While You Wait: Game of Thrones

Hello there, and welcome to a new thing. Not sure it it’ll be a recurring series, but if this gets a good response, then it might. Any way, hello everyone. With the final season of HBO megahit “Game of Thrones” arriving in less than two weeks, fan are eagerly anticipating it. But until then, some might be asking themselves what they could watch to tide them over until then. Well, I’m here to perhaps help with that in some regard, by giving you some personal recommendations for things that could maybe fill that void in some respect. And if you don’t give a shit about “Game of Thrones”, then you’ll at least have a few recommendations for things to experience. So let’s go.

This is While You Wait: Game of Thrones edition.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy (New Line Cinema, 2001 – 2003)

This entry should come as no surprise in the slightest. Big, epic fantasy with a grandiose story, a stellar cast, and tons of detail in props and filmmaking. Look, I am aware that this and “Game of Thrones” are very different in tone… style… language… amount of tits, but still, can’t talk about relevant recommendations for a major fantasy thing without mentioning another one.

Westworld (HBO Entertainment, Warner Bros. Television, 2016 – now)

While we’re talking about one major HBO series, we might as well talk about another one. “Westworld”, based on the 1973 film by Michael Crichton, is a series created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, and follows a theme park that is built up like a giant wild west world (Hence, “Westworld”). But as expected, things may or may not go awry (wouldn’t be a show otherwise). Let’s see, big sweeping story (check), A-list cast (check), Ramin Djawadi making music (check), budget higher than what any of us make in a year (check), violence (check), naked people (super check)… yeah, this has a shitload in common with “GoT”, so that’s why I recommend it.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda Softworks, 2011)

That’s right, there be video games on this list too. Released in 2011, “Skyrim” was the fifth mainline game in the “Elder Scrolls” series. In times of great political turmoil, you play as a character that almost gets executed, but gets “saved” by a giant dragon attacking the city that you’re in. And it doesn’t take long for you to find out that you’re Dragonborn, a mighty warrior destined to slay dragons and steal their souls. Political tensions, various factions doing their own shit within the kingdoms, epic fantasy, DRAGONS. Need I say more as to why a “Thrones” fan might want to play this? It’s not one of my favorites, but I still feel like it’s a good recommendation for fans of “GoT” who might want to get some game time in.

Berserk (OLM Inc, 1997 – 1998)

And now we move into something a bit older, but is a bit more of a recent watch for me. “Berserk” is a 1997 anime series based on a manga series of the same name by Kentaro Miura. It follows a highly capable swordsman named Guts as he joins a mercenary group called the Band of the Hawk, after its leader, Griffith, defeats Guts in combat. And so Guts, along with Griffith, and the other members of the group fight their way through the kingdom of Midland. And we do also get to see how Guts and Griffith’s actions affects the political climate in the kingdom, as well as how their bond evolves over the series. So it has both the big battles and political element of “GoT”, and it has the brutality of it… come to think of it, “Berserk” is probably even more brutal (and the series is allegedly very toned down compared to the original manga). Just a few details first… Skip episode one. I’m not kidding, skip it. It’s not even related to anything going on in the show, as it’s set after everything that happens. Maybe come back to it after finishing the other 24 episodes. And secondly, the ending (which I won’t fully spoil) has been a bit polarizing for people… and that’s all. Other than that, “Berserk” is great.

The Expanse (Alcon entertainment, 2016 – now)

So how do we go from high fantasy to sci-fi? Well, like in “Game of Thrones”, you can find a lot of political tension and character development in “The Expanse”. Set hundreds of years into the future, we follow various characters as they try to deal with their various situations while navigating the very dangerous political tensions between Earth and Mars. Need even more proof that this show is the “Game of Thrones” of sci-fi? It has been called the “Game of Thrones” of sci-fi by a fair amount of people. And I thank Amazon for picking it up after SyFy cancelled it.

Gladiator (Scott Free Productions, Univeral Pictures, 2000)

Epic battles, political intrigue (again), charismatic cast, big budget… do I really need to explain why Ridley Scott’s epic Oscar winner is one of the recommendations on this list? You all know why it is here.

The Dark Souls trilogy (FromSoftware, 2011 – 2016)

More video game goodness, and oh god, the traumatic flashbacks are rolling in. Admittedly I’ve only played the third game in the series, but based on my “enjoyment” of that, and the critical acclaim of the rest of the series, I feel confident in recommending them all. You play as a silent (not counting offs and ahs) protagonist who goes on quests that lead you across dark world where you’ll encounter strange creatures, interesting people, and pain… lots and lots of pain. It’s dark fantasy at it’s most bird-flipping. People love these games for their difficulty, and I do kind of appreciate the challenge from my playthrough(s) of the third game. Funnily enough, as I recommend this for “Thrones” reasons, these games take heavy inspiration from another thing on this list… that thing being “Berserk”.

The Revenant (Regency Enterprises, 21st Century Fox, 2015)

Ah yes, the 2015 movie that finally gave Leo his Oscar… and all it took was dragging himself through the dirt after getting his shit kicked in by a bear. Betrayal, brutality, cold, stellar acting, a gritty tone, these are things that make this movie good and also help make some of the “GoT” comparison a bit more valid.

The Godfather trilogy (Paramount Pictures, 1972 – 1990)

Now, how can I compare possible the most prolific gangster series of all time to one of the biggest tv shows of all time? Well, both are grand, sweeping, epic stories about family, legacy, and ruling over a kingdom of sorts. Some from an uncomfortable and pointy chair, and some in dark rooms in the mid-century United States. And yes, I am recommending all of them. The third movie is a huge step down from the first two, but it still has its moments.

Castlevania (Powerhouse Animation, Netflix, 2017 – now)

And for our final entry, let’s go a bit lighter. Don’t get me wrong, this show is dark, but at least it is allowed to get a bit over the top with its action. Based on the hit video game series, “Castlevania” follows Trevor Belmont (Richard Armitage), the last member of a long line of vampire hunters, as he reluctantly has to try to kill the king of all vampires… Dracula (Graham McTavish). Start with an epic fantasy, end with another. The animation is stellar, the plot engaging, and the characters very well realized. And to any stubborn people out there: This is a cartoon, not an anime. It may have some anime stylings, but it was entirely produced in the United States… so it’s a cartoon. But for those not stubborn: Watch this show, it’s great.

So those were some of my personal recommendations for those “Game of Thrones” fans wanting something to tide them over until April 14th, or maybe if something’s needed to fill the gap after the show ends. But I also ask of all of you, what other recommendations do you have that could fit this thing? Movie, show, book, game… any of them, I’m all ears.
Have a good one.

Advertisements

Academy Award 2019: Music Nominees

Well hello there. Around this time last year, I teamed up with some really cool people to cover that year’s Academy Award nominees. And we decided to do it again, splitting the nominees between us and discussing it on our blogs. And just like last year, I am covering the music nominees, because I’ve barely seen anything nominated for an Oscar this year, and these categories are the only ones I can do from my room for free in a perfectly legal manner. So without further ado, let’s get into it.

Best Original Score
Let’s start with the scores first. No real reason, just seems reasonable. But before we get into that, we have a comment here from the lovely Maddy of FiveThreeNinety regarding what she considers a major snub:

HOW First Man was not even nominated baffles to me the point of not being able to see the actual contenders. I was convinced that was a sure win.
Thank you, Maddy. Your thoughts are much appreciated. Now, on with the nominees!

Black Panther – Ludwid Göransson

First up we have the score for Marvel superhero movie “Black Panther”, which I haven’t seen yet. I know, weird. Still, any thoughts on the movie itself do not matter, it’s what the music is like that matters. And not gonna lie, from what I’ve heard, the score by Ludwig Göransson is pretty stellar, mixing the typical superhero brass with a lot of African percussion and woodwind, and even a little bit of interesting electronica to create one of the more unique scores within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

BlackkKlansman – Terence Blanchard

Next up is the score from the latest Spike Lee joint, “BlacKkKlansman” (that stylization really fucks up my flow). A true story about a black police detective infiltrating the KKK. So what does Blanchard bring in for the music? Well, he gives us a score that mixes somber string work, march percussion, and even a little bit of blues guitar, creating an absolutely stunning sound that seeps into the soul and just creates a sense of dread. Yeah, it’s a good one.

Mary Poppins Returns – Marc Shaiman

From composer Marc Shaiman we have the score for “Mary Poppins Returns”, the sequel to the 1964 musical classic. And it’s a fairly standard score here. Not bad in the slightest, it’s just that we’ve heard this kind of stuff before in Disney movies for god knows how long. The sung songs are a lot of fun, and the main score is easy on the ears, so the music here is just a bit of good ol’ crowd pleasing.

Isle of Dogs – Alexandre Desplat

Next up, we have the score for Wes Anderson stop motion film “Isle of Dogs”, composed by one of my favorites, Alexandre Desplat. Mixing in a lot of Asian percussion and chorals mixed in with the occasional regular brass, strings, and piano, it makes for a fun and quirky sound that also has a nice emotional undertone.

