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OSR: Jupiter Ascending February 8, 2015

Posted by Howard in movies.
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One Sentence Review: Jupiter Ascending

While the film had many flaws, the visuals were amazing and worth a ticket price.

Rating: Matinee (7/10)

Rating System: Needs IMAX 3D Glasses (10), Full-Price Ticket (9-8), Matinee (7-6), Wait For Digital (5-4), Late-Night Cable Fodder (3-2), I’ve Made Better Films With My Ass Camera (1)

OSR: SpongeBob SquarePants: Sponge Out of Water February 8, 2015

Posted by Howard in movies.
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One Sentence Review: SpongeBob SquarePants: Sponge Out of Water/a>

Not as weird or funny as the first movie, but still had a few LOL moments.

Rating: Matinee (6/10)

Rating System: Needs IMAX 3D Glasses (10), Full-Price Ticket (9-8), Matinee (7-6), Wait For Digital (5-4), Late-Night Cable Fodder (3-2), I’ve Made Better Films With My Ass Camera (1)

A Gift to You: 2014 Favorites Tracks Mix December 24, 2014

Posted by Howard in music mixology.
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Sad TreeHere’s an easy way to listen to the tracks compromising the favorite music of 2014 lists. The first part is the album countdown and then you get some bonus tracks. Have a wonder and safe holiday season!

Separated into individual tracks (AAC format): right-click here to download.

-or-

Listen to it right now as one continuous track

Read the Top 10 Favorite Albums
Read the Top 10 Favorite Songs

Favorite Albums of 2014 December 23, 2014

Posted by Howard in music reviews.
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10. Lily Allen – Sheezus

Back from hiatus with two kids, Lily tried to have both the biting satire and the fame of a pop diva. Unfortunately, it backfired somewhat, but there is still plenty of the sassy Lily on this collection.

Favorite songs: “L8 CMMR,” “Insincerely Yours,” “Hard Out Here”

9. Stars – No One Is Lost

One of these days Stars will get a little respect for their brand of honest pop. All their usual subjects are here: death, love (unrequited and lost), and… partying? “Put your hands up coz everybody dies!” No One Is Lost was recorded above a gay bar so some of the beat seeped in. In the end, Stars are trying to prove one thing: no one is lost because we’re all lost.

Favorite songs: “From the Night,” “No Better Place,” “No One Is Lost”

8. Jack White – Lazaretto

Jack White has been experimenting with the blues his entire career, but never as gritty as this. Everything on Lazaretto seems be filtered through a fuzz pedal which creates a harder-hitting song. This just happens to be the best selling vinyl as well due to the fun things all over it including starting Side 1 playing from the inner groove out.

Favorite songs: “Lazaretto,” “Temporary Ground,” “Alone in My House”

7. “Weird Al” Yankovic – Mandatory Fun

Those who know me are aware that I’ve been a exuberant Al fan since 1983 when I first saw “Ricky” on HBO’s “Video Jukebox,” so imagine how amazing it is that this is his first #1 album. Even he was surprised. Yes, there is a polka medley, but there is also his most biting social satire in the Pixies-homage of “First World Problems.” He’s still got it.

Favorite songs: “Handy,” “Word Crimes,” “First World Problems”

6. Blondie – Ghosts of Download

Relevant? Not so much. Still fun after all these years? Hell, yes. Here’s your typical Blondie album: a collection of songs in styles that appease the mood of the band at the time. All the usual stuff is here: reggae, pop, new wave, rock; and — always wanting the try the latest thing — they even dabble in EDM. The collection comes with a second disc of surprisingly good re-recorded classics.

Favorite songs: “Rave,” “I Want To Drag You Around,” “Take Me In the Night”

5. Chromeo – White Women

Can’t believe it took me four albums before I gave them a chance and I have to thank a commercial using “Come Alive” of all things. This is a fantastic party album with a sprinkling of silly on every ear worm. The catchy singles are at the front of the album, but make sure you give the second half a listen. I’ve heard they are also tons of fun live.

Favorite songs: “Come Alive,” “Play the Fool,” “Old 45’s”

4. The Both – The Both

No Web Pen album list would be complete without an Aimee Mann album and here it is. She and Ted Leo have formed a nearly perfect balance of their strengths. Aimee brings out the melodic in Ted’s chaotic post-punk and Ted makes Aimee rock for the first time in several albums. The fun part is being able to hear who was the main song writer. It’s great power pop with several stand-out cuts like “Volunteers of America.”

