Category Archives: Entertainment Lovers

Step right up and get reviews of some pretty bad-ass music, movies, and games here!

(Not So) Deep Thoughts By Smashing Happy: Cell Phones

Someone should do a web series called “If they had a cell phone” where they remake classic movies and/or TV shows like The Blair Witch Project, Halloween, Panic Room, or I dunno Lord of the Rings…and imagine them if they had cell phones. I think it would be Awesome! Oh wait someone kind of already kind of did that…

So instead, how about someone remakes new movies and/or shows imagining the cast without being able to use cell phones…like 24, James Bond, or Burn Notice.

Game Review – The FPS to End ALL FPS’S (for only 99 cents ;)

So for the next 10ish days, for under a dollar,  you can get the game that is taking the FPS genre to a whole ‘nother level, of fast paced, in your face, blazing action and….w-wait?

You heard it right, Soda Drinker Pro has been dubbed the most fluid First Person Soda to grace the screens, and quench the thirst of players world-wide.

It all started one night, and creator Will Brierly got up and was really thirsty for a soda. He had none in the house and it being around 4AM he wasn’t really able to get his own….so he did what any sound minded game developer would do and he made one! After a bunch of hours, soda, and coding like a madman the first five levels of Soda Drinker Pro was born.

And then it happened. Will got asked to do a presentation about the game at local drinking convention that the Providence Soda Club (yes it’s real) was putting on. Well that was SDP’s “tipping point”. Within a week, the game hit the front page of mashable and the video game landscape as we know it would be forever changed.

Since that day, Will has played his cards right, done the conventions, connected with fans, and other small things like making the game fully compatible with the Oculus Rift virtual reality hardware, and making 95 more levels of 100% pure soda drinking simulation. He did things so right in fact, that within a year, everyone from Indie Impressions to CNN was talking about this game, he announced that the game was coming out for the Xbox One later this year, and was popular enough to have even had some cosplay “bonus sodas” stop by his booth.

Now I totally :: pauses :: “get this”. It is just some random “I can’t believe someone made this” type of thing like the Perfect Strangers game or Christmas Vacation 2. Actually, it’s different that that…the people that made those things actually thought they were good. It’s more like John Cage’s 4’33″ or those people that move their bed into an art gallery and just sleep while people watch… is it art or are we just standing around like idiots wearing the “Emperor’s New Clothes”? Whatever the case, Will has done an amazing job of finding that fine line and drinking an entire cup of soda while he walks it!
:: pauses ::

Oh wait, you’re still here…

Well in that case check this out… if you stand next to a rock on level 2 of SDP for a minute or so, you get engulfed by this ominous cloud and randomly end up in an entirely different full game called Vivian Clark [old footage]. I’ve played it, and can say that although this too walks the line :: coughstarwithafacewearingahatandrollerskatesoncollectingwatermelonscough :: the way more than fun gameplay just makes it that much sweeter when “stumble” upon a level and all of the sudden you’re a snake in a hot air balloon watering plants.
Thanks again for reading guys… and for $0.99 you’d be silly not to check this game out! (

Note: Vivian Clark is in the process of being remade and it looks awesome!  I put the old footage in this post as it is a more of a  proper “trailer”.  I’m not sure if you still get access to that version but you will at least get the better one once it is released.


Casey Kasem/The Beatles/What’s Your Three Minutes and Forty Seconds?

Casey KasemSo I was about to share the “Maury Finkle, on meeting Casey Kasem” article on my Facebook timeline and it got me thinking about how music can inspire people…well my little blurb about the post just kept getting bigger so I just brought it over here.  Hope you like it! (the first part was the description of the original Finkle article link I was sharing)  :)

Maury Finkle, on meeting Casey, and of course showing some of that stylish Finkle respect!  Read it…seriously do it! haha

Sure it would rock if you read this,[The Finkle article] but in all seriousness that Casey  was indeed a cornerstone in American Pop music for decades. And while with the pop, you’re bound to get a whole lotta MMMM Bop! (and even more sweet Nickleback tunes). Pop Music was, and is the inspiration that has gotten, me and tons of people I know to want to make music some sort of career, or at least a big part of their lives.

Although the following story was a little before Kasem’s  time, I’ll never forget the time I overheard my first Music Business teacher (and singer in that 80′s/90′s Boston band Knots and Crosses) talk about what got him hooked/inspired to do music for a living.

