wayne mystery brings a lot of new points and questions. How is Annie connected to the larger picture of events? Why did he have those charms of Superman and Wonder Woman? Why was Nathaniel Wayne so desperate to conceal his identity from the village of Gotham? How is Bruce at Vanishing Point, and why did he leaves his friends there? I'm sure these questions will be lingering throughout the whole series.
Another interesting note is that we now know Darkseid will have Bruce destroy the world somehow, which is why Superman and co are so desperate to stop him, yet we don't how Bruce can destroy an entire world on his own.
It seemed though, at Vanishing Point, Bruce already knew the situation, and he told his friends to trust him. So whatever craziness ensues within the next four issues of the game changing series, I'm going to do just that. Trust Batman.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Common's Universal Mind Control was largely divided between critics, some praising it's innovative diversity, others bashing every aspect of it. The album featured guest stars, and heavily banked off of a electro/techno beat throughout. Take for example What a World, featuring Chester French, which mixes an interesting blend of techno and hip-hop with the result being a great track telling Common's origins and rise.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Lupe Fiasco, easily one of the most interesting and sensible men in the game, has had an interesting journey to fame. Born Wasalu Muhammed Jaco, he grew up Muslim in a very cultured household. Initially, he did not like rap, deeming it too vulgar, but after listening to Nas's It Was Written, he soon changed his tune, and set his sights on a career in hip-hop. After getting a record deal coming out of high school, he got to working on his debut album, Food & Liquor. It was instantly a success, getting rave reviews, grammy nominations, and sitting atop of the Billboard hip-hop charts for a while. Kick, Push was the most successful single off the album, his skater anthem that became a hit on the radio and within pop culture. His follow-up, The Cool, was a great record as well, and we can expect a third one later this summer.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
August of 2001 saw the release of The Faint's third album, Danse Macabre. It was pretty well received, as the dance-punk/new -wave band had one semi-popular single, the first track, Agenda Suicide. Another interesting track off the record, was the second song, Posed to Death. That song though, was definitely revamped on the 2003 release of Danse Macabre Remixes, where the band recruited prominent DJs to do different takes on their songs, and Posed to Death was all the better for it. The band last release was 2008's Fasciinatiion, which received good reviews as well, and as of recent, members of the band are exploring their electronic side though DJing and remixing under the name Depressed Buttons.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Possible one the greatest/strangest live performers of all time, The Flaming Lips continue to be masters of the indie scene with their interesting music. Their psychedelic/alternative/indie pop band have been making music since their 1986 debut of Here It Is, but they definitely reestablished themselves with the 1999 with the release of The Soft Bulletin. The follow-up, 2002's Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, was their tenth album, and no less better. The album contained themes of love, mortality, and an array of other emotions, but all mixed in with a sci-fy twist. The record was best known for the depressing love song entitled "Do You Realize", but one of the most memorable tracks was the third, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt.1. Since then, they have released two more incredible albums, and are currently on tour planning to play most major festivals this year.
Friday, May 21, 2010
After the failure of his band, front man Richard Archer was able to find an agent, and receive a loan in order to record some new material. Archer recruited some friends to play on these demos, and they soon signed with indie label Necessary Records. After making the demo, no one appeared to be interested in them, much the disdain of the hardworking band. But that soon changed, as they caught the attention of Atlantic Records, and were offered a chance to rerecord the album in a much better studio. Wanting to keep their sound, they recorded at the small office they initially recorded their demo at, and the result was Star of CCTV, one of their year's most welcomed surprise. Their song Cash Machine received the most airplay in the states, but one of, if not the best, was Hard to Beat, the fifth track on the album. The record as a whole was great though, as marked by their great reviews and sale of more than 1.2 million.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
On January 25th, 2005, the indie folk/rock band Bright Eyes released two albums. One was called I'm Wide Awake It's Morning, and it featured the same folky, almost country sound that they've been putting out for years. The other though, was called Digital Ash In a Digital Urn, and was a much more interesting electronica sound, which is quite experimental for this band. The album was absolutely one of the best of the year, as it featured Oberst's phenomenal songwriting, and incorporated it into this new music. If you've never heard any of this album, Arc of Time is a gooding launching pad, with it's folktronica take and melody.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Most artist do solo albums to create music that their bands usually wouldn't. Not Thom Yorke. If the album came out under the band Radiohead, we probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference, between the sounds. The lyrical content is not as similar though, as the album is a little for personal, while also mixing in his political agenda. Nevertheless, the album is just as interesting and experimental as any Radiohead one, so any fans of the band would most likely love it. Analyse, the second song and single off the album is a great song that features a cool Radiohead like beat and great vocals to match.
