Welcome to Geekdom 068: Batman Begins

Welcome To Geekdom

Welcome to Geekdom returns this week with a discussion on Batman Begins. Jason Tate joins and we discuss the plot, villains, cinematography, and much more about the film. You can subscribe on iTunes, Overcast, or Google Play and check out the episode below.

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Monday Musings: Black Lightning, Constantine, and More

monday musings
Photo Credit: Ian Baldwin

Monday Musings is back with a superhero-filled edition. We have Black Lightning, Constantine, and more. Check it out below.

Cress Williams on Nerdist Podcast 

Cress Williams (Black Lightning, Grey’s Anatomy, Friday Night Lights) talks to Chris and Jonah about growing up in Orange County, deciding to get in better physical shape and how he got the role of Black Lightning. They also talk about the world of the CW superheroes, getting over addiction and they talk about the character of Black Lightning and what to expect from the tv show!

Cress Williams had a chat with Chris Hardwick about Black Lightning. They talk about more than just the show, though, and it’s a great conversation. I highly recommend checking this out.

Constantine on Legends of Tomorrow

Constantine is making an appearance on Legends of Tomorrow and I’m excited for it. Peronsally, I really enjoyed the show and was hoping it would get a longer run than it did.

Grant Morrison’s Batman run

After ordering the remaining comics I needed to complete my collection of Grant Morrison’s Batman run, I finally started reading through it. I’ve made my way through Batman and Son, Batman R.I.P., and Batman: Time and the Batman so far. The run is really interesting so far and I’ll hit the Batman & Robin trades soon. For Batman fans, I recommend checking out Morrison’s run.

Review: The Dangerous Summer – The Dangerous Summer

The Dangerous Summer last released an album in August 2013. The band has had it’s ups and downs (as a lot do) and they’ve returned with their self-titled album. I wouldn’t say I’m a huge fan of the band who knows everything about them by any means. I do recall getting into some of the songs on Reach for the Sun and ending up with a promotional poster for War Paint, but since then, I haven’t kept up much with them.

Their self-titled album launches with “Color” and you instantly feel how personal the lyrics are. That feeling sticks throughout, but “Ghosts” really hits a home run with it. It’s one of the stronger songs on the album that picks up the pace a little bit before slowing back down with “Luna.”

AJ Perdomo is the last remaining original member of The Dangerous Summer. With his vocals, though, the songs still sound similar to what we’ve previously heard. Without him, this would just be a different band altogether. With new members backing him, it’s natural that the music will sound a little different and it’s a welcome development.

However, even with how much thought and care is put into the lyrics, the album didn’t quite click as much as Reach for the Sun did when I was first introduced to the band. That said, it’s not that this is a bad album. It’s just one that needs to sink in some more. Some people connect with intensely personal songs in ways that I don’t always feel like I do. My life honestly hasn’t been that eventful for a lot of scenarios to be relatable. But I still find things I like in songs that I can’t fully relate to. This one is going to take some more time, but I still suggest giving it a listen to see if the band’s new sound is one you enjoy.

You can grab a copy of The Dangerous Summer on Amazon.

‘Camila’ Is A Reintroduction Filled With A Personal Touch and Epiphany

“Crying in the Club,” the first solo song from Camila Cabella was the world’s first teaser in what was to come from the 20 year old singer – or was it? It’s a mid-tempo sultry dance track that sampled part of Christina Aguilera’s “Genie In A Bottle” for the chorus. Going from a group to solo act encompasses a whole new set of challenges. The heat of the spotlight is just on you alone and the world has to get acquainted with that person – sans a career that feels like a separate entity.

“Crying In The Club” is also not present on Cabella’s debut album. In fact, the album itself is disposal of what you thought you knew. Initially, Cabella’s album was going to be titled The Hurting. The Healing. The Loving. While this concept given it’s due within the 10 song personal narrative of her first album, this is a reintroduction. Like a person who left a long time relationship, Cabella gets to properly acquaint herself with the world. “Camila” is just right.

The album starts with “Never Be The Same,” which may throw you for a loop because the opening organ ushers you into a mid-tempo ballad. Right from the beginning, it sets the tone for a personal, emotional experience and not just a pop album that will start off with quintessential top-40 song. The whole album does a balancing act between energy and rumination. Regrets and optimism.

Songs within “Camila” highlight the singer’s strengths creatively. The music arrangements don’t overtake the narrative, but they add to them. There’s a lot of use of piano and sometimes, modern pop formations that guides you into her vocals.  “All These Years” one of the first songs on the album that uses an acoustic guitar open allows Cabella to interweave harmonies that add fullness to her impressive vocal range. There’s another showcase inside the latter half of “In The Dark.”

