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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, February 28, 2011

Essential albums of the 1990s

A few weeks ago, Rolling Stone released the top 10 albums of the 1990s picked by their readers, which got me to thinking, what were the essential albums of the 1990s?

I have well over 600 CDs with probably half of them falling in the 90s decade.

Now, I was only four-years-old when the clock struck midnight into 1990 but I had two older sisters and parents that listened to music non-stop. I was pretty much the only kid I knew at 6 or 7-years-old listening to Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Guns N’ Roses, etc.

The first two CDs my mom ever bought me were in 1991: Guns N’ Roses Use Your Illusion II (nice parenting) and Bon Jovi’s Blaze of Glory, which was the soundtrack to Young Guns II (nice parenting). I remember when CDs came in huge rectangular boxes. Actually, I remember when CDs came in square CD cases and not across some internet wires. I had some cassette tapes too, the essentials, Nirvana’s Nevermind and Pearl Jam’s Ten. I'd like to meet the person who didn't. (Does anyone remember when they actually sold physical tape and CD singles with B-sides on them? I’m only 25, but I’m dating myself, I guess.)

So, I composed a list of what I think are the essential albums of the 1990s. I didn’t rank them, because that always causes trouble. So I’ll put it in alphabetical order, because as Dexter Morgan says while making his grocery list, “How else would you do it?”

Some rules and regulations here: Multiple bands and artists released several great albums in the 1990s but I’m only letting an artist appear once on the list. And before anyone says, “Where is Radiohead on this list?” The simple answer is, I never really got into Radiohead, but I respect them as a band and musicians and what they’ve done for music. So if you feel it necessary, plug them in in the R section. Also, you'll see on that Rolling Stone Reader's List that two Smashing Pumpkins' albums are included. I have both of those albums, but never really was a big fan of either one. Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness could have been a great album had it been condensed down to one disc but it suffers from what most other two-disc albums suffer from, which is, a lot of filler. 

With that said, we'll lead this list off with...a two-disc album. Go figure.

2Pac - All Eyez on Me (1996)
    *The last album the rapper ever released before his untimely death at just 25-years-old. In my opinion, this was his best offering. Best Track: “Ambitionz az a Ridah.”

Alice in Chains - Unplugged (1996)
    * They released three studio albums and a handful of EPs in the 1990s in addition to this unplugged CD, which ranks probably in the top 15 albums I have ever owned. Lead singer Layne Staley died in 2002. Best Track: “Brother.”

Blind Melon - Self-titled (1992)
    * To this day, I don’t get when music critics rip on Blind Melon. They only released two albums and I find both of them to be great. I understand people classifying them as a one-hit wonder as they had one of the biggest hits of the past 20 years including a stupid video featuring a bee girl (“No Rain”) so of course that is going to be hard to top. Their debut record front to back is a great psychedelic, blues, folk rock, album. Lead singer, Shannon Hoon died in 1995. Best Track: “Time.”

Blink-182 - Enema of the State (1999)
    * A very successful pop-punk album that came out in the height of the popularity of boy bands and Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. Top 40 labeled this the No. 1 pop-punk album of all-time. Best Track: “Anthem.”

Bone Thugs N’ Harmony - E. 1999 Eternal (1995)
    * Cleveland’s own Bone had one of the most successful rap singles of all-time with this album in “The Crossroads.” Little known fact, that successful single was actually the second version. The first version, in my opinion, was much darker and much better and was sold with the original E. 1999 Eternal release. The album was then re-released with the newer Crossroads. Best Track: “Mo Murda.”

CAKE - Fashion Nugget (1996)
    * The second, but breakthrough, record from this off-kiltered Sacramento band that uses a variety of styles, genres and instruments. Best track: “Frank Sinatra.”

DMX - It’s Dark and Hell is Hot (1998)
    * This may actually be my favorite hip-hop album of all-time even though I can’t stand DMX anymore, but his debut record is nearly flawless. I never really enjoyed much of his material after this. Best Track: “The Convo.”

Dr. Dre - 2001 (1999)
    * I realize 1991s The Chronic is a classic hip-hop album, but in the early 1990s, Dr. Dre was already a star from his days in N.W.A. however for years before the release of 2001, he had almost completely fallen off the face of the earth until signing Eminem in 1998 which brought him back into the limelight before releasing this huge comeback album. Oh, and by the way, we’re still waiting for the follow-up...12 years later. Best Track: “Forgot About Dre”

Eminem - The Slim Shady LP (1999)
    *I’ll never forget the first time I saw the video for “My Name Is,” I thought it was a joke. I didn’t know whether or not to take it seriously and Eminem went from being a guilty pleasure in early 1999 to eventually a hip-hop icon and one of the best rap artists of all-time. This album started it all. Best Track: “Rock Bottom.”

Foo Fighters - The Colour and the Shape (1997)
    * By far the best album the Foo Fighters have released in their 17-year career with one of the most powerful songs of the 1990s, “Everlong.” Best track: “Everlong.” *Sidenote, if you’ve never seen the Foo live, it’s worth the price of admission just to hear Dave Grohl do a haunting solo-electric version of “Everlong.”

The Fugees - The Score (1996)
    * The second, final and only album anyone has ever heard of from The Fugees, they were adored by critics before having a falling-out and all going their separate ways with Wyclef Jean and Lauryn Hill having very successful solo careers. Best Track: “Ready or Not.”

Green Day - Dookie (1994)
    *Although their third album, it was their major breakthrough album and was one of the first successful mainstream albums from a punk-alternative band (although, I don't consider this too pop-punk). Best Track: “When I Come Around.”

Guns N’ Roses - Use Your Illusion II (1991)
    * I thought this was a better effort than the first Use Your Illusion released months prior to it and it’s not any secret, the band really fell apart following this release. Best Track: “Civil War.”

Jay-Z - Reasonable Doubt (1996)
    * Jay-Z’s first album and the second most critically acclaimed one he’s released. But clearly, this album allowed him to make a name for himself. Best Track: “Dead Presidents II.”

Jimmy Eat World - Clarity (1999)
    * Considered a classic in the “emo” genre, Clarity was a flawless soft alternative rock album which inspired some of my favorite bands today Taking Back Sunday and Brand New and brought Jimmy Eat World into the limelight. Best Track: “Goodbye Sky Harbor.”

Juvenile - 400 Degreez (1998)
    *Would you believe Juvenile was my third favorite rapper when I was in 9th grade? Cash Money Records piggybacked on the success of No Limit Records, as the second most successful southern hip-hop record label at the time. Obviously, Cash Money was the overall winner as Lil’ Wayne is the face of it today and one of the most popular rappers alive. 400 Degreez featured Lil Wayne on many of the songs, although at the time, he was only 15-years-old. Best Track: “Gone Ride With Me.”