The second issue of Brightest Day was released today, featuring a beautiful cover with ominous connotations for our recently resurrected Aquaman. But the cover is quite misleading, as the issue doesn't deal much with Aquaman but rather The Martian Manhunter. Spoilers:
Firestorm is still is Professor Stein's lab, they are very confused though, as Stein and Ray Palmer say they have bad news, yet they don't give any details. They are told not to move, and Ray Palmer jumps into their chamber, dressed in some kind of fire-proof suit. Ray's going to jump inside Firestorm to attempt to disable the Matrix bonding them together, though he doesn't reveal why. Firestorm suggest they try to split naturally, but Ray tells them no, saying it's too dangerous. So Ray dives into the insanely hot Firestorm, locates the Matrix and attempts to push the subatomic particles apart to disband it. But something goes wrong, as Firestorm begins to share the same thoughts, and then suddenly catches on fire, eventually exploding...
In Pearl River, New York, a mother is preparing dinner for her three children who are playing Rockband. As she finishes setting the table, something suddenly overtakes her and she begins to udder a strange phrase: "A-Alive... He's Alive.
She grabs a knife of her table, and begins to brutally murder her children, afterwards pulling off her skin to reveal a White Martian.
In Denver, J'onn J'onzz is visiting the casket of Saul Erdel, the scientist that brought him to Earth from Mars. He finds a picture inside the hands of the dead scientist, a picture of him and his daughter, the woman J'onn saw in his vision.
The Hawks are still tearing through the Peruvian Jungle, hot on the trial of whoever stoles the bones of their first bodies. They storm into a strange lair, filled with pictures of them from every life, pictures of them while just being civilians, and plaster masks, molded from the faces of their previous incarnations. They soon deduce that the owner of the lair is Hath-Set, their original murderer. Infuriated by his obsession with them, with his continuing to murder, Hawkman decides it's time to find him, and kill him.
Back in Denver, J'onn visits Erderl's now elderly daughter, whose name is Melissa. He takes the form of her dead father, and flies her into the sky as he tries to discover information into her past. Melissa is quite senile tough, she just believes it all to be a dream, so J'onn's ability to read minds come in handy here. She beings to narrate the memories of her past: After finding a Aztec tablet as a boy, Erdel became obsessed with the idea of aliens. After he had a daughter, he would feed her these ideas, and eventually when she got old enough, she helped with his experiments. Erdel's first attempt to transport a Martian to Earth went very wrong, as he bought White Martian to the world. The White Martian destroyed the lab, and ran out after almost killing the scientist and his daughter. But that bad experience didn't stop Erdel's endeavors, as he now became obsessed with bringing another Martian to defeat the monstrous one. Thus, that's how the Martian Manhunter came to Earth, but of course this story didn't end well either. Erdel died saving J'onn from a generator explosion that destroyed parts of the lab again, and knocked Melissa unconscious as well as scarring her forehead forever. Erdel's last words to J'onn were: "save us from my arrogance... my recklessness..."
After reliving the memory, J'onn very touchingly tucks Melissa into her bed, as she says goodnight to her father. J'onn promises to return visit her as her father again, and he then leaves.
