Another opportunity to find out how much we can stand

Here we are again, me with my damnable movie reviews, and you all with your... nipples, or whatever that business you have there is. I don't know, hell, all I do is watch TV! So, without further foreplay... fore!

Feed (C, 2005) Wow, this one’s twisted. An Australian Interpol agent/computer hacker who’s got some sexual dysfunctions of his own starts tracking down a perverse porno site where a guy broadcasts footages of the process of fattening women to beyond-morbid-obesity. The women are willing participants so I’m not certain why this is illegal, even though people are making bets on when they’ll die, and the feeder is slowly killing them by making them eat until the natural causes of that kind of weight do their thing. In any case, the cop is desperate to catch the pervert, who’s “lovingly” fed his current project, Diedre, until she’s over 600 pounds and can’t get out of bed. She keeps eating to please him and finds the whole thing romantic and sexy (eating‘s not all they do). The feeder has a fixation on his mother, who was also bed-bound obese, and he’s done with before with other women on his website, supposedly in the name of love. And the secret of what he’s feeding them is even nastier than the rest of the perversion. And yet he rationalizes the whole thing philosophically and tries to play a game with the cop. Disturbing, limit-pushing, and original horror isn’t particularly gory in a blood-and-guts kind of way, but the extreme corpulence, splattering food, and fat sex will put this one out of reach for most viewers. It’s a new kind of extreme, and it’s intelligently-made enough to not be easily dismissed as just a gross-out fest, especially since there are fat-fetish sites on the web not far removed from what’s shown in the film. It makes you question what can constitute love... and murder. Both can have strange motivations and take bizarre directions, especially in a society in which everything has become consumerism of some kind. Worth a look if you can handle it.

Gabriel Over The White House (B&W, 1933) Extremely weird political fantasy in which the problems of the Great Depression are solved by establishment of a theocratic dictatorship. Walter Huston is elected president and plans to be a puppet for his party and ignore the problems of the Depression. He dismisses an army of the unemployed as anarchists and ignores their message. Then, while driving like a jerk, he has a wreck and goes into a coma. When he comes out of it, he apparently hears messages from archangels, causing him to side with the American people and he decides that government is the problem, because it's too tangled up with bureaucracy and has too many checks and balances getting in the way. He turns the army of the unemployed into an actual army to rebuild America. Congress wants to impeach him for overstepping his bounds, but he declares a state of emergency, dissolves Congress, and puts the country under martial law. Without government red tape to deal with he deals with the country’s problems, repealing the 18th amendment and opening federal liquor stores to create revenue. He declares war on racketeers, forms a federal police force (unhampered by traditional law and order limitations) to combat them, and has them executed by firing squad at the foot of the Statue of Liberty. Then he brings about world peace by strong-arming the European countries, building up America’s Navy and Air Force and demanding foreign countries pay their debts by no longer funding their own militaries. Peace and prosperity accomplished under America’s iron thumb, he promptly drops dead and ascends to Heaven. This is crazy stuff (and it’s even crazier that it was a hit), but during the Depression many conservatives admired the way Mussolini and Hitler were doing business and became convinced that only a strong leader with no Congress to deal with would save America from disaster. With plots like The American Liberty League trying to form military coups against Roosevelt and right-wing fascists like Father Coughlin stirring up dissent with misinformation on the radio and approving of Hitler and Mussolini, I guess movies like this were inevitable. Oddly, it was partially backed by William Randolph Hearst, who was usually a liberal Democrat and was one of the few in the media at the time to speak out against what Hitler was doing in Germany... even though the actions Huston takes in the film follow many of Hitler’s, and is much closer to fascism than any kind of socialism. As scarily-misguided as history has shown this film to be, it wouldn’t surprise me much if some Glenn Beck fans thought this was still right on, what with the tea-party types influencing the president, the authoritarian approach to crime, the radical shrinking of the government, the dependence on supernatural religious forces for guidance, and the strong-arm military “diplomacy” towards Europe. This is an amazing artifact of a time of American fear-driven wrongheadedness, and even though it’s not that great as movie entertainment, it must be seen to be believed.

Click here for a clip.

Gene Generation, The (C, 2007) If you are motivated to watch this film for any reason besides it starring Bai Ling in leather outfits, then you and I will never understand each other. A rapidfire prologue tries to toss off some ridiculous premise about people stealing DNA and hacking it to make people die weirdly, or some other scientific mumbojumbo I wasn’t interested enough to try to dope out, yeah yeah, horseshit sci-fi-geek nonsense. Bai Ling is an assassin who targets these DNA hackers and tries to keep her degenerate gambler brother under control. The temptations of their second-rate-CGI city prove too much for him (even though he gets beaten up and peed on - yes, peed on - by loan sharks) and he steals a weird cyber-glove device that some bad guys want back, even though nobody (including the filmmakers) seem to really know exactly what it does. It’s stolen from him, though, and he has to get it back. The situation gets messy and Bai Ling has to commit lots of mayhem while BaiLing him out (heh heh, get it? yeeeah). When her brother is nearly beat to death and she’s shot and almost dies, she gets healed by a DNA hacker and continues her quest. It’s the usual lame sci-fi bullshit with the usual hackneyed sci-fi situations and too much nerd-pleasing junk for my tolerance level, but some of the actions okay (even if it borrows from The Matrix... again), and it does deliver Bai Ling in leather, which is all I was really wanting from it -- eye candy. It’s a little too dark to see her (or anything else, if you care) very well, and she has goofy geometric shapes painted on her face (so we’ll know it’s the future, because in the future that won’t look stupid. Revisit the movie in 20 years and see if everybody’s not doing it!) Junky but okay for what it is, even if it doesn’t really end so much as just trail off. Plenty of not-too-good techno music.

This is pretty sad, but it's footage so what the hell...

What a flirt. She makes me like bangs... :) "I am from the moon!"

