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Day: November 1, 2011

Mountain Dew Game Fuel Raid, or, my first real VO job.

Yeah! Check this shit out! So, I didn’t really want to talk about this too much until it was all done because I was stupid excited about it, but I finally got my first real voice over job, something I’ve been doing here at work for years and years. Tons of practice. This also means that I am now SAG eligible which has been a hurdle in the past.

“We LOVE your voice! Are you SAG?”

“Nope.”

“Ah, too bad.”

And that’s a shame because the paper work required to get me in, the Taft Hartley, requires about 30 seconds of work. Luckily, this time, they thought I was worth it! Yay!

I am actually in the spot twice. Primarily at the end over the tag doing my best Macho Man Randy Savage impersonation. “GET DOUBLE XP WHEN YOU SNAP INTO A SLIMJIM OH YEAHHHHH!!!” And then again, snuck into the middle doing my best Starcraft impersonation saying “target acquired.”

The promo is running through 12/31, the spot is national, and it’s clearly tied into the new Call of Duty game, so with Christmas approaching those of you with television will probably see this air like crazy. So exciting!!

A Letter to Ugg Boots In Reference to My Extreme Hatred For Them

Ugg Boots,

You’ll notice, Ugg Boots, that I did not use the word “dear” to begin this letter. I don’t want you to hold the mistaken assumption that I have anything but the greatest contempt for you. But I don’t believe that even conveys how utterly I hate you. I possess nothing but the sincerest enmity, the most profound disdain, the most resounding loathing for you. You inflict ruin on the feet and ankles of women everywhere, women gullible enough to believe that how they appear to other people is less important than that their little toesies are warm and cuddly. You are emblematic of the laziness that is ruining humanity. For every silly woman wearing you with tucked in sweatpants and a sweatshirt or North Face fleece (the gray and black one, you know the one I am talking about) I want to kick a defenseless puppy. I shed a tear for the future of the human race every time I see a pink pair attempting to navigate the filthy Manhattan snowbanks. I want to choke someone until I see the light drain out of their eyes every time I see a mother/daughter pair dressed similarly, wearing Uggs, and holding shopping bags.

You are the ruin of The United States of America.

As a Californian, I never experienced a real winter until I moved to the North East. The worst we had it, Ugg Boots, was 40 degree days, perhaps a frost over night. But it never snowed. Never sustained sub-freezing temperatures. Never had to worry that the wind chill was going to make it feel like temperatures below 0°F (-18°C). Yet people would flip their living shit about the “cold” and how “freezing” it was. And that’s when you came out, Ugg Boots, on the feet every silly, stupid college girl going to class in her pajamas. It would be 60°F (16°C) and girls would be out with fleeces and Uggs and I would want to stab them.

Even here in New York, you’ll start seeing your hideous visage as early as September once nature delicately hints that perhaps maybe it might just not be warm enough to wear flip flops anymore. Then I must endure you until May when the sweat on a person’s brow suggests that perhaps maybe it might just be too warm to continue wearing vile, wool-lined skin tubes your feet.

That segues nicely into another gripe of mine. Winter boots need not be ugly, shapeless masses of material slipped onto the foot. They can be stylish, too. They can accentuate a figure, the can add height, they can be designed. But you, horrid defiler, you are not. You make women—even women who might have lovely, slender ankles—appear as if they have wooden pylons for ankles. The only thing I find more unflattering than you, Ugg Boots, is track marks.

Look, I’ll admit something to you, something that pains me to no end. I once purchased a pair of you for an ex. I know, I know. The self-loathing will never cease. It was our first Christmas and she had moved to New York not long before. I got her a pair of the black ones and she wore them for years until it became painfully and slushily obvious that you were not up to the job of keeping her feet dry as well as warm against the New York winter.

In summation, you can go to hell along with wedges, sweatpants with words on the ass, Ed Hardy clothes, and Tap Out. A winter without you would be the most pleasant summer of my life.

Sincerely,

The Black Laser.

Reptar’s “Blastoff”

Here’s another break-up song, but more triumphant than the last one. I honestly know nothing at all about these guys and I am way too lazy to google them so you’ll have to deal with having zero description. You know what? Let’s make up a story.

Thomaz Klinglebaum, originally a member of Lithuanian EBM group Deine Ende, found himself DJing regularly in Berlin after the dissolution of his EBM group. One night after a long set of minimal tech house and gabber (strange mix, right?) he met with Anders Lutz, another DJ on the German house scene. Over a few litres of prime German beer and a pack of Nat Shermans, they discovered they both had an affinity for positive dreamy dance beats that they felt were lacking from the dour, sparse musical palate of tech house. They got together and produced the first Reptar record, releasing only a few 12″ singles of their now infamous underground sleeper hit, “A Blister’s Name.”

