If You Had To Pick Two…

Guize, guize. There’s a CockyBoys sale going on. If you haven’t already taken advantage of it, do it now! What are you waiting for!?  It’s great timing as well, because the new Road Strip series is still in its early days. If you join now, you’ll be able to catch up on the first two episodes, then watch the rest unfold as they become available!

 

Roman’s Recommendation: Johnny Hollow

My better half, Harvey Walker, is usually in charge of anything music-related here – with good reason, too. Out of the two of us, he’s far more in-tune to the heart of music acts, whereas I usually follow a more black/white approach. I either like it or don’t; I don’t ask who, or what, or why because I don’t care.

Johnny Hollow, however, is one of those very, very few bands to catch my full attention (they’ve had it since 2003). I admit that, at first, it was the creepy goth themes and site that stuck. They also came highly recommended from mutual fans of a separate band I listened and friends of ours. 2003 happened to be the year they launched their award-winning “riddle” site and released their first self-titled album, or “unnamed” as they say it is.

Creepy butterfly/moth theme aside, the site became recognized for doing something I hadn’t seen any other band do up until that point: give the majority of their album away for free. There was a catch, though. No, you didn’t have to sign up for emails, you didn’t have to donate money, or secrecy, or swear them your first born. No, all you had to do was solve riddles. That’s it.

The riddle site’s 10th anniversary happened to swing by already so Johnny Hollow has rereleased the original site at http://jhlegacy.azurewebsites.net/ (as linked above; if you’re having trouble with a riddle, leave a comment or tweet me @ClosetCaseRoman so I can give you a few more hints)

In 2008, after garnering the attention from a label, Hollow released their second album, Dirty Hands. I was all over that and remember pre-ordering while I was visiting family in Vegas (this stands out because it was the first time I gave a damn about pre-ordering anything). Unfortunately, it wasn’t a smooth run for the band. The label was a bit of a mess and I remember getting my copy of the album months well-after it was actually released. If I’m remembering correctly, I pre-ordered some time in Winter of ’07, didn’t get my copy until the spring or summer of ’08.

What I wasn’t aware of until yesterday was that Dirty Hands, though a fantastic album, left the band in some debt. Which brings us to now…

The band is gearing up for their third album, A Collection of Creatures, and in an effort to avoid all that drama again, they’re taking the route of many indie artists these days: crowd sourcing! A genius idea, IMO! (And I’m not just saying that because Vince – the goofy knob behind a Mac in the “Hollow World” video – is a friend and a #nerdjizz reader!)

The band has always made it a point to put the fans first, always valuing their/our input. From ideas for merch to which song we all wanted to see made into a video the most. (The one I wanted to see was, in fact, “Hollow World.”)

The campaign is straightforward and, given how amazing everyone in the band is (I think it’s a Canadian thing), they’re, without a doubt, going to produce something that’s going to blow us away like nothing has before.

The prizes are pretty damn neat too! They’re offering digital downloads, signed CDs, exclusive t-shirts, magnets, posters, personally hand-knitted JH CD-cozies by Kitty (their cellist) and/or working privately with Vince (the twisted mind behind My Pet Skeleton) for some original artwork featuring your mug, right down to having the band play a private show in your own living room!

Let me tell you, if I had the money, I’d be opting for the private show AND working with Vince on my own portrait! I own a print of his already, it’s effing amazing, u guize!

Speaking of Kitty, she made a brief appearance in the pilot episode of the new TV/gaming epic, Defiance! Did you see her? I still haven’t been able to sit down and check the show out but it’s definitely moved up in my to-do list since she mentioned it!

Here she is all dolled up and on set:

kitty2 kitty1

Join me, I’m certainly contributing to their campaign! Who knows, maybe they’ll speak to your black little hearts like they did to what’s left of mine…

Johnny Hollow’s twitter: @JohnnyHollow
Johnny Hollow’s site: http://www.johnnyhollow.com/
Johnny Hollow’s campaign: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/johnny-hollow

Is Rogan Richards The Hottest Nerd Alive?

