A Song For Saturday Special

Lagwagon – May 16

You’ll either find this cool, or find me completely lame, but every year on this day I’m reminded of a really cool song simply because of today’s date.

You may have first heard May 16 by the American pop-punk band Lagwagon on Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 – in fact, perhaps you could be tempted to break out the PS2 (or semi-faulty backwards compatible PS3) today to play a few rounds in tribute.

 

Elsewhere, on the THPS2 soundtrack there are some great songs alongside some…not so great ones. For every Bad Religion gem there’s an ill-advised Papa Roach follow up; just as Anthrax and Public Enemy bring the noise, Powerman 5000 brings the annoyance.

The Tony Hawk’s series is, no doubt, a classic – easily some of the most playable and most challenging of console games of all time (and soon to include the recently-announced THPS5! Perhaps a debate looms on the horizon…) but nostalgically, the original Tony Hawk’s Skateboarding is untouchable; it even made my Influential 15 Video Games list.

Tony Hawk's Skateboarding PS1

Soundtrack aside though, the great leap from first to second game was astounding – even for its release on the original Playstation – and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 does have its many, many charms; just as an example, if you ever had the rather specific thought of “hey, I want a skating game where I can theoretically manual forever,” then this game no doubt did the business for your very precise demands. (Just as it did me in, whenever playing a game of H-O-R-S-E against a couple of friends who had had far too much manual practice).

But the game’s ratings speak for themselves; according to the all-time Metacritic list, only Ocarina of Time has a higher rating! In ALL games! Ever! I cannot believe what an achievement that is. (Even better when you consider that the following game in the series rates so highly too, even on a superior console it scores a point fewer.)

I guess I know what I’m playing on this sunny Saturday afternoon! (Yes, indoors on a sunny Saturday afternoon, don’t you judge me.)

A Tune For Tuesday (and the rest of the week) – Seven Days In The Sun

At the time of publishing this post I’ll be on my way to the airport with my good lady for a well-earned week in the sun.

We got the packing out of the way this weekend so that I could really get down to some difficult decisions on Monday; namely, what books I’m taking and the all-important contents of my iPod.

So with a couple of new books for my Kobo, the entire back catalogue of the excellent Calling Spots wrestling fanzine and plenty of podcasts stored up, we’re heading off for a week.

To celebrate, here’s a couple of my very favourite summery tracks.

 

The Beatsteaks – Summer

 

I’ve loved this song ever since it showed up on the P-Rock music channel, many many years ago. The video shows life on the road for a rock band and the ways they can combat boredom, while also being a very sweet tribute to the bonds of band brotherhood.

 

Feeder – Seven Days In The Sun

 

You know when you’re walking somewhere with your headphones on, you turn a corner and see the sun coming out. The sun gives you a little rush, then a big tune comes on and you feel an even bigger surge?

This song is THE song that just started playing.

 

What gets you in the mood for summertime? Comment below! See you soon!

A Tune For Tuesday – Happy Mario Day!

Today is Super Mario Day. I approve.

I don’t even know when this started being a thing, but the marketing geniuses at Nintendo did something clever with their Calendar phone apps to decide that as today is the 10th of March, or rather, Mar10, that it should be Mario Day.

SuperMarioBros

I guess I’m okay with this. He is the face of many a brilliant video game after all – from the original trilogy of games for Super Nintendo (and especially Super Mario Bros. 3 which was the first one to really hook me into console gaming) to the recent stunning Galaxy games, not to mention the Mario Kart series which is easily my favourite racer of all time.

When it comes to Mario music, you know there’s so many tracks to choose from.  More than 30 years’ worth, in fact, across a multitude of gaming platforms each with their own distinct sound. From 8-bit original goodness to massive orchestral versions, the soundtracks are always a highlight, and one of the staples of a memorable video game – in fact, it’s basically unfair that Mario hogs so many of the musical highlights of video game culture.

How best to celebrate Mario Day? Well, seeing as it’s Tuesday, why not write a long-winded introduction to my less than semi-regular series celebrating the best geek culture music of all time.

Outside of that theme tune, it’s far too hard to choose a single piece – so instead I’m going with the entire Super Mario Galaxy OST.

 

Alternatively, why not celebrate Mario day by trying one of the following:

  • Take your princess to another castle.
  • Wear a tanooki onesie. (They must exist, right?)
  • Duck down atop a large white building and see if you disappear behind it.
  • Watch the Super Mario Brothers movie starring Bob Hoskins. Actually, god, no, please don’t.
  • Play the damn games.

How will you celebrate Mario Day?

A Tune For Tuesday – ‘All My Friends’ in Lego

LCD Soundsystem depicted in Lego – everyone’s a winner.

This weekend I’ve been enjoying the DVD of the final ever LCD Soundystem gig, the very definition of going out with a bang; with the band’s tight performance superbly overlaid with a strong sense of occasion by charismatic leader James Murphy.

