Thursday, 30 June 2011

Music: British Radio FTW?

Had a scuffle, back now though! 

Recently I have been listening to a lot of British radio, and it's really a different scene over there, even in the 'mainstream'. Honestly, unless all you like is dance/bubblegum pop/girl country/90s distortion derivatives (which is what you find over in NA), I would suggest you check out some British radio, you might just like it.

So in honor of this, I will be highlighting three tracks that I've discovered through my new found radio adventures.

Foster The People - "Pumped Up Kicks"

Genre: "Chilled" Groove Rock
Bio: Foster The People are a LA band formed in 2009, and have since been touring in support of their debut album Torches.
My Opinion: I'm really feeling this track. It's really reminiscent of a track you would find on a Gorillaz album, and that always a good thing. Hopefully they can produce some good follow ups and keep it up.

Cee Lo Green - "I Want You (Hold On To Love)"

Genre: Soul-Pop
Bio: Started up rapping with the group Goodie Mob, but moved on to form Gnarls Barkley with producer Danger Mouse. Since disbanding GB, Cee Lo has been touring and promoting his debut solo record The Lady Killer.
My Opinion: Everyone know's Cee Lo from he's epic "F**K You" radio smash, but in NA, that's all that they are playing from him. It's kind of sad when an artist is almost "limited" to his mega-hit, as stations think to themselves - "Why would we play a new song, if we could play THE HIT". So I was very surprised to hear this over the airwaves, which shows you the dedication some of these British stations have to the actual music.

Wolfgang Gartner - "Illmerica"

Genre: Electric-House
Bio: Started off as a Deep-House DJ, but has changed to the more mainstream Electric-House genre as of late. Started off as all DJs do, remixing hits for sets and releasing plenty of EPs every few months. Recently, he's been producing direct collaboration with the likes of DeadMau5 and Will.I.Am, as well as radio play of his solo work.
My Opinion: First off, this is one of the best done music videos I've seen. It's also great to see non-mainstream genres being features on the radio, so that people can experience all the genres and decide if they like it for themselves.

Funny thing is, not only were all three of these tracks were from one station's selection, but they were all from the 7-11am morning show! Imagine turning on your car radio and hearing Illamerica! Haha. 

  • What's your opinion on British Radio?
  • Did you like these tracks?
  • Any music suggestions? 

Let me know!

Monday, 27 June 2011

TV: Wilfred - US (2011)

Today I will be discussing the new show Wilfred, starring Elijah Wood (LoTR) and Dorian Brown (Wilfred - AUS), which premiered last Thursday on FX Channel.

Tastes like Wood. Wait... what?

The show, based upon its successful Australian version, revolves around Ryan (Elijah Wood), a recently laid-off lawyer-turned-suicidal house slob, who, in one of his many attempts to kill himself, meets his new (and lovely) next-door neighbor Jenna (Fiona Gubelmann), and in a hazed conversation, accepts the role of doggy-babysitter while she is away at work. 

It is then that he meets Wilfred (Dorian), and to everyone in the show's world - Wilfred is a dog. That is, except Ryan, who instead sees, interacts, and talks to Wilfred as if he was a grown man in a dog suit.

Hilarity ensues. 

Yes, that is a dog drinking beer and smoking a cigarette. 

Was Ryan finally successful in killing himself, and this is some weird afterlife? According to Wilfred, the answer is no, and with this premise the show moves forth as Ryan and Wilfred explore the world, and learn new life lessons in the wake of his life collapse.

Thursdays on FX

So far so good. I am really excited what they can pull off with this concept, and hopefully they continue the originality that the premiere contained, because this show is going to be amazing. Definately adding this one to my viewing schedule, and my summer just got a little less boring!

  • Did you watch the premiere?
  • Like what you saw?
  • Should I watch the original Aussie version, or would that ruin the plot? (Is there a plot? Haha)
Let me know below!

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Music: Artist Spotlight - Two Door Cinema Club

Two Door Cinema Club, a young rock band from Ireland, has been receiving tremendous acclaim since breaking into the indie scene this past year.

After forming in 2007 at their British-equivalence of high school, Alex Trimble (vocals, rhyme guitar), Kevin Baird (bass), and Sam Halliday (lead guitar), began writing their first album Tourist History (2010).

Love this video.

Since then, they have been touring in support of their debut (with a hired drummer), performing in such major festivals such as Reading (2010), Leeds (2010), Coachella (2011) and the upcoming Lollapalooza (2011).

Probably my favorite of their tunes.

