wHAT I’VE BEEN WATCHING/LISTENING TO in 2019

This is a list of everything I’ve been watching and listening to in 2019, including very brief reviews of the content. I am not a proper critic, I just want to do this for my own documentation…my opinions are not well formulated or well-researched

👍= I liked it
✊ = It was alright
👎= I didn’t like it

MOVIES

59. AS ABOVE SO BELOW 👍
The film revolves around the search for the Philosopher’s stone, but this definitely is not Harry Potter. This is a somewhat paranormal / psychological / religious horror film mixed with Indiana Jones and The Descent. It definitely works best if you don’t know much about it. Give it a go if you haven’t seen it. 4/5 Philospher’s Stones.

58. ORDERS OF DEATH
Another Alex Jones film, but this one is much shorter at about 45 minutes. It’s an interesting topic exploring the secret societies and how creepy they are. But there’s nothing that stood out in this one and his early documentary films were cool and fun, but they really are what the modern YouTube conspiracy videos have turned into.

57. DARK SECRETS OF BOHEMIAN GROVE 👍
So Alex Jones didn’t used to be as crazy as he is nowadays. He went to Bohemian Grove and filmed their creepy rituals. That’s the gist of the entire documentary. It was a fun watch even if I don’t think it’s as nefarious as he makes it out to be.

56. EVENT HORIZON 👍
I am cheating right now because this is supposed to be only new films I have never seen before, but I’ve seen the Enron film, and I’ve seen this probably a dozen times. This film screwed up my childhood more than probably any other film, and it’s apprent why. The story is horrifying, the acting is great, and the vfx are alright. This is a quintessential survival horror / space horror film. Must watch.

55. ENRON: THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM 👍
What an absolute phenomenal representation of the downfall of a company. I will never understand how a Mark to Market accounting system is allowed. It seems wide open for abuse and manipulation. But this documentary makes the entire story of Enron digestible and easy to understand. Highly recommend if you’re looking for some finance fun.

54. SUSPIRIA (2018) 👍
I watched this a long time ago and guess I didn’t write anything up about it. What a fun reimagining of the original which is a classic. One thing that stuck out to me was how bleak the color is, especially compared to the original Dario Argento film. Something that kind of took me out of the film was the Thom Yorke songs that had lyrics. Regardless of that, it was an excellent horror film, that leans more towards a mystery if I had to classify it as anything.

53. THE ROCKER 👍
This film is not going down as a classic, but I absolutely love it. It’s the story of a drummer who gets kicked out of a band right when they get famous, and the life that follows….and then rejoins a band with his high school nephew. It’s cheesy. It’s goofy. But it’s a really fun watch and I really like anything that has Rainn Wilson in it or Christina Applegate or Emma Stone in it.

52. LIZZIE
This was somewhat of a let down. Lizze Borden is an infamous woman who apparently murdered her father and step-mother in the late 1800’s with a hatchet. With a true story that brutal, you’d imagine that they’d be able to create something interesting. However, this was just too slow, and clunky. Not something I really care to see again.

51. THE LORDS OF SALEM 👍
It’m cheating. I’ve seen this before. Quite a few times, but I had a really strong urge to watch it. I know this is an unpopular opinion, but I think this is my favorite Rob Zombie film. It is very mood driven and atmospheric. It creates this dark mythos around Salem, MA in a way that I have always imagined due to the witch trials. It’s definitely on the slow side, but it builds well and culminates in pure evil!

50. SILENT HILL
I have never played the video game, but as a stand alone film, it’s alright. It does create a somewhat tense atmosphere, but it maintains a bit of cheesiness. All in all it’s a fun way to spend a few hours if you are looking for a video game based movie.

49. CHERRY FALLS
I can’t help but think that the title of this film has to do with virgins and sex. Afterall, that’s a big plot point in this film. It’s a goofy premise and it was predictable. Brittany Murphy does have a great scream though. It’s a bit disappointing she didn’t do more horror films that I’m aware of.

