Movie Review: The Losers Eek Out A Win

The Losers delivered exactly what I was expecting.  A fun action movie that was relatively faithful to the comic series.  I guess I could say that I was a little disappointed that it did not have the impact of the comic book, but that disappointment came when the movie was released and I could tell from the reviews that it was the case, not from watching it this weekend.  Did that just make any sense?

This image basically sums up the movie.  Flashy comic book style coolness.  I like that aspect of the movie.  The comic bookiness was actually more subtle in the movie than this poster suggests.  It felt like it might have been toned down to try to not alienate audiences, but I like the way they brought the original comic book artwork style into the flow of the film through various transitions.

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Review: Me as a Music Reviewer

Music is all about an emotional reaction.  There are many talented people in the world who can move past the emotional reaction and analyze music objectively.  That’s not me.

I tried to test myself by reviewing the new Big Boi album.  I like hip hop to some degree but the album did nothing for me.  Yet all the “real” critics are saying what a great album it is.  How I Got Over by The Roots, on the other hand, is an album that I quite like.  Also getting great reviews all around.  So how do I get past my personal feelings to write a proper review?

Answer: I don’t.

Nobody really cares what I have to say about an album that I can’t connect to, so why bother.  When I connect to an album (which can happen whether or not I like it, but the way) then there are generally a few comments I can add to the cloud of opinion that I feel have relevance, so I will save my time and effort for those situations.

Does this make me a bad reviewer?  No, it just means I’m not likely to get paid for reviews, but I can live with that, because if I have to write 500 words on Big Boi it is going to make me cry.  And I don’t want to get paid to cry.

So in conclusion, this is a funny picture.

Review: Crooked Fingers – Reservoir Songs II

Eric Bachmann and crew return with another EP of cover songs, in the tradition of the first Reservoir Songs EP released in 2002.  This album contains Bachmann’s signature gravelly voice over a variation of musical arrangements.  Such experimentation has been a Crooked Fingers constant and it especially works for Reservoir Songs II in which they cover half a dozen songs, equally varied in style.

I am not as familiar with the originals on this EP as with the last one.  On one hand, this takes away the fun of a covers album as it is interesting to be presented with a new take on songs  you have an existing relationship with.  On the other hand this should allow me to listen and enjoy more objectively.  But then again, how do I know whether my response to the songs are attributable to the original writing or to Crooked Fingers’ interpretation?  I guess in the end it doesn’t really matter who gets “credit”.  This is not a vote for prom queen and I’m not cutting any cheques, so just shut up and listen and enjoy.

I think the most interesting aspect of this EP is the decision to use Kickstarter.  I love the concept of gauging interest before investing in the project and it is a model that makes sense for both established and unestablished artists.  This is a similar approach to what Paul F. Tompkins is doing with his stand-up comedy shows through the Tompkins 300 series on Facebook.  For an established artist like Crooked Fingers I think Kickstarter provides a new way to connect with fans and allow them to participate in the process.

So what about the music?

  • Shelly’s Winter Love (Merle Haggard) – Classic Crooked Fingers, sounds right off of Bring on the Snakes
  • I Am Not Willing (Moby Grape) – Bit of a late-era Archers of Loaf feeling to the music but much nicer vocally
  • Gentle On My Mind (John Hartford) – A picky-plucky guitar song, up there with the best from Eric Bachmann’s most recent solo album To The Races
  • Wild One (Thin Lizzy) – Moody, piano driven with haunting vocals – the least interesting song on the album by far
  • Black Rose (Billy Joe Shaver) – Soft and dreamy
  • Strangers (The Kinks) – Electro drumming backbeat is not my favourite approach, but true to the spirit of the Kinks and fun nonetheless

I did not find this EP as immediately engaging as the last one, but as with all Crooked Fingers albums the more you give to it the more it gives back.  It’s too late to back the project, but go see them live and pick up some merch.

Review: Superchunk – Digging for Something

I can’t really review the new Superchunk 7-inch Digging for Something b/w February Punk as I do not have it.  I don’t do vinyl.  Don’t lynch me.

I downloaded the free Digging for Something mp3, which means I have half of the musical contents of the album.  It is upbeat and poppy, in a similar vein as last year’s Leaves in the Gutter EP.  The standardly awesome guitar assault – fuzz + solo = yay.  Great use of oh-oh-oh’s.  Drums are crisp and tappy-tappy with lots of snare to bop along to.

Pre-order Majesty Shredding now.