Master P - Da Last Don (1998)
    * As a kid, I was absolutely obsessed with Master P and everyone on his No Limit Records label. To this day, I probably have at least 50 CDs from that record label, all released between 1996 and 2000. P had several huge albums in the 90s but I went with Da Last Don here, as it was supposed to be his final, retirement album. However, he never fully retired, but when it came out, it was a big deal. Best Track: “Eternity.”

Mos Def - Black on Both Sides (1999)
    * The debut solo album from rapper/actor Mos Def and it remains his best. A very underground, political hip-hop record with a mixture of various genres included. Best Track: “Speed Law.”

Oasis - What’s the Story Morning Glory (1995)
    * Easily Oasis’ biggest and best album as, in my opinion, the group never really had any decent material following this (However, I very much enjoyed their debut as well, Definitely Maybe released in 1994). “Wonderwall” was simply one of the biggest hits, if not the biggest, in the 1990s. Best Track: “Don’t Look Back in Anger.”

Outkast - Aquemini (1998)
    * I wrestled between either this album or 1996s ATLiens but 1998 is when the duo blew up in the mainstream. Best Track: “Aquemini.”

Puff Daddy & The Family - No Way Out (1997)
    *Released just a few short months following the death of his best friend, Notorious B.I.G., Puff Daddy (no, I will not call him Diddy, or P. Diddy) released the only album he ever should have released (although I do believe his second album, Forever, released in 1999 was underrated). The whole disc is pretty much a tribute to Biggie and Puff Daddy became a certified star following the release. Not many hip-hop albums are as dark as this. Best Track: “I Love You Baby”

Nas - Illmatic (1994)
    *Although considered one of the greatest rap albums of all-time, it ranks pretty low on my personal list of Nas albums. That said, this was a pivotal release as it inspired the likes of Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z and a whole new generation of rappers not to mention, was the first of a dozen Nas' releases. Best Track: “Represent.”

Nirvana - Nevermind (1991)
    * I personally prefer Nirvana’s Unplugged album but can’t deny the importance of this record, which sold more than 26 million copies and was one of the main reasons people say the word “grunge.” Twenty years later, still trying to figure out whether that's a good or a bad thing. Best Track: “Come As You Are.”

Notorious B.I.G - Ready To Die (1994)
    * It was one of the first mainstream hip-hop albums to come out on the East Coast and gave Puff Daddy a name as a manager/producer and was the first of only two albums released by Biggie before his death in 1997. Best Track: “Juicy.”

The Offspring - Smash (1994)
    *The Offspring had a plethora of big albums in the 90s including Americana, Ixnay on the Hombre and Ignition but like Green Day, Smash was their major breakthrough album with songs that still dominate radio stations today. “Bad Habit.”

Pearl Jam - Ten (1991)
    * This album was actually released about a month before Nevermind, and I prefer Ten more as this remains Pearl Jam's best release. Best Track: “Black.”

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Californication (1999)
    * Many would argue that 1991s Blood Sugar Sex Magic was a better album but I wouldn’t. To this day, Californication remains my favorite RHCP record as it showed the band growing into a new, more calm, mature style of music. Great, great album. It actually sold way more records than Blood Sugar Sex Magic as well. Best Track: “Road Trippin.”

Scarface - The Diary (1994)
    *One of the few albums to ever get a perfect score in both The Source and XXL magazines and is one of the first successful southern hip-hop albums. Best Track: “I Seen A Man A Die.”

Stone Temple Pilots - Purple (1994)
    * My personal favorite Stone Temple Pilots album despite Core, released in 1992, being their most popular. Purple was a much more darker, more experimental album than the straight up hard-rock Core album. Best Track: “Lounge Fly.”

Sublime - Self-titled (1996)
    * The band’s third and final album before lead singer Bradley Nowell died (the band didn’t blow up until after his death). Best Track: “Santeria.”

Weezer - Blue Album (1994)
    *Although 1996s Pinkerton album is my favorite Weezer record, the Blue Album remains a classic and if it weren’t for the Blue Album, there never would have been a Pinkerton. The band’s best days are far behind them. Best Track: “In the Garage.”

In case you were wondering, I wrote this blog in 2009 regarding my favorite albums of the 2000s.

By Nick Carrabine

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Oscar favorite has staying power

Some surprises in this weekend's Top 10 movies. "Gnomeo & Juliet" moved up from last week's No. 3 spot to No. 1. After a week out of the top 10, "True Grit" returns at No. 10.

What's not a surprise with this week's list is the staying power of the Biebs (he must have those 'tween girls returning for fourth and fifth viewings of "Never Say Never"), and of course "The King's Speech," which might nearly sweep the top awards at tonight's Oscars. Preview the show here, and read Entertainment Editor Mark Meszoros' commentary here.

According to The Associated Press:
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Final figures will be released Tuesday.
1. “Gnomeo & Juliet,” $14.2 million. (Review by The AP's Christy Lemire)
2. “Hall Pass,” $13.4 million. (Review by Lemire)
3. “Unknown,” $12.4 million. (Review by Lemire)
4. “Just Go With It,” $11.1 million. (Review by The AP's David Germain)
5. “I Am Number Four,” $11 million. (Review by Scripps Howard's Barbara Vancheri)
6. “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never,” $9.2 million. (Review by Lemire)
7. “The King’s Speech,” $7.6 million. (Review by Lemire; "Colin Firth stammers eloquently as King George" by Germain)
8. “Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son,” $7.6 million.
9. “Drive Angry,” $5.1 million.
10. “True Grit,” $1.9 million. (Review from Lemire)

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Entertainment Weekly Round-up

* In case you missed it, Entertainment Editor Mark Meszoros, Sports Editor Mark Podolski and yours truly did about a 30-minute audiocast Tuesday afternoon regarding this upcoming Sunday's telecast of the Oscars. You can ignore it here. In addition, you can also continue to wonder why I keep using the word "telecast."

*The Foo Fighters released their first single off their upcoming seventh studio album, Wasting Light, called “Rope.” Although a big Foo fan, I have low expectations for this album but was rather delighted by the debut single. It’s a mixture between their debut record and 1999s There’s Nothing Left to Lose. You can hear it here.

* Dr. Dre released nearly an eight-minute video for the single "I Need A Doctor" Ft. Eminem and Skylar Grey which is off the alleged upcoming Detox album that has been rumored to come out for oh, the last decade or so. Although the concept of a music video is a dying trend, it's actually a pretty cool video. The three performed the song on the Grammys two weeks ago. You can see the video here. (*Note* the video is uncensored, which means, you may hear a few bad words. So if that's not your forte, don't click on it.)

* Speaking of the Grammys, I was so impressed with the Mumford & Sons performance of "The Cave," that I ran out (OK, drove) to the store and bought their debut record, Sigh No More. It's incredible.