You guys know who Rogan Richards is, right? He’s a gorgeous adult model who has appeared recently on Raging Stallion, Men At Play and Men of UK. If you haven’t seen his work there, maybe you’ve seen these photos floating around Tumblr:

[Sources: Michael Stokes, Paul Freeman, Rogan Richards]

Ring a bell? He’s absolutely drop-dead gorgeous, and clearly he is both genetically blessed and actively dedicated to maintaining a statuesque physique. But his all-around beauty is not the most interesting thing about Rogan. You see, Rogan is an honest-to-glob nerd. Seriously.

I know, I know, we don’t often get men with the bodies of greek gods like that in our ranks, but with him, it’s real. Prove it, you say? Well, he writes Boba Fett fan-fiction. Bet that’s more than you do to keep your nerd-cred current. How’s that for your proof?

For the short story, titled “Callow Scars” and some Star Wars-themed photos of Rogan, click here: Continue reading Is Rogan Richards The Hottest Nerd Alive?

THE TENTH AND ELEVENTH DOCTORS! TOGETHER!

Via Hey Harvey Walker • Via Doctor Who Tumblr

Catching Fire

The trailer for the intense Hunger Games sequel debuted last night. Take a look:

Music Monday: Ivan & Alyosha

Hey guys! Long time no see! :O

Sorry, I’ve been busy and *blah blah blah* you don’t wanna hear it, I know. BUT, I want to return to your good graces by introducing (or hopefully for some of you, RE-introducing) you to Ivan & Alyosha. I’ve posted about them once or twice or thrice before, so if you’d like to catch up, feel free to check out each of those links. They have been one of my top ten favorite bands for just under three years now, but the good news for you is that they released their first full length album almost two months ago. Based in Portland, OR, they’ve already released a handful of EPs and they had success financing the LP release via Kickstarter, which they’d previously used to finance a North American tour. There’s a very honest grassroots feel about these guys, and they have the raw talent to merit that kind of attention.

ivan

Jumping into the first feature album, titled All The Times We Had, you’re immediately struck with the level of professional recording time these guys managed to squeeze in at the studio between their live gigs. Right off the bat you’re introduced to “Be Your Man,” an infectious rouser with some pretty keen harmonies. As a matter of fact, keen harmonies are one of the things these guys do best. If you did take the time to check out the links above, you probably already gathered that much.

 

On the flip side, “The Fold” which they featured heavily on 2012’s Cabin Sessions EP also received some pretty heavy-handed studio bells and whistles, and quite frankly that new version is the only part of the album that feels out of place. So much so, that I can’t give the album a perfect rating because of its inclusion. I know I probably only feel that way because of how deeply I connected to the song when I first heard it, but you know how it feels when a lesser talented artist covers one of your favorite songs by a band? I feel like that happened here. Only it’s the same band, covering their own song, only the magic harmonies and raw musicianship either got left out or drowned out by an overzealous recording mixer. It’s still a damn fine song, and I won’t be the least bit surprised to see it show up on network television as a soundtrack song, but the first recording imprinted on me in a big way.

Friend of the band Aimee Mann can be heard on the title track of the album. It’s a melancholy ode to the glory days gone by of the protagonist characters’ relationship. The song is truly very earnest, but it sounds so uniquely Portland, that for some reason I have a scene in my head featuring the cast of “Portlandia” (on which Mann has appeared, so maybe she’s the cause?) in various vignettes pantomiming the lyrics while getting drenched in the northwestern rain and so forth. I think it helps me make what could be a wrist-cutting song a joy to listen to. That’s what I’ll tell myself, anyway.

The live version below has lead singer Tim Wilson’s brother, Pete, filling in for Amy’s vocal parts. I’ve mentioned it before – most especially when talking about First Aid Kit – but sibling harmonies > all other harmonies.