Archive | August, 2012

What the Hell, LA Weekly? – 24 Aug 2012

24 Aug

Hello Internet!

I’m just going to admit this from jump – I am a huge Black Keys fan. I would punch a baby in the face for a chance to see them live. So, when I noticed that drummer Patrick Carney’s tweet criticizing this LA Weekly article, I pretty much guessed that I would hate the article because as a fan, I am more inclined to siding with the band.

After reading the article, I noticed two things. The first being, apart from the scathing remarks on The Black Keys – I almost agree with every opinion stated in the article. The second thing I noticed was that this sounded less like a legitimate piece of news journalism and more like some angsty music snob’s tumblr post. All it this amounts to is a case of jumping on the “I hate hipsters” bandwagon.

As much as I hate quoting myself, here’s my comment on the article from when I posted it on Facebook earlier –

Don’t get me wrong, I mostly agree with this list. And by “mostly”, I mean I will punch these fools in the face for the dig at the Black Keys. But what is the point of this article, really? You have to ask – what is the point of insulting these artists? For the most part, they haven’t really released any music lately. Also, most music fans have made up their minds on these artists already. Why randomly take a swing at Death Cab for Cutie? They aren’t on tour. And their last album came out over a year ago. I can most definitely understand that music journalists have a right to express their opinions and criticize bad and overly pretentious music. But taking shots out of the clear blue begins to sound like hating for the sake of hating.

But maybe I am just bitter about The Black Keys criticism. I don’t know. You guys can let me know what you think. In the mean time, let’s listen to some “posh cracker blues rock” and talk about how this guitarist is clearly “more concerned with beard grooming and disheleving his hair” *rolls eyes*.

Stay Cool, Hipsters.

– Kai xxx

Artist That I’m Digging Right Now – 05 August 2012

6 Aug

It’s a little late, yes. But the second monthly “Artist That I’m Digging Right Now” comes with a new format. Who doesn’t love new things?

Artist: Young the Giant

Super Short Bio: Founded in 2004 under the name The Jakes, the California band is currently comprised of Sameer Gadhia, Eric Cannata, Jacob Tilley, Francois Comtois, and Payam Doostzadeh. The band’s first single as Young the Giant was the wildly popular “My Body” and since then, they have toured with the likes of Minus the Bear and Incubus.

Why I’m Digging Them?: Sameer Gadhia is simply stunning. If you look at him, he just looks like a regular guy. Yes, he is attractive, but he looks and acts like someone you could know. Someone you could be friends with. Listening to The Jakes, you can hear that this is a band capable of commercial success, but they’ve got something…extra. And that something extra becomes something truly otherwordly as the Jakes evolved into Young the Giant. More mature subject matter in songs and music that can adequately showcase Gadhia’s more polished and soulful voice took a band that I heard a song from and liked, sacrificed it, and allowed it to rise from the ashes like a phoenix.

I once said on Facebook something along the lines of “Young the Giant’s music is the aural equivalent of being wrapped in a cashmere sweater that’s my favorite shade of my favorite color” and I strongly stand by that statement. Some songs give the feel of comfort, others recall strong memories of frolicking on California beaches (and I’ve never even been to California) and what can I say…Young the Giant’s self-titled album is full of all types of warm and fuzzies. Regardless of the subject matter, you can feel Gadhia’s pain and then still be overcome with joy just because you get to hear his voice. And going to a Young the Giant concert is somewhere in between a religious experience and a fun bonfire on the beach with friends. I recall seeing Gadhia and Cannata bounce and flail about the stage while Doosztadeh, Tilley, and Comtois remained virtually in the same spot, concentrating on creating beautiful music. It was a sight that I definitely recommend seeing.

Five Songs You Need to Listen To:

  1. “Strings / Strings (Reprise)” Young the Giant, 2011
  2. “I Got” Young the Giant, 2011
  3. “Paid the Piper” Shake My Hand EP, 2008(as the Jakes)
  4. “Apartment” Young the Giant, 2011
  5. “Cough Syrup” Young the Giant, 2011

Also, definitely listen to the band’s In the Open sessions. So hauntingly beautiful and absolutely breath-taking.

