VINYL CONFESSIONS – 6/19/2019

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kansas - leftoverture

KANSAS – Leftoverture
What can I say? I unashamably love the song “Carry On Wayward Son”. The rest of the album is okay too, I guess…

david lee roth - crazy from the heat

DAVID LEE ROTH – Crazy From The Heat
So, I have to admit that I’m not really a fan of David Lee Roth. Either his solo stuff, or the time he spent in Van Halen. There are a couple of catchy songs that I do like; however, I’ve never really owned any of his releases…until I kept seeing this EP of covers he did after leaving Van Halen at Half Price Books, looking forlorn and lonely, like a puppy wanting a home. So I gave it a home. Eh, not losing sleep over this one…

doors - alive she cried

The DOORS – Alive She Cried
Back in the summer after I graduated High School, I purchased the boxed set that collected all of The Doors’ live matterial onto two cassettes, and played them until they wore out. Here’s one of the live albums that was featured, that I found at Half Price Books. I was immediately taken back to those late summer nights wherein I would walk around the farm with this playing on my walkman, pretending to be Jim Morrison…um, I may have shared a bit too much, here…

jimi hendrex - axis bold as love

JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE- Axis: Bold As Love
The second release from the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Axis: Bold As Love needs to be heard as a whole, instead of just a collection of singles…also, fantastic psychadelic artwork in a gatefold cover, there…

golden earring - moontan

GOLDEN EARRING – Moontan
This is the one with one of two Golden Earring songs that I was, up to now, familiar with: “Radar Love”. The rest of the album is pretty good, too…

krokus - one vice at a time

KROKUS – One Vice At A Time
Krokus may have been considered Switzerland’s poor-man’s AC/DC, but it’s still good crunchy hard rock, here…

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Vinyl Confessions: RIGHTEOUS METAL III

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saint - in the battle
SAINT – In The Battle
This was a comeback of sorts for Saint, getting back their original singer and their original heavy metal LIKE GOD INTENDED; a decade or so later, they remaster and re-released this with new artwork and on gorgeous white vinyl…fan-tastic, really…

philadelphia - search and destroy

PHILADELPHIA – Search & Destroy
Here was the Holy Grail of rare early metal releases, trying to find it since hearing the title cut on the cheesy yet fun Righteous Metal compilation; thanks to Roxx Records, I now have it, on gold vinyl and a greatly improved album cover artwork…came with a sticker of the album artwork as well…

xdisciplex - heaven + hell

xDISCIPLEx A.D. – Heaven & Hell
Randomly ran into this one at Half Price Books perusing their used vinyl, and grabbed it immediately…great hardcore classic, pressed on clear vinyl…looks good, sounds good, bit of water damage on the cover, but otherwise a great find…

sacrament - testimony of apocalypse

SACRAMENT – Testimony Of Apocalypse
This album needed the vinyl treatment, and save for the spindle hole being a bit small, I have no complaints about this thrash classic re-release…

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Vinyl Confessions: ODDS N’ SODS II

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jimi hendrix - are you experienced
JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE – Are You Experienced?
I originally got this as a cassette back when I was going through my whole college-age faux-hippie era, back when I would make my own bell bottoms, wear bright multi-colored scarves on my head, rose-tinted sunglasses, and stay up late drinking coffee and smoking clove cigarettes. Turns out, this debut album from the legendary Jimi Hendrix and his band is a solid front-to-back psychedelic rock album. This is obviously the US stereo release version, with that iconic cover art, as well as being an original release, rather than one of the recent re-releases…
jimi hendrix - smash hits
JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE – Smash Hits
Back in High School, I would read in my rock and metal magazines about how Jimi Hendrix revolutionized guitar playing for the rock and metal bands to follow, and so I picked up this Greatest Hits package at a Target on cassette to check out what the hype was all about. It wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, but over time the songs grew on me. I picked up this re-release, with way different cover art and 180-Gram Vinyl, because it was a used copy and cheaper than a new copy. Also, this has a couple of songs that were originally on the UK release of Are You Experienced that were omitted on the US release…
ramones - end of the century
The RAMONES – End Of The Century
This may be considered one of the less popular Ramones albums, but at least I can say I’m not a poser who just has the album “Blitzkrig Bop” is on…just the one “Rock And Roll High School” is on…
supertones - strike back
SUPERTONES – Supertones Strike Back
So I really can’t give a good explanation as to why I picked up this particular record, other than I saw it used at the Half Price Books, and recalled it didn’t suck as bad as their first album. Still, somehow I don’t foresee this getting a lot of spins…huh…

Movie Review: The SAND (Blood Sand)

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sand, theMonarch Home Video
2015
TV-14

“This is worse than the woman with the horseshoe crab up her ass.”

