Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween 2012

Happy Halloween everyone!

I work tonight so, won't be doing much celebrating. Here's a photo from this past weekend of my girlfriend and I in our costumes.

coordination is key
She was Harley Quinn, I refused to be the Joker because that's kind of played out, so I went as a halfassed Evil Jester. At least we match. haha. Last Halloween I selected some "spooky" themed metal tunes for you bloggers to enjoy. This year I'm going the opposite route: Sexy Halloween costumes. That's what Halloween is all about anyways. Dem Nekkid Ladiez. Heeeey. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Movie Review: End of Watch

David Ayer makes some damn good cop movies. Training Day (writer), Harsh Times, and now End of Watch. The film isn't perfect, in fact, it's kind of odd, but overall it's safe to say Ayer's latest cop drama is a damn good movie.

So End of Watch is a kind of sort-of, found footage type film. Stop right there, I know what you're thinking: "I hate all these Paranormal Activity type found footage crap fest movies of the past few years." Yeah I know, me too. Luckily, End of Watch isn't like that.  It goes like this:

Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena are two cops patrolling the mean streets of South Central Los Angeles. Gyllenhaal's character is also taking a college film class, so he goes around recording his daily work routine. I thought this plot device was kind of lame at first but then I realized it's a cool way to show car chases and heighten tension, walking into a dark house from the cop's perspective, etc. etc. Also, the film does not consist entirely of "found footage" stuff. Ayer utilizes some crazy handheld camera work, and chooses some unconventional shots/angles, which appear to blend seamlessly into the rest of the footage and successfully draws the viewer into Gyllenhaal and Pena's world.

That's basically the what the film is about. The plot is kind of irrelevant. The core of the film is Gyllenhaal and Pena's AMAZING chemistry together. We follow these two cops in their patrol car and become so engrossed in their partnership that by the end of the film, they feel like real people that we know and care for.

Also, I just love LA movies. Hollywood may sit in Southern California, but they don't film jack here anymore and if they do, it's in a sound stage or the same yuppie ass parts of town they always use. End of Watch was filmed on location, in Los Angeles. As a SoCal native, it's cool seeing landmarks or references to streets/cities that you know. All the random Spanglish dialogue was rad too.

The movie isn't perfect. Some of the "gangsters" go a little overboard in their performances, and at times, you might ask yourself: "why on Earth are they recording themselves doing that??? Oh yeah, found footage..." but other than that, I have no real complaints about this film. Gyllenhaal and Pena are dynamite together, along with most of the cast and I think it's safe to say this is Ayer's most powerful and moving film.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Chicks With Drums: Lux (2)

In honor of my previous DrumTHRONE inductee, Mr. Igor Cavalera, here is the lovely Lux covering Sepultura's thrash classic, "Arise." She's fast folks =p

Friday, October 26, 2012

DrumTHRONE: Igor Cavalera

Igor Cavalera was one of my earliest drum heroes. I remember having geeky discussions about who was better, Igor or Dave Lombardo (that's what teenage metal heads do man) and being torn. The dude is a natural behind the kit. An amazing combination of speed, power, grooves and a unique playing style that is all his own.

80's hair FTW
Igor first rose to prominence playing with his brother Max in thrash metal legends Sepultura. In the late 1980's, Sepultura took the underground metal world by storm. They started out as a sort of proto-death metal band and Igor's playing was fast but kind of sloppy. Then, at the ripe old age of 17, Sepultura released Beneath The Remains, a certified thrash classic, and Igor began perfecting his trade mark drum sound. Unfortunately there aren't too many HD videos of Igor's playing in the early days. Here is his isolated drum track from "Inner Self" to illustrate his awesomeness though.

Flash forward to the early 1990's. Sepultura begin to step away from their trash metal comfort zone and begin incorporating more elements of their native Brazilian music into their sound. Igor's tribal drumming on 1993's Chaos A.D. and especially on 1996's Roots, set the standard that just about every Nu-Metal band in the late 90's/early 2000's would rip off.

