Thursday, July 30, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Houston's Scale The Summit opened the evening with their unique brand of instrumental progressive jazzy metallic rock; music that truly takes you on a journey. Finding out afterward that this was the band's biggest show so far was a bit of a surprise as they gave an inspired and professional performance of technical virtuosity and melodic composition. Hearing them perform the music from their second album live made me a die-hard fan…this band is only getting better!
L.A. band, Bigelf took the stage second with sense of psychedelic style that takes cues from all the biggest names of the 60-70’s; weaving a sound reminiscent of a bazaar mix of Deep Purple and Arthur Brown. Although unfamiliar with their work, I enjoyed their performance…and retro clothing; Bigelf is now marked for further investigation.
Being introduced to Frank Zappa at a young age has its pros and cons; it opens your musical mind to many unconsidered possibilities but almost ruins mainstream music for you…for life. Dweezil spent a long time perfecting this tribute to his father’s work and it shows. Having witnessed the original Zappa Plays Zappa 2006 tour on DVD, I was expecting great things from the current version of the lineup. No one was disappointed as this tight ensemble performed very difficult music flawlessly. If you have ever loved Frank, check out Zappa Plays Zappa in any form possible!
Dream Theater has made their career outside the mainstream; little radio/video support has not hurt the band’s popularity considering they are currently enjoying some of the biggest successes of their entire history. Known for their considerable music chops, this was one of their best shows that I have personally seen. Although never a huge fan, they earned points with me on their current album and tour; especially the epic tune, “The Count of Tuscany”. If you have ever enjoyed a Dream Theater album or show, you owe it to yourself to see this tour; the band is on their game.
Progressive Nation 2009 is a five hour music journey through widely varying artists who deserve your attention. You may not like all four but you will definitely appreciate their passion and you may find a new favorite.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
SAVE THE DATE...
--No Intention of Giving Up--
Some links to learn more about Kat's journey:
Article in the San Antonio Express News (thank you, Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje)
Article in Handmade News (thank you, Nichole Jeske) http://www.handmadenews.org/article/index.php?id=1240
SPREAD THE WORD
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Not what you expect. I can see why some critics are not fans of this film but I thought it was quite entertaining. Alex Proyas (I Robot, Dark City, The Crow) is one of my favorite directors and he pulled convincing performances out of everyone, including Nicholas Cage; who starts the film in typical Cage-mode but then finds great depth in the role. Some complain about the Twilight Zone-ish ending but I enjoyed it. I also enjoy a film that leaves enough room for questions and conversation after; Knowing definitely is one of those! The Blu-ray is about as perfect a presentation as I have seen from recent releases.
The obvious start to a "superhero" franchise that doesn't really have an ending. Dakota Fanning is a little shaky in the beginning but fills out her "more mature" role nicely. (Although the short "drunken" sequence could have been cut.) Everyone else does fine with what they are given. It is not a bad film, it just doesn't quite come together. Feeling too much like a part one and not a stand alone movie, I still enjoyed my time spent watching. There are enough interesting concepts to rate a rental but a purchase is only for fans. The Blu-ray has exceptional picture and sound and the extras are also in HD.
Iron Maiden Flight 666
If you are a fan, stop reading and buy this now. For everyone else, this is one of the best rock documentaries of all time and as an added bonus, you get a full show of songs. Both the feature and concert are shot in full HD and digital surround sound. (The Blu-ray have both on one disc, the DVD is a 2-disc set.) There are no extras other than the concert, but this is a quality package that should be in all metal music collections! This is the best live Maiden footage you will find and the story of one of the most ambitious tour outings ever is definitely worth seeing more than once. The Blu-ray looks amazing and other than a few audio glitches, the mix was thunderous. Not just for Iron Maiden fans; pick this up if you love live rock and roll! Up the Irons!
