Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Doomtree - Daytrotter Sessions

Doomtree always goes all in so best believe they're not gonna make any exceptions for Daytrotter. Coming in sans P.O.S., they drop a legit albums worth of material. Dessa and Cecil Otter hop on 5 tracks each, while Sims and Mike Mictlan take on another 3 a piece. I'll save you the pen and paper: 16 tracks. Hell yeah. If I had to be picky, I could criticize them for straying away from Doomtree cuts too much, but I'm not gonna be like THAT...

Download: Doomtree - Daytrotter Sessions (3/30/10)

MySpace: Doomtree

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Rhymefest - "Familiar Faces"/"Letter" (feat. John Mayer)

Rhymefest dropped two new tracks off his upcoming mixtape Dangerous: 5-18 which is suppose to hit the interwebz April 5th. "Familiar Faces" shows Fest going in all sinister on Gary Jules' somber take on "Mad Mad World" from Donnie Darko, while John Mayer provides the hook on "Letter". I can name a handful or rappers I prefer to Rhymefest, but very few consistently makes the most of spots like he does. Get at Dangerous: 8-15 next week and keep your eyes peeled all banana like for his new record El Che, slated to drop May 18th.

Download: Rhymefest - "Familiar Faces"
Download: Rhymefest - "Letter" (feat. John Mayer)

MySpace: Rhymefest

Circa Survive - "Imaginary Enemy"

Another heavy as hell new Circa song. This one packs a hefty punch (albeit smaller than "Get Out" IMHO) before Anthony kills a squeaky clean chorus. So far they're 2 for 2 on Blue Sky Noise...really nice to see them breaking free from a tendency to over-reverb tracks and really let loose musically. Give both new cuts a listen on the player below if you still need convincing. Blue Sky Noise drops 4/20.

MySpace: Circa Survive

Video: Anthony Green - "I Love You When I'm On Pills"

I think the song title says it all. For all the tongue-in-cheek humor of this, it definitely lends itself to a bluesy reworking (think "Stonehearted Man"). Circa Survive should always be his main focus, but I do sincerely hope Anthony continues to work on solo stuff.

MySpace: Anthony Green

Video: MGMT - "Flash Delirium"

MGMT attend the most terrifying "welcome home" party in their creepy new video for single "Flash Delirium". Things get freaky quickly when military vets join the song's chanting bridge via ventriloquist dummies, but the throat snake exorcism they perform on Ben Goldwasser (intrigued yet?) really up the ante. These dudes have always had some grotesque videos, but god damnnnnn. Definitely worth a watch and the track grows on me with every listen. Don't forget to check out the full stream of Congratulations still up on the website if you haven't already. Happy nightmares ya'll!

Watch: MGMT - "Flash Delirium"

MySpace: MGMT

Monday, March 29, 2010

88-Keys - "Testify" (Hand On The Bible Remix) (feat. Common)

Glad to see 88 stepping up and taking on a cut from Common's classic 2005 record Be. Getting how much urgency he gets across just through some synths and thin riffs. Dude's a master...both Adam's Case Files and Death of Adam can't seem to get turned off around here. Expect some thoughts on those in the next few days, but marinate on this for the meanwhile.

Here's the full story behind it all.

Download: 88-Keys - "Testify" (Hand On The Bible Remix) (feat. Common)

MySpace: 88-Keys

The Hold Steady - "Rock Problems"

A lot of rock 'n' roll here and very few problems. Judging from this and "Hurricane J", Heaven Is Whenever should be stellar. Can't wait to see all the kids toasting to "rock and roll problems" at your friendly neighborhood house party next weekend.

Listen: The Hold Steady - "Rock and Roll Problems"

MySpace: The Hold Steady

Video: The Republic of Wolves - "Landlocked Blues" (Bright Eyes cover)

One of my favorite new bands covering one of my favorite songs so you know I'm all over it. If you're still sleeping on His Old Branches, time to wake the fuck up.