Igor and his brother Max had a falling out after Roots. Max left Sepultura but Igor and the rest of the band continued on without him. They kept going for nearly a decade until finally, Igor and Max resolved their brothers quarrel and Igor left Sepultura to form Cavalera Conspiracy in 2006. Sepultura still exists as a band to this day but it's basically a karaoke/tribute band at this point. The Cavalera brothers started that band, without Max or Igor, they cease to exist in my mind.

Igor remains one of my favorite drummers but I must say he has one of the oddest, most painful looking drum setups I've ever seen. Just look at his toms. I'd break my wrist in a minute playing his kit.

arthritis incarnate

Now in his 40's, Igor seems to have grown past the confines of "metal" music. He's a successful DJ and member of electronic music duo MIXHELL (performing alongside his wife) and also a father of four. Either way, I'm just stoked the Cavalera brothers are back together and cranking out the jams again. It's the closest thing to a Sepultura reunion we'll ever see, and any excuse to have Igor bashing the drums again is fine with me.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Superman VS. are not ready:

Wow. Just WOW. This dude Mike Habjan has made the gnarliest CGI video EVER. Superman VS The Incredible Hulk. Watch. WATCH!

How awesome is that? Superman looks exactly like Christopher Reeve from the original movie. I'm no DC fanboy, and I'll be the first to bash Superman as being a boyscout/boring, but holy shit he looks intimating as fuck at the 0:42 mark in the video. That insane, Kryptonian swag walk he's got going on there. I'm super stoked as you can tell.

DC/Warner...give it up. You'll never make an awesome live action film like The Avengers, There's no way your boy in red and blue pajamas can pull this off. Instead, please follow Mike Habjan's lead and go the CGI route. How awesome would a full length computer animated comic book movie look on the big screen?

Can't wait for the next installment of this series Mike! Keep it up!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Hatebreed: 10 Years of Perseverance Tour @ The Fox Theater, Pomona.9/29/12.

I can't believe it's been a decade since Hatebreed dropped their major label debut/Earth shattering album, Perseverance. Has it really been that long? I remember carefully placing that Hatebreed sticker on my high school locker like it was yesterday. Bumpin' this album during countless workout sessions, and grueling car rides to work over the past 10 years...this record has become like a close friend. Even though I sort of stopped following Hatebreed over the past few years, and haven't seen them in concert since 2006, I was beyond stoked for this special anniversary tour, where they promised to play the entire Perseverance album in it's entirety.

A little something about this record. It's the soundtrack to your personal revolution. You can accomplish anything with this album. Like the title says, it's about PERSEVERANCE. No matter what kind of shit you're going through, this album can and will help your overcome. Yeah it's a fast and brutally heavy hardcore record, maybe a little too aggressive for the average Top 40 fan, and although aggressive, the music is simple, catchy and most of all, the lyrics are positive and motivational beyond belief. Jamie Jasta is my personal Drill Sergeant. Check it out:

I know your fear of loss
And your struggles with faith
And how it takes everything that you have to face the day
The virtues you possess now bring you eternal pain
All you have is contempt for a life you can't obtain
All your heroes have failed you
Yet you try and prevail
Face your torment and dismantle your doubt
Refuse this legacy of shame and deceit
Cause the only real truth in your life that you know is hostility

Your world is coming apart
Remain steadfast

Against all opposition
Crushing all limitations
Pure strength through solitude
Discipline and determination

You can't accept what you've been told
Anchored in sin you must reverse your descent
Declare the weight of the world has yet to claim you
And admit that your faults will not restrain you
Glimpses of fate bring light to your despair
Realise hope isn't short of your grasp
Resurrect every dream that you've buried alive
And never succumb to the war that you fight in your heart

Your world is coming apart
Remain steadfast

Against all opposition
Crushing all limitations
Pure strength through solitude
Discipline and determination
 Jesus H. Christ. How does that NOT get you pumped? I'm a relatively scrawny guy but I feel like fucking Superman (nay, THOR) after listening to Hatebreed.

