Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Musical Wishlist

So I've been very lucky this past year and got to saw musical acts I never thought I would get the chance to see; thanks in part to great friends. And this summer of music festivals and guitar solos only fed that desire to see more of my favourite artists on stage.

I mean, I got to see Joan Jett, Three Days Grace, Grimskunk (twice!), Apocalyptica, The Offspring, Jason Derulo, Obey the Brave (singer is the hottest person alive), METALLICA (!!), Motley Crue, Weezer, Billy Talent, Lana Del Rey (♥♥), Cypress Hill (that almost made me die). I also discovered new acts such as Messhugah, August Burns Red, and Veil of Maya.

And I also got to see Ice T perform with his group at Heavy Montreal, when I didn't even know he would be there. Or that he was in a metal band!? I feel like no summer can top this one though. But then again, next year is the tenth anniversary of  Montebello's Rockfest and let's just say it's hyped. Can you feel my excitement??!!

So in preparation for next year, this is a list of artists I want and WILL (feel that determination?) see perform. I won't take no for an answer. :)

  • System of a Down
    • There is no way in hell that I am going through another year without seeing these beasts perform live. I will walk through hell if I have to.

    • She's Danish, she's trippy, she's unique, she's bold. Yeah, her music pretty much rocks.

  • Diplo
    • Diplo is the sole reason why I enjoy any form of EDM/Trap music. He's a god and I'm a disciple. Feed me your music, Diplo!

  • Green Day
    • This is purely for nostalgic reasons. Green Day was a staple of my generation and I would probably die if I ever get to see them. Legit, die!

  • Placebo
    • You couldn't meet a more devoted Placebo fan even if you entered a Placebo forum on a Placebo website. I love all their songs and would love nothing more than blazing out to their music. *Dreams*

  • Lana Del Rey (outside venue)
    • Yeah, I saw the Queen of Dark this year and it was everything I was hoping for. But I was going through a rough patch with a person-who-called-me-a-friend-but-was-really-a-snake, and so her melancholic sound and depressive lyrics got me a bit down. I want to redo this but in a nature setting. I want to feel her sound through the wind

  • CottonMouth Kings
    • They brought an urban rock band to Montebello's Rockfest this year (Cypress Hill - I consider them urban rock, k?) so I'm hoping they continue that trend and invite CMK on the stage. That would be - wait for it - dope!

  • Childish Gambino
    • I had TWO opportunities to see this bad-ass lyricist beat the stage to a pulp and missed BOTH opportunities. If I am lucky enough next year, I definitely plan on being front row to rap along to Backpackers and Bonfire. And errthing else this oreo sings about.

There's so many more acts I want to see like AlunaGeorge, Kid Ink, Modest Mouse, London Grammar, Shlohmo, Marina and the Diamonds, and the list goes on! Who knows, maybe my wishes will come true!! :)

What artist has you tripping lately?

Candles are out,
Eleven's Ink

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Cheap Gas on Dull Days

Merp. It's Tuesday, there's no holidays this week and it's super ugly outside. Add to that the fact that my burning relationship with someone very important to me has turned to ashes. I normally would feel crippled and sluggish but my day actually started out well.

I got to the gas station, which was busier than an anthill on picnic day, and was surprised with the good news that there was no more regular gasoline but that I could get supreme gasoline for the same price. Um, bonus!

So I walk (through a sheet of rain) into the store to pay for this super awesome deal when I'm knocked over by another (mini) super awesome deal. The man ahead of me had a gasoline coupon for $1.00 off with any purchase of gas over $25.00. He didn't put that much gas in so gave me the coupon. Doesn't sound like much, but the gesture was very much appreciated.

Rain kept falling and people kept coming in the store and by the time I get to my turn, the power went out. I'm just about ready to panic and drop my all-is-okay act by roaring like a hungry lion from the steppes of Africa, when the girl at the cash informs us that the machines still work for payment. Yes, not gonna be late for work!

Pay my gas, thank the lady, thank the man, walk back into the rain, run to my car, get into it, blast Lana Del Rey, and I get back on the road. Only to be stuck in traffic. I'm thinking lady luck wouldn't stop her streak just yet, surely not now, not to me... so I decide to give my shortcut a try and...OMG, made it to the bridge in five minutes! Lana sings about fucking her way to the top and I'm singing about speeding my way to the stop.

So I finally reach my parking spot only to find that it's full. Now I'm gonna be late. So I text my boss to say i'll be late and to my surprise I get a "I will also be late lol" text back. To me, that only means one thing: I have time to pick up coffee.