So far, their biggest hit has been 'Something Good Can Work', grabbing plenty of time on the British charts, and scoring preciously rare airplay for indie rock worldwide. Hope you enjoy:

Sound of summer.
  • What do you think of the band?
  • What's your opinion on the state of rock?
  • Any good bands you'd suggest?
Let me know!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Movies: CFotW - Office Space (1999)

Note: I will try to keep Cult Film of the Week an actual weekly article as opposed to its apparent monthly appearance, haha!

Office Space
Date: 1999
Genre: Comedy
Director: Mike Judge (King of the Hill, Beavis & Butthead)
Starring: Jennifer Aniston (Friends), Ron Livingston (Swingers), David Hermen (Futurama, King of the Hill)
Concept: A group of young disgruntled office workers deal with their depressing jobs in light of office bureaucracy.

"Uh, I'm going need you to come on Saturday. Yeah."

Why You Should Watch:

  • One of the few truly unique comedies in the age of remakes and plot derivation.
  • The film presents fresh faces that allow the viewer to immerse themselves even further into the plot, as it is not filled with the over-used "comedy actors" you see in every damn comedy.
  • Contains every type of comedy, may it be one-liners, dry humor, situation comedy, and a good swear here and there.
  • Ages well over the years, with timeless comedy, and jokes that aren't as timeless morph from current-fad jabs to classic nostalgia quips.
  • Actual character development - a rarity, as most comedies these days sacrifice character development for gimmicks and cliche.
  • Overall, a good time - a movie you can sit down and watch you parents, your better half, and of course your best buddies.
The Trailer:
"I believe you have my stapler?"
  • Have you had the chance to see this film? When it came out?
  • Yes or No?
  • What's your favorite line? Scene?
  • Any cult movies, less known movies, or just good movies you would suggest?

Hope you enjoyed it, and feel free to leave a comment below!

Monday, 20 June 2011

TV: Game of Thrones Finale

For those of us following Game of Thrones, you will know that the season definitely ended off ... interesting. I've still yet to make up my mind on if the show's first season ended off as successful as it began, but I can say that the writers definitively tried to shake things up!

"I can't move, this armor is too heavy!"

Season One Finale Spoilers: You've Been Warned! 

As fans will remember, in the second to last episode of Game of Thrones titled "Baelor", our hero and apparent lead Ned Stark, played by Sean Bean (LoTR), was unexpectedly and gruesomely beheaded in a twist that only those who read the book could expect. This feat brought controversy left and right for the show, as many fans 
publicly protested the move; as can be seen from this hilariously 
accurate portrayal by Downfall's Hitler:

This brings us to the series finale"Fire and Blood", which, after watching, can be seen as an episode that's main goal is to set up all the plot lines for next season's story. If the next season was coming in September or October, I would have probably enjoyed this episode more then I believe I have, as opposed to its scheduled Spring 2012 release. This is because I felt that there was too much setting up taking place, and not enough closure on the major plot lines from the first season. 

As the writers are almost directly adapting the series from the books, they are forced to abide by the book's pacing, and because the book was written in a way that Book 1 (Season 1) and Book 2 (Season 2) should be considered simply part 1 and 2 of a much larger book, there are no conclusions at the end of book 1, and in turn, no real conclusions in the TV series.

"I can't hold off all this hate!"

I guess it comes with the turf, but because of this issue, I felt that the finale was one of the more weaker episodes in the first season. Joffrey bringing Sansa to see her father's head - We already know she's angry. Robb Stark learning of his father's death - definitely 
necessary but expected. The Lannister army retreating - Kind of a disappointment, you'd think there would be some sort of epic battle. The wise old man lord dude goes to the brothel and is really flexible - Rather not have seen that. 

I would say that there were three highlights in the episodes, that of Arya 'becoming' a boy to escape north, the Nightwatch going on the offensive, and finally the Drogo burning scene and the birth of the dragon brood.

"Check out my ride!"

All in all, a decent end to a great show. Hopefully the creators keep the quality up in the second season, and that the wait is not too long.

  • Do you watch the show?
  • If so, did you like the finale?
  • What did you think about Ned's death in the previous episode?
  • High expectations for the second season?
Let me know in the comments below!

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Music: Clarence Clemons Dead At 69

Sad news today in the world of music, as famed Saxophonist
Clarence "Big Man" Clemens, most well know for his work as a founding member of the E Street Band and key influence on Bruce Springsteen, passed away today due to complications from a stroke.

Clemons faced many health struggles at the closing of his life, multiple health scares, hip surgery, and a massive stroke a week prior to his passing. 