Anyways, on to the actual concert. We missed the first opening band who I never heard of, and caught the last song from All Shall Perish which was a bummer since they're pretty cool. Oh wells. Whitechapel was next. They got a good reaction from the crowd and even though I'm not a huge fan of their deathcore sound, they put on a good live show and their drummer rips. 

Of course the main event was Hatebreed. They came out, the place went nuts. I went nuts. Instant time travel to the early millennium. I've been to some crazy shows at the Fox before, but I've never seen the floor turn into an absolute war zone like this. This was my 4th time seeing Hatebreed live, but first in about 6 years so I kind of forgot how insane the crowds get at their shows. People jumping, moshing, kung-fu fighting and singing, dear lord the singing. It felt like the audience was louder than the band at some points.

The band mixed their setlist up a bit. They played their entire Perseverance album, with songs from throughout their discography mixed in between. All of Hatebreed's songs have the same, uplifting/chest beating quality to them. "Before Dishonor," "Tear it Down," "Live For This," "Destroy Everything,"  "In Ashes They Shall Reap," these additional tunes kept the energy going all night.

I don't usually lose my voice from singing along at concerts, unless it's Iron Maiden or something epic, but I was definitely a little raspy the next day. My love of Hatebreed has been rekindled and my undying respect for their Perseverance album has only been reinforced. All an all, an amazing show.

Pomona/SoCal represent.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Movie Review: Looper

Well, that was unexpected. I loved director Rian Johnson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt's previous collaboration, on Johnson's 2005 film Brick, so I had high hopes for their new project Looper...but I still wasn't prepared for what they actually delivered.

Looper has been hyped as a sci-fi, gangster film but it's really much more than that. Although we've been led to believe the movie is about a hitman trying to kill an older, time traveling version of himself, like the Wu-Tang Clan of old, Looper is actually all about da' children.

hello me, meet the real me
The film takes place in 2044. In this bleak Blade Runner-ish future, the cities are filthy and crime ridden, poverty and lawlessness are facts of life, and a small percentage of the population even has freaky mutant powers (parlor tricks, not X-MEN level...). In 2074, time travel is invented and mobsters from the future send people they want killed 30 years into the past, where a handy dandy hitman (a "looper") blows them to kingdom come. Well, Joseph Gordon Levitt's character Joe is living the looper life in the fast lane to the fullest (money, drugs, call girls) until one of his targets gets the drop on him and escapes. This is frowned upon, because dudes from the future running around in the past can have dire consequences on the space time continuum...especially when that dude is a pissed off older version of yourself  (Bruce Willis).

So that's the plot. It's cool but you're not supposed to take it too seriously. Willis even warns Levitt (i.e. himself!) not to think too much about all the time travel mumbo jumbo or it'll drive you nuts. What you do need to focus on is the human aspect of the film. Winning hearts, minds and children. Yes for all the violence, geeky sci-fi elements and Piper Parabo getting naked, Looper is really a family film. I can't explain how or why without massive spoilers but trust me, it is. In fact by the film's end it should leave you feeling all warm and gooey, and even choked up inside.

Levitt carries the film on his shoulders and does a great job as leading man, even with all the silly prosthetics on his face trying to make him look like a young Bruce Willis. Speaking of Willis, it's so good seeing him actually act again and not just phone it in playing the same old decrepit version of his 80's action self. In Moonrise Kingdom he did wonders as the sad and lonely police chief and here in Looper, he's the sad and angry avenging husband. Turns out emotions are Bruce Willis' secret weapon. Emily Blunt and Jeff Daniels are great too. Daniels' role is small but he had me laughing like it was 1994 all over again.

