Music Review: Casino Classics (Complete Collection)

Published on October 20th, 2015 in: Current Faves, Music, Music Reviews, Reissues, Retrovirus, Reviews |

By Noreen Sobczyk


In 1978, DJ Russ Winstanley and Wigan Casino manager Mike Walker joined forces to create a record label. Between 1978 and 1980, Casino Classics issued numerous 45s and two compilation albums, combining the Northern Soul scene’s most memorable American originals with tracks recorded especially for the label. This three-disc set, Casino Classics (Complete Collection), includes everything ever recorded or issued by the boutique label.


Book Review: Kim Gordon, Girl In A Band: A Memoir

Published on March 6th, 2015 in: Book Reviews, Books, Current Faves, Feminism, Music, Reviews |

By Noreen Sobczyk


The world of rock music (and music journalism) is one big boys club. And it’s no surprise that the title of Kim Gordon’s memoir, Girl in a Band, is partly in reference to the incessant query “What’s it like to be a girl in a band?” Despite possessing two X chromosomes, Gordon adeptly chiseled her own space in music with her own rules, coupled with intelligence and dignity. As far as her emotions, she has historically played her cards close to her chest, even appearing aloof, but when she performed “Aneurysm” at Nirvana’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, my body tingled and I was momentarily slack jawed. I don’t care what anyone else says about it, and opinions vary wildly, but Gordon’s performance was one of the most visceral, authentic, fearless, perhaps cathartic, but certainly intense moments I’ve ever witnessed in rock ‘n roll.


Best Of 2014: Noreen Sobczyk

Published on December 19th, 2014 in: Best Of Lists, Music, TV |


The Muffs, Whoop De Doo: 100% satisfaction guaranteed with this album.

TRS-80, Volume One: A great compilation of remastered early works by a fantastic electronic band.

Jack White, Lazaretto: A terrific album with phenomenal, record-setting vinyl format bells and whistles.

OFF!, Wasted Years: It gave us the gold standard for punk rock and more recently, some pretty excellent videos, too.

Omnivore Recordings: They recently announced the imminent release of two Jellyfish reissues with new liners and over 50 tracks.

Pee Wee Herman: He’s back and making his presence known on social media and television. Pee Wee’s Playhouse was remastered and the news of that long-awaited movie seems very promising.

The Walking Dead: It continues to set the standard for good television. From the premiere to the mid-season finale, I think this has been my favorite season.

David Bowie Is, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Illinois: A staggering amount of memorabilia and information with backing audio, providing even the most ardent fan some surprises.

Dolenz Jones Boyce & Hart reissue from Cherry Red: A must have for any die-hard Monkees fan and a better bet than most of the band’s later recordings.

Movie Review: Copenhagen

Published on December 19th, 2014 in: Movie Reviews, Movies, Reviews |

By Noreen Sobczyk


Mark Raso makes his feature film directorial debut with Copenhagen, for which he also wrote the screenplay. The film was highly anticipated; Raso won the Student Academy Award (Oscar®) Gold Medal for his short film Under. Copenhagen had a very successful festival run, receiving six festival prizes prior to its recent US theatrical release. I eagerly offered to review the film, certain I would love an award-winning film with great viewer buzz and critical acclaim, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case.


Music Review: Alain Goraguer, La Planète Sauvage (Fantastic Planet) Original Soundtrack

Published on December 5th, 2014 in: Culture Shock, Current Faves, Movies, Music, Music Reviews, Reissues, Retrovirus, Reviews, Science Fiction, Soundtracks and Scores, Underground/Cult |

By Noreen Sobczyk


OK, full disclosure: as a sort of sommelier of the strange, I’m embarrassed to say I had never seen La Planète Sauvage (a.k.a. Fantastic Planet) until recently. But never fear, because this should prove to even the most jaded, freaky, boogie children that it’s never too late to discover something mind blowingly cool. If you haven’t seen this gorgeously animated Science Fiction philosophical allegory, seek it out immediately. Do not pass go; do not collect 200 dollars.


DVD Review: Hillbilly Horror Show Vol. 1

Published on October 31st, 2014 in: DVD, DVD/Blu-Ray Reviews, Horror, Movie Reviews, Movies, Reviews |

By Noreen Sobczyk


Hillbilly Horror Show Vol. 1 was created and curated by award-winning writer and producer Blu de Golyer (House Of Good And Evil) and veteran actor and producer Bo Keister (Remember The Titans). This one-hour collection of horror shorts is strung together by not so funny hillbilly humor from characters Bo (grubby bumpkin leader reliant on bathroom humor), Cephus (mumbling counterfeit of King of the Hill‘s Boomhauer), and sister/cousin Lulu (provider of the daily recommended amount of T&A). It just doesn’t compare with the fun factor of horror hosts like Elvira and Svengoolie. The attempt to change the usual horror format presentation is clever, but the lowbrow humor falls flat, flatter than the roadkill Lulu cooks up for dinner. Perhaps if they amped up the redneck skeezy sleaze factor a bit more it might be a successful execution of concept.