Given the sporadic nature of my weekly Tune For Tuesday I recalled a pretty stunning video made for their amazing song ‘All My Friends’ – a definite highlight of that final performance due to the context – “this could be the last time, so here we go” – that needed to be featured the very next time I remembered to post one.

The actual video itself is pretty bloody special – another gem discovered at the end of a long night’s drinking with friends and so padded with its own special meaning to me.

But this particular version is something all geeks are sure to enjoy – the entire video remade in Lego form.

Take it away, Brick James.

A Tune For Tuesday – ‘Civilization’ from Fallout 3

The Andrews Sisters and Danny Kaye, with a standout track from a game that’s already brimming with soundtrack quality, Fallout 3.

To celebrate the fact that I’ve put a silly amount of time into another playthrough of Fallout 3 during some holidays from work, I thought I’d share one of my favourites from the game.

Of course it’s from Galaxy News Radio – because I’m not about to share anything from Enclave Radio (unless it was ‘Stars And Stripes Forever (hopefully not forever)’ from The Simpsons.

“That’s some nice flutin’, boy.”

I don’t know how popular The Andrews Sisters were – before my time, obviously! – but they’ve also featured in BioShock, Mafia II and L.A. Noire – so they must be the go-to group for that old-timey feeling when setting the scene.

This is ‘Civilization’, recorded with Danny Kaye.

Which is your favourite song from the GNR soundtrack? Leave your answers in the comments!

A Tune For Tuesday – from Mirror’s Edge

This week’s Tune For Tuesday is by a Swedish singer named Lisa Miskovsky. She’s an established Swedish musician who, among other achievements, performed at the final of Melodifestivalen 2012 – the national qualifier for Sweden’s Eurovision entry.

Her song, Why Start a Fire?, finished ninth while the winning entry, Euphoria by Loreen, went on to win the Eurovision Song Contest that year with the highest number of 12-point awards given by the judges in history.

But this one’s better anyway; it’s the official song to EA’s Mirror’s Edge soundtrack, sung with passion and drive, and itself with almost a million YouTube views. Not too shabby I’m sure you’ll agree, considering the game’s worldwide success.

A Tune For Tuesday Returns – Wrestling Anthem

In a swerve worthy of Vince Russo, the WWE waited until approximately two minutes before the expected debut of the Network last night to tell us UK fans that the switch on was delayed “until further notice”.

What a swizz.

640px-WWF_Champion_Bret_Hart

But never fear, because we’re going to have ourselves a bit of a relaunch on this very site.

Back again on Tuesdays, it’s the as-yet unnamed weekly music video, celebrating the best of geek culture.

And in honour of that Russoesque storyline turn, we’ll begin with one of the world’s finest wrestling anthems.*

*This might be a lie, but DAMN it’s 90s.

Bret Hart is one of the best wrestlers I’ve ever seen, but it’s a good job he could wrestle cos he never was much cop on the microphone – this song included. The line at the end where he says “there’s a new gun in town” – well, unless you won the WWF Championship in your very first match, you’re hardly a new gun are you?

Then again, everyone on there is a bit rubbish. There’s only the Big Boss Man who looks remotely comfortable, and that’s cos he gets to swing his nightstick about while he talks.

And if that didn’t cheer you up, let’s have an actual bonus wrestling match from 2000. The debut of…

insipid-taz-commentary

From Royal Rumble 2000. Let’s treat ourselves to Tazz throwing Kurt Angle about like a ragdoll.

Hope that cheered you up. Now I’m off to work on my promos.

A Tune For Tuesday from GTA V

I’m always curious when I put a song on to know where else in the world someone could be simultaneously listening to it. Fair enough if it’s my local radio station cos then it’s easier to assume than it is if I just load up an iTunes playlist.

Today, however, I get the feeling that plenty of people will be listening to this song at the same time. Just a hunch, really.

A Tune For Tuesday: Vigil

I got on the Mass Effect train very late on, and as such am only now completing the trilogy (for the second time) with a playthrough of the third game. When my Shepard stands in the War Room, above the mechanical hum of starship engines and other general techy stuff, you can just barely pick this out:

This gorgeous piece of music. An article on Kotaku explains it so much better than I could, but for me this is just another beautiful piece of the puzzle that is Mass Effect. I mean, sure, it’s a fairly mindless shooter during the gameplay – not a genre I’m very keen on in the age of Bros of Duty – but the story surrounding it is just some of the most brilliant stuff ever committed to disc. It’s so sweeping and epic that only beautiful music like this could have come from it.

What’s your favourite track from the Mass Effect trilogy?

A Tune For Tuesday – F-Zero GX/AX

As this here site approaches its 100th post I’ve got double reason to celebrate – the month of July has seen my little Guide To Geekdom break the 500 views barrier, which makes me very pleased.

F-Zero_GX_box_artwork

To say a special thank you, here’s Mrs. Arrow.

 

I reckon I’ll be taking things up a notch after Post 100, which means a cheeky site redesign and maybe just a few actual Guides To Geek Living; clothing, slang and so on. Just a little sneak preview there.

Guess I’d better get on with making sure Post 100 is something special in itself, huh?