Archive for music

AWESOME-tober-fest 2013: Four vintage Fangoria magazine ads

Posted in advertising, Fangoria, Halloween, holiday, magazine, movies, music with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 30, 2013 by Paxton

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Fangoria had a lot of great merch that you could purchase directly through the magazine. We saw the masks/costumes collections yesterday. Now let’s take a look at some of the other awesome items you could buy through the pages of Fangoria.

Fangoria Back Issues
One of the first places I’d usually go, and the place I usually lingered on after I’d read the magazine, is the two page back issue order form.  Checking out previous issues and what movies were covered was amazing.  I love that they included many of the covers as well.  You can see in the lower right I filled out the order form back in the day.  I was optimistically hoping my parents would let me send away for some of the issues.  I checked off issues #50 and #55 in the form.  Issue 50 was the issue featured in the picture on the right with Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund).  I always lusted after that issue and never got it.  The other issue, #55, I’m less sure why I wanted.  The cover pic is above the description with the Invaders from Mars remake on the cover and some first looks at Psycho III.

TX Tshirt Massacre
This ad showed up in Fangoria for many years.  One of my favorites.  I never wanted to own any of these shirts, I just liked the idea that they existed.  I would never have been able to wear one of these shirts to school, so what was the point?  Plus the shirts were $25 which was A LOT, even then.  But the ad was very eye catching and fun.  I like the guy in the luchador mask.  WTF?!

Music for Maniacs
Fangoria sold everything to make money within its pages. Here are some horror movie soundtracks for sale.  Some of these I would imagine are pretty rare now.  Some of these might possibly have been made custom.  That Troll soundtrack couldn’t have sold too well.  The Return of the Living Dead soundtrack is pretty great.  But check out that list of eclectic movie soundtracks on the right.  Teen Wolf?  Warhol’s Dracula?  The first Evil Dead? Transylvania 6-5000?!  Wow.

The Gore Store
The Gore Store was always a great stop in the magazine to see what cool books and props were being offered. This particular Gore Store is from 1987.  Some cool film books about Night of the Living Dead and Stephen King.  Also this page was a chance to order the annual Bloody Best of Fangoria issues.  In this one you could order all the current 5 volumes of Bloody Best right there for $18 plus shipping.  A little over $3 each.  Not bad.


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Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

Nerd Lunch Extra Helping – Run-DMC

Posted in movies, music, rap, Run-DMC with tags , , , , , , on September 18, 2013 by Paxton

Nerd Lunch Podcast

While Nerd Lunch is on hiatus, I got together with Matt Ringler from Schlock Treatment and Tim Lybarger from The Neighborhood Archive to discuss Run-DMC and their entire musical catalog. But since this week is the 25th anniversary of their fourth album, Tougher Than Leather, we try to focus on that.

tougher_than_leather

We begin by talking about our first experiences with rap music.  We talk about how we discovered Run-DMC, our favorite Run-DMC albums and songs and we even touch on the long forgotten Tougher than Leather movie that was released the same year as the album.

Lots to talk about and discuss in this episode.  So don’t be a sucker MC.  Download this episode today and relive the glory days of one of raps greatest musical groups.

Download this episode from iTunes or listen to it on Feedburner.

Or listen to this awesomeness online right here.

Nerd To Dos:

We didn’t do them this episode, but Matt and Tim do have some related recommended reading for you to check out.


Matt says for a good history on rap as a genre, check out Dan Charnas’ The Big Payback.


Tim recommends Adam Bradley’s Book of Rhymes.

Suprisingly, I’ve not read any books on the subject of hip hop. That kind of surprises me that I haven’t yet. But, a book I’ve had my eye on for a few years now is:


Raising Hell: The Reign, Ruin, and Redemption of Run-D.M.C. and Jam Master Jay

I go ahead and rank Run-DMC’s albums in order from best to worst

Posted in music, nostalgia, pop culture with tags , , on September 16, 2013 by Paxton

rundmc_2

Today marks the 25th Anniversary of the release of Run-DMC’s fourth studio album, Tougher than Leather.  I was introduced to rap music in the early 80s by two groups. The Fat Boys and Run-DMC.  I continued listening to both groups throughout my youth in the 80s and 90s.  As a matter of fact, I still listen to them.  For me both, but especially Run-DMC, ARE rap music.  The prototypical rap group.  Copied hundreds of times over.

So, on this anniversary, I’ve decided to make a very personal list of ranking Run-DMC’s studio albums in order of my personal preference.  This was a really hard list to make because the first 3 albums are so historically important that I hate to put anything above them.  But I have to forget the overall value to pop culture and just talk about the albums I listen to the most.

Here we go.

