Lust for Freedom, Fear No Evil, Grim Reaper, Beavis and Butt-head, Weezer, and the wolf-headed version of the Minotaur

February 28, 2009

lustforfreedom

OK, I have to confess that I’ve never seen this movie. But I’ve seen about one hundred other women-in-prison movies so I don’t think that really matters. Actually, maybe I have seen it–they’re so hard to tell apart that it wouldn’t surprise me.

grimreaperrockyoutohell

Around the same era that I was watching women-in-prison movies, I was living in a large house with a bunch of guys. We were in college and poor. We had a radio with a cassette player in the kitchen, but only one of us still had any cassettes. All of them were metal. So I listened to a lot of metal while cooking and eating boxed mac-and-cheese and similar food-like substances.

I don’t remember most of it, other than some Stryper I was already familiar with and some late Blue Öyster Cult. The chief exception was Grim Reaper, who were so over-the-top in their sheer “scary” metal power that they couldn’t help but leave an impression. How do you forget songs with titles like “Night of the Vampire” and “Suck it and See”? How do you forget an album named Rock You to Hell?

Obviously, you don’t.

“Lust for Freedom,” from the Rock You to Hell album, is the theme song to the women’s prison movie of the same name.

While reasonably well known among American metalheads, Grim Reaper was only exposed to a substantially larger audience once. That was on “Beavis and Butt-head,” where Butt-head demanded that they “stop in the name of all that which does not suck.”

grimreaperfearnoevil

Apparently, Weezer edited the video for Grim Reaper’s “Fear No Evil” and used it for “We Are All on Drugs.” The official Universal Music video of the song isn’t that at all, and I can’t find the Grim Reaper version online (update: see below). That’s a real shame–lots of folks have seen the awesomeness of Dio’s “Holy Diver” video, but the “Fear No Evil” video is just as awesome but not as well known as the song wasn’t a hit.

You really have to see this. After all, how many videos are there out there where the band emancipates slaves and defeats the wolf-headed version of the Minotaur through the magic of rock? Two, I guess.

If anyone knows where I can see the Weezer video, please let me know.

Update: Hell, yeah, found it. (WMV format)


Happy 77th Birthday, Johnny Cash!

February 27, 2009

Yesterday would have marked the 77th birthday of country legend Johnny Cash.  There’s really not anything I can say about the man that hasn’t been said before, so I will refrain from any more mythologizing on the subject.  Instead, I will allow the music to speak for itself.

Happy birthday, Johnny!  You are missed.

Johnny Cash – “San Quentin” – 1969 


New Releases of Note: 2/24/09

February 27, 2009

Black Lips – 200 Million Thousand

J.J. Cale – Roll On

Chris Isaak – Mr. Lucky

Johnny Cash – Original Sun Singles ’55-’58

Jerry Lee Lewis – Original Sun Singles ’56-’60


American Idol, 2009 – Episode 15 (2/26/09)

February 26, 2009

Idol LogoResults show for group two!

Who Should Advance

  • Allison Iraheta. A powerful performance of a tough song (“Alone” by Heart) and a nice surprise since the producers didn’t feel that she was important enough to mention hardly at all during the earlier episodes.
  • Adam Lambert. The “Satisfaction” camp-o-rama was an arresting performance, made extra-memorable by being slotted last, always a big advantage with the voters.
  • Jesse Langseth. I’m torn between her and Mishavonna Henson, and might change my mind if I watched both performances again, but it doesn’t much matter because neither are going through.

Who Will Advance

  • Allison Iraheta. The performance was a knockout and the judges didn’t say one bad thing about it.
  • Adam Lambert. They were almost as enthusiastic about this one.
  • Megan Corkrey. I do not understand the judges’ obsession with this girl, but their ill-placed but fulsome praise will likely be enough to brainwash the public into advancing her.

Let’s see how I do. Spoilers below the fold, of course.

Read the rest of this entry »


American Idol, 2009 – Episode 14 (2/25/09) (II)

February 26, 2009

Idol LogoFirst off, a big thanks to Jason for covering for me last night. I haven’t read his post yet (don’t want spoilers!), but I can tell from his intro that we have some differences of opinion that should make it fun. (Jason, if you like Tatiana, please never set me up on a blind date.) I look forward to reading it after I’ve watched the episode.

So here, a day late but hopefully not a dollar short, is my blogging on last night’s episode. This means my results post will be a bit late, but I will post it tonight. (Update: Up now.)