MySpace: The Republic of Wolves

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Video: Butch Walker - "Trash Day"/"Pretty Melody"/"Temporary Title" (Live at Rolling Stone acoustic set)

Butch Walker brought a mustached friend and acoustic guitar by Rolling Stone's office and performed a couple cuts off I Liked You Better When You Had No Heart (still spinning strong around here). A lot of these sound equally excellent stripped down...kinda surprised he didn't slip "Stripped Down Version" into the set list just to be witty like that. Consult me on that next time, Butch.

Watch: Butch Walker - "Trash Day"/"Pretty Melody"/"Temporary Title" (Live at Rolling Stone acoustic set)

MySpace: Butch Walker

Friday, March 26, 2010

Video: Circa Survive - "Tour Sequence 1"

All ya'll remember how Stage 5-clinger I was on the series of Circa Survive studio videos this past fall. Now looks like they're bringing them back for a bunch of tour shots. Here's the first one...get some epic Anthony quote, clip of the the title-track for Blue Sky Noise (out 4/20), and a sweet stage dive during a live performance of "In Fear and Faith" (my personal favorite Circa song). God damn, they're awesome.

MySpace: Circa Survive

Interview: Kevin Devine (Property of Zack)

As an aspiring musical journalist, I'd have to say Kevin Devine comes off as an ideal person to interview. He appreciates good questions, offers thoughtful and substantial answers, and overall, is incredibly respectful to interview process. Here KDev stops by Property of Zack and lays down some serious knowledge, including some key info on a future collaboration with Manchester Orchestra.

Read: "PropertyOfZack Interview: Kevin Devine"

MySpace: Kevin Devine

Video: Kid Cudi - "Soundtrack 2 My Life"

Jason Goldwatch, mastermind between the hilariously genius visuals for "cudderisback" mans the directing duties for another single of Man on the Moon (fingers crossed "Up, Up & Away will get some love too). Never really been a fan of the live performance video, but this one kills it. Goldwatch always finds a way to capture Cudi's personality like no other. The documentary these two are collaborating on should be hot...enjoy this in the meanwhile. KiD CuDi - Soundtrack 2 My Life (Directed by Jason Goldwatch) from DatNewCudi / DP on Vimeo.

MySpace: Kid Cudi

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Stream: Envy on the Coast - Lowcountry

Envy on the Coast posted their new album Lowcountry for stream over at their myspace. Know I've been hyping it awhile, but now you don't need to take my word for it. Give it a listen and just try and stop yourself from picking it up. Lowcountry drops officially March 30th.

Stream: Envy on the Coast - Lowcountry

The Gaslight Anthem - "American Slang"

New Gaslight Anthem. Need I say more? Already expected American Slang to be one of the best records of the year, the title-track only goes further to prove it. Keep 'em coming, boys...not sure I'm going to stop listening to this anytime soon.

Download: The Gaslight Anthem - "American Slang"

MySpace: The Gaslight Anthem

The Hold Steady - "Hurricane J"

Pitchfork got exclusive digs on the first song off The Hold Steady's new record Heaven Is Whenever. Didn't think it was possible to find anything to like more than the album's artwork, but with heavy chords and Craig Finn's street lines like "You know I'll never ask you to change/I'll only ask you to try" and an uplifting chorus would still make The Boss proud. Stay positive!

Download: The Hold Steady - "Hurricane J"

MySpace: The Hold Steady

Our Last Night - "Elephants"

The young dudes in Our Last Night have grown up a bit. The Ghosts Among Us was a second coming of Underoath's nostalgia inducing They're Only Chasing Safety. New track "Elephants" most obviously boasts stronger vocal work from both Wentworth bros, as younger Trevor supplies significantly beefed up screams to older Matt's pitch perfect clean singing. Definitely good progression and this is no exception's to the band's bread-and-butter hook writing. We Will All Evolve drops May 4th.

Listen: Our Last Night - "Elephants"

Monday, March 22, 2010

Drake - "Shut It Down" (feat. The Dream)

Now this is what I'm talking about. "Over" fell flat for me, but Drake teams up with the radio killa for something more reminiscent of the slower cuts off So Far Gone. Drizzy's baaaaaack!

