When last we spoke, I tried to give you a bit of a heads up on this new/old Miramax crap, and I mentioned that there was another studio dump this week. Turns out I’ve even more to report on that front.

While there’s even more Miramax/Dimension stuff being slung from shovel to shelf this week – courtesy of our incompetent chums at Echo Bridge, there are stranger things happening…

Okay…Here’s Where Things Get Really Weird:

There are tons of those hilariously mediocre ‘90s Touchtone/Silver Screen Partners I-INFINITY productions (you know, the films that kept Bette Midler employed, and assumed people wanted to see Shelly Long take that shrill act to the big screen? Yeah) hitting Blu this week – but not from Buena Vista Home Entertainment/Disney. They’re being released by Mill Creek Entertainment.

“Mill Creek”…wonder if you cross that via the ECHO BRIDGE?

You know what I’m getting at – I’ll bet these look like crappo.  At any rate, here’s what we’ve got:

Another Stakeout – They used to put Rosie O’Donnell in MOVIES!
Betsy’s Wedding
Big Business
Consenting Adults
Gross Anatomy
The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag

AN INNOCENT MAN

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The B Movie Boys just hyped this hunk of Hyams. Here’s hoping it’s halfway decent here.

Money for Nothing
My Father, the Hero – The “I’m DYING Now?” Edition
Straight Talk
VI Warshawski

So not everything up there is absolutely horrid, but…okay – like one thing isn’t absolutely horrid.

Meanwhile…

Fox has dropped a bunch of catalog stuff into Digibook packaging – including a few MGM titles – but, if they’re not debut discs, they’re the same discs you already have.  Additionally, in the case of the MGM stuff – they’re terrible old discs, often MPEG-2 encodes prepped from the same master as the DVD. I’ve actually viewed MGM’s Rocky, RoboCop, and Terminator Blu Rays side-by-side with their Special Edition DVD counterparts, and the DVDs actually looked better.  If you want the cute little Digibook, knock yourself out, I guess – just know that, in some instances, you’re getting inferior product.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD

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Love this film. It’s in a Digibook here, and I was not able to ascertain whether or not it’s the same devoid-of-special features disc Fox has been pushing since the Blu debut. Unfortunate, really – since the two disc DVD has a wealth of fantastic features.

Patton

Rocky
Rocky II
Rocky III
Rocky IV
Rocky V

Hey, MGM/Fox – will you guys seriously knock it the fuck off with Rocky?  There are people at Anchor fucking Bay that think it’s crass that you’ve dipped these so much. Next time you drop these flicks, they better be completely re-mastered and packaged in a working replica of the “Happy Birthday Paulie” robot from Rocky IV.

The Terminator
The Usual Suspects

Also, there is a group of Warner Brothers titles that have [JCVD] Deh Moveh Manneh [/JCVD] in them this week.  I wonder what film(s) it’s good for – let’s look at the available titles and play a guessing game! Fun

300
Alexander
Batman
Batman & Robin
Batman Forever
Batman Returns
Batman: Gotham Knight
Batman: Under the Red Hood
Catwoman
Constantine
Green Lantern: First Flight
The Hangover
Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle
Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo
I Am Legend
Jonah Hex
Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths
Justice League: The New Frontier
Semi-Pro
Superman: The Movie
Superman II
Superman Returns
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse
Superman/Batman: Public Enemies
Superman: Doomsday
Troy
V for Vendetta
Watchmen
Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter
Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comic
Wedding Crashers
Wonder Woman

Let’s Do the New Blu Review:

AC/DC: Live at River Plate
Adam Lambert: Glam Nation Live

ALIEN

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ALIENS

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ALIEN 3

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ALIEN RESURRECTION

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If you’re like me, and I know I am, you own the Alien Quad on DVD and can’t quite bring yourself to buy all of them all over again.  Frankly (Mr. Shankly), I don’t need the third or fourth films in HD – but that new master of Aliens looks gorgeous, and I’m a nut for the first film…so here they are – individual releases!