If ever there was a quote directly from this movie that encapsulates perfectly the kind of watching experience The Sand was, I would be hard pressed to find anything more on-the-nose than that one. Which is uttered by one Jamie Kennedy, who seemed equally annoyed as he was mystified that he is in this movie. And he was in Son Of The Mask. But, I digress.

I admit, it’s been a while since I’ve viewed a movie of this…caliber. I’ve gone through dry spells where I didn’t really want to watch cheesy B-grade movies, more out of apathy than any kind of shift of taste. The Sand (aka “Blood Sand”, because having multiple working titles is an indication of quality) was one that was, believe it or not, recommended to me by a lovely couple at my church who watched this and immediately thought of me. I’m assuming, actually, but this is something that I would go for. Unfortunately, I was still kinda going through a low ebb in my manic depression, and while I stuck it on my watchlist, I kept coming up with excuses not to watch The Sand. Or do much of anything other than sit and stare at the darkness surrounding me. Such is the nature of depression and all.

Before we begin with this antacid flashback, I want to throw in here that, with a bit of research to the background of this movie, it appears that, besides Blood Sand, there was also some early versions using Killer Beach as the title of the movie. Lovely. Probably would have went with that one, personally, but here we are.

*sigh* Let’s just get the rundown out of the way; I’m already spending too much time dwelling on this flick…

After a raging party on a secluded beach (the flashback of which is shown in Smartphone Video Vision), eight of the remaining partygoers wake up the next morning to find out that if they step on the sand, tendrils whip out and drag them under, eating anything delicious and meaty: Birds, hotdogs, humans. These eight were spared initially because they happened to pass out during the party on things that kept them from touching the sand itself: a picnic table, a convertible car, the lifeguard tower, a garbage can. It’s a situation worthy of inclusion in a Stephen King short story collection. Anyway, after a handful of the survivors, and a persnickety beach patrol guy that’s played by the aforementioned Jamie Kennedy (the only actual acting talent in this whole thing) get eaten by whatever it is that’s lurking in the sand, things are starting to look bleak…and whatever that thing is under the sand seems to be getting bigger…

As modern B-movies go, I have to admit that The Sand wasn’t as painful as I was expecting it to be. Don’t get me wrong; this is a movie that is firmly in the Hilarious For All The Wrong Reasons style of horror flick. The opening scenes do a fairly decent job setting up the plot of the movie, and I understand when we’re dealing with a low budget movie like this, keeping things in one location is one of the ways to keep within the budget.

The problem here is that there’s not enough plot to propel The Sand to a full-length running time. The premise lends itself to a good tight 30- to 45-minute short film; to pad this one out, there’s a lot of arbitrary “tension” scenes, usually involving playing a rousing game of The Floor Is Lava (and just as exciting as watching a game like that in real life), and oh, there’s also a love triangle subplot that is shoehorned in so badly that it grinds the momentum of the plot itself to a halt to remind the viewers that these are people you should totes care for, instead of being a cast of chowderheaded dudebro alpha males and whipped-cream-for-brains scantily clad females that you’ll be rooting to die horribly pretty much from the get-go. Really, the only two salvageable characters here are Jamie Kennedy’s character (of course), because he voices the frustration of the viewers as a surrogate, and the token fat guy who spends the majority of the run time stuck in a garbage can with a dick drawn on his face. I can relate to his pain. Also, he has the best final line before being eaten by the sand monster thing.

Overall, while I don’t hate myself for having watched The Sand (I did get a lot of laughs from this, after all), this VOD offering falls short of the So Bad It’s Good status that affords a recommendation for all to watch more than once. A good once-over for a nice goofy Midnight Flick night, but really that’s all there is to this movie.

Movie Review: The DIRT

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dirt, theNetflix
2019
TV-MA

“We wanna knock people on their asses and we gotta give them a show. I’m talking like on stage or in clubs. The fans, they’re ding for some anarchy. So let’s give it to them.”

This seems to be the era of the biopic; we’ve already had the Queen / Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, and there’s going to be one for Elton John starring that kid that was in the Kingsmen movie (probably part of the deal Elton made for being in the second Kingsmen movie…?). Of course, for those of us who grew up in the 80s instead of the 70s, the long-gestating movie-fied version of Motley Crue’s tell-all memoir book The Dirt was the one that many an old metalhead was waiting for. Finally, then, the movie was made, and released…on Netflix.

