Halloween horror marathon: Halloween III

poster - halloween iiiHalloween III: Season of the Witch isn’t even in the same universe as the first two Halloween films — the only mention of the events in the previous movies comes as a commercial for the first on television. If one ignores the fact that Season of the Witch is connected only via producer / composer John Carpenter, and looks at it as a film in and of itself, it’s far easier to take. I can’t imagine how pissed I would’ve been to have expected Michael Meyers stalking folks again, only to discover that this is about evil masks.

However, given the fact that it’s creepy and fucked-up beyond belief, what with the kids and the masks and the repetitive jingle. It’s basically a detective story with killers and witchcraft and androids. Once you get into the big reveal, shit really stops making sense — your evil overlords don’t ever really explain as to why they’re doing what they’re doing, other than something than something about Samhain.
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Yourself and the Air, “Spirit Mixers” LP

cover - yourself and the air spirit mixers“Paisley punk” is a term I’ve heard applied to the likes of the Black Lips, and it’s equally as applicable to Yourself and the Air‘s latest, Spirit Mixers. Psychedelic, yet slightly sneering, it’s a snotty take on ’60s bubblegum, filtered through a haze of smoke and incense.

It’s a Sunday afternoon record, for sure. When the hangover has faded, but riffs aren’t quite yet palatable — you’re still drinking water and haven’t yet moved on to Bloody Marys — this is one of your go-to records. Think Animal Collective with fewer delay pedals.

It’s available on mixed swirl or black vinyl from the Lujo Records store.

MP3: Yourself and the Air, “Great Outdoors”
MP3: Yourself and the Air, “Home Photo”

The Hottest Female Poker Player Out There is Also a DJ

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Get to Know More about Vanessa Rousso

France is not only known for Paris, the Louvre, Daft Punk, and Air, but also for producing the world’s best poker players who also have multi disciplinary talents, such as Bertrand Grosspellier who’s also a Starcraft champion. Another prime example is the gorgeous Vanessa Rousso who’s also one of the most formidable professional poker players out there and has earned herself a mean reputation on the decks. Having started her professional poker career in 2007, she earned around $700,000 during the World Championship of Online Poker. In 2009, she finished 7th in the World Poker Tour Season VII Southern Poker Championship in which she defeated poker heavy weights Phil Ivey, David Negreanu and fellow countryman Bertrand Grospellier. She has an estimated $3,475,000 in total career earnings from all the tournaments she ever joined.

Vanessa started her career in poker by playing online and it’s quite admirable to see her pursue her other passions as well, especially in music. If you’re really serious about playing professional poker like Vanessa, playing online is the first step to start your budding career. With events like WPT’s Grand Prix de Paris hosted by Partypoker and The European Poker Tour, you can gain valuable experience and even compete against your poker idols. Combined with the right amount of discipline and focus, you’re on your way to becoming the next poker super star just like Vanessa. She just graduated from BerkleeMusic.com and received her Master certificate in Electronic Music Production; Vanessa did a great job balancing school and her poker career in the last five years by taking courses such as sound design, music theory and composition, among many others.

But Vanessa offers some valuable advice to anyone who wants to pursue their passion. She recently told PokerNews, “With poker you need to have some kind of outlet, so school and music became the creative outlet I needed,”. “When I did play poker, I was never stressed or felt bored because I had music to keep me balanced.” Balancing school and her poker career made her a well rounded individual and it’s evident that her success in all the professional tournaments she joined so far is the fruit of her creative labor in music. The next time you’re in France, why not visit the Casino Croissette in Cannes and check out the world’s best music and technology tradeshow and expo, the Midem in Palais de Festivals.

Her music career is also skyrocketing into fame with the help of her already solid poker reputation. She recently paired up with Lisa Pittman who’s a resident DJ in one of the hottest clubs in Las Vegas, Marquee. Their duo is aptly called Deuces. You can catch Vanessa in Las Vegas’ largest electronic music festival, Electric Daisy Carnival or in France’s Fete dela Musique.

Swamp Dogg reissues out today from Alive Naturalsound; download two free tracks

Legendary psychedelic soul bluesman Swamp Dogg‘s first two albums, Total Destruction to Your Mind and Rat On! see reissue today via Alive Naturalsound. I’ve had a chance to listen to both, and they sound amazing. They’ve still got that swamp funk to them, but the remastering job is just absolutely stellar. For those used to vinyl rips and bootleg CDs, these brand-new LP reissues (and first-time official CD releases) will blow your mind.

