Freaky Fridays: The Keep

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Review by on August 26, 2016 with No Comments
The Keep (1983)


If you haven’t heard this month, Funai Electric, the last major manufacturer of VCR’s will close its production lines forever. This isn’t much of a surprise considering the last major film released on VHS came out eleven years ago—it was A History of Violence, btw. To most people, this won’t mean much. DVDs and Blu-Rays look and sound better. They also have special features, don’t need rewinding, and don’t require you to ride your finger on that goddamn tracking dial every five minutes. It makes me shudder just thinking about it.

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Rokk Talk Ep. 04: Can’t Buy A Thrill

Bookends Rokk 1
Podcast by on August 25, 2016 with No Comments

Buying music. It used to be the only way of aquiring music, and now it’s something you’d have to pay most people to do against their will.  On this episode, Colin and John take a look back at their earliest music-buying memories, as well as their takes on the way music consumption has changed as we make our way through the era of streaming.  It’s an episode that very easily could’ve been called “An Ode To Silver Platters”.

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The Hunt For A Better Summer Movie

Review by on August 21, 2016 with No Comments
Hunt For The Wilderpeople

At this point, it seems as if most critics have written off this summer movie season as a bit of a loss.  But to be fair, I feel like most summer movie seasons aren’t a great time for people with actual decent taste in movies, considering it’s a time of year rife with box office dominance by slap-dash junk like Suicide Squad and blandly inoffensive animated features like The Secret Life Of Pets to keep the kids entertained until school starts up again.  Still, looking back, it is a bit telling that this summer movie season’s most pleasant surprises where sequels like Finding Dory or Star Trek Beyond, which were fine, but far from being movies we haven’t already seen before.

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Freaky Fridays: Fritz the Cat

Review by on August 12, 2016 with Comments Off on Freaky Fridays: Fritz the Cat
Fritz the Cat (1972)

If you think it’s perverse that Seth Rogen and Co. have made what is essentially Toy Story with F-Bombs, consider the fact Ralph Bakshi made an animated film far more perverse and profane over forty years ago. I’m talking about Fritz the Cat, the first ever X-rated animated film and one of the first (if not the first) animated film made for adults. Based on the comic strip by Robert Crumb, Fritz is a feisty feline in search of sex in the big city at the height of counterculture. Fritz is so crass and devious, he makes Bugs Bunny look like Mother Theresa. It’s crazy to think anyone would consider the character for a feature length film and yet it happened.

P.S. It was hard to find pics for this post that did not feature nude animals, so I apologize for the lack of quality images.

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C.A.T.: King of the Delta Blues Singers

CAT by on August 9, 2016 with Comments Off on C.A.T.: King of the Delta Blues Singers
Robert Johnson – King of the Delta Blues Singers (1961)

Robert Johnson has all the trappings of a classic rock star. He made a deal with the devil, died at 27, inspired a Ralph Macchio movie, and all between a remarkable two-year span. Look at all the classics: “Cross Road Blues,” “From Four Until Late”, “Kind Hearted Woman Blues”, “Love in Vain”, “They’re Red Hot,” “Traveling Riverside Blues”, and the list goes on. If it wasn’t for Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton wouldn’t be God. He wouldn’t even be a demi-god. Led Zeppelin wouldn’t have the “led.” And The Rolling Stones would be gathering moss.

Sadly, Robert Johnson only recorded 29 songs before kicking the bucket from drinking poisoned whiskey. Hell, there’s only like, two pictures of him in existence. Yet he lives on thanks to compilations like 1961’s King of the Delta Blues. Compiled from sixteen mono recordings between two sessions in 1936 and 1937, King of the Delta Blues has built its legacy as one of the greatest collection of blues songs ever assembled.

There’s no denying the age of these recordings shows. Numerous tracks have crackles and fuzz, but that’s part of the charm. There’s a gritty, almost ghostly presence to Robert Johnson, playing with as much passion as any man to ever strum on a six-string. My favorite moments are when Johnson plays slide. The tinny sliding and squealing reverberation of the strings is unmatched. “Traveling Riverside Blues” is one of my favorite examples. Robert Johnson’s guitar was no more a guitar than an extension of his personal pain, and you can feel every note.

