Monday, January 30, 2017

RECORD REVIEW: Good Luck Audrey "Miss Understood, The EP"

RECORD REVIEW
Good Luck Audrey
Miss Understood, The EP
_______________

What? A crunchy collection
of sweat-soaked songs from
a gang of angst-filled teens?
WELL, COUNT ME IN!
_______________

Produced by David Mikeal, the debut record from Central Florida's alterno-punk poster chicks, Good Luck Audrey arrived at the usual online outlets on January 9th. Let's dive in and have a looksie.

Simply put, Miss Understood proves to be a gloriously seductive lo-fi treat. Kicking off with the Evanescence-flavored "Machine," this six-song set sounds and smells authentic from start to finish — raw and seemingly honest rock tunes, all likely cooked-up in a sweaty garage by hungry, disenfranchised teenagers chasing their dreams.

While "Judgment Day" and "Paranoia" both succeed in recreating Veruca Salt's '90s-tinged vibe and energy, "Miss Understood" stands out lyrically as arguably the most important track on the record providing a passionate, tongue-in-cheek message, fired straight at the their teenage target audience You better get in line. Don’t stand out. Don’t speak your mind. Fit in with everybody else. Never draw attention to yourself.

Good Luck Audrey
However, for my money, the most powerful track is the record-closing, "Still Alive." Although I'm way too old and out of touch to grasp the secret "youth gone wild" meaning behind the complicated poetry, this song somehow moves me. Consisting of what sounds like a duet between co-vocalist / guitarists Landin Krewe and Jordan Greaves, pinned delicately to a gorgeous piano backdrop and peppered lightly with ambient acoustic guitar, this is the kinda song that separates the "big girls" from the "wannabes." BRAVO!

In sum, if the "powers that be" were to get a hold of this record, Good Luck Audrey would be a well-deserved shoo-in for this year's Vans Warped Tour. Just sayin'.

-Christopher Long
(January 2017)
____________________

GOOD LUCK AUDREY
____________________




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(2014)

C'MON! -
(2012)

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

CHRIS DILLON: Aspiring Artist Launches GoFundMe Campaign

CHRIS DILLON
 Aspiring Artist Launches
GoFundMe Campaign 
______________

Ever hear of patina art?
Prepare to be amazed! 
______________

In the spirit of full disclosure, I'll confess to being quite frightened by Chris Dillon when we first met at New Jersey's PNC Center back in 2006. I was on tour working for a legendary rock group, and as an acknowledged music biz insider, Dillon had been invited to the band's backstage after-show party. He stood six-feet-tall — arms crossed, with a slight scowl. Sporting a shaved head and boasting biceps the size of HoneyBaked Hams, the fitness guru was an intimidating presence — similar to the genie in The Thief of Bagdad. But in the years following our initial encounter, I've actually come to know Chris Dillon as a kind, compassionate and caring man. He's also an incredible artist.

When I discovered online photos last fall of Dillon's patina (shoe) art, I was intrigued immediately. I'd never heard of patina before, but I found the art form to be fascinating. So, I called Dillon up to get the lowdown.

The amazing patina art of Chris Dillon.
“I’ve always had a passion for fine shoes,” he revealed in short order. “And when I was in need of a new creative outlet a few years back, I discovered the art of shoe patina. I was quickly inspired to learn how to transform shoes. And through years of trial and error, and with continual practice, I started to understand the techniques needed to take shoe patina to the next level.”

Recently, Dillon was accepted by Landry Lacour (the world’s leading patina artist) to participate in an intensive training course set for the spring of 2017 — an opportunity which will place Dillon in a rather precarious financial position. “I will have to leave my job in the U.S. and move temporarily to Brussels, Belgium,” he explains. “The course is not cheap. Plus flights and living expenses have to also be included into the equation.”

Chris Dillon's patina art.
(BEFORE and AFTER)
Upon completing the course, Dillon will bring his newly-honed skills back to the States, where there currently are no other patina artists creating work at this level.

In sum, Dillon's recently launched GoFundMe effort will help him to finance this golden opportunity — a fantastic, once in a lifetime experience. A completely worthwhile cause, to be sure.

