Posts tagged “Prom Queen”

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

“Of the Month” October 2017

Show of the Month:

Comrade Detective

Did you know that in the early/mid-80s in communist Romania, there was a limited-series television show that was part cop procedural and part communist propaganda? It was called Comrade Detective, and it was thought lost to the dust of history… until now! Of course it’s all fake. It was filmed last year on location in Romania with all Romanian actors, and then dubbed into English by Channing Tatum, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Nick Offerman. Let me tell you: this is my favorite type of satire, one that is so uncannily accurate that unless you’re in on the joke you almost wouldn’t know it is satire at all (see: Paul Verhoven’s Starship Troopers). Everything is played absolutely, 100% straight, and it is only the occasional scenes that go just a bit too far (such as the bumper segments that open each episode with Channing Tatum talking to an “historian” about the show) that peel back the curtain and let us laugh with the show’s creators rather and simultaneously at the very nature of popularized propaganda itself. Also (unlike Starship Troopers) the Comrade Detective show itself is thoroughly entertaining (though very NSFW) even beyond the satire. Apparently the show was created when Channing Tatum asked the producers to bring him their very worst idea. I think that’s brilliant.

Album of the Month:

Doom Wop by Prom Queen

Two amazing albums came out in September, but alas I can only have one Album of the Month per month. And since Prom Queen’s Doom Wop is more thematically Halloween-ish, it gets the slot in October (sorry, Mike, but don’t worry, your album will definitely get November’s slot). Doom Wop continues Prom Queen’s (A.K.A. Celene Ramada, A.K.A. Leeni) forays into the dark, lush aesthetic of late-50s and 60s pop. Think of The Flamingos’ version of I Only Have Eyes For You and you’ll instantly know the genre of which I speak. The lyrics on this album pretty much all touch on a theme of existential dread, and the music is lovingly crafted to fold into the dreamy 60s sound (though “Manic Panic” slips a bit into late 90s girl-power-pop (think Dressy Bessy)). Everything sounds like what velvet looks and feels like, and even the slightly fuzzy vocals sound like they’re coming out of a vintage amp. It’s all of a type, and if you like this genre (I happen to love it) then this is a wonderful dream of an album. These songs would fit right into a David Lynch movie without batting a fake eyelash.

Video Game of the Month:

Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment

A gothic castle base. A tormented sort-of-undead antihero. A sickle and cloak. Dark magic. Lots of skeletons. How could this not be my Video Game of the Month in October??? A prequel to Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope, Specter of Torment shows the tragic origins of Specter Knight and how he recruited the Order of No Quarter for the Enchantress. It manages to be completely familiar to anyone who has played the original Shovel Knight game, while simultaneously being a thoroughly inventive and fun platformer. The jump-and-slash conceit of the gameplay is very intuitive, and makes for some refreshing level design. You also gain a new special item after every level (assuming you collected enough red skulls), though Specter’s sickle is so powerful and versatile that I wasn’t able to really discover the full usefulness of each item. I kinda just used the healing one a lot. And since the game is non-linear (you can choose in which order you’ll defeat each level), each level is designed to be able to be beaten without having to use any special item. It’s a very minor quibble in an otherwise excellent game.

Categories: Of the Month.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Electric NoNo’s Tour Kickoff at Conor Byrne Pub

Electric NoNo Tour Kickoff Poster

All those spaceships in her head…

I actually went out last Friday night! Gasp! And to Seattle, no less. A big thanks to a couple lovely people who dragged old, tired, dad Chris up to Conor Byrne Pub in Ballard to help see off Electric NoNo as they start their latest tour.

A quick note on Sebastian and the Deep Blue (the opening act) first: they somehow managed to cram 10 people onto that tiny Conor Byrne Stage! I managed to get most of them in one photograph, take a look:

Sebastian and the Deep Blue at Conor Byrne Pub.

All the people, all the lovely people…

You had three different types of saxophones, a trombone, a violin, a drummer, a bassists, two guitars, and one vocalist-only. That’s P.C. (“Pretty Crazy”).

Then up came the Electric NoNo!

Electric NoNo at Conor Byrne Pub

Jared+Dom = YesYes

Of course I managed to make a couple of animations…

Dom Cortese of Electric NoNo

Take off your shirt, Dom!

