TV Shows

REVIEW: Kevin Kiner – Star Wars “Rebels Theme” (Limited edition picture single)

STAR WARS “Rebels Theme” (Limited edition Disney 2015 picture disc single)
Music by KEVIN KINER

You know where I stand on remixes, right?  Most of them are shite, especially when you try to dance-ify music that was not intended for dancing.  If that kind of remix is your thing, that’s cool.  You appreciate something that I do not.  I just recommend that you hit the “back” button on your browser right about now, that’s all.

I liked Star Wars Rebels.  Although it did come across more “kiddie” than Clone Wars, the era and characters it covered were more to my liking.  The Imperial era, not the Republic.  Of course, it later grew and merged with Clone Wars into a greater lore, but that is not for this review.  Just saying, check it out if you haven’t.  It’s on your Disney Plus.

Rebels’ composer, Kevin Kiner, was tasked with coming up with a new theme cue.  He did this by incorporating and adapting John Williams’ original cues.  It’s almost like a mega-mix of hero themes, in 55 seconds.  It’s just a cartoon after all, not a feature film.  Kiner’s rendition of these landmark themes is perfectly suitable to the show and honours the era in which it is set, and the spark of rebellion.

Though Star Wars Rebels has two volumes of music available on soundtracks, they were never issued on physical formats.  This single is the only place you can get a physical copy of Kiner’s “Rebels Theme”.

Unfortunately, the exclusive B-side of this single is the horrid “Flux Pavilion’s The Ghost Remix”.  It adds digital beats, noise and manipulations to the “Rebels Theme” and extends the thing by five times!  For the hell of it, there’s some laser blasts, some Wookiee howls, and some yelling.  This is utter garbage that young kids might enjoy, but makes me wanna hurl.  It deviates so far from the blueprint that it’s clear the ol’ hyperdrive needs some recalibrating.  The remix is at least memorable, for whatever that’s worth.

The picture disc is nice though.  On the A-side (which is unfortunately the remix side!) it’s hero Ezra Bridger with Jedi Kanan Jarrus and droid C1-10P, aka “Chopper”.  On the B-side, the original “Rebels Theme”, you get an Imperial Stormtrooper taking aim to fire (and miss)!  One of the coolest things about the Rebels show was that it used old Ralph McQuarrie designs from Star Wars pre-history.  Chopper is based on preliminary drawings of R2-D2.  Likewise the loveable character of Garazeb Orrelios is based on early designs for Chewbacca.

Being that the decent B-side is 55 seconds long while the remix is five times that length, the rating for this single cannot be high.

2/5 stars

TV REVIEW: Letterkenny Season 1 (2016)

LETTERKENNY – Season 1 (2016 Crave TV)

Heir to the throne of the Trailer Park Boys: Letterkenny has arrived!

And what the hell is a “Letterkenny”? It’s a fictional town in southern Ontario, named after a real town in Ireland, and based upon the real life Listowel Ontario (birthplace of Helix). It was however filmed in northerly Sudbury Ontario.  According to the tagline for this Canadian comedy show, “Letterkenny consists of hicks, skids, hockey players and Christians. These are their problems.” And that pretty much sums ‘er up.

Creators Jared Keeso and Jacob Tierney tapped into something real about living in rural southern Ontario. The produce stands, the accents, the personalities. Keeso, who plays lead character Wayne, has mastered a dialect so fast and witty that multiple viewings are required just to understand all the jokes. Keeso may be better known to readers as Don Cherry from TV’s The Don Cherry Story.  Comparing this show to Trailer Park Boys is natural as both shows are proudly Canadian and crude.  Dare I say it, Letterkenny is smarter and more likable.

Keeso plays Wayne, a “hick” (he’s a farmer) who seems to make a decent living with his roadside produce stand. Anyone who has spent any time driving from town to town in rural Ontario knows the allure of a well stocked produce stand.  Wayne is the toughest guy in town, never loses a fight, and still you can’t help but like him.  His best friend Daryl (“Dairy”) is a loyal sidekick. So is the smart and super-sized Squirrely Dan.  Wayne’s super-hot sister Katy Kat is sought by other players in town:  Jonesy and Reilly, two wanna-be hockey losers, and Stewart the meth-making goth.  Their adventures and agendas often collide in amusing ways.

