The Best Syfy Original Movies

By Ryan Wells @RMW221

Chances are by now you’ve heard of the recent Syfy movie sensation “Sharknado“, which became wildly popular thanks to Twitter and also sharks combined with tornadoes.  Chances are that you also aren’t very familiar with the other amazing Syfy originals.  This is a bad thing.  Sure, you’ll pay $15 for “Pacific Rim” to go see a giant robot fighting a giant whatever it is monster, but you can’t appreciate the nuance of a half-shark/half-octopus killing machine??  I’m here to change your view of the world.   Today is the first day of the rest of your life, friends.

Mega Piranha (2010)

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Best Albums of 2013 (thus far)

Matt Bailey @SonOfHilljack

Parquet Courts – Light Up Gold
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I turned 24 the other day, and this shit gets a little more depressing every year.  Thankfully we have Brooklyn pessimists with Squire Stratocasters pledging their discontent through feedback and razor sharp wit.  A soundtrack for post graduate despair that radiates with slacker quirk, I can blast this in my compact economy car while some lady next to me at an LA stoplight in an Audi purses her lips and thinks to herself “Get a job.”  Conversely, I’m thinking to myself, “Atleast 3 people just ran that red light.  And why does nobody have their turn signals on?  Did none of you people have stable father figures in your life?”
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Son Of Hilljack’s Top 10 Most “Watchable” Movies

ttydWhew, that was a breathtaking bout of writer’s block.  Sometimes you have to re-charge the battery, and my reset button happened to be located somewhere in the midwest.  I’m back in Los Angeles now and things are a little clearer, which makes sense because it feels like a family of hamsters moved out of my brain.  This will be the first of a few ideas on the shelf that I’ll take down and share with you all.

It’s probably important I define what makes a movie “watchable”, and how that differs from adjectives such as “awesome” or “brilliant”.  The truth is a “watchable” movie is often both “awesome” and “brilliant”, but it doesn’t necessarily work the other way around.  Take for instance a movie like There Will Be Blood.  You could use any number of adjectives to describe it’s greatness, but none of them would be the word “watchable”.  Do you want to watch 158 minutes of slow, painful despair?  Even one time takes some serious effort if you know what you’re getting into beforehand.  7 years ago I bought The Deer Hunter collector edition dvd off Amazon, and I still haven’t watched that shit to this day!  What can I say? I can’t imagine voluntarily stressing myself out.  “Watchable” is some type of perfect merger between simplicity and entertainment.  A watchable movie has elements that will hold your interest, even if you feel like you might be breaching the grounds of a guilty pleasure.  These movies weren’t award show darlings, but hold a special place in my heart for any number of reasons.

Forewarning: Spoiler alert

2nd Forewarning: These rankings are arbitrary

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Cool Songs : May

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I just want to tell you all, that regardless of whether or not you’re spinning these playlists — I love making them.

There have been some unbelievable tracks that have dropped this spring that I probably wouldn’t have heard otherwise, and I have this irrational obligation to you people to thank.  This mix came together beautifully and has all the proper doses of Indie Rock, Hip Hop, Experimental and some straight up club bangers.  It’s the perfect playlist for somebody with an identity crisis or a commitment to being pretentious.

A bonus cut that couldn’t be found on Soundcloud, but is most definitely one of my favorite tracks this year…

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Arrested Development Season 4 Preview

Exactly one week from now I will wake up feeling anew.  I’ll step outside and inhale that fresh L.A. smog, knowing that I’ve got a full day ahead of myself.  While I wallow most Sundays away in lethargy, this day of rest will be spent much differently.  Roughly 7 years ago, Fox aired the clusterfuck that was the final 2 hours of Arrested Development’s life.  I’ve spent the last 6 of those years waiting for Sunday (So I was a little late, big deal.  Six is still more than three, right?)  The acclaimed series is back for a victory lap, and I won’t leave the comfort of my living room until this chapter has closed. Continue reading

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“what is happening here?” “oh we are just waiting for a new kanye west song to appear on the side of one of these buildings.”