If Beale Street Could Talk – Nicholas Britell

Next up we have Nicholas Britell’s score for “If Beale Street Could Talk”, Barry Jenkins’ movie based on the James Baldwin novel of the same name. And holy fuck, this score hits hard. Somber strings, emotional piano pieces, and a general sense of sadness makes it a stunning feast for the ears. But you know what it reminds me of at times? Nick Cave’s score for “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” (still a mouthful), which has a similar sound. That’s not saying that “Beale Street” doesn’t stand out musically, because it really does.

And here’s a comment from Martin of Through the Silver Screen:

“Re-teaming with Barry Jenkins after his Oscar nominated work in Moonlight, Nicholas Britell did it again creating a score that was both beautiful and melancholic, capturing the joy and despair of the main characters beautifully. But by far one of the biggest snubs here was for Justin Hurwitz’s First Man score, which had it been nominated would surely have come back down to earth to win the statue. Ludwig Göransson’s wonderful work for Black Panther is also very much worthy of the gong, as it was grounded in the beauty of the continent of Africa.”

And here’s one from Nathan:

Best Original Score’s real winner (Justin Hurwitz’s First Man) inexplicably missed an Oscar nomination but Nicholas Britell’s If Beale Street Could Talk is a gorgeous, brooding composition that enriches the film’s tenderly melancholic exploration and portrait of love. It should, and probably will, win but faces stiff competition from Black Panther.

Biggest chance of winning: Isle of Dogs.
My pick: BlacKkKlansman.

Best Original Song
And now we move on to the second half of this post, the part where we talk about the best original song nominees. So let’s do it.

All the Stars – Kendrick Lamar/Sza – Black Panther

Man, “Black Panther”, raking in the nominations. So here we have “All the Stars” by Kendrick Lamar and SZA (apparently pronounced Sizza). I’m not the biggest fan of the style of music that this is, but I do also think that this sounds quite good and I can see why it was nominated. So yeah, it’s pretty good.

The Place Where Lost Things Go – Emily Blunt – Mary Poppins Returns

Remember how I said that the sung songs were the better part of the “Mary Poppins Returns” music? This still applies, because this is beautiful. The minimalist composition gives it a nice emotional tone, the lyrics are beautiful, and Emily Blunt’s singing is stunning and it really reaches into my heart. So yeah, this song is very good.

I’ll Fight – Jennifer Hudson – RBG

Not every day a documentary has a best original song. But “RBG”, a documentary about supreme court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, had it, and it’s the kind of grand, sweeping, soulful pop tune that you’d hear everywhere a few years ago. And I like thos kinds of tunes, so this kind of appeals to me. Is it the best example of this kind of song? No. But is it still a strong contender? Hell yeah.

When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings – Tim Blake Nelson/Willie Watson – The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

In 2018, the Coen brothers gave us anthology western “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”, and that movie gave us this song. The singing for Nelson and Watson is stunning and just fits the whole quirky western singing. The small amount of instruments also gives it a small intimate feeling that just works so well for the story told in the song. It’s a charming little song that I kinda love.

Shallow – Lady Gaga/Bradley Cooper – A Star is Born

How many versions of “A Star is Born” do we have now? 46? What, only five? Okay. Anyway, this version stars Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, and people apparently like it a lot. And this song, “Shallow” is the song from it that got an Oscar nomination. So is it good? Very. I like this sort of ballad bordering a little on rock, pop, and country, as it makes it stand out with this nice blend of the three. And “Shallow” is a damn good example of it. And now, a comment from Maddy again:

If a Star is Born doesn’t win, I will shave my head. It is one of the best original songs for film in years, and that’s saying something looking at the past few winners.

We also just got in another comment, this from Martin of Through the Silver Screen:

“Though I love “All the Stars”, nothing is stopping Lady Gaga here. Given that the Best Actress statue will likely be out of her reach, this is one award Gaga will be deservedly holding at the end of the night. The moment in ASIB when she sings “Shallow” with Cooper in the film, just sends chills down my spine. Incredible.”

And here’s a comment from Nathan:

We’re not far from the Shallow now, where Lady Gaga will ascend to the stage to collect the award for A Star Is Born. You can’t really argue against it – it’s a fantastic, stadium-worthy song – despite my personal belief that Always Remember Us This Way is the movie’s crowning achievement. I’d be equally happy for Mary Poppins Returns’ The Place Where Lost Things Go to take it on the night, although A Cover Is Not The Book or Can You Imagine That? would have taken its place on my personal ballot.

Biggest chance of winning: Shallow.
My pick: When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings.

So now we’ve gotten through all the music nominations, and I gave some of my thoughts on them. But I’d also love to hear from you guys. What are your thoughts on the music nominees for the Academy Award of 2019? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.

The cool people I collaborated with:

Plain, Simple Tom

Through the Silver Screen

FiveThreeNinety

Perks of Being Nath (who also hosted our friend Ryan, because Ryan doesn’t do his own blogging anymore).

And that’s it. Have a good one.

My Favorite Albums of 2018

Hello there, ladies and gentlemen, it’s that time of year again. The time when I share with you some of my favorite albums of the year that recently ended. Took a little longer than usually this time, as I slacked a bit throughout 2018 in listening to a lot of new albums. But now we’re here. And I’m excited to start writing, this is one of my favorite things to do each year. Just a few stipulations between us.

Rule number 1: Please be nice. If you don’t agree with my picks, that is fine, I encourage discussion. Just don’t be a dick about it.

Rule number 2: I am not including any film scores/soundtracks, as that would make this list go on for way too long. Also, this is just to celebrate the music in its own right, and not have it clouded by any positive cinematic experiences.

Rule number 3: I don’t do EPs or singles. This is for those fully referred to as ALBUMS. So if there’s an EP that you liked that isn’t here, now you know why.

That should be it. Though I will also give an honorable mention to “Campfire” by Kasey Chambers and The Fireside Disciples. The few tracks I’ve heard from that album are incredible, but due to some licensing bullshit, I can’t listen to the full album since I’m not in Australia… and importing is too pricey, so I’m not gonna hear it anytime soon. But I guess an honorable mention is fine.

Anyway, with all that out of the way, now is the time for me to share my favorite albums of 2018!

Number 13: Luke Westaway – Short Songs With Long Titles (Sample: I Took a Week Off Work and My Brain Didn’t Know What to Do With That, Clearly).

Kicking off this list is an album with a very self-explanatory title. From Luke Westaway, most known for his hosting gig on the OutsideXtra youtube channel, comes “Short Songs With Long Titles” an album all about short songs with long titles. It’s a charming little thing that just puts a smile on my face. It’s not musically complex, it’s not emotionally charged… it’s just a guy having a bit of fun, and that is quite infectious, for me at least.

Number 12: Ry Cooder – The Prodigal Son (Sample: The Prodigal Son).

Next up is “The Prodigal Son”, the latest album from musician Ry Cooder. It has an interesting sound in how it blends a bit of rock and folk and blues and a tiny bit of country. And it blends together to make something really cool that I enjoy listening to.

Number 11: Kacey Musgraves – Golder Hour (Sample: Slow Burn).

At number 11 we have the latest release from pop/country artist Kacey Musgraves. When I first heard of Musgraves I dismissed her as another pop artist (like an asshole). But then later I started hearing murmurs of her actually being a country artist, which had me intrigued. And I decided to give her newest release a chance. And I’m glad I did, because it’s pretty damn good (evidenced by its inclusion here).

Number 10: Buddy Guy – The Blues is Alive and Well (Sample: A Few Good Years).

I think I’ve made it clear on this blog a few times that I’m a fan of blues. So the fact that such an old school blues album can be released in 2018 just makes me happy. Hell, that album title just summarizes my thoughts perfectly. The blues is indeed alive and well.

Number 9: Florence + The Machine – High as Hope (Sample: 100 Years)

First single digit entry is the latest from alt-rock/pop outfit Florence and The Machine (that “and” often stylized as a +). And with this, Florence Welch (who fronts the band) lays herself bare, talking about pain, suffering, sadness, and other such fun subjects. I already enjoyed the band to a certain extent, and this album is another reason for me to do so.

Number 8: Greta Van Fleet – Anthem of the Peaceful Army (Sample: Lover, Leaver).

At number 8 we have the latest release from legendary rock band Led Zeppelin. *Smack* Ouch, okay, fine, I’ll be serious… dick. So yeah, it’s impossible to talk about Greta Van Fleet without mentioning their similarity to Led Zep. I mean, Josh Kiszka’s voice is a dead ringer for a young Robert Plant. Anyway, similarities to Markus’ favorite bands aside, how does it stack up on its own as a rock album? It’s great (the inclusion on the list should’ve been a dead giveaway). It’s great to hear this kind of old school rock still being played in our current days. And who can complain about hearing a bit of new Led Zep material in 2018/2019? *Smack*.

Number 7: Shemekia Copeland – American’s Child (Sample: Ain’t Got Time For Hate).

Buddy Guy said it. Blues is alive and well. Copeland comments on a lot of current issues within the United States, and her message comes through beautifully through her strong vocals, and use of the blues genre. Blues is great for telling genres, so using it to send a message about some of the fucked up stuff going on in the world is a brilliant idea. Plus, it’s just a damn solid listen overall.

Number 6: Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa – Black Coffee (Sample: Give it Everything You Got).

