Monthly Archives: November 2012

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Nutshell Film/Album Review: The Twilight Saga- Breaking Dawn: Part II

Stephanie Meyer’s last installment of the Twilight Saga literally had my jaw stuck to that candy-crusted floor of my local AMC.

With the Nov. 16 debut making women, and fewer men (but still a few) swoon on a global level, I will admit that I can’t deny my excited anxiety as I braced myself for the start of the end of my slightly-obsessed adolescence.

Believe it or not, shallow or expected, I did once, and still kind of do, respect the Twilight Saga-reason being such an exaggerated storyline and fantastical plot still manages to consume my ideals and expectations.

Meyer was able to convince her readers and now moviegoers that this supernatural world is theirs- that love, no matter what the obstacles, prevails. Sappy? Possibly, but still, mad respect.

Another confession: from the time when I started the series at the middle of my eighth grade year, to the middle of my sophomore year, I have read the saga many- and I mean, many- times over.

As a reader, I knew the plot just as the characters experienced it. I was a character myself, as many Twi-hards believe they are currently.

As a viewer, I expected nothing less than that same effect. Stereotypically, we are told that no cinematic version of our beloved text, no matter what text it is, will ever hold up to the real deal.

The body of the film is by the book accurate, properly portraying the movie that plays on in the head of a Twilight reader.

The effects in this finale film top all the other movies.

From Renesmee, Edward and Bella’s half human-half vampire daughter, being completely computer generated for the first few scenes of her movie existence to the epic surprise scene that had me swearing the entire way through, the cinematography was impressive.

Bella, as played by the infamously awkward Kristin Stewart, finished her role as the mediocre self-conscious teen girl fairly well. The core staff that includes Taylor Lautner as Jacob Black, Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen, Ashley Green as Alice Cullen and Billy Burke as Charlie Swan carried their weight too, finally showing a cohesiveness that lacked in previous Twilight films.

Not only do the visuals deserve accolades, but also the soundtrack is a strangely beautiful combination of artists.

The track list includes Passion Pit, Ellie Goulding, Green Day, and Feist, just to name the first four.

Typically, I would laugh at such a pairing. A confused mix-tape at best, maybe even an iPod’s shuffle option having a bit of fun. On a movie soundtrack? Unheard of other than for commercial reasons.

Luckily, this was not sloppily thrown together, and although each of these artists have sounds of their own, their versatility shown on the Breaking Dawn: Part II soundtrack also deserves a round of applause.

Ultimately, the film should be considered a success. For the Saga’s fans, triumph should feel sweet. For critics of the books and films, there is no denying that cinematically, Breaking Dawn: Part II was- dare I say it- a true work of animated and film art.

Nutshell Album Review: Green Day – ¡Dos!

Deja vu. It’s almost like Green Day just came out with a new album (get it…because they did…). ¡Dos! is the second installment of the ¡Uno!, ¡Dos!, ¡Tré! trilogy from the 90’s punks, which is boasted to be the band’s take on “garage rock”. Some may, unsurprisingly, be skeptical about one of the most famous (and sometimes infamous) pop punk acts to ever touch a stage making an attempt at a genre they have never come close to. And after Billie Joe Armstrong being admitted to rehab, resulting in cancellations of tour stops going all the way to 2013, the band has to do something to let fans know that everything will be fine. With the very short ¡Dos! being the awkward middle child of the trilogy, it has its own story create. Whether the story is worth hearing is up to the fans.

The album opens up with “See You Tonight”, a minute-long low fi recording that sounds like it was made on a boom box. It’s cute, I’ll give them that. But it doesn’t scream garage rock…until it leads in to “Fuck Time”. If you never thought you would hear the words “baby, it’s fuck time”, then you are in for a surprise. The song turns out to be a pretty decent rock song with a very solid 60’s-esque solo. Next up is “Stop When The Red Lights Flash”, a true hold on the garage rock sound this album was said to have. With a main riff that includes quick chord changes, background “oo’s”, and a vocal part that nicely overdubs the chorus part, this is one to get the moshers going. “Lazy Bones” includes a verse with a sort-of-Killers-mixed-with-other-stuff vibe and a very loud, guitar inflated chorus. After that comes “Wild One”, which ironically is one of the slower and more rocking back and forth type songs of the album. The lamest, yet most fitting description for this song is “it’s very Green Day”. Weird, right?

