6 Best and 3 Worst Free Channels/Apps on Amazon Fire!

I’ve been trying out the Amazon Fire lately.  It’s interface takes a bit of getting used to if you are used to the Roku, but for the most part is very navigation friendly.

It allows the easy install of the three must have paid channels, NETFLIX, AMAZON PRIME, and HULU; however it also offers a selection of excellent free channels. Not as extensive as Roku, but it has a solid selection.

 

So without further preamble, The best free apps/channels for Amazon Fire are:

 

  • CRACKLE – It’s selection can use updating, but offers a nice feature of being able to watch a show while searching their list of titles
  • TUBITV- arguably the best selection of content on any free channel, including notables not available on the paid channels
  • SNAGFILMS – It’s selection needs updating, but highligts  a few movies that may fall through the cracks of the other channels
  • For the most part the above channels are easy to load  and navigate, offer good content, and keep the ads to a minimum. Three things that the below apps/channels fail to do, and hence end up in our hall of shame.
  • YOUTUBE and VIMEO – convenient for staying abreast of movie trailers and finding short films and other hard to find content
  • PLUTO TV- The cable experience, without the cable price

 

The worst Amazon Fire Channels/Apps are:

  • KINO LORBER – Horrible navigation issues, mediocre content
  • GO INDIE TV – Navigation issues, and more mediocre content
  • SCREAMBOX – You’ll be screaming at what a waste of time this channel is. Lackluster content, poor navigation menu
  • COMICBOOKCAST2 – is basically a podcast with static pics, Not worth the time to download.

So there you go,  the best and worst channels on Amazon Fire. Feel free to comment with your picks for best and worst!

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CD of the Day : Ivo Pogorelich plays Ravel’s Gaspard De La Nuit & Prokofiev’s Piano Sonata Klaviersonate No. 6


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    CD of the Day Ivo Pogorelich plays Ravel’s Gaspard De La Nuit & Prokofiev’s Piano Sonata Klaviersonate No. 6 a Deutsche Grammophon Pressing!

“In addition to [Ivo Pogorelich’s] Schumann, I have also enjoyed his Scarlatti, Bach, Haydn, and Beethoven, and only wish that he would record more Scriabin, for which he has a special affinity. Yet, of all his recordings, it is to this recording of Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit that I have returned most over the years, and even after repeated listening, I am still utterly transfixed by it. Simply put, it contains some of the most riveting and imaginative piano playing that I have ever heard–and my piano listening goes as far back as De Pachmann in the early 1900s.” –MR Simpson @ Amazon.com

“Out of the over 100 available recordings of Ravel’s Gaspard de le nuit this must be one of the finest. If this was Ravel’s idea of a bad dream I’ll take it. It easily ranks with the most beautiful music I know… I love this recording. Very highly recommended. –David Thierry @ Amazon.com

“This original release has now been re-issued under DG’s ‘Original’ series, with the Chopin No. 2 Concerto added. I for one would want to stick to this ‘original’ version, since both works contained in this CD represent Ivo Pogorelich’s finest performances.” Abert @ Amazon.com

“If I could take only one Pogorelich CD to a desert island, it would be this one. Sound quality is excellent.” — Hank Drake @ Amazon.com

Get your copy here:

Chopin: Piano Sonata / Ravel: Gaspard de la nuit / Prokofiev: Piano Sonata

2015 Podcasts the Year in Review: Old Favorites ended and New ones discovered

 

Looking back over the ten year history of this blog I’ve praised my share of podcasts, and seen quite a few shuffle off this mortal coil.

2015 seemed to be a volatile year, with many of my long standing podcast favorites either no longer releasing episodes on a regular schedule or hanging up their mics.

Among some of the great ones that seem to be on hiatus or done are:

 

  • HORROR ETC
  • SIDEBAR

 

 

All of these shows are and were great, and will be missed. And join other great departed podcasts such as:

 

  • INDIE SPINNER RACK
  • GEEK SYNDICATE
  • MONDO MOVIE
  • FREQUENCY OF FEAR

 

But I completely understand, these podcast and blogs, while dearly loved, require HUGE expenditures of time and energy, and sometimes… life gets in the way. And considering most of these podcasts are not a revenue stream, it is understandable that when the effort exceeds the rewards… it’s time to stop doing it. What is amazing is that some of these shows have gone as long as they have.

All that said, you may or may not still find old episodes online. I recommend grabbing them if you can. SIDEBAR particularly interviewed some great artists, and for those interviews to be not easily accessible, seems… a loss.

INDIE SPINNER RACK  had the best interviews with both Alan Moore (One of the greatest and most influential writers in the comics/graphic novel medium – it is a crime that companies, marvel and dc, are releasing books missing his name , and shorn of his insightful interviews. the reasons for this are both well documented and trivial. yes, alan moore can be something of a bridge burner, but his brilliance makes him worth the effort to mend those fences. when he passes off this mortal coil, as we all must, no one wants to be remembered as the company that stole his characters, and froze him out of work. pay alan moore and get him at least authorizing director’s cut versions or writer approved versions of his most celebrated works. it’s one of the reasons i will not part with my swamp thing paperbacks, it is because later introductions are devoid of his introductions, which are as entertaining and informative as his stories. )

and Stephen Bissette (Who remains to this day, with his run on swamp thing, one of the greatest and most influential artists to work in the medium).

