Saturday, August 26, 2017

Sound City

This popped up in my Amazon feed yesterday. I'd heard great things about it so I checked it out. I'm a Dave Grohl fan and I can nerd out to recording processes, so it was a no-brainer.

It's a two hour doc about a famed recording studio in Cali called Sound City. Truthfully, I didn't know about all the records it was responsible for other than Smells Like Teen Spirit (which sounds incredible). Turns out Sound City was a dump, but it had a fabled Neve mixing board and a live room that had magical acoustic properties. I won't really spoil the details, but it's neat stuff.

Dave does a good job telling the story of the owners, employees, and artists. The audio mix is great (of course) and overall it's just really down-to-earth and captivating.

If you like music you'll like this film. Plain and simple.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Sunshine Makers

Just watched this on Netflix. I love documentaries, and some of the best ones I watch are about things I'm not even interested in. Like baseball, cricket, or drugs. The Sunshine Makers was very well done.

I have a soft spot for the 60's, especially the hippie movement and the Summer of Love etc. Maybe it's just cuz all the chicks were so hot back then. I dunno. But you could get away with a lot more. A freer time, no doubt. The 60's was when international drug smuggling was sexy and all you got was a slap on the wrist if you got caught. Good times.

This story is so crazy in scope it's hard to believe. But man, these cats were really on to something big back in the day. The doc is cool because almost all the main players involved are still around and willing to talk about their capers and exploits over forty years ago. Lots of great archival footage, reenactment, and contemporary interviews weave together to tell this fantastic tale of drug creation and distribution on a truly global scale. Or dare I say cosmic scale.

If you like the 60's, drugs, and pulling a fast one over on the cops...dig this, brotha!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck

I came across this book a while back but I really don't recall how. Probably in my feed aggregator. I bought it and just got around to reading it. I actually suggested it for my work's book club and they read it but I didn't have time to keep up with their schedule so I missed out on the conversations. I heard they were lively and involved.

Anyhow, it's a really good book. It's a quick read. Short. And it has a casual, effortless flow to it. With a title like, "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck," you know the author is a bit irreverent and unconventional. Manson is younger than I am and evidently he's a "star blogger." Haven't read his blog though. Prolly not as good as Cürrent 451. I mean, does he have an umlaut in his blog?

The book is draws most of its content from Buddhism and Stoicism. Therefore, I could relate. Because it's so short and easy to read I think it'd be good to reread real quick and take notes. See how I could practically apply some of the content to work and life situations.

I suggested Marie read it cuz I think she'd get a lot of value from it.

Since I don't know a ton about Stoicism I picked up, "Meditations" by Marcus Aurelius for $1 on Amazon. So I'm going to dig into that. Certainly won't be light reading, but it'll be something outside the norm for me cuz I don't really dig into much classical literature.

A few people ask me what books on Buddhism I recommend. Honestly, if you want to dip your toes in the water then then this is a good a place as any to start. If it makes sense and you want to learn more then I'd get into some real Buddhist literature.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

T2 Trainspotting

I heard about Danny Boyle doing a follow up to Trainspotting over a decade ago. The second Irvine Welsh novel about these characters is called Porno, and it takes places ten years later. So Danny was supposed to make Porno with the same cast as a follow-up. It never happened. Evidently he decided to wait twenty years to make the sequel. Better late than never.

T2 is loosely based on the novel, Porno, but it deviates enough to the point that it becomes its own thing. I've read the novel so I could tell where he was inspired by it and where he ran off and did his own interpretation. After all, it's been twenty years now, not the original ten.

It's good. It's real good. When you make a sequel to movies like Trainspotting or Clerks you can't expect them to be better. They simply occupy a different time in space. And they can't re-write film history the way those two movies did. So all you can do is hope that it's a really fucking good movie. And thankfully T2 is a really fucking good movie.

It's very connected to the original with audio and visual flashbacks. Little homages here and there. Very self-referential. It's one of those flicks where you really have to have seen the first one to get it. And if you haven't seen Trainspotting by now...what the fuck?

Anyhoo, you should stream this on Amazon asap.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Danny Says

I just watched Danny Says on Netflix. I'm a sucker for pretty much any and all music bios. And these days there a lot more doc's about personalities and influencers within the music scenes outside of just the artists themselves.

This flick documents the life and times of one such cat. A mover and a shaker who was involved with the success and the lives of Andy Warhol, Nico, the Velvet Underground, Alice Cooper, the Stooges, the MC5, the Ramones, Patti Smith, the Doors, and on and on.