However, he remained active in his craft in his late years, most notably in Lady Gaga's newest album Born This Way, collaborating with her on tracks "Hair", "Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)", and her most recent single, "Edge of Glory".

In honour of his passing, here's the Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band classic "Born to Run" featuring Clemons on his Sax.

R.I.P Big Man

Friday, 17 June 2011

Music: Lou Reed + Metallica = Win?

The fine people in Metallica revealed yesterday that they have completed an album with legendary musician and rock icon Lou Reed.

Lou Reed, founding member and lead songwriter of the influential The Velvet Underground (check out my previous article on them here), and weathered solo artist, has created such classics like "A Walk on the Wild Side", "Heroin", "Berlin", and the first album totally created from white noise and loud sound samples, aptly named Metal Machine Music.

Audio has yet to be released from the album, but I would expect the sound to lie closer to Load-era Metallica, more so heavy classic rock then the band's early thrash sound or the latest Metallica record Death Magnetic.

The best I can give in regards to what the album might sound like would be this joint performance at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary Concert, where Metallica backed Lou in a rendition of his Velvet Underground songs "White Light/White Heat" and "Sweet Jane". I would say the WL/WH performance was the better job, but as there aren't many quality copies available, here's the Sweet Jane performance.

  • What is your reaction to this news?
  • Do you have a favorable opinion of Metallica these days?
Hope you have a great day, and be sure to leave a comment below. 

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Other: Milestone... I guess?

Hey guys, hope you've had a good week so far!

I was unsure if I was going to comment on achieving 200
subscriptions, but I thought, what the hell, it's not going to hurt anyone, SO THERE. Anyways, I just wanted to thank everyone who has supported me these past few months with your viewership and monetary support, and I hope I can continuing to hold your support in the future!

And to thank you for your support, here's a SUPER SECRET behind the scenes video of the inner workings of Blogspot. Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

TV: Shows You Need to See #1 - LOST

An idea came to me, just because the TV season is done, doesn't mean there is no more TV! Therefore, I am starting up a series called Shows You Need to See (SYNS), where I will preview a classic TV series, and why you need to see it!

The first in this series will be about LOST, so I hope you enjoy.

Show: Lost (2004-2010)
Genre(s): Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Action, with hints of comedic relief
Concept: Stranded on a seemingly deserted island, the crash survivors must band together if they want to live.
Number of Episodes: 116 over six seasons
Why You Should Watch: 
  • The show is character-driven, allowing you to invest in every single character, as you progressively learn and understand each characters, past, present, and future, and how each of their paths aren't as random as you would believe.
  • The show covers many genres successfully, and never promotes one genre at the expense of another, as each aspect of the show is respected and honed to perfection, from the lovers of films such as Cast Away, 24 action-junkies, CSI mystery lovers, and everything between.
  • The audience is always respected, as the writers wrote the show for an intelligent audience, and the show was written without outside industry pressures such as show cancellation, cross-promotion, rating grabs, etc. 
  • The show rewards both the marathon viewings, for those of us who "just can't wait", as well as the long-term viewers who only can watch an episode here and there. One of the very few shows that can still reward the 'once a week' crowd even after the show is finished.
  • Has an invested lore-based universe that deals with canon issues very successfully, in that those who watch the show will never feel "lost" (no pun intended) if they don't read more into the show, while those who have the time can theorize and study the world for all that it has to offer.

I don't know what more I can say but to really consider watching this show, because it really is a rewarding experience. Here's the first episode, Pilot #1's TV promo (best quality I could find):

  • Who's not seen LOST?
  • If you have, was it a rewarding experience?
  • What are some other shows worthy of watching?
Let me know below! Thanks for all the support, Jonny.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Other: Comedy Time?

There's a Hollywood controversy brewin'! Tracy Morgan, SNL alumni and wacko extraordinaire on 30 Rock (as Tracy Jordan), has been filling up the news reels when he 'took it too far' in a recent stand up routine. I have yet to see the routine myself (can't find it!), but according to most reports, the actor/stand up comedian went on a gay-hate tangent, and because of this he's been taking the heat from all over the industry.

In honor of the fact that stand up comedy is currently front page entertainment news, I will be presenting a selection of classic stand up routines that I think everyone should see. Hope you enjoy!

What's interesting about this clip of Drew Carey is that it was very rare for Johnny Carson to ask a comedian to sit down after a routine. Being asked as like finally making it, because Carson was seen as the marker to impress. Some cite this performance as the exact moment Carey's career was made.