Finally, I get to my desk with my coffee, my smile, and a positive attitude.

That's how you turn a day around! :)

Candles are out,
Eleven's Ink.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The King of Horror

People are not only rushing to Starbucks to get a taste of pumpking spice this Fall; it seems like everyone wants a piece of Stephen King's work as well. He's producing new material, adapting old work, and even collaborating at remaking some of his most well-known masterpieces.

In the works right now are remakes for It, The Stand, and a controversial sequel to Creepshow. King is also busy with two TV shows, Under the Dome and the somewhat successful Haven. And if that wasn't enough to keep a King busy, the court is buzzing with news of a 11/22/63 adaptation for Hulu. Omg!

So to celebrate all of this royal news, I thought I'd go down memory lane and highlight my top ten favourite Stephen King adaptations. I'm a 90's kid, I practically ate those for breakfast.


10. Needful Things

Year: 1993
Director: Fraser Heston
Actors: Max Von Sydow, Ed Harris, Amanda Plummer
Summary: A stranger comes into town and soon thereafter, strange things begin to happen to the townspeople of Castle Rock, a recurring setting for King stories. King is known for his jabs at religion and the occult. And he doesn't shy away from that here, with the story being a parallel to human greed and corruption (represented by the devil.) This movie's cover always terrified me as a kid, with that shopping bag with the hand and head presing on it. Reason why I don't touch pregnant bellies, to this day.
Interesting Facts: Amanda Plummer, who portrays the young Nettie Cobb, can be seen in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire as Wiress. Also, Sydow's character, The Devil, is seen driving an indestructible black car, possibly the same as in Christine, another King project.

9. Apt Pupil

Year: 1998
Director: Bryan Singer
Actors: Ian McKellan, Brad Renfro, David Schwimmer
Summary: An older gentleman with a secret from his past befriends a young man with an odd fascination that enthralls both of them and sends them down a spiralling vortex of lies, deception, and murder.
Interesting Facts: I still remember seeing the previews for this movie when I was twelve and it scared me. Haven't seen this movie since I was a teen, but still vividly remember the awkward tension between the two men, and this before I even knew what homosexuality was. Bryan Singer, who directs this movie, later went on to direct McKellan in the X-Men movies. Also, watch out for a small role from Joshua Jackson, who was just starting to transition into more mature roles.

8. 1408

Year: 2007
Director: Mikael Håfström
Actors: John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson
Summary: Following the death of his young daughter, an author dives into a world of deception and speculation and must somehow reconcile the two in order to save his sanity...inside a haunted hotel room.
Interesting Facts: This is the second "haunted house" story from King that has been adapted to the big screen, after The Shining, to gain both commercial and critical success. And those two movies share a further connection. The axe used by the fireman at the end of 1408 is the same axe that Jack Nicholson uses in the famous "Here's Johnny!" scene. Both films were also partially shot at the Elstree studio in London.

7. The Dark Half

Year: 1993
Director: George A. Romero
Actors: Timothy Hutton, Michael Rooker, Amy Madigan
Summary: A writer must battle his writer's block while also trying to stop his alter-ego from taking over his life.
Interesting Facts: King wrote this novel shortly after revealing his own alter-ego/pseudonym, Richard Bachman. This was also his last novel that he wrote before going sober, with his struggles depicted as the main focus of duality in the book. It's very auto-biographical! And look out for Sheriff Alan Pangborn, a character who appears in other King works! The transition to film was directed, with some disappointment, by George A. Romero of "Night of the Living Dead" fame.

6. Cujo

Year: 1983
Director: Lewis Teague
Actors: Dee Wallace, Danny Pintauro
Summary: A young mother, coming to grips with her failed marriage, takes her son along for a ride to the local mechanics. Shortly thereafter, they are attacked and terrorized by a sick Saint-Bernard.
Interesting Facts: I watched this movie AFTER watching Beethoven and another, less popular, film called Man's Best Friend. I was just starting my fascination for horror flicks and especially King flicks. So needless to say that it stuck with me throughout the years and Dee Wallace's performance still haunts me. Nothing quite as emotional as seeing a mom trying to defend her child. Sadly, an animal DID die during production; the main Saint-Bernard died during production of the movie.