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It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s noted non-celebrity Kanye West premiering a new song via a 20-foot projection of his face onto a Walgreens!

(Really though, “New Slaves” is heavy and awesome. Black power Kanye is the real ‘Che Guevera with bling on.'”)

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Vampire Weekend – Vampires of The Modern City

I don’t think there’s a band on the planet I’ve passively listened to more than Vampire Weekend.  I’ve probably heard 20 of their songs, because they’re ubiquitous, a fact that lends to endless hating on them.  Before 5 weeks ago, if you’d asked me to share my opinion on VW, the thoughts would have been dry and empty.  Their jittery pop fidelities fit nicely into advertisements – I’ll give them that.  And during a point in my life where I can’t imagine making a living playing music anymore, I’m certainly envious.  Popping up on a Honda Civic commercial doesn’t carry the shame that it once did.  But my evaluation stops there, with VW leaving no real lasting impact on me like heavyweight  indie contemporaries Grizzly Bear or Sufjan Stevens.  Their detractors would say they were a corporate product of what ambiguous indie rock was for this period, and I couldn’t have argued otherwise.

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Cool Songs : April


Apologies for the prolonged absence — especially considering my last past post prior to this one was a music review that was one giant step short of a music review. As it turns out, it’s much easier to contribute steady content to a blog when you’re unemployed.

And actually, this month’s playlist is going to be much shorter (ready to opt out of my lazy ass blog yet?), but that’s by design. I seriously doubt you guys are interested in hearing a 3 hour playlist that jumps from genre to genre, and would probably opt for 10 standouts or at least a compilation that had some flow. See? I’m always thinking of you guys, even if it’s not necessarily evident.

A quick recap of the month that was. Things definitely hit a low point on the 15th, as evidenced by the tears of twitter . What a fascinating part the internet played in this national tragedy, from the good (strangers offering up nearby sanctuaries to Boston Marathon runners on Twitter) to the bad (misinformation flying around, ex. 12 dead) to the hilarious (Reddit detectives, CNN’s credibility). For the rest of my life I’ll remember sitting in my Glendale, California apartment, dialed into a live stream of the Boston Police Scanner at 1:30 am and being so overwhelmingly captivated. I’m still not exactly sure how we caught him…something involving a boat, a pool of blood and a negotiator….but we did, and everybody simultaneously swelled with patriotism that was reminiscent of Charlie from Always Sunny.

I’d like to think we’re still riding that wave of positivity, considering April was a generally kick-ass month. It got warm for a bunch of you, so congrats on that. Additionally, the only relevant, yet extremely entertaining portion of the NBA season is underway. Also, I lived vicariously through friends Jurassic Pop back in Lafayette on what was apparently a wildly successful Record Store Day 2013 at Purdue. That reminds me though, if I hear about another Racist incident at Purdue, I’m flying back and kicking everybody’s ass, whether they were involved or not. Forewarning.

I’d like to punctuate your month with an extremely strong April edition of Cool Songs. I was floored by more than few tracks over the past month, and I’m happy to have this outlet to share them with you guys. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Oh and I almost forgot, Empire of the Sun released a new video for their painfully vanilla single “Alive”. The video on the other hand…My god this video. If you’re familiar and appreciative of their brand of hilarious vanity, this will not disappoint.

Lukach’s picks

“Dis Ain’t What U Want” – Lil Durk

“I can’t do no shows, cuz I’m terrified of my city/ They say I terrify my city,” Durk wails on this monolith of a track that’s his first single from Def Jam. He doesn’t really fuck around, and that’s about the most vulnerable you’ll find him, when “Chicago Hates You” turns into “Chicago Hates Me.” The rest is as menacing as ever, and Paris Bueller’s drop in the middle of the chorus is crushing.

“Fuk Yo Life” – Fat Trel

Trel sputters a lot about killing and fucking here and it’s actually pretty chill considering the content. 12 Hunna’s beat is the matter here tho, with all the literal bells and whistles giving it a kineticism that works for Trel to stuff his syllables through.

