Repost: New Music – Jakob Dylan

20 04 2009

So I went to see Jakob Dylan on June 6th at the Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh. I wasn’t sure what to expect as I knew he was touring without the Wallflowers and hadn’t yet heard his new album, which comes out on June 10th (though I did pick up a copy after the show).

Jakob DylanThe tour is in support of his new album Seeing Things and I’ve got to say that both the show and the new material were pretty good. For those of you who haven’t been to the Lincoln, it’s an old theatre with the seats ripped out and a small balcony. In essence it’s like seeing an artist play in your living room. It’s quite an inimate venue and Dylan’s new acoustic set and underscored band were ideal for the space.

The band played one or two older songs off of Bringing Down the Horse including Three Marlenas. The highlight of the night may have been an impromtu solo version of Josephine off that album. However, the newer material led the way and was a pleasant surprise. At one point of the evening Dylan asked the crowd if they were ready for some uplifting material and then rolled into evil is alive and well. Dylan’s sense of sarcasm was also well placed when dealing with a giant drunk woman who seemed to be screaming so loud over the music that I could hear her from 30 feet away over the music.

Other highlights off the new album included valley of the low sun, everybody pays as they go, something good this way comes, and on up the mountain. The new songs are haunting, quiet, moving, and show some maturity in Dylan as a song writer. The ninety minute set moved along at a nice clip and felt much fresher than most times when an artist plays new material.

Hearing the songs live first may have helped but I’d rate the new album as a 7 out of 10.

UPDATE:  Upon further listening, this album keeps getting better and better.





Movie Review: Juno

21 01 2009

juno-poster2-big1So last night, our TiVo presented us with the darling of the film world, Juno. About half way through this movie, I felt compelled to write something about how it made me feel. Let me start by saying that I don’t get what all the buzz was about. While Juno was technically a well shot movie, the writing was horrific and that just ruined it all.

First, the dialog between the teen characters was the most annoying thing I’d ever heard in my life. First, I don’t believe that teens talk that way today. Secondly, I felt like the movie was trying so hard to be hip and cool that none of the characters had conversations that amounted to anything.

The characters in the movie were horrific. Between the teenagers who seemed incredibly smart and dumb at the same time and the portrayal of Gen-X adults as shallow and borderline pedophilic, I found myself repulsed by nearly all of the paper-thin characters. The only actor who seemed to rise above the limited writing was J.K. Simmons.

The thing that disturbed me greatly, wasn’t how the movie depicted teen pregnancy, it was that there wasn’t a real emotion or situation in the entire script. Diablo Cody has written a screenplay that, while cutesy and cheeky, has none of the truth or real emotion she seems to think it contains. It also contains an incredibly weak portrayal of pregnancy. As my wife pointed out, some of the facts presented were just wrong.

I have no idea why critics loved this movie. The performances were fine, but the source material was really limited. The quick fire, “witty” dialog attempts to hide the sins of the plot and characterization.

To top it off, the music in this movie was the worst I’ve ever heard. It seems like it’s a collection of the worst played indie rock from the last five years.

I’d avoid this movie. Just read some of the other reviews here.





Laziest Sunday Ever

27 07 2008

So after some work travel, a weekend away, late nights, etc.  I’m back to the blog.  I know, you all missed me so.  Actually, traffic has shot up like crazy from the odd 2-3 hits a day to hundreds.  Now before I go and get too excited it’s all being driven by Kirstie Alley searches.  Maybe she’s become popular again… who knows? 

So I’m going to start in comics.  There’s a shitload going on in comics.  Where to begin?

Let’s begin with the mother of all comic book movies, The Dark Knight.  Beyond smashing box office records and drawing repeat viewers and people who typically prefer Sandra Bullock movies, this movie is getting fantastic reviews.  I have not seen the movie yet, but here are the words of a few who have:

Ok, continuing in comics, a lot of quality books have come out in the last two weeks as well. Once again, Captain America is the highlight of my haul. Issue #40 has got me on the edge of my seat trying to figure out what the hell is going to happen. This book continues to be one of the best written and drawn comics out today. Check out LOTRKing’s review. He also reviews Astonishing X-Men #25. So far, I’m a little unimpressed with it, but I think that’s in large part due to the great run Joss Whedon had on the Astonishing X-Men.

Finally, ComicCon has been going on this week, check out the AVClub’s coverage here for July 23, July 24, July 25, and July 26. Also, the Invincible Super Blog posts the true rumors here.

Whew, moving on to music. I found a few cool reviews and articles this week, including:
Sub Pop records turned 20 years old while I was away. A few people have written about it, including Cinematically Correct, and Electric LustElectricity & Lust’s Tumblr site.

  • Also in music, the AVClub reviews Nine Inch Nails new album The Slip. I downloaded it a while back for free.
  • I also have attempted my own version of the best albums of each year since my birth. Not an easy task (especially for the lean years of the 1980s).

In literature and books and the such, One Story Magazine dominates this week…

  • The editor points out how newspapers are cutting their noses off in spite of their face as they try to stay relevant. The latest cuts? book reviews.
  • Issue 106 Safe Passage has arrived in my mail box and landed on my to read list.

Finally, in movies, I have to point to Electricity & Lust’s movies since their birth. I don’t think I’ll try it myself, but I think they have a pretty good list. They also give us a little commentary on The Wackness a movie that intrigues me for some reason.

You might be wondering why I have a picture of ROM in this post…  Well, I heard they’re making a Tron 2 and it led me to wonder why there is no ROM movie??  Ok, that’s all for now. Back to my lazy, lazy Sunday.