True Blood The Complete First Season
Rarely, if ever, has someone adapted a novel and made the show better than it's written counterpart. As a vampire fan who is always looking for another guilty pleasure, this series is much, much more. Created/Adapted by Alan Ball (Six Feet Under) and using a variety of movie proven & up and coming directors, this show truly captures the flavor of the books and deepens the characterizations. A few changes are made but so far they appear to enhance the storylines and maintain the mood of the work. The Blu-ray set is light on extras but has near perfect video and sound. Highly recommended for fans of vampire horror and gothic mystery.
Star Trek: The Original Series: Season 1
At times it is hard to believe this is the show I have watched since I was in diapers. Some of my earliest childhood memories are from Star Trek; it debuted when I was four months old and I can remember sitting on the floor in front of the TV with my Dad. The restoration of this show is breathtaking; whether you watch the episodes with the new, modern special effects or the orginal charming but cheesy ones. Sound and video look almost new and the extras are facinating. This Blu-ray set will definitely be on year-end best-of lists and I cannot wait for Season 2!!
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
PORCUPINE TREE - THE INCIDENT
Written and recorded between September-May, "The Incident" is the tenth studio album by . Released worldwide by Roadrunner on 14th September (one week earlier than previously announced in order to coincide with the first tour dates), the album is a 2 disc set, the first disc containing the 55 minute title track / song cycle, and the second CD featuring 4 shorter pieces. There will be 3 editions of the album; a standard 2 CD set, a deluxe edition (contents to be confirmed), and a double vinyl version.
The album cover, as photographed by lasse hoile, can be viewed here:
The band will be posting a medley of extracts from The Incident on its myspace page -- http://www.myspace.com/porcupinetree - on Monday, 13th July. The medley will also be posted on Roadrunner UK's website the same day at 4PM UK time at http://www.roadrunnerrecords.co.uk/.
The band's Autumn tour is now completely confirmed. For a full list of dates/venues, please go to http://www.porcupinetree.com/tour.cfm. Support acts for the European tour have also been announced: http://www.porcupinetree.com/news.cfm#1678
Friday, July 10, 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
In an effort to get around the limitations of the player on my www.myspace.com/rockfile page, here are some of my interviews you can download and enjoy from some killer artists:
Jem Godfrey of Frost* = http://rapidshare.com/files/183958216/Frost_Interview_20090113.mp3
Nicolas Chapel of Demians = http://rapidshare.com/files/184265270/DemiansPart1a128.mp3
Nicolas Chapel of Demians part 2 = http://rapidshare.com/files/184271482/DemiansPart2a128.mp3
Joey Eppard of 3 = http://rapidshare.com/files/184275310/Joey01.mp3Joey Eppard of 3 = http://rapidshare.com/files/184275311/Joey02.mp3
Omer Ephrat of Ephrat = http://rapidshare.com/files/187223614/Ephrat_interview.mp3
Learn about some new artists and music...and enjoy!
Current mood: accomplished
Demians – "Building an Empire"
Lunatic Soul – "Lunatic Soul"
Frost* - Experiments In Mass Appeal"
Ephrat – "No One's Words"
Pineapple Thief – "Tightly Unwound"
No-Man – "Schoolyard Ghosts"
Anathema – "Hindsight"
Serenity – "Fallen Sanctuary"
Andromeda – "The Immunity Zone"
Into Eternity – "The Incurable Tragedy"
Amaseffer – "Slaves For Life"
Nosound – "Lightdark"
Opeth – "Watershed"
John Legend – "Evolver"
Steven Wilson – Insurgentes
With a career that spans over 20 years and several bands/projects, SW has finally released his first solo album. The standard edition will be out in early 2009 but fans have already snapped up the Limited internet pre-order edition of which only 3000 were made. (Plus, 1000 on high quality vinyl) The set includes the CD, a bonus CD and a DVD with the 5.1 mix of the album and an 18 minute excerpt from the upcoming documentary about the project, all housed in an amazing coffee table-style book of Lasse Hoile's photography. The art presented here is immense and takes a while to digest. All albums should be put together and packaged with this much care.
