Two Sides of Magic – World Building and Fantasy

April 19, 2014

Originally posted on Dreams of the Shining Horizon:

AVATAR+-+THE+LAST+AIRBENDERcover_The-Lord-of-the-Rings

This post was originally going to be just a follow-up on my recent post about internal consistency and the use of detail. In most ways, it still is. But where that post was about using those tools for the essentially defensive purpose of establishing plausibility, this post is about using them for the proactive purpose of world-building.

Once again, I’m going to use works from the fantasy genre as examples, because, once again, fantasy gives the most freedom when choosing what kind of world you want to build. Science fiction must give at least the pretense of being science-based, and horror must at least look like a familiar world, if only so the horrific revelation that that world is a lie has that much more impact. In contrast, a fantasy world – as Terry Pratchet’s Discworld and the world of the Exalted role-playing game, as discussed in the previous post…

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Matchup 14: The Southwest – Foo Fighters VS. The Runaways

April 16, 2014

Originally posted on American Bands-Who are the best?:

I’m a grown-ass man who has a framed Foo Fighters poster on my wall.

2014-04-15 17.07.53Dave Grohl played drums in Nirvana. Kurt Cobain died, and Nirvana was not a band that could just find another frontman. Grohl, an incredibly talented drummer, made a tape; A project to deal with the death of his band and his friend. He wrote all the songs, played all the instruments, and passed out all the tapes for free. Inside a year he recruited a band to tour behind the underground success of the tape. He brought on the rhythm section from Sunny Day Real Estate, and punk legend Pat Smear to create the beginnings of a band that would stick to a familiar format – heavy on the guitars, rooted in punk, a gift for melody, and always making sure that the audience had the best time. The lineup would evolve to include the former…

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Matchup 13-The Northwest-The Grateful Dead Vs. The Violent Femmes.

April 16, 2014

Originally posted on American Bands-Who are the best?:

I’ve heard it hundreds of times: “Oh God I hate the Grateful Dead”. Variations on the same theme – The Dead suck, and fuck those dirty hippies, their extended, indulgent jams, and their obviously high (because how else could you like them) fanbase.

I was 15 when I bought the double album cassette of Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty. I was a Mormon. Hadn’t touched an addictive substance (yet). These guys were speaking the same language my parents had, the language of the 60′s – peace, love, collaboration, good music for the sake of music and change. It was the same language, but with a very different dialect, one I could get behind. The music was very clearly (to me) based in the Great American Songbook – The Carter Family, Hank Williams, Muddy Waters, Bessie Smith, etc. The equation was simple – rock n’ roll meets jazz – and initially…

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Week Three Results-Week Four Matchups

April 8, 2014

Matchup Number 12-The Northeast-The Stooges Vs. The Cars

April 4, 2014

Originally posted on American Bands-Who are the best?:

Rez sez The Stooges.

If there’s a family tree of modern music, the Stooges are the trunk. One of the trunks. Kind of a baobab tree with many trunks. I am explaining poorly that without the Stooges, nothing after them is possible. Iggy breaks all the rules with his simple little garage band, by barely even trying. There’s no manifesto, like the MC5. No grand artistic ideas like the Velvets. Just a guy revising the blues to fit his own idiom, rather than those of a poor black sharecropper circa 1930.

The Stooges are raw. We’ve gotten so used to overly produced slick tracks that possess very little life to them. If anything else, the Stooges were incontrovertibly alive. At the time, there were very few people who “got it”. By the grace of god, and yet another period of “no one knows anything” by the record companies, bands like…

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The Northwest: Matchup #9 – Heart Vs. The Dead Kennedys

March 31, 2014

Originally posted on American Bands-Who are the best?:

Rez sez: Has to be the Dead Kennedys.

The Dead Kennedys were titans. Giants. They were one of the first great American punk bands. You can name the Ramones, the Avengers, hell, even my guys the Dictators (how I managed not to squeeze them in is a testament to my good judgment), but they aren’t as legendary and important as the Dead Kennedys.

Why?

