Wolfenstein (Xbox 360)

Wolfenstein was one of the first video games that I remember playing for the computer that was any bit fun (so, titles like the Oregon Trail are exempt). It is not surprising that I was eagerly anticipating the next release in the line, this 2009 release by Activision. The title is based off the same software that both Doom 3 and Quake 4 were couched in, ensuring some form of context to be had through the three lines. In the single-player version of Wolfenstein, players will get the chance to again play as B.J. Blazkowicz, whom has been with the series since 1981’s Castle Wolfenstein. Continue reading “Wolfenstein (Xbox 360)”

Buffalo Trace Whiskey (90 Proof)

We here at NeuFutur have had the chance of going through a number of different whiskies over the course of the time that we have had the alcohol review section active. Buffalo Trace is the newest of this spirit sent over, and what will immediately hit potential purchasers is the more classic, cowboy-themed feel to the bottle. The rich copper color of the spirit offsets the beige of the label and accents, while the black top will elicit comparisons to a 10 gallon hat. Continue reading “Buffalo Trace Whiskey (90 Proof)”

Various Artists – New Tales to Tell: A Tribute to Love and Rockets (CD)

On first blush, it would appear that the architect of the new Love and Rockets tribute album was just pulling random names out of hat. How else do you explain one hit wonders Better Than Ezra, alongside more indie-minded artists like The Dandy Warhol’s, Frances Black and up-and-comers War Tapes? Continue reading “Various Artists – New Tales to Tell: A Tribute to Love and Rockets (CD)”

Doug Gillard – Call From Restricted (CD)

As sometime guitarist for Dayton’s favorite sons Guided By Voices and Robert Pollard’s post-break-up solo work, Doug Gillard delivered album after album of satisfying jangly lo-fi pop. On Call From Restricted, his own latest solo effort, Gillard delivers more the of that familiar jangly guitar pop, but with impressively accessible vocals. Continue reading “Doug Gillard – Call From Restricted (CD)”

Seven Mile Beach by Tom Gilling (Book)

Australian novelist Tom Gilling may not be that well known outside of his native Australia, but if his latest book is any indication he surely should be. The surprisingly funny mystery/thriller Seven Mile Beach is far more interesting than any of the last few Grisham and Patterson tomes lining the book shelves. Continue reading “Seven Mile Beach by Tom Gilling (Book)”

The Hooters – Both Sides Live (CD)

A live album by a band that’s been missing from radio for a good two decades is usually a bad sign. A gimmicky half acoustic, half plugged in record is even more ominous. But Philadelphia’s once-favorite sons have managed to pull of the difficult, putting out a nostalgia record that is just as good, if not better than anything they have done before.

The first disc was recorded live in 2007 at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia, the second was a surprise acoustic show recorded four months later in front of a much smaller studio audience. Both sides capture a band with renewed energy and show how remarkably well songs like “Satellite” and “Karla with a K” have stood up over the past couple of decades. It’s also easy to forget just how many great songs the band had. The Hooters (unfortunately named in retrospect) ran from the late 80’s to mid 90’s, reuniting in 2001. They even released a solid, though mostly unnoticed album in 2007 (“Time Stand Still”). But this double album should be proof enough that the band deserves our attention once more. With some varied arrangements and a slightly matured sound, “Both Sides” is a rare occurrence: a snapshot of a band that is just now hitting its stride, nearly 25 years after getting started.

Top tracks: “Day By Day” (acoustic), “Where the Wind May Blow” and “Karla with a K” (both versions)

Rating: 8.7 out of 10

The Hooters – Both Sides/CDs/2009/26 tracks/Self-Released/www.hootersmusic.com

Vanilla Ride by Joe R. Lansdale (Book)

There are certain liberties authors are granted. Only David Mamet can get away with stringing together seemingly unrelated explicatives into believable dialogue the way he does; only Stephen King can make Maine seem like the third circle of Hell; and only Joe Lansdale, Texas born and bred, can get away with the often goofy quotes his duo Hap Collins and Leonard Pine spout off on just about every other page of his series of novels. Who else can get away with descriptions like: “…She pulled the other clip out and slipped it on the weapon smooth as a gigolo sliding on a condom.”? All is forgiven though, as long as he continues to write about Hap and Leonard, the two protagonists Lansdale hasn’t written about for nearly a decade. Living in the Hill Country of East Texas, best friends Hap and Leonard, (one white, one black, one straight, the other gay) work construction and other odd jobs when they are not hired to kill bad guys or commit other acts of questionable legality.

In Vanilla Ride, the duo help out an old friend who’s granddaughter had gotten mixed up with some local drug dealers. After taking away from her dealer boyfriends and cracking a few skulls in the process, the guys manage to piss of the Dixie Mafia, a group of White Supremacists controlling the drug trade in East Texas. The FBI gets involved and Hap and Leonard are eventually pitted against a female hit man (hit woman? hit person?). Lansdale has a history of combining tense action with laugh-out loud dialogue and Vanilla Ride is no exception, and easily one of his best novels. Hap and Leonard were greatly missed.

Vanilla Ride by Joe R. Lansdale/Knopf/256 pages/Hardcover

The Silent Years – Let Go (CD)

The only really disappointing thing about Let Go, The Silent Year’s latest EP is the length. At six songs, the band’s latest is an appropriate follow up to last year’s decent full length The Globe, managing to eclipse those songs both musically and lyrically. The group delivers unpretentious indie pop in the vein of What Made Milwaukee Famous and Vampire Weekend (without the goofy prep school kid attitude). The album opens with the strongest track on the album (“Taking Drugs at the Amusement Park”), with an impossible to shake chorus. Though there really are no bad songs in the lot, the mid-tempo “Forest Fire,” backed with horns, is one of the band’s best songs in an already impressive career. The production and instrumentation this time around is also much more impressive than past efforts. The Detroit-based four piece are certainly doing their part to prove the motor city is much more than Kid Rock, Eminem and The White Stripes.

Top tracks: “Forest Fire” and “Taking Drugs at the Amusement Park”

Rating: 8.8 out of 10

The Silent Years – Let Go/CD/2009/6 tracks/Side Cho/ www.myspace.com/thesilentyears

Gosling’s Black Seal (80 Proof)

With each different bottle of the stuff we get, I feel that we here at NeuFutur find a new variety of rum. This time, Gosling (Castle Brands) has provided us with a black rum, which I personally thought was significantly different than dark rum. Turns out, it’s just another term for that version of the spirit. Continue reading “Gosling’s Black Seal (80 Proof)”