MySpace: Drake

Jonsi - "Time To Pretend" (MGMT cover)

Sigur Ros frontman Jonsi lent his angelic falsetto to an MGMT fan favorite, resulting in a much more somber vibe than the original's tongue-in-cheekiness. Loving this...less than two months until college is over for me so I'm needing as much time to pretend as possible.

Download: Jonsi - "Time To Pretend" (MGMT cover)

MySpace: Jonsi

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Stream: MGMT - Congratulations

Apparently MGMT planned on offering their entire new record Congratulations for free download after it leaked three weeks early, but that idea got shot down by the suits. Thankfully for us, the band did the next best thing and posted a full album stream on their website. From the early sounds of things, you won't find anything as instantly accessible as the singles on Oracular Spectacular, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Spend some time with this and don't forget to pick up Congratulations on April 13th.

Stream: MGMT - Congratulations

MySpace: MGMT

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Video: New Found Glory/Saves The Day/Fireworks - "Little Secret" (Passion Pit)

Since Passion Pit's already released two music videos for "Little Secret", I guess some members of New Found Glory, Saves The Day, and Fireworks decided to throw in their two cents and make their own. Gotta say personally...this one's a winner.

A Rendition of Passion Pits Little Secrets by NFG, STD, HGB, and Fireworks from YouCantGetRidOfmeThatEasy on Vimeo.

The Republic of Wolves - "Wood/Bricks"

This track apparently just missed the cut for the Wolves excellent His Old Branches EP. Carries much more of a post-rock ambience to it (think Explosions in the Sky) with Mason Maggio's vocals resembling Jesse Lacey more than ever. Can't remember a band who has started out of the gates with as much solid material as these dudes. Get on it.

Listen: The Republic of Wolves - "Wood/Bricks"

Album Spotlight: Broken Bells - Broken Bells (2010)

I consider Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse) a musical Midas. From his Jay-Z/Beatles mash up The Grey Album to making everyone go crazy for Cee-Lo with Gnarls Barkley (cwatididthere), he's taken a whole host of projects and made them smash hits. Even more impressive is how he's kept his Wizard of Oz status, engineering this success while hiding behind the veil of his finished products. Now teaming up with Shins frontman James Mercer for Broken Bells, his newest project, Burton has put himself in the forefront more than ever (manning the group's drumming duties), resulting in some of his best work yet.

Broken Bells is very much a nighttime record. Rocketing off with the digital bleeps of lead single "The High Road", the album's combination of Burton's spacey beats and Mercer's spectral wails gives off an aura of floating through outer space. Feel yourself dangling weightlessly during tracks like the piano-led "October" where a loopy bass line and static-laden electronics couple with Mercer's tortured call before drifting into a chorus of dreamy coos.

While Mercer's echoing vocals add the psychedelic nature to the pop gems (see: "Trap Doors"), it's Burton's production that gives the record substance. On "Vaporize" an acoustic guitar and hazy synths evoke the same visuals as the thumping beat and hand-claps on likely second single "The Ghost Inside".

The synthesis of pop music, visual stimulation, and some good ass grooves make Broken Bells one of the best records of the year and arguably Danger Mouse's top project yet. For a guy whose worked with as many hit makers as Burton has (Black Keys, Gorillaz, Beck...just to name a few), that's saying a lot.

Grade: 8.8/10

Buy: Broken Bells - Broken Bells

MySpace: Broken Bells

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Video: Devendra Banhart - "Baby"

Whats starts as a sunny walk in the park with the likes of Banhart, MGMT's Andrew VanWyngarden and The Strokes' Fabio Moretti turns really trippy. Think a dirty minded planet ruled by Wu mastermind GZA. That's right...weird shit. Suns coming out and springs on it's way so about time to cue What Will We Be? again.

MySpace: Devendra Banhart

Video: Envy on the Coast - "Head First In The River"

Guess this will be the lead single off Lowcountry given the black-and-white visual treatment featuring lots of snow and a Capt. Jack Sparrow looking Ryan Hunter. Song has seriously grown on me since they debuted it a couple weeks ago, especially when you realize the subtle lyrical swipes at the vicious music industry lying beneath the upbeat tempo. Already expecting HUGE things from Lowcountry, droppin' Mar. 30th.

