They’re not standing around the watercooler, but Cheryl Sadler, Mark Meszoros, Mark Podolski and Nicole Franz are talking about what they’ve been watching, listening to and playing during their free time.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Jimmy Eat World: Invented
By Nick Carrabine
“You don’t get to walk away, walk away now. It’s too late, you can’t walk away, walk away now.” - Mixtape
Two things I’ve come to expect with every Jimmy Eat World album:
First, It usually takes multiple listens to really appreciate it. I absolutely hated, and I mean hated, Futures when I first heard it the first few times and now it remains one of my favorite albums of the past decade.
Second, when you listen to a Jimmy Eat World, expect an epic album closer. (the 16-minute “Goodbye Sky Harbor” off Clarity; the six-minute “My Sundown” off Bleed American; The seven-minute “23,” which remains one of my all-time favorite songs, off Futures; and probably my second favorite Jimmy Eat World song ever, “Dizzy” off Chase This Light.)
The above lyrics ring through, and repeatedly, on “Mixtape,” which is Invented’s six and a half-minute closer. Like most Jimmy Eat World albums (not counting 1994’s self-titled record or their 1996 Static Prevails — where the band was still trying to not only find an identity, but a lead singer) Invented is a very hard album to walk away from.
Jimmy Eat World has been one of my favorite bands throughout the past 12 years and I could honestly never say a bad thing about them and trust me, I can find a lot of faults in bands that I enjoy more than them, but Jimmy Eat World is so likable with such a beautiful tone to all of their songs. The reason why most of their albums take multiple listens to enjoy is because some can confuse their music — with the first two or three listens — as boring.
However, their lyrics are so truthful, so emotional, that anyone can easily relate to the stories that lead singer Jim Adkins is telling us. Most of their songs, including my two favorite songs from them “23” and “Dizzy,” are not really that catchy at all, but the story for both of them are so great, and meaningful, they are hard not to fall in love with them.
Invented starts off in a rather surprising way, with the acoustic “Heart Is Hard To Find,” that includes violins and a fast clapping pace which is quite against the grain here as most albums these days start off with a harder, more energized tone. But this is Jimmy Eat World, where they put more thought into lyrics and softer instrumental tones than most bands.
The second track, which is also the first single, “My Best Theory” is a very sold, more upbeat and energetic song and is probably the poppiest/catchiest song on the album. “Evidence,” the third track shows off more extremely soft vocals from Adkins, but a harder guitar riff. So far this may be my least favroite song on the album that at first I was so bored with, but after a few listens, it’s becoming more listenable.
The fourth and fifth track, “Higher Devotion,” and “Movielike,” are both great. For some reason, the chorus to “Higher Devotion” reminds me of a Michael Jackson song, with a higher pitched, faster talking Adkins and “Movielike,” is a song about the realities of life, and how every situation doesn't have a hollywood happy ending.
“Coffee and Cigarettes” I find myself skipping more often than not, but is an upbeat acoustic/electric number (Jimmy Eat World love to combine both acoustic and electric guitars to most of their songs).
Track number seven, “Stop” is where Invented really turns around and starts becoming a great album. “Stop” and the following number “Little Things,” which reminds me of a sequel to “Dizzy” and “Cut” are three of the best tracks on the album.
Softer, honest and simply magnificent.
“Action Needs an Audience,” is the first song since 1999’s "Blister", off Clarity, that Adkins doesn’t sing lead on. But just like "Blister," Guitarist Tom Linton knocks this one out of the park as “Action Needs an Audience” is the second most energetic song on the album.
The final two tracks, “Invented” and “Mixtape” span a total of 14 minutes, where clearly the band is going for not one, but two epic album closers.
The track “Invented” comes off as disappointing and very slow upon the first few listens but “Mixtape” shines as another solid Jimmy Eat World album closer, although it is not better than any of the previously mentioned album closers from above.
