Thursday, February 28, 2013

David Bowie: 'The Next Day' Review

The Next Day
David Bowie's new album The Next Day is easily going to go down as one of the best albums of 2013, and one of the best of Bowie's long career.

The first single, 'Where Are We Now?' is a melodic and hypnotic tune that goes down easy and had people wondering if that would be the direction of the album. Well, just listening to the songs that come before and after, 'Love is Lost' & 'Valentine's Day', is enough to convince you that this album is about much more than that. 'Where Are We Now?' is more of an anomaly, a nice way to take a break from the harder edged songs that come before it, such as 'The Stars (Are Out Tonight)'.

The rest of the tracks have blistering guitars and fast drum beats, with some even having a slight electronic dance influence ('Dancing Out In Space', 'If You Can See Me'). Don't worry though, those songs rock just as much as the rest of them. 'I'd Rather Be High', one of the album standouts, sounds like a more upbeat version of 'Where Are We Now?', hypnotic in a faster way. 'How Does the Grass Grow?' will pulse in through your headphones/speakers like nothing else, and features some of the best guitar work on the album along with '(You Will) Set The World on Fire', one of the hardest rockers in his entire catalog. It's also quickly becoming a favorite of mine. 'You Feel So Lonely You Could Die' follows that and brings in the piano with some nice soulful backing vocals to create a nice transition from such a loud rocker.

The standard album closer, 'Heat', slowly builds up with a dark & mysterious vibe running throughout it, fitting for the album closer. The Deluxe Version adds three additional tracks after this though if you need a little more.

The Next Day gives you everything you want from a David Bowie album, and stands with his best works. In terms of the vocals, they don't sound all that different from his earlier albums. So much for all those reports about if he was healthy of not, because he sounds outstanding here. The album can be streamed on iTunes now. It will be released on March 11 in the UK and March 12 in the USA, and is obviously a must buy.

*Update* His wife Iman has let slip Bowie may be going on tour at some point. Speaking to a magazine and talking about their daughter, she stated, "We are stuck, we can’t travel. Our schedule is around her, so I don’t know. We’ll have to go visit him, but we won’t be on tour with him because she’s in school."

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

David Bowie: The Stars (Are Out Tonight)

David Bowie released his new single, 'The Stars (Are Out Tonight)', from his upcoming album The Next Day. It follows in the footsteps of his first single 'Where Are We Now?', but the sound doesn't have much in common. 'Where Are We Now?' was a slower, droning song that could best be described as hypnotic. 'The Stars (Are Out Tonight)' is a much faster, louder rock song that is reminiscent of his music from Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane.

A music video was released as well, which features Bowie and Tilda Swinton as a happy married couple who get followed home by a celebrity couple which is plastered all over the front of the tabloids, interfering with Swinton & Bowie's life. The couple is made to look like Bowie when he was younger. Watch the new video below, and don't forget The Next Day will be out March 12th in the US.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Women's Soccer Rematch: USA vs Canada

Alex Morgan celebrates her game winning goal in London.
The United States Women's National Soccer Team will be taking on Canada in a rematch of one of the most buzzed about moments of the London 2012 Olympics. It will be the first time the two teams have faced off since that outstanding and controversial game this past summer.

The game was without a doubt the most famous and talked about soccer match in Canadian history, and certainly up there in the USA as well along with games from the 2002/2010 World Cups & 1999/2011 Women's World Cups. Canadian striker Christine Sinclair put on a clinic by scoring three goals for Canada during the match. The USA answered them each time with a goal of their own. One of which was the controversial and rarely called time wasting penalty against the Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeon, followed by a handball, which allowed Abby Wambach to even the score at 3-3. In overtime, Alex Morgan headed in the 4th and final goal in the closing seconds of the match to give the US the 4-3 victory and send them into the Gold Medal match where they beat Japan 2-1. It was the latest goal ever scored in a FIFA competition. Canada won the bronze after defeating France.

The rematch will take place on Sunday June 2, 2013 in Toronto, Canada at BMO Field, home of Toronto FC of MLS. It will be broadcast live on ESPN or ESPN 2 at 4:30 PM ET for our viewing pleasure, as well as on Sportsnet in Canada. Let's just hope they don't have a giveaway of anything that fans could throw on the field (kidding, though I'm sure it will be LOUD) in what will be an intense and emotional game. They call it a "friendly", but both teams will be playing this as if its the World Cup. Wambach & Sinclair are also both chasing Mia Hamm's all-time scoring record.

The scheduling is perfect timing as the new professional women's league, the NWSL, will be in its first season from April to August. This is the first pro league to be backed by the United States Soccer Federation (USSF), Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) and Mexican Football Federation (FMF). That combined with teams in the soccer-crazy Pacific Northwest will make this league a success.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Meteorites Crash in Russia

Chelyabinsk in Urals, a region in Russia, was rocked by a meteor or meteorites. Thanks to YouTube there is actual video footage of the meteor(s) in the sky, and one that has sound of it crashing into the Earth. Or possibly into some cars, as alarms start ringing and glass breaks once you hear the loud blast caused by the meteor. One crashed into a zinc factory, causing a large explosion. Now of course, the crazies are out trying to prove it was a UFO.

