Wednesday, July 28, 2010

STEVEN SEGAL, RUSSEL CROWE: FIVE REASONS THE DEAF MIGHT BE BETTER OFF



So British actor Hugh Laurie says he's taking a break from House to record a blues album. Then I found out Steven Seagal already beat him to it. Check out these five reasons the deaf might just be better off...


Reason #1: Steven Seagal




Reason #2: Jada Pinkett-Smith



Reason #3: David Hasselhoff



Reason #4: Russell Crowe



Reason #5: Kevin Bacon



Also look out for The Bruce Willis Band, Milla Jovovich, Jamie Foxx, Minnie Driver, and er... 30 Seconds to Mars.

FAVOURITES





Just uploaded a new Facebook gallery where I'll stick all my favourite photos from now on. Check it out
here.

Monday, July 26, 2010

THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM: AMERICAN SLANG



The Gaslight Anthem
American Slang
SideOneDummy

The Gaslight Anthem first hit my eardrums in 2007. “Where have these guys been all my life?” I thought, listening to first single “Drive” stream on YouTube with a single manly tear in my eye. A perfect, spine-tingling blend of open-heart-surgery folk soul and blood-on-its-sleeves, gung-ho punk rock. Then in 2008, four track EP Señor and the Queen confirmed it: this band’s for life!

Then something strange happened. Later in 2008, The Gaslight Anthem signed with indie label SideOneDummy and released second full length The ’59 Sound. Straight away, the change was obvious. The Gaslight Anthem had crammed 10 years worth of album polishing into two. It was only their second full-length but already it sounded more like their eighth. Kerrang Magazine put them on the cover, calling them the "best new band you'll hear in 2008."

Track one and two stuck with me, then I went straight back to Sink Or Swim. The ’59 Sound didn’t even come close. The Gaslight Anthem had removed all traces of their punk rock roots, embellishing their Americana, Bruce Springsteen, easy-listening sound instead. Nothing wrong with that, the songs just lost that original spark that set my heart on fire first time around. They became "ordinary." So I didn’t expect much from American Slang. After all, once you're in there’s no going back, is there?

Predictably, American Slang passes without ever really making an impact. Everything sounds correct and well-arranged but nothing reaches in and grabs your soul. It's just polite, ordinary, safe background music to hum along to.

As soon as it does get interesting, a thick layer of polished lacquer sucks the soul right out of it. Like on "Bring It On," Brian Fallon sings "For the Romeos of town," and for a second, I felt the power of Señor and the Queen. Then there's a bongo drum sample that ruins everything. Just like Fallon's ridiculous over-singing at the end of "The Diamond Church Street Choir." Who does he think he is, Christina Aguilera?


It's weird, Señor and the Queen was a slower, less punk, more folk release as well, but there's nothing middle of the road about it - it's just not slick enough. Somehow, The '59 Sound and American Slang both miss the mark. I can't explain it. They're not band albums, they both just sound like they were recorded by muggles - they're a bit cheesier, aren't they? Still, I bet they sound awesome live.

Official website



The Gaslight Anthem playing "The '59 Sound" with Bruce Springsteen. See how much better it sounds live?

HARDCORE FEST 2010: WHY ARE THEY SO ANGRY?



Crossingpoint, The Rising End, Go! Go! Bronco, Conqueror, Compass, Towers|
Saturday, July 24 |The Winston Pub, Durban|

Dust off your flannel and come limber. Tonight’s every card-carrying Durban hardcore fan’s ultimate wet dream. The kind of show the Winston hasn’t witnessed for a long time – featuring a cast of faces I haven’t seen out since Uprising 2008. It’s Durban hardcore champs Crossingpoint’s last show, featuring a hello-goodbye performance by once-retired-now-retired-again local heroes The Rising End – plus Go! Go! Bronco, Towers and new Jo’burg buddies Conqueror and Compass.

For the past 12 years, guitarist and only original member Brandon van Eeden’s held Crossingpoint together like a human defibrillator. No matter what happened, he’d regroup, readjust and keep the dream alive. Tonight that ride comes to an end (for now). Bassist Ross and drummer Richard are off to Hong Kong to open a tattoo shop and this time, Brandon’s had enough.

Click here to read the full story on Speakerbox.co.za
Click here for a full gallery

Links:

Crossingpoint on MySpace
Go! Go! Bronco on MySpace
The Rising End on MySpace
Conqueror on MySpace
Towers on Facebook

Then...



Now...

CRASHCARBURN: LONG LIVE TONIGHT



CrashCarBurn
Long Live Tonight
Sovereign/SABC 3

Music journalists get a bad rap as jaded cynics with crap ponytails and a cupboard full of old Metallica T-shirts. And since I’ve had a haircut I thought, "Let’s work on those other issues as well." Forget Tweak 182. Forget that CrashCarBurn, for some reason, cut and pasted the kid from Texas pop punk-band Fenix TX’s 2001 album Lechuza into their music video for previous album single "Heroes." And let’s pretend those Kelly Clarkson, Starship, Bryan Adams and Lonely Island covers never happened. What’s going on now, in 2010?

