Listen Now: Weezer- Everything Will be Alright in the End on iTunes First Look

Weezer on iTunes

You can now listen to Weezer’s upcoming Everything Will Be Alright In the End on iTunes for free! Check it out here!

I have yet to give it a complete listen, but I’ll be checking it out after work tonight. I already pre-ordered the vinyl LP and can’t wait to get home and give it a listen on my turntable when it arrives. “Back to the Shack” is already one of the best Weezer songs I’ve heard in quite awhile, so I’m excited to listen to the rest of the album.

Everything Will Be Alright In the End is set to be released on October 7th. Be sure to head to their Pledge Music page and pre-order the album in a variety of formats and packages.


First Listen: Gerard Way – Hesitant Alien

Hesitant Alien

Yesterday Gerard Way released his first album since the breaking up of My Chemical Romance in 2013. I always enjoyed listening to My Chemical Romance right up until the end (The Black Parade is Dead! is probably my favorite concert DVD of all time, I absolutely love their stage presence) so I was excited to hear there would still be new music post MCR.

Hesitant Alien starts with the heavily distorted “The Bureau” which chugs along overpowering the shouted vocals, and it almost sounds like something that could’ve come from Danger Days. It works well as an intro track, but the rest of the album sounds quite differently.

“Action Cat” is upbeat and peppy and Way’s vocals on the track remind me a lot of the track “Lust for Life” by Girls. I definitely like the sound. It’s quite catchy even as the guitar track continues to overpower the vocals.

The album definitely has more of a pop feel (with a bit of alt rock thrown into the mix) with tracks like “No Shows” and “Millions”, yet I enjoy it quite a bit. I love Way’s voice and it continues to be hypnotizing on this album. There are hints of MCR here and there, but there’s enough of a unique direction it’s understandable that he had to part ways with the band.

The stand out track that I can’t stop listening to from the album is “Brother”. I love the piano and steady drum beat building up to a hypnotic chorus. It’s an absolutely beautiful song, and I’m sure I’ll be listening to it over and over for quite some time.

I definitely recommend giving the album a listen whether you were a My Chemical Romance fan or not. There’s definitely a lot to like on Hesitant Aliens.

My first hour with Forza Horizon 2 (Xbox One)

Forza Horizon 2 Day One edition

It’s been quite awhile since two must buy games released on the same day, but the stars have aligned today in a sense with both Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor and Forza Horizon 2 seeing release. I had been quite excited for both these games and from my early impressions, neither has disappointed.

I absolutely love the Forza series, nothing comes close in the racing game genre. I never really enjoyed other ‘street’ or off the closed track racing games until the first Forza Horizon came around. Forza Horizon took everything great about the Forza series (authentic looking, sounding and handling cars, and all around great racing) and brought it off the track and it was a blast. I loved all of the different challenges in the world and the online multiplayer was amazing.

Forza Horizon 2 takes influence from Forza 5 and Forza Horizon and brings it to a new open world that’s absolutely stunning from what little I’ve seen of it so far.

First of all it’s worth noting that Drivatars return in Forza Horizon 2. I saw a lot of my friend’s drivatars in the first few races I did (they also show up in the open world) and since I only knew one other person to be playing Forza Horizon 2 so far it seems that they’re pulling Drivatars from Forza 5 and bringing them over to Forza Horizon 2 which is nice as it populates the world and gives you something more than just AI to race against.

Some other new additions to Forza Horizon include more realistic rain and cross country (off road) racing. The rain effects in Horizon 2 are pretty neat, especially while driving with the inside the car view (which honestly is the only view you should be using in Forza games!). You’ll even see your windshield wipers at work which is a neat little addition. Cross country races have you cutting through deep patches of grass and other plant life, navigating between trees (some of which are destructible) and other obstacles in between sections of asphalt or dirt road. It’s crazy looking out from within your car because you’ll find it hard to see anything and it’s an absolute thrill attempting to navigate between obstacles and other cars while trying to make your way to the front of the pack.

I have yet to try out any of the online features, but I’m excited to give them a try tomorrow. If they’re anything like the original Horizon I’m sure they’ll pack hours of fun.