After listening to Invented, it’s a wonder to me whether or not it’s a coincidence that each of the band’s last three albums were released right around the start of fall. In the music industry, you typically see your summer albums, which consist of the more energetic, upbeat albums that accompany people on their summer vacations, parties and beach visits. It’s also no wonder, that the one album Jimmy Eat World did release in the summer, 2001s Bleed American — which remains the band’s most successful record commercially — is their most energetic album boasting their two biggest hits “In The Middle” and “Sweetness.”
The music Jimmy Eat World has made over these past three albums aren’t speaker bumping energetic tunes that’d you’d find yourself listening to while getting ready to go out for the weekend, but nor are they too dark for the darkest, coldest days of winter.
The band has simply mastered the art of creating dazzling, genuine and relaxing music.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
My Chemical Romance meets Quentin Tarantino?
It’s been four years since My Chemical Romance released their epic concept album, The Black Parade, which strung out a series of hits, sold millions of albums and made them one of the top rock bands in the world.
Then, the band faded to black...for years.
Then out of nowhere, on Friday, the band released a trailer, yes, a trailer, for their upcoming fourth album titled, Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, which is rumored to be coming out on Nov. 22 (although the band, nor their record label, have confirmed it.)
First off, ummm, who releases a trailer for an upcoming album release?
Secondly, the trailer is completely bizarre, completely insane and completely awesome, which basically sums up the career of MCR who have always kind of been out there.
I really don’t know how to explain the two-minute trailer other than it’s something that looks straight out of a Quentin Tarantino movie.
This instantly becomes one of the most anticipated albums of the year for me.
The Sound of dial-up Internet, or Why I Love the Internets
Finding stuff like this is just another reason I Love the Internets.
-- Cheryl Sadler
Labels: Why I Love the Internets
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Hawaii Five-0: Book me every week
If you're a fan of the original show starring Jack Lord from the 1970s, you know what I'm talking about.
If you don't, do yourself a favor and check out the re-imagining of one of the most popular TV shows of all-time. The season premiere of CBS's Hawaii Five-0 was Monday night. To say I was blown away was an understatement.
CBS, which knows what it's doing with cop shows (hint, hint, CSI) could very well have a blockbuster on its hands and rightfully so.
First, there is the iconic theme song and even the iconic high-rise building zoon-in to Steve McGarrett, ala Lord in the original series. Second, there's action, more action and more action. Third, there's Hawaii.
As the 1980s TV series Magnum P.I. proved, it's difficult to mess up a TV show based in Hawaii. Kind of makes you wish you were there every week, doesn't it?
As for the cast, Alex O'Loughlin looks promising as McGarrett and Scott Caan as Danny "Danno" Williams could be the star of this series with his with quick wit and one-liners. There's also a great chemistry developing between theses characters.
Lost fans will be glad to see the underrated Daniel Day Lewis, who played Jin in Lost and now Chin Ho Kelly in Five-0. Rounding out the cast is Grace Park as Kona "Kono" Kalakaua, who, by the way, doesn't look bad in a bikini.
You have to love Hawaii, or in this case, Hawaii Five-0.
- Mark Podolski
Brandon Flowers: Flamingo (Deluxe Edition):
By Nick Carrabine
It’s only been six years, but it seems like The Killers have been around forever.
In their six year career, they’ve released three very solid albums and a phenomenal B-sides and rarities album.
Last Tuesday, lead singer Brandon Flowers released his debut solo record appropriately titled, Flamingo (The Killers are from Las Vegas.)
When I first sat down to listen to the record, I had no idea what to expect, partially because every single Killers’ album sounds completely different and early reviews for Flamingo weren’t exactly setting the world on fire.
Purchasing the Deluxe Edition, which includes 14 songs rather than just 10 on the regular edition, was a wise choice however as all four of the “bonus” songs are extremely solid and the album in its entirety is rather impressive.