BLACK DEATH

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Strange – perhaps supernatural – goings-on during the Blaque Plague in England send a knight (Sean Bean, who is now apparently forbidden by international law to cut off his Boromir hair) and a monk on a perilous odyssey in search of a woman who may be a sorceress (Carice Van Houten, wearing actual articles of clothing). Severance director Christopher Smith makes with moody and brooding, and acquits himself well.

BLUE VALENTINE

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Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams make a real mess of love – or maybe it’s love that’s a mess, and we can’t do a fucking thing about it? The film got a lot of attention for a supposedly explicit sex scene, but if you show up expecting The Fuckening, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. This is a low-key, stunningly well-acted film that gets to the truth about humans in a way few do. I’ll never watch it again.

Bull Durham
Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest – Echo Bridge
Chobits Complete Collection
Cougars, Inc.
Dead Man Walking
Dracula 2000 – Echo Bridge

ERNEST GOES TO CAMP/ERNEST GOES TO JAIL DOUBLE FEATURE

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Yes, it’s Mill Creek.  Yes, it’s a Double Feature (I HATE that shit) – but the ERNEST movies are on BLU RAY?! This set is $8.99 at Amazon, and I’m tempted to pick it up because I recall both films – especially the first  – to be surprisingly subversive. I remember Varney’s dimwit getting jabbed with a humongous needle and screaming, “I did it!  I took the Lindbergh Baby! I AM JOSEF MENGELE!” Even as a kid, I remember thinking that referencing a Nazi war criminal in a kid’s movie was truly fucking weird. I’ll let you know how this goes…

EQUILIBRIUM

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An old CHUD fave hits Blu as part of the Miramax stuff that got farmed out to Echo Bridge.  The back of the case advertises “INTERACTIVE MENUS” as if that’s something that shouldn’t or doesn’t happen ON EVERY BLU RAY THAT EXISTS.  Don’t buy this.  As loathe as I am to recommend an Alliance Atlantis release, the company outta’ Canada put this out a little while ago, and while not perfect (most notably, the film is cropped from its native 2.35:1 to 1.77:1), it’ll be better than this mess (which is also cropped to 1.77:1).

Flicka 2
From Dusk till Dawn / From Dusk till Dawn 2 – Echo Bridge
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers – Echo Bridge
Hang ‘Em High
Hellraiser: Breadline – Echo Bridge

THE HIT LIST

Really was hoping that this was a Blu Ray release of Bill Lustig’s Jan-Michael Vincent vehicle. Hell, I’d have settled for a Blu of the Jeff Fahey/Yancy Butler Hit List.  Turns out it’s a direct to video Cuba Gooding Jr. flick, er…make that a Cuba Gooding Jr. flick. Cole Hauser stops by, probably wishing he showed up in the new Fast/Furious flick instead of whichever one he did. Oddly enough, this film apparently features a song by N’awlins hair metallers Lillian Axe (!) – can’t believe they’re still in it. Though…these days – I’ll be they sound like Skillet or Bang Camaro or some other shit outfit.

Home of the Brave
The Horse Soldiers
Hotel Rwanda
The Illusionist
Leaving Las Vegas

THE MISFITS

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The Misfits is damaged people playing damaged people chasing damaged animals. Screenwriter Arthur Miller drags his wife through the dirt emotionally, while director John Huston (on a neverending bender) drags Clark Gable through the dirt (literally). I have always disdained the notion that it’s an artist/performers demons that drive them, but The Misfits lends credence to the concept. Here on Blu, one wonders how Marilyn’s soft-focus close ups will look in HD.

My Sister’s Keeper
National Geographic: Journey to Mecca
No Strings Attached – Oh Natty, who’s gonna’ clean up this mess?
Shigurui Death Frenzy: The Complete Series
Showgirls
Some Like It Hot – Billy Wilder’s classic hits Blu

SOMETHING WILD (CRITERION)

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Jonathan Demme’s oddball odyssey comes to Blu thanks to Voyager.  Thrill to a day when Melanie Griffith was foxy! Experience Ray Liotta at his most charismatic/terrifying! See Jeff Daniels at his most…Jeff Daniels.

