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Monday, October 29, 2007

Attention Fellow Tool Fans -- The lazy, inattentive ones like me, anyway. Maynard has a new CD out Tuesday, October 30th. That is all.


Monday, June 04, 2007

Johnny B on Sgt. Pepper -- One of my big disappointments this year at work was having a long weekend of Sgt. Pepper anniversary celebrations I proposed shot down as too complicated to make work on the radio.

So I was thrilled to see Johnny Bacardi's track-by-track analysis of the legendary LP. Go take a look, and then give a listen to what remain one of the most brilliant rock albums of all time.


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Free Music, Possibly Hip -- Go check out the free, downloadable tunes at The Periodic Label; people I trust tell me they're worth a listen, and you know me, I hardly trust anybody. Make with the clicky!


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Greatest Day of the Year So Far -- That was decided by 12:30 PM, when I had gotten to my local record store (yes, I am old and still call them that) and picked up the new Tool CD, 10,000 Days.

It's a weird package with little goggles attached so you can look at some typically odd art in the attached booklet; I suppose I'll go through it once, but whatever 3-D effect they are going for, it doesn't seem to work for me. Maybe it's my astigmatism.

But I have an official copy of the CD, and that made my day, and my year. I just fucking love the music this band (and its kissing cousin A Perfect Circle) makes.



I get home and there's a GIANT FREAKING BOX from Top Shelf Productions. Inside, a very nice, personalized note from publisher Chris Staros and Brett Warnock (two of The Nicest People in Comics), introducing the contents of the box.

Which is a complete galley of LOST GIRLS, the forthcoming gigantic slipcased graphic novel set by Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie.

Some days it's really good to be alive, and this is one of them. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go listen to Tool and read this GIANT FREAKING BOOK.


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Mid-Week Music Meme -- Courtesy of Bill Sherman:

A) Go to http://www.musicoutfitters.com
B) Enter the year you graduated from high school in the search function
C) Bold the songs you like, strike through the ones you hate and underline your favorite.
D) Do nothing to the ones you don't remember (or don't care about).

From the Orwellian Year 1984:

1. When Doves Cry, Prince
2. What's Love Got To Do With It, Tina Turner
3. Say Say Say, Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson
4. Footloose, Kenny Loggins

5. Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now), Phil Collins
6. Jump, Van Halen
7. Hello, Lionel Richie
8. Owner Of A Lonely Heart, Yes
9. Ghostbusters, Ray Parker Jr.
10. Karma Chameleon, Culture Club
11. Missing You, John Waite
12. All Night Long (All Night), Lionel Richie
13. Let's Hear It For The Boy, Deniece Williams
14. Dancing In The Dark, Bruce Springsteen
15. Girls Just Want To Have Fun, Cyndi Lauper
16. The Reflex, Duran Duran
17. Time After Time, Cyndi Lauper

18. Jump (For My Love), Pointer Sisters
19. Talking In Your Sleep, Romantics
20. Self Control, Laura Branigan
21. Let's Go Crazy, Prince and The Revolution
22. Say It Isn't So, Daryl Hall and John Oates
23. Hold Me Now, Thompson Twins
24. Joanna, Kool and The Gang
25. I Just Called To Say I Love You, Stevie Wonder
26. Somebody's Watching Me, Rockwell
27. Break My Stride, Matthew Wilder
28. 99 Luftballons, Nena
29. I Can Dream About You, Dan Hartman
30. The Glamorous Life, Sheila E.
31. Oh Sherrie, Steve Perry
32. Stuck On You, Lionel Richie
33. I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues, Elton John
34. She Bop, Cyndi Lauper
35. Borderline, Madonna
36. Sunglasses At Night, Corey Hart
37. Eyes Without A Face, Billy Idol
38. Here Comes The Rain Again, Eurythmics
39. Uptown Girl, Billy Joel
40. Sister Christian, Night Ranger
41. Drive, Cars
42. Twist Of Fate, Olivia Newton-John
43. Union Of The Snake, Duran Duran
44. The Heart Of Rock 'N' Roll, Huey Lewis and The News
45. Hard Habit To Break, Chicago
46. The Warrior, Scandal
47. If Ever You're In My Arms Again, Peabo Bryson
48. Automatic, Pointer Sisters
49. Let The Music Play, Shannon
50. To All The Girls I've Loved Before, Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson
51. Caribbean Queen, Billy Ocean
52. That's All, Genesis
53. Running With The Night, Lionel Richie
54. Sad Songs (Say So Much), Elton John
55. I Want A New Drug, Huey Lewis and The News
56. Islands In The Stream, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton
57. Love Is A Battlefield, Pat Benatar
58. Infatuation, Rod Stewart
59. Almost Paradise, Mike Reno and Ann Wilson
60. Legs, ZZ Top
61. State Of Shock, Jacksons
62. Love Somebody, Rick Springfield
63. Miss Me Blind, Culture Club
64. If This Is It, Huey Lewis and The News
65. You Might Think, Cars
66. Lucky Star, Madonna
67. Cover Me, Bruce Springsteen
68. Cum On Feel The Noize, Quiet Riot
69. Breakdance, Irene Cara

