Wednesday, April 30, 2008

NUws Episode III

Here's the third episode of my web show NUws. Enjoy.

Part 1

Part 2

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Bringing Back the Genesis Days

I've been thinking a lot about working on becoming a DJ. I really like clubs, and dancing, and putting on music that people have fun dancing to.

The problem is, my particular taste in music, especially the music I actually buy, is pretty far from what most people would call "danceable," so in addition to looking into equipment I've been trying to find more danceable music. I did this once during high school, searching endlessly for mashups, but now I've been tracking down remixes or just interesting tracks, and today I hit upon something truly extraordinary.

The RAC (Remix Artist Collective) is a loosely banded group of separate remix artists (who would've thought?) that have just put out the Nintendo VS Sega EP, a four-track EP using audio samples from Super Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog, and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. It's some pretty awesome stuff, and they make high quality tracks. My favorite is the last song, which takes a sample from one of my favorite parts of the Sonic games.

RAC - Sonic: Spring Yard Zone (RAC Maury Remix)

Take a listen and remember the days you wasted playing on a Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, or any old game system. I may starting posting a remix of the day or something when I've got the time, so be on the lookout for that.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Bring on the NUws

Here are some links to the second episode of my collaborative new web show NUws. We discuss some new happenings on campus, make picks for the NBA playoffs, and play a new game in the second segment before hitting the Malleo Wrap-Up. Enjoy.

Part 1

Part 2

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I'm sorry, I thought I already saw that one...

I just saw the trailer for the newest John Cusack movie War Inc. on Apple Trailers.

The plot features John Cusack playing a hit man who has to disguise himself as he poses as a trade show producer in Turaqistan.

Now correct me if I'm wrong...but wasn't that pretty much the premise behind Grosse Point Blank? This one even has Dan Aykroyd and Joan Cusak from that film, just transported into a much more convoluted plot involving a corporate invasion of a war-torn pseudo-Middle-Eastern country, a trade show, and apparently Hilary Duff doing the worst accent this side of The Lizzie McGuire Movie.

Now, I'm a big fan of the Cusacks, and John is one of my all-time favorite actors, but I absolutely hate retread plots. We've had enough of the Iraq war satires for a little while, and this one is recycling plots and jokes from all over the place. I'm sure it's got a bit of good somewhere buried inside it, but the first trailer just left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

Monday, April 21, 2008

More Awesome Concert News

On Sunday Stars played a free concert on the lawn behind the student center at NU. They were booked by our student organization combating human trafficking called OneVoice. It was a great find by a student group, and the indie bands visiting this Evanston campus are only increasing, with the news that NiteSkool is bringing Headlights to the Louis Room in May.

Headlights - TV

I'm really excited that we're getting a lot of niche or lesser-known bands on campus, even if they've been blogged about endlessly for years among the hipster community. I could care less whether NU is two years late to the party on Headlights or however many years on Stars, just bringing them to campus shows that groups are turning towards smaller acts instead of relying on big name corporate acts to increase ticket sales and satisfy the diverse music tastes of the whole student body.

Stars - Elevator Love Letter

Our biggest concert event of the year is Dillo Day, which happens at the end of May every year. Normally it's some bigger acts, and this year is no exception, with the announcement that Chicago-born rapper Common is the headliner. I don't really know a lot about his music, but with rumors circulating that Ted Leo & the Pharmacists could be playing does a lot to ease my misgivings about the day descending into an entire lineup I don't particularly enjoy. We'll see what happens, for now enjoy a couple quality tunes, even though they're a bit outdated.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Reading the NUws

A week ago I started recording a Crossfire and PTI inspired news show with one of my friends at NU. We talk about sports, movies, and Northwestern campus news. Check it out on YouTube here, or check out a video below. And yes, that song is from Major League.

Episode 1 Part 1

Episode 1 Part 2

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Catching Up on Unfinished Business: Winter Quarter Music Roundup

Wow, time really does fly, especially for a new college student. I just finished the final week of my pledge process, and I'm now a full member of my fraternity, which is pretty great. The end of winter quarter, spring break, and now the start of spring quarter has gone by incredibly quickly. I've got two English classes and two Film classes now, which is awesome, so I'm really looking forward to the next couple months.

I never really did a round-up of the music I've been listening to lately, so here's a last-ditch attempt.

Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks - Cold Son
When I first listened to the Pavement frontman's solo songs, I didn't really like them. This is the first Malkmus record I have really enjoyed. The songs are a little bit too long, stretching the ideas a bit thin, but a lot of them are still great.