CrashCarBurn are unashamedly power pop. Their music’s rooted in emotional, pop punk bands like Jimmy Eat World and the Ataris, but they’ve given things a modern, nasally “college radio” twist. The vocal effects on “Piano Interlude” make Garth Barnes sound like Phil Collins. “Skin Versus Bone” aims for the top of a Def Leppard-sized stadium roof. And first single “Twisted” is a power ballad custom-written for MTV songbirds like Kelly Clarkson and Taylor Swift.

Click here to read the full review on Speakerbox.co.za
CrashCarBurn on MySpace

EMINEM: RECOVERY



Eminem
Recovery
Interscope/Universal

It must be impossible to sustain alter egos as psychotic as Slim Shady and Eminem. And Marshall Mathers sounds like a man unravelling. The world's tired of Eminem and his issues. His insecurities. His addictions. He's lost the "voice" that made him vital. His ability to hold pop-culture in the palm of his hand and spin it around. And I think he knows it.

A few years ago, if Eminem had rapped lines like "The world'll stop spinning and Michael J. Fox will come to a standstill" and "I'll show you pussy footing', I'll kick a bitch in the cunt 'til it makes her queef and sounds like a fucking whoopy cushion," he might have got a laugh (remember Moby?). Now they just sound pathetic. As hard as he tries, Eminem is boring.

Click here to read the full review on Speakerbox.co.za

Friday, July 23, 2010

AKING: AGAINST ALL ODDS

Links:

aking.co.za
theafricanattachment.co.za

AEROSMITH GUITARIST REAR ENDED BY OAP



Earlier this month, a 62-year old woman crashed into the back of 59-year old Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry's Ducati Monster 696 at a traffic light. Sounds like Grey Dawn, that episode of South Park where the OAPs terrorise the residents of South Park on their way to Country Kitchen Buffet. It's okay, he's fine now. Can't wait for the next Aerosmith album - not...

SWIVEL FOOT: LIGHTS OUT

swivelfoot.com

Monday, July 19, 2010

STRAATLIGKINDERS, GO! GO! BRONCO: HARLEY DAVIDSON THUNDER TOWN



Friday, July 16, VMACS, Pinetown

The leather jacket look's hit the masses in a big way. James Dean must be turning in his grave - rebel without discourse. "Did the first 20 people through the door get a free leather jacket?" asks one Straatligkinders fan in flannel. I look down at the bracelet on my wrist. "Harley Davidson Thunder Town." No wonder…

When American hardcore bands Have Heart and Shipwreck AD played Durban I interviewed Shipwreck frontman JD. If there was a hardcore museum, he'd be the curator. The guy's a walking encyclopedia - with a PHD in HXC. "It's very difficult to play the type of hardcore Go! Go! Bronco plays. You need to be exposed to a lot of bands," he said, obviously impressed.

Click here to read the full review on Speakerbox.co.za
Click here for a full gallery

Go! Go! Bronco on MySpace
Straatligkinders on MySpace




THE NATIONAL: I'M AFRAID OF EVERYONE ON LETTERMAN

Saw this on David Letterman last night and... Wow! No wonder they sound so good (they've had decades to practise). Featuring Sufjan Stevens.

official website

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

MR PRICE PRO ROCK: LET'S GET TWISTED, BABY



July 10, Salt Rock Beach, Ballito

The World Cup’s well and truly over. There’s litter on the streets of Durban again. The cops have dried up. The tourists have disappeared. And thousands of people crammed into Salt Rock Beach for the Mr. Price Pro Rock Show on game night! And why not? Mr. Price Enterprises had put together a free night of heavy-hitting local popstars that any self-respecting Mr. Price customer would trade their favourite pair of RT skinnies for.

At the end of the day, a free, high profile show on the beach with a massive rig, fat sound and mad lighting is an expense Mr. Price is willing to take to raise its profile. To score some cool points. And to be fair, it’s a pretty sweet deal. I can’t remember the last time I saw The Dirty Skirts live and I think it’s New Holland’s first time in Durban (well, close enough), if you don’t count Splashy Fen. Even for an old cynic like me, that’s two reasons to drive up to Ballito right there.

Click here to read the full review on Speakerbox.co.za
Click here for a full gallery

MR PRICE PRO ACOUSTIC: SLIGHTLY LESS LOUD



July 9, Salt Rock Beach, Ballito

They called it the Mr. Price Pro Acoustic Night but tonight I saw gadgetry that would turn purists’ hearts. The words "unplugged" and "acoustic" need serious revision, some new term that describes the situation properly. Still, the line up was an all-star cast of South African acoustic musicians, from Guy Buttery and Nibs van der Spuy, to Farryl Purkiss and Ard Matthews.