Midnight Movie (C, 2008) Back in the glory days of VHS rental, you'd quickly learn one rule (although it didn't always stop you): the video boxes that had some kind of gimmick (blinking lights, 3-D press-out forms, etc.) would always be really stupid movies. Well, this DVD has a changing hologram card for a front cover. Nice to see some things have remained constant throughout the years and format changes. A handful of teens (who look more like twenty-somes, but that could be the hormones they've been putting in the milk these days), a biker and his girlfriend, and a couple of cops go to a theater for a midnight showing of an old 70's horror film. It's in black and white; even though they were pretty much done with that by the 70's it's necessary to distinguish it from the rest of the movie. Little do they realize that it's a snuff film in progress and they're going to be starring in it. The director is a lunatic who's obsessed with scaring people, and through some supernatural agency that's readily dismissed-with, he's managed to put himself into the movie and drag viewers in with him, where he kills them with a weird corkscrew-knife thing he made. He also wears a skull mask and overalls; it's probably supposed to remind us of Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but I kept thinking of the Astro Zombies instead, which is much less flattering. The patrons get trapped in the theater (the supernatural elements conceal their presence from the outside world) and it becomes kind of a poor man's Demons as they try to escape the killer. It's stupid, but it's not completely terrible; it stays engaging enough, there's some not-bad gore, and the fart joke is pretty funny ("Damn scrumptious chocolate-covered rrrrrraisins!"), so there may be enough here to convince you to forgive some lunk-headedness. And, luckily, it's not a horror comedy; the killer's too preposterous to take very seriously, but since he's played straight, it's bearable.

Never Take Candy From A Stranger (B&W, 1960) aka Never Take Sweets From A Stranger. Unusual Hammer film dealing with a different kind of horror: child molesters. The nine-year-old daughter of the new school principal in a small Canadian town comes home with tales of funny games she and a friend played at the house of old Mr. Olderberry. He gave the two girls candy to take off all their clothes and dance for him. The parents are outraged but they find the local community -- and especially the Olderberrys -- are against their pressing charges. The Olderberrys are wealthy and powerful enough to control almost everything in the area and it seems like they may get away with the crime because the locals refuse to testify, but the case goes to trial anyway. The little girl testifies and Olderberry’s lawyer grills her aggressively and tries to make her look mentally ill, claming she’s making the whole thing up. But whatever the outcome of the trial, it won’t be the end of the family’s dealings with the creepy candyman. Even though the film has to handle the explosive subject matter with 1960 gloves, it’s still strong stuff and makes a hard impact, and manages to be lurid without getting graphic. Until the DVD came out (as part of the Hammer Films Icons of Suspense collection), it was one of the most difficult Hammer films to track down.

Roman (C, 2006) Roman is a lonely, introverted welder who has no life. He has no friends and can’t even really get along with the guys at work, because all they know to talk about is what they saw on TV, and Roman doesn’t have a television (besides one he drew on the wall). He sits around slowly drinking beer and smoking cigarettes and hoping to catch a glimpse of the girl who lives in an apartment a few doors down, who he fantasizes about marrying. One day she talks to him and likes him despite his crippling awkwardness, so they start a relationship. But Roman doesn’t deal well with encouragement and accidentally kills her while trying to stop her from going home. He’s wracked with guilt and hides her body in his apartment, keeping her in the bathtub, buried in ice. It doesn’t do a great job of keeping her fresh, and his walls is soon tiled with stick-up room deodorizers. One day another girl (a weirdo with plants in her hair) knocks on his door to get help when she locks herself out of her apartment (she doesn’t want to bother the landlord because he’s constantly watching loud porn), and Roman starts a new fixation. He tries to avoid her but she interprets his reluctance as playing hard to get, and she pursues him. So, they end up dating while Roman’s still trying to keep the dead girl in his bathtub iced down. He eventually starts disposing of her piece by piece (after having sad picnics with the pieces). His new (live) girlfriend turns out to be death-obsessed, which Roman finds crazy, and they break up... and Roman’s almost out of pieces of the other girl. Soon he’s back to measuring out his life in empty beer bottles and pork-and-beans cans and room deodorizers... until he gets a second chance. Weird, existential indie film is slowly paced but engaging. Despite the morbid subject matter it’s not really presented as a horror film; Roman’s twisted but not menacing, just sad, passive, and (overly-aggressive moments aside) even kind-hearted. He just doesn’t really know what to do with the situations he’s been handed. And even with decaying body parts around, it’s more of a low-key black comedy than a scarefest. Not badly done and an interesting experiment for the patient. Roman is played by Lucky McKee, who wrote and directed a somewhat-similar film called May, which you may have seen, ha ha. (Hey, that kinda shit was funny when Forrest J. Ackerman used to do it, cut me some slack!)

Sheba, Baby (C, 1975) Pam Grier is private detective Sheba Shayne (a dickless dick, if you will, but you really shouldn't), who goes home to Louisville, KY when her father starts getting knocked around by thugs who are trying to squeeze out his financial aid business so they can replace it with a loan shark enterprise. When Pam borrows her dad's car and almost gets blown up, she's pissed and determined not to let the scumbags get away with it. Then hit men murder her father and she goes on the rampage, blowing hoodlums away with a magnum and making one pimp-lookin' loan shark drive his fancy car through a car wash with the windows rolled down. Her new boyfriend wants her to lay off, afraid that her reckless pursuit of revenge will get her killed, but there's no stopping Pam. She puts on a wet suit and swims out to assault a boat loaded with slimy gangsters, and they capture her and try to intimidate her by dragging a guy behind a boat, but she doesn't scare -- or give up -- so easily. This isn't bad (hey, it's got Pam Grier in it, how bad can it be?) but director William Girdler has a tough act to follow, trying to match Jack Hill's work with Pam. Despite some good action scenes, this feels watered down when you stack it up to Coffy or Foxy Brown. Still, if you've already seen both of those, it's more Pam!

Shrooms (C, 2007) . Note to filmmakers, and pay attention because this is really, really important: cameras are for recording images, and they need light to do their thing. When you film in the dark with a blue filter, all I can really say is thanks for the fucking radio show. College-kid idiots vacation to Ireland with the purpose of doing some magic mushrooms. While they’re brewing them their Irish guide tells them a horror story about ghostly masked slashers that supposedly haunt the woods they’re going to trip in. Some of them sneak a dose ahead of time and spend the night hallucinating. A guy encounters a talking cow, then fucks something (apparently the filming-in-the-darkness-loving filmmakers decided that much of their movie was none of our business) through a car window and gets his cock torn off. Or not. Or maybe he’s attacked by vines. Or possibly nothing happens to him, because he’s fine after a while. Having a girl who ate mushrooms that allow her to (maybe) see the future doesn’t exactly help maintain a narrative structure, especially when the director lacks the skill to build one in the first place. When dawn comes you think you’re getting a reprieve from all the blue-filter shit, but suddenly it’s dark again. The tripping people wander around the woods trying to find some missing asshole, and they run into inbred primitives who like sex with animals. Then they wander around some more, and a guy in a hood stalks them (or not; anytime something starts happening the movie goes somewhere else, or someone has a vision, and it’s back to wandering around again). If the movie had been lit it might have convinced me to try to work with it, but since so much of it looks like glimpses of a basement, straining to make anything out of it is just tedious. Too bad, because an impaired-people-on-’shrooms-getting-terrorized-in-the-middle-of-nowhere scenario would have a lot of potential... IF the filmmakers had decided to actually do something with it. Instead, this is basically a radio play about people calling out each other’s names, while blue-tint Rorschach patterns play on a black background. Is that a girl running through the woods... or a vase, or a cat? I guess it all depends on how much you hate your mother. Me, I hate the motherfuckers who wasted a good premise with a for-shit execution.