Spaceballs
Supercop – Echo Bridge
Supercop / Twin Dragons – Echo Bridge
Texas Rangers – Echo Bridge
UFC Ultimate Royce Gracie
Valkyrie
The Violent Kind
WWE Wrestlemania XXVII
The Yards / Lookout – Echo Bridge

It Means Everything: THE BLU RAY TITLE OF THE WEEK!

I SAW THE DEVIL

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Without a doubt, this is the must-own title this week. Lee Byung-hun (of the incredible The Good, the Bad, and the Weird, the incredible G.I. Joe, and the one of my favorite films ever, A Bittersweet Life) is a special ops agent who, upon the murder of his fiancé, decides to bring his every resource to bear to find the vile serial killer responsible (that would be Oldboy’s Choi Min-sik). I could tell you this plays like Jason Bourne chasing Hannibal Lector, but that’s going to be my pitch to Lionsgate next week. And it doesn’t come close to conveying the wildly vacillating tone of this truly stunning work by a masterful Kim Ji-woon. There is nothing this man cannot do.

And Now…The DVD

AC/DC: Live at River Plate
Adam Lambert: Glam Nation Live
Alien
Aliens
Alien 3
Alien Resurrection

Alien Visitor

Miramax/Echo Bridge dump a glacially-paced dialectic between an extraterrestrial woman and…a guy. Imagine Starman with the genders flipped and a “go-green” message slightly less subtle than the one presented in An Inconvenient Truth, and you’re just about there.

Almighty Thor

Ohhh…The Asylum.  I love them so. I would make movies for this outfit for the rest of my life. If you’re out there guys, you can pay me in Del Taco. In this knockoff of some summer blockbuster, Richard Grico (YES) and Kevin Nash cross the Rainbow Bridge – but that doesn’t make them gay, or nothin’.

America’s Railroads: Steam Train Legacy
American Smartass
American Son
Another Stakeout
The Archies
Ash Wednesday
Asunder
Bananas!*
Best of the West
Betsy’s Wedding
Big Business
Black Death
Blood Junkie
Blood Oath
Blue Valentine
Boys Town

Bravestarr: The Complete Series
Bravestarr: Volume 1
Bravestarr: Volume 2

Why would someone want just Volume 1 or Volume 2? If you’re sad enough to buy a stunningly wretched ‘80s cartoon, you might as go all the way sad…

Breaking Up is Hard to Do
Buckaroo
Bull Durham
Camp Nowhere/Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend/My Father the Hero (Triple Feature)
Century of Warfare
Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest
Children of the Corn V
Children of the Corn 666: Isaac’s Return
Chobits Complete Collection
Chop Kick Panda
Christmas in July
Civil War Journal: The Commanders
Civil War Journal: The Conflict Begins
Coffee Samurai / Hoshizora Kiseki
Commando
Consenting Adults
Conundrum: Guitar Artistry of Bert Jansch
Cougars, Inc.
Cropsey
The Crossing Guard
D-Day: Code Name Overlord
Dahmer vs. Gacy
Dead Man Walking
Dennis Woodruff Collection Volume 1
Dinosaurs: Extreme Survivors
Dog Tales Collection
Dr. Who: Planet of the SpidersDr. Who: Terror of the Autons
Dracula 2000
Dragon Lord – Echo Bridge is sure to ruin this minor Jackie Chan Classic
El Arriero (Spanish)
Equilibrium
Ernest Goes To Camp/Ernest Goest to Jail/Ernest Scared Stupid
Erotic Escape
eXistenZ – Pisses me off that Echo Bridge got this one.
Exotic Malice
Eyes of the Chameleon
A Fistful of Dollars
Flicka 2

FORTRESS

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Yeah, Echo Bridge.  But the previous releases of this violent futuristic B-Movie classic from Re-Animator director Stuart Gordon were full-frame and non-anamorphic, so maybe this’ll be an improvement? No one knows…

Bit of Fortress trivia for ya’ – at one time, Arnold Schwarzenegger was set to play the lead.

