Monday, September 26, 2011

Songs I'm Obsessed With: "Ammonia Avenue" by Alan Parsons Project

I know what you're thinking: out of all the Alan Parsons Project songs out there, I picked "Ammonia Avenue". Well, no you're not, because you probably haven't heard of this group. To you, this group is a totally unknown entity that I just pulled out of a top hat. But to me, it's like reaching into the hat and pulling out something I had no idea was there. That is, I'm not familiar with this band, either. I haven't listened to any other Alan Parsons Project songs or albums, and I probably won't, unless someone very, very good argumentation can convince me to buy an album. Yes, I know, I should be intrigued by the quality of this song and want to explore further, but really there are other things I would prefer to spend my money on right now, especially since I'm saving up for the inevitable rush of new video games.

Monday, September 19, 2011

My coming out story...

I'm From Driftwood is a website that publishes the stories of gay men and women, of their coming out, of their life and times. Nothing sexy, of course, this is meant to be heartfelt and touching. I wrote them a couple of weeks ago with my coming out story and an application for them to publish it. They posted it to their website today. You can read it here. Read some of the other stories they have while you're at it. Gay civil rights is an issue that really needs a name and a story, not just numbers and arguments. These guys provide that.

Songs I'm Obsessed With: Lord of the Rings credit music by Howard Shore

No, that isn't the title because I forgot the name of the song, it's because I'm doing multiple songs in this post.

Howard Shore has to be one of the greatest film score composers alive. His credentials are impeccable, having worked on films such as The Aviator, Mrs. Doubtfire, The Departed, and of course, The Lord of the Rings. In fact, he's so very great he is seconded only by John Williams, who is responsible for almost all the recognizable movie music you've ever heard (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park).

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Getting Mylo Xyloto...

I've been on the fence for getting the new Coldplay album, Mylo Xyloto, for a while now. On one hand, I've had a really strong hit-and-miss experience with Coldplay albums in the past. I loved Parachutes, I liked X&Y, I thought A Rush of Blood to the Head was only okay (though I did love "The Scientist" and "Clocks"), and Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends was meh at best. On the other hand, I did really like "Every Tear Drop Is a Waterfall," they're apparently expanding their sound quite a bit, and not getting it would shatter my ability to say I own every Coldplay studio album (I don't get to say that often; only for Cake, The Beatles, System of a Down and Radiohead, maybe one or two more).

In the end I decided to get it. $15 wasn't really going to be a big deal, and if I hate it at least I didn't spend a fortune. It would also bring traffic to the site if I bought and reviewed the new Coldplay album. (It certainly did for I'm With You, to a certain extent.) They are a really popular band, after all, and the reviews for much older albums are just collecting dust anyway. Really, I would review new music if I could, but I just don't have the money to get all the stuff I want. Now, if publishers would send me new music before it came out so I could prepare a review for day 1 and not have to pay for it, then it would be completely different. Unfortunately, a small blog in the dark corners of the internet doesn't get much attention.

So anyway, I will be getting the new Coldplay album. You can expect a review from me within a week of its release. The only other new albums I currently have on my radar are Biophilia by Björk, which I think comes out some time mid October, and Invinsible by Skylar Grey, which does not currently have a release date.

That is all.

Review: Broken Social Scene - You Forgot It In People

The "We Are the World" of indie musicians.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Someone, please tell me this isn't a bad idea!

Something to bring together strangers and have intelligent discussions.

Review: Dream Theater - A Dramatic Turn of Events

A dramatic turn of events, indeed.

New rating system...

For a long time I was against the idea of applying some kind of rating system to my reviews, simply because for so many people it negates the need to actually read the review that I've written. It destroys the point of the review in favor of a simple picture to show people what I think of the thing I'm reviewing, instead of actually reading the details of what I like and don't like.

However, I'm not sure that's the case, and I think that to appeal to a slightly larger audience, I should at least try it out.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Review: Bright Eyes - LIFTED, or the Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear To the Ground

I must admit that I didn't know what to expect from this album. I had two things to go by: one, the song "Shell Games," which was released nearly a decade after this album and, according to an acquaintance, does not accurately portray Bright Eyes in their earlier days. Two, I knew the only other artists that used particularly long names and complete sentences for their album and song titles are punk and emo bands. (e.g., "The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide is Press Coverage" by Panic! at the Disco and "I've Got A Dark Alley and a Bad Idea That Says You Should Shut Your Mouth (Summer Song)" by Fall Out Boy.) Of course, Bright Eyes are neither emo nor punk, but more of a folk band, with Conor Oberst as its founder, backbone and lead singer. Very little of the actual music suggests emo inspiration; in fact, these guys are a hell of a lot better than that.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dream Theater's New Album

It just came in the mail today, so you should be expecting a review of it at some point in the near future. Obviously if you're interested you probably won't be holding out for me to pass judgement on it, so you'll already have it by now. Anyway, at least you'll be able to read my opinion of the new drummer. All I've heard of the single is a few seconds so I don't really have an opinion just yet. As much as I wish Portnoy hadn't left, I'm sure he's off doing something new and interesting, and as long as this new guy's good enough to fill those shoes, I'll be satisfied.

