Hit Machine

August 26, 2009

So, Time Magazine just released a list of their Top 50 Best Websites for 2009. While I’m a little butt-hurt that I didn’t make the list, that didn’t stop me from checking out some of the sites. While there are some of the usual suspects such as Yelp, Twitter, Google, and Hulu, they also had some interesting sites I had never heard of before. One such site, which I visited just based off it’s name, is OMGPOP.

OMGPOP is an interactive online arcade, with their own versions of popular games that you can play with other people. These include  Blockies (Tetris), Letterblox (Scrabble), and more – all perfect ‘time theft’ activities to engage in while at work. However, my favorite has got to be Hit Machine, which is OMGPOP’s answer to Guitar Hero. I’ve been ultra-addicted to this ever since it came out, not only because it brings a classic game to my fingertips while sitting at the computer, but also because of the excellent song choices. Add on the fact that it’s not only guitar (you play some keyboard or synth lines, too depending on the song), and you have a recipe for addiction.

Below, I will leave you with my thoughts on some of my favorite songs from the game, and, if I can, some tips for beating them. Keep checking back often, as I will be updating this throughout the week.

Tokyo Police Club – “Your English Is Good”

This song is an up-beat, catchy jangle, with some great clap-a-long action going on in the background. It’s one of the songs available to you right away on the “Easy” skill level in the game, so you can play it right from the start. Just establish the groove in your head and you should have no trouble with this one, although I always get distracted by the music video, which plays to the right of the gameplay window…you’re trying to concentrate and then you get all stoked on watching the music video and forget you’re playing. One tip : for the section where you have the fast runs up and down the keys J – K – L and back, I found it was too distracting to try look at the fretboard. Instead, just remember you’re going up and down, and listen to the song – it’s a lot easier to stay in rhthym that way (I discovered this after about 10 epic FAIL attempts at getting through this section).

Coming soon:  Islands “Creeper,” Black Lips “Short Fuse,” and more!

I will leave you all with a video of me beating “Your English Is Good.”

Youth In Revolt

August 23, 2009

I can’t believe I had never heard of this movie until yesterday, but Youth In Revolt, a movie adapation of the C.D. Lang book is coming to theaters October 30 and it will star Michael Cera as Nick Twisp. I’ve had this book recommended to me countless trusted friends, but have been to busy to get around to reading it. Well, now I get to watch the movie instead, and it has one of my favorite actors, Michael Cera. Ever since seeing him star in Arrested Development (my all-time favorite show) as the earnest and awkard George Michael Bluth, I’ve been a fan of Cera’s work. Superbad was great, too.

If the trailer is any real indication, this looks like it’ll be a great movie, regardless of the good casting decision. The movie looks to be a unique take on the “dorky boy trys to win girl” plot, and seeing Michael Cera playing two personalities looks like the funniest dual roll since Eddie Murphy in Bowfinger. And as if that’s not enough to get me psyched up for the movie, I was stoked to hear one of my well-documented favorite songs, “Timebomb” by the Old 97’s. Here’s hoping they feature more music from Rhett Miller and company in the film.

The Old 97’s on MySpace

Being Maya Gabeira

August 14, 2009

I’ve got to hand it the folks at ESPN.com who work on the “Being…” series. First, they have consistently selected interesting characters to profile, such as Ed Templeton, Ken Block, and now Maya Gabeira. Second (and I will get to this later) they sure do a great job of picking music to put in these profiles.

It’s amazing just how quickly Maya Gabeira has ascended to the top of the big wave surfing scene, and it’s even more staggering to think what else the 22-year-old Brazilian beauty can still accomplish. Just this past week, Gabeira rode the largest wave of the season at the vaunted Dungeons break. Take a look at some of the breathtaking footage of the massive waves she takes on in this video – if you have even a passing interest in surfing, this featurette is sure to get your juices flowing.

As for the music, ESPN compliments her gnarly shredding with “I’m Alive” by Radio Freq and “Come My Sunshine” by The Comas. Radio Freq is an up-and-coming indie electro act from here in LA that have been causing even the most stodgy residents of my city to put their dancing shoes on. “I’m Alive” is definitely a good adrenaline-pumping tune, and it kicks off the Maya Gabeira profile with a bang. I can definitely imagine this music blasting in clubs in Maya’s native Brazil at 4 a.m.

The Comas broke out in 2004 when their album Conductor began receiving accolades everywhere, and the single  “Tonight on the W.B.” made plenty of waves. Fronted by Andy Herrod, who now leads The Electric Owls, their dreamy indie pop goes down smooth everytime, and from the first moment I heard “The Last Transmission” I was hooked. “Come My Sunshine” starts about 2 minutes into this video, and is pulled from their last album, Spells.

Radio Freq on MySpace

The Comas on MySpace

Every summer, I cancel HBO and the other premium channels, because face it – when sports aren’t in season, there’s not much reason to have these channels (after all, we are in the Netflix era). However, once August rolls around and football season begins, it’s time to bring HBO (specifically Hard Knocks) back into my house, which I did last weekend. This year’s Hard Knocks features the Cincinnati Bengals, and they have plenty of intriguing storylines – as always Chad Ochocinco and his antics, hold-out doughboy rookie Andre Smith, Carson Palmer’s return from injury…I wonder who the longshot rookies they follow will be. Part of me is disappointed that I won’t get to watch the trainwreck that was the Cowboys last year, but the other part of me is excited to just watch an interesting team on Hard Knocks – the last time I enjoyed following this was when the had the Jaguars on, and that was back in 2004.

The other advantage of having HBO back is of course the TV shows. I have yet to be converted into a True Blood fan, but I have enough friends (and a roommate) who swear by the show that I might have to take the plunge this season. I know I’ll be starting off in the middle of a season, but that didn’t stop me from loving Dexter when I discovered that in the middle of season 2, so we’ll see how this goes. The promo for the upcoming episode, “I Will Rise Up” looks interesting enough, the only thing I have to decide is whether I use Wikipedia to catch myself up, or just dive straight in and go back and watch the old episodes later.

Looks like HBO has a pretty decent lineup of movies and shows coming up this fall, judging on the tv spot below, which also features a great tune, “Brand New Day” by Pigeon John. Pigeon John has been a favorite here in his native LA since he first hit the scene in 2002, and as an Angeleno (transplant, that is) I am happy to see him getting the exposure that we all know he deserves. The rare hip-hop artist who always seems to have a genuine smile on his face, “Brand New Day” perfectly exemplifies the breezy, laid back cool style that has been his calling card.

Pigeon John on MySpace