Chastity Belt’s debut full length returns to the lineup of the first EP: Julia Shapiro (guitar, vocals), Lydia Lund (guitar), Annie Truscott (bass), and Gretchen Grimm (drums). But it retains some of the more full sound of the second EP. It’s a really interesting album with a lot of diverse styles that are all held together by Shaprio’s voice.
I love the complexity of “Black Sail” which has some jangling guitar and an interesting lead riff at the same time–and which exudes a more psychedelic feel. “Seattle Party” is up next and between the two songs, they clock in at 8 and a half minutes, which is funny since the next four songs total less than that.
“James Dean” (re-recorded from that first EP) sounds better here–you can make out the lyrics better and it’s less staticky. It really highlights their great short song writing skills. “Healthy Punk” has a quick sound, with an almost ska-like rhythm. “Nip Slip” is a funny song about wanting some chips and dip (with appropriate sound effects–the whispered chorus is really quite funny too). “Full” is a rather spare song that changes things up a bit.
“Happiness” is a slow song that I don’t love, but it’s followed by the awesome “Giant (Vagina)” which takes PJ Harvey’s “Sheela na Gig” to an even more unexpected place–it’s funny and funnier. “Pussy Weed Beer” is about well, pussy weed and beer–a fun song for one and all. “Evil” ends the disc with a bright happy guitar sound–belying the “evilness” of the narrator.
Not every song is great, but there’s plenty to like about this weird album. And the new single from their soon to be released album sounds even better.
[READ: February 10, 2015] xkcd volume 0
After reading Monroe’s What If? [which, in a cool, utterly intentional time bending way will be posted two days from now], I saw that he had a previous book called xkcd. This is also the name of his website. I had passing familiarity with xkcd, but didn’t know all that much about it. I’ve mostly been sent links to it rather than actively going there. And it turns out it’s not that friendly of a site anyhow. But there is a lot of funny to be had there.
xkcd is primarily a bunch of stick figure characters getting involved in a few kinds of situations: romantic (or unromantic), mathematical and sci-fiction/sci-reality issues. Or as he sums it up:
Warning: this comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors).
It helps to know that Munroe used to work for NASA (although not as like an astronaut or anything), and that he has a very scientific/mathematical brain. So much so that a liberal arts major such as myself found many many of these comics to be waaaaay over my head. Of course, he also has cartoons about Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer, so we can’t all be smug bastards, can we?
I laughed a lot at this book, and of course I scratched my head in confusion a lot too, but that’s okay, the ratio of humor to huh was high (there’s some basic math, right?).
The introduction is funny in and of itself in which Monroe says that all of these comics are available for free online, so why would anyone buy them? Well, he adds some new comics and a whole bunch of marginalia to make it worth reading in this format.
I was concerned with the first comic (which is a joke about pi) that the whole book would be lost on me. And even more so when I noticed what I assume is a joke in red handwritten at the bottom of the page. It is a string of letters in some kind of cipher. Okay, so it turns out that the red comments (and even the page numbers themselves) are all puzzles. I will not be figuring them out, but some people have tried.
In fact the first few pages are kind of funny, but not overtly so (even the MC Hammer one is okay). But slowly they started getting better and better (The Mathematics of Cunnilingus is very funny–and proof that this is not a kids book). And the typed marginalia for the Vanilla Ice joke is even funnier than the joke itself.
Then things start spreading out in various unexpected directions: a joke about Katamari Damacy music, a very funny way of hitting on someone (their turn signals are in synch), a very funny joke about dying in Canada and a great time travel joke about bloggers wearing red capes and goggles.
Despite me not being a math guy (and not getting anything that looks like this), I was able to enjoy some other basic math jokes like the one about trying to calculate the prime factors of the time on the clock (and the punchline of switching it to military time).
I was also occasional shocked (in a good way) at the vulgarity of certain jokes (I have licked your daughter’s nipples).
There’s also a staggering sweet spot to the comic–lots of romance can be seen (the joke about filling your house with play pit balls is great . Which is also inverted with some really mean-spirited jokes about hurting people’s feelings.
But my favorites were the sci fi/literary jokes. The Don Quixote punchline of the windmill story (which was great in itself) was very cool and the terrible terrible pun about Mussolini was delightfully groan worthy. The librarian joke is pretty funny even if librarians don’t really care that much about individual books–that’s archivists–we have to weed you know.
I even enjoyed the programming jokes–like the compiling joke and the Robert’); DROP TABLE Students; joke.
Sprinkled in here are some “Your mom” jokes, some ebay jokes, a few random boomerang jokes and couple of shark jokes (the helium balloon one is awesome). There’s also some outstanding jokes about the internet: why aren’t you coming to bed? “someone is wrong on the internet.” Or even better: a program written so that “when someone tries to post a youtube comment it first reads it aloud back to them” (which someone has since invented–shame it can’t be universally enforced).
And have you ever seen anyone take photos of themselves on thrill rides with a chess board? Well, that all started here.
Regardless of your math skills (or your love of literary scholarship), this is a very funny book–even if you can see it all online for free.