Wednesday, November 26, 2014 • Midnight Edition • "At least we're not CBR!"
Is Christian Bale's Batman A Prequel To Adam West's?

Is Christian Bale's Batman A Prequel To Adam West's?

By David Bird in Blog on March 6, 2011

Over at CBR Bill Reed makes an argument that's just so crazy... it might be true!Thanks to The Hub, I’ve been treated to an episode of the brilliant 1960s Batman TV show just about every night of the week. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve seen many of these stories, and I’m positively delighted to experience them once again. Being a tenth-level geek, however, has the back of my mind spinning, weaving together connections between the campy pop series and later Bat-lore. The inspiration it provided the Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher films seems readily apparent– Batman Returns borrows a plot from a Penguin episode, Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze may as well be Otto Preminger’s, etc– but what could 60s Batman possibly have in common with the grim avenger from the current Bat-flicks? Why, quite a bit, actually.You see, I’ve determined that Christopher Nolan’s Bat-films take place in the same continuity as the Adam West-led series. Yes– they are prequels, and I can prove it!And does he? Read the rest of the article here and decide for yourself!Originally Pubished at: David Bird

February’s Comics

February’s Comics

By David Bird in Blog on February 27, 2011

DC Comics Presents: Batman : Conspiracy #1: The is the second DC Comics Presents special I’ve picked up featuring the art of J. H. Williams III. Gotta wonder if they’re trying to raise interest in his upcoming Batwoman comic. This one features two stories. The first is a three issue tale from the now defunct Legends of the Dark Knight, written by Doug Moench. Bats is on the trail of cultic serial killers with mob connections. The case takes him to L.A., which is unusual. All-in-all a good story, but Batman is a little out of character at times. He trusts someone too much, and he almost seems to doubt himself at times. I can believe him utterly failing before I can believe him doubting himself. The art here is inked by Mick Gray and consequently doesn’t look like the Williams we’ve come to know. Its still strong. I don’t mean to imply Gray ruins it in any way. Its just different. The second tale, taken from Detective Comics, is one I’ve read before. Written by Dini, its just okay. Very pretty, but just okay. A strength of both stories is that Batman, the world’s greatest detective, does lots of detecting.B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth Gods #2: A very good issue. It ends at the same point as the last issue, telling the same story from the Bureau's perspective, and then takes us just one more panel further. Can’t wait to see what happens next!Bonus points for giving Prof. O'Donnell time to actually say something.Casanova Gula #2: Lots of sex and violence and sex. The sceptic in me wonders if this was to distract from Fraction's move away from the original Fell format (a highly condensed story, told in fewer pages, and sold for less money). By the end of this arc his pacing will be pretty normal.Hellboy: Sleeping & Dead #2: Our hero doesn't do much besides hit things and nothing happens that you don't see coming a mile off, but still an enjoyable conclusion to the last issue's story. I particularly liked the running gag about getting out of the car. Red Robin #20 & Teen Titans #92: Meh. I think they've taken the post-Identity Crisis Calculator a bit too far. First the techno-zombies in Batgirl, now robot duplicates all over the world. His IQ seems to rise as the story demands and its getting a little thin. He’s not Lex Luthor people! Also, Krul doesn’t make the best use of Damien. When written correctly, he’s great at taking the air out of Gotham’s too tightly wound Dark Knight(s). When he isn’t, he just comes across as a whiny brat.Question: When you remove a band-aid, do you do it slowly, hoping to minimize the pain, or do you just yank it off? This week I did a lot of yanking. I dropped four titles. Not a lot for many of you, but a third of my entire pull list. Gone are Batman Inc, Batman: The Dark Knight, Streets of Gotham, and Red Robin. I know there’s only been one issue of Dark Knight. I had intended to get the first arc, but there was nothing in issue one that said ‘You need this book!’ There’s only one issue of Streets to go, but I’d really lost interest a long time ago and I don’t think I need to waste another $2.99 just to have a complete run. Inc and Red Robin were both fine, but neither were gripping me. I may check out the trades later. We’ll see.That only leaves eight titles on my pull list and two of them, Batwoman and Dark Horse Presents, aren’t even out yet: The others are B.P.R.D., Casanova, Hellboy, Infinite Vacation, Mouse Guard and Rasl. Only two of those are published by the Big Two, Batwoman and Casanova, which is put out by a Marvel imprint. That my lowest level since 2004, when I started reading Identity Crisis and then expanded my reading into the greater DCU. I’ve been on capes binges before, often Gotham-centric, but never for this long. I don’t mind getting off that train. What I do mind is not getting out to my local. Its ingrained: Wednesday is comic book day. But for the last two months I’ve only had stuff to pick up every other week. One look at my pull list will tell you it’s not going to get better. B.P.R.D. is the only title that has anything like a monthly schedule. I keep telling myself that I want to switch to trades, and the number of series I follow in trade format is twice as long, but I just can’t seem to break the weekly habit. In fact, I no sooner cancelled the four above than I asked my local to get me issue one of Who Is Jake Ellis? Baby steps, people. Baby steps.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