Electric NoNo at Conor Byrne Pub: Animated!

I already made a “YesYes” pun, didn’t I?

One thing became extremely evident whilst watching Electric NoNo: The really, really kick ass. And “Lickin’ My Wounds” is one of the best rock songs written in the past couple of decades, really. Take a wissen:

This was a tour kickoff show, right? To where are they touring? Why down to the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas! They’re going to be performing in a showcase of Seattle artists alongside some other extremely awexome peoples:

Seattle by Southwest showcase at South by Southwest music festival

Seattle by Southwest!

Take a look at that lineup! Not only Electric NoNo, but also my favorite Julia Massey and the wondrous Prom Queen! I actually know a few more musicians who are performing at SXSW on a different bill: G.O.L. (Gentlemen of Leisure).

G.O.L. (Gentlemen of Leisure) at SXSW

I know the guy in the middle front and the guy in the back right!

If I were a religious man I’d say I was “blessed” to have so many kickass musicians in my life.

Thanks for a great show, Electric NoNo, and much good fortune on your tour! If anyone else is going to SXSW, be sure to try to catch the Seattle X Southwest showcase on Friday and the G.O.L. on Saturday!

Categories: Concerts/Shows, Music, Pictures.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Band In Seattle = Animated Hoot Hoots & Jesus Rehab!

Two Great Bands that Band Great Together

Two Great Bands that Band Great Together

Last Thursday I was invited (thanks, Hoot Hoots!) to go to a live taping of the relatively-unknown TV show called “Band in Seattle.” This show airs Saturday nights on CW11 in the Puget Sound Area, and in each of its 22-minute episodes it showcases one or two local bands. Well, this week they were taping the season-2 episode that would be showcasing two amazing Seattle bands, The Hoot Hoots and The Jesus Rehab!

Understandably it was a pretty badass show with two such amazing, rockin’ groups taking the stage one right after the other. You might have noticed that I do happen to be quite a fan of both bands. And, as is my way, I made some Animated .GIFs of the evening. Take a look!

WHODAT1

Hootie Hoot!

WHODAT2

Dance, Jesus Rehab, Dance!

I’m not sure when the episode is actually gonna air, but you’d best believe I’ll let you know. I was standing right up front for both bands’ sets, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I got a few seconds of screen time here and there! *winku* After all, who wouldn’t want to see this face on TV:

Project: Handsome Runway Man

Project: Handsome Runway Man

Honestly, I wasn’t even aware that “Band in Seattle” was a thing until I was invited to it. But it looks like an excellent way to discover some great local talent. Season 2 just premiered on Saturday night featuring none other than another one of my favorite bands, Leeni’s Prom Queen! The episode isn’t available to watch online yet (that I can find), but you can see Prom Queen’s performance here:

Highly recommended!

Categories: Concerts/Shows, Pictures, Videos.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

“Of the Month” February 2015

Musician of the Month:
iKillCameron
I Kill Cameron

Self-described as “Acoustic/Crust Pop/Folk Punk” and “folk punk on the ukulele,” I Kill Cameron is the delightfully expressive, fun, and self-aware ukulele-and-vocal music of Phoebe Zayas-Defiance. This music is earnestly humorous, and Phoebe’s expressive voice coupled with the small-scale, woman+ukulele production creates a rather personal, intimate feeling (even in the songs that feature a full back-up band) that can also get enjoyably raucous and explosive, and it’s hard not to be gladdened by the peppy ukulele. I Kill Cameron boasts song titles like “Carl Sagan Would Love Your Eyes,” “Sorry My Dairy Allergy Inconveniences You,” and “Our Love is an Arcade Game & I Just Ran Out of Quarters.” This music also makes a great spiritual counterpart to Joshua Stephens‘s style of expressive folk-punk.