This is the talking cow scene, which is all anyone really seems to have liked about this movie...

Telephone Operator (B&W, 1937) Here's an artifact for you movie archaeologists to dig up, a disaster movie (and romantic comedy) centered on the role that actual human beings used to play in telecommunications, and the importance of telephones in dealing with emergency situations. A couple of switchboard girls initially have nothing more dangerous to deal with than a couple of corny guys flirting with them. The movie wants us to see these two as a couple of happy-go-lucky lovable wiseguy types, but they really act like jerks; not only do they persist in unwanted flirting that goes past obnoxiousness into harassment (at one point one of the girls tells them something that sounds like "You two should go hire some whores!" - I don't know what she's actually saying, but that would definitely be an appropriate response to their behavior), they also adopt Southern accents when they talk to black people, and they goad little boys into fistfights so they can watch. They get jobs as linemen, stringing phone wire, and use testing the lines as an excuse to annoy the girls some more. It bothers one of them so much that she traps one of them on the roof of a house during a thunderstorm, in hopes he'll catch pneumonia. Then one of the operators sees her boss's wife sneaking off to a mountain cabin with a boyfriend, and she steps in to stop her from ruining her marriage, even though it costs her her job. Then all that intrigue gives way to another kind in the last ten minutes, when a huge storm causes a dam to break and flood the valley (real footage of a San Fernando Valley flood is used effectively). Even though she's been fired, our brave heroine breaks into the phone office to keep the lines of communication open, risking her life to make calls and warn everyone even as the office is about to be washed away. Fast-moving, hour-long little B-movie oddity that's way outdated but still worth a look.

Here's a music video for some ancient folk song somebody made out of flood footage he lifted from Telephone Operator... it's as close as I can get.

Wild Panther (C, 1984) aka Ye Bao. Confusing but action-packed kung fu movie set in modern times and leaving no plot point unmuddled as the criminal underworld tries to find a missing list. A dying man passes a paper (not a list but a map) to our remarkably non-handsome hero, who used to be part of a special commando squad called The Wild Panthers. One of the chief bad guys lost a hand to him (and had it replaced with the ever-popular metal one) during the war and wants revenge for that, as well as the list. The Wild Panther guy has a cute girlfriend who's also a great fighter, and who spouts some of the most incredibly awkward dubbed dialogue imaginable. Things don't go very well for our hero, whose wife and child are kidnapped and murdered by the criminals, and then his girlfriend is raped, beaten, and injected with truth serum. He puts on his old military uniform (which disappears in some subsequent scenes) and goes on a vengeance hunt, but he also ends up beaten and shot full of truth serum. Lucky for him the bad guys are the type who never kill the heroes when they have the chance. Even with all the underworld to deal with, he still takes the time to fight one of the good guy cops just to have another fight in the film. The bad guys (most notably a guy with long hair and the top of his head shaved -- I guess they think the "Ben Franklin" is a cool look in Asia) are sometimes pretty effective, and other times are Keystone Kops clowns. With weird jungle traps, an obvious dummy thrown off of a building (when falling to your death, always stand at attention!), music from The Amityville Horror and an instrumental disco version of Rod Stewart's "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy," and lots of gunfire and explosions mixed in with the kung fu. The dubbing is worse than usual, and the intricacies of the plot are incomprehensible. Has good talent (including Wong Tao and Eagle Han), and was directed by Lee Tso Nam, so it should be better than it is. Too bad the movie wouldn't let us know what it's about, because it looks kinda interesting...


A Holiday of Sorts...

So, it's 20 April. The noteworthy 4/20. And there will be some very stupid things happening today in the name of marijuana. I wonder how the animating spirit of the plant feels about all of the silliness, like this bud dressd as a Christmas tree + those t-shirts that beg cops to hassle the wearers. Anyway...

Known to Man since at least the Third Millennium BC, marijuana has been cultivated + processed for use the world over as hashish, hash oil, bhang, kief... as well as the plain ol' buds + shake so familiar to most suburban Americans.

Today would be the smart day to organize Legalization Rallies here in the US, but, of course, the people who were in charge of that prob'ly got too high to remember to organize... Oh, well. What a waste; I think that'd be the kick in the pants that the US economy could use (lots of taxable sales, lots of new employees for the companies that'd need to grow, harvest, process, market + distribute) + would put the lie to the 'gateway drug' theory (in reality, pot is a gateway drug only when sold by a drugdealer who'd much rather see customers spend all of their money + be frantic to do so, and therefore introduces said customers to cocaine, crack, meth, etc., with their higher addiction factors + health risks...).

So, do your own little part to appease + honor the spirit of marijuana today: smoke some if you gots, have a nice nature walk, do something nice for a friend (or a stranger), take a nap, listen to some amazing musicks... whatever works for you!


R.I.P. Peter Steele... it shoulda been Bobby!

Shame about Petrus T. Ratajczyk, a.k.a. Peter Steele. From that picture Igor posted, looks like rigor mortis is already setting in in some areas. Yoiks! Peter Steele, indeed! Want mustard with that? I heard that after that issue came out, one of his bandmates informed him that Playgirl mostly sells to gay guys, which got Pete a new fanbase that he wasn't really looking for, which resulted in the song "I Like Goils." Not the most open-minded guy, Pete, but, nobody's perfect. He definitely wasn't, but he never bullshitted anybody about that.