Comics Archive Video

Comics Archive Video

By David Bird in Blog on February 24, 2011

What have I been doing with myself (given that I haven't been blogging)? One thing I've been doing is watching the growing number of very interesting video interviews at Comics Archive. Here's Denny O'Neil comparing writing on computers versus writing on typrwriters:Denny O'Neil Compares Writing on Typewriters and Computers from The Comic Archive on Vimeo.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

Rest in Peace, Dwayne McDuffie

Rest in Peace, Dwayne McDuffie

By Greg in Blog on February 23, 2011

The comic world has been hit hard today. I'm still in complete shock and overwhelming sadness over the news today that Dwayne McDuffie, also known as "The Maestro" to many of his fans has passed away due to surgery complications. Upon reading the news, I just sat staring at the screen in school, minutes passing by before I can do anything else. This is a truly sad time for a lot of comic book fans. I actually feel like I want to throw up right now. I've looked up to this man for years and bought and enjoyed so much of his work. Static, Deathlok, Icon, Hardware, JLU, Fantastic Four... We had even interacted to do an interview some point soon. One of my biggest goals was to finally meet this man in person. He's one writer I've looked up to for years that I've never got to meet. As a young black inspiring comic writer, McDuffie opened up my eyes to a lot of aspects of the medium concerning black characters and opening the field for a lot of those characters to be brought in through authentic feeling ways, showcasing characters that felt 3D. McDuffie has always been one writer I've aspired to be like in some of my craft, from his strong character development and commentary to his fantastic and hilarious humor that rang true to human nature, especially in jokes concerning those of African-American backgrounds. Upon telling my best friend this news, not only was he also in shock, but he then came up with a statement saying, "African Americans just took a step back in the comic book world." One can only imagine now with McDuffie's constant fighter for diversity within comics.More often than most, McDuffie always found a way to crack me up with character scenes. Here's one of my absolute favorites that never ceases to crack a smile on my face. I'm more than sure a lot of us black folks can relate to this scene in some way shape or form. Haha!Your guidance and heroism will continue to live on in my heart, Maestro. Thank you so much for all you've done and all your work will continue to do for me and many others as we continue to re-read your craft. Your stories will continue to be there for us. Thank you for all you've done and all your inspiration. A legend may have left our graces, but your grace is still among us.Condolences to all his close friends and family.Originally Pubished at: Minds of Greg

Godzilla Destroys My Local Comics Shop

Godzilla Destroys My Local Comics Shop

By David Bird in Blog on February 12, 2011

How's that for a promotional idea!Originally Pubished at: David Bird

Bias

Bias

By David Bird in Blog on February 10, 2011

Apparently there is a liberal bias in the social sciences. No. Really. I read it in the New York Times. According to Dr. Jonathan Haidt, University of Virginia, liberals not only make up a very large majority, eighty percent, but form a tribal-moral community that effectively excludes outsiders. Being a liberal he calls for inclusion, even of conservatives.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