* Bright Eyes performed on the Late Show with David Letterman Thursday night. You can see the performance here.

* I got a wonderful surprise on Tuesday when my favorite band Brand New came out from under their rock for the first time in over a year and surprisingly announced five small club shows. All the shows sold out within 20 minutes and although it was a serious hassle, I was able to get two tickets for the Pittsburgh show and couldn't be more jacked up about it. This will mark the fourth time I see them live and the second time I'll be traveling out of state to do so. In November of 2009, I drove to New York City for their show at Nassau Coliseum, which was in front of 18,000 people. The Pittsburgh show will be in front of 200 people (if that). Nothing beats a small intimate club show.

* You can believe this or not, I don't, but Spin Magazine did an interview with the Red Hot Chili Peppers where the band told the interviewer that their upcoming album could be titled Dr. Johnny Skinz's Disproportionately Rambunctious Polar Express Machine-head.

* Lastly, I said I’d post it this week, and it is done, but early next week, I’ll post a list of, in my opinion, the essential albums of the 1990s after reading a Rolling Stone reader list of the top 10 albums of the 1990s. It will not be epic, nor worthy of your time reading it...but nonetheless, it will be posted.

P.S. Go out and buy the new Bayside record, Killing Time.

K. Bye.

By Nick Carrabine

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Oscar predictions

First things first, I absolutely hate the fact that the Academy Awards expanded the best picture nominations to 10 movies instead of five.

I mean, c’mon, Toy Story 3? I doubt it gets one vote. And Winter’s Bone? Don’t get me started. I still haven’t seen True Grit, however I can promise you this: no matter how much I like or dislike that movie, it won’t change who I THINK will win, rather than who I’d like to see win. I don’t know why I haven’t seen True Grit yet. I love the Coen Brothers, own and enjoy at least nine of their movies and like Matt Damon and Jeff Bridges. It got great reviews but there is something about it that I just can’t bring myself to see it or get excited about seeing it. I will eventually, but not before the Oscars.

Anyway, If this were 2009, or any of the previous 72 years in the show’s history (2010 was first year they changed it to 10 movies nominated), we would have seen five nominations for best film. If that were the case, I’m betting the nominees would have looked like this: The King’s Speech, The Social Network, The Fighter, Black Swan and 127 Hours. Again, Haven’t seen True Grit, but find it hard to believe they’d sneak a remake in over those five features.

Best Picture:
Who I think will win: The King’s Speech has become the front-runner, it’s well acted, a timely piece and it’s based on a true story. I think it’s 70/30 King’s Speech to Social Network, however there is a small chance, and I stress the word small, that the voters will split on The King’s Speech and The Social Network and all of a sudden you get some third party who slightly edges out the both of them, like 127 Hours or Black Swan. But that’s doubtful.
Who I would like to see win: Well, Inception was my favorite movie in 2010 but it doesn’t stand a chance.
My personal ranking out of these movies: 1.) Inception 2.) The Social Network 3.) The Fighter 4.) Black Swan 5.) The King’s Speech 6.) 127 Hours. 7.) The Kids Are All Right (There are movies I enjoyed more than a lot of the ones nominated, i.e. Blue Valentine, which is a crime for not being nominated over 127 Hours, Winters Bone or Toy Story 3.) I’m in the minority when I say this, but I’m absolutely indifferent to animated films. I just don’t care about them, no offense. You may notice I didn’t mention anything about Winter’s Bone and it’s solely because I didn’t enjoy one ounce of the movie which could have to do with me having the volume on my TV the highest it would go and still having trouble hearing what was going on.

Best Actor:
Who I think will win: Colin Firth and it won’t even be close.
Who I would like to see win: Ryan Gosling...oh, wait. Honestly, I’m not shocked Gosling didn’t get nominated, despite nabbing a Golden Globe nomination for his role in Blue Valentine but it does shock me that Javier Bardem got nominated for Biutiful (which I do want to see). It shocks me for many reasons one being, he wasn’t nominated for a Golden Globe or SAG award, which normally won’t bode well and according to Entertainment Weekly, Bardem is the first actor ever to be nominated for Best Actor for his portrayal in an all Spanish speaking film. I figured if Michelle Williams got nominated for Best Actress (which she did) then I thought Gosling would be nominated too, since their performances play so well off each other as a failing married couple. Other than Franco in 127 Hours, I don’t think Bardem, Bridges or Eisenberg stand any chance whatsoever. Was Eisenberg good in The Social Network? Yeah, but his acting chops in this film don’t stray too far away from his other films, a nerdy, quick-witted, loner (Aventureland, Zombieland, The Squid and the Whale). But this is Firth’s category to lose.

Best Actress:
Who I think will win: Natalie Portman
Who I want to win: Since I enjoyed Blue Valentine so much, I’d like to see Williams get it, but really, I’m not going to lose any sleep no matter who wins.

Best Supporting Actor:
Who I think will win: I did think Christian Bale was a lock, but now I’m not quite sure with all this love affair going on with The King’s Speech. Geoffrey Rush could steal it from Bale, but if I had to bet, I’d still go with Bale.
Who I’d like to see win: I thought Jeremy Renner was incredible in the The Town, but those types of films don’t normally win awards and considering that’s the only nomination The Town got, he doesn’t stand a chance. I thought Ruffalo was great in The Kids Are All Right, and actually, he was the main reason I enjoyed that film however, I've always like Ruffalo. But I love Bale’s body of work and thought he did a terrific job in The Fighter, so I would like to see him win.

Best Supporting Actress:
Who I think will win: Melissa Leo seems like a lock to me as well, but again, don’t underestimate any category that has someone nominated from The King’s Speech (Helena Bonham Carter).

Best Director:
Who I think will win: I have no idea. I think this category is still pretty wide open although I’m betting David Fincher is the front-runner. This may be an award decided on the director’s whole body of work, rather than their recent films considering three of these directors have very, very impressive resumes. Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, The Wrestler, Requiem For A Dream, The Fountain and Pi), The Coen Brothers (True Grit, No Country For Old Men, Fargo, The Big Lebowski) and Fincher (The Social Network, Seven, Fight Club, Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Zodiac. P.S. Christopher Nolan not being nominated in this category is asinine. 
Who I'd like to see win: I guess I'll go with Fincher here simply for the fact I don't want to see The Social Network walk away empty handed from any of the night's top awards.

By Nick Carrabine

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Nick's Top 10 films of 2010

 First off, before I hear any "Dude, it's almost March of 2011," I realize that. I waited to post my top 10 list for two main reasons. One, I wanted to post it just prior to the Oscars, which are this Sunday. The other reason being is, many of the Oscar films that are officially released in 2010, don't expand to theaters in the Cleveland area until mid-January, so it took a little time to catch up on everything. So, sue me.