I do hate that this guy is gone (even though he’s always seemed to kind of want it, if his songs are in any way truthful, and they’ve certainly always rung that way), because I’ve been listening to him since the first Carnivore record. Carnivore was one of my favorite bands back in the day, and still are, really. To this day I can’t think of Russia without Pete’s Brooklynized “Das vidanya, mothafuckas!” going through my head, and every time Catholicism comes up I hear “Stand up straight, stomach in, shoulders back, sound off! Ang-ga-ree, Neur-o-tic Cath-o-lics!” And “Monkey wrench in my hand/ In my groin a swollen gland/ Tonight perform brain surgery/ Or some gynecology/ Clockwork Orange fast becoming/ Rampant street gangs overrunning/ After darkness waging war/ What do they keep living for? / Sex and violence!” are lyrics I remember well enough to sing in the shower. That may not speak well of my mental state, but, ‘tiz true. And who else in metal ever had a creative vocabulary enough (I had to turn off my spellcheck just to make Microsoft allow me to type some of these words) to come up with things like:

“The atom germ wars of centuries gone
Precipitate genetic mutation
Social degeneration
Creatures formed of malignant science
The children of technology
Plutonium anthropology
Who will cleanse the mess left by the past?
Who will expurgigate the sacred cytoplast?
To rid the earth of abomination
I proclaim my nomination as the...
Thermonuclear warrior!
Strands of malformed DNA strangulate our future
Chromosomal executioners
Recessive traits for life forms emerge through evolution
Facilitate cellular revolution"


"Jesus Hitler
Adolph Christ
Is this the second coming?
Or the fourth reich?
His mother a nun raped by a Nazi
At the end of the second great war
Gave birth to a son who would change the future
For better or worse he's not sure
I am what should never have been
The ultimate abomination
Have I returned to save the Jews
Or to destroy them?
Hear me my fellow Nazolics
Come join the neo-theofascists
Keep der race pure, practice eugenics
And swear to the holy Swazifix!
Rrrrreich und roll..."

I also liked Type O Negative quite a helluva bit, especially the fact that they never took themselves seriously. Who else would name their greatest hits album "The Least Worst Of"? Or put a commentary track on their DVD where they mock their own lyrics ("I want some chicken... I want it fried! Everything fried!") and pretend to be sobbing during parts where Pete's singing some unhappy-personal-relationship lyrics?

Even though Pete was a scary-lookin’ guy (any 6’8” NYC garbageman is going to be imposing, especially if they’re on antidepressants and were known to start songs with “This is the United States of America and you’ve got the right to hate who you want, so let’s start bustin’ heads!”), served time at Rikers and a psychiatric hospital for drug possession, and was prone to doing odd things (he signed a record contract with his own blood and semen), I know a guy who got to hang out with for quite a while after a show once, and said he was one of the nicest, friendliest people you’d ever want to meet, and very appreciative of anyone liking his bands. I was a little bummed that Pete used to be an outspoken atheist but then re-discovered Catholicism during a moment of weakness when he was in drug rehab… but, eh, like I said, nobody's perfect.

Ah well... shit happens. Last week, Bruce Roehrs, and now this. I guess it's true, Everything Dies.

Funny appearance on Jerry Springer ("I'm less miserable.")

Who's gonna tell this man he can't wear a headband?

Day Tripper, negativized...

Anyway, off to the drive-in.

Babysitter, The (B&W, 1969) A cute blonde babysitter named Candy invites her hippie friends over for a party as soon as the people who hired her leave. Not only does she never check in on the kid, I don't think they even bothered to cast the role; they just show a blanket in a crib and say it's an eight-month-old. The dad (a prosecutor and sexually-frustrated husband whose wife doesn't seem to want to spend time with him other than bridge and dinner parties) gives Candy a ride home. They stop off for tacos and she tries to seduce him, and he's so bored and lonely that it's not difficult to do. Meanwhile, some violent bikers are plotting a way to get a member of their gang off of death row. They decide to try blackmailing the prosecutor with evidence that his daughter is a lesbian, but then Candy shows up and provides them some higher octane blackmail material by making out with him in the pool, then bed. It shouldn't even work since he wasn't doing much to keep the affair a secret, taking Candy dancing in clubs and such, but he's spooked. Candy and some evil friends come up with a plan to make the blackmail problem disappear. Nudity-packed black and white Crown International drive-in fodder is better than you'd think, since it does have a plot and isn't just softcore padding, and they even take the time to do a little character-building (such as the prosecutor's discouraging efforts to avoid the affair by trying to patch things up with his wife), and occasional forays into artiness.

Best Friends (C, 1975) Richard Hatch and his ugly buddy Pat get out of the army and travel cross-country to California in a camper with their girlfriends, with plans to marry them when they get there. But Pat soon proves unable to handle that kind (or any other kind) of responsibility, and he tries to talk Hatch into running off with him to live out some Easy Rider fantasy on little Kawasakis. Hatch is in love with his girl and has a truck-driving job waiting on him, though, so he doesn't go for the idea. So, Pat tries to break Hatch up with his girlfriend so he can have him all to himself. He tells her that Hatch is a womanizer, and even tries to get her bitten by a rattlesnake, and even tries to force himself on her. Hatch has soon had enough of the psychotic Pat and things turn violent. They try to reconcile things but the situation appears destined for tragedy. Odd, junky drive-in fodder from Crown International has a lot of filler and some weird character motivations (Hatch knew Pat since childhood -- wouldn't there have been some previous hint that Pat's unbalanced? Or, did Pat's injured hand wreck his psyche?) The movie's not deep enough to really explore its own premise very much, even though the existential ending makes you think it had some ambition to be art.

Hustler Squad (C, 1976) An unorthodox army major is given a tough WWII assignment -- kill a bunch of top-rank Japanese officers when they gather at a whorehouse for some R&R. He decides that the only wa to accomplish this without making it a suicide mission is to infiltrate the whorehouse with prostitutes he's trained as killers, and have them assassinate the officials while troops invade other points on the island. He rounds up his squad anywhere he can find them - prisons, brothels - until he finds women desperate enough to take on the mission. He finds four women (none particularly stunning, though one does resemble Traci Lords a bit) and trains them; most of the training is just a lot of running, since everybody already knows how to do that and it'd be less challenge to the cast. After almost getting sidetracked, they parachute in, join the busload of prostitutes, and go to the big officer-brothel (under the guidance of a fat Japanese guy who says nothing but "okay okay okay.") One admiral is actually a nice guy, and surprisingly the other Japanese aren't depicted as evil sadists the way they usually are in these movies -- they're just goofy, playful drunks. The prostitutes are horny so they decide to do the killing after the sex, and premature ejaculation kind of makes motivation easier. One guy gets strangled by thighs, and another is electrocuted in a bathtub. The rest of the island is raided in a capgun rampage. Despite the exploitative title and plotline and being from Crown International, this film could almost get a PG, since there's hardly any nudity and the sex is sub-softcore. Basically, a cheap, junky, dismissible action flick that doesn't show up in a lot of even the skangier movie reference guides but will be hailed by critics as an innovative work of genius if Tarantino ever remakes it.

