POW! #29 - Winter Stroll

From the scary trailer park house my family visits every Christmas Eve. It's full of creepy dead-eyed mannequins and roboticized stuffed animals. It's amazing. And terrifying.

Snapped on the camera phone. I just now figured out how to e-mail images to myself. How lame am I?


It Was I Who Said 'Monstrous'

Last week, before we headed out here for Christmas, I started drafting my 10 Favorite Albums Of 2007 list which quickly spiralled out of control, as you will soon see. I prepared by listing every album I'd heard this year, looking at a buttload of other Top 10 lists and listening to the All Songs Considered podcast crew list their faves. After doing all of this I realized something: I really, seriously do have a music problem. Not that I'm going to seek help or anything. I'm just saying, that's all.

I also realized that 2007 was a really great year for music. Even the disappointing albums are still, when you spend some time with them, not that bad. Well, except that The Good, The Bad & The Queen album - how boring was that? All in all though, it's been a great year.

So, without further ado, here's a bunch of lists. Feel free to argue my sanity below.

9 Random Albums That Didn't Fit Elsewhere But Are Worth Listening To

Dolorean You Can't Win
The Go! Team Proof Of Youth
Gogol Bordello Super Taranta!
John Vanderslice Emerald City
Junior Senior Hey Hey My My Yo Yo
Kaiser Chiefs Yours Truly, Angry Mob
The Maccabees Colour It In
Memonema Friend And Foe
Rocky Votolato The Brag & Cuss

11 Albums That, If You Liked Previous Releases By These Artists, Chances Are You'll Like These Ones

Air Pocket Symphony
Apples In Stereo New Magnetic Wonder
Björk Volta
Golden Smog Blood On The Slacks
Kings Of Leon Because Of the Times
Minus The Bear Planet Of Ice
The Polyphonic Spree The Fragile Army
Queens Of The Stone Age Era Vulgaris
Rogue Wave Asleep At Heaven's Gate
Ryan Adams Easy Tiger & Follow the Lights EP
Travis The Boy With No Name

10 Albums That Got Plenty Of Talk This Year and Therefore Don't Need Me To Say Anything, Really, Other Than Yeah, They Are, In Fact, Good Though Not Necessarily My "Favorites"

Amy Winehouse Back To Black
Arcade Fire Neon Bible
Arctic Monkeys Favourite Worst Nightmare
Elliott Smith New Moon
Iron & Wine The Shepherd's Dog
The National Boxer
Okkervil River The Stage Names
Peter Bjorn And John Writer's Block
Radiohead In Rainbows
The White Stripes Icky Thump

20 Albums That I Still Need To Hear

Animal Collective Strawberry Jam
Avett Brothers Emotionalism
Battles Mirrored
Beirut Flying Club Cup
Bill Callahan Woke On A Whaleheart
Broken Social Scene Presents: Kevin Drew Spirit If...
Caribou Andorra
Earlimart Mentor Tormentor
Grizzly Bear Friend EP
Hot Hot Heat Happiness, Ltd.
Jose Gonzalez In Our Nature
Les Savy Fav Let's Stay Friends
Levon Helm Dirt Farmer
Mando Diao Ode to Ochrassy
Robbers On High Street Grand Animals
Paul McCartney Memory Almost Full
PJ Harvey White Chalk
Thrills Teenager
The Tough Alliance A New Chance
Yeasayer All Hour Cymbals

9 Albums That Disappointed In One Way Or Another

Bloc Party A Weekend In the City
Bright Eyes Cassadega
The Good, The Bad & The Queen The Good, The Bad & The Queen
Interpol Our Love to Admire
Jesse Malin Glitter In the Gutter
Low Drums And Guns
The New Pornographers Challengers
The Shins Wincing the Night Away
Son Volt The Search

5 Albums That Didn't Come out This Year But Still Got A Lot Of Play Anyway

Beck The Information
The Decemberists The Crane Wife
Pernice Brothers Live A Little
Phoenix It's Never Been Like That
Suburban Kids With Biblical Names #3

2 Very Excellent Singles

Beck "Timebomb"
Devo "Watch Us Work It"

