Friday, November 14, 2014

Okay, Who Else Gives A Shit? Really? Okay, More Music Reviews.


Bette Midler "It's The Girls"

Still has a good voice, but sings the standards in an unremarkable way.  Next!



Azealia Banks "Broke With Expensive Taste" 1/2 *

Okay, I said last time that I missed albums poorly made and shittily executed, and here we are a mere blog entry later and YAY!  We found the suck!  If early 90's B-Movie Hip-Hop was a genre, it would be this album!  It's really lame, but not in the same way as everyone else, so I'll give her half a point for trying something different!  (But DAMN is this record crap!)



Tenth Avenue North "Cathedrals"

The same as every Christian rock band from the last...ten years?  So hard to hear uniqueness in this genre.  I don't have a problem with wanting to say something you believe in with your music.  I just don't like lame soft rock.  Later.



The New Basement Tapes "Lost On The River" [NEGATIVE 1 STAR]

Just like any other indie folk thing you care to mention, but somehow more so.  Just really irritating in its refusal to be substantial, or even to be here at any point.



Machine Head "Bloodstone & Diamonds" ***

Now we're talkin'.  If you're familiar with Machine Head, you know what you're getting into.  The album has problems: Some songs are a little too much like "Meh"chine Head, if you know what I'm sayin', "Night Of The Long Knives" works in context with the album but by itself is ham fisted at best, and the last four tracks could disappear and I'd never notice, since I'd hit stop after "In Comes The Flood" (which feels like it should have closed anyway).  But there are some cool surprises like "Sail Into The Black" (one of the more dynamic songs they've ever done) and "Beneath The Silt" (their first eight string venture and a welcome surprise in the middle of the album).  A few other songs are decent, and like I said, shave the last four tracks off and you have an album ready to fight.  But only if you're really in the mood for it and are sick of "The Blackening", "Unto The Locust", "Through The Ashes Of Empires" and "Burn My Eyes".



Teyana Taylor "VII" **

Some modern soul?  I can dig it.  Unfortunately, it gets unbearably repetitive by track four (which is a shame, because "Just Different" and "Request" really caught my ear).



Angie Miller "Weathered"

Shamelessly panhandling at the intersection of Kelly Clarkson and fun. .



Knife Party "Abandon Ship"

The title is the best idea they had.  RUN AWAY BEFORE YOU PRESS PLAY!!!  (Though maybe I should give them points for being self-aware enough to make a song called "EDM Trend Machine"?  I...NOPE.  Song's garbage.)



Migos "Rich N**ga Timeline"

I had fun listening to the samples, I gotta admit.  Migos is Mike Jones levels of bad at rapping.  This album scores a zero, but we'll just say those two asterisks in the name serve as a reminder to listen to this shit at least once.  Seriously, go to iTunes, look this shit up and click play on at least the first four tracks.  Tell me that didn't at least make you chuckle.



Royksopp "The Inevitable End" *

I've enjoyed Royksopp from time to time, though I confess I checked out around "Junior" in '09.  ("Eple" is a fucking BANGER.)  If this is any indication of what they've been up to, I can't say I'm sad to see them go (this will be their "last album"), but hey, "Save Me" is pretty good.  (The rest is an extremely cut-rate Daft Punk.)



The Lox "The Trinity 2nd Sermon" * and 1/2

I was just lamenting 2014's almost complete lack of good rap earlier today.  The Lox try, but it's just not the same, in spite of sounding like they dug five songs out of Double R's vault and put them out as an EP of new material.  But somehow, this would make the top five for rap releases this year.  THAT'S how dry it's been in '14.



Nick Lachey "Soundtrack Of My Life"

Much like Bette Midler, Lachey goes the standards rout, but covering more modern songs like Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes", The Goo Goo Doll's "Iris" (for those who wanted to like the Goo Goo Dolls' version, but felt it was just way too hardcore), Dido's "Here With Me", Aerosmith's "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" (see "Iris", yet put in 1998 Aerosmith), the most pansiest version of "What A Wonderful World" you'll ever hear, and fucking "Streets Of Philadelphia", I shit you not.  What vengeful God was wronged in what ways for this to be foisted upon an unsuspecting populous?!?!?!?  Oh woe is mankind!!!



