Friday, May 29, 2009

40 Years Ago Today: Crosby, Stills & Nash release their self titled album...

Crosby, Stills & Nash is the eponymous first album released by Crosby, Stills & Nash in 1969 on the Atlantic Records label. It spawned two Top 40 hits, "Marrakesh Express" and "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes," which peaked respectively at #28 the week of August 23, 1969, and at #21 the week of October 25, 1969, on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. The album itself peaked at #6 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart.

The album was a very strong debut for the band, instantly lifting them to stardom. Along with the Byrds' 'Sweetheart of the Rodeo' and The Band's 'Music From Big Pink' of the previous year, it helped initiate a sea change in popular music away from the ruling late sixties aesthetic of bands playing blues-based rock music on loud guitars. Crosby, Stills & Nash presented a new wrinkle in building upon rock's roots, utilizing folk, blues, and even jazz without specifically sounding like mere duplication. Not only blending voices, the three meshed their differing strengths, Crosby for social commentary and atmospheric mood pieces, Stills for his diverse musical skills and for folding folk and country elements subtly into complex rock structures, and Nash for his radio-friendly pop melodies, to create an amalgam of broad appeal. Eventually going multi-platinum, in addition to the abovementioned singles, Crosby, Stills & Nash features some of their best known songs in "Wooden Ships" and "Helplessly Hoping." "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" was composed for Judy Collins, and "Long Time Gone" was a response to the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.

This album proved very influential on many levels to the dominant popular music scene in America for much of the 1970s. The success of the album generated gravitas for the group within the industry, and galvanized interest in signing like acts, many of whom came under management and representation by the CSN team of Elliot Roberts and David Geffen. Strong sales, combined with the group's emphasis on personal confession in its writing, paved the way for the success of the singer-songwriter movement of the early seventies. Their utilization of personal events in their material without resorting to subterfuge, their talents in vocal harmony, their cultivation of painstaking studio craft, as well as the Laurel Canyon ethos that surrounded the group and their associates, established an aesthetic for a number of acts that came to define the "California" sound of the ensuing decade, including The Eagles, Jackson Browne, post-1974 Fleetwood Mac, and others.

In 2003, the album was ranked number 259 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Suggested listening:

Thursday, May 28, 2009

5 Movies That Even I am Surprised I Haven't Seen Yet, Vol. 3...(Horror Films Edition)

I've seen a lot of movies in my life...and through the years I have attempted to see many of the films considered to be "culturally important" by film critics. I have had years to see the movies listed below, however...they have been continuously pushed further down the list of "I need to see that someday".

1. Evil Dead

The 1981 cult classic...that I (sigh) have never seen. Up until 2006, I had never taken in a single scene of "The Godfather" triology. At that time, I made sure to keep this information under wraps due to the fact that I am considered somewhat of a film, how could I justify not seeing two of the greatest films of all time? Well, Evil Dead is my new "Godfather" in terms of cultural neglect. Why have I not seen "Evil Dead"?

2. Evil Dead 2

see # 1

3. The Night of the Living Dead

Black and white creepy is totally different than color creepy. Every horror movie countdown includes this one. I will watch this before 2009 is over.

4. Dawn of the Dead

Zombies man. I refuse to watch the 2004 remake, so I guess I better see the original.

5. Hellraiser

Truth be told, Hellraiser just seems like it would make me uncomfortable (considering it is based on sadomasochism) and Pinhead...legitimately creeps me out. It might be awhile before I get to this one.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My All-Time Top 10 Favorite Wrestlers...

(in order)

1. The Ultimate Warrior

The greatest of all time. Despite many urban legends, there was only one Ultimate Warrior. Real name, Jim Hellwig (legally changed to "Warrior") from Crawfordsville, Indiana of all places. The Ultimate Warrior was the greatest thing I had ever seen in my young life when I first saw him beat Honky Tonk Man in 31 seconds for the Intercontinetal Title. From the entrance music to the face paint to the shaking of the ropes to the fringe to the snarl, it was all good with Warrior. Ultimate Warrior won the greatest match of all time versus Hogan back in 1990. That's right, title for title. The rest is history.

2. Sting

Sting was like the other Ultimate Warrior. My utopian dream was that Sting and Ultimate Warrior would form a tag team that would dominate for the next decade. You can imagine my surprise when I found out that they already formed a tag team years ago called "The Blade Runners". This was before their careers in WWF and WCW. Sting didn't switch sides to WWF until late in his career...what a shame.

3. Demolition

Ax and Smash are hands down my favorite tag team of all time. Just look at them. I actually feared for those who faced them in the squared circle. Very few tag teams looked as good as they did wearing the titles. I still don't understand "Crush" coming in to be the third man in a tag team? Last time I checked, a tag team meant two guys, not three.

4. The Rockers

Their clothes, their style and their energy were perfect for that time period. I got in trouble more than once for jumping on the couch after watching these guys and their high-flying act. I was certainly conflicted seeing the Rockers get cheated against Demolition in the tag team title match back in 1991. As we know, Shawn Michaels went on to big and better things after he threw Marty Janetty into that fake barber shop glass.

