Songs »Rains of Castamere

by The National (2012)

Being away I just got caught up with the “Blackwater” episode of Game of Thrones and what an episode it was! A modern take on the Rains of Castemere was a perfect song to end such epic awesomeness. And now I can say I’ve heard The National.

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Posted on May 30, 2012

Songs »Dream Away

by George Harrison (1982)

Grey windy Sundays are no good for fun family outings but they definitely work for making home made soup and playing classic favorites like Time Bandits in the background.

Almost as shocking as the film’s ending is the rock song that plays over the ending credits.

After sticking in my head for days I decided to find out what it was. Seems Dream Away was written specifically for the movie by George Harrison and is considered one of his best solo works.

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Posted on March 27, 2012

Albums »Beyond the Valley of the Dolls Soundtrack

by Stu Phillips etc (1970)

It’s hard to make an album as off the wall brilliant/bad as the movie Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, but in its own way the soubdtrack is pretty fabulous.

I sought it out one morning when I was craving a 60’s counter culture girl band sound, that insanely enough, I only found (without extensive searching) in the satisfying throaty sexiness of the fake in-movie band The Carrie Nations.

Songs like of “Look On Up At the Bottom”, “Come With the Gentle People”, “Sweet Talking Candyman” will make you want to shake your mini skirt hips on gogo boots. And not ironically either.

Much of the music’s success comes from writer Stu Phillips and the amazing vocals of one Lynn Carey who, after a brief google search I’ve learned was a penthouse model and hippie/sexy lead singer of a band called Mama Lion. I’m intrigued.

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Posted on March 21, 2012

Albums,Laughs »2001: A Space Odyssey Soundtrack

Various Artists (but Kubrick’s vision) (1968)

An epic soundtrack to an awe inspiring film.

Listening to the 2001: A Space Odyssey Soundtrack will make your day seem significant and very weird.

And while we’re at it, how awesome is this monolith action figure?

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Posted on November 23, 2011

Albums »Stand By Me Soundtrack

Various Artists (1986)

The whole apartment’s been alive with the sounds of third grade as Jim and I been nostalgic for the Stand By Me soundtrack.

I imagine we weren’t the only ones that treasured that well worn cassette tape.

I choreographed a dance to Lollipop and always somewhat dramatically cried during the title track as the thought of River’s bar fight demise was too much for my eight year old heart to bear.

The album steered me towards a 1950’s obsession that lasted a few years – lucky for me I was hosting birthday parties in the age of Fuddruckers.

Now I’m a mom and I’m old and my baby Van is grooving to his favorite track “Get a Job”.

It’s one of the coolest things about parenthood really, that things you loved from your youth get revisited by new eyes and ears and suddenly being eight years old doesn’t seem far away at all.

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Posted on October 24, 2011

Songs »Hard Ticket to Hawaii

30 Day Song Challenge – Day Twenty: Best Movie Theme Song (Action/Adventure):

Hard Ticket to Hawaii by Gary Stockdale

PS – Hard Ticket to Hawaii = Also One of Our Favorite Movies of All Time

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Posted on May 20, 2011

Songs »Joysticks (Totally Awesome Video Games!)

30 Day Song Challenge – Day Nineteen: Best Movie Theme Song (Comedy):

Joysticks (Totally Awesome Video Games!) by John Caper Jr.

PS – Joysticks = One of Our Favorite Movies of All Time

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Posted on May 19, 2011

Songs »I’m Hurt Bad

30 Day Song Challenge – Day Thirteen: Best Song to Get Creepy With for Friday the 13th:

I’m Hurt Bad by Angelo Badalamenti (1990)

PS – Twin Peaks, possibly best TV show ever now streaming on Netflix Instant!

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Posted on May 13, 2011

Albums »Big Time

by Tom Waits (1988)

Seeing Tom Waits live is like the Holy Grail for me. After a couple years of fulfilling my live in concert dreams (Lindsey Buckingham, Fleetwood Mac, Britney Spears, Nick Cave, Grace Jones, and R. Kelly) he’s the only big one left. It’s a rare occurrence, with the last tour being a couple years ago. Fortunately for all of us, his previous concert film, Big Time is available to stream from netflix even as DVDs are difficult to track down.

Theatrical with a German expressionist meets vaudeville vibe, it’s a joy to watch, especially for long time fans. Waits performs some of my favorite songs from Rain Dogs, Frank’s Wild Years and Swordfishtrombones and charms the audience with piano side monologues about pregnancy, erotica, and strip clubs.

