Favorite Tracks: IAMX “Alive In New Light”

 

Latest Album “Alive in New Light” released in February 2018

A few of my favorite tracks and my album rating,

 

Stardust

 

Alive in New Light

 

Body Politics

 

Alina’s Album Rating: 5/5

Listen to IAMX “Alive in New Light

Favorite Tracks: Marilyn Manson “The Pale Emperor”

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Marilyn Manson source: Wikimedia Commons

I’ve already talked about Marilyn Manson’s latest album “Heaven Upside Down” which was released last year but I thought I would make a list of a few of my favorite tracks from his 2015 album “The Pale Emperor”.

note: viewer discretion advised, there is explicit content in selected music videos

 

Alina’s Album Rating: 4.5/5

Listen to Marilyn Manson’s “The Pale Emperor

Favorite Tracks: The Glitch Mob “See Without Eyes”

Latest Album “See Without Eyes” was released in May 2018

A few of my favorite tracks from this album,

 

Take Me With You (feat. Arama)

 

Disintegrate Slowly

 

Go Light

 

Alina’s Album Rating: 3.5/5

Listen to The Glitch Mob’s “See Without Eyes

A Vampire Mockumentary: “What We Do in the Shadows” (2014)

 

What We Do in the Shadows” is a mockumentary film that takes the classic vampire tropes in horror and sheds a little bit of humorous light on them.

I recently watched this film for the first time (can’t believe that I haven’t seen it earlier considering my taste in movies) and I thought this film was amazing.

I am a big fan of the classic horror monsters such as Dracula, Nosferatu, Wolfman, Frankenstein, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon…just to name a few. And I loved that this film really pulled from the different classics.

There is a Dracula-esque character, Nosferatu, and the Victorian vampire (I am thinking like Louis from “Interview with the Vampire“). Not only did the creators pull from classic vampire tropes but new popular ones as well such as the young vampire bad boy and the pitting of vampires vs. werewolves which have become more prevalent in the last ten years.

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Nosferatu” (1922)  source: Flickr

A few key aspects that stood out to me while I was watching the film includes the use of the documentary style (acting as if vampires are real and giving them cultural credit), the relevance of the ending and how it critiques the “usual” endings in horror films and lastly the popular pairing of werewolves and vampires in a single story that has taken off since the infamous “Twilight” phenomena.

Talking about the cultural phenomena of vampires in the form of a documentary fits the trend in horror and suspense films of “found footage”. A popular style that really began to pick up with the “Blair Witch Project” (1999). It is refreshing and at the same time provides the audience with the “behind the scenes” look at vampires, making them more silly and relatable than I think audiences would care to admit.

It was great to watch vampires have to fight about chores and see them deal with the mess of murder. I appreciated the Master/Slave dynamic that was used in this film as well (the old concept of vampires having human slaves that take care of them in the daylight). I get the impression this little detail among others when it comes to the vampire tropes have been neglected in recent years.

Although this mockumentary provides a lot of laughs it doesn’t actively seek to paint vampires in the popular morally-conflicted-“good”-guy-who-kills-people light. There are no blurring of lines, the vampires in this film talk about killing and we see them kill brutally. We get glimpses of their terror (and love for torture) and can imagine just how horrible it would be to come across a vampire. Overall, great movie and I would highly recommend it to anyone that wants a laugh and isn’t repelled by vampires.

Side Notes: The special effects for transforming, flying, and werewolf stuff was not that bad. I was impressed by the quality and effort that was given in making these little details “good”.

Alina’s Rating: 5 out of 5 Bats

“What We Do in the Shadows” is available for free with AMAZON PRIME


 

Thank you for reading! I hope you will return in the future! Please follow or subscribe to read more of my work! 

-Alina

Favorite Tracks: The Wombats “Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life”

Currently listening to The Wombats new album “Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life“.

A few of my favorite tracks,

Lemon to a Knife Fight

Ice Cream

Turn

 

I highly recommend this album, The Wombats have kept it poppy and retained their own unique style even after all these years. It’s been amazing listening to The Wombats go from their 2007 album “Proudly Present…A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation” to this latest album. And I love being able to listen to them on the radio! Oh yay!