48. THE CRAFT
The film is fine, and it captures the entire Wicca culture that seemed so prevalent in the 90’s. Fun watch but nothing outstanding.

47. BREWSTER’S MILLIONS 👍
This movie stressed me out so much. As a finance guy, I couldn’t stand watching someone be that reckless with money. I understand WHY he was doing it, but still. How is a single accountant able to track that many purchases? It makes no sense! There were plenty of funny bits in the film though. Worth a watch.

46. THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR 👍
This is likely my favorite Purge film. The reason I say that is it has one of my favorite kills out of the series (the candy theif getting run over by a van and then taking a shotgun to the face), but also they give you time to care about the characters. I loved Joe and Carlos and Piqueno Muerte in this story. Really appreciated them allowing some development of the characters.

45. MAXIMUM OVERSDRIVE
It’s a movie where cars try to kill people and all the electronics try to kill people. Yeah. It’s no surprise to me that Stephen King used to do cocaine. What the hell.

44. THE TOXIC AVENGER 👍
Is it technically a “good” film? Probably not. It was hilarious though. It has low budget charm and has the self awareness. The treason I was okay with it was because it wasn’t a bad film for the sake of being a bad film, and that’s not why it’s developed a cult following. It’s just a fun story about a vigilante.

43. THE FIRST PURGE
I didn’t think the message of this series could be any more heavy handed than the original. I was proven wrong. There’s a scene in this, where a white man comes out of a sewer and starts grabbing the crotch of the main character. She kicks him and says “Fuck you pussy grabbing mother fucker”…I wonder whatever they could be alluding to there. The entire film appears to be a commentary on how the government exploits the poor neighborhoods for their own benefit and will manipulate results in their favor. It was okay…but as I said, very heavy handed with the message.

42. THE PURGE 👍
This film is excellent. It comments slightly on racism, but I think the main focus is classism. Traditions exist that benefit the rich, or only the rich can protect themselves from, while the poor are left to suffer the brunt of the issue. It’s not without issues thought. It portrays the only black and poor man as helpless. He is portrayed as someone who is reliant on the wealthy white people to protect him. In that respect it is what some may call “problematic”. The poor man ends up saving the rich family in the end though…so it’s not as bad as it initially seemed. But it really is an excellent film with a very unique premise that works tremendously well.

41. JIGSAW
It was fine. Nothing amazing. But it sets Saw up for even more films which I am okay with. They are fun films nonetheless, and the original Saw is still one of my favorite horror films out there. This, is not.

40. HELL FEST 👍
This was just an all around fun slasher film from 2018. 6 friends enter an insane haunted house theme park, but it just so happens that a real killer enters the park and you can guess what happens next.

39. EATEN ALIVE
The movie was alright. There was nothing that really stands out about it other than the fact that it tries really hard to be shocking. This was made by the same guy who made Cannibal Ferrox, and it’s based on the same premace.

38. SILENT SCREAM
it was a movie. A horror movie that was just goofy. I got it because a coworker says it’s the only horror film theyve seen and it made them walk out of the theater. I don’t know why they would do that…it was one of the most tame “horror” films I’ve seen.

37: URBAN LEGENDS: BLOODY MARY
The opening dance scene has some of the worst fake dancing I’ve ever seen. It was almost like the actors said “I give up”. The little bit of VFX in this film is abysmal as well. The story was also a bit predictable. The one great thing that this film offers is Kate Mara. She actually does a good job at handling the material she was given. You may recognize her from House of Cards. Still a movie that was fine to kill an hour and a half.

36. URBAN LEGENDS: FINAL CUT
This film was very hard to enjoy, partially because the attempt to be meta failed. But also because there were no subtitles (which I watch almost every film on), and it was only mixed as 5.1 Surround Sound but I don’t have that so it was VERY difficult to hear the dialogue. Very shit experience.