The first short, “Franky & the Ant,” is a throwaway copy of a Tarantino-sque scene and has an ethically questionable duo participating in a mundane conversation as they complete their violence. The rest of the shorts are definitely worth a watch, though. “Doppelganger” gave me a chuckle and had gorgeous stop action photography of a skeleton on an arduous journey, but could have edited a minute from the piece, even though it’s only a short. “Amused” is an interesting concept with fresh camera angles, great foley work, and a bit of gore. I can’t say I was shocked by the ending (though many will be), but it was nice to see a strong female making at least one smart choice in a horror piece.

The best was saved for last in “The Nest” which has a uniquely twisted storyline, is well shot and acted, and is at least as good, if not better, than anything shown on Tales From the Crypt or Tales From the Darkside.

Volumes 2 and 3 will be released in 2015 and will feature gag reels and added footage in addition to the featured horror shorts.

Hillbilly Horror Show Vol. 1 was released by MVD Entertainment Group on October 21.

Music Review: The Primitives, Spin-O-Rama

Published on October 17th, 2014 in: Feminism, Music, Music Reviews, Reviews |

By Noreen Sobczyk


The Primitives have the distinction of creating—arguably—one of the top ten greatest “one hit wonder” singles of all time with their perfect ‘90s pop gem “Crash.” They’re back with Spin-O-Rama, their first album of entirely original material in 22 years. Fans of their brand of sunshine-infused, jangly guitar Power Pop will be thrilled with this new release.

Spin-O-Rama picks up the band’s sound precisely where they left off in all the right ways, combined with a Byrds-like and ‘60s garage band-tinged influence, along with hints of the Monkees. There is nothing here that quite hits the heights of their delightful earworm “Crash,” but the undeniably catchy single and title track “Spin-O-Rama” as well as shimmering upbeat tracks like “Lose the Reason” and “Petals” make up a solid album from start to finish. It should make old fans deliriously happy and create a large contingent of rabid converts.

Spin-O-Rama was released October 14 via Elefant Records.

Music Review: Madeleine Peyroux, Keep Me In Your Heart For A While: The Best Of

Published on October 17th, 2014 in: Feminism, Music, Music Reviews, Reviews |

By Noreen Sobczyk


When the first Madeleine Peyroux album was released, I was managing a corporate store and gave her non-offensive easy jazz debut a lot of play. I remember thinking, “she’s got a nice voice, even if it is Billie Holiday’s.” She had the chops, but lacked emotional conviction. Since it was her debut I thought perhaps she would find her own artistic voice on her sophomore release.


Music Review: Spoon, They Want My Soul

Published on August 29th, 2014 in: Current Faves, Music, Music Reviews, Reviews |

By Noreen Sobczyk


Guess what? This review isn’t going to compare Spoon to their possible influences, nor will the author jack herself off by citing said influences with hipper than thou references. Spoon has been, at the very least, a good band (with moments of a great band) for a long time. You may or may not know that yet, but They Want My Soul is worthy of your time and money. Knowing how cool you are by “getting” an author’s dazzling musical knowledge has nothing to do with that. The short version of this review is that the lyrics are clever, witty, and at times acerbic, and the music is interesting, melodic, simple yet layered, and other bits are more complex or partially in conflict with the general melody, but never cacophonous. It’s worth buying and unpeeling the onion skin of lyrical meanings at your leisure—or not. The album sounds great and stands alone whether or not one cares to excavate lyrics like a scholar examining cave paintings.


Movie Review: An Honest Liar

Published on August 22nd, 2014 in: Current Faves, Movie Reviews, Movies, Reviews |

By Noreen Sobczyk


An Honest Liar is a documentary about James “The Amazing” Randi (self-described liar, cheat, and charlatan) directed by Tyler Measom and Justin Weinstein. I was surprised by how many people to whom I mentioned this film had not heard of “The Amazing Randi.” Perhaps he’s one of those people locked away somewhere in the brain along with Tang™ and some random fact that you can’t quite access but know you know while playing Trivial Pursuit™. After all, helping Alice Cooper with a little stage decapitation and appearing on Happy Days in cahoots with The Fonz are among his lesser-known activities.