Friday, March 23, 2012

New music I like: Amadou & Mariam - Wily Kataso (feat. Tunde & Kyp of TV on the Radio)

Today's best thing ever: Batmobile drag race video

See a preview of Fantagraphics' Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 3

Fantagraphics has posted an 18-page preview of its Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 3, which is out in May.

Editor Blake Bell provides a few details on his blog:
The 240-page book is all from 1957 (Ditko's output exploding that year to almost 500 pages of pencils and inks; a feat he matched in 1958, as well) and Ditko's line is far more assured than in previous years. This period in his career is unique; he draws heavily on his Eastern European heritage for the ethnicity in his faces, settings, manner of dress, etc. He also developed many of the motifs seen in his 1960s Marvel work during 1957.

BBC Radio this week - stream these shows

Click the links to stream the following programs:

Desmond Carrington's Icons of the 50s Available on BBC iPlayer
Desmond Carrington presents words and music from stars who were a hit during the 1950s

The Monkees' Story
Radio 2 pays tribute to Davy Jones by re-visiting this 2006 documentary.

The Secret Life of Danny Kaye
Hollywood actor Elliott Gould celebrates the life and career of Danny Kaye.

Doctor Who Available on BBC iPlayer
Time-travelling adventure series

Fear on Four Available on BBC iPlayer
Series of horror and suspense tales, hosted by the Man in Black

Ray Bradbury - Bradbury 13 Available on BBC iPlayer
Adaptations of the classic short stories by Ray Bradbury

The Goon Show Available on BBC iPlayer
Classic material from one of the all-time radio comedy greats

Weird Tales Available on BBC iPlayer
Series of chilling and intimate plays

6 Music at the Southbank Available on BBC iPlayer
Laura Marling, PiL, Gruff Rhys and Graham Coxon help celebrate 10 years of 6 Music.

McCartney on McCartney Available on BBC iPlayer
Paul McCartney discusses his career with presenter Mike Read.

Pete Townshend: Before I Get Old Available on BBC iPlayer
Documentary about the Who guitarist.

Vintage Photoplay covers: Janet Leigh

Thursday, March 22, 2012

McCartney's remastered Ram LP set for May release - full details

Ram is certainly one of Paul McCartney's best solo efforts. Long overlooked, in recent years, many fans and musicians have been singing its praises. So it's nice to see a remastered, expanded version on the way as part of Macca's current catalog overhaul.

Here's the press release:

Paul and Linda McCartney's 1971 album will be released across a variety of formats with new and exclusive content including a beautifully packaged Deluxe Edition Box Set- the ultimate collectable
"Ladies and gentlemen, this is an album from a long, long time ago, when the world was different.  This is an album that is part of my history - it goes back to the wee hills of Scotland where it was formed.  It's an album called RAM. It reminds me of my hippie days and the free attitude with which was created.  I hope you're going to like it, because I do!"
Paul McCartney, 2012 
Following the successful recent reissues of McCartney, McCartney II, and this year's Grammy winner for Best Historical Album Band on the Run, RAM is the latest album from Paul's iconic back catalogue to get the deluxe Paul McCartney Archive Collection treatment.  As with the previous releases in the series, Paul has personally overseen every aspect of the project and the result is spectacular.  In keeping with the reissue campaign to date, the Deluxe Edition Box Set is the ultimate collectable for any fan of this album.  Its stunningly presented 112-page book, photo prints, handwritten lyrics and notes, four CDs and a bonus film DVD, tells the full story of a classic album that has gone down in music history as one of the most revered in McCartney's catalogue.
RAM, originally released in May of 1971, is the only album to be credited to both Paul and Linda McCartney and was Paul's second post-Beatles LP.  It was overshadowed at the time by the drama of the dissolution of The Beatles, as played out in the world's media. The album topped the charts hitting  #1 in the UK and #2 in the US.  While RAM polarized critics upon its release, music fans and critics alike since have overwhelmingly embraced it, with Rolling Stone, for example, revising their original review up to 4 stars.  Recently RAM has enjoyed even further re-appraisal and acknowledgement including a number of tribute albums. 
RAM was written by Paul and Linda, mostly at their Scottish farm on the Mull of Kintyre.  In the autumn of 1970 they flew to New York to start the recording process.  Without a band in place they auditioned and drafted musicians, who included future Wings drummer Denny Seiwell and guitarists David Spinozza and Hugh McCracken.  
The band completed the album in early 1971 along with non-album tracks 'Another Day' and 'Oh Woman, Oh Why' which were released together as Paul's first post-Beatles single ahead of the release of RAM and became a Top 5 global hit.  The multi-disc editions of the RAM reissue include both songs as bonus tracks.  The album also gave Paul his first solo US number 1 single with 'Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey' and a Grammy win for Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists.
RAM was also issued in mono with alternate mixes, which were only made available to radio stations at the time.  This version has gone on to become one of the most sought after McCartney collectables.  It will now be commercially available for the first time ever on CD as part of the Deluxe Edition as well as a limited run on vinyl.
1977 saw the release of Thrillington, an instrumental interpretation of RAM, which was originally recorded in 1971 at London's Abbey Road Studios and was arranged by Richard Hewson.  It was released under the pseudonym Percy 'Thrills' Thrillington, an unknown eccentric socialite who often cropped up in mysterious newspaper classifieds.  In reality Percy was a character devised by Paul and Linda.  The idea behind it was simply to have some fun and the concept of doing a full orchestral album was an ambition long held by Paul.
The additional film content features previously unreleased and exclusive content including the brand-new documentary, "Ramming" narrated by Paul, as well as the original music videos for "Heart Of The Country" and "3 Legs".
The remastering work was done at Abbey Road using the same team who recently remastered the complete Beatles' catalogue. 
RAM will be available across a variety of different formats:

