August 30, 2011

Daytripper: The Best Comic Book I've Ever Read

I am by no means a comic book expert or proper judge for the genre, but I'm not the only one to tell you – get this comic! It is probably the best comic in the world right now and I'm still totally impressed.

Daytripper is a miraculous graphic novel by Brazilian twin brothers Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá, split into ten non-chronological chapters. Each chapter recounts an episode in the life of obituary writer Brás de Oliva Domingos – and each one ends with his death. The last episode brings everything to a beautiful conclusion and will leave you with some tears in your eyes as well as many, many thoughts about your very own life and the things that are really important. Maybe it will even change the way you live your life, and what more can you expect from a comic book?

The comic is an utterly charming and honest work, a believable, poetic, melancholic tale about life and death. Illustrated with terrific artwork and atmospheric visuals that turn each chapter into a unique experience, Daytripper is a masterpiece in every aspect. If you're not convinced yet, just read some other reviews – it really is that good! Really!

Do yourself a favor and grab the complete ten-chapter issue at Amazon for little money. You won't regret it. Muito obrigado to René from Nerdcore for the recommendation!

Daytripper #1

August 28, 2011

Marc Should Have More Birthdays Per Year

Went to Marc's birthday party last night, where I drank too much and didn't dance, but met a lot of funky new people. I must admit that I really envy him for living at a place where the neighbors don't have a problem with loud dubstep at 4am, but I guess there must be a reason why he's king of the castle.

Check out all the pictures including only a fraction of the 30 (?) party guests and some excerpts from that great Banksy book in the gallery or below:

Thanks for the fun, my friends!

August 26, 2011

The Rum Diary Trailer Hits the Web!

Damn, yes! Check out the new and just released trailer for The Rum Diary, which I hope will find its way into your – and my – favorite cinemas on October 28, too:

The Rum Diary – Official Trailer

Oh my, this is so much more similar to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas than I imagined! Now I'm even more excited than before. If you still have no idea what this movie is about, let me update you with the official plot from the trailer's YouTube description:

Based on the debut novel by Hunter S. Thompson, "The Rum Diary" tells the increasingly unhinged story of itinerant journalist Paul Kemp (Johnny Depp). Tiring of the noise and madness of New York and the crushing conventions of late Eisenhower-era America, Kemp travels to the pristine island of Puerto Rico to write for a local newspaper, The San Juan Star, run by downtrodden editor Lotterman (Richard Jenkins). Adopting the rum-soaked life of the island, Paul soon becomes obsessed with Chenault (Amber Heard), the wildly attractive Connecticut-born fiancée of Sanderson (Aaron Eckhart). Sanderson, a businessman involved in shady property development deals, is one of a growing number of American entrepreneurs who are determined to convert Puerto Rico into a capitalist paradise in service of the wealthy. When Kemp is recruited by Sanderson to write favorably about his latest unsavory scheme, the journalist is presented with a choice: to use his words for the corrupt businessmen's financial benefit, or use them to take the bastards down.

Come on guys, just let me see that movie right now!

Today's Recommendation: Coaltar of the Deepers

Over the course of the last weeks I have increasingly fallen in love with Coaltar of the Deepers, another Japanese alternative rock/shoegaze band (yeah, just like the recently recommended Downy) which exists since 1991.

I have yet to listen to all of the albums, EPs and singles they've released during their 20-year-long career, but what I've heard so far (the "No Thank You" and "Yukari Telepath" albums and the "Bear" EP) has hit all my weak spots. They're pretty diverse and experimental at times, but they always sound great. Can't wait to grab the rest of their discography.

Coaltar of the Deepers – "Hate Mine"

Be sure to check out some other songs by the band, since they're not limited to mellow shoegaze sound like the above song at all. And once more: thanks for the recommendation, Aaron!

August 25, 2011

Smashing Pumpkins to Rock Cologne in November!

The Smashing Pumpkins have just announced some European dates for their 2011 The Other Side of the Kaleidyscope tour, and guess what – they're also playing in Cologne on 24 November! Consider me a happy fanboy today! =)

I've been listening to the old and new Pumpkins records since I came to love rock music a long time ago, but I always failed to attend one of their lives in Germany, even their wonderful Rock am Ring headlining performance back in 2007. My chance has come at last, I guess, and I won't miss the guys, even though lovely Ginger Reyes won't be on stage this time.

Even greater news are to be found in a mid-July tweet from Billy Corgan:

@yhbhd was just looking at potential tour dates yesterday and all plans point towards SP in Europe in Nov. We'll play all of Oceania+more

"Oceania," that's the upcoming new album. Yeah! More European and U.S. tour dates can be found at the Pumpkins' official homepage.

Edit: You can order tickets via Eventim now!

