Thursday, February 11, 2010

New and Interesting Things.

1. Odd Blood by Yeasayer
So the new album by Yeasayer is really just awesome. The whole thing is great and ridiculous. The band manages to sound completely anachronistic, yet totally forward and futuristic at the same time. The lyrics are interesting and poetic, delivered on Genisis-esque vocals. This instrumentation is the same kind of crazy as Animal Collective. I can hardly tell what instrument could be making what noise, making it sound almost orchestral. And that's pretty intense for a three piece band. It's great, it's weird, and I guess I havn't been paying attention, cause I didn't know of it's existence until the day of release. A definite buy.

2. The Dark Side of the Moon by The Flaming Lips
Yeah, that's right. The Dark Side of the Moon, covered in it's entirety, by one of my favorite bands of all time. I would like to quickly note that KoRn covering Pink Floyd is massive fail, while The Flaming Lips covering Floyd is instant win. Why? Because The Flaming Lips are interesting musicians who are constantly testing the boundaries of established genres, much like Pink Floyd did in the years of their music. KoRn is responsible for the 'nu-metal' musical label, which basically means like metal, but even less interesting, more accessible to the public, and more likely to be played on self-proclaimed 'alternative' radio stations, and ultimately recorded onto a tape by a lamenting teenager who feels Monkey is the only person who really understands him, and his confusing emotions for his best friend.
Alright, maybe I went too far on that one, but still, KoRn sucks. The Lips do a great job at re-inventing the music, while keeping it true to it's original form. It sounds eerie, it captivates immediately, and isn't just the same sounds rehashed by different musicians. It really is a work of their own, and in the land of covers, that's hard to do. Not to mention Henry Rollins' voice-overs, which perfectly set the tone, and are in their own right amusing. My only complaint is that Steve Drozd just will not solo. The songs are complete without it, but it would have been nice to hear a Flips take on Floyds masterful solos. Oh well, maybe when they cover Wish You Were Here.

3. Mass Effect 2 on XBOX360
This game is perfect. The world is gigantic and full, so much to do, so many people to interact with, and there is such a rich history behind everything. You could literally sit there for hours in-game and just learn about the made up universe you are playing in. The game-play has been streamlined from Mass Effect one, upsetting some purist out there, but in my honest opinion, the game is only better for what it is missing. Your inventory is smaller and easier to maintain, if you like the micromanaging, really like the 'gear' and 'loot' components of the first one, you will be missing out. But what was important about Mass Effect 1 was the story, the people, the world, the places, the aliens, and the combat. All of that is still here and better by far. You don't have armor and health, you have recharging shields. You don't get new guns every minute, you get upgrades for a handful you start with. You don't reduce anything to omni-gel, you only use medi-gel to revive teammates, and unexplored planets serve primarily as places to mine, and not so much explore. So really, if you liked all that, you will find a less challenging and potentially less fulfilling game here. But either way, this game does a much better job at pulling you in, it creates a beautiful environment, and the game plays much more smoothly. Combat is definitely more fun, and less stressful. But hey, I'm the kind of queer that auto-levels his npcs, so what do I know.

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