Lastly, one of my favorite features from Forza Horizon is still around in Horizon 2. Everytime you level up you’ll get a chance to ‘spin the wheel’ where you can be rewarded with varying amounts of credits (including some large amounts) or even a brand new car! It’s a fun and addicting feature that’ll keep you racing toward that next driver level.


My first two hours with Shadow of Mordor (Xbox One)

Shadow of Mordor Xbox One

Tonight I played about two hours of Shadow of Mordor on the Xbox One and enjoyed it quite a bit. I managed to kill off a few Captains, but also ran into some very sticky situations and managed to die three or four times already. I’ve had fun so far, but I started to get frustrated toward the end of my two hours.

I completed the first two story missions (or 2 of 3 that were available) and enjoyed those. I managed to die mostly because of mistimed button presses and the fact that I tend to play most video games poorly in the first place (unfortunately there’s no difficulty adjustment in Shadow of Mordor). I’m never any good at timing dodges right, especially when you not only have to time dodges with ‘A’ but also counters with ‘Y’. I’ll do alright if it’s just one or the other, but when I’m being attacked by different enemies and have to use both I just can’t get the hang of it.

Toward the end of my time with the game tonight I ran into a Captain who I didn’t have any intel on and probably shouldn’t have tried confronting him. He had some sort of ability that made my screen go red and constantly drained my health and I couldn’t figure out what was causing it or how to stop it. I’d run away and try to find some herbs to regain my health, but eventually he killed me off and I decided to take a break from the game for now.

I really like the idea of the Nemesis system, where enemies in the game can be promoted based on their actions and become stronger and gain new abilities if they defeat you in combat. You’ll be certain to face them again later and they’ll certainly remember you. Also if you happen to defeat an enemy they may also return, beaten, battered and scarred and ready for their revenge. It’s a pretty cool system that I think will add hours of exciting gameplay as you’re tempted to try to topple them all. It’s worth noting that the genesis system is only available on current gen consoles (Xbox One, PS4, PC). I can’t imagine how the game plays on last gen systems, as I think the genesis system is a core part of Shadow of Mordor and what sets it apart from other hack and slash games.

I look forward to diving deeper into Shadow of Mordor and hopefully figuring out how to overcome the Captain’s who haven slain me thus far.


First listen: U2 – Songs of Innocence

Songs of Innocence

I’ve never actually sat down and listened to U2 before. I’ve heard their songs and have a good idea of what they sound like but I’ve never listened to any of their albums, or really actually paid attention to any of their songs. A lot of people love U2, I’ve just always known they’re not a band for me. Heck all I even know about U2 is they have hugely popular concerts, Bono wears sunglasses all the time and they seem to be involved in a lot of causes and world politics (whether this is true or not I couldn’t say).

U2 has been in the news a lot lately because Apple in a sense ‘bought out’ their thirteenth album Songs of Innocence and released it to half a billion iTunes users for free during their iPhone 6 reveal. Who doesn’t like free music? Well apparently the internet doesn’t. People immediately complained that the album snuck into their iTunes libraries unwanted. Personally, I feel the complaints are absolutely absurd and there will always be someone out there who will complain about anything. They could’ve given a $10 iTunes gift card to everyone in the world and somewhere out there on the internet someone would find a way to complain about it.

U2 songs of innocence iTunes page

Since I’ve never listened to U2 before I’ve decided I’d give the album a listen and write down a few thoughts about it. So here we go, I’m hitting play.

Aside from a handful of moments, (“The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)”, “Volcano” and “Sleep Like a Baby Tonight”) I can’t say I’ve found much to like in this album. Most of it sounds unremarkable, background music that falls apart when listened to closely. Reading the lyrics in the digital book as I listen doesn’t help. Most everything just comes off as boring.

The parts I like most is when Bono doesn’t sound like Bono. “Sleep Like a Baby Tonight” and the verses of “Volcano” stand out as favorites (not a huge fan of the chorus). I like the darkness in his voice in those two songs in particular. The verses of “Volcano” even have a slight Marilyn Manson sound vocally which I love. If the rest of the album had more of that dark sound and less of the typical, soaring sound that has bored me for years without even having had to listen to a U2 album.