I can see how it’s easy for people to overlook Robert Johnson. His songs are simple, the recordings are old, there’s not a great deal of variety in the numbers. What those people fail to notice is how ahead of his time Johnson was. These were songs that stemmed from hardship and sadness, represented with soulful playing and howling vocals. Few artists of the era were that passionate. Few are that passionate today. Robert Johnson was the real deal. When he sang about crossing the country, drinking and looking for women, you know it was real. I think that’s lost in most modern blues. You can’t play the blues unless you are the blues.

Robert Johnson was the blues. Robert Johnson still is the blues. Hail to the King of the Delta.

Favorite Tracks: “Cross Road Blues,” “Kind Hearted Woman,” “Traveling Riverside Blues”

Freaky Fridays: Catwoman

Review by on August 5, 2016 with 1 Comment
Catwoman (2004)

In honor (or dishonor) of Suicide Squad, I decided to watch an earlier DC attempt at an anti-hero spinoff with 2004’s Catwoman. Directed by an up and coming filmmaker known only as “Pitof” and starring Halle Berry hot off an Oscar win, Catwoman is one of the weirdest superhero movies ever made.

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Give Me Puberty Or Give Me Death

Review by on August 3, 2016 with Comments Off on Give Me Puberty Or Give Me Death
Mitski – Puberty 2

Not to get too heavy or anything (he said as he got heavy…), but if there’s been one recurring theme I’ve found in 2016 music just on a personal level, it’s been having to face my own mortality as a music fan.  Firstly, because one of 2016’s most notable releases has been David Bowie’s Blackstar, which I’ve been finally catching up with after plopping down the money to buy it on slightly overpriced vinyl.  While 2016 also saw the self-proclaimed possible last album by Bowie’s buddy, Iggy Pop, in the form of Post Pop Depression.  Also, I suppose just in general I’ve had to deal with the fact that being a classic rock guy has forced me to reckon with the fact that most of my musical heroes are not only going to die within my lifetime, but probably within the next 10 years.

Then on the other end of the spectrum, I’ve been reminded that I’m not necessarily that young anymore by some of my favorite bands to emerge in 2016, like Car Seat Headrest or Frankie Cosmos, who are several years my junior.  Which brings me to Mitski Miyawaki, who is really only about a year-and-a-half younger than me, and yet I still can’t help but equate her with these younger artists, and how I’ve been learning to embrace the fact that I’m starting to be comfortable with my adoration for musicians who still aren’t old enough to rent a car.  I mean, Bowie recorded Hunky Dory when he was 24, and Iggy was 22 when The Stooges recorded their first album.  So it’s not like this shit is new.  As we all know, rock and roll is a young man (and woman)’s game.

Anyways, getting back to Mitski, if there’s an easy comparison to make, I’d say her guitar-based freak-outs coupled with her strong vocals and electronic flourishes bring St. Vincent to mind.  Much like Annie Clark, Mitski seems to have been brought up on ’90s alt-rock, but I think also has a kind of curiosity about more modern and unconventional sounds that leads to different sonic treasures that can be found on this album with each listen.  Though if I’m being honest, my favorite track on the album, the blisteringly catchy “A Loving Feeling”, happens to be pretty straight-forward while also having the distinction of being the shortest track on the album at 1 minute and 32 seconds.  In short, it’s the kind of song you can find yourself hitting play on over and over again.

I would say another big part of Mitski’s appeal would be in her ability to come off as an open wound, unafraid to let her most insecure feelings bleed all over her music.  On “My Body’s Made Of Crushed Little Stars”, she shouts “I wanna see the whole world!/I wanna see the world!/I don’t know how I’m gonna pay rent!/I wanna see the whole world!”, which are words I can’t help but gravitate towards, since I recognize that a big part of being a young adult is wanting to experience everything the world has to offer, while also having to grapple with the fact that the world doesn’t give a shit about your stupid indulgent experiences.  But, at least you can always write a song about it…

Favorite Tracks: “Your Best American Girl”, “I Bet On Losing Dogs”, “Loving Feeling”