Today’s MUST SEE YouTube Video… RIGHT NOW!!!!!

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCd5J5t4XcyLveOK6aNMpI0g

 

Don Kaart’s ALL THAT JAZZ is one of my favorite channels that I am subscribed to. The below video shows why. See my post,  a few days ago, on collectors, people who preserve and promote culture by not letting things die or be locked away, simply because the venal overlords don’t know how to, monetize it.

Collectors preserve the soul of  culture, not for money or praise, but because they, in the words of Alan Moore, are compelled to. I am not a particularly religious person, but in my mind Collectors like Don Kaart are doing essential, hallowed work. That often goes either uncommented on or villified by the venal, the stupd and the ignorant.

The below video, shows music back when it was pure. Undefined by racist labels, and even more racist gatekeepers. Max Roach earning in this video, in his patient and perfect use of call and response, his reputation as one of the Gods of Jazz and Drumming.

Go subscribe to this channel asap. And more than that, like the video and comment with your praise.

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCd5J5t4XcyLveOK6aNMpI0g

The channel deserves it!

Tell em HT sent Ya!

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Best & Favorite of 2017!!!

This is a bit belated but I think you will find a nice overview to 2017 and pointers to 2018 in the ramblings below.

Favorite movies seen in the Theater in 2017:

KONG:SKULL ISLAND

LOGAN

 

I only saw two movies in the theater in 2017, so looking to improve on that in 2018. Nothing in January had me jazzed to pay theater prices for, however I am looking forward to the following in 2018:

click for larger (if applicable) click for larger (if applicable) click for larger (if applicable)

EQUALIZER 2

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FAVORITE TV SHOWS IN 2017:

  • LEGION
  • TAKEN
  • POWER
  • AMERICAN NINJA
  • CHOPPED
  • AMERICAN PICKERS
  • LOVE IT OR LIST IT
  • LETHAL WEAPON
  • THE GRAND TOUR
  • GODLESS
  • RUNAWAYS

FAVORITE STREAMING TV CHANNEL IN 2017

The one two punch of AMAZON PRIME and HULU gets this award. NETFLIX that was riding high in 2016 with LUKE CAGE and other shows, had a disappointing 2017. With a non user friendly interface compared to Amazon Prime and a selection of shows and movies that weren’t as interesting or well curated as either HULU or AMAZON PRIME, I cancelled my membership at the end of 2017. The last straw being the overhyped and ultimately lackluster PUNISHER series, as well as news of the studios pulling their content from Netflix.

In 2018 the TV shows that I am or will be watching are:

CASTLE ROCK

GRAND TOUR

TAKEN (I think the new showrunner made a mistake getting rid of most of the cast from season 1, but hopefully he can course correct and fix it)

STRIKE BACK and ELEMENTARY return after long hiatuses

LONGMEYER went out with a bit of a whimper, so looking forward to YELLOWSTONE

JACK RYAN

LETHAL WEAPON

CHOPPED

IZOMBIE

BLACK LIGHTNING

AMERICANS

And lastly looking forward to Season 2 of what, without question, was the best, most inventive TV show of 2017, Noah Hawley’s LEGION.

And for those keeping score… LUKE CAGE tied with FARGO Season 2 (Also by Noah Hawley) were the best TV shows of 2015, and DAREDEVIL Season 1 was the best TV show of 2014.

 

BEST MUSIC OF 2017

I loved everything binaural in 2017, adding many great CDs to my collection. THE HEAVY and GREGORY PORTER remained in heavy rotation. Gregory Porter being my favorite live performance of 2017. And I added new interests RAG N BONE MAN, Andra day and Brian Ferneyhough. With Spotify to allow me to try before I buy, I’m looking forward in 2018 to discovering more great music, both old and new.

BEST READS OF 2017

I didn’t read as many novels, or listen to as many audio books in 2017 as I did in previous years, so I definitely hope to turn that around in 2018.

I did do substantially better with Art Books, Graphic Novels, Reference Books, and comics in 2017. Some of the standouts:

 

MATT BAKER THE ART OF GLAMOUR

CREEPING DEATH FROM NEPTUNE

THE WOLVERTON BIBLE

ARTIST EDITION BASIL WOLVERTON (This and the other two previous books having to do with Basil Wolverton, I went all in on him in 2017. Still absorbing these three books here in 2018)

JACKIE ORMES

THE SIGNATURE ART OF BRIANSTELFREEZE

SEX AND HORROR THE ART OF ALESSANDRO BIFFIGNANDI

In 2018 writers I intend to go all in on are Percival Everett, Victor Lavalle, Colin Whitehead and Walter Mosley, as well as revisiting work by Ligotti, Lebbon, Ellison, Stephen King, Clive Barker and Bennett.