Tougher than Leather Tougher than Leather (1988) – Like I said, it’s really hard to rank these first three spots.  Run-DMC’s first three albums are so important in the history of rap and hip hop that I struggle to not automatically put them first.  As a matter of fact, these three spots have changed at least three times since I wrote this article a few months ago.  And they may change again tomorrow.  *shrugs* Anyway, for me, beginning to end, Tougher than Leather is my favorite.  And not just because its birthday is today. Back in ’88 when this dropped, I LIVED the album.  I wore out my copy.  Pound for pound this has more good songs on it than any other album.  BUT, it’s really close.  The title track is similar to King of Rock but with a much harder rock backing track.  I LOVE THAT SONG.  My second favorite song on the album is Run’s House.  It begins with Run’s famous monologue in which he opens many of their live shows, “We’ve had, a whole lot of super stars on this stage here tonight.  But I want y’all to know one thing, this is…MY HOUSE!”  And how awesome is Mary, Mary?  They actually sample The Monkees and make a great song.  Other kick ass songs include They Call Us Run-DMC, Beats to the Rhyme, How’d You Do It, Dee?, Papa Crazy, Miss Elaine and Ragtime, which is a fun derivation of the regular Run-DMC track.  Reggae-influenced.  It’s very reminiscent of a rapper called Slick Rick as, and it sounds weird on paper, the guys use very a very proper, clipped, but subtle, accent throughout the rhyme.  It works because the song is sort of weird, too.  Plus, you get to hear Jam Master Jay actually rap on the track.

Raising Hell Raising Hell (1986) – Commercially, this was Run-DMC’s most successful album.  Part of that came from their cover of Walk this Way with a special appearance by Aerosmith.  That cover is considered by many to be the first commercially successful fusions of rock and rap.  Depends on how you look at it.  Run-DMC’s earlier tracks Rock Box and King of Rock both successfully fused rock and rap before this.  King of Rock being a fairly big commercial success.  But nothing like Walk this Way.  This IS a fantastic album, though.  The title track on this album is pretty awesome and follows in King of Rock‘s footsteps.  It’s Tricky is probably their second most popular song and is a sort-of sequel to Can You Rock It Like This? from King of Rock.  Other great songs include My Adidas, Peter Piper, Hit It Run, Dumb Girl and You Be Illin’.  Dumb Girl is one of their “conscientious” rap tracks similar to Hard Times or It’s Like That from their first album.  You Be Illin’ is a fun track similar to You Talk to Much from King of Rock.  And let’s not forget…”Son of Byford, brother of Al…..”  Lots to really like on this album and it’s easy to see why it’s so important and popular.

King of Rock King of Rock (1985) – It’s deceptive that this album is THIRD on my list.  This is the album I discovered first probably in late ’85 or ’86.  And it was INCREDIBLY hard not to rank it first.  Incredibly hard.  Any other day I MAY rank it first.  Mostly because King of Rock is probably my favorite Run-DMC track of all time.  King of Rock is awesome and showcases the group’s great, high energy backing tracks and awesome lyrical assault.  Second best song on the album is probably Can You Rock it Like This? which, like I mentioned above, is a prototype in style and lyrical content to It’s Tricky.  You Talk Too Much is a fun, goofy track that I mentioned above is a precursor to You Be Illin’.  You can’t go wrong with this album.  Other good songs are You’re Blind and It’s Not Funny which is similar in style and structure to Hard Times from the previous album.  And Darryl & Joe (Krush Groove 3) is a great old-school rap track.  As you can see, Run-DMC’s song stylings will have elements present throughout all of their albums.  They are remarkably consistent while also always trying something new on each album.

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LL Cool J’s senses destroying debut in the movie Krush Groove

Posted in movies, music, rap with tags , , , on April 19, 2013 by Paxton

LEB

This week, The League is asking us —

“What moment in pop culture had you saying “Now, that’s how you make an introduction!”

One thing popped into my mind as the perfect example of a bombasic and awesome introduction.  This week I’ve been writing an article ranking Run-DMC’s studio albums in order of my personal preference as well as researching the group Run-DMC in preparation for the 25th anniversary of their album Tougher than Leather.  So that is why this particular movie introduction was on my mind.  I’ve talked about it several times on my blog. It happens during one of my favorite movies of all time, Krush Groove.

Krush Groove

Around the middle of the movie, Run-DMC and uber producer Rick Rubin are holding auditions. A young lady finishes singing a song and as they are escorting her out and are closing the auditions, a group of three guys storm in. The one in the middle is LL Cool J. Amongst the protests of Jam Master Jay and Rubin that the auditions are closed, and without preamble, LL yells “BOX!” at his friend who proceeds to hit PLAY on the suitcase nuke-sized portable stereo in his hand. The beat starts, LL paces the floor like a caged tiger for a few seconds and then proceeds to TEAR THE ROOF OFF THE STUDIO with the opening verse to I Can’t Live Without My Radio.