Bobby Schmurda "Schmurda She Wrote"

Take Migos and add it to...pop radio?  Definitely more commercially palatable than Migos on track 1, but with about as many N-Words per second or more.  But hey, autotune singing in the hook!  That's HOOD!



Kyuhyun "The 1st Mini Album [Kanji I can't translate] At Gwanghwamun"

Stereotypical K-Pop ballads.  South Korean teenage girls get it in, yo!  (Think Backstreet Boys but halfway across the globe.)



Jon McLaughlin "The Christmas EP"

Damn, this is the worst Mahavishnu Orchestra album of all time.


Okay, that was another train wreck.  But wasn't it fun?!?!?  Let's do it again sometime!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Who Gives A Shit? Nobody. But Nonetheless...Music Reviews.


Foo Fighters "Sonic Highways" ** and 1/2

Sounds like any other classic rock band putting out an album now.  Which is crazy, since they're from the 90's, but we're all getting older, aren't we?  But for real, they have the aesthetic of a classic rock band down, reminiscent of something between AC/DC and the Night Flight Orchestra (a band that sounds like the 70's on purpose).  It's easily the best Foo Fighters I've heard in awhile, but that's not saying much since I checked out after "The Color And The Shape".  The most I can say is that the album doesn't suck, and the songs at least feel a little substantive.  It's not my trip, but it sounds like perfectly serviceable rock music, and not rock muzak.  The thing it's missing the most, however is a memorable song, being the only Foo Fighters track I can name since 2002 is "The Pretender".  Kind of a problem.



Pink Floyd "The Endless River"

This some pretty new-agey bullshit right here.  Shame their first album in 20 years (and their last official one before they ride off into the sunset) is worse than Roger Water's swansong with the band "The Final Cut".



U2 "Songs Of Innocence"

Officially the least cool band in the world, "Songs Of Innocence" certainly doesn't help their case.  While still technically better than Pink Floyd's new/old dreck, it's still the most easy listening thing U2 has ever done, so it falls into a similar category.  (Also, it feels like Floyd were coming from a more artistically honest place.  U2 just try to be cool and fail miserably (see: "The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)")



Big K.R.I.T. "Cadillactica" **

Sounds like Outkast doing exclusively trap beats over slow jam samples.  And that's not the worst thing in the world, even if it gets old by track five.



Nick Jonas

How is this any different than any other pop music in 2014?  "Chains" is an urban demo hit, "Jealous" is Lady Gaga without any talent or balls, "Teacher" wishes it was Chromeo guest starring Justin Timberlake but...This shit fails to be any of these things.  It's almost like somebody recorded an album designed to sound like NOW! 53, but the results wound up being the "Wheat-O's" bagged version to their Cheerios.  Being that listeners have damn near infinite listening options and access to whatever pop hits that already exist, THERE IS NO LOGICAL REASON FOR AN OFF-BRAND.  This album is such a logical fallacy in its redundancy, it SHOULD NOT EXIST.  But it does, and you will have to live with that as a fact.  MWA HA HA HA HA!!!!  (Side note: Does Nick Jonas think an explicit lyrics sticker makes him a bad ass?  In 2014?  Pfff.)



Damien Rice "My Favourite Faded Fantasy"

Remember when I said shitty falsetto indie music was the most dominant music now?  Nailed it!!!  The only thing I didn't predict is that anybody was capable of writing six to nine minute songs in that style.  How does the artist keep THEMSELVES awake long enough to perform this?  The world may never know.



Calvin Harris "Motion"

And here we have the Pepsi to falsetto indie's Coke: Shitty, gutless, soulless technopop with wall of sound synths to overwhelm you into not paying attention to the garbageness of the song.  What really gets my goat though is the blurb on iTunes about this album: "Just as Michael Jackson was the King of Pop, Calvin Harris is the Emperor of EDM."  DaFUQ?  How can someone even matter enough to be Emperor, especially in a climate where everyone is using computers to write, record and produce music using THE EXACT SAME FUCKING SOUND SAMPLES?

How is Calvin Harris distinguishable from any other EDM artist other than his name?  I say this not just as an old man who wants you off his lawn, but as an electronic musician myself.  You have to write songs with the same formula everyone else uses or you'll alienate your fanbase, you have to use the same equipment and same sonic palette or you'll alienate your fanbase, and the presentation has to be the same as well otherwise the fans won't know what to do with it.