World At Large: The Silent Majority

World At Large: The Silent Majority

By David Bird in Blog on February 8, 2011

One month ago Representative Gabrielle Giffords was meeting constituents in a supermarket in Tucson when a gun man walked up and shot her in the head. He shot nineteen people in all, killing six, including a young child and a federal judge. Like most people I was appalled. I was angered at the disingenuity of the right wing media, who have long made the baneful influence of media a central plank in their promotion of family values, but seem incapable of weighing the influence of their own behaviour. I also wondered about the apparent collapse of American civil society, the shared values that allow people with widely differing views to live peaceably together.And like most people I moved on. Right now Middle East unrest has everyone’s attention. Will Mubarak fall? How violent will it get? How much further will this unrest spread? And why not? After all, violence isn’t anything new in America. Much of its nation building was been at the barrel of a gun: the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, the many Indian Wars. Four of its presidents have been murdered. One senator was beaten almost to death on the floor of the Senate chambers itself. But I wouldn’t be writing about it now if it didn’t still bother me. How could things come to this? Is it an isolated incident? Given the four dead presidents and the many threats US politicos face, it obviously isn’t. Is it the Right’s fault? The Lefts? Personally, I think its time we placed the blame squarely where it belongs, with the great silent majority.Remember the silent majority? It’s a phrase Nixon coined in 1968. He wasn’t courting the support of the protestors in the streets, no, he was relying of the great number of Americans who didn’t like the way things were going and felt ignored by the media. It was a winning strategy, and in the decade to follow the right worked hard to capitalize on it, but the truth is the majority has remained largely silent. In a country that teaches its citizenry that they live in the greatest democracy in the world, most people don’t care. If a president isn’t on the ballot fewer than half even bother to turn up. And no one cares that no one cares. People’s eyes glaze over then you start talking about voter turn out. Those in power are happy about the situation. They’d never say it, but they consistently block any attempt to widen participation.You have to wonder at the health of a system when most people feel so alienated from their representatives--and that’s who your politicians are, your representatives--that they look on government as something totally divorced from their reality. But it isn’t hard to see where the hate comes from when you consider the long tradition of distrust Americans have towards government. Thomas Paine called it a necessary evil and for two hundred years Americans haven’t been debating whether he was right or wrong, but how much of this evil is really necessary. Disenfranchisement, real or imagined, is a part of American civil society. Now America isn’t Egypt, or China, or any one of a number of countries in which change isn’t going to happen from within the system. If you think the country’s in the proverbial hand basket, you can do something about it. Mark Twain once said, “A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read.” Likewise, a person who won’t vote has no advantage over one who can’t vote and a person who won’t act has no advantage over someone who can’t. Politicians, with very few exceptions, are not known for their moral courage. If enough people make up their minds to support something, government leaders will rush to the head of the crowd and gleefully announce that they were on our side all the time. But if people keep their collective mouths shut, they are ignored. And that’s the problem. Indifference, apathy, disillusionment, whatever you want to call it, the fact is most American’s are most content to complain than act. Even if acting means little more than casting a vote. US economic growth is anemic. Its international influence is waning. A prosperous, well educated nation is spinning its wheels. And a huge number of its citizens are silent. If you think right, of left, wing-nuts are in charge of the asylum, take a moment and consider if you’re one of the people who gave them the key.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

Canada Reads

Canada Reads

By David Bird in Blog on February 6, 2011

Its time! Canada Reads starts tomorrow.I've blogged about this before, but once a year CBC radio invites five well known Canadians to defend the book they think every one should read. Things were a little different this year, its the tenth anniversary, and the most important difference was that the show broke out of its typical Can Lit rut and nominated a graphic novel. Sara Quin, of Tegan and Sara, will be defending Jeff Lemire's Essex County.Now Can Lit (that's Canadian Literature) is one of the most hide-bound and parochial genres out there. I know this. I have been a Canadian bookseller for more than ten years. If there is one book listeners to this program are going to resist, its this one. I would be very disappointed, but not at all surprised, if this one the first voted off the show. So say a prayer, spin your prayer wheel, think happy thoughts, do whatever you can and give some support for Quin and Lemire.UPDATE: Essex was the first one voted off. Why? Because its a graphic novel. Full points to Quin for trying, but if you listen to the comments of the other panel members, its obvious they were never going to give it a fair shot.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

