Tuesday, April 21, 2015

NJ T-Shirt Tuesday 118: Jolly Voorhees!


It's not often that I'll actually model the t-shirt for this column, so savor this moment while it lasts. Earlier today I posted this pic on my Instagram, which you should follow if you haven't already and I will most likely follow you back as long as you aren't some fake robo-account, so you can see dumb pics like this that I tend to post. Today's shirt, The Jolly Voorhees, arrived today in my mailbox and it features a design by a favorite artist of mine from South Jersey, Blair J. Campbell.

Mr. Campbell has created hundreds of awesome designs that you've seen on t-shirts and basically all over the Internet. He's responsible for some of my favorite pop culture mash-ups that run the gamut of cartoons and comics to movies and TV shows.

The Jolly Voorhees is another one of his brilliant fusions. The skull and crossbones is a logo notorious for letting everyone know that whoever has a Jolly Roger flag are usually evil pirates. Mix that with my favorite horror film franchise, Friday the 13th, and it doesn't get much better than this! This black tee's graphic depicts Jason Voorhees' mask with 2 machetes crossed underneath with a dripping red number 13. PLUS, the entire graphic is subtly splattered with blood.

Aside from taking this silly selfie today, I was also excited to see that Jerry Bruckheimer tweeted the first pic of Captain Jack Sparrow from the set of Pirate of the Caribbean 5! On top of all this, it's T-Shirt Tuesday, so it felt like fate that this all happened all in one day and I just had to tell you all about it.

Check out all of Blair's other t-shirt designs including his Star Wars Red Five tee in the Top Gun style - it's a classic! You can see more at his Teepublic shopAND OMG HIS ZIGGY STAR TREK IS INSANELY GOOD!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

AD JERSEUM 19: That Gekko Grabs Some Free Advertising with his Foam Finger!

So Much New Jersey Advertising, It'll Make You Vomit!

 photo GeicoNJCommercial201501_zpslvuxwoqq.jpg

"So, what brings ya to Jersey?" a driver of a car on the New Jersey Turnpike asks his passenger in the back seat. Sitting contently is none other than the Geico gekko, who goes on to brag about how his company Geico is the number one car insurance company in the Tri-state area.

He then pulls out an extremely tiny foam finger to bestow his appreciation on this New Jerseyan for helping to gain this milestone. The driver accepts it and is left dumbfounded. All he can say is "That's great." Although this commercial wasn't the funniest of Geico ads, the gekko always amuses me. I find it surprising at how many people tell me that can't stand this little limey bugger! He's a good dude, cut him some slack.

 photo GeicoNJCommercial201502_zpsqzfpyhxw.jpg

I hate giving free advertising to giant companies like this, but it's impossible for me not to throw some attention at this crisp eating mascot since he winds up in New Jersey quite frequently. In fact, the Geico Gekko was previously the subject of the first ever installment of our Ad Jerseum column way back in 2010! You can read about the Gekko at the Loews Jersey Theatre in Jersey City, NJ right here!

*Thanks to Miss Sexy Armpit for letting me know about this one!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

NJ T-Shirt Tuesday 117: NJ Devils Masked Intentions



For a fairly accurate indication of my knowledge of sports, you can just watch The Lonely Island's "We Like Sportz."

Upon this admission, it wouldn't be fair to categorize today's NJ T-Shirt Tuesday as a sports post. And don't start fuming if you hate the Devils, this is a New Jersey blog after all, so don't hold it against me! I don't even know enough about the NHL landscape this season to offer much in the way of Hockey commentary, besides, you can go to sports blog for that. I will say that I know that the Devils haven't had the best season, but this t-shirt will make you quickly forget that.

Inclusion of this tee here at The Sexy Armpit was such a no-brainer that it was like scoring an empty net goal. See, I know a little. What I dug about the New Jersey Devils officially licensed "Masked Intentions" t-shirt is that it's an imposing combo of various things.

First, the mostly white graphic on the plain black tee calls to mind Sons of Anarchy. The overall design of the shirt is reminiscent of the famous Sons logo that has been copied so many times, especially on t-shirts and hoodies up and down the various boardwalks down the shore. The red outline provides the final touch in capturing the Devil's color scheme while simultaneously adding a demonic quality. Hence, those red eyeballs peering out from the creepy goalie mask could mean that it's the actual Jersey Devil heading out on the ice, or a goaltending T-800.