Demians – Building an Empire
This French progressive rock project from Nicolas Chapel got high praise before its release from Steven Wilson, "One of the most assured and accomplished debut albums I've ever heard, the textures and dynamics within the music are breathtaking. A must for everyone that appreciates the art of epic and ambitious 21st century rock music" Six months after its release, the praise keeps coming from around the world and the CD is winding up at near the top of most year-end lists. This is easily my most listened to album of the year…and you owe it to yourself to get a copy.
Lunatic Soul – Lunatic Soul
Mariusz Duda of Riverside stretches his musical boundaries with an album he describes as Chinese Alternative and is completely devoid of electric guitars. A perfect companion on those self-reflective dark nights, the CD is another of my most listened to albums this year.
Frost* - Experiments in Mass Appeal
Mixing genre's and styles with ease, you will find lots to enjoy on this labor of love. Watch the two and a half hours of behind the scenes footage on the Special Edition's DVD to get the full grasp of the time and effort poured into this amazing album. This, their second album, is even more assured and interesting than their first and finally hits US record stores in January.
Ephrat – No One's Words
With only six tracks on this hour long disc, there is a multitude of sounds and melodies to feast on. A new Israeli artist whose debut album was mixed by Steven Wilson, Ephrat is one of the freshest Prog releases this year.
Pineapple Thief – Tightly Unwound
This UK outfit's 2008 release is their seventh album and their best yet! I am still amazed they do not have a bigger following on this side of the Atlantic. Moody yet spirited progressive pop that is definitely worth checking out!
No-Man – Schoolyard Ghosts
Steven Wilson's project with Tim Bowness returned in 2008 with an album and tour! Not just a rehash of previous works, the pair let the music and moods breathe, providing their best work yet. Kudos again to Steven Wilson, who created a DVD 5.1 surround mix of the album and included it in the package. I hope this becomes the norm for important releases.
Anathema – Hindsight
Having started as a gothic death metal band, you cannot imagine their latest is the same band. Taking classic tracks from their past and expanding on them in surprisingly mellow ways, created one of the most listenable albums of the year. The sole new song on the disc proves bigger things are yet to come from this UK outfit considering the songs were recorded and mixed by the band, independent of any record company.
Serenity – Fallen Sanctuary
Symphonic Power Metal from Austria, Serenity's second full length album builds on the tradition of their first and other artists of the genre like Kamelot and Threshold. Melodic and symphonic, this album rocks from start to finish.
Andromeda – The Immunity Zone
Sweden's Andromeda made their US debut this year, just a week after the release for their fourth CD. The band performed a stellar set at Atlanta's ProgPower Festival in September and created a whole new fan base. The Immunity Zone shows the band perfecting the differing styles showcased on their first three releases. Short, radio friendly Prog metal tunes mingle with more epic and impressive long pieces.
Into Eternity – The Incurable Tragedy
If I had not seen this Canadian band pull off what it does live, I probably would not be a fan. Although there is some beautiful music on this disc, other tracks are as thrash heavy as any band you can imagine. It is how they put this together into one cohesive package that shows their musical range and talent. A semi-conceptual album about cancer, it is not exactly an uplifting album, yet when you are finished you feel…better.
Amaseffer – Slaves for Life
An ambitious project to tell the Biblical story of the Jews through Progressive Metal and atmospheric soundscapes, this is the first of a planned trilogy. Put on this CD and be transported back in time with a story of courage and determination. Following the path of bands like Orphaned Land, Amaseffer's opening segment of this massive project is an amazing work of passion and fire that should have a place in your collection.
Nosound - Lightdark
To quote their last.fm page, "Nosound inventively combines influences from '70s psychedelia,'80s/'90s ambient and contemporary alternative, post and progressive rock." That about sums it up! A bio from their label says, "Formed in Italy in 2001, Giancarlo Erra's Nosound creates a seductive and original fusion of elements of Progressive, Ambient and Post Rock." Lightdark is their second release and even more unique sounding than their debut. Just on the edge of ambient with more structure than abstract, this is something I listen to often.