The following, in my opinion of course, are the top 10 movies of the year. I wasn't blown away by many of them except a small few and certainly, many of the bottom half of this list could really be in any order.

10.) 127 Hours
    *Normally you wouldn’t find a guy on screen by himself for 90 minutes or so to be too exciting, but James Franco delivers his best performance in his young career depicting the true story of an adventure gone horribly wrong.

9.) Kick-Ass
    *I’m a sucker for first quarter movies that come out and are a bit off-kiltered and just plain different from everything else being released. This one about superheros who possess absolutely no superhero powers. It’s one of those movies where it’s both funny and has a very good storyline.

8.) Shutter Island
    *Honestly, it’s one of the most predictable movies I’ve ever seen (so much so, that I predicted the ending back when I saw the previews long before I saw the movie) but it’s you can't go wrong with a Martin Scorsese/Leonardo DiCaprio teamed movie and for what it's worth, it's still a good thriller.

7.) The King’s Speech
    *Probably the best all-around well-acted movie that was released in 2010 with a phenomenal lead performance from Colin Firth, who will run away with the Oscar this year, just as he should of last year with his performance in A Single Man.

6.) Black Swan
    *A very disturbing psychological thriller that leaves you questioning everything once you leave the theater. And for me, you can’t ask for anything more than that.

5.) The Fighter
    *Another all-around well-acted movie where Christian Bale will most likely run away with best supporting actor.

4.) The Social Network
    *One of the most critically acclaimed movies of the year was also one of the most entertaining films as well, which is a rarity (The King's Speech is great, but I wouldn't call it wildly entertaining.) Well-acted, well-directed, the dialogue is top notch and the content is extremely relevant considering how popular Facebook is.

3.) The Town
    *A suspenseful, action-packed film with a surprisingly good acting performance from Ben Affleck and another solid directed movie from him as well (he directed Gone Baby Gone as well). Jeremy Renner however steals the show.

2.) Blue Valentine
    *A very emotional, realistic portrayal of a married couple on the rocks (to put it nicely) with tremendous lead performances from Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. I wrestled with putting this in the No. 1 slot as I saw this twice in the theater and will surely be buying it the first day it comes out on DVD.

1.) Inception
    *Another film I saw twice in the theaters and again on dvd. I've been saying it for years, Christopher Nolan, at age 40, is the best director of his generation. Going off what I said about Black Swan, this movie sparked more discussions and debates than any other film released in 2010. What was real and what wasn’t? The greatest thing about it is, we’ll literally never know. But it won’t stop people from arguing their theories. Christopher Nolan is a master at creating these discussions.

By Nick Carrabine

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Every No. 1 song... five seconds at a time

We all know popular music has changed a lot over the years. (understatement, much?) But have you ever really analyzed the changes--five seconds at a time?

Stereogum posted a mash up of five-second clips from every No. 1 song until 1992. Apparently the timing comes just as Billboard announced it's 1000th No. 1 hit. (surprise! It's Lady Gaga's "Born This Way")

The mash up is broken into two parts, totaling an hour and a half of musical nostalgia. I haven't listened to the whole thing yet, but it makes a fascinating study in pop culture.

--Danielle Capriato |

P.S. Have you seen this girl cover "Born This Way" yet? If not, you should check her out. The girl's got talent.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Bayside - Killing Time

“I curse to hell the magistrate who granted this unholy faith,
but I know, I know I asked for this myself.
I’m bound by law to hell and it’s sick, sick, sick.”

If anyone is wondering how Anthony Raneri, lead singer of Bayside, is doing following his recent divorce, well, perhaps the above lyrics should give you a better idea.

Following a two and a half year absence, Bayside — who from 2004-2008 released four studio albums, a live album and an compilation acoustic record/DVD — are back on the scene with their fifth studio album — and major label debut — Killing Time, in stores Tuesday.

Bayside has been killing time making Killing Time, which marks the longest period they’ve gone — two and a half years — without releasing any sort of material. And if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it.

Bayside isn’t one to change things up with their punk/aggressive alternative rock roots combined with strong, damaging guitar riffs and Raneri’s Kermit The Frog-like, ill-timed vocals which work again masterfully on Killing Time.

Over their five releases, they’ve remained perhaps the most consistent band I’ve listened to in the past decade. I’m all for bands growing musically or maturing, but Bayside has been able to improve with each album but not abandoned their signature sound whatsoever, they just keep fine-tuning it.

Since the band got into a horrific car accident in 2005, which resulted in the death of their drummer — John “Beatz” Holohan — Bayside made a conscious effort to release music looking at the bright side of life. Getting up after getting knocked down, staying true to yourself and being proud of who you are no matter what the situation is are some common themes found on 2007s The Walking Wounded and 2008s Shudder.
Raneri is always wary too about “selling-out” with a plethora of songs dedicated to making the music HE and his band want to make. Not following trends, not being pressured by pop radio stations and not giving into demands of record labels.

But excuse Raneri if he sounds pretty angry on Killing Time following the “devil in a dress” making him “sick, sick, sick” as the album’s lead single suggests following his divorce.

For all intents and purposes, positivity has been thrown out the window throughout the first portion of the album, which include the hard-hitting opening track, “Already Gone,” which was released over four months ago.

“By all means I’m getting mad” - Raneri says over the song’s breakdown.

The third cut, “Mona Lisa,” has the most key changes of any other Bayside song, or any other song I’ve heard from any band now that I think of it.

“It’s Not A Bad Little War,” is a song about being in the music industry for so long and how hard it is to stay afloat

“we are our only chance in the world
If fate should fail us
Then hope will see us through
And we are our only chance in the world
So stand for something
Cause something’s overdue
I don’t ask for much
But this could define a lifetime”

“On Love, On Life” is the closest song Bayside has ever had to a ballad, as Raneri sings softly over a piano and an acoustic guitar.

While I wouldn’t call this best record the band has done, it is easily their best produced. And that’s thanks to producer Gil Norton, who is best known for producing records for Foo Fighters, The Strokes and Jimmy Eat World. It’s their biggest sounding album yet, its most polished and its most poppy with a lot of group vocals from the entire band appearing on many of the tracks.

“I’ve spent all my life, waiting for a moment to come.” - title track “Killing Time”

Bayside is a cult. That’s their motto. It wasn’t coined by them, but rather their fans. They have an extremely loyal following that has kept them successful in the underground and releasing Killing Time on Wind-Up records should get the band more mainstream exposure. With everything they have been through, they really deserve it and although I have never met them (outside of Raneri answering a few of my questions through various online communication forums - which further cements the fact that I am, indeed, a  loser) they seem very humble and proud of their careers and after a fatal car accident six years ago, they’re probably just glad to be breathing.

They’re still waiting for their major breakthrough moment to come, and this could be it.

