My favorite music writer talks about two of my favorite bands.

April 17, 2015

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

Eric Koslofsky does an amazing music podcast called the Old Time Modern Mixtape Hour, where he plays new favorites and old ones, and chats in between tracks. We asked him to write about several bands. Today he expounds about the Replacements and the Ramones.

The Ramones

The first I ever heard of the Ramones, it was my pops, who said “NOISE”.  And not in a good way. For full context, he also said Billy Joel was “NOISE” and that Billy Joel was “hard rock”. In hindsight, I realized he had only heard of the Ramones, not actually heard them (witness when I played “Needles and Pins” and he loved it as much as I did).

But that was enough for me to avoid them in my youth. And ignore punk in general. Noise. Meanness. Disrespect towards nice people. Spitting. But as I wound my teenage way backwards from the latest…

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Lisa Gets Arty.

April 17, 2015

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

Lisa Chamoff, AKA @lchamoff or IndieUntangled in her professional life, is a music aficionado like Seth and myself, but in a different vein. Lisa asked us if she could write about the Velvet Underground, and here it is.

It was 1996 and I was a Beatles- and Britpop-obsessed teenager when some random guy started Instant Messaging me to talk about music and literature. In this ancient, pre-MySpace and Facebook era, you crammed the Interests section of your AOL profile with all the bands you listened to in an effort to look cool and find like-minded souls to chat with.

While I’m assuming Jeff the University of Maryland graduate and English major was looking for more than a friendly conversation with someone who he eventually learned was a 16-year-old girl, he had more of an impact on me than he’ll probably ever know.  At one point, Jeff asked if I’d ever…

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Patrice talks about her favorite band. At least I think it is!

April 17, 2015

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

Patrice Bartell writes for us, and it’s a blessing. She’s a passionate fan of so many bands. We asked her to expound on her favorite band, possibly of all time!

On R.E.M.

I was around seven or eight years old when, while watching a music video show on network TV, the video for “The One I Love” came on. My siblings, who rarely agreed on anything musical (Aerosmith, I think, was the only band at that point they could agree they both liked), both piped up, “Hey, it’s that new band from Georgia we’ve been hearing about! They’re pretty good.”1 So, I watched the video and walked away with one question on my mind: “Where’s the singer?”

See, R.E.M. is nothing else if not a band that set up unusual rules for itself to follow, many of which it would break later on in the future. They for a time didn’t…

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Backlog.

April 17, 2015

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

The inimitable Sharon Gerber returns today, teachin’ the blues about the Black Keys

It’s a rare gift (or perhaps not so rare) to be the kind of band that wins a listener over more with their live shows than with their album. The album (and its singles) can be good, even great. So, you get your hands on some tickets and go to the show, hoping to be entertained. What you get is your mind blown out, and are sent away with a brand new appreciation of the band. This has happened to me a few times – it happened with the White Stripes, with the Mountain Goats, and most recently, with The Black Keys.
The Black Keys have a fabulously raucous sound. In an age where buckets of polish are poured on anything and everything released on every platform from band camp to iTunes, they are a glorious source…

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GO, SPEED, GO!!!

March 24, 2015

So, here he comes, here comes Speed Racer!

Speed Racer is a classic anime, which was a huge part of my after school afternoons.. especially when mixed with ‘Ultraman’ and ‘G-Force.’ MTV brought it back in the ’90’s, and the Wachowskis’ made a visually spectacular yet abysmal ‘Speed Racer’ movie.

CMSS1971 / Grand Tour Drinking Game Rule: Everytime I write “Wachowskis’ made a visually spectacular yet abysmal ”xxxxx’ movie,” drink.

Anyway, around the time MTV brought ‘Speed’ back, techno was breaking into the mainstream. Moby was making an impression, raves were starting to be more than an underground thing, and the Alpha Team put out “Speed.” A techno remix of the Speed Racer theme, which, like so many techno tunes did something saucy.

It had a Hardcore in which Speed and Trixie had sex. And trust me.. Trixie was on top.

Here’s the normal version. Which is cool. Yes, you have to look up the porny version on YouTube. It’s both easy, and not that hard.
No, that’s not what Trixie said.

Here’s the sfw mix.

I give this three stars. It’s a fun song, riffing off a show I love. And it’s decent techno. Unless you actually like the show, you don’t need to track this down and add it to your collection. But, yeah… if you can, do it. LET NOT EVEN THE CAR ACROBAT TEAM OR MAMMOTH CAR STOP YOU!

Artist: Alpha Team

Album: Speed
Year: 1992
Date Listened in Tour: 7/29/08
Rating: ***
Best Songs:Well, there is one song. Three remixes. Take your pick.

Moving.

February 26, 2015

So, hi.., uh, been busy. You know.

Moving right now. Just one floor up.

And here’s the thing:

Yes, I get all the thought about minimal ownership. Of decluttering. Of letting material goods go.

And yes, life would be easier with that.

But screw that to a sane degree.

Ya need some stuff. You have collections. You have shit you can’t figure out to keep or toss,and sometimes, it’s not as simple as favoring to toss it all.

Give some clutter, even if that gives me complicated moves and too much time shredding.

Ta!

Still Wouldn’t Want To Be Her Brother

November 30, 2014

I previously blogged about Lily Allen and just a short time later, Sheezus came out. Since I simply love to drive the GrandTour in a moebius loop falling in on in itself, I’m jumping a couple steps back to cover it..

NOW.