August 21, 2011

Days of Always Hardcore 2011

Four days of our annual party marathon are over and I'm feeling rather sleepy, but it was totally worth it!

Eule visited me on Wednesday and we spent our first two nights at the Rival Turf rehearsals, watching Superbad with the mighty sweet Emma Stone, and puzzling our way through Braid. Serg and Eusche then joined on Friday and we instantly had a great time at some Altstadt clubs and bars. We also rescued a trio of French girls from a rather creepy old guy, while Eusche irritated some other female tourists with unexpected remarks ("Did you eat kebab?").

Last night Dave, David and Natalie were added to the party, but my personal party stamina meter was already sinking rapidly. I'm quite enjoying the silence right now and God bless I still have a free recovery Monday ahead.

Check out all the pictures including The Incredible Serg and a meta photo series of pictures of Eusche taking pictures in the gallery or below:

Thanks for the fun time, guys!

August 19, 2011

Does Ridley Scott Dream of Awful Remakes?

Eule just told me something which must be the worst piece of news I've received in a long time: As Deadline.com reports that Ridley Scott plans to do a remake/sequel/bullshit new version of Blade Runner. SHUDDER!

I’m not getting a clear sense at this point whether Scott intends to do a sequel or a prequel to the 1982 film that was loosely based on the Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Also unclear is whether they start fresh or reach out to Harrison Ford.

I don't know why anyone would feel the need to snatch that franchise again to milk out a few more dollars – well, except to milk out a few more dollars – and I love the original, so this will probably be awful.

Update: ffilC (heh!) has another link from the Los Angeles Times. "We want people to know that we're very serious about doing this in an artistic way. This isn't just commercial fodder." Oh, it isn't? We'll see about that, I guess.

August 18, 2011

Indie Games I Want Right Now - Owlboy!

Eule is visiting me for some fun Days of Always Hardcore!! right now, and Serg, Jay and Eusche will join us Friday night for a fun weekend, so what can I say but weee~! But what did I want to say in the first place...?

Ah yes: Eule (engl. "owl") just recommended an awesome new indie game called Owlboy, which looks like a super cool classic retro platformer reminding me of Final Fantasy. This may sound strange, but check the launch trailer below and you may see what I'm talking about.

Owlboy – Demo Launch Trailer

The official website of the developers from D-Pad Studio also features an interesting gameplay video to hype you even more. Well, all I know is that I want to play that game now!

August 17, 2011

Top 10 Dir en grey Song Remakes

Japanese metal veterans Dir en grey have a fondness for remaking their own and favorite older songs. All three singles released to promote their latest album "Dum Spiro Spero" contained at least one remake, but the tradition has been going on for a long time now.

I bet some of you didn't know that they already have re-recorded so many songs, so let me show you my Top 10 Favorite Dir en grey Song Remakes – enjoy!


10. "Children"

Original: "Taiyou no ao" (Single, 2000)
Remake: "Six Ugly" (EP, 2002)

One of the first remakes by the band and both versions show a lot of differences, mainly affecting the whole mood of the song. The original appeared as a B-side on the "Taiyou no ao" single and still features a distinct "Gauze" groove. It's much more playful than the straighter and more powerful remake with a few more effects and atmospheric twists, especially during the chorus. The "Six Ugly" version feels has more funk elements and way better production, so it's difficult to choose a favorite version just because both are so different.

"Children" (2000)

"Children" (2002)

August 14, 2011

The Rum Diary - Good News!

Image: Peter Mountain, via EW.com

I had already forgotten about Johnny Depp's adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's novel The Rum Diary, but it has an official release date at last!

The movie, starring Depp, Amber Heard, Aaron Eckhart and Giovanni Ribisi, will launch on October 28.

Entertainment Weekly:

"You can't open it next to some blockbuster thing," [Depp] says. "It's a special little film."

And I can't wait to see it!

Dir en grey Live at Zeche Bochum - A Short Report

As I told you, I decided to join Dave and Ronja for the Dir en grey live at the Zeche in Bochum last night. It was the third time I saw them live and one hell of a great show!

I'm still overwhelmed by the band's energy and that awesome performance, featuring a lot of new songs from their new "Dum Spiro Spero" album as well as classics like "Zakuro" or even a new version of "karasu," which I predicted the band would be doing sooner or later. The sound quality at the Zeche far surpassed Girugamesh's live four years ago and even Gackt's live performance there last year – it was a gorgeous rush of great songs and the audience was hyped to the max.

As soon as the recent single "Hageshisa to, kono mune..." opened the concert, a fierce moshpit erupted in the middle of the crowd, which was when I lost Dave and Ronja. I can't praise the setlist enough; every song kept the energy going and even the notorious remake of "Tsumi to batsu" was a fine interlude with some intense moments.

