26 November 2007

Relevant to my Interests, Ep. 3

Dorothy Sebastian, who--perhaps not coincidentally--starred alongside previous girlfriends Joan Crawford and Anita Page in 1928's Our Dancing Daughters and 1930's Our Blushing Brides.

25 November 2007

The Artwork of John Lennon

I had the opportunity yesterday to view an exhibition of drawings by the famous John Lennon, appropriately entitled So This Is Xmas. I think my father's comment sums up my sentiments quite well--"Had these been done by anyone other than John Lennon, they would have been dismissed as scribbles." Much of the work present at the exhibition was of an almost childlike quality, but perhaps this is what makes it so endearing to Lennon's myriad fans. The importance of these drawings is not that they are necessarily great art, but that they represent a glimpse into the private life and mind of one of the most influential cultural icons of the twentieth century. That such a variety of age groups were in attendance at the exhibition speaks volumes about the extent of Lennon's impact on popular culture.

Also viewable at the exhibition were lyrics to several of Lennon's best-known songs, as written by the man himself. Prints of both the drawings and the lyrics were available for sale, along with some originals--the most expensive item available could be purchased for a scant $22,000.

I admit that I'm not much of a fan of The Beatles (or, for that matter, any of the various solo projects that sprouted from that band), but I can still appreciate the monumental impact that the four Englishmen with bad haircuts had on the development of popular music.

23 November 2007

The Late Thanksgiving Post

Varg Vikernes and his beloved kitty Heinrich wish you a happy Thanksgiving.

20 November 2007

Separated at Birth?

This was recently brought to my attention on the Klaus Nomi LJ community.

Gloria Swanson, from the famous final scene of Sunset Boulevard...

...and Klaus Nomi, from the cover of the album Simple Man. The resemblance is uncanny.

19 November 2007

The Art of Grimness, Ep. 2

It (also known as Tony Särkkä, the Black Metal midget), the evil genius behind Sweden's Abruptum, described by Euronymous as the "audial essence of pure black evil". That's some mighty high praise. Image originally found here.

18 November 2007

Relevant to my Interests, Ep. 2

Anita Page in period football garb on the cover of the December 1928 issue of Motion Picture magazine. Perhaps the Chicago Bears ought to give her a call. Granted, she's pushing 100 these days, but it's not as thought she could do any worse than Rex Grossman.

The Art of Grimness, Ep. 1

Euronymous, Dead and Necrobutcher of Mayhem engage in some stage blood-soaked shenanigans. Image found on Last.fm.

16 November 2007

Album art that was better than the actual Music, Ep. 2

Manowar - Gods of War (2007)

Manowar has been a mainstay of traditional Heavy Metal since their debut in 1981. This fact is certainly not lost on the band, since they've taken the liberty of crowning themselves the kings of metal, an office which they take very, very seriously. Sure it's campy as all hell, but so long as Manowar kept cranking out solid releases fans were willing to play along. Their latest opus, Gods of War, oozes with Heavy Metal cliches--warriors rippling with muscle, buxom women, swords and dragons. Sadly, the music isn't nearly as exciting. From beginning to end, Gods of War is full of the blustery hoopla we've come to expect from Manowar, only this time around it's just a wee bit too much--and at just under and hour and a quarter, it's much longer than it ought to be. But on the plus side, the album is dedicated entirely to Odin, and "King of Kings" is truly a solid song.

15 November 2007

Relevant to my Interests, Ep. 1

Joan Crawford on the set of Grand Hotel. Image mercilessly pilfered from This is Cinemelo.

13 November 2007

Shadows of The Sun

Few bands are less predictable than Ulver. Their music has ranged from the primal Black Metal of Nattens Madrigal to the idyllic Folk of Kveldssanger to the dissonant electronic experimentation of Blood Inside. Ulver continues their time-honored tradition of breaking with tradition with their latest release, Shadows of the Sun.

This time around, Garm and company have presented us with a quiet, melancholic and down-tempo opus; it sounds like nothing so much as a darkened evolution of Sigur Ros. This, I assure you is a good thing. While it may be nigh on impossible to discern individual notes within these songs, the emotional punch that Ulver's array of ambient sound packs is nonetheless potent--indeed, it is in that sense comparable to Kveldssanger, though Shadows of the Sun is entirely electronic.

Each soung on the album seems to flow into the next ("All the Love", for example, transitions seamlessly into "Like Music"). Each contributes to the album's atmosphere of gloom and sadness while at the same time maintaining its own unique aura. "Eos," "Vigil" and "Solitude" (a cover of Black Sabbath's homonymous song from 1971's Master of Reality) are among the standout tracks, the latter being a particularly poignant variation on the original version.

Though it will surely appeal to fans of Ulver's later material more than those who favor the band's earlier work, Shadows of the Sun is an excellent album, and well worth repeated listenings.

03 November 2007

Album Art that was better than the actual Music, Ep. 1

Oftentimes, there will come along an album that looks great on the outside. Then one gets around to actually listening to the music, and one realizes that the album art was better than the actual music. In this series I'll be sampling of just a few albums that fall into that category.

Dimmu Borgir - In Sorte Diaboli (2007)

One could probably cite any of Dimmu Borgir's work from the past decade, but the dichotomy between the quality of the art and the music is most stark on Demon Burger's latest effort. In Sorte Diaboli showcased some of the best graphic design of any album in the past year, featuring a nifty rendition of the ever-popular Baphomet, but in the end it's just more of the same overblown, strident shtick that they've been pulling since Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia. At the very least, Dimmu Borgir have finally moved away from the whole "throw three random words together to make an album title" thing they were doing for years.