What's More Unbelievable?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Bourbon - Brownest of the Brown Liquers

Songs by bands that have aged like a fine wine or imported cheese.

Animal Collective - Tikwid
Flaming Lips - One More Robot/Sympathy 3000-21
Andrew Bird - Simple X

Wilco - You Are My Face
Papa M - Roses In The Snow
Neko Case - Star Witness

Gastr Del Sol - Mouth Canyon
Yo La Tengo - Our Way to Fall
Elliott Smith - I Didn't Understand

Spoon - Someone Something
Les Savy Fav - What Would Wolves Do?
Grandaddy - Crystal Lake

My Morning Jacket - What a Wonderful Man
Sonic Youth - The Neutral
Tom Waits - Never Let Go
The Rolling Stones - Rip This Joint

Beach Boys - I'm Waiting For The Day
The Kinks - The Village Green Preservation Society
The Beatles - Happiness Is A Warm Gun

Guided by Voices - The Brides Have Hit Glass
The Lemonheads - The Outdoor Type
XTC - Season Cycle
Husker Du - Turn it Around

Mountain Goats - Onions
Radiohead - Weird Fishes / Arpeggi
Bonnie "Prince" Billy - I See A Darkness

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What a Bunch of Swell Guys

I thought it might be helpful to explain the somewhat odd last option on this week's poll. It's from a Fugazi show at Fort Reno where they stopped to admonish some overly testosterone fueled meatheads in the middle of their set. It's one thing to yell at your audience to calm down and it's quite another to call them out for eating ice cream earlier in the day. "You eat ice cream, everybody knows it." I'm pretty sure this clip is from a show that Listmaker and I attended. We found it hilarious then and I still love it today. Here's the (unsafe for work) audio of the scene from the wonderful documentary "Instrument" with stills from said film. I miss Fugazi.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Still Angry After All These Years

Indie rock hipsters get a lot of (well deserved) flack for being incredibly self serious and way too into their hermetically sealed little world that 98% of the population could not possibly care less about but they've got nothing on the hardcore scene of the early eighties. Mothra and Quinnothra joined us for a viewing of "American Hardcore" the other night and I was shocked at how 20 years on, the interviewees had still not given up their adolescent anger at the classism and banal music of the Reagan era. In some ways, I respect them for wholeheartedly sticking to their guns but I also find it a bit depressing watching grown men and women still angrily spitting about how they don't care what the mainstream of American culture does. I guess it's the holier than thou, snobbish attitude about it all that makes me sad. You don't like Miley Cyrus' banging new single, fine, your loss, but nobody is saying you have to. Just hate it and move on already. Some of these people just need to let go. Unfortunately, even with fascinating and well spoken people like Ian Mackaye and Dave Dictor in the film, the ratio of level headed, interesting people to total jerks and meatheads was heavily weighed down by the latter. For a public speaker, Henry Rollins really should be able to tell a better story than the snoozefests he laid upon the audience in this movie. Unforgivable.

The footage was grainy and audibly atrocious and they wonderfully captured the feeling of the era and the way the underground scene of the early eighties paved the roads for the alternative brats of the nineties but I felt that Michael Azzerad's book "Our Band Could Be Your Life" made the case in a more inclusive, interesting manner. I came away from the film feeling that the hardcore scene was incredibly inspiring to a large swath of youth across the nation but had no choice but to burn out quickly. After 90 minutes of hearing the same song over and over again I had had my fill of angry kids shouting into bad PAs; I can't imagine suffering through 6 years of it. The energy and passion are certainly engaging but I guess I crave more than fast songs where the majority of the lyrics are simply the titles of songs screamed over and over and over again. Many of the talking heads in the film seemed to be saying the hardcore scene was insanely influential and important because they said it was. There was very little proof to back it up. Since most bands flamed out after barely scratching out an ep or two, evolution was not a part of the equation. The hardcore world was simply a succession of very short lived variations on a theme and if you aren't a big fan of that theme to start with, you should probably bring a book as Hott Mama did to carry you through the second half of the film. It is a mostly interesting movie but I left it feeling supersaturated with hardcore and longing for the less serious and more exciting sing along punk of the late seventies.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