Songs of Innocence

I rated every song as I listened, and going off of the iTunes star rating Songs of Innocence gets 2 out of 5 stars based off my first listen. Seeing as how I’ve never listened to any other U2 album I can’t really say whether this is a particularly good or bad U2 album. I read in TIME that U2 sees this album as one of their best, so it may just be that I don’t like U2.


Worth watching: Begin Again


The film Once quickly became one of my favorite movies of all time, even though I’m still not quite sure how I even found out about it (this was about 2 years or so ago). The music by Glen Hansard is absolutely breathtaking, and the story is incredible. It’s worth watching for the music alone, but trust me the entire movie is beautiful.

That said, to find out John Carney (who wrote and directed Once) also wrote and directed Begin Again sealed the deal, I knew I was going to watch it.

Begin Again stars Mark Ruffalo, Keira Knightley and Adam Levine (Maroon 5, The Voice) and like Once is a story about music, relationships and navigating the highs and lows in life.

The music is enjoyable, the story is heartwarming and the acting is quite wonderful throughout. I love the setting (New York just happens to be my favorite city in the world) and again the music is just as great as the city. I highly encourage you to see Begin Again if you loved Once, and if you haven’t seen either I recommend you see both as soon as possible.


A few of my favorite things: Starbucks FVL and the NYT


This afternoon I enjoyed a few of my favorite things on a Sunday in Korea. Enjoying coffee and the New York Times became a weekly tradition last spring, and I’ve managed to continue to enjoy the tradition through my travels in Hawaii and Korea this summer.



The setting sun glows in the hazy sky above the dorms.

Unfortunately the Fall favorite Pumpkin Spice Latte hasn’t arrived at the Osan Starbucks yet, but the French Vanilla Latte is just as tasty. I love reading the ‘paper’ (in digital form of course) while enjoying a wonderful Starbucks beverage, especially while sitting outside. I miss sitting out and watching the trees and the cars back home, but it’s been nice to enjoy a relaxing hour each Sunday as I’ve counted down the days until I return (soon!).


Enjoying the NYT and hotel coffee in Hawaii.





Coffee in one of my favorite mugs on the steps back in Boise.

Destiny has started to grow on me..

After quite a few more hours spent in Destiny I’m starting to enjoy it a bit more than I had initially. There are still problems, as I’ve stated before there absolutely needs to be some sort of voice chat (ideally limited in range so that it’s not overcrowded) in the open world and also in matchmade strikes and crucible matches. The lack of voice chat makes it feel like the entire world consists of AI bots who aren’t really human controlled at all.

That said, as a Halo fan I’m enjoying the Crucible. It’s satisfying in many ways, one of which is the fact that you get to bring your own guns into the fight. This makes everything feel all the more personal, even if there’s some sort of behind the scenes work to even the playing field. My favorite Crucible matches are the Control matches, which are basically 6 vs 6 three point king of the hill matches. When you get matched up with a good team there’s nothing more fun, especially if you get the chance to stay with those players for several rounds. Unfortunately the lack of voice chat again makes it feel as if I’m playing with a bunch of AI that occasionally acts human.

The story is still…Destiny. Not quite sure how to put it, but it’s a bunch of jibberish with the occasional cut scene spouting some nonsense or your flying Cortana cube spouting some nonsense during a loading screen. Every single mission follows the same format, infiltrate some place, find a terminal, defend, fight a boss, end of mission. This would ruin the game if the shooting wasn’t so satisfying.

There’s still no real loot drive in the game, at least for me. In games such as Diablo and Borderlands I’m constantly driven to try to find a better weapon to devastate hordes of enemies with. In Destiny no loot drop seems to make any significant difference at all. Sure once you hit level 20 you need to find legendary loot to increase your Light level (I just hit 20 today, so I can’t comment much on this process), but there’s no endless pull to cause you to keep playing like there is in Diablo and Borderlands.

