Rob Halford Celestial (Sony)

Rob Halford Celestial (Sony)

As the frontman of stalwart metal outfit Judas Priest, Rob Halford’s banshee-like voice elicits many things. To most, sugarplums and mistletoe wouldn’t have a chance of making that list. “Celestial” is that holiday long-player that nobody asked for, yet manages to be its own brand of endearing.

Halford takes on mostly solemn, traditional material. “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “Deck The Halls” conjure up images of Dickensian England, though in this version of “A Christmas Carol,” Tiny Tim is throwin’ the horns and Marley’s ghost plays a Gibson Flying V. Although dark at times in tone, it’s definitely an interesting listen.

 

Dan Reviews  “The Mandalorian”

Dan Reviews “The Mandalorian”

Nothing could be more exciting to a kid who grew up in the 1970’s than a new entry into the Star Wars saga. It was from that vantage point, that I excitedly waited to watch “The Mandalorian.”

From Disney, “After the stories of Jango and Boba Fett, another warrior emerges in the Star Wars universe. “The Mandalorian” is set after the fall of the Empire, and before the emergence of the First Order. We follow the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy, far from the authority of the New Republic.”

While that official description might not elicit excitement in Star Wars fans, the serial itself will. It does play like a futuristic western, and the character of The Mandalorian (played with Clint Eastwood dryness by Pedro Pascal) is humanized far more than the Fetts. In his quest to obtain multiple bounties, he’s warned by Greed Karga not to bite off more than he can chew. Played with weightiness by Carl Weathers, Karga offers up a bounty that must be done off of the books, and the adventure begins.

Created by director Jon Favreau, clearly a fan of “A New Hope,” this serial puts the viewer back into the worn-out galaxy that Han Solo and Luke Skywalker came from. The future shown isn’t covered in shiny stainless steel and glass, it’s full of underworld miscreants and horrible weather. 

In a nutshell, that’s the real thrill for me. As a fan himself, Favreau completely understands our need to not only see new Star Wars stories and characters, but the need to escape life for an hour or two and actually go to the places they inhabit. I, for one, can't wait to go back.

 

Beastie Boys Root Down E.P. (Grand Royal)

Beastie Boys Root Down E.P. (Grand Royal)

Capitol Records is reissuing the Beastie Boys’ catalog, so I took a listen to the “Root Down” e.p. The album track is featured here, along with two additional remixes, the Free Zone mix and the Pop Balloon mix. 

The remains twelve tracks are fleshed out with performances from the band’s triumphant 1995 European Tour, when their Lp “Ill Communication” was everywhere. Though the crowds seem a bit subdued, the Beastie Boys give it their best. Completist fans will want this.

New Releases:

Neil Young/Colorado (Reprise)

Van Morrison/Three Chords & The Truth (Caroline)

Ringo Starr/What’s My Name (RS)

Old Dominion/Old Dominion (Sony)

Harry Connick/True Love (Columbia)

CD’s Provided By CD-DVD-Games Warehouse, 3717 80th Street, Kenosha, Wi, 53142, 

(262) 942-9400

Check them out at: CD Warehouse

Berlin Transcendance (Cleopatra)

Berlin Transcendance (Cleopatra)

After appearing in a 2011 episode of VH1’s “Bands Reunited,” the idea of seeing a future for the legendary synth band seemed feasible. Although vocalist Terri Nunn had fronted several versions of the band, their episode of the series would be the first reunion of the classic line-up. Somewhat surprised by the interest generated, original members John Crawford and Dave Diamond agreed to meld with Nunn’s touring band and have another go ‘round.

For Berlin fans, “Transcendance” is a dream come true. It’s a nearly perfect blend of modern and retro 80’s sounds, coupled with Nunn’s still-impressive vocals. She, along with Crawford, penned the group’s biggest hits, and the old magic is still there. “I Want You” is a smokey ballad, and the pretty “On My Knees” digs up every painful breakup. “Show Me Tonight,” full of bleating synth bass and throbbing beat, wag a finger at agism & sexism. “Transcendance” is a high-water mark for the band.

 

www.berlinpage.com

CD’s Provided By CD-DVD-Games Warehouse, 3717 80th Street, Kenosha, Wi, 53142, 

(262) 942-9400

Check them out at: CD Warehouse

Now Showing: The Addams Family

Now Showing: The Addams Family

The Addams Family has been rebooted a number of times, and this incarnation captures more of the original 1960’s T.V. series’ charm than several previous attempts. 

In particular, Charlize Theron as Morticia and Oscar Issac as Gomez, play the dreadful-ever-after husband and wife duo, alternately expressing their affection with headless roses and skull crushing. Also carrying more than his weight is comedian Nick Kroll, who gives his Uncle Fester the perfect amount of Jackie Coogan silliness with his slurred speech affectation.

The plot revolves around a home improvement show that aims to build the perfect suburb in the shadow of The Addams Family’s mansion. Conspiring to run the weirdos out of town is show host Margaux Needler, voiced by Allison Janney. Needler’s quest to build, and ultimately profit by selling, the perfect town, leads her to fall out with her daughter, who is a teenager struggling at school with a Taylor Swift look-a-like bully. Needler’s daughter becomes fast friends with outcast Wednesday Addams, as the two learn in tandem just how cruel or nice the world can be.

The animation is first-rate, and in some sweeping scenes, even the 2D version I saw gave me a touch of vertigo. Though not quite Pixar-level greatness, it is definitely a visual feast. Produced by Bron Creative and Nitrogen Studios, it’s definite proof that the competition is improving, which is good news for animation fans.

My only negative feeling about the film was the running time. Although it clocks in at the standard hour and a half, the story did have moments when it dragged, which might make younger viewers a little restless. Other than that, it’s a pretty strong entry in the family entertainment category.

The Armoires Zibaldone (Big Stir)

The Armoires Zibaldone (Big Stir)

In the world of The Armoires, it is perpetually 1967. California is the only place to be, and the golden sun never sets. It’s a beach party where everyone wears paisley, and Brian Wilson is in deep conversation with Mike Nesmith and Stephen Stills, about the between-the-grooves meaning of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

Lead Armoires Christina Bulbenko and Rex Broome, as well as their bandmates, bring these neo-psychedelic tunes into focus, with sensational vocal harmony arrangements and

12-string Rickenbackers, stacked eight miles high. “(How Did You Make) A Mistake Like Me?” and “Alesandra 619” are pure-pop perfection. Highly recommended.