Archive for May 2012
Dark Horse Archives
Full Color, Hardcover, 216 Pages
Release Date: June 6, 2012
What a treat and it’s not even Halloween. On June 5, 2012 Dark Horse Comics will add the first volume of reprints of American Comics Group’s Adventures Into the Unknown to its long list of awesome archive editions. This full color hardcover tome will offer up the first four issues of this before – the – comics – code title that predates the earliest E.C. ventures in horror. Geez, it even predate me!
Let’s Get Corrupted…
Writer/Artist Bruce Jones’ in-depth foreword (“Under Forbidden Covers”) sets the stage for those unaware of the historical beginnings and unfortunate ending of the horror and crime comics genres. Adventures Into The Unknown shrewdly survived the reactionary social speculations of Dr. Fredric Wertham’s Seduction of the Innocent and the ensuing comics code for an unbroken 174 issue run. The tales offered in Volume 1 come from a time (1948-49) when you could blissfully enjoy a creepy tale rendered in lurid detail without being labeled a “commie”, a pervert, or run the risk of being issued a legendary “JD” (juvenile delinquent) card.
Each issue is replete with several graphic stories, a text piece, a “True Ghosts of History” strip. The “Strange Spirits” page gives capsule commentary on the “many terrifying beliefs in all parts of the world” including Voodoo and Celtic Superstitions. Issues 1 & 2 introduce a recurring villain, the seemingly unstoppable “Living Ghost.” His scary countenance is not unlike the creature in director Eddie Romero’s 1970’s Filipino “Blood Island” film series with his missing proboscis and long pin-like (Pinoy?) fangs.
Gothic Ground Zero…
A unique treat in issue 1 is the graphic novelization of Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto. Broadly influential in its time and beyond the 1764 “first” gothic novel presupposes Poe, Stoker, du Maurier and others to follow. It’s a story examined more for its influence then its quality by H. P. Lovecraft in his 1927 treatise on gothicism “Supernatural Horror in Literature.” Panel for panel the art could pass as storyboards for Roger Corman’s Edgar Allan Poe adaptations, while the saturated color palette is reminiscent of Mario Bava’s set design.
In their original printing the stories and most artwork is uncredited but Darkhorse gives us the creator’s identities. Edvard Moritz, Fred Guardineer and Al Feldstein are among them. There’s a great Leonard Starr (On Stage) story in issue number 4 that has the feel of a AlfredHitchcock/Daphne du Maurier collaboration.
What? No X-Ray Specs!
Advertisements are lovingly reproduced exhorting readers to learn to play piano in one day or harmonica in 15 minutes, in the midst of brilliantly cheesy novelty classics like the “dribble glass”, “squirt ring” and “joy buzzer”.
Though low on the “grue-meter” the strips offer enough depictions of supernatural creatures, spectral and skeletal presences to keep the fantasy fan entertained. Overall, Adventures Into The Unknown: Volume 1 is a fun taste of Golden Age horror that whets the appetite for more and fits in perfectly with Dark Horse’s Creepy, Eerie, and Boris Karloff’s Thriller archives.
Everybody’s Talkin’ (Live Dual Disc Set)
Release Date: May 22, 2012
The Tedeschi Truck’s Band’s brand new live album, Everybody’s Talkin’, is the proof of theory that was hinted at in Susan Tedeschi’s interviews on the 2010 Crossroads DVD. Citing Delaney and Bonny (and Friends) as well as Joe Cocker’s all-star Mad Dogs and Englishman revue of the early 1970’s as touchstones the then embryonic TTB covered tunes from both those groups, “Comin’ Home” and “Space Captain.” Though neither of those songs is featured on this release the spirit of those groups permeates the grooves. If the goal was to create a feel good convergence of talented musicians at the top of their game then TTB is batting 1000.
Much like the Allman Brothers’ classic At The Fillmore East album Everybody’s Talkin’ gives TTB a chance to show off how they’ve blossomed on tour since last year’s debut album. While the Revelator album (reviewed here) was a favorite of mine in 2011, TTB’s live renditions almost immediately eclipsed the studio versions. I was totally blown away by the performance I saw at NYC’s Beacon Theater last September (review here.) Tunes I had been dismissive of like “Bound For Glory” became showcases for band interaction. I was enamored with “Learn How To Love” in the first place but the live version upped the ante with some searing and soaring slide work from Derek. Both those songs are highlights of this album.
I’m also drawn to the syncopated juke joint take on “Rollin’ and Tumblin’”, which is as much Ray Charles as it is Muddy Waters inspired. I’m glad they chose to include Stevie Wonder’s “Uptight.” Driven by Oteil Burbridge’s percolating bass it takes full advantage of the 11 piece band’s scope. The only misstep for my personal taste is the rendition of John Sebastian’s “Darling Be Home Soon” which doesn’t reach the vocal intimacy of either the original or the Joe Cocker versions.
The dual disc format of Everybody’s Talkin’ affords plenty of room for stretching out that will keep jamband fans satisfied. It’s a solid offering that conveys the camaraderie and excitement of the TTB live show. A nice tasting menu of what you get when you see them on stage. Bottom line is you must be a participant to get the full effect. There are plenty of chances coming up.
