Sunday, July 31, 2011

Streets of Fire (soundtrack)

Welcome to another edition of Soundtrack Sunday.

In June of 1984, a film hit the theatres that had dreams of being a big blockbuster but failed to gross enough to cover its original budget. Not even stars Michael Paré, Diane Lane, Willem Dafoe, Rick Moranis, Deborah Van Valkenburgh and a very young Bill Paxton could save Streets of Fire for cinema disaster.

However, thanks to an interesting musical score and a pretty decent soundtrack album, the film did find itself a cult following among fans. Today we look at that soundtrack album.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The B-52's - The B-52's

Welcome to another edition of Seventies Saturday.

On July 6th of 1979, as the fires of disco were burning out, the rising tide of new wave was ready to wash over the music scene. And one of the bands ready to throw a big beach bash was the Athens, Georgia-based rock band the B-52’s.

Their self-titled debut The B-52’s was welcomed by music fans looking for something a bit different. The album went all the way to number 59 on the Billboard 200 charts and number 22 on the UK charts, was certified Gold in a little more than a year’s time and was certified Platinum before the summer of 1986. Decades after its release, the album still garners favor. It was ranked number 99 on VH-1’s 100 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2003; Rolling Stone magazine placed it at number 152 on its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All-Time.

Comic Books of the Week (7/27/11)

Flashpoint: Hal Jordan #2 (of 3) - reading about Hal as a pilot-turned-hero isn't so bad. I've always been a fan of his outside the ring-identity of Green Lantern. This issue was a bit better than the last and the art style actually suits the story and character.

Flashpoint: Kid Flash Lost #2 (of 3) - this issue held up a little better than the last one. We actually get to see traits in Bart that were always interesting - a smart, capable hero. I wasn't as thrilled with the art on this issue though. I look forward to see how/if Bart can get back to his Uncle Barry in time and help resolve things. My gut feel is Bart, along with Booster Gold, will help Barry "fix time" and result in getting things not quite right (leading to the DCnU timeline come September).

Lois Lane and the Resistance #2 (of 3) poor Lois gets bumped as lead of her own mini, thanks to the appearance of the Grifter as leader of the Resistance. The issue is all about him, which I am sure excites his Wildstorm comic fans. It makes sense to put him front and center as he has his own DCnU book coming in September. For me, the issue really was so-so. The change in art style from last issue helped a bit but not enough.

Justice Society of America #53 - Jerry Ordway provides the art on this second-to-last issue for the series. I love his style as it is perfect for the JSA. I love the use of the Challengers of the Unknown. My only concern is this whole story is forced to a rushed conclusion next time. Sad. I was actually getting into it.

Teen Titans #98 - Krul and company are going out with a bang. So glad the powers-that-be gave them extra issues to get to #100 by the end of August. Superboy-Prime is back and he's brought some allies to take out the Titans. Things could get really chaotic really fast. I'm glad to see this version of the Titans go out with a bang rather than a whimper. So sad they're being totally retooled for September (just one of the many reasons I am dropping comics come Fall). Special kudos to the art team for the shots of Ravager on page 11. They made her look well-proportioned without going over the top. Clearly these guys know their anatomy. Something some comic artists could use a refresher course on.

John Byrne's Next Men #8 (#38) - Byrne provides an interesting way to bring one former cast member into the future with the rest of the group. However, that is pretty much all this issue is - vignettes of the move of Gil/Gillian from body to body over time. We only get a brief feel for each life she shared. I was a bit bored by the fourth jump. And, looking at the end, it appears that the story (and perhaps the series?) might conclude with the next issue? That works for me. Since my dropping regular comics thanks to DC's new approach means I lose this title (my one regular non-DC title), I would be happy if the run were ending at the same time. But if it does not I won't lose too much sleep over it.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Vanity 6 - Vanity 6

Sex sells.

As Prince’s career was taking off in the early 80’s, he certainly had that old axiom in mind when put together a girl-group to sing songs about sex and fantasy while dressed in lingerie. The final line-up with the trio of Vanity (Denise Matthews), Brenda Bennett and Susan Moonsie certainly looked the part. Together they would be known as Vanity 6, the number referring to the total count of certain female anatomy of the trio.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mötley Crüe - Too Fast For Love

Formed in 1981, the quartet of hard-rocking musicians from Los Angeles known as Mötley Crüe cut a debut record called Too Fast For Love on a small label on November 10th of that year. That 900 copy run was enough to get them noticed and signed by Elektra Records, who helped them re-record and remix the record for a 1982 release. Despite an initial chart showing that reached number 77 on the US Billboard 200 charts, the record would eventually reach Platinum selling status.

