It was hard trying to not only find the time to get a proper October Banner up, but to pick a movie that reflected everything great about the year's spookiest month. I had toyed with scenes from John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN, EVIL DEAD 2, PSYCHO, and VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED before finally settling on what I think is easily the best horror/comedy we've seen in the past 15 years or more.
SHAUN OF THE DEAD earned its place in my from countless viewings - both by myself and with friends. It's the one zombie film my wife can sit through and enjoy, and if it did nothing else (I mean besides paying homage to George A. Romeo's universe with undying (ha!) respect even as it winked and pulled its shorts down) it brought Nick Frost's high-pitched delivery of "it's like BUTTER!" into common use around the house.
September was an incredible month for music releases. Even if you discount the gargantuan hullabaloo that was the 9/9/09 release of the Beatles' entire catalog (the merits of which sparked a debate between Indie Maven Sean and myself I only wish I could recall enough of to set down here), you had great new records from established acts and newcomers from every field. Probably the biggest surprise of the bunch is how great the new Living Colour album is, and how much it embraces a new sonic direction even as the hooks in the songwriting hearken back to Vivid and Time's Up. I may have been one of the few people who liked their "official" comeback album from 2003, Collideøscope, but The Chair in the Doorway feels more like the real comeback, and is a winner on all counts.
Having toyed with the arena rock/disco mix on their last album Black Holes and Revelations, Muse decided to go all in, crafting a pop/rock confection that on paper should sound like the biggest sellout of the year. The fact that it doesn't, and that even such silly songs like "United States of Eurasia" which sounds so much like Queen that you'd think Matthew Bellamy is bathing in Freddie Mercury's ashes (ewww) have a tendency to linger in your head make this a blast to play loud in the car or anywhere else. Seriously, if 1-2-3 punch of "Uprising", "Resistance" and "Undisclosed Desires" don't make you move, you might be dead.
Pearl Jam is finally back, self-releasing their 9th album Backspacer exclusively through Target in the U.S. and via Universal internationally. On the short list of bands I will love forever Pearl Jam is up near the top, and although so far Backspacer doesn't grab me as much as their last, self titled album did, it's definitely a more relaxed, upbeat affair. "Just Breathe" and "Against the Waves" are two highlights right now, and I expect the whole album will resonate with me once I give it enough spins.
All the way on the other side of the popularity coin is Om, comprised of what was the rhythm section to stoner legend band Sleep until drummer Chris Hakius left, leaving bassist Al Cisneros to pick up the pieces, employing Emil Amos. The result is God is Good, another meditative slab that references Tibetan chants, free-form jazz, and the doom/stoner/sludge that Sleep excelled in.
Finally, it's cause for celebration, as Porcupine Tree release another stellar release, this time a concept album divided into 18 section. The Incident deals with your typical alternative rock themes, but for me Porcupine Tree has never been so much about the lyrics as it has been about the exquisite production and musicianship handled by leader Steven Wilson and his crew.
That's it for now; I couldhave done another section that just dealt with some of the records coming out from the indie/pop side of things, but instead I think I'll put those in some future posts.
What's getting you in the Autumn mood?