His wife Kathleen Brennan, who sparked Waits’ gravely, strange and fantastic turn by introducing him to Captain Beefheart was the co-creative behind this performance.

The album, which was released after the video, is a great listen even with out the visual accompaniment.

Click here for the rest of Big Time

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Posted on December 23, 2010

Albums »Cannibal Holocaust Soundtrack

by Riz Ortolani (1980)

I’ve yet to see the movie Cannibal Holocaust (I know, I know, it’s a exploitation classic) but even without firsthand knowledge, this is certainly not the soundtrack I expected from it. Featuring amazing song titles like Adultresses’ Punishment – which sounds like Hammer style dread in outer space, Cameraman’s Recreation – a groovy porny song that leads into a childlike romp, the video game sounding Massacre of the Troupe, and the surprisingly melodic and catchy theme, it’s more than a mere novelty but something quite listenable, unique and enjoyable.

True, at times it treads close to calls to mind muzak from the seventies (see Drinking Coco) – which in turn calls to mind the kind of wall paper that use to have bits of mirrored gold in it – something from my childhood perhaps – I think ice cream was involved… but I digress.

Overall though, this album is so much more interesting and nice to listen to than it needed to be. I mean, it’s a soundtrack for a film that caused outrage over its killing of actual animals on screen which was banned in many countries for indecency and extreme gore. And yet, I have been playing the soundtrack for my baby for days.

All the praise for the music goes to Riz Ortolani, a composer of mostly b-movies and genres flicks who obviously put his heart into even the most unusual of jobs. I have friend and weird movie connoisseur Matthew to thank for this soundtrack making the rounds in my iphone. Several others have been released and I am sure I’ve be writing about them soon enough.

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Posted on November 28, 2010

Songs »Cat People (Putting Out Fire)

David Bowie (1981)

Quentin Tarantino recently plucked this gothy Bowie gem from Paul Scrader’s remake of  Cat People, putting it back on the cinematic map by powering the big eyeliner application scene with its eerie slow build and dramatic tempo shift. Despite its rather anachronistic inclusion in Inglourious Basterds (which boasts an otherwise era-appropriate score), it’s definitely the only thing salvageable from the 1981 dud.

I’m a fan of the original Cat People, so it was with high hopes that we began Schrader’s interpretation the other night; hopes that were quickly dashed. Even a singularly creepy (even for him) Malcolm McDowell, a dopey young Ed Begley Jr, a bra-less Natasha Kinski and an atmospheric Egyptian sex ritual sequence couldn’t save this drag.

Even though Bowie lends his unique vocal stylings, it’s producer Giorgio Moroder that gets the credit for the song’s unique spooky synth mood, as the music was written before Bowie’s involvement.

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Posted on March 28, 2010

Songs »Lost in the Shadows (The Lost Boys) and Cry Little Sister

Lou Gramm and Gerard McMann (1987)

Even though it seemed inevitable, I was truly saddened by the news of Corey Haim’s recent passing. My sister and I grew up with the guy as a major pop culture icon and I still count myself a major fan of his best work, The Lost Boys. While the entire soundtrack was hardly pure gold (Jim has a real hard time with Echo and the Bunnymen’s ‘People are Strange’ cover), two songs stand out and are still on my iPod to this day.

So, in memory of the goofy kid whose voice would break, whose sideways smile would elicit sighs from preteen girls the world over, and who lived his adult life, tragically, as a lost boy, let’s play some Lou Gramm (Say hello to the night [lost boys] lost in the shadows!”) and, while we’re at, spin Gerard McMann’s Cry Little Sister (though shall not fallllll).

Wow, even just thinking about these songs memories of the tumultuous emotions and achingly conflicted and full heart I had to contend with in sixth grade come flooding back; these were the days my friends and I wanted to be in the Vampire cult (we made up the belief that if you used a ouija board in the deepest room in the house –in my case the basement laundry room – you could summon the spirits to turn into a vampire) and took major dressing cues from Star. It’s funny, it all seems so long ago, but when triggered by these songs, that intense time is as close as ever.

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Posted on March 14, 2010

Songs »Princes of the Universe

by Queen (1986)

If you’re anything like me then you have more than a few X Files reruns filling up your DVR; and if you’re a lot like me then you get to relish, albeit ever so briefly, the final seconds of the Highlander theme song (“I am immortal/ I have inside me blood of kings!!”) as the sub-par television show comes to its rightful end and the the compressed credits, which have been running at triple speed below and to the right of a Caprica teaser, increase to their full size and the song’s volume increases… It’s a moment of sheer bliss for me (find joy in the little things, right?), that I try to take in at least a couple of time a week.