In Dubai, Boston Brand is still following Aquaman and Mera, but he's getting frustrated that they can't hear him. The King and Queen of the ocean dive into the water, and dead fish rise to the surface, but before Boston could do anything, he's teleported away by the White ring. He thrown to a dark, unknown land, where he is falling very quickly. The ring saves him, and then to Boston's confusion, it tells him to FIGHT. "Fight who?" he asks.
The last page is Boston in front of the Anti-Monitor, and he stares in bewilderment as he ponders what the ring told him to do.
One thing I really like about the book, is the array of different artists. Instead of DC getting some nobody artist to draw the series as quickly as possible, they used some well known DCU artists to draw different stories in the book. I really wish we could have had more Aquaman here though, since his story seems to be the most mysterious and destructive. But with that said, the ring teleporting Boston to the Anti-Monitor Universe was a great reveal, and I look forward to the fighting it out.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Seattle based indie-folk band, Fleet Foxes, initially rose to popularity in late 2007 after gaining thousands of plays and hits on their Myspace page. They soon caught the attention of indie label Sub Pop, and were signed shortly there after. In the summer of 2008, they released their first studio album, the self-titled Fleet Foxes. The album is considered somewhat of a masterpiece, as many magazines named it one of the best of the decade. Not everyone is into slower, folky, music though, but if you are, Fleet Foxes is definitely one to check out, starting with White Winter Hymnal.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Even if you're not a particular fan of their music, you'd have to admit that Oasis is one of the most entertaining groups around. Primarily because the two most famous members of the group, brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher, absolutely despise each other. The problem is though that Noel is the best song-writer in the group, where Liam is the better singer. This calls for many arguments, fist fights, name calling, and just overall bashing between the two. Their second studio album, the classic (What's the Story) Morning Glory, was no exception, as many drunken brawls occurred between the two, as well as both quitting, and eventually canceling the record. Of course as with many of their attempt to quit, they reconciled and finished the album. This album in particular though is something amazing, and was named best British album of the year, as well as taking home for the award for best British album of the last thirty this year. As of recent, Noel has once again quit Oasis,and Liam has declared the group, although he added that he will make music with the same members (except Noel) and that they will release new music under the same name unless they can think of a better one. So much for Oasis being dead.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
When 16 year old Zachary Condon dropped out of his Sante Fe high school to enroll in community college, his music career didn't seem very likely to happen. A year later though, he moved to Europe to stay with a cousin, where he became aware and a dan of Balkan folk music. Inspired by his new taste in music, he returned home to New Mexico, where he re-enrolled in college, and began work on his new album. Soon, he had a great collection of material he recorded in his bedroom, and was soon signed under the moniker of Beirut. This is where the project took full force, this interesting world/indie folk sound that became highly acclaimed in the indie/folk community. Postcards From Italy is one of his more well rounded songs, not to folky, not worldy, but just pretty.
Last night I realized that I'm kind of a moron, since my music player hasn't been working since I started the blog. So I think I fixed it now, and all music should work properly. If it's not working for anyone, please let me know and I'll try messing with it again.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Kate Nash is finally back with new material, an album called My Best Friend Is You, a very nice follow up to her debut of Made of Bricks. Now me personally, liked parts of Made of Bricks, but I did not think all was great, or even good at times. But her second album is a great improvement, mainly on the sound, as she tones it down less, with great tracks to match her lyrics/rants. Song of the Day, Kiss That Grrl, is a great show-off to her new indie pop vibe.