The Fortunes & Misfortunes of Moll Flanders
From Dusk Till Dawn / From Dusk Till Dawn 2 (Double Feature)
Frontera Roja 2 (Spanish)
Gene-Fusion
German Bombers: Luftwaffe’s Weakest Link
Getting High
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Gross Anatomy
The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag
Guy Davis: Guitar Artistry of Guy Davis
Hail the Conquering Hero
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers
Hang ‘Em High
A Haunting: Ghosts & Demons
Hauntings in America
He Who Finds a Wife 2: Thou Shall Not Covet
Hellraiser: Bloodline
The Hit List
Home Improvement: The Complete Collection (20th Anniversary Edition)
Home of the Brave
The Horse Soldiers
Horse Tales Collection
Hotel Rwanda
I Saw the Devil
The Illusionist
Infraganti

Is God Great? – Let’s ask the Magic 8 Ball!

Oh…“It is decidedly NO.”

Iwo Jima: 36 Days of Hell

Jackie Chan’s Project A
Jackie Chan’s Project A 2
Jackie Chan: The Action Pack

These will be shit transfers of Miramax/Dimension’s shitty edited/dubbed versions.

Johnny Carson
Junjo Romantica 2 Collection
Justin Bieber: Never Say Never
Kaufmann / Hampton: Puccini: Tosca
Kiddy Grade Box Set
Killer Yacht Party
Korea: The Forgotten War
Krews
La Profecia De Los Justos (Spanish)
Lassie’s Birthday Surprise / Lassie’s Gift of Love
Lo Mejor De: Adela Noriega (Spanish)
Lo Mejor De: Angelica Rivera (Spanish)
Lo Mejor De: Cesar Evora (Spanish)
Lo Mejor De: Fernando Colunga (Spanish)
Lo Mejor De: Juan Soler (Spanish)
Lo Mejor De: Lucero (Spanish)
LOL Comedy Presents: Angelo Tsarouchas
Mad World
The Marrying Man
The Misfits
Money for Nothing
My Father the Hero
My First Scholastic Storybook Treasures
My Little Chickadee
My Sister’s Keeper
My Vietnam, Your Iraq
The Nameless
Napping House & Other Stories That Rhyme
National Geographic: Journey to Mecca
No Strings Attached
Nova: Smartest Machine On Earth
Now & Later
Patton
Pecados Y Penitencias (Spanish)
Pokemon Diamond & Pearl Galactic Battles Volume 2
Pokemon Diamond & Pearl Galactic Battles Volume 3
Pokemon Diamond & Pearl Galactic Battles Volume 4
Pure Barre: 16th Street Volume 1
Pure Barre: 16th Street Volume 2
Quick & Dirty Guide to Hip Hop
Red Skelton
Rocky
Rocky II
Rocky III
Rocky IV
Rocky V
Romper Stomper
Sabrina the Teenage Witch: 10 Animated Episodes
Science of War Collection
Scooby-Doo Mystery Incorporated: Season 1 Volume 2
Secretos Sangrientos (Spanish)
Sex, Demons & Deaths (Subtitled)
Shigurui Death Frenzy: The Complete Series
Shingu Complete Collection
Showgirls
The Siege of Leningrad
The Sign Of The Cross
Silent Victory Submarine Warfare in WWII (2-Disc Edition

SLEDGEHAMMER

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I remember the Shot On Video boom from the early mid ‘80s – crap like 555 (My friends and I actually made a sequel called 555 Part 222), Luther the Geek, and Truth or Dare: A Critical Madness lined the shelves of Mom-and-Pop video stores, and it was all catnip for a Fango kid like me. Today, Larry Gold’s Intervision Pictures – in association with Severin Films – make way for the SOV disasterpiece from David A. (Motherfucking) Prior, offering up a Special Edition Sledgehammer DVD featuring commentaries, interviews, and appreciations. One can dream that Prior’s majestic Deadly Prey isn’t far behind (that one being me).