After their successful world tour opening for Daft Punk, Klinglebaum and Lutz went back to the studio to write their second record. When they had trouble making it come together in a fashion they were pleased with, they recruited indie rock icon Simon Spinwell, formerly of the now-defunct Possible Target, to provide soulful vocals and a little bit of flare to their recipe for musical greatness. “Blastoff” is the first single from that second record, and was inspired by Spinwell’s break up with pop starlet Angie Murch, or as people know her, Ms. Future.

See? That wasn’t so hard, was it? I bet their real story is more interesting than mine, but that would require some measure of research on my part and we all know that The Black Laser does not research. Are you still reading this?

Protest The Hero’s “Hair Trigger”

My finger really hurts. I don’t know what the hell I did to it, but it’s swollen and creaky and just generally not nice at all. I wish I could cut it off, but it would make typing about Protest the Hero much harder. Actually, you know what? Scratch that. I’ve written some words right now about this and haven’t a single time used my pinky finger. Maybe Mavis Beacon didn’t Teach Typing so fucking well did she? Home row, my balls.

Anyweezies, this is a funny video for a song about heartbreak. Protest The Hero is awesome. It looks like they had fun making it and I like the song. I really want a copy of Scurrilous on those old fashioned spinning discs that have grooves in them that, when combined with the proper devices, will reproduce music. Also, I am a total efftard today so don’t be put off by my rambling. I love you. 973.

Le Matos’ “88 MPH”

This is a lovely piece of French house music and the dancing feet are quite fine. The Revenge of the Nerds sweaters at the end are an extra sweet touch.

Go dance.

Machine Head’s “Locust”

Oh, Machine Head, you were such a favorite of mine back in the mid-90s with Burn My Eyes and The More Things Change that it broke my heart when you went all nü-metal on The Burning Red and Supercharger. Then there were hints of not only a return to form, but of an entirely new, powerful era of the Machine Head oeuvre on Through the Ashes of Empires. Then came 2007’s The Blackening, which I would never have listened to had it not been for the advice of the internet (Metal Sucks, I think). And holy living shit was I floored by that record. It was as if you guys had just skipped right over that unfortunate flirtation with nü-metal and jumped right into making the most mature, most competent, most thoughtful, most intense record of your career. From its first lilting notes on “Clenching the Fists of Dissent” to the last pummeling bar of “Hallowed Be They Name”, The Blackening is your perfect comeback record, a masterpiece of modern metal that absolutely eclipses both Burn My Eyes and The More Things Change even through the rose-tinted lenses of nostalgia. The Blackening blew my mind in the nicest way possible.

When you announced that you had a new record coming out, I met the news with a mix of excitement and trepidation. How could anything even match the quality of the previous record, much less attempt to surpass it? How do you take a masterpiece and improve on it? I definitely did not expect to have the same leap in quality, but I did expect greatness. When Charlie sent me a track that had been released, my excitement started to outpace my trepidation. When the record finally dropped, I was pumped on it.

But, having listened to The Locust quite a bit more since then, I think that it does not surpass The Blackening, but that it still stands head and shoulders (to rely on cliché) above most other recent metal releases. The Locust is 90% of what The Blackening was, only lacking the prior record’s sense of cohesion. Where The Blackening was a journey, The Locust is a tightly focused package of awesome songs. If the record had been written by any other band, I would have very little to say in the negative about it, but because it came after The Blackening, context demands that it be judged (slightly) inferior. But it is not bad, not bad at all, and I think you should give it a listen or 30 and let me know what you think. Also, go buy The Blackening.

Now that I’ve gotten my love letter to The Blackening out of the way, let’s get to the point of this post. Above is the new video for “Locust”, the first single (do metal bands put out singles?) from the new Machine Head album of the same name. I think the track is a very good introduction into what Machine Head is about on this record. It’s an assault with ups and downs, tempo shifts, tonality shifts: it’s a Machine Head song where they are doing all the things that make them Machine Head quite well.

Unfortunately, the song also houses one incredibly unfortunate lyrical bomb that I just cannot get past. Robb, “descending down” is redundant. To “descend” already implies the direction down. You cannot “descend up.” That would be “ascending.” Phil Anselmo is guilty of the same violence against the English language on “Suicide Note Pt. 2” from The Great Southern Trendkill. And don’t even get me started, Dax Riggs, on your pronunciation of “peripheral” in “Strange Television” from If This is Hell, We’re Lucky. Ok, enough pedantry. If I expected every metal lyricist to be a poetic powerhouse, I would be gravely disappointed all the time.

Wow, this has turned into a long, multifaceted post, hasn’t it? All I meant to do was show this video, but you got a love letter, grammar ranting, and an album review also. Lucky you.