At the bottom, one word brings it all together like that damn rug in The Big Lebowski. HALLOWEEN...of course! This must have been a special Halloween edition t-shirt. I'm several months late on this, but sometimes I prefer it that way. It's like finding buried treasure. Now what do you say we go slap some pucks or something?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

My Top 6 Favorite Dirty Pearls Songs

 photo dirtypearlslogo.jpg

The Dirty Pearls are one of my favorite rock bands...ever. For me to put a band in such a prestigious category is a testament to just how damn good they are. About 8 or 9 years ago they began to pump blood into the New York City rock scene. Their kickass songs, showmanship, and rock and roll attitude elevate them from an independent band driven for success into what I consider legendary. If it sounds like I'm embellishing, I'm not. These guys have been friends of mine for many years and I've simultaneously been one of their biggest supporters from the very early days.

The Dirty Pearls flawlessly incorporate sleek guitar riffs and headbanging drums with pop hooks and serve it all up on a grand scale. Every time I witness them on stage it's as if they are a masterful arena rock band who skipped a grade. To top it off they pull a Springsteen and refuse to leave the stage until you are 100% in awe.

Although they are primarily known for their NYC shows, once in a while, they've thrown New Jersey a bone. Over the years, they've played down the shore in Asbury Park at The Saint, The Stone Pony, and The Wonder Bar, and even up in North Jersey at the Wellmont Theatre in Montclair. They've opened for KISS, and so many other giant acts, but their New York City shows are iconic.

In this post I'll describe songs that I have memories attached to and that's a lot to say for a modern, independent band. It's easy to claim to have awesome memories of songs from bands you grew up listening to or discovered in your teenage years because they've lasted a lifetime. Those songs may have gone from the mix tape you used to play in your Walkman, to the mix CD you blasted in your car, to the iPod playlist you listened to while sharing earbuds with your favorite girl (or guy!) The impact that the 'Pearls have had on myself and their fans is thanks to their tireless commitment to their music, and their fans. They perform unforgettable concerts and have created moments that will last a lifetime. Check this out, here's one that I was front and center for. It was when the 'Pearls and DMC joined together on stage for "Walk This Way." It was insane. The place went nuts, the floor was literally shaking.


These guys are amazing songwriters. It's not often that modern bands get truly get commended for their songwriting abilities, but the 'Pearls are an exception. What makes their tracks so original is that  it's not easy to pinpoint exactly the influences because they love it all. The entire band are music fiends. You can't call them a "junior" version of any previous band. The Dirty Pearls songs flawlessly intertwine their passion for the music they love and the music they want to hear which equates to truly original rock/pop tracks for this generation. I connect with these songs. All of The Dirty Pearls songs are staples on my iPod, but here are 6 of my absolute favorite tracks from The Dirty Pearls. 

6. "Sucker for a Sequel" The Dirty Pearls EP

There are 2 versions of this song. My preference is for the early version from the The Dirty Pearls first EP, not only because it was the one that I listened to for a long time before their full length debut album was released, but also because only some of the tweaks that were made in the latter version were better than the original. After speaking to frontman Tommy London about it, much of the changes were influenced by their debut album producer, David Kahne, but he won a Grammy so I digress.

The original version is some badass bombastic bluesy bar rock, you might pick out an early Aerosmith vibe and some booze fueled sleaze in the vein of Faster Pussycat. There's also a brilliant breakdown that calms the mood only to leave you primed for the chorus again. The newer version, still great, lacks the natural flow of the predecessor and has a noticeable pop sheen, which is never a bad thing, but the irony here is that this song is actually a sequel to their song about being suckers for a sequel. If you understand that, then great, either way, I'm still a sucker for the original!

5. "Gimme Gimme" - The Dirty Pearls Volume 2 EP

This "oldie" from the band didn't make the cut on their debut, Whether You Like It Or Not, but it still embodies the type of party rock with a punk streak that will blow you away at a Dirty Pearls show. This one will have your fist in the air and ready to rock out.

4. "Dynamite" - Unreleased (...so far!)

Not sure if frontman Tommy London will get mad at me for even writing about this, but they played this track at the Stone Pony back in May 2013 and I have no idea if it will surface on their upcoming sophomore full length album, but I'm really hoping it does. I recorded the song at the Pony so I've been able to hear the live version often, but for the masses, I'd love if you could hear a studio version! It's a simple, energetic, hard rocking pop gem with a dash of the '80s. Imagine a harder rock version of The Romantics if they were produced by Ric Ocasek. The result is nothing less than "Dynamite." With the refrain "...Your love is like dynamite," this one is sure to be the soundtrack to think about your crush, if it surfaces.


