Thursday, May 5, 2011

"Bloodsucking Nazi Zombies" DVD (director: A.M. Frank aka Jesus Franco)

Alternately known as "Oasis Of The Living Dead", this 1981 grindhouse/late-night drive-in style stinker is offered here as a shoddy VHS transfer, complete with visual distortion and noticeable audio hiss. But technicalities aside, this is a fun, but highly-flawed film.

Opening with a pair of nubile American hotties oddly traversing the African desert (resplendent in tiny shorts and tight tops), the "nazi zombies" attack. Cue the intro credits.

Anyhow, as the tale goes, a shipment of Nazi riches went missing in the African desert back during an Allied ambush. Fast forward to present day, and the son of the last living Allied soldier returns to claim the missing millions. Needless to say, there are obstacles. Director Franco (for some reason using the pseudonym A.M. Frank) has been responsible for some hideous abominations in film, but this isn't among his worst. Sure, the acting is barely adequate. The voice dubbing is, well, tolerable. The script is kinda shitty, and there are some really blatant missteps in continuity and (especially) logic.

Furthermore, I expected more breasts, gruesome zombies, and bloody gore, and this one rolls along rather slowly, but the late-70's weird atmosphere (and exotic Northern African setting), and weirder shoestring budget music (by Daniel White) make this one watchable, somehow. I'm not saying this is a good film. Far from it. But it is a curiosity, and a decent piece for serious zombie film fans. (Cheezy Flicks)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Beer Corpse - "Keg Nuts" 7"

10 songs, 11 minutes. Beer Corpse are an Aussie band who scientifically examine the correlation between gore/splattercore and, umm, beer. Or, in other words, this is an ear-clogging boat-load of drunken grindcore metal. Either way, it's a fun, if juvenile and sick set of blurry and grunty noise silliness. Me likes. (Give Praise Records)

Beer Corpsespace

Bruno Sanfilippo - "Subliminal Pulse" CD

Veteran Argentine/Spanish composer Sanfilippo here releases his debut for the American ambient label, Spotted Peccary, and it's a winner through and through.
With a penchant for gentle, natural, and fleeting ambience in the vein of Steve Roach or Robert Rich, Sanfilippo weaves receding washes of spacious sound alongside natural field recordings. And it's a wholly effective synthesis.

For example, "Alchemical Powers" reminds of a meditative journey to a rain forest, with birds, chirping frogs, and trickling water alongside what could be singing bowls and distant thunder. Beautiful! "Pulsum Sacrum" is stately and majestic, with choral strings and chimes in a similar realm to Eno's classic work. There's no better template than that.

As evocative mood music, Defilippo paints an unobtrusive portrait, and, as the title states, "Subliminal Pulse" is an ideal accompaniment for quiet reflection or reading. Highest marks. (Spotted Peccary Music)

Bruno Sanfilippo site

Armageddon Dildos - "Untergrund" CD

It's hard to believe that this German techno-industrial group was, at one time, signed to a major label in the U.S. But times change, and the group has returned (sans one founding member) with this 12-song set of electro-pop tunes with teeth.

I'll admit, even in their "heyday", Armageddon Dildos weren't taken too seriously. Their sequencer-driven electronic music was very European in feel, and their adoption of metallic guitars (on their U.S. release "Lost" in 1994) was quickly seen as an attempt to "cash in" on the emerging industrial rock trend that Nine Inch Nails and Ministry spearheaded in the 90s. Needless to say, it was a failed experiment. Their die-hard audience dropped out, and the American rock fans saw them as little more than a novelty (with a ridiculously stupid name).

Here, the Dildos return to their (almost) purely-electronic roots, with percolating sequences and slick keyboard lines. "Hedonic" is a trancy, club-worthy tune. "Bodyworker" is DAF meets plastic club music,and is as cheesy as anything from the Dildos' shaky back catalogue. Both "Gottland" and "Der Schrei" could be Rammstein's clubbier kid brother, and kicks out the heavier guitars to good (if derivative) effect. Overall, a solid, if fairly generic set of hard Euro-pop tunes. (Alfa Matrix)


Armageddon Dildos site

Creepersin - ""Faster Creepersin Kill Kill!" CD

Prolific Californian horror writer/filmmaker/musician Creep Creepersin here re-releases his 3rd studio album, originally from 2006. Joining with ladyfiend Mrs. Creep, this slice of horror-punk features Creep's croony vocals alongside trashy garage punk with B-grade, drive-in, and tongue-in-cheek monster movie references. "My Chucky Doll Came To Life" is almost touching. "I Need More Blood" is a heartfelt lament for, well, plasma. Imagine classic Misfits meeting a gothy version of the Ramones or something, and you'll be close to the bone. Fun and spunky rock, for certain. (Creepsville Entertainment)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Young Widows - "In And Out Of Youth And Lightness" CD

This Louisville act has matured beyond their brief 3 album lifespan . Beginning back in 2006 as a fairly typical hardcore act, Young Widows now amp it up with a more sinister, moody post-punk vibe. Young Widows have virtually perfected an angular dissonance, with screeching, reverb-heavy guitars, and metallic bass/drum churns to complement vocalist Evan Patterson's dark, backwoods drawl.

"In And Out Of Lightness" boasts of a muscular, tight rhythm section that recalls the mighty Jesus Lizard, with a moody, apocalyptic Killing Joke undertone. "The Muted Man" is a slow -burn seether, and "Right In The End" is a hypnotic drone mantra. "Miss Tambourine Wrist" is a dynamic thrust of bowel-shaking tectonics, and "In And Out Of Youth" closes the shades with a fatalistic, doom-laden soul-crusher. A remarkable and distinctly different kind of album, and a giant leap forward for Young Widows. Superb. (Temporary Residence)

Official website

Bob Dylan - "1990-2006 - The Never Ending Narrative" DVD

Picking up nicely where the unauthorized "Revealed" leaves off, this documentary presents a critical look at Dylan's more recent couple of decades, and his rebirth from an unkind 80s period. Kudos for the inclusion of snippets of real Dylan music, which brings better into focus the man's unmistakably unique craft.

As well, plenty of archival footage and interviews with Dylan critics and journalists show an unbiased and well-researched set of opinions and ideas regarding Dylan's evolution, from a man seemingly out of touch with the commercial music industry to re-discovering his roots and initial inspirations in the 90s. "The Never Ending Narrative" thoroughly covers this 1990 to 2006 era, and makes a strong case for Dylan being in a creative zenith, in his astoundingly active 5th decade as a songwriter and performer.

Today, Bob Dylan, at nearly 70 years of age, has regained his foothold as one of America's most treasured artists. "The Never Ending Narrative" may inspire me to re-explore his more recent works. (Chrome Dreams via MVD Visual)

Bob Dylan official site

Bob Dylan - "Revealed" DVD (director: Joel Gilbert)

This curious documentary covers Dylan's early years all the way up to his "Never Ending Tour" in 1992. HIghlighted by interviews with former band members and associates, "Revealed" provides 110 minutes of critical analysis from folks who were there. There are plenty of films and photos to illustrate and demonstrate, but one sore spot is the lack of actual Dylan music (due to licensing). So we get live footage with no audio. A minor complaint, though, as any serious Dylan fan will find this collection of opinions and remembrances interesting and engrossing. Solid work. (Highway 61 Entertainment via MVD Visual)

Bob Dylan official site