10 Honorable Mentions

Andrew Bird Armchair Apocrypha
Coconut Records Nighttiming
Lonely, Dear Lonely, Noir
Feist The Reminder
Modest Mouse We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank
Peel Peel
Shout Out Louds Our Ill Wills
Sunset Rubdown Random Spirit Lover
Thurston Moore Trees Outside the Academy
Wilco Sky Blue Sky

10 Favorite Albums Of 2007 - In Alphabetical Order - & Yeah, I Used the Word "Favorite" Because "Best" Is Impossible To Quantify

Art Brut It's A Bit Complicated
Band Of Horses Cease to Begin
Jens Lekman Night Falls Over Kortedala
LCD Soundsystem Sound of Silver
Of Montreal Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?
Panda Bear Person Pitch
Sondre Lerche Phantom Punch
Spoon Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Super Furry Animals Hey Venus! & Gruff Rhys Candylion
They Might Be Giants The Else

And there it was: 2007. Anything I'm missing? Anything that I totally put in the wrong list? Anything I need to add to my "Must Hear" list? Let the argument - sorry, "discussion" - begin.


POW! #28 - Merry

Merry Christmas to you & yours (whatever that means). I hope you get that pony you asked for, because Santa's all out of Wii's.


You Are the Champions My Friends

The following lovely people are the proud owners of the above mixtape:

* Ben

* Chris

* Dave

I'll send them out after the first of the year. Congratulations. You are now slightly better than everybody else.

On a related note, I posted my liner notes for my Mixtapery mixtape over at that blog if you're interested in checking that out.



So, things have been hectic here at BRR-HQ in preparation for the holidays. We head out tomorrow for sunny Las Vegas for the week to see the family and, hopefully, sleep a little bit. One of the things I'll be packing is this poster for Huston's band:

Freakin' Frog on the 29th. I'll be there, rocking &/or rolling. I made six color variations (ROYGBV, baby), so look for them at finer public places/men's restroom walls in the LV Metropolitan area. Hopefully we'll get some good photos of the series. I likes 'em. Can you tell I like 2001: A Space Odyssey? Because I do.

Next week I'll be taking a little break for the holidays but should have a few things to post ("the big old monster of a post" referred to in previous posts which has become so big and monstrous it will be split into numerous posts) which, hopefully, should result in some scuttlebutt (what a great word), so check in every now and then between presents and turkey and watching A Christmas Story for like the millionth time.


Nuggets From My Mind Box

I have a big old monster of a post in the works, so I'll just leave you with some little tidbits in the meantime:

* If you want your three-year-old to sleep like a rock, make her Christmas carol at an old folks home. Those places are like saunas with slightly less gross naked old people.

* I am terrified of old folks homes. And snakes.

* Being a Mormon myself, I find this whole Mitt Romney thing to be a little surreal. It's sort of like walking into a room and overhearing people talking candidly about you. Some of what they say is right on, some of it is totally weird and some is downright false and you're left thinking, "is that what people really think of me?" Makes you feel a little self conscious.

* Patti's post made me want some Red Vines real bad.

* If you're ever stuck trying to think of something funny to say, find a way to use the words "elven cloak" in a sentence. Guaranteed laughs or your money back. This also works with the word "crack."

* I want to eat little chocolate donuts every day of my life.

* When in doubt, kick it in the nards as hard as you can. Works for me.

* What's the point of poodles?

* Of all of the ways you can die, I think the worst would be to be eaten alive by naked mole rats. Or by naked old people.

* I think John Shaft could easily kick Chuck Norris' behind, any day.

* This is the cutest thing I have ever seen since that time I saw a kitten with butterfly wings and a halo riding a unicorn through a land of rainbows and cherubs.

And finally...

* There's no such thing as too much gravy.

Until next time, cats & kittens.


Uh, Yeah.


Dedicated To All You Modern-Day Troubadours Out There (& I Think I Know Who You Are)

This one's for Candace:

Oh man, Mark Linkous rules. From this Youtube channel, which has all sorts of goodies. Anybody out there have a radio station they love? I sort of found one that sometimes plays good music, but it's the radio, which is like, my enemy and stuff. It's such a great idea in theory, this "radio" that you kids love so, but man, so horribly terrible any more. Please share if you have found some radio love.


