Sunday, September 19, 2010

My Week In Media

     Movies -

          As a long time fan of writer/producer Aaron Sorkin (Sports Night, West Wing, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip), I am more than slightly ashamed that I just now got around to watching Charlie Wilson's War. Good flick. Can't wait for The Social Network.

     Music -

          The Sword's newest album, 'Warp Riders', is quite possibly their best to date, eclipsing even the powerhouse debut that was 'Age of Winters'. I'm not entirely sure what defines a band in the stoner rock genre, but it definitely has something to do with the rock part. The guitars here are a huge wall of distorted bad ass, reminiscent of something Tony Iommi may have churned out in a practice session. These guys manage to summon everything that rocked about the 70's in their sound and artwork, without a hint of cheese. The album cover is fantastic. It screams, "What is contained herein is epic."
          Gogol Bordello is quickly becoming one of my current favorite bands. Self described 'gypsy punks', their latest release 'Trans-Continental Hustle' is one of those records where every song is a gem. Their sound could be summed up as Dropkick Murphys or Flogging Molly, but instead of Irish, they're Eastern European. These guys aren't afraid to experiment with instrumentation either, throwing accordion and violin into the mix. The end result is a distinctly flavored brand of sing-along style punk.

          I love chiptune heroes Anamanaguchi. I got super excited when I heard Ubisoft tapped them to do the soundtrack to the XBLA/PSN game Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. Although I was already attracted to the game as a fan of Bryan Lee O'Mally's book, and the fact that Paul Robertson, of Pirate Baby Cabana Battle Street Fight 2006 interweb fame, was doing the graphics, the Anamanaguchi announcement solidified the game as a day one purchase for me. The soundtrack ($9.99 for 24 tracks on iTunes) was soon to follow as I fell instantly in love with every nuance of the game's score.

     Gaming -

          I played Assassin's Creed 2 for a while, chasing the last few achievements I hadn't gotten on my first play through. Although I hadn't played it in several months, it didn't take me long to get back into it. The game still stands up.

          Got around to playing Split/Second. Expecting a tepid Burnout clone, I was pleasantly surprised with a solid, fast paced racing title. Blackrock Studios did a quality job bottling the edge of your seat tension and sense of almost overwhelming speed that not all racing games manage to get right. The game's 'Power Play' events, which are as small as an exploding bus or cab stand and as large as an airport control tower toppling onto the course and altering the track itself, add an element that is less hokey than it sounds. It all adds up to the kind of game you want to play in a room of friends, passing the controller around and laughing at the great wrecks and huge explosions.


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