The cover of the record pays homage (and a little parody) to the Rolling Stones’ 1971 album Sticky Fingers.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Adam Ant - Friend or Foe

After a third album and disbanding Adam and the Ants in early 1982, Adam Ant (born Stuart Leslie Goddard) went out as a solo artist. His first, and most successful to date, solo album was Friend or Foe which was released October 11th, 1982.  It went to number 5 in the UK.

Thanks to the growing market of music videos on MTV, he was able crossover to the US and gain a larger following. Here in the States, the album went all the way to number 16 on the Billboard 200. The record was certified Gold in both the UK and the US.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Nu Shooz - Tha's Right

Nu Shooz is the husband-wife musical team of John Smith and Valerie Day, who hail from Portland, Oregon. Their first recording, an eight song release, was done in 1982 on a small label called Nebula Circle. In 1986, they had their first major label recording Poolside on Atlantic Records (of which I am a huge fan - but that album is a blog post for another time). In between those two was a five song EP entitled Tha’s Right that was put out on Poolside Records.

I first heard of Nu Shooz in early 1986 (when I was back at college for my junior year) as dance clubs had picked up one their tracks. That was the Dutch remix version of “I Can’t Wait” which had gotten them major label attention in the United States. Recently discovering Tha’s Right, which includes the original US version of the song, was like unearthing a lost treasure after many decades at sea.

Let’s take a look at this release.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Spandau Ballet - Diamond

On May 25th of 1982, the British band Spandau Ballet released their second studio album Diamond, which went to number 15 on the UK album charts and was certified Gold.

Like their first release, this one too was produced by Richard James Burgess, a noted studio drummer and computer-music composer. Burgess’ style helped the band to become one of the leaders in the New Romantic sound of the early 80’s.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Ghostbusters (soundtrack)

Welcome to another edition of Soundtrack Sunday.

In June of 1984, a comedy film about a group of parapsychologists-turned-ghost-hunters hit the big screen. Written by and starring Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis and featuring Billy Murray, Sigourney Weaver, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts and Rick Moranis, Ghostbusters became a huge box office success and a part of pop culture history. The film's special effects, quotable lines and iconic logo (seen above on the album cover) created the foundation of a franchise that would continue on for decades in the form of sequels, an animated TV series, toys, video games, comic books and more. I remember seeing it in the theatres on first run. I was back in my western New York hometown on summer break between my freshman and sophomore years of college, working by day in the freezers of the local ice cream manufacturing plant so that I could earn enough money to buy the Chevette off of my parents (my first car).

Saturday, July 23, 2011

DC Comics - the New 52 Preview

So, in June DC Comics released the news that coming September the entire line was going to be relaunched. This move entailed a number of things:

- all current titles and storylines ending in August
- starting all book back at issue #1 in September
- shuffling of creative teams working on the books
- cancelling some titles and introducing new ones
- releasing all books in digital format on same-day as paper releases

Jimmy Buffett - A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean

Welcome to another edition of Seventies Saturday.

The summer of 1973 saw the release of popular American singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett’s third studio album, the very interestingly named A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean. The title is, in fact, a play on the 1957 Martin Robbins’ country song “A White Sport Coat and a Pink Carnation”. This album was also the first where Jimmy’s backing musicians were referred to collectively as “the Coral Reefer Band”.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Jam - Sound Affects

On November 28th of 1980, the English band called the Jam released their fifth studio album called Sound Affects. The band was heavily influenced at the time by music from other groups like Gang Of Four and Joy Division, as well as albums like Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall. Those influences helped shape the eleven tracks here.

The record was the group’s best selling disk to date, going Gold in their native UK and reaching the number 2 spot on the charts. It also went to number 72 on the US Billboard Album chart, number 39 in Canada, number 17 in Sweden, and number 2 in New Zealand. Q magazine, a UK publication, ranked the album as number 15 on its 40 Best Albums of the 80’s list.

