Monday, January 31, 2011

HATRED SURGE / MAMMOTH GRINDER Split -Tour Dates

Two of Texas' most crushing Metal acts join forces on this split release on Cyclopean Records, laying waste to the drum-trigger-happy modern metal scene with seven tracks of the raw punk-fueled-fury of classic Death Metal and Grindcore. This sets the bar as the heaviest material to date for each band, featuring members of INSECT WARFARE and IRON AGE.

HATRED SURGE have recently joined forces with Rahi (aka Gargling Urine) of Insect Warfare. The four piece recorded for their split LP with Mammoth Grinder on Cyclopean as well as recording their tracks for the highly anticipated BRUTAL SUPREMACY compilation (Mind Eraser, Iron Lung, Scapegoat) on Painkiller records. Rahi's vocal attack takes Hatred Surge's whirlwind of grindcore, power violence and death metal to another level of aural and sonic extremes.

MAMMOTH GRINDER fresh off of the release of 2009's Extinction of Humanity (Relapse/Cyclopean) and 2010's Obsessed with Death 7" (Hell's Massacre/Painkiller), returns with two new tracks. Sharing members with Hatred Surge as well as serving as the backing band to Mind Eraser frontman Justin Detore's INNUMERABLE FORMS (Hell's Massacre), Mammoth Grinder, Hatred Surge, Innumerable Forms, and Sweden's Miasmal (Members of Martyrdöd) will team up to tour in support of the release including dates at 2011's MARYLAND DEATH FEST

Hatred Surge, Mammoth Grinder, Innumerable Forms, Miasmal Tour Schedule
for May:
May 17th Austin,TX
May 18th Denton,TX
May 19th St Louis,MO
May 20th Chicago,IL
May 21st Cleveland,OH
May 22nd TBA
May 23rd Boston,MA
May 24th Brooklyn,NY at the Acheron
May 25th Philadelphia,PA at the Barbary
May 26th Maryland Death Fest
May 27th Maryland Death Fest
May 28th Maryland Death Fest
May 29th Maryland Death Fest
May 30th Richmond,VA at Strange Matter
May 31st Atlanta,GA at Wonder Root
June 1st New Orleans,LA at Siberia
June 2nd Chaos in Tejas
June 3rd Chaos in Tejas
June 4th Chaos in Tejas

Saturday, January 29, 2011

SAXON LEE and the SHADOWS INTERNATIONAL - DAMN That Shit is GOOD!



I have been listening to the song "Mind Your Business" non stop for the past three days. And I still can't get enough.

Being an obsessive audiophile whose music listening habits average about 10 hours a day / 5 days a week of heavily distorted music, my eardrums often scream for a break from so much heaviness. When that happens I often times go back to one of those Afro Beat compilations issued by Soundway Records. The feeling I get from those are exactly the opposite of what I get from metal; relaxation, tranquility, peace, calm. And frankly, the desire that those beats would go on forever.

Like every good audiophile, I can't love only one style. Having grown up in Latin America my early years were molded by Latin music. Styles like salsa and cumbia were loathed in my youth. Now that I am older and wiser, I can listen to some of those oldies that blasted on South American radio non-stop and appreciate them for what they are. I believe I owe this music open-mindedness to my love for Afro Beat.

Like most. I came to Afro Beat by way of  Fela Kuti. This must have been in the late 90's. I was in college, deep into pot smoking, heavy drinking, couch-potatoing and foreign movies. The depth of Kuti's music, the layering of instrumentation, the extended jams and the free-flowing nature of his compositions converted me into a fanatic. It would be a good few years until Soundway Records would start issuing the Nigerian High Life comps, but my taste buds were by him forever changed.

What can I say about this beautiful song that can't be thought after its deep appreciation? That its funky guitars are sick. That the vocalist's raspy voice is also smooth? That's its intangible soul and funk influences are palpable? And much more...

According to the Soundway website

Saxon Lee & The Shadows International were born out of The Martins Brothers Dance Band, which was originally based in Port Harcourt. They started back in the 1960s and made afrobeat part of their repertoire, quite soon after Fela began his string of hits with Africa 70. Mind Your Business was first released as a shorter 45 version on Decca’s Afrodisia Records before being re-recorded on this LP from 1973. The singer Pax Nicholas later went on to record a solo LP (Na Teef Know de Road of Teef) for Tabansi records.

And that's all we need to know.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Illegal DOWNLOADERS of the World, BEWARE!!!

Illegal downloaders of the World Beware. Mmmmhh, on second thought nevermind.