Movie of the Month:
MidnightVeil
Prom Queen’s Midnight Veil

I suppose I should put “movie” in quotes like that because, even though it’s an hour long, Midnight Veil is more a loosely-connected string of music videos rather than a full-length movie. Prom Queen is a musical project of Celene “Leeni” Ramadan, and it the kind of darkly-lush 1960s music that would be perfectly at home in a David Lynch movie. In keeping with the music, these videos all painstakingly recreate the look at feel of the 1960s, from the costumes to the cars to the hair. They run the gamut of genres, from darkly gothic to sadly domestic to high-kitch SciFi. The attention to detail is uncanny, even down to the 1960s-style film stock, and the videos feature such Western Washington landmarks as Dick’s Drive-In, Gasworks Park, and XXX Root Beer in Issaquah. This is the kind of sultry music that you can drown in, and the Midnight Veil movie dovetails nicely with my well-established love of the 1960s Spy genre. Really well-done, and really enjoyable.

Don’t believe me? You can actually watch the whole thing for FREE on the YouTubes!

TV Show of the Month:
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Z Nation: Season 1

I think people may overlook or dismiss this show because it was made by The Asylum and aired only on SyFy network. Maybe they think it’s just trying to cash-in on the success of The Walking Dead. But Z Nation is really its own beast, and is really unlike almost anything else I’ve seen on TV. For one thing, it’s a great deal of fun. Not for the characters, certainly; what they go through is rather hellish. But it’s all done with a wink and a nod and some very wry twists of humor that make the whole thing very enjoyable. I really appreciate how the creators of the show also seem willing to try anything. We get some inventive zombie iterations in this show, including (but not limited to) zombies coated in oil, zombies caught up in a tornado (yes, just like the sharks), radioactive zombies in a nuclear power plant, a zombie bear, a zombie high on marijuana, and that’s just to name a few. The show is also one of the only ones where there is really no sense of security for any of the characters. Z Nation goes out of its way to show that anyone can die at any time. You can’t take it too seriously at any point, but it’s just a lot of fun. Bonus: one of my friends gets eaten in episode 3!

Credit where credit is due (arrow added by me for emphasis).

Credit where credit is due (arrow added by me for emphasis).

Categories: Of the Month.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

My Famous Friends: The Best Bands Rocking Seattle Music!

Jared Cortese, Dom Cortese and Julia Massey, in their basement house party venue “The Cortex,” July 15, 2014. PHOTO CREDIT: PORTAITS BY HAYLEY YOUNG

Jared Cortese, Dom Cortese and Julia Massey, in their basement house party venue “The Cortex,” July 15, 2014. PHOTO CREDIT: PORTAITS BY HAYLEY YOUNG

Seattle Magazine, an actual, real-life magazine, just published an article on their website entitled “The 50 Bands Rocking Seattle Music Right Now.

You should peruse the entire article, but here are the three highlights for me: Look at the Indie Pop section and you’ll immediately see some of my favorite musics being avidly represented:

  • Julia Massey & The Five Finger Discount / The Jesus Rehab
    Anyone who has been reading this website for any length of time (or who knows me in real life) knows what fondness I have for these two bands, so it’s really exceptionally awexome to see them getting the same amount of love from an actual, real-life website and not just mine. Here’s a sample of what Seattle Magazine had to say about them:

    Massey recalls Regina Spektor, with her playful voice, prolific songwriting and bouncy pop lyrics, and Cortese’s sound is reminiscent of Weezer, for its big power chords and shrieking, catchy solos.

  • Prom Queen
    It is much to my chagrin that I have never seen Celene perform live as Prom Queen, only as her chiptuned alter-ego Leeni. But I have a great liking of Prom Queen’s dark, David Lynch-esque 60s pop stylings. And I proudly backed the Kickstarter for her very ambition Midnight Veil project. Seattle Magazine sez:

    Also known as Leeni, this prolific Seattle singer first came on the scene with chiptune compositions (using Nintendo Gameboy sounds) and has since honed a 1960s Parisian noir aesthetic.

Out of all 50 of the bands listed in the article, I had only ever seen two others perform live:

  • The Hoot Hoots
  • Katie Kate

Yikes! I had heard of most of the acts in the article (and heard a handful of them on KEXP), but many of these are complete unknowns to me. The article seemed to be skewed strangely, with some of the genres having dozens of included acts whereas the hip-hop genre only included three acts (none of which were Three Ninjas, bee-tee-dub).

But still it is very cool seeing Julia Massey & The Jesus Rehab get a modicum of the praise they deserve.

SPEAKING OF seeing The Jesus Rehab, they’re having a show this Friday evening! It’s on Bainbridge Island!