CODA (not the Zepp album or the dwarf advocacy group)

Wilco - Pieholden Suite
The Feelies - Loveless Love
Radiohead - Karma Police

The Pogues - The Body of an American
Voxtrot - Soft & Warm
Of Montreal - Lysergic Bliss

Beck - Steal My Body Home
Akron/Family - Before and Again
Neutral Milk Hotel - Someone is Waiting

Brian Eno - Burning Airlines Give You So Much More
Animal Collective - Chores
Olivia Tremor Control - Hideaway
Buggles - Clean, Clean

The Kinks - Mr Churchill
Grandaddy - He's Simple, He's Dumb, He's the Pilot
The Arcade Fire - Crown of Love

Pixies - No. 13 Baby
Fugazi - Epic Problem
Sonic Youth - Mildred Pierce

Chin Up Chin Up - For All The Tanning Saloons in Texas
Built to Spill - Stop the Show
Modest Mouse - Tiny City Made of Ashes

The New Pornographers - The Bleeding Heart Show
Archers of Loaf - All Hail the Black Market
Tom Waits - Anywhere I Lay My Head

Monday, November 17, 2008

A mothra in wolf's clothing


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bodie, Bubbles, and Snoop

Built to Spill - You Are
Islands - Renaud
Neutral Milk Hotel - Where You'll Find Me Now

Crooked Fingers - Your Control
Monarch (Wye Oak) - Warning
Jay Reatard - I'm Watching You

Gang Of Four - I Find That Essence Rare
Les Savy Fav - Raging In the Plague Age
Superchunk - Seed Toss
Pinback - Prog

Queen - '39
Billy Bragg - Between the Wars
The Mountain Goats - Masher

Explosions In The Sky - Have You Passed Through The Night
Ratatat - Tropicana

Polvo - Ox Scapula
Stars - Ageless Beauty
Band of Horses - Our Swords
Crystal Castles - Tell Me Who To Swallow

Apples In Stereo - Sun Is Out
Marijuana Wolf - Hell Yeah
Flaming Lips - The Abandoned Hospital Ship

Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention - Concentration Moon
Magnetic Fields - With Whom to Dance
Tullycraft - Glitter & Twang
Mates of State - The Re-arranger
Ramones - Daytime Dilemma (Dangers of Love)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Whatever Happened to Brice Beckham?

At Mothra's birthday party last weekend, the conversation veered to tv shows and the lack of Very Special Episodes (VSE) these days. Now, many shows probably still tackle touchy issues, for example last week's "Beverly Hills 90210" tactfully and maturely handled he hot button issue of the elderly and karaoke usage, but they don't seem to bill them the same way. I remember that in the 80s, VSEs always seemed like an event. They only happened once or twice a season unless they were a show like "Family" where sensitive topics were the norm.

Whenever VSEs come up in conversation, some of the same ones pop up again and again: When Kimberly was abducted on "Diff'rent Strokes"; Alex P. Keaton's mental breakdown after the death of a friend or Tom Hanks' guest appearance as the vanilla-swilling alcoholic uncle on "Family Ties"; Cherry gets stuck in the refrigerator on "Punky Brewster." The one I always bring up seems to have been erased from most people's memories and not without good reason. The VSE that did the most mental damage to me as a kid was the "Mr. Belvedere" episode when Wesley gets molested at camp. This probably corrupted me more than any episode of "Night Court" ever did. For those who don't remember this episode, here's the tv trailer that they used to draw in viewers. After seeing this, you'll wonder how they ended up with any viewers at all.

And here's a creepy clip from the Sam Gets Abducted episode of "Diff'rent Strokes." Are sitcoms this terrifying nowadays or was this due to Reaganomics?