70. Adult Education, Daryl Hall and John Oates
71. They Don't Know, Tracy Ullman
72. An Innocent Man, Billy Joel
73. Cruel Summer, Bananarama
74. Dance Hall Days, Wang Chung

75. Give It Up, K.C.
76. I'm So Excited, Pointer Sisters
77. I Still Can't Get Over Loving You, Ray Parker Jr.
78. Thriller, Michael Jackson
79. Holiday, Madonna
80. Breakin'... There's No Stopping Us, Ollie And Jerry
81. Nobody Told Me, John Lennon
82. Church Of The Poison Mind, Culture Club
83. Think Of Laura, Christopher Cross
84. Time Will Reveal, Debarge
85. Wrapped Around Your Finger, Police
86. Pink Houses, John Cougar Mellencamp
87. Round And Round, Ratt
88. Head Over Heels, Go-Gos
89. The Longest Time, Billy Joel
90. Tonight, Kool and The Gang
91. Got A Hold On Me, Christine McVie
92. Dancing In The Sheets, Shalamar
93. Undercover Of The Night, Rolling Stones
94. On The Dark Side, John Cafferty and The Beaver Brown Band
95. New Moon On Monday, Duran Duran
96. Major Tom (Coming Home), Peter Schilling
97. Magic, Cars
98. When You Close Your Eyes, Night Ranger
99. Rock Me Tonite, Billy Squier
100. Yah Mo B There, James Ingram and Michael McDonald

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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Rock On With Your Socks On -- Having spend over a decade as a disk jockey, I have to admit that the music I played for much of that time -- mind-numbing crap by the likes of Michael Bolton, Celine Dion and Gloria Estefan -- turned me off of music in general. Over the past few years, some acts have somehow penetrated my defenses, especially Moby, Beck, Green Day, Tool, and the whimisically addictive James Kochalka Superstar.

Spin magazine recently compiled a list of its top 100 albums of the past 20 years, and as a card-carrying member of the Blogoverse, I am legally bound to comment on some of their choices.

1. OK Computer Radiohead 1997 -- Shamefully, I am almost completely oblivious to Radiohead's music. A buddy was supposed to burn me some CDs. I have Drunken Punchup on my harddrive. There ends the intersection of my life with the work of
Radiohead. For now, anyway.

2. It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back Public Enemy 1988 -- It's already clear to me that I will have nothing to say about a disturbing majority of the albums listed here. This is one of them.

3. Nevermind Nirvana 1991 -- Now, this one I remember. I remember it blowning my mind, just one great song after another, that seemed perfectly in tune to its times, as much great music does. Years later I almost never listen to Nirvana anymore, although I do have that Best Of CD that came out a few years back. But when I hear them on the radio, I don't change the station, and when I hear Kurt say things have never been so swell, you know, I don't believe him much, but I sympathize with the lie.

4. Slanted and Enchanted Pavement 1992 -- Nothing to say about this one.

5. The Queen Is Dead The Smiths 1986 -- Or this one.

6. Surfer Rosa The Pixies 1988 -- Or this one. Hmm, I am so culturally lost.

7. 3 Feet High and Rising De La Soul 1989 -- Now, this one, also nothing to say.