35. URBAN LEGENDS
This is such a fun concept for a film. Take urban legends that have scared people for decades, and then use them in a horror film to reinvigorate those fears. It was a fun watch but nothing really stuck out as a great film. The stand out for me was Robert Englund being in it, or when Joshua Jackson turned on his car and “I Don’t Want to Wait” started playing…that was a fun reference to Dawson’s Creek.

34. CANNIBAL FEROX
The film seems like it’s an attempt to be shocking. however, I did not find it all that shocking. Maybe I’m just desensitized though because I’ve already seen Cannibal Holocaust and Nekromatic which scarred me greatly. The story follows the same formula as well…white people go to Amazon. White people are bad. White people get eaten.

33. HALLOWEEN (2018) 👍
I am giving this film a thumbs up because it was a fun watch, and my expectations were so low going into it that it was a nice surprise that it was rather enjoyable to watch.

32. MONTHY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL
This film was a huge part of my youth. Whenever we’d go on band trips, we’d watch this on long trips. We thought it was the funniest thing ever. Watching it now, it just doesn’t hit me the same way it did when I was a youngin. It has it’s humorous parts, but I didn’t find my self uncontrollably laughing like I did as a kid.

31. SOMEONE’S WATCHING ME
This is a John Carpenter film I was unaware of. It’s all about a woman who has a peeping tom who is stalking her. She moves cross country to escape but he follows her there too. As a whole it was a somewhat successful thriller, but it wasn’t terribly original. It could be that over time the movies that followed have taken tropes from this film, but as a whole, it was just an okay film.

30. COMING TO AMERICA 👍
I don’t know how I have not seen this until now. It was a very funny movie. Not a lot of 80’s comedies hold up well, and this one does hold up. There are still jokes that don’t land, but more often than not I found myself laugh. Eddie Murphy & Arsenio Hall did an excellent job on this, and James Earl Jones brings his standard level of regalness…regality….I don’t know the word…but you get the point.

29. CANDYMAN: FAREWELL TO FLESH 👍
Really cool getting the backstorey on Candyman. It’s a very tragic and sad story, and Tony Todd captures the sadness and misery that would be felt. There are parts of the film, where the acting is insane and it seems as though the actors are about to laugh. But the majority of the acting is great.

28. AUDITION 👍
Jesus. Christ. That was a really great film. If anyone asked for an example of a slow burn, I’d direct them to this film. But it was enjoyable all the way through. The performances were all believable and the the film successfully lulls you into a false sense of normalcy and security before pulling the rug out from under you. Very well done.

27. VALENTINE 👍
There really isn’t anything that stands out in this movie to make it a great slasher film. It was just a very fun watch. It was a bit odd how EVERYONE “slut shame” Denise Richards’ character. I don’t know how everyone even knew she liked to sleep around. Anyways, it’s a fun revenge movie, even if the outcome is a bit predictable.

26. HORROR NOIRE: A HISTORY OF BLACK HORROR 👍
I honestly was not aware of a lot of Black Horror films, and I think that’s exactly one of the problems that is being addressed in this film. It is a fascinating and eye opening look at the history of Black actors in horror and the progression of how they have been portrayed. All around a great documentary..

25. CANDYMAN 👍
Tony Todd is an absolute legend. This film follows a graduate student writing a thesis on Urban Legends, one of which is Candyman. Little does she know that Candyman is real, and she summons him. Candyman’s story is sad, but I’m not going to give it away. Very charismatic actors in this film, and a fascinating story that’s acted well.

24. MY BLOODY VALENTINE (2009)
I will go so far as to say that this was a successful reboot. A bit predivtable, but successful as a whole. There was one point where they show a character with a wide angle lens, and you can tell there’s a bit of insanity growing. Somewhat predictable, but about as good, if not better than the original.

23. WRONG TURN 6: LAST RESORT 👍
It’s a story as old as time. Boy gets message on the internet that you’re a long lost relative, and you are inheriting an old hotel. That hotel then encounters hillbilly murderers…but that’s not it. Then you become one of them! Oooooo. The reason this one worked more than some of the others in the series is the main hillbilly’s were not the main focus, so it was okay that it wasn’t all about murder.

