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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Black Cards, we need to talk.

Hello my dear readers! Have you missed me? All apologies for going so long between posts. Getting settled into a new dimension can be rather jarring and I had to take a bit of a break after the speed run that was the year end review week. While I was gone, I made some plans for future reviews and my latest article went up at Steampunk Chronicle.

However, today’s subject is not entirely a happy one. In fact, it is what is commonly called a “Come to Jesus meeting” in the American South.

Black Cards, I need to have a few words with you.

If you don’t know, Black Cards is the current project of Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz. Initially starting out as a four piece band, the Black Cards had an impeccable way of mixing older influences with electronica music. Futurism with a good dash of retro, if you will. This was especially evident on their first single ‘Club Called Heaven’. The speakeasy victrola is well balanced with the electronic keyboard and the video even features lead singer Bebe Rexha as Jan in the Pan from The Brain That Wouldn’t Die.

Or should I say former lead singer? I’ll get to that after the video.

For the past year, the band had been working on songs for an album that was dubbed “The Unicorn” by fans. Occasionally, Wentz would leak demos of songs they had been working on and a few songs managed to make it out. My personal favorite would have to be ‘Dominoes’, but my friend Thaddea prefers ‘Take Me Down (Higher)’. For a while though, all we were getting was remixes of songs that weren’t by the Black Cards.

Then, on January 11th, this happened.

Without any warning or formal statement, the band’s bio was changed to show that the only members left in the band were Wentz and keyboardist Spencer Peterson. Every picture and song that included Bebe had been taken down. Fans were left confused for TWO DAYS before Bebe finally released a statement on her Facebook page that she was no longer in the band. It took Pete a whole two hours after that to release a statement about it through the Black Cards page. And of course, due to Pete Wentz’s confusing language, it was up to James Montgomery of MTV to clear up the news that Black Cards was going to keep doing stuff without Bebe.

…Where do I even begin about how very wrong this is?

It’s not the fact that Black Cards is continuing on without their lead singer. It is upsetting that a great talent like Rexha will no longer be in the group, but that’s not what is really wrong with this situation. Bands lose and gain members all the time. It can be through mutual decisions, sudden surprises, and just generally getting screwed over. The parting of the ways for Bebe and Black Cards is relatively tame in comparison to some.

What is really wrong with this situation is how poorly handled the whole thing was by Black Cards, Crush Management, and Pete Wentz.

First off, Wentz’s statement should have come out first. Not Rexha’s. Not the changes in the Facebook page. Wentz and Crush should have been upfront from the beginning that Rexha was no longer in the band. He should have also been a bit clearer about what the future of Black Cards will be. The average reader would probably not know that saying “The black cards are dead. Long live the black cards”  means there’s a regime change, not an ending.

Also, there is no assurance to the fans. None. I realize that the mixtape is coming out soon, but by only leaving your remixes of Gym Class Heroes and Rihanna on your page for the time being isn’t really assuring fans that the deck is being reshuffled. It just makes it seem like Black Cards has become just another remix project. If you want to let your fans know everything is going to be fine and that you know what you are doing, prove it.

The thing that I always come back to on this whole mess though is the Facebook bio. It was changed without warning and not even acknowledged for two days.

Two. Days.

That is a lot of time for confusion and animosity to fester. It was just made worse by the fact that the recently departed Rexha was the one who had to speak up first. I’m not sure if changing the Facebook bio early was a mistake by someone at management, or a deliberate attempt at sneaking her departure in under an already closely watched radar, but it was disrespectful. It was disrespectful to the fans and it was disrespectful to Bebe by trying to erase her life with the band without even acknowledging it was happening first.

Ultimately, I feel like this move has killed the Black Cards project before it even really got out of the gate. The album had been sitting on the shelf for a while, and now the voice behind those songs is gone. Wentz says he hopes that the songs with Rexha will see the light of day, but that’s no guarantee. The fan outrage and ship jumping has already started, and Pete Wentz will be fighting an uphill battle to prove that he didn’t waste everyone’s time with hopes and expectations of something cool and different. Considering the fact he already has to do that with trying to convince Fall Out Boy fans that he has to do this, that hill is getting pretty steep. It makes me worry that he’s going to end up tripping and fall backwards down the slope.

I’ve been wrong before, though. Perhaps there is an ace in the sleeve on this one, but the Black Cards are going to have to play it fast before losing the pot.

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Posted by on January 20, 2012 in Music

 

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Six(-ish) Things to Look Forward to in 2012!