Next is a clip of Canadian Russell Peters, a recent break out success in the Race comedy genre. Funny stuff, and hopefully there will be more coming in the near future.

To end it all off, here's a hilarious routine by Louis C.K, talking about his views on kids. Great stuff, and if you like him, there's tons of material from this comedian to check out, as well as the other comedians I've linked today.

It's been a light week in entertainment, so I hope this sufficed!
  • What other comedians do you suggest to check out?
  • What's your opinion on the whole Tracy Morgan business?
  • Should the media just drop it, or is their criticisms justified?
Let me know below!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Gaming: Nintendo Wii-U, a Blast or a Bomb?

Continuing on from the theme of the week, E3, Nintendo announced in their E3 coverage the next-gen console Wii-U, a system similar to the original Wii, but instead of the joystick/controller combo, the controller is what I was call a mix between a Gameboy and a tablet.

According to the newly released information, the large screen in the middle is also a touch screen; something Nintendo hopes will open up a total new and unique gaming experience. Another reported quirk is that a user will be able to use the middle screen as the main screen when needed, a technology that Nintendo hopes will solve the common household issue of "I want to use the TV, no I want to use the TV". Also included is advanced gizmos and gadgets like motion sensors, blah blah blah. 

The first time I heard about this, the first thing I thought was, this thing is going to bomb HARD. Logically, Nintendo should be going in the direction of "less controller is MORE controlling", but instead they went for a clunkier iPad of a device that probably costs way to much (as it has a big screen and a built in camera). Honestly how many more options does this touch pad add? Nothing an iPhone can't already do, that's for sure. Nintendo also stuck with their generation-behind graphics module, as everything presented seemed like a distant second to all the new stuff coming out of Microsoft and the failure of a company called Sony. 

The stock market agreed, as even though the Nintendo fan-boys loved the announcement, nobody else did, and Nintendo's stock fell roughly 5%; so low that it is now actually at a pre-Wii level. I think this is turning into the new SEGA Dreamcast, or even the PS3 Boomarang controller. When you fail, you fail HARD in the gaming industry. 

In other news, this is the cutest thing I have ever seen.

  • What is your opinion on the Wii-U?
  • Uphill or downhill for Nintendo?
  • Can anything be more cute?
Let me know in the discussion box below! 

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Other: Halo 3 & Figured It Out

Hey everyone! 

E3 is here, and I'm excited to see what is in store for us in the next year of gaming. Right off the bat, Microsoft previewed a teaser trailer for Halo 4, and damn am I excited. Check it out here...

On a more personal note, I finally figured out why I keep getting odd views around my Game of Thrones post. It was suggested by one of you lovely people that it could be due to the map image I showed in my post, so I did some digging, and found that I am indeed the #1 image when one searches "map game of thrones" on Google images. Guess that's a tip to all bloggers alike, make sure to consider all types of advertising potential, and you might get rewarded! Awesome!

  • Anyways, interested in hearing about more E3 coverage? 

Let me know, and I just might do a recap post.

See ya later, Jonny.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Movies: JJ Abrams & Super 8

This upcoming Friday, Super 8, by J. J. Abrams, creator of Lost, Alias, MI:3 and Star Trek, will be released at the cinema, and in honor of this, I wanted to highlight a selection of interesting footage of J. J. Abrams explaining his thoughts on film making. 

First, I have selected an interview he did with TIME magazine, in which he talks about his role as a director, how he chooses to make films, and his philosophy on success in television. This interview took place just after his completion of Star Trek.

Next, in this two part piece, Abrams talks to the audience at TED about his views on storytelling, where he gets his inspiration, and his youth and how it shaped his world-view. This talk took place after he had created Lost, but still had not completed his work on Cloverfield.

Part 1

Part 2

To end it all off, here's the most recent trailer for Super 8. Enjoy.

  • Anyone going to see this movie?
  • If your a fan of Abrams, what is your favorite piece that he has done?
  • Cloverfield: Yes or No?

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Other: Woops! My Bad!


Well, I'm a screw-up. I was out of town for two weeks, and forgot to put up a post announcing my temporary break! Forgiveth me for I hath sinned. Well, hopefully I can get this baby back up and running.

More on-topic, since the TV season has all but ended, and nothing but new Jersey Shore to expect for a few months (No, I do not watch it! Haha), I think this blog will go in a more general direction, focusing more on new Summer Blockbusters, Internet, a dab of music, and just general entertainment news.

Go with the flow! Thanks again for the understanding, Jonny.