Whateva, I Do What I Want – 05 Aug 2012

5 Aug

Hey Lovelies!

Okay, this is not about to be some angsty teen rebellion post. Rather, I just have something I want to get off of my chest. *Deep breath* Alright, here it goes – I don’t care what the critics say, I am going to watch Total Recall and I am going to enjoy myself!

The remake of the unarguably badass Schwarzenegger classic of the same name (that’s right, I called Total Recall a classic) had some tough competition. It did, after all, come out in a summer movie season that included Marvel’s The Avengers (fuck yessssssssss! Yes! Go Marvel! Go Marvel!), The Amazing Spider-Man, and The Dark Angst Knight Rises. I mean, how is anyone supposed to compete with Baman, Piderman, and the Avengers? Too much. Not to mention, The Bourne Legacy will be released next week – and that looks like it’s going to be a good one. All of this on top of the fact that it’s a trend now-a-days to rag on remakes.  There’s a group of action film and sci-fi fans who went in to this movie already “knowing” that the Collin Farrell portrayal would not stack up to Arnold’s (and an even smaller group who went in to both films “knowing” that nothing would be able to compare to the Philip K. Dick novel on which both films are based). The odds were definitely stacked up against Total Recall being a well-loved and well-reviewed film.

To get to the point, I have a very small hunch that critics tend to disagree with me when it comes to action films in general. Action has never been a genre of film that has been considered “high art” and is often sneered at for featuring nothing but oiled-up dudes, boobs, and ‘splosions. I don’t know, sometimes you want to watch something that is enlightening and makes you laugh, cry, and adopt a puppy. But sometimes, a mindless barrage of explosions, tits, and hot guys is all I want out of life.  Just remember…no more than three tits on one girl, then it’s just weird. I digress, some of my favorite action films of all time have been poorly reviewed. In the middle of writing this blog post, I’m going to look at the Rotten Tomatoes pages of five of my favorite action films – Judge Dredd, Bloodsport, The Expendables, Mortal Kombat, and of course the original Total Recall. I really hope these films weren’t well reviewed, since it will hurt the case I’m trying to make here… Also, I promise that it’s a coincidence that the stars of all but one of the above mentioned films are going to be in The Expendables 2. Actually, a character from Mortal Kombat is based on Jean-Claude Van Damme…

1. Judge Dredd (1995)

  • RT rating – 15%…Don’t worry, babe, I still love you. You are the law.
  • Harshest critique – Mike LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle says “Usually engaging and sympathetic, Stallone is blank and tongue-tied here, an immovable slab in the midst of 95 minutes of gunfire, explosions and Gothic excess.”

2. Bloodsport (1986)

  • RT rating – 33% …Oh.
  • Harshest critique – TV Guide’s movie guide stated “Strictly a film for martial arts buffs; little is offered here in the way of plot, dialogue, or acting.”

3. The Expendables (2010)

  • RT rating – 40%
  • Harshest critique – Peter Travers of Rolling Stone says “It’s not the age of the actors that makes Expendables expendable. It’s the stale storytelling. “

4. Mortal Kombat (1995)

  • RT rating – 34% 1% higher than Bloodsport, the movie it drew inspiration from.
  • Harshest critique – Sean Means of film.com says (and this is a gem) “The movie that most nearly approximates a video game: lots of action, no plot, eye-catching computer effects, and a dollop of violence.” What games is this guy playing that have zero plot? Hell, I’d say the Mortal Kombat games have too much plot. I mean that as a compliment, by the way…

5. Total Recall (1990)

  • RT rating – 84% Wow. Wasn’t expecting the critics to actually be…right. Maybe it’s because this isn’t a *traditional* action film
  • Harshest critique – Rita Kempley of the Washington Post says “A gratuitous explosion of vainglory and guts, the movie is all firecrackers and giblets and broken glass. The overall effect is like wading through hospital waste.”