8. Sign O the Times Prince 1987 -- Hmm, Prince has done some great singles. As I recall some of them were on this album.

9. Rid of Me PJ Harvey 1993 -- Nothing to say once again.

10. Straight Outta Compton NWA 1988 -- You guessed it.

11. Achtung Baby U2 1991 -- I think this is where I started to hate U2, after loving them from their debut album on. For my money The Joshua Tree was as good as it ever got, although certainly they've done some good singles since then. U2 is the only band I've seen live twice, once on The Joshua Tree tour, and I think on the tour for Achtung Baby.

12. Paul's Boutique Beastie Boys 1989 -- I have this on my harddrive and need to give it a listen to see if I want to burn it to a CD or just delete it.

13. New Day Rising Husker Du 1985 -- Nothing.

14. Daydream Nation Sonic Youth 1988 -- Nothing.

15. Exile in Guyville Liz Phair 1993 -- Nothing.

16. Odelay Beck 1996 -- I recently got into Beck after enjoying a lot of his stuff I heard on the radio. I made a Best Of CD, though, and it's been occupying my CD player. I need to spend more time listening to the individual CDs.

17. Illmatic Nas 1994 -- Wow, never even heard of this one.

18. Appetite for Destruction Guns n Roses 1987 -- My feelings about GNR are similar to my feelings about Nirvana, so, see #3 above.

19. Live Through This Hole 1994 -- Nothing.

20. Enter the Wu Tang Clan (36 Chambers) Wu-Tang Clan 1993 -- Nothing.

21. Fear of a Black Planet Public Enemy 1990 -- Nothing.

22. Loveless My Bloody Valentine 1991 -- Nothing.

23. Stankonia Outkast 2000 -- Nothing.

24. Dig Me Out Sleater-Kinney 1997 -- Nothing.

25. The Downward Spiral Nine Inch Nails 1994 -- I like NIN in principle, really I do -- but the music is just too demanding, like, you have to set an hour of your life aside to immerse yourself in it. I haven't had time like that for music in over a decade.

26. Post Bjork 1995 -- Nothing.

27. The Head on the Door The Cure 1985 -- Nothing.

28. Definitely Maybe Oasis 1994 -- Nothing.

29. 13 Songs Fugazi 1989 -- Nothing.

30. Ready to Die Notorious BIG 1994 -- Nothing.

31. You're Living All Over Me Dionsaur Jr 1987 -- Nothing.

32. Tim The Replacements 1985 -- Nothing.

33. AmeriKKKas Most Wanted Ice Cube 1990 -- Nothing.

34. Either/Or Elliott Smith 1997 -- Nothing.

35. The Chronic Dr Dre 1992 -- Nothing.

36. Doolittle The Pixies 1989 -- Nothing.

37. Bee Thousand Guided by Voices 1994 -- Nothing.

38. The Low End Theory A Tribe Called Quest 1991 -- Nothing.

39. Lucinda Williams Lucinda Williams 1988 -- Nothing.

40. Raising Hell Run DMC 1986 -- My college friend Jake loved Run DMC and turned me onto them around the time this came out. "The King of Rock" remains a sentimental favourite track of mine, although I think that was from the album before this one.

41. Siamese Dream Smashing Pumpkins 1993 -- Nothing.

42. Nothing's Shocking Jane's Addiction 1988 -- I like a handful of Jane's Addiction tracks, but I don't think I've ever sat all the way through one of their CDs.

43. Criminal Minded Boogie Down Productions 1987 -- Nothing.

44. Dookie Green Day 1994 -- American Idiot is very near the top of my all-time favourite CDs list, with its insistent musicality and sharp, insightful point of view pretty much saving my life during some rough times over the past year. I have the rest of their stuff on the harddrive, but haven't made the time yet to burn off some CDs to listen to in the car, which seems to be the best way to get through the barriers in my life that seem to prevent me from hearing much music.

45. College Dropout Kanye West 2004 -- Nothing.

46. This Nation's Saving Grace The Fall 1985 -- Nothing.

47. Paid in Full Eric B & Rakim 1987 -- Nothing.

48. Kid A Radiohead 2000 -- Nothing.

49. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill Lauryn Hill 1998 -- Nothing.