22. LOVER’S LANE
I was left thinking “well that was a movie”. This film came out a few years after Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer, and it seems extremely derivative. I could have done without seeing this if I’m being completely honest. However, in the search of good Valentine’s Day horror films, I am happy to say that I gave it a shot.

21. VIDEODROME 👍
This movie is spectacular. The message about television brain washing us, and the societal push for more and more extreme content, is in no way subtle, but is sure as hell is effective. The acting is on point as well, and the effects and visuals are done as only Cronenberg can do. Great, great film!

20. MY BOYFRIENDS BACK
The Valentines Day movie’s continue and holy crap. Philip Seymour Hoffman is in this movie! As far as the film though, it’s nothing specaular. It’s a perfectly fine goofy zombie romantic comedy, but the story is nothing more than a creepy “I’ve loved you forever, and I expect you to share the exact same feelings when I tell you this” type of thing.

19. NEKROMANTIK 👎
This is the first film of the year that I truly did not like. This film was legitimately one of the most disgusting things I have ever seen, and there were no redeeming qualities to it. If you’re looking for shock, it’s got that. If you’re looking for gore, it’s got that. But I do not recommend this for anyone. I actually thought “I need a palette cleanser after watching that, ‘Hostel’ would be a nice comedy after that load of crazy shit”.

18. SCHIZOID
Maybe I didn’t pay close enough attention to the film, but this one didn’t hit for me either. In all honesty, I had the volume so low, in fear of pissing of Cheryl, that I couldn’t even hear what was happening, and there wasn’t any subtitles. There seemed to be some creepy father daughter thing and a twist at the end.

17. X-RAY
A woman goes to a hospital to get average test results, but it turns into a slasher film. All because in elementary school she laughed when a boy gave her a valentine’s day card.

16. MY BLOODY VALENTINE (1981)
I had heard great things about this film, but it just didn’t live up to the hype. The plot is pretty unique, but ist wasn’t scary, or even tense.. The 2000 remake does seem to have a slightly better rating though, so we’ll see how that one goes.

15. FYRE: THE GREATEST PARTY THAT NEVER HAPPENED 👍
This is a netflix documentary that follows the story of the Fyre Festival; an event that was all over social media in 2017 (i think it was). It was a disaster, and the owner of the festival ended up in prison. I wasn’t sure why he was, but this outlined all of it, and it was a riveting watch. In the words of Chapelle: “Can someone find me Ja!”

14. WRONG TURN 5: BLOOD LINES
Again, I was disappointed. The reason I did not enjoy this one is that they removed the reasoning behind this family killing. Initially it was because there was no wildlife where they live due to a mill dumping toxic waste, so they hunted people as food. At this point, it seems to have devolved to nothign more than them enjoying killing people in creative ways. Rather disappointing. But what did I expect out of the film?

13. WRONG TURN 4: BLOODY BEGINNINGS
I’m almost always a sucker for an origin story but this one just fell flat. Apparently, the hillbillys were in a sanatorium, and they broke out and killed everyone there…continued to live in the sanitorium, and were never caught? Just an all around bad origin.

12. WRONG TURN 3: LEFT FOR DEAD 👍
I know I probably shouldn’t enjoy these films, but I really do. There’s something fun about the cheesy “survival horror” of it all. It’s not kind to the West Virginians, but it doesn’t change the fact that the films are really fun. They do a good job of coming up with creative ways to murder the unsuspecting city folk as well. I’d venture to say that these films fall into the torture porn arena.

11. WRONG TURN 2: DEAD END 👍
Is it the greatest film ever? No. It is a goofy movie about a West Virginia family who hunts and eats people. The plot consists of a reality tv show gone awry. To top it all off, it has Henry Rollins.

10. ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK 👍
I’m a John Carpenter fan, and this film only reinforces that. On the surface this is a very successful action movie, with a good plot, a charismatic anti-hero, and a fascinating undertone. I believe the entire film is either about the dehumanization of those who are placed in the prison system, or the cavalier attitude that politicians are willing to sacrifice men and women for their own personal gain. All around a fun movie that has held up well.