Friday, May 14, 2010
There are three member to the Swedish indie band Miike Snow: Andrew Wyatt, the singer and songwriter, plus Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg, the production duo who also go by the moniker Bloodshy & Avant. It was initially meant to be a side project, as Andrew Wyatt is one of the men behind the New York group The AM, and Bloodshy & Avant produce music for stars like Britney Spears and Jennifer Lopez. But the side project soon took full force, as they self-titled debut became quickly popular in the UK and US, with their first single Animal, which is the song of the day.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Justin Vernon ran away. He ran away to forget about the breakup of his band, the breakup with his girlfriend, and he just wanted to unwind. He had no intentions of writing music, yet he had a guitar, and some recording equipment, and when he emerged from his solitude three months later, he had an album. He wrote all the music, the lyrics, and played every instrument himself, and it all was recorded on old machines. The album was regarded as on the then best of the year, and some even named it one of the top 20 of the decade. It was a phenomenal, poetic journey he gave us, and today's song, Lump Sum, is a perfect example of that.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Last January, in the pages of Final Crisis #6, Batman was seemingly killed by Darkseid. The Caped Crusader went down a hero though, weakening the villain with a bullet made of radian, so he could be defeated. Skeptics weren't sure weather Batman actually died though, with him arguable being the most popular character in comics. The skeptics were rewarded, with the last pages of Final Crisis #7, where we see a Bruce Wayne writing on a cave, a cave that is supposedly from the beginning of time. Over the next couple months, DC told us that Bruce would be coming back though, but they didn't tell us how. WIth the current Batman and Robin, Dick and Damian, discovering clues about the whereabouts of Bruce, they realize that he is stuck somewhere in time, and it's up to them to find and rescue him.
Today the first issue of The Return of Bruce Wayne was released, the first of six chronicling the adventures of Bruce as he works his way through time, and supposedly, to the present. But first, he must conquer the past itself, starting with the caveman era. I'm going to attempt to give an accurate summary of the issue, with the plot being mysterious and brilliant, but the caveman talk being hard to follow.
The issue begins with a group of cavemen inspecting a rocket that is jammed in the ground. There are three main cavemen here, who are main characters though out the story. There is one with black hair and a full beard, there is a blond one, and the dark-haired one's son, a red-headed boy. The group walk towards a cave, and when they approach the entrance, a large number of bats fly out. The dark-haired caveman throws a rock inside, and a shirtless Bruce Wayne, holding his utility belt emerges out. He speaks in muddled words, and is not quite sure what is going on. The cavemen explain why they are there: The dark haired man is there to meet his father, who will teach the red-headed boy about being a man. Bruce seems to be able to understand them, but they can't seem to make out his speech, so they begin to make fun of him, and laugh. After a hearty growl from Bruce, they apologize as he works his way to the rocket.
The cavemen walk inside the cave, where they see the wall that Bruce was inscribing symbols of himself and other heroes. The dark haired man finds his father, who is the old man that Bruce laid to rest during the final pages of FInal Crisis. They carry him out, and take off a white necklace his was holding to his chest.
Bruce is opening the rocket, where he finds what looks to be a broken bat spotlight, and Superman's cape. As he walks back towards the cavemen, a rival tribe is preparing to attack from above...
As night comes, a fire is lit, dinner is made, and the cavemen once again discuss where the mysterious Bruce could have come from. They decide that he is from over the ocean, and name him, the Man of Bats. As the cavemen continue their discussion, it is interrupted by an attack from the rival tribe of cavemen. Arrows begin to fly, headed right towards the red-headed boy, but Bruce dives in front, taking the shots upon himself. He drags the boy into the bushes, and they watch as the rival tribe brutally attacks the family, killing the dark-haired man. Bruce jumps out to help in the battle, where he attack the tribal leader, who is revealed to be Vandal Savage. Savage is first baffled by the attacker, deeming him a man-god, but he soon comes to his senses and has his tribe knock Bruce around, rendering him unconscious.
Savage has Bruce on top of a hill, right next to a giant bat that has been skinned and posted in the soil. Vandal addresses his followers as they eat member of the tribe they just murdered, saying that he will fight the man-god tomorrow in the presence of the light, where after defeating them, he will eat Bruce's brain. He has his tribe use stakes to rope Bruce to the ground, where he will await his fight.
After Bruce falls asleep, he begins to have a strange dream, but is soon awoken by the red-headed boy. The boy has made himself a shield with a bat symbol on it, as well as a domino mask of sorts, a prehistoric Robin. He cuts Bruce loose, so they can warn other tribes of Savage's attacks.