Just a final reminder that there are only a few hours left to donate to The Extraordinary Contraptions kickstarter! Help a Steampunk band pull off a massive victory if you haven’t yet!

So, 2011 was a pretty good year in media, but what do we have to look forward to in 2012? Well, a lot of things, really! I’m here to highlight just a few of those things! Starting with…

6.) Indecision 2012

Elections are a rough and terrible time for everyone. It’s a lot of mudflinging, drama, and statements so painful, you could cry. However, for every election year, there is a shining light.

And that is The Daily Show’s Indecision coverage.

While Jon Stewart and his crew have already had a hell of a time covering the candidates so far, it’s sure to kick off into high gear this year as the Republicans pick a candidate and the various campaigns really get rolling. For every painful moment, you can be sure that The Daily Show will be there to cover it.

5.) New albums from Janelle Monae, Murder By Death, Shovels and Rope, The Extraordinary Contraptions, etc.

The exciting thing for any New Year for me is how much good music comes out. This year is already shaping up to be pretty awesome with Murder By Death, Shovels and Rope, Frenchy and the Punk, and my very own The Extraordinary Contraptions set to release new albums that are sure to appeal to the retrofuture lover in all of us. Even better is that the retrofuture cyberpunk queen Janelle Monae is planning on releasing not one, but TWO albums in 2012! And of course, that’s only just the tip of the iceberg. Perhaps we will see new albums from Mumford and Sons, Black Cards, and Muse! We’ll definitely be hearing new albums from VV Brown, Santigold, and Garbage. Hell, we might even find something new this year too and there is sure to be someone I missed! How can you not be excited?

4.) The League of S.T.E.A.M., Season 2! Coming soon to an Internet Browser near you!

After a very successful Kickstarter campaign, everyone’s favorite team of Steampunk Paranormal Investigators will be returning to your computer screens with new adventures! With a bigger cast and more gadgets to boot! And if you’ve seen either, you know that both are quite impressive! Of course, there’s still plenty of time to catch up on Season 1 before the next season starts!

3.) Archer (and hopefully The Venture Bros.) is coming back!

Archer season 3 is probably the earliest thing coming on this list. Picking up where ‘Heart of Archness’ left off, season 3 sees Ray Gillette permanently paralyzed and Sterling and Lana still stuck in their endless loop of feelings. And the first episode, ‘The Man From Jupiter’, has Mallory going out with Burt Reynolds, Archer’s very favorite actor. While time will tell how this season measures up, it’s already proving to be just as hilarious as the previous season.

As for The Venture Bros, not much is known about Season 5 so far. We know that Doc and Jackson have signed on for it, and that they’re writing. Hopefully though, we’ll see some new episodes this year. Or at least a hint of how this season is going. After how ‘Operation P.R.O.M.’ left off, it’s going to be a doozy of a season.

2.) The Avatar cycle continues with The Legend of Korra

While I still have yet to finish Avatar: The Last Airbender, I’m still excited to finally meet Aang’s immediate successor in the Avatar cycle. She’s a headstrong, muscular waterbender from the Southern Tribe named Korra. The series is already setting out to be much darker than the previous series, with Korra being older and more trained than Aang and her main enemy being those who wish to eradicate the Element benders. Oh, did I mention that the series stars a tall, muscular Inuit woman? I’m sorry, I’m just really excited for an action series to have this kind of protagonist! And with each episode of A:TLA, my excitement for the future grows.

1.) Archery being popular thanks to Katniss Everdeen, Clint “Hawkeye” Barton, and Princess Merida

There is going to be a strangely coincidental trend in action heroes next year. In that three of them in highly publicized movies are going to rely on a bow and arrow as their preferred weapon. While Hawkeye will probably not be the main focus of The Avengers, he’ll still be a part of the team Marvel has been building up to since the release of Iron Man in 2008. As for our other two heroes, they’re both dynamic female characters. One character who values her family above all, and one who realizes her fate is not tied to marriage. Well, maybe that applies to Katniss too. Either way, not only will this hopefully lead to a spike in girls taking up archery lessons, but maybe it will lead to girls realizing they don’t need a Prince Charming. That they’re just fine without him. Either way, The Hunger Games and Brave are sure to be two shining examples of women in action adventure films.

 

Thank you so much for reading my blog so far. May your 2012 be joyous and wonderful!

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2012 in Film, Internet, Music, Steampunk, Television

 

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