Man, 2018 was one hell of a year for blues. Even better is that this is a collab by one of the best duo’s in the genre. Hart and Bonamassa have done a couple albums before that I really liked, so I was already excited to hear another one from them… and man, it did not disappoint. Hard-hitting instruments, Hart’s fierce voice, and an overall sense of the various crew members’ skill makes this one hell of a good time.

Number 5: Steve Perry – Traces (Sample: No Erasin’).

Man, was this the biggest surprise release of 2018. I was just chilling out and browsing twitter a bit, and suddenly I just see “Journey’s Steve Perry to release new album in a couple days”, which of course had me reacting like “Fucking what?”. Perry’s been relatively quiet on the musical front since leaving Journey in 1998. Then suddenly 20 years later he releases a new solo album… and it’s great? Talk about one of the most pleasant surprises in recent years. But yeah, if you like a lot of his old Journey stuff, you’ll most likely enjoy “Traces” too.

Number 4: Father John Misty – God’s Favorite Customer (Sample: Hangout at the Gallows). 

“If Radiohead had sex with The Beatles” a youtube comment described this song. It’s not entirely wrong. I can certainly hear a little bit of that in Misty’s sound, though I also think he’s still created something entirely his own within the sort of indie/folk/alt-rock sounds that he clearly resides within. His voice, the instrumentals, and the lyrics all make for one really great album.

Number 3: Joe Satriani – What Happens Next (Sample: Energy).

Rock and motherfucking roll. Coming in with a bronze medal, we have the latest release from acclaimed rock guitarist Joe Satriani. I’ve been a fan of his for years, so I was of course excited for his new album which was an early 2018 release, and I was listening on day 1. And man, it was so badass. Badass solos, slick licks, and and Satriani’s overall sense of how to keep purely instrumental songs fresh and unique makes it one of the best of the year. Plus, the background work by Chad Smith and Glenn Hughes gives it an extra edge too.

Number 2: Judas Priest – Firepower (Sample: Firepower).

Wow, was the inclusion of this quite surprising. Bands that have been working for as long as Judas Priest shouldn’t sound so good so far into their lifetime. And when I first heard the album, I kinda dismissed it as another half-decent, fairly catchy, pretty well done metal album. But since then it’s really grown on me, and I have realized just how good it is. “Firepower” is as old school as metal gets, and I’d say that it might be the band’s best since “Painkiller”, maybe even since “British Steel”. Like, what the fuck, this is way better than it has any right to be. Oh well, I’m not gonna complain about a bit of awesome music.

Number 1: Joe Bonamassa – Redemption (Sample: Redemption).

Anybody who knows me should not be surprised by this. I’ve said so many times on this blog, on twitter, and in real life how much I adore Bonamassa’s music. And with “Redemption” he has once again given us a musically impressive, catchy, and overall solid blues-rock album. His vocals are the best we’ve heard from him, and the guitar work is still absolutely stunning. Bonamassa is one of the most hard working musicians out there, constantly touring and putting out content and just overall kicking musical ass. “Redemption” is my favorite album of 2018.

So those were my favorite albums of 2018. But now I wanna hear from you guys, what have been some of your favorite albums of last year? Either leave a comment or make a blog post of your own as a response to this, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Have a good one.

My most anticipated movies of 2019

Hello and happy new year, guys! I’m back from my… two day break. Okay, I wasn’t gone for long, but I’m excited to be writing again. New year, new opportunities, new movies! And it’s that last one that we’re talking about today, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to you guys, since this blog is mostly built on movie stuff. So since the year just started, I think it’s only appropriate to talk about some movies that I’m excited for this year. Will all of them be amazing? Probably not. But I’m just looking forward to watching them all, and I thought I’d share some of them here with you today. A few stipulations for both of us here.

Number 1: Please be respectful. I’m asking you to have the exact same opinions as me, I’m fine with disagreement. Just don’t be a dick about it. I’m all for friendly discussion, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. Just be nice. This is a friendly space, yo.

Number 2: I’m not gonna talk about movies that had limited releases in 2018 that then get worldwide releases in early 2019. This is for those that have their first release in 2019. Understood? Cool.

Number 3: These are not ranked. These are just a bunch of movies I’m looking forward to a fair bit.

That should be it. Let’s get into the movies.

Glass.

First movie on the list is the first one I’ll probably see in the cinema this year… which would be pretty much unlikely a few years ago. A January movie by M. Night Shyamalan? Ew. But this is something I am genuinely excited about. So spoilers for previous Shyamalan movies, I guess. In 2000, he gave us “Unbreakable”, and it was amazing. In 2017, he gave us “Split”, and it was really good. And at the end of “Split”, it was revealed that it was a secret sequel to “Unbreakable”, which blew my fucking mind. And now we get the culmination of those two movies with “Glass”, and I am really hyped.

Avengers: Endgame

Yes, I talk about a lot of superhero movies. And yes, I am aware that a lot of people are either sick of or just don’t care about them. But you can’t deny that what Marvel has done with their cinematic universe is really impressive. And now we get the ending to it… sort of. It’s the sequel to 2018’s “Infinity War”, and it will be the end for a lot of these actors in this universe. It’s kind of bittersweet. Bring on the endgame.

Captain Marvel

Another superhero origin. This one starring Brie Larson. She’s a good actor. This looks pretty good. Has a stellar cast. It’ll be fun.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

I am a fan of the 2014 “Godzilla” movie, so I was already excited for a sequel. Then it was revealed that some classic monsters would be involved in it, which got me even more excited. Then this trailer came out and showcased some gorgeous imagery, and it got me even more hyped. So yeah, this is one of the biggest ones for me this year.

Star Wars Episode IX
It’s “Star Wars”. The end of this new trilogy. It’s “Star Wars”. How could I not be excited? “STAR WARS”.

Spider-Man: Far From Home
I am a huge Spidey-fan, been for most of my life. And this is a sequel to “Spider-Man: Homecoming”, which I liked a lot. Tom Holland is a fantastic Spider-Man. So I’m excited. Plus, Jake Gyllenhaal.

John Wick: Chapter 3

“John Wick” was one of the biggest surprises of 2014. “John Wick: Chapter 2” was a great sequel. And in 2019 we’ll get the third part in this series. The hype for this one is real.

Knives Out
No footage. No on-set images. All we have is a good director, a star-studded cast, and the vague premise of a murder mystery. And that is enough to intrigue me. Let’s go.

In the Shadow of the Moon
Like with “Knives Out”, we know practically nothing about this. But at least “Knives Out” has a vague premise of what it could be… this one on the other hand doesn’t even have that. So how could I be excited? Well, it has several good actors involved, and it’s directed by Jim Mickle, who I’m a big fan of. I’ll be supporting him any way I can.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

What do you get if you take one of the most star-studded casts even assembled and combine it with the mind of Quentin Tarantino? You get “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”. Anything that Tarantino makes, I’m already excited for. But add all those cast members and an interesting setting, and you most likely have my money as well.

Lucy in the Sky
*Starts humming The Beatles*. Oh shit, you’re still here. Right, so what’s this? It’s a sci-fi movie, starring the likes of Natalie Portman, Dan Stevens, Jon Hamm, and Zazie Beets, and it’s written/directed by Noah Hawley, who brought us two of my favorite shows; “Fargo” and “Legion”. That’s all I need. Bring on the weirdness.

The Irishman
Martin Scorsese. Robert De Niro. Joe Pesci. Al Pacino. Bobby Cannavale. Harvey Keitel. Jesse Plemons. Excited yet?

Jojo Rabbit

A World War 2 satire from Taika Waititi? With said Kiwi playing Adolf Hitler? And a good cast surrounding him? Yes please, hell yeah, this is interesting.

So those were a bunch of movies I’m looking forward to. I’m sure more will be revealed throughout the year, but these are my current picks. But I also wanna hear from you guys. What movies are you excited for? Leave any and all answers in the comments!
Have a good one!

Summer-y Songs Part 2

Greetings, dudes and dudettes! You may be wondering what the hell this is. Well, back in 2016 I wrote a little piece on songs that give off a summer-y vibe (with the contributions of some cool people), and for a while I’ve wanted to do a part 2. So now we’re finally here. I got some of my own choices, and I’ve gathered some suggestions from some really cool people, so now we can get started. Wanna know what was on that original list? You can find out by clicking on the platypus.

PLATYPUS.

Now, for lists I usually set up some basic rules, but I feel like it isn’t needed. This is supposed to be a more relaxed post, talking about summer-y vibes. So let’s keep it cool, y’all. No bitching, please. Also, the only real rule I’ve put on myself for this is that I won’t include any of the songs from the first list. With that out of the way, let’s put on our sunglasses, pour ourselves some cold drinks, and listen to some summer-y songs!

#1: The Dickies – Waterslide.

The first song on the list is “Waterslide” by punk rock band The Dickies. This was suggested by Nick (@nuthousepunks on twitter), and as the title suggests… it’s about a waterslide. Not much else that can be said there, it’s a fun and fast-paced song about going on a waterslide, which is something a lot of people do during the summer to have fun/cool off a bit. Really, not much that can be said about it.

#2: Weezer – Feels Like Summer.