How do you even judge which "artist" deserves the crown in a world like that?  WHY DO YOU THINK MOST OF THESE ALBUMS GET ZERO STARS?  They're all expertly built, yet make NO IMPACT.  NONE.  One of the things I miss the most is hearing albums that sucked the wet fucking diseased TAINT because they were poorly done, poorly recorded or shittily written.  THOSE albums were at least amusing; they provoked some kind of reaction.  Now the style is "Make everything as boring and homogenous as possible because we know it works.  Gotta get that crossover appeal!"

Holy shit.  Wasn't expecting to go off like that.  Make no mistake, Calvin Harris didn't provoke that reaction; I've had that feeling for awhile.  I merely drew an arbitrary line of demarcation that THIS is where I'm gonna unload both barrels of my linguistic rage on this unsuspecting motherfucker.  I'm back baby!


So anyway, I'll keep doing reviews as long as I have time (maybe the next few days) and I'll release a new batch once a week.  Maybe I'll find something that doesn't sound like a wet digital fart!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Dude, You've Gotta, Like...FEEL The Piano...WHOOAAAA....

Notes taken from a class about how Body Image is portrayed in film, in this case the movie "The Piano":

[The idea the teacher in this class put forth is that seeing an image would evoke the same sensory response as actually feeing the thing you see.  Which got me thinking...]

Okay.  So, the teacher sees the piano and "feels" the wood.  It evokes that in him, but it does nothing for me.  I can experience the sensation if I stare at the piano and consciously call up the memory of brushing my hand on smooth wood, but it doesn't evoke the feeling in me.

I'm starting to understand what the instructor is getting at, but still have little idea what this has to do with body image.  Also, it took two whole class periods to get to this infinitesimal level of understanding.  (Hell, at least it got me writing again.)   (Though if you go further with this kinda thing, it does make for different ways to watch movies.  Especially bullshit arthouse claptrap like this.)

If I consciously focus on it, sure.  I can "feel" the rough wood of the piano crate, but that's not why I watch movies.  I'm not looking for sensory provocation; I'm looking for the provocation of thought and/or empathy.  I wanna have ideas I never had before, or learn something or see a story that I could relate to, or didn't know I could relate to until now, or just see some awesome shit happen because I like awesome shit.

The inherent flaw in this practice of "feeling" a movie instead of just watching it is it demands too much sensorial empathy from the audience.  Most people just want to watch something.  And I don't feel out of place in saying that most people would have to work consciously at achieving the level of synesthesia required for such an experience.  This would be the antithesis of the escapism most viewers watch movies for.  As an artist, I can understand such an aspiration, but I've had my own experiences in going too far into the abstract, and learned the hard way that you have to meet the audience half way before you can bring them any further.

Besides, this movie's gettin' a little too rapey.  (Watch out!  Harvey Keitel is RIGHT BEHIND YOU!)

Friday, October 31, 2014

20,000 PAGEVIEWS (WOO HOO!!!)

Thank you for hitting me up 20,000 times, internet!  To celebrate, here's some fucked up shit that I found when I searched for "20,000", "20K" and "Twenty thousand":

Pictures:









Videos:





Further Reading:

The Wikipedia entry on 20,000:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/20000_%28number%29



Tuesday, October 14, 2014

RANDOM BULLSHIT!: Pop Culture Observations

A few rapid fires for ya:

Whoever came up with the billboards on the South side of Milwaukee saying "OMG! Support Your Local Business" needs to go shoot their self(ie).

Fox Sports one promotes new interview...deal called "1-On-1"; promo graphic has three people in it.

I'll admit, The Rock's return, his subsequent promo w/ Triple H and Cena's marked heelishness have me intrigued, but what else happened on that episode of Monday Night Raw?  A Bella won a match with her hand tied behind her back and a tiny man in a bull costume wrestled a tiny man in an alligator costume.  Add that together with commercials and we're talkin' about an hour.  Raw is three hours long.  What happened during the other two?  Nothing anyone remembers.

Anyone else see the commercial for Mulaney and think "Mul-Cancelled"?  Watch the trailer and see what I mean:





Now I've got to solve the internal debate on whether I'll live blog the episodes of Matlock CBS 58 is airing opposite the NFL on Sunday afternoons...