50. Low Life New Order 1985 -- Nothing.

51. In Utero Nirvana 1993 -- See my comments on #3, above.

52. Licensed to Ill Beastie Boys 1986 -- My brother loved this album.

53. The Battle of Los Angeles Rage Against the Machine 1999 -- Nothing.

54. Last Splash The Breeders 1993 -- Nothing.

55. Dig Your Own Hole The Chemical Brothers 1997 -- Nothing.

56. To Bring You My Love PJ Harvey 1995 -- Nothing.

57. White Blood Cells The White Stripes 2001 -- Nothing.

58. Master of Puppets Metallica 1986 -- Nothing.

59. The Lonesome Crowded West Modest Mouse 1997 -- Nothing.

60. De La Soul Is Dead De La Soul 1991 -- Nothing.

61. Pinkerton Weezer 1996 -- Nothing.

62. Supa Dupa Fly Missy Elliott 1997 -- Nothing.

63. Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain Pavement 1994 -- Nothing.

64. The Marshal Mathers LP Eminem 2000 -- Nothing.

65. Remedy Basement Jaxx 1999 -- Nothing.

66. Aquemini Outkast 1998 -- Nothing.

67. Reign in Blood Slayer 1986 -- Nothing.

68. Maxiquaye Tricky 1995 -- Nothing.

69. Entroducing DJ Shadow DJ Shadow 1996 -- Nothing.

70. The Blueprint Jay Z 2001 -- Nothing.

71. Psychocandy The Jesus and Mary Chain 1985 -- Nothing.

72. Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Raekwon 1995 -- Nothing.

73. Different Class Pulp 1995 -- Nothing.

74. Dummy Portishead 1994 -- This guy Mike that I used to work with a couple years back made me a Portishead compilation CD, and although I haven't listened to it in a while I do like it.

75. Le Tigre Le Tigre 1999 -- Nothing.

76. If You're Feeling Sinister Belle and Sebastian 1997 -- Nothing.

77. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot Wilco 2002 -- I keep meaning to get this in some format...I liked The Minus Five's Down with Wilco CD, and all the songs I heard off the most recent Wilco disc, and this is the one everyone talks about, so, yeah. I
should listen to this sometime.

78. The Stone Roses The Stone Roses 1989 -- Nothing.

79. Everything Is Wrong Moby 1995 -- I can see why, if you're going to pick one Moby CD, this is the one you'd pick. There's always four or five songs on each of his CDs that I really like, and one of these days I will have to compile and burn a Best Of, which will probably encompass two CDs.

80. Voodoo D'Angelo 2000 -- Nothing.

81. Mellow Gold Beck 1994 -- Good stuff.

82. Grace Jeff Buckley 1994 -- Nothing.

83. Relationship of Command At the Drive-In 2000 -- Nothing.

84. Superunknown Soundgarden 1994 -- Nothing.

85. Automatic for the People REM 1992 -- Maybe I just don't have the "care about music" gene like most people seem to. The CDs I love, I really love, but so little stays in the long-term memory. Like, I really liked REM in college, circa 1985-'86, but I don't even remember which songs were on this CD. I am pretty sure this is about where they lost my interest, though.

86. Up on the Sun Meat Puppets 1985 -- Nothing.

87. Parklife Blur 1994 -- Nothing.

88. Emperor Tomato Ketchup Stereolab 1996 -- Nothing.

89. Fever to Tell Yeah Yeah Yeahs 2003 -- Nothing.

90. Sister Sonic Youth 1987 -- Nothing.

91. Skylarking XTC 1986 -- Nothing.

92. Atomizer Big Black 1986 -- Nothing.

93. Ten Pearl Jam 1991 -- Nothing.

94. Spiderland Slint 1991 -- Nothing.

95. Elastica Elastica 1995 -- Nothing.

96. Rum, Sodomy & the Lash The Pogues 1985 -- Nothing.

97. In the Aeroplane Over the Sea Neutral Milk Hotel 1998 -- Nothing.

98. When I Was Born for the 7th Time Cornershop 1997 -- Nothing.

99. Gentlemen Afghan Whigs 1993 -- Nothing.

100. Is This It The Strokes 2001 -- Nothing.

So is it me? Am I really this out of touch? Or is it Spin ? Maybe I am just out of touch with their sensibilities, although at one time it was the only music magazine I read -- these days I don't read any, except the occasional Rolling Stone if I am really interested in who is being interviewed this month or whatever.