Savage wakes up from his tent, where he immediately wants to begin his fight. He goes over to where Bruce was tied down, only to see that he is missing. Savage gets angry, and is quickly startled when Bruce, wearing the large bat skin, jumps out and attacks. Using his array of utility belt tricks, Bruce easily defeats Savage as a solar eclipse occurs. The new/old Robin finds the neckless his father died in, but is terrified, along with all the other cavemen, of the eclipse, thinking that they have angered the sun. The few remaining members of Savage's tribe attack the new Batman and Robin, forcing them to run away, and then jump into a large waterfall. As Bruce and the boy hit the water, the briefly sink, the boy then comes up shortly thereafter. He waits by the water for "the man of bat" but Bruce never emerges, so the boy leaves.
The evil tribe kick Vandal out, having been defeated by the Bat, he is no longer a worthy leader. As soon as he's gone, a bright flash occurs, and Superman, Booster Gold, Hal Jordan, appear along with a time sphere. Superman says that he knows Bruce was there, but he is gone now. He has a ominous warning though: If Bruce makes it back to the 21st century on his own, everyone dies.
Bruce opens his eyes under water, where he is pulled up by a woman wearing old fashioned clothing. He can now speak in phrases, as he asks the woman what is going on, and where the boy is. The woman doesn't know, but she refers to him as "Master Demon" as she asks what kind of horse he rode there. Bruce turns around and grabs a sword, as he sees a large octopus like creature with very sharp teeth behind him.
With one of six chapters in the book, I may have more questions than I did going in. How is Bruce traveling from era to era? Why is Superman and the other looking for him? And how can Bruce returning to the present kill everyone? Only time will tell.
Legendary musician, Paul McCartney has no intentions of slowing down. His 2007 album, Memory Almost Full, was his twenty-first solo album, not counting his experimental side project, The Firemen, his classical albums, his compilation albums, or his live albums. The album sold 161,00 it's first week, and easily went on the sell over 1.5 million worldwide. Dance Tonight, the second single off the album, performed well on the charts as well, and even had a music video featuring Natalie Portman. The sixty-seven year old singer still sounds great, as made evident by his 2009 live Good Evening New York City, which featured Beatle's and Wing's classics along with his own.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Freelance Whales, my new favorite band at the moment, are incredible. What's incredible about them? Well for one, their sound, which is a interesting blend of folk and pop, bringing a unique energy to every track. What's even more amazing to me, is the fact that they've only been together since late 2008, and after assembling, they recorded their first album, Weathervanes, which was released last month. The record is great, making good use of many different instruments to bring a fun vibe to each song. Kilojoules, which is the sixth track on the album, has such a happy feel, you wont be able to help but smile and sing along.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Formerly Say Hi to You Mom, now just Say Hi, are a Seattle based project which have been picking up steam. Frontman, Eric Elbogen, is actually the man behind the music, recording all the instruments and vocal inside his home, The highly efficient Elbogen, who has released six albums since 2002 under the previously mentioned moniker, has being wooing critics with his indie rock/pop/lo-fi sound. Today's song, Sweet Sweet Heartkiller, comes off his 2006 album, Impeccable Blahs, which is a showcase for his unhealthy obsession with vampires.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
B.o.B, is a relatively new player to the game, but he came out swinging. His album debuted at number on the Billboard charts, where he sold 87,00 copies. He's not just any hip-hop artist though, using his witty rhymes and and rock/rap beats to make a unique album. Song of the Day, The Kids, not only sample Vampire Weekend's Kids Don't Stand a Chance, but also features guest vocals by english singer, Janelle Monae.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
The Killers didn't really have a shot. After a couple lineup changes, and being turned down by multiple record label for not being good enough, things weren't looking good for them. But they eventually signed with a small indie label form the UK, where they had decent success there. After the US caught wind of The KIllers success, Def Jam signed them to a record deal, and they soon after released their first album, Hot Fuss. So after selling 7.5 million copies of the first album, after topping the Billboard charts for weeks, even months, after getting nominated for a Grammy, and winning a couple VMAs, it looks like The Killers got the last laugh. If you pop in the album Hot Fuss, and you skip past the hits, like Somebody Told Me, Mr. Brightside, and Smile Like You Mean It, you'll eventually come to track eight, Change Your Mind, which in my opinion, is the best track off the alternative rock band's debut.
