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Hey readers and friends, I've been struck by several new tracks that have hit the world wide web in the last few days, so I thought I'd share them. The three tracks in question are quite different, but they tell me that variety is the spice of life, so I'd say the potpourrie of music coming your way in this music is a good thing. So here are three new tracks that I'm digging this week.
If you follow anime at all, you've probably heard of Attack on Titan. If you don't, it's the biggest hit this season, in Japan and in the states among fans of the genre. The show follows the military cadets of a dystopian/steam-punkish civilization existing entirely within a series of walls which protect it from the man-eating titans outside. For the last hundred-or-so years, the remnants of humanity have been forced behind these walls in the wake of the Titan Apocalypse. If you're looking for something gritty and depressing to get into, I'd highly recommend AoT. If those adjectives don't appeal to you, maybe stick to Spongebob and Hey Arnold. The show has a varied cast of characters with numerous beliefs, fears, and hopes developed in this Hell on earth. Here are five of my favorites. There will be spoilers ahead. You've been warned.
My favorite bands haven’t been coming out with much material these days. Mr. Bungle and Estradasphere have long since disbanded. System of a Down is on indefinite and seemingly infinite hiatus. And though Secret Chiefs 3 is still alive and kicking, the band only recently announced that the second full album of a trilogy that began in 2004 will finally, after much deliberation, arrive this October. As in, the thing was in the oven for nine years. I have zero doubt it will be amazing for precisely that reason, but yikes. Who better than Maximum the Hormone, then, to come screaming from left field in their underpants, slam most of what I love about music into an oversized stir-fry, and serve it up with the most unabashed, gap-toothed grin imaginable. No one does what they do the way they do it, and I love them for that.
After kicking off with a two minute live excerpt that is impossible to decipher as either dead serious or exceedingly tongue-in-cheek, Reign of Terror immediately descends into a series of well-constructed pop song structures, one after the other, with various decorations and musical garnishing sprinkled here and there to keep things interesting. That’s not to say that the album lacks overall cohesion, though. There’s a definitive vibe throughout, one of wailing guitars, crushing impact, and a general rhythmic subdivision that borders on the industrial. It’s quite the joy to behold, actually - it’s not often you can enjoy all of these elements within the confines of conventional song structure, with pop hooks and female vocals no less. Sleigh Bells’ ability to jam-pack so much into each of its songs without it sounding like Melt Banana and Purity Ring had a deformed child should be seen as an accomplishment, not a shortcoming.
Recent Film & TV
An R-rated horror movie that made $40 million in its first weekend with a solid Rotten Tomatoes score to boot? I can’t claim to have been interested in seeing The Conjuring before hearing about its reception, but damn am I glad I became interested. James Wan’s based-on-a-true-story haunted house flick rises above the sea of gorefests and zombie movies with a fresh and fearful atmosphere that straddles the line between the best of Paranormal Activity’s homemade, household scares and the demonic terrors of horror classics like The Exorcist and The Shining. It does this all while delivering a satisfying, performance-driven narrative and a straightforward, yet eerie mythology.
In Sam’s recent musing on Fire Emblem: Awakening, he touched upon the concept of death in videogames, and how it may or may not affect one’s style of play. The Fire Emblem series is known for the dichotomy of play styles it forms amongst the ranks of its players, and when it comes to said split Sam and I fall squarely into opposite camps. He chooses to restart the game each time a comrade falls in battle, soas to achieve the best and most complete ending, whereas I almost always trudge on, despite the sudden and oppressive strike of tragedy.