The Savage Animal 01.25.12 First Impression of The Rapture
I think Royal Rumble is my favorite pay per view. Of course I want to say Wrestlemania because it’s the “grand daddy of them all” and it’s easily the biggest show of the year each time out. Still, the other old school pay per views had that magic too. Summerslam is cool and all. I know people call it the “Number 2 PPV”, but for me it was always Survivor Series. The main reasoning was it was the “half way mark” so to speak. Survivor Series lost its luster in recent years because of the lack of prominent elimination matches. Things all change in wrestling. Things come and go. There is still that one dependable pay per view that’ll give you an hour or so of great entertainment every year. That’s the Royal Rumble. I used to love watching it in the early and mid 90’s with a group of friends. As the years went on it became more predictable, but there is still an awesome aura of excitement that comes with each countdown and each entrant. The whole idea of a surprise entrant is always fun. The joke entrant, the monster, the survivor, the sickest bump, and all of those key ingredients are ALWAYS there. It’s a rollercoaster of grand emotion. It’s not a text book wrestling match in the pure sense of the term, but the stories told in this one match is enough to build their entire product around for the upcoming three or four months.
After seeing RAW, I feel like I can throw my two cents worth of predictions and thoughts into the mix. I write this after RAW but before Smackdown so some random shit might change. As of now, not a whole lot is announced. I would think SOMETHING would get added. Possibly a Tag Title match, a US Title or IC Title match, or maybe a divas match. Most likely the divas match and still a slight possibility of another title match of sorts. What is announced are two title matches and a really good bathroom break. I’m going to do my best to see as little of the John Cena/Kane match as humanly possible. I’m curious as to who will win, but I don’t care about seeing a match. It’s cool that they’re teasing Cena getting heelish again, but it’s not going to happen. I like how this is eating up Cena’s time before Rocky is more available. I just hope there is something cool for Kane to do after that…. something that doesn’t involve Undertaker. The World Title Cage Match will be a fun spectacle. Daniel Bryan will steal the win and I think it will be better than I expect. I just don’t have huge hopes. I want to see Daniel Bryan do a program with someone less powerhouse and more technicians. The WWE Title Match could be a great one. CM Punk is currently riding out his career peak and Dolph Ziggler is the best thing in wrestling today. This will be a really athletic match and I’d freak if Dolph won, but it’s too soon for him. He needs his own “time” and that’s not in the middle of a Wrestlemania season. I figure Punk will get screwed over and the following night will see the whole storyline unfold right into Elimination Chamber. That said, I am almost certain a Smackdown wrestler will win the Royal Rumble. My prediction is Randy Orton.
FIRST IMPRESSION OF THE RAPTURE
Before the Pending Doom of the Mayan-Apocalypse!It’s that time again. About once a month I’ll dig into my brain and see what’s not there. No one can listen to every band or music artist out there. We all miss out on something. This is my chance to go back and fix that. I try to find bands with four to six albums in their complete studio discography that I’m not familiar with. I figure out bands that I’ve seen the name of a million times or know has a big fan base or that is held in high regards. Then I sit down with headphones on and take it all in with an open mind. Sometimes it sucks listen to every song recorded by bands like Kings of Leon, Portishead, and Rise Against. But there are always those instances when I expose myself to The Black Keys, Regina Spektor, Ministry, Simon and Garfunkel, The Smiths, and others. It’s a crap shoot, really. I am always optimistic going in, but depending on how I take to certain albums it can get messy or turn into a fluff piece. No matter what I am honest.
Why The Rapture?
Why not The Rapture? I don’t know much about them and from what I’ve heard I’ve liked. The only song by The Rapture that I can specifically pick out of a line-up is the track that was used in the movie “Rules of Attraction”. I assume they’re in the same realm of things as the other “The” bands. I’m optimistic they bring their own thing to the table, but also something close to Franz Ferdinand. This is all pretty much based on the one song from that movie though. I could be completely off in my judgment. Either way, this should be fun.