Friday, May 7, 2010
New York natives, MGMT, saw their major-label debut in the 2007 release, Oracular Spectacular. Selling over a million copies worldwide, the record was very well received, and was named album of the year by multiple sources. The fifth track, Kids, is a synth-pop song based heavily on the 80's sound, and was nominated for a Grammy to which it eventually lost to the Black Eyed Peas.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
After a couple years of touring, 2003 saw the release of Yeah Yeah Yeahs debut album, Fever to Tell. The album immediately became a hit, and was even nominated for a grammy as well as appearing many best-of lists. The most popular song to come off the record was the 2004 single Maps, but one of the bests has to be the tenth track, Y Control. The alternative rock album went on the sell over a million copies, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs continue to release great music while being known as icons to their genre.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
We were promised an Oberon Sexton reveal, and a reveal we got. I hope you sitting down for this one.
Slade is still controlling Damian, using him to attack Dick violently with a shovel. At first Dick is confused by Damian's attacks, but after the new boy wonder yells SLADE, Dick soon realizes that Damian can't control his actions, yet he fights back stunning Slade on the other side of the spinal link. Oberon once again warns the Dynamic Duo of the villains in the cemetery, but Alfred flies down in the Batmobile, and offers help. Still ignoring the villains, Batman realizes that Damian and Slade's nervous systems are linked, and he uses a form of electric knuckles to shock Damian, which disrupts the link.
In Talia's lair, Slade begins to feel the pain Damian is, causing him to tear off the link, releasing Damian from their control.
In the cemetery, the villains are once again attacking, but announce that they got what they came for, a stone tablet with a bat insignia on it. The villains run away, as Alfred shoots the water cannon from the Batmobile. Batman notes that everyone got hurt, and insists that Oberon should visit a hospital. But Oberon declines, saying that he needs to speak with Batman in his hotel, because it is just the beginning.
Alfred is tending the Dick and Damian's wounds, as Dick tries to explain what he saw in the tunnel that led from the mansion. He explains that he followed a length a railroad tracks to an underground river, and there was a statue with a tunnel behind it, which is where he found a casket. It is here he encountered a GIANT BAT, but the most peculiar detail, is that all the evidence has disappeared with the villains that attacked in the cemetery. As they think about their next move, Damian expresses disbelief that his mother would be so cruel to him, and says that he must return and confront her at the base. But Dick won't let Damian go alone, and says he will tag along after they analyze evidence of Bruce's return. Alfred points out that the mansion was built for Darius Wayne, by a designer named Nathan Van Derm, and when looked at from above, the building makes a W. But what's even stranger, is that when you connect the line segments of the past and present Wayne property, a Bat is formed. Dick insists that they need to retrieve the casket stolen from the underground tunnel, and with that, they set off for Talia's.
Batman and Robin punch their way through Talia's assassins, and make their way into the control chamber. It is here they meet Talia, and a shouting match begins between her and DIck. But Damian calmly insist that he must to speak to his mother alone, so they take a walk, while Dick visits a recovering Slade.
Slade is in a hospital bed, when Dick shows up to slap him around. He warns Slade to leave the Bats alone, threatening to take him down with minimal effort if needed.
Damian and Talia are walking down a hall, and Talia once again tries to convince Robin to leave Batman, and begin to accept his destiny to rule the world. But Damien declines again, admitting that becoming Robin is the best thing he's ever done. Talia says she anticipated a similar response, and takes him to a room that will supposedly change his decision. What Damian sees next shocks him, as he gazes at a baby being grown in a tube. Talia reveals that the baby is another Damian, one that will be ten years younger than the current one. She threatens to click a proverbial reset on Damian, saying that if he does not accept his destiny, she will start over with a new clone. It is here we see Damian for who he really is: just a little boy, wanting to be loved by his mother. He asks if his mother can just love him for who he is, to which Talia replies no. She banishes her son from her lair, declaring him an enemy of the House of Ghul, and a sad Damian accepts his new fate.