One: Alternative Tentacles. AT was founded by the DKs, most properly by Jello Biafra himself (we’ll come back to that guy in a minute), and midwifed countless great bands. Including putting out all the DKs material until recently. Not for several more years would other bands follow in their footsteps. Black Flag’s SST, Touch and Go, Homestead…all of them follow in the footsteps of Alternative Tentacles.

Two: Jello. Eric Boucher, originally from Colorado, now Jello BIafra, really is one of the first great American punk “rock…

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Matchup Six – The Southwest: The Eagles Vs. X

March 26, 2014

Originally posted on American Bands-Who are the best?:

Thanks (in part) to classic rock radio, the Eagles catalog is ubiquitous. These LA juggernauts have easy-rocked their way to the stratosphere with lush harmonies, and simple country-boogie rock. No matter how much The Dude might hate them, their popularity can’t be denied: The songs are good, well performed, and they belong to a certain time called the 70′s, when sun-drenched, cocaine covered folk singers smoothed the rough edges of the dropout generation’s sounds.

Glenn Frey and Don Henley provided co-lead vocals, Frey on guitar and Henley on drums. Don Felder and Joe Walsh traded lead guitar, and Randy Meisner played the most unsung instrument of this band (in my humble opinion) – the bass.

They formed in 1971, and broke up six months into 1980. They gave us “Hotel California”, “Desperado”, and perhaps most famously, their take on the Jackson Browne-penned “Take It Easy”. These are instant crowd pleasers. The…

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Matchup Five-The Northwest-Journey Vs. Pearl Jam

March 25, 2014

Originally posted on American Bands-Who are the best?:

Journey got in as a play in, and I can totally understand why. They are karaoke superstars. As someone who loves to go and sing over someone else’s music, Journey are an epic part of the evening. Someone will cue up “Don’t Stop Believing” and the party ratchets up to another level. Steve Perry is a genius vocalist. Genius. That high register that we’re all trying to reach as we are drinking our evening away.

Neil Schon is a great guitarist. One of those crystalline cocaine era perfectionists that were the vanguard against the three chord energy of punk. His talent and sound are undeniable, if a bit too rockist for my personal tastes.

If you grew up with AOR/MOR/Classic rock radio as the bedrock of your taste, Journey are an undeniable part of that. Much as I might hate to admit it! I can sing so many of their…

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The Southeast – Matchup 4: R.E.M. VS. The B-52′s

March 20, 2014

Originally posted on American Bands-Who are the best?:

They crawled up from the south – Straight outta Athens, GA.

There’s something in the water down there in Athens; Our two contenders aren’t the sole imports from this college town. Just to name a few, Widespread Panic, Neutral Milk Hotel (who will show up in the tourney later), Matthew Sweet, Danger Mouse and Drive-By Truckers also hail from this burg.

I love the B-52′s. Everyone does. If you can’t shake your groove thang to “Love Shack” you have no business shaking anything. They were light years ahead of their time, and paved the way for the college rock to come with hits like “Planet Claire”, “Rock Lobster”, etc. The inimitable Fred Schneider throws his seemingly ambiguous and weird but no less potent sexuality all over by means of punctuated deadpan – he’s in on the joke, and one step ahead of you at all times. The lovely ladies, Kate…

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Matchup Number Three-The Northeast-The Pixies Vs. Sonic Youth

March 19, 2014

Originally posted on American Bands-Who are the best?:

The first real blockbuster of the tournament right here.

Sonic Youth must move on, man!

Sonic Youth, who brought together guitar noise and punk rock together in the ashes of No Wave in NYC in the 80′s and 90s. Nirvana, another tourney heavyweight, signed to DGC because Sonic Youth were there. Sonic Youth never really kowtowed to commercial enterprise in the least. They made art rock chic again. And attractive too, although we don’t really count the sexy in voting, it certainly doesn’t hurt that Thurston and Kim were a couple and attractive.  Fact is, Sonic Youth were the forerunners of so many great noisy rock bands of the 90s and further, that of course they need to move on.

The Pixies.

I could just say “Kim Deal” and that would be satisfactory for me…but that’s not true.

The Pixies melded noisy feedback laden rock with pop hooks as well…

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