I loved how grounded and probable the future world Johnson created looked. People wear jeans and t-shirts. They drive regular looking cars & trucks (albeit with solar panels and bio-fuel rigs on em') and cell phones/computers are still practical, not floating orbs of omniscient power. In Johnson's future world society has all but crumbled. People have access to weapons and dangerous technology like time travel, which can effectively shape and reshape the world around them as they see fit. But none of that matters if deep down inside, you're still an asshole. Who we are as people, individuals and collectively is what matters most. All the gadgets and plot devices in the world can't change a bad apple's core. The underlying theme of Looper is, raise your children right...for everyone's sake. You never know what kind of shit they'll do when they grow up.

Pretty deep for a sci-fi gangter flick.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Obama/Romney Rap Battle

I worked last night so, I'm catching up on the Presidential debate on youtube. No matter, this video is the only debate that matters:

Monday, October 15, 2012

Female Obsession: Amy Adams

Amy Adams is amazing. She's beautiful, is a talented actress and has an amazing singing voice. None of this is news though. What is news is that Adams, a petite woman with hypnotic green eyes, is also, absolutely terrifying. I'll get to that later.

Amy Adams first came to my attention in Spielberg's 2002 film, Catch Me If You Can. She played the sweet love interest duped by Leonardo Dicaprio's conman character. I really liked this movie (probably the last Spielberg flick I've raved about) and even though this was Adams big break into the industry (she did some musical theater, worked at Hooters, and starred in b-movie classics like Psycho Beach Party before hand) I still wasn't too wowed with her and she kind of drifted off my radar.

Then came Enchanted. Words cannot describe how much I love this movie. It took the awesomeness of all the Disney Renaissance flicks I enjoyed as a kid and merged them into a live action film, Who Framed Roger Rabbit style. Amy Adams nailed the naive Disney princess thing to a friggin' tee. I was already a grown ass dude but I couldn't help but fall in love with the songs, and more specifically, Amy Adam's  voice.

She may have stolen my heart as a saccharine princess, but Amy Adams earned my respect for her work in 2010's The Fighter. She played Mark Wahlberg's ultra tough/supportive working class girlfriend, who battles drunks and bitchy females alike, and proved she truly was a gifted actress and not just a pretty face (and voice!). Adams did more cutesy song and dance stuff in The Muppets (which I also loved).

Well, the Amy Adams Enchanted high has come and gone. She's still gorgeous and unquestionably a great actress, but after seeing her performance in PTA's latest film, The Master, I am in absolute awe of her. The way an ant trembles at the sight of human shoes, that was my reaction to Amy Adam's commanding performance in The Master. She plays Philip Seymour Hoffman's wife, the woman who pulls the strings, through domineering stares and twisted sexual manipulation, behind the film's enigmatic and seemingly all knowing & powerful cult leader. This performance makes her gritty character in The Fighter seem like, well, a Disney princess. 

Gorgeous. Talented...and now: Terrifying. HA. No, we can't go out with that. Just because Amy Adams is capable of scaring the bejeezus out of us doesn't mean she's frightening. In fact, she actually seems really down to Earth and funny. *Swoons*

Clip of Amy being adorable:

...and now, pics of Amy looking gorgeous:

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mitt Romney Rap: GOP/Mormon SWAG

This, is real. Not a joke. It's hilarious and frustrating but awesomely entertaining at the same time. If you're offended by ignorance and douche-baggery then you probably will laugh even harder at the laaaaaaame-O content of this video. You've been warned:

Aside from their piss poor rapping abilities, the dudes in this video suffer from what we call: Typical Swag Fag syndrome.

 Exhibit A)

Exhibit B)

So right off the bat, this video is cringe worthy/comedic gold. I think the worst/funniest thing about this, aside from their goofy attempts at being cool while simultaneously campaigning for Mitt Romney, is that they're serious.

A bunch of sheltered, over-privileged bros, rocking Ray-Bans and driving pickup trucks their parents probably paid for, who champion the tenets of conservative political ideology. It's funny and tragic that these people exist.

"Everyone in America needs to quit bitching, stop mooching and pull themselves up by their own bootstraps if they want to succeed in life...just like my parents did."