 

In 2017 Marvel had a great POWER MAN AND IRON FIST series I was reading, the only thing I was buying monthly from Marvel Comics. And Marvel letting greed get in the way of common sense, killed a series everyone was loving, with a creative team everyone was loving, David Walker and Brian Stelfreeze, to instead both dilute audience attention and oversaturate the market with multiple books, almost all of which are ready to be canceled. So going into 2018, with Marvel sticking to their insane $3.99 price point per book, there are no titles I pick up from Marvel Comics.

 

In 2017 DEATHSTROKE by Christopher Priest was the only DC Comic I was getting on a monthly base. It’s arguably the one series that you can just pick up and enjoy without having to read any other title, or care about any other title. Priest has been able to just do… what he does best, create a fantastic read; month in and month out. So it is the only DC book I’m reading in 2018. However, greed rears its ugly heads and the idiots who get paid to make stupid decisions have decided to add DEATHSTROKE to their floundering team book… JLA,  basically gutting the standalone nature of the comic that allows Priest, to do his magic. Basically the same poor decision making that happened last year with POWER MAN AND IRON FIST.

 

I figure the conversation went like this… ‘man everyone is talking about this book, let’s put the characters in multiple other books, and then they will be talking about all those other books too.’ No, you EFFING morons! The reason people are enjoying POWER MAN AND INRON FIST or DEATHSTROKE is because it is well drawn and well written and not part of your insipid crossover infested universe. Your very attempts to duplicate that success, without understanding it, will kill the character in the new book, and kill interest in the character in the original book.

So yeah here’s hoping someone with brains over at DC, vetoes the horrible idea to put DEATHSTROKE in the JLA, because I’m not going to read the JLA, and you’re editorial interference will create a character that no longer works in his solo book. You have therefore killed the golden goose and have nothing to show for it.

 

The good news is when you get sick of the stupid decisions and overpriced ad laden product at DC and MARVEL, you have great content from other publishers to enjoy. Publishers that give you more for your money. Publishers such as IMAGE, AFTERSHOCK, DARK HORSE and many more.

As far as where to buy new comics from, a lot of people will steer you to DCBS. I personally in terms of pure customer service and ease or ordering prefer LONE STAR COMICS. You can order comics in advance from the at http://www.mycomicshop.com at a discount.

 

They are highly recommended, and I use them myself, and this is an unpaid recommendation. Tell them Heroic Times sent you.

 

And wrapping this up, favorite podcasts of 2017:

 

11OCLOCK COMICS

COMIC GEEK SPEAK

WTF with Marc Maron

BLACK TAPES

GEEK SYNDICATE

 

To name a few. Okay that is it for my 2017 Pop Culture overview. Thanks for bearing with it and if you enjoy, spread the word. Enjoy WEEK #6 of 2018!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Deals of the Day! Amazon Edition!

DEALS OF THE DAY!

‘With this CD on Winter & Winter, the Arditti String Quartet celebrates 40 years of cutting-edge performances. Long recognized as the leading string quartet in avant-garde circles, and admired for the brilliance and virtuosity of its performances of the most demanding works, the Arditti gave its first concert in March, 1974, and over four decades it has not stopped rehearsing, studying, performing, and recording the most challenging music of our time. This program consists of 14 short works by some of the most prominent contemporary composers — Wolfgang Rihm, Hans Abrahamsen, Toshio Hosokawa,Brian Ferneyhough, Brice Pauset, Mark Andre, Marco Stroppa, Liza Lim, Harrison Birtwistle, Hilda Paredes, James Clarke, Georg Friedrich Haas, Uri Caine, and Johannes Maria Staud — and the variety of their compositions makes this survey a fascinating exploration of innovative techniques and original concepts. Adventurous listeners will be impressed by the Arditti’s fearlessness and directness in approaching this uncompromising music, and the liner notes by violinist Irvine Arditti provide background information that will be helpful to those just discovering the group.’ — All Music

View/price it here:

http://amzn.to/2EsqSTm

FERNEYHOUGH:TERRAIN – with the 21st century’s most complex composer ‘s most famous CD out of print and commanding multiples of its msrp, this TERRAIN cd is a good way to sample some of the composers best works without taking out a mortgage. Great CD at an affordable price.

