John Carpenter has blessed us with many great flicks and inspired a limitless amount of people. He continues to do so even today. Still, Carpenter has a few underrated flicks and Body Bags is one of them. The whole film wasn’t directed by The Horror Master himself, but he directed a segment and more importantly, he nailed it as the host of this anthology. Body Bags might not be the best thing ever but it is a blast. (Don’t take me too seriously when I say it may not be the best thing ever; I mean that in a very positive way, actually.) Now, Scream Factory has given us a pristine looking Blu-Ray.
By Paul Casey
Purple Snow: Forecasting The Minneapolis Sound collects music from many musical outfits that helped shape the sound of the title. While the title is a nod to the importance of that miniature-sized and prodigiously talented man, the collection assembled by Numero Group has a broader interest. This is a work of love and commitment. It is a history lesson for those who think great artists are created in a vacuum. Everybody who has sat back and had a sob over the genius of Prince, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, or Alexander O’Neal and assumed they came out fully formed, should have a listen to this compilation.
There’s a lot to be said about the decidedly bizarre time capsule that is Saâda Bonaire. They weren’t so much a band as an experiment, but one that definitely pays off.
In 1982, Bremen DJ Ralf Behrendt, a.k.a. Ralf von Richthofen, embarked on a musical project that he hoped would replicate something akin to the influence Caribbean and Indian music was having on British pop. Behrendt had an exposure to and fascination with Turkish music due to his work in the German government’s immigration department. He enlisted local Turkish and Kurdish musicians, as well as his then-girlfriend Stephanie Lange and her friend Claudia Hossfeld (who both wrote the songs), to create Saâda Bonaire.
Thirteen tracks were recorded for EMI in Kraftwerk’s Studio N with producer Dennis Bovell, including “You Could Be More As You Are” as the intended single. But then, it all hit a snag.
The Idelsohn Society For Musical Preservation has an important mission: to look at Jewish history and the Jewish experience through recorded sound. Their motto: History sounds different when you know where to start listening. With their two CD set It’s A Scream How Levine Does The Rhumba: The Latin-Jewish Musical Story 1940s-1980s, they have created an important document that explores the connection between Jewish and Latin music. With vast liner notes, essays, archival photos and ephemera, it is a fascinating compilation.
It’s A Scream How Levine Does The Rhumba is surprisingly varied despite its narrow scope. There are Latin artists doing Jewish songs and Jewish artists embracing Latin beats. There are novelty songs from the early 20th century, disco beats, straight-up funk, and blazing salsa tunes.
Many people either don’t know the name Fernando Di Leo or have never seen any of his films. Aside from filmmakers and cinephiles, his name doesn’t come up too often, but I’m here to change that. Raro Film has recently released a second volume of their Fernando Di Leo Italian Crime Collection. Aside from being a balls-out release, the transfers are outstanding.
By Jesse Greener
Wearily, you think back on your expedition from adolescence. You left with a small band of companions in search of epic adventures and righteous tunes. But, one after the other, members of your party were charmed by false promises of prosperity and now pray with the masses at the altars of security and mediocrity. Alone, you fought on, but in time fatigue and despair overtook you. To your horror, the moment you laid down your axe you too were quickly surrounded by fools, thieves—and worse—their popular music.
Weary traveler, your suffering has been noted; your prayers have been heard. A rain of fire is coming to the system that entrapped you. And it comes in the form of a Wizard using his Stone Axe to summon a new ’70s rock compilation: Warfaring Strangers: Darkscorch Canticles.
This new compilation, to be released in March 2014, is brought to you by Numero Group, an archival record label that goes to great lengths to unearth long-forgotten or under appreciated music, film, and photography for a second airing. Warfaring Strangers is their latest genre-defining compilation of “wizard rock.” The album will feature 16 bands from the ’70s with names like Stone Axe, Medusa, and Wizard. But the awesomeness doesn’t stop there. The music will be presented with authentic, amateur Dungeons & Dragons inspired artwork released on vinyl and CD, with rich embellishments.
In advance of this epic endeavor, two songs have been released: “Sorcerer” by Junction and “Warlord” by Wrath. Both are well-produced recordings with an authentic ’70s sound.
“Sorcerer” is classically classic rock a la Hendrix, featuring a mix of cool straight-ahead riffs, catchy choruses and selective use of tasteful delay on the vocals. Three swords and one dagger out of 5.
Wrath’s “Warlord” is faster, featuring an enjoyably active drummer who is only undermined by the flat drum sound, which plagued many ’70s-era recordings. This is made up for by the experimental vocals, with a hint of anti-war morality. Four swords and one healing potion out of 5.
The re-issue of these four albums is part of a seven-album Nikki Sudden oeuvre re-issue from Numero Group. This, the first part, consists of the first two Nikki Sudden solo albums (Waiting on Egypt, Bible Belt), and the first two Jacobites albums, (Jacobites, Robespierre’s Velvet Basement). Together, they give an overview of Nikki Sudden’s work directly after Swell Maps.
A sticker on the front of the CD proudly proclaims that Buck ‘Em! The Music of Buck Owens (1955-1967) isn’t your father’s Buck Owens collection, and it certainly isn’t. The hits are here, of course, but so are alternate takes and live tracks, as well as unreleased music. For a completist (like, say, me), it’s a treasure. With voluminous, entertaining liner notes written by Buck Owens himself (culled from his upcoming autobiography, also titled Buck ‘Em) (which is pretty impressive, especially since he passed away in 2006) (which is some Tupac level of productivity right there) it’s a chronological trip through the Buck Owens catalogue, and what a catalogue it is. Buck Owens and his Buckaroos made so many records, with so many catchy songs that it amazes me that they aren’t revered in the same way as Johnny Cash or Willie Nelson.
Some days, Sundays in particular, all I really want is the musical equivalent of a fluffy blanket and a nice cup of tea. Real Gone Music’s new Perry Como release, Just Out Of Reach—Rarities From Nashville Produced By Chet Atkins is a CD full of fluffy blankets and cups of tea: soothing and warm and pleasant.
Perry Como had a musical career for over 50 years. His natural, easy singing style served him well as he performed in a variety of vocal genres. When the British Invasion hit the US shores, though, Como went through a two-year dry period in which he didn’t record. Heads of his label, RCA, concocted a plan to alleviate that and enlisted Chet Atkins to help “smooth the edges of country music” to make it more palatable in the pop world and for Como. The result was the successful The Scene Changes, providing Como with his biggest selling album in years. Not content to rest on their laurels, RCA again joined Atkins and Como together in Nashville for another stab at country/pop crossover glory, and the result of that is Just Out Of Reach.
The Amityville incident is, to this day, one of the most widely known supernatural occurrences. Whether or not you believe what the Lutz family says happened in that house, you have to admit the story itself is terrifying. I’m one of those people who believe that something did happen in that house during their month stay at 112 Ocean Avenue. I certainly don’t believe everything that George Lutz says happened, but I do believe certain parts they have claimed.
After they left the house, their story became quickly and widely known and they were interviewed by just about every major network of the time. Shortly after their story came out, Hollywood saw a perfect opportunity to make some cash and The Amityville Horror was born.