3. "Who's Comin Back to Who" from Whether You Like it or Not

Much of Whether You Like It Or Not was pop influenced, and I'm so on board with the pop/rock marriage, especially when The Dirty Pearls are delivering the vows. Infectious vocal harmonies, giant drums from Mary E., an insane guitar solo, and a phenomenal breakdown beat will make you clap your ass off. And a fun fact for ya: I WAS IN THE F'N VIDEO! It doesn't get much cooler than that shit. It's the unnominated winner of Best Video at the MTV VMAS in 2011. It's such a kickass video directed by my friend, Jersey guy, and Starkiller lead singer, Jasin Cadic, check it out above. Finding me in the video is like Where's Waldo. To read more about my experience in the video read this.



2. "Static" from Whether You Like it or Not

The video for this song was directed by Matt Weckel and filmed with an Xbox Kinect! It's one of the coolest videos since The White Stripes were big. The sick visuals merge perfectly with this track that's a pounding pop rock assault with some sick grooves. Put this on when you're alone and you'll be singing and dancing in front of your mirror like a silly asshole in no time. I know from experience.


1. "New York City Is a Drug" - Whether You Like it or Not

This one was originally a single released to iTunes, but was a no brainer to be included on their debut album since it captures the essence of the band. I'd say it's gospel that this is The Dirty Pearls signature track and there's probably not too much debate on that. Although, with two EPs, a debut album, and another whopper of an album on the way, I bet they have a couple of other classics up their sleeve.

Take Sinatra for instance, sang about New York City. Old Blue Eyes was from Hoboken, just a short swim across the river, but still, Hoboken wasn't the pounding heart of the world. Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind" is bar none unbeatable, but it's not inspiring any headbanging as far as I know, unless you do some serious audio editing. That brings me to KISS. They sang about Detroit, but they were from New York City, so go figure. Thanks to The 'Pearls, we have our quintessential rock tribute to NYC. This atmospheric track will make you envision all that late night debauchery in the lower east side of Manhattan, but with a bit of drama and bombast.

This song hits home to so many people, you may not be one of them yet if you aren't familiar with the band, but you will be soon. It's dedicated the downtown New York scene, it's for the crew of people at the bars who love to party, it's for the crew at Jerome's, it's for their fans, the late nights, the fun, the booze etc, and conversely it's not only for New Yorkers, it's for anyone who loves and thrives off being with their crew on their own stomping grounds. Hell, if there was anything cool to do in New Jersey, this track would've inspired me to write a song about my exploits, but in the meantime I'll just continue to live vicariously through The Dirty Pearls enjoy

The sentiments in this song and leaving a Dirty Pearls show always leave me feeling high on life. Or maybe it's just the vitality of New York City? Sure I'm all about New Jersey, but they're singing about a metropolis that looms over my town merely miles away in the distance - New York City is where it all goes down.

The rest of my favorites list includes tracks like "Caffeine and Gasoline," "Whether You Like it or Not," "Bring on the Night," and "Love Sick Love." Get their track on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, and their videos are on YouTube. Click Here for their official site!

The Dirty Pearls are LIVE! Tonight at the Brighton Bar in Long Branch, NJ

Friday, April 03, 2015

From Mallrats to Miracle World: Monster Mania Adventure Part 3

 photo cherryhillmall01_zps0mhkeeas.jpg

Enhancing the ambiance of our departure from Monster Mania was the gray skies, rain, and my fogged up windshield. I couldn't have asked for a more picturesque day. The sun is nice once in a while, but for this type of weekend, I prefer it to be a horror movie outside. If you've been reading along you know there's a few more stops to make before heading home. Where we're going we don't need Google Maps...actually, wait, yes we do. Shit, why did you throw the GPS out the window? Pull over.

It may sound pretty generic, but my first stop was the Cherry Hill Mall. The mall was only a few minutes from Monster Mania so it would've been a crime not to stop there. Shannon from Mallrats ™ wouldn't have any reason to criticize me because I actually did have a very specific shopping agenda. I wasn't going to buy men's slacks, nor was I looking to get some junk jewelry and scrunchies from Easy Pickins. Nope, I was there for refreshment of the liquid type. Matt and Ms. X had no clue what the hell I was up to.

I must've driven around the entire mall 12 times before I finally settled on a entrance tucked away in a corner. Naturally, this entrance couldn't have been further from our eventual destination within this "monument of consumerism" (Mallrats ™.) I can't help myself with the Mallrats references, I'm already getting excited for the sequel.

 photo orangejulius03_zpsub6jwpiq.jpg

For the last several months, I'd been overcome with an insane craving for an Orange Julius. The problem was that there's no Orange Julius places near me. There's a Dairy Queen nearby, the company that owns them now, but I really wanted an Orange Julius from a standalone Orange Julius store, is that too much to ask? Getting an Orange Julius from a shop that's solely a Dairy Queen is like getting a Dole Whip any place that's not Disney World.

 photo orangejulius02_zpsa1bf0ip9.jpg

The mall by me had and Orange Julius for as long as I can remember, but it closed down several years back and millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror. This was devastating and I haven't been able to indulge in one in a long time. I remember my mallrat days and there wasn't a mall visit that went by when I didn't have either an Orange Julius or an ICEE in hand.