Slime City Massacre
Some Like It Hot
Something Wild (Criterion)
The Soul of Bellydance
Spaceballs
Splat the Cat & Other Furry Friends
The Steven Seagal Collection
Story About Ping & Other Fine Feathered Friends
Straight Talk
Supercop
Supercop / Twin Dragons (Double Feature)

SUPERNATURAL SEASONS 1-5

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Hey look, it’s five seasons of the best TV you’ll ever see!

Tale of the Mummy
Tapas (Spanish)
Texas Rangers
Total Recall 2070: Machine Dreams
Trench
Triple Threat CollectionTwo Hands
UFC Ultimate Royce Gracie
V.I. Warshawski
Valkyrie
Venom
The Violent Kind
Warbirds of WWII Volume 1
Webster: Season 2
The World in Conflict 1931-1945
World War II in Color
WWE Wrestlemania XXVII
The Yards / Lookout (Double Feature)

And Now…MU-SIQUE – with JEB DELIA!

RAPHAEL SADDIQ – STONE ROLLIN’

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Before this album’s release, Saddiq had done a number of public performances of the material (notably on the webcast from Coachella), and they all served to confirm his stature as one of the few Prince disciples (he opened for The Purple One in his Tony! Toni! Toné! days) with the same kind of potential to shape classic R&B tropes into something wholly new and his own, and now that Stone Rollin’ is here, it goes a long way to fulfilling that promise.

From the frenzied opener, “Heart Attack”, with its nods to Sly Stone, to the Mitch Ryder pump-it-up of “Radio” (though Mitch should have been so lucky to have his girl “Pullin’ off her dress / And start licking my chest“) the Mayfield-like plea of “Good Man”, the uptown strut of the title track through the smooth fuck-me come-on of “Moving Down the Line,” Saddiq manages to master a huge range of classic influences while never sounding like anyone but himself. He’s also slyly idiosyncratic in his song construction: while the feel and sound of the compositions echo the past, they break from traditional structure to conform to Saddiq’s vision of himself and his music: as an example, virtually none of the songs has what you’d think of as a refrain or chorus, and his choice not to offer the listener that easy sense of release (particularly on the uptempo numbers like “Radio”) makes the listening experience more challenging than mere sweet soul nostalgia.

THE CARS – MOVE LIKE THIS

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Back in ’78, Ric Ocasek jump-started the 80’s by appropriating elements from British art-rockers like Roxy Music and distilling them into a simplified, radio-ready sound: Brian Eno’s experimental keyboard textures became the repetitive squeaks and beeps the marked the synth sounds of the decade, while Ocasek and bassist Ben Orr borrowed the doom-laden monotone of Bryan Ferry’s singing, careful to denature it by stripping it of its post-Romantic context. As building blocks for a simpler, Top 40 sound, though, it all worked, and now, more than a decade past Orr’s death, and nearly a quarter-century since the band last performed together, The Cars, as reinvented for the 21st century sound like… well, like The Cars. The melodies are still built on nagging herky-jerk hooks, and the lyrics tend to the easily digested paired couplets (“I could dream about / Things that never end/ Or wishes on a star / Or something round the bend,” or “You’re my lover and forever my friend / When I touch you I never want it to end“), but if that strikes your nostalgic sweet spot, then “Blue Tip” and “Sad Song” will carry you back, while “Drag On Forever” and “It’s Only” demonstrate that if the band may lack for interesting ideas, they don’t lack for energy.