The Killers like to dig deep into various musical genres but it seems on Flamingo, Flowers goes with a more adult-contemporary approach and even country and folk at certain times. In no way does this sound like an album The Killers would have made, which is nice from a solo record.
“Hard Enough” shows off a nice collaboration between Flowers and Rilo Kiley’s lead singer, Jenny Lewis, while “On The Floor” sounds like something you’d hear in church.
The chorus from “Was It Something I Said?” has been stuck in my head for days and “Playing with Fire” is one of the better songs I’ve ever heard Flowers sing on.
The only song that may be tough to get past is the first track, “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas.” which starts off pretty slow but gains a bit of steam by the end, but not a good introduction to the album.
All in all, it’s a serviceable release to hold Killers fans over until they release their fourth studio album, which is projected to come out in 2012.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Locke and Linus in non-"LOST" show?
New York Magazine is reporting that J.J. Abrams (who brought you "Lost") is working on developing a show that would put Terry O'Quinn and Michael Emerson together again "playing former black-ops agents." The description from New York Magazine says they will be playing suburban hit men, and us "Lost" fans know those are characters O'Quinn and Emerson can convincingly portray.
I'm already more excited about this show than my supposed "Lost" replacement "The Event," which I think just doesn't look that exciting (though the boyfriend is DVRing it tonight).
I don't know how O'Quinn and Emerson will fare together in a non-"Lost" environment, but I'm sure some of the chemistry they created as John Locke/Man in Black/Smoke Monster and Ben Linus will carry over into any other project they tackle. The two men who were both nominated for best supporting actor in a drama series for the 2010 Emmys surely have the talent to make "Odd Jobs" (the working title of this series in development) a success. What would hurt this show the most, though, is "Lost" fans who want to see the actors in their Island personas and being disappointed and disinterested after seeing that's not the case.
-- Cheryl Sadler
Confessions of a 20-something GLEEK
I’m not afraid to admit it, either. I love “Glee.” It’s one of two shows--the other is “House”-I make sure to catch on Hulu as soon as they become available since I miss them because of my work schedule. I listen to the soundtrack-and pretend to have enough vocal talent to sing along-while jogging, cleaning, and on long road trips. Who am I kidding, I’ll even listen to the soundtrack on short road trips, like on my 10 minute drive to work. I’ve been counting down the days until the premiere of Season 2 Tuesday.
I can’t wait.
I know I’m not alone. Considering the acclaim the show has received since its debut, having been nominated for 42 awards and winning 13 (including four Emmys and a Golden Globe!) for its first season according to imdb, nobody can deny the show is a hit. And with good reason.
Not only does the show feature amazing musical arrangements, hilarious dialogue and an amazing cast of young, talented actors, but it calls attention to some more serious issues as well.
There’s Kurt Hummel, the gay student who is not only struggling with his crush on football-hunk-turned-singing-sensation Finn Hudson, but is also trying to maintain a healthy relationship with his father (Mike O’Malley in what is possibly his most amazing role ever as Burt Hummel) and is dealing with his father’s relationship with Finn’s mother.
There’s Artie Abrams, the only disabled member of the glee club, who dreams of someday being a dancer even though he is confined to a wheel chair.
There is Quinn Fabray, the cheerleader-turned-ostracized-teen-mom who was disowned by her conservative father after she became pregnant.
And even self-obsessed star-wannabe Rachel Berry, who discovers her mother is the coach of the glee club’s rival show choir and wants nothing more but to cultivate a relationship with her even though it’s seemingly too late, is not able to avoid a heart-wrenching moment or two between scenes of her annoyingly charming and over the top attitude (and, let’s face it, her stand-out vocal abilities that make me wish I was more musically gifted).
Emma Pillsbury—and Britney Spears, to name a few). Oh, and don't forget the absolutely hilarious dialogue from Sue Sylvester.
Other things to look forward to (Caution: Spoilers ahead!)