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American Idol, 2009 – Episode 14 (2/25/09)

February 25, 2009

I will be filling in for Gordon for tonight’s live blog of “American Idol.”  There will probably be a bit more snark, but I will try to keep it objective.  I promise not to call anyone a crapweasel.

I will say that, unlike Gordon, I am a fan of Nick Mitchell/Normund Gentle, but  no special treatment.  I also liked Tatiana, and I hope to see her back next week.

Here we go! (spoilers below the fold)

Read the rest of this entry »


Album Review: Various Artists – Dark Was The Night

February 25, 2009

Back in December when I first saw the list of contributing artists on a press release from legendary indie label 4AD for their charity compilation Dark Was The Night, I was floored.  The list reads like a veritable Who’s Who of indie rock in 2009, or at least the folky and/or high profile American/Canadian subsection of it.  The disc notably features some great duets between some of the biggest names in independent music today.  Here’s the alphabetical list of performers as it appeared on the release: 

Andrew Bird
Antony + Bryce Dessner
Arcade Fire
Beach House
Beirut
Blonde Redhead + Devastations
Bon Iver
Bon Iver & Aaron Dessner
The Books featuring Jose Gonzalez
Buck 65 Remix (featuring Sufjan Stevens and Serengeti)
Cat Power and Dirty Delta Blues
The Decemberists
Dirty Projectors + David Byrne
Kevin Drew
Feist + Ben Gibbard
Grizzly Bear
Grizzly Bear + Feist
Iron & Wine
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
Kronos Quartet
Stuart Murdoch
My Brightest Diamond
My Morning Jacket
The National
The New Pornographers
Conor Oberst & Gillian Welch
Riceboy Sleeps
Dave Sitek (TV On The Radio)
Spoon
Sufjan Stevens
Yeasayer
Yo La Tengo

All together, there are 31 tracks of new material and cover songs, all recorded specifically for this compilation. The project was produced by The National members Aaron and Bryce Dessner to benefit Red Hot, a charity dedicated to AIDS prevention and relief (also responsible for other fifteen other compilations, such as 1993’s No Alternative).

It’s very difficult to review a compilation of this scope, and I don’t have the tme or inclination to provide a track by track review, but let me start by saying that it is almost uniformly excellent.  There are very few throwaway tracks here, and the vast majority of the songs are fully realized, album ready gems.  Disc 1 is a very mellow affair, but it never gets boring.  Standouts include Feist and Ben Gibbard performing an inspired cover Vashti Bunyan’s “Train Song,” original Bon Iver tune “Brackett, WI,” The National’s “So Far Around The Bend,” Antony Hegarty’s cover of Bob Dylan’s “I Was Young When I Left Home, and Sufjan Stevens covering the Castanets’ “You Are The Blood” .  Okay, the whole first disc is pretty great!

Disc 2 kicks off with a powerhouse combo.  Spoon’s “Well-Alright” is a catchy, stripped down bit of Buddy Holly punk.  Next up is the Arcade Fire, contributing a typically bombastic cut in “Lenin,” followed by Beirut’s easily recognizable squeezebox ditty “Mimizan.”  Next up is My Morning Jacket’s gorgeously laid-back “El Caporal.”  I could keep going, but practically everything here is well done (special extra shout out to Andrew Bird’s “The Giant of Illinois”).  Cat Power’s “Amazing Grace” is a bit straight forward and disappointing, Disc 2 as a whole feels a bit less cohesive than Disc 1, and there are a few instrumentals on each disc that I could do without, but there’s very little else to complain about.

Some may be miffed that large swaths of the indie rock community are left off of this compilation (Punk? Noise rock? Electronic? Metal? Hip hop? Europeans?), and others may be turned off by the generally slower, more laid-back pace.  This is not a risky bunch of recordings, but it’s not meant to be.  The overall effect of the record is that a bunch of indie rock heavyweights came together to have a good time and record some great music with their friends.  On top of that, they did it all for a good cause, to help prevent and provide relief for one of the most devastating diseases of the modern age.  Right now, Dark Was The Night is avaialable through Amazon.com’s download service for $11.99 (it was $9.99 just yesterday!).  At that price, you would be a fool not to own it. 

Feist and Ben Gibbard – “Train Song”

As an added bonus, here is a video of Vashti Bunyan performing the song that would later become “Train Song.”  It’s called “17 Pink Sugar Elephants,” and I think I prefer it with these lyrics.  Amazing how her voice has barely changed in over 40 years.  Enjoy!

Vashti Bunyan – “17 Pink Sugar Elephants”


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