Archive for February, 2010

Friday Playlist #6

February 12th, 2010 No comments

Oh crap, it’s a snow day. Rather than go with a “Genius” (is it me or does Apple throw that around a bit too loosely?) generated playlist for today, I’m going for shuffle again. Instead of limiting the selection to my paltry 60 GB iPod, however, I am going to run the shuffle from the 232.09 GB library I have on my main workstation at home. There are tracks on here that absolutely no one listens to; not even the artist who made them. Well, I might as well get my painful death over with.

1. Brick – Dazz
According to my tracklisting information this is the number 41 single from 1977. While I was alive in 1977, I really don’t remember hearing this song. Come to think of it, I’m not sure I’ve ever heard this song. Apparently, “Dazz” is a shortening of “Disco Jazz.” My life is complete now.

2. The Nightmare Before Christmas – Making Christmas
Damn I love me some “Nightmare.” It saddens me that Jack Skellington and crew have been co opted by the Hot Topic crowd. That’s just my bitter old “cool” guy coming out. After seeing this movie for about twelve times, Oingo Boingo became really really funny to me. Trust me, you won’t be able to unhear that one.

3. Jon Snodgrass & Corry Branan – Designated Drinker
This is a live track from 3 Kings (not sure where) from November 9, 2007. I’m pretty sure someone sent this to me when they figured out I was a Drag The River fan. It’s humorous and drunken, but I see why I haven’t listened to this one before as well. It does have a genius line in it, though: “The only time anything got in my pants on tour was when fire ants invaded my bunk.” That’s just plain ‘ol good writing.

4. Sigur Rós – Staralfur
Like all Sigur Rós, this is yet another epic song. I find it very relaxing to put on Sigur Rós when I’m working through the middle of the night as it magically aligns my thinking for some odd reason. I’ve always believed that Iceland really is the place where gnomes and frost giants lived out in the open; Sigur Rós just reinforces this belief.

5. Misfits – Abominable Dr. Phibes
I have way more Misfits tracks in my library than I probably should, but, every time I go for a shuffle (yeah, I’m trying to coin that one), it always comes up with a track from American Psycho. I think my computer isn’t a Misfits fan and this is how it’s punishing me. That shit is just mean.

6. Bauhaus – Telegram Sam
I think it’s downright hilarious to hear Peter Murphy belt out this Bowie standard. In my mind, Pete’s skin is cracking off of his face as he jumps around the studio in the damn burgundy velvet suit he’s been wearing for the past twenty-five years. This is actually a pretty good cover, but I have a horribly overactive imagination and Peter Murphy is really just a mannequin.

7. The Clash – Janie Jones
Of all the older “punk” bands I listen to, I probably identify with The Clash the most. To me, they are my Beatles (other than the Beatles themselves). I hear their sound in hundreds of other bands, but don’t find their work to be cheap and fake because it derives from the alpha source. The Clash is a building block. Yeah, that’s deep.

8. Foo Fighters – Hell
I’m actually sort of surprised this was in my library. I like Dave Grohl and Co., but I didn’t think I had anything. Here’s a quandary for you. Technically Foo Fighters has always been a “supergroup,” but never really referred to as such. Just because it’s members didn’t achieve financial stardom in their previous efforts, does a band made up of people who came from rather influential bands not get to be a “supergroup?”

9. ABBA – If It Wasn’t For The Nights
Yup, the library finally went to the weird place. I grew up on ABBA, so I find nothing ironic about them other than the obvious hilarity of disco in Sweden. If anything, that damn movie/musical Mama Mia ruined ABBA. This shit is gold.

10. Lagwagon – Give it Back
Lagwagon are horribly under-appreciated. The few times squeezle and I have seen either Lagwagon or Joey Cape by himself have been some of the most fun live shows we’ve ever attended. Sadly, it appears that Lagwagon has now drifted apart and won’t be putting out new material anytime in the foreseeable future, but Joey’s solo shows are a good mix of his solo stuff and the best of Lagwagon. Ironically, the last time I saw Joey Cape, he was playing with Jon Snodgrass.