TYLER THE CREATOR – GOBLIN

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The third song in this set, “Radicals,” features Tyler offering a disclaimer, warning white America of the importance of distinguishing fact from fiction in Tyler’s music (and hip-hop in general). Given the fact that, by this point in the album, we’ve already roughed up a few bitches, and told some “faggots” to go fuck themselves, I don’t know that we’re supposed to take that distinction all that seriously. In an odd way, Goblin is almost a Plastic Ono Band for a 21st century hip-hop audience: Lennon’s primal scream therapy is replaced by an inner-city dialogue between composer and therapist/conscience (personified as Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All), but it’s a similar portrait of an artist finding that his learned means of expression are inadequate to the emotional demands he places on them, so that what emerges is a form of music that shows, rather than hides, its scars.
I’m not a role model,” Tyler informs us (as Lennon once insisted that he didn’t believe in Beatles); “I’m not a rapist or serial killer – I lied.” While we’re all familiar with the miserable ghetto childhood he portrays here from movies and TV, we usually see it in the black and white terms of the gangster, or of the upstanding youth that avoids that trap to succeed on the terms of white society. The Tyler we meet here, though, won’t fit into either box: neurotic, uncertain, sometimes suicidal, spending his time dreaming, masturbating, and venting his hate on women, his absentee father, the oppressive society he has left him defenseless against, and Bruno Mars among others. The album is decidedly not easy listening: the hate and violence are portrayed with deep conviction, and it’s a musical crazy-quilt: the deliberately clunky keyboard tinkling of “Sandwitches,” the duet for typewriter and marimba of “Nightmare,” the aural horror movie “Yonkers,” and the outré weirdness of “AU79″ and “Fish.”  There’s beats to be had, but somehow I don’t see Tyler following Cee Lo Green onto the stage of some glitzed-up music-contest TV show: this shit may not always be pleasant, but it feels and sounds damned real.

HUGH LAURIE – LET THEM TALK

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Before House, Laurie’s signature role was as the definitive Bertie Wooster in the Jeeves and Wooster TV series. Set in between-the-world-wars England, the show would periodically feature Bertie sitting down at the piano to bash out the latest “hot jazz”, and the joke would be hearing him deliver something like “Minnie the Moocher” in his best arch London clubman’s accent. And for all this album’s considerable musical virtues, that’s the aspect that’s hardest to get past: eight years of playing an American have lent a weird trans-Atlantic aspect to Laurie’s vocals, and hearing him bray “Josh’a fit’ de battle of Jericho” like the ghost of Al Jolson  leaves the listener torn between giggles at the awkwardness and admiration for the enthusiasm. Because the album’s saving graces are two: that same  boundless enthusiasm that Laurie and his fellow musicians show for the material, and Laurie’s extraordinarily powerful piano playing.

The song selections lean in the direction of what Bertie and his contemporaries would have understood as “the blues,” (“John Henry,” “Buddy Bolden’s Blues,” even reaching back as far as “Swanee River”) but which today we think of more as a New Orleans-style boogie-woogie, and Laurie has the feel and rhythm of the style as if he were born to it (despite his modest disclaimer that “no gypsy woman told me mother anything when I was born”). He demonstrates his range right off the bat by opening the album with a stunning two-minute solo  improvisation, with elements of jazz and classical stylings, before launching into a powerful “St James Infirmary,” and the album rarely flags from there, with Laurie demonstrating an amazing facility for capturing the music’s idiom. In Joe Henry’s production, the backing musicians share Laurie’s exhilaration, though there’s the occasional stylistic disconnect in the T-Bone Burnett inspired arrangements, but when you bring in Allen Toussaint to handle the horn charts, you’re never far from the Crescent City. Laurie’s singing is decidedly an acquired taste (he sometimes makes The Blues Brothers sound subtle), but as a pianist, while he may not be Professor Longhair, he can certainly be mentioned in the same breath with Harry Connick, Dr John (who contributes vocals to the album as well) or Toussaint himself. On that basis, highly recommended.

OTHER NOTABLE 5/10 RELEASES:

Okkervil River – I Am Very Far I’m not sure exactly how you follow up backing Roky Erickson, but Will Sheff and company seem to have taken inspiration from it: there’s more than a hint of Erickson’s joyous desperation in “Rider,” “The Rise,” and the surging orchestral textures of “We Need a Myth.”

Warren Haynes – Man In Motion The erstwhile Allman not-quite-brother assembles one of the more impressive pickup bands in recent memory (including Iam Maclagen on keyboards and George Porter Jr. on bass), bemoans life, love, and rivers rising , makes the odd sage observation (“Ego is a muslce/ just add fame and watch it swell”), and generally makes a Membphis/Muscle Shoals stew that makes a nice side dish for Gregg Allman’s latest. Plus– vintage tube mikes and two-inch tape!