Next up we have Weezer’s “Feels Like Summer”, as suggested by Jonny (@JonnyHoppus on twitter). The title explains it perfectly… it feels like summer. To be honest, while I don’t think it’s a bad song, it’s not the Weezer I like. I prefer the more old school Weezer. Maybe it’s my rock-based bias that’s speaking here, but it feels less like Weezer and more like… I don’t know something. Still, thanks for the suggestion, Jonny!

#3: K’naan & David Bisbal – Wavin’ Flag.

Our third song was suggested by fellow blogger Elena (@ElenaM52 on twitter, Elenasquareeyes here on wordpress). Yeah, I feel it. It has that sort of vibe that you can kind of expect from radio hits in the summer. It also helps that it has a Spanish singer in the form of David Bisbal, because that language always sounds hot and steamy… I mean summer-y. I remember hearing this on radio a few years back and actually kind of enjoying it (though it had no Spanish in that version, I think). so it’s another good pick for this list.

#4: Greta Van Fleet – Highway Tune.

Hey, we’re finally at one of my picks! So here we have “Highway Tune” by American rock band Greta Van Fleet. This song has blown up since it was released last year, and for good reason. People have called these guys a younger version of Led Zeppelin, and I kind of agree. And don’t just take my word for it, Robert Plant himself have given these guys a thumbs up. Anyway, why did I pick this song for the list? Well, I felt like this list needed a bit more rock in it. Also, I imagine driving down a road on a hot summer day in this, just for fun, with your friends. Hell yeah.

#5: The Undertones – Here Comes The Summer.

This is the second song to be suggested by Nick, and again… kind of self-explanatory. It’s in the title. “Here Comes The Summer”. And it has a fun style that I could imagine being used in a summer activities montage in a movie, or at a party during the summer. Really, this just explains itself. Thanks, Nick!

#6: Toploader – Dancing in the Moonlight.

The second song from the lovely Elena, and I do kind of get where she’s coming from with this… I think, she didn’t give a full explanation for why this was a specific choice. But if I get to throw my own thoughts into it, I feel like this song has a very chill vibe that could work well for summer nights, or if you’re just chilling by the pool. Overall, it has a cool vibe that definitely could work for a summer-y playlist.

#7: Santana – Oye Como Va.

The second pick from yours truly. And if you checked out the old list, you would know that I already included some Santana in that one. And I guess sometimes you have to have some returning players. And I am happy to once again include Carlos and friends in a list of mine. Last time it was the sexy “Smooth”, and this time it’s about the cool “Oye Como Va”. Once again playing into the Spanish/Latino stylings that I previously mentioned, this song I imagine when I see people in a town, sitting outside, whether just gathering some sun, or having a drink at the local café. Just a cool song for the summer.

#8: Walk The Moon – Shut Up and Dance.

The third song suggested by Elena (she gave me a handful of tracks, which is why she pops up so much here). And this is another good one. Like with “Wavin’ Flag”, it’s one of those tracks one can imagine being released during the summer, it just has that fun, relatively carefree style that fits that season. It’s a fun party track that I do enjoy listening to.

#9: David Bisbal – Ave Maria.

Hey, look who makes his second appearance in this list. First it was in one of Elena’s choices, and now in one of mine. That’s right, I chose the bouncy, Spanish pop song, going against what people usually assume my music taste is. But I can’t help it, this song is just so much fun, there’s just a  joyous energy to it that makes it so god damn infectious. And again, sexy Spanish singing.

#10: Pitbull feat Ke$ha – Timber.

The final tracks suggested by Elena, here we have the biggest hit to come from the rapper known as Pitbull. And like previous tracks, I could definitely imagine this playing at a party during the summer. It just has a fun bounciness to it that I think will get people moving on the dancefloor. The harmonica is also a nice touch. Thank you for these suggestions, Elena!

#11: Joe Satriani – Summer Song.

From here on out, it’s all my choices. And to kick this final bunch off, we have another one that just has it’s explanation in the title. It’s called “Summer Song”… I don’t need to say more. You know, other than JOE SATRIANI IS AMAZING… Good guitar playing tends to win me over.

#12: Ricky Martin – Livin La Vida Loca.

That’s right, more Latino vibes comin’ at ya! Not my fault that songs with Latino stylings fit the summer so well. But what else can I say? You’ve heard this song, your dead great-great-grandmother has heard this song, everyone’s heard this song. It’s one of those that has stuck with me for almost my entire life, and I still love it. It’s slick, sexy, and just cool.

#13: Christian Kane – Fast Car.

Here we have “Fast Car”, originally recorded by Tracy Chapman, covered here by actor/musician Christian Kane. While Chapman’s relatively minimalist style works incredibly well for the song, I still kind of prefer Kane’s version. The added instruments, combined with Kane’s voice makes for a damn fine little country-ballad. This is also kind of the antithesis of “Highway Tune”. While that song could fit for fast and fun driving at higher speeds, “Fast Car” (despite the title) feels more like a song meant for slow cruising along a country road.

#14: Brad Paisley – River Bank.

The original list ended with a Brad Paisley tune, so why not let this one do the same? Last time we ended with “Water”, a song about how the titular element could be used for fun during summertime. Today we wrap things up with “River Bank” , a song about going to the river and just havin’ a grand ol’ time, y’all. I’ve made it clear on a couple of occasions here that I love Brad Paisley, so I’ll take any chance of including his music on a list.

So that was Summer-y Songs Part 2! Once again, big thanks to Nick, Jonny, and Elena (twitter profiles linked throughout the post if you wanna follow them) for providing some suggestions for the list, I really appreciate your participation! But I also wanna hear from you, the reader. What’s a song that gives you a summer-y vibe? Leave any suggestions like that in the comments!
Have a good one!

Great Music #26: International Women’s Day Edition

Hello there, my friends! Welcome back to “Great Music”, the series where I talk about songs I like. The series that has been dead since… *Checks blog*… July 2017, holy shit. Well, now we’re back. And this is a special one. Because I am writing this on the International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate half the world’s population, a day to celebrate those amazing females in our lives and all over the world. And I decided to do that by doing a post about some great songs by female musicians. Now, this isn’t a top ten or something like that, it’s just a selection of various songs sung/performed by women. No rankings… just good music. So let’s have a listen at these awesome women and their songs.

Song number 1: Joan Jett & The Blackhearts – I Love Rock n Roll.

You know how I said these weren’t ranked? Well, I sort of lied. And by that I mean that this is my favorite song picked out for this list. I won’t rank all the songs… just putting my favorite of them all first. Now that we’ve gotten that disclaimer out of the way, let’s talk about this song. Originally recorded by The Arrows in 1975, this song was popularized by Joan Jett in 1982. Not long after Jett’s previous band, The Runaways, split up, she went and formed her own band (Joan Jett & The Blackhearts). They went on to become quite successful, properly starting this good run in 1982 with their awesome cover of “I Love Rock n Roll”. I don’t think I need to explain this choice, as anyone that’s heard the song would understand why it’s so good. But I’ll just say that it’s a cover that surpasses the original thanks to the badass attitude of Joan Jett. It’s an awesome song.

Song number 2: Alannah Myles – Black Velvet.

Next up is “Black Velvet”, a song from the eponymous debut album of Canadian singer Alannah Myles. What we have here is a song that is heavily steeped in blues-rock, but with just a tinge of pop, giving it a really cool sound that is complemented by Myles’ stunning vocals. It’s one of the coolest songs I’ve ever heard and it’s one I highly recommend.

Song number 3: Fleetwood Mac – Dreams.

Now, while Fleetwood Mac is made up of 60% male members, there’s no denying that it’s female members, Stevie Nicks & Christine McVie, contribute a ton to the band. And “Dreams” is a very big showcase for that. Written and sung by Nicks, this song is one of two songs from Fleetwood Mac’s amazing “Rumours” album that is about the breakup of Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham (the other one being “Go Your Own Way”). And this is a fantastic song with some of the most beautiful vocals I’ve ever heard.

Song number 4: Samantha Fish – Blood in the Water.

Followers of mine with a good memory might remember that this isn’t the first time that Samantha Fish (and this song) has appeared on this blog. She also appeared on my favorite albums of 2017 list (TWICE!). And this is the song that I used as sample for the list. She has a good amount of great songs, but this is one that has just stuck with me. Plus, it’s one of the few I know that I could find a good, not live, youtube vid for. But yeah, this is a great song. Fish is a blues singer with some really great and surprisingly diverse tracks in her discography. Taking some inspiration from country and even a little bit of folk music in this song, she creates a really cool sound with some interesting lyrics. Highly recommend this song and the rest of her discography.

Song number 5: First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar.

Here comes a band that comes from the same country as me. First Aid Kit is a Swedish folk/country/rock/pop/something band that I love. They have such a unique and awesome sound that has made them insanely popular. From their stunning harmonies, to the solo vocals, to the instrumentals, their music is just fantastic. And “The Lion’s Roar” is one of their best.

Song Number 6: Garbage – The World is Not Enough.

This band is Garbage. You may now reluctantly laugh. Jokes aside, this song is great, and I honestly can’t think of any artist being able to do it as well as they did. Led by Shirley Manson, Garbage is an alternative/rock band form the 90s that I have mixed feelings about (some good songs, some less than stellar ones). But I can safely say that “The World Is Not Enough”, the title track from one of Brosnan’s “Bond” movies, is one of their best. From the pseudo-electronica instrumentals, to Manson’s vocals, this is an absolutely stunning song and one of my favorite “Bond” themes.