Alina’s Album Rating: 5/5

Listen to The Wombats “Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life

“Dark Shadows” TV Series (1966-1971)

For the last couple of months I have been completely obsessed with the classic TV series “Dark Shadows” that originally ran from 1966 to 1971. I was skeptical of “Dark Shadows” at first since I was one of those people that went and saw Tim Burton’s revamped movie that came out in 2012. I remember having my hopes up pretty high that I might like this Burton movie but by the end of the film I was completely let down, rolling my eyes at the over-the-top silliness that I was witnessing. Now I have begun to think that the silliness may have been on purpose.

I decided to start watching the TV series after getting tired of re-watching my favorite shows on Netflix. What a ride! This show is a horror fueled soap opera that has too many plot lines to sum up in one sentence. So far I am on season four which involves some time travel (hahaha) but I plan on finishing the series in the next few weeks.

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Barnabas Collins  Photo Source: mentalfloss.com

Main Story Line

In the town of Collinsport, the Collins family is the oldest and probably the wealthiest with a family history that is unsettling and mysterious. The series starts when Barnabas Collins (a family member who was turned into a vampire at the turn of the 19th century) is released from his imprisonment (chained up coffin) with the help of Willie (a criminal of sorts with loose ties to the current Collins family). The first few episodes establish the Collins family, the current family members and characters that are key to the main story line.

Note: An interesting parallel that I noticed in the first season is the “Dracula-esque” vampire elements. Barnabas’s attire, history, and mannerisms all reflect the classic vampire icon Dracula played by Bela Lugosi in 1931. Just goes to show that the vampire’s traditional qualities were really cemented into popular culture.

Each episode is about 30 minutes long with anywhere from 3-5 minutes of introduction with the standard opening credits including an update from the latest episode. In these short episodes the mysteries of the Collins family and the evil-doings of Barnabas are slowly unraveled.

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Characters:  Roger and Elizabeth Collins, Victoria Winters on Right    Photo Source: Streamline

The acting is usually over the top, and the camera work is not the greatest. I often noticed that the camera will jolt left or right suddenly when trying to follow characters moving around the room, or will even go out of focus sometimes. These aspects add to the series cheesy and campy feel, and while at first this drove me nuts now it keeps me laughing and on the lookout to notice these consistent mess ups.

WIKIPEDIA INFO ON DARK SHADOWS SERIES : SEASON BREAKDOWNS AND RECEPTION

Image result for why the camera work sucks in the original Dark shadows series

Character: Angelique   Photo Source: pinterest.com

Since I am not done with the series yet and I have become aware there are actually a few feature-length films that were released as well I might take my time deciding on a definitive rating. If anything I would say my rating will only be based on the plot structure and coherence of the main story.

If there are any fans of campy horrors films I would definitely recommend this series.

And if you are familiar with this show and you want to start up a convo or want me to talk about some aspect in particular to “Dark Shadows” leave your comments below!

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read my writing! If you would like to be notified when I post new stuff subscribe to my email list on the top right corner of the page. Please follow! 

-Alina

 

 

 

Top 5 Tracks this Week: Saro, The Kills, Black Moth Super Rainbow, Nothing Nowhere, Foster The People

Here’s a list of my top 5 favorite songs this week, mostly old stuff but still good.


Saro – Saro – Eyelids

The Kills – Desperado (Rhianna Cover)

 

Black Moth Super Rainbow – Twin of Myself

 

nothing,nowhere – ruiner

 

Foster The People – Pay The Man

 


 

Hope everyone’s having a great week! A great big thank you to all my followers and regular readers!

-Alina

Reflection on 101WKQK’s Interview with “Nine Inch Nails” (Being an “Old Rock Band”, Social Media and the Artist)

(featured image is a still from one of 101WKQK’s interviews with NIN)

I recently watched a short snippet provided on youtube of an interview with “Nine Inch Nails” by 101WKQK (published on youtube.com on Oct. 6th, 2017). The questions were answered by Trent Reznor, leading frontman, and revolved around NIN’s relation and involvement in Modern Day Festivals.