Godland Celestial Edition Two

Godland Celestial Edition Two

By David Bird in Blog on January 31, 2011

Writer: Joe Casey, Artist: Tom ScioliPublished by Image, 2010I can’t believe its only been three years since the last Celestial Edition. It feels like so much longer. For those few who don’t know the series, Godland is Casey and Scioli’s cosmic space adventure and the story of Adam Archer. Archer was the only survivor of our disastrous first manned mission to Mars. He survived only because of an encounter that transformed him into a cosmic superhero. Returned to Earth, the Pentagon has put him, and his sisters, up in the Infinity Tower. While publicly hailing him as a hero, the military, and much of the public, fear and distrust Archer and he knows it. The cast is rounded out with Archer’s sisters, a very entertaining Rogue’s gallery, and the expected alien visitors.Volume two focuses on the dynamics within the Archer family. Adam’s sister Neela was an astronaut herself, picked for the next Mars mission, only to see it and her career sidelined after the failure of Adam’s mission. She spent the first Edition resenting having to live in her brother’s shadow and took a radical step towards regaining control of her own life. The consequence of that decision plays out here, aliens try to destroy the Earth, and his Rogues… well, they seem lost in a sub-plot and don’t really bring as much to this volume as they did to the first. There is certainly no ‘Violence is the new black.’ I missed that, but you shouldn’t take it as a criticism of the book. Casey does a great job of keeping us entertained, engrossed, and turning pages. My only real problem with it was the cover art. I mean, why Lucky? He’s a C list character at best. Artistically we do see Scioli making some big changes. Kirby’s influence character design is toned down and a much more delicate line is adopted. The characters stop being blocky and become… willowy is the word that comes to mind. It took me a couple of issues to get used to it, but the people certainly look a lot better.In a market flooded with oversized, hardcover editions, this book is a high water mark. Beyond the twelve issues, for much less than the Big Two charge for these collections, we get a lot of extras; including an extended essay on the series, individual interviews with the creators, an issue by issue commentary by Casey and Scioli, and more! The commentary is especially interesting. They steer away from just trying to sell you a book you’ve already bought and discuss real problems and changes in the series.I have always enjoyed cosmic adventures myself. When I was a kid, way back in the 70s, Starlin’s runs on Captain Marvel and Warlock were two of my three favourites. In fact, The night I first started reading it I had a dream that was obviously inspired by this comic. That’s not something that happens to me--I can’t think of another comics inspired dream--but that’s Godland. It gets in your head. Its just the sort of ambitious, joyous, mad adventure you want to read when you open a comic.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

January’s Comics

January’s Comics

By David Bird in Blog on January 23, 2011

Shape of things to come. Although there were four Wednesdays in January, I only had comics to pick up on two of those days. I’ve got nothing coming this week; which is why I can review the whole month now. As I shift towards trades, there will, theoretically, at least, be more and more Wednesdays when I have no reason to go to the shop. I have a dozen monthlies on my pull list, but only six came out in January.B.P.R.D.: Hell On Earth: Gods #1: Solid beginning to a new arc. It introduces a new female character, who'll no doubt be replacing Liz. The only time a regular character turns up is for the final panel. My one complaint: titles should never have more than one colon.Batgirl #17: A fun issue in which nothing important happens. Its just Stephanie and Damien interacting and getting in trouble (and saving the day). It doesn't feel like money wasted, but its totally disposable fun. In fact, after reading it I decided to put this one on the trade only list. Hopefully they will make more of an effort to put them into trade than they did Cassandra’s run.Batman Streets of Gotham #19: Not bad. In fact, it is better than most issues lately. But this story arc wraps up with the next issue and then I am dropping it too. I picked this one up during the whole Batman Reborn run and never really intended to read it this long.Casanova: Gula #1: Reprints the first two issues of the Image run and adds an interview with Bryan Lee O'Malley. It's interesting to re-read this knowing the answer to the question everyone is asking, "When is Casanova Quinn?" The story practically screams the answer on every page, but I’m not going to spoil anything for you here.Infinite Vacation #1: Very good and an interesting idea. If there exists a multitude of alternative dimensions, each determined by the choices you’ve made, or could have made, what if you could buy the experience of living one of those other lives? And what if they had an app for that?Red Robin #19: Like Batgirl this is also disposable fun. But it is fun. Comics like this have me wondering if my superhero phase, which has pretty much dried up over the years, is completely over. I mean, I liked it, but I don't need it. One more issue and its done. That’s three series drawing to rapid ends. Soon the upcoming Batwoman will be my only superhero comic (and I am getting that one for the art’s sake). Also: for those who like to follow DC's proofing mishaps, this comic refers to the next issue as #21. As in "Next: The Teen Titans Crossover Begins In Red Robin #21! Red Robin Vs. Catman!" Guys, even in the DCU its 19, 20, 21.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

