Saturday, May 24, 2008

New Dubby Conquerers (2001) - Seeed

Once upon a time I was supposedly ruder than rude and tougher than tough. Boots and braces. Lager lout. If we weren't at a goth/industrial club we were at a ska show. DC had a late 90s resurgence. The Pietasters keep bringing crowds in. The NYC SKA MOB had sets at the 9:30. The Skatalites played at...well everywhere. Tiny bands from along the East Coast and the Midwest opened and sometimes headlined at places like The Velvet Lounge or Phantasamoria. One of the owners of La Cueva told me about the club he was opening with his friend when he was a teller at the Bank of America and I came up to the counter in my jacket. We saw Mephiskapheles several places. The Stubborn All Stars played regular like.

And then I moved to Austin in '99. Seen a couple of shows but it ain't the same. 'Cept that Skatalites show Amanda realized what the hype was about. Of course I have to say that The Stingers are a solid Soul/Riddim band from ATX.

Basically Ska and Riddim has taken a back seat over the last few several years. I pick up a Trojan Boxset here and there but I haven't been really paying attention to what the American labels have been putting out. The Easy Dub All-Stars have put out two excellent cover albums: Dubside of the Moon and Radiodread. Personally I think Dubside is a better album but thats just me.

Like I said in a previous post Seeed is a great band I just found out about. Now those of you know me know I penchant for bizarre world music. Not quite as bad Paul Simon or David Byrne but still...

Seeed's New Dubby Conquerers is a solid solid solid album. In all honesty I don't know why it took me seven years to find this album. Maybe I should read the emails I get from every once in a while. This album is brilliant in a way I haven't heard since the heyday of The Stubborn All Stars. Although Seeed has a sticky Collie riddim that makes me hanker for a four footer.

New Dubby Conquerers is a summertime album. Pool party, chicks in bikinis, fat boy grill masterin', just that right before lager takes control but you're sweatin out more lager than you're takin in, everythin a'ight, put this on random with What's Goin' On, Innervisions, and The Harder They Come. For a starter mix that should do you just fine.

Nitty gritty:

  • Dancehall Caballeros. I don't give a shit what these krauts are saying. It's dope. I'm not well versed in Dancehall. The mix-up on this makes for a track is a brilliant album opener. I'd sell my mother for sin to hear this ear bleeding loud in a klub.
  • Riddim No. 1 has a sample beat of the intro riff off Could you be loved or whatever shite later Marley song it was. Other than that the song is all on the plus side. It's got bounce. It's got the kind of bounce that the ladies like. Fun but vaguely dirty.
  • Pape Noah has a classic Third Wave sound. No seriously, listen to Hepcat's Out of Nowhere.
  • Walk Upright is downstepper. The kind of song you slow dance kind of naughty wit your rude girl.
  • Dickies B is the single video song. Man, I tell you what...this song has bounce. This is the kind of shit you want to block party. Everyone with an ounce of Soul in their soul can shake their ass to this. I really want to hook up the old Polk monsters to hear this song.
  • Psychedelic Kingdom is a classic cool down. Time for a pint, time to risk a snog, leaning elbow first against the wall trying not piss on your brogues.
  • Sensimilla. Syrupy. Once upon a time...
  • We Seeed. Brilliant song sampling Junior Murvin's Police & Thieves. Sure, we've heard the sample before but in this sample it's a bon mot. Something to make to smile while you sway and dance.
  • Tide is High. Once a cover of cover then Blondie fekked bout with it. These lads, either because they actually give a shit or I'm drunk enough to think this is brilliant, have done an excellent cover.
  • Top of the City is the type of song that would make me shift from boot tip to boot tip and roll back and put my heels in and back into it. This is a show off the rocksteady steps with a heavy bass sway. Ladies and gentlemen he pulled off that back pivot lager intact.
  • Fire the Hidden. Another song that you hear while waiting for a lager. Elbows pulled back on the rest. Too lagered to lean smile and put that bobcuts pint on your tab.
  • Miss Understanding. That same girl gives you a half smile, knowing you're laggered and harmless, but kind of cute in a stumbling way, she's seen worse. So she gives you a dance. And maybe if you can remember which foot is which foot she might give you a real number.

In case you couldn't guess I love this album.

Seeed zwei.

This is the song that got us into them:

Ich lieben dich Seeed.

We saw a piece about Seeed last week on about this Berlin dub/reggae/downtempo/New Orleans march band. I downloaded their Magic Monks legally and it is a solid solid album. Here's the video for the song that isn't available for download but gives you a good taster:

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) dir. Steven Spielberg. Spoilers!

It is impossible to write an impartial review of this movie. An entire generation of men and women love Indiana Jones. Raiders of the Lost Ark was one of the first movies I can remember seeing in the theater. In Second Grade I wrote a story titled Indiana Jones vs the Great White Shark. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was the first movie I saw in the theater by myself. My father, Grandfather, and I saw Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade more than several times together. Indiana Jones was the template upon which I built my ideas of what it meant to be a man. Indiana Jones was my hero.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a disappointment. Not a total disappointment but in some ways that makes it worse. I can forgive Indy for leaving a pregnant Marion. I can forgive his weary distrust of the Atomic Age and eventual pathetic death from radiation sickness. I can forgive Cate Blanchett's "Moose and Squirrel" accent. I can forgive the poor misuse of both John Hurt and Ray Winstone. I can forgive John Williams' piss poor rehashed cues and themes. Hell, I can even forgive "The Beef".