When the show begins, Wayne is a bit of a broken man, having been dumped by his girlfriend.  His girl didn’t lets him get in fights y’see, and his reputation as toughest guy in town has been long lost.  Time’s to reclaims it!  One by one, challengers arrive:  Sled Ted, Rat Ass, and Joint Boy.  If Wayne can take back the Toughest Guy in Town title, then other adventures lay ahead, such as creating a new popular fart sharing website called Fartbook.  They also start a pest control business while Wayne continues to search for love (or at least action).

The idiosyncratic dialogue is so quick and slippery that just about every line is quotable.  Certain phrases recur:  “Let’s take about 5-10% off it over there Squirrely Dan.”  “Not my forte.”  “Hard no.”   “Pump the brakes.”  “That’s what I appreciates about you Katy.”  Pay attention, because you’ll also hear about a couple deviants named the Ginger and Boots.  And the boys might just need backup from the Ginger and Boots by the season finale.

Shows with a Canadian heart and such likable characters combined with lightning fast wit are few and far between.  Letterkenny, now standing at two seasons, is the one not to miss.

4.5/5 stars

Part 280: Record Store Gallery III – Furry Friends

RECORD STORE TALES Part 280:  Record Store Gallery III – Furry Friends

I’m a sucker for furry friends.  Who isn’t?  Maybe you’re a cat person, maybe you’re a dog person, or something else!  I mentioned a few weeks ago that Kitchener has a high population of Miniature Schnauzers, and the Ladano clan have owned quite a few of those.

This first picture is kind of a sad one.  The year is 2000, and that’s me and my first puppy, Crystal aka Gozer.  (That’s what happens when you let my dad name animals.)  Crystal was a great little friend but very sick.  She went blind in ’94 and had all kinds of health issues.  This picture of us is the last photo taken of her.   I remember the day we had to put her down, I had to work an afternoon shift at T-Rev’s store.  T-Rev was out of town building a new store, and I was filling in for him as I occasionally did.  It was not the happiest shift to work.

GozerMike

However life goes on and a year later we got Ani!  Ani can be a bad little puppy sometimes, but she’s been my best furry friend for a long time now.  Unfortunately Ani suffers from a lot of the same health issues that Crystal did.  However she’s been a resilient little Schnauzer and has outlived her life expectancy by numerous years already.  And seemingly happily too.  Which is the main thing.

I brought Ani into the store one afternoon when I was off.  She was so good, a little scared though.  But she stayed quiet and didn’t try to escape, which she often does!  Customers would occasionally bring their dogs into the store, and I never had a problem with it.  Nobody pooped or peed on the floor when I was there.

Finally, I bought my own place and got this guy to go with it.  This is Zoboomafoo, a leaping lemur from a hit Canadian kid’s TV show.  It was on every morning before work and I started getting obsessed with it.  One of our store managers, a girl who worked in Cambridge, spotted a Zoboomafoo puppet at the Cinema One store there.  They only had one, and both of us wanted it!  It was a race to see who could get it first.  Needless to say, I won!

zoboomafoo

Top Five(s) of 2013 – Part 2: Movies, TV and the rest

If you missed the Top Five Albums of 2013 lists, click here!

Some people got carried away and submitted more than 5 in their lists this year, Uncle Meat being the number one offender. But since Tom & Uncle Meat were good this Christmas, here are the Top Five (or Six) (or Ten) Movies of 2013.  And while we’re talking about movies we may as well do a Top TV Shows of 2013 as well huh?

Tom

SMAUG

Movies

6. Sound City
5. Star Trek: Into Darkness
4. This Is The End
3. John Dies At The End
2. The World’s End
1. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

TV Shows 

SCHANGhhhhhhhh10. Rick and Morty
9. PTI
8. Colbert Report
7. Daily Show
6. Eagleheart
5. Venture Brothers
4. The Jeselnik Offensive
3. Aqua Teen Hunger Force
2. Community
1. Game of Thrones

Meat

Movies

SOUND CITY
10. Carrie
9. Kick Ass 2
8. Pacific Rim
7. This is the End
6. Man of Steel
5. Star Trek: Into Darkness
4. 42
3. Sound City
2. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
1. The Wolf of Wall Street

TV Shows

Meat came up with a Top Nine.  Sure, why not!

