New Comic Releases – 04/16/14

God Is Dead #11, $3.99
Rover Red Charlie #5 (of 6), $3.992969599-boom_logo_copy_0
Translucid #1 (of 6), $3.99

Batman Eternal #2, $2.99
Wonder Woman #30, $2.99

Five Weapons #8, $3.50
Genesis One Shot, $6.99
Mercenary Sea #3, $2.99
Minimum Wage #4, $3.50
Shotgun Wedding #3 (of 4), $3.99

Hulk #1, $3.99
Ms Marvel #3, $2.99
Ultimate FF #1, $3.99
What If Age Of Ultron #3 (of 5), $3.99
Winter Soldier Bitter March #3 (of 5), $3.99
Wolverine #4, $3.99
Wolverine and the X-Men #3, $3.99
X-Force #3, $3.99

Auteur #2, $3.99

Kurt Cobain When I Was an Alien GN, $18.95

X-O Manowar #24, $3.99

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New Comic Releases – 04/09/14

Star Wars #16, $2.99

Batgirl #30, $2.99
Batman Eternal #1, $2.99

East Of West #11, $3.50
Great Pacific #14 (Cover A – Morazzo), $2.99
Peter Panzerfaust #18, $3.50
Shotgun Wedding #2 (of 4), $3.99
Shutter #1 (Cover A – Del Duca), $3.50
Walking Dead #125, $2.99

All New Doop #1 (of 5), $3.99
All New Ghost Rider #2, $3.99
All New Ultimates #1, $3.99
All New X-Factor #6, $3.99
Avengers Undercover #2, $2.99
Captain Marvel #2, $3.99
Daredevil #1.50, $4.99
Iron Fist Living Weapon #1, $3.99
Iron Man #24, $3.99
Nightcrawler #1, $3.99
Secret Avengers #2, $3.99
What If Age Of Ultron #2 (of 5), $3.99
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New Music Releases – 04/15/14

Sorry, this is a day late, and there’s no time to write anything about these releases. Blame the Nashville Film Festival!

Afghan Whigs – Do to the Beast
Black Keys – Fever (CD Single) [Single]
Bobby Bare Jr. – Undefeated
The Both (Aimee Mann and Ted Leo) – The Both
Dan Wilson – Love Without Fear
Fucked Up – Year of the Dragon
Gord Downie & The Sadies – Conquering Sun
Ikebe ShakedownStone By Stone
Ingrid Michaelson – Lights Out
Jack Bruce – Silver Rails
JapantherInstant Magic Money
Jessica Lea Mayfield – Make My Head Sing
Junkie XL – Divergent: Original Motion Picture Score
Nels Cline (with Medeski, Martin & Wood)  – Woodstock Sessions Vol. 2
Ryley Walker – All Kinds of You
Secret Sisters – Put Your Needle Down
Shonen KnifeOverdrive
Stanton Moore – Conversations
Thee Oh Sees – Floating Coffin
Woods – With Light & With Love
Ziggy Marley – Fly Rasta

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February 2014: The Best Music Tracks

Every week there are about a thousand new albums released on CD, and countless more released on digital downloads, streaming, free with your phone or any other way people can think to market their music to you in an astonishingly over-crowded marketplace. Each week we highlight some we are interested in hearing, and at the end of the following month we will be publishing what wound up as our favorites. 

I’m already 2 weeks late posting February 2014, and I’m leaving this week for jury duty at the Nashville Film Festival, so I’m posting this without much commentary.

By my estimation, I listened to over 80 new albums that were released in February 2014. These are my five favorite songs of the month.

1. Wave by Beck (from Morning Phase)

81coqLBpCWL._SL1400_Obviously the man needs no introduction, and you’ve probably already heard that this album sounds just like 2003′s Sea Change. And it does, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Wave struck me immediately, probably because of the amazing string section, haunting vocals and overall minimalism of the piece.

There are no videos for any of the songs on Morning Phase, but here is Beck performing Wave on Saturday Night Live.

2. I Love My Dad by Sun Kill Moon (from Benji)

It took me a while to come around to Mark Kozelek and Sun Kil Moon, but after last year’s one-two punch of Perils from the Sea (with The Album Leaf’s Jimmy LaValle) and Mark Kozelek & Desertshore (with…uhh Desertshore), I’m now officially a convert, with a lot of back catalog to absorb (or re-absorb) as soon as possible.

Benji (named for the G-rated 1974 film about the lovable stray mutt with a habit of helping people.) is as much literature as it is a piece of music. Kozelek usually writes in more of a storytelling style, often eschewing rhyming complete, while still retaining a singing style. Most of the songs on this album focus on mortality.

In this track, Kozelek talks his relationship with his dad, a seemingly complex relationship that involved a lot of sternness, but also is the person that taught him how to be a good person, and got him the guitar that has led to his near-quarter century career.