 

So the above are the podcasts lost in 2015. Here are some select podcasts enjoyed in 2015:

 

Head over to the German Music Magazine GROOVE and pick up two of the best mix tapes of 2015:

 

DECONSTRUCTING COMICS – anytime you get the chance to hear Stephen Bissette speak, take it. Not only one of the great superstar artists of the 80s with his game changing work on Swamp Thing, but simply an informed, erudite speaker on a number of topics.. including the history of horror and cinema. This Sept 2015 podcast is a recommended listen. They also have an episode of huge interest to any fan of either Edgar Allen Poe or Richard Corben. They also offer a Transformers episode that offers reviews on recent transformer comics.

 

 

THE DOLLAR BIN (Also a show that appears to be on indefinite hiatus) had a couple intriguing episodes in 2015, one covering HIP HOP FAMILY TREE, and one with Golden Age artist Allen Bellman:

 

And if these guys really are  done producing new shows, some of their classic shows that you want to get, while avaiilable, are:

I grew up on Steve Englehart comics and you don’t get today’s sophisticated comics, without first going through him. One of the first to help transition comics from kids entertainment to college and beyond entertainment.

Not one, but two interviews with one of the most elusive, and one of the most talented and innovative writers in comics, Christopher Priest (His SPIDERMAN VS WOLVERINE remains one of the joys of my collection, as well as his excellent run on BLACK PANTHER and QUANTUM AND WOODY).

 

A Bob McLeod interview (Made important because Bob McLeod’s work on the NEW MUTANTS is burned into my brain. That fight with the New Mutants and the Sentinels in a mall, blew my mind as a kid. And as an adult, those images still define for me what great artwork and storytelling should be.)

So quite a few of my favorite podcasts slowed down or completely stopped in 2015. However when one door closes another, as they say, opens.

So some podcasts I started listening to in 2015, and have added to my subscriptions are:

 

  • THE COMICS ALTERNATIVE- Their monthly preview episodes helped me all last year put in my monthly comics order
  • INKSTUDS- Interviews with Comic Book  Creators… some really indispensable interviews.
  • READING LIVES- Interviews with Writers… LOVE IT.
  • WTF- I think without argument the most listened to and successful podcast, with guests from  comedians, musicians, actors, and now a sitting president, Marc Maron out of his garage has created podcast as both high art, and passionate conversation.
  • FILMSPOTTING:SVU- Reviews for the streaming age
  • GILBERT GODFREY PODCAST – I do not find Gilbert Gottfried funny, but his knowledge and love for classic film and television, means he interviews people I want to hear, and he has had some GREAT gustd this year. Thankfully co-host Frank is there to get the podcast back on track when Gilbert starts amusing himself and no one else
  • FAT MAN ON BATMAN- Kevin Smith’s love for the creative process and all things Batman… is an addictive listen
  • HOUSE TO ASTONISH – A comic book podcast from across the pond

AND WRAPPING UP MY 2015 REVIEW, WANT TO GIVE ACCOLADES TO SOME OF MY FAVORITE, AND LONGEST RUNNING PODCASTS THAT ARE STILL GOING STRONG. ALL AWARD WINNING PODCASTS (they all won my Welles Award a few years back, and in my mind have been award winners every year since):

  • CGS – Comic Geek Speak -one of the oldest podcasts, and with great losses, and welcome additions, still an eagerly awaited listen
  • 11′ OCLOCK- One of the most informative and jam-packed and fun of any podcast. The chemistry these three have… works.
  • B-MOVIE CAST – Love this podcast on classic, crazy, genre cinema. Wonderful chemistry between the hosts.

Well folks, that is the podcast scene here as 2015 ends and 2016 takes the stage. Please use this list to see what was special about those shows we lost, and to jump aboard and support those we still have.

Thanks for reading and be well!

COVER GALLERY : Favorite Flash Comic book Covers! 1959-1970

COVER GALLERY : Favorite Flash Comic book Covers! 1959-1970

If you have watched television recently, you probably know the very popular FLASH TV series. After some misgivings regarding the show, I’ve grown quite fond of it.

What you might not know, is the comic book series.

The Flash is a comic book series that has had several incarnations; and without doubt, one of the most popular ones is the silver age series, that introduced the scarlet clad Flash, Barry Allen.

The silver age series ran from the late 1950s to about 1970. Here is a selection of my favorite FLASH comic book covers from that period. The covers (as were the interiors) overwhelmingly were the vision of one man, Carmine Infantino, who was the art director of all of DC’s comics, and (at the formative years of an oft maligned medium) defined the look of what an exciting comic book cover was.

His artwork, while perhaps crude and simplistic compared to the more refined and rendered artists of today, has a sense of design, the placement of text and graphics, and the art of getting you excited, that is still head and shoulders above most artists today.

