Rock Bottom by Michael Shilling / Black Dogs: The Possibly True Story of Classic Rock’s Greatest Robbery by Jason Buhrmester

Writing a great rock novel is a whole lot harder than it sounds. There have been countless attempts over the years and the result is usually a collection of boring tour urban legends and rejected VH1 Behind the Music scripts. It’s a pretty big feat then that both Michael Shilling and Jason Buhrmester have managed to turn in solid rock stories just months apart from each other. Shilling’s Rock Bottom revolves around a once-promising band playing their last shows of a European tour before imploding. Continue reading “Rock Bottom by Michael Shilling / Black Dogs: The Possibly True Story of Classic Rock’s Greatest Robbery by Jason Buhrmester”

NOFX: Backstage Passport (DVD)

I’ve never really understood the fascination with concert DVDs. They always seemed to be a bit like dry humping to me – not even close to the real thing. The whole point of a going to a show is the experience: sweating your ass off, getting beer spilled on you, leaving the club with ringing ears and your voice shot. Thankfully, NOFX’s latest video tour diary – originally aired on Fuse TV – offers so much more than the standard concert footage. In fact, the only time you really see them performing is when the show is going badly, someone’s getting smacked with a guitar, or fans are learning to stage dive (badly) for the first time. Continue reading “NOFX: Backstage Passport (DVD)”

Artist Vs Poet – Artist Vs Poet EP (CD)

One look at the band photo and it’s easy to dismiss the Dallas-based five piece Artist Vs Poet as little more than hoodie-sporting, auto-tune dependent Millennials with influences that don’t go deeper than last year’s Hot Topic best-sellers. A rash, slightly unfair judgment call, but pretty damn accurate if their 5-song EP is any indication to what the future holds. Sure there’s nothing flat out offensive about the music, aside from a massive lack of originality. Continue reading “Artist Vs Poet – Artist Vs Poet EP (CD)”

Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique (20th Anniversary Edition) (CD)

It’s hard to overplay the importance of 1989’s Paul’s Boutique to the success of the Beastie Boys. The follow up to the band’s sophomoric, party album Licensed to Ill, the Dust Brother produced Paul’s Boutique took the band from novelty white rappers to a legitimate musical talent, pushing the boundaries of a still new genre at the time. There is still plenty of humor, just much less chauvinistic posturing with this outing. Continue reading “Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique (20th Anniversary Edition) (CD)”

Religulous (DVD)

It’s a little surprising that the religious right, usually front and center, picket signs and bull horns in hand at any movie even vaguely touching on Christianity, never bothered to turn out in force to picket Bill Maher’s wickedly funny, and powerful documentary on religion. Judging by the early rumblings against the soon-to-be-released sequel to the Da Vinci Code, it can’t be that they have finally learned that this is fantastic free publicity for the movies they revile. Continue reading “Religulous (DVD)”

Danny Rocco – The Future is Now (CD)

Long Island’s Danny Rocco aims pretty high with his debut The Future is Now, going beyond the staid and routine songs his peers have been churning out. Unfortunately he doesn’t always reach the intended heights. The acoustic strumming, singer songwriter (backed by the band End the Stars) starts the album of with the strongly original, addictive title track “The Future is Now,” but the rest of the album tries, and for the most part fails, to live up to that first song. Continue reading “Danny Rocco – The Future is Now (CD)”

Willie Nelson – Naked Willie (CD)

At 75 and with a legacy as a national musical treasure already firmly cemented, you’d think Willie Nelson would at least take a little time off to relax. On average, the prolific cowboy churns out at least two or three releases a year. This year looks to be no different. Continue reading “Willie Nelson – Naked Willie (CD)”

Breaking Bad: The Complete First Season (DVD)

Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan has somehow stumbled on that rare combination of a fantastically gripping story, the perfect cast and excellent writing. Not since The Sopranos have all of the elements for a truly great TV drama series come together so quickly. The series centers around Walter (played by Bryan Cranston), a brilliant scientist, now stuck teaching chemistry to apathetic high schoolers in Albuquerque and worrying about day-to-day bills. Continue reading “Breaking Bad: The Complete First Season (DVD)”

The Accountant’s Story: Inside the Violent World of the Medellin Cartel

Once you get past the fact that Roberto Escobar sees his brother more as a Columbian Robin Hood rather than one of the most barbaric, nefarious drug lords… well, ever, The Accountant’s Story is actually a pretty fascinating read that’s incredibly difficult to put down once you’ve started reading. Continue reading “The Accountant’s Story: Inside the Violent World of the Medellin Cartel”

Kaline – Makin’ Moves (CD)

It’s kind of hard to feel sorry for the music industry crying about low CDs sales, when a solid band like Kaline is churning out records on its own, while stale, paint-by-numbers groups simply ape the sound of mediocre bands that came before them and are rewarded with record label deals. Continue reading “Kaline – Makin’ Moves (CD)”