Heartbreaks are easily spotted when sung in a baritone. Matt Berninger and Ian Curtis have proven this theory time and time again. Both Joy Division and The National cover a lot of topics in their musical discographies, but isolation, loneliness, and heartbreak are the reoccurring theme. Michael Cullen is another name to add to the list, with a title that rolls of the tip of the tongue. The Australian singer-songwriter brings aboard his New Order style synthpop and combines it with a bleak outlook on personal topics. It’s a great way to have an insider view on the intimate topics that Cullen is expressing.
Although his album, Love Transmitter, was originally released in 2012, it takes new life with a remastered copy after critical acclaim in his home country. Heralding itself with a terrible album cover (don’t judge it), it opens with the wonderfully titled, “Do You Believe?”, which had me thinking he was covering a Flaming Lips track. This is the complete opposite. His apparent love for the boiling drum beats that grind out the entire song is shown here. It lays the blueprint for the wonderfully crafted tune. The sharp, but sad synth keys trickle like icicles into Cullen’s crooning voice.
The song is followed by a shift in pace with “Tidal Wave”, which caught me off guard with how low Cullen’s voice can reach. He pulls out his darkest ego and punishes the listener with a wispy side until he reaches the chorus. Lyrically, the song is pretty bland, but the striking, Interpol style guitars are incredible. “All Used Up” seems to have soft, blast-beats opening the track, which works it’s way into a steady downward spiral of noise. Cullen finds ways to take miserable noise and transform it into a memorable tune that I find myself falling back too.
It’s no wonder this album has won many accolades with the indie community in Australia. Michael Cullen and fellow musician, Tim Powles, control space like it’s in the palm of their hand. They shift from an in-your-face bruiser of a song into a soft and somber tune like, “Hey Sister”. Every shift in keys present a new emotion that only music presents. Arms spread wide, and eyes closed, this is how the track is supposed to be listened too. “Transmission”, which isn’t a Joy Division cover, seems appropriately titled due to the related sound to the band. I find that when Cullen goes for the high notes, it flows better with the spashing guitar and brittle drums. His music has a very deep sound and the handshakes of approval should go to Tim Powles’ help with instrumentation. The duo just kills it as musicians.
What makes my job incredible is when I’m presented with musicians like this that people need to hear. Love Transmitter is a find that makes me smile, even when the dark theme drains any happiness from my head. It’s knowing that I’m only going to enjoy every sound on this album. Combining the Gothic tones on “Chinese Hammer”, and the spoken word sections on “Spill”, Michael Cullen transitions ahead and keeps this ride entertaining.
Then there’s, “Professional Entertainers”, which is the best song I’ve heard in ages. It’s contrasting joyful tones and brutally depressing lyrics keeps me pressing repeat. Perfectly timed at just under three minutes, this is a song that needs to rock the airwaves. “One Is Still My Number” is the one track that I couldn’t dig on my first listen. It felt too thrown together and tacky. When it drives into the chorus, that’s when I was convinced that I enjoyed it. It’s the best song-writing on the album though. Michael Cullen shines as a song-writer and musician. His ability to stay ahead of the curve and keep the 80′s goth rock stylish really takes talent (Have you seen Robert Smith lately?). Love Transmitter is an album that requires a setting. It requires and mindset that brings out the worst, but it demands the listener to open up their mind. What it provides is a shoulder to lay on, with 10 solemn stories to hear while the tear-ducts are worked to death. It’s the best sadness I’ve ever felt.
Take a listen below!
Did it need to happen? Nah. Will I go see it? Probably. It seems like writer/director Frank Miller, is hellbent on making 2014 his year, with the release of the 300 sequel Rise of an Empire (which he hasn’t even finished the graphic novel for) and now SIN CITY : A Dame to Kill For. Incidentally the early reviews are still rolling in on 300…, but I’m pretty sure it will have a decent weekend opening, since it’s apparently filled with more blood than the first. Getting back to this Sin City trailer, I kinda wanted to see some really groundbreaking visuals, given how the original up the ante, but the first few minutes were just…well…blah. That being said, it does get better as it goes along. By the way, is it me or is it clearly evident, that director Robert Rodriguez has a strange love affair with certain mediocre actors? I mean visually their cute, but good lord, he’s setting them up for cult status and I’m not sure that’s what some of these young ones want. Anyway that’s my opinion. Hopefully this will be as successful as the first.
The film also stars Josh Brolin, Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Bruce Willis, Rosario Dawson, Jaime King, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Dennis Haysbert, Christopher Meloni, Jeremy Piven, Ray Liotta, Juno Temple, Stacy Keach, and Julia Garner. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For opens on August 22nd.
SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR weaves together two of Miller’s classic stories with new tales in which the town’s most hard boiled citizens cross paths with some of its more repulsive inhabitants.
I don’t know if this is a leak or how long this will be up, but this scene from the new Andre 3000 film All Is By My Side has got me thinking, we may have finely found our Jimi. I don’t know about the rest of the film, written and directed by Oscar award winner John Ridley (12 Years a Slave) , but this scene with Andre and Imogen Poots, who plays his muse, is quite impressive. I wrote earlier, last year, about this film and how it won’t have any of Jimi’s original works in it due to estate issues, but it will feature some covers of stuff he did during his time in England. I have high hopes after watching this. You tell me.
This film will screen at this years SXSW.
“The function of a wrestler is not to win; it is to go exactly through the motions that are expected of him”
Roland Barthes,”The World of Wrestling Mythology”, 1957
The above quote pretty much sums up this, still misunderstood, world of pro wrestling. Not until I read this book, did I have the slightest clue as to what went into those contest I enjoyed in the eighties. Andre Roussimouf a.k.a Andre The Giant, was a thing of myth when I was growing up. His presence on the canvass was a sight to behold. I still have a hard time understanding how normal sized men could fight someone like him…and now I know. Writer and illustrator Box Brown (Love is a Peculiar Type of Thing, Everything Dies) tries, in so many words and panels, to summarize the life of this living anomaly and does so surprisingly well.
Andre The Giant is a work several years in the making for Brown. Using bits and pieces of actual interviews and biographical literature, Brown does, what I still can’t believe, could be accomplished in a graphic. The simple art and cleverly placed source material, ingeniously, tells an outstanding rags to riches story. Brown brings the world of pro wrestling to life with each page. Things I remember growing up came back to me in a flood of visuals and trade secrets, that will leave you wanting more, well after the book is done. Andre’s life, although tumultuous and filled with alcohol and women, is undeniably exciting, especially when you consider how most of the world viewed this seemingly gentle giant at the time. From interviews with WWF greats like Hulk Hogan and the retelling of God-like drunken brawls in hotels, this book is everything one needs to understand who and what this man and world,was all about back then.
Andre Roussimoff is known as both the lovable giant in The Princess Bride and a heroic pro-wrestling figure. He was a normal guy who’d been dealt an extraordinary hand in life. At his peak, he weighed 500 pounds and stood nearly seven and a half feet tall. But the huge stature that made his fame also signed his death warrant.
Box Brown brings his great talents as a cartoonist and biographer to this phenomenal new graphic novel. Drawing from historical records about Andre’s life as well as a wealth of anecdotes from his colleagues in the wrestling world, including Hulk Hogan, and his film co-stars (Billy Crystal, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, etc), Brown has created in Andre the Giant, the first substantive biography of one of the twentieth century’s most recognizable figures.
At least once a week, Apostrophe by Frank Zappa is played in my perimeter. The weird, comedic vibes Zappa gives off on his most traditional blues rock album puts a smile on my face that I can’t seem to shake. It’s incredible put together, with songs flowing into one another like a Cirque du Soleil show. I wasn’t around when Zappa revolutionized rock and roll, but I have a strong feeling that he allowed the rules to be bent and humor and strangeness to be added to a genre like the blues. The history behind the creation of blues and blues rock is hard to forget, and we shouldn’t, but thanks to Zappa, we’ve been given an alternative style to look at without all the despair.
Now it’s been 40 years since Apostrophe has been released, but when I was given the New York-based Marla Mase to listen to, I had to have both playing at the same time. They both have the slightly ironic, intimate spoken-word sections, jacked up solos, and the band plays extremely tight behind the main leader. In this case, Marla Mase. The EP opens with “Drown in Blue”, a blazing and unforgiving opener that kicked me back in my seat. Don’t make the mistake of having the volume too loud for this one. A nod to Iggy Pop, Sonic Youth and British punk rock, this song is killer. What drags it down is Marla’s softer vocals that collide with the angry, resistant vocals on the chorus.
I was caught off guard when I heard the spoken word sections. They release so much emotion that sometimes are poetically imaginative and emotional, and at other times, ironic and passive aggressive. Nonetheless, they all have a true, deeper meaning behind the veil of words. Musically, this album is outstanding. “Half-Life” is absolutely beautiful, bringing me back to the days of female alternative rockers like Alanis Morissette and PJ Harvey. (On a side note, Alanis didn’t get enough credit for being a badass. She kicked ass in the 90′s.) The song is a highlight to me, and I really want to see Mase progress this side of her music. It’s captivating and magical. The backing instrumentation by the Tomás Doncker Band is sharp. all the subtle melodies stand out and are memorable.