It’s hard now to really put this scene into the proper context of 1985. I saw this movie in the theater and the scene blew my young mind. LL’s delivery and aggressive lyrics mixed with the minimal bass-filled beats were like a jackhammer tearing away at my preconceived notions about rap. This scene made me an LL fan for life. And while LL has certainly mellowed over the years, he still has it in him to create an energy filled rap track.

Check out his most recent single, WHADDUP, with Chuck D, Tom Morello and Travis Barker.

Other top introductions from around The League:
Pop Rewind talks about being introduced to movie franchises like Batman and Terminator via their sequels
Brian at Cool and Collected talks about great 80s rock intros
Diary of a Dorkette talks about being introduced to She-Ra
Goodwill Geek talks about his introduction to Thundercats
Both Batcave Toy Room and Las Vegas Yankee talk about Superman: The Movie.

The Grammys + a rant against modern rappers

Posted in Beastie Boys, music, pop culture, rap with tags , , , on February 21, 2013 by Paxton

I Love Rap

I love music, but TODAY’S music mostly leaves me cold. And not just the music, the artists themselves feel like used car salesman  They only want to sell me their product, not actually entertain me with a good song. And the s**t that goes on the radio is 90% crap.

Now, I realize I sound like an old man, but you can’t tell me that vintage Van Halen, Motley Crue, Run-DMC and Beastie Boys aren’t better than anything else out right now.  Plus, there really isn’t any “rock and roll” on the radio anymore. It’s all R&B riffs and hip hop filled with astonishingly not subtle euphemisms for sex.  And as a rap/hip-hop fan since the early-to-mid 80s, I will unequivocally say that today’s rappers are f**king terrible.  Can I get that off my chest?  TERRIBLE.  Lil Wayne may be the worst rapper I’ve heard in my entire life and the 80s were filled with bad rappers (I’m looking at you Tim Dog).  And don’t get me started on Drake, or Kanye West, for that matter.  That could be a whole other article.

And how unoriginal are all of these modern rap songs?  Where are all the storytellers in hip-hop?  The Slick Ricks, the Rakims, the KRS-Ones, the Chuck Ds?  There is no one of their skill rapping today.  Check out this video from 1991, The Piper by MC Cheba.  It’s better than literally 99% of hip-hop released today.  It tells a story with a very smooth and slick rhyme and a funky bass line   He’s not spending the entire song telling me how much weed he smoked or chicks he’s banged or how much  money he has.  Which I don’t personally have a problem with rappers doing, but it gets OLD after 300 rappers talk about it on all their songs.  Another good story based rap, The Mission by Special Ed.

But I’ve digressed…

Now that this article was high jacked by my rant against modern rappers, let me try to steer this ship back on course.  The Grammys.

Grammys

For the reasons above, I’ve sort of become jaded with the music industry in general.  However, did anyone else watch the Grammys? I didn’t.  I haven’t watched it in YEARS, but my wife DVR’d it and I wound up watching it with her a few days ago.  Wow, I really liked the new format where they mashed up artists into different performances.  For the first time in a LOOOOOONG time I felt like the artists were actually on stage having fun performing and not just doing it as a commercial for their song.

The highlight of the night, for me, was probably the closing number with LL Cool J performing his new song with CHUCK muthaf**king D!  Chuck is 50+ years old and still gets after it better than any other rapper on the radio (however Cool J should have given him more to do than yell the hook).  Cool J was also joined by Travis Barker from Blink-182 and Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine.  It’s actually a pretty great song.

Here’s the performance.  If you want to hear the actual single, listen here.

And how cool was it that Cool J gave a shout out to MCA, the recently deceased member of the Beastie Boys?  Cool J got his start around the same time as the Beastie Boys on Def Jam records.  You can see them together in the movie Krush Groove.  I’m surprised they never collaborated, to be honest.

Anyway, while Cool J was the highlight, there were several performances that totally surprised me in how much I enjoyed them. Here are a few of them.

This was a memorial tribute to Levon Helm, the deceased drummer of The Band. This group probably had the least star power of any of the other performances, but damn, it might be the best performed song on the whole broadcast. Elton John, Zac Brown, Mavis Staples, Mumford & Sons and Alabama Shakes singer Britney Howard brought the house down with an awesome performance of “The Weight”. This was definitely an eclectic collection of talent but the end result was bonkers it was so good. I’ve actually been looking up Zac Brown and Alabama Shakes songs on YouTube because of this.  And this performance in particular is the blueprint for why this new “mash up” format works.

Bruno Mars’ performance was fantastic.  He normally does, but he looks like he’s having so much fun.  And then Sting comes out and does his thing, then out comes Rhianna and the Marley brothers for a tribute to Bob Marley and it just looks like everyone is happy and really enjoying the performance.  I know I was.

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