When I got to Salt Rock Beach, Ballito band Sidewash was on stage. With a jiving ballie on bass, a bearded soul-jah on acoustic guitar, a backpacker-looking dude on bongos and a Bradley Nowell-inspired lead singer, you don’t get much more surfer rock than Sidewash. They even sang a song about sunscreen called "The Tom-aydo Song." And their name’s Sidewash for crying out loud! "Sunscreen’s there for a reason-ah...."

Click here to read the full review on Speakerbox.co.za
Click here for a full gallery

ISOCHRONOUS: IMAGO


© Eckardt Kasselman

Isochronous
Imago
Independent

Enhanced by the power of electricity, Isochronous’ live shows surge with impact and presence. On stage, the sensitive Pretoria art rockers float like butterflies and sting like energetic bees. Imago, on the other hand, simply floats like a butterfly (albeit a highly accomplished one). Were the neighbours complaining about the noise?

The reinvention seems slightly premature. Isochronous going acoustic, now, is like Batman handing over his utility belt right after he caught Joker the first time. But maybe that’s the point – giving up the comfort of their “bag of tricks.” Maybe Isochronous were after a new challenge. Something different and unexpected. Or maybe I’m just overanalysing. I guess I’m still chasing a recording that matches the mind-blowing intensity the band radiated last time I saw them play.

Click here to read the full review on Speakerbox.co.za.

Links:

Isochronous on MySpace
Isochronous on Facebook

THE BIG FOUR OF METAL HITS DURBAN



They've been called the Big Four of American thrash metal. And this year, because they probably didn't have anything better to do, Anthrax, Slayer, Megadeth and Metallica signed on for a history making world tour, bringing the four giant metal bands together for the first time.

On June 22, the tour hit Sofia, Bulgaria. The show was broadcast live around the world in HD (in select cinemas). We may not be getting it live but that doesn't mean it's going to be any less brutal. Big Four hits cinemas nationwide this July 15 and runs 'til July 18. Tickets are R70 and the show's three hours and 45 minutes long - now that's fucking metal!


Links:

Official website
SterKinekor.com

Thursday, July 8, 2010

WORLD CUP 2010: SOCCER CITY



Snapped some shots at Soccer City, Soweto, watching Ghana narrowly lose out to those Uruguayan bastards. Check out the full gallery on Flickr and Facebook.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

WILHELM'S SCREAM: THE PREFERRED MOVIE SCREAM SINCE 1951



Ever since I set my phone sms tone to the Wilhelm Scream, I've noticed the ear piercing movie and video game sample all over the place. It was actually Massachusetts punk-rock band A Wilhelm Scream that first turned me on to the legendary sample. Intrigued by the band name, I Googled and discovered it was a kind of in-joke movie scream sample used in films like Star Wars and Indiana Jones - but I had no idea the joke was still running.

Now that the scream means a new text message in my inbox, my ears have pricked up to the sound, singling it out from the crowd and often reaching for my phone in vain. Recently, I heard the Wilhelm Scream in video games God of War 3 and Red Dead Redemption - it's all over Red Dead. But where did it come from? And who's the screamer?



Recorded in a single take by actor Sheb Wooley, the sample was first used in director Raoul Walsh's 1951 western Distant Drums, to vocalise a character being torn apart by an alligator. The sound effect was originally named "Man Getting Bit By An Alligator, And He Screams."



Then in 1953, director Gordon Douglas used the sample in The Charge at Feather River. Legendary sound designer Ben Burtt (who created the lightsaber hum, R2D2's "voice" and Darth Vader's breathing sounds) named the sample after a minor character in the film, Private Wilhelm, who emits the scream when he's killed by an arrow.

The sample became famous in the '70s/'80s when Burtt rediscovered it, now named "Man Being Eaten By Alligator," and used it in the original Star Wars and Indiana Jones trilogies. Nowadays, the sample has become a kind of cliché traditionally used when characters are killed by arrows, fall to their deaths from a great height or get blown up. But really, it's an industry inside-joke used tongue-in-cheek in video games like Red Dead Redemption and cartoons like American Dad.



CAN'T TOUCH THIS: CASTLE LITE TURNS TO MC HAMMER



Saw this ad on TV. Nice that Hammer's finally getting work again. Still, I think I prefer the Vanilla Ice one. How about a big final showdown? Both ads were put together by Cape Town brand activation specialists Ogilvy.



Monday, July 5, 2010

SLASH: SELF-TITLED



Slash
Self-titled
Roadrunner/David Gresham

Slash must have the worst voice in rock ‘n roll. Why else would he have not released a real Slash solo album by now? Does he not sing when he plays guitar at home? I still wonder if Slash and Axl will ever get back together. Because as much as they both try to carry on regardless, neither one’s truly complete without the other. I doubt Slash (or even Ozzy Osbourne) had anything to do with them, but the lyrics to Ozzy’s song “Crucify the Dead” say it perfectly:

“We were like brothers with the world in our hands. You always had too much to say. Some day you’ll look back and you’ll wonder why you let it all slip away.”

Click here to read the full review on Speakerbox.co.za