I found this seven-and-a-half minute interview illuminating as Reznor touched on being in an “Old Rock Band” still playing today alongside young musicians. Reznor also talks about being an artist and what that means to him in regards to how artists place themselves in the public sphere (social media etc.). Atticus Ross sat by Reznor and did not say much, whispered to Reznor frequently but said almost nothing.

I am a HUGE fan of Reznor and his projects with Atticus Ross (soundtracks for major motion pictures) and I loved NIN’s latest release “Add Violence” which came out in July. I was curious to hear his commentary and views on being an “Old Rock Band” particularly one that still plays instruments versus the computer-generated sounds and DJing which have taken over in the music industry as the popular form.

I personally like both kinds of music but relish in hearing music that is made solely by I guess they would be called now “classic” rock instruments; guitar, bass, drums, vocals, with little to none add-ons done after recording (background noise, effects, synthetic sounds) of course NIN’s music has way more involved than just the classic instruments but it is the fact that they still play and use them that makes them one of the “Old Rock Bands”. There is something amazing and beautiful hearing a band actually play instruments and create sound but there is arguably no difference between someone playing an instrument to create music versus playing on programs and computer software, the outcome is still the same, we get music and it does take talent and skill to create music that is generally accepted to be good or even legendary.

In the interview, Reznor was asked how it feels to play big music festival shows, particularly the two that they performed at this year. Ross whispers to Reznor every once in a while in response to the questions, I think Ross was more of letting Reznor take the reigns of answering these questions for this interview. Reznor replied,

“I think rock bands are out of fashion generally, you know these days but I don’t give a shit.”

Later going on to comment generally on how the younger artists such as Frank Ocean and DJ Khaled are completely different artists than NIN. Reznor also remarks on the need today for everyone to be on all social media, or as a platform for artists to have everything out there and available for audiences,

“I’m a big believer in less is more on that front and I said this elsewhere but…our decision making collectively comes from our experience….our tastes and our judgement…and the endless amount of decisions made…are not based on what we [NIN] think you’ll like but what we know we like…”

Reznor continues on the subject of social media and how, in his opinion, why people participate in it,

“…I think that now as everyone’s a publisher, everybody’s got a blog, and everybody’s got a facebook profile and instagram and snapchat, the world can’t wait to see everything about ‘my fantastic life’ that I’m presenting to you through a distorted lens about how awesome it is…”

This conversation on social media and the artist leads Reznor on to reflecting how he listened to music while he was growing up and that he rarely ever saw a picture of the actual band (which he loved, such as Pink Floyd) and that because of this there was a mystery about these bands, they were like “gods” to him that he could connect to according to how he felt when listening to their music. Reznor believes that it is important for the artist to have a little bit of mystery to them to fascinate people,

” I have grown to believe that trying to stay out of the limelight a bit, leave something to the imagination and I think an artist should be mysterious in my opinion…try to avoid the need to over saturate yourself…”

Reznor also mentions that although he does not believe personally inputting your entire life out there on social media that that is a particular thing for him and what it means to him to be an artist,

“…Times are different…I’m not trying to say its wrong…but I do think there are some lessons to be learned about the role of the artist, the role of art, the role of music, we still base it on what it was to us, what it meant to us, what matters to us…”

(quotes are from time marker 2:10-6:40)

I resonated with a lot of what Reznor discussed in this interview mainly because I have similar viewpoints and opinions on social media, the artist, and “Old Rock Bands”. I don’t have a facebook, on purpose, I think it is a total waste of time and I remember in high school when I did have one and it was starting to gain this traction as a thing where having as many “friends” as possible was what was desired. It was also growing to be more popular and more widely used by everyone I knew then, the now ancient and relatively unknown “Myspace”. After graduating from high school I “deleted” my facebook account because I wanted to start fresh, interpret that however you like I don’t care.

It is only in this year ( I am not counting my addiction to Tumblr that started in 2013 and reigned until the beginning of this year) that I finally got a Twitter (and kept it), got an Instagram and created this blog. I have held a very strong belief that if anyone wanted to be apart of my life they would come into my life, by this I mean, knowing what I’m doing, where I hang out, what I like, what food I eat, which is all the information that people generally share with everyone (the entire world) on most social media sites. I am still reluctant to be apart of an online community and put myself out there because I think there is something to be valued in an individual experience or one among a few people but times are changing and I acknowledge that I may be left in the dust if I don’t jump on the band wagon in some form or another (however I am aware of how much information I am putting out there on the internet and what it means to me).