If I remember it right, he was talking to a colleague at a conference I was at about how he kept finding, that in addition to himself, lots of other people at that conference got the itch for music after hearing the exact same chord at….the exact same time.

:: pauses ::

Right after a “Griffin Liquid Wax Shoe Polish” commercial. haha

The chord was F#m, and it was just after 8PM on Feburary 9th, 1964.  It was then the Beatles took the stage of the Ed Sullivan Show, and the hearts of this nation.  Sure the 700 screaming girls in the audience might have had something to do with it, but either way, there were more than just a few people at that conference that bought their first guitar/drum set after that night…and well you know the rest.

As with Casey, Ed brought the music to our ears, and although Sullivan had video,  The Beatles premier, and about a year longer as the host of his main show than Casey did.  Casey had him beat with an all music show that broadcast to a wider audience, and is still running strong after an almost continuous 45 year run!

I know this, there is no doubt in my mind that Casey Kasem’s time as host of AT40 (and the voice of Shaggy from Scooby Doo) had something to do with the the three minutes and forty seconds that inspired me to do what I do….and well I guess this is sort of my way of saying thanks.

Did any of you have a “moment” like that?  If so, comment about it!

I’m leaving my answer for another day, as it deserves a whole post, and, well face it, I just want to keep you coming back for more :-D

Thanks again for reading!

What are Your Favorite Local Bands? :: pauses :: That No Longer Exist!

You know what I’m talking about… that band that you just know had the potential to go places…buuuuut just never stayed together long enough to make it happen.

See, I’ve always had a goal to help inspire people through music.  I got a rough start, as a production intern at WFNX dubbing commercials to carts, did a cup of coffee at The Boston Music Awards and NEMO Conference as their Volunteer “Volunteer Coordinator” (among other things over the years), and drove home more than once from the radio promo company The Planetary Group after paying for parking  only to be told that they had no postage in their mailing machine for me.   The funny thing is, at first I didn’t have many run-ins with local artists, but there was a turning point and after that I was forced to live a curs-ed life where some of my all-time favorite bands would only last a few years…that turning point was when I got a flyer for a “Secret Show” that my friend Will Brierly was putting on.  I’ll never forget it as it had a picture of the chef a.k.a. “Barth” from You Can’t Do That on Television haha…. anyway being the guy who knew that networking was in his best interest I offered to help….and from that point on I was sucked into a world where I had to come to grips with the fact that no matter how good a band is, and how you just know that if the right people had access to their tunes they’d be hotter than a Bond Girl Convention held in a Pepper Patch, that they just might not make it!

Here is a list of my top up-and-coming  bands that I wish were still around.  Although part of my love for these band does come from a position of nostalgia.  I think they all could have been really successful.  Some in a financial mainstream kind of way, and others in an artistic not-so-starving artist kind of way:

Jupiter Sunrise – I dub them the hardest working band of vegans that I ever met haah!  These guys did a couple of show trades with Will.  They were a band that new how to connect with fans on a level that really made the fans of the die-hard sorts.  I give the band credit as they worked their asses off at it, and in general were just great guys (and a gal for a bit)…I mean what other band have you heard of that hid in some fans garage to surprise her for her birthday, or were likable enough that they pretty much had one of the top A&R guys from the Columbia/Hollywood Records labels (who really wanted to sign them) advise them that the deal they were getting from the labels was a bum one, and that he would get them something better.  Their first two main releases “The Purple Album”,  and “Under a Killer Blue Sky” are a mix of power pop with a touch of… I dunno Coheed and Cambria maybe.  In good news they actually got a deal with Victory Records for “Under a Killer Blue Sky”… in not so good news the producer of their to be third album swindled them out of something like $20,000, and with all the stresses they retired their vegetable oil running tour bus and called it a day.  The main man of the band, Mark (now Malek) Houlihan, went on to make more another JS record before starting a new project, and although the record was good it  just wasn’t the same.