Link to radio spots and poster art.

Van Nuys Blvd. (C, 1979) A creature that's a cross between Chevy Chase and a lizard, which is called a "Bobby" (get some eyebrows, Bobby!) complains that his pretty girlfriend is naked too often (oh, it's just terribly annoying when gorgeous girls won't put their clothes on) and is always wanting to screw him (she's just a pest!). He's fed up with his small town and decides he'll never amount to anything unless he goes to Van Nuys Blvd. and drives his van up and down the street all night, which is apparently how a Bobby measures success. So he drives all the way there, awkwardly orders a "hambuhduh" (get a tongue, Bobby!) and is ambush-screwed by the waitress who brings it to him (which probably annoys him since it keeps him from driving up and down the street). Then a bunch of highschool douchebags (say, that's a good name for the sequel!) trash some cars, for humor. Ha ha, so funny! Nothing cracks me up like the potential for difficult insurance claims! And who knew watching two people simultaneously eating the same hamburger wouldn't be sexy? At all? Some goober gets picked up, fucked, and then released back into the wild by a biker chick with glitter eyeshadow. Bobby gets tossed in jail for drag-racing his van when he's caught by the notorious Officer Zass (say it aloud, it's one of the cleverest jokes in the movie), who tries to bust every Van Nuys cruiser he can trump something up on. When they get out, Bobby and his new friends (including a guy named Chooch, and a girl named Moon, who has a chooch) go to Magic Mountain, to ward off a plot from happening. They watch girls dance (put your scalp on straight, Bobby!). People make out, get drunk, and do things that I'm guessing someone thought were funny, such as falling off of things. Bobby's hairline recedes visibly during the film. Girls who run their fingers through it probably get a souvenir to take home. They race go-karts and Chooch gets purse-slapped by an old lady, because old ladies committing assault is fuh-nee, buddy! Officer Zass (say it out loud again, make the most of it!) gets handcuffed to his cop car by a girl and a biker robs him. Eventually he almost dies of exposure, and it's heee-larious! The kids play air hockey, pinball, primitive video games, volleyball, and frisbee just to kill some time running the gamut of everything you could do in the 70's besides eat hamburgers and fuck. A pig gets loose on a beach and a fat guy chases it. So funny! Some movies would stop right there and say that, alone, was enough entertainment, but not Van Nuys Blvd., the movie that cares, because it tops itself by including a scene where one of the guys gets his mouth stuck open trying to eat a too-big sandwich, and then a guy who looks just like Borat gets his thumb stuck in a bowling ball. Ha ha! Imagine such a thing happening! A girl sneaks a boy home in drag so her parents won't care if he spends the night, and her dad tries to make out with him, even kissing him on the bottom. This is perhaps the only actually humorous situation in the film. Bobby and his new girlfriend Moon plan to drag race their vans again. And, lo, they do. Crown International drive-in fodder has no plot to distract the audience from their groping, but it's not badly shot and doesn't really get boring because there's enough goofy shit happening to keep it moving, even if there's no point to any of it. Lots of bad disco music, and a really, really slaps-you-across-the-eyes-with-the-stupid-of-it stupid ending. Most of the guys in this film look like they're in the early stage of acromegaly. You could watch this movie, or you could just run around with your pants off for a while screaming "VAN NUYS!" It'd be pretty much the same experience.

The theme song is kinda catchy as horrible disco-funk goes...

Cannibal? Can YOU Ball?!?

Heard about a new recipe for Spelt Tagliatelle, included in the Australian Penguin Press cookbook The Pasta Bible, which includes sardines, prosciutto, salt and "freshly ground black people."

While I think that the new trend toward culinary experimentation are wonderful, this may be taking things a bit too far... do haveta appreciate the insistence on freshness, though, right?

Video-Movie-Film-Camera Produces Amazing Results!

As a general rule, I am not a filmgoer. The combination of crowds of unknown-to-me humans, high prices + sticky carpets is a general turnoff, along with the troublesome issue I have with being near-narcoleptic when in a darkened room with air-conditioning and a comfy chair...

I do like watching em at home, if they're of interest, though I often have to break up the watching into a coupla sessions (...remember the narcolepsy). And I just discoverd that two films are due for theatrical  release on 18 June 2010, both with some excellent source material to mine (or, possibly - sadly - ruin...). Let's hope they don't suck; they both seem to have a lot of potential...

The Killer Inside Me
Starring Casey Affleck, this won't be the first filmd version of Jim Thompson's most gripping novel, which crawls into the head of Lou Ford, a small-town sociopathic deputy sheriff in Texas. An earlier version starring Stacy Keach came out in 1976. If this is as dark as the novel, it'll be a fuckin' winnr.

Plus, it also stars the ever-lovely Jessica Alba...

Stacy Keach is a baaaad man... It's been mentiond that Thompson himself did not care for this film. Maybe he'll zombie up for the premiere of the new one + let us know what he thinks. (I'm betting it'll be something like "bbbraaaaaainnnzzzzzzzzz... grrururggggghh!")

Jonah Hex
Starring Josh Brolin, this one is based on the DC character, a drifting bounty hunter with a disfiguring facial scar who roams the post-Civil War wild West. The comic was often kickass, but there was also an updating that flung Hex into the future that left a sour taste... At it's best, Jonah Hex was a powerful image+text reimagining of the Spaghetti Western genre. Hex is an antihero much like Clint Eastwood's classic Man With No Name, that character itself drawn wholecloth from Toshiro Mifune's classic ronin in Kurosawa's Yojimbo.

...and - again with the fuckin' casting - this 'un also stars the striking Megan Fox.

Maybe I'll get to the moobiehaus after all this June...

Listen (Oo Ahh Oo), Do You Wanna See a Playlist (Oo Ahh Oo)?

Another interesting stretch of musicks, giftd to me during my Saturday delivery route by the Shuffleuppagis inside my iPod. Some comments follow.

The Flaming Lips covering Shine On... is, of course, excellent, + reminds me that the physical version (the digital version came out late last year) of the 'Lips + Stardeath and White Dwarfs Dark Side of the Moon should be out anytime now. If you're into the whole "things" thing, the vinyl would definitely be a cool "thing" to have.

Circle of Wolves is typical Phantom Tolbooth, though from the later Power Toy, which is considerd a less potent distillation of the Daylight in the Quiet Zone / One-Way Conversation era PT. Don't take that to be anything other than a subtle hint to go get those earlier releases... there ain't no shitty Phantom Tollbooth rekkids!