Sadly, it’s followed up by the outrageous “Things That Scare Me”. It’s humorous, but that’s about it. The lyrics are cheap, and it’s trying to many different ideas without sticking to a main idea. The chorus flows out of place after it has it’s forced half-sung verses. “Try and diagnose me!”, that’s all I can really agree on with that song. “The Heart Beats” brings the same anger into light with better results. It’s slow, stranded, almost like words flowing out of Mase’s mouth walking across the Sahara. Loved it.
At just over 30 minutes, this EP flies by. It covers a lot of ground, from comedic, funky songs, to the serious, intimate side. “Gaping Hole” was one piece off from being an alternative rock standard. It has the homemade vibe that’s a must for any traction in the indie crowd, but it was missing stronger vocals from Mase. She’s showcased her ability on, “Drown in Blue”, and I was itching to hear it come alive again. Even the style on the reprise of “Drown in Blue” would’ve worked. Speaking of the reprise, keep it up. She truly has a talent for an intimate setting.
It’s followed by another funky tune, “Bitch in Heat”, featuring Charlie Funk, so it’s proven to be good. Finally, “Hold Fast Your Dreams” closes off this EP, and it’s also great. Like on the “Drown in Blue (Reprise)”, Marla Mase can control a listener with her soothing voice, spilling out poems that show a piece of true self. It’s no wonder she’s been recently signed to True Groove Records. I do believe Mase will have a promising career, as she’s shown her ability to control a large band and get the sound she wants, but this EP has it’s incredible ups and immense downs. Yes, I understand, it’s an EP showcasing her variety of talents, from poet, to singer, to angry civilian, but I can only say that Mase is a great alternative artist who rocks it on tracks like “Half Life”, or “Drown in Blue”, but when it comes to her trying to copy David Byrne from the Talking Heads, it feels forced. I’m excited to see her progress with a full length that we can expect to hear soon!
Be sure to give the EP a listen below!
Yeah you heard right and your probably asking yourself…”why a t.v. series?” and “wouldn’t this make a better movie?” My answer to you would be yes, but that’s not what bothers me the most about this. What bothers me most is that Rob “hackjob” Zombie is attached to this and I know it’s only because it fits him visually, but does he really have what it takes to take one of the most iconic psychopaths in history and tell a legitiment story? Especially given his track record of films. I know I’m coming off negative, but he’s one of those directors, not unlike M. Knight, that thinks anything fitting thier genre belongs to them, because hey! Look what I’ve done, and we all know shitty writing and cult followings does not a good movie make. I will say this however and that is author Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho,Less Than Zero) is a hell of a pick for a writer and is probably the only thing that’ll allow FOX to greenlight this.
Here’s a suggestion to Rob…find an amazing cinematographer and an amazing cast and allow this to be the only thing you concentrate on for the next few years. This could be your citizen Kane, but not if your not 100% focused.
The Ellis-Zombie collaboration aims to tell converging stories of people and events leading up to and after the murders, from shifting points of view. The project is envisioned as a multipart series, but it is one of many limited series projects in the works and is far away from receiving a greenlight.
The idea for the project began with Zombie and Adam Kolbrenner and Robyn Meisinger of Madhouse Entertainment. They developed the concept and brought it to Ellis and Alcon. To date, no source material has been optioned for the project, which plans to take an original approach to dramatizing stories drawn from the historical record.
The Manson Family saga was previously adapted for the 1976 CBS TV movie “Helter Skelter,” which was based on the book of the same name by prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi.
Ellis most recently penned the micro-budgeted Lindsay Lohan starrer “The Canyons,” released last year by IFC. Zombie’s last directorial effort was the 2013 indie “The Lords of Salem.”
Oh they grow up so fast, but they growed up good. This compilation of clips comes compliments of FLAVORWIRE and features all our nominees for the 2014 Oscars in some of their earlier stuff. You’ll notice one whom kinda got a huge break evidenced by, no prior work before what she’s being nominated for. Luckeeeeeeee!!
In keeping with M83′s quest to become the theme music to every new science fiction film there is, they’ve written another one for the new dysotopic tween flick Divergent starring Shailene Woodley (The Descendents), Kate Winslet (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and directed by Neal Burger (Limitless). Now I’m about to be that guy, cause this isn’t, in my opinion, the best M83 song I’ve ever heard, but it’s definitely a departure, which I guess they are allowed to do from time to time.