- A new foreign exchange student, Sunshine, will join the club and act as Rachel's rival.
- There will be a Rocky Horror Picture Show episode.
- Finn and Rachel will be in a relationship for the entire season.
- Nationals this year will be in New York. And, it goes without saying that we wouldn't even know that if we weren't rather confident the McKinley High glee club was going to make it that far in the year's competitions!
- Sue is getting a new rival in the form of a female football coach.
Anybody else out there as big of a gleek as I am?
Friday, September 17, 2010
By Nick Carrabine
When you’re having fun
When you live on the run
The harder I go
The more I realize
In the world of Weezer, time must really be flying.
A band that contemplated breaking up after Make Believe in 2005, just released Hurley on Tuesday, which marks their third album release in the past 26 months.
Those who know me, and who follow on this blog, know that Weezer is one of my all-time favorite bands who for the past couple years I’ve had a love/hate relationship with.
In 2008, they released The Red Album, which was OK and harmless and marked the first album where lead singer Rivers Cuomo finally let other band members in on the songwriting, even going as far as letting the other members sing lead on a few songs. It was an experimental album and now that I look back on it, isn’t as bad as I initially thought.
Just nine months ago, they released Raditude, which sounded just as bad as the album’s title. It was clear that Cuomo stopped taking things seriously and was just out to have fun.
Just months later, when the band announced they were already recording a follow-up album, I was scared. Very scared.
I had no idea what to expect with Hurley. More nonsense? More songs featuring Lil Wayne? More songs about “letting it all hang out?”
Cuomo, who has surely heard fans' displeasure with the band’s musical direction over the past half-decade, promised Hurley would be more of a return toward “pure raw rock” music that the band simply mastered on their first two classic albums, The Blue Album and Pinkerton. I took it with a grain of salt realizing 40-year-old Cuomo isn’t 24-year-old Cuomo anymore.
Upon the first few listens of Hurley, I have been pleasantly surprised.
The first single “Memories,” which isn’t that great, but catchy as anything the band has ever written, is an ode to the old days when Weezer first started or as Cuomo puts is, “back when Audioslave was still Rage (Against the Machine).” Instrumentally, it’s just as good as anything from their work in the 90s, although the lyrics are a bit odd, but at this point of Cuomo’s career, that’s expected.
The album really picks up with the second, third and fourth tracks, “Ruling Me,” “Trainwreck” and “Unspoken,” respectively. Not only is “Unspoken” the best song off Hurley, it’s quite possibly the best song the band has released in 14 years, and I mean that.
It’s raw, emotional and under produced and almost sounds like a demo tape. In other words, “pure raw rock” that Cuomo promised.
The fifth track, “Where’s My Sex?” probably belongs on Raditiude and is a ridiculous ode to his daughter calling socks sex. Despite how utterly stupid the song is, it’s still beyond catchy.
The sixth track “Runaway” is close to “Unspoken,” not nearly as good, but still more of a raw rock feel that sounds like an early return to the band’s career.
“Hang On” sounds like something straight off Make Believe and “Smart Girls” showcases Cuomo’s softest vocals on the album. The album’s final track “Time Flies” sounds like a Beatles influenced song with a country twist.
If nothing else, Hurley is the first album in a long, long time where the band actually gives a damn.
Is it close to The Blue Album or Pinkerton? No, not even close. Is it close to The Red Album or Raditude? No, not even close.
For more than a decade, I’ve been trying to figure out if Cuomo is either a song-writing genius or a complete goofball who jots down simple lyrics to a incomplex melody without putting much thought or creative spunk into a song. (For those wondering, Cuomo is a Harvard graduate.)
After all, this is the guy whose penned songs about sweaters, living in Beverly Hills, hanging out in the mall, and if the mall weren't good enough, hanging out in the garage.
But even at their worst, the one thing Weezer is able to do — perhaps better than any other band in the past 16 years — is able to make any song - no matter how simple or asinine - into one of the poppiest and catchiest songs that will stay stuck in your head for a long, long time.