(1999 – 25 minutes) – This “mini-album” debut starts off with very distant and ominous piano playing in “In Finite Clock!”. “Notes…” kicks in with a siren. It breaks down into a muddy drum and melody. The vocals are panicky and kind of hard to decipher. Still, it’s got a sweet beat to it. It’s definitely in the realm of “low-fi” and “post-punk”. The synth beat opening of “Olio” is pretty addicting. The droney vocals compliment it well. I really like the groove and the breakdown is quick, but perfect. A fan of frames myself, I can’t help but be excited for a song called “Frames Frames Frames”. It’s a weird break beat of a melody with a nice calming aloofness to it. We hear screams, pleas, cries, for frames. It’s only about a minute and a half. I would have liked to have seen where that went. The title track opens with a fast drum and a discerning loop. “Mirror” is over five minutes long and is easily the longest song on this album. I love the synth and organ stuff in this song. There are tons of layers and to the naked ear it sounds like chaotic noise, but there is something interesting going on here. I think my favorite track on the album so far is “Alienation”. It opens with a weird trippy spaced out sound and goes into a song that you can’t help but nod your head a long too. I found myself getting lost in it. Not bad at all. The distorted piano and the fact it’s under two minutes shouldn’t confuse you, “Dusk at Maureen’s” is a pretty awesome instrumental track. This debut closes out with “Kid 606 in Love With the Underground”. That’s a cool ass title for a song if you ask me. It starts normal and then we’re bombarded with digital blips that eventually morph into including a drum beat. The experimental noise rock track goes on its own from there. I liked it a lot. “I’m taking notes on the underground!” is going to be stuck in my head for awhile. I know this wasn’t a “full” album, but many fans consider it one of their main albums. It’s “a studio released demo” if anything. For a first impression, I dug what I heard. I can already tell these guys will take chances and probably blow my mind a few times along the way. Let’s get into their major releases…
(2003 – 47 minutes) – The band is unleashed in a big way with this album. I recall them getting a lot of love off this one. The opening is a polished up and extended version of “Olio”. You can already tell the band’s sound is less “noisy” and more refined, but just as experimental and layered. “Heaven” starts off with a countdown of sorts and goes into a funky base line and static drums. Then bam! More counting. It’s a weird tune, but it’s interesting in good ways. “Open Up Your Heart” starts off slow and somber. It calmly blends into a soulfully sung ballad type of song that reminds me a bit of Muse, but still it’s own thing. Very chill track. I almost jump as the 80’s dance synth loop kicks in on “I Need Your Love”. The vocals kick in. They sound distant and I still have trouble deciphering actual lyrics. It’s still a fun track to bounce to. Apparently the one song I know is called “The Coming of Spring”. I really like this song. It has a cool guitar loop and its swagger is swanky cool. The single “House of Jealous Lovers” does not sound familiar to me at all. I like the grove it has. You can’t help but nod to it. The album’s title track “Echoes” starts off cool with a weird distorted guitar and goes into a pimptastic base-line. I think I HAVE heard this song somewhere though. It’s really good. Then again any track with what sounds like COWBELL is AT LEAST “really good”. We get another danceable track in “Killing”. It’s not as cool as the others, but the additional female shouts/vocals are different. I like the ominous synth that kicks off “Sister Saviour”. It gallops into song that reminds me of Pink Floyd in all the flattering ways I could mean. “Love Is All” is a stripped down diddy that show offs the band’s more conventional skills. It’s a cut and dry rock tune and it’s done well. The vocals are sung a little high, but it’s genuine. You can tell that. It fades out for a while and then we hear murmors of noise. It’s the last track entitled “Infatuation”. It starts off as a very faintly sung and very somber tune. It’s as if they’re trying really hard to be quiet with their playing and singing. It eventually builds and more music begins to accompany the song, but it never loses its deep-breath sway. And then finally and almost abruptly it ends. This album was a huge step forward from the 99 “mini”/demo release. The production is tight. Their sound and direction is clear. It’s easier to be taken in and they really got their shit together. I’m honestly surprised that this was the first time I heard this album.
Pieces of the People We Love
(2006 – 44 minutes) – This Danger Mouse produced album kicks off with “Don Gon Do It”. It’s one helluva dance track. The synth reminds me 80’s new wave and some of the vocal delivery reminds me of Jimmy Urine from Mindless Self Indulgence. That’s a cool comparison if you’re asking this listener. The base line that starts off “Pieces of the People We Love” is too cool. This song has a melodic hum buried under the snazzy rock tune here. The single “Get Myself Into It” sounds more like the other albums in sense of bounce and style. I just can’t get into it as much as the first two tracks. The near six and a half minute “First Gear” starts off with a bass line hum and goes into a snarky bounce. It doesn’t accomplish nearly as much as a song that long should. “The Devil” is a dance-rock track with more soul in it than I could have imagined. The melody is so awesome that I feel like I heard it hundreds of time already upon first listen. That kind of instant comfort and connection doesn’t happen all that often anymore. Based on what I knew about The Rapture going into this, I expected every song to sound like “Whoo! Alright, Yeah… Uh Huh”. I don’t know to really describe it. It’s like danceable-electro-indie-rock. It feels like everything has another naughtier meaning. You can’t dislike that if you really like rock and roll. The break beats and distant sounding vocals of “Calling Me” make a great combination here. I think it’s my pick for “favorite track of the album”. At least so far. The way “Down for So Long” you almost feel like your ears are being attacked. It breaks into a solid synth-rock tune that could have been on a John Hugh’s soundtrack. “The Sound” starts in the distance but wails towards you and gets us ready for a noisey dance song. It might actually be the “hardest” the noise gets. So far it’s the band’s most “metal” song if that’s what you’re looking for. It’s not a HUGE contrast, but it’s got a grittier and muddier guitar chorus. The album closes out with “Live in Sunshine”. It’s a somber and simpler rock song. It’s really well done. I like the vocals on it a lot. The lyrics are really uplifting and positive. A song like this could be considered “cheesy”, but they manage to do it with some balls. This was another really good release that I’m surprised I wasn’t exposed to already. I can honestly say I liked “Echos” better, but this album is nothing to sleep on. There are some definite gems on this one.