Song number 7: Sandi Thom – I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker.

This really takes me back. I first heard it on the radio around 2006, and it has just sort of stuck with me since then. This is a song with some social commentary in it’s lyrics, but none of it is overbearing. And even if you don’t care about the lyrics themselves, you can still appreciate Thom’s fantastic vocals, combined with the mainly acoustic instrumentals. Recently she’s taken a slightly more blues-y approach (which I love), but I think this pop/folk tune is the one she will be most known for, and I am completely okay with that. Because this is a beautiful song.

Song number 8: Vera Lynn – We’ll Meet Again.

Can’t forget the classics. Very well known for it’s use in “Doctor Strangelove”, this song by English singer Vera Lynn is one of the most well known songs of the 20th century (and probably of all time). Taking a very optimistic approach, this song warmed the hearts of many during some tough times during the last century. And who wouldn’t get happy after listening to this song. It’s one of those that I can’t help but smile at when I hear it… and I’d assume that you readers might be the same.

Song number 9: Pink – Fuckin’ Perfect.

I’ve kept my swearing under control pretty well so far during this post. So I’m jsut gonna take this opportunity to say fucking-fuckity-fuck. Now, “Fuckin’ Perfect” is one of my favorite songs. I’m a fan of Pink in general, she’s one of my favorite artists of all time, and this song might be her best. The song is about a woman who goes through a tough and kind of horrible life, only to come out on the other side a much stronger person. It is inspiring, and it features some gorgeous vocals from Pink, and some of the best instrumentals on any of her songs. And to any potential prudes out there… there is a version of the song with no F-bombs in it, but I don’t think it’s as powerful as this version. This song is fucking perfect.

Song number 10: Amy Winehouse – Back to Black.

A song about sadness and going back to one’s old ways, from a musician who was taken from us way too soon? Oh my. That’s right, the tenth song on this list is Amy Winehouse’s (R.I.P) “Back to Black”. A haunting yet still catchy tune with some great lyrics, Winehouse’s stunning voice, and one of the catchiest piano hooks I’ve ever heard. This song is tragic, especially when you look at what happened to Winehouse later in her career. An amazing song from an amazing artist.

Song number 11: Adele – Skyfall.

Could any list of great female artists really be complete without Adele? And it’s another “Bond” theme? It was between this and “Rolling in the Deep” for me. But I went with this because I’m a sucker for these kinds of ballads. I haven’t seen “Skyfall” yet, but this song is one of the main reasons why I actually might check it out soon.

Song number 12: Annie Lennox – Into the West.

Another movie song? Yes, but that’s just how it goes sometimes. And Annie Lennox is amazing, so shut up. Also, “Lord of the Rings”. This is the song used at the end of “Return of the King”, the culmination of that trilogy of films. The epic finale to the masterful trilogy. It’s my favorite of the series. And this song is a fitting end theme for it all. Emotional, sweeping, beautiful… it’s simply amazing. Lennox’s vocals here fucking amazing. Yes, “Sweet Dreams” is also great, but this is a better showcase of Lennox, in my opinion. I almost get teary-eyed when I listen to this song.

And that’s the end of my list. Of course there are many many many more awesome female artists out there, but I don’t have the time to make a list featuring a million songs here. So if you have any further suggestions, leave them in the comments. Some of your favorite female artists/bands/songs, leave them in the comments.
Have a good one.

Academy Awards 2018: Best Music Nominees

Hello there, ladies, gentlemen, and space aliens. The Oscars are not far away (as of writing it’s less than 24 hours to it), so to celebrate that I have teamed up with a bunch of other bloggers to talk about the various categories, and give our thoughts and predictions on them. When it was time for me to choose, I chose the music categories (which had been lumped into one), because of my undying love of music and occasional analysis of it. I also chose it because I haven’t seen all the movies yet, so this is one I can do from the comfort of my own room (thank you, spotify!). So without further ado, let’s get into it.

Best Original Score
The first category we’ll go through is best original score, the category celebrating the works of the composers who work so hard to help us get immersed. So here are the nominees.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – John Williams.

First up we have the one and only John Williams and his music for the latest entry in the “Star Wars” franchise. And this really has everything that you’d expect from “Star Wars” music at this point. Big brass, tense strings, catchy melodies. And whereas the score for “Force Awakens” was damn good, it doesn’t really hold a candle to “The Last Jedi” (not comparing the movies, just the music). There are throwbacks to the previous movies in the series throughout this score, but none of it feels like forced (HA!) pandering, but rather fun inclusions to make it all feel a bit more connected. But as great as the music here is, I don’t think it has a chance in this Oscar race. Would I be made if it won? No. But we’ve heard these stylings before, and I feel like it doesn’t have the same chance at the gold due to that.

The Shape of Water – Alexandre Desplat.

Our second entry is the score for “The Shape of Water”, the latest weirdness from Guillermo Del Toro. As of writing this, I have not seen the movie, so I can’t comment on how well the music works within the movie. But I can comment on it as it’s own entity, and I can safely say that this score is fantastic. It takes a couple cues from old school John Williams, and even a bit from Wes Anderson’s movies (which is funny considering Anderson has worked with Desplat before). But it does a lot of unique things to give it a really odd, yet beautiful sound that works for this kind of odd love story. I’d say this has a very good chance of getting the Oscar.

Phantom Thread – Jonny Greenwood.

Here we have the score for “Phantom Thread”, the latest movie from Paul Thomas Anderson, and the final movie of actor Daniel Day Lewis. This score relies heavily on piano and various string instruments (violin being the most prominent). It creates an emotionally charged sound that evokes a lot of dramas from the 70s (I notive a little bit of “Godfather” in there). This score has a pretty good chance of taking the Oscar, though I’m not 100% sure if I want it to. I’m a little split on it.

Dunkirk – Hans Zimmer.

So here we have a score from one of my favorite composers, for a movie by one of my favorite directors. Yet I have somehow not seen “Dunkirk” as of writing. But what we have here is an intense and very unique score that makes use of not only your typical orchestral sounds, but also a ticking clock and a few other sounds that I can’t identify that easily. But I must say that this sounds fantastic, and it makes me tense up a bit, without the visuals of the movie. Zimmer catches the horrors of war incredibly well with his music, creating a haunting but also beautiful sound that drills itself into my bones and makes me feel like I’m in this horrible situation. So I’d say Zimmer has a good chance at getting the statue.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Carter Burwell.

Hey, finally a movie I’ve actually seen! But yes, the final score nominated for an Oscar is Carter Burwell’s score for Martin McDonagh’s masterful “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”. At times sounding like a western, at times sounding like an emotional drama, Burwell’s score perfectly captures the tumultuous journey of Mildred as she tries to get justice for what happened to her daughter. The music follows her arc perfectly, from the badass and cool, to the intimate and emotional. But as much as I love the music of “Three Billboards”, I doubt that it will take the Oscar. Would I be happy if it did? Hell yeah. But nothing about it really says “I can and will grab that Oscar” like some of the other contenders did.

Biggest chance of winning: The Shape of Water.
My pick: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

So those were the original scores. Now moving on to the second half.

Best Original Song
Time for the category that celebrates specific tunes made for the movies we watch. It’s an interesting category that I don’t fully understand the point of, but I won’t say no to a bit of music. So let’s go.

Mystery of Love – Sufjan Stevens – Call Me By Your Name.

First song on the list is “Mystery of Love”, a song from “Call Me By Your Name”, a movie about sexual discovery rather than identity theft (missed an opportunity there, yo). Written and performed by Sufjan Stevens, it almost feels like something that you’d hear from José González, but with a slightly bigger lean towards the pop side of it all. And I must admit that this song is pretty damn good. As the title suggests, it talks about how weird and mysterious the concept of love actually is. It has an interesting and unique sound that I like listening to. Do I think it has a shot at the Oscar? Hard to say, really. Would I be okay with it winning? Sure. I’m just unsure how the Academy would vote on it. Some songs/movies are easier to pin the chances of than others, and this one’s a bit challenging to pin down.

Mighty River – Mary J. Blige – Mudbound.

Here we have a song from a movie I’ve actually seen. “Mighty River” is part gospel, and part radio ballad. And it strikes a good balance between the two to make a song that is pleasing for the ears while still having an interesting and somewhat unique sound, at least for the current music industry. It also evokes those big, emotional songs you could hear in various movies from back in the day. Like “My Heart Will Go On” or that Faith Hill song from “Pearl Harbor”. So I’d be perfectly fine with “Mighty River” winning… shit, I’d say it’s chances are good.

This Is Me – Keala Settle – The Greatest Showman.

So here we have a pop song from a musical about P.T. Barnum, a man who wasn’t a very good person… but they still decided to make a colorful musical about him and his circus. False depiction of a historical figure aside, how is this song? Pretty good. It’s a very radio-friendly pop song that still manages to elevate that with the help of some solid crescendos and a slightly more old school approach. Do I want this to win? Not really. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it, but I don’t think it does anything that makes it worthy of that prize. It’s a little bit too… generic, in my opinion.