By Nick Carrabine

Still looking for LOST answers?

Just over a year ago, the final season of "Lost" started messing with our minds. If you're still confused about what actually happened in the six years we spent on the island, make your way over to L O S T Answers, where a blogger who identifies himself only as "A Scientist" resolves the lingering issues you have with the show.

The search box seems to be broken because looking for the terms "Walt," "Faraday" and "Jack" gave me no answers*. But if you're a diehard Lostie, you're probably going to want to read through the entire blog archives and subscribe to the RSS feed anyway.

When I get around to rewatching the series, I'm sure I'll be referencing this site and maybe even submitting my own questions (by clicking Ask Together, Answer Alone). This guy won't have all the answers, but, well, neither does "Lost."

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl

*If you want to find something specific and the search isn't working for you, go to Google, type the term you want to find, then site: (example: jack locke sawyer site: Doing this will force Google to search ONLY that website.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

No. 1 is Unknown; No. 2 is Number Four

The biggest weekend box office news might be that both "The King's Speech" and "Black Swan" have topped the $100 million mark. Colin Firth and Natalie Portman, the respective film's stars, are favorites for next week's Oscars. (Speaking of, have you made your picks yet?)

According to The Associated Press:
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Final figures will be released Tuesday.
1. “Unknown,” $21.8 million. (Review by The AP's Christy Lemire)
2. “I Am Number Four,” $19.5 million. (Review by Scripps Howard's Barbara Vancheri)
3. “Gnomeo & Juliet,” $19.4 million. (Review by Lemire)
4. “Just Go With It,” $18.2 million. (Review by The AP's David Germain)
5. “Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son,” $17 million.
6. “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never,” $13.6 million. (Review by Lemire)
7. “The King’s Speech,” $6.6 million. (Review from Lemire; "Colin Firth stammers eloquently as King George" by Germain)
8. “The Roommate,” $4.1 million.
9. “The Eagle,” $3.6 million. (Review by Germain)
10. “No Strings Attached,” $3.1 million. (Review from Lemire)

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Entertainment Weekly Round-up

I don't really have much to say here this week other than I already started four entertainment blogs that will appear next week.

One will be a review of the new Bayside album, Killing Time. Another will focus on the essential albums of the 1990s and then two will be on movies. The top 10 movies of 2010 (I realize it's almost March, but I was saving it for around Oscars time) and then another Oscar preview blog.

I now realize the anticipation for those blogs will decrease the amount of sleep you get this weekend and they certainly won't live up to the low expectations you have set for them.

Not much music news for me here either other than the fact Panic! at the Disco's Vices and Virtues album got a bump in its release date. Instead of the original March 29 release, it'll now be released on March 22 due to "popular demand."

Oh, and Britney Spears released a new video for "Hold It Against Me." I didn't care about Spears in 1999 and I don't care about her today. MTV, the alleged music station, has been promoting the video for weeks now. How ironic.

Also, News-Herald Entertainment Editor Mark Meszoros and I will be doing a podcast about the Oscars sometime next week. If we get half the listeners for that as we do for this blog (4) then we'll consider it a success. Meszoros' power here at the paper has already gone to his head as he told me to only speak when spoken to during the podcast and to consistently say things like "yes sir," "good point" and "I'm sorry, you're right. I should have thought about that."

P.S. Go buy the new Bright Eyes, The People's Key, album. Support music.

K. Bye.

By Nick Carrabine

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Elementary? Hardly

As someone who reads tech blogs and listens to tech podcasts -- and with a girlfriend who watches "Jeopardy!" daily -- I was aware that Monday night would bring the first of three episodes of the popular quiz show in which two past champs would take on IBM's new supercomputer, Watson.

I had a passing curiosity, but I wasn't exactly counting down the days. I figured with all the information that could be packed into, say, an iPhone, jamming enough knowledge to beat two of the game's best into a supercomputer with multiple servers and cooling systems wouldn't be too hard for the braniacs at IBM. But watching Monday night I was reminded of just how trickily "Jeopardy!" questions -- or answers, if you prefer -- can be phrased.

 "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek, left, with contestants
Ken Jennings, Watson, and Brad Rutter.

Watching Watson (well, his avatar anyway) parse the keywords, come up with three ranked answers and then either buzz in or not with its top guess was truly fascinating to watch. Strangely, his performance in Monday's first round reminded me most of a poker player who gets hot -- Watson jumped out to a lead quickly -- before going on tilt -- the computer gave several incorrect answers in a later stretch.

Those who want to know more about Watson can go here. You might also want to visit the official "Jeopardy!" site.

It was good television. Skipping the next two shows? That does not compute.

-- Mark Meszoros

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Spider-Man reboot "Amazing"

By Mark Poodolski

The latest installment and now reboot of the Spider-Man franchise is going old school.

With its title, that is. Sony Pictures announced the film, starring Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) as Peter Parker and Spidey, will be titled, "The Amazing Spider-Man."

Fans of the comic book are well aware of that title as Stan Lee used that moniker when he introduced the Marvel super hero in 1963 in his comic book. Sony Pictures also released a photo of Garfield in full costume. Check it out.

Bright Eyes: The People’s Key

On the same day Bright Eyes released their eighth studio album, The People’s Key - released today - lead singer Conor Oberst turned 31-years-old.

At just the ripe age of 31, Oberst has already accomplished what many musicians dream of. He’s shared the stage and has rocked out with Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young, he was named songwriter of the year in 2008 by Rolling Stone Magazine and Spin Magazine went a step further calling him the “most devastating songwriter of his generation” as well as “Their Generation’s Bob Dylan.” He is clearly well-respected.

On top of the eight studio albums with Bright Eyes — the band has also released seven EPs, a live album and a few B-side albums — Oberst has also released five solo albums

Truth is — and just like Dylan — Oberst is not much of a singer (which even he himself acknowledges on 2005s “Road to Joy” where he says “I could have been a famous singer if had someone else’s voice.”)

Oberst/Bright Eyes is an acquired taste.

Throughout the years Bright Eyes music, as well as Obert’s solo material, has transformed from indie rock (Fevers & Mirrors and Lifted) to folk-rock (I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning), to experimental (Digital Ash in a Digital Urn) to pretty much straight up country (Cassadaga) all leading up to Tuesday’s release of The People’s Key, the band’s first in almost four years, which is kind of a mixed bag.

Only a 10-song album, it’s easily their best since 2005s I’m Wide Awake, however doesn’t top it, nor does it hover over Fevers or Lifted and at this point of their career, I doubt anything ever will.

Key is a much more spirited and impressive effort than Digital and Cassadaga with more replay power than those two albums offered. Digital was too electronical and Cassadaga, while good, was too country for me.

