Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sunday Morning Movie Review - World War Z

I just finished watching World War Z. Here is my review of the film.

World War Z is a movie starring Brad Pitt, who finds himself an unwilling participant in a global game of tag. When a person is tagged, they immediately become infected with parkour.

Okay, I knew the movie would diverge from the book. But man. It was entertaining enough, but the name World War Z deserved so much more. The book (by Max Brooks) portrayed a zombie outbreak (and the resulting human struggle) with exquisite realism. The movie, which went through numerous reboots during its development, opts instead for the action hero approach.

To get the original story in its ultimate form, I strongly suggest the World War Z audio book. Max Brooks constructed his story in the style of interview transcripts, so the audio book treatment is perfect. And the voice actors include Mark Hamill and Henry Rollins. Of course, the print version is great too.

So. Got a couple hours? Are you into movies where the hero is in constant peril? Can you overlook global tragedy and instead feel sympathy for the one family that gets to go on a boat? Then this is your Sunday Morning Movie.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Album Review: Glenn Case - Throw Money

Glenn Case's long-awaited album Throw Money shipped recently, and I have had the chance to listen to it several times. Let me tell you a little about it.

I was already familiar with much of the material for the record, having heard the original versions as Song Fight submissions. But there was plenty for me to discover on this album, and the whole thing is much more polished.

The record opens with "Bullseye Girl", a quick and sincere Elvis Costello homage that could easily run a minute longer without wearing out its welcome.

"Glutton" follows with a pleasantly conversational drift through time signatures, featuring Glenn's signature self-effacing lyric. Glenn's unafraid sincerity and comfort with the message (musically and lyrically) makes it easy to go along for the ride.

The pre-chorus on "OK Cupid" leaves me feeling like a songwriting chump. Glenn serves up a clinic on elegant song structure here.

If I found myself in Glenn's band, I'd be most excited to play the song "Georgia's Hand". It feels like it would be a blast to perform live. Another sharp, totally believable pop gem.

"Think It Over" features an absolutely irresistible chord sequence in the verse. The lighter lyric floats over a clean and rock-solid musical foundation.

Listening to the piano-driven "I Fell Flat" makes me think Glenn and I must share a great many musical influences. So much of what I love in pop can be heard here.

(Turn the record over here)

In 2006, Glenn and I were among 24 competitors in a little side thing over at Song Fight! The title we had to work with was "Pencil Me In". I turned in a decent piece of work, and I felt pretty good about it then. In fact, my song is going to be on my upcoming record, out hopefully by the end of the year. That said, Glenn kicked my ass, and I knew it the first time I heard his song. It sounds even better here on the album, opening the second side.

"Need Stilts" follows, with a guest vocal appearance by Rachael Layne. This is another Song Fight! song, and Glenn's ability to take a song title and completely own it lyrically leaves me shaking my head again.

"Take A Pill", "Reasons", and "Sweet" are classic second-side songs. The rules of Glenn's musical game are now set, and here's where you start to see how much room for exploration remains. This is where you grab the album cover to see who's playing those drums! (It's Ken Mahru, by the way.)

The album closes with the personal musical apology "Sister". Something more anthemic might be a better choice as a closer, you say? Nope. This says the record was never about you and me. Throw Money is Glenn Case telling the truth the way he tells it. This is obviously an honest body of work from a man shaped by music. We can only hope the next one doesn't take another six years.

Throw Money, along with many of Glenn's earlier records, can be heard here.