“Sound of Love” – Cassie feat. Jeremih

Slow jam of the month award right here– it feels like a Cassie song featuring Jeremih, but his voice is the one that’s more dynamic here, helping it to really swell by that last chorus and making you want to fuck immediately every time you hear it. Cassie’s a super-solid complement here though, don’t get me wrong. Sexiest song I’ve heard in a minute.

“Afterwards (Bring Yo Friends)” – Kid Cudi feat. Michael Bolton & King Chip

This is a Kid Cudi song featuring Michael Bolton about bringing your friends to their after party, and it’s 9 minutes long. I also love it, so there’s that.

“Grins” – Charli XCX

“Ha Ha Ha” is the best song from this new Charli XCX album, but “Grins” stretches out her gothic groans over hella drums that gives it a lighter touch, even when she’s wailing. It carries none of the weight of the rest of the album, but all the tangible melody. “Beaches and oceans for my baby…”

“SOS in Bel Air” – Phoenix

One of those songs that makes you feel like you’re running, or you should be going somewhere or something, but when the break comes before it falls into the chorus, it catches a little reset before Thomas Mars gets to croon “Alone, alone alone” over and over–that intimacy permeates the rest of the track once you hear it and it’s all catchy, cool and invigorating together, somehow.

“Unreal” – Hebronix

The dude from Yuck is making his own music now, and this one is super slow, super lonely, and SUPER druggy. Must be high to listen. (Not really but it certainly works to your benefit.)

“Young and Beautiful” – Lana Del Rey

LDR’s Gatsby contribution is the best, but only by default, because the rest of those curated by Shawn Carter for the Gatsby soundtrack really have no business being on a Gatsby soundtrack, unless it was adapted by Baz Luhrmann with a soundtrack from Jay-Z, so, yeah.

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James Blake : Overgrown (Track by Track)

I’ve been wanting to try this for a while now.  Nearly every album review I do materializes out of a notepad, where I listen track by track and jot down impressions of what I hear.  Track by track reviews aren’t unheard of, but they’re putting a lot of stock in the reader/listener to follow along.  Personally, I love them, but I also have more free time than the average adult. I’m going to go ahead and do it anyway.

Furthermore,  I’m going to leave the notes almost entirely untouched from the notepad, journalistic integrity out the window. If you’re going to give this album a serious listen — and you should, because it’s hardly an album you can passively play through your laptop speakers — you can follow along with my thought process, as meandering as it can get.  Let me know how you guys feel about it (it being my decision on this post and the album itself), and maybe I’ll do this again in some form in the future.  Grab your best headphones. You’re going to want to hear every bit of what James Blake is saying on this record.
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In Defense of The Fixie

I remember the first time I heard about fixed gear bicycles.  My roommate at the time had alluded to a new trend in cycling, with the chief characteristic being that the bike had no brakes.  I scoffed at him aloud, claiming that he couldn’t possibly be reporting that information correctly, and that the mere suggestion of such a vehicle defied reason.  (Sorry about being such an asshole, Joe)

Fast forward to 2011, and fixies are ubiquitous, for better or for worse.  A go-to staple of “hipster” culture, they’re also generally dismissed as a fad, and an impractical one at that.  From mainstream to lamestream, the fixie has seen everything from Wal-Mart imitation to feature film adaptation starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt (With the LOL worthy tagline of “I like to ride. FIXED GEAR.  No brakes.  Can’t stop.  Don’t want to either.”) With lineage traced back to New York City bike messengers whose agenda was neither to coast or stop, user friendly fixies are now available at every suburban bike shop in Los Angeles.

Your typical fixie. For those unfamiliar with the phenomenon, a fixed gear bicycle can be described in a mechanical sense as such: One speed, with the chain connected directly to the hub of the rear wheel. As the wheel spins, the cranks rotate. So long as the bicycle is moving forward, the pedaling doesn’t stop.


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