Single disc, digitally remastered 12- track standard edition

Remastered album and 8-track bonus audio CD including rarities, b-sides and the hit single, "Another Day".

Remastered album, bonus audio CD, remastered Mono album, Thrillington CD, bonus film DVD, 112 page book, 5 prints in vintage style photographic wallet, 8 full size facsimiles of Paul's original handwritten lyric sheets and mini photographic book of outtakes from the original album cover photo shoot.

Hi-Res: 24bit 96kHz files of the remastered and bonus audio CD, accessed via a download code inserted on a card within the deluxe edition package

Remastered album, bonus audio disc plus digital download of all 20 tracks

Remastered mono album

Digital: RAM will be available for download across a variation of digital configurations including Mastered for iTunes and High Resolution  

New Doctor Who companion announced, video interview

From the BBC:
As Doctor Who fans we are all familiar with the regular and often heart wrenching departure of the Doctor's companions but this is often accompanied with anticipation and excitement at what may lie ahead.
We've known about the Ponds departure since it was announced by lead writer and executive producer, Steven Moffat following a screening of this year's Christmas Special, The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe at London's Television Centre.
At the time he didn't give much away on how Amy and Rory would make their departure but did reveal the Doctor Would be getting a new 'friend' and now, after months of rumours and speculation the news we've all been waiting for was finally released this morning in the following press statement...
Jenna-Louise Coleman has beaten hundreds of hopefuls to become the new companion to Doctor Who, it was announced today by Steven Moffat.
Twenty-five year old Jenna from Blackpool will star alongside the 11th Time Lord, Matt Smith, to mark the biggest year in the show's history. Best known for her roles in Emmerdale (Jasmine Thomas) and Waterloo Road (Lindsay James), Jenna will replace Karen Gillan when she and Arthur Darvill bow out of the show in a heartbreaking departure after one final series of rollercoaster voyages later this year on BBC One.
Jenna says: "I'm beyond excited, I can't wait to get cracking; working alongside Matt I know is going to be enormous fun and a huge adventure." The Doctor will meet his new friend in a dramatic turn of events as the show builds towards its enormous, climactic 50th anniversary year - full of thrills, adventures and big surprises.
Series seven is currently filming and comprises 14 big, blockbuster-movie episodes - each a brand new epic adventure featuring new monsters and some familiar foes as you've never seen them before.
Lead writer and Executive Producer, Steven Moffat, says: "It always seems impossible when you start casting these parts, but when we saw Matt and Jenna together, we knew we had our girl. She's funny and clever and exactly mad enough to step on board the TARDIS. "It's not often the Doctor meets someone who can talk even faster than he does, but it's about to happen. Jenna is going to lead him his merriest dance yet. And that's all you're getting for now. Who she's playing, how the Doctor meets her, and even where he finds her, are all part of one of the biggest mysteries the Time Lord ever encounters. Even by the Doctor's standards, this isn't your usual boy meets girl."
Danny Cohen, Controller, BBC One, adds "As we approach Doctor Who's 50th anniversary it's great to welcome a new companion to the TARDIS. I feel confident the Doctor will look after her in his own very unique style."
In 2011 Jenna made her big screen debut in Captain America: The First Avenger and is soon to star as Annie Desmond in ITV1's Titanic. She has just finished filming on Stephen Poliakoff's Dancing On The Edge for BBC Two.