9. MANDY
Knock Knock
Who’s There?
Eric Estrada.
Eric Estrada Who?
Eric Estrada from Chips.
This is the most memorable scene from the film. It was a very visually interesting film that had a unique style. Nicholas Cage also really committed to the role and did a fine job. However, there wasn’t anything that stuck out to me in this film as great. At the end, I was left thinking…That was a movie.

8. THE OMEN III
This was another miss in my opinion. I was expecting a more epic political tale of a man achieving an office and destroying the world. What we saw was a very powerful man take a position of power, and then get stabbed. A bit of an anticlimactic ending. Maybe I think that because I really wanted Damien to come out on top.

7. DAMIN: OMEN II
As fun as it is watching Damien grow up and the path he takes to discovering he is the antichrist, this one just didn’t meet the standards of the original. He was surrounded so much by death (or murder) that I was surprised no one put two and two together…sort of like Jessica Fletcher in Murder She Wrote…SHE’S THE KILLER!

6. THE OMEN (1976) 👍
I don’t know how I avoided this so long. It’s a classic and I understand why. It would likely be considered slow by todays standards but there is a sense of dread throughout, and a reasonable sense of skepticism around discovering your son is the antichrist (although, maybe not enough skepticism).

5. NIGHT OF THE DEMONS
The make up in this film is excellent, and it is a relatively enjoyable film. I did not find any of the characters interesting, they were just 80’s stereotypes…think The Breakfast Club with demonic possession.

4. SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT 👍
I found this film to be goofy but very enjoyable. A child sees his family murdered by a Santa Claus, and when he’s grown up he is forced to dress as Santa Claus, and that causes him to snap when he sees a woman being attacked, so he goes on a killing spree. Great Christmas film.

3. MANIAC (1980)
As a horror fan, I’m sure I’m supposed to like this movie, but I made the mistake of seeing the remake with Elijah Wood, and I found that version to be much more believable. He seemed more pathetic and full of shame than Joe Spinelli.

2. PROM NIGHT
This film did absolutely nothing for me. It seemed like this was the film that inspired “I Know What You Did Last Summer”, and it just wasn’t effective at making me care about any of the characters. I almost wanted them to all be caught by the killer.

1. THE PREDATOR 👍
This is the latest installment of the predator franchise, written by Shane Black, and it is everything you can hope for in an action movie. There are big explosions, big aliens, and it’s completely self aware.

MUSIC

34. APHEX TWIN - DRUKQS 👍
Richard D. James is awesome. This album does not disappoint. It is full of IDM glitchiness, and a few beautiful piano pieces.

33. BEARTOOTH - DISEASE
The kick drum on this recording (Bad Listener in particular), is huge. The riffs on this are definitely more rock and roll and mainstream than the prior to albums. The second half of the album contains songs that sound like they were written for another band or have sections that sound like a different band. I’m sure it’s just to try to appeal to a wider audience or change things up. I just found it a bit disappointing to hear these super generic choruses in between these awesome riff-filled sections & songs.

32. BEARTOOTH - AGGRESSIVE 👍
They seem to have honed their craft a bit more. The riffs are heavier, and the choruses are catchier. A rather nice progression from the EP I listened to first.

31. BEARTOOTH - SICK 👍
If Every Time I Die wrote poppier choruses, I imagine this is what they’d sound like. I think this is a strong first impression for a band to put out. Apparently it was started by a member of Attack Attack which I have never heard before.

30. THE LOCUST - SAFETY SECOND, BODY LAST 👍
Two songs. Ten minutes. Pure chaos.

29. DAUGHTERS - HELL SONGS 👍
Finally got this a month after ordering this and importing it from Japan. Solid. High Energy. Chaotic. Everythign you expect a Daughters album to be. I’m starting to realize that the guitarist have a very unique style of their own that has been there since day one. Half Step all the things.

