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Friday, October 14, 2011

Short Stack - Are You Afraid Of The Dark

"Lips like a vampire"

When I first started this blog, I'd spend the entire month of October sharing Halloween songs. I want to revisit that a little this year and post a few here and there for the next few weeks. Short Stack's 2010 album, Welcome To Bat Country, is a great listen all the way through for Halloween, and this is one of the many highlights. It's an enormous song with one hell of a punchy chorus. Plus, the middle eight with its stabbing strings and processed, Nightmare Before Christmas-esque vocals, is perfect for this time of the year. Listening to this song again has made me fall in love with it all over.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the album here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pop Blitz 10/13/11

Hedley - Invincible
Canada's best modern rock band releases one of their most forgettable singles. They've released tracks like this before but they've all had better hooks. Too bad, as I've always loved them. C+

Marina & The Diamonds - Radioactive
This single has grown on me, but I'm missing the quirkiness of her debut. This seems so much more mainstream. Her instantly recognizable vocals are what end up setting this apart. B+

Nicole Scherzinger - Wet
I'm surprised at how many singles this album has actually produced. This is one of the better ones. Sure, it's nothing that's going to stand the test of time. Just fun, clubby pop. She's capable of more, but this will do. B

The Fray - Heartbeat
I've never been a fan of this band, but this isn't bad. I don't think it will be the kind of hit they used to have. Still, I like the amped up guitars. B-

LMFAO - Sexy And I Know It
It's a less-catchy version of Party Rock Anthem--higher on novelty, lower on melody. the outrageous video will get it the exposure it needs, and it's certainly fun in a trashy sort of way. B

Cher Lloyd - With Ur Love (ft. Mike Posner)
After the disappointment of her first single, this makes everything right. This is exactly the type of song she should be recording. Melodic, full of attitude, and catchy without being too in-your-face. A-

Hot Chelle Rae - I Like It Like That
This pretty much sounds like their last single. Slightly less annoying, but I'm just not sold on this band. I'm not sure what it is... it just seems so tailor made for US radio. C

Your Choice: What's your favorite Pop Blitz song this week?

Pop Blitz 10/13/11 Your Choice!
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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Sound Of Arrows - After The Silence

"Let go of all fear"

I can't even tell you how excited I am for the new Sound of Arrows album. I pretty much can't wait another moment to hear it (ie: if their label is out there, send me a promo copy and you're guaranteed a review!). Shameless begging aside, I consider it my duty to let the world know how unbelievably, jaw-droppingly awesome this band is. I'm probably preaching to the choir here, but seriously... these guys deserve so much more attention than they're getting. Their singles have all been nothing short of brilliant and I'm hearing similar things about the album. This is the kind of band that takes you on a journey. They're cinematic when other bands settle for keeping it small screen. After The Silence won't be on the album, but if the quality of this b-side wasn't deemed up to par with the other tracks, we're in for something quite stunning. This is the kind of track any artist would be proud to have on their album.

the sound of arrows - after the silence by beastinthejungle

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Preorder the album here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Movie Review: Real Steel

Real Steel

Real Steel is the kind of movie you can predict at nearly every turn, yet it really doesn’t matter. Though it’s not quite my favorite film of the year, it made me feel more ecstatic at its end than any other movie of 2011. To borrow a cliché, it’s the “feel good movie of the year.” I feel so dirty typing those lame words, but it’s true.

Yes, if you’ve seen a boxing movie or a family drama, you’ve pretty much experienced this story already, but it’s such a powerful, archetypal tale. And Real Steel tells it perfectly. Every good boxing movie needs some secret weapons. This one’s got two. First, the robots. Dear god, the robots. They are so frickin’ cool. Each one featured has its own look and personality to match, but it’s Atom, the “protagonist” robot, that really gets under your skin. In a lot of ways, this is a “boy and his robot story,” and Atom’s got just enough humanity to make him feel real. The special effects are jaw-dropping, so jaw-dropping that you’ll forget you’re watching something from a computer. Best of all, they're present to serve the story... not the other way around.

But as kickass as the robots are, the movie’s real strength lies in its leads. Hugh Jackman’s played variations on his Real Steel character before and, perhaps because of that, has it down pat. He's clearly enjoying himself, which translates to the screen. The arc his character goes through is expected, but so satisfying. There’s a bit at the end that totally got me. Just the look on his face. You’ll know what I mean when you see it. Then there’s young Dakota Goyo. Where do I begin? I’ve gotta be honest and say that the trailers for this movie made him out to be the typical, annoying Hollywood kid. It’s a disservice, because his performance in this movie is nothing short of astonishing. He’s got more charisma than any kid actor I’ve seen in a long time and really, really commits to his scenes. Most of the tears I shed (and there were quite a few… I’m an ultra sappy moviegoer if the movie is right) were doen to him. I just can’t believe that such a young kid can take over a film like this. It really was his from the moment he was onscreen.

So there you go. See it. It's the kind of the movie that's so much better than you'd expect given the premise. Don't expect a reinvention of the wheel, but go in to see those established wheels spinning quite productively and passionately. It's a crowd pleaser, for sure. A


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Monday, October 10, 2011

Short Stack - Bang Bang Sexy

"Meet me on the dancefloor"

I can't believe I didn't know about this song before this weekend. Short Stack reinvented themselves last year and released one of my absolute favorite albums of 2010. Now they've released a new single as a stopgap between albums, and it's more of the same (ie: excellent). They're continuing in their modern-day billy Idol sound, though this time it's even poppier with a definite dance funk edge. Shaun's voice remains one of the most charismatic rock snarls in the current music landscape. It's his delivery that takes this song up a notch and makes it so addictive. The melody itself is incredibly simple, but the groove is undeniable from the start. I wonder if this will end up being a harbinger of their sound for the next album. It certainly seems like a natural progression. The band also have a live DVD/documentary out soon. Cool!

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the song here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.