MySpace: Envy on the Coast

Video: Manchester Orchestra - "50 Cent Is My Favorite Rapper" (Live in Seattle)

Here's live video of Andy Hull's tender ode to Curtis Jackson he debuted at a Seattle tour stop. Absolutely hilarious. Only Manchester Orchestra could tie No Country For Old Men and 50 Cent together. Just wish someone made it rain somewhere during this, but I guess beggars can't be choosers..

MySpace: Manchester Orchestra

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mixtape: Consequence - Movies On Demand

Didn't know a thing about the Cons when I checked out the "Sounds G.O.O.D. 2 Me" back in Feburary. Now his 2007 debut Don't Quit Your Day Job has been the album I've spun most in the past month (check my Last FM) and I've been Google searching for this mixtape's release date for weeks. Finally here and Consequence isn't holding any punches: trotting out Grammy Family (most notably on Ye's board work) and old school friends (Q-Tip, The LOX, Pharaohe Monch) among the endless list of the tape's"co-stars". Doubt much else will get played now that this is here...and that sounds G.O.O.D. 2 me.


Download: Consequence - Movies on Demand

MySpace: Consequence

Video: Vampire Weekend - "Holiday" (Live on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon)

Looks like Vampire Weekend have already ditched "Giving Up The Gun" in favor of "Holiday", performing the bouncy latter track on Fallon earlier this week. Still think "Giving Up The Gun" is a better single (and video), but can't really with anything on Contra. Guess it's what you call one of them good problems...

MySpace: Vampire Weekend

Secret & Whisper - "Edge of Wilderness"

Another new cut off Teenage Fantasy, this one a timid sister to the hard-charging "Warrior (Southern Arrowwood)" they released in December. Band's seriously starting to sound like Saosin 2.0, especially Charles Furley's vocals. Guess there are worse the jam session they packed into the bridge is the kind of thing I hope the band leans to more often. Teenage Fantasy drops April 6th.

Listen: Secret & Whisper - "Edge of Wilderness"

Video: Broken Bells - "The Ghost Inside" (Live on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Show)

After trotting out "The High Road" on Letterman, Broken Bells decided to break out a sped up take on "The Ghost Inside" while stopping by Late Night. Throw in some effect-pedal soloing, random trumpet outro, and James Mercer stretching his falsetto like a piece of silly puddy and you got a win. Got a review for Broken Bells ready to post tonight or tomorrow, so do your homework and pick it up.

MySpace: Broken Bells

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ryan Adams - Electrosnake

Ryan Adams announced earlier this week he's siding back up with the guy downstairs, releasing a new record entitled Orion next week, calling it his "most metal album yet." Here's our first taste...sorry Bodom fans, but think more in the the vein of the late 70s-80s definition. Sludgy backing, southern-fried riffage, and Adams even tries his hand at some screams. Too bad when he tries to screech like Brian Johnson he comes off sounding more like Bono (vocally better, but muchhhh less metal). Still rocks, but who else think it'd be infinitely better with one dude in the background just repeatedly screaming eeeeeelectrosnakeeeeee....I'm in for that.

Meanwhile, here's a photo of Ryan's physical transformation into a soldier of the underworld. Brutal brah...

Download: Ryan Adams - "Electrosnake" (direct link)

MySpace: Ryan Adams

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Video: P.O.S. - Every Never Is Now (Tour Video)

Sweet 2-min teaser showing off the live skillz of our boy P.O.S. along with Rhymesayers friends Dessa and Grieves. This rolled through Cambridge last night so I'm reeeeeeally bummed I'm down south right now. On the real, I highly recommend ya'll make it out to a P.O.S. show at some point...feels less like watching a musical performance and more like hanging out with a bunch at a reunion with close family and friends. Dude is class, won't catch me saying any different. Check out the remaining dates of the Every Never Is Now Tour here.

MySpace: P.O.S.

Video: Manchester Orchestra - "In My Teeth" (Live on The Jimmy Kimmel Show)

Manchester Orchestra stopped by Kimmel's house recently to rock faces off with another cut off the deeeeep Mean Everything To Nothing. Can definitely hear The Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana influences seeping right through this...forgot how fuzzed out and fucking HEAVY this track is. And know how you know you killed it? Cue the shot of the random dude rocking out in the audience. Feeeelin' it.