In the Grace of Your Love
(2011 – 51 minutes) – The Rapture’s most recent album starts off with “Sail Away”. The wailing vocals that kick it off sound familiar. It’s an epic dance build open. It just feels like it’s building up to something that never comes. The synth breakdown/chorus section doesn’t differ enough to break up the monotony of the 5 plus minutes of “epic dance build”. “Miss You” is a slow tempo garage blues rock song. The organ/synth kicks in at the perfect moments. This song is not really like anything else in their discography. It’s a welcomed shift. “Blue Bird” starts off with a thudding beat and carries into low-key track. It sounds good, but it never grabs me and makes me want to connect with it. I think that’s a fair way to describe the first four tracks of this album. “Come Back to Me” starts off as a folky rock tune and then about half way in starts to morph into something that reminds me of early 90’s Chicago “house music”. The album’s title track, “In the Grace of Your Love” breaks in with a foot-tappable electro beat. The music is pretty solid and the vocals croon the title of the song over and over again. It’s probably the best of the tracks so far. “Never Gonna Die Again” is what I imagine hipsters roller-skating to. The way the vocals are delivered is like a weird 70’s pop flow and then the music has a full wall of funky melody. I think I was on to something because the next track is titled “Roller Coaster”. It slowly builds and then goes into an elevator sounding song where the majority of the lyrics are “Roller-coaster. Roller-coaster. Roller-coaster.” I would have expected a song called “roller coaster” to take you for a up and down ride, but it was a steady and somber trek through. “Children” seems like it wants to be a big song, but it feels too muddled by the lack of progression. “Can You Find a Way?” was pleasant enough, but it felt like filler. At nearly six and half minutes, I expected something epic out of “How Deep Is Your Love?”. It starts with a piano pound and goes into a good power groove. It gets to that area of epicness by about half way in. This is where they used ALL of their progressions. It was like they were squirrels saving their progression nuts for winter. Winter is THIS song. It IS the best song on the album. That should have closed the album, but we get one more. “It Takes Time to Be a Man” is a loungey groove that’s REALLY positive and uplifting. Like “Lean On Mean” positive and uplifting. Weird. That’s not what I signed up for. This album was weak in comparison to the rest of the discography. I don’t know where the musicians are in life, but this felt really different than the other albums and not necessarily in a “the artist evolved in that direction” kind of way. It seemed forced and lazy at times. I know a lot of people really liked this album, but it was an album full of really good verses with no chorus to make you want to remember it.
(1999 – ) – The Rapture was pretty close to what I thought they’d be. That’s not a bad thing. I was a big fan of the early 00’s “The Band” movement. I still like that short period of indie-garage-art-rock stuff. The Rapture evolved from that nicely. The first album was a “mini album” and probably shouldn’t have been considered in my “strict rule” of “studio LPs only”. I’m still glad I listened to it. It’s grittier and muddier than the “official” debut, but it’s a good sampler platter of what’s to come. “Echoes” is a great album. I should have heard it by now. “Pieces of the People We Love” was very good too, but not as good as “Echoes”. Then the most recent album, “In the Grace of Your Love” was the worst. I’m still going to listen to it again though. I will show some constructive criticisms and give some fair assessments though. I didn’t 100% enjoy EVERYTHING. I did find them becoming too repetitive at times. The vocals have a hard time staying within a home range. At times it sounds like vocals from Mars Volta, at times it’s Mindless Self Indulgence, and at times it’s The Killers. I didn’t feel a strong enough vocal presence to be able to pick the voice out of line-up. The varied styles would normally be a cool thing, like a Mike Patton thing. For me, I think it’s part of what lacks in The Rapture’s identity. Overall, The Rapture IS a band that I’ll listen to again. There are songs that will make random playlists and “mix CDs”. I’m still shocked it took so long for my path to cross with this band.
ROCKSTAR WRESTLING UPDATE
Web Series Creator Shares The Preproduction Process.I’m very proud of the progress made so far. Rockstar Wrestling is snowballing into something bigger and more complete each and every week. As it builds so does my workload. I can live with that. It’s more rewarding than I would have imagined.
