October 2013

Crime Wave (8/10)

A noir crime film from 1954 that features a young Charles Bronson (credited as Charles Buchinsky) as the heavy in a group of three escaped cons. They leap through some gaping plot holes to enlist a former inmate buddy (who just wants settle down with his wife and make good) into their plot to pull off the ultimate bank robbery. Despite the logical flaws in the story, this was quite an entertaining film with a touch of realism at times and cartoonish characterization at other moments.

The Ultimate Yma Sumac Collection by Yma Sumac (9/10)

Format: CD

Yma Sumac had a voice that supposedly spanned five octaves. That alone would make for an interesting recording artist, but here we get her soaring voice backed with exotic space-age bachelor pad arrangements. It's a great disc to play while enjoying cocktails on a lazy tropical evening.

Halloween Movie Nights Part II

I managed to watch a couple more Halloween themed films this weekend. This included another Fulci film,  A Lizard in a Woman's Skin, which I rank as his best along side The Beyond. Unlike most of his other work, this one is tightly plotted and suspenseful. It features a bunch of deranged hippies, surreal dream sequences, a fantastic Morricone score and a compelling performance by David Horowitz of TV's Fight Back:

Crimefighting David Horowitz

Halloween Movie Nights

Each year around this time I always tell myself that I am going to watch a different horror movie every night in the lead-up to Halloween. I never seem to get around to it and end up cramming two or three films in at the last minute—usually Halloween evening while the rest of the family is out trick or treating. Well, this year I have managed to be a little more on top of things. Especially now since we have a DVD-ready laptop positioned in front of my treadmill. There's nothing like a bit of Fulci close-up gore to motivate the fat burning.

Sampler Exotica by Yma Sumac (8/10)

Format: CD

This one's a short little five song tease of some great big band exotica. If you haven't heard Yma, she is basically a human theremin.

Copper Blue by Sugar (8/10)

Format: CD

I've never really liked most of Bob Mould's solo efforts (and later-era Hüsker Dü for that matter). I thought Black Sheets of Rain was utter crap and had no intention of ever buying another Mould record but then Copper Blue came along and and he redeemed himself. The songs (at least the first two-thirds of them) are energetic and filled with hooks. As an added bonus, the drums don't sound like they were recorded in a drain pipe. 

Good Violence by Subsonics (8/10)

Format: CD

Judging from the cover, Subsonics not only borrowed much of their sound from The Velvet Underground they also adopted an appreciation of heroin. This CD is a continuation of Everything Is Falling Apart but with slightly richer sound production.

Strongbad's Cool Game for Attractive People on PC (6/10)

Strongbad's Cool Game for Attractive People

This game has been on my back burner for quite some time now. I play a little here and a little there, but it never really got its hooks in me. This was Telltale's first foray into episodic point-and-click adventure games and it shows. There is no over-arching story to tie the episodes together, solving the puzzles is mostly just a matter of clicking on everything in your inventory and they threw in a bunch of item collection nonsense to make up for the limited gameplay options.

Astral Astronauts by Spoozys (9/10)

Format: CD

Spoozys were one of the half dozen or so Japanese bands I saw perform at Japan Nite 2001. Spoozy were my favorite act the evening, followed by The Polysics and then maybe Lolita 18. Spoozys sound a lot like a halfway point between Man or Astroman? and The Polysics. New wave surfy guitar, mixed with synthesizers and looped drums. Oh, and spacesuits.

Amazing Grace by Spiritualized (6/10)

Format: CD

Apparently, the idea with this record was that Spiritualized would reign in the huge arrangements and get back to basics. Well that really didn't work. The first few songs on this disc are pretty bad. They are just poorly executed rock songs with unnecessary distortion on vocals and other annoyances. However, the songs "Lord Let it Rain on Me" and "The Ballad of Richie Lee" are good enough to keep from getting rid of this album.