Monday, October 8, 2012

Movie Review: Dredd

"Rookie, you ready?"
 Oh boy. I was not ready for Dredd. I had low expectations for this film to say the least. In fact I had no desire to see this movie. I mean, who would I? The main theatrical trailer looked like crap. The poster is even a ripoff of Ben Affleck's Daredevil movie. I generally hate Hollywood 3D gimmick crap, and really, who was even asking for this Dredd reboot anyways? Stallone pretty much murdered the character back in the 90's as far as I'm concerned. Diane Lane looked good doe.
Diane Lane: The only good thing about 90's Dredd
So I totally wrote this film off. Then I heard some good things online and read some praise worthy reviews. I decided, why not and gave Dredd a chance. Holy Fuck it was entertaining 10x. So much violence and carnage. I left the theater with the biggest smile on my face it was appalling.

Dredd doesn't try to overstep it's bounds as a film. It knows exactly what it is. You came here for mindless action and that's exactly what you get. This is why the film succeeds. Crap like plot and character development are thrown out the window. Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) says like 50 words throughout the entire film and you never even see his face. He's got this smoking hot rookie partner (Olivia Thirlby...yes please!) and they don't force some lame Hollywood love interest subplot into the mix, Dredd doesn't want to get her naked, hell, he barely shakes her hand, he's all about the KILLING.

There are some great special effect shots in this movie. I didn't shell out the extra cash for 3D (and won't...unless it's Prometheus or Hugo) so I saw the regular version of Dredd but could still appreciate the visuals. There's a drug in the film that slows down people's perception of time  to 1% of real life, which leads to some awesome slow motion death sequences. I was kind of bummed that pretty much all the blood in the film was CGI but there's a shit load of it so I guess they tried to save money? I'm guessing they spent all their funds on the establishing shots of Mega-City and the Slo-Mo scenes, because other than those shots, most of the film is people running/dying in narrow hallways. I gotta admit I'm pretty impressed with the finished product though.

Low expectations yielded amazing results. In this film, the future may suck, but Dredd kicks some serious ass.

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Hives @ The Wiltern, Los Angeles. 9/14/12.

The Hives: Round 3. What an adventure. All the zany shit that happened on this night could fill a novel. First things first, the concert itself.

Los Angeles' own Luis & Wildfires, a smooth talking rockabilly band from the coolest 1950's alternate universe I've ever seen, opened up the night. Snappy little rock 'n' roll jams played with the just the right mix of suave and manic energy. Slick back hair, upright bass guitar, the band had the Joe Camel look down, but their frontman, Mr. Luis himself brought the modern punk edge, hollering like a madman, smashing his guitar and piggyback riding the other guitarist all for good fun. I was impressed.
More Luis & The Wildfires HERE.

FIDLAR was next. They're another bunch of hometown heroes whom I was not yet familiar with. They must be doing pretty well for themselves, because it seemed like a good amount of people were there to see THEM. How can I describe these guys other than being awesome? Imagine if Marty McFly started a bratty surf/skate punk band. Their youthful energy and catchy songs are beyond infectious. Yeah they had a few sound problems and seemed a bit lost on such a big stage (apparently they got big playing some raucous house parties) but there is no denying the dude's in FIDLAR rule. Oh and their name is an acronym for: Fuck It Dog Life's A Risk. I was really impressed.

And now, the main event, Sweden's greatest import and undisputed kings of rock 'n' roll (in their humble opinions of course), The Hives. I can't believe this is my third time seeing them this year. I've seen them more times in 2012 than I have in my entire life beforehand. The band is touring in support of their latest album, Lex Hives, so they played a good amount of new songs. Luckily, the new album rules so all the newer tunes were welcome. Of course, when the band played older stuff, ("Die Alright"!!!!!) the audience went nuts. I planned on playing it safe and staying off the floor, staking claim in the separate standing lodge, but the frenzy The Hives caused made the pit/dance floor chaos follow me.

puppet master
The band was in fine form this night. Their whole, tuxedo and top hat motif they've been doing is now, totally fitting. They aren't the same snot nose Swedish FIDLAR's from the early 2000's garage rock revival, they've successfully transitioned into genuine rock 'n' roll elder statesmen. Everything about The Hives is designed to wow. They're like punk rock terminators. Their songs, stage attire and very presence doesn't just entertain, it engulfs the audience. They hypnotize and manipulate their prey much like the puppet master background suggests. Frontman extraordinaire Pelle Almqvist even said:

"There's a lot of magicians in this town, but very few wizards."