And as Cuomo states in the final verse of the final song off Hurley, maybe that’s the only thing they’re concerned with anyway. After all, it doesn't matter what the songs are about...as long as people remember them.
“Some sad day
They’ll be taking me away
But I won’t be dead
Because even when I’m gone
This stupid damn song
Will be in your head
I’ll be looking down with a twinkle in my eyes”
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
LOST isn't over ... at least at my house
For me, I plan on reliving Lost all over again. I'm bring my wife along for the ride.
Starting Wednesday, my wife and I will be watching where it all started: episode 1, season 1 on DVD.
Why Wednesday? The date is Sept. 22, the start date of the series back in 2004.
I'm looking forward to it. My wife? Well, I had to nudge her a bit, but I'm sure a few episodes into season 1, she'll be sucked in, just like millions of fans were six years ago.
We'll watch an episode a week, so it will take a while to get through six seasons of Lost episodes. Lost isn't going anywhere in the Podolski household.
Who knows, there might be another Lost re-watch when my son, who's about to turn 2, turns, say 14? Start the countdown to Sept. 22, 2022.
- Mark Podolski
Linkin Park: A Thousand Suns
Perhaps in five years we can sit back and look at Linkin Park’s A Thousand Suns and judge it as either a monumental achievement or an epic failure.
In the meantime, I’m trying to digest what I just listened to.
In 2007, Linkin Park took a vastly different approach with their release of Minutes to Midnight, which threw fans into a frenzy. It was a drastic departure from their first two releases and almost completely divided their fan base.
Just when people thought Linkin Park couldn’t get darker, more experimental and well, different, they release A Thousand Suns on Tuesday, which honestly sounds like one 48 minute track that has little musical instruments, a lot of electronic noise and has rapper/MC Mike Shinoda doing the majority of the rapping and yes, the singing.
Well, that’s when there is vocals at all.
Listed on the back of the CD is the numbers 1-15 and to the right of each number, there is a name for each song, but as I said, the album plays out as one long track and only nine of the 15 “songs” have vocals included in them.
Rumor has it, the band wanted to release A Thousand Suns as just one track, which I didn’t believe until the band streamed the entire album as one track on their MySpace last week.
If Minutes to Midnight was more of a straight rock, and therefore (lead singer) Chester Bennington, album, then A Thousand Suns is pretty much a Mike Shinoda project. As I said, he’s the star here. He’s pretty much the focal point of the album as Bennington really only has main vocals on two of the songs, although he is present on most of them.
But Fort Minor (Shinoda’s side project) this is not, and really, Linkin Park this is not.
They have stepped out of their comfort zone, putting together a project that is so unlike anything I’ve ever really heard before. It doesn’t compare to any of their previous studio albums, although slightly reminds me a little bit of their highly underexposed 2002 remix album, Reanimation.
Rarely do I ever open up a CD booklet and read a warning disclaimer from a band. Actually, make that never.
The band, in the first two pages of the booklet, make it clear to fans that they are going out on a limb, saying that A Thousand Suns is not an album and they pushed themselves to do something that really has never been done before.
If the first single, “The Catalyst,” is any indication, Linkin Park isn’t out to please the mainstream radio listeners.
First off, “The Catalyst” is easily the best track on the album, which is never a good sign. But it’s such a non-traditional, risky single - and at nearly six minutes, sounds more like a album introduction before soaring into an arena rock shouting anthem - that it’s a breath of fresh air.
Again this is only really a nine song album and there are some misses and the two songs that I would have cut off the album are where Bennington takes the lead on “Blackout” and the terrible acoustic, “The Messenger.”
The album works best on songs like “The Catalyst” and “Burning in the Skies” where Bennington and Shinoda are softly trading vocals.