It's mostly told in Danny's own words through various interviews. But there's a good deal of testimonials and anecdotes shared by the A-list musicians and artists he signed or influenced in one way or another. He worked for Elektra Records for a good deal of time and he was kind of an A&R dude / Manager. I believe his title was "freak," or at least that's what it said on his Elektra business cards...

Anyhow, if you care the above bands then this is a good watch. It's all light stuff. Nothing too heavy. But some great storytelling.

Dig it.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Metal Gods: A Tribute to Judas Priest

I pre-ordered this as soon as I saw the post on social media. I think Mark Rudolph is incredibly talented and I was stoked to dive into his third book in homage to our metal gods (Mercyful Fate, Celtic Frost, and Judas Priest).

Temple of Void was honored to be involved in the second book. We recorded a Celtic Frost cover for the LP that accompanied the book's release. Very cool. And just like the last two, there is a good showing of Detroit talent in "Metal Gods." Members of TOV, Acid Witch, and more, all make fine contributions.

One of my favorite stories was actually the fashion show. I thought it was well written and I give the artist props for taking a chance. Everyone could have just illustrated the lyrics, but this was pretty clever and witty.

Of the three books, this one is has the most pages. And now Mark's moved on from self-financing it and he's gotten involved with Decibel Magazine. They've partnered with him to produce and sell the book. It retains the exact same high production values and format as the first two, but it just happens to be sold by Decibel this time.

Oh, there is one gripe, though. The fucking typo's. There are numerous typographic errors in the book. The most egregious being on the first page. How did he misspell "Exhumed"? I was extra surprised cuz you'd think that Decibel would have put an Editor on it... Guess not.

Anyway, that's a small blemish on an otherwise stellar book. Definitely recommended.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Black Metal: The Cult Never Dies Vol. 1

This is a follow up to the more comprehensive tome, Evolution of the Cult. Dayal didn't put everything in one gigantic book, so he's spreading it out with smaller additional publications like this. The Cult Never Dies reads like an extension of the first book. There are zero surprises there. I'm sure there will be a Vol 2 and I'll order that once it's out. Even though I don't listen to the majority of bands that are covered, I still find it interesting from a journalistic perspective.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Big Trouble in Little China

I haven't seen Big Trouble in Little China since I was a kid. It was definitely the 80's. But I saw it pop up on Netflix a while ago and I added it to the queue. Finally watched it again tonight.

It holds up really well! I think I like it more now than I even did at the time. Great soundtrack. Classic stuff. Whoever the DP was was good, too. Kim Cattrall is hot as hell in this! And Kurt Russell is everything you want out of an 80's hero.

The movie is part Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, part Goonies, and part Karate Kid. It rules. And one of the street gangs is called "Lords of Death," which is something that Temple of Void didn't pick up on when we named our new album LoD...


Twenty-five years later and I finally watch Singles. I was twelve when it came out and far more interested in Arnold Schwarzenegger flicks or the latest from Jean Claude Van Damme. I was digging the music featured in the film at the time so it's kinda weird it passed me by. Whatever. Point is that now I've finally seen it.

I've had the soundtrack for a while and it's a fucking awesome soundtrack. Some of the best jams ever from AiC, Pearl Jam (State of Love and Trust!), Soundgarden (their old good song), Chris Cornell (his only good song), Mother Love Bone, Smashing Pumpkins,.... it's awesome. The actual flick has some other great songs that aren't on the soundtrack, like Hendrix, the Cult and John Coltrane.

So the music is brilliant. How about the film? Well, it REALLY dates itself. I imagine anyone who wasn't around in the 90's would have a hard time believing that's how we dressed. But yup, that's how we dressed. So it's very nostalgic in a very 90's manor.

Does it hold up? Not really, but I found it entertaining. Would I recommend it? No. There are other movies that are arguably way better that you could be watching. But if you want a trip down memory lane, want to see the members of Pearl Jam doing cameos, and see some cool AiC "live" footage, then check it out. The Paul Westerberg tracks are crap, but the rest is all good.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Radical Candor

I joined my office's book club again, this time to read Radical Candor. The title piqued my interest so I gave it a whirl.

It was so-so. If you're a new boss or never managed people before then you might actually find a lot of good in this book. But if you've been in management for a while then this is pretty stale, to be honest. There's nothing new in the book. Nothing earth-shattering. And unfortunately nothing really "radical."

Should we all care deeply about our team and talk candidly? Absolutely. Do I need to read a couple hundred pages about it? Not at all. Would have been fine as an article or a TED Talk.

Oh well.