April 2012

No, They Can't: Why Government Fails-But Individuals Succeed by John Stossel (9/10)

John Stossel is awesome. I've been a fan ever since I was in the seventh grade and watched him debunk pro wrestling and, in the process, take a couple slaps in the face from David Schutlz."You think it's fake?" Boom. A childhood fantasy destroyed. Sometime between that fateful smack and today Stossel shifted from consumer reporter to free market advocate. He's a rare commodity in the media who unapologetically wears his biases on his sleeve. No, The Can't lays out the libertarian position on a slew contemporary political issues.

I Vampiri (7/10)

The English title of this one is Lust of the Vampire. Thankfully, these are just titles and there are no vampires in this 1956 Mario Bava co-directed film. It's not completely devoid of fantasy, but for the most part this feels more like a proto-giallo that only hints at Bava's visual style. There is one amazing transformation effect that is achieved with a combination of lighting and subtle makeup that almost matches the believability of modern CGI.

Sourcery by Terry Pratchett (7/10)

I enjoyed the first half of the book in which the Discworld is introduced to the first all-powerful sorcerer they have seen in thousands of years. However, maybe I have been reading too many of these novels back-to-back, because the last half of the book began to drag on for me and I found myself not really caring what would happen next. Time for a break from Discworld (at least for a little while).

Sandoz in Dub: Chapter Two / Extra Time (Under the Stones) by Sandoz (9/10)

Format: 
MP3

It looks like these days Richard H. Kirk is only releasing his music via iTunes. Personally, I prefer the way Amazon handles digital downloads, but I held my nose and bought this anyway. This is another collection of electronia meets dub reggae. The songs feel a tad bit more electronical and less authentic dub than they did on Chant to Jah which, surprisingly, I think I don't like as much. But that is just nitpicking. Overall, another great record.

Soul Pilgrim by Satan's Pilgrims (8/10)

Format: 
CD

Satan's Pilgrims are one of the better surf bands to have emerged during the 90s surf revival. Despite the album title and the soulful organ on the opening track, this is more of the same Astronauts-like surf sound that one has come to expect from Satan's Pilgrims. The CD ends with the excellent "Haunted House of Rock '95"—featuring a great, slow-pulsing vibrato drenched rhythm guitar—and the peppy vocal number, "Let's Go to the Beach."

Why Are You Here?

Please let me know how you reached this page in the comments below. I keep getting page not found errors at this URL. Thanks. Here's a photo to look at:

Kill List (8/10)

Kill List starts off as a relationship drama then soon morphs into a British gangster film following the antics of two hitmen as they cross names off of their "kill list." It's gritty, violent and well-acted. If that were all that there was to this film that would be plenty. However, there is more to the story which it's best if I didn't spoil it here. Let's just say that this is an anti-hero version of this classic film (click/hover the link at your own major spoiler risk).

Sandoz in Dub: Chant to Jah by Sandoz (10/10)

Format: 
CD

I am not sure why Richard H. Kirk released this as Sandoz because it doesn't really sound anything like previous Sandoz records, and, as I said in an earlier review, the man can't settle a band name to save his life. As the title suggests, this is Kirk's electronic take on dub reggae. The end result is fantastic. There are throbbing bass lines, disembodied rasta voices, reggae samples and lots of digital bleeps and bloops. I have found that this a great record to play in the car during a slow drive at night in the big city.

Digital Lifeforms by Sandoz (9/10)

Format: 
CD

Since the demise of Cabaret Voltaire, Richard H. Kirk has had about a zillion solo projects all with different names. It's a bit of a discographer's nightmare. I'm all for the one band line-up, one name approach that Wire used (when the drummer left the band, they renamed themselves Wir). But, seriously Richard, just because you used an arpeggiator doesn't mean you need to call yourself Arpeggio 13 or whatever.

Mort by Terry Pratchett (8/10)

So, I'm now four books into the Discworld series and I think I will keep going with it (only 33 more to go). Mort is another underdog-type story that I always enjoy and, on top of that, it has an imaginative take on how it must be like to be the grim reaper.

Pharaohization! The Best of Sam the Sham & the Pharoahs by Sam the Sham & the Pharoahs (10/10)

Format: 
CD

Rhino knows how to put together a great compilation and this 24-track "Best of" Sam the Sham & The Pharaohs is no exception. I already had this 70s "Best Of" record. I think all of those songs are represented here and there's about dozen or so more without a stinker in the bunch (well "Big Blue Diamonds" is not that good, but I'll give it a pass). There is also the added bonus of a nice thick booklet filled with detailed history and a few photos.

The House of Clocks (4/10)

Aside from the laugh-out-loud "twist" finale involving a cat, a bag and a car driving down a winding road, this was, overall, a pretty crappy Fulci film. There wasn't even that much signature close-up gore to keep things interesting. The story felt like it would have been better served if it were simply a 22 minute Twilight Zone style tele-play rather than a full-length feature.