I am an artist in that I am a musician, a Writer, and I actually create art, paintings, drawings etc. These are the ways in which I express myself and that I can connect with others. Reznor’s comments on the artist as a mysterious person I think is valid. There is so much more left to the imagination that is up for the audience to fill in. I do not know how people percieve my work in its many forms and I don’t care because all that matters is that I am getting my work out there and I hope there is a chance that it will help or mean something to someone who feels they can connect with it, that’s it.

Also, Reznor’s reflection on how he grew up listening to music gave me a kind of relief because I have a similar style to his. If I find new music that I enjoy the very last thing I do after listening, usually to a full album, of their music for a few months is google them. I make it a point not to look up a band’s pictures or history until after I decide I want to know more. This is an interesting venture for me now because I do like to use Spotify which has almost all of a bands info available alongside their music but it is a habit I’ve had for as long as I can remember. After I do look at pictures and info, I watch music videos which are a hit or miss experience for me every time. I can love a song for months and finally watch the music video which influences my interpretation of the song and how I feel about it after. I am trying to get better at this and look at music videos as another format of a song, an entity that can be evaluated seperately from the song, this does help but it is difficult because lines are blurred between the two most of the time, where does the art stop and start?

Overall, I wanted to post a quick reflection on this interview because I loved it and obviously related to what Reznor was saying. I hope that for any fans of NIN out there, they also find this interview if so talk to me! Let me know what you thought of it!

 

Thank you for reading my writing, I hope you will return in the future! 

-Alina 

 

Note: I am thinking about doing a quick review of “A Perfect Circle’s” single release “The Doomed” which has been available to audiences for a little over a month now. Any thoughts?

Marilyn Manson’s latest release ‘Heaven Upside Down’

After years of Marilyn Manson and countless albums, we’ve come to ‘Heaven Upside Down‘ released only a couple weeks ago. ‘Heaven Upside Down’ calls back to the era of Manson where blame was put on the shock rocker for multiple problems within society (notably the Columbine Shootings which would mark Manson for the rest of his career).  Marilyn Manson a.k.a. Brian Warner seeks to shake the public from the comfort it finds within institutions that dumb them down and constricts them to beliefs that may be seen as more harmful (his opinion) than beneficial (Christian religions). It is worth it to look into the philosophical beliefs that Manson has himself and to acknowledge that behind his in your face attitude and abrasive personal beliefs there lies a man that is more brain and wits than just pure “Fuck You!” anthems on repeat.

‘Heaven Upside Down’ reminds me of a few earlier albums by Manson such as Mechanical Animals, Holy Wood, and The Golden Age of Grotesque (albums from the years 1998-2003). The ‘pop-iest’ song on the album I feel would be ‘KILL4ME’ that hooks listeners into a repeated chorus “Would you kill kill kill for me?”, a reminiscent love song that harkens back to the overwhelming betrayal and questioning in ‘The Golden Age of Grotesque’. There are also many songs on the album that comment on the socio-political state of America right now giving the album more weight with its sharp lyrical statements and catchy rhythms, songs such as ‘Saturnalia’ ‘Revelation #12’ and ‘WE KNOW WHERE YOU FUCKING LIVE’. A few songs that remind me of the album ‘Mechanical Animals’ would be ‘Je$u$ Cri$i$’ and ‘Blood Honey’. For ‘Holy Wood’ I would argue for ‘SAY10’ and ‘Tattooed in Reverse’. Although I do feel like many of the songs on this album synthesize multiple elements from these three albums, these particular songs could be interchangeable in where they would fit under as songs like those on ‘Mechanical Animals’, ‘Holy Wood’, or ‘The Golden Age of Grotesque’ songs.

This latest album by Manson is a welcomed one. I find relief in the music by one of my favorite artists especially in times like these. I would recommend this album to anyone with an open mind, well versed or new, to the music of Marilyn Manson, it is an album fitting for the season and year but not one to listen to lightly or shuffle through.