Opeth - Watershed
Masters of Swedish Metal released an album that succeeds in perfectly blending the heavy and mellow aspects of their past works into a more cohesive whole. They have tried a similar tact (with Steven Wilson producing) the Damnation and Deliverance albums of heavy and light in 2002/2003. Now with some new blood in the band, they sound even more comfortable in the juxtaposition of styles and moods.
John Legend – Evolver
John stretches a little on his third release and comes up with a surprisingly uplifting R&B album, considering some of the more "interesting" relationships described in the songs. Music's most honest voice, John Legend works with several other artists yet still retains what makes him unique in today's music scene.
My Favorite Live Albums of 2008
David Gilmour - Live in Gdansk
Whichever flavor you decided to buy, this is a live box set of epic proportions! Opting for the 5 disc set myself, the performance is as flawless as the production. Loads of extras plus the 5.1 Surround mix of his most recent solo album, On an Island; this is a "must-have set" for any music lover.
Porcupine Tree – We Lost the Skyline
This would be high on my list even if I had not been present when it was recorded. 200+ people in a small music store in Orlando were treated to an impromptu performance from Steven Wilson, with touring member John Wesley, when the stage turned out to be too small for the full band. Having been there, this CD captures the intensity of the performance like few others can. A very worthy live EP to pick up!
Pure Reason Revolution - Live at Nearfest
Creating a completely different mood than their major label debut, this is a vibrant live performance from a band that is still growing. Seek this out and be amazed.
Rush – Snakes & Arrows Live
Even better than their 20th anniversary tour, Rush is at the height of their game of Snakes & Arrows live. The audio document of the tour highlights killer classics with the best of their new material…which is their strongest since the early 90's. (Since the tour was also captured with high def cameras, spring for the Blu-ray release, too!)
The Police - Certifiable: Live In Buenos Aires
This CD/DVD or Blu-ray set is a Best Buy exclusive and an amazing portrait of a band that has only gotten better with age. Shedding all preconceptions, the band took the stage and rocked. Taking songs that could have mellowed with age and re-infusing them with rock and roll. One of the best tours of 2007 made a great live release in 2008.
Linkin Park – Road to Revolution: Live at Milton Keynes
Linkin Park has always been a very strong live act and this CD/DVD set captures their latest tour in a truly professional fashion. The music mix is hot and having the video makes it.
Muse – H.A.A.R.P.
See the above review but substitute a blistering set at Wembley Stadium. LOL
Best Comebacks of 2008:
Metallica – Death Magnetic
Like most fans, I was very disappointed by St Anger and really hadn't felt the love since before "the black album". Well, Metallica returned with their best album since And Justice for All and proved they still have what it takes to rock. Not the true classic I hoped for but a terrific comeback nonetheless.
R.E.M. – Accelerate
The Athens, GA favorites I practically grew up with returned with their best album in 20 years. It is everything you love about the band and then some.
Journey – Revelation
The YouTube addition of Arnel Pineada re-energized these arena rock stars back into an image of their former fiery selves. No, it is not the same as the old days….but it is a lot closer than you think. Seeing them live proved it.
AC/DC – Black Ice
The Australian rockers returned with a heaping helping of what they do best. Arguably as strong as any album since Back in Black, the Wal-mart exclusive is a worthy spin of retro heavy rock.
The Pretenders – Break Up the Concrete
The Pretenders' new album rocks, plain and simple! The band returns to its "punk-ier" roots and adds a dash of rockabilly jam. They haven't sounded this good since the debut.
Zappa Plays Zappa - Live
Dwezel worked hard to come up with a fitting tribute to his late father Frank and took the show on the road. The audio document is not really a comeback but a re-introduction of what made Zappa's music great. And I am so glad it is back!
Extreme - Saudades De Rock
Boston rockers Extreme returned from the land of lost rock bands with a tight album of polished rock and roll. Bettering most of their 90's output, this album captures the spirit of a band maturing…in a good way.