Tedeschi Trucks Band Tour Dates – 2012
5/27 Summer Camp: Sunshine Main Stage, Three Sisters Park – Chillicothe, IL
5/30 Murat Theatre – Indianapolis, IN
6/1 Stage AE – Pittsburgh, PA
6/2 Appel Farm Arts & Music Ctr – Elmer, NJ
6/3 Mountain Jam Festival: East Stage – Hunter, NY
6/15 Paramount Theatre – Seattle, WA
6/16: The Britt Festival – Jacksonville, FL
6/17: Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall – Portland, OR
6/19: The Center For The Performing Arts – Vancouver, BC
6/21 Jack Singer Concert Hall – Calgary, AB
6/22 Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium – Edmonton, AB
6/24 & 6/25 Minnesota Zoo Amphitheater – Apple Valley, MN
6/27 Overture Center For The Arts – Madison, WI
6/29 TD Toronto Jazz Festival: Main Stage Marquee, Nathan Philips Square – Toronto, OH
7/6 Winnipeg Folk Festival: Main Stage – Winnipeg, MB
7/7 Thunder Bay Blues Festival – Thunder Bay, ON
7/10 RBC Royal Bank Ottawa Bluesfest 2012 – Ottawa, ON
7/11 Quebec City International Summer Festival – Quebec City, QC
7/18 Ravinia Festival – Highland Park, IL
8/5 Newport Jazz Festival: Main Stage, Fort Adams State Park – Newport, RI
8/11 Toyota Pavilion At Montage Mountain – Scranton, PA
8/28 Verizon Theatre At Grand Prairie – Grand Prairie, TX
8/29 Sandia Casino Amphitheater – Albuquerque, NM
8/30 Red Rocks Amphitheatre – Morrison, CO
9/1 Comerica Theatre – Phoenix, AZ
9/2 The Joint – Las Vegas, NV
9/5 Hollywood Bowl – Los Angeles, CA
9/7 Bob Hope Theater – Stockton, CA
9/8 The Mountain Winery – Saratoga, CA
9/9 Harrah’s Rincon – Open Sky – Valley Center, CA
9/14 Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival – Fredericton, NB
9/20 Beacon Theatre w/ special guest Leon Russell – New York, NY
9/21 Beacon Theatre w/ special guest The Wood Brothers – New York, NY
10/27 Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise – San Juan, PR
Some totally tube(r)ular Mister Potato Head personas have just been released or are on their way. As you can see from these images, Hasbro Toys has plenty of new personalities to adorn your root cellar this coming season. The ability to morph the old spud into a plethora of popular characters has kept the franchise fresh – and tasty.
I Was A Pre-Teen Tator-Tot…
I’m old enough to remember when the kit came minus a potato replica and my parent’s refrigerator was regularly raided for real food to bring the gent to life. Depleting dinner menu items wasn’t really high on most Mom’s lists of great things, but the inclusion of the faux-tato in the early 60′s did limit your ability to make recombinant DNA stlye creations.
The members of rock band KISS are available separately and in a limited edition collectors set that includes 3 parody album covers. Elvis is depicted in both white Las Vegas jumpsuit version and ’68 Comeback Special black leathers. The newly minted Three Stooges were a perfect choice for spud characterizations and come with their own weapons of mass disruption, a wrench, clobbering mallet, and ubiquitous pie. Star Trek’s Mr. Spock and Lt. Uhura join the already available Captain Kirk and are an absolute scream. Hasbro has just announced that Superman and Wonderwoman will hit the stores this August.
Battle Ready Batata…
Toy Fair 2012 also afforded a sneak peak at the Batarang wielding Dark Knight which will appear around the time of the third installment of the Batman trilogy The Dark Knight Rises. Makes me wonder… if Batman is represented in potato form is his alter ego Bruce Wayne being played by Christian Kale?
Click Any Image to Launch the Gallery
On April 29, 2012, singer – songwriter – guitarist Jann Klose wrapped up a month long stint at Rockwood Music Hall on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Ken Pierce and I were fortunate enough to catch the capper show of the four weekend residency. Having met Jann at the Greg Lake press conference last month it was a treat to get to hear him perform.
Backed by Chris Marolf on bass, Rob Mitzner on drums and Keyboardist Lars Potteiger, Klose opened the night with one of his newest recordings “Falling Tears.” The musicians took advantage of their extended set time by stretching out a bit and offering up some new songs. Klose noted that the residency was a nice opportunity to mix up the sets and audition material for the next album. He genially joked that he’d be using his “applause-o-meter” to judge the value of tunes for the forthcoming album. Based on what we heard, it will be a hard choice. Each had excellent melodies and choruses to recommend them.
While reviewers have often compared Klose’s vocal delivery to that of early 60’s Paul McCartney, and I clearly hear a Billy Joel like turn of phrase in several songs, he has a wider musical world view than either of them. Born in Germany and spending part of his formative years in Kenya, Klose integrates a universal range of rhythmic motifs into his pop based songwriting. The reggae-esque “Hold Me Down” is a favorite of mine. It’s a fun upbeat tune during which the band – aided by vocalist Aisha Eustache – easily elicited an audience sing-a-long on it’s infectious chorus. With Lars switching to accordion, and augmented by Megan Marolf on oboe and Leah Potteiger on violin, the group took on a gypsy jazz feel turning Rockwood into a poppier version of The Hot Club. The band closed the night with a jazzy take on “Stormy Monday Blues” with a little Sly Stone thrown in for good measure.
In addition to his solo recorded work (3 full length CD’s and 2 EP’s are available) Jann has been a member of the stage companies of Tommy on Broadway, Jeckyll & Hyde touring and Jesus Christ Superstar in Europe. For last year’s Jeff Buckley Tribute Show at Knitting Factory he joined Gary Lucas (Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band, Gods & Monsters) for an impressive rendition of Grace album opener “Mojo Pin.” Lucas returned the favor on night three of the Rockwood engagement.
Jann will be opening for Yardbirds drummer Jim McCarty at Iridium Jazz Club on Wednesday May 2, 2012, that’s tonight! There are two shows and it should be quite a treat to hear him join the headliners for a few classics like “Heart Full Of Soul” and “For Your Love.” I suggest you keep an eye on his schedule for other opportunities to catch he and his band.