3. Look Away by Lo-Fang (from Blue Film)

I could have chosen just about any song from this pleasant atmospheric electronic album. I’ve rarely put a single song from this album on, instead choosing to listen to it from start to finish each time.

This song, however, has a cool, trippy music video to go with it, so here you go.

Mark McGuire – In Search of the Miraculous (from Along The Way)

No, not the baseball guy. Mark McGuire (mostly) plays guitar, mostly instrumental pieces. Previously for the three piece band Emeralds, who released almost half a dozen records from 2006-2013, when McGuire left the band to concentrate on his solo career.

McGuire plays minimalist music, usually utilizing his acoustic guitar along with some electronics. Overall it creates an album filled with sounds that I don’t think would be out of place calling Experimental and New Age, Psychedelic and Ambient.

As is the case with an album like this, individual tracks sometimes do not stick out, urging you to always look at the piece as a whole. In the case of Along The Way, however, the track most people seem to want to highlight is the 12-minute mid-album track (and single) The Instinct, the most drone-y song on the album, which starts out with very minimal, percussive electronics before launching into a very active guitar solo and fading back out. The song is even included in a remix version as a bonus track.

It is a pretty stunning song (and video), and apparently one that McGuire has been working on for at least four years, but I went with the shorter, smoother track, In Search of the Miraculous, which also features some of the very nice vocals scattered throughout the album.

5. Hamell On Trial – Artist In America
(from The Happiest Man in The World)

I can’t believe Hamell On Trial is eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame right now. Not that I think he deserves to be there, but I can’t believe he’s been playing for 25 years.

His particular brand of music (mostly acoustic punk rock) and songwriting (political, emotional, intense, sometimes comedic) can often be hit or miss to me. When they hit, they really hit, like on the anthemic The Meeting, the beautiful tribute to the master Bill Hicks, humorous Inquiring Minds and the philosophical Big As Life.

Artist In America might not be as great as the four songs above, but it’s still a smart, song-dropping philosophical musing on the joy to be found in music.

February 2014: The Best Video Releases

Every week there are hundreds of films released on DVD, Blu-Ray or digital streaming and download. Each week we highlight some we are interested in watching, and at the end of the following month we will be publishing what wound up as our favorites.

I’m already 2 weeks late posting February 2014, and I’m leaving this week for jury duty at the Nashville Film Festival, so I’m posting this without much commentary.

In February 2014 we spotlighted 33 titles making their way to home video, of which I watched 22. These are my five favorites:

1. Gravity

Obviously not much needs to be said about this 7-time Oscar winner. It is a stunning piece of filmmaking, that I watched twice on IMAX 3-D during the opening weekend.

2. Nebraska

I didn’t jump on Nebraska, but when I finally saw it, I found it to be a fantastic movie. It’s humorous, sweet and all around engaging. It reminded me a bit of The Straight Story.

3. Thor: The Dark World

I am a complete sucker for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and while the Thor movies are my least favorite of them, they are both quite fun and entertaining.

4. $50K and a Call Girl: A Love Story

I knew nothing about this film going into it. I hadn’t heard the title until I noticed it on the weekly new releases.

$50K and a Call Girl is a fake documentary about two brothers, Seth and Ross. When Ross is diagnosed with terminal cancer, Seth decides to blow his wedding fund on taking a cross-country trip with Ross, and checking off things on his bucket list. After an encounter with a call girl leads to her inclusion on the trip, Seth’s fiance also decides to come along.

This film has a lot of heart, with some very good, intimate acting. Unfortunately for me, it does contain a lot of familiar tropes that I’ve seen in other movies of this genre and budget (I assume this film was made for somewhere close to $50K mentioned in the title). But you probably haven’t seen those films, so your mileage may vary.

Either way, this will probably be one of the best micro-budgets films I see this year.

5. Muscle Shoals

I do love documentaries about music. Something about the mixture of film and music (my two favorite things), and personal stories really speaks to me. Music Documentaries is even the category I’m on the jury for next week.

I was already interested in a documentary about the history of Muscle Shoals, and the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, when it first premiered last year, but my interest was even further piqued when it was named Paste Magazine’s #1 documentary of the year, beating out my favorite, A Band Called Death, Room 237, Stories We Tell, and so forth.

I did not think it was worthy of that praise, but I did enjoy the film. Oddly enough, there is another film at the Nashville Film Festival called Take Me To The River, which is more of a modern look at Muscle Shoals and Stax Records. Combined these films would probably be a flawless documentary.