Stand Up For Something – Andra Day feat. Common – Marshall.

Here we have a song from the Thurgood Marshall biopic “Marshall”. This is a pop song with a good amount of soul thrown into it to create a sound that I really enjoyed listening to. Plus, the lyrics about standing up for a cause are somewhat inspiring, especially when delivered by Andra Day’s gorgeous voice. There’s also a short bit where Common raps, and it’s really good. Do I think this song has a chance? Maybe. It definitely has a foot in the door, but it’s hard to say how much that will help in terms of actually winning. Let’s say the chances are pretty good.

Remember Me – Benjamin Bratt/Kristen Anderson-Lopez/Robert Lopez – Coco.

The final song on the list is “Remember Me (Ernesto De La Cruz)”, a mostly upbeat and energetic song from Pixar’s latest film, “Coco”. The lyrics are good, the the instrumentals are good, it’s very personal to the writers… and it’s sung by the great Benjamin Bratt. Yeah, this is great. I haven’t seen “Coco”, but this song has made me want to check it out even more. The chances for this to win are pretty good, and I wouldn’t be mad if it did. ’tis a good song.

Biggest chance of winning: Mighty River.
My pick: Mighty River.

So those were the original song nominations.

And those were all of the music nominations from the Oscars, and my thoughts on them. But now I wanna hear from you guys, which score/song do you think should/will win? Please leave any and all answers in the comments, I really wanna hear from you guys.

The people I collaborated with on this:

Plain, Simple Tom.

Through the Silver Screen.

Angus McGregor Movies.

QuickFire Reviews.

Fivethreeninety.

Perks of being Nath.

Have a good one.

My Top 20 Favorite Albums of 2017

Ladies and gentlemen, it is once again time for me to ramble on about music. To be more specific, it’s time to once again talk about my favorite albums of the recently ended year. 2017 as a year in general wasn’t great. Terror attacks, a less than desirable person becomes president of the United States, people die, people turn out to be sexually assaulting scumbags… there’s been a fuckload of horrible stuff happening in the year. But it has had some bright spots. Mainly in the world of entertainment. We’ve seen some great movies, shows, and games be released over the year. And the topic we’re talking about today is of course no exception to that. So now we’re here to talk about my favorites of the year. Now, there will of course be albums that I missed out on and might discover at a later date, but I don’t exactly have the time or patience to go through every album released just for the sake of this list. So let’s get into it. Some rules first.

Rule #1: This is my list. If you don’t agree with it, then you shouldn’t complain about it. Go make your own damn list. These are my choices.

Rule #2: I will not include any soundtracks/original scores here. This list is all about the albums put out by various bands/artists during the year. So you won’t really see “Baby Driver” or “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” or “Blade Runner 2049” on this list.

Rule #3: Only full-on albums. No EP’s or singles. The only reason why I’m including this rule is because an EP is technically not an album… it’s more like multiple singles. Like a taste of an album. So while I loved Greta Van Fleet’s “From the Fires”, it will not make an appearance on this list. But I do recommend it… it’s awesome.

Rule #4: No live concert albums. Those are not normal album releases. And they often contain older songs from the artists as well. Live concert albums are cool, but they won’t be on this list.

That should cover it. Here we go. These are my top 20 albums of 2017.

Number 20: Pink – Beautiful Trauma (Sample: What About Us)

The first entry on this list is the latest from pop singer Pink. I’m a huge fan of Pink and her music, which might come as a surprised to some of you due to my heavily publicized love of rock and metal. But I do like her. Out of all the mainstream pop artists out there these days, she somehow manages to appeal to me. Maybe it’s the devil-may-care attitude she portrays at times, maybe it’s that voice of hers, maybe it’s the lyrics, maybe it’s the structure of the songs… or maybe it’s a blend of all. And while this isn’t her greatest outing, it’s still a damn fine album.

Number 19: Queens of the Stone Age – Villains (Sample: The Way You Used To Do)

Number 19 is the seventh album from modern-ish rock band Queens of the Stone Age. And it’s good. Not much else I can say about it. It’s another Queens of the Stone Age album. Has distorted guitars, interesting vocals… it’s the stuff you can expect from these guys. It’s a good album. NEXT!

Number 18: Alice Cooper – Paranormal (Sample: Paranoiac Personality)

In this spot we have the newest album from legendary rock artist Alice Cooper. There are fast songs, there are songs with creepy things in them, there’s fun to be had… basically it’s Alice Cooper doing old school Alice Cooper with enough tweaks to make it stand out a little bit. I like Alice Cooper. Which means I like this. It’s a good album. Good ol’ fashioned rock a la Cooper.

Number 17: Neil Young & Promise of the Real – The Visitor (Sample: Already Great)

Neil Young. Musician. Legend. Canadian. In this album we see him collaborating with American rock band Promise of the Real to bring us a cool, ear-pleasing album filled with social commentary. Hell, the sample track I used for this is a jab at Trump’s “Make America Great Again”. It’s a timely album and another solid entry from one of the greatest musicians of all time.

Number 16: Robert Finley – Goin’ Platinum! (Sample: Get It While You Can)

The number 16 spot goes to the newest release from blues/soul singer Robert Finley. It’s a really cool album that shows how you’re never too old to release a fun and asskicking album. Sure, that was more the point of his previous album “Age Don’t Mean a Thing”, but I think it could apply to his newest album as well. It’s filled with fun tunes drenched in old school blues and soul, giving it a unique vibe that you never really hear these days. And that voice of his is just so cool. ’tis a damn good album

Number 15: Samantha Fish – Chills & Fever (Sample: Chills & Fever)

At number 15 we have an album from female blues musician Samantha Fish. Admittedly it is less blues-heavy than her previous albums, leaning more on soul and jazz. But it still kind of works, since the songs are still catchy and a lot of fun to listen to. And we do get some of her guitar playing on the album. She also has a really cool voice that I just love listening to.

Number 14: Gotthard – Silver (Sample: Tequila Symphony No. 5)

Here we have the latest release from Swiss hard rock band Gotthard. And while they don’t do anything outside of their comfort zone, what they do here is still great. Instead of being jacks of all trades, they aim to instead focus on one thing they’re good at and just do that. And I love that about this album… it’s just Gotthard being Gotthard. It’s great.

Number 13: Deep Purple – inFinite (Sample: Time For Bedlam)

From the band behind “Smoke on the Water”, “Highway Star”, “Perfect Strangers”, and many more classics comes a new hard rock album… and it’s good. These old men still got it. It’s definitely not the band’s best album (“Machine Head” still holds that crown), but it’s still a good return to form for them. It’s a good rock album.

Number 12: Otis Taylor – Fantasizing About Being Black (Sample: Twelve String Mile)

At number 12 we have the latest from blues musician Otis Taylor. It’s a very raw album with some cool and damn interesting tracks. Combine that with Taylor’s voice and you get some damn fine music. It’s about some serious and interesting subjects, mainly civil rights and such. And hearing those things sung by this voice makes it almost heartbreaking without actually feeling too emotional or pander-y. It’s a damn good album.

Number 11: Sons of Apollo – Psychotic Symphony (Sample: Signs of the Time)

Halfway through the list and we’re talking a look at the debut album from American supergroup Sons of Apollo. Consisting of people who’ve played with/in/for all kinds of cool artists/bands, this supergroup is based heavily in prog-metal, and it’s honestly pretty awesome. It’s heavy, but it never loses sight of melody or meaning. It’s actually quite impressive. But I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised when you have that kinds of cool lineup.

Number 10: Body Count – Bloodlust (Sample: No Lives Matter)

Starting the top half of this list is the latest album from rap-metal band Body Count, led by rapper/actor Ice-T (Yes, really). When I first heard about them around mid-2017 I had a hard time believing it and even kind of laughed at it. But then I looked them up and listened to their songs (this album in particular)… and I really like them. While this kind of music seems like it would only be about killing people and such, that isn’t quite it. They have shit to say about society and the law and other such things. They’re like a modern equivalent to Rage Against the Machine (which is ironic considering Prophets of Rage exists). But they talk a lot about how people (especially black people) get totally fucked over in society. And it’s true, it does happen. And this album explores such themes very well. That said, they also have a cover of Slayer’s “Raining Blood” which I think they included just for fun.

Number 9: Samantha Fish – Belle of the West (Sample: Blood in the Water)

Surprise, an artist appeared twice on this list! Not gonna lie, I’m kind of surprised as well since most artists tend to only release one solo album at a time. But in 2017 Fish was very active. First “Chills & Fever”, then some touring, then “Belle of the West”. And this is definitely a more blues-y album than “Chills & Fever”, but it also takes a couple cues from country/western. And it’s a damn cool album. I really dig it.

Number 8: Kasey Chambers – Dragonfly (Sample: Ain’t No Little Girl)

The number 8 spot goes to Australian country/pop singer Kasey Chambers. The album is a ride that will take you through several emotions. You won’t necessarily feel all of them, but they are all part of the songs. It has a decent amount of themes going through it, and the instruments combined with Kasey’s amazing voice makes for a great album.