Turtleneck & Chain – The Lonely Island Amusing stuff from the Beastie Boys wannabes, which would make more sense if the genuine article wasn’t still on the charts.

Black Label Society – Song Remains Not the Same Not the Zep tribute album you were hoping for (fearing): instead, acoustic alternate versions of stuff like “Riders of the Damned” and “Parade of the Dead,” along with the damndest set of covers you’ve ever heard: by the end of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and “Can’t Find My Way Home,” you’ll think your jaw can’t drop any further… but then comes “The First Noel.”

Manchester Orchestra – Simple Math These guys know how to grab the ear with expert, well-polished nods to Pavement, Weezer, and Molly Hatchet. Strings and kid choruses. An opening track that proclaims “Dear everybody that has ever seen my band/it’s still confusing, we’ll never understand/I acted like an asshole so my albums would never burn.” Note that the track is actually spelled “Deer.” They’re not the only ones confused.

Booker T – The Road From Memphis Trading the Southern Rock of Drive-By Truckers, who backed him on 2009’s Potato Hole, for the urban blacktop of The Roots, with guest bits ranging from Matt Berninger to Sharon Jones to Lou Reed. Throw in Motown guitar legend Dennis Coffey, and you’ve got the soul stew of the week.

Anvil – Juggernaut of Justice If only their music was half as interesting as their movie.

Chris Thile and Michael Daves – Sleep With One Eye Open Aching vocals harmonies, furious mandolin and guitar breakdowns, and such uplifting song titles as “LOmeliness and Desperation,” “Bury Me Beneath The Willow” and “Cry, Cry Baby.” You’ve heard it before, but not often played so expertly.

Blue October – Ugly Side: An Acoustic Evening with Blue October Nice compantion piece to the new  Black Label Society, but without the weirdbeard song choices.

Jimmie Dale Gilmore – Heirloom Music Gilmore is backed here by The Wronglers, whose leader, Warren Hellman, is the guy who bankrolls San Francisco’s jaw-dropping free Hardly Strictly Bluesgrass Festival every year. Which means that even if this wasn’t a well-chosen set of vintage roots music, with Gilmore in fine voice, I’d buy it just to say “Thanks, Warren!”

AND ALSO SPECIAL MOTHERFUCKIN’ GUEST:

At the beginning of the takeover, I mentioned that I’d love to have Chewers enter the fray here and add their two cents to the column – give us a heads up on a release they find interesting. So now we have the first. Longtime Chewer David Swickard stops by this week to tell us about a new musical selection.

OHGR – UNDEVELOPED

Thanks to CHUD, Jason, and Jeb for passin’ me tha’ mic.

I’ll begin by saying I LOVED Skinny Puppy frontman Ohgr’s previous release, Devils In My Details, which had a flow that the new undeveloped lacks, despite the return of producer Mark Walk. The production is there, but something still seems amiss (see “bellew” and “hollow” as examples). On DIMD, ohgr painted the world as a sideshow, and the album – when listened to in its entirety – tells a horrific tale. I don’t think undeveloped measures up.

And you know, I’m all for intros – but in this case, they don’t work. They serve only to derail the momentum generated by tracks like “101” and “crash”, which are undeniably two of the best selections found here.

And yeah, I get it Kev – you used the Michael Jackson 911 call  as a lead-in to a song about drug use…but you really didn’t need to.

“Canceling resistance/hurting humans/sense indifference all alike,” Ohgr deadpans on “animist” – one of the more synth-heavy and ominous tracks (“comedown” shares this sonic pattern as well). Delightful synth work and guitar-driven choruses make “screwme” a high spot as well. Here Ohgr laments, “Helpless stranger looking up to understand/what it means to be real.”

I do recommend that you take your leave after the proper finale, “nitwitz.” Otherwise, you’ll find that Ogre included “collidoskope” as the hidden track. It features fans trying to out-cliche each other by saying “Welcome to Collidoskope” – a reward for cracking a riddle on Ohgr’s website, but beyond that novelty, the song is unremarkable. “pissage” is a track that has been championed by fans, and I can’t really argue with them. The song comes on like a Disney number as interpreted by Ohgr and builds to a freak-out climax that will have you hitting “repeat.” If something this good had been in Repo–The Geriatric Opera, the film might have been a more enjoyable experience (well…probably not).

