Recently, one of my reader’s who enjoyed Head to Head (which featured music from The Album Leaf), brought to my attention that the band’s music has also been featured in a recent public service announcement. The song used is “The Light,” and the commercial is part of a volunteerism campaign being conducted by the Entertainment Industry Foundation.This particular commercial focuses on helping out military families, but the overall campaign is all about getting people to help out in the community and volunteer in general. Good cause, good music. It’s certainly a breathe of fresh air (especially for an LA resident who is used to reading negative story after story concerning celebrity behavior) to see people with high visibility speaking up for something important. Not to preach, but I think you should all consider the message of this campaign for one second, and try to think of just one small way you could volunteer your time to help out those less fortunate than yourself.

Check the commercial out below (and thanks again to Todd for pointing it out to me).

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Jennifer’s Body

September 22, 2009

I love camp horror films. Ever since staying up late one night as a young teen to watch The Rage, I’ve always taken to these movies, so when I first heard of Jennifer’s Body, I knew that would be a movie I would check out. Yes, the plot was ridiculous – but honestly, that’s part of the fun. Horror movies that take themselves seriously generally end up boring me to death. Instead, Jennifer’s Body does a great job of mixing in dark humor, some gnarly special effects, and just an excellent overall feel of how a good camp horror movie should be. Awesome special effectS? Check. A few corny one-liners? Check. Super-hot female? Check. Rockin’ music? CHECK.

I go both ways when it comes to really heavy music. Some of it just sounds like mindless rubbish. However, some ultra-heavy bands really bring a lot to the table musically, and aren’t just around to give an excuse to idiots to beat people up in the moshpit (see Between the Buried and Me, Trivium, etc). One such band, It Dies Today, shows up in Jennifer’s Body, as the song “Sacre Couer” blasts during the scene where Jennifer consoles Jonas at the football field. It Dies Today are the type of band that pummel you into submission, but don’t do so in a robotic way that insults your intelligence like so many other heavy bands. Do yourself a favor and check this track out.

The only problem? For some reason, somebody decided to leave “Sacre Couer” off the soundtrack, while tracks from the likes of Cobra Starship and Dashboard Confessional made the cut. Well, I suppose they do have to sell copies of the soundtrack to all the tweens that will see this movie, but I for one won’t be making the purchase. That said, this is just a small gripe as the movie was great, and it had other great music included as well, such as Hole’s “Violet.”  Check out the trailer below, as well as a YouTube video where you can listen to the whole song:

It Dies Today on MySpace

Video game licensing has come a long way. It seems as if the days are gone (or at least going away) where games were filled with only garbage from the likes of The Ataris, Puddle of Mudd, and wannabe-Nickelbacks. This is a rather recent development, which I enjoy a lot – especially in my favorite type of game, sports games. Something about the right music puts you in the adrenaline-filled mood to play a good sports game, and this past week I picked up Need For Speed Shift and NHL ’10, and am thrilled with the gameplay and soundtracks for both. I’ll leave the gameplay review to the experts, but both are getting near unanimous praise -definitely worth picking up.

I’ll start with NHL ’10 and its use of Earl Greyhound’s “Oye Vaya.” While the game does feature some lame artists (Papa Roach, Nickelback) the surprise selection of Earl Greyhound just about makes up for it. For those unfamiliar, Earl Greyhound makes hard-hitting, straight-up rock n’ roll, the likes of which has been missing in the mainstream for a LONG time. No gimmicks, no unnecessary tricks. Just rock. I first discovered Earl Greyhound thanks to My Old Kentucky Blog’s Laundromatinee sessions, and you can check out the rad performance of that song below, as well as some NHL ’10 gameplay :

Earl Greyhound on MySpace

I’ve been playing the Need For Speed series since about 1997 – in fact, Need For Speed was the first game I owned on the original Playstation. Now that we’re in a Blu-Ray, HD, PS3 world, it’s obvious that the game has come a long way. This is the first Need For Speed on a next-gen system I’ve played, and the physics and graphics are off the hook…compliment that with the great track “Under Control” by Rootbeer (which features previous blog favorites, Pigeon John) and I couldn’t be happier. Check out this great fan-captured live performance of this ultra-smooth song below:

Rootbeer on MySpace

New Tracks On Hit Machine

September 16, 2009

My Hit Machine addiction is still in full effect, and now the folks at OMGPOP have made it even harder for me to be productive, by releasing new tracks to the game. I already was happy with the 20 or so songs that they launched the game with, which I thought had some great diversity (Chromeo, Tokyo Police Club, Black Lips, Valient Thor). Well, now they’ve added additional tracks to the game, and I personally was stoked about “Come My Sunshine” by The Comas, and “The Unbeliever” by Middle Distance Runner. I’ve blogged about both of these artists before, so readers of this blog won’t find it all surprising to hear me gush about these tunes.

The best thing about “The Unbeliever” is the awesome claymation music video. I actually found it kind of distracting as I was playing the game because even though I’ve seen this video a dozen times, it’s just some cool eye candy that’s tough to look away from. Of course none of this would mean anything if the song was annoying, but it’s a great, non-pretentious straight up rocker. Also, for those of you looking to unlock higher levels of difficulty in Hit Machine, this is a relatively easy song to play, so knock yourself out with it.

Even though the song is two years old, “Come My Sunshine” has been getting some recent love. I was pleasantly surprised when it was featured in ESPN’s “Being Maya Gabeira” piece, and even happier to see it added to Hit Machine this week. The music video isn’t as cool as “The Unbeliever” – in fact some of the “Smells Like Teen Spirit”-esque band shots get really annoying, but it is a great song that reminds me in many ways of LA darlings, Silversun Pickups.

The Comas on MySpace

Middle Distance Runner on MySpace

Football season is just upon us, so I thought I might share this countdown of the 50 most brutal college football hits to get you all pumped up (as if football fans need any more reasons to get amped. for the new season). My personal favorite? Well, it was also #1 on this list, too. New Washington Redskin Kevin Barnes’ devastating hit on Cal’s Jahvid Best caused him to vomit right on the field.

I was also just about to get bummed over the fact that Hard Knocks was over, but my buddy just turned me on to a new documentary show (I refuse to call it a ‘reality’ show, since this actually appears unscripted) about two rival high school football teams in Mississippi, the Wayne County War Eagles and the West Jones Mustangs. The show is called Head to Head, and it is only being shown regionally on TV, but you can watch it online, right here.

It’s a surprisingly well-made documentary considering the lack of exposure – when I first heard about it, I was expecting it to be like those high school football news reels. But watch it for yourself, and you will see that this is a high-quality production – it’s filling the Hard Knocks void beautifully.

The icing on the cake? A great music choice, with the track “Enchanted Hill” by The Album Leaf. The Album Leaf are like Explosions in the Sky, with a more electronic, less guitar-centric approach. I guess you could say they split the difference between Explosions and Sigur Ros. No matter, they’re great. As Friday Night Lights proved, football goes well with epic post-rockesque music, and hearing “Enchanted Hill” in Head To Head (starts at the beginning of the third video “Part 2” below) gave me goose bumps.

Updates: FYI, West Jones plays Wayne County on October 23. Also, if you like The Album Leaf, they recently also soundtracked a PSA for volunteerism.

Head to Head – Introduction

Part 1 – The Season Begins

Part 2 – The Origins of the Rivalry

Part 3 – Game Time For Wayne County