Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Hey Ziatees!! Greetings + Salutations!
Alrighty, so I decided to write this because this is something I MUST share with the world...some of you might've heard about a game called 'Brutal Legend'. It was released in October. This is THE GAME! Anyone who is into video games will like it, but it has the absolute best of both worlds...METAL and VIDEO GAMEAGE....did I mention it has Metal?
Seriously any Metal head/god or whatever would love this game!
It has Lemmy who heals you with his bass and you walk around surrounded by glitter. It has Ozzy who is the 'pimp my car' guy. Rob Halford helps you on missions and lets you ride on his bad ass bike. Brian Posane is a random dude who sends you on missions. Jack Black does the voice of Eddie the main character and dude, there are hot metal chicks too!!! Crazy demonic metal animals and creatures along with the graphics and music is TOTALLY BRUTAL METAL!!!!
Some of the moves are even the bomb! You play solos that summon your car or your mosh pit posse. There's even a move that YOU CAN REALLY MELT PEOPLES FACES OFF WITH!!!! (I've seen it) *claps hands* Not to mention it actually has a pretty bad ass story line too.
The hightest point for me that got me saying "yeah, this game is amazing" is (with not giving it totally away) one part in the game where you are fighting a main person with their minons and you(Eddie) and your head banging mosh pit crew are fighting and seriously it was epic! Cradle of Filth and Darkthrone were playing right after one another in an amazing fight!!!!!
AHHH IT WAS AMAZING!! Right when you think that the game couldn't get better, it blows you away and DOES get better! It has it's cheeky kiddy points in it, but i think thats what makes it easier but with all the Metal goodness too!
If I know one thing it's Metal and I can say that it's truly awesome that a couple of rad guys took this idea with a badass game and said 'this is the good metal we like and you people should listen to it!'. It blows everything outta the water! I can honestly say I have no idea if this game can get more amazing and become more of a Brutal Legend than it already has! Another cool thing, random Metal bands contributed so many graphics, personal little things and their music for free!!! I recommend the game to anyone either way into Metal or not to definitely check it out. You won't regret it!
* Rock on * Izzi at ZIA RECORDS Thunderbird
Posted by Zia Records Blogs at 4:11 PM
Thursday, November 19, 2009
On November 17th and 18th Zia Records hosted a signing with Brendon Small, the man behind Dethklok. Brendon stopped by Zia in Chandler on the 17th and Eastern in Vegas on the 18th. Hundreds of fans were in attendance and he met with and took pictures with every single one!
For those that don’t know Brendon Small : He voices several animated characters in Adult Swim shows like Aqua Teen Hunger Force, The Venture Brothers and The Squidbillies. He also co created Home Movies and Metalacolypse.
Brendon came by to support the current Dethklok album “Dethalbum II”. Dethklok is the fictional band he created for his show Metalacolypse which airs on Adult Swim. The show centers on the band and their struggles with everything from the music business to battling 100 year old Norse trolls. In the show the band is the single most influential force in the world. Swaying opinions on global economy, politics and which chain of premium coffee store is best. The band is however un-aware of the existence of New World Order secret think tank (The Tribunal) comprised of world business, religious, political and military leaders who are convinced of Dethklok similarity to a Sumerian prophesied group that will bring about the end of the world. The head of this group is voiced by Mark Hamill! Dethklok is blissfully ignorant to the Tribunals attempts to destroy them. While a secret organizations plots to destroy them they are tied up in several adventures including getting a cocaine addicted 80’s rocker turned heavy metal clown (David Lee Roth look alike) off drugs. The show is an amazing parody of the Black and Death Metal scenes on a completely exaggerated scale!
Thanks to Brendon for stopping by and being so cool and thanks to all the fans who showed love as well!
Posted by Zia Records Blogs at 2:51 PM
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions review by Karl at ZIA RECORDS Sahara, Las Vegas!
The new Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions new release Through The Devil Softly was much anticipated, for good reason. It marked the only release from Hope in the past eight years, the last being the first release by her and this band, Bavarian Fruit Bread, in 2001. They have released three EP's during this time, all met with limited commercial success or critical acclaim.