-Christopher Long
(January 2017)

_______________

Support Chris' cause:
 _________

View Chris' work:
_______________



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Christopher Long NOW on Amazon!

(2014)

C'MON! -
(2012)

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Thursday, January 19, 2017

WELCOME TO THE SHOW: VIP Tent, Stage Left

WELCOME TO THE SHOW
VIP Tent, Stage Left
__________

In the old days, you'd simply walk
into your local record store, give
the ponytail guy behind the counter
$8.50 and he'd hand you a crisp and
sparkley General Admission ticket
to see your favorite band. That was
it — transaction complete! And VIPs
were exactly that — they didn't pay
$1,000 for a photo and an autograph
 and they weren't corralled like cattle.
__________

Truth be told, I'm filled with a sense of such inflated self-importance, unless I'm comped tickets in true VIP fashion, I'm not likely to venture out to see any concert these days. However, in the spirit of full disclosure, I will confess to going online once in a blue moon in order to purchase tickets under "special circumstances" (e.g. my GF really loves the band).

I've watched the concert ticket business spiral slowly out of control ever since I was "forced" to fork over a whopping $16.50 (via mail order) to see The Rolling Stones back in 1981. Ten years later, Guns N' Roses took the art of "creative pricing" to the next level by charging in excess of $25 per ticket on their Use Your Illusion world tour. I recall reading a related Billboard feature story at the time, suggesting GNR had opened an industry floodgate that would lead to inevitable $100+ ticket prices in the future. Back then, I thought that notion was completely insane.

In ensuing years, ticketing giant, Ticketmaster implemented extra "convenience" fees, conditioning the public further and further to pay more and more. And by the early 2000s, mega music brands such as KISS and Aerosmith were offering fans nightly "VIP Experiences" — pricey pre-show personal meet-and-greet packages that were gobbled-up gleefully by faithful followers.

Today, offering fans some type of "VIP Experience" has become the norm for most touring acts / and or promoters looking to enhance their bottom line. In fact, when my award-winning band, Dead Serios, played our 30th Anniversary Concert at Melbourne Florida's prestigious King Center for the Performing Arts in 2015, the show's promoter designated several prime rows as part of a special premium-priced package. FYI, for many reasons, my band was against that decision.

There I am, holding court, during the 2015
Dead Serios pre-show meet-and-greet.
I'm fascinated by how America's enlightened hipster coalition can be so disgusted and so offended by the country's filthy affluent faction, yet they have no problem embracing U2 in a collective hot-n-horny lip lock while plunking down $300+ per ticket for the band's upcoming summer tour. Psst — hey there my little corrupted college cronies — don't be conned. You can "Feel the Bern" all day long, but there's absolutely NO diff between the dude with awesome hair and great pecks, plucking a sweet twanger while standing center stage at a sold-out "Mega Dome" show and one of the vile, money-grubbing Wall Street-types who you spit on. Just so ya know, they ALL "bow" to the same "little g." But I digress.

Clearly, the Internet has decimated the record industry. And as a result, it also has effected the concert biz. One of the last remaining things a music artist has to hock (and that the Internet can't steal) is the personal fan experience (e.g. live performances, meet-and-greets, etc). And as a true blue capitalist pig, I believe ALL Americans should go out there and grab every dollar they can, when they can, while they can. But at some point, this ticket thing became obscene. From the various secret on-sale dates to the menagerie of VIP Club Member, Platinum Club Member, Fan Club Member, Deluxe Fan Club Member and Deluxe Platinum Fan Club Member statuses, the "average Joe" has gotta either know somebody or have some seriously stupid cash on-hand in order to secure even mediocre seats to see top-selling social justice advocates crooning their chart-busting classics.

And I'll suggest further that (in the concert biz) the term "VIP" no longer stands for Very Important Person — 'cuz if it did, the folks chillin' backstage, sipping Perrier and sitting "ringside" would have paid, NADA! Today, fans are pandered to by being called "VIPs" simply for purchasing absurdly over-priced tickets and packages. I propose that these consumers be referred to as "VIPs" — Very Intensely Passionate. 

