A Late Post

It appears that after one week of re-vamping the blog the challenge of a weekly post has already proved itself a strain, however, I was away last week and such an offence should not happen again apart from in extenuating circumstances. Well I have two weeks worth of media consumption to consider for this post and I have chosen a few of my most interesting excursions.

First of all, on the music front this Monday saw new releases from two bands that at some point in my life I have called my favourite, Linkin Park return with ‘Living Things’ and The Offspring offer us ‘Days Go By’ both of which I have given my opinions on below. In terms of movies I have not been watching anything particularly new but I have watched, for the first time, ‘Clerks’ and ‘Mallrats’ so below I shall have a section dedicated to Kevin Smith and his ‘View Askew-niverse’. With TV the past fortnight has seen me finish Game of Thrones and start on my next project; Boardwalk Empire, but I have decided since I have two episodes left of the first season I shall save my opinion on that one until next weeks post.

Living Things

Its been just a couple of months under two years since Linkin Park’s last offering which isn’t bad going after the band challenged themselves to make a new record every eighteen months just after the release of  ‘A Thousand Suns’. This new album is a notable improvement from said release, gone are the short tracks that feature just sound or clips from speeches, also gone (mostly) is the political slant to the lyrics, instead the majority of the album has full musical tracks and more personal lyrics.

I, personally, have quite enjoyed the bands last two offerings despite the fact that they seem to have trashed their original style and sound and I think its a bold move when they had something so unique and popular. But I think this album marks a, possible, conclusion to this particular area of exploration which started with ‘Minutes to Midnight’. In a statement the band have spoken out about feeling much more comfortable in their own skin with this record and it shows. It seems a much more complete record covering what they’ve learned from their experimentation and caters itself to what they do best. The discs strongest songs are found within ‘Lies Greed Misery’ which coming in at under three minutes manages to cram in a full collection of sounds that you can see influence of in all of their previous albums and ‘Victimized’ although only brief is a great sum up of all their experimentation. Lets hope with whatever they release next they continue to offer something diverse and perhaps go in a new direction, experimenting with some new styles.

Days Go By

 

Back in my early teens The Offspring could do no wrong in my eyes, being a young wannabe punk their whiny pop punk was ideal for me and with their last album ‘Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace’ which is now, quite unbelievably, four years old they showed that they’re never going to grow up but have still got it in them to create a perfectly passable album. When I first listened to ‘Days Go By’ I was beginning to think they may have even improved upon 2008’s LP. Opening track ‘The Future is Now’ and title track ‘Days Go By’ both exceed anything on ‘Rise and Fall…’ then just as you think this band could have reinvented themselves you are met with track six. ‘Cruising California (Bumpin’ in my Trunk)’ within about thirty seconds all your good feelings of the previous five tracks are obliterated and then their shards are shat on by a terrible pre-chorus which seems like a lame attempt to make a new ‘Pretty Fly…’ and it doesn’t stop there, as well possibly ruining their own name within the space of about a minute this travesty also pisses in the face of one of punks fore fathers The Ramones by quoting their famed ‘Hey Ho Let’s Go’ line. After this abomination of a song, which I have since found out is actually the first single, the band have set themselves with the impossible task of redeeming themselves and unfortunately no other tracks are worthy of even staying in my memory. It seems such a shame as in the first five tracks I was getting quite excited, but maybe it’s time that Dexter, Noodles and Greg K took some time, did some growing up and perhaps come back in a decade with something completely different because this is surely the last nail in the coffin for pop punk.

Kevin Smith

I must admit I feel I should have began watching Kevin Smith films a long time ago since I have heard nothing but praise for the nerdy comedy director but have only decided to make an effort in the past few days, I must say having seen Red State in the cinema at the end of last year I had lost some of the excitement of exploring his back catalogue but I decided it was time and I began at the beginning, with ‘Clerks’ which I very much enjoyed. Although clearly on a budget the dialogue was so funny it didn’t need anything more the introduction of Jay and Silent Bob, the universes main recurring characters was superb and it wasn’t long before I made some time to watch the second entry, ‘Malllrats’ clearly with a bigger budget and having learnt a few lessons from ‘Clerks’ I found this film much easier to watch and the comedy even maybe a step up from his debut as I find myself starting to recognise his unique style of comedy. However, I must express some disappointment at what has become of Smith particularly with his horror/thriller Red State which was an ordeal at best, he has stated that he’s probably not going to do any more view askew productions which I think is a shame but I suppose until I’ve seen them all I can’t really judge on whether it’s time or not, but when I’m finished I will, surely, let you all know.

