Month: April 2011

Listening Booth — Queen, “High Voltage” (London 1974)

Listening Booth — Queen, “High Voltage” (London 1974)

Listening Booth, Music
God I miss Freddie Mercury, don't you? Thankfully we have a treasure trove of studio albums, concert videos, and of course bootlegs. Because Freddie was always at his best when he had a crowd in the palm of his hand. This particular crowd watched Queen perform at the Rainbow Theatre in London on March 31, 1974. That's just over three weeks after the release of the awesome Queen II album. This show -- which I acquired with the title High Voltage -- is just seven songs long but is full of energy and great playing by the whole band. Roger Taylor is a beast on the drums, and of course Brian May (who gets his showcase on "Son and Daughter" and busts out a solo that will remind fans of the one on "Brighton Rock") rules at all times. And let's not forget the ever-solid John Deacon on bass. ...
Ten of my favorite WordPress plugins

Ten of my favorite WordPress plugins

Blogstuff
I've received absolutely zero requests asking what plugins I use to run this fine internet enterprise, so I thought I'd highlight some of the ones that are particularly nifty. Firstly, I must make mention of the fine folks at DIYThemes, creators of the Thesis theme. I've been using it to present GFS for awhile, and it's worth every penny. That's right, for the first time I actually paid money for a WordPress theme. It's robust, stable, and fairly easy to manipulate once you get the hang of it. Oh and as a bonus, the official and unofficial support you get on their message boards is second to none. Anyway, here are just ten of the plugins that I get the most use from -- I hope you can too! Disqus Comment System -- I thought long and hard before I turned over administration of my c...
Album cover of the week: Glassworks

Album cover of the week: Glassworks

Album Cover of the Week, Music
Some days I can handle Philip Glass, others not so much. His music can be a tough nut to crack, and his trademark minimalist style is certainly not for everyone. But 1982's Glassworks is an excellent album, hands down. Oh yeah, did I mention I like the album cover too? Because I do. It's simple yet arty at the same time. Say, that reminds me of a lot of Glass's music! How about that! The cover design for Glassworks is credited to Henrietta Condak, with photography by John Paul Endress.
Trailer Trash — 13 Assassins, Thor, and Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Trailer Trash — 13 Assassins, Thor, and Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Movies
I don’t have time to go to the movies much any more. So instead I’m going to just review some new and upcoming films based solely on their trailers. Because let’s face it, most movies only have about two or three minutes’ worth of good material anyway. 13 Assassins (Jûsan-nin no shikaku) I don't care if I have to bring my reading glasses, this looks cool. I can't help but think that this is a just a Samurai version of 300 (this...is... Kyoto!!!) but that's cool. Lots of yelling, swordplay, and explosions. What's not to love? Thor OK, is there a movie that Natalie Portman isn't in this year? Thor was probably my favorite comic book character growing up -- I followed him with slavish devotion both in his solo series and as part of the Avengers -- so there's already some bu
GFS home movies: Gojira (Godzilla)

GFS home movies: Gojira (Godzilla)

Movies
Here's what I remember about Godzilla -- a guy wearing a rubber suit fought another guy wearing a rubber suit, or maybe a fake monster suspended on some wires. There was a lot of really earnest-looking Japanese actors moving their mouths, but instead I heard really melodramatic English voices. In some of the movies, Godzilla was even a good guy of sorts, to the point that little kids were sad to see him go at the end of the film. I knew all about the subtext for Godzilla, which is that he was some kind of symbol for the anxieties of the Japanese over atomic bombs and radiation. But to me, very little separated Godzilla movies from American-written, period movie monster fare like Them! or The Day of the Triffids. I mean, who hasn't had a little fun yelling "Gozirraaaa!" while mimicking b...
Listening booth — Judas Priest, “Sinner”

Listening booth — Judas Priest, “Sinner”

Listening Booth, Music
It is a sad day in the metal world, as K.K. Downing of Judas Priest has retired from the band. I was totally psyched to see them on their Epitaph World Tour, as it's supposed to be the last one. He will be replaced on the tour by Richie Faulkner. No offense to Richie, but now I'm less excited. Anyway, K.K. leaves behind a legacy as one-half of an all-time great guitar duo (with Glenn Tipton). There are so many great Downing moments to choose from, but I have to go with one of my favorite Priest songs ever. This is the lead track from 1977's Sin After Sin, "Sinner." That lead break and solo are Kenneth Downing at his best my friends. Raise your devil horns and bang your heads in tribute to one of the best ever.
Listening booth — The Crusaders live in Colchester, 1978

Listening booth — The Crusaders live in Colchester, 1978

Listening Booth, Music
Today marks the first time I'm making a live bootleg available on GFS, but I think it's worth the wait in this case. What we have here is a smooth, yet super-funky 1978 set by the Crusaders performing at North Essex Polytechnic in the United Kingdom. This show, the group's last on their supporting tour of the Images album, was broadcast by the BBC and that's what you'll hear today. By this point in the group's history, it had been eight years since they changed their name from the Jazz Crusaders. That much will be obvious on first listen, as these songs draw much more from the wells of funk and R&B than jazz. It's also a different sound than even the early Crusaders years showcased, as founding member and trombonist Wayne Henderson departed a few years prior to become a full-time pr...