Friday, September 19, 2014

THE TOURNAMENT TO END ALL TOURNAMENTS: Brackets XXV-XXVIII, Third Round (Matches 589-596)

This is, unfortunately, a bit of a one-off.  I wrote these brackets sometime in July, and was waiting to write more and gain momentum before posting.  But finding time to post blog entries of any kind is going to be damn-near impossible for the foreseeable future.  I'll still throw something up from time to time (like this), but don't expect me to finish this tournament any time before Summerslam 2015.  I do hope you enjoy these eight matches that will never happen.  They're pretty interesting:

BRACKET XXV, Third Round (Matches 589 & 590):



Edge VS George Hackenschmidt

Oh how I love a contrast of styles.  Edge made his bread in TLC matches and as the opportunistic character he was, used two Money In The Bank cases and a relationship with SmackDown GM Vickie Guerrero to win the bulk of his 11 world titles.  He was fast, impactful (with moves like the Edgecution, Impaler DDT and of course the Spear) and he used psychology over substance at times.  George Hackenschmidt was just so strong no one could out wrestle him.  I'd wager the Hack would have been able to rend the Gordian knot that was the Rated R Superstar


Mideon (aka Phinneas I Godwin) VS Lawrence Taylor

Okay.  Pig Farmer / Human Sacrifice Victim /Thrall of the Ministry / Nudist / Fanny Pack Enthusiast Mideon, or one of the best defensive players the NFL ever saw and the guy that wasn't that bad in his one pro wrestling match he ever had (which happened to main event a Wrestlemania)?  The choice is clear, though I can scarcely believe it: LAWRENCE TAYLOR IS ADVANCING TO THE FOURTH ROUND.


BRACKET XXVI, Third Round (Matches 591 & 592):



"The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiassi VS Sting

THIS would've been a dream match.  You wouldn't have had to change much of anything from the original Hogan angle; DiBiassi tries to corrupt Sting with wealth, Sting ain't havin' it, they fight, it's awesome and "The Million Dollar Man" lives up to his name by being the perfect foil to an amazing babyface while drawing huge gate receipts in the process.  Of course, Dibiassi has to lose in that scenario, but when you look at Sting's run as THE MAN in both WCW and TNA, Dibiassi would lose to Sting in any scenario, in spite of being one of the best heels of all time.


Alex Shelley VS Dean Malenko

SPOTFEST ALERT!!!  Shelly and Malenko would've put on a helluva show had the two ever met, but alas they were from different generations.  Malenko would've killed 'em, though.  Just too damn good on the mat.


BRACKET XXVII, Third Round (Matches 593 & 594):



Kurt Angle VS Owen Hart

Holy.  Freakin'.  Crap.  This is a match that would've been too good in a way.  If this square-off had happened, there are few one on ones left that could've measured up to it.  Two of the top five technicians of our age going at it for what one would assume would be at least a half-hour...shit, could you imagine two out of three falls for some kind of title?  I could, and it makes me giddy.  But hey, we've gotta pick a winner, and I've gotta go with Angle.  He is one of the best wrestlers to ever do it, period.  Owen was great, should have been world champion and should be in the Hall of Fame, but Kurt Angle could beat...maybe anyone in this tournament.  It's true.  It's DAMN true!


Stan "The Man" Stasiak VS The Boogeyman

The guy who dethroned Pedro Morales for the WWWF Championship or the guy who was amusing and ate worms?  Um, Stan "The Man" please.


BRACKET XXVIII, Third Round (Matches 595 & 596):



"Cowboy" James Storm VS Damien Sandow

This would be a tight little matchup, and given that both are active competitors, it may one day occur, either in NXT after Sandow gets demoted from the main roster and WWE buys out TNA, or if Sandow finally gets sick of WWE's shit and chooses to pursue a line of work elsewhere.  Storm is far more seasoned, has better moves and a world championship to his credit.  Cowboy advances.


Goldberg VS "The Belfast Bruiser" Fit Finlay

Even with legalized Shillelaghs, Finlay would've been no match for Goldberg, the mack truck of professional wrestling.


RECAP:

George Hackenschmidt defeats Edge
Lawrence Taylor defeats Mideon
Sting defeats Ted DiBiassi
Dean Malenko defeats Alex Shelley
Kurt Angle defeats Owen Hart
Stan Stasiak defeats The Boogeyman
"Cowboy" James Storm defeats Damien Sandow
Goldberg defeats Finlay