Friday, April 1, 2011

Daisuke Ishiwatari

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Four Favorite Bands and Movies

There's no update today because I've spent, I don't know, the past two hours trying to clean out all the blogs I follow that don't update anymore. Also: sleeping schedules suck. I went to sleep earlier than usual last night and woke up even later than I normally do. How does that even work?

If you really need something to tide you over, here's four of my favorite bands and movies that I will not do full posts on because they're already popular / well-known enough:
Read as: I'm a big fat liar and I posted way more than I thought I was going to.
Deal w/it nrds.


Gorillaz: I wasn't a big fan of "The Fall", the most recently released album, but after listening to it a lot more, it's definitely grown on me. I like it more than Plastic Beach, but not more than Demon Days. Plastic Beach feels so melancholy, I can't listen to any of the songs, except "Stylo" and "Some Kind of Nature", with my regular shuffle music. "The Fall" is also an album that needs to be listened to on its on for the full effect, while this is also true for "Demon Days," it is not nearly as pronounced. Their first, self-titled, album I've always found to be great, but have a hard time ranking it, since the style varies wildly throughout. All are worth a listen though.

Daft Punk: With my discovery of "Alive 2007," Daft Punk soared into and took my top-listened to band spot from Gorillaz (though they have since lost the position, they continue fighting hard for it). I don't much care to listen to most of Daft Punk's music with my regular shuffle palette, but when I'm drawing or writing, I always have them on.

The Doors: Do I ever need to explain the cultural and musical impact this band had one the world? I might not obsess over Jim Morrison like most people, but I am a diehard Doors fan. I don't think I've ever heard a Doors song I did not like.

Rise Against: I feel like Rise Against is the perfect spiritual successor to 80's punk rock. Their actual music may lean towards punk influenced alternative rock, but the roots are there. Almost all their music is about a cause, fighting for something: whether it be war, love, or purpose in general, there is a vested emotional attachment.

(As a note, don't be afraid to watch the linked trailers, I made sure to watch them first and they don't spoil anything, if I didn't link a trailer, it spoils way too much: avoid watching them)

28 Days Later: The movie that, as far as I am concerned, defines the quality we should expect from modern horror movies. The desolate, bleak atmosphere is almost too much to bear at some points. The horror protagonist Jim feels is real, the characters are all so well written that you can't help but feel for them, hope for them to survive.

The Machinist: This is my favorite Christian Bale movie and in my top ten movies of all time. Bale does an incredible job playing fucked up characters because of how much dedication he puts into it. The tale of a tormented auto-part plant worker, The Machinist follows Bale as Trevor, slowly piecing together missing fragments of his life. But does he really want to know what there is to find?

The Prestige: One of my favorite mindfuck movies. The tale of rival magicians, constantly attempting to outdo each other with crazier and crazier stunts. Well-written, clever and keeps you guessing until the very end. Oh, did I mention it stars Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, and was written by Christopher Nolan? Oh, and David Bowie is Nikola Tesla? Yeah, that's how awesome this movie is.

REC: If I was making a list of the best zombie movies ever made, REC would be in the top three. The story of a late-night news reporter and shot from the perspective of her cameraman, REC follows the news team on an ordinary firefighter distress call. Hoping for some breaking news, Angela gets far more than she expected. If you're not a fan of shaky cam, I'd still suggest giving it a chance, if only for the atmospheric tension and play-by-the-rules horror writing (i.e. you will not watch it in the dark at night). Was remade into an abortion called Quarantine for U.S. audiences, which almost completely destroyed the credible of the original as a film fr those who did not see it first. Followed by a sequel, aptly named REC 2, which takes place immediately after the first film. A good sequel, but not spectacular like the original.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sun O)))

Pronounced Sun and named after the Sunn amplifier (whose logo is the band's name) with only two core members, Sunn seeks to destroy all that you hold sacred through despair. Largely experimental, most of Sunn's work is drone with metal influence: played slow and heavy, in low tunings with resonant feedback to create desolate, apocalyptic soundscapes. Sunn often invites guests to collaborate on their albums, often resulting in strangely unique songs as they encourage their guest artists to experiment as they please.