In what's pretty much a move we were all kind of expecting, Google (AKA God) has made a change to its Instant Search feature in order to give us the idea that they really care about all this illegal downloading business.

Starting on January 27th, Google has blocked a list of  names for websites such as Megaupload, Rapidshare and BitTorrent from dynamically displaying results as we type our search queries. This move comes after Google announced in December that it had planned a handful of copyright protection initiatives.

Of course, what we all care about is whether this will affect our ability to search, find and download brand new albums like crazies? The answer is NO. All you have to do is keep on typing your query, something like 'download shitty Metallica album Megaupload' and the results will be the same.

As of now, Google can't, or just doesn't care enough, to find out which files are being downloaded illegally and hence, they can't prevent the results from showing up. So enjoy it, while you can, I am pretty sure that in the short run, more drastic measure will be taken.

Read full article here...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Record Shopping - Last Time Ever at VINYL FEVER

So anyway, as I said before, the day my friend informed me the record store was going closing down, I got mixed feelings, because on one hand I enjoyed shopping at that place and on the other I could take advantage of their clearance (40% off everything) with the $50 gift certificate I got for Christmas. 

That day, I sped off to the store after work.  As far as I was concerned, I was in a race against time.  The store was full. I had never seen it so packed, so I knew there was going to be competition. I skipped the CD's bin and went straight to the vinyl section. I had to start on the Z because the first letters were crammed with people perusing  the racks shoulder to shoulder. 

It did not take long for my first find, World Burns to Death's first full-length The Sucking of the Missile Cock, which features a pretty cute cover with George Bush in all sorts of sexy positions. I guess that's the reason why 500  copies of it were seized by Brazilian customs.  Since this was a used vinyl, the price was unbeatable, about $4.99.

I kept on searching. Going backwards from Z to A ain't that difficult. I have done it before. What complicated  my search was the competition. When I was around the letter T I saw a guy sprint from the door to the vinyl section. He was wearing a Brutal Truth T shirt, so I knew he was after the same type of stuff. Making matters worse, he had his girlfriend in tow and they took on separate positions. She went straight to the A.  I concentrated, hurried and soon, I scored. 

I had seen the Live album by Saint Vitus before, but due to its excessive price of $24.99 I did not buy it. I knew this album because I clearly remember reading a review of it in the Spanish version of Metal Hammer back in 1990. The cover has stayed with me ever since. Now, with the 40% discount I could get a hold of this double vinyl Southern Lord reissue for $14.99. I was happy. I was really fucking happy. But it would be a while until I found something else worth  my money.

As I kept on moving backwards, the dude with the Brutal Truth t shirt was trailing behind me. I was confident that his girlfriend would have no clue to what was good or not. But the later it got the more people came in the store. So much so, that I had to skip the L and the M and went straight to the K. A few minutes later, when I was near the end of the vinyl section I found the Contaminators record I almost bought at the store referenced here. 'It must be shitty', I thought because the original price was $2.99, now with the discount I would only have to pay $1.79.

My last vinyl find was by a band called Atavistic. I still haven't listened to that one and bought it because it was released by Profane Existence and that at least guarantees me certain degree of heaviness. With still a few bucks left on my gift card I hopped over the CD section and picked Relapse's compilation of Nirvana 2002's Recordings 89-91 and Thou's excellent Summit. Both were shrink wrapped.

When I went up to the counter to pay, the owner reminded me that all items were 40% off and asked me again if there was anything else I wanted. He did this because the total of my albums were about $0.05 short of the $50 gift card and I guess he did not want to give me any change. There was certain sadness in his eyes. Either that, or his eyes are naturally sad, like those of a St. Bernard. I felt sorry for him. And now that I think about it, I felt sorry for me too.

After I left the store I sat for a few minutes inside my car contemplating all my new records. I was happy. Then, I saw the guy with the Brutal Truth T shirt and his girlfriend leaving the store empty-handed. That made me happier. I had done a great job. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

GALE - Solo Quiero Fornicar (which means...)

House cleaning!

Going through a bunch of old e-mails, most of which I checked, took a mental note to post and then totally got distracted with life. But that's life these days. Obligations taking time away from the stuff that is really worth in life. Like weird shit like this.

I do not know much about Gale. I know that they are a band from Ecuador. And I know that some of their crust grind sounds downright bizarre. Drums dominating. Strings (probably just a bass or a guitar with no distortion) way in the back, barely making an appearance, and somewhat blackened vocals.

I also know that they are obsessed with sex. Or if they haven't had any, they are obsessed with porn. I know that because the name of this demo is Solo Quiero Fornicar, which translates to I Just Want to Fuck. Also, the songs here all open with the sounds of girls moaning and men pushing.