Comic Books of the Week (7/20/11)

Flashpoint: Legion of Doom #2 (of 3) - man, this is one seriously violent book. Yes, I know, it is about desperate criminals trying to escape a prison but wow. And I guess when you know your "world" is ending in another month it doesn't matter how many deaths you rack up either. I was kind of disappointed with the fates of Atom and Animal Man to boot. Ah well. I will likely only get the final issue for completeness sake.

Flashpoint: Wonder Woman and the Furies #2 (of 3) - more key story about the arrangement between Diana and Aquaman, and how everything went so horribly wrong. We get another hint that this war was not of their making - someone was pulling the strings but who? That mystery is enough to keep me coming back for the final month.

Justice League of America #59 - wow, seven of twenty pages spent on the musings of a mad-villain? Seriously? Clearly the passion of the story left James Robinson as the end of the road was coming up fast. His League's run ends next issue. This issue felt like a huge compromise - finish the arc asap so you can do a quieter final issue. I'm not that thrilled.

Legion of Super-Heroes #15 - the same can be said here. There is a lot in this issue, packed in, but it is done so at the sacrifice of some decent explanations. The Levitz Legion run of the past spent time developing and exploring character depths. I guess it all had to be rushed through so the arc could finish next month to clear the way for September. And DC wonders why a lot of fans were giving up on July and August issues after word of the September relaunch came out. It all seems kind of for naught.

Coming this weekend - my thoughts about "the New 52" based on the free sampler given out at the comic shops this week.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Pretenders - Pretenders II

After the release of their self-titled debut, there was a lot of interest in a follow-up record from the Pretenders. Early in 1981, they released a five song EP that included two singles made popular in the UK. Those singles then became the foundation of their second full-length album aptly entitled Pretenders II released in August of 1981.

While the record was a top-10 seller in parts of the world (number 10 in the US, number 9 in Canada and number 7 in the UK), it didn’t sell nearly as well as their debut had. It took twenty years for the album to reach a Gold level of sales in the US.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Talking Heads - Remain in Light

For their fourth studio album, the American new wave band Talking Heads turned to long time collaborator Brian Eno to produce it. This proved to be a smart move as 1980’s Remain in Light did very well with consumers and critics. The record went to number 19 on the US Billboard Album chart and number 21 on the UK Album charts. Remain in Light was named best album of the 80’s by Sounds and Melody Maker publications. Rolling Stone put it at number 4 on its 100 Best Albums of the 1980’s list and number 126 on its 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list. The Guardian in the UK ranked it number 43 on its list of 100 Best Albums Ever.

The original album release on vinyl contained just eight tracks. The expanded CD reissue included additional unfinished outtakes. For this review, I’ll focus on just that original release format.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

John Cougar - American Fool

On June 10th of 1982, John Mellencamp released his sixth and last album under his stage name of John Cougar.

It also turned out to be his big commercial breakthrough, scoring a number 1 spot on the US Billboard 200 album charts and the Canadian album charts. It sold over 10 million copies in North America alone.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Milli Vanilli - Girl You Know It's True

Any fan of 80’s knows the story of Milli Vanilli, the pop music project created by Frank Farian in 1988. The actual vocals on the record were done by Charles Shaw, John Davis, Brad Howell and twin sisters Jodie and Linda Rocco. Farian didn’t feel the singers were visually marketable though so he hired Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus to “front” the group. Their debut release went to number 1 on the US Billboard Album charts and the Canadian charts; it sold over 6 million copies in the US alone. It also produced five chart-smashing hits. The “group” skyrocketed to international fame that included the Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1990, and then their world crashed down upon them when it was revealed that the two front men did not actually do the lead vocals on the record and would lip-synch in all public performances and videos. The Grammy was subsequently revoked. All of this was detailed in VH-1’s Behind the Music series.

Despite all of the deceptions, I actually enjoyed Milli Vanilli's debut record which in the US came out in 1989 as the album Girl You Know It’s True. Since my blog most often focuses on music, I want to do just that - look at the tracks that made up this record.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Film review: Valentine's Day (2010)

When is having too many stars a bad thing? When you try to cram twenty-one of them into a two hour movie with various plot lines that criss-cross, intersect, and diverge multiple times over.