Cabella and executive producer Frank Dukes come together to make personal touches all throughout the album. They not only play to her strengths as a singer, but nods to her Cuban-Mexican heritage, as well. For instance, the part that the Spanish guitar plays midway through the dance hall vibe of “Inside Out” or the Pharrell-produced hit “Havana,” that sounds like a testament tot the flavors of her hometown in Cuba.

Two themes that run concurrently and eventually clash into each other are control and love. The Skrillex-produced reggaeton tinged “She Loves Control” is a summary of Camila’s personality.  “don’t you try taming the storm” However, with love, you don’t control every outcome with another person involved. You can only surrender to that feeling and hope to not be broken by someone else’s free will. The piano ballad, “Consquences” within the chorus of how love is this combustible element.

When you’re on your own and in a famous position, there’s this need to separate the real from the fake. We tend to think the existence of celebrity with an overabundance of superficially. Cabella is figuring that out both within an particular individual (“In The Dark”) and the L.A. ecosystem (“Real Friends”). Cabella is very much a confident woman who is still figuring things out on this new journey.

“Camila” is a debut solo album from a person who is actively in the process of molding who they are and what they want to be. This is on the outside of expectations or encased within a collection of people. In 2012, Cabella became a part of Fifth Harmony – a collective. Despite all the success, sometimes you just want more.  At 20 years of age, it’s fascinating to walk through a 33 minute journey with something that she can truly call her own.

Interview: Con Etiquette

Con Etiquette

Con Etiquette took some time to answer questions about their latest EP, what comes next for the band, and more. You can check out the interview below and listen to The Company We Keep over at Bandcamp.

When the band first started, what were the expectations?

Consistently write good songs and fun. We lucked out, Antonino had an ep that was released a few months prior to the original lineup. We used that as a platform and sculpted our sound from there.

You released The Company We Keep in December 2017. How was the EP received?

TCWK has been getting overwhelming positive feedback. Excluding ourselves, there have been approximately 8 people who have listened to it, 7 are direct relatives. Some of the responses have been, “cool”, “aight” and “not bad!”.

Who did you work with on the EP?

We worked with Greg Thomas and Chris Yeti at Silver Bullet Studios in Burlington,CT.

You’re playing a show with Fossil Youth in February. How did that opportunity arise?

One part internet and one part luck, we got an email and we’re stoked, that entire bill fucking shreds.  We’re also playing with Have Mercy and Household March 12th at the Webster Underground in Hartford.

What are some of the band’s goals for 2018 now that the EP is out?

Play as many shows as possible.

What’s the favorite show that the band has played so far?

Probably our record release show last December with Such Gold and Wess Meets West. Every band had a ton of energy, and we all thrive off that, it gets us high, with the assistance of marijuana of course.

Do you have any hobbies outside of the band?

Yes! Vin enjoys meatball subs. Antonino paints pictures of cats in outer space. Wes enjoys fantasy basketball leagues. Dan excels at enjoying the San Diego sun while we answer these.

Thanks for your time! Where can our readers keep up with the band?


Monday Musings: Music and Comics

monday musings
Photo Credit: Ian Baldwin

Today’s Monday Musings features music and comics. I’ve recently read some comics I really enjoyed and there are a couple music-related things to check out.

Apple Bows Apple Music For Artists to Provide Acts With Deep Analytics Dive

The easily navigable dashboard’s home page provides artists with their current number of plays, spins, song purchases and album purchases. The user can specify the time period ranging from the past 24 hours to the 2015 launch of Apple Music.

I tried to get Elephant Jake access to their artist profile on Apple Music and wasn’t successful. It’ll be interesting to see if they roll this out to all artists or keep their focus on larger artists. There are plenty of smaller artists and labels who would love to have access to this data.

Justin Timberlake chats with Zane Lowe

Justin Timberlake talks about writing songs for Beyoncé and his son listening to “Filthy.” If you’re a fan, give this a listen. This is just the first part, but you can listen to the full interview here.

Batman and Son and Catwoman: Trail of the Catwoman

These are two comics that I recently read and really enjoyed. Batman and Son is the first trade of Grant Morrison’s run on Batman. Trail of the Catwoman is by Ed Brubaker with Darwyn Cooke on a good chunk of the art. If you like the Bat-family of characters at all, give these a read if you haven’t yet.

You can find all previous editions of Monday Musings here.

Albums Out Today (1/19/18)

New Music Friday
Photo Credit: Jack Hamilton

New Music Friday is here and we have some music that you should definitely check out. The year is off to a great start with good releases already.

