“B Is For Bad Cinema” operates outside of standard trash tropes

Posted in mp3 on March 4th, 2014 by Nick – Be the first to comment

book cover - b is for bad cinemaState University of New York Press has a very excellent addition to film criticism with their new book, B Is For Bad Cinema, edited by Claire Perkins and Constantine Verevis. Rather than focusing as so many books about “b-movies” do, using the standard definition of the form — cult, grindhouse, trash, et al — it steps outside the expected. In some cases, we’re talking major releases as much as we are low-budget features.

Now, granted, in some cases there’s a crossroad where bad meets big, and you end up with something like William Friedkin’s Cruising, which — while trashy (and it certainly is) — also features what essay author R. Burton Palmer describes in “Redeeming Cruising” as “significant” imagery: namely, “the kind of sexual display previously seen only in gay stag films was suddenly at the representational center of a major Hollywood release.”
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Podcast #108, “Voice of the Voiceless”

Posted in podcast on March 3rd, 2014 by Nick – 1 Comment

no-voiceMany apologies for the fact that you can barely understand what I’m saying in this week’s episode. I’m sick as a dog and my voice is pretty much gone, which stands in brilliant contrast to the totally blasting music that dominates this installment of Sunglasses After Dark. But seriously, the fact that I was able to maintain some sort of coherence and avoid devolving into a barrage of coughing makes me prouder than anything I’ve done in ages.

Enjoy the study in opposites and prepare your ears for a full metal assault.

Podcast #108, “Voice of the Voiceless”
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The Folk Alliance International Conference starts today in Kansas City

Posted in country, interview, links on February 19th, 2014 by Nick – 1 Comment

folk alliance
Rock Star Journalist has been suffering a little lately, as I’ve been working a lot of freelance for the Pitch in advance of the Folk Alliance International Conference. It’s a five-day conference taking place in Kansas City this week, starting today, and running through Sunday. I had the fun job of interviewing some of the showcasing artists in order to help promote it, and that’s pretty much sucked all of my energy lately. However, I’ve gotten to speak with people like actor / musician Ronny Cox about the new Robocop remake, ask BR5-49′s Chuck Mead about his work on Broadway, and so much more. You can check out all my interviews (sans one, which hasn’t run yet) after the jump, as well as details of how to attend the conference.
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Podcast #107, “Rush to Judgment”

Posted in podcast, pop, punk, rock 'n' roll on February 17th, 2014 by Nick – Be the first to comment

scales of judgmentRecording this podcast, I was all kinds of excited about getting it done, doing a phone interview, and then heading out to enjoy some sunshine. The sunshine disappeared, some support screws sheared off on our bed frame, and I spent an hour and a half at the hardware store and kneeling in our bedroom with a drill.

Sometimes, you should just be happy for what you’ve accomplished — namely, putting together a really poppy, upbeat podcast that runs the gamut from nerd rock to stoner jams. It’s a blast and a half this episode, despite everything that followed.

Podcast #107, “Rush to Judgment”
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Ken Hollings’ “Welcome to Mars” a freewheeling trip through the future of the past

Posted in books, movies, reviews, streaming audio / video on February 5th, 2014 by Nick – 1 Comment

book cover - welcome to marsKen HollingsWelcome to Mars: Politics, Pop Culture, and Weird Science in 1950s America is not the book you think it is. Maybe I misinterpreted the press write-up for it, but I cracked it open expecting a treatise on how the climate of postwar America influenced the films and televisions of the era.

Now, that is an element of Hollings’ book. But, otherwise, I was terribly wrong, and I’ve never been so glad to have made an error in judgment. The actuality is that the author has created a year-by-year documentation of 1947 through 1959, drawing connections from the stories of Lemuria, Project Bluebook, the RAND corporation, and LSD.
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Podcast #106, “Melancholy Dance Party”

Posted in podcast on February 3rd, 2014 by Nick – 1 Comment

dance catThis episode of the podcast is just one big mix. It’s just as much due to my foggy, sore throat, as it is due to the fact that these songs just ended up flowing really well. It’s a little creepy, a little dancy, and maybe even a little melancholy.

If you liked what you heard, I highly suggest tracking down pretty much every release featured on this particular installment of the podcast. Most notably, you should really go to the trouble of listening to the Bombay Royale’s peformance at globalFEST 2014, streaming at NPR Music. It’s their debut US performance, but most importantly, it’s just good music.

Podcast #106, “Melancholy Dance Party”
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AL_X, “Shunt” CD

Posted in electronic, reviews, streaming audio / video on January 31st, 2014 by Nick – Be the first to comment

booklet [Converted]I really want to look at AL_X‘sShunt as a solid work, akin to an imaginary film score or concept album. Enough of the tracks work well together — “Takk (En Sens)” followed by “Into the Trees” followed by “Shunt (Part I),” especially — but the vocal tracks, working in standard song structures, just lose me.

It may be that I’m not particularly a fan of the Antony and the Johnsons school of falsetto, but frankly, the tracks that follow this pattern (“Too Late, Too Far,” “Faux,” et al) work like those really awful tracks that run over the end credits after the main title reprise or whatever has run, while they’re listing the second unit key grips and catering providers.
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Panda Kid, “Summetry” LP

Posted in garage rock, punk, reviews, vinyl on January 29th, 2014 by Nick – 1 Comment

cover - panda kid summetryIf Panda Kid ever deigns to tour the Midwest, I can’t begin to think of how much I’d thank them for the absolute joy they bring into my life with each and every release. Summetry, their latest LP, got a US release a few weeks back courtesy of Chicago’s Already Dead, and much like everything this Italian group releases, it’s taken a while to figure out what I think about it.

I mean, granted, I like it. It’s pretty much a given that any Panda Kid release will get some form of thumbs up from me at this point. It’s really more of figuring out what tack the group will take on any given release. On Summetry, it’s a vibe that reminds me if it were possible for a time-traveling Beatles to have grown up listening to Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd.
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Acid Fast, “Rabid Moon” LP

Posted in indie, punk, reviews, vinyl on January 27th, 2014 by Nick – Be the first to comment

cover - acid fast rabid moonJumping up and down in my chair, listening to everything kick in on the first track of Acid Fast‘s Rabid Moon, it’s like that first time I heard Ned’s Atomic Dustbin doing “Kill Your Television” on 120 Minutes — I am happy, I am elated, and I’m wondering how this band figured out how to make such catchy music sound so dark.

Acid Fast demonstrate time and time again they know how to make you anticipate, then lose your shit. It’s not quite build and release, but more of a sense of knowing when you can drop out certain sonic elements to emphasize the others. Case in point: if a band has a song called “Shred Forever,” there damn well better be a guitar solo, and while it’s not quite what you’d expect, it’s there, and it’s boss.
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Potpourri of Pearls, “We Went to Heaven”

Posted in electronic, indie, reviews, upcoming album, upcoming events, upcoming release, video on January 24th, 2014 by Nick – Be the first to comment

cover - potpourri of pearls we went to heavenPotpourri of PearlsWe Went to Heaven has been playing down here in the basement, in the living room, at work, and various places over the past week. I’ve been trying to figure out if my initial impressions of it being amazing and weird have held up to repeated listens.

Honestly, the first time I listened to We Went to Heaven, the whole ’80s worship thing was a fun angle — especially the fact they were lifting Erasure, making this a refreshing switch from bands who’ve been swiping New Order’s sound for the better part of two decades.
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