But while plenty of hard-working fans WILL continue mortgaging their farms and pony-up whatever in order to score "spittin' distance" seats for Kenny Chesney or for the privilege of touching the hem of Justin Bieber's sweat-soaked cloak, some "VIPs" have voiced disappointment regarding what they received, based on the price they paid. Now, I must confess to having witnessed first-hand (for one reason or another) a couple of these "VIP Experiences" — Aerosmith in West Palm Beach (2006) and Mick Fleetwood in Orlando (2015). By comparison, I felt the Fleetwood promotion was a warmer and fuzzier experience. The co-founding Fleetwood Mac drummer offered fans an engaging Q&A / storytelling session, as well as a personal ONSTAGE photo op, PLUS a bag-o-groovy swag. As for the Aerosmith promotion, I found frontman Steven Tyler to be absolutely charming, while guitarist Joe Perry seemed, well um, less than enthusiastic.

Onstage with Mick Fleetwood
(Orlando, FL - 2015)
Just last week, my GF and I partnered in purchasing four tickets to take her two teenage sons to see Green Day in West Palm Beach, FL coming up on September 3rd. The base price for ONE ticket to see the anti-establishment punk band led by the America-hating, Bush-bashing, platinum-selling poster boy, Billy Joe Whatshisname — $81.50. Multiply that by four, then add an appalling $120 in convenience / service charges, and the total came to $440. That's obscene, Billy. Oh well, guess I really am an American idiot.

Having worked on a few national concert tours in recent years, I suggest that if "VIPs" only knew just how little their glorious music idols thought of fans, they'd be less eager to plunk down such absurd amounts of cash to get close to them or to even see them perform. Yet we keep on paying.

Loretta Lynn - a TRUE icon. And at "just"
$50 and change (including service charge),
it will be worth every penny, I'm sure.
I find it interesting that these high-priced "VIP Experiences" are what Loretta Lynn offered for FREE after every show for years  out of a sense of dedication to her fans who she felt had already spent enough of their hard-earned money on her records, tickets and T-shirts. Wow, the times, they certainly are a-changin', that's for sure!

-Christopher Long
(January 2017)
__________

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Christopher Long NOW on Amazon!

(2014)

C'MON! -
(2012)

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

MOVIE REVIEW: La La Land

MOVIE REVIEW
La La Land
_________________________

More than a month following
its official U.S. release, this
celebrated film finally arrived
at a cineplex in my hometown,
Podunk, Florida. Yee-wew 
next week, we gawn git MTV!
_________________________

Although Oscar nominations won't be announced for another week, La La Land is a sure-fire shoo-in for "Best Picture." In fact, from The Golden Globes to The Critics' Choice, director Damien Chazelle's modern-day romantic musical already has earned unprecedented accolades. Why? Well...

The answer is a bona fide no-brainer. From bad moms to bad teachers to bad bosses to bad Santas to bad grandpas, audiences have been bludgeoned to death by "BAD" movies — inundated with lowest common denominator trash-type content. As a result, when a film comes along that truly zings — one that looks like candy and feels like sunshine, it's gonna stand out from the frothing pack of filth-filled contenders. And the overwhelming response will be epic.

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are
magically delicious together in La La Land.
Simply put, La La Land tells a sweet love story about two pretty people pursuing (and achieving) their dreams in the dog-eat-dog land of LA. And be sure, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are both extremely pretty, and their onscreen chemistry feels honest, pure and real.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I'll confess that I'd rather watch MSNBC all night long than endure a 90-minute musical — especially one that envelopes a sweet love story. However, La La Land is an absolute treat, boasting a compelling story told by an award-winning cast and oozing engaging songs and super-smooth moves.

In sum, if you're not absolutely on board an invested fully in the first 30 seconds — somebody best be callin' an EMT — 'cuz you're straight-up flat-lining, gangsta!

-Christopher Long
(January 2017)

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is available NOW on Amazon.

