“Winter is coming.” That ominous mantra hangs heavy over the full arc of the inaugural 10-episode season of Game of Thrones, one of the best-looking and best-sounding shows on broadcast cable TV. And it’s even more fulfilling on Blu-ray — yet another high-water mark for HBO, undisputed kings of desirable packaging, high-def visual presentation, and fully engaging surround soundtracks.
Those wondering whether Aerosmith could still kick ass and take names live saw any lingering doubts dissipate with the band’s vibrant 107-minute show at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey on July 24.
Live music in surround: You just can't beat it. When S&V was asked if we'd like to head down to our nation's capital and see Alan Parsons do an installment of Artist Confidential in 5.1 for XM Satellite Radio back on March 4, we jumped at the chance.
If there’s one band from the ’70s that epitomizes the literal definition of the word harmony, it’s America. Gerry Beckley, Dewey Bunnell, and the late Dan Peek came together in London in 1970, three sons of U.S. Air Force personnel stationed abroad, and they quickly found their collective singing voices worked together quite well. “One of the key elements of America is that our vocal blend is very good,” agrees Bunnell. “I grew up into it myself, and I can now, in retrospect, hear the difference between blends when I hear other harmony singing. You’re lucky when you find those three or four voices that have this element that you can’t just make happen. It’s like a fingerprint — they’re all different.” Coupled with a knack for writing melodies and catchy acoustic guitar lines, America penned a score of instant sing-along Top 20 classics like “Ventura Highway,” “A Horse With No Name,” “Sister Golden Hair,” “Tin Man,” “Lonely People,” “I Need You,” and “Daisy Jane.” The band’s classic-era output has been duly remastered and collected in the eight-CD box set The Warner Bros. Years: 1971-1977 (Rhino), and its chock-full of enough audiophile-approved vocals and clear acoustic lines to keep your ears — and your speakers — in fine spirits for days on end. Recently, I got on the line with Beckley and Bunnell, both 63, to discuss the best examples of that magical harmonic blend, what it was like working with Sir George Martin as a producer, and their favorite collaborators.
With such a storied lineage, I have to ask you: When did you first become interested in gear and electronics? Well, despite growing up in a family famous for the invention of the 8-track player, unfortunately, I was not filled in by any of my relatives on the mysterious world of electronics.
Is it fair to say everything little thing Andy Summers does is magic? It certainly seems that way, as the onetime Police guitarist is experiencing a late-career renaissance, having recently dropped a diverse instrumental album, Metal Dog (Flickering Shado), and narrated an acclaimed documentary about his former band, Can't Stand Losing You: Surviving The Police (Cinema Libre). Summers, 72, and I recently spoke about creating those signature Metal Dog soundscapes, becoming a voiceover artist, and the (sorry) arresting nature of The Police's unique chemistry. His not-so-secret journey makes us all see light in the darkness.
Walk me through your recent HDTV buying experience. I found myself attracted to the LCD. Two of my very good friends - Dave Rodriguez, who's directed two upcoming films that I'm in, and John Barr, the director of photography on those films - they're plasma guys.
Anything you can tell me about what happens in Season 3? I just know that there are a few new characters and that we'll be delving into the story of The Others a lot more. And, um, some people are going to be dying, which is, um, interesting. And that's as much as I know.
So nobody is safe? Nobody is safe. That's correct.