My feelings about music are a lot like my feelings about comics, I guess; I don't adhere to any one particular genre, I just am attracted to certain qualities and if the work doesn't contain those it generally will fall beneath my radar. There are some groups on the above list that I am definitely interested in checking out someday, in the same way I suppose I would like to read all the comics of Jordan Crane or Kevin Huizenga. In cases like this, I've been exposed enough to be intrigued, but I guess I am so lost at sea when it comes to the circles their work travels in that I have no idea where to even start my investigations, and then when you factor in all the other exegencies of life -- family, work, visits to the emergency room (like this week's), man, it just seems like there's never enough time.

I hold some acts in the very highest regard -- Peter Gabriel, The Beatles, Pink Floyd circa 1973-1986 or so -- but when it comes to music, I go through definite honeymoon phases and then it seems to fade away. When d. emerson eddy turned me on to Tool and their awe-inspiring CD Lateralus (which I would think belongs on the above list, God knows it would be on it if I had compiled it), I listened to that disc over and over again for months. It's powerful, complex, layered, and its point of view is pretty simpatico with my own vision of the world around me. Just writing about it here for a moment has me wanting to dust it off (literally -- man, my CDs get dusty) and pop it in for a spin. Maybe I even will when I get home. The Tool spinoff group A Perfect Circle also has a couple of awesome albums that I should listen to more often than I do. If nothing else, writing about Spin's list has really served as a grim reminder of how little time I set aside for music in my life, even music that I love. At one time I had a CD collection numbering probably over 600 discs, but a lack of cash in the '90s caused me to sell off 99 percent of those, and these days I have maybe a few dozen CDs, and maybe a couple dozen of those I would consider essential, and even those, I probably rotate through the same four or five on a regular, pathetic basis.

I love art that reaches me. I am, in some ways, hard to reach. I have spent a lifetime building walls I didn't even know I was erecting, which is why when something speaks directly to me, like James Kochalka's work, or Paul Hornschemeier, or Dan Clowes, or Green Day, or Beck, I tend to bask in the glow of that work, and I tend to evangelize, especially when it comes to comics. I don't listen to the radio, which is probably why a lot of the above CDs that probably mean a lot to a lot of people reading this, never even penetrated my zone of awareness. I want to be as aware of good music as I am of good comics, and to a lesser extent good movies, but again, who has the time?

I wish I had more time...and the older I get, the more time I wish I had.


Saturday, November 02, 2002

Nirvana -- If you've ever read my Kurt Cobain thing, you know I think Cobain and the music he made with Nirvana will endure. Nothing that's happened since his death in 1994 has changed my mind about that one bit. The new Nirvana CD convinces me even more.

Leading off with the previously-unreleased You Know You're Right was a brilliant idea. Instead of soaking in nostalgia before finally revealing it as a tacked-on afterthought, leading off the disc with this astonishingly contemporary sonic attack acknowledges right up front that not only was the band ahead of its time, but it still is. The song is nearly a decade old and sounds like the signal effort of a new wave in rock. Of course, it also emphasizes just how much was lost when Kurt died.

That day in April nearly a decade ago was a tragedy both personal and generational. Nirvana celebrates the best of the band and shows definitively why the pain remains so acute, so many years later.


Saturday, July 20, 2002

Perhaps the Grossest Thing Ever -- Lora and I went to Borders in Albany today looking for (and finding) the Avril Lavigne CD. Her single "Complicated" is a great, catchy summer tune in the vein of Natalie Imbruglia's "Torn," and there are some nice computer extras on the music CD, including the video for the song and a short documentary. Sure, it's fluff, but she's cute and she has a good voice. I'm curious to see where her career goes from here.

Anyway, the grossness:

Kira asked for a box of Harry Potter jelly beans. On the back is a chart of the flavours to be found in the box, including booger, vomit and dirt. I assume these are jokes, and when the open the box, I try a "sardine"-flavoured jelly bean.

Fucking thing actually tasted like a sardine. Gagged. Spit it out.

I hate living in the future.

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