Weekly Roundup

13 07 2008

I’m too tired to come up with an interesting title this week.  We saw Tom Petty last night and after standing on concrete for two hours (and stayig up late) I’m wiped out.  I don’t want to move off the couch.  so let’s begin…

In comics, beyond the pile I always have (which my local comic book guy said was a sign of my problem), Secret Invasion 4 came out this week and the cross over keeps getting better and better. Usually with a Marvel summer cross over I can figure that things will be the same at the end but with this one, I’m not sure. It’s really quite good. Some other thoughts on comics this week include:

In movies, the AVClub has finally recognized the greatest achievement in film history… Roadhouse.

In music, Electricity & Lust has released a list of their favorite albums since the year of their birth. I might have to try that. Check it out here. I agree with a good number of the choices.

In books, the Times highlighted The Size of the World, by Joan Silber. It looks worth picking up, but I’m a sucker for short fiction.

In television, I’ve TiVo’d the first installment of HBO’s Generation Kill, I’m lookign forward to it.

That’s it for now. I’ll write more once I recover.





Happy 5th

5 07 2008

Well it’s the holiday weekend. I was going to post yesterday but I got lazy on the couch. So I’ll just jump in before I drift into a nap again.

First, in comics, I’ve made yet another trip to the comic book store. My local shop was having a sale on sets and I got the coolest thing… I found the entire run of Jack Kirby’s Devil Dinosaur. I had the last issue when I was a kid and it’s quite beat up by now. It was a great price and a nice addition to my collection. Even better, Sean will have it around and get to read the entire series. It’s really kind of mental and interesting and strange.   I also picked up Astonishing X-Men #25, the first in a new story arc with a new creative team. I doubt it will be as good as Joss Whedon’s run, but I’ll give it a try.

Also in comics:

  • The Super Invincible Blog highlights the week that was in July 2. I’ve picked up some of these issues as well, including the freakout issue of Batman.
  • Click here for a Comics report card. I agree totally with their thought that Captain America is the best book around.
  • LOTRKing reviews both Captain America #39 and Mighty Avengers #15.

In movies/DVD, the AVClub reviews Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters. I wrote about it earlier this week here. If you haven’t seen it, it’s well worth the time.

  • The AVClub also reviews The Wackness, a new film about 1994. I’m intrigued by this movie but will wait for it to hit HBO or Netflix. I’m also curious to see the Ben Kingsley/Olsen twin thing.

In music, Plain or Pan directs us to quite possibly the coolest Dylan spoof ever.

In links, Electricity & Lust has its regular mix of cool stuff to check out. Especially interesting were the Liz Phair, Batman, and Zach de la Rocha articles. I am so glad they’ve got the time to go out and scour the interwebs so I don’t have to. They always find the best stuff.

Well, I’ll be back next week with the roundup and I’ll mention anything else I come across in my journeys. Enjoy the hotdogs and hamburgers this weekend.





Quiet Week

22 06 2008

Once I finished the The Corrections it’s been a pretty quiet week. I tried to plow through a bit of my pile of old New Yorkers and basically picked over articles and stories. Nothing too exciting. So here goes nothing:

In short-fiction, I did read a few things. Like I said, I’m chipping away at a pile of New Yorkers and a few One-Story issues. I also started The Boat by Nam Le (so far it’s fantastic).

In not-so-short fiction, Shannon tells you to go read The Hobbit.

In music, Guns ‘N Roses’ long awaited album was leaked for like 13 minutes this week on the interwebs. I write a little about it over here.

  • Also, I keep meaning to link over to Plain or Pan? a really great music website from a Scot with a huge collection of stuff.

In television, the AVClub interviews Billy West of Futurama and Ren & Stimpy fame. I, however, was introduced to him via the Howard Stern show where he did such imitations as Marge Schott and The Queen of Mean, Leona Helmsley.

In links, the following sub-finds…

  • I found Wordspy a site that introduces you to newly coined phrases.
  • In art, I found a site this week that gives you cheap options for art. It’s called 20×200 and gives you the option of buying a $20, $200, or $2,000 version of the same piece. My problem is that I think some of the pictures from my vacation are better and I can’t figure out how to sell them here!
  • Not so much art as photography, I did try a very cool site affiliated with Flickr this week. It’s called MOO and enables you to make postcards, notecards, mini-cards, etc. from your own pics stored on Flickr. I’ll let you know what I think when I get the first pics back.

I’m behind on comics and don’t have anything to report this week. Hopefully I’ll attack the pile this week and have something to report back on.  Hope all are having a good summer.





Weekend Activities

8 06 2008

I actually got out and did stuff this weekend.  What a shocker!  First my dad and I want to see Jakob Dylan on Friday night.   The show was good and I’ve written my thoughts over on yet another specialized blog

CloverfieldSecond, we bought Cloverfield on Pay-Per-View.  I’m still thinking about the movie but I think Shannon may have gotten it right when she said they remade Godzilla with a handheld camera…  I don’t want to spoil anything, but the movie was pretty good.  I really wish that we had a few more answers.  An outside perspective would have been interesting. 

After a while I got tired of all the super good looking kids running through Manhattan expressing undying love for each other.  I was kind of missing the fat guy with bad facial hair that provides comic relief (like in the Godzilla movies).

Again, showing that we’re ahead of the times we’re going to watch the end of season one of Battlestar Galactica.  It might actually encourage us to get Netflix. 

Next weekend Shannon is going to take me to see The Incredible Hulk for father’s day. I’m kind of psyched!