Get tge CD here:

http://amzn.to/2BGw1Ed

 

Jack Kirby’s FOURTH WORLD OMNIBUS – At over 1200pages this hardcover is big enough to go into battle with, or you can do something more traditional with it and enjoy it and put it on your bookshelf. Rushed out just at the end of 2017, to be part of the 100th Anniversary of Jack Kirby, it is easily the must own collected edition/graphic novel to have. The first printing does have a printing error, all that rushing I was talking about. One page is printed twice. It is an easily corrected error.

You can find details here:

https://www.bleedingcool.com/2017/12/21/fourth-world-omnibus-major-printing-error/

I printed the correct page (found at the link above) on my color printer and slipped it in the book at the correct spot. Job done. And sure we can wait for a corrected edition, or future printing, but considering we have no idea when or if that is happening, my 10 cent fix more than suffices.

Get your copy, while it is still below cover price, here:

 

http://amzn.to/2ErGztV

 

Come back next time for more… Deals of the Day!

 

Week 4 of 2018! Still my favorite band… THE HEAVY!

THE HEAVY, as I wrap up the first month of 2018, has been on heavy rotation on my CD player (remember those) in my nice non-self driving car. 🙂

Take that Elon Musk and Google!!!

I’m joking!I am a HUGE fan of Elon Musk  and his Tesla and Space X projects. He is a real life Tony Stark/Reed Richards pushing a nation that has been too long held hostage by backward leaning corporate interests into the future.

That said, I’ll keep my cd player in my car, and drive my own darn car, Thank You very much. 🙂

And when I’m driving that car, I like to listen to… THE HEAVY!The Heavy

THE HEAVY is a band, that has a fresh, vibrant, energetic, genre defying sound that  marks them as something … new, and exceptionally good. Arguably with 4 albums under their belt since 2009, their rock-soul-fusion sound, marks them as the best band of the 21st century. A 21st century British answer to the short lived 20th century phenomenon of HOOTIE AND THE BLOWFISH. But where HOOTIE was more lyrical folksy, THE HEAVY true to their name has a growl in their music, that is pure power, and pure Rock. Not the Rock of metal and noise, but the Rock of Hendricks and Morrison and The Who.

I’ve been listening to these guys 2 or 3 years now, and week 4 of 2018 they are still my favorite band. I own all 4 of their CDs. You can too. All 4 of their CDs are works of art in terms of naming and construction.Get yours here:

Great Vengeance & Furious Fire

http://amzn.to/2DzNeAP

 

The House That Dirt Built

http://amzn.to/2EhnbQl

The Glorious Dead

http://amzn.to/2DG7WPO

Hurt & The Merciless

http://amzn.to/2DGUZ8h

NPR All Things Considered Best Lists of 2017!

https://www.npr.org/sections/allsongs/2017/12/18/570799909/poll-results-all-songs-considered-listeners-100-favorite-albums-of-2017

You can hear and view the chosen ones at the link above, or see the top ten right here:

Listener Picks: Top 100 Albums Of 2017

  1. Kendrick Lamar, DAMN.
  2. Lorde, Melodrama
  3. St. Vincent, Masseduction
  4. The War on Drugs, A Deeper Understanding
  5. The National, Sleep Well Beast
  6. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, The Nashville Sound
  7. LCD Soundsystem, American Dream
  8. SZA, CTRL
  9. Big Thief, Capacity
  10. Father John Misty, Pure Comedy

As someone who has been… not a fan, of what I have heard from Kendrick Lamar; needless to say this list is not my top ten list (that is coming) but this is a start.

Quite frankly listening to their top ten selections…. not a fan of this list, however there are some standouts. Your mileage may vary.

Stay tuned for more lists, and hopefully a few I even agree with. 🙂

 

And a quick aside on Kendrick Lamar, I do not get it.

As someone who is not a stranger to call and response, to ballads,to instrumental, to folk, to blues, to country, to soul, to rock , to spoken word, to rap, to hip-hop to avant garde, I am no stranger to good music and bad music.

So, put the records of say Oddisee or Childish Gambino against any of the records of Kendrick Lamar, for me the work is not even in the same league.

Oddisee and Gambino and tons of others have music that is creative and enjoyable, for me the work of Kendrick Lamar is  full of a couple of curse words repeated, and some not compelling rhyming.

I’m not an Eminem fan, but you can’t argue he can put out FANTASTIC music, I can see where the praise comes from for him.

I just don’t see it for Kendrick Lamar, all his praised albums, I don’t just find them not great, I find them not good, and a chore to listen to.

Give me IMMORTAL TECHNIQUE or PUBLIC ENEMY or SNOOP DOG  if you want to talk great rappers, but Kendrick Lamar???.