Guns N' Roses– Chinese Democracy
Too many years and WAY too much money, I honestly think the album would have been better received as an Axl solo CD. Not nearly as bad as I expected, some of it was obviously "overcooked" but there are some interesting musical ideas in the mix. Here is another rock artist maturing, in surprising ways…it is more listenable than anything that followed Appetite and Lies.
2008 Honorable Mentions:
Nine Inch Nails – "The Slip" and "Ghosts I-IV"
ASHES dIVIDE – "Keep Telling Myself It's Alright"
Joe Jackson – "Rain"
Richard Barbieri – "Stranger Inside"
Dr. Horrible Cast - Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog Soundtrack
Austrian Death Machine – "Total Brutal"
Henry Rollins – "Henry Rollins Provoked"
Truth – "Machine"
Evergrey – "Torn"
Shinedown – "The Sound of Madness"
Dust For Life – "The Consequence Of Vanishing"
Snow Patrol – "A Hundred Million Suns"
10 Years – "Division"
Unitopia – "The Garden"
Sia – "Some People Have Real Problems"
Thea Gilmore – "Tearjacker"
Jupiter Society – "First Contact Last Warning"
Seven Steps To The Green Door – "Step In 2 My World"
Sieges Even – "Playground"
Sylvan – "Leaving Backstage"
King's X – "XV"
Alanis Morissette – "Flavors Of Entanglement"
Satellite – "Into The Night"
Black Tide – "Light From Above"
Apocalyptica – "Worlds Collide"
Jenny Lewis – "Acid Tongue"
All That Remains – "Overcome"
Pistol Opera – "Obama EP"
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Re-masters
All of the above are great efforts, I just ran out of room and time. NIN and Joe Jackson are among the artist's best work and Ashes Divide made a formidable debut. I need to listen to Richard's album more, I enjoy more with each. When I want to smile, Dr Horrible and ADM bring much joy…for different moods. I haven't had this much fun with an album since the first Tenacious D.
Genesis – 1970-1975 Box Set
Every classic collection should be handled with this care. Re-mastered CDs, DVDs with 5.1 mixes, interviews and archive footage, booklets and bonus tracks (also in surround)…this is one amazing set, equaling, and maybe even topping, the 1976-1982 set from 2007.
Kansas – Two for the Show (Re-master)
Take a classic live album, remaster it and include a full second CD of tracks that never made the original 30 years ago. Wow. The band comments that the first thing they thought when they heard it for the first time in years is how fast they played everything. This is a document of a band on fire and at their peak. Grab it!
3 – The End Is Begun Special Edition
Add a classic Pink Floyd tune and a DVD of live performances and videos to one of the best albums of 2007 and tadaaa…a classic! No one does Progressive Rock live 3!
Kamelot– Ghost Opera Second Coming
Add a second CD with their first concert from Belgrade to an already great CD from 2007 and the Tampa band is still not as huge as they should be in the US. Symphonic Power Metal as it's finest.
Symphony X - Paradise Lost 5.1 Edition
The already classic 2007 album remixed into digital 5.1 surround and includes both videos made for the release. The best part is the inclusion of the lyrics on screen while you listen. (So few audio DVDs do that, why?)
Current mood: thoughtful
Category: Movies, TV, Celebrities
My Favorite Blu-rays of 2008
Wall-e - A classic, period.
There Will Be Blood - Surprised me in many ways, a must see for original cinema
No Country For Old Men - Perfectly executed film, a beautiful Blu-ray.
The Dark Knight - Attains levels above all super hero movies!
Iron Man - As fun as a super hero movie should be.
Hellboy II The Golden Army - Took a super hero movie into the fantasy world and topped the original.
Tropic Thunder - A classic comedy with a smokin' Blu-ray picture!
Wanted - The action movie re-defined on a perfect Blu-ray.
30 Days of Night - A modern vampire classic, beautiful Blu-ray.
Speed Racer - No matter what you think of the movie, nothing else blows away eyeballs ..ay better than this.
The Fall - A visual tour de force that become a feast to enjoy ..ay.
I Am Legend - The closest in tone to the original book gets a perfect HD transfer.
Sweeny Todd - Tim Burton's most beautiful Blu-ray.