Hopefully, this will lead to a new generation of folks getting into this somewhat lost musician. While Swamp Dogg’s songs have been covered by the likes of Galactic, it don’t mean shit to be known if folks can’t get your music. Now that’s the case. Both LPs are available from the Bomp! store. Check out two tracks from the reissues below.

MP3: Swamp Dogg, “Creeping Away” (from Rat On!)
MP3: Swamp Dogg, “If I Die Tomorrow” (from Total Destruction to Your Mind)

An exclusive preview of the upcoming Rackatees / Shidiots split 7-inch

cover - rackatees shidiotsLawrence’s the Rackatees and Omaha’s the Shidiots have their upcoming split 7-inch off to the plant for test pressings right now. Let’s hope these two gruffly poppy punk acts will have some new vinyl in time for our favorite warm-weather activity: opening up the windows, putting the speakers right up next to the screens, and annoying the neighbors while we drink beer on the front porch.

As for pressing details, they’re doing 300 copies (each band will have 150 copies) pressed on randomly colored vinyl. It’s looking like the release date will be mid-April 19, but that hasn’t been confirmed just yet — and I think we all know about what happens with vinyl delays, especially considering that falls right before Record Store Day.

We’ve got an exclusive preview track from the Rackatees’ side, entitled “Anthem for the American (Food Service) Worker.” It’s the first song off the upcoming 7-inch. It’s especially great for a Monday morning start to the working week, with lines like “So never trust the manager / The whip that’s in his hand.”

MP3: The Rackatees, “Anthem for the American (Food Service) Worker”

Download China Rats’ “Nip It In The Bud”

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It’s a rare occasion when I’ll suggest that you go watch shitty YouTube videos of a band to get an idea of their sound. Given the nature of China Rats‘ single, “Nip It In the Bud,” with its hooky refrain and artfully-placed stop-and-go aesthetic, I wanted to really like these boys from Leeds. However, its production is so clean, the whole “Buzzcocks meet Undertones with a hint of the Sonics” vibe their publicist is pushing just doesn’t work for me. But you watch a video of them doing “To Be Like I” live last year at London Calling, and you immediately go, “Oh — 100% Exploding Hearts. Fuck and yes.”

So, download “Nip It In the Bud,” because it’s free and all, then watch the video below, and start hoping they get a producer who understands how to not make them sound like a preening bunch of toffs.
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Soft Reeds / Berwanger / Dark Satellites at the Replay, 2/8/13

Another Friday night, another show at the Replay. It seems the folks booking bands for the bar understand that people will go out on a weekend night to drink, no matter what, especially in a college town. Considering they can go most anywhere, it’s worth throwing a good show together to drag in a few extra folks.

Friday’s show was a particularly Kansas City affair — the wife and I saw few people we recognized, and Soft Reeds is a popular enough act these days to pull the crowd west down I-70 to see them. They’ve a new album coming out later this month, entitled Blank City, and the majority of the songs they played during their headline set drew from it.
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Mammoth Life debuts video for new single, “Being Young”

Formerly Lawrencian (now San Francsican) indie pop trio Mammoth Life debut the music video for their new single, “Being Young,” today. It’s a fun bit of stop-motion animation, which manages to capture the whimsy of a bunch of Kansas kids living by the bay. The single is also available for free download, and you can find that below.

A rather epic chat with Justin Maurer of Clorox Girls on writing and music

Strange how little vagaries of the Internet can lead to some great talks. While checking out the Tumblr of artist Tom Lowell in reference to the Young Leaves single I posted last week, I saw some art he’d done for some upcoming Clorox Girls shows. Tied in with some of those shows were speaking engagements by the band’s Justin Maurer. After several hours of reading various excerpts from Maurer’s new book, Seventeen Television, in addition to the majority of his output for punk mag Razorcake, I reached out and asked the writer and musician for an interview. He was kind enough to answer the many questions I put to him via e-mail.
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“The Encyclopedia of Dead Rock Stars” rather more pretty than morbid

cover-encyclopedia-of-dead-rock-starsWhen The Encyclopedia of Dead Rock Stars (second edition) was pitched to me as a “another hefty read,” I assumed hyperbole. Such was not that case — this 800-page tome looks like the most morbid phone book in the world sitting on my coffee table or the book stack next to my side of the bed. It’s out now from Chicago Review Press, and despite having received it a good half month ago, it’s taken a while to get through enough to feel comfortable summing it up for you all.
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