PLAKKAGIO HC - Italian Hardcore for FREE

Motherfuckers still making heavy use of their MySpace pages have to be careful. When I visited the page for Italian hardcore band Plakkaggio HC, some cheesy ass R&B started playing automatically. A smooth sexy voice went like, '1,2,3,4,5,6,7....' and then it got more explicit about sucking toes and shit.  For a few good seconds I thought these bambinos were being funny and that shit was just the ironic intro to their rage. I hit refresh and again.

At a third refresh a reggae song started. And not like the good kind of reggae, you know like Studio 1 production with its rustic sounds, odd kinda psyche effects and smoked out vocals, but that crap ass style with auto tune voices, keyboards imitating guitars and tiny little baby drums. Some pretty silly shit, let me tell you. Look for the player in the page and it is impossible to find. Not sure what is really going on with MySpace, but they really fucked it up this time around. 

Anyway, this morning I got an e-mail from Chris who is part of the Italian hardcore band Plakkaggio HC. He was looking for come coverage and was wondering if he could send me a link. It's funny when bands offer a link and then as an incentive mention that the link includes cover, lyrics, liner notes and shit. Like that makes a difference. He also mentioned that he could not send me a physical copy (which is a requirement to receive a review in Deaf Sparrow) because their latest album Fronte del Sacco, released in 2009, is already sold out. I asked him if we could post it for free and he agreed. He even sent me a link to their previous record Il Nemico, which dates from 2007, and is also sold out.

So here they are. Let me know if you like them. Italian hardcore. For free. No guilt. 


Download this other one here...

Friday, January 21, 2011

BATMAN 3 Villains Announced (And Boy Do They Ever Suck)

Guess it was bound to happen. Most people don't like Christian Bale's gruff, often difficult to understand Batman voice, but the newer films added a layer of darkness and realism more fitting to the overall world of the comic. With the greatest vision of the Joker, EVER, in The Dark Knight, fans have been eagerly anticipating the next, and supposedly final, installment (2012 at the moment). I heard previously rumors of the director selecting more obscure characters like Scarface, and I was personally hoping for either the Mad Hatter (hard to pull off) or Clayface, the latter being the obvious fucking duh choice for this movie. What do we get? Bane and Catwoman.


Now, Bane is an okay pick, I guess, but let's remember his function. In an effort to increase sales, DC introduced Doomsday, had him "kill" Superman, sold a million comics and pulled themselves out of the drowning pool. So, why not do that with Batman? So they threw in Bane and he broke Batman's back or some shit, I forget. Anyway, the character was basically Doomsday for Batman, was really ripped and got pissed off when he was injected with this chemical, bulking up like the Incredible Hulk. Okay, whatever. He's kind of cool looking, but really just looks like a Mexican wrestler when it comes down to it. With the darker atmosphere they'll probably pull it off pretty well, but it seems like a cop out to me. I can't remember the name of the actor who's playing him, but it won't really matter since the dude wears a mask anyway. They'll probably have a body double for him who actually has a body.


But Catwoman? How many times do we have to fucking see this damn character? She's been a static part of the DC universe since forever, but that doesn't mean we have to keep milking her teets. Give it up, Michelle Pfeiffer killed that role and totally blew it out of the water back in the 90s, there's nothing else to say. When Halle Berry tried it, we all know what happened to that character. She's not really dark, either, I mean, Michelle definitely made her that way, but there's no way you're going to get past her characterization. Not going to happen, and it's certainly not going to happen with Anne Fucking Hathaway.



Hi, Batman, hi Bane, hee hee hee, like where's Meryl Streep since she sort of helped me look like a serious actress? Oh, it's snowing! Really, THIS is who they've picked to be Catwoman? Why? Why in the hell did you do this? I mean, I guess she's attractive, but she definitely does not scream 'crazed lunatic freakonaut' like Michelle Pfeiffer in Batman Returns, especially since she's primarily known for doing fucking shitty romantic comedies. Blinking hell, her breakaway roll was fucking The Princess Diaries for cripes sake. I really don't get this one, hopefully the director gets his head on straight and pulls out Clayface or something because this shit is going to be horrible. At least I have The Thing prequel to look forward to.

Monday, January 17, 2011

My Teeth Hurt - Fuck COAST DENTAL

A few weeks ago I started getting this awful pain in the back of my mouth, pretty close to my jaw actually. I was pretty sure I had to get my wisdom teeth pulled as I have gotten to that age where everything starts going wrong and I knew most of teeth were in good condition because I go to the dentist about once a year. Now, I dread going to the dentist just like any other normal human being but after enduring the pain for a couple of weeks I gave up and hit the closest dentist pratice to my house. Unfortunately, the closest practice to my house was Coast Dental. Beware people of Florida and Georgia, these scumbags have locations in both states. 