And just because it's so awesome, here's the "Mr. Belvedere" opening credits sequence featuring the inimitable Leon Redbone:

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Don't Play in Abandoned Refrigerators, Kids

I love love love tv theme songs. I love that they are so short and that they encapsulate the entire plot of the show in less than a minute. I love the variety in tv theme songs from the junkyard funk of "Sanford and Son" to the taut, psychological mayhem of the theme to "Unsolved Mysteries." One thing I can't stand is the fake rootsy bullshit theme songs like the mess that is "The Sopranos" theme. The overprocessed production, the lame, gravelly vocals and the horrifying shouted "Woke up this morning!" backing vocals all chill me to the bone. Thank god we watched almost every season on dvd and were able to skip this nonsense. I also hate the theme to "The Wire." Now don't get me wrong. I love Tom Waits with all my heart and "Way Down in the Hole" is stellar, but other than season 2, the other renditions of it range from passably tame to terribly embarrassing. I'd much rather have some cheeseball "Mr. Belvedere" type theme than a lame attempt at gravitas or serious rock and/or roll. Actually, I am almost never disappointed by the upbeat, silly "Charles in Charge"-type openings to shows because they immediately lift your spirits and get you ready for the comedy genius to follow. One forgotten gem of the silly tv theme songs is the Punky Brewster theme. It's so 80s and so safe and so perfect. Take a listen and make sure you stay until the end when you get to hear Brandon, Punky's cute little dog, bark. It's a masterpiece.

Punky Brewster - Theme

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Let Me See You Bounce To This

Democracy Now! is a well loved syndicated news program that focuses on non-mainstream news and stories often overlooked by the larger media conglomerates. It is hosted by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales, two incredibly serious and righteous individuals. WVEW, home base of Battle for the Earth, plays it daily at 5 pm, right when I leave work. I rarely listened to it in the past partially because I am in the mood for music when it's quittin' time but mostly because it's so damn depressing. I hated watching the news every day growing up because I felt it focused almost solely on the negative aspects of humanity and I couldn't stand all the hyperventilating and overblown noise that the news creates. Democracy Now!'s heart is in the right place and mostly in line with my politics but during the dark, dark Bush years, I would feel so helpless hearing Amy drone on endlessly about injustice after injustice but during the past few months, the glimmering hope that was Obama made my change my tune. Now if only they would change theirs.

I've been listening daily for the past two months and grew more and more excited as the election drew near and I felt the tide turning. I was happy about the prospect of some good news for once and even more ecstatic when I missed the atrocious theme song for the show. I only hear it once in a while but each time it's like a semi-funky ice pick to the brain. I have searched and searched the internet for the musicians who committed this crime against those with functioning eardrums but can't find the culprits. Why must this show, which features actually interesting and competent musicians during the short breaks on the program, have what is possibly the worst theme song ever? For such a left wing, progressive, intelligent news source, there must be someone there with the sense to end this bizarre cruelty to the audience. I deliberately walk slowly to my car to avoid this madness. I've posted a full show below but you really only need to listen to the first few seconds to hear what I'm incensed about. Please join my petition to get Amy and Juan to come to their senses. It truly is change we need.

A Wolfowitz in Sheeps Clothing - Democracy Now!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

And Now Exhale

I saw this on Jjosh's blog a while back and instantly fell in love with it. It's so perfectly put together and basically sums up the way the excitement about Obama and the hope for positive change steamrolled over the negativity and ugly rhetoric of the conservative camp. I also love the whole idea if Rickrolling so it's doubly awesome. I wanted to post this yesterday but got superstitious and thought it better to wait. Now that it's Wednesday, I can stop holding my breath and share this amazing video. Huzzah!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

battle for the middle earth

Blue Cheer - Out Of Focus
Witcherfinder General- Free Country
Black Sabbath - Fairies Wear Boots

Fastway - Trick or Treat
Angel Witch - Angel Witch
Y & T - Hang 'Em High

Manowar - Blow Your Speakers
Motorhead - Killed By Death
Saxon - Heavy Metal Thunder

Metallica - Blackened
Slayer - Silent Scream
Ministry - TV II

Accept - Balls To The Wall
Iron Maiden - The Trooper
Blind Guardian - This Will Never End

HammerFall - The Fire Burns Forever
3 Inches of Blood - Goat Riders Horde
Exodus - Shovel Headed Kill Machine

Mastodon - Blood and Thunder
Rhapsody - Holy Thunderforce
Motley Crue - Live Wire

Anthrax - What Doesn't Die
UFO - Lights Out