HEISENBERG9. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
8. The Following
7. The Killing
6. Walking Dead
5. Californication
4./3. Tie: Mad Men/Breaking Bad
2. American Horror Story: Coven
1. Game of Thrones

Seb

Movies

man-of-steel-25. Iron Man 3
4. Pacific Rim
3. Star Trek: Into Darkness
2. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
1. Man of Steel

Seb also had some Top Concerts he wanted to mention:  “Brian Setzer and Meshuggah….. Yeah, I know its weird….he he he!”

Mrs. LeBrain

SHELDONTV Shows

5. Jeopardy!
4. Dragon’s Den
3. Blue Bloods
2. The Big Bang Theory
1. Hockey Night In Canada

LeBrain

For a variety of reasons I don’t get out to the movies often, so I decided to just post Five Movies I Saw in 2013!

MoviesGARY KING

5. Man of Steel
4. This is the End
3. Sound City
2. Star Trek: Into Darkness
1. The World’s End

TV Shows

When Mrs. LeBrain wasn’t watching hockey, I watched these shows in 2013:

5. Star Trek re-runs (best I could come up with)
4. The Liquidator
3. Toy Hunter
2. Survivorman
1. Breaking Bad

LES

GALLERY: Three More Great Finds

This time, I was in a store that a buddy of mine runs, the same location that Uncle Meat used to work in.   My buddy wasn’t in (sick) but one of my old trainees was working  I trained him towards the end of my run as a Record Store Dude.  I was pleased to see that he was as nice as ever, and had grown an awesome big bushy beard.

I found two treasures, and took a gamble on one vinyl purchase.  Here’s the details:

1.  GENE SIMMONS – Gene Simmons Family Jewels Season 1, with bonus CD

For $9.99, this was a decent find.  It’s missing the outer case, which I can live without.  I bought this for the bonus CD.  This is apparently an Amazon.com (not .ca) exclusive, currently selling for $13 plus shipping.  So I paid an acceptable amount.  The CD contains two songs:  “Rain Keeps Falling” (sounds like a Crazy Nights outtake) and “You’re My Reason For Living” (sounds much more recent).  These are from the “forthcoming” Gene Simmons box set called Monster.  (I’m guessing he won’t be using that title now.)  Considering that Amazon.com advertises the Gene Simmons Monster box set as coming in 2007, I thought it might be nice to have these two songs.

2. THE ROLLING STONES – “Doom and Gloom” 10″ single

This one was…I dunno…I like the song, “Doom and Gloom”, and I won’t be buying that Stones box set any time in the near future, so this seemed like a good way to get it.   What troubles me is this is a remix by somebody named Jeff Bhasker.  So I have no idea if this will be any good.  We’ll see.  Apparently it’s one track, with the second side etched with a Stones logo.  I haven’t cracked the seal yet.  At $18.99, this one was probably overpriced.  But I’m a sucker for gimmicky vinyl, so, whatever.

3. ERIC MARTIN – Pure (Japanese Import)

Eric Martin is, of course, the lead throat from Mr. Big, a band that is basically big only in Japan.  This solo EP collects new acoustic versions of his solo tracks and Mr . Big hits.  It even includes stuff written in his pre Mr. Big days, from his Sucker For A Pretty Face album.

I paid $8.99, which was way underpriced for this.  A European import version goes for about $7 on Discogs, but the much rarer Japanese you’ll be lucky to find for under $40.  They didn’t have the disc cataloged in their system as Japanese so I’m thinking they didn’t notice.  I did though!  The Japanese writing on the back was the dead giveaway, even though the obi strip is missing.

Another funny thing:  Somebody put a sticker over the cover statue’s nipple!  A pasty, so to speak.  (Sticker removed for this gallery; it’s only a statue after all.)

So; another enjoyable shopping experience.  Some treasures found.  Good tunes, good times.  Look for reviews one day on LeBrain’s Blog.

For ethical reasons, I don’t identify the place I used to work, considering the nature of the Record Store Tales.  However if I did a Store Report Card as I have done for other record stores, I would rank this particular location:

3.75/5 stars

Doom and Gloom