The point of all that is, while there are some action movies that critics love (Total Recall, Lethal Weapon, Die Hard), a lot of my favorite action films have been universally hated by critics. And Total Recall is the type of film that should have a good plot, dialogue, and acting…I will probably enjoy the movie even if those things are not present. The critics’ words have no affect on the way I view the movie, and I am still excited to see it!

– I’ve got a Kumite to attend, talk to ya later.

xxx Kai

On Being Alone – 02 August 2012

2 Aug

Hello Lil’ Babies!

Ah, Summer. Don’t you love it? For many, summertime is a time to catch up with friends or spend more time with your best friends outside of the classroom environment. However, if you’re like me…summertime means being cooped up in a muggy bedroom with a single fan, endless amounts of Mountain Dew, and a controller in hand. While caffeine fueled nights of endless gaming is something that I look forward to being able to do in the summer, it is easy to become lonely, depressed, and craving human attention.

And we all know what happens to people who have become lonely, depressed, and in desperate need of human attention – you become one of those annoying people who always rants about how you need a significant other. And let’s face it – no one likes bitter single people or people who always complain about how alone they are. And you don’t want to be hated, right?

Well, don’t worry, Loners. I am here to help! I’m about to tell you My Top Five Reasons to Enjoy Being Alone as well as My Top Five Activities to Do Alone. Awww yeee!

Kai’s Top Five Reasons to Enjoy Being Alone!

1. Let’s Be Honest…People Are Annoying

We’ve all – well, maybe just me – have had those moments where we’ve been spending a little too much time with our friends and we start to notice all of the things that our friends do to annoy us. So why not take a break from Sally’s nail-biting and Bonnie’s tendency to ramble on about her boyfriend. Amirite?

2. There Will Be Times in Your Life in Which You Cannot Help Being Alone

It’s good to get some practice now so you won’t immediately lose your shit when you have to be alone.

3. Alone Times Are Good Times For Self-Reflection

Sometimes you just need to think, ya know?

4. Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

You’ll appreciate your friends, family, and significant other(s) more if you spend time apart from them.

5. Being Alone is the Only Time You Have to Be Yourself

Not that you’re fake or anything, but if you have a band that you love and your friends hate – alone time is the best time to listen to this band. Or walk around in your ugliest – yet most comfy – outfit without fear of judgement. Hell, even if you choose this time to walk around the house naked…you’re still enjoying freedom to do things you can’t do around your friends.

Kai’s Top Five Things to Do Alone

1. Meditate

Take advantage of the quiet and lack of distractions and take time out of your day to meditate. Regardless of how spiritual of a person you are, meditation can be quite beneficial.

2. Go Back and Visit Childhood Video Games

Go play Super Mario Bros! On the original console, if you can. I can play Revenge of the Shinobi III on an emulator, sure, but nothing takes you back like busting out the Sega Genesis and playing the game the way you originally did. Bust out the PS1 and play Metal Gear Solid from the beginning. Shit is fun as hell. And the nostalgia factor and lack of assholes on Xbox Live reminds you again why you love gaming and how you got started in the first place.

3. Give Yourself a Spa Day

Facials (the spa kind, perv), hot oil treatments for your hair, bubblebaths. I’m telling you, whether you are male, female, or don’t conform to a gender binary…no one can deny how good it feels to pamper yourself. Soft skin, a fresh face, nails done, hair done, errethang did. All of this makes you feel rejuvenated inside and out, sexy as fuck, and ready to take on life.

4. Just Take A Long Walk, Around the Park After Dark

Being a female, my momma always told me never to walk alone. No matter what the time of day. And no matter what the area. So when I got to college, the first thing I did was go on as many solitary walks as I could. It’s a little cliche, but going for a long walk alone is such a freeing experience. It’s also very calming.

5. Develop a New Skill, or Work on a Skill You Already Have

Can’t cook? Teach yourself! Are you a novice? Learn some new recipes! This concept can be applied to writing, art, sewing, learning how to do your hair, or basically anything. Keep a journal of your progress so you can humble brag to yourself later!

– See ya later, Killer Croc! (Wait, that isn’t how the saying goes…)

xxx Kai

PS – Dancing alone is always fun as hell!