Trajan Horse

Ready for some typographic humor? No? Oh well, here goes nothing:

Just curious, any of you non-designers checked out Helvetica yet? Because it totally rules.


Sunday Comics! Square Jaws & Sassy Dames

This last week I read Darwyn Cooke's DC: the New Frontier and, well, it's pretty much a masterpiece: well-plotted, well-written and gorgeously drawn. I mean, take a look at this:

That's Superman. Getting the business handed to him. By a big red robot. Oh, Darwyn, you had me at "business".

New Frontier is a reimagining of DC's Silver Age, setting the characters of that era in the "real world" of that era. Well, as close to the real world as you can get when Cape Canaveral is being attacked by giant dino-monsters.

It attempts to do for comics what the Right Stuff did for the aerospace program, that is, show how it all came together to make the world we have now. In fact, the similarity between the two can sort of ruin it for you if you think about it too hard, so look! Here's a T. Rex getting blown up! By a bazooka!

This is definitely a Silver Age book, chock full of hard-as-nails s.o.b.'s with square jaws and gumption and dames who are pretty but take no guff. Basically, the quintessential DC book if the cliche' of DC heroes being basically a bunch of Greatest Generation types in tight pajamas holds. Your granddad in his long underwear. Cooke's Square-Jawed Favorites King Faraday and Slam Bradley show up as well as the Challengers of the Unknown, Suicide Squad, Blackhawks and Hal Jordan (oh, how Cooke loves him some Hal...). In fact, I remember closing the book and going, "Well, now I don't have to feel guilty about not owning all those DC Archive hardcovers, as they would probably not deliver the radness as well as Cooke delivers it here."

Which is not to say it's perfect. The over-reliance on square-jawed guys who all sort of look like Robert Mitchum makes it hard to tell who's who at times. Cooke expects that the reader know a lot about DC history going in (Which I don't. I'm a Marvel guy.)

There's a few pages devoted to a Challengers of the Unknown team forming that don't pay off for quite a while (I was left wondering, "Um, I know I'm supposed to know why these people forming a team of some sort is important, but... help a brotha out Darwyn.") and Hal's blonde war buddy (who is a Challenger? Or is that Suicide Squad?) is always winkingly introduced like "Hey, it's this guy. Recognize him? Huh?" By the end of the book you pretty much suss out who everybody is and why they're important, but I kept feeling like maybe my copy was missing some pages or I needed Cliff Notes or something.

See, lots of guys who sort of look the same.

There's always a reference to Cooke's background in animation when they talk about his work. I've heard "cartoony" (often derisively) used more than once, and while I'd tend to agree that that to the point that his work utilizes the simplicity of form that is usually associated with animation, there's a huge debt owed to Kirby as well as other Silver age artists. He's as much a classicist as, say Tim Sale or Frank Miller. I first was introduced to Cooke through his run as artist on Ed Brubakers Catwoman (a post on that fantastic run sometime, perhaps?) and while I don't know that he was the right artist for that book, it was still impressive. The simplicity of his work lends itself to this kind of story: good good guys, bad bad guys, a pinch of moral gray area thrown in for good measure, but, at teh end of the day, a fine-tuned Silver Age story. Cooke's not trying to do a Watchmen-style deconstruction of these characters, nor is he retooling the characters for modern use like, say, Morrison's Seven Soldiers experiment. He's doing a fairly straight Silver age story, all lovingly rendered in his retro/"Modern with a captial 'M' as in the art movement" style (referring to writing as well as art style).

It's gorgeous stuff. I'd purchase it, and, in fact, placed the over-sized Absolute Edition hardcover in my Amazon wish list with the intent to actually buy it. Which is sort of a big deal. It's like a promise ring or something.


POW! #27 - Beefy! pt. 2

A nice piece of cow from a stand at the Westside Market.


Freaking Out = Me!

I just peed a little. From the excitement. Don't worry. It happens.

You know what I want for Christmas, Japanese Santa Claus? I want this stupid strike to end so I can have me some Lost next year. Please? It's not like I'm asking for a pony or anything, not like last year. I've been a good boy. Please?

BRR Goes To the Movies - Oh. Hecks. Yeah. Edition.