Key is more of a modern rock/adult contemporary album. It’s not too indie, folk or country and has plenty of standout tracks including “Jejune Stars,” “Approximate Sunlight,” “A Machine Spiritual,” “Beginner’s Mind” and “Ladder Song.”

The lead track and closer, “Firewall” and “One For You, One For Me” respectively, are a bit drawn out and “Firewall” is ruined by a two-minute opening speech (which almost all Bright Eyes’ albums open with) and a pretty weak breakdown near the six-minute mark. If it were just the three minute track of Oberst's soft vocals on top of the quiet guitar rift, I'd suspect it'd be one of the better tracks on the album. “One For You, One For Me,” sounds like it could have been placed on Digital, I don’t care too much for it, but I think I’m in the minority on that one as plenty of kids on the interweb seem to be flocking toward that tune.

If you’re not a fan of Bright Eyes, I doubt there is anything released on this album that would change your stance on Oberst and the boys because as I mentioned in the beginning, Oberst/Bright Eyes is an acquired taste. If you can put up with his shaky, pitchy voice, it’s another fine album in Oberst’s catalogue.

By Nick Carrabine

Monday, February 14, 2011

Told you so...sort of

I believe a certain someone told you that the Grammy award for Album of the Year would have gone to either Arcade Fire or Lady Antebellum.

However, I must admit, while watching the show, and watching Lady Antebellum pick up awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year, which essentially is the same award repeated, I thought it was a lock they would have gone home with the top award.

Not to mention, Arcade Fire didn’t even beat out the Black Keys for alternative rock album, so how they lost that award, but won album of the year, is truly mind-boggling.

Lady Gaga and Katy Perry never stood a chance and as I mentioned, rap albums don’t win the top award (once in the show’s history to be exact.)

The night’s biggest surprise is when the Spalding basketball won best new artist, which I never for a minute thought it’d go to Justin Bieber, but rather either Mumford and Sons or Florence and the Machine.

Speaking of Mumford and Sons, I thought they had the best performance of the night when they performed “The Cave” (which I erroneously reported as "Little Lion Man" previously.) I was also very impressed with the performances of B.o.B, Bruno Mars and Janelle Monae, which had a very 1950s vibe.

I was somewhat disappointed with Eminem’s performance, which I was looking forward to the most. First off, the guy didn’t even perform anything off Recovery, which was nominated for 10 grammys. Instead, he performed “Love the Way You Lie Part II,” which is actually off Rihanna’s Loud album. He then went into “I need a Doctor” which is on the upcoming Detox album from Dr. Dre (Which has been “upcoming” for the past 10 years). “I Need A Doctor” was a much better performance as there was some microphone issues with Em’s verse on “Love the Way You Lie Part II.” You couldn’t even hear him for the first few seconds.

The rest of the three and a half hour telecast was extremely nauseating.

While I completely couldn’t stomach the performance of Justin Bieber, Usher and Jaden Smith, I did think it was somewhat cool after the performance when they showed Jaden’s dad, Will Smith (perhaps you’ve heard of him?) yelling “that’s my baby” over and over.

All in all, if you were one of the lucky ones to have missed the grammys Sunday night, I envy you. I’m not sure which is more embarrassing, the fact I watched the grammys from start to finish, or the fact I sat there with my computer tweeting about it dozens of times. But hey, I had to keep myself entertained somehow.

Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and that Spalding ball sure didn’t.

By Nick Carrabine

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Who can beat the Biebs?

Apparently a romantic comedy starring actors who play themselves can beat the Biebs. The only reason I can figure for this happening is the moms who took the screaming girls to see the Biebs needed a night for themselves at the movies afterward.

According to The Associated Press:
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Final figures will be released Monday.
1. “Just Go With It,” $31 million. (Review from The AP's David Germain)
2. “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never,” $30.3 million. (Review by The AP's Christy Lemire)
3. “Gnomeo & Juliet,” $25.5 million. (Review from Lemire)
4. “The Eagle,” $8.6 million. (Review from The AP's David Germain)
5. “The Roommate,” $8.4 million.
6. “The King’s Speech,” $7.4 million. (Review from Lemire; "Colin Firth stammers eloquently as King George" by Germain)
7. “No Strings Attached,” $5.6 million. (Review from Lemire)
8. “Sanctum,” $5.1 million. (Review from The AP's Jake Coyle)
9. “True Grit,” $3.8 million. (Review from Lemire)
10. “The Green Hornet,” $3.6 million. (Review from Lemire)

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl

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"King's Speech" emotionally moving

Mark Podolski

My wife and I saw "The King's Speech" on Saturday night. To say the least, it was an emotional moviegoing experience.

If you don't know the film's plot, it's the true story of King George VI's stuttering problem while trying to inspire the United Kingdom at the dawn of World War II.

I'm actually a bit soft when grading movies, but my top 10 list is iron-clad. To join my top 10 club of the likes of "Rocky," "Jaws," "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "King Kong (1933)" and "The Shawshank Redemption," that film had better deliver in several categories.

This one does, and now another must be bumped as my top 10 all-time movie list has a new member. The film, headlined by the breathtaking performances of Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush, is what moviegong is all about, but for me, it hits home. As a child, I was a stutterer.

Firth's portrayal of King George VI was riveting, but not just because he had the act of stuttering down pat. As all stutterers will attest, it's not the act of a stammer that paralyzes you in the figurative sense.

It's the frustration of knowing the ability to pronounce words without a hitch is inside of you, but your body and mind won't allow them to flow off your lips. It's knowing people are staring at you. It's wondering what people are thinking. It's your self confidence taking a hit each time you stammer through a word. Firth's performance illustrates those frustrations and fears. I cringed during the film's opening scene in which the main character struggles immensely during a ceremony at Wembley Stadium.

I eventually beat my impediment - it was a mild case. Nonetheless, the sense of accomplishment helped me grow as a person. It creeps back on occasion if I'm not careful. My wife, friends and family might not catch it, but I certainly do and I'm embarrassed when it happens. It scares the heck out of me, forcing me to concentrate and relax.

Unfortunately, some never overcome stuttering. Hopefully, watching "The King's Speech" helps and inspires those people. Still, the film isn't solely about stuttering. It's about self confidence and overcoming personal fears.

For me, "The King's Speech" is right up there with the likes of "Rocky" and "Rudy" as one of the most inspirational movies of all time, and I'll be rooting hard for it to win all the Oscars it can in a few weeks. 

If that happens, it will be a special night for all stutterers, past and present.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Feb. 10: Weekly entertainment round-up

Well I already covered the garbage that super bowl officials called a half-time show on Monday and on Wednesday I wrote about the upcoming bummy Grammys.

* If the Black Eyed Peas and Christina Aguilera didn’t annoy the hell out of you enough on Sunday, in theaters tomorrow is Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never, which is some sort of movie, I guess.