Coast Dental is an absolute rip off. They treat people like cattle and these so-called dentists walk around their centers with nothing to do but look at x rays and joke around with their assistants.  On the day of my appointment I got off work and went in on a Tuesday morning. The chubby lady at the front desk was actually quite gracious. Anyway, they quickly took x rays of my teeth which hurt like a bitch because the assistant had no idea what she was doing and kept on shoving that plastic tube against my gums. She apologized like a hundred times but that didn't diminish the pain.  Then the dentist came in, looked at the x rays and told the assistant to set up another appointment with the doctor that does tooth extraction. He sat with me for a minute and told me that based on the x ray all there was to do was take out a wisdom tooth which was laying horizontally underneath the gum level. Then he walked out and started pacing around like he wanted to leave. His name is Dr Katz. Fuck him.

One thing that makes the treatment at Coast Dental annoying is that the doctors are shifted around their different offices on a daily basis, so it is literally impossible to have two doctors with different specialties look at you on the same day.

On my second visit to Coast Dental a few days later I was greeted by this beefy dude with hands like he had just mawn his lawn. I was glad he said I did not need have my wisdom teeth removed. The thought of having those fat and nasty fingers inside my mouth made me nauseous. Instead, he prescribed mouthwash. Yes, mouthwash. He then said I would need to schedule a third appointment with the first doctor to have a cavity fixed. Apparently the x ray was now showing work that needed to get fixed. I was pissed by then. Two appointments. No real work done.

On my third appointment, to my surprise I was given an oral cancer exam and more x rays. The assistant did not know what she was doing. When I asked her about the results for the oral cancer exam, her response was an assuring, 'the doctor did not say anything so I am assuming you do not have cancer'. I had already warned her that i was pissed and that I was not leaving until I had some real work done on my teeth. Then came Dr Katz again who once again looked at the x rays but now suggested to have a lot more work done besides the cavity. Enough for about five more appointments. Then, he got up, walked away and started pacing around like a kid who's waiting to be saved by the bell.

Then of course, another dentist was sent in. She was going to talk about deep cleaning and payment plans but before she said anything I told her that I did not care if my teeth looked like I was English that I just wanted to have the cavity fixed and to get the fuck out. She was taken aback and walked out quietly. For real, when you take your car to a mechanic and ask them to check the tires do they fucking look at the engine and produce a list of things you need to have checked out right away? If so, fuck mechanics too.

A minute later another dentist came in and he told me my options about the cavity; have the tooth extracted or have a root canal. I asked him when could this be done and he said, 'you have to set another appointment'. Unbelievable, Coast Dental needs to be investigated. Absolute rip offs.  Fuck them.

By the way I am neither of the three people in the image. Not the assistant with the enlarged cranium nor the Asian children. I just added this image because I thought it looked stupid and it was the first image to pop up after a search of 'at the dentist.'

BEING HUMAN: The Worst Show of 2011

What the? Can it be? Yes, it can, already the stupidity has begun. Already CEOs of various companies, especially in the entertainment industry, are ruining life for everyone. Myspace is about to tank. What's next? THIS.


Doesn't look familiar, sort of? Hopefully it won't. This is a "new" series coming out on Syfy called 'Being Human'. All you need to know is the premise. A vampire, werewolf, and ghost become roomates. Yep, that's the plot. It's a popular BBC show (that's where the picture above is from), but Syfy picked up the idea and is creating a "new" series based on it. I love Syfy for its horrible monster films with the greatest of worst acting, but this? Really, I mean, how much further can you go after the first episode? Hey man, did you run around like a wolf last night and eat a deer and then wake up cursing your existence? Yeah dood, what did you do? Bit some chick but tried to hold back at first, then my undead instincts took over and I went all Bram Stoker's Dracula on her ass. How about you ghost girl? I floated around and shit and no one could see me and it was hilarious because I did funny things they couldn't see. Kewl. Next episode. What did you do today vampire man? Looked creepily at some girl, she wanted me, and then we did it and shit and I think I bit her or something, you? I howled or something and then ate some cheese. I wish I could eat cheese. Sorry, ghost girl, dun dun dun music as she makes a 'sorry guys' shrug to the camera and it fades out. Next episode...