If you’re a fan of beats and tones, undeveloped will work for you. Ohgr’s not breaking any new ground here, but what he does, he does really well. That said, as much as it pains my brain to type it, undeveloped lives up to its name. A little more tweaking here and there, and the album could have been truly great.

Thanks, Dave!

Due to technical difficulties beyond our control, there will be no VIDEO GAME reportage this day.  Though I think I heard somewhere that the new DUKE NUKEM game is delayed until the developers can uncreatively rip-off more movie dialogue, or until virtual boob physics improves, whichever comes first.

Actually, I’m lying – BRIAN CONDRY is BACK.

From Bikes to Trains to VIDEO GAMES – With BRIAN CONDRY!

It’s one more semi-sorta dead week before a blast of awesome. There’s really only one great looking game, BRINK, and it’s multiplayer focused, which means I have no interest. But if you want to know more, look no further…

BRINK (PS3, 360, PC; retail) – Brink is a first person shooter. Wait, come back! Ok, it’s an FPS that ISN’T Call of Duty or Halo. Made by Splash Damage, the cool bros behind the Enemy Territory games for Wolfenstein and Quake, it’s about movement just as much as it is about shooting mans in faces. It’s got a parkourish system, not unlike Mirror’s Edge…but then you shoot people in the face. The problem is going to be whether that player base disintegrates within the first week, because it’s all about the team based multiplayer here. It does have some single player and a cool, stylized art style, though. But competitive multiplayer just isn’t my cup of tea at the moment.

HYDROPHOBIA (PC; download) – This will technically be the third release of Hydrophobia. First, on 360, it was apparently dogshit. After the developers went and whined about mean reviewers not liking their shitty game, they did something almost unheard of: they corrected the flaws and re-released it. For free. And it was apparently…pretty solid – but still not great. So, once again, they’ve gone in and tinkered and are now re-re-releasing on PC, hoping those Steam using suckers don’t know the full story. Hell, I’ll play it. It’s gotta be $2.50 during this summer’s Steam Sale.

OTHER NOTABLE 5/10 RELEASES:

And that’s it! Oh, THE FIRST TEMPLAR is out for 360 and PC but who are you kidding? You’re not someone’s mom who doesn’t know to buy either God of War or Assassin’s Creed. Put that shit down.

The guy’s what made Greed Corp. have a new downloadable title, GATLING GEARS, but that’s where my knowledge ends. Greed Corp. was pretty fun, though.

VIRTUA TENNIS 4 hits all systems this week. For all you lazy fuckers who prefer to play video games from a comfortable chair, SUCK IT! It’s all Kinnect, all Move, all Wiimote, all the time.

And then another Lego Plague sweeps across all systems, infecting them with LEGO PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN. I do not get the appeal of these games to anyone older than 13 or who doesn’t have kids, but whatever. I’ll bet Capt. Jack is all drunky in it and whatnot.

Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez R.I.P. – Rock Band DLC:

Available on Xbox 360 and Wii (May 10) and PlayStation®3 system (May 19)

(Apparently, Harmonix knows when PSN is back up)

* indicates Pro Bass/Guitar upgrade is available

Foo Fighters – “Long Road to Ruin”
Foo Fighters – “Rope” *
Foo Fighters – “Stacked Actors”
Foo Fighters – “Walk”
Lordi – “Hard Rock Hallelujah”
Run-DMC – “King of Rock”

Pro Guitar Additions for Legacy Songs

Foo Fighters – “Monkey Wrench”
Foo Fighters – “The Pretender”

So there you have it.  All the bases covered.

As I’ve said, this column is a work in progress, and I’d love to know what you think of the changes.  Please make comments here, and post in the forums.
And if you like what you’ve read – LIKE it on Facebook.
Thanks for visiting CHUD Special Ed. Hope it was worth your time.