Hey Bieber, don’t tell me to never say never because I am Never going to see your movie. Never.

* Some upcoming music release dates have been confirmed in the past week:
The Foo Fighters will release their currently untitled seventh studio album on April 12; That same day, Atmosphere will release, Family Sign, which will be the duo’s sixth album; Silverstein will release their fifth album, Rescue, on April 26; Royce Da 5’9” will release his fifth solo album, Success is Certain, on April 26 and Manchester Orchestra will release their third album, Simple Math, on May 10. There are plenty of releases that are coming out before then that I’m excited for as well including albums from Bright Eyes (2-15), Bayside (2-22), Lupe Fiasco (3-8), Yellowcard (3-22), Panic! at the Disco (3-29), Sum 41 (3-29) and Thursday (4-12).

* Music videos, remember those?

Two decent ones were released in the last week.

The first is from Nas and Damian Marley, which is “Patience,” released Monday from last year’s Distant Relatives album. It can be seen here.

The second is “The Ballad of Mona Lisa” from Panic! at the Disco, which is their first single off of Vices and Virtues, due out March 29.

K. Bye.

By Nick Carrabine

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

RIP Guitar Hero

I distinctly remember going to parties in college and finding myself sitting with my then-boyfriend and watching as his music major friends jammed out to "Sweet Child of Mine" on the ultra-popular video game Guitar Hero.

Now, I am sad to say, such fun may not be had by wannabe-musician-dating college co-eds in the future, as Activision Blizzard Inc, makers of Guitar Hero, announced it will stop publishing the game this year.

Read more here.

Say it isn't so! It seems like everybody plays Guitar Hero or Rock Band these days. I am sad to see a video game disappear that could inspire people to take up an instrument. Or, if not inspired to learn how to play guitar, at least inspired to check out the classic rock that is often featured on these games.

--Danielle Capriato

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Talkin Grammys, unfortunately

Excuse me if I’m not rushing the work on my unfinished time machine so I can fast forward to Sunday night’s always dreadful and always boring, Grammys telecast.

Just when I thought the Grammys couldn’t get any worse, I have to stomach Katy Perry’s name even being mentioned in the same breath as album of the year.

The only reason I’ll be tuning in — and by tuning in, I mean DVRing it and fast forwarding through all but 10 minutes of the show — on Sunday is to see if this will finally be the year Eminem will win the top award (And I’m interesting in seeing his, as well as B.o.B.’s, performances.)

For the third time of his career, Eminem is nominated for album of the year for his release of Recovery, which as the four readers of this blog already know, yours truly labeled the best album of 2010.

But I’m no scallywag. I know better. And as I predicted correctly in 2009 when Lil Wayne sold a billion copies of Tha Carter III and was the most popular person on the planet, voters no lika da rap music.

Only once in the show’s history has a rap album won album of the year and that came in 2004 when Outkast took home the top award for Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. But let’s be real earnest with ourselves, Outkast are from a different planet. Their material has so many other genres of music plugged into their albums including R&B, Jazz, Funk, Rock, among others. Remember “Hey Ya!”? Yeah, my grandmother likes that song.

Since 1991, only 11 rap albums have been nominated for best album of the year. And leave it to the Grammys to nominate none other than MC Hammer’s Please Hammer Don’t Hurt Em album in 1991.

I’m not kidding, look it up. I don’t think I have to tell you that that one didn’t win.

These are the type of clowns we’re dealing with when talkin Grammys.

Anyway, although Eminem far and away deserves to win the top award of the night, I don’t think it will happen. The only reason it may happen this year, as opposed to the other years that he was nominated for best album (not since 2003) is he is now not just a hip-hop heavy-weight, but a pop culture icon who had a great success story in the early 2000s, fell off for years and came back with arguably the best album of the year. Voters do love a good comeback story, a tale of redemption. He probably didn’t get much respect in 2001 and 2003 when he was nominated because he was still considered a new kid on the block and possibly, just a flash in the pan.

If I were a betting man, which I’m clearly not as I still haven’t recovered from a Las Vegas trip I took 10 months ago (well, I guess that would make me a betting man, just not a good one,) I’d honestly say the award for album of the year will either go to The Arcade Fire for The Suburbs or Lady Antebellum for Need You Now.

I say this not because I think those two had the best albums of the year (because, they didn’t, nor do I like either one) but rather, The Grammys always go with a safe bet. And what’s more safe than a country rock band or an indie rock band.

Hey, if The Arcade Fire win, it’s a win for Canada, a win for the indie rock scene and a win for the underdog. If Lady Antebellum win, it’d be the fourth country affiliated album to win best album of the year in the past five years.

I have a better chance of winning than Katy Perry and Lady Gaga, is still, well, Lady Gaga.

If either of those two win, I’ll be using my time machine to fast forward to my funeral.

By Nick Carrabine

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

This is Jeopardy! against a computer

"Jeopardy!" is a favorite among the night staff at The News-Herald, so we're getting pretty excited for what is coming next week.

The Associated Press
Feb. 14, 15 and 16, an IBM computer named Watson will compete on the game show against top champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.

From The Associated Press:
Watson is powered by 10 racks of IBM servers running the Linux operating system. It's not connected to the Internet but has digested encyclopedias, dictionaries, books, news, movie scripts and more.
The system is the result of four years of work by IBM researchers around the globe, and although it was designed to compete on "Jeopardy!" the technology has applications well beyond the game, said John Kelly III, IBM director of research. He said the technology could help doctors sift through massive amounts of information to draw conclusions for patient care, and could aid professionals in a wide array of other fields.
"What Watson does and has demonstrated is the ability to advance the field of artificial intelligence by miles," he said.
Watson, named for IBM founder Thomas J. Watson, is reminiscent of IBM's famous Deep Blue computer, which defeated chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997. But while chess is well-defined and mathematical, "Jeopardy!" presents a more open-ended challenge involving troves of information and complexities of human language that would confound a normal computer.

Maybe this makes us uber nerds, but how cool is that!?!?!? A showdown between Jennings and Rutter would already be must-see (nerd) TV. Throw in a computer that could handily beat both of them? We are so there.

This computer will be used for entertainment, but the implications beyond that are immeasurable. Imagine the hours of research time that could be saved by having a computer do the dirty work. Maybe you would still need an expert to review important information, but a computer could find what you need more quickly than humanly possible.

We are totally on Team Watson, and Executive Editor Tricia Ambrose has said she might be on Team Brad (she hasn't confirmed this recently, so we won't hold her to that). Fellow copy editor Robin Palmer said she is rooting for Ken. Who would you like to see win?

Click here to read the complete article about the upcoming episodes.

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl
Danielle Capriato |

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Super Bowl's entertainment a super mess

Just when you thought Christina Aguilera’s career couldn’t get any worse, she goes and messes up the words to the National Anthem prior to the Super Bowl.