On a side note, best worst quote from a movie for 2010? Let's here it for...TAKERS. "We're takers man, that's what we do, we take." Wow, good one there. What do you take, takeables from takees? So here's to 2011 and a whole year of pop culture drivel! More please!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

BURZUM's Fallen to Be Released in the US On April 5th

BURZUM's Fallen To Be Released In North America On April 5 Fallen, the eighth album from BURZUM, will be released in North America on April 5. The album is the second to be released via Varg Vikerne's imprint Byelobog Productions (via Candlelight for the territory). Fallen features seven new compositions by the controversial Norwegian musician, each adding another storied journey to the celebrated BURZUM legacy.

Vikernes says of the new album, Musically, Fallen is a cross between Belus and something new, inspired more by the debut album and Det Som Engang Var than by Hvis Lyset Tar Oss or Filosofem. The sound is more dynamic. We mastered the album as if it was classical music and I was more experimental than I was on Belus in all respects. Lyrically it is similar to the debut album, in the way that it is more personal and focuses on existential issues. But the mythological undertone known from Belus is still there. I have also included some ambient tracks, a short introduction and a longer conclusion.

Fallen features artwork from renowned French painter William Adolphe Bouguereau. It is a striking contrast to art Vikernes has used for his  albums in the past. He comments, “the cover is part of a painting called Elegy. I used it in this context because the album deals with the concept of falling, not least in a metaphysical sense. By definition, an elegy means a mournful, melancholy, or plaintive poem. It is a funeral song or a lament  for the dead. It is a poem written in elegiac meter or a sad or mournful musical composition.


Many credit BURZUM with influencing much of modern-day black metal. While his music has traveled roads often far removed from what many consider black metal to be (with parts ambient, electronic, and more), his compositions have immediately been taken to heart by countless legions of fans the world over. It is a 'no fear' mentality that has made Varg Vikernes  both an idol and a bastard.

Said Metal Army of 2010's Belus, Whatever you might think of Varg Vikernes, it's impossible to deny the depressive brilliance of Belus, which recalls his classic albums Filosofem and Hvis Lyset Tar Oss yet shows a marked increase of maturity. Fallen is the second album from the controversial recording artist since his release from the chains that bound him for nearly two decades. It is the first album from the musician to benefit from a proper North American release.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Grind From BRASIL - EXPURGO

Hello!

Nice to meet you, my name is Phil, I'm a reader of the great Deaf Sparrow blogzine. Great review of Crushing The Grindcore Trademark. I'm friend from Marcelo of Hutt!

I would like to know if it's possible to put the news on your blog that the brazilian grindcore band EXPURGO (wich I play guitar) has released a new record called Burial Ground!

It's almost 15 years on this crazy South American underground, we're well known here and want to spread more abroad.

check out on www.myspace.com/expurgo

thanx a lot for your attention and all your incredible support on grind!!

hope to hear from you soon

Just thought I'd post this since the guy asked really nicely and like we come from the same continent and like, I like grind and like, I like zombies and like he referenced a review I wrote like three years ago...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

COBY Sucks - Fuck COBY

A few weeks ago I spent too much time searching for a walkman. I went to Walmart and couldn't fine one. The old white haired lady I approached looked clueless. When I asked for the artifact she asked me to follow her and we ended up at the produce section. I went to Best Buy and they laughed at me. Literally, these two  bitches just looked at each other and then at me and then bursted out laughing. They made me feel old. Which I am not. And I went to Hhgregg, this new electronics store that is replacing Circuit City, and they didn't even know what i was talking about. 'A walk what?', asked me a young twenty-something who seemed to be wearing his grandfather's spectacles. 

I searched online but most new walkmans were quite expensive. In Amazon you can find lots of good ones but I hate waiting around for stuff so typically, if I can't get it right there and then I forget about it. So one day, after hitting the supermarket I went next door to Radio Shack, where shit is overpriced but you can occasionally find stuff no one but geeks care to buy and they had it. A walkman. Or cassette player, as the clerk referred to it. Coby was the only brand they sold so I had no choice but to shell out $25. There were a few tapes waiting to be reviewed so past the fleeting feeling I'd been had, I got excited. 

First disappointment? The headphones absolutely suck. Nothing, absolutely nothing sounds good with this piece of shit headphones. But that was no big deal. Just plug in the good ones and matter solved. I figured, I am paying for the machine not for this tiny little and super cute speakers.  In the weeks that followed, I only used the walkman four times. It has been sitting around in my desk. Idle, but new. Reminding me that I still have a few tapes to review and that Dove tape released by Financial Ruin to enjoy.

