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

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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

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

Being Ken Block

July 31, 2009

Remember Ed Templeton, the skateboard/photography/entrepreneur renaissance man that ESPN profiled? After watching that profile, I thought Templeton was beyond a shadow of a doubt, the most interesting and innovative character in action sports. Well, it seems he has some company now, thanks to DC Shoes co-founder Ken Block, who has turned himself into one of the top rally car drivers in the world.

In 2004, after Quiksilver purchased DC Shoes, Ken Block decided to pursue his dream of becoming a rally car racer. You always hear stories about athlete’s retiring and then starting a business, but Ken Block’s transformation from retiring from business to become an athlete is the first I’ve heard going the other way. Definitely worth your 5 minutes today to check out his story.

As with all things associated with action sports, there is also some cool music in this spot, specifically Ted Leo and the Pharmacists’ “Sons of Cain,” which plays with about 1:45 left in the video. I’ve loved Ted Leo’s music dating back to his work in Chisel, and it’s great to see that he still is out there delivering consistently great tunes like this.

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists on MySpace


The T.O. Show

July 21, 2009

Vodpod videos no longer available.

As expected, last night’s premiere of The T.O. Show provided plenty of entertainment, and again made me wish he still played for the Cowboys so I could jeer my Cowboy friends for every stupid comment or selfish act that T.O. provides.

All in all, I got everything I expected out of this episode – laughs, cringes, a little more insight into the man that everyone “hates to love,” and as an added benefit, some great music – the episode features an instrumental cut of Tokyo Police Club’s “Graves.” As any follower of this blog knows, I am a huge Tokyo Police Club fan, and since this show is on VH1, it’s nice that the channel remembered (even if just for a moment) that it’s supposed to be a music network. “Graves” was one of the singles from their excellent Elephant Shell LP, which garnered a lot of comparisons to bands like The Strokes, The Decemberists, Wolf Parade, Ra Ra Riot – except I think Tokyo Police Club is head and shoulders above all those bands. They’re tighter and less caricature-like than The Strokes, more imaginative than The Decemberists, and just overall more consistent than just about anything out there right now, although I think I would rather hear them used on a show about Chris Cooley rather than T.O.

The show starts just as Owens finds out that he has been cut from the Dallas Cowboys. He spends a day depressed in his apartment with best friend/body guard Pablo, until his magic publicists, Mo and Kita, show up and force him to leave the house to forget about Dallas. They hit the town, and in an extremely awkward (and definitely scripted scene) they tell him he needs to move to LA for the summer to get serious. Exactly what he needs to get serious about is kind of left ambiguous – one would think they would want him out there training or trying to find a new team, but it mostly has to do with stuff like finding him the right woman and rebuilding his image.

They arrive in LA, and the first thing he does is shop. They drive to Beverly Hills in another awkward, scripted scene that is supposed to be comedic as Pablo passes gas in the car and everyone makes sure to note that it is nasty. Wow. Terrell proceeds to purchase $137,000 earrings, saying that sometimes he needs to spoil himself, just a little bit (but not too much).

The rest of the episode follows this predictable format, with T.O. being T.O. and his publicists trying to get him to tone down his act. It’s obvious the publicists love seeing themselves on TV, as they give righteous speeches, such as the one where they chastise him for bringing a bunch of “hoochie mamas” back to his house for after-hours partying. Watching Owens interact with some of my city’s trashiest train wrecks, he clearly looks in his element.

The next day, Mo and Kita tell him he needs to stay in and be smart, and he takes their advice, but with a catch – he invites his real estate agent over for dinner, proceeds to hit on her, and next thing you know they’re making out in the hot tub.

Somehow, the episode skips over him signing with the Bills, and all of a sudden he’s just arriving in Buffalo for a press conference. Drew Rosenhaus gives a quick blurb about how T.O. is going to make every team in the league pay, blah blah blah. Finally, the show comes to a conclusion as Owens visits his ex-fiancee and they have an uncomfortable discussion as he tries to play, “Joe Cool,” when she asks about his love life, responding with, “I don’t have one.”

T.O. simply being T.O. provides some hilarious entertainment, and although I’m not sure I can make it through a whole season, I will be tuning in next week to check out his shenanigans again. Hope you have a fun season of playing catch with this guy, Trent Edwards! To help you wash the bad T.O. taste out of your mouth, I’ll leave you all with the music video for Tokyo Police Club’s “Graves.”

The T.O. Show on VH1

Tokyo Police Club on MySpace