There is alot to celebrate here with this release. She and Colm Ó Cíosóig, drummer of the cult shoegaze band My Bloody Valentine, have taken as much time as needed to complete this project. It never seems like Hope is ever in any real big hurry to finish anything. The last Mazzy Star release, Among My Swan, was released in 1996. The cult following of this "paisley underground" staple is still relevant and active. Judging by the diverse crowd at her recent show, which I will go into further on in this posting, she continues to add new, young fans that could not have been around for her early releases with Opal and Mazzy Star. Such is the charisma and draw by so many to Hope's brilliant glow.
Now, I'll talk a little about this release. It is exactly what you might expect from Hope Sandoval in many ways, yet, it seems so fresh and new. Her voice is captivating and her delivery is impeccable. The overall appeal of this release for me is the acoustic overtones throughout the release. Very simplistic acoustic instrumentation with guitar, bass, violins and Hope on the glockenspiel, and occasional keyboards, with very minimal percussion.
It just seems to compliment Hope's breathy, sensual vocal style. For those into catagorizing it, alt. country or folk is as close to any styles in my mind. At the record store I manage, the database says Folk but I still put it in Pop.
"Blanchard" is the first single off of the album and I believe it was the right choice. It was one of Hope's four solo writing credited songs, even though she has writing acknowledgement on all eleven tunes.
Another favorite song worth mentioning on this release is "Satellite", the last song on the album. It starts out with waves crashing on the shore, which goes on throughout the song, and vocals as if singing into a walkie talkie. It really gives the feel of a distant time gone by. It is a beautiful way to end a most enjoyable release.
Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions Live @ The Fillmore 9/26/09
This was one of my most anticipated shows in recent years. I had never been able to "see" Hope live in any of her previous incarnations with Opal, Mazzy Star or The Warm Inventions. I highlighted "see" as I really didn't get alot of anticipated visual contact with Hope or the rest of the band, for that matter, at this show. I'll go into that a little later.
First off, it was my first visit to the hallowed grounds of The Fillmore in San Francisco. Growing up in L.A., all you would hear about was the epic concerts in the late-60's at this famous venue. I was not disappointed at all! Upon entering the building, you ascend the stairs into the venue.
There is a small lobby area with a few rooms for checking items, buying souvenirs, etc. To the right, is the entrance to the ground floor. It is a wooden floor in the middle and a raised stage area. Looking up, you see a second floor with large, framed window openings for people to look out of while sitting at tables. I could see that most of them were occupied even 30 minutes before the opening act was to appear.
After ascending the staircase, you enter the poster room. There was a DJ spinning in there when I met my friend and her roommate. We sat at a table and had a few drinks and admired the seemingly hundreds of framed posters from acts that had appeared there over the years. It was a varitable who's who of music royalty from all different genres. It was a spectacular room!
We decided to decend onto the 1st Floor about 30 minutes before Hope appeared. This was a general admission show so I knew that I would be standing throughout. We took a spot to the far right-hand side of the floor, fairly close to the front. I could see pretty clearly over everyone due to my height. It was a nice vantage point. There were seats on the perimeter of the floor but most people were standing in the middle of the floor all the way back to the entrance doors.
When Hope and the band finally appeared, the stage was bathed in dark blue spots. The screen behind the stage throughout the show would flash abstract images in loops ranging from dancers to abstract images and even the Circus Circus sign on the Vegas Strip. It was often reversed negative imagery, sometimes it was in color and sometimes in black and white. It enhanced the overall effect of the show. The images did change every song but rarely do I recall the images matching specifically with the songs.
After the first song, I was expecting to see the lights come up and have Hope talk to the audience. This did not happen nor did it at any time throughout the show. This was really my only disappointment. I know of Hope's legendary shyness in interviews and on stage but was wishing that she would interact with the audience. Most of the interaction with the audience was her chastising someone for taking a flash photo, which was strictly forbidden. They frisked people on the way in and there were several signs forbidding photography of any kind. All of the photos that you see on this entry are from others that were able to get close enough to her to get a shot with very little light. Every once in a while, someone would yell something in between songs and she would reply, "I can't HEAR you"! To which the automatic retort of "we can't SEE you" would be bellowed by at least one of her fans.