Okay, so apparently JJ Abrams has been stealing my mind juice because everything he does (well, except for Felicity) is right up my alley. "My alley" being nerd-tasticness done properly. So it should come as no surprise that his latest feature film, the bizarrely named Cloverfield (which sounds like a dairy company, doesn't it? "Try Cloverfield's fat free cottage cheese today. It's delicious and cottagey.") which, according to internet speculation (which is a given with an Abrams property) is supposedly a Godzilla movie with some sort of Cthulu connection. (And given the reliability of internet speculation, means it's probably about, well, cottage cheese.) Basically, it's a giant rampaging monster movie done right. Your "Awesome Sense" should be tingling by now.

Here's the official site which has a better version of the trailer as well as the Blair Witch-esque teaser. And if you're really brave, you can start looking into the ARG that's been going on around this. It's pretty nuts. (And I just read a little bit about it.)

Speaking of JJ Abrams, we watched the first disc of Alias (mainly because Jesse wouldn't stop making fun of me until I did) and while it didn't knock my proverbial socks off, I enjoyed it enough to stick with it. Which is a whole lot more than I can say for the "obviously trying really hard to be Alias but with way more, like, crying and feelings and stuff" that was (is?) Bionic Woman or the first discs of either Heroes or 24. So, yeah, it's a winner, I guess.

Until next week, balcony = closed.

UPDATED: So no sooner had I posted this, that I stumbled onto this:

Nerdglee = 11


Lately I've been feeling like I really want a nice, fat, juicy steak. Like, as in, I would probably rob an old lady if she were carrying a delicious steak dinner down the street. Does this mean I am iron deficient? Or is that if I have an overwhelming need to eat paint chips or dirt or cigarette butts? In any case, I want me some beef. GIVE IT TO ME!

In other news, what the heck constitutes a "celebrity," or "star" anymore? I keep seeing these commercials for, I dunno, Celebrity Basket Weaving and there's like Patti LaBelle (Can anyone name me one Patti LaBelle song that I have heard? Without Googling it? Didn't think so.) and Soy Bomb and the announcer from Supermaket Sweep and some brain dead-looking boxer and a half dozen other people I have never ever heard of.

And it's not like I'm not pop culture savvy. Come on, I may not have a lot, but let me have that.

Look at the lineup for Celebrity Apprentice. "Softball player Jennie Finch"? First off, "Who!?" and secondly, there's professional softball? Really? I thought that was just something that you played in middle school because your school was too underfunded to afford helmets? What other fake professional sports are there? Professional T-Ball? Professional badminton? Professional shuffleboard? Come on people, if everything's a sport, then nothing is a sport.

Look at that list. A good portion of these people are famous for being on other reality shows. WTH? Is this our definition of "fame," having been on TV? Because if so, I was in the background of an episode of Golden Girls?* I can has moneyz now?

I am moving to convene Congressional hearings on the definition of "celebrity", because I don't want my kids growing up in a world where Michael Bolton is referred to as a "superstar". That's just not right.

* Not true. It was Empty Nest.


The Belt & the Title

I feel a little weird posting this after bribing you with music for comments (feels a little like compliment-fishing, but whatevs), but I finished a Battle Of the unBands poster from the last round. It's for the fake band Dead Writers, who won the Battle against Robots Of Love and Butterscotch Brides. Here's the poster:

There's another poll in the sidebar. The three bands competing this round are:

* Deadly Venoms
* Coat Of Static
* Dynamite Drills

Cast your vote. Leave a comment about who you're voting for and why and may the best fake band win.

Also, on a completely unrelated note, this looks promising. This is the kind of book Casey would really excel on, a low-rent Avengers with characters he can play around with. Sounds tailor-made, dunnit? I just wish the preview art looked stronger. (Admittedly, it's un-inked pencils, so we'll see how they clean up, but look at that second panel! Dude's fist is almost as big as his head! I'd have a doctor look at that, like stat.)


Acting My Stone Age

Dang! It's been like mixtape central around here or something. I got Dance, White People! Dance! off to my wonderful Mixtapery peeps, and suddenly I get an irresistible hankering to give another mix away to readers of this very web - based - log (I call it a "webasdlog" for short. Sort of catchy, right? Remember to roll the "R"s!)! I must have lost my mind or something, giving this stuff away. For free, even!