Oh, The Horror! #60: Frozen

Oh, The Horror! #60: Frozen

By Greg in Blog on January 10, 2011

I was original suggested this movie by my oldest god brother a few months back. Since then, I've been hearing other people from the online community recommending it and giving it rather good feedback. So a few weekends ago, I'm spending time with my older godbrother and one of my brothers and I finally sit down to watch Frozen. I didn't know this was even out in theaters, I assumed it was direct to DVD. But this seem to be a flop in the box office. After watching this, I do sort of wish I saw it in theaters just to hear the audience reactions through out. This move was very tense and director, Adam Green, set out to make a clear horror-thriller and in my opinion did a very fine job. It wasn't excellent but this was by far a very well executed horror film that I would truly recommend.The film follows three friends (two best friends and a girl friend) at a ski resort. They lie their way to pass and go on a sky lift and later on attempt to take advantage of this again only to accidentally get trapped in mid air. Due to mistakes and circumstances, they are left stranded there and the next time the resort will open will be in five days. So there they are hoping for the best as they're stuck in mid-air, freezing cold with no food, water, and no cell phones. This movie could have gotten incredibly boring but it seem near impossible too. The way shit and more shit started to go wrong kept you at the edge of your seat wondering how they'll get out of this mess. A true reason for the intensity of this film was due to the fact that something like this can indeed happen to anyone. It also got pretty exciting when wolves came into the picture, waiting for those humans to make a mistake and take advantage of that fresh white meat! The only really issue I had was that I was coming up with various ways they could have gotten out of quite a few predicaments, and sometimes they'd come up with it a bit too late. There were quite a few dumb decisions in this film that just made me want to face palm and could take away from some enjoyment.The movie could have been better than it was but that doesn't make it any bad of a film. It seems with a lot of horror films now, either they suck or either they have elements to be truly great films with some stuff missing. The acting was decent as such with the character work. Wasn't great but it did a well enough job for you to like the characters. Suspense was well made with some very good practical special effects. One of my favorite parts contains a particular shot of a wolf staring at one of the characters out of nowhere. The sub-plot seem to come out of nowhere yet it still set up right and added to the intensity.Once again, not a perfect film, but truly a good film to watch to pass the time and enjoy.Originally Pubished at: Minds of Greg

Oh, The Horror! #59: Black Swan

Oh, The Horror! #59: Black Swan

By Greg in Blog on January 6, 2011

So for my birthday shindig, I gathered some friends and family and headed straight to the theaters for a grand time of Black Swan.Wow... just... wow. I love this movie. I do, I truly truly do. I walked out of the theaters feeling as if this movie was done for me specifically. This is the type of movie that I continually pray for as a fan of horror. And not just horror, psychological horror. A solid and engrossing story? Check. Performance? Check. Great direction? CHECK! From beginning to end I was totally engrossed in the story Darren Aronofsky was presenting of a shy and innocent young ballerina dancer named Nina as she struggled with the pressures of being pushed to play the dual role of the Queen Swan. Now, the overall themes and sub-text may have been done before and is nothing new, but the execution and the telling of the story of this particular character was just so very strong. While you can argue there's ambiguity and things to think about, there's a lot of things spelled out to you through implications and obvious symbolism, but seeing Portman's portrayal of an artist going mad for perfection of her craft while also raising into a state of confidence just refuses to let you go. I truly felt glee watching how well made this film was, especially as a film-maker who feels very dishearten with a lot of the current output of what passes as horror films. Thank you, Aronofsky. You're one of the few who comes out to prove to me that I can still proud call myself a fan of this genre in this day and age. The direction, the cinematography, the fantastic and beautiful sound mixing and the beautiful score! Jeez!If you don't know the premise for this film already, Nina Sayers is a dancer in a NYC ballet company. She's been dancing for quite some time now and although has been known for her dedication and being a fantastic dancer, she doesn't quite have that special spark that truly makes her stand out. When the director of the ballet company decides he's ready for a new production, Nina, much to surprise, gets picked the lead role of the Swan Queen. In playing the Swan Queen, she must both portray the White Swan, innocent and sweet and kind-hearted compared to the Black Swan, the evil twin sister who's conniving and devious and sexual. She fits the role of the White Swan to a perfect T, but she lacks any resemblance of the Black Swan. She's constantly being pushed and a target of insults and sexual harassment by her director, Thomas (played by Vincent Cassel, a growing favorite of mine) while having to deal with her overbearing and protective mother (Barbara Hershey). Of course her life doesn't become any easier when Lily (Mila Kunis) from San Francisco joins the company, a dancer who is impulsive, confident and in other words pretty much is the Black Swan and essentially threatens Nina's chances of being Swan Queen. Nina starts to obsess over being perfect and can't seem to grasp a hold of her reality. Things go crazy and we're not sure if anything is what it seems.I had so many favorite parts and aspects of this film that it really is hard for me to pick one defining part. I actually found it surprising some criticism I've heard of the movie walking out with some friends and family as we all discussed the film. A lot of the discussion I would post here, but I truly don't want to spoil this movie at all. Just go and see it and have a grand time of fine directing.Originally Pubished at: Minds of Greg