Various songs on the Divergent soundtrack album pair up Kendrick Lamar with Tame Impala, or A$AP Rocky with Gesaffelstein.
The Divergent soundtrack is out 3/11. Divergent hits theaters on March 21, 2014
This is without a doubt one of the films I am looking forward to seeing this year. Directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters), this latest take on the iconic Kaiju behemoth, seemingly follows the original storyline of Godzilla as the radioactive result of human endeavor. This is great for several reasons because if you’ve ever watched the 1954 black and white film, then you already know how emotionally impactful that film was in comparison to what came after. This trailer lays it out so beautifully, I’m speechless. Enjoy!
Godzilla stars Starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins, Ken Watanabe, and David Strathairn. Godzilla opens in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D on May 16th.
An epic rebirth to Toho’s iconic Godzilla, this spectacular adventure pits the world’s most famous monster against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.
Oh Salt Lake City. The bible belt of the United States, the freedom train down south, and the host of the 2002 Olympics. It’s also the home of Richard Tyler Epperson, a fresh faced singer-songwriter who has a knack for incredible hooks. He pulls his sound from Death Cab for Cutie to Kurt Vile. He releases his album, Hourglass, April 8th, and we’ve given it a spin.
Opening with the promising track, “I Know”, Epperson showcases his ability to control the exact sound from every instrument. Whether he had any input or not in the sound, it’s best to believe he wouldn’t allow a song forward unless he’s impressed by it. It takes the drumming of “Grapevine Fires” by Death Cab, and combines it with a unique, soft voice that Epperson’s been gifted with. His contrasting guitar tones kick in the chorus with a simple distorted chord section that plays nicely over top the modern rock tune. It’s a great tune to start the album.
Following that is the folk tune, “Hourglass”. It’s a simple, easy listening track that screams radio-friendly. Not the negative contour of radio-friendly, but a smart way to market music without selling out. This, in other words, will be his hit single. It’s catchy, fun, and cool. Slightly forgettable, but Epperson soft vocals keeps the track interesting. Other tracks have the same melancholy atmosphere that seems to be perfect in any season, like the incredible “Rain”, or the summery “The Life (Fall On Me)”. He knows his sound and he stretches and squeezes every little bit of creative energy out of the indie folk rag, which end up becoming these brilliant tracks.
What Richard Tyler Epperson does so well is controlling an intimate sound. Whether it’s one acoustic guitar and vocals or an entire orchestra lulling with wild notes, he understands how to connect with the listener emotionally. It’s when he experiments with sounds outside his range, like electronics on “Lights”, that feel forced. If he brought the sound down, and took away the angsty vocals would I be able to get on board. I have a Sufjan Stevens’ Age of Adz or Hannah Georgas sound in mind when I think of intimate electronics done right. Epperson is completely capable though.
It’s apparent that this man has a bright future. his songwriting isn’t ground breaking, but it’s consistent. He plays with melodies in such a fun way it’s hard to dislike these songs. Much like how Ty Segall brought back garage rock, Epperson can just as easily make indie folk cool again without it seeming cheesy. That’s what has become so sad about the genre. Everywhere I look there’s another self-proclaimed singer-songwriter wanting to sell me their bandcamp CD, but there’s nothing special about it.
How Epperson changes that is he adds a special ingredient that all special albums have. It’s a mixture of care and desire. If an album is made without the need for it to be made, it will be pushed aside with a majority of records released today. If it doesn’t have care, it’ll be considered a shitty homemade tape. I keep having the thought of Death Cab For Cutie’s Plans whenever I hear Hourglass. That and a little bit of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by Wilco. Those two albums have a special sound to them, one that keeps a listener hooked for years. Epperson has a hint of sound about him. “Where Are We” and “Blind My Life” both carry structures to an arguably timeless album.
Where Epperson falters is creating a lasting impression. These 14 songs have so much substance to them that indulging in everyone is a chore. If cut back by two or three tracks, I would gladly dive into everyone (minus “Around We Go”, I felt the chorus was too careless for me). Nevertheless, I’m Richard Tyler Epperson’s newest fan. He’s somebody who has a natural talent for writing magically simple songs without sounding redundant and boring. Among all the throwaway bands of today, (Mumford & Songs, The Lumineers, Of Monsters & Men); they should give Hourglass a listen and use it as a guide to create consistent music. Richard Tyler Epperson shows them all up with his need to create music.
Listen to Hourglass in full below