Music Videos thus far for songs on the ‘Heaven Upside Down’ album


 

Thank you for reading my writing! I hope you will return in the future! 

-Alina 

Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049  is a worthy sequel to the first Blade Runner (1982). This movie is packed with so much detail and references to the first that it requires multiple viewings. The plot is simple, ‘K’ (Ryan Gosling) goes in search of an old Blade Runner, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) to get some answers. There is too much involved in this simple plot and if I were to give out too many details it would ruin the surprise. The questions that I have are simple and have been explored by other reviewers of the film. ‘Reviews’ not so much, more like critiques. There are two aspects of the film that I found myself questioning. They are as follows 1) role and representation of female figures 2) white male as the oppressor and oppressed in the ‘future’….hmmm

(Possible Spoilers* from here on that don’t ruin the SUPRISE)

*The screen is taken up by K as the leading male role. We are introduced to his mundane life and learn that he is a replicant and Blade Runner working for the future LAPD. His boss Lieutenant Joshi (Robin Wright) is the only real human woman that he comes into contact with for a good portion of the film. Joshi is tough and emulates a masculine domineering figure over K. At one point Joshi actually demeans K and hits on him at the same time. For Joshi, K is just another weapon she can use to get her job done. This representation of the female figure in 2049 can be contrasted with K’s girlfriend who is a hologram, created and programmed specifically to emotionally please their owners. This holograms name is Joi (Ana de Armas). In the very first scene we actually see Joi she is wearing a 1950’s dress and presents K with a hologram meal of steak and fries that she places over his mundane ‘real’ one. She is constantly flickering here and there donning different clothes (often in the same scene) and asks K about his day. She is manufactured, presented, and used just to please K in the same way as he was created to be a Blade Runner and ultimately hunt down his own species (replicants). So with this first example, my question is, What is Blade Runner 2049 suggesting about the Female/Male relationship (replicant or not) and more importantly what is 2049 saying about the Female in its world? Asking this question along the lines of the heteronormative suggestion that 2049 focuses on.

When I asked myself these two questions after the film, I was disturbed. I love the original movie but I do have a few problems with both when it comes to presentations of the Female. For instance, the ‘love’ scene where Deckard (Harrison Ford) forcibly ‘manhandles’ Rachel (Sean Young) and in the end, they are seen by audiences ‘making out’ (Blade Runner). Rachel is introduced to Deckard in a similar way as audiences are introduced to Joi both are quiet, beautiful, and there to be looked at and enjoyed. They have little to no authority over their own bodies and they are controlled by the dominant male. In 2049, I feel the issue of the ‘real’ Female representation is more serious. Besides Joshi, there is only one known ‘human’ (or part human) female in the entire movie. The ‘real’ females, the ones that ‘have children’ (which seems to be valued above all else, the discussion of birth vs. creation) is almost non-existent. This aspect supports the synthetic future within the film, where everything is a copy of a copy and almost NOTHING is actually organically birthed (except for humans which of course, are the oppressors).

The second aspect of Blade Runner 2049 was that it is a crime noir film with the usual white men (real or replicant) fighting against other white men (bad guys, good guys, detectives, murder, etc). The replicants, K especially, are oppressed and controlled by humans. In contrast, those today who are victims of oppression and discrimination every day within our own society (minorities) are not fully present within the film. There are less than five (characters that are not white) presented in the film which I found curious since, if Blade Runner 2049 is at all set within a dystopian future that suffers from overpopulation, why is everyone white? The notable traces of Asiatic countries and their presence is seen in both Blade Runner’s but whenever the main characters talk to anyone not speaking English, they only respond in English ( for example the scene where K goes to a shop owner to find out if a wooden horse is made from real or synthetic wood). Although I love Blade Runner 2049 for its visual aspects (the scenes are shot beautifully and the color schemes paired with the soundtrack is awe-inspiring), It is a movie that makes me question exactly what it is saying to its audiences and specifically which audiences?

Overall, I would recommend any fans of the old Blade Runner to go and see this film maybe not with the intention of looking too closely into the details since what we can find there is more disturbing than comforting.


 

Thank you for reading my writing, I hope that you will return in the future! 

-Alina