Here are the two impressive videos of the event. The first video shows the meteorites falling through the sky towards land. It would be even more impressive if "I Don't Want To Miss a Thing" by Aerosmith from Armageddon was on the car radio. The meteorites streak through the sky at around 12 seconds in. In the second short video you can hear the crash and sonic boom that rattled buildings.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Oscar Pistorius Charged With Murder

Reeva Steenkamp & Oscar Pistorius
File this under shocking news out of the sports world today, as Olympic & Paralympic "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius was charged with murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, who was found shot inside his home in South Africa.

Pistorius gained worldwide fame for being a double-amputee below the knee who ran in the London 2012 Olympics, thus gaining the "blade runner" nickname thanks to his carbon fiber "blades" that he ran with, as well as winning multiple Paralympic medals. He is one of the few athletes to compete in both the Olympics and Paralympics. Steenkamp was a model who was the Avon spokesperson in South Africa and featured in FHM magazine multiple times.

People are obviously wondering how someone who inspired so many people could do something so horrible. It's weird to think that a few months ago, myself and millions more were watching him on NBC and cheering for him. And now that same person has become a killer. But we never know what goes on behind closed doors. Just because someone rose to fame in a sport obviously doesn't mean they can't have issues. Pistorius seemed to have a few issues in his personal life. He crashed a boat in 2009 after drinking while driving it. He also recently had an altercation with another man over a woman.

Some media have speculated if it was an accident, as Pistorius kept weapons in his house out of fear of burglary, that he may have mistook her for a burglar when she entered his house in the night. Police are not treating it that way as of now though, and it seems this was clearly not an accident.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Cheap MP3 Option: SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip

The iPod and iPhone may be the dominant music players on the market, but if you've never heard of the Sansa Clip Zip you're missing out on a great little music player. Its a tiny MP3 player with a clip on the back, similar to the iPod Shuffle, only the Clip Zip has a screen, FM radio, and stop watch that comes in handy for working out. The Clip Zip doesn't suck either; the sound quality is outstanding and that is the most important part. Its also pretty durable, so its not like you're buying a piece of junk like some other cheap MP3 players can turn out to be.

The biggest added bonus is the expandable memory via the MicroSD card slot on the side. The 4GB version runs for about $34.99-$54.99 depending where you buy it. Amazon is typically the best place to get it. I got the 4GB player, then added a 32GB MicroSD card that I got cheap from Amazon, and have 36GB of storage space for much less than an iPod Nano. In comparison, the iPod Nano 16GB costs $150. Its simple to use as well, I just plugged it into my computer, the software automatically downloaded, then just used Windows Media Player to drag and drop my songs to the player with sync.

Great buy if you're looking for a very portable MP3 player with tons of storage space at a low price. This is also nice to have if you work out, with the small size and ability to just clip it to your waist band or pocket without having to worry about if falling off.                                                      

Monday, February 11, 2013

'The Walking Dead' Slays the Competition

Did you think The Walking Dead couldn't get any bigger? Think again. The hit AMC show took Michonne's katana sword to the rest of the competition on Sunday Night, as the return from winter hiatus drew a record 12.3 Million Viewers, with a 6.1 rating in the coveted 18-49 demographic, the largest the series has ever seen in both categories.

That means The Walking Dead destroyed American Idol in adults 18-49, and nearly topped it in total viewers period. Not to mention the fact that The Walking Dead had to go up against some stiff competition in the 2013 Grammy Awards, or it could have been even larger. Michael Rooker, who plays fan favorite Merle, commented on twitter: Gmorning all y'all FANS around the World a big SHIT YES!!! Thank you!!! For ur Support...  

The show is changing the face of television, as cable networks can now dream of beating out broadcast networks in the ratings game. This all comes after The Walking Dead became the first cable show in history to become the Fall's most watched show with 18-49 year olds. Zombies may be hot right now, but this show  has been able to be much more than that, creating characters that people care about, which the broadcast networks are dreaming they can do. 

I have to say, it was probably my least favorite episode (titled "The Suicide King") so far this season, but it did a good job setting up the rest of the season, so it was needed. Especially after the intensity of the previous episode, "Made to Suffer", this one was a bit more mellow. Now just because it was my least favorite of the season doesn't mean much, as it was still incredibly entertaining. If you need a little Walking Dead style action in the middle of the week, give The Americans on FX a chance. It's yet another exciting cable show to add to the growing collection of them.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Tips For Winter Storm Nemo

Winter Storm Nemo is approaching the Northeast with a ton of snow ready to be dumped, then some strong wind to blow it all around for good measure to mess up your car or sidewalk should you try and clean them halfway through the storm.

Here are some tips for staying busy during the storm before eventually heading out for some winter snow fun.