Here is my favorite song from these guys… I remember when I went to LA for the first time (with Will actually),  we visited them and Mark played an rough acoustic demo version of this and I was blown away.  It’s called Kaye:

On the Surface (formerly Incident 14)- I just have to say wow to this band… the main writer is this kid Anthony that I met at UMASS and he just knows how to write a pop tune, and make it sound good on a record.  Their bonus track “Begging for More” on the last Incident 14 album had me hooked… :: tried to think of a pun to go along with the word hooked as the song had a great one but I’ll leave it at that :: . As a band they rank as one of my favorite bands of all time.   Well after 2 albums as I14 they changed their name, moved to LA, recorded an album, and it was around that time rumor has it that David Bowie just happened to walk into a room where someone was mixing some of their stuff, put the headphones on and when the song was over asked to hear it again it was so good.  The two singers who had been dating since high school split sometime before their last and only album (which actually fueled some amazing songwriting in that bittersweet way that it does), but eventually the band split.  They also had a pretty marketable look and a pretty hot girl who not only knew how to shake it on stage, she also had some chops as a piano player and vocalist.

Here is the official video off of their lead single off of their album The Fall…ironically it’s about not giving up.  My take is that it was about their relationship… who knows.

Rocketscience -  I honestly don’t know much about these guys.  I am pretty sure I saw them at the first NEMO showcase I ever helped out at.  It was at the old Linwood.  They dominated, I bought their album “A Girl’s Name Here”  and still listen to it to this day.  That damn thing never gets old.  I don’t know what happened to them, but I just found out that they have some sort of youtube page with songs I have never heard on it!  Awww yeah… here is one of my faves from the album I own:

Will Brierly (and the Roller Holsters) - Just cause ‘ole Willy Will Will really got me into a local music mindset, doesn’t mean he was guaranteed a spot on this list.  Picture a band whose frontman was an amazing classical guitarist fingerpicking machine that was influenced by acts like Gwar, Slayer, Ani DiFranco, Ben Folds, and Ellis Paul.  Throw in some Jazz,  a little a-tonal and improv and well you get what he dubbed as “Chair Throwing Kill Core” …… one of those genres that leaves your jaw open as you wonder how the hell he pulled it off.  We both have a similar mindset and I dug his tunes about video games, getting up the guts to talk to girls, and this one time he saw three more-than-just-female-fans….at the same show haha.   His Fishhooks Hung From Trees and Fly Kites In the Dark albums still kick ass every time I hear them.  But alas he holstered the rollers and eventually moved on to the simultaneous  careers of magician/mentalist, PR guru, and video game developer.  He is currently most noted for the finest FPS to hit the gaming scene :: pauses :: First Person Soda haha

To get an idea as to what they were all about, check out this live tune from the Sugar Shack in Lowell from 2003.  Be on the lookout for Rob Lynch from Harris on the drums… a band that almost made this list, but they just HAD to get back together haha.

Honorable Mentions:
Aubergene – I hate to give these guys an honorable mention, but damn it I only really ever heard a few songs by them, and only ever owned one called Outside.  It was actually partially written by one of the band members that died about a year earlier, and the rest of the band finished it.  That song makes my top 10 songs of all time!  I almost forgot to mention that was is Will’s sister’s band.  She has gone solo and is putting out some rad stuff.   Check her out at

Angry Salad – I saw these guys after hearing about them from the Planetary Group.  I showed up at their final CD release show, and they just rocked.  They had enough of a local following to get signed to Blackbird/Atlantic, but eventually broke up.  Believe it or not one of their guitarists is actually in Quiet Riot now.  If any of you reading this know Adam Lewis from the Planetary Group… ask him about when he took their followup band Star 69 to China… :: pauses ::  or was it Star 64 ;)

sameasyou – I actually saw these guys open up for Angry Salad the same night I first saw Angry Salad and bought their album as well.  Lots of great songs on it… I go back to that every once and a while…. not sure what ever happened to those guys…. anyone… anyone?

Well that’s it… for my list.  What are some of the bands or acts that made your list?



Memorial Day… Homeward Bound

In case you didn’t know, my mom’s boyfriend is a musician/songwriter.  (and also runs The Pleasant Street Piano Company with her)  Well a few years ago he co-wrote this pretty awesome song  saluting veterans.

Flash to memorial day… my mom calls me in a tizzy and is desperately trying to rip a copy of it to her computer.  Well for some reason I just couldn’t make it happen with over the phone instructions so I went over there for an in person tutorial.  Turns out she was looking to share it with all her Facebook friends so I just decided to whip out her Windows Movie Maker and before we knew it we had a pretty touching Memorial Day tribute.

As touching as it is, the video production could use a little work, but what do you want for a half an hour’s worth of time? Ha!  Either way, I was glad to help and put this up.  Our veterans make some pretty crazyawesome sacrifices for our country every day and since I’m not about to join up, this is the least I could do!