Don't doubt those guys – they rocked so hard last night that my neck and back still hurt from all the fun, and they will always be a gorgeous combo to watch live on stage. Couldn't have had a better Saturday evening! =)

Dir en grey
TOUR2011 PARADOX OF RETALIATION
Live at Zeche, Bochum, Germany (13.08.2011)

Setlist:

Last but not least, here are some pics from last night with Dave, Ronja, Sophia and Saadet, followed by a short clip of the live favorite "Reiketsu nariseba" and its mid-song climax (warning: crappy mobile cam, but you probably get how great it was):

Dir en grey – "Reiketsu nariseba" (Live Excerpt)


And Kyo enjoyed it as much:

Aww, I couldn't agree more!

August 12, 2011

And Then I Decided to See Dir en grey Live Tomorrow

Thanks to Dave and a last-minute private message, I'll be at the Dir en grey live tomorrow in Bochum!

I didn't want to go first because I was as skeptical of the new stuff as you were, but now, in that final, decisive deep second, I just couldn't say no. I love the new album "Dum Spiro Spero" and the recent Paris setlist already looks awesome.

Expect my report tomorrow or Sunday, or whenever I'll be awake again. It's gonna be a surprising and fun weekend now. And...thanks again, Dave!

10 Cool Android Games (Part 3)

Following my lists of 20 Android Apps & Games You'll Love and 10 More Addictive Android Games, I present you with the third edition of cool gaming apps you may like to keep on your smartphone. Enjoy!


GRave Defense HD

Developer: ArtOfBytes
Price: free; $1.99 (Full Version)

Being definitely one of the best-looking and most exciting tower defense games, GRave Defense comes with the twist that you're limited to fixed positions for your Tesla towers, miniguns and rocket launchers. Challenging achievements, a freaky selection of monsters including suicide slobs, Dracula or Frankenstein, and the various pretty environments make this one a keeper. I recommend buying the full HD version, because it includes both the Silver and Gold campaigns and a bonus campaign, with more levels being added with each update.

August 10, 2011

Earlier Today, I Planned to Sleep Earlier Tonight

Rival Turf – "Ghost"

...but no! Yet another evening at Rival Turf rehearsals instead. Aylin and Kenan joined me for a fun evening full of fabulous heavy metal, and I hope they'll be even more tired than I'll be tomorrow.

It's too late to write much more, so I'll just leave you with tonight's pictures for now. And thanks for joining, A&K! =)

I just wish Tuesdays were weekend days...

August 7, 2011

NBC's New Awake Trailer Whets My Appetite

When a lot of your favorite TV shows grow more and more seasons that probably shouldn't have been (yes, I'm looking at you, Dean, Sam and Gregory House), it's time to keep your eyes open for new stuff to watch.

So I found out about Awake recently, a new NBC series set for later this year. "What is it about?" you ask? Well, let me leave the plot to Wikipedia:

Police detective Michael Britten (Jason Isaacs) regains consciousness following a car accident involving his wife Hannah (Laura Allen) and his son Rex (Dylan Minnette). Michael moves back and forth between two realities: in one, Rex survived while Hannah is dead; in the other, Hannah survived but Rex did not. Trying to keep both his loved ones alive, Michael starts living a "double life," moving back and forth between the two realities, dealing with different personal conflicts and police partners. He also starts noticing strange links between the two realities.

My guess for now: The cop's in a coma or some Vanilla Sky-like lucid dream, but let's find out about that when the series finally airs. The new trailer looks already pretty promising:

Awake – Official NBC Trailer

And yeah, that's Jack's son David from Lost. Seems to have quite a passion for imaginary characters, doesn't he? =)

August 6, 2011

The Dark Knight Rises Against Underwhelming Set Photos

Various media outlets posted new set photos from Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises, which will close Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy and feature Bane and Catwoman as new threats for Christian Bale's Batman.

Don't call me a buzzkill now, but both Tom Hardy's Bane and Anne Hathaway's Catwoman look pretty underwhelming and off-character to me. I mean, look at Bane! He's even smaller than Batman in those set photos! If you didn't know, this is Bane from the comics. Compare that to Hardy above.

Catwoman, on the other hand, looks...I don't know...just bland? Where's the sex appeal? Where's the mask? Well, since Christopher Nolan did a great job with the villains in his first two Batman movies, I'll reserve my judgment for now, but I really hope they won't botch those two completely.

Images via Warner Bros./DC Entertainment, Gizmodo, Just Jared/Jared Wickerham/Getty Images & Chris Watts/INFphoto.com

My Top 10 Favorite J-Rock Songs of 2011 (Part 1)

It's August, which means that half a year of new music from good old Japan has arrived and is ready for my first 2011 J-rock top list. I tried to limit band or artist appearances to one song and it almost worked out. Well, see for yourself and enjoy the list!