Back in Gotham, the villains from the Wayne Cemetery fight are discussing El Penitente's plans, while waiting for the train. On the incoming train, El Penitente, who we're pretty sure is Dr. Hurt, is sitting across from the sole remaining member of The Black Glove who is terribly nervous about the murder of the other members. They seem to know who the killer is, and as El Penitente slips on a Black Glove, he says he always finishes what he started.
Alfred, Batman, and Robin are exploring the underground tunnel, and Dick is startled to find no evidence of his previous trip down there. But they do discover something that confirms their theories: A rock with a crude painting of a sun on it, with a tattered cowl hanging from two deer antlers. Dick tells Alfred to alert the Justice League, as he realizes that all this craziness is leading to head, one that will take every ounce of brilliance to beat.
Back in Oberon Sexton's hotel, Batman and him are discussing the events that occurred, and Dick begins to push for Oberon's identity. He says that both he and Damian know something familiar about Oberon, to which Oberon once again denies being Bruce, while saying that Damien is not the detective his predecessors were. Dick agrees, and then reveals the clues he discovered about the domino killers murders. "It's all a routine, isn't it?" he asks. "They're all jokes." he declares, as Oberon pulls off his mask to reveal a smiling Joker.
This issue couldn't have been much better, as Grant brought his fourth story arc to a close with a incredible creative revelation. As we now know the identity of Oberon, we still don't know all his motives, and what his next move will be after his identity is compromised. It looks like the next arc will be pivotal in Dick's career as Batman, as it looks like we're headed for Batman vs. the Black Glove, round two.
Last month, Brightest Day #0 set up the forward progress of the DCU. Today, we see where everything thing is heading, and the greater mystery begins to unfold.
Picking up right after Green Lantern #53, the white power battery is still set in the crater in Silver City, New Mexico. This is where Sinestro has brought Hal and Carol, to see if the Green Lantern can move the battery. The battery doesn't budge at Hal's attempt, and after seeing him fail, Carol brings up the story of the Sword and the Stone, noting that only the King, King Arthur, can remove the mighty sword from is stone sheath.
We are now brought to Boston Brand, the former Deadman, who reminds us that he no longer has powers, cannot been seen or heard while being left to the whims of the white ring. He is currently on a rusty ship in the middle of the ocean, and watches hopelessly as the child traffickers are about to abuse their crying prisoners. But the children don't get hurt, as Aquaman and Mera jump out to rescue the kids. They take out all the traffickers, with an impressive display of being bulletproof, and Mera's water-dragons. After beating out all the criminals, they realize that their is another boat with more traffickers on it, so Aquaman summons a unlikely creature to help out. With his call, an enormous octopus emerges from the water taking down the ship. But they realize something weird about the animal, it's dead. With another call, Arthur summons a zombie shark, and soon realizes that the animals are killing people instead of subduing them.
In Westport, Massachusetts, a butcher is slicing fish, while customers watch the news of Aqauman's return. One customer expresses his excitement for the return of the protector of the seas, and the sends the butcher in a blazing rage, using his knife to kill everyone in the room, and then running out the door.
In the Pittsburgh University lab, Firestorm in it's new combo os Ronnie and Jason, are arguing with each other, as the look for Professor Stein. After trading jabs at one another, the attempt to spilt into their regular forms, but it doesn't succeed and leaves them in great pain. After the failed split, Professor Stein speaks over a intercom from a room with Ray Palmer, where they reveal that can longer split, and that they have worse news...
On Mars, J'onn is moving the large block of ice he found underground, so he can melt it and create water to build back life on his home planet. As soon as the ice melts, a green stalk begins to sprout from the soil, and J'onn flies down to inspect it. He touches to little green plant, and immediately he holds his head as he becomes half black lantern. A vision appears in his head of his hands around the neck of Professor Erdel, the man who accidentally beamed J'onn to Earth. In the vision, he also notices a woman lying dead in the background. After returning to normal, he realizes that he was just a victim of a psychic attack coming from Earth, and sets off to the planet to find the girl in the vision he just had.