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Monday, January 16, 2017

DESTINY'S BEANIES: Florida Designer Launches Fabulous New Fashion Line

DESTINY'S BEANIES
Florida Designer Launches
Fabulous New Fashion Line
________________________

I've been a hat guy for as long
as I can remember. And I'm
always looking out for super-
fun new hats, caps and beanies.
________________________

Six months ago, Destiny Pabon was your semi-typical fresh-faced 16-year-old, focused fully on school, homework, friends, music, cookie dough ice cream — you know, the important things in life. Today, the aspiring artist and all 'round fashionista has become a budding young entrepreneur with a full line of custom designed beanies.
_________________________

"To escape my feelies, I knit beanies."
-Destiny Pabon
_________________________

I ordered my own custom Destiny beanie in
classic black, 'cuz I'm straight-up gangsta!
_________________________

DESTINY'S BEANIES
They're the best for your head!
_________________________

What began merely as an art class assignment in the fall of 2016, is now Destiny's passion in 2017. The Florida-based high school student also has been transformed into a savvy businesswoman — one who works tirelessly, designing and creating her own unique product line, while also carrying with her (at all times), an organized notebook filled with customer info, project details and accounting stats. Savvy AND successful, to be sure. BRAVO!

-Christopher Long
(January 2017)

The latest from author Christopher Long
is available NOW on Amazon.

Also from Christopher Long...
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Saturday, January 7, 2017

JESSE LONG'S TOP EIGHT BEST RECORDS OF 2016 (Guest Feature)

JESSE LONG'S
TOP EIGHT BEST
RECORDS OF 2016
(Guest Feature)
_________________________

Woo-hoo! All the way from
Colorado, my son has returned
to kick-off 2017 with his first
"Guest Feature" in two years.
Don't disappoint me, kid!
_________________________

8
GLASS ANIMALS
How to Be a
Human Being

The epitome of an honorable mention.

7
RUN THE JEWELS
Run the Jewels 3

A mature movement in music.

6
MANDROID ECHOSTAR
Coral Throne

Sweetness never sounded so aggressive.

5
ANDERSON .PAAK
Malibu

A breath of life-restoring faith in a genre.

4
SIANVAR
Stay Lost

Unique, unreal, unorthodox.

3
DANCE GAVIN DANCE
Mothership

Anything is better than their last
album, “Instant Gratification.”

2
PLINI
Handmade Cities

An engaging and emotional experience.

1
ANIMALS AS LEADERS
The Madness of Many

Complex, revolutionary, second-to-none.

-Jesse Long
(January 2017)

_________________________________________

BE MY "GUEST"
Do you have something to say, something to get off your chest or an amazing story to share? From pop culture views and reviews to political commentary to messages of faith, my blog is a great platform for writers to showcase their work. There are very limited criteria for submitting a post. Your views don't even have to be in line with mine — just create and contribute a compelling, well-written story. Interested? Send me and email.

-Chris
AuthorChristopherLong@yahoo.com 
_________________________________________


Thursday, January 5, 2017

RECORD REVIEW: Stephen Pearcy "SMASH"

RECORD REVIEW
Stephen Pearcy
SMASH
Frontiers Music (1.27.17)
_________________________

One of the '80s most
prolific arena rock vets
returns with his brand
spanking new solo slab.
Spoiler alert — it doesn't
totally suck completely.
_________________________

When not family feuding with on-again-off-again RATT members or performing with its various scab configurations, founding frontman, Stephen Pearcy also tours and records as a solo artist. And in 2017, the former platinum-selling powerhouse has dropped his fourth album.

Seemingly distancing himself from the iconic voiceprint that made him a superstar 30+ years ago, Pearcy's performance here is adequate overall, but often lacks his signature-style nuts-n-guts swagger. And although mixing and mastering duties were handled by original RATT producer, Beau Hill, SMASH delivers merely lo-fi results  Invasion of Your Privacy it ain't. 

But there's no need for Pearcy's ever-faithful to come unhinged, as there's actually much to celebrate. Despite serving up a lukewarm half-cup of demo-caliber content, this 13-song set does offer a good many rock-solid tracks. "Ten Miles Wide" and "Lollipop" point perfectly to Pearcy's RATT-era glory days, while "Dead Roses" and "Jamie" are delightfully harder-hitting highlights. However, it's the Physical Graffiti-inspired "Shut Down Baby" and the organic-sounding Zep III-flavored "Summer's End" that make SMASH truly zing.

-Christopher Long
(January 2017)


The latest from author Christopher Long
is available NOW on Amazon.

Also from Christopher Long...
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Currently in development...