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by Thomas Cross

14 Dec 2009

To say that Peggle is addictive is like saying that Halo is kind of a big deal. If you mixed a bit of pinball physics with some of the inspired lunacy of Snood and Puzzle Bobble, you’d get Peggle.

It’s a testament to the sights and sounds of Dual Shot that the only thing I miss from the PC version is that game’s graphical resolution. Yet after an hour or two of play, all I can hear are the sounds of bounced pegs. You won’t care what it looks like once you start playing, and by the time you’ve spent hours learning its quirks, you’ll only want to play more.

When you play an arcade ball-bouncing game more than you would in-depth RPGs and sprawling strategy and fantasy games, you know you have something special on your hands.

by Tobias Peterson

14 Dec 2009

Baseball is that most encyclopedic of sports. Few other games feature the kind of statistical wealth that might describe a batter’s chances against left-handers in July, or a pitcher’s lifetime earned run average against short stops. The Official World Series Film Collection encapsulates a great many of the sport’s expansive details, cataloguing summaries of the championship series from 1943 to 2008.

The hardcore fans will appreciate the thoroughness of the compendium, whose 65 game-by-game narrative summaries would take two and a half days to watch if played back-to-back. More casual fans will appreciate the fact that this collection skips over the mid-season lulls and between-pitch pauses, distilling the game down into its most dramatic moments. From Willy Mays’ “The Catch” to Reggie Jackson’s transformation into “Mr. October”, from Jack Morris’ ten-inning shutout to the Red Sox reversing “the curse”, the collection is both a record and a celebration of the sport at its pinnacle.

A glossy companion book offers pictures and descriptions going back to 1903, and a few blank pages are left to invite fans to include their own memories of future World Series. Baseball’s universe continues to expand, but this collection is a deluxe reminder of where it all began.

by Sachyn Mital

14 Dec 2009

Last June I was informed of a band, Fanfarlo, and was offered their album, Reservoir, for a $1 download.  So nonchalantly I purchased it.  It wasn’t until the end of summer though, after I heard they were playing NYC with Jonsi and Alex (Riceboy Sleeps) DJ’ing the same show, that I finally listened to their CD.  It did not sink in right away, but I soon found myself listening to it repeatedly.  As an aside, Peter Katis, of Tarquin Studios in Bridgeport, CT, is the linchpin in this string of relations as he produced both Reservoir and Jonsi’s forthcoming album Go (as well as the new Swell Season album, Strict Joy, amongst others.)

by Katharine Wray

14 Dec 2009

This is a funny, entertaining and educational book—it’s the perfect, cringe free gift. Get High Now explores the avenues humans can go down (or up, depending upon your point of view) to alter their consciousness in the most wonderful way—without the aid of drugs. The book is basically full of experiments; from rubbing your closed eyelids gently until you hallucinate to smoking red ants. But you don’t have to be into insects to find something that works for you, here. Yogis have been practicing breathing methods that get them high, and rather quickly, for centuries. Why do you think they always look so blissed out? Along the lines of the old slumber party game, “Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board”, Get High Now is about tricking the mind, with no ill side effects. Well, except maybe from that ant thing. Can’t say I’ve tried it.

by PC Muñoz

14 Dec 2009

“The scene was littered with glass and band equipment, so we went to work salvaging our gear as the paramedics arrived. That’s when I had one of those life-defining moments. I found my vocal microphone out in the middle of the freeway, and I knew right then that music was what I was supposed to be doing. The mic still works; I sing on it every show.”

This is how Damon Castillo, songwriter and vocalist for the San Luis Obispo, California-based Damon Castillo Band, describes the revelation that visited him after a freeway accident in which his band’s van flipped over a number of times. The group later memorialized the moment for their fans by including an image of the wrecked vehicle on a t-shirt: a celebration of a serious and life-changing event… with a sly grin.

This kind of interplay between the deadly serious and the humorous, and the steely perseverance required to keep-on in spite of it all, is something Damon Castillo does with deceptive ease. His gorgeous voice, which can alternately caress a melody with a tender jazz feel, seduce a crowd with slow-jam sizzle, or spit rhymes with rhythmic yet characteristically laid-back precision, is a real-life wonder; one of my personal favorite discoveries of the past decade. His lyrics run the gamut from the whimsical (“Annie Hall”) to the quietly philosophical (“Revolving Door”) to the confrontational (“Claim to Fame”), while his ridiculously tight band cooks like a living, breathing, road-tested, California-pop-soul organism.

//Mixed media
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20 Questions: Rachael Yamagata

// Sound Affects

"After a four year break since her last album, Rachael Yamagata reveals a love of spreadsheets, a love for Streisand, and why it's totally OK to suck at playing guitar.

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