MySpace: Manchester Orchestra

Video: New Found Glory - "Something I Call Personality" ( Backstage Sessions)

NFG tackles an acoustic take on "Something I Call Personality" off 2002's Sticks and Stones. So cool to see a band take a song as heavy and driving as this one and make it sound equally energetic when it's completely stripped down. Time to get the head moshing going...

MySpace: New Found Glory

Video: Coheed and Cambria - "The Broken"

Looks like Coheed took a couple pages out of George Lucas' book (or movie, as it was) for their video for new single "The Broken". Plenty of huge, futuristic, Transformers-looking gun ships waring in some galaxy far far away. Gotta say that if the right director stepped up to adapt The Amory Wars storyline for the big screen, it could be pretty epic...although good luck to whomever reeeeeally tries to make sense of Claudio's ideas (c'mon Tenspeed the demon bicycle?). Anyways, this song is starting to grow on me, as Coheed tunes tend to. Definitely could see this becoming this album's "Welcome Home" or "In Keeping Secrets". Year of the Black Rainbow drops in star systems everywhere April 13th.

The Broken

coheed and cambria | MySpace Music Videos

MySpace: Coheed and Cambria

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Neon Indian - "Sleep Paralysist"

Neon Indian definitely upped the dose of squiggly synthesizer lines in this one. Glad to see Alan Paloma take on a bigger role vocally, although there's still enough beeps and boops to keep ya'll happy. Psychic Charms is in near-constant rotation round here (largely due to my epic sleepage on it), and from the sounds of this, so will whatever they release next.

Download: Neon Indian - "Sleep Paralysist"

MySpace: Neon Indian

Video: The Spill Canvas - "Tik Tok" (Ke$ha cover)

LOLZ. Still wonder whether she means she's uses JD as toothpaste or that she literally brushes her teeth with a glass bottle. But seriously, two points for The Spill Canvas and acappela kids better be taking notes...Abnormalities EP is in stores now.

MySpace: The Spill Canvas

Album Spotlight: RJD2 - The Colossus (2010)

Wanted to get thoughts out on all the major releases this year and am already really backed. Figured it was time to stop driftin' through outer space mentally and actually get some of these thangs down...lets begin way back in January.

I was all amped for RJD2's newest record The Colossus. "Games You Can Win" was an instant classic for me and I also loved the excellent videos ("Let There Be Horns" and "The Glow") he dropped prior to the release date. Then Jan. 19th came and went and I totally blanked on copping it. Flashforward (how is that show still on TV anyways) to February before I realized my egregious error.

The Colossus sees RJD2 steppin' back from the mic and heading back behind the production curtain ala his 2004 masterpiece Deadringer. Utilizing equal parts blazing licks ("Giant Squid", "The Stranger", "Gypsy Caravan") and walls of synthesizers ("A Space Ship For Now", "Small Plans") he's one of the most versatile beat makers out right now.

Meanwhile, by only manning lead vocals on a handful of tracks, RJ lets others do the speaking for him. Kenna delivers cautionary warnings about success in the eerie "Games You Can Win". Little Brother's Phonte Coleman croons about the right way in the 50s-soul of "The Shining Path", while Aaron Livingston stands in funky defiance in the James Brown-esque "Crumbs Off The Table". Stand out "A Son's Cycle" is a straight-up hip-hop cut in the vein of classic RJD2 "FHH". But, sensing the time is right, RJ slides back front-and-center, asking the listener to join him over peppery horn blasts in the closer "Walk With Me".

RJ's caught a lot of flack for The Colossus' tendency to bounce between too many genres, leaving it unfocused. I don't necessarily see that as a con...the endless curiosity explored on the record shows the endless possibilities for a good producer. That lesson is one that too many people missed and what makes The Colossus one of the best albums of 2010 so far.