Valentine's Day, which was released on Valentine's weekend in 2010, was that for me. We watched it last night On-Demand because my wife had wanted to see it. By the end we both agreed that we were glad we had not spent money to see it in the theatres. It wasn't horrible but it just wasn't that great. With all that star power, you'd expect great.

Krush Groove (soundtrack)

Welcome to another edition of Soundtrack Sunday.

In October of 1985, Warner Brothers studio released the film Krush Groove that was loosely based on the early days of Def Jam Recordings and record producer Russell Simmons (played by Blair Underwood). The record label in the film was called Krush Groove, with over a half dozen real-life musical artists (playing themselves) as the various acts on the fictious label.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Comic Books of the Week (7/13/11)

We continue our countdown until August 31st, my final comic book buying day. Let's get to this week's books:

Batman: the Brave and the Bold #9 - this was an enjoyable, done-in-one adventure from the DC Kids line featuring Batman teaming up with Hawkman. The story mostly takes place in space, but shows good elements of both heroes (Batman being a friend, Hawkman being a devoted husband). The last page of the issue clearly was my favorite, a full page shot of what Hawkgirl was up to while her hubby was away.

Birds of Prey #14 - this was the first part of a two-part tale by a fill-in team. Gail Simone already finished her work on the run last time. This definitely feels like an inventory story to me - one that was there for release and had to be used before September's relaunch of the title with a new direction. While I enjoyed some of the art, the story really didn't excite me (between the WWII flashbacks and the return of some Nazi villains today). Yawn. I'll probably only pick up the final issue next month just for completeness sake. The series, one I once looked forward to greatly, is going out with a whimper.

Green Lantern #67 - the final chapter of the "War of the Green Lanterns" saga - another of a letdown. While I did like the nice touch of Kyle's role, the final battle with Krona seemed so arbitrary to me. Of course, the issue has a "shocker" but not really so much so. I am sure it won't be long into the new run starting in September before some things return to the status quo. As the final issue of this run, it too started out really well when Geoff Johns relaunched the book with Hal back in the Corps. Of late though things have gotten a little off - right after Blackest Night in particular. It just felt like it was spinning its wheels in a rut. Ah well.

Teen Titans #97 - the first of the bi-weekly issues so this book can hit #100 before August ends and the book is reconfigured again. I felt this story with Rankor has dragged on a bit too long, so I was glad to see it finally end. There are hints of subplots for the future in this one, but with only three issues left to go before the relaunch I am not really so excited about them. I can't get excited for a new member who won't be on the team in two months time. Ditto for a relationship between Superboy and Ravager when she'll be off the team too. Raven's mystery - I can't see that tying up in the next three issues either. At least with Superboy-Prime coming back next issue there might be some excitement before the final curtain call.

Booster Gold #46 - this book is dragging with the Flashpoint connection. So far we've seen Booster wasting too much time with Doomsday. Dan Jurgens only did half the art here and his story also seems severely shackled. I had hoped the Booster would play a key role in helping Flash solve the problem with changed history. But with only one issue left, if he does it will all be very rushed. Again, another book that I loved when it first came out, then got lost a bit with the change in creative teams, and is now going to go out with a big yawn.

Flashpoint: Citizen Cold #2 (of 3) - I loved the first issue, but this issue not so much. The issue is mostly a battle between Cold and the Rogues, but it just didn't do it for me. Perhaps it was Scott Kolins murky art or his disjointed story-telling. I know he only has three issues to get this done but any interest I was developing in the character and the setting has gone out the window.

Flashpoint: Deathstroke #2 (of 3)- did the art team change between issue 1 and this one? It certainly seems that way. Emperor Aquaman appears in this issue as Deathstroke's ship is attacked. Like with the above book, any interest I had from the first issue seems to have gone with this one - I was really bored. I'm probably going to skip the third one here.

Flashpoint: Emperor Aquaman #2 (of 3) - the art on this issue was very nice all the way around. The flashback of this Aquaman's origin was very detailed, almost too much so for a continuity that goes blip next month. But, perhaps, some of these elements might show up in the new Aquaman book come September. It is so hard to say. This book definitely has not been an Aquaman we've all known and loved for decades. This is more of an Aquman heavily influenced by Marvel's Prince Namor.