There are a few songs, although more politically motivated, that may remind Linkin Park fans of the old days and that’s with “Wretches and Kings” and “When They Come For Me,” where the rap/rock formula remains but clearly, with A Thousand Suns, the band is trying to do something different.
Whether it works or not, we’ll know in a few years.
Monday, September 13, 2010
- Howard Primer
Labels: Ben Affleck
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Fall TV season
|I'll sure miss seeing this guy's handsome |
face every week on "LOST."
I got into "LOST" at the suggestion of a few co-workers at my last job and several friends who were obsessed with the series. A subscription to Netflix caught me up quickly enough that I watched the fifth season through VCR recordings, and the final season somewhat live with Entertainment Editor Mark Meszoros, who was kind enough to wait a day or two (and use his DVR) to watch it with me when I had time.
So now that that segment of my life is over (I'll never let go, Jack), I'm not sure what -- if anything -- can fill the TV void.
News-Herald TV critic David S. Glasier previewed the upcoming TV season in today's News-Herald, and he notes "The Event" will fit into the "LOST"-sized hole in all of our hearts (and DVRs [except mine, which doesn't exist (the DVR, not the heart)]). Meszoros and I have discussed giving it a try, and maybe if we can talk fellow "LOST" fanatic and Sports Editor Mark Podolski into it, we'll be doing another audiocast that follows this series. I really know nothing about it except that I'm supposed to like it. The previews kind of make it look like "Flash Forward" or "V" -- neither of which I've seen nor have any interest in -- so I don't know if I'll be giving up on "The Event" after its premiere next Monday.
A show I might actually like to give a chance to is "My Generation," which Glasier pooh poohed. Then again, I am a twentysomething who was in high school in the year 2000, and he was ... not. I'm interested because the cast is my generation and because I'm wondering what drama will be unfolding with or without Facebook, which most of my high school classmates seem to be members of. Facebook kind of replaces the need for face-to-face drama when you can just passive-aggressively judge your peers by their pictures and status updates (and the amount of time they spend on Farmville and Mafia Wars). I have a feeling I'll mostly be missing out on this one, however, because I can't imagine Meszoros finds the premise interesting, nor would he want to waste the DVR space on it.
If you're looking for a new TV show this fall, Associated Press writer Frazier Moore gave his thoughts on the 10 new shows to consider in last Sunday's News-Herald. Any suggestions for what I should tune in for? (Or, rather, make Meszoros set his DVR for?)
-- Cheryl Sadler
Thursday, September 9, 2010
An ode to 'Summer Girls'
Rich Cronin, singer/songwriter from boy band LFO, passed away on September 8, 2010 at the age of 35 after a long battle with leukemia.
Bringing such popular hits as "Summer Girls," "Every Other Time," "If I Can't Have You," and "Girl on TV," LFO was a three-man pop group consisting of Cronin, Devin Lima and Brad Fischetti. They were never quite as big as The Backstreet Boys, *NSync or 98 Degrees, but they definitely had their fair share of air time on local radio stations, and, of course, on MTV (back when the station actually played music videos).
I know I was a fan; in the eighth grade, my friend Jane and I even composed a spoof of "Summer Girls" called "Winter Boys." "I like boys who wear Tommy Hillfiger/I'll take him, I guess, go figure!/But he's been gone since that winter, since that winter."
Hey, I didn't say the song was any good.
In any event, LFO has a special place in my heart. So, to commemorate the passing of a member of one of my secret pleasure boy bands, I submit for your viewing pleasure some videos so you can watch, remember, and sing along with some of these old hits.
LFO-"Every Other Time"
LFO-"Girl on TV"
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Fall film preview
Movies I'm looking forward to include "The Town," "You Again," "Social Network" and "Due Date," though I'm sure I'll make it to a few others.
If you want to see what Meszoros thinks about "Machete," check out TGIF in Friday's News-Herald (or visit www.News-Herald.com) to see his review.
-- Cheryl Sadler