5. Legion of Doom/The Road Warriors*

Just look at could you not love these two?

*Hawk is dead by the way.

6. Hulk Hogan

I said my prayers and ate my vitamins and respected the 24 inch pythons but even I am kind of surprised that Hogan dropped to number 6 when I made this list. I chalk it up to a decade of over-exposure and seeing that "big boot drop" just one too many times. It was kool to see Hogan be a bad guy when he went to WCW but by that time, it was a little too late.

7. Mr. Perfect*

Mr. Perfect was a real fucking asshole but he sure could wrestle, not to mention smack his gum out of mid-air...everytime. Mr. Perfect vs. Texas Tornado for the Intercontinetal Title at Summer Slam 1990 is still one of the best matches of all time.

*Mr. Perfect is dead by the way.

8. The "Macho Man" Randy Savage

Macho Man was great, almost hurts me to put him as low as number eight. I definitely loved Macho Man in the orange/star trunks era. He was high-flying and dropped a mean elbow from the top ropes. Once Randy Savage ditched Miss Elizabeth for "Scary" Sherry, I was over him.

*Miss Elizabeth is dead by the way.

9. Bret "The Hitman" Hart

I wasn't crazy about Bret Hart when he was a member of "The Hart Foundation" tag team, but when he became the Intercontintal champ as a result of laying the "sharp shooter" down on Mr. Perfect, I took notice. FYI: Bret Hart did NOT like The Mountie.

10. The Texas Tornado*

Otherwise known as Kerry Von Erich, the Texas Tornado racked up wins quick with that spinning, twister move he came up with. Much like Sting, I always secretly wished that Tornado would tag team up with Ultimate Warrior to become the new titled contenders.

*Texas Tornado is dead by the way.

Honorable Mention:

Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake
Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat
British Bulldog*
Koko B. Ware
Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka
2 Cold Scorpio
"Flyin" Brian Pillman*
The Steiner Brothers
Strike Force

*British Bulldog and Flyin' Brian Pillman are both dead by the way.

Suggested viewing:

Wrestlemania VI: "Title for Title"

this was hands down, the greatest match of all time.

Survivor Series 1990

Ultimate Warrior, Texas Tornado, Legion of Doom


Mr. Perfect & Demoltion w/ Crush

my second favorite match of all-time.

Royal Rumble 1991

This was the best Royal Rumble ever!

Summer Slam 1990

Warrior vs. Ravishing Rick Rude* in a steel cage!

*Ravishing Rick Rude is dead by the way.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New Music: Grizzly Bear - "Two Weeks"

Untitled from Marco Orlando on Vimeo.

Weird, weird and weird video...but the song itself is a lock for my top 50 songs of 2009.

Top 5 Songs I am Currently Listening To...

1. Modest Mouse - "Guilty Cocker Spaniels"
2. Keri Hilson - "Knock You Down (Feat. Kanye West & Ne-Yo)"
3. The Rolling Stones - "Let It Loose"
4. Grizzly Bear - "Two Weeks (Fred Falke Remix)"
5. Young Jeezy - "Get Allot"

Friday, May 22, 2009

My Top 10 Favorite G.I. Joe's...

(in order)

1. Storm Shadow

So, I understand that Storm Shadow was Cobra...but, he was just so kool that I cannot place him anywhere other than at the #1 spot. My mom decided it would be a good idea to show me that she bought Storm Shadow as a Christmas gift...but it was not intended for me, it was for my cousin Rodney...WHO DIDN'T EVEN PLAY WITH G.I. JOE'S!!!!! I've never really got over that one.

2. Dusty

Dusty gets the #2 spot because he was the first G.I. Joe I ever owned. Kmart, a few aisles over from the spinning frozen coke machine... I discovered the world of G.I. Joe. For some reason I picked Dusty...or did he pick me?

3. Quick Kick

Quick Kick earns #3 due to my love of karate/martial arts around the same time that I really loved G.I. Joe. Quick Kick was not match for Storm Shadow, but, he was really kool looking.

4. Snake Eyes

We all know how bad ass Snake Eyes was, no reason to give a reason for him being in my top 5.

5. Tomax & Xamot

Yes, more Cobra. I don't know why the "Cobra Twins" were so great to me, but I really liked the idea of one having a scar and that was the only way you could tell them apart.

6. Flint

I never owned Flint, never even found him for retail sale. Flint was the kool Duke in my opinion. Duke may have won the looks contest, but Flint probably had more kills under his belt.

7. Firefly

Dude, Firefly and Snake Eyes...had they joined forces and created an alliance, it would have been a wrap.

8. Tunnel Rat

Tunnel Rat just looked like Billy from Predator, this was most likely not a coincidence.

9. Zandar

Zandar looked like someone from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. The orange hair was unlike any other G.I. Joe I had ever seen before. Future great band name: "Zandar The Enemy".

10. Lifeline

What Lifeline did wasn't so glamorous, but he just looked really kool while he did it.