What I can't forgive is the fact that the magic is gone. Who said that this story, that this script, was worth a mummer's fart? Who said, "Yeah, this is good."? Who said, "This is worthy of a final Indiana Jones movie."? That person should have a rabid badger attatched to their taint. Before Amanda and I left the theater we looked at one another and said, "Aliens? Really?". On the ride back to the hotel all we could say was, "Aliens? Really?". From the beginning of the movie there was little mystery about what the plot device was. 1957. Area 51. "Okay, maybe it's going to be a race to unlock an alien superweapon that..." Wait. What? Alien superweapon? When did Indiana Jones get all Chariots of the Gods? Yeah, we'll just white wash the Judeo-Christian mumbo jumbo of the first and third movies and...aliens? Really? Are you sure it wasn't midichlorians? From there the movie just kind of staggers along ticking off marks on the Indiana Jones checklist. The problem is that it doesn't. Crystal Skull doesn't have the mystery, thrill, excitement, "How's Indy gonna escape this time?", or fun of the earlier installments. Amanda said she looked at my face several times during the movie and said that I went from, "YAY! to eh."

There are moments of goodness in Crystal Skull. Most of these moments involve Indy using phrases and mannerisms his father used - i.e. "This is intolerable!". There are moments between Indy and Marion which capture the fire of Raiders. "The Beef" is often being beaten and pummeled and made to look foolish. The Atomic Cafe theme running through the begininng of the movie is pretty neat. Marion is in it. Indy never loses his hat.

Some reviewers have said that if you just take Crystal Skull for what it is worth and go for the ride then you'll enjoy the movie. Fuck that. I'm gonna pretend that this installment never happened and you're talking to a guy whose favorite is Temple of Doom.

Aliens? Really?

Friday, May 16, 2008

My current custom playlist for GTA IV.

  1. Main Title 2:19 David Shire The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three
  2. Kaneda 3:11 Akira Symphonic Suite
  3. Main Theme 3:12 Jacques Loussier Dark Of The Sun
  4. Main Theme - Carter Takes A Train 3:00 Roy Budd
  5. Ricky's Theme 3:44 The Beastie Boys
  6. Summertime Killer 3:40 Luis Bacalov
  7. Main Title 2:36 Hideakira Sakurai The Best of Lone Wolf and Cub
  8. L Arena 4:46 Ennio Morricone
  9. Zorba The Greek 2:56 John Murphy & David Hughes Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels
  10. Parade of the Slave Children (From Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) 4:53 John Williams
  11. Scherzo for Motorcycle and Orchestra (From Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) 2:48 John Williams
  12. Battle of the Heroes 3:42 John Williams Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  13. Getting Nowhere In A Hurry - Instrumental 3:11 Roy Budd Get Carter
  14. Main Titles 3:42 Vangelis Blade Runner
  15. Hong Kong Underground 4:43 Jesper Kyd Hitman Contracts
  16. Vegas Blood Money 6:35 Jesper Kyd Hitman: Bloodmoney
  17. Winds Over The Neo-Tokyo 2:48 Geinoh Yamashirogumi Akira
  18. Nightstalker 1:45 Kenji Kawai GHOST IN THE SHELL
  19. Theme From "To Kill A Dead Man" 4:26 Portishead Sour Times EP

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

GTA IV Secret - Spoiler

If you get Playboy X's apartment - head over to change clothes. Cycle through the outfits. Eventually you will land on the outfit that the protagonist of GTA III wore. Kind of kicks ass and is only available far as I can tell.

Friday, May 09, 2008

The Sword - Fire Lances of the Ancient Hyperzephyrians

This is quite possibly one of the most awesome things I have seen in ages. Thanks to James for sending this my way.

Monday, May 05, 2008

My first impressions of GTA IV - about a third of the way through the game.

If you've been following any of the reviews online or off then you will know that GTA IV is one of the most amazing games to ever be released. There are certainly a few minor problems here and there but over all these are simply quibbles. I'm gonna get the complaints out of the way:

  1. The soundtrack isn't my cup of tea. The score is great and some of the stations - i.e. Vladivostok & IF99 playing Eastern European pop and Afropop/Funk respectively - are a blast. The Latin station is a welcome change. I was happy to hear a Jazz station though I kind of miss a Classical station. Journey FM does a decent job of filling the Classical slot though with ambient Tangerine Dream-esque tunes. There are a good number of stations that are hit or miss for me. The rock stations are meh. One is old hits DJ'd by Iggy Pop and the other is new white belt rock DJ'd by Juliette Lewis. The rest of the stations are okay, some modern urban crap, rap classics, some smooth gettin ass music about shorties, and an electronic station I always skip past. I usually end up just turning off the radio.
  2. I want more clothing options. So far there are only three stores. Yes this is a ridiculous gripe.
  3. I miss taking pictures of stuff. In past games you could take snapshots and save them. Maybe this happens later in the game.

And those are the only three I can think of right now.

You can read all the other reviews about how awesome GTA IV is. It truly takes gaming up to a new level. There are countless moments of "Holy shit I can do that?!?" and "Holy shit look at that!".

What really makes GTA IV an amazing experience for me though are:

  1. The character interaction. A lot of the game depends on social interaction and keeping up with various characters through out the game via phone, hanging out and email. It's kind of bizarre because I am so bad at this in RL but have some what mastered it in IV.
  2. The high quality of writing. The dialogue and story are top notch. IV is much more serious and adult in content than any other in the series. I don't mean adult purient I mean characters are dealing with some pretty awful issues on a personal level. This lends a level of sophistication that's refreshing in gaming. A lot of the wacky humor the series was known for has also been scaled down.
  3. The overall theme of addiction and recovery is pretty astounding and handled in a way that blows me away. I actually wonder if the writer is in recovery. What could easily be over wrought After School special junk is not. The addictions run the gamut from gambling to alcoholism to drug use to violence. I am looking forward to finding out what happens with the main story line.

More news to follow.

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