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Showing posts from May, 2006

Song of the Day: Bloodrock's 'D.O.A'

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Reason number 54,233 to appreciate Satellite Radio. XM's Seventies on Seven channel, like all of XM's spots on the dial, frequently augments the usual familiar Bell-Bottom Era fixtures with obscurities from lesser-known acts and one-hit wonders. That a Satellite station can gift a big old music geek like me with a Top-40 hit from the seventies that I've never heard before--never mind a hit this unsettling and strange--is a very, very good thing. Bloodrock was a Texas hard rock band from the early seventies, and their lone entry into the lower rungs of the Billboard Top 40 (number 36, to be exact) was this eight-and-a-half minute dirge describing a plane-crash victim's final minutes in excruciating, amazing detail. With its foreboding organ, vivid lyrics ("The sheets are red and moist where I'm lying, God in Heaven teach me how to die"), and lead singer Jim Rutledge's soaring, anguished vocals, 'D.O.A' packs a body blow more potent than any

Happy Birthday, Lord Summerisle

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Christopher Lee , probably the last great living horror movie icon, celebrates his 84th birthday today (May 27). And there's no better way to celebrate the man's golden years than by watching one of his greatest efforts. For years, Lee has professed his ferocious, passionate devotion and fondness for The Wicker Man , a 1973 film in which the actor lends his singular presence in a small but pivotal role (it's out on Anchor Bay DVD). In a lot of ways, it's easy to see why. Broad and literal horror films like the output of Hammer Studios defined the genre in the early seventies. The Wicker Man presented a scenario that was the polar opposite, giving Lee the opportunity to play a charming, almost jaunty character that effectively subverted his traditional screen persona, all in the service of a leisurely but still uneasy mystery framework. I don't know if I'd call it "'The Citizen Kane' of Horror Films," as one overzealous Cinefantastique crit

White Hot Weekend Action!

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The good news is, if you're here in Seattle, I've got two fabulous recommendations for entertainment this long weekend. The bad news is, they're both on the same night. You've heard me blather about the mighty Bloodhag before, but their gig tomorrow night at the Funhouse (with Captured! By Robots) promises to be extra-super-special. The 'Hag's unstoppable Edu-core sound have won 'em a deal with Alternative Tentacles , the internationally-known record label run by the legendary Jello Biafra . And tomorrow's gig also serves as the release party for their sure-to-be mindroasting new CD, Hell Bent for Letters . Soon the world will be jumping on the Hagwagon, so get out and see these four bespectacled noise gods in a great, tiny, sweaty place before they're playing arenas and eating caviar from the navels of Cimmerian Slave Women at Clive Davis's place. Then again, you could take in an evening of the blues, courtesy of Steven Seagal . Yes, the st

Doug McClure Kicks Monster Ass, Saves World

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Englishman Kevin Connor cut a significant swath in the mid-70's by directing a very entertaining quartet of fantasy films largely based on the works of celebrated Tarzan scribe Edgar Rice Burroughs . These four little programmers were all period pieces set in the late nineteenth/early twentieth century, and they all followed the same basic pattern. A clutch of explorers/innocent bystanders would find their exploring/innocent-bystanding rudely interrupted by a gaggle of not-so-nice parties (German u-boat crewmen, greedy Yankee sailors, etc.), and the whole mess of conflicting humanity would end up deep in the bowels of some Prehistoric Lost World. Said Lost World would usually be populated by cavemen, unkempt enslaved native peoples, and so many frickin' monsters your head'd spin, especially if you were a Raisinet-huffing kid at the Parkland Theater in the Bell-Bottom Era. Budgetary limitations kept the special effects pretty crude (the dinosaur puppets and monster suit

Car Tunes

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After pumping three times the Blue Book Value into repairs on it in just a few weeks, the missus and I finally decided to rid ourselves of our beleaguered old jalopy (a '94 Ford Taurus, affectionately named The Green Hornet). The plunge was taken, and we bought a new car. Rita and I did a lot of research (and a lot of test-driving), and we decided to get a 2006 Chevy HHR, sunburst metallic orange. For the uninitiated, the HHR is a retro-roadster, styled after a 1947 wagon. Kind of like a PT Cruiser, only vastly superior in nearly every way (I s hould know, I test-drove 'em both). The HHR gets respectable mileage for an un-sensible looking car, it's sturdily-and-safely-built, versatile, cool-looking, and the ride is the automotive equivalent of a soak in a hot tub; smooth and comfy. The wife, the dog, and I all give it an enthusiastic thumbs-up. Most importantly, however, the new vehicle's audio system kicks serious ass. The hell with the side impact airbags; I'm