Last Sunday I picked it up. I was laying around getting ready to go to bed when I decided to finally check out the Dove tape. I put it on and rested my head on the pillow. Nothing. Silence followed. Got up. Reasoned it might be the batteries which probably needed to be changed. I did. Like three times. I took the batteries from every single remote control in the house and nothing worked. I knew the last pair of batteries was good so I took the tape out and pushed Play. Every time I did that the spindle would actually Fast Forward. I was pissed. The piece of shit. The piece of fucking shit Coby walkman. Now I got six tapes to review and I can't do anything about it but wait until Friday, date when the Sony walkman I bought from Amazon is supposed to arrive. It cost me $45. Shit.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

So I Cancelled My Subscription to DECIBEL Magazine


So this afternoon, after not so careful deliberation I decided to cancel my subscription to Decibel Magazine. It's a shame because I still enjoy the magazine and have been a faithful reader ever since I first picked up a copy at a Barnes & Noble back in May 2005 (Mastodon cover) but the magazine's delivery for the past couple of months has just been retarded.

Last month I received the GWAR issue about three weeks late. After noticing the mag in the newsstands I sent an e-mail to the customer service department and was told to wait. When I sent another e-mail about a week later and probably just a few days before the next issue was scheduled to hit stands, I was finally sent out the issue. I was told that I was not the only one experiencing problems and that since subscriber copies now include Flexi Discs, those copies take longer to process at their plant.

One should learn from experience, but they didn't. I was at Barnes & Noble on Sunday, and there it was; Electric Wizard, one of my favorite bands on the cover and I couldn't read it. Or, I could have read it, right there and then, but then what is the fucking point of having a subscription? So as soon as I got home I sent another e-mail to the magazine and two days later I was told to wait until Friday. That's three more days. I was informed that most subscriber copies had made it by the previous Wednesday. Take note here; the American postal service ain't bad at all. If mail takes two more days than it is supposed to, then chances are the packages are just never going to make it. Then, why should I have to wait an extra week?

Needless to say, the February issue / No 76 did not make it today (Friday). Irritated, I sent another e-mail and asked to cancel my subscription.

I still like Decibel magazine. So much so, that after cancelling my subscription I headed to Barnes & Noble to pick a copy of the Electric Wizard issue. The thought of waiting three more days to read it was a tad too much.  But other issues are not as appealing. It's a matter of taste, I am sure.

Decibel is a highly entertaining and informative magazine and a far superior read than anything that is out there right now. Not like they have much competition, what with Revolver's utter shittiness, Zero Tolerance's minuscule font, horrible format and god awful distribution and Terrorizer's exorbitant prices and hideous layout, but right before I renewed my subscription two months ago, I had to think hard whether I wanted to go one more year. I was unsure for a few reasons; namely, the extensive and tiresome coverage of a few high profile bands that get extensive and tiresome coverage elsewhere and a few annoying monthly columns that are a total waste of space (and I ain't talking about Kevin Sharp's or Richard Christy's columns) .  So the advantage of not having a subscription is that I will now be able to afford the luxury of choosing which issues I actually want to own.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Couldn't Sleep Last Night - THE BOTHERSOME MAN