The Curse from Bison B.C. is a solid rockr from these British Columbia-based stoner metallrs earlier album Earthbound... their new one - Dark Ages - should be available right now. Go get it!

Van Buren by Arms + Sleepers is from the 2009 split (with The American Dollar) EP From the Inland Sea. I checkt out the EP cuzza TA$, then went back + scored the earlier Matador from Arms + Sleepers. Good stuff!

...and that's my iPod RoundUp for this weekend. Hope you find something interesting to check out!


Type O-Negative + Carnivore Reunion Tours Cancelled...

So, it's official... singer-person Peter Steele has passed away at the age of 48, from what appears to be heart failure. An interesting singer with a long musickal history. Prior to Type O-Negative, Steele was rockin out with early thrash-metallers Carnivore. Sad to see another rocker pass this year...

Gather your thoughts, fans, + remember him like I will...

Nekkid in Playgirl...

Songs About Fucking Steve Albini!

So, is this gonna end up being the funniest fuckin' parody album title + cover this year? Looks that way to me, bitches...

Don't have an opinion about the Kid 606 album, aside from the spot-on cover + title, but the original Songs About Fucking is a post-punk classic from before Steve Albini was everybody's first choice for indierawk producer (which means that Spot, who did the engineering on alla them SST rekkids by Dinosaur, Jr., Sonic Youth, Husker Du, Meat Puppets, etc..., was the indie producer of the day). And what a good day it was... Sure, Albini recorded Nirvana's In Utero and some other late 80s/early 90s tasties, but Spot was behind the best of the best of the great punk/post-punk of the early- to mid-1980s, so I'll come to your haus + hammerpunch you in your goddamnd clavicle if you talk shit on Spot. Or I might just write something poopy about ya... Whatever...


Red Sparowes Live...

So, last Tuesday was the release date for the new Red Sparowes rekkid The Fear Is Excruciating, But Therein Lies the Answer. The rekkid is excellent, and is sitting comfortably right now as my favorite of '10 so far. The live show that night at the Bottletree here in Birmingham was equally super-duper...

The opening acts were:
Mr. Gnome (interesting 2pc rock; strippt down + with she-vox) - I just wasn't that into their set, prob'ly cuz I was still relatively sober...
Doomriders (way metal + tight as hell...) - the guitar-playing singer was nice at the merch table, + screamd like he was bein' skinnt while onstage. The bassist also did some solid singing + the guitar leads (sometimes twin'd out b/w both guitars) were very tasty. Their newest rekkid Darkness Come Alive (out Sept'09) was mixd + all by Kurt Ballou (of the band Converge + Godcity Studio), who also handled recording the Young Widows another waaaay heavy band that was here in Birmingham opening for some killer post-rock/post-metal bigwigs when Russian Circles came thru late last year...

and then came the main act:

Red Sparowes (fookin ruled)
bass. guitar. guitar. guitar. pedal steel guitar. keys. drums. no vox.
Amazing multimedia show, with suitably trippy filmicks washing around behind the band, who workt their musickal magicks with lots of shimmer-y delays + echoes. Aptly enough, the film playing on the screen that comes down between stage + crowd between bands was Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii (sadly soundless), setting an appropriate tone for a solid set of psychedelic musical exploration.

Check out one of their live clips (sadly, not from this show/tour; it seems to feature an earlier line-up):

Don't miss out on seeing them on this tour!


This Shit Will Make You Behave Badly: (just) some of the best of Bruce Roehrs

Hola, amigos. I know it’s been a long time since I rapped at ya, but I’ve been busy stealing shtick from columnists on The Onion. Nothin’ much in the inspiration-bin this week, so I’ll just knock out a couple of things.

First, I saw Ug, The Caveman Musical this week, and it ruled! Kicker Of Elves was in it and did a bang-up job, wish ya could’ve seen it. He even got to play some guitar, way before they were even invented. Now that’s showmanship! If we’re lucky maybe he’ll blog with some backstage stories when it’s done its run (I drop hints!), ’cuz I bet a lotta funny stuff happened, given the crazy sets, almost-nekid folks, and smoke blowing around and stuff. Very cool, I’m very glad I went.

And now, some bad news. I just learned this week that a major punk-rock icon died… and I’m not talking about Malcolm McLaren, who was pretty much of a silly git who was interested in fashion way more than music. Nope, I’m talking the longest-running MaximumRockNRoll columnist Bruce Roehrs, the guy who reviewed all the (non-Nazi) skinhead music. He was my favorite columnist (and it’s tough to beat out George Tabb), and I know I mentioned (and tried to copy) his distinctive, bombastic style of reviewing here once. Bruce was hella-fun to read. Not only was the music he recommended reliably good and his descriptions of it dead-on, but his enthusiasm was infectious... so much so it was lovably hilarious.

His picture at the head of his column had him looking calm, mild, even rather kindly-looking, while the wildly-contrasting prose was a extremely funny stream of completely uninhibited, excited, profane, sometimes even threatening hyperbole about bands and music. It always reminded me a little of Herbert Kornfeld in The Onion, but serious. There was no pretention or art in his writing, really, but he still had a gift for it. Reading him, you always got the feeling he was talking directly to you, and probably holding a fistful of your shirt while he did it. He could make more of a point about music by just saying the word "Fuck!" than I can with ten paragraphs about a CD. He loved lyrics as much as I do (usually half his content was lyrics, which is actually pretty useful in album-buying from my words-oriented viewpoint). He usually started columns with “You fucking punks and skins are in luck!” and ended them with “See you fucks at the bar!” From everything I’ve read about him, he was also a helluva nice guy and a real class act.

Anyway, Bruce never failed to make me laugh, but also never steered me wrong on any album he suggested. I’m not sure what he died of (he was 59 years old, but worked as a carpenter so he was probably in pretty good shape), but it sounds like natural causes. Anyway, I’m gonna really miss reading him every month. Just as a tribute-thingie (and because it’s hilarious!) I’m going to go through some of my old MMR’s and copy a few lines out of some of his columns here, just so you can see why I liked him so much. Since Bruce understood printing lyrics to promote/ pay tribute to things he loved, I don’t think he’d mind me quoting him heavily. Hope not, anyway, ‘cuz this guy‘s record-reviewing was so fun I just gotta share it.