The music was simply delightful. The band was very tight and as it was on the record, Hope's vocals were perfectly complimented by the gentle flow of the music. I had only heard the album twice all the way through before the show, since the CD wasn't released until the following Tuesday. I caught a few songs on Rubberband Girl's show on KALX, since they received a promo copy of the CD. In a way, it was nice to be introduced to many of the songs live for the first time. I enjoyed "Suzanne" from the first EP and full recording, of course. The rest of the show was great.
As I left the venue and walked back to my hotel, I was disappointed to not be able to have seen much of Hope due to the dark lighting and stage set up.
I did not know how to approach this review and wanted to roll it around in my head a while before doing so. I have been onto her Facebook fan page recently to see what others thought of the shows. It seemed, like me, that there was an ambivalence in just how people reacted to the shows. In the end, I found myself defending her performance at the SF show when a fan announced their displeasure.
I had finally come to the conclusion that even though I was unable to really "see" Hope that I did enjoy the show alot. The old saying "those in glass houses should not throw stones" resonates loudly here. Eccentricity is my middle name and why should I not afford that same luxury to an artist that I admire greatly? I am proud to say that I was at this show that I am reviewing and I did enjoy it immensely...and do you know what? I would see her again and again!
Oh, by the way, the rumors are that Mazzy Star is close to releasing a new record. In her recent Rolling Stone interview, Hope said that she and David Roback are still working on their fourth release and that "We're almost finished (with the record). But I have no idea what that means." I will be keeping my fingers crossed for an early-2010 release.
Posted by Zia Records Blogs at 10:01 PM
Friday, November 6, 2009
Hey hey, let’s hear it for LMFAO and the importance of punctuality! Just kidding. Sort of. On Nov 6 2009 Zia hosted a signing with infamous party band LMFAO at our location on Eastern in Las Vegas!
We had a whole evening planned: DJ Air spinning while the band signed away for fans while promoting their record “Party Rock” and the show that night! Fans showed up but the band was an hour and a half late missing many of their fans unfortunately. Despite the late start time some fans did stick around to meet and greet. Including local DJ Sydney The Rock Star who saved the day through dance! See Below! God Bless You Sydney! Wherever You Are!
Posted by Zia Records Blogs at 2:58 PM
Monday, November 2, 2009
Racial Horrors and the Living Dead
George Romero’s 1968 film, Night of the Living Dead, on the most basic of levels, is about the dead (zombies) coming back to life and feasting on the living. A group of living people board themselves up in a rural house in Pennsylvania. They attempt to survive through the night as more and more hungry zombies make their way to the house. But this basic explanation doesn’t reveal what the film is actually about. Yes, trying to escape the blood thirsty zombies is the recurring theme, but the underlying concept behind this movie is much more horrifying. Romero tackles racism. Through the use of strong imagery he transcends the B-horror movie genre and creates a powerful social commentary on the racial struggles of late-1960s America.
The film begins with siblings Barbara and John driving to a cemetery to visit their dead grandfather. Richard Dyer, in his essay White, describes Barbara as “ultra-blond and pale, and her name surely suggests the USA’s best-selling doll” and John as a “preppy type, clean cut with straight fair hair…straight out of a Brooks Brothers catalog .” We are introduced to two characters who exemplify white stereotypes. The audience will no doubt assume that they will be the good guys of the story. It is also in this cemetery where a zombie first appears in the film. He approaches Barbara and begins to attack her. John rushes to her aid and in the ensuing battle ends up getting killed. The good looking white man who we thought would be the hero is now dead. This is where the film begins to diverge from what is typically seen in traditional Hollywood studio films of the time.
A scared Barbara flees the zombie and finds her way into a rural house. Helpless, she creeps up the stairs and discovers a rotting face with its flesh torn away. Terrified she runs down the stairs and out the door and is met with a blinding beam of light in a black night- truck head lights. Out from the vehicle emerges Ben, an African American. Barbara is shocked to see him and so are we, the audience. Dyer describes this as a “reversal of the good/bad, white/black, light/darkness antimonies of Western culture.” We should be seeing John, who should have only been knocked out from the brawl with the zombie earlier in the film. This should be his dramatic reappearance to take charge of the situation like white heroes tend to do in films; but he doesn’t. Ben is the one who takes charge and assesses the situation for a solution. He tries to comfort the constantly screaming and frightened Barbara. Ben, a black man, will be the story‘s hero.