The Beatles - Let It Be

Welcome to another edition of Seventies Saturday.

As the 1970’s were just beginning, the Beatles were on the verge of breaking-up. Shortly after the release of their twelfth and final studio album Let It Be, the Fab Four was no more. The record went through a lot of iterations of content between when it was recorded in January of 1969 and its release in May of the following year. With the help of producer Phil Spector, the final content was nailed down.

The album reached number 1 on the charts in the UK, the US, Australia, Canada, Germany and Norway. It has gone multi-platinum many times over.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Hall & Oates - Voices

By the time the 1980’s started, Daryl Hall and John Oates already had eight studio albums under their belt, along with seven Top-40 hits. But with the new decade, they decided it was time for them to produce their own albums, feeling they knew best how to present their songs. The first album under this new direction was the 1980 Voices. This change turned out to be a smart one, as their popularity and sales would skyrocket into the stratosphere with this record and beyond.

The original LP for Voices, which went to number 17 on the US Billboard Album chart and number 19 in Australia became a Platinum seller, has a variety of covers. All were in black and white, but the poses of the duo varied. The one I’ve included with this blog post is my favorite.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Go-Go's - Vacation

Coming off a big debut record the year before, in 1982 the Go-Go’s needed to prove the first time around was no fluke. Their second studio album, however, did not perform nearly as well as Beauty and the Beat. It only went Gold in the US, after peaking at number 8 on the charts, and produced only one Top-40 hit out of three singles.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

American Education Explained

Today one of my Twitter followers from across the pond asked me a question about the American education system, particularly about certain phrases I use to identify grades. I realized from this (as well as talking to my UK friends) that not all school systems break down the same way. Since I often reference points in my life in my blog posts by mentioning where I was in my education cycle, I thought I'd give a little primer so we're all on the same page.

Terence Trent D’Arby - Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D’Arby

When the twenty five year old, Manhattan born Terence Trent D’Arby came onto the music scene with his debut album in 1987, many compared him in ways to Prince. Both men are attractive with a strong sex appeal, both are singer-songwriters, both play many instruments well, and both had very active hands in the productions of their debut albums.

Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D’Arby was a very popular album right out of the gate. It sold a million copies within the first few weeks of going on sale; over the decades it has sold nearly 14 million copies. It was an instant number 1 smash in the UK, spending nine weeks total at that spot. In the US, its rise was slower but it eventually peaked at number 4 on the Billboard charts in 1988.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

To My Readers...

Dear Readers,

First, thank you so very much for visiting my blog and reading. I do appreciate each and every one of you.

Second, I've added some controls to the bottom of each post to make it easier for folks to share what I've written with their friends. The controls are multi-platform, so you can pick you favorites based on where you might do your social media activities (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Blogger, email, etc.). If you think you know of people who might like what I've written up, please take a second and pass a link or reference on to them. I would greatly appreciate that too.

Finally, if you have any suggestions for the blog please let me know. You can do so via comments, via Twitter (see link on right column) or via Email (accessed from my full Profile). Just contact me. It could be an album you'd like me to review or something I can do better. I am open for any and all comments.



U2 - The Joshua Tree

There is no disputing the popularity of U2’s fifth studio album, 1987’s The Joshua Tree. The record has sold over 25 million copies world-wide, and it went to number 1 on the album charts of over 20 countries including the US and the UK.

Critically too the album was well received. In 1988, it won the Grammy Awards for Album of the Year and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. Rolling Stone magazine ranked it as number 3 on its Top 100 Albums of the 80’s list and number 26 on its 500 Greatest Albums of All-Time list. VH1 ranked it at number 15 on their 100 Greatest Albums of Rock & Roll list.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Pet Shop Boys - Actually

Following their Platinum selling debut the previous year, the Pet Shop Boys released Actually in 1987 to an equally great reception. This album too went Platinum in a number of countries, including the band’s native UK, Canada, Finland and Germany. It went to number 1 in Finland and Germany, number 2 in the UK (60 weeks total on the charts) and Sweden, and number 25 in the US (45 weeks total on the charts).

Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe did not vary the musical styles that brought them success with Please. They also continued to supplement their own electronic synth sounds with some guest musicians. The record produced four singles as did its predecessor. The production values, however, on the new tracks were much higher than that debut release.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Prince - Parade: Music from the Motion Picture Under the Cherry Moon

Welcome to another edition of Soundtrack Sunday.

After the success of the film Purple Rain, Warner Brothers gave Prince the opportunity to create another film. What resulted was 1986's Under the Cherry Moon, a con-game romantic/comedy story released in black and white and having a very distinctive, European style. The film was critical and commercial disaappointment. I think only dedicated fans of the artist were the ones that saw it in its theatrical run.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Aerosmith - Toys In the Attic

Welcome to another edition of Seventies Saturday.

In 1975, the Boston bred band Aerosmith released their third studio album. Toys In the Attic was both a commercial and critical success. The record climbed to number 11 on the US Billboard 200 charts; it went Gold within four months of its release, and as of 2002 it had gone Platinum eight times over. Two of the four singles made it into the Top-40 charts. Rolling Stone magazine has ranked it number 228 on its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All-Time.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Comic Books of the Week (7/6/11)

Counting down to the end of August and the end of my picking up of new monthly comics... (sniff sniff), let's get to the reviews:

Adventure Comics #528 - Levitz and his varied art teams really deliver on this issue. As some old faces finally graduate the Academy, the Legion HQ is invaded. It is up to the only LSH members around - the instructors from the Academy - to find out what is up. Naturally, the current class follows behind, too curious for their own good. Will they survive the big battle in the final issue next month? I hope so. I'd really like this classic title to go out on a high note. More reminiscing next month.

Secret Six #35 - speaking of going out on a high note, Gail Simone and J. Calafiore are pulling out all the stops for this final arc of the team. After the revelations in Hell, Bane decides to take the team on a critical mission - to battle the Bat-heroes in Gotham! It is a shame we're only getting two issues for this story as I am sure it will be a good one. I know Gail and J. will not disappoint. Final thoughts on this series next month.

Flashpoint #3 (of 5) - another book that I really wish had more issues for it would be this one. Five is not enough to hold all the goodness. The opening pages really show why Barry Allen is the hero he is! That was amazing conviction and determination on his part. The scenes with Lois and the Resistance give a good glimpse at some elements of the post-Flashpoint DCU, which is fine. But I'm really digging the Flashpoint world and all its surprises. Speaking of: the revelation in the vaults of Project Superman was outstanding! Can't wait to see where this goes next issue.

Flashpoint: Abin Sur #2 (of 3) - this issue picks up from Flashpoint: Hal Jordan #1 and spins the story in an unexpected way. Loved it! What was even more shocking was the appearance of Sinestro and the revelation of why he decided to come to Earth. Could this be a key to the end of the event? I think it will be a factor with how things end up come September.

Flashpoint: Secret Seven #2 (of 3) - I was a little disappointed when I opened the book to find George Perez only did the cover this time out. I had hoped he would the pencils for the entire mini. Still, I loved what Milligan, Blanco and Koblish did with this one. Lots of characters, lots of intrigue, loved this version of Abra Kadabra (now that he didn't have a Flash to vex). I am sure some of the characters and elements of this book will also survive come September. Three issues aren't enough for this one either.

World of Flashpoint #2 (of 3) - Traci 13 is really trying to save the planet, but a teen can't do it on her own. I loved her little tour of the globe, looking for allies. Even though we only got glimpses, it was interesting to see how the characters we know and love were totally reinterpretted. Some great surprises here. I'm not sure how all this will end. Given the other books and the shortness of the main Flashpoint mini, I am thinking all the elements will come together in the final issue for some major re-triggering effect, out of which will spin the new relaunched DCU for September. More thoughts on all of this next month.

J. Geils Band - Freeze-Frame

In the fall of 1981, which corresponded to the start of my junior year of high school, the J. Geils Band released their twelfth album Freeze-Frame. The band from Massachusetts had been around for a little more than a decade by this point, but this release would be their first to go to number 1 on the Billboard 200 Album charts (where it stayed on top for four weeks) and the first to be a Platinum seller.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Indigo Girls - Nomads Indians Saints

Today marks the 21st wedding anniversary for my wife Terri and me. When I asked her to suggest an album for me to review, she chose the Indigo Girl’s third studio album Nomads Indians Saints. Not so coincidentally it came out in 1990, the year we were married. So, I’m dedicating this album review to her and our marriage.