5. Children of the Corn

Year: 1984
Director: Fritz Kiersch
Actors: Peter Horton, Linda Hamilton, John Franklin
Summary: Typical storyline. A young couple get stranded in a small, secluded roadside town and must fight for their lives against a cult of murdering children. (Yikes!)
Interesting Facts: This was Hamilton's year, as she also appeared in the movie that would make her a household name: Terminator. I didn't even know it was Hamilton who portrayed Vicki until I wrote this blog. Haven't seen this movie in forever and so was surprised to see such a recognizable name. Also, the kid who plays Isaac (John Franklin) still creeps me out. He's just like...a grown up version of Isaac. This shouldn't be!! lol Go check his bio, dude still looks like a child from the cornrows. (Yikes!)

4. Misery

Year: 1990
Director: Rob Reiner
Actors: James Caan, Kathy Bates, Lauren Bacall
Summary: In the same vein as The Fan, Misery tells the story of an author who is rescued from a car crash by a woman who claims to be "his number one fan." It doesn't take long before admiration turns into obsession.
Interesting Facts: I didn't read this novel so was kind of surprised when I found out that Bacall's character isn't in the book as I find her to be the prime example of publishers in a movie so heavy on the hate towards editors and publishers. I mean, why didn't King come up with this character? He hates those people more than anyone else in the world. I also like that they made a nod to another King story when Annie references The Shining when she mentions that "a guy went mad in a hotel nearby." King is big on using characters and settings in a multitude of novels, so it's fun when the screenwriters keep that whimsical tradition.

3. The Mist

Year: 2007
Director: Frank Darabont
Actors: Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden
Summary: A small town (duh!) is terrorized by otherworldy creatures following a freak storm that leaves most of the townspeople trapped inside the supermarket.
Interesting Facts: Frank Darabont is no stranger when it comes to adapting King novels into quality movies; he is the mastermind behind The Shawshank Redemption AND The Green Mile. Also, Frank Darabont brought Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn, and Melissa McBride with him when he started work on The Walking Dead. If it's not enough that King admires Darabont's body of work, he congratulated the director by telling him that "I am genuinely frightened by your adaptation." I would have pee'd myself right there.

2. The Shining

Year: 1980
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Actors: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd
Summary: A family struggling with their own problems move into an isolated hotel where not everything is as it seems. Before long, the family must battle a supernatural force that threatens their safety and their sanity.
Interesting  Facts: There are complete University classes just about this movie and all of it's hidden meanings and symbolism, so I won't even attempt to pretend I know them all! Like this blogger who did an amazing job at breaking down the elements of this movie. That dog scene though...

1. Carrie

Year: 1976
Director: Brian De Palma
Actors: Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving
Summary: A religious zealot who abuses her child is forced to watch her daughter develop telekinetic abilities that are quickly growing out of control.
Interesting Facts: First book from King that I ever read and also the first movie I saw that was based off of his work. Carrie has left a mark on Hollywood and this story has been remade twice, once for television and again last year. Amy Irving reprised her role as Sue Snell in the sequel The Rage: Carrie 2.

I suddenly have the urge to do a movie marathon this weekend.

Candles are out,
Eleven's Ink

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Rattlesnakes and Psychopaths: Inside the mind of St-Vincent.

I am always on the prowl for new music, scouring the underbrushes of the jungle of noises and sound to unearth a new beat, one from leather drums nobody heard before. It's not that I want to bring a trophy back and show off the rarest catch; I'm just bored easily and constantly trying to trap new prey.

Source: Jaymzclements.wordpress.com
And the next victim to fall is Anne Clark, better known as St.Vincent. She is like a lone wolf who howls in the night, not for mating ritual purposes but rather to share her melancholy with the rest of the animal kingdom. And she doesn't seem to give one fuck about who answers the call. Afterall, she does have a bark that matches her bite.

So to celebrate this call from the wild, this echo of enchanting music, I will review each song from St.Vincent's fourth studio album, self-titled and released earlier this year. Enjoy!

The album's opening track is infused with an opium trip reminiscent of Kate Bush and the era of 80's psychedelic pop. It's up-beat and odd but not so odd that you're left wondering what it is you're listening to. It's experimental and sets the tone for the rest of the album.
Rating: 5/5
Memorable Lyrics: The only sound out here is my own breath / and my feet stuttering to make a path / am I the only one in the only world?

Birth in Reverse
This track was released as the lead and only single for the album. It's very daytime and has a folk vibe to it, not unlike Lykke Li's sound. It's definitely a dance-all-out-while-being-alone-in-your-underwear song.
Rating: 4/5
Memorable Lyrics: This too will haunt me through the war / laugh all you want, but I want more / 'cause what I'm swearing, I never sworn before.