Charlie Puth – Voicenotes

Evertim – Your Heaven Held Me Well

Fall Out Boy – M A N I A

First Aid Kit – Ruins

Porches – The House

The Shins – The Worms Heart

Speak Low If You Speak Love – Nearsighted

Super Whatevr – Never Nothing

They Might Be Giants – I Like Fun

Water From Your Eyes – All A Dance

The Xcerts – Hold On To Your Heart

Playlist: Verst Share Their Influences

Verst took some time to make up a playlist of their influences and why they picked each song. They released David Slain in November 2017. The album brings a nice blend of indie and space rock. You’ll definitely want to check it out if you’re looking for some laid-back, but rock driven music to listen to. Check out the playlist and the album below.

The Stooges – “Search and Destroy” 

This song is here for James Williamson’s guitar sound, for the full throttle mode and “fuck you” attitude of his delivery. When making David Slain with a Les Paul Custom and Marshall amp, I wanted very much to get a guitar sound as overwhelming and snarly as this. The way the leads come in and push everything out of the way, their abrupt exits. That is rock and roll.

Echo & the Bunnymen – “Show of Strength”

It’s difficult to pull one song from their catalog, but this one has everything I love about them. The dark cold war menace, Will Sergeant’s extremely cool Fender tones, the angular, arty simplicity and the way those guitar notes slowly bloom into feedback in the ending. And Ian’s voice, holy shit. I saw them many times back in the day, and I can say that NO ONE pushes a PA system like Ian did back in the day. His sound was just towering.

David Bowie – “Joe the Lion”

The Berlin era Bowie and Iggy stuff is at the very top of my list, always. The obviously volcanic eruption of creativity and innovation, the coldness and sense of place. This track is art rock at its best, replete with Fripp’s ever-violent playing, Bowie’s oblique and dystopic lyrics, his over the top vocal delivery that’s so typical of this era. A track like this reminds me not to try to be pretty or sensical. Fuck all that. Nail me to my car!

Judas Priest – “Dissident Aggressor”

This is their most arty track. The high vocal dubs are just insane. There is just zero bullshit at all in those menacing riffs, and the drumming is so propulsive. It has moments and corners. God, it’s good.

Queens of the Stone Age – “How to Handle a Rope”

This is another band with a vast catalog of bitchin tracks, so this is just an example. Their pummeling robotics, croony yet emotionally unavailable vocals, and darkly bristling guitar tones are a constant touchstone. We don’t play like this or make these sounds, really, but it’s a constant source of inspiration.

Slayer – “Jesus Saves”

This is my favorite track from my favorite Slayer album. I love the sections it has, and the fact that it starts “slow” by Slayer standards. When I hear it in my car, it makes me want to punch my dashboard. We aren’t a metal band, but I’m a metal fan. Usually ur-metal, but Slayer is an exception. I admire their purity of vision.

Black Flag – “Depression”

This tune is a hardcore masterpiece, especially the live version from The Decline of Western Civilization. There’s this little hitch in Ginn’s riff that just levers the whole song like a fucking trebuchet. Do you hear it? You can tell that the impulse behind it is pure childhood tantrum. It’s the same impulse that leads one to vandalize shit. Only a boy could make that kind of thing up. I’d love to sound this awake, is how I’d describe it.

Queen – “Dead on Time”

Here are some arty prog dudes playing their uniquely fruity brand of speed metal! Like all their fast ones, this track is so viciously happy and ADD. Sometimes I realize that all we’re doing with a tune is verse chorus verse chorus big ending, with all the same number of repeats of everything. Queen is the opposite of that. They deliberately subvert structure and repetition, so they remind me to tweak things. And then there’s the heavy-handed, hyperactive mixing. All of a sudden Brian May’s guitar pushes everything out of the way. There are no rules in rock, and these guys prove it.

Pavement – “Baptiss Blacktick”

What glee there is in a tossed-off song like this. The first couple Pavement albums were full of these blithely written, casually executed gems. But Malkmus was on fire and he just couldn’t miss. This song is like flaming snot, so droll and smart in a stupid way that doesn’t even study but gets an A anyway.

Slowdive – “Erik’s Song”

How many times can I try to approximate the feeling of this track? I think I try on every album. But there’s nothing like the original. It’s probably just new age music, but the parallax of sounds and melancholic mood are so cool. I could stare at a grey sky and listen to this for hours.

PJ Harvey – “50 foot Queenie”

This song kicks such major ass in so many ways. I loved how cold and violent she was on Rid of Me. And the obviously live sound of it. The lyrics are just crass and menacing. But funny! So good.

Liz Phair – “Flower”

This is the track that changed my world when I first heard it. And to this day, it reminds me to be real and to be myself. And to say shocking stuff when I can.