The Indigo Girls are an American folk rock duo hailing from the Atlanta, Georgia, area. Amy Ray and Emily Saliers began performing as students at Emory University before getting a contract with CBS Records. Both women identify themselves as lesbians, though they are not a couple. They are very active in causes both political and environmental.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Missing Persons - Spring Session M

The Los Angeles based new-wave/rock band Missing Persons was founded in 1980. They put together a four-song, self-titled EP to help promote their band while on tour. Before they signed a deal with Capital Records, the EP was re-released in 1982 with a change in songs.

Their first major label release was the October 1982 Spring Session M. For those wordsmiths among you, you will notice that the title of the record is in fact an anagram for the band‘s name.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

AC/DC - Back In Black

As the 80’s began, the Australian rockers AC/DC released their sixth world-wide studio album Back In Black. It went to number 1 in their native homeland and also in Canada, France and the UK. Here in the US it peaked at number 4 ; however it also sold the most copies here to date (over 22 million of the total 49 million copies world-wide).

Critically, the album is a favorite. Rolling Stone magazine ranked it number 26 on its list of 100 Greatest Albums of the 80’s and number 73 on its list of 500 Greatest Albums of All-Time.

Monday, July 4, 2011

MYNX - Out of Sight Out of Mind

The musical duo known as MYNX are Ara Thorose and Holly Lovecat, two Los Angeles performers who’ve known each other since 2002 and became good friends after working similar venues. It was only natural for the two to collaborate. Each brings elements of their personal background to the mix, creating a sound that skillfully draws from electronic, pop, rock and dance.

I first became aware of MYNX last week while checking out the newly re-launched Catalyst magazine. The issue featured a profile on the band and also came with a download sampler that included one of their songs. After one spin, I was instantly hooked - so much so that I sought out the rest of the tracks of their 2009 EP Out of Sight Out of Mind to download.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Social Network (2010)

Last night, my wife and I were rummaging through the movies On-Demand and came across Starz offering 2010 film The Social Network as one of the free films. Since the price was right and we had some time on our hands, we decided to give it a watch.

Now, my impression of the first five minutes based on the scene with Mark Zuckerberg (played by Jesse Eisenberg) and Erica Albright (played by Rooney Mara) was that this might be too much of a talky-film and not very interesting. Boy, did that change when the date ended and Zuckerberg went into uber-geek programmer mode. That got my interest going!

The Muppet Movie (soundtrack)

Welcome to another edition of Soundtrack Sunday.

With the new Muppet movie coming out later this summer, I thought I’d revisit an old favorite of mine from back in 1979, the soundtrack of the first Muppet Movie.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Clash - The Clash

Welcome to another edition of Seventies Saturday.

The quartet of English rockers who made up the Clash released their self-titled debut album in their home country in 1977. The record, with its mix of musical styles, did very well and peaked on the charts at number 12. As an import, it was very popular in the United States, especially among the college radio stations. Two years later, the Clash was re-released in the US with some changes to the content (four tracks were dropped and five others were added), going to number 126 on the Billboard charts. It achieved Gold sales status in both countries.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Buckner & Garcia - Pac-Man Fever

In the early 80’s, the musical duo of Jerry Buckner and Gary Garcia started out with a novelty Christmas song about the NFL. But their biggest claim to fame came in 1982 with Pac-Man Fever, the song and album that celebrated the biggest arcade video games at the time. The album was certified Gold and sold over 900,000 copies by the end of that year.

Now, it is no secret that I am a huge geek. And back in early 1982 when I was halfway through my junior year of high school, I was a very much the same way. I often spent my weekend nights down at the Central Avenue arcade, feeding allowance money into the token machine so I could get the right tender to play all of my favorite games. My best friend John and I would spend the entire evening there among the neon glows, blips and bleeps, and then cap things off with some pizza and Pepsi at the snack place next door.

Of course, when Pac-Man Fever hit the record stores that March, I immediately snapped that album up on vinyl. I was in game-geek heaven! Was this record considered cool? Only among us nerds. Was it groundbreaking music? Not so much but it was well composed and performed. Was it fun? I certainly thought so. And did I listen to it a ton? You better believe it!