Shoot Em Up - A pure action movie with a razor sharp HD transfer.
Sunshine - An almost perfect sci-fi mind job with a flawless Blu-ray transfer.
Cloverfield - Surprisingly effective style translates perfectly to high def.
The Proposition - A quirky little western from down under that looks amazing in HD.
The Bank Job - Classic style done today, with a really sharp transfer.
Across The Universe - One long music video with colorful images that sing in HD
Baraka - The restoration from 70mm must be seen.
James Bond 007 - Six movies have been restored digitally frame by frame and released: so far, so amazing!
Serenity -A modern classic gets a sweet HD transfer.
The Matrix Ultimate Box Set - The first gets the most re-mastered treatment, but what really makes the set shine is the Animatrix in HD
Batman Begins - A cut above the average super hero movie and a great transfer
I, Robot – A Perfect Transfer
The Nightmare Before Christmas – Beautifully restored
Jet Li's Fearless – Looks amazing. Now where is Hero??
Resident Evil Trilogy
From Dusk Till Dawn (Canadian Import)
Life Of Brian
All of these movies look "night and day" better than their standard DVD counterparts, highly recommended!
Band of Brothers
Firefly – The Complete Series
Weeds - Season 3
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles - Season One
Supernatural - Season 3
Lost – The Complete Fourth Season
Mad Men – Season One
Some TV was made for High Def; these are the best looking and most improved with Blu-ray transfers.
The Police - Certifiable: Live In
Rush - Snakes & Arrows Live
AC/DC - No Bull
Heart - Alive In
The Moody Blues - Lovely to See You
When live concerts are filmed in high def it is almost better than being there. The seats sure are better!
David Gilmour - Live In
Lacuna Coil - Visual Karma (Limited 4-disc)
Spaced - The Complete Series
Penn & Teller Bullshit - 5th Season
Dexter - Season 2
The Frolic - Collector's Edition
Zappa Plays Zappa – Live
The Swell Season - In Concert
Genesis - When In
Iron Maiden - Live After Death
Lost Highway - Spotlight Series
Who knows when some if any of the above will be released ..ay, at least we finally got a legitimate copy of Lost Highway instead of a foreign bootleg from EBay!
The interview is only four minutes and it is streaming from my "pro" MySpace page linked below. Enjoy
And if you want to download the interview, click this link:
Now that I have spent a little more time on Facebook....I still enjoy Myspace more. LOL FB has been a great way to re-connect with friends I haven't spoken to in 20 years or more, all my friends from high school and college. Plus, folks I have met on my "travels" during my radio career.
Facebook also has groups and causes you can join for networking and information sharing. Anyone can create one and I stumbled on a choice from my hometown that applies to everywhere. (At least everywhere I have been driving lately!)
Most drivers these days seem to have never passed any kind of driver's education or driving test. Not just a lack of courtesy on most driver's part but the appearance of a complete lack of understanding the rules of how traffic flows. And now I know I am not alone....
If you're not doing 80mph in the left lane, get the F*CK out of my way!!!!!Atlanta, GA
We drive fast and reckless. If it is not rush hour traffic, then the average speed on the interstate is around 80mph. This is not in the left lane, but on the entire interstate in general. If you drive at 55mph you are putting your life in danger, as someone is liable to run into the back of your car at 80+mph because you are going sooo slow. If you can't drive quickly, you should not drive here.
But the left lane is reserved for those people who desire to get where they're going especially quickly. PLEASE- if you're in the left lane and you're not doing at least 80, MOVE THE F*CK OVER.... get the F*CK out of my way- because I don't know about you, but I've got places to go. Thank you!
I would like to emphasize that this group does not advocate speeding or
reckless driving, but merely the preservation of the flow of traffic.
The highway is designed such that fast cars drive on the left and slow
ones on the right. The far left lane is for passing. If you're not
passing someone, MOVE OVER!
as of this morning, it has 2,653 members....but I think it will be huge!
Put down the phone, move over and drive safe out there.