11. Face To Face – Fight or Flight
For years and years I wanted to see Face To Face live, but never got the opportunity. Then they went and broke up and dashed my hopes against the rocks of bitter regret. Luckily for me, they’ve reformed and I was able to see them at Fun Fun Fun Fest this past November in Austin. Holy freakin’ crap can these guys tear shit up. Now, they are working on new material, so that, to me, means tour. Maybe next time I can see them play without being soaked to the bone.

12. Black Flag – Damaged I
Ahh, ancient Black Flag. This is about as scaled down as Black Flag ever was. Henry Rollins doesn’t even sound like himself on this track even though it is indeed him and not Keith Morris, Dez Cadena or Ron Reyes. This song has the distinction of being the first writing credit Hank got with Black Flag. I’m not sure why I remember that, but it’s yet another useless tidbit that’s been stuck in my head for years.

13. The The – Kingdom of Rain
The The is one of those bands that cause people to go “Oh, that song?” I can seriously not think of another band who vary so much record to record. It probably has something to do with the fact that frontman Matt Johnson is batshit crazy. This particular track is from their record Mind Bomb. At this point in time, The The consisted of ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, Nick Lowe’s bassist James Eller and the drummer from ABC: David Palmer. However, Matt Johnson is almost always considered the only “official” member of The The.

14. The Cherry Cokes – Ill Weeds Grow Apace
I’ve professed my love for the Cherry Cokes before. This track, in particular, cracks me up because it really sounds like a lost Mighty Mighty Bosstones track to me. If you imagine that the vocals are a really drunken Dicky Barrett rather than a Japanese guy singing Irish punk, it’s pretty damn convincing. The Cherry Cokes prove that you can find a little bit of everything in Japan.

15. Bob Marley – Trenchtown Rock
I really thought I’d deleted all of my Marley tracks. I’ve got nothing against the guy, but his music has really turned into frat rock over the years. I realize that this is entirely in my head, but it just brings up memories of terrible college parties and terrible weed. Bob deserves better.

It’s Irish season again?!!?!

February 9th, 2010 No comments

It didn’t hit me until a couple of days ago that we are, once again, in the season of the Irish. St. Paddy’s is right around the corner and green stuff is showing up in stores like crazy. On top of that, the squeezle and I are seeing Flogging Molly tonight and the Dropkick Murphys in a little over two weeks.

Where’s the month full of German “culture.” When do I get to put on my lederhosen, slam down boots of beer and jam to Kraftwerk and Rammstein. Octoberfest doesn’t get that kind of attention here in the states. You want to know why that is? Germans don’t put on drunken parades. I swear that post-Valentines/pre-Spring should just be called “Boston season.” If it weren’t so damn miserable and cold up there I’d probably spend that month wandering around Cambridge, drinking Harpoon and throwing the munch at the Barking Crab. Back in college I used to go to Boston every February and it was horrible and awesome at the same time.

Now, in my “advanced” years, I sit at home, drink my Irish whiskey and wait for the Boston to come to me. If the Red Sox were smart they’d do a national tour during “Boston season” just to kick their revenue bucks up a couple million or so.

Instead, I get the Texas version of “popular” Irish. Tonight I’ll get to deal with hipster highschoolers while they dance around to music that can only best be appreciated with a couple of pints of something in you and sing about “Drunken Lullabies” when, at the most, they’ve taken a swig from stepdad’s Coors Light or managed to pay a guy to pick them up a bottle of Boones Farm.

It’s enough to get a guy drinkin’.

Even hillbillies have the internet now

February 8th, 2010 No comments

I found this story on the internets this evening. It’s just proof that some people just share too much

Categories: Fiction, Popular Culture

Friday Playlist #5

February 5th, 2010 No comments

What I love about using shuffle to do my Friday playlist is that I really don’t have to think very hard to get the playlist out the door. Sure I throw my $.02 in there about each track and/or band, but the natural flow of shuffle makes it much easier for me to maintain my mindless zombie status. Especially on a crappy Friday morning that really should just give up and end.

Again, I’m giving you the list just as my iPod pops them out at me. There may be comedy (and comedy gold depending on what lovely bits this infernal contraption decides to embarrass me with) and potentially even some audiobook snippets.  I think I may even have some old MIDI samples on this thing.  Let’s find out.