Anyway, my loss of higher mental functions is your gain because I want to give you some musical yumminess for your ears. It is like delicious ice cream for your ears only it's music. For your ears. And you can't eat it. Just listen to it. Please don't eat it, no matter how delicious it sounds.

I have three - that's right! Three! - mixtapes up for grabs. To enter, simply leave me a comment. Now is your chance to show some comment love to the Big Red Robot. Your love is his food. Lurkers, you're welcome to step out of the shadows and comment, too. And take off that ridiculous hat and fake mustache. You aren't fooling anyone. We could totally see you hiding there, looking all nonchalant and stuff.

RULES! (Because without them society would fall apart, I don't care what Alan Moore and his crazy hippie wizard beard say.) You will receive one entry for each comment you leave, so the more you comment, the better your chances of getting the goodness in your mailbox.

The winner will be selected by the very scientific process of a neutral third party (preferably someone Swiss, though a Swede will do in a pinch) pulling a slip of paper out of an empty formula canister or a cowboy hat or the open mouth of a Venus Fly Trap or a bowl made from finest crystal or a tauntaun carcass... whatever is at hand. Most likely a formula canister, but who knows. If you're mixtape smells faintly like freshly carved tauntaun, you know why. You have been warned.

Saturday's post will be the last one eligible for the drawering. I will travel back in time using sophisticated tekmology™ full of squiggles and Kirby Krackle and open this up for any post this week, December 9th through the 15th. We clear?


Now, I don't want to toot my own horn or anything, but this is a pretty dang good mix. A really nice flow. In fact, it's all flow. Dude! Normally I have some sort of overarching theme, but this one was built entirely on transitions, so, yeah, pretty mind-blowing stuff. It's called (We Can't Stand Your) Modern Music and it features cuts from the following artists:

* Black Mountain
* Jonathan Richman
* The Walkmen
* The Breeders
* The Flaming Lips
* Ben Folds (some PG-language here: Mr. Folds drops an S-bomb or two, if you're concerned about that sort of thing. Earmuffs!)
* David Byrne
* Sloan
* Beck (it's another track from The Information. Can you tell that I love that album?)
* Wolf Parade
* Islands
* Suburban Kids With Biblical Names
* A.C. Newman
* Elliott Smith
* Violent Femmes

I'm pretty proud of this one, as I somehow managed to make a mixtape without a single track from Guided By Voices or Yo La Tengo! I'm sure the Indie Cool Squad will rough me up something fierce behind some record store or vegan waffle house or whatever the cool kids are into these days (with their baggy pants and their hop-hop music and their loud stereos and their Cross Colors clothing and whatnot! Hey! Stay off of my lawn!), but I live my life on the edge. Because I am living the thug life. Fo shizzle.

I'll post covers, etc. once the winners are announced. As usual, Candace is exempt because, well, she's getting one anyway because she's my special lady-friend. Anybody else though - it's fair game. It is on like unto Donkey Kong. Let's play some ball, internets!


It's Only Divine Wrong

I was cruising the You Tube and stumbled across this gem:

Oh Michael McDonald... how unbelievably much you sucketh.


Sunday Comics! Words Of Wisdom From Yotsuba&!

You bet it is, Yotsuba. From volume 5 of the incredibly charming manga series Yotsuba&!, a story about a cute little girl with a lot of enthusiasm. It's from chapter 31, entitled "Yotsuba & Stars." I'm not a big manga guy, but I'll be danged if this isn't one of the best things I've read in a while. You will not be sorry for having read it.


(Please Mr. Postman) D-d-d-don't Stop the Beat

I just posted this over on the Mixtapery blog. I'm mailing my mix. Today. Don't you wish you'd joined? Don't worry, you'll get your chance. Next year.

I'll post a more detailed description over there (and most likely link to it here) once people start getting them. [ sigh ] I do so love a good mixtape, don't you?

POW! #26 - Look At the Size Of That Chicken

Now that's what I call a giant chicken.


BRR Goes To the Movies, the "No Thanks/No Way" Edition

Today we're looking at movies that I will never see. Movies that I will go out of my way not to see. And trust me, I am stubborn. I still haven't seen Titanic... just on principle.