10. Luna Sea – "Promise"

Download-only Single

First off, we have Luna Sea's 2011 download single, which was released to collect money for the disaster victims in Japan. A noble gesture, and – finally! – a totally new Luna Sea song! "Promise" has everything you love about the J-rock veterans: beautiful melodies, another one of Ryuichi's gorgeous trademark deliveries on vocals, and the warm feel of good old Luna Sea classics. "Promise" was a pleasant surprise in the wake of a terrible disaster and stirs up a lot of memories to the early J-rock days.

Luna Sea – "Promise"

August 5, 2011

Awesome 8-Bit Game of Thrones Recap

CollegeHumor posted this hilarious and totally awesome old-school RPG-style recap of the first Game of Thrones season yesterday and I can't stop myself from sharing it with you!

– Beware of possible spoilers! –

CollegeHumor: Game of Thrones RPG

A wild BRAN spotted your incest!

via Spoiler TV

Today's Recommendation: Downy

Once in a while people show me a band I've never heard of and I'm like woah! Yesterday, that very thing happened with Downy, a Japanese post-rock/shoegaze band that sadly disbanded in 2005 after their fifth album.

As you may know, I'm a die-hard fan of shoegaze and ambient rock, so I was instantly hooked and have to spread the love. I'm still missing the second of their five albums, all of which are called "Mudai" ("Untitled"), but I happily recommend my current favorite from their 2004 album:

Downy – "Underground"

They have several really cool PVs, by the way.

A Regular Thursday Evening With Rival Turf

Went to see my friends from Rival Turf last night and we had a pretty cool evening. Dave and David played some new songs, all of which I totally like, then Toji joined later on and we went to the Consum barbecue, which was almost over by then.

We still had a lot of fun, but oh too bad it's only Thursday. I'm still the first person to present you the new official Rival Turf logo above (created by Amelie), and after today I'm pretty convinced they'll actually deliver their debut album sometime in the next few months. Until then, enjoy today's gritty gallery!

Visit the gallery for more pictures.

August 3, 2011

Cowboys, Aliens & Harrison Ford vs The Smurfs

Have I already told you that my inner child cries tears of terror when thinking about the new Smurfs movie? Well, I haven't seen it yet, but I also really don't think I should. It could crush all I ever loved about the little blue sunshines of my childhood.

But actually, there's a way more interesting flick that started in US cinemas last week: Cowboys & Aliens, which I think I should definitely see. Harrison Ford stars next to a bunch of well-known faces like Daniel Craig, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, Keith Carradine and Clancy Brown in this sci-fi western comic adaptation, and it sure looks like a lot of fun.

Apparently though, Ford's wife took his son to see The Smurfs instead last weekend, much to Han Solo's dismay, as Ford revealed on Conan last night.

He may be old, but he's still hilarious! =)

August 2, 2011

Edgeworth 2: Sells in Japan, Stays in Japan

Today: Just a few snippets I've found over the last few days.

Let's start with some sad news for hobby prosecutors and attorneys: Looks like we really won't get an overseas release of the latest instalment in the Ace Attorney series for Nintendo DS. Although the sequel to Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, known in Japan as Gyakuten Kenji 2, has sold more than 132,000 copies in its first week, Capcom representatives said there were no plans to release the game outside of Japan.

We still have no update on whether there will be any plans anytime soon, which makes me really sad, having enjoyed all the former entries in the series. And with the current Nintendo 3DS hype and the long-anticipated crossover Professor Layton Vs Ace Attorney being in development right now, the decision likely won't change. They're probably trying to avoid confusing customers by releasing both games, I guess, but damn the 3DS, I say, and give us the latest Miles Edgeworth adventure, Capcom!

In further sad news concerning the Japanese visual music scene, guitarist Kaito from Xenon passed away last Friday. As you would expect it, no further details about his demise were stated.

I never listened to Xenon, but they don't seem like the worst band around. Just can't believe how many Japanese musicians died over the last two or three years and especially over the course of the last few weeks. I believe some open words would help the media and the fans to understand all those sudden deaths a bit better, but what can you do? Anyway, rest in peace, dude.

In more lighthearted news, I need to refer back to my Old-School Video Game Soundtracks entry a few days ago. Someone made me aware of the fun rapper Wiz Khalifa had with "Schala's Theme" by Yasunori Mitsuda from the Chrono Trigger soundtrack.

In fact, he used the whole track for his song "Never Been" off his 2010 mixtape "Kush & Orange Juice". While you can easily hate him for turning such a classic tune into yet another one of his thousand weed anthems, you probably have to admit that the song is pretty chill.

To close this post with some completely unrelated, useless information: I just found out about Krycek and the awesomely cute Laura Vandervoort starring in V, which still doesn't make it any better.