I’m starting to really dig deep into the near 1000 bands that have submitted their music to us. Organizing and figuring out entrance music, production music, and all of the music related aspects of things is awesome. I used to love picking out entrance music when I was a “on-screen” character for MEW. Even as a fan before and after getting involved with the indies I would really enjoy the “fantasy booking” of theme music. I think we have a really solid base of songs selected so far. I can safely say I have about 60% of the victory songs selected and a solid list of a dozen or so songs I can visualize promotional videos for. On top of that, more casting discussions, ironing out the scripts in detail, and really just getting in there on the heart of preproduction. Things are getting close.
I REALLY appreciate all the support from everyone. We’re not going into this with a huge budget, any sort of corporate backing, or anything like that. It’s a fan-ran production. It’s a really “different” concept and it’s going to take a minute or two of people watching for it to really settle in. I said that my work load if getting bigger, but I assure everyone that I would not be doing this if I weren’t 100% confident of how awesome the result will be.
If you’ve come this far, you might as well watch the video…
RANDOM TRAILER OF THE WEEK
This is not my type of movie, but I’m still wanting to see this. Liam Neeson makes everything better. That “A-Team” movie was WAY better than it should have been and “Taken” was a guilty pleasure for A LOT of people when it came out. He’s just a no bullshit kind of guy. You can’t help but like him. He’s like a white Morgan Freeman and I mean that with as much respect as a human can possibly give. So the movie is about a group of men who get stranded in Alaska after a plane crash. They’re left to fend for their own in the elements, but things get even worse when they’re faced with a battle to the death with an intense pack of wolves. Neeson is just an interesting and believable guy. He’s a great actor, but still doesn’t get all stuffy with bio pic after bio pic and political drama after political drama and period piece after period piece. He takes on a more board range of movies. You have to appreciate that. This would be like seeing a classy old timer like Jimmy Stewart in a hard R rated action movie. I know that sounds weird, but I also know that sounds extremely awesome. The trailer just looks bad ass. It’s like one of those old Mountain Dew commercials with the stoner kid going head on with a ram except the stoner kid is a wolf and the ram is Liam Neeson.
RANDOM MOVIE REVIEW
I saw the trailer for the movie “Killing Bono” a while ago. I wanted to see it because I seem to always enjoy movies about bands and musicians, bio-pic or fictional. I still put off seeing this movie. I think it was the fact that I just didn’t want to see a movie that painted U2 in a negative light. There are enough U2 haters out there and even more anti-Bono people. It’s become so redundant that I don’t think half of the people who dislike him now have any real reason. I still caved in. The movie ended up being decent. Directed by Nick Hamm, it looked good. I don’t recall any specific shot as being awe-inspiring, but I did notice at one point how smooth and well cut the shots and transitions were. I like that it didn’t try to be a shaky-cam indie movie. The story was fun. It’s a “loose backstory” of two brothers who grew up and went to school with the guys in U2. One brother is really talented and the guys in U2 want him to join. The other brother lies and tells U2 that he’s sticking with family. The brother’s band struggles as U2 rises to success. The shady brother goes crazy with jealousy, anger, and resentment. This gets them into a lot of trouble and screws up more opportunities than most thriving bands would dream about. The brothers are played by Ben Barnes and Robert Sheehan. I’ve never seen Barnes in anything before, but I enjoyed watching him spiral out of control and I really started to feel bad for how horrible he was screwing things up. I wanted to kill him for his assholeness, but cheer on his persistence. The only thing I’ve seen Robert Sheehan on was a few episodes of “Misfits” I’ve seen. He’s an awesome up and coming actor. He did great as the charming and more down to earth brother. The rest of the cast was fairly new to me. I know Krysten Ritter from seeing her in “Breaking Bad” and like a million other things. I was a big fan of Martin McCann’s portrayal of Bono. I think it was pretty respectable. My worries about U2 being shit on in the movie weren’t an issue. This movie is about two brothers who make music living in and trying to maintain in very big shadows. I enjoyed the story, the performances were entertaining, and overall I had a good time watching this movie. I’d recommend it. B+
THE BIG COMEDOWN
That’s all for this week. Not a bad band to spend a few hours with. I already have an idea of what band I’m going to fully expose myself to next month or in a few weeks when I decide I have that many hours to spend with it. Obviously and said before, I got a lot going on these days. Next week I’m going to familiarize and overly critique some of the more recent music videos. Yep, music videos! Those things after the commercials with the melodic audio and the moving jpegs! After that I’m going to take a deeper look at who this Bieber kid is. Until next time… Have a Great Week!