His response to musicians who claim Los Angeles concert goers are notoriously fickle:

"That's because your band fucking sucks."

He then went on to call hail himself as a direct descendant of Julius Caesar.

How can you not love these guys?

Awesome show.

1) en-route to the venue, we see a white Lexus with a SWD plates. The Swedish consulate is located down the street from The Wiltern. Pretty sure these foreign dignitaries were about to get their party on with The Hives.

2) While searching for parking I spot members of The Hives and Luis & The Wildfires standing outside the loading area shooting the shit. I immediately turn into the first lot I find and try to say "What's up?!" to my Swedish overlords but am almost hit by a car instead.

3) I confused this show for a different concert that I had just got tickets for and ended up arriving close to two hours early =/

4) The lot I parked in was not designated for concert parking and consequently, was CLOSED by the time the show ended. Luckily some friends/guardian angels who also attended the show turned around and took us home (I got my car back the next day).


You can spot me my girlfriend and in this clip (brown guy in white-t grinning & cute girl w/ pink iPhone case respectively).

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Collecting CDs

stock collection has more SLAYER
So I was reading this story on Yahoo News the other and had a massive nostalgia wave wash over me. The compact disc is now 30 years old.

I know what some of you are thinking...what's a compact disc? Ha. Damn you iTunes! I still buy CDs whenever possible. I say whenever possible because, I usually can't find the CD I want. There's an FYE in the mall by my house but it's selection is crap. Same with Best Buy (no...there's is even worse). Oh how I long for the days of Tower Records, the Wherehouse and my old alma mater, Sam Goody. When you could get lost inside the record store and come out with life changing musical discoveries based solely on the album's artwork. Thank tha LAWD for Amoeba Music in Hollywood. They're got just about everything you could ever want (CDs, vinyl, cassette tapes, DVDs, Blu-ray, VHS, Laserdiscs!)...and more. But it's still a drive down there and who has the time for that?

No, it seems like the compact disc, and music/physical media in general has reached the end of the line. Even mp3s are old hat. Instant streaming is direction we're heading in...bummer. Here's a look back at some of the first CDs I remember owning:

The 1st CD I remember opening as a (Christmas?) gift and cranking this song on repeat after seeing Dangerous Minds:
"I'm 23, never will I live to see 24, the way things is going I don't know..." I am now older than Coolio in this song. FUUUUUUUuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu.

This next song ruled the airwaves like no other back in the day. I owned the CD but didn't really like any of the other tracks on the album, also, was too young to understand what the inside artwork meant (dripping condom cartoon figures holding guns), but still thought it was was cool =p

Asked my mom to purchase this CD for me after getting a new pair of glasses from Lens Crafters. All the kids in school were talking about how cool it was, so I figured getting this record would offset the glasses. Smooth huh?

Got my tickets for No Doubt in November (and what?!). Some things never change.

And finally, the album that got me started on the downward spiral of aggressive music. The precursor to the heavy metal virus that would contaminate my soul in high school:
I played this album a lot when I first got it (Columbia House mail order whats up?!) but once I got my first portable disc-man player, I listened to this album 24/7 all day erryday son!

So many found memories playing those compact discs. I guess it helps that I was an obsessive, geeky type collector who never lost or scratched my CDs. Happy 30th birthday Mr. Compact Disc. Hope you make it to 35.

Alright gang, what are some of your favorite early CDs you remember?