Unjustly Obscure Albums – Vol. 2

Zeus – Say Us

“Zeus doesn’t have a dedicated lead singer; songwriters Mike O’’Brien, Carlin Nicholson, and Neil Quinn all share that role, and they switch instruments with equal frequency. The result is an album relatively devoid of patterns, since no single musician remains with one instrument long enough to repeat the same trick twice. Zeus’’ retro state of mind remains consistent, though, and the band fills Say Us with vocal harmonies, vintage guitar jangle, and riffs culled from a lifetime of classic rock fandom. It’’s part British Invasion throwback and part 21st century indie rock, with a hint of heartland twang tying the package together.”
-All Music Guide

Zeus – Fever of the Time
Zeus – Kindergarten

Easter Sunday – Jesus’ Son

“The sun lowered itself through the roof of clouds, ignited the sea, and filled the big picture window with molten light, so that we did our dealing and dreaming in a brilliant fog.”
-Denis Johnson

Jesus’ Son is a book of short stories, some of the best I’ve read. The narrator, a young man known only as Fuckhead, possesses the drug-addled soul of a poet. As we accompany him on his journeys across 1970s America, his simple yet profound observations about the human condition affect us on a visceral level. He humorously conveys the pleasures and pains of existence in such a way that one can’t help but nod in quiet recognition of the notion that we are, all of us, borne from the same seed.

The 1999 movie starring Billy Crudup, as FH, and Jack Black, as a spastic emergency room orderly named Georgie, is also an underrated gem.

In Honor of Earth Day, The Giving Tree Band

“Hillbilly Jean”

The Giving Tree Band’s “stirring musicianship, exemplary songwriting, and emotionally engaged performances” (The Bluegrass Special Magazine) are “leaving audiences all around the country with dropped jaws and a string of incurable rhythms ingrained in their heads” (The Chronicle). The group’s all-acoustic sound has been described as “an ageless music that transcends centuries” (Honest Tune Magazine) and “timeless…reminiscent of Bob Dylan and Neil Young” (Green Guide Network).

They are also considered one of the greenest bands in the country. They have been touring in a bio-diesel bus and donating as much as 50% of their proceeds to charity. The all-vegetarian band uses many eco-friendly instruments such as handmade guitars from reclaimed woods and naturally fallen trees and a drum kit made from sustainable bamboo. Their last album was engineered with 100% renewable solar energy and all of the band’s CD’s are packaged with 100% recycled materials. The band’s music and extraordinary environmental stewardship have been highlighted by media all over the world.


Netflix Picks: Four Movies for 4/20

If you’re bored with the usual suspects (Dazed and Confused, The Big Lebowski, etc.) then check out the following flicks. While these movies are not quite great, they’ll blow your mind if you’re in the right state. Plus they’re all available to stream, so you don’t even have to leave your parents’ basement.

Enter the Void (2009)

When Oscar (Nathaniel Brown), a foreign drug dealer living in Tokyo with his stripper sister, Linda (Paz de la Huerta), is fatally shot in a police raid, his spirit leaves his body in a hallucinatory odyssey that merges his past, present and future into a chaotic whole. This riveting third film from provocative French auteur Gaspar Noe screened in competition at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.

The Fall (2006)

Set in the 1920s, director Tarsem Singh’s visually lush drama stars Lee Pace as paralyzed movie stuntman Roy Walker, who bonds with an imaginative 5-year-old named Alexandria (Catinca Untaru) as they convalesce together in a Los Angeles infirmary. To coax the girl into procuring the cache of morphine he wants from the hospital pharmacy, the suicidal Roy regales Alexandria with an elaborate fantasy about larger-than-life heroes.

The Fountain (2006)

In this sci-fi drama that spans a millennium, a man (Hugh Jackman) searches for a tree believed to grant eternal life in 16th-century Spain; seeks a cure for his wife’s (Rachel Weisz) cancer as a present-day scientist; and traverses the universe as a 26th-century astronaut. As he travels through time in an epic struggle to save the woman he loves, he also comes to understand some of life’s murkiest mysteries.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009)

When a deal with the devil comes due, the immortal Doctor Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) must renegotiate the pact to save his daughter. Now, with the help of his mystical theater troupe and a mysterious stranger, Parnassus attempts to right the wrongs of his past. Terry Gilliam’s quirky fantasy marks Heath Ledger’s final film, with Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law stepping in to complete his pivotal role.

Unjustly Obscure Albums – Vol. 1

Brazos, Phosphorescent Blues

“With a sound somewhere between the jazz-rock fusions of Tim Buckley and the freaked-out folk of Neutral Milk Hotel — all stacked acoustic guitars, impetuous percussion and meandering pianos — Brazos dares listeners to dip into a bracing, deep and sometimes turbulent stream of consciousness.”
– Riverfront Times

Brazos – Day Glo
Brazos – The Observer

Listen to the album on Spotify.