Unsurprisingly, the song’s awesomeness is due to the glittery talent of Queen who, back in the day, were the go-to act for science fiction epic songstressing (see the incredible Flash Gordon theme). The theme is actually entitled Princes of the Universe and has a video where Freddie Mercury does battle with Chris Lambert (see below) – although I wish it were Clancy Brown as The Kurgan sparring with FM… though how could so much greatness accurately be captured on-screen at one time?

Click here for the rest of Princes of the Universe

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Posted on February 14, 2010

Songs »You Could Be Mine

by Guns N’ Roses (1991)

Do you remember the good old days when Edward Furlong was a promising young upstart that you had a teenage crush on? When Axl Rose was still kind of kicking ass and taking names (but those names were NOT Tommy Hilfiger)?

Remember when another notch in the Terminator franchise was actually something to get excited about? I remember those days, back when I had a small allowance burning a hole in my pocket which I used to purchase the You Could Be Mine single cassette tape (yes, the early nineties still saw plenty of cassette sales, particularly for single releases). It all came flooding back to me in the single millisecond of humor/frivolity in the bleak and forgettable Terminator Salvation when the now gruff voiced and angry John Connor listens to a lyric or two before doing something… I’ve forgotten exactly what at this point, but I’m sure it triggered a nearly 45 minute action sequence entirely devoid of suspense.

To further take yourself back to those heady days, do enjoy the music video below/after the jump where Arnold Schwarzenegger attends a G N’ R concert only to determine that Axl is a waste of ammo. Excellent foresight, Governor.

Click here for the rest of You Could Be Mine

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Posted on January 31, 2010

Songs »La Dolce Vita Theme

dolce vita coverby Nino Rota (1960)

Nino Rota made beautiful music for films, and never more beautiful and fanciful than when working on a film by Federico Fellini, and never more whimsical and wonderful than his theme to the classic La Dolce Vita.

It’s a piece of music that can whisk you away to glamorous and magical worlds.

Fellini said of Rota, “He was someone who had a rare quality belonging to the world of intuition. Just like children, simple men, sensitive people, innocent people, he would suddenly say dazzling things. As soon as he arrived, stress disappeared, everything turned into a festive atmosphere; the movie entered a joyful, serene, fantastic period, a new life.”
Click here for the rest of La Dolce Vita Theme

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Posted on November 22, 2009

Albums »Glee – The Music (Worst Album)

Glee I have a confession: I like Glee. I think it's smart and funny and every time Jane Lynch is on the screen I am completely happy with the world. However, I spend a large majority of the (hour long!) show either revolted and pushing fast forward or downright embarrassed and looking away (that would be every time Matthew Morrison starts to rap and hip hop dance) because of those damned musical numbers.

I'm sure this American Idolization was a vital component to getting the surprisingly edgy show on the air but the songs (of which there are far, far too many each episode) are a real obnoxious downer… and now they are available in one easy to torture your enemies with CD.

Ever wanted to hear a (more) emasculated version of REO Speedwagon's Can't Fight This Feeling? Glee's got it.

Even worse than the squeaky clean, over produced, Broadway-style trained vocalized cannibalization of songs I actually like (such as Dancing with Myself), the show and its cast are unforgivably responsible for introducing me to popular songs I could have otherwise easily avoided by willfully and purposely not turning on the FM radio. I never had to know about Celine Dion's Taking Chances or Jordin Sparks's No Air and I would have been happier for it.

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Posted on November 9, 2009

Albums »The Heretic Soundtrack

Exorcist II: The Heretic has the reputation as “one of the most notorious disasters in movie history” but it boasts an impressive Ennio Morricone soundtrack. Lacking even the great Brad Dourif and the image of an old lady crawling across the ceiling that factors so heavily into the enjoyment of part three, most people agree that the haunting music is the film's only worthwhile element.

I've been informed that this is a rare find, my friend Shaun purchased his CD at the excellent treasure trove Amoeba Records, but you can also pay a higher price on an Amazon import. If you're a fan of creepy Morricone dissonance and haunting melodies, it's worth the investment and time to track it down. It bounces from soft, almost romantic sounds to frenzied intensity. Definitely makes the work day more dramatic.

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Posted on October 26, 2009