1. Danger Doom – Bada Bing
Danger Doom is a great combination. Danger Mouse and Doctor Doom on their own aren’t especially the best on their own, but combined and mixed together with Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim makes for a damn good record. I guess Adult Swim is a lot like bacon: there’s nothing it can’t make good.

2. The Adolescents – Losing Battle
“Losing Battle” is angry. Released six years after the infamous “blue” album, this song off of  Brats in Battalions  is a good summation of that angsty skatepunk sound that only Southern California could put together. “Losing Battle” isn’t my favorite song by The Adolescents; in fact, I find it a bit whiny, but it’s instantly recognizable.

3. Minutemen – You Need the Glory
This isn’t a song normally recognized as Minutemen gold. Pretty much consisting of random bongo, piano and what can only be described as either scatting or just plain ‘ol jibber-jabber, this song has no point. No slight to the wonder that is the Minutemen, but I’ve got less use for this than a diet soda.

4. Lil Wayne – Nothin’ On Me
While I really wish he’d pull up his damn pants, I’m a big fan of Lil Wayne. Maybe it’s because he claims Nirvana as an influence or maybe it’s because he’s the most functional person on cough syrup I’ve ever seen, but I think he’s pretty fun. Actually, it’s probably because he sounds like what I would imagine Gollum would sound like if he rapped.

5. Cub – Exit
Oh how I love Cub. This track is off of Mauler (not their best album), but it’s Cub and very typical of their “cuddlecore” sound. If you have never heard these lovely ladies from Vancouver before, find some Cub. Back in the mid-90s some buddies and I followed them around on their tour for a while. They had a fill-in drummer at the time who you might be familiar with: Neko Case. There’s a good story about the death of Jerry Garcia, a case of Keystone tallboys, some “special” brownies, skee-ball winnings and Cub in Fort Worth, but I’ll save that for another day.

6. Smashing Pumpkins – Dross
By the time that the Machina album(s) came out, I was pretty much done with the Pumpkins. Dross is exactly indicative of what I didn’t like about what they had become. At this point in the musicography of Billy Corrigan, I saw almost no difference between Billy (or is it B0lly?) and Marilyn Manson except that Manson had a way better theatrical presence. This phase of SP totally threw out all of the subtlety of their musicianship and replaced it with the crunchy guitars that so many bands dropped on records during this time.

7. They Might Be Giants – Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head
This song has been pretty much stuck inside my head off and on since it was released in 1986. If examined, the lyrics are quite creepy yet horribly catchy. I guess that’s true of many TMBG songs. The thing from this song that stuck with me the most was the line “Memo to myself, do the dumb things I gotta do.” That’s pretty much a credo for my entire life.

8. Reverend Horton Heat – Cowboy Love
I’ve already explained my devotion to the good Reverend. For some reason, this song (while surprisingly one of the “newer” ones) cracks me up to no end. In typical Rev. style, it’s beautifully played and has some of the best steel guitar out there. Leave it to Jim Heat to make a Brokeback Mountain ballad you could two-step to.

9. The Real McKenzies – Raise the Banner
Damn it’s hard to listen to the McKenzies sober. We found these guys accidentally a couple of years ago and haven’t looked back since. Scottish-Canadian, the McKenzies are one of the most amazing bands to watch live. At one point during the show, the piper was so drunk that he could barely stand up yet he didn’t miss a single note. With all the songs about footie, drinkin’ and carrying on, the only real difference between the McKenzies and my family get-togethers is that the McKenzies have better singing voices.

10. [DARYL] – The Informant vs. The World
I make no effort to hide that I am seriously biased towards [DARYL]. While I started out as a wary fan, several of the guys in this Dallas ex-band are really good friends of mine. It’s actually quite interesting to go back and listen to some of the older stuff to see where they are now (mostly Les Americains and The Crash That Took Me, respectively). [DARYL] still holds up.

11. The Ramones – I Don’t Wanna Grow Up
The Ramones doing a cover of Tom Waits. This song (unsurprisingly) has pretty much been my anthem since I realized that I was, in fact, growing up. In typical Ramones fashion, the song is sped up from the Tom Waits version and definitely given the Joey Ramone twist.