“Fuck! You lucky fucks! 86 MENTALITY, one of the hardest of the hardcore/skin/street rock bands to grace the airwaves this decade, has released a compilation on Grave Mistake Records. … For you who are not familiar with 86 MENTALITY, this hardcore band crushes your skull the second the music starts. This music is highly recommended by Mr. Carl Cordova, renowned hardcore enthusiast. The singer, Mr. Steve Clark has one of those rough, deep, guttural vocals that fucking rips your ears off! We’re talking gargles with broken glass and whiskey here; on top of these intimidating vocals are ferocious guitar leads by Matt Moffatt. The bass thunder is provided by Eric Judycki with excellent drumming by Jason Halal, anchoring the whole sound. This is great shit!
The sound that 86 MENTALITY unleashes on you is unspeakable brutal. This is not for the weak of heart or mind -- this is not recommended for you casual warped tour dribble dicks. This is hardcore for aggressive males who like to play rough. The lyrics are equally unapologetic.


Side B of this excellent split EP introduces you to MARCHING ORDERS from Australia who cranks out two fucking Oi! hammers for you skins and punks. This shit is powerful chugging Oi!/street music, with lots of bile and bristles and yet the songs remain catchy and tuneful.


Holy shit! TKO Records from Orange County, California, USA has a raging split CD for you troublemakers! … Next up you have the KRUM BUMS here to ruin your pathetic little world. The servants of Satan lurch right in “In Sickness We Prevail” with desperate vocals and masterful guitar skills. The band sings along to punctuate the song. Song two by the KRUM BUMS is “Misery.” The evil spell these fucks operate under is thicker than ever! The goddamn vocals are those of a man possessed! The guitar player weaves an inescapable net of darkness and doom around you. Happy-go-lucky punks, you are out of luck!


TOMMY AND THE TERRORS polishes you off with “Avoid the Noid!” This record rocks your world and makes you think -- what a novel combination! Job well done, TOMMY AND THE TERRORS! Well done TKO Records!
Greg and THE BOILS from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania have a fistful of melodic Oi! And street punk ready for you cretins! TKA Records has released THE BOILS twenty-five song opus From The Bleachers for your holiday entertainment!


KYRE & DUUNARIT from Finland have got a fucking outrageous dose of dangerous rock and roll for you fucks! This perverse skinhead EP has nine socially unacceptable songs that are both melodic and threatening! Since this is sung in Finnish, American skins will have to just fucking go along with it. The gruff vocals combined with the brutal guitar/bass/drum assault will have you tapping your boot on the bar-rail. The enthusiasm is quite clear. These fuckers actually know how to play their instruments! Fucking great!


Fuck yes! HELLSTOMPER continues to pummel you through O.N.S. about a woman who betrayed her man, and “Mexas” about a hot love affair with a beautiful woman -- “She took me to a graveyard and stood namked in the night/ When I looked into her coal black eyes I saw the fires of hell burn bright.” Yeah! HELLSTOMPER can really turn a phrase!


Attention you fucks! News from the Confederacy of Scum headquarters: ANTiSEEN, BEFORE I HANG and JOE BUCK YOURSELF cut an ugly swathe across Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Arkansas and the hinterlands! With Messers. Clayton and Young at the helm, ANTiSEEN stormed across the southland, adding three new destructo rock locations to their resume. For the first time, the purveyors of the most dangerous rock ‘n’roll in the United States of America have taken their poison to the heartland of the South. … The San Antonio stop included a respectful tour of the Alamo at 3am in the morning; surprisingly the federal marshals were very accommodating of the members of ANTiSEEN when they wanted to visit the revered location at such an unusual hour.


Fuck Yes! DEEP SLEEP has emerged again as a force to be reckoned with! These melodic/destructo fucks are bent on turning modern music on its ear! Nothing is clear. Nothing is in sync. Nothing gels as its supposed to! This punk rock starts and stops at inappropriate times -- this makes it that more exciting! This is discordant, out of kilter punk! You need this world of shit EP!


Fuck! TIME TO ESCAPE! These maniacs are completely out of touch with reality! Their music is steeped in the juices of Satan and his minions on the “Cost of Living”EP! These cretins howl and leave behind a noisy mess that will make you feel very uncomfortable. TIME TO ESCAPE has accomplished their mission! The fans are extremely uncomfortable now! The five songs on “The Cost of Living” EP all clock in at under two minutes. It does not require a long ballad for TIME TO ESCAPE to make its point!


Hey skinheads! Listen up! A welcome reissue from TKO Records is on the street this month -- a CD reprising the Clockwork Orange Horror Show EP originally put out as a double seven inch by Vulture Rock Records in 1995. Holy crap! This fucking material has stood the test of time! … Song two is “You Better Beware” with a chorus that cautions the young skinheads as they venture out. Song three drops the mother fuckin’ bomb on you punks and skins! “War On The Streets” is still a staple at TEMPLARS shows today -- this song ranks up there in the pantheon of TEMPLARS songs that light the short fuse in the crowd -- the kids go fucking crazy! Go to a TEMPLARS show to see for yourself. Every single punk and skin will rush to the lip of the stage and sing every word with the fist in the air! Now that’s great entertainment! … Song five is “Teenage Warning” -- a cover song selected from the work of one of the flag bearers of anti-fascist skinhead music, THE ANGELIC UPSTARTS. This version is extremely powerful and draws a political line in the sand early in the TEMPLARS career. There can be no doubt where the TEMPLARS stand on racist/Nazi skins. These individuals will simply not be tolerated.


Hohnie Records from German has a fucking great EP out for you fucks right now! This Finnish punk band features male and female vocals and this little tramp blisters the planet!


Hey punk! Pay attention! Those evil fucks with the unrepentant metal guitars, THE HOOKERS, are coming blasting into your house to destroy the tranquility!


Go see HELLSHOCK when they come to your town! You will be reduced to quivering protoplasm.


SKITKIDS from Sweden have a fucking skull-crushing new EP available for you punks! This raging hardcore 7” is entitled Valkomna Till Paradiset and the moment the needle touches down on the wax, you will be up thrashing your boots off with your fist in the air. Great shit!


Holy fuck! LOGIC PROBLEM from Carolina has a seven-inch out that will demolish your little pea-brain! Daniel (ex-CROSSLAWS) and his top quality Sorry State Records label have brewed up four songs that damn near tear your ears off! LOGIC PROBLEM comes to destroy everything in their path! …. This is an unbelievably powerful hardcore hammer! The beating continues with the final song, a furious thrash exercise called “Mk Ultra”! Whew! You have now been thoroughly clobbered by one of the most vicious punk bands currently performing!