Man, things have changed. It seems like all the good shit has to be 5 thousand miles away nowadays (we took quite a trip just to get Ghostbusters donuts the morning they came out), so incorporating the satisfaction of my craving into the MM weekend worked like a charm. And now, behold, the greatest photo you will ever see of an Orange Julius sitting on top of a trash receptacle in Cherry Hill Mall. Its a very specific genre of avant garde photography. I'm presently teaching a lab course on this at The Learning Annex.

 photo orangejulius01_zpsi4a9qba8.jpg

After my tastebuds took part in a delightfully euphoric makeout sesh with that creamy orange goodness, it was onto the next stop, all while obnoxiously sipping an empty cup thinking some extra Julius would magically get sucked up through the straw. It wouldn't be right if we didn't make our way to at least one flea market on this trip. After the sad news about The Columbus Flea Market, which we visited last time, I felt that we should drop into another popular Jersey flea market.

 photo collingswood01_zpseoc2ezes.jpg
I wonder if Ivannah with the 3rd nipple was doing the psychic readings in that room back there?

Surprisingly, I've lived in New Jersey my entire life and had never been to the Collingwood flea market. History was about to change. With the rain, we didn't get to experience the outdoor vendors, although the inside had old school superhero murals on the wall that had clearly been neglected and covered up over the years. They might have been the most intriguing thing about this place for me.

 photo collingswood05_zps3oea4kdw.jpg

 photo collingswood08_zpsy8jufkb5.jpg

We also stopped into a comic shop within the market which sort of reminded me of the vibe of a comic store I used to go to at the old US1 Flea Market.

 photo collingswood02_zpsi7qdzspt.jpg

From what I saw, the Collingwood market isn't as eclectic as Englishtown, nor as amazing as Columbus was, yet still a worthwhile stop if you happen to be in the area. #Undertak

 photo collingswood07_zpsleyjg2ma.jpg

Have you had enough? You can't tap out just yet, there's one more detour to make before we get home: Zapp Comics in Manalapan. This was my first time at this shop and it was awesome to see that they offered such a wide selection of new comics, back issues, action figures and collectibles. It's where Matt picked up Odious Ogre from Dungeons and Dragons. There's something awesome about a store who has tons of used action figures in plastic Ziploc bags neatly stocking the pegs. Makes them feel brand new, even though they are not MOC or MIP. They are OPP, but not BBD.

 photo zappcomicsNJ_zpsjc58sl9t.jpg

After all this blousing, I mean browsing, we were starving. Turns out that an Orange Julius won't carry you through all day, so it was time to eat.

But, hell, why not cram in one more thing before we finally shoved food in our bellies. It was my birthday a few days prior and I still had a present to open from Matt. I may have been secretly waiting to open it to extend my birthday weekend that much longer. It wouldn't be a gift from Dinosaur Dracula unless it was awesomely nostalgic and this took me back to when I was a kid playing Sega Master System on my mini wooden rocking chair.

 photo AlexKiddInMiracleWorldBx_zps3ybwq1pe.jpgBehold, ALEX KIDD in Miracle World. One of my favorite Master System games of all time and Sega's answer to Super Mario well before Sonic the Hedgehog became synonymous with Sega. Thanks to Matt for the trip down memory lane. Once I'm through posting this I'm going to punch the shit out of rocks with my hysterically giant fist.

Eventually, we decided to eat at a Mexican place called Salsarita's in Old Bridge. At the time, I had no idea that this was a huge chain. Ordinarily, I make every effort to go to Mom and Pop restaurants because they are usually the hidden gems, but it didn't matter because I inhaled the food anyway. We were only halfway through our meals and it looked like someone bombed our table with exploding tacos, rice and beans and salsa and chips. It was delicious. The food at this place edges out Chipotle and they also get points for embracing the Mexican cantina atmosphere in contrast with the very basic look of the interior of Chipotle. If you'd like to discuss this in more detail, pick up my new informational pamphlet all about my thoughts on Interior Design in fresh Mexican food chains, it's called LET'S TALK ABOUT MEX BABY!

You've finally made it to the end of our Monster Mania extravaganza. It was quite an elongated account of what really only amounted to the span of Friday night into Saturday afternoon, but reliving it through this post extended the fun even more! Thanks for reading.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...