Jesus Rehabbed on an Island

Jesus Rehabbed on an Island

Bainbridge Island is, unfortunately, a bit over an hour’s drive away from my house (it might be much shorter than that for Seattle peeps depending on the ferry schedule). So I am a very soft maybe for this show.

But if all possible YOU SHOULD GO!

Details:
The Jesus Rehab with Specters at Spaceship (Facebook event)
Friday, August 22nd 7:00 PM
@ Spaceship
10598 NE Valley Rd, Bainbridge Island, Washington 98110
21+, $10 (adv) $12 (door)

HOORAY FOR MY FAMOUS FRIENDS!

More resources:

Categories: Concerts/Shows, Music, My Famous Friends, Videos.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Prom Queen: Rated XXX (Root Beer)

Drinking the Blues Away.

Drinking the Blues Away.

Back in September I wrote about Prom Queen (aka Celene Ramadan, aka chiptune musician Leeni) and her very exciting and ambitious Kickstarter campaign to make a 12-song album with 12 accompanying videos that, when strung together, will form a full-length film.

The Kickstarter campaign was obviously a success. How could it not be? It was an awesome idea.

The expected delivery date is April 2014, so I’m excitedly anticipating that. In the meantime, though, filming chugs on. One video has been completed and released, the video to “Can’t Seem to Cry.” And a big chunk of it just happened to be filmed in one of my all-time favorite restaurants:

XXX ROOT BEER!

XXX Root Beer, Photo by brewbooks

Photo by brewbooks Creative Commons License

If you don’t know about XXX Root Beer…

  1. Shame on you!
  2. Listen up, ’cause I’m gonna break it down for you.

XXX Root Beer is a burger joint in Issaquah:

It is probably my favorite burger joint in the state, despite its distance from Tacoma. They have amazing, huge, incredibly-sloppy burgers (but don’t ask for a fork & knife no matter how sloppy they are). But since their name is XXX Root Beer, they’re known of course for their homemade root beer floats. These things are gargantuan and come in mugs the size of your face. Not only do they have scoops of ice cream in them, but the mug is garnished with a scoop of ice cream on the rim.

Just check out their menu and become a believer.

Now here’s the video. It should be pretty obvious which part is filmed at XXX:

One of my favorite musicians and one of my favorite restaurants = two great tastes that taste great together!

More info:

Categories: Movies, Videos.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Kick a Prom Queen: The Midnight Veil Kickstarter

Yesterday in my “Of the Month” choices for September 2013 I talked briefly about the sultry, 1960s-sounding music of Prom Queen, aka Celene Ramadan, aka chiptune musician Leeni.

Today I’m talking about Prom Queen once again, this time because she has a pretty awesome idea for a Kickstarter campaign. You see, Prom Queen wants to put out a new album, Midnight Veil. But instead of just putting out a new album, she wants to make a video for each song. But instead of just making a video for each song, she wants to make a series of videos that, together, make up a film. As she puts it:

Prom Queen: Midnight Veil will be a full-length album-film. I will be making 12 videos for each of the 12 songs and they will be strung together and woven into a film, or rather an interconnected series of short-films.

It’s quite an ambitious project, and she’s asking for $12,000. That may seem like a lot, but it really just breaks down to $1,000 per video, which is really not very much money to produce professional-quality videos.

I really like projects like these. It reminds me of Daft Punk’s Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem, in which Daft Punk’s Discovery album was transformed into a full-length animé movie designed by the acclaimed Leiji Matsumoto (Battle Ship Yamamoto, Captian Harlock). Plus Prom Queen is no stranger to making movies; Celene directed the puppet classic A Very Alan Thickemass a few years ago (unfortunately the movie seems to have disappeared from the internet except for one clip). Her recent video for “This Town Ain’t Big Enough” was super-professional (though as she points out she didn’t direct it herself, it still proves she knows how to surround herself with talented folks). So I have every confidence that this movie can kick some major ass, if we kick it first.

Here is Prom Queen to explain it all herself:

I look forward to when it is completed sometime next year, so that I might have the unique opportunity to make Midnight Veil both my Album and my Movie of the Month. Support awesome things!

Categories: Movies, Music, Videos.