We'll start off with the rom-com P.S.: I Love You starring that actress who won an Oscar for looking uncannily like a teenage shemale:

Oh man, that looks just atrocious, right? And I sort of liked Return To Me. (Shut up! It's Bonnie Hunt. She's a funny lady. Can't pick a script, but still.) Does anybody get a weird feeling from the premise of this movie? It's all a little creepy, innit? Dude's dead, but he's pimping his old lady out from beyond the grave? Ewww. Is it gross, or is it just me?

Moving on, we come to the "non-negotiable" section of this post. These next two movies involve actors that are deal-breakers for me. I have a list of a few actors that I will not tolerate. (I also have a "Yes, Please and Thank You" list of actors with a free pass that I'll post... sometime or another.) If they're in a movie, I am bound by honor to pass on said movie. My list includes:

* Angelina Jolie

* Nicholas Cage

* Will Smith

* J.Lo

* Sorry dad, but Costner's burned me too many times.

* Leonardo DiCaprio's a hard sell.

* Tom Cruise (with the exception of Minority Report. That movie friggin' KICKED!) is - and has been for a long while - a firm "no".

* Also, any singing is grounds for disqualification.

* If it's directed by Bret Ratner or James Cameron = no.

* And if Mel Gibson's in it and it's a historical epic, no thanks.

So, imagine my chagrin when the following films both kicked it into overdrive and started showing up in Every. Single. Commercial. Break. Ever:

I know, it looks sort of cool, but let me just give you a tip to help strengthen your resolve after Christmas when somebody says "Let's go see that vaguely awesome-looking post-apocalyptic vampire movie with the Fresh Prince." Repeat after me: "Will Smith will not bring me happiness. He's not a very good actor and has a tendency to bring the suck to anything he touches. Also, dude was the! Fresh! Prince! How come nobody seems to remember that?! Why!?" Repeat until you feel strong enough to run screaming from the room in horror, as if your brain caught fire by merely entertaining the notion of seeing a Will Smith movie. Because it will catch fire sometime before those credits roll. Just say "no".

Next up, the trailer for National Treasure 2: Book of Whatever:

You know the most frustrating thing about Nicolas Cage? It's that he used to be awesome. He used to be fun. Now he's all jacked up on his own self and how he's a serious actor/action star and all that.

Remember him in Red Rock West, not to mention his flawless performance in Raising Arizona? Remember that guy? Yeah, he got killed by some guy who's too busy making dreck like Con Air or Face/Off or Gone In 60 Seconds or marrying Elvis' crazy daughter (did he marry her after Jacko? Because if he did... there is no hope for him). He buried him in a ditch somewhere and then sped off to get his teeth capped and hair plugged into his head. It's a shame really. (I will say this: I thought he was excellent in the Weather Man, probably because he was playing himself: a guy who's become so caught up in his own self he's completely incapable of being a real live human being. He's just a guy who smiles for the camera. Kinda eerie to think about, huh?)

Anyway, that's it for this week. Come back next week. We'll make popcorn.


Something To Think About

As bad as life can get, at least you're not this guy:

Or this guy:

Or this guy:

Oh, beloved internets, how did we survive without you for so long? I mean, where else can you get pictures like this? Books? I think not. Those librarians (or as I like to call them: "the Birkenstock Brain Police") and their high-falutin' ideals on what is and isn't "literature" would never let their precious Dewey Decimal System be sullied by a book on unfortunate facial hair, mullets and orange Elvis impersonators. Trust me on this one. I mean, I went to the trouble of making the book (well, okay I just stapled all my loose pages of yellowed print-outs, photocopies and scribbled, half-intelligible ramblings/rantings together between two pieces of construction paper with the title: At Least You're Not This Guy: Unfortunate Facial Hair, Mullets and Orange Elvises; Why America Is Greatest There Is - A Chronicle of Radness In the 21st Century. Also Includes Some Awesome Recipes. And An Exclusive Interview With the Ghost Of El Santo. By Dylan "Aw Hecks Yeah" Todd, Professional Breakdance Aficionado and Collector Of Lando Calrissian Action Figures), the least they can do is make it available to the public. I mean, come on! I pay my taxes! I eat my vegetables! I can eat 23 Oreos in one sitting! What are you uptight NPR-listening-to ninnies afraid of? A little truth? Is that too much for your sweater-vest-clad soul to digest? Huh!?