Fucking look out you D-beat punks! The La Vida Es Un Mus label has a crushing new 7” for you! The ANGER BURNING “Warcharge” EP has the blistering DISCHARGE chaos that you need This EP storms the gates with the first song, “War Never Changes.” Fucking brutal! Song two on side A is called “Destruction Never Ends” and this song continues the relentless D-beat assault. ANGER BURNING sings: “Soldiers crawling and dying of toxic gas, all made up by human hands…” Those are fucking rough lyrics!


It is just as Mr. Al Quint predicted! Painkiller Records will destroy your safe suburban nightmare! The new moral threat from Painkiller is the band WASTE MANAGEMENT from Brighton, Massachusetts and the immediate environs. These straight-edge fucks are so filled with hate! It’s as if a beautiful black blossom of animosity was unfolding right before your eyes. The extremely negative attitude of WASTE MANAGEMENT is quite refreshing! The kernels of wisdoms just keep spewing from these 24 year old men. Check out “On Dead Weight.” “Talking shit is what you’re about… Don’t like it? Get fucked! There’s the door - you’re out!” Fuck yes!! On “Bad Medicine” WASTE MANAGEMENT don’t mince words: “Smoke it, drink it -- Escape from reality/ Medicate - Hide from your life / Medicate - Cover it up/ Medicate - mind destruction.” Yes! Do you fucks get it?


That’ll give you the fucking creeps! On this new SOCIAL CIRKLE EP the vocals soar and the guitars boil over the lip. This shit will make you behave badly. The infectious music spouts off like well-crafted journeyman punk. You soon realize that these men are seriously disturbed. The words give it away. The anguished vocals confirm your suspicions -- These are troubled individuals. You can adhere to the wisdom of Mr. Michel Bastarache: If the band is not right in the head… you will receive top-quality punk rock!


Fuck you hippie punks! BRAIN KILLER from Allston, Mass. Has unleashed a devastating demonstration cassette on you hapless fucks! … All rules were dismissed when this violent purge was harnessed!


A full-scale brain attack! The music on this demon is a chunk of black-hearted punk -- the music builds up in a crazed sort of furor. Fuck!! This band will grab you by the throat and throttle your ass! The next fistful of venomous songs will disturb you safety punks!


This shit will make you uncomfortable immediately!


Song number nine is a heart-broken song of disappointed love called “Rat’s Ass.” It would appear that the male protagonist got kicked to the curb in this relationship!


Look out fuckface! Sick Thought Reocrds presents HERE COMES TROUBLE with their new Get Fucked EP! This shit is so raw, so fucking primitive, you might have a dangerous negative reaction! This is dirty punk for bad people with absolutely no redeeming social value! The Get Fucked EP starts off loud and boisterous with “Left At The Right.” Fucking A! This trashed-out, shouted hardcore will burn the hairs off your earlobes! When you hit song two, “The Kids Are All White,” you realize you are in deep shit! This is unhealthy guitar blasphemy sandwiched between unsavory vocals that will make you uncomfortable! You are well aware of Sick Thought Records ability to cause nausea and this EP continues the infection! The DANNY GLOVER EP demonstrated how low Sick Thought Records could stoop! We are speaking of the lowest common denominator known to mankind! Fucking balls-out rock’n’roll with a capital R!!! Song three is “Fuck You… I Have Enough Friends!” Do I need to explain the sentiment of this song to you dimwits? … The guitars boil and the vocals drag you down into the doldrums! This music is an unpleasant reality check for you suburban pop punks! There are no reassuring positive parts on this slab! … Rarely has a band cranked out so much rank pessimism on such a short EP! HERE COMES TROUBLE commands the superior skill to make the listeners unhappy! This is a fucking great record from a label that is determined to undermine any false optimism that American youth might still have. Get this EP or suffer the consequences!


I may never see Bruce at the bar, but I'll remember him whenever I listen to any Oi! that pummels me into an uncomfortable mass of protoplasm or makes me want to behave badly. And it'll be a long time before I stop looking for him when I open an issue of MMR.


Quality Shit I've Heard So Far This Year... or "So Far, So Good: 2010 in Music, 1st Quarter"

As this year progresses, I find that there've already been some pretty good musick releases in 2010. After spending a good bit of time determining my Best Music of 2009 list thru that November, I worried that perhaps last year's bumper crop of kick-ass would be followed up by a dryspell. And I was - thankfully - wrong about that! Since most of my life is spent working in my underground lair or driving, I get lots of unbroken listening time without too many distractions. Some stuff you like might be missing... I might not've gotten to it yet, so lemme know what else is rockin' the One-Zero... here's what's tickled my ears so far:

The Album Leaf - A Chorus of Storytellers
The American Dollar - Atlas
Fourtet - There Is Love in You
To Rococo Rot - Speculation
Bonobo - Black Sands

...I'd recommend any of these to my post-rock + electronica listenin' friends, who are prob'ly already aware of each of em, as all of these artists have been releasing records for years... I'm most fond of the new ones from The American Dollar + The Album Leaf. Still top-notch for fans of the earlier werks, but with enough maturation in sound + scope (+ production) to remain compelling. Excellent music for late-night open highway driving...
Download the "Second Sight" MP3, a freebie offa The American Dollar's Atlas!

...and the HEAVIER STUFF:
Red Sparowes - The Fear Is Excruciating, But Therein Lies the Answer
    Consistently impressive with their ability to craft powerful tracks that develop in intensity + depth, offering up beautiful soundscapes built on the fundamental vocabulary of (post) metal (+ pedal steel) + the scope of a concept album or filmscore.

Mugstar - Sun, Broken...
White Hills -
White Hills
    Wow. I'd only found these bands when Trensmat released the Sonic Attack series of split 7" singles of current bands doing Hawkwind covers (late last year). Stony-as-hell space rock at its best, vocals that don't overpower the musicks... little sonic bombs 'splodin' behind my eyes.
Check out the new Mugstar at Discogs!
Preview the new White Hills at the ThrillJockey website!

Still on the fence about these last few, though; you oughtta give em a listen anyway + then make a case for / ag'in em here...
The Dillinger Escape Plan - Option Paralysis (I like this one, but it doesn't seem to be a development forward in the growth of the band's sound, just more of the same.)
Dead Meadow - Three Kings (it's so no-frills that the songs either cut to the bone or fall flattr than my jokes)
High Places - High Places vs. Mankind (I sure do like the drums / percussion on this'un, though... + the lovely album cover)
Errors - Come Down with Me

So, now you've got a few new rekkids to listen to while you do whatever else there is to do besides listen to musick...