Number 7: Rise Against – Wolves (Sample: House on Fire)

At number 7 we have the latest from punk/rock/metal band Rise Against, a band that always has deeper meaning behind their songs. I’ve been a big fan of them for years, and while it’s not their best album, “Wolves” still didn’t disappoint. It’s another awesome album filled with great instrumentals, engaging lyrics, and Tim McIlrath’s awesome voice. It’s a great album.

Number 6: Blacktop Mojo – Burn the Ships (Sample: Dream On)

At number 6 we have an album from a hard rock band that I had never heard about until late 2017. I was just cruising around youtube, listening to music. Then I saw this cover of “Dream On” in my suggestions and I clicked it and I loved it. So I decided to check the band out which led to this album and I love it. It’s great. It’s exactly what I want in a good hard rock album. Great instrumentals, great vocals, interesting structure… it’s just really cool.

Number 5: Trombone Shorty – Parking Lot Symphony (Sample: It Ain’t No Use)

We’re in the top 5 now. And kicking this part off is this great fucking album from Trombone Shorty. It’s a cool album that takes a whole bunch of genres and uses them to make great songs. There’s hip hop, jazz, soul, R’n’B, and more. All while you have some nice brass going through it all. And it’s just one of the coolest and most unique albums of 2017 in that way. It’s just got so much energy and style that I can’t help but kind of love it.

Number 4: Brad Paisley – Love and War (Sample: Love and War)

At number 4 we find the latest album from country artist Brad Paisley, AKA my favorite country artist. And on this he sings about love, parties, soldiers not necessarily being treated as well as they should… yeah, it’s a great album. And the overall quality would probably not matter much in the long run as I would’ve put it on this list purely because of my love for Paisley. But since it is as great as it is, I could happily put it high up on the list without any “guilt”. It’s also cool to have a bunch of other famous artists featured in various tracks throughout the album, such as John Fogerty and Mick Jagger. It’s another win for Paisley.

Number 3: Robert Plant – Carry Fire (Sample: Carry Fire)

On third place on this list we find the newest solo album from former Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant. And here you won’t find any of his classic rock n roll antics, oh no. This is a much more reserved Plant. Not saying it’s as reserved and laid back as Mojave 3, but it’s quite reserved compared to his old Zeppelin days. This is a Plant that has taken musical inspiration from several different cultures in this world to combine them and create some really memorable and fantastic songs. This is truly a fantastic album

Number 2: Styx – The Mission (Sample: Gone Gone Gone)

On the penultimate spot we find the latest release from ye olde rock band Styx. And while some of their older stuff could be hit or miss, with entire albums being kind of inconsistent, this is an album that I find myself listening to quite often. While not the most complex album in the world, it’s still a lot of fun to listen to. And it’s also fun to hear that Styx still got it, almost even being better than ever. I also love the space travel concept of the album. I love space and they made some exciting songs about it.

NUMBER 1: Neil Young – Hitchhiker (Sample: Hitchhiker)

Taking the top spot on this list is “Hitchhiker”, the newest solo album from Neil Young. Not only is the album fucking masterful, containing some emotionally charged songs, but it also has an interesting story to it. This was originally recorded in 1976, but for some reason was never released… until 2017. So in some ways I could technically be cheating since it was made in the 70s. But my counterargument is that is wasn’t actually released until 2017. So it’s a 2017 album. And it’s amazing. And that’s why it’s my favorite album of 2017.

So those were my favorite albums of 2017. Now I’d like to hear from you. Did you have any favorite albums from the year that I didn’t mention here? Did you like any of the ones I mentioned? I’d really like to hear what you guys think.
Have a good one.

My Most Anticipated Movies 2018

Hello there, my friends! It is that time of the year again where I talk about my most anticipated movies of 2018. And I am aware that we’re already a week into 2018, but the movie year hasn’t really begun for me. So I am still safe in making this list. So here we go.

Just a couple of rules first.

Rule #1: My list. These are my most anticipated movies of the year. If you’re not excited for any of these or I didn’t include any that you’re excited about, then make your own list. These are MY most anticipated movies of the year. Not necessarily the ones I think will be the best, just the ones I am interested in seeing. In no particular order.

Rule #2: I will not include any late releases here. You know, those that have a limited release in like December and then come to other countries in the first quarter of the next year. So stuff like “Wind River”, “Three Billboards”, and “Shape of Water” are not included on this list (though I am excited for those too).

That’s it for rules this time. Here are my most anticipated movies of 2018.

Number 1: The Commuter.

First up we have “The Commuter”, the latest collaboration between Liam Neeson and director Jaume Collet-Serra. I’ve enjoyed all of their previous collaboration, I find them to be enjoyable little thrillers. None of them are genuinely great movies, but I find them to be entertaining, good ways to kill two hours. And this looks to be another entertaining one form the duo. And with people like Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson in the cast it’s sure to get some great acting in it.

Number 2: Deadpool 2.

I love “Deadpool”. It’s one of those movies that I was worried about, since FOX haven’t always been the kindest to the X-Movies. But I saw it and I had a blast. And “Deadpool 2” seems to be continuing what the first movie started. It looks like it will be as (if not more) insane as the first movie, while also introducing classic Deadpool allies Cable (Josh Brolin) and Domino (Zazie Beetz). But yeah, I’m excited.

Number 3: Black Panther.

After his awesome debut in “Captain America: Civil War”, I was excited to see Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) getting his own solo movie. Then the trailer came out, and I got even more excited because it looked badass. and with it coming out now in February, the hype is growing more and more. And even if it doesn’t turn out to be some fantastic movie, I am more than certain that it will be another cool and fun entry in the Marvel Cinematic universe.

Number 4: Avengers: Infinity War.

Yeah, I decided to go straight for the throat on this entry. The culmination of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. The big war featuring most if not all the heroes against the mighty Thanos (Josh Brolin). This looks like it will be a big and awesome action movie, but I also feel like there will be some great character moments in it, based on what came before and what this is. The hype is real.

Number 5: Ready Player One.

Here we have an interesting entry. Based on a book by Ernest Cline, “Ready Player One” tells the story of Wade (Tye Sheridan), a young man using a virtual reality world to try to win a competition that would grant him a lot of money. I love the book, and was scared when I heard that they were adapting it. But Spielberg has proven himself before, so I will try to be optimistic. It looks interesting, and features tons of fun easter eggs in it. So yeah, player one is ready.

Number 6: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

While “Jurassic World” wasn’t anywhere near as great as “Jurassic Park” (contrary to what my original review more or less said), it was still a fun action-adventure featuring dinosaurs. “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” looks to be that, but bigger, more explosive, and not as good. Not saying it will be bad (it’s on this list for a reason), but it has revealed a lot in the trailer… and a lot of it looks just… fine. Will I go see it opening week? You bet your ass, I am. But I will go in with restrained expectations.

Number 7: The Incredibles 2.

“The Incredibles” is a great movie, one of my favorites from Pixar. And Brad Bird is a good director. So I have a lot of faith that this will be good. By the way, why in the flying fuck did we get TWO “Cars” sequels before we even got ONE “Incredibles” sequel? Makes no god damn sense. But yeah, “Incredibles” is one I’m quite excited for.

Number 8: Annihilation.

Alex Garland has written some great movies. He also wrote and directed the excellent “Ex Machina”. And now we’re getting another movie that was written and directed by him. It stars Natalie Portman and is about some scientists going into some strange zone. And it looks good. I like me a solid sci-fi-thriller, and this looks like it could be such a thing.

Number 8: Pacific Rim: Uprising.

I really like “Pacific Rim”. I wouldn’t exactly call it Guillermo Del Toro’s greatest movie, but it has some interesting concepts and some damn entertaining action scenes. And while this doesn’t look like it will be as good as the first, it still looks like it could be a dumb and fun popcorn movie. And instead of Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi we seem to get John Boyega (Woo!) and Scott Eastwood (okay?). *gulp*. Please be good.

Number 9: X-Men: Dark Phoenix.

No trailer. Unproven director. Sequel to generally disliked movie. So how could I be excited for this? Honestly, I love “X-Men”. I love this franchise and I’m always excited to see new movies for this series. The X-Movies have given me hours upon hours of entertainment and I am always happy to get more.

Number 10: The New Mutants.

A horror movie set in the “X-Men” universe? Sure, why the fuck not. Could be fun. Looks like fun. Has a good cast. Yeah, I’m on board. Still confused about why horror with these mutants, and why there’s Pink Floyd in the trailer. Oh well, I’m intrigued.

Number 11: Soldado.

“Sicario” is one of my favorite movies of the last few years, so when they announced a sequel I got worried. Would they butcher it? How could they continue such a tight story? Sure, Brolin and Benicio are back, and so is the original writer… but Denis Villeneuve and Roger Deakins aren’t, so that had me worried. Then the trailer came out and I thought it looked okay. After some thinking, I am now even more excited about it. Do I think it’ll be better than the first? Hell no. But I think it could be a good movie.

Number 12: The Predator.

A sequel to “Predator”, written and directed by Shane Black? Hell yeah. Not only is Shane Black a damn fine writer/director, but his involvement with the original movie (he played the character Hawkins) gives him a bit more insight into this shit. And I’m just excited to see a new movie from Shane Black. He’s great.