Couldn’t sleep last night either.  I think it was the food. The copious amounts of food I consumed during the holidays which left me handicapped for two days. I felt bloated. Rounded. Like an inflated balloon that is about to burst. For a few second I even thought I could feel the stretch marks forming. The pain of my stomach skin expanding. That entrapment feeling of your insides getting squished by rice packed organs. I rolled on my bed for a few minutes and at around midnight, after 30 minutes of trying to sleep I did what I do best it’s late at night; I watched a movie.
I popped this one in at around midnight. It was called The Bothersome Man and I vaguely remembered parts of it. I got a physical copy from Netflix a few months back and I could clearly recall the first few minutes of it; Expressionless Norwegian man is standing by the tracks of the subway. At a distance, a couple is sucking face with their eyes open. They are staring at nothing and kiss with the passion of robots. The smacking sounds of their lips and dry tongues seem to bother our lead role, who is probably thinking about love. His name is Andreas and his eyes reveal nothing besides that he is empty. As the subway approaches he jumps into the tracks. This much I had seen before.
Comes the intro and Andreas is dropped in the middle of nowhere. Looks like a desert.  Very un-European landscape. Someone unceremoniously has placed a banner reading WELCOME outside an empty run down gas station. An old man in a small car comes and picks him up. Andreas just goes along with his blank stare into nothing. They drive through what looks like a vineyard. Eventually they drive into the city. It could be so many European cities. There for hundreds of years and heavily contrasting the classic edifices with the cold metallic angles of new buildings.   Andreas is dropped in an apartment complex and is told that he has a job to go to the next day.
His new place has all the amenities one needs but is sterile as fuck. The next morning Andreas heads to work. He is shown a small office with a big window. There is a computer. We know he is an accountant but he is given no instructions. He is assured he will have everything he needs there.  I doubt it is the Norwegian physique but in this company everyone is fatless. Employees walk around with little to say. If the movie has been as minimal as its images thus far, then the plot turns bizarre and existential.
Outside his place of work, directly under his office window a man has jumped to his death. Impaled in several spots across the body his entrails have spilled onto the pavement. Passers by do not flinch. A couple of men in gray jumpsuits come and clean up the mess.   
If there is something to notice here is that Andreas is not a man in control. Situations keep on happening to him and he is totally passive.  While cutting papers at work he purposely sticks his finger under the blade. Maybe he wants to feel something. When his finger falls to the floor and the bleeding starts he freaks and collapses.  His coworkers look at him bewildered but they are so unmoved by the blood they may not be aware of it. A little later Andreas notices that in fact, he’s got all ten fingers.
At night he goes to a bar and after several drinks, preoccupied with his sobriety he questions a man lying on the floor of the bathroom. ‘Why am I not drunk?’ Someone else answers from a toilet. He has found someone with whom he shares the same questions. Andreas follows the man home. The man lives in a basement with one of those small windows adjacent to the sidewalk.
Things start to look up a little when he asks a woman out. She is beautiful if only expressionless and cold.  They go to dinner, they fuck, they move in together and decorate their home in such a minimalist fashion there is barely any furniture. They make plans and have dinners with friends but is all so calculated. When his train of thought varies slightly from the mundane she puts him into his place and basically tells him to shut the fuck up.
Andreas is clearly bored. He asks a blonde coworker out. They go to the movies. He cries, maybe moved by the emotions of the film and by the lack of emotion in his life.  Then, Andreas  tells the girl he did not like the film. They go for ice cream. Hard not to chuckle at the size of the cone. So small it would look like a joke to most Americans. They kiss. Hard. For a second there we can see lust in their bodies.  It’s almost as if Andreas is finally finding something his life needs.
When Andreas talks to his wife about breaking up because he has fallen for another woman, she barely responds him. Instead, she reminds him of a get together they have planned for the weekend. Things turn for the worse when Andreas informs his blonde coworker that he is leaving his wife because he wants to be with her.  She is OK with it if he is OK with it, in essence, whatever he wants is ok, but his move has triggered no real emotions. Then, she asks him if she has to stop sleeping with the other three men she has been screwing. Her reactions frustrate Andreas to no end, who dissapointed heads to the subway station and commits suicide. Like three times. His body gets slammed by trains and dragged for long distances. Mangled but unbroken, he gets up and is quickly rescued by the men in gray who rescued the man who had jumped to his death.

This is just about half of the film. It keeps on getting wonderfully weird with our lead man Andreas searching for feeling in a place where everyone is cold, content and void of any real emotions. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The 5 Most Annoying Spokesmen of 2010

Yaaaay, let's ring in the New Year! Since it's a blank slate, various companies have more chances to annoy the piss out of us with poorly thought-out commercials! Hooraaay! Even more exciting is that 2011 will certainly bring with it more annoying spokesmen for us to hate and in response purposely not buy products/services. So, as we look forward to a new army of irritation, let's celebrate the most annoying spokesmen of 2010!

5. The Capital One Vikings


I suppose they could also be Gauls, or maybe even Goths (no, the real ones), but it doesn't really matter. Capital One started this ad campaign perhaps earlier than 2010, maybe 2009, but they've become a staple of advertising for the past year. Really, these guys aren't as annoying as the rest here. The commercials can be moderately humurous at times, though recently have been plagued by a slow step towards the "plain folks" tactic. I'll reference this a lot, so let me explain, it's an advertising trick where you use actors to act like "real people" so you feel a connection to them. That's not what's annoying about these guys. What's annoying is this. See, when the Capital One Vikings first came into being, they were a representation of hidden fees and interest piling up by, of course, your credit card company. By choosing Capital One, you could avoid the army of evil, and the Vikings were the symbol. However, that was then, now they don't symbolize anything. Instead of running into your house to destroy you, stopping when they realize you have Capital One, they now spend time at parties, asking Santa for new swords, and visiting famous landmarks. What in the fuck does this have to do with anything? At first they made sense, now they just take up space in an attempt to sell an idea with "humor". Lose em.