The black and white issue is brought up again when Ben relates a story to Barbara. Ben tells of how he first experienced the zombies: “I looked back at the diner to see if there was anyone there who could help me. But I noticed the entire place had been encircled…I realized that I was alone with 50 or 60 of those things just standing there staring at me.” Is he a movie character surrounded by zombies or a black man surrounded by a racist white mob and cops during a race riot? The Watts riots three years before the release of Night of the Living Dead brought out 14,000 national guardsmen and another 1,500 law enforcement officers to patrol the streets of LA for a week. 34 people were killed, over 900 injured, and over 4000 “suspects” were taken in to custody. In Detroit, one year before the film’s release, 43 were killed in rioting and 1000s were injured.
The radio reports are eerily similar to reports you would hear during riot news coverage. “There is an epidemic of mass murder being committed by a virtual army of unidentified assassins…It seems to be a sudden general explosion of mass homicides.” After the first announcement from the radio broadcaster, Ben goes to the window and looks outside and sees a handful of zombies surrounding his truck in a shot which echoes many riot photos of the time. Masses of people swarmed cars or trucks to attempt to flip them over and blow them up. The riot imagery becomes more familiar to audiences when Ben throws a chair at the zombies and sets it on fire. We get a shot with the burning chair in the foreground that takes up almost the entire right side of the frame and appears to be much bigger than it actually is. In the left side of the frame we see the huddled mass of zombies retreating in fear. This is a scene out of many riot photos. Later, we get more riot imagery as Molotov cocktails are thrown at the zombies and later two characters are killed when their truck catches fire and explodes.
The most obvious racial imagery occurs after the zombies have taken over the house and everyone except Ben has been killed. He locks himself in the basement and waits until morning. When he awakes the zombies are gone and the house is destroyed. German Shepherds are heard barking as they are followed behind by the police and various other people who have formed their own little militia to exterminate the zombies. This image brings to mind, again, not only race riots, but protest marches that ended in rioting as well. The all-white cops and militia (which is comprised Southern “redneck” stereotypes even though this film is taking place outside Pittsburgh) roam the countryside pumping bullets into any zombie they see. They don’t even stop to make absolutely sure what they are killing is in fact a zombie.
“Alright then, hit him in the head. Right between the eyes,” barks the militia leader, Chief McLelland, to a gunman right before he shoots and kills the still-alive Ben. “Good shot. Okay, he’s dead, let’s go get him. That’s another one for the fire,” he snarls after the kill. This is very reminiscent of news photos published after race riots of white authority figures standing over the dead black victims. By killing Ben off, the film could be saying that no matter how hard the black man works to survive against insurmountable odds, he still can’t make it. He has to get cheated by the white man and die. This militia is like the zombies themselves, killing indiscriminately and without any emotion. The movie ends by cutting to grainy, newspaper photo-quality snapshots of the scene and what happens to Ben’s body after he‘s killed. We see the white men, which have transformed from militia to lynch mob, stand over Ben with meat hooks and drag his body out to awaiting human bonfires.
The racial undertones of the film may not be that apparent to those today that are unfamiliar with the political and social chaos going on in the country at the time of its release. For those who lived through the turbulent late-60s and early 70s or those who are simply familiar with the history, the racial aspect is much more evident. Had this film been made today it wouldn’t be viewed as being a social commentary on racism. Seeing a black man play the leading hero role isn’t uncommon in modern cinema. We are also not bombarded by countless race riot footage on daily news segments. Romero plays off of what is affecting society at the time. As mentioned before, race was a prevalent issue during that time and therefore the film was centered on it. Romero’s latest film, 2007’s Diary of the Dead, focused on the media and how much they truly have an influence over the information-hungry public.
Posted by Zia Records Blogs at 4:05 PM