Finally http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1dzuLhMGns

I apologise

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Re-vamped Blog

As a miniscule handful of the population will remember this is not the first attempt at birthing my own blog, my previous one was even put under the same title, and included a similar subject matter as to what I plan to include in this one. However, this re-vamp comes with a slightly new style. Whereas with the old blog I would just review the latest albums and films whenever I saw or heard them I plan to make this a much more narcissistic project in which I post weekly about the music, films or whatever else had been plaguing my mind that week. Without further ado I feel as though I should probably get on with it as I fear I have probably already spent too long waffling.

There are four main articles that I have been immersing myself in over the past seven, the first of which being the latest offering from Rockstar Games – Max Payne 3. Second of all is the tv show that appears to gaining fans every day Game of Thrones. From the world of film this week I partook in the viewing of Lars Von Triers’ Melancholia. And finally the thing that I have been most excited for for the longest amount of time the long awaited new Smashing Pumpkins album – Oceania.

Max Payne 3

It must be said that since becoming a fresher my gaming days have not been at the peak of their existence but Max Payne has been the first game in many months that grabbed my attention enough to lose contact with forty pounds worth of cash for. I have, for a long time now, been of the opinion that Rockstar are the greatest game studio in the world an this latest offering has certainly grabbed my imagination. The gameplay is the most cinematic I have found in a long while, seamlessly flowing from cutscene to play throughout its entire campaign. The story is one of the best I have played through probably since L.A. Noire.

The multiplayer also offers an entertaining past time, its strongest factor being the Payne Killer game mode in which your aim is to kill Max Payne or the games main enemy Passos in order to earn points from your kills. The game, overall, however is not completely without its flaws. When in the mood for a good long session spreading over a number of hours I found the levels in the story became slightly repetitive and the multiplayer, although fun, doesn’t really bring anything new to the table. Still a strong effort worth buying.

Game of Thrones

I have only recently begun watching Game of Thrones, which finished its second season ten days ago but over the course of about two weeks I have already stormed through its entire first series an the first half of the second, by the time I next write on here I will, no doubt, be finished. I must say I was slightly sceptical heading in the only period fantasy thing I’ve ever really got into being Lord of the Rings but it only took about three episodes before I found myself fully enthralled within its grasp. Its strength lies in its versatility, it can flit between moods so smoothly an its character development is second to none.

The contrast of storylines throughout its diverse universe make it impossible to bore you, as it changes from politics to brutality, to prostitution to dragons. It contains a lot less than the aforementioned LOTR, which largely works in its favour as when we are met with a supernatural entity the shock an excitement levels reach incredibly high levels. If you haven’t already, start watching this show.

Melancholia

I believed Melancholia to look like an interesting film containing unusual themes for a film of its nature, focusing on a science fiction aspect of the world coming to an en in amongst everyday drama during a rather bleak looking wedding scene. I must confess, however, I didn’t even make it to the end. I found it far too pretentious, right from the off I got the sense the directors whole aim was to make everything profoundly meaningful and in doing so he lost any profundity it may have carried. I always regret turning a film off halfway through because there could have been a massive turnaround in the second half but I must say for the first part I was bored out of my mind.

Oceania

The Smashing Pumpkins have been one of my favourite bands of all time for many years now, but it has been a long time since they were a truly great band, their last great album being ’95’s Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Oceania comes at a rather strange time in the bands history after Billy Corgan had to go back on his idea that the album was a dead form. In the midst of his epic aim to create a  44-track collection over the period of a number of years releasing one track at a time for free on their website he found that this method was gaining enough publicity, so in a bout to gain a larger following the decision was made to record a proper album that would also be a part of the Teargarden project.

Yesterday the album, which isn’t due for release till next week, was made available to stream on itunes in full. Having listened to the album probably about four times I can still rather confidently say its a very good album. The production is the best I’ve hear on any Pumpkins record, it bursts out the speakers in a rather enjoyable manner. It rocks pretty heavily, and has much more consistency than the previous full album, Zeitgeist. Ultimately, the way I view this record in my mind is like this: in the ’90’s grunge was at the top of the rock scene especially with the rise of Nirvarna and the Pumpkins records in that time, Gish, Siamese Dream, and Mellon Collie all reflected that grungy style whilst at the same time pissing all over it. Nowadays grunge is dead, and whats been left to prevail os the more straight up rock bands like the Foo Fighters and I believe Oceania does just what those albums did, takes its style from modern rock whilst pissing all over it and stamping Corgan’s personality on itself.

The album is certainly a pleasant surprise and I very much hope it can drum up the publicity that Corgan is hoping for so that his Teargarden project may, one day, reach its end.

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