Grade: 8.5/10

Buy: RJD2 - The Colossus

MySpace: RJD2

Bright Eyes - "Happy Accident"

Conor Oberst claimed he retired the Bright Eyes moniker in June 2009, but thankfully he decided to break it out to contribute some new material for the reissue of 2004 Neva Dinova split One Jug of Wine, Two Vessels. This one features Conor quivering over twinkling keys before the chorus "I'm looking for the happiness, show me where it is" enters over huge guitars. Don't worry, between his solo career and Monsters of Folk, we'll be seeing Conor around, but this very may be the last Bright Eyes cut we ever get...give this a listen and pour so liquor out for the moniker's that ain't here no more.

Download: Bright Eyes - "Happy Accident"

MySpace: Bright Eyes

Video: Portugal. The Man - "Weekend Wars" (MGMT cover)

Wouldn't exactly call this a cover, as Portugal. The Man. use "Weekend Wars" as a base point for jumping off into a jam session full of rumbling drums and searing solos at one of their recent tour stops. Although John Gourley's soulful falsetto could pass for Andrew VanWyngarden any day, no real surprise PTM takes the song in their own direction anyways. American Ghetto is out now so spend some time with it, cause reports are that the band is already writing for their next record. If I were them, I'd want a vacation by now...but as a listener? I'm not complaining.

MySpace: Portugal. The Man.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Video: Yeasayer - "O.N.E."

About everything you would expect from Yeasayer in their newest video: a man with a morphing alien face, African Day Glo dancers, and more neon than South Beach. Hot video, but hard to tell whether it's set in the future or the 80s. Have a feeling Odd Blood will be this year's Oracular Spectacular if you dig...

Watch: Yeasayer - "O.N.E."

MySpace: Yeasayer

Video: Kid Cudi - "Pursuit of Happiness" (Alternate Video)

Man, I wish Cudi had picked this one instead of the one they chose for the official video. Fits the vibe of the song much better. Dope track no matter what.

MySpace: Kid Cudi

MGMT - "Flash Delirium"

I had now idea how the hell MGMT were gonna top 2008 breakout Oracular Spectacular? Look no further than "Flash Delirium", the first track of their new album Congratulations, set to drop April 13th. The psychedelic experimentation continues as the duo use the track to drift from a somber shoe-gaze intro into a more expected sun-drenched acid-pop sound they've perfected. Just think Animal Collective with more mainstream appeal. For all ya'll who it hasn't clicked with yet, it's not the type of song you can form an opinion on after one listen...give it time and it'll come. Can't wait to hear what else Congratulations has in store.

Download: MGMT - "Flash Delirium"

MySpace: MGMT

Video: Broken Bells - "The High Road" (Live in studio)

This might be my song of 2010 so far...can't get enough of James Mercer's wails over the track's late night groove. Couldn't figure out how to embed the video, but it's worth a watch so head over to my friends at weworemasks to peep it and take a look around while you're there...bears are doin' big things. I'll try to get a review up of Broken Bells ASAP, but either way, the record hits store today so do yourself a favor and scoop it up.

Watch: Broken Bells - "The High Road" (Live in studio)

MySpace: Broken Bells

Kid Cudi - "I Do My Thing" (feat. Snoop Dogg)

Looks like Snoop is returning the favor to Kid Cudi after he jumped on the Malice in Wonderland b-side "That Tree" by doing a spot for a Cudi-led track. Not sure whether this is off the upcoming Cudder: Revolution of Evolution or just a b-side off Man on the Moon, but either way: song's hot. Dre churns out a Cali-approved beat, Snoop steps up his verse from the trash he's been spitting lately, and Moon Man gets all soulful on the bridge. We shinin', we rollin', we sippin', we smokin', we livin', we happy, theeeeey mad. Fuck 'em.

Download: Kid Cudi - "I Do My Thing (feat. Snoop Dogg)

MySpace: Kid Cudi

Video: Reflection Eternal - "In This World"

Here comes the visuals for the new track Reflection Eternal dropped last week. Cut's magic and the video sees it and raises. Getting sick of all these Flo Rida and LMFAO spots running the hip-hop charts, so I'd say it's a welcome sight to see Talib and Hi-Tek focused on taking it back. Revolutions Per Minute drops April 20th.