“Makeout Party” is like 21st Century Breakdown‘s “East Jesus Nowhere” on speed. That’s a good thing. This is just a very dirty, but well structured rock song that will automatically get you moving. The album’s first single “Stray Heart” has a very apparent garage rock influence, easily comparable to The Strokes. “Ashley” is a very energetic and jarring track with tremolo solos and a heavy bassline. Next up is “Baby Eyes”, a song that starts to hit to poppy side of Green Day. It’s very hooky, and it breaks into a hard refrain after each chorus. “Lady Cobra” is A GEM. This is a must-hear track from the album, with a sound like it was ripped straight from the White Blood Cells era White Stripes. They wanted a garage rock album, well they have it with this song. “Nightlife” is a song that seems a bit out of place on this album, with a very groovy and somewhat bluesy feel. The kicker is Lady Cobra (the person, not the last song) rapping. It’s…something new for Green Day. They get an A for effort. ¡Dos! then closes out with “Wow! That’s Loud”, another one with a Strokes like feel (except it’s more of a punk-garage hybrid song), and “Amy”, the acoustic tribute to the late Amy Winehouse. It really is a precious song and a very nice tribute to close out album number two from the trilogy.

¡Dos! is, as stated before, the awkward middle child of Green Day’s trilogy of mega albums. The album was called “garage rock”, but it still seems like the usual pop punk that the band is famous for. That isn’t a criticism of their normal sound, but the promise of change wasn’t followed up on as some may have thought. Nonetheless, ¡Dos! ended up being a solid collection of songs. The final sub genre is challenging to pinpoint, but this definitely isn’t an album to skip over. It leaves people curious as to what will come out of the trilogy’s final album, and makes you wonder whether or not this new garage-punk combo pack is something to become accustomed to from the band. Green Day’s ¡Dos! takes a modest 85/100, and it is available now.

¡Dos! Tracklisting:

  1. See You Tonight
  2. Fuck Time
  3. Stop When The Red Lights Flash
  4. Lazy Bones
  5. Wild One
  6. Makeout Party
  7. Stray Heart
  8. Ashley
  9. Baby Eyes
  10. Lady Cobra
  11. Nightlife
  12. Wow! That’s Loud
  13. Amy

Nutshell Album Review: The Rebel Light – The Rebel Light EP

Even though we have disappeared from your world, we promise it’s nothing personal. We took the last week off to become zen-masters or something artsy like that, but nonetheless we present to you The Rebel Light, the debut EP from the LA indie trio of the same name. The attraction to this album was admittedly a strange one. The reason I was inclined to feature this album is because the story is amazing. The EP is completely self-produced. They use a wide variety of quirky, but well used instruments like trumpets and xylophones, they make awesome music videos, and my personal favorite, they recorded vocals and drums in a bathroom and woodshed. Can you say gritty? Definitely one of the best production stories heard since an album recorded in a garage won a Grammy. But other than that, The Rebel Light has a talent that is worth noting, no matter how they decide to record albums.

The EP opens with “My Heroes Are Dead”, a song with a hi-pass drum opening that breaks into a Portugal. The Man style trance. Anyone who listens to psychedelic prog-rock would attract to the overall hookiness (it’s totally a word), and it breaks into a powerful solo with trumpet overdubs and resonating drums that would fire anyone who likes music into a fit of happiness. “Goodbye Serenade”, other than having a wonderful music video, opens up with a beautiful piano part that sends you into a rhythm-dominated song. With a large emphasis put on stuttery drums and a driving bass beat, it instantly shoves listeners into “concert crowd member” mode, where you stop caring how stupid you look when you are jamming out really intensely because the song is just that damn good. The third and final track (plus the radio edit) is “Wake Up Your Mind”, a synthy track reminiscent of The Temper Trap’s self-titled second album. It breaks into more of a rock song than an indie one at the start of the verse, with megaphone-like vocals and a distorted bass line. The track strays from the EP’s other two songs, but in a positive way that says “We can make jammy-stuff. Oh and also really awesome rock songs.”

The Rebel Light is not a household name. Honestly. I wish that wasn’t the case. If this EP is any sign of things to come, then The Rebel Light is going to be a huge band in the coming years. These three songs were able to grab the band a few new fans and the EP isn’t even released yet. The Rebel Light EP gets a 91/100. Not bad for a band’s first music ever. On November 13th, find this EP and buy it. Twice. Until then, check out The Rebel Light on Bandcamp and Facebook.

The Rebel Light EP Tracklisting:

  1. My Heroes Are Dead
  2. Goodbye Serenade
  3. Wake Up Your Mind
  4. Wake Up Your Mind (Radio Edit)

Also, check out their music video for “Goodbye Serenade”:

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