28. ENTOMBED - DCLXVI - TO RIDE, SHOOT STRAIGHT, AND SPEAK THE TRUTH 👍
Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. I ordered this cd expecting a standard jewel case. WRONG! It was a deluxe edition with a second cd of demos and different mixes. But also there’s a booklet telling the story of why this album was so hard to get made…they changed labels 2 times in the midst of it. But the album is just so god damned rock and roll and heavy. I love every second of it. This is hands down my favorite Entombed album.

27. DAUGHTERS - DAUGHTERS 👍
It’s very interesting to hear how the band progressed between their albums, and they changed quite a bit here. They didn’t seem as sporadic on this, and the vocals weren’t all screaming. There’s a significant amount more singing, and it creates this fascinating dichotomy between the very dissonant guitars and the lower registered singing.

26. UNDEROATH - ERASE ME
Maybe I’m just a bitter old curmudgeon, but this album didn’t do it for me. It was fine. Underoath clearly has progressed and matured and it was fun to listen to. But it didn’t hit me like They’re Only Chasing Safety did in the early 00’s. If you’re a die hard Underoath fan, it likely won’t disappoint though.

25. LED ZEPPELIN - LED ZEPPELIN 👍
It’s another one of those classic bands and it’s apparent why they are classics. The performances are great. The song writing is great. The grooves are great. And John Bonham is a monster on those drums. Very fun listen.

24. BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME - AUTOMATA I 👍
This is another band I haven’t listened to in probably a decade. They have progressed quite a lot in that time. They are now an excellent heavy prog metal band. The bass and drums are insanely tight, but the bass also compliments the complex guitar riffs as well. The vocals are one of the things that have always impressed me with this band. He can go from screaming to singing beautifully flawlessly. If you’re not into metal that’s too chaotic, this album is definitely easier to swallow than their earlier stuff. I’m also realizing that there’s very little music wise that I do not like.

23. BLACK SABBATH - PARANOID 👍
I don’t know how I’ve gone this far without hearing this full album, but it’s awesome. The riffs are memorable and the guitars are heavy (and surprisingly wide). Ozzy’s melodies are also tremendous! All around an amazing album, and I have no wonder why it’s one of the most influential metal albums of all time.

22. AT THE GATES - GARDENS OF GRIEF 👍
I believe this is At The Gates’ first recordings and it’s an E.P. It is definitely less melodic than their later discography, and rather leans more towards the more thrashy/grindy sound of The Red in the Sky is Ours. If you listened to this E.P., you’d never think it was the same band that made Slaughter of the Soul. Still a great E.P. considering it’s their first recording.

21. NIRVANA - IN UTERO 👍
Yeah. It’s a classic album. The song writing is excellent. The performances are on point. And the recording is exactly what the songs needed. This is the culmination of the bands experience and it shows.

20. NIRVANA - BLEACH 👍
This album was much more raw than i was expecting. Kurt’s vocals were very chaotic and the screaming was excellent. It really shows the versailtiy of his voice, and you can start to hear the song writing that would lead them to fame.

19. FOO FIGHTERS - THE COLOUR AND THE SHAPE 👍
Thisreally is a classic album for a reason. The recording is impeccable and might have some of my all time favorite rock guitar tones. The drums drive the album forward, and there are ballads interspersed that show Dave Grohl’s breadth.

18. Daughters - Canada Songs 👍
Anger. Pain. Fear. Aggression. Water Colors? This album is in your face, and insanely unique. The drums are powerful, the vocals are aggressive, the guitars are dissonant, and the bass is tight. Daughters seem to have taken what The Locust were doing and one upped them. All in all the album is like a 12 minute long kick straight to the balls.

17. The Stooges - Raw Power 👍
Somehow I have avoided Iggy Pop & The Stooges until this far into my life. I don’t know how or why I have done so though. This album is so full of energy that it seems as though it’s about to fall off the rails at any time. If I’m not mistaken this band is regarded as one of the driving factors for punk, and I think the energy is the only parallel between this band and punk. The rest seems very standard rock and roll. The song Raw Power seems like it may be a precursor to some of the 4 chord punk songs (even though there are more than 4 chords in the song).