There are no real words that can describe Sunn, a long list of adjectives perhaps, all synonymous with horror. If possible, listen to the following track with headphones in the dark. Let it play through, don't skip ahead: it's meant to be taken in together, Sunn doesn't feature verses and choruses like typical songs. Understandable, this music is not for everyone; most particularly those who find their nightmares to be, well, nightmarish.

Monday, March 28, 2011


Most elegantly described as "holy shit what was that," Finntroll combines elements of various subgenres of metal (most notably: black, death, extreme and folk) with a type of Finnish folk music called "humppa." Please finish giggling at the name before continuing. Humppa is a jazz-related, fast-paced traditional dance music that typically features a strong bass and is known to be similar to samba and waltz. With this unique sound, Finntroll is sure to be a new taste to all listener's ears.

The majority of the band's work revolves around a Finnish legend involving Troll-King Rivfader and his army of trolls fighting Christians who invade their lands, with a recurring theme of two priests named "Aamund" and "Kettil" who are constantly getting into trouble with the trolls and followers of Rivfader.

Curiously, despite being of Finnish origin, almost all of the bands songs are sung in Swedish. This was a tradition started by the band's first singer, Katla, who, being a part of the Swedish-speaking minority in Finland, thought the sound of the language better suited the trollish nature of the band's work. The tradition lives on, though there have been several changes in vocalist since Katla's departure.

Personally, I do not listen to much, if any at all, black metal. I find the singing harsh and often, the music indecipherable, with chaotic drum patterns and heavily distorted guitar. However, Finntroll, borrowing heavily from several other subgenres of metal, often breaks this stereotype. The singing, while very "troll" sounding, is not nearly as harsh as most extreme metal bands and they have a very clean sound, resonating the focal point of their folk label. Perhaps you will enjoy them too.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Ghost Hound

Ghost Hound is the story of a highschooler named Taro Komori who suffers a recurring nightmare of a traumatic event that occurred when he was very young. Kidnapped by a mysterious man with his sister, Komori is forced to watch his older sister starve to death. The show then deals with Komori's day to day life and how the event has impacted him, thought it would seem as if his past is starting to catch up to him again. If I had to describe this story by comparison, if you've ever seen Serial Experiments Lain, imagine that story if it were told in a more straight-forward manner and replace the internet/computers with sake. Seriously.

Ghost Hound is animated beautifully, with fluid character motions and well-drawn scenery. It does feature some stereotypes: the silent badass who never comes to school, the somewhat dopey but lovable and smarter-than-he-acts protagonist, and the faithful, mischievous sidekick. It does, however, make little use of traditional anime techniques: there's very little panning and zoom, many of the scenes being drawn and shown from multiple angles (a sign of good quality in anime). Another thing I noticed is that Ghost Hound incorporates varying stylistic ideas and also has many things I have never seen drawn in an anime: a good example of this being a transistor radio in Komori's room (and a sneaky Star Wars reference if you can catch it), for the latter and Komori's dream sequences as the former.

The show itself is very psychological, delving into some deep issues that many shows don't dare to venture. Oh and the theme is incredible. You can watch all the episodes on Hulu too, ain't that grand?

The Kidcrash

What people have to say about The Kidcrash:

"They're pretty obscure." -Guy in a plaid shirt

"Who?" - My mom

"Wow, it's big." - Your mom

(Disclaimer: Only two of these are facts. You can still call me Sean though.)

Largely experimental, The Kidcrash spans multiple genres, including: indie rock, math rock, post-hardcore, screamo, and emo with influences from punk, thrash, and alternative rock. Combined together, The Kidcrash is sure to be something you've never heard before, and for the better; their unique soundscape blends passionate vocals and heavy driven guitar riffs with complex drum patterns and figuratively raw emotion.

A huge controversy surrounds the band and their record label, Lujo Records, as the company has claimed 100% royalty rights to the sales of their mp3s and continuously attempts to drain more money from the band for "fees" and other miscellaneous bullcrap. The band has asked, like so many before them, that you do NOT buy their albums unless you are at their shows and to instead download their music. Feel free to skip the album "New Ruins," if you enjoy The Kidcrash sound: it was creatively forced, an album made from the pressure of Lujo Records and does not represent who the band is, musically or emotionally.

The following is my favorite song by The Kidcrash, but it wasn't on YouTube, so I made a "video" for it myself. I can't video link it yet for some reason, but you can still listen to it:

This post is dedicate to my good buddy Jake. Keep rockin'.