My Brain Is Valuable

The Cleveland Plain Dealer, the local newspaper, ran a little profile on me as part of its "Brain Gain" feature. I am now famous. You can read the blurb online right here. I'm a little sad they don't have my profile picture posted online, as I looked pretty smoking hot. Derek Zoolander better watch out.

Now that I've been in the newspaper, I feel just a little bit better than everyone else for some reason. Is this what it's like to be Brittany "Paris" Lohan, Esq.? It feels so wrong, but so... right. I promise that fame won't change me, though.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go take my underwear off in a lingerie store, steal a wig or two, check into rehab, have a fight with my mom, fistfight an old lady in a wheelchair, buy 13 baby albino Bengal tigers to use in an underground tiger/kangaroo fighting league and have my driver drive drunk through a Sears parking lot while I yell about how much I hate the orange M&M's.

Or as I like to call it: "Just Another Wednesday".


Iggy's Cool & Angus Rules

This week's A-OK! (Album Of the Week, for the uninitiated) is Canadian pop superstars Sloan's thoroughly solid Navy Blues album. It's like a plank of oak it's so solid. I remember previewing it at Big B's (remember when that place existed and/or was awesome? I sure do. Because I am old.) and, about three seconds into the into the first song ("She Says What She Means") - there's this huge, fat-sounding riff that kicks off the album... well, after a little cough - and I knew I had to own it. Immediately. I ran into "Moe Jaloney" there (who's in another Vegas band whose name sounds sort of like "the Leibchers" and was in another band at the time that we - the Asthmatics - played with now & then but I can't remember the name of his band right now. Something to do with "wolves"? I dunno) and I was all excited and like "you gotta hear this" and, well, it did not have the same effect. (He always was a little "too cool for school," though, so I didn't take it too personal. I probably shouldn't have typed his full name, huh? What with the Google and all. Easily remedied. There. Done. Names changed to protect the blahblahblah) Oh well, no accounting for taste, right?

I'm not sure if it was my first Sloan album (probably was) but I was so smitten that I spent the next few months tracking down their previous releases and have been faithful to them ever since (despite the fact that they seem to have lost the plot somewhere around 2003's Action Pact). Sloan makes 70's AM music for the late 20th/early 21st century. In fact, their music is so remniscent of that sound Sophia Coppola used it in the soundtrack to The Virgin Suicides next to genuine article bands like 10cc, Heart and Todd Rundgren.

Navy Blues is the last of three perfect Sloan albums. The streak started with 1994's Twice Removed continued with 1996's One Chord To Another and finished off with this album. I actually was going to put One Chord in the sidebar but couldn't find a decent jpeg that wasn't tiny, so, there, now you know how the Big Red Robot sausage is made. Still wanna eat it?

Anyway, the album's aces. Rob old ladies for record money if you must. Just get it somehow.

Also, I found out my super-sweet fake band name, Debate Team, is spoken for (or stolen?!). The clouds went grey. The trees themselves wept. Well, there's always Dead Writers, right? Which reminds me... I need to make a Dead Writers poster, don't I? In January. Maybe. We'll see. Right now I'm focused, laser-like, on getting Dance, White People! Dance! in the mail to my fellow Mixtapery denizens and I also have a special little thing planned for readers of this very blog, so keep yr ears to the pavement and yr eyes glued to yr screens.

Until next time. Peace.


Whitest Boys Alive

A hand-animated video for the Whitest Boy Alive's "Golden Cage" from their album Dreams which I was able to download because my main man Ryan "the Castlerocker" Adams hooked me up with some iTunes downloads. Because he is awesome like that. This isn't the official video. It's better than the official video.


Sunday Comics! Gødland Edition!

Okay, so despite protests from the Peanut Gallery, I'm starting a new feature called Sunday Comics where I talk about - you guessed it! - comic books. On a Sunday. Because I can. Also, because nobody reads this blog over the weekend (the Analytics don't lie, yo), so, who cares, right? So we'll show a couple scans, post a couple links, get down tonight.