First off, with “Sheezus” Lily continued to piss people off, mixing feminism with vulgarity and loaded imagery. Let’s take “Hard Out Here.” Twerking, commercialism, cultural appropriation and sexism in one catchy auto tuned jingle.

All the same, in the midst of the usual pop snark, is one of the sweetest songs I’ve ever heard Lily sing. She covered Keane’s “Somewhere Only We Know” for the bonus disc. Now, the original is one of my favorite songs. And while no one could fault Lily for lack of emotional investment in her songs, one would seldom site them for simple, pure unadulterated sweetness. Her cover gets the perfect mix of heartbreak and hope. The video… with it’s mix of animation and making of, uses alienation to get a similar effect. Seeing the animators working so hard so brief moments of animation is a perfect analogy for both Allen and the song. So hard, for so little, and it’s worth it.

So if you haven’t gotten this album yet, get it. Try to get the bonus disc as well. “Sheezus” may not hit the five stars her earlier albums did, but it’s a fine line. Lily Allen continues to have fun with touchy subjects, writing catchy tunes with brains and soul. And if she pisses people off, well, that’s gravy.

Artist: Lily Allen
Album: Sheezus
Year: 2014
Date Listened in Tour: 5/19/14
Rating: ****
Best Songs: “Somewhere Only We Know”, “Hard Out Here”

My Music Blog Is A Golden God

November 30, 2014

So, if I haven’t said it already, or, if this is your first look at my blogs noting my Grand Tour- the moderately alpha/chronological tour of my music collection, I am a complete soundtrack (Original Soundtrack or OST) whore. Good soundtrack cd’s.. including or exclusive of the Original Musical Score… are the stuff of music geek life. You get either a great capsule of hits, or better, b-sides to fill out your own mixes. You get introduced to the next big bands that will soon take over the world, or once ruled. Some times, OST’s become series or entities in their own right.

Wait till we get to the ‘Mortal Kombat’ OST’s. JUST WAIT!!!!!!

Now, if you talk soundtracks, one film maker stands out as much as a OST maker as a film maker. And this is not an insult. Except for ‘Elizabethtown.’

Cameron Crowe.

From the start, music has been a part and process of his films. From writing to rehearsing to scoring , specific songs are the key to his films. And his soundtracks, another layer to themselves. I was really tempted to organize key sound track masters- like Crowe and Alan Silvestri- as artists themselves, as opposed to the individual movies. But in the end, I’d rather each OST stand out. Why miss an opportunity to blather?

Crowe is a very auto-biographical film maker. All his films reflect either his point in life, or experiences from a similar point in his life to the characters. ‘Almost Famous’ was very much rooted in his real life. During his time as a teen writer for Rolling Stone, the young Crowe toured with some great (and not so great) bands of the 70’s. The film… both in it’s release version, and directors cut, was a career peak. After ‘Jerry Maguire’s’ commercial success, and some would argue artistic sell out, Crowe came back with a movie that perfectly caught the analog wonders of 70’s rock. Multiple complex characters, all flawed and perfect in their flaws.

Yeah, I loved the fuck out of this movie. And the OST, equally amazing. The only reason it doesn’t get the whole five stars is that it a little too on the nose. These are mostly the hits, the big songs… not the obscurities or unknown gems. And the obligatory Nancy Wilson song.. but you marry a member of Heart, you user her in your movies.

This is a must watch, must listen, must own. I wouldn’t fault anyone giving it the highest of their ratings. And I would encourage anyone to buy both at the soonest convenience. We’ll see more of Cameron Crowe in the Grand Tour.. but this is a good way to start with him.

Artist: Various

Album: Almost Famous
Year: 2000
Date Listened in Tour: 7/29/08
Rating: ****
Best Songs: ‘Simple Man’ – Lynrd Skynrd, ‘Slip Away’ –Clarence Carter, ‘Something In The Air’ – Thunderclap Carter

Hey GamerGaters, do you even lift?

November 30, 2014

Originally posted on we hunted the mammoth:

No, weightifting in Grand Theft Auto doesn't count. No, weightifting in Grand Theft Auto doesn’t count.

Before he decided to attach himself to the #GamerGate “movement,” Breitbart writer and all-around douchebag Milo Yiannopoulos took a certain pleasure in baiting gamer “nerds,” a demographic he once described as a bunch of “pungent beta-male bollock-scratchers and twelve-year olds.”

He’s not the only self-appointed #GamerGate savior who doesn’t seem to have much respect for the group he’s ostensibly championing. Over on Reaxxion — the atrociously written pro-GamerGate game site run by pickup guru and non-gamer Roosh — one writer implores fellow gamers to quite literally put down their controllers and pick up weights.

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Day 1 of Dragon Age: Inquisition – I Have No Comy Chair

November 19, 2014

So, DA:I.

OH GOD SO GOOD SO GOOD.

Basically, take all that was good from everything from the last gen of gaming, especially Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and Elder Scrolls, and mix it up.

While the environment isn’t the least bit destructive, you got fun characters, and huge world to play with, and so much to do. SO MUCH TO DO!

Quick Thoughts:

1) This is not an easy game. I may break down and go casual, but I can tell you, slow down, think your way through fights. It’s harder.

2) Talk to Varric as soon as you can. He’s your clue as to whether your update from Dragon Age Keep worked our not. Pretty much your only one.

3) Save, save and save often.

4) What is really impressive… this game flows ridiculously will. There are relatively few cut scenes and black outs to cut the action.

So, yeah. This is looking good. I may restart one more time.. the bow is pretty tempting.

Ta for now,

James


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