16. Electric Wizard - S/T 👍
This is a very promising first album from a band that is still playing 25 years later. The best way I could describe the recording is “music so heavy that the speakers are blown”. I’m not sure if that was an intentional decision or a limitation of the budget and recordings they were making. If it was intended, then it was very bright idea. If not, it was quite the happy accident. The two stand out tracks for me were “Devil’s Bride” and “Black Butterfly”. 

15. ELECTRIC WIZARD - DOPETHRONE 👍
This may be blasphemy, but I don’t care. Based on what I’ve heard from Sleep, it just seems like Electric Wizard takes what they’re doing, adds 10-15bpm to their click track, and grooves a bit harder. This was still a very sludgy doom-metal album and I loved every second of it.

14. DAUGHTERS - YOU WON’T GET WHAT YOU WANT 👍
This album was a complete breath of fresh air. I remember seeing Daughters on the 2003 (or 2004) Hell Fest DVD where it was just a noise band, and it was always fun to check out. I hadn’t listened to them since hearing that one song though. This album shows that they have progressed and matured in leaps and bounds. The album has a very melodic and melancholy feel to it while also introducing very dissonant portions to counteract the structure in other parts. All in all, I loved listening to this from start to finish. Let’s hope that their drummer works with The Color of Violence again on their next album.

13. MUSE - DEAD STAR / IN YOUR WORLD 👍
This was not easy to find, I ended up having to import it from Japan. The opening track “Dead Star” is probably the heaviest Muse song I’ve ever heard! I should have expected this considering it’s titled dead star. The real reason I purchased this was for a lossless copy of their cover of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” which is one of my all time favorite songs Muse has recorded. This seems to be a bit more during their “angsty” time frame, but they did that so well that I have no complaints!

12. MARILYN MANSON - PORTRAIT OF AN AMERICAN FAMILY 👍
I’m late to the boat but I thought I’d finally get around to giving Marilyn Manson a shot, and I’m not disappointed. Very heavy considering the time it came out and it has a very industrial feel. I don’t know if he’s considered industrial, but that’s the vibe I get. Also, it’s awesome, starting an album with a quote from Charlie & The Chocolate Factory.

11. HALEY REINHART - WHAT’S THAT SOUND 👍
This album was absolutely incredible. Haley’s performances are soulful and exposing. The song selection was impeccable as well. It seems as though on this album we are getting a better idea of who Haley is and what her musical tastes are like, and the execution and recording compliment it amazingly well.

10. SLEEP - THE SCIENCES
I hate to say it, but Sleep just didn’t hit for me. I understand the appeal, but there just isn’t enough movement in the albums to keep me interesting. I did enjoy this a little more than “Dopesmoker”, but still it fell a bit flat for me.

9. DEATH GRIPS - A YEAR OF THE SNITCH
There’s no denying that this is an interesting record. Schizophrenic is how I would describe the feel of the album. I am not denying that there is plenty of technical proficiency, but the album simply didn’t speak to me. Maybe because I don’t usually read the lyrics. It’s possible there’s something I’m missing.

8 SNARKY PUPPY - SYLVIA 👍
I’m under the impression that Snarky Puppy can do no wrong. The recording on this album is top notch and it’s mixed impeccably. You can hear every instrument and it sounds like it’s exactly where it needs to be. The songs groove harder than a lot of other jazz that I’ve heard and I love the inclusion of a strings section. All around a great modern Jazz album.

7. IDLES - JOY AS AN ACT OF RESISTANCE 👍
This album is energy packed and an all around fun and aggressive listen. One line stuck out to me was on the track Television: “If someone talks to you the way that you talked to you, I’d put their teeth through, love yourself”. That pushed me over the edge to really enjoying this album and it will be in regular rotation.