Go figure.

It’s OK Christina, I doubt anyone noticed aside from the 1.6 billion people across the world watching the biggest television event in history.

Not that I care, but if anyone is in need of a career revival, it’s Xtina, as the kids called her in 2002...back when she was relevant.

Her last album, released this summer (Bionic...more like moronic), was poorly received by critics, accusing her of just straight stealing from Lady Gaga.

It also marked the worst selling album of her career.

In addition, she’s been a trainwreck since her divorce and has become a staple in tabloid magazines reporting about her hard-partying lifestyle. I won’t even mention Burlesque, her alleged acting debut in the film that was released in the Fall that no one saw. Speaking of falling, I promise this is the last time I spend more than three minutes talking about Aguilera.

However, Aguilera’s miscue of the National Anthem pales in comparison to what the Black Eyed Peas did to my ears for 20 minutes during Sunday’s halftime show. My God, that was truly a monumentally horrid experience. Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” all of a sudden doesn’t seem so bad now, does it?

And what about Slash? Has he aged since 1986? And enough with that hat, does it ever come off? Does he ever replace it?

The only slash I should have seen on that stage during the halftime show was the Black Eyed Peas getting slashed off it.

At the very least, Slash could have done us all a favor, taken his guitar and started beating the members of the Black Eyed Peas - Will.I.Am, Fergie and uhh, those other two - senselessly.

Lately, there has been a lot of talk about an NFL lockout. After seeing the Super Bowl halftime show over the past few years, that may not seem like such a bad idea.

 By Nick Carrabine

Friday, February 4, 2011

Do you GetGlue?

You can check in to Heinen's on Foursquare or Facebook, but have you ever checked in to a TV show you were watching?

Well, now you can, with GetGlue. Capitalizing on the popular social media sites I mentioned above, this particular website allows users to check in to entertainment they enjoy. Instead of checking in to a movie theater where you're trying to catch up on this year's Oscar contenders, you can simply say you're watching that movie--no need to let anybody know where you're seeing "Black Swan" or "The King's Speech."

Listening to the leaked Bright Eyes album News-Herald staff writer Nick Carrabine blogged about? You can check in on GetGlue to see who else is listening, and see comments and reviews by other fans.

Users on GetGlue can check in to books, television shows, movies, video games or even topics they're thinking about. You can like artists, celebrities, sports teams or other random things (for example, I liked YouTube and rubik's cube). You can even dislike things (I've disliked LeBron).

GetGlue offers categories for you to like in order to build a taste profile for recommendations.

As you continue to like things, GetGlue offers helpful suggestions for other things to like.

Glue has suggested "We Are Marshall," "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" and "The Rookie" because I liked "The Blind Side." Not so sure about that second one, folks--although it's probably because Sandra Bullock is in it.

As some users continue to like and revue things, they can become the "guru" of a topic--kind of like being a mayor in Foursquare--which allows them to offer suggestions to other users who like their topic.

I liked The Cure, and a music guru has suggested Robert Smith, Siouxsie and the Banshees and The Glove. I'm not terribly familiar with any of these artists, so it might be worth checking these out.

Users can sign up with Facebook or Twitter accounts and be automatically connected to friends on either platform who use GetGlue. When you subscribe to other users, you can see things they like or have checked in to and get recommendations for new things to read, watch or otherwise enjoy.

Fellow News-Herald staffer Dominic Anselmo has liked--and disliked--several things that I can check out for myself. Obviously our tastes in hockey teams do not match up. :)
As you progress through the site, you are awarded stickers for things like liking a lot of movies, or checking in to something after 3 a.m. You can even get a fist bump sticker for sharing common interests with other users. That one is a good way to find other people who like things you like, which could lead to discovering new and interesting entertainment suggestions. Once you get 20 stickers, you can even order them from GetGlue to receive physical copies of your stickers in the mail.

I have 11 stickers so far--only 9 more to go!
I joined GetGlue earlier this week, and so far I've found it an interesting way to see what some of my friends are reading or watching. So far it's brought some interesting suggestions--like those bands glue suggested for me--and I'm having fun collecting some more stickers.

GetGlue is available through the good, old-fashioned internet, and also has mobile apps for various platforms like smartphones or the iPad so you can check in to entertainment while on the go. There's also a browser toolbar available for download that lets you like things while on other entertainment websites. Watching the last episode of Glee on Hulu? You can check in to the show without navigating away.

Sound like something you'd like? Give it a try! Feel free to subscribe to me at DCapriato.

--Danielle Capriato


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Make your Oscar picks in our Academy Awards contest

Think you know who will take home Oscar at this year's Academy Awards? Enter our contest for your chance to win this comfortable recliner loveseat.

Learn more about the contest by watching the video below:

(The recliner loveseat is super comfortable. I'm a little disappointed I am not eligible to win the contest.)

Click here to enter the contest. Picks must be in by 11:59 p.m. Feb. 26.

Read more about the nominees here.

-- Cheryl Sadler

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Groundhog Day

In honor of today, I sought out some clips from the Bill Murray movie by the same name. Feel free to watch them over, and over, and over again.

-- Cheryl Sadler

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Nick's weekly entertainment round-up

 Normally the only time I write blogs in this section is when an album is released but from now on, I'm going to try and include a weekly round-up of music or movies or some sort of entertainment. This week's entertainment round-up will focus on what is new in music over the past seven days.

1.) Lupe Fiasco, whose long awaited LASERS album will finally be released on March 8, released the album’s second single, the controversial, “Words I Never Said,” which is a verbal attack on everything from the government to corporate America. The single, which can be heard here premiered Tuesday at midnight (caution: song contains a few swear words and some rather strong opinions). After hearing the first two singles, I really think Lupe is putting together another near classic album.

2.) On Monday, the entire new Bright Eyes album, The People’s Key, was leaked onto the internet and can be streamed live here. I clicked on a few songs and have enjoyed what I heard so far, but I don’t want to listen anymore because I don’t like ruining the element of surprise before I (gulp) purchase and listen to an album. I realize that is now considered old-fashioned.

3.) had two very good exclusives this week. The first feature was on the new Panic! at the Disco album, Vices and Virtues, along with an interview with lead singer, Brendon Urie and a second feature  on Thursday’s new album, which I inexplicably left off my most anticipated album blog a few weeks ago. Thursday’s lead singer Geoff Rickly said the new album’s focus was “to make something really beautiful, that has power in a different way than just being heavy,” and he is pretty frank with fans telling them that the new record won’t be for everybody.

4.) Only Three more weeks until the new Bayside, Killing Time, record hits the stores. It my second most anticipated release of 2011. Click here to hear two new songs, "Sick, Sick, Sick" and "Already Gone." (hit the play arrow in the top right corner of the website.)

By Nick Carrabine