Reflection Eternal - In This World (Official Video)

Reflection Eternal | MySpace Music Videos

MySpace: Reflection Eternal

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Video: Every Time I Die - "After One Quarter of a Revolution"

Every Time I Die might be the best band to provide a soundtrack to a crowd diving mix tape. They do it here for their second video off the excellent New Junk Aesthetic and if this can't get you into these dudes, I don't know what will...

Every Time I Die - "After One Quarter of a Revolution"

EVERY TIME I DIE | MySpace Music Videos

MySpace: Every Time I Die

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Movie Review: Shutter Island

It's safe to say Martin Scorsese is one of my favorite directors. Goodfellas is an all-time favorite, one of my first posts on here was about Gangs of New York, and my friends and I quote The Departed on a regular basis. I mean, the guy even directed Vincent Chase in The Great Gatsby (Spike re-runs aren't doing it for me). After sitting in on his newest work, the mysteriously dark Shutter Island, I'd say ole' Marty still has it.

Although this may be Scorsese's first foray into horror (I don't know if I'd even call it that), it's certainly not his only go-round in exploring the psychological state of his characters. In Shutter Island, while Federal Marshall Teddie Daniels explores the disappearance of a criminally insane woman from the isolated asylum on the titled island, he is gridlocked in the purest state of the mind's struggle: whether he's the only sane one or just another crazy. Throw in post-WWII conspiracy theories, an unconventional, not-everything-is-how-it-appears psychologist (Ben Kingsley), and some growingly vivid and terrifying dreams and Daniel's stay on the island becomes much more of complicated than he ever expected.

The atmosphere and camerawork go a long way to hammer home the experience. Rolling shots while Daniels and his partner Chuck Aule (the always reliable Mark Ruffalo) enter the compound make you feel like the iron gates to the creepy netherworld are clanking closed behind you too. Meanwhile the always gray clouds suspended over the compound menace as much as the creepy inmates. One scene, set in the de facto haunted house known as Ward C, keeps even the toughest bro on the edge of his seat for a solid five minutes.

When it comes down to it, though, the acting kills it. Leonardo DiCaprio is quickly quieting critics about his acting chops, capturing the fine line Daniels walks mentally...bouncing from calm explanation to furious outbreak seamlessly. Kingsley keeps Dr. Cawley's hand close, making the audience unsure whether he's wants to help or experiment on his patients. Even the smaller roles make a harrowing impact, especially Michelle Williams siren take on Daniel's dead wife, Ted Levine's violence-relishing Warden, and Max von Sydow's Dr. Naehring, eerily all-smiles.

Although the plot twist is pretty predictable from the first bit of the movie, the unfolding of it is still incredibly enjoyable to watch. Expanding on Dennis Lehane's (Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone) twisting plot line, Scorsese's manages to make every viewer feel the paranoia and instability of the insane as they try to put the pieces together right along with Daniels. It may not be his best work, but anyone who likes a good riddle (speaking to you LOST fans...) and respects Scorsese's talent had better take a trip to Shutter Island.

Grade: B+

Pol B - "Hot-N-Cold" (feat. Mase)

Bet you can't guess what sample's used in Pol B's new track? All you dummies like me who expected Katy Perry vocals are gonna be surprised when you hear yet anotherrr 'Ye sample. ("Heartless" this time) Still, beat's hot, Pol B delivers some solid verses and even convinces all-time great/bad boy Mase out of retirement to do a spot. If you wanna check out more of Pol B's stuff, give a listen to his newest mixtape Clocked Out Vol. 1 presented by the one and only Don Cannon

Download: Pol B - "Hot-N-Cold" (feat. Mase)

MySpace: Pol B

Friday, March 5, 2010

Drake - "Over"

First track has surfaced off Drizzy's major label debut Thank Me Later. Gotta say, although his rhymes and flow are always on point, the hook on this one is awkward as hell. The beat's so-so too, shining at some point, but falling flat elsewhere. Kinda let down by this, but Drake's released too many dope cuts (see: all of So Far Gone) to not believe he'll come least I hope he does. Hit the link to grab a listen and make up your own mind.

MySpace: Drake