Number 13: Ant-Man and The Wasp.

I like “Ant-Man”, it’s a really fun movie. I’m excited for the sequel. Has a good director, great cast, it’s part of the MCU… yeah, I’m excited. Moving on.

Number 14: Aquaman.

The DCEU has been… problematic to say the least. But “Wonder Woman” has proven that there can be good movies in it. And with an awesome cast and a solid director I am pretty excited for this movie. I feel like it could be fun. Did I say fun? Oh no, the DC fanboys will come after me now.

Number 15: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

Sony. Sony, Sony, Sony, you unreliable idiots. Needing help from Marvel to make a good “Spider-Man” movies. What’s this? An animated “Spider-Verse” movie? Okay, I’m intrigued. It has a cool style to it (though body/facial animation looks a bit jittery). I am intrigued to see them make this. I love me a bit of superhero animation.

And that’s it for my list. There will be interesting movies that I will find out about later this year, but these are some of the ones I’m a bit more interested in right now… a lot of superhero and sci-fi stuff. I am one predictable person. But I want to hear from you, what are some of your most anticipated titles this year? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Have a good one.

Movies I’m looking forward to in 2017

Hi there guys, and welcome to this little post of mine. New year, new movies! I know that we’re a bit over a week into the new year, but I can justify this post by saying that no movies I’m looking forward to have come out yet. So this list still works. Ha!

Rule #1: My list, not yours, so no bitching allowed. We’ve gone through this time and time again, so it should be burnt into your god damn heads by now. Cool? Cool.

Rule #2: This will not be a ranked list of my most anticipated movies of the year. There are so many movies I’m looking forward to this year that it will be impossible for me to rank them. I’m just listing the ones that I’m looking forward to, nothing else.

Rule #3: I am not including any of the movies that were limited in 2016 and got full releases in early 2017. I’m just not going to, including them would be cheating.

I only have one honorable mention for this, and that is “The Dark Tower”. I am a big fan of the book series, and I am cautiously optimistic about the film adaptation set to be released later this year. But we haven’t seen any footage yet, so it’s impossible for me to be genuinely excited about it.

With that out of the way, here are my most anticipated movies of 2017.

Justice League Dark.

Kicking off this list is an upcoming DC animated, direct-to-video feature about Batman (Jason O’Mara) gathering up some mystic/supernatural heroes to stop an overwhelming supernatural threat. These animated movies can be very hit-or-miss for many, but I am always looking forward to them. It’ll be nice seeing the DC animation team tackel the more supernatural side of the DC universe. Also, Matt Ryan came back to voice John Constantine… and that makes me all kinds of happy.

Logan.

Here we have possibly my most anticipated movie of the year. The trailer is great, and we already know that Hugh Jackman is fantastic as Wolverine. And James Mangold has proven himself as a very capable director, so I am sure that this will be a great film. I just know that I will cry in the cinema when I go see this. If not for a well made/sad scene, then at least because I know that this will be the last time I’ll see Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart in their iconic “X-Men” roles.

War for the Planet of the Apes.

I am a big fan of the last two “Planet of the Apes” movies, I thought they both brought a lot to the franchise. “Rise” was great, and then “Dawn” came out and turned out to be even better. Matt Reeves did such a fantastic job with that movie that I have no real worries for this new one.

Justice League.

The DCEU hasn’t faired the best in terms of critical reception. As for my opinions: I thought “Man of Steel” was really good, I thought “Batman v Superman” was okay, and I haven’t seen “Suicide Squad” yet. Now, despite the mixed reception of these movies, I am still looking forward to this movie. I am a little bit reserved, but it still seems like it could be a somewhat entertaining action movie. Plus, you can’t deny the excitement of seeing all these characters come together on the big screen for the first time.

John Wick: Chapter 2.

The first “John Wick” was such a big surprise. It was a fantastic action movie that just came out of fucking nowhere. It also featured the best performance we’ve ever seen from Keanu Reeves. So I am super excited for the sequel, which we’re not gonna have to wait too long for. Also, I am really excited about seeing Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne reuniting… I just love “The Matrix”, okay.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

The first “Guardians of the Galaxy” was a pretty big surprise in terms of both quality and profits. Not only did it make a shit-ton of money, but it also became my favorite MCU movie. It had everything I needed: Action, humor, interesting characters… space. So I am of course incredibly excited about this sequel which looks prettty great.

Baby Driver.
This movie has no trailer yet, but I am still very excited about it. Why? Firstly, the cast is pretty great. And secondly, it’s written and directed by Edgar Wright. Yeah, this is some exciting stuff.

Star Wars Episode 8.
dd2136507ee67d7a5e6494796e514f1b73f89d4ed7f861ffd5f1d4fe04d78a27

No title, no trailer, no nothin’. But it’s motherfucking “Star Wars”, so of course I’m excited. “Star Wars”!

Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Spidey’s (Tom Holland) appearance in “Captain America: Civil War” was one of my favorite things in any movie of 2016. Which of course made interested in seeing this version of the character in his own movie. Then a whole bunch of months later the first trailer for “Spider-Man: Homecoming” drops and yeah, I’m on board. If anything, it looks fun. And Michael Keaton seems like he will make a pretty intimidating Vulture. Yeah, this is pretty exciting.

Wonder Woman.

Another DCEU movie coming to us this year, and it looks really interesting. Even though the character of Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) felt very shoehorned into “Batman v Superman”, she was very entertaining (her entrance into the final battle being a standout moment). So I am interested to see what she’ll do in ehr very own movie, set during World War 1, and getting acquainted with the only Chris that Marvel hadn’t already snagged yet. I’m at least hoping for some badass action scenes featuring this badass woman.

Kong: Skull Island.

I am a fan of monster movies. I am also one of the few people that legitimately liked 2014’s “Godzilla”. So I was already excited for another “King Kong” movie. Then this trailer came out and it was pretty cool. Also, Tom Hiddleston looks a lot like Leon Kennedy from “Resident Evil 4” in this trailer. Long story short, I want to see a giant gorilla wreck some shit!

The Fate of the Furious.

Wait, this stupid franchise actually became good!? Yeah, it kind of did. “Fast Five” was great, “Fast & Furious 6” was good, and “Furious 7” was really good. Yeah, I’m as surprised as you are. From “Point Break” with cars to really big, loud, and stupid action fests that actually entertained me and also somehow gave a touching send-off to one of it’s primary castmates… Yeah, this franchise is full of surprises. And this movie looks just as stupid and fun as the last few.

Alien: Covenant.

I love “Alien”. I think I love “Aliens”. Three and four we don’t talk about. We also don’t talk about the “AvP” movies. And I liked “Prometheus”. And this movie looks like it can get tesne and scary… like “Alien”. There’s not much else to say… I’m excited.

Resident Evil: Vendetta.

No, not the stupid fucking live action bullshit. This is the third part in the animated “Resident Evil” movie franchise. I actually reviewed the previous two movies if you wanna know my thoughts on them, you just have to search “Resident Evil” to find them (#ShamelessPlug). But long story short, they are enjoyable and I am really excited for this third installment which looks stupid and really fun.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle.
The first “Kingsman” was a giant surprise. It was a January movie that actually turned out to be great… yeah, who would have thought. It was a terrific action movie that also kind of parodied the spy genre without actually mocking it. And with the director and star of that movie returning for the sequel… yeah, I am really excited.

Mute.
c1f6iucuqaarkwn

“What?”, I hear you asking. “Mute” is an upcoming Netflix original science fiction movie directed by Duncan Jones. You know, the very talented director that made “Moon”, “Source Code”, and “Warcraft” who also happens to be the son of David Bowie. The movie will star Alexander Skarsgård, Paul Rudd (pictured above with a glorious mustache), and Justin Theroux. I am a big fan of Jones’ previous movies, so this is a no-brainer for me to put on this list. Also, my love for science fiction is a factor in my excitement. Duncan Jones has stated that this is set in the same universe/timeline as “Moon”, so I am interested in seeing how the two movies tie together.

The Shape of Water.
cp7rintw8ay2mc1

This, my friends, is an upcoming fantasy movie by Guillermo Del Toro… and that’s really all I need. I am always excited about new Guillermo Del Toro movies. Sure, “Crimson Peak” wasn’t the best, but it was still not bad. I’ve enjoyed every Del Toro movie I’ve seen, so I am excited for this movie, especially since it has such a great cast.

Blade Runner 2049.

I was incredibly skeptical about this movie for the longest time. Sure, it had a terrific cast and a fantastic director, but a sequel to “Blade Runner”, released over 30 years later? Come on… no. Then this trailer came out and I am on board. It shows just hte right amount of stuff. It sets up the tone, it sets up some mystery and intrigue… it’s perfect. Yeah, I’m on board.

The Commuter.
The only reason why this is on the list is because it’s another action-thriller from director Jaume Collet-Serra and actor Liam Neeson. That’s it. I am a fan of their previous three movies, so I am just excited for this. I don’t expect a mindblowing thriller, just an entertaining action-thriller.

Dunkirk.

It’s a war movie directed by Christopher Nolan… how the fuck could you not be excited?

So those were a whole bunch of movies I’m excited for this year. What are you guys excited for? Leave any and all answers in the comments!
Have a good one!