So today we're talking about Joe Casey and Tom Scioli's insane cosmic superhero epic: Gødland.

Gødland is the comic book Stan Lee and Jack Kirby would be writing today if they were able. And sort of on drugs. It's a garage rock cover of a Lee/Kirby FF story gone horribly wrong. It's a gaudy dayglo, over-the-top, "But this one goes to 11" honest-to-goodness comic book where the action flies by, the characterization is there but not the focus and the ideas come fast and hot and don't entirely make sense.

Basically, it's a sloppy Grant Morrison comic.

Casey's sort of like the guy you call when Morrison's too busy conversing with 10th-dimensional alien polymorphic beings in Kathmandu to return your invitation to pitch. He's the Robbers On High Street to Morrison's Spoon - Indie snob reference! - while not entirely derivative when listened-to/read in isolation, one definitely stands out as the better band/writer when placed in close proximity. (See his short-lived Doom Patrol-esque freak-out Automatic Kafka if you don't believe me) He's also a solid superhero writer, with his Iron Man mini the Inevitable and his Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes minis as decent examples of solid recent Capes & Tights fiction. They also showcase Casey's love for and handle of the Avengers, which, if Marvel had any sense - and they don't, sadly - would warrant his immediate position as writer for life of that corner of Marveldom.

Gødland is very much a comic book, from the omniscient, Stan Lee carnival-barker timbre of the narration to the internal dialogue expressed in the thought balloons (How long has it been since those were widely used? Since... oh yeah, the grim & gritty mid-80's, I'd guess). It's not so much poking fun at the conventions of comic books as it's sort of wallowing in them, taking them all out and seeing if they still work. For too long (since the double-shot of Miller's Dark Knight and Moore's Watchmen) comics have been pretty ashamed of themselves and Casey (along with contemporaries like Morrison and Matt Fraction) seems intent on reminding us of why comics exist, why they're not just movies on paper or static television shows. I mean, where else can you have your hero, Adam Archer, former astronaut and current cosmically-powered being utter dialogue like this:

The series focuses on Archer who got crazy superpowers when he went to Mars. Which makes perfect sense because this is unashamedly "that type" of comic. He lives in a swell skyscraper called Infinity Tower in the middle of Manhattan that has been adapted to facilitate his new form (not unlike the Fantastic Four's Baxter Building). In the second issue, he rescues a giant green talking dog-type thing from outer space named Maxim who teaches him how to use his newfound powers. He's like Yoda, only, you know, a giant space dog. He finds out that the universe was formed by a giant, warmongering space-god named Iboga. He has a growing feud with America's Cherished Hero: Crashman and his government does not trust him. At all. He fights villains with names like Discordia and Freidrich Nickelhead and, my personal favorite, the drug-addicted, skull floating-in-a-jar sleazeball Basil Cronus, shown here getting all messed up on Maxim's precious bodily fluids:

Try and find that sort of stuff playing in a multiplex near you. It's insane, ridiculous fun. Not as mind-bending as some work out there (it pales in comparison with say, Seaguy), but still thrilling, seat-of-your-pants stuff.

If Casey's doing a cracked Stan Lee impersonation, it's aided and abetted by Scioli's obviously-likes-the-work-of-Kirby shaky, bombastic linework. And while it's very reminiscent of the King's dynamic style, it's not entirely a rip-off. Scioli's lines seem to vibrate a lot more, seem more nervous, more self-conscious and are much more intentionally crude. It completely compliments the over-the-top nature of the plot and it's telling that Casey has yet to bring in another penciller to help keep the book on schedule, as I don't think it would be nearly as successful with another artist. (Plus, they're co-creators, so... yeah)

Right now, there are three paperback collections out: volume 1: Hello, Cosmic, volume 2: Another Sunny Delight and volume 3: Proto-Plastic Party. Or you can spring for the oversized hardcover of the first twelve issues, Gødland: the Celestial Edition. Or you can kick it old school and pick up the pamphlets, published by Image Comics (whose website is atrocious to navigate, by the way).

Whew! That was a lot more intense than I expected. That's all for today. I'm gonna go watch some TV.


POW! #25 - the Plywood Brigade

Is there anything prettier than plywood?

No. There isn't.