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Top 20 Albums of 2010

Top 20 Albums of 2010

By in Blog on December 27, 2010

# Artist Album Label 1. Beach House Teen Dream Sub Pop |Listen|Buy| 2. Manic Steet Preachers Postcards From A Younger Man Columbia |Listen|Buy| 3. Band Of Horses Infinite Arms Fat Possum |Listen|Buy| 4. National High Violet 4AD |Listen|Buy| 5. Jenny & Johnny I’m Having Fun Now Warner Bros. |Listen|Buy| 6. Laura Veirs July Flame Raven Marching Band |Listen|Buy| 7. New Pornographers Together Matador |Listen|Buy| 8. Frightened Rabbit Winter Of Mixed Drinks Fat Cat |Listen|Buy| 9. Broken Social Scene Forgiveness Rock Record Arts & Craft |Listen|Buy| 10. Best Coast Crazy For You Mexican Summer |Listen|Buy| 11. Vampire Weekend Contra XL |Listen|Buy| 12. Arcade Fire The Suburbs Merge |Listen|Buy| 13. Twin Shadow Forget Terrible |Listen|Buy| 14. Black Keys Brothers Nonesuch |Listen|Buy| 15. Les Savy Fav Root For Ruin Frenchkiss |Listen|Buy| 16. Yeasayer Odd Blood Secretly Canadian |Listen|Buy| 17. Dum Dum Girls I Will Be Sub Pop |Listen|Buy| 18. Broken Bells Broken Bells Columbia |Listen|Buy| 19. Four Tet There Is Love In You Domino |Listen|Buy| 20. Stars The Five Ghosts Vagrant |Listen|Buy| Honorable Mention: Sun Kil Moon – Admiral Fell Promises – Caldo Verde Avi Buffalo – Avi Buffalo – Sub Pop Posies – Blood/Candy – Rykodisc Pernice Brothers – Goodbye, Killer – Ashmont Nada Surf – If I Had A Hi-Fi – Mardev Marnie Stern – Marnie Stern – Kill Rock Stars Sarah Harmer – Oh Little Fire – Zoe Bettie Serveert – Pharmacy Of Love – Second Motions Freedy Johnston – Rain On The City – S/R Teenage Fanclub – Shadows – Merge Matt Pond PA – The Dark Leaves – Megaforce Neil Young – Le Noise – Reprise Local Natives – Gorilla Manor – Frenchkiss Originally Pubished at:


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Playlist:  Best Songs of 2010

Playlist: Best Songs of 2010

By in Blog on December 27, 2010

Below is a playlist featuring some of the best tracks off the albums listed on my Top 20 list of 2010.  If you do not see the embedded playlist below please follow this link. Originally Pubished at:


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Playlist:  Best Songs of 2010 – Honorable Mention

Playlist: Best Songs of 2010 – Honorable Mention

By in Blog on December 27, 2010

Below is a playlist featuring the best tracks off of my Best Albums of 2010 Honorable Mention list. If you do not see the embedded playlist below please follow this link. Originally Pubished at:

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