New Music Releases – 04/08/14

Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks – Enter the Slasher House
- Debut albm from Animal Collective member.
Faint – Doom Abuse
Joan Osborne – Love & Hate
- features Nels Cline on guitar.
John Frusciante – Enclosure
- ex-Red Hot Chili Pepper’s guitarists, newest solo record.
Marc Ford – Holy Ghost
- ex-Black Crowes guitarist.
Monty Alexander – Harlem-Kingston Express 2: River Rolls on
- Legendary reggae/jazz pianist is nearing 40 years into his career. This his a followup to his 2011 release.
Sweet Apple – The Golden Age of Glitter
- features vocals by Robert Pollard and Mark Lanegan. J Mascis on drums and guitar and Rachel Haden from that dog and The Rentals.
Wilko Johnson and Roger Daltry – Going Back Home
- The singer of The Who with the guitarist of 70′s rockers Dr. Feelgood.
William S Burroughs – In Dub (Conducted By Dub Spencer & Trance Hill)
- WSB’s spoken word recordings have often had music added, by people like Sonic Youth, Kurt Cobain, Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy and more. These tracks apparently have dub reggae music put behind it.

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New Video Releases – 04/08/14

August: Osage County[DVD][Blu-ray]
- - Family drama starring Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, both of whom were nominated for Oscars and Golden Globes.
Bastards[DVD][SD Download][HD Download]
Don’t Ask Me Questions: The Unsung Life of Graham Parker and The Rumour[DVD]
Grudge Match[DVD][Blu-Ray]
Patton Oswalt: Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time[SD Download][HD Download]
- Newest standup comedy special.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug[Special Edition DVD]
Zero Charisma[DVD]
 D&D related comedy. SXSW. 


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New Comic Releases – 04/02/14

A bunch of new comic titles this week: Caliban, from Garth Ennis, a new Aquaman title, the start of a new ’68 mini-series,  new Marvel superheroes Inhuman and two amnesiatic mysteries (Dead Letters and Field). Also a new God Is Dead, Black Science and a bunch of young Marvel reboots (Punisher, She-Hulk, Black Widow, Magneto, Loki), as well as a Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Tie-in.

Caliban #1, $3.99
God Is Dead #10, $3.99

Dead Letters #1, $3.99

Terminator Salvation: The Final Battle #5, $3.99
Veil #2, $3.50

Aquaman and the Others #1, $2.99
Batwing #30, $2.99
Swamp Thing #30, $2.99

68 (Sixty Eight) Rule Of War #1 (of 4) (Cover A – Jones), $3.99
Apocalypse Al #3 (of 4) (Cover A – Kotian & Farmer), $2.99
Black Science #5, $3.50
Field #1 (of 4), $3.50
Self Obsessed One Shot, $3.99
Shotgun Wedding #1 (of 4), $3.99

Black Widow #5, $3.99
Captain America #19, $3.99
Inhuman #1, $3.99
Loki Agent Of Asgard #3, $2.99
Magneto #2, $3.99
Marvels Guardians Of Galaxy Prelude #1 (of 2), $2.99
Moon Knight #2, $3.99
New Warriors #3, $3.99
Punisher #4, $3.99
She-hulk #3, $2.99
What If Age of Ultron #1 (of 5), $3.99

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New Music Releases – 04/01/14

Band of Skulls – Himalayan
- 3rd album from blues
Black Pistol Fire – Hush or Howl
- Sounds like Black Keys/White Stripes.
Cloud Nothings – Here & Nowhere Else
Ibibio Sound Machine – Ibibio Sound Machine
- African-electronic fustion project.
- Leaders of Eluvium and Explosions in the Sky combine forces for more post-rock.
Joan As Police Woman – Classic
- Newest album from Joan Wasser, ex-Dambuilders, Those Bastard Souls, Seedy Arkestra, etc.
Jon Langford & Skull Orchard – Here Be Monsters superstars newest.
Kaiser Chiefs – Education, Education, Education & War
- UK Indie Rocker’s fifth album.
Leon RussellLife Journey
- Celebrating 35 years of recording and releasing his own albums in his unique style.
M83 – You and the Night (Original Soundtrack)
- Soundtrack to a Cannes film about…an orgy?
MC Yogi – Mantras Beats & Meditations
- Yogi/Rapper that often raps about Hinduism.
Nickel Creek – A Dotted Line
- Reunion record for this bluegrass band after nine years apart.
Pure XAngel
RAC – Strangers
- Debut album by prolific remixer.
Robert Cray – In My Soul (Limited Edition)
- Cray has been playing blue guitar for over 30 years. With this CD, he adds a more soulful sound.
Thievery Corporation – Saudade
- Usually Thievery Corp. globe-trot for the sounds and styles of their albums. This time they hone in on Brazil.
Timber TimbreHot Dreams
White HinterlandBaby
Various Artists – Looking Into You: A Tribute To Jackson Browne
 Two disc tribute album featuring Lyle Lovett, Ben Harper, Lucinda Williams, Springsteen and more.
Various Artists – Ronnie James Dio – This Is Your Life
- Tribute to the late Black Sabbath/Rainbow/Dio singer, with Metallica, Anthrax, Tenacious D, Scorpions and more.

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