I mean congratulations for his success and if you are one of the people who love him, great.

However, I just find his across the board praise by critics… inexplicable. Truly a case of the Emperor has no clothes.

 

Okay, off my soap box, and I’ll have my list up soon.

 

The Best & Worst Gifts this Holiday Season!!

Okay first lets start off with what not to get people this holiday season… smart devices!

With the rash of recent lawsuits regarding Smart TVs actually spying on people, you would have thought the public would have gotten the message.

What’s the message?

 

If it is not family or not paying rent, don’t let anything in your house that is smarter than you.:) That means saying ‘no thank’ you or ‘good buy’ to all these spying devices marketed as amiable servants or harmless entertainment.

That means no ECHO, no ALEXA, no XBOX, no Smart TVs. It means trading in your Roku or Amazon Fire microphone remote for a regular non-microphone remote.

 

Here is the thing… you want to know what the weather is… do the search yourself!

Same with the news, or the traffic. Do it your effing self. There is a point where convenience becomes a cage, and ease of access a trap.

Every camera in your house (laptops, phones, TVs, smart refrigerators, etc), should have a lens cap. And every microphone in your house (xbox, phones, laptops, alarm systems, smart thermostats, etc) should be able to be physically disabled/disconnected. Being able to determine yes I want this camera off, and yes I want this microphone off, and being certain that they have turned off, that is owning things. Having to trust in the hardware or the software that it is not recording you, and delivering that info to marketeers… that is being owned.

And increasingly in ‘Smart’ homes, the homeowner finds themselves in the latter category.

So yes those are the things not to buy this or any holiday season.

So what are some things worth buying? Well this installment let us discuss…

Portable DVD/CD players

The music industry is happy to get high quality physical music out of the hands of consumers, and especially the ability for them to burn their own discs; and to take us back to the 1950s in returning us to the inherently inferior medium of vinyl. And if you don’t know vinyl is inherently inferior, than you missed the previous paragraph about being smarter than the technology. 🙂

And sure we have streaming. But streaming is largely a gatekeeper format. We empower gatekeepers to store the media we pay for. That media can then be changed or deleted as commerce demands. Even deleted not just from the cloud, but from your media player.

Music thus becomes reduced to something, that though you pay for it, you do not in any substantial way control the thing you paid for. A CD (full WAV, not that MP3 nonsense)and a portable CD player, and a good pair of headphones… returns that control to you. That is what I call a priceless gift.

Here then are my recommendations for portable CD players, headphones, and great quality CDs to test out those headphones.

WONNIE 7.5 Inch Portable DVD Player with Swivel Screen, USB / SD Slot and 4 Hours Rechargeable Battery, Perfect Gift for Kids ( Black ) – While marketed as a gift for kids and the aged, this is actually a great compact portable DVD/CD player that plays a variety of formats at a ridiculously low price. And comes with great extras including a carrying case.

Now while it comes with basic headphones I would recommend the following headphones and amp combo when ready to take the sound from this portable to a better level.

HIFIMAN HE-400I Over Ear Full-size Planar Magnetic Headphones– Not cheap at around $200 but it is actually nearly 60% off of its retail price.

A slightly lower cost, but still well reviewed and lauded headphone option would be:

Fostex T50RP MK3 Professional Studio Headphones, Semi-Open

And while not necessary, an amp will help deliver quality sound to your headphones. Get yours at the link below:

FiiO A3 Portable Headphone Amplifier (Black)

Finally here are some must own CDs for testing out your headphones and just hearing great music:

Human

Up Close

Get Up With It

Midnight Matinee (XRCD24 Master)

That’s it for this installment. Follow our suggestions and you’ll have a portable system that will offer superior sound for a fraction of the cost of other options. And if you liked this post drop me an email, subscribe, use the above links or leave me a comment. or do all of the above! 🙂

Today’s Musical Standouts!

Blood – Strange and beautiful.

New Moon Daughter – How I missed this 22 year old album, from the prolific Cassandra Wilson I don’t know, but the sound is exquisite. Have to get the cd.

//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=herotime-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B01HOG5I6S&asins=B01HOG5I6S&linkId=61e266984438159151ad3ee6abd6a4ae&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff -Wonderful!

I Tell A Fly– It is unusual to stumble across something truly original and strange and brilliant. This is all the above. A must buy!

My One And Only Thrill– Just heard her CD today, yeah I have to buy it!

Converting Vegetarians– There is only one CD left on Amazon. Good Luck!