And although my best friend  Brian (who I actually hardly ever talk to), gets to “live it up” in 5 star hotels (correction I just found out that they are more like hotels with pretty  much dorm rooms) and blast the AC waaay more than any other normal human being would when he goes to Qatar (aside from maybe his twin brother Sean).   I’m willing to bet that there’s not place he’d rather be than homeward bound!  So in addition to the memory of all the fallen soldiers that we remembered yesterday…this one goes out to him!

I’m Pretty Sure They Don’t Actually Fight Dragons (but they still kick ass anyway)

Ok … I’ll admit I’m a sucker for a catchy pop tune.  Throw a little Stacy’s Mom, or Matthew Sweet’s Girlfriend on and you’ll see me rocking harder than this guy (minus the pizza haha).

Well a little over a year ago I heard one of the coolest songs that I had heard in a long while on WBRU… yea the actual radio!  Who would have thought?  It was kind of chiptune, but had a lot more guitars….annnnd I loved it!  It had just about everything that a polished power pop song should have, a short and sweet intro, a catchy chorus about a minute in, a sweet solo, and enough I’s, IV’s and V’s that would literally make Beethoven roll over in his grave!  I was instantly hooked, the song ended and they went to  a commercial…who was this band that had me doing the DiGiorno dance in my car?  Well it turns out that I couldn’t catch the tune with my phone’s song identifier, and the ADD in me kicked in and I totally forget what the damn song was….

…until one random day I was browsing through Rhapsody and it happened.  It was as if the rock gods themselves had come down and  handed me the Mouse of Destiny and guided  me to it, because right there on my screen as a recommended artist was none other than I Fight Dragons.

So I see their latest album (Kaboom!) and  in addition to the album title being a video game reference, the album art was as well, and the first song is a 30 second was a  slower more chiptuney instrumental called “Fanfare” that seemed kind of reminiscent of the theme from the original Legend of Zelda.  (did I mention that I’m a recovering gameaholic… :: pauses ::  annnnd I’m only half joking about that one haha).

So there I was, seemingly having found this cool chiptune band to check out. When all of the sudden the chorus of the next and title track came on….which turns out to be a full rock version of the theme of the first song! Ah-mazing!  That radio single came on a bunch of tracks later, but hooked on this record way before it came on.

So as I said before, they had the chord progressions, catchy choruses, and sugar coated solos down for some good ole awesome pop amazingness, but Kaboom!  brings Much more to the table than that.

Everything from the instrumentation, harmonies, and song titles to the lyrics themselves make this an extremely solid album as a whole.  You don’t see that very often anymore.  In today’s music landscape, people put the single out, maybe make an EP and hope to digitally get it into the pants of the masses!

Although I’d recommend this album as a whole, if you want some highlights I’d say check out their video for Save World Get Girl (which takes a big cue from the 1995 single Moon by the band Fossil)  The video features the band battling space baddies and rescuing the “maidens” in distress using their Nintendo weapons, powerpads, and of course the Konami Code.  Turns out that it was actually released in 3D for the Nintendo 3DS.

And although that lead single “The Geeks Will Inherit the Earth” does prove worthy of a great alternative (or even not so alternative) radio single; my favorite song on the album is the epic finale of a track called Suburban Doxology.  It is a track that interestingly reminds me of  Coheed and Cambria’s “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3″.  Although the IFD song starts off with more of a bang , it has got good range of highs and lows, and has that battlefieldesque feel at the end with a buildup from slow soft snare drums and an A Capella high school chorus singing an altered version of Gloria (in excelsis meo) to the whole band backing the rendition in full force. This not only transitions well when the singer starts the main chorus over the top of this, but its melody was featured earlier in the album on a short instrumental track called “Gloria”.  It’s just brilliant I tell you!

Well these fine gents have a new album in the works… but my post on that will go into the Music Makers section of this blog as it deals more with the biz side of things.

Thanks for reading… what are some of your new favorites?

On a related side note…these guys are playing the Warped Tour again and as much as they are in my top 1 right now, as close as the show is to me, and as there are actually other bands playing that I’d like to see I just can’t afford to spend the money on tickets right now… so if anyone’s buying I think I could whip up a few t-shirts in return… or something!

Thanks again!

- Kevin