Sometimes the best horror films aren’t the ones that deal in the supernatural or killers who won’t die. Treading the line between reality and insanity can frequently be horrifying enough. Comforting Skin is that rare, unclassifiable movie that blurs the lines between genres and defies categorization.
Ostensibly, Comforting Skin is about a young woman named Koffie (Victoria Bidewell) who gets a tattoo on her shoulder blade and is thrilled with the results, until it starts talking to her. Yet, the film is about so much more.
By Melissa B.
You’ve got to love a guy who explains the title of his album The Legend this way: “What I wanted was Super Legend, but they didn’t go along with it, so it’s just The Legend.” Released for the first time on CD, Marty Robbins’s 1981 album of that modest title has been paired with his 1982 record, Come Back To Me.
If you think Dead Ghosts sounds like a Goth band name, you’d be right, but you’d be dead wrong about their sound. This is old school, straight-up party music. The only thing better than listening to this album at a party (nighttime, outside, backyard, torches to ward off mosquitoes) would be having the band actually play live at your party.
In other words, you have to dance to this music. There is no other way.
You’ll Never Walk Alone opens with the wonderfully titled, warped shimmy of “Glitter Death” and the clever lyric: tell all of your friends that this is the end/of all these stupid trends.
The first six tracks on the album weave in and out of each other so slyly they all seem like one glorious, extended song. A song that’s a three-dimensional rainbow tapestry of sonic bliss.
Burnt Ones recalls the psychedelia of both early Pink Floyd and T. Rex with more than a dusting of the latter’s primo glam rawk stomp, and lyrics to match (sample: Just like a sweater how you’re so together). At first those lyrics won’t make a whole lot of sense, but once you get into their groove, the crazy visuals they describe—”hypnotized and fried, licking glass perfumes”–will nag at you until you start to feel like you understand on some subterranean, emotional level.
I saw One Hour Photo when it was released in theaters in 2002. I’ve never forgotten it.
It was the first film I saw with Robin Williams playing against type as a truly disturbed character. Even 1991′s The Fisher King was Disney compared to One Hour Photo.
Writer and director Mark Romanek cut his filmmaking teeth on music videos for Nine Inch Nails, Madonna, Michael and Janet Jackson, and Fiona Apple. With the success of filmmakers like David Fincher, the stigma of transitioning from music videos into feature films has thankfully diminished. For a first feature, One Hour Photo is astonishing, but it would still be were Romanek a veteran.
By Melissa B.
I’m a nostalgist. What I love about reissues is hearing a song I’ve forgotten entirely about. In a beat, I’m transported to the back-backseat of my parents’ station wagon, listening to KTTS on the radio. The reissue of Marty Robbins’s El Paso City/Adios Amigo took me right back to that station wagon.
It’s difficult to talk about what the new Big Country album is without talking about what it isn’t. The Journey is the first album from the band in 14 years. It’s also the first studio album since original lead singer/songwriter Stuart Adamson took his own life in a hotel room in Hawaii in December of 2001. Bouncing back from a blow like that is difficult for any band. Look at the shambles INXS became after Michael Hutchence passed out and away.
Fronting Big Country now is Mike Peters, singer/songwriter for The Alarm, well-remembered for Eighties hits like “Sixty-Eight Guns” and “The Stand.” There are similarities between Peters and Adamson as songwriters. Adamson and Peters both created songs of epic scope, real sweepers. Listen to the guitars masquerading as bagpipes on “In a Big Country” and feel the cold grass of Scotland under your feet. Listen to the sweet high guitar trills of “Rain in the Summertime” and you really can almost feel the rain on your face.
Replacing Adamson’s vision with Peters’s panoramic view seems like the perfect match.
On Magic Trix, Xenia Rubinos sounds like a radio caught between two frequencies. The first station carries brassy 1930s show tunes, a capella field recordings of folk songs, multi-tracked choruses, and lushly melodic whispered confessions. On the other, psychedelic keyboard freakouts, skittering drums, thumping hardcore declarations, and a cacophony of characters rule the day. Binding the disparate styles together is a soupçon of feedback from an analog keyboard and Rubinos’s force of nature vocals.
In the May 1989 issue of SPIN, born-again Christian evangelist Bob Larson followed the band Slayer on tour and presented his account in an article called “Desperately Seeking Satan.” By the end, Larson determined that Slayer’s “root of evil” was “rock’n'roll stardom” and that their “act of iniquity” was not with Satan, but with the “Billboard charts and T-shirt sales.” Still, he prayed that “both their eternal and artistic souls” would be saved.
Almost 25 years later, musician and filmmaker Justin Ludwig decided to follow two bands from perhaps an even more mystifying and misunderstood genre of music: Christian hardcore. As Ludwig explains in the beginning of the documentary, hardcore music helped him to break free from the shackles of organized religion and the oppression of conformist thinking.
If ChristCORE were a fictional Hollywood story, it’s easy to imagine that by the end, Ludwig will recant and become a born-again Christian. But, this is real life, or at least the documentary film version.
By Melissa B.
George Jones was called “the greatest voice in country music.” This is not hyperbole. He could make you feel so much with a crack of his voice, the swell or pull back on a phrase. He was masterful.
The liner notes for Jones Country/You’ve Still Got A Place In My Heart mention the miracle that he was alive and well in 2013 and planning a farewell show. I received this disc the day before he died. Irony is a wicked mistress.