Incidentally, I also got another ten albums since the fifth. Seven of those were more birthday presents, and three of them, Veckatimest - Grizzly Bear, Hot Fuss - The Killers, and Roll the Bones - Rush. I don't feel like listing the rest because I'm just like that, I guess. You'll see them in a little while anyway.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Songs I'm Obsessed With: "Invisible" by Skylar Grey

Have you ever heard of Holly Brook? No, of course you haven't. She is a singer-songwriter who only released one album back in 2006. At least, I don't remember this. Though, I wasn't really a big music person back then.

Have you ever heard of Skylar Grey? Yes, of course you have. She's been all over the place, being featured in many rappers' songs, like "Coming Home" by Diddy - Dirty Money and "I Need A Doctor" by Doctor Dre (but really more Eminem than Dre). She also co-wrote "Love The Way You Lie" for Eminem, which was nominated for song of the year and record of the year at the 2011 Grammy awards. She recorded a demo of the song, which is on YouTube. Go watch now!

Know what these two people have in common? Have you guess yet? Yes! They are the same person! Wait... you knew that already? I didn't.

Frankly, I've been waiting for news on her Skylar Grey debut ever since I heard "I Need A Doctor" at the Grammies. "Dance Without You" ended up coming out without my knowledge, and when I saw this on the "single of the week" space on iTunes, I was like "HOLY SHIT YES THIS IS AMAZING MUST HAVE NAU NAU NAU!" Then I got her other single, and I was happy. I wish I had gotten this out when it was free, so everyone else could have it for free too, but you'll have to pay a small fee. It's worth it, trust me.

You just need to hear this woman's voice to know she will make waves, and if she doesn't, there's something seriously wrong with this world. Her album is set for Fall 2011. I hope this will hold me over until then.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Video Game Review: "Catherine" - Atlus

Yes, I thought I'd get into reviewing video games.

In a land of sequels, prequels, big budgets, tired old IPs and identical new IPs, one wonders where all the creativity has gone. Certainly not to the next Call of Duty, where all they need is a few more guns and maps to call it a new game, and definitely not the indie game scene, where most of its inspiration seems to come from age-old fads resurrected. What the industry really needs once in a while is a kick in its side from something so staggeringly strange and wonderful that it's almost impossible not to love.

Enter Catherine, the new title from Japanese developer Atlus, who are behind the Megami Tensei and Trauma Center IPs. These people certainly specialize in the weird and creative, and Catherine has only that in common with their other titles, nay, other video games in general.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Book Progress 2.0

I'm kind of going on hiatus from the book for now. I'm still thinking of ideas and writing them down, developing character ideas in my head and all that good stuff, but now written progress other than that is being made. Unfortunately, since college and homework are taking so much of my time lately, I haven't had time to make any progress. Plus, I'm at the point where I'm creating all the little incidentals for Job, like "What's your favorite color?" and "What scares you the most?" That second one might not be so incidental (muahahaha!). Anyway, they're my least favorite part of creating characters, and often it leaves me stumped for the importance. Big things, I can do; little things, finer details, not so much. I'm about 70% done with Job, though, and I think I'll do the other main character next. Well, not so much a main character but an important one nonetheless.

I'll probably pick it back up during the winter holiday while I'm thinking of what I want to take during the Spring semester and preparing ever more for attending a four-year college next fall. You might not see many more progress reports until then, so... until then!

Review: MGMT - Oracular Spectacular

MGMT came from practically nowhere in 2007 to release an album that would become immensely popular and would go on to become one of the greatest albums of the past decade. It's really hard not to have heard at some point one of the songs from this album.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Letting you know in advance...

I received birthday gifts today, many of which are CD album LP's by various artists, including Oracular Spectacular - MGMT, Return to Cookie Mountain - TV on the Radio, 18 - Moby, System of a Down, Transmissions from the Satellite Heart - The Flaming Lips, LIFTED, Or The Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground - Bright Eyes, and Pet Sounds - Beach Boys. I will likely be reviewing all of them except the very last one mentioned. I might even start doing video game reviews and do the games I got, L.A. Loire and Catherine. (Yes, I got Catherine. You got a problem with that?) Just thought I'd let you know what to expect in the coming weeks.

Songs I'm Obsessed With: "Knocked Up" by Kings of Leon

Happy Labor Day, everyday people! I'm sure you're not actually reading this and are instead having fun with your not working, but hey, let's take a look at a great song just for kicks.

Long before Kings of Leon were the band known for mega-hits like "Use Somebody" and "Sex On Fire," they, well, weren't really known. Before they were very commercially successful, they had a very different musical style. It was harder, it was heavier and it was more soulful. Not that they aren't good now, they were just different back then, like how The Flaming Lips were different after Clouds Taste Metallic.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Review: The Dissent of Man by Bad Religion

Maybe you noticed how pleasant most of my reviews tend to be, how they try their hardest to look for something decent to hear and to convey to the reader (like I'm With You or Enter the Wu-Tang). If you didn't notice, I certainly did. Fortunately, I happen to have a particularly hateful review of Bad Religion's The Dissent of Man. Here, I can't even reach my minimum of three decent songs because it's all total crap. It's a little short by my current review standards, but that's because I wrote it a while ago, and I didn't really have much to say anyway. I mention reviews for Dookie by Green Day and From Under the Cork Tree by Fall Out Boy, which I would be happy to share if you wanted to see them.

Please enjoy.