All that said, I’m going to continue playing for awhile longer, probably until Master Chief collection and GTA V come out for the Xbox One.

Until then, I’ll again leave you with this: If you enjoy shooting things, Destiny may just scratch that itch. If you enjoy first person shooter multiplayer games The Crucible may give you what you’re looking for. Destiny excels at giving you stuff to shoot at and making it feel satisfying, but it’s not necessarily great at anything else. At least Halo had an enjoyable story alongside its lasting multiplayer and Borderlands gave you interesting characters and an endless supply of satisfying loot.

In 2014 paying for music is easier than stealing

In the early 2000’s up until the advent of iTunes store one of the most common reasons given for pirating music was that it was too easy not to. In recent years, however, going legitimate and supporting artists has become easier than ever. I’d even argue that that act of buying individual albums (even via iTunes or Amazon) will soon become as obsolete as renting movies at Blockbuster.

The reason for all this is the rise of streaming services such as Spotify, iTunes Radio, Beats Music, Pandora, Xbox Music and so on. Spotify has completely eliminated my desire to download albums, either by way of the Pirate Bay or legitimate services such as iTunes. For $10 a month I can stream or even download nearly any album I desire to any of my various devices. At any given time I have at least 20-30 albums downloaded to my phone via Spotify in addition to various playlists I’ve created, such as my gym playlist.



It’s so simple to build a collection of albums, and the fact that you can listen offline is even better. Simply save an album as a playlist and tell your device to download it and you’re done. It’s nice to have the option to save music to your device so that you can listen in the car, gym or on a flight and not use any data or require a WiFi connection.

I should note, you can use Spotify for free and still save albums to playlists, however you must listen to albums on shuffle and Spotify will insert related music into your playlists as well as commercials. You also cannot download music without subscribing to Spotify’s premium service.


On my Mac, however, I stream all of my music. I used to have countless hundreds of gigabytes of storage tied up storing music, however Spotify has allowed me to free up almost all of that space. There is one minor disadvantage to this form of ‘renting’ music as I like to look at it. Although you have a seemingly unlimited supply of new and old music at your disposal, nothing is permanent. For example, I really enjoyed Morrissey’s 2014 album World Peace Is None of Your Business, yet it recently disappeared from Spotify. The album was rescinded due to a record label dispute, and now I have no access to it at all (legally). Had I purchased it via iTunes I would presumably still own and have access to it.


Beyond Spotify (which, if you can’t tell is my favorite music service) I also subscribe to SiriusXM and Xbox Music. I use Sirius mostly in my car, but I also enjoy the ability to stream it on my computer, phone or iPad on occasion. I enjoy using Sirius when I feel like giving up control of what I’m about to hear. It’s nice to discover new music on Alt Nation and pop open Spotify and add the album to my collection.

Screen Shot 2014-09-27 at 12.03.26 PM


I subscribe to Xbox Music because it’s an easy way to stream music from my TV and I love the interface. Xbox Music gives you the option to play music videos in place of songs when available so it’s nice to have on the TV as background noise while having drinks or conversation. Xbox Music doesn’t have quite the selection that Spotify has, but the enjoyable interface and music videos make the $10 a month seem justified.



Thanks to streaming services I’ve saved hundreds of dollars a year while still supporting artists. I do, however, still enjoy purchasing albums on vinyl that I really enjoy. I pre-ordered Weezer’s upcoming album, Everything Will Be Alright in the End on vinyl via their Pledge Music page and am quite excited for it to arrive.




Friday Morning Football in Korea, Destiny with Bungie


I’m enjoying some Friday Morning Football here in Korea thanks to Dish Anywhere (which allows you to stream anything from your receiver via Slingbox). I’m a Ravens fan rooting for the Giants. I really love the Manning brothers as players and as all around nice people so I always tend to root for them.

In about 40 minutes Bungie employees will be playing Destiny Skirmish matches in the Crucible (on Xbox One) so I’m going to jump on and try my luck getting a game in with one of them as I continue checking in on the game via the Dish Anywhere iPad app.

You’ll be able to watch the action via Bungie’s Twitch stream.