12. AFI – Now The World
Before they became the poster-band for the emo-gothy, Hot Topic masses, I listened to a lot of AFI. I think I have Tony Hawk 2 on Xbox to blame for that. I can’t hate all over AFI; they just went a different direction than I would prefer.

13. KMFDM – Power
Unsurprisingly, one of my favorite bands of all time. For some reason, KMFDM and their techno-industrial mess melded right into my punk leanings back in the 80′s and have always just been there. It’s very scary to think that I’ve been listening to these guys for over twenty years. By far, my KMFDM music collection (LP, tape, CD) is larger than any other given artist. KMFDM was definitely the gateway drug for my years in industrial music.

14. KMFDM – Godlike (Doglike Mix)
Another KMFDM song. I’m not surprised. Now, of course, I’ll probably be listening to them all day.  “Godlike” is an excellent song of theirs to help explain my attraction to them. With my background in Political Science I am often attracted to political-leaning bands. KMFDM has a few tracks that, over the years, have had a political slant, but “Godlike” is the only one that I was able to open one of my bigger papers for a political economic policy seminar I took while in grad school. The prof though the line “Pray every day that your country undergoes recovery” was quite profound (and I got my “A”), but was more than a little scared when I brought him a copy of the song. Old people, huh?

15. Johnny Cash – Train of Love
The Man in Black. Like many people growing up in the past fifty years, I feel that Johnny Cash was damn near a part of my family. While my folks weren’t really “country music” fans per-say, there are just a few artists that transcend all genres and are required listening to anyone living in America; the South/Southwest at the very least. Johnny Cash pretty much tops that list. Thankfully, not many people don’t recognize his music (unlike Marty Robbins, unfortunately), so I don’t have to administer beatdowns on a regular basis.

Well, that’s another Friday Playlist.  Maybe next week I’ll try out the “Genius” function and see what happens there.

Why, George, why?

February 1st, 2010 No comments

I’m a slow learner. Rather, I’m a stubborn learner who doesn’t pay any attention nor know any better when it comes to certain topics that “blind” me. First and foremost of these is Star Wars.

I have quite the different perspective on that “Galaxy far far away” than most typical casual fans. Over the past twenty years, I’ve read almost all Star Wars related comic books and definitely all Star Wars novels (there are a lot more than you’d think). Over this time, I have developed a much larger appreciation for what is known as the Expanded Universe than just the handful of films that were made.

I found it delightful that George Lucas created this incredible base of worlds and characters and then had the foresight to establish continuity ground rules related to stretching out beyond film; causing all the various Star Wars-related novels to fall into a singular timeline.

Different authors, writing to their different strengths, have developed fantastic characters outside of the major six or seven and really developed a broad variety of cultures and even, to some extent, language.

Now George has stepped in and changed some things that I see as pretty damn important.

For those not nearly as geeky as myself, I refer to the recent retconning of the Mandalorian culture in the Star Wars: Clone Wars cartoon.

Here’s a two minute primer into the Mandalorians. Everyone familiar with Star Wars knows Boba Fett and Jango Fett. Both of them were Mandalorians. What a lot may not know is that the Mandalorians are a nomadic group of beings made up of multiple species organized in clans who often fill the role of mercenaries or bounty hunters. The commonality amongst them being honor and pride in the community and rabid devotion to their clan. Think of them as the Star Wars equivalent to Viking or Celtic tribes.

This has been beautifully developed in novels (Karen Traviss’ works especially) and comic books.

Now, however, it appears that George has turned the Mandalorians into a peaceful race with a militant faction called “Death Watch” (not unheard of in both comics and novels previously) that is seeking to overthrow the peaceful Mandalorian leaders.

I call shabla osik! It seems that the worst thing George Lucas has done since releasing his first three movies is staying involved creatively in the property. I’ll agree that the Clone Wars as a concept were a pretty good development from the second three batch of movies, but that is about it for those.

C’mon George, take some time off and enjoy your billions of dollars and leave the storytelling to those talented people who actually give a damn about the fans.