Moore, Roger Moore: Vintage pics from The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Vintage publicity photos from Dracula films

Beatles' Yellow Submarine film set for re-release on DVD, Blu Ray

From the press release:

The Beatles’ classic 1968 animated feature film, Yellow Submarine, has been digitally restored for DVD and Blu-ray release on May 28 (May 29 in North America). The film's songtrack album will be reissued on CD on the same date.

Currently out of print, the film has been restored in 4K digital resolution for the first time by Paul Rutan Jr. and his team of specialists at Triage Motion Picture Services and Eque Inc. Due to the delicate nature of the hand-drawn original artwork, no automated software was used in the digital clean-up of the film’s restored photochemical elements. This was all done by hand, frame by frame.
Bonus features for the Yellow Submarine DVD and Blu-ray include a short making-of documentary titled “Mod Odyssey” (TRT: 7:30), the film’s original theatrical trailer, audio commentary by producer John Coates and art director Heinz Edelmann, several brief interview clips with others involved with the film, storyboard sequences, 29 original pencil drawings and 30 behind-the-scenes photos. Both Digipak packages will include reproductions of animation cels from the film, collectible stickers, and a 16-page booklet with a new essay by Yellow Submarine aficionado John Lasseter (Chief Creative Officer, Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios).

Lasseter writes in his essay, "As a fan of animation and as a filmmaker, I tip my hat to the artists of Yellow Submarine, whose revolutionary work helped pave the way for the fantastically diverse world of animation that we all enjoy today."

Directed by George Dunning, and written by Lee Minoff, Al Brodax, Jack Mendelsohn and Erich Segal, Yellow Submarine began its voyage to the screen when Brodax, who had previously produced nearly 40 episodes of ABC’s animated Beatles TV series, approached The Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein with a unique vision for a full-length animated feature.

Yellow Submarine, based upon a song by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, is a fantastic tale brimming with peace, love, and hope, propelled by Beatles songs, including "Eleanor Rigby," "When I’m Sixty-Four," "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds," "All You Need Is Love," and "It’s All Too Much." When the film debuted in 1968, it was instantly recognised as a landmark achievement, revolutionising a genre by integrating the freestyle approach of the era with innovative animation techniques.

 Inspired by the generation’s new trends in art, the film resides with the dazzling Pop Art styles of Andy Warhol, Martin Sharp, Alan Aldridge and Peter Blake. With art direction and production design by Heinz Edelmann, Yellow Submarine is a classic of animated cinema, featuring the creative work of animation directors Robert Balser and Jack Stokes with a team of animators and technical artists.
"I thought from the very beginning that the film should be a series of interconnected shorts" remembers Edelmann. "The style should vary every five minutes or so to keep the interest going until the end." These styles included melding live-action photography with animation, 3-dimensional sequences and kaleidoscopic "rotoscoping" where film is traced frame by frame into drawings. The entire process took nearly two years, 14 different scripts, 40 animators and 140 technical artists, ultimately producing a groundbreaking triumph of animation.

 On April 24, Candlewick Press will release a new, compact hardcover edition of the Yellow Submarine picture book, a read-aloud journey for the whole family. Featuring the lighthearted wit of the film's script alongside original artwork from the movie that has charmed children and adults through several generations, the beautiful, 40-page book will be sold by retailers everywhere and on the Beatles Store ( An interactive digital version of the book is also available as a free download on Apple's iBookstore for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch at

New comics March 21, 2011

New releases of note. Click the links to order discounted items from Amazon.

Justice League: Rise and Fall

West Coast Avengers: Lost in Space and Time

Incredible Hulk: Past Perfect

Wolverine & Nick Fury: Scorpio

Nancy Is Happy: Complete Dailies 1943-1945

DC Universe Classics The Flash: White Lantern Collectible Figure - Wave 20

DC Universe Classics Reverse Flash Collectible Figure

DC Universe Classics Red Arrow Collectible Figure