Yeah, despite evidence to the contrary, I still have this stigma about movies being released to a streaming service directly, rather than to the theaters. I know, that shouldn’t be an indication of the quality of the movie itself; however, it’s hard to not equate Direct To Streaming with Direct To Video (or DVD), and there are many bad movies released directly to that format. It doesn’t stop me from watching them, mind you.

Anyway, being a fan of the 80s iteration of the ultimate sleazy glam metal mo-fos to come out of the Sunset Strip–yeah, they lost me when they canned Vince back in 1992, and never really got me back when they came back to their senses after that self-titled album–I was interested in watching this movie. I’ve read bits of the book itself, but I don’t own it. Though, being a voracious reader of all of the rock and metal mags back in the 80s, I knew my Motley Crue history…or, at least the history that the media portrayed. So, the question was, is The Dirt going to dive into the dark, seedy underbelly of the band’s history and unearth things that even the hardest of hardcore Motley Crue fans didn’t know? Or is this going to be more of a self-serving edited down history that glosses over a lot of things and presenting hardly anything anyone already knew?

The answer is, “Yes.”

Just like with Bohemian Rhapsody, we’re talking about a band that had been around for over three decades before calling it a career. This isn’t like The Doors, where the band itself was only together for a handful of years before the singer died and no one cared about the band carrying on anymore after that. Anyone expecting an exhaustive documentary-style biopic…well, I don’t think anyone was actually expecting that kind of movie.

The movie glosses over some things, and leaves some things out entirely, and plays a bit loose with some facts, in the interest of time and streamlining things for the viewer. And I’m okay with that. I was expecting that, actually. And the movie itself realizes this, and lampshades some things directly explaining how things are different here than what really happened; there’s a scene where the band’s soon-to-be manager “Doc” McGhee shows up at the band’s apartment during an after-show party to introduce himself, and Mick Mars turns to the camera and starts explaining that McGhee never really went to their apartment, but they cut out the actual guy because of reasons. That was rather brilliant, really, I kind of wish they did that in Bohemian Rhapsody. It would have explained some of the editing choices.

The Dirt doesn’t flinch away from portraying the overtly decadent side of things. Within the first five minutes, the movie earns its TV-MA rating (which is the equivalent to “R”), with enough nudity, drug use and sexual debauchery to make you wonder if you stumbled upon a remake of Caligula by mistake. The actors, while not exactly replicas of the band members they’re portraying, retain the exact spirit of the band, with Machine Gun Kelly being the best Tommy Lee clone going. Who’da thunk that a rapper would play a metal drummer so affably? Though, it makes sense, given Tommy’s foray into rap back in the 90s, there.

Long story short, The Dirt was far more entertaining than it should have been. I found myself chuckling at the era that I grew up in and embraced as a pimply, overweight Midwest teenager who didn’t look all that flattering in spandex and hair spray, but that didn’t stop me darn it. And in case you’re about to do a Google search, no. No pictures exist of me like that. So don’t waste your time. Do I recommend watching The Dirt? Yes. Yes I do. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go throw on Shout At The Devil and Dr. Feelgood, in that order.

Vinyl Confessions: WELCOME TO MY BREAKDOWN

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Continuing on (long overdue) with my showing off of my ever-growing vinyl record collection, I now present to you the so-far three albums from one of my favorite performers: Alice Cooper…
alice cooper killer
ALICE COOPER – Killer
This one is probably the first Alice Cooper that I never did own in any other format. Meaning, this is the first time I’ve heard this one put out with the Alice Cooper Band proper. And…it’s a pretty good album, really. Some pretty good deep cuts on this one…
alice cooper welcome to my nightmare
ALICE COOPER – Welcome To My Nightmare
Everything about this album is classic Alice Cooper, from the concept, the Vincent Price cameo, and the Steven Trilogy still gives me chills and freaks me out each time I listen to it. Like a good Hammer horror flick should…
alice cooper goes to hell
ALICE COOPER – Goes To Hell
Of the three that I have on vinyl (for now), this is probably my least favorite one. That’s not to say there aren’t any bright spots on this; it just that, following up such a strong concept record like Welcome To My Nightmare, this one just doesn’t compete. Love that cover, though…

I’m still keeping my eyes open for other records from master of shock rock, so this probably won’t be the last time this guy’s going to pop up in this blog series. Until next time, cheers…

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Movies + Beer: HELLBOY 2019

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MOVIES + BEERhellboy 2019

James is joined by Brian and Andrea at Sean O’ Casey’s, and discuss the new Hellboy reboot…among other things…

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