Saturday, May 19, 2012

Bonnie "Prince" BIlly - "I See A Darkness" video

Here's a new promotional video from the inimitable Bonnie "Prince" Billy, a re-interpretation of his early "hit", "I See A Darkness", from Bonnie's upcoming EP, "Now Here's My Plan". I like it. You will, too.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Paul Barker - "Fix This!" CD

Packaged with the Ministry "FIX" documentary film, or available as a download on it's own, this solo work by the longtime Ministry bassist, programmer, and co-producer is a breath of fresh air. Not to mention it features well-done collaborations with past Ministry members who were long ago estranged from the band due to tensions, egos, drug addictions, or some combination of the aforementioned. We get Barker collaborating with old friends like Ogre and Chris Connelly, plus a remix by Maynard Keenan's Puscifer, and an appearance by Barker's post-punk band, USSA. Beginning with the surprisingly commercial rock track "Victory", featuring teen actress Taylor Momsen, the album then diverts itself with "reSpite", a creepy collab with Ogre (and Skinny Puppy producer Mark Walk). "Heavy Water" is a moody and cinematic track that uses Chris Connelly's Scottish baritone to great effect, and his other track, the epic "Evangelical Sound Barrier", begs for further work from the duo. And although "Fix This!!!" ends with some less-impressive mixes and tracks using samples of Ministry's "Psalm 69", the success of the first 8 cuts are enough the recommend this strong and heavy release of post-industrial rock from one of the masters. More, please! Gigantic Pictures

Ministry - "FIX" DVD

This long-awaited DVD is less a documentary of Ministry's 1996 "Sphinctour" as it is a character study of Al Jourgensen and his serious drug addictions. Painting the sometimes-genius frontman as a paranoid "rock star" whose attitude and excess is legendary, even among his fellow junkies and musician friends, 'FIX" shows what fame and money (and indulgence) can do to an intelligent, thinking, and conscientious individual. Peppering the backstage/off-stage insanity with plenty of live clips (which sound great) helps this presentation, as do the large amount of interviews with past Ministry members (namely Paul Barker, Rey Washam, Louis Svitek, and Ogre), friends, tourmates and collaborators (David Yow, Trent Reznor, Jello Biafra, Maynard Keenan, and Buzz Osborne), and other hangers-on (Jonathan Davis? The babbling nonsense of Casey Chaos of Amen? What?). Anyway, aside from the many talking heads speaking of Al's addictions, we get very little insight into Ministry's history or the other members' lives. Al is the centerpiece here, and it's not a flattering portrait. Perhaps a must-see for serious Ministry fans, but casual fans will have no interest in seeing this messy side of a once-world class band. (Gigantic Pictures)

Craig Padilla - "The Heart Of The Soul" CD

Idaho-based electronic musician Padilla has been a prolific member of the ambient community for some time, and this solo album is one of understated beauty. These sensitive and melodic analogue instrumentals are delicately infused with piano, strings and percolating electronic sequences, and the effect is one of warmth and passion. Expect no ominous or dark-tinged vibes here, as Padilla is definitely going for another angle. The title track, for example, is lovely and elegant, based around a circular piano melody. "Lost In You" summons a rolling drum rhythm to accompany the piano and electronics. The expansive 13-minute "Midnight Encounter" is more mysterious and ambient, while the closer, "Divine Embrace", brings it all back down to Earth with a cloud of gauzy strings and guitar. "The Heart Of The Soul" is a gorgeous and tender album of lilting melody and fragile soundscaping. Quite enjoyable! (Spotted Peccary Music) Craig Padilla site

"Frauleins In Uniform" DVD (director: Erwin C. Dietrich)

Alternately titled "She Devils Of The SS", this 1973 Swiss sexploitation romps through a muddy storyline, but has plenty of "perks" anyway. Taking part at the end of WWII, a large amount of pretty young ladies are brought aboard the Nazi military to perform various functions, but the sex-starved (and often nude) lasses just can't keep their hands off the soldiers (or each other)! With tongues firmly in cheek, the filmmakers exhibit a plethora of breasts (and fur). Call it softcore Naziploitation perhaps, but "Frauleins In Uniform" is a fairly fun and lightweight film with solid sets and effects. And the often hammy acting is of no regard -- this is enjoyable trash cinema from a prime era. (Cheezy Flicks)

Melvins Lite - "Freak Puke" album

Adding Tomahawk/Fantomas bassist Trevor Dunn to the duo of Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover, this incarnation of the Melvins (deemed "Lite" because they are a trio, rather than the band's normal 4-piece) creates a wildly disparate din of avante-garde noise and dirty classic rock. In short, it's another fine Melvins album. Beginning with the spooky strings of "Mr. Rip Off", the album runs the gamut, from the disturbing cinematic textures of "Inner Ear Rupture" to the thick stoner rock of "A Growing Disgust". "Leon Vs. The Revolution" is a big, spliffy Sabbath-style riff-rocker, and the closing cut, "Tommy Goes Beserk" is a weird collision of "pop" elements and driving lysergia, as close to melodic as these guys choose to get. Fine, weird, and heavy sounds for the adventurous. (Ipecac) Melvins site

Big Money And The Spare Change - "God Dammit, Danny!" EP

Big Money are a young Fort Wayne, Indiana indie rock trio, and if this free 6-song download EP is any indication, their forthcoming full-length album could be something quite special. Taking elements from punk-tinged 90s grunge (ala Nirvana or Foo Fighters) and mixing it up with a fine Midwestern vibe and tight musicianship, Big Money rock with a perfect amount of swagger and slack. The title track is the definite standout, but "Scar Stories (I Know)" is nearly as strong and anthemic, as well. "Friends Like Those" is a cello-accented piece that shows these guys aspire for more than simple rock. Good stuff! Grab this download from their facebook page. Big Money facebook

"Freemasonry And The Knights Templar: Legacy Of Secrecy" DVD

This is a case of gross misrepresentation with the packaging and description, as this isn't the comprehensive and well-researched documentary it seems. What you get is 3 hours of a British talk show chat on the subject...basically 3 guests over three programs, espousing opinions (qualified or not isn't for me to say). It's a fair to poor transfer, at that, with no graphics nor documentation. It's dry, uninteresting, and most certainly a disappointment. Anyone looking at researching the history of the Freemasons and the Knights Templar should certainly look elsewhere. This one is a rip-off, pure and simple. (WWMM - World Wide Multi Media via MVD Visual)