6. FIDLAR - ALMOST FREE 👍
This is Fidlar’s 3rd album and on first listen, I think I’m going to like this just as much as their other two albums. They experiment a little more with this album with production but don’t stray too far from the California Surf Punk feel. They maintain the same exciting, bordering on chaotic performances and it kept me hanging on every minute.

5. SLEEP - DOPESMOKER
I know this won’t be a popular opinion, but this one didn’t hit for me. The recording is raw and sludgy, all which I love. However, the droning nature of it just left me wanting a little more. It ‘s possible that this is because I was sitting and listening to it with my full attention, or it could be that I’m not a dope smoker. It believe it would work well as ambient background music for metal heads though.

4. REEL BIG FISH - LIFE SUCKS…LET’S DANCE!
Just like with NFG, I think it’s hard to stay relevant for over 20 years. RBF seems to be struggling with this as well. The songs are fine, but it doesn’t seem like they are breaking new ground on this one. To be fair though, I don’t think they’re really trying to.

3. PHOEBE BRIDGERS - STRANGERS IN THE ALPS 👍
The way I would describe Phoebe Bridgers is a country inspired Elliott Smith. She has a very calming voice and very minimalist instrumentation, but she tells stories much like country. At times it is melancholy, and maybe a bit redundant, but it seemed to strike a chord with me. Great performances and production.

2. BLACK FLAG - DAMAGED
I get it. Black Flag is a legendary punk band, but I never listened to them until now. I got damaged because Henry Rollins is an interesting character, and this just didn’t resonate with me. Probably because I’m not as angry as I was when I was a teenager.

1. NEW FOUND GLORY - MAKES ME SICK AGAIN
It’s hard for a band to progress and stay relevant over 20 years, and it seems to show for NFG. They did try to bring in new instrumentation to keep it interesting, but it no longer felt like NFG. Maybe it’s the fact that 35+ year old men singing love songs is a bit cringe.

TELEVISION

5. EXTRAS - CHRISTMAS SPECIAL 👍
The culmination of the series is awesome. It explores what people will do to maintain fame, as well as the impact it can have on relationships. Ricky Gervais does such an amazing job at mixing comedy and somewhat serious topics.

4. EXTRAS (SSN 2) 👍
I really do love Ricky Gervais’ work. This season follows Andy, who gains a sitcom, and it follows the struggle of fame and wealth as well as compromising your creative vision in order to gain mainstream success.

3. EXTRAS (SSN 1) 👍
I never would have thought that Ricky Gervais could have followed up the UK Office. I was wrong. This first seasons is hilarious, and awkward, and uncomfortable. The thing that I find so charming about it is the fact that the characters are awful, but they’re slightly less awful than the gang from It’s Always Sunny, or the Seinfeld cast.

2. MASTERS OF HORROR (SSN 1) 👍
Okay. I’m 2 for 2 so far, and I know this won’t last. This was some of the best horror television I’ve seen in a long time. The reason being, every episode is made by a different classic director from Dario Argento, to John Carpenter, to Tobe Hooper. There were a few episodes that weren’t AMAZING, but I am extremely happy with the $13.00 I paid for this. The two stand outs for me in this series would be “Pick Me Up”, which was directed by Larry Cohen, and “Jennifer”, directed by Dario Argento.

I viewed the former as a somewhat tongue and cheek look at the serial killer genre, as well as poking fun of why we’re told never to pick up hitchhikers and why you should never hitchhike. Jennifer on the other hand was absolutely disturbing. I’m not terribly familiar with a lot of Argento’s work, but this film made me so uncomfortable that I had to rant and rave about it in a chat.

1. MANIAC (NETFLIX) 👍
Jonah Hill & Emma Stone (as well as the entire cast) knocked it out of the park on this show. They all played their parts very believably. The show gets very bizarre at times since they are in a drug study, but it was very effective. I think that many of the main characters are meant to portray different aspects of our own personality. When I was watching this before I’d fall asleep, I would find myself having really bizarre dreams. Highly recommend it.