Prince Johnny
I don't particularly like songs like this usually. It's still keeping up with that very 80's vibe but in a down tempo kinda way. I'm literally expecting rain clouds to appear when this song is played. There is so much lingering and nostalgia to it that it's borderline depressive.
Rating: 3/5
Memorable Lyrics: But honey, don't mistake my affection / for another split in pennystyle redemption / cause we're all sons of someone's.

Huey Newton
After hearing this song, I finally realised who this artist reminded me of. And that is Morcheeba. There is a certain trip-hop vibe to St.Vincent's music and it's not always a bad thing, but I found the nod to classic trip-hop a bit overused in this song. A bit scaled back and I would have loved this!
Rating: 3/5
Memorable Lyrics: Fuck-less, porn sharks / toothless but got a big bark / live children, blind psychics / turned online assassins.

Digital Witness
This song has a really weird 60's vibe to it, and not in a good way. It would be perfect for a mid-afternoon gathering, if people our age actually did mid-afternoon gatherings. But we don't. So this song clashes with the youthfulness and experimentation of the other tracks. It's all about caring but not showing you care which I never understood. Yeah, it's just confusing.
Rating: 2/5
Memorable Lyrics: People turn the TV on and throw it out the window, yeah / get back to your stare / I care, but I don't care / Oh, oh, I want all of your mind.

I Prefer Your Love
What is sweeter than a tribute to the love between a mother and her child? Nothing, that's what. And although the lyrics are sweet and the music is calming, there's just something about the way she compares a motherly love with that of Jesus'. It's not only NOT necessary but it's just gratuitous. I don't feel that religious ideology coming through as well as, let's say, Sinead O'Connor does in her music. It just doesn't feel genuine.
Rating: 2/5
Memorable Lyrics: Sure as mother licking a finger / wipe the blush and smudge from my cheek / and wonder what will become of your little one / but all the good in me is because of you.

Source: finefinemusic.com

Back to dramatics! After a slump of sad songs, she comes back with something a bit more theatrical. It pulls you in all the right directions without confusing you or getting you lost in your tracks. It's just a very well produced song and surprisingly, it's not a single.
Rating: 4/5
Memorable Lyrics: Memories so bright, I gotta squint just to recall / regret the words I've bitten / more than the ones I ever said

Bring Me Your Loves
Yet another upbeat and energetic track to get things back in the groove. It reminds me a lot of Robyn or even Bjork, in the sense that it's all about being the one who cares for all and on a personal level, I can relate to this. So definitely my personal favourite off of this album.
Rating: 5/5
Memorable Lyrics: I thought you were a dog / but you made a pet of me / bring me all your loves, all your loves / I wanna love 'em too, ya know.

Oh this song brought me back to summer when my close friend left for a few months to go back home (across the sea) to visit his sick father. It was a tough time and he always reminded me that this would only make our relationship stronger, and it did. So this resonates on such a deep level that I'm still feeling those good vibrations.
Rating: 4/5
Memorable Lyrics: You said, "Honey, quit your worrying" / Distance is exactly like a blowing wind / we're putting out the embers and tiny flames / and keepin' the big ones burnin'.

Every Tears Disappears
And back to sad songs. It's not necessarily bad, but it's so referential that it's almost a caricature. I just don't take this song seriously. It's passé, it's deja-vu, it's just synth over synth over dramatic lyrics. It's not bad, it just gets lost in this sea of awesome songs.
Rating: 2/5
Memorable Lyrics: Oh, what about the pain / don't ask me how / I just know that it fades / hey-hey-hey

Severed Cross Fingers
The closing track is very retro and brings it back full circle to the opening track. This album is very experimental as I said above and this song kinda combines all the elements of the album into one. That is what is great about this album, especially this song, it's that it's hard to pin-point exactly what generation influence St.Vincent. if it's not a trip-hoppy 90's beat, it's an 80's infused synth sound. If she isn't whispering a la 60's, she's talk-singing a la 2000's. it's great.
Rating: 3/5
Memorable Lyrics: When you're calling, ain't calling you back to you / cause i'll be side stage, mouthing lines for you / humiliated by age, terrified of youth / I got hope, but my hope isn't helping you.

I kinda want to listen to the album again now. That first song keeps me coming back for more and hopefully, it will do the same for you! Enjoy!

Candles are out,
Eleven's Ink

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