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Flash_Vol_1_139

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Flash_v.1_156

Flash_v.1_159

Flash_Vol_1_163

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Flash_v.1_171

Flash_174

Carmine, at the end of 1967 with his workload as art director/executive editor increasing, after almost 8 consistent years as the sole artist of the Flash, passed on the reigns of cover and interior artist to talented newcomer Ross Andru.

Ross Andru after some initial growing pains proved himself a talented artist, growing into a strong cover artist in his own right. His issues get progressively better.

Flash_Vol_1_184

Flash_v.1_188

But by far the best covers of this period are the haunting, almost baroque covers by the great Joe Kubert. Paired with stories by John Broome and the always great Robert Kanigher, these issues are a must own for any fan of great art and story. Some exemplary Neal Adams and Gil Kane covers round out the list of best covers as 1970 closes out the silver age of comics.

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Flash_v.1_190

Flash_v.1_191

Flash_v.1_195

Flash_v.1_197

Flash_v.1_198

Flash_v.1_199

Flash_v.1_200

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Hope you’ve enjoyed this tour of the best of Silver Age FLASH Comic Book Covers! Drop us a line and let us know some of your favorites!

And to own these issues yourself? Well the bad news is most of these have not been collected yet. The good news is brand new collections are on the way. The first one, THE FLASH OMNIBUS was released last year, is hardcover, full color, and contains over 800 pages!! At $60 it is not cheap, but considering you get reprinted tens of thousands of dollars of comics, it’s a deal.

Get it The Flash Omnibus Vol. 1
here!

THIS WEEKEND’S Recommended MUSIC! THE HEAVY!


Music so good, that mp3s and Itunes do them a disservice. Music that deserves buying on CD and listening all the way through.

thehousethatdirtbuilt

The House That Dirt Built
– Was introduced to this band THE HEAVY because of the awesomely addictive song they did for the great opening credits of the TV show STRIKE BACK.

Based on that one song, I bought this album. And I am glad I did, it is a great, addictive item. How good is it? It is so good that I bought their other two albums (available at the links below) without listening to a single song. That is how heavy… THE HEAVY is!

gloriousdead
The Glorious Dead

greatvengeance
Great Vengeance & Furious Fire

“I was listening to Michelle Myers Saturday broadcast on KEXP a few weeks back and she played an infectious cut from their follow up album “The House That Dirt Built”. Usually music needs some time to grow on me but the song SHORT CHANGE HERO cut deep with an intoxicating groove that sent me on an instant quest to search them out.

… This is hands down one of the five best CD’s I have purchased this year rivaling their sophomore “The House That Dirt Built”. Do yourself a favor. If you purchase no other music in the next year get one (or both) of The Heavy’s releases.”

—Amazon Review JSG

Music Deal of the Day! RICH VS ROACH

richvsroach

It is such a joy being able to continually discover new things and great things and sublime things. 56 years after its recording it is a joy to for the first time hear this preeminent 1986 pressing of these preeminent Jazz drummers (avoid the later 2012 issue that for no sane reason reorganizes the order of the songs).

This is a fantastic CD that is far better than the original LP for 4 crucial reasons. Alternative takes to 4 of the songs, and two of those takes are essential gamechangers.

Namely the first two songs of the album, SING, SING, SING and THE CASBAH set the memorable impressions of the album, and in the original takes Buddy Rich provides the better more impressive performance. His levels are louder, his playing is pure manic brilliance, in contrast Max Roach ‘s performance while nuanced suffers from levels that are muted, and his playing while strong, seems a bit hesitant and halting.

Compare this to the alternate takes, released on this album, and here is the Max Roach, the genius, allowed off the leash. It’s a beautiful and haunting staccato rhythm he builds in the unused alternative takes, that turns this album, particularly those two songs, from a clear victory for Buddy Rich, as has been stated, to an impossible to call draw, between two of the best drummers in the business.

The reason for using the skewed take? Well this was largely a Buddy Rich financed Album, and it was 1959, and you were still playing to a nation that was largely still in the shadow of Jim Crow.

Whatever the reason, thanks to the 1986 cd and the alternate takes you can finally appreciate both of the legendary drummers at the top of their game.

Grade: A+! Highest Rscommendation!

This 1986 CD is almost sold out on Amazon, I strongly urge any lovers of great music, great stereo recordings, and great Jazz to pick up multiple copies of this CD, because without a doubt it makes a great gift and friends with taste will ‘borrow’ it.

And yes you could listen to this on MP3 via Itunes, but you could also listen to it with cotton stuffed in your ears. 🙂 .

MP3s are a great way to sample a bunch of music quickly and determine what you love and want to buy. But once determined, the MP3 format is not the format to buy it in. You need full uncompressed audio.

You need a well mastered CD, and RICH VS ROACH happens to be one of the best.

Get your CD here:Rich Versus Roach

This also happens to be one of the great stereo recordings, so it deserves to be heard with headphones on a great portable player. The one I personally use and recommend is :

Sylvania 9-Inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD/CD/MP3 Player with 5 Hour Built-In Rechargeable Battery, USB/SD Card Reader, AC/DC Adapter

Enjoy!