Favorite songs: “Milwaukee,” “Volunteers of America,” “You Can’t Help Me Now”

3. Broken Bells – After the Disco

This was a surprise. Their first album got press, but it never stuck with me. After the Disco is different. It’s more sincere in a way. From the tinkling of the open keyboards to the synth blues of “The Remains of Rock & Roll,” the combination of Danger Mouse and The Shins doesn’t quit. It’s not a party album as the title may imply, but an after-party chill out mix of rock, pop, and, of course, a little disco.

Favorite songs: “Perfect World,” “After the Disco,” “Live It Alone,” “Control,”

2. St. Vincent – St. Vincent

Annie Clark nailed it. Her brand of odd-ball, spacey rock hasn’t been this accessible before. Her album Actor suggested it, but her next (Strange Mercy) was just too dark for the masses even if it had some of her most personal songs. Yes, it’s still weird, but she did get to work with her idol David Byrne recently and that seems to have rubbed off. These are twisted pop songs. Still not for everyone, but amazing nonetheless.

Favorite songs: “Birth In Reverse,” “Digital Witness,” “I Prefer Your Love,” Severed Crossed Fingers”

1. The New Pornographers – Brill Bruisers

Absolutely glorious and brilliantly celebratory, The New Pornographers finally made a album which is a worthy follow-up to Twin Cinemas. Blame life. Their last two albums were dour due to several members having a rough go over the past six years. Carl Newman reveals himself to be a true leader of a band who does the music thing together as a side project. Neko Case and Dan Bejar (Destroyer) have their own successful careers, but here everyone sounds joyous. It helps that Newman has created the band’s hardest rockin’ collection of off-the-wall pop all held up by some of the oddest, out-there lyrics put on an album. Wonderfully infectious.

Favorite songs: “Brill Bruisers,” “War on the East Coast,” “Marching Orders,” “Wide Eyes,” “Dancehall Domine”

Favorite Songs of 2014 December 22, 2014

Posted by Howard in music reviews.
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10. “Word Crimes” – “Weird Al” Yankovic

Hilarious take on the shorthand our new world technology has brought. This song put “Weird Al” in the same category as Prince and Madonna. He’s the third artist to have a Top 40 hit in the past four decades. He also made a crappy song worth putting in your ears.

9. “Loop De Li” – Bryan Ferry

Classic Ferry. Get this if you’re a fan of “Slave to Love,” “Kiss and Tell,” and “Don’t Stop the Dance” since it’s right up there with those great tracks. Only get the album if you’re a fan of Ferry himself.

8. “Carl Poppa (feat. Carl G.)” – Bad Lip Reading

Walking Dead is huge so I’m surprised more haven’t heard this. Yeah, some of the lyrics don’t make sense unless you’re aware of the context, but turns out it’s a great song regardless. Catchy and hilarious. Still swear that’s mc chris performing.

7. “From the Night” – Stars

Beautiful, honest and booty bumpin’. Stars have taken their morose lyrics and put them in an underground dance club. It works. This song feels like a lonely night of dancing your blues away which is literally the song’s subject.

6. “Old 45’s” – Chromeo

Of all the silly songs on Chromeo’s latest, this one nails nostalgia in what I feel is the catchiest chorus of the year. Melancholy, but hopeful.

5. “Hard Out Here” – Lily Allen

I feel in love with this song the first listen. Such great satire regardless of what the distractors say about her dancers in the video.

4. “Do It Again” – Röyksopp & Robyn

The perfect dance-pop single. It includes everything you’d expect from these two artists: hard beats, sexual tension, electronics that fit within the song and a sing-along melody. It’s sad that Röyksopp are breaking up.

3. “Girls Chase Boys” – Ingrid Michaelson

A close second to catchiest chorus. Such a lovely song that manages to be fit 80’s pop into the current decade and the wonderful Robert Palmer homage video is just icing.

2. “Runaway” – sElf

Oh, how I’ve missed Matt Mahaffey. His music always makes me happy and this fun track is no exception. Full of goofy electronic loops and another killer chorus, this should have been noticed. Check out his 2011 single “Could You Love Me Now” for more sugar pop.

1. “Dancehall Domine” – The New Pornographers

“Some would have to brave the line/But they’re letting you right in” No idea why I love this line so much, but it’s a good example of the weirdness of the new New Pornographers songs. This one of the most rock ones the band has every done. Mix that with more obtuse albeit creative lyrics and you have a song that burrows its way into your brain and refuses to leave.

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