1 - Watch Finding Nemo. This one is a no-brainer. Remember just how much you love Nemo when you feel like cursing the name that locked you in the house on a Friday night and Saturday afternoon. Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) will help provide some comic relief to your night. And don't forget that they are making a Finding Nemo 2! Maybe they should name more storms after our favorite Pixar characters? Certainly makes them seem less intimidating. Plus, we should all understand where Nemo is coming from. I would be incredibly pissed if Pixar made Cars 2 before Finding Nemo 2 also.

2 - AMC will be airing a marathon of The Walking Dead seasons 2 and 3 this weekend leading up to the return of the show on Sunday night. What better way to spend stuck inside than with our favorite zombies and zombie killers? Seeing Michonne (Danai Gurira) slice of some zombie heads with her sword and giving The Governor (David Morrissey) an eye full of glass is a nice way to spend an afternoon.

3 - Break out the Super Nintendo, Sega Dreamcast, N64 or any video game console from the 90s. Was there anything better than playing "Mario Party" or "Sonic" during a Snow Day? Or the classic 90s Disney games?

4 - Dust off those Frosty the Snowman DVD's and remember just how much you love the snow. Okay maybe not Blizzard level snow...but when its all said and done it will make for some great sledding, football, igloo and snowman building.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Super Bowl XLVIII Halftime Show 2014

Beyonce may or may not have knocked the Superdome power out with her high energy Super Bowl XLVII Halftime show, but people are already talking about the Halftime show for Super Bowl XLVIII. It will be the  first outdoor cold weather Super Bowl for the NFL, from MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ.

Many people in the media have speculated that there will be no halftime show due to the possibility of snow wreaking havoc on it, but organizers are saying that is NOT true. There will be a halftime show, and there are already some names floating around.

There is speculation about the possibility of going to someone from the NY/NJ area, which has obviously produced many music superstars. Bon Jovi, Alicia Keys, Billy Joel, Jennifer Lopez, and Lady Gaga to name a few. Apparently on the NFL Network, they suggested that U2 is being considered for the show. They would be my choice if I had any say, which I sadly do not.

U2 previously performed at the Super Bowl XXXVI Halftime show in 2002, just a few months after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Many consider it the greatest halftime show of all time. They gave fans both excitement and reflection as a tribute to those who lost their lives, with victims' names rising up to the ceiling of the Superdome as the band went from 'MLK' into 'Where The Streets Have No Name', ending with Bono showing the American flag inside his jacket. They also have another connection with the NFL, performing along with Green Day to re-open the Superdome the year after Hurricane Katrina.
If there is anyone who can do an outstanding job while being tasked with the first ever outdoor cold weather halftime show, it would be U2. Bono & U2 thrive on that. Plus, they're aiming to release a new album in the fall with a tour to follow, and there is no better promotion than performing live in front of 90-100 million people.

Its still very early, and the list of potential performers is probably large, but it is fun to speculate.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Lindsey Vonn Suffers Crash

The ugly Sochi 2014 logo
Lindsey Vonn, one of the United States' biggest Winter Olympic stars, suffered a nasty crash at the Skiing world championships in Austria. Officially she suffered two torn ligaments and a broken tibia, which she will have surgery for next week.

The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics begin a year from now on February 7, 2014. People are wondering if she will be ready, but after watching so many Olympics, I doubt she would miss them. Someone of her caliber will get the best doctors you can find, and her recovery process will be much shorter than the average person. You can already see NBC pushing it as one of the games' many remarkable comebacks, and a feel good story for the millions of viewers they're sure to get. And speaking of NBC, they will be broadcasting the Olympics starting the day before the Opening Ceremony for the first time, which features the debut of Team Figure Skating & Slopestyle Snowboarding as well as Women's Ski Moguls. Those events begin before the ceremony with qualification rounds. The Olympics have been a huge ratings boost for NBC, so its a smart decision.

Vonn released a statement today saying, "I am grateful to my fans for the outpouring of support, which has really helped me stay positive. I can assure you that I will work as hard as humanly possible to be ready to represent my country next year in Sochi." I already have the Olympic theme song pounding in my head, so I can't wait to see Vonn go for the gold next year in Sochi.
Vonn was airlifted after her crash

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

'The Heat', 'Anchorman 2' Updates

Kristen Wiig has been officially added to the 'Anchorman 2' aka 'Anchorman: The Legend Continues' cast. There had been rumors she would be, but no conformation until today. The sequel has quite the cast now as Wiig joins the original cast of Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, and David Koechner among other comedy favorites. The target release date for the film seems to be December 20, 2013 though that could always change. The current rumor is she will be playing Brick Tamland's wife. I would love to see the interaction between Carell and Wiig, two of the best comedic actors in the game right now.

Applegate commented on Twitter, "So excited Kristen Wiig has joined our cast for anchorman2. Going 2 b best movie ever made. Besides the best movies ever made."

'The Heat' starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy has been pushed back to June 28, 2013, right smack in the middle of the summer movie season. This was apparently due to such strong test reactions. I've been excited about the film since hearing Bullock & McCarthy would team up. Looks like the studio has the same amount of confidence to put it up against the summer blockbusters.

These are two of the more anticipated and buzzed about comedies of the year, and both should be a nice boost to the Box Office.