In the Peruvian Andes, the Hawks are being led by the Claw of Horus that was fused with Zamaron crystal. They now see the men in white snowsuits, who have the bones of the original Hawks incarnation, and chase them to a jet flying above. They break through the jet to take out the white snowsuit guys, and then discover the bones of their past selves, who perplexes them as they thought they were destroyed during Blackest Night. Before they can think about the discovery any further, a sneaky snowsuit buy send off a stun grenade of some sort, and with the Hawks distracted, he slips out with bones. As the Hawks rescue the unconscious guys with the falling jet, they realize that they're being targeted. The last panel of their story, is Hath-Set, who is in South America, holding their bones in the Peruvian Amazon.
The last pages are of the butcher we met earlier, as he watches his former shop explode, he walks into the ocean, only to emerge as Black Manta.
So with the second issue Blackest Night in the books, the mysteries kicks off, are there are many: The mystery of the white light, Aqauman's zombie issue's, Firestorm's splitting problems, J'onn's visions, and the Hawks bodies, it seems like there will be a lot to cover in twenty-weeks. While the issue was great, and the writing superb, a concern I have is the issue may have to many storylines for one issue. Even though the mystery deepened, we still didn't receive much progress on the stories themselves. Nonetheless, the book is sure to be entertaining to the end, and I look forward to discovering everyone's role is this new DCU.
An incredibly innovative band out of Syracuse, Ra Ra Riot maybe be our American Arcade Fire. Through their clever use of string instruments such as the cello and violin, they manage to craft deep, moody indie rock with one of the most unique sounds today. Ra Ra Riot's first album, The Rhumb Line, was incredibly popular in their genre, and a follow up is planned for release this year.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Hospice, the third album by Brooklyn band The Antlers, was released in the summer of 2009 to much critical acclaim, maybe not so much for the music, as the story, the words, the feeling in every song. Hospice is a concept album, one that tells the story of a man who works at a cancer ward, where he meets a depressed bone cancer patient that he begins to look after. He falls in love with her, but he has to watch her die with him right by her side the whole way. While that may sound like a horribly depressing idea to listen to eleven songs about, the haunting simplicity of the soft melodies may overcome you until to point where you can no longer resist enjoying this album.
Monday, May 3, 2010
Jens Lekman is an interesting guy, as noted by his blog. He used to run a topic of the month discussion, where the topics ranged from sports, to The Cold War, to knife collections. But an interesting guy makes really interesting music, like his fan-favorite song A Postcard to Nina, where he describes the hilarity that ensued after his lesbian friend asked him to pose as her boyfriend to her parents. Song of the Day is Kanske Är Jag Kär I Dig, which when translated means Maybe I'm In Love With You. From his second album, this song describes he awkwardness around woman, making him converse about pigs, dogs, and lumberjack coats.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Trying to emulate their idols such as The Velvet Underground, and The Doors, The Strokes released their lo-fi debut album, Is This It in the summer of 2001. The result wasn't a crappy cover band trying to remake classics, it was a new genre of sorts, a alternative rock, that was short and semi-distorted. Between it's release nine yeas ago, and now, 3.5 million copies have been sold worldwide of this modern classic, which received reviews naming it one of the best of all time. After frontman Julian Casblancas solo album and tour, The Strokes went back to work together, and have an album and tour planned this summer after they headline Lollapalooza.
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Wolfmother's style is usually loud, and brash, shown in their rocking singles Mother, and Joker & the Thief. But last year, in the (500) Days of Summer soundtrack, they contributed a song called Vagabond, the last song on their debut album. At first I couldn't believe it was them, because it was toned down a lot, not even featuring an electric guitar until the end. It was a really interesting result, one which I think turned out to be a best of theirs.