Tokyo Police Club - Centennial
Tokyo Police Club's first full LP is pretty much my album of the year right now. In less than half an hour, the band bangs out solid track after solid track that leaves you wanting to immediately play the entire thing over again. I choose the first track only because I couldn't decide which of about 8 or 9 favorites to put up here.

Gnarls Barkley - Surprise
My favorite song off of there very strong but not spectacular sophomore effort. Danger Mouse's production is fantastic as always. He never fails at making me want to pick apart the background of a GB song.

Tapes N' Tapes - Hang Them All
I loved their debut, but Tapes were essentially last year's Vampire Weekend, a band hyped to the extreme on the internet that delivered a very good first album that just wasn't the second coming. Their sophomore effort Walk It Off is another solid effort, and "Hang Them All" is definitely the best song on the album to me.

Vampire Weekend - A-Punk
Despite the backlash due to the web hype for this young band of Columbia grads, this song clears the air for me and is a dreamlike few minutes to escape into sonic heaven. The keyboards over the end of the chorus make me feel like floating.

Nada Surf - Ice on the Wing
If Tokyo Police Club is my album of the year candidate, here's my very close #2. I was astounded at the quality of Lucky, Nada Surf's March release. It has great track pacing, and great energy that was really lacking from everything else I'd ever heard by them. Take a listen, because this is a wonderfully catchy track.

The Raveonettes - Blush
I never really listened to the Raveonettes before their newest album Lust Lust Lust, but I really like it. It has a certain spaced-out feel to it that I really liked when listening to bands like New Order, so they've become my go-to band for just reclining and listening to music.

So yeah, that's the music I was listening to for a lot of the past couple months. Give it a listen, and I'll be getting some more stuff up soon. Some new music, some summer movie previews, and some articles from my other job reviewing concerts and such.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Prom feels so long ago, but...

Okay, so my senior prom went well. I got a date easily, dated the girl for a while, and it was a great time. It was even at the top of the coolest building in San Francisco. We all had a ton of fun, and I will always remember senior prom for its laid-back, seemingly unimportant feel; nothing like what I had been lead to believe the experience would be like.

However, what my senior class lacked was an extremely creative, romantic, outlandish prom proposal. That is where the current senior class at my high school comes in. From one of my best friends, who happens to be attending Northwestern next fall, I have heard countless stories of increasingly creative proposal from guys, ending in one final video on YouTube that left me speechless. What I present to you is quite possibly the funniest, silliest and at the same time classiest and cutest prom proposal idea I've ever seen, courtesy of a friend of mine at my old high school.

I'm still in shock. It's an amazingly gutsy performance, and good lord what great comedy. Major props man, I hope your senior prom is as rewarding as this video is for everyone that's ever known you.

The Death of Charlton Heston

As I'm sure most of you know, Chalton Heston died a few days ago. This death in no way hit me as hard as Heath Ledger's did at the beginning of the year, and I've taken a few days to collect my thoughts on why I think that, and I believe I've found the reasons.

Charlton Heston made some fantastic movies in his career. Ben-Hur, Soylent Green, Touch of Evil, and Planet of the Apes are all classics, and Heston was great in those films. He was a great dramatic actor and action star, and for his time as a adult movie star in the 50s and 60s, but I doubt that a lot of people in my generation are away of anything other than Apes.

Instead, Heston's legacy to my generation, however unfortunately, is forever linked with this clip: well as his small part in Michael Moore's 1999 gun violence documentary Bowling for Columbine(note Moore's creative editing at the end with the picture of the little girl, which caused major controversy over the truthfulness of his film):

Now, I really don't care what your stance is on gun control/ownership; what Heston did as the head of the NRA following the events at Columbine was nothing short of atrocious. Holding a pro-gun rally so close to an area that had just suffered severe tragedy involving guns on a scale we had never seen before was distasteful, and it soured Heston's career in the minds of my generation forever. Charlton Heston was a fantastic actor, but his legacy to the young minds of my generation will always be as the insensitive NRA leader that let his volatile politics guide him away from the field he belonged. Much in the same way that Sean Penn's zealous advocacy has lead to some unpopularity for him as an uber-liberal, so did Heston's pro-gun stance cause him some harm as a conservative.

I still think Heston's films are great, but like many in my generation I believe I will never be able to disassociate the man in those films from the NRA leader that caused the Denver area so much pain with a meaningless rally.