Monthly Archives: August 2013

Vinyl Review: Franz Ferdinand – Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action (Deluxe Passport Edition)

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When Franz Ferdinand burst onto the scene in the early-2000s, many critics were eager to group them into the then-hot post-punk revival scene that included bands like The White Stripes, The Hives, The Strokes  and The Vines. However, such a comparison was unjust, or at the very least too broad. First of all, the very idea of “post-punk revival” being a genre is in itself vague and inaccurate, because “post-punk” was also a vague and inaccurate genre. The Talking Heads were considered post-punk, so were Blondie, Joy Division and Public Image Ltd. There are some loose common threads there for sure, but what the hell do Joy Division and Blondie have in common?  About as much as The White Stripes and Franz Ferdinand do – which is not much at all.

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My Weirdest Record: Hey Everyone! Let’s All Interview David Bowie!

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I have quite a few interview albums, but this one is pretty unique.

First, a backstory on interview LPs. You have to understand that 99% of these were never meant to be released to the public. Instead, they were given out to radio stations, that were then encouraged to play them as if they were live interviews or pre-taped segments. They were frequently called “programming aids” although a more apt title would have been “blatant commercials.”

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Vinyl Review: The Fog (Blakes Gold Edition)

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Death Waltz Recording Company is  label that knows what the fuck it’s doing, not only in terms of quality, but in how they treat their customers.

Earlier this year, the label put out a brand new edition of the soundtrack to John Carpenter’s classic film The Fog. Two versions were made available; a standard black edition, and a clear variant with colored splatter. Both were strictly limited.

Death Waltz deals in limited editions all the time, but the demand for this release was unlike anything they did before. When the item pages for the LPs were went live, their site crashed, leaving many who had placed orders in their carts to lose them, and many others not even able to get that far. By the time the mess was all sorted out, all the copies were snagged, leaving an angry bunch of soundtrack fans in its wake.

But like I said, Death Waltz is a label that knows what the fuck it’s doing. So as a response to this, and in an effort to cull eBay scalping/fanboy rage, they’ve gone ahead and done the right thing by making an all-new, just as nifty-looking second pressing of the soundtrack available. Not only that, they’ve seemingly made more than enough to go around, so anyone who wants a copy should be able to get one.

But should they?

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Out Of Print Soundtracks We Need Back In Print

As a music geek with a film studies degree, I really like soundtracks.

But collecting soundtracks can be an incredibly expensive, and frustrating hobby, because they often go out of print just as soon as they’re released.

That’s because most soundtracks and scores are usually seen by movie studios as little more than promotional tie-ins to the films they’re associated with, not proper albums worthy of their own promotion or self life. Sure, there are some very notable exceptions to this, soundtracks to movies like The Crow, Saturday Night Fever and Flashdance will always stay in print, but that’s widely because the success of those albums and others like them often eclipsed (or, in some cases, caused) whatever the success the movies themselves had.

But for the most part, once a movie makes it to home video, the soundtrack or score is pulled from shelves and is almost never heard from again. The only chance collector’s like me have of snagging them then is on eBay or via a chance encounter at a used records store.

Of course, sometimes a re-issue label like Intrada, La La Land Records or Death Waltz Recordings get their hands on it and make it available once more. But even with those labels doing their best, a lot of amazing soundtracks continue to be unavailable, or they do get re-released, but only in super-limited runs that go out of print just as fast as the original versions. It’s a shame, and it shouldn’t be this way, especially in the age of digital distribution.

As much as I abhor “list” type articles, I really wanted to showcase how bad this problem is, and I couldn’t think of any other way to do it. So here, in no certain order at all, are my most wanted out-of-print soundtracks. Prepare to be shocked, both at what soundtracks continue to be out of print, and in my taste in bad 80s flicks.

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Vinyl Review: Re-Animator Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Waxworks Edition)

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Cult film soundtrack re-issues are apparently big business now. There are two CD-only labels who deal almost solely in them (La La Land and Intrada) and new vinyl-focused labels with an interest in old horror and sci-fi film scores seem to be popping up everyday. First it was Mondo Tees, then Death Waltz, now it’s Waxworks, who have come out the gate with the score to one of the most beloved cult classics of all-time, 1985 horror/comedy classic Re-Animator.

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CD Review: The Warriors Limited Edition Soundtrack

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When soundtrack to The Warriors was originally released, fans of the movie were kind of getting a bum deal. That’s because while it did include all the original songs that were composed for the film, it only featured a brief eight minutes of the movie’s iconic score, spread out across three short tracks. For a film with such a memorable and unique original score, it always seemed like a missed opportunity.

Thankfully, after 30+ years, La La Land Records have stepped up to fix this historic oversight with their new limited edition re-issue of The Warriors soundtrack. This new expanded and remastered edition features the original soundtrack album in its entirety, as well as the complete original score, with some unreleased material thrown in for good measure.

It kicks ass.

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Game Review: Cloudberry Kingdom

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Let me tell you the difference between a challenging game and a frustrating game.

A challenging game may be difficult, it may even make you angry, but if you keep at it long enough, you’ll figure out what it is you have to do in order to beat it, and you’ll do it. When you beat a challenging game, you feel like you’ve out-smarted it, that you learned its weaknesses and powered through them to victory.

A frustrating game is a game that is difficult, but for reasons that aren’t always fair or clearly-defined. A frustrating game will employ trial-and-error mechanics, ensuring that victory can only come from rote memorization. A frustrating game will often control poorly, and sometimes even incorporate its own poor controls into the gameplay. Finally, when you beat a frustrating game, you don’t feel like you accomplished anything, you just feel relieved that you don’t have to play it again.

Rogue Legacy is a challenging game. Spelunky straddles the line between the two. Super Meat Boy goes over the line sometimes, but never enough to make you hate it.

But then there’s Cloudberry Kingdom.

Cloudberry Kingdom isn’t just frustrating, it’s one of the most frustrating games I’ve played in years. It might just be the most frustrating game I’ve ever played that wasn’t just straight-up broken.

It’s an ugly, brutal mess of a game that lacks anything that someone might construe as fun. Not a single thing about the game, from the graphics and music to the gameplay and level design, is with merit or worth praise.

I hate this game.

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