4. The State Farm Asswipe


Honestly, I don't know how else to refer to this guy. I'm not even sure he has a special name, he probably does, but if not this is what it is. It's really difficult to explain why people don't like him (check Youtube). He actually does talk about what the company has to offer (or at least superficially), and it plays again on the old "plain folks" tactic, but there's just something about him. Maybe it's that cheeky smile, his borderline dated/poorly chosen clothing, or that one, fuck, that one piece of hair that daintily touches upon his forehead. Maybe it's the incredibly irritating hyuck downhome insurance agency whistling tune in the background, it's not really easy to explain. This guy is just a prick. He's at baseball games, he starts the same sentences you do and then laughs because it's so amazing you were thinking the same thing, and he buys coffee so you know he's hip while other people stare and wonder why the camera is there so it feels all so real. But he's not real. If he was, he wouldn't be alive anymore in most cities. If I was choosing insurance, I would purposely avoid State Farm because of this guy. Allstate has a good thing going with that villain character, Mayhem, but State Farm, lose this one, he annoys pretty much your whole customer base.

3. The Etrade Babies

Does this one even need an explanation? Where is it fucking written that talking babies are funny? Where is it written it's cute and anyone but the most naïve of losers thinks so? Ever wonder why the Look Who's Talking sequels bombed? Ever wonder why no one even remembers that reference? It's because babies aren't funny when they talk. They can't talk, and the voices they put over them so they look like they're talking are typically aggravating. They aren't cute, they're not interesting. And when you try to make them look like businessmen that are privy to the workings of Wall Street while still falling to the "plain folks" tactic by using baby problems like puking, shitting ones pants, and so forth, you're reaching the public's limit. Maybe it's just me, but babies don't make good spokesmen, they never have, they're just annoying. Anyone who has a baby cringes at the thought, because they know aside from what commercials with Christmas songs tell you, they're really just a cesspool of feces, vomit, piss, and tears. If you think they're cute, go take a whiff of one. Now try to sell a product on that.

2. Flo


You know who this is. You probably knew as soon as you read the name, and if not you know by the picture. God I hate this woman. Like the State Farm Asswipe, Flo does in fact, for the most part, tell you about what she's peddling. However, she does it using the "plain folks" method, while throwing in the 'Ugly Betty' factor for kicks. She's not really ugly, just average, just, you know, a girl from your hometown that hung out with the guys, drank beer, was probably used while drunk and liked it, and then had this really strong glandular thing going on. And she's as pale as a Victorian. Does this girl have the lowest Vitamin D count on the planet? Does she have to wear the brightest of red lipstick? Why do her eyes bug out so damn much? Plus, she has the whole hipster girl thing going on, and we all hate that. Another thing that's annoying and makes her moreso in the process is that the usage of common culture for "humor" is often skewed. A newer commercial, for example, shows an old man who asks her if he "gets all the dang nabbit coverage" he needs. Ummm, I get it, "old man talk", but anyone who knows that phrase knows the context here makes no sense. It's like he's saying "do I get all the damn coverage I need?" That doesn't work because the object of the damning, in this case insurance coverage, is a good thing. Other commercials have this 'Seinfeld' style humor to them except they won't make you laugh. Let's just top it off by reminding ourselves how much she brings to mind menstruation. That quickly sums up her and these commercials.

1. Amy, the Cinnamon Toast Crunch Bitch

video

There is so much wrong with this idea. Everyone hates her. Did you think it was impossible to make such an awesome cereal annoying? THINK AGAIN because in 2010 it was accomplished. Wasn't it enough to sell this cereal on concept alone? The old spokesmen were just a piece of toast, some sugar, and some cinnamon, that's all you needed. Eventually they had these chefs, and that's fine, but this girl is probably the most annoying spokesman of the century. Can't get worse than this. You'll see the same problem as you found above, this tendency in modern commercials to go with the "plain folks" routine, but for this one they throw a ton of different "girl" types into one being that everyone can't stand on so many different levels. Ugly Betty-style humor? Check. Nerd references? Check. Youtube chicks that post stupid videos reference? Check. Blogging reference? Check. Regular girl who hasn't gotten herself devirginized and talks a lot to compensate? Check. If you haven't seen this yet, I dare you to sit through the above video without committing a federal offense. As she urges her 'cinnamon sisterhood' to 'show some respect' for a cereal that's awesome on it's own, it kind of makes you think twice about buying it. Why do we need shit like this now? You don't even need to advertise this frikken cereal, it's too iconic. Why do you think they don't advertise for Golden Crisp anymore? DON'T NEED TO. Get rid of this girl for the love of god.