Honorable mention:

Snow Job
The Fridge
Road Pig
Cobra Commander

Thursday, May 21, 2009

17 Years Ago Today: The Real World: New York premieres on MTV...

The Real World (retrospectively referred to as The Real World: New York, to distinguish it from subsequent installments of the series) is the first season of MTV's reality television series The Real World, which focuses on a group of diverse strangers living together for several months in a different city each season, as cameras follow their lives and interpersonal relationships. The series was filmed from February 16 to May 18, 1992. It was produced by Mary-Ellis Bunim and Jonathan Murray. This was the first of three seasons to be filmed in New York City. In 2001 the show made a repeat visit with The Real World: Back to New York, and in 2008, set its twenty-first season, The Real World: Brooklyn, in the borough of Brooklyn. This makes New York City along with Los Angeles, the only two cities to be used as the setting of "The Real World" on more than one season.

The cast lived in a nine story, ten unit residential co-op building at 565 Broadway, at the corner of Prince Street, in Manhattan's SoHo district. The location was discovered by producers after much searching. Walls separating two adjacent apartments on the second and third floors were removed in order to form a single 4,000-square-foot, four bedroom residence, and were renovated for the filming of the series. Production personnel, which included up to 13 people at one time, utilized a work space with a separate entrance.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My Top 5 Favorite Oliver Stone Films...

William Oliver Stone (born September 15, 1946) is a film director and screenwriter. Stone came to prominence as a director with a series of films about the Vietnam War, in which he had participated as an American infantry soldier, and his work continues to focus frequently on contemporary political and cultural issues, often controversially. His work has earned him three Academy Awards. His first Oscar was for Best Adapted Screenplay for Midnight Express (1978). He won Academy Awards for Directing Platoon (1986) and Born on the Fourth of July (1989), both of which were centered on the Vietnam War.

A notable feature of his directing style is the use of many different cameras and film formats, from VHS to 8 mm film to 70 mm film. He sometimes uses several formats in a single scene, as in JFK (1991) and Natural Born Killers (1994). Some of Stone's films often have been criticized for promoting conspiracy theories and historical inaccuracies. JFK was criticized in the media as being a mixture of truth and fiction. One of the musicians portrayed in his film about the rock band The Doors called the biographical film inaccurate. As well, Stone's film Natural Born Killers was criticized by for its apparent glorification of violence; Stone argued that the film was meant to satirize the media's preoccupation with depicting violence.

(in order)

1. JFK (1991)

2. Platoon (1986)

3. Born on the Fourth of July (1989)

4. The Doors (1991)

5. Wall Street (1987)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My Top 5 Favorite Eminem Songs...

Eminem releases his fifth studio album how about I post my top 5 favorite Eminem songs?

(in order)

1. "Till I Collapse (Feat. Nate Dogg)"
2. "Like Toy Soldiers"
3. "White America"
4. "When I'm Gone"
5. "Stan (Feat. Dido)"

Suggested listening:

The Marshall Mathers LP (2000)

The Eminem Show (2002)

Encore (2004)

Relapse (2009)

Monday, May 18, 2009

29 Years Ago Today: Ian Curtis commits suicide...

Ian Kevin Curtis (July 15th, 1956 – May 18th, 1980) was the vocalist and lyricist, as well as occasional guitarist and keyboardist, of the band Joy Division, which he joined in 1976 after meeting with Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook at a Sex Pistols gig.

Years after his death, critics and fans continue to write and discuss at length Curtis's music, as well as possible motivations and inspirations for his work. News of his suicide in 1980 spurred many rumours, further accelerating interest in his work and troubled life.

Curtis's last live performance was on May 2, 1980 at Birmingham University, a show that included Joy Division's first and only performance of the song "Ceremony", later recorded by New Order and released as their first single. The last song Curtis performed on stage was "Digital". The recording of this performance can be found on the compilation album 'Still'.

Detailed in Debbie Curtis's book Touching from a Distance, Curtis was staying at his parents' house at this time and attempted to talk his wife into staying with him on May 17, 1980, to no avail. Debbie left him in her house overnight while she left to do some errands. Genesis P-Orridge of Throbbing Gristle claimed in a 2006 interview that Curtis would sometimes phone him during the night and sing the Throbbing Gristle song "Weeping" — a song about suicide — to him.

In the early hours of May 18, 1980, Curtis hanged himself in the kitchen of his house in Macclesfield. He had just viewed Werner Herzog's film Stroszek and listened to Iggy Pop's 'The Idiot'. At the time of his death, his health was failing as a result of the epilepsy and attempting to balance his musical ambitions with his marriage, which was foundering in the aftermath of his affair with journalist Annik Honoré. His wife found his body the next morning.

Suggested viewing:

Top 5 Songs I am Currently Listening To...

1. Animal Collective - "Guy's Eyes"
2. Let's Wrestle - "I'm in Fighting Mode"
3. Grizzly Bear - "Two Weeks (Fred Falke Remix)"
4. Eminem - "Beautiful"
5. And You Will Know Us By the Trail of the Dead - "Inland Sea"