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Archive for the ‘Jim Massey’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: KATHLEEN EDWARDS-Live from the Bowery Ballroom (2003).

This is a live EP released just after Failer.  I assumed that the Bowery was the New York one, but I just leaned that it is a Ballroom in Vancouver.  The CD has three live tracks, two from Failer and a cover of an AC/DC song (!).

She sounds great, her band sounds great, and the quality of the recording is great.

Side two of the disc is a DVD.  It contains two videos: “Six O’Clock News” and “One More Song the Radio Won’t Like.”  Both videos are okay at best.  They are fairly pedestrian clips of her singing, close-ups of her face, shots of her singing standing in the street etc.  “Radio” is slightly more inventive in that there’s a vague sort of plot, but she gets to wear some wigs.  But the overlays of her in various wigs come about half way through and seem like an afterthought.  The songs are great, but the videos are just so so.

So, if you’re a fan, this might be worth finding.  But it’s not an essential addition by any means.

[READ: January 15, 2010] Maintenance Vol 3.

This is the latest (and possibly last?) volume in the Maintenance series.  Unlike the previous collections, this volume contains an entire story arc.  And it’s a good one.

The evil-looking creature from the final page of volume 2 has kidnapped the gorgeous TerrorMax secretary Mendy (just as Manny was about to ask her out!).  And Doug and Manny, janitors extraordinaire, are determined to get her back.  When they learn that a spacecraft will be required, they’re quite happy to know that a certain grumpy alien has one that he’s pretending not to remember how to start.  And the adventure begins. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: Future Soundtrack for America (2004).

This CD came with the McSweeney’s Future Dictionary for America.  It was released on Barsuk Records (home of Death Cab for Cutie and other great bands) and it was compiled by Spike Jonze and one of the Johns from They Might Be Giants.

This is a solid compilation of indie rock tracks.  At the time of the release most of the songs were rare or hard to find (since then I’ve seen a number of these tracks elsewhere).

TMBG obviously include a piece (a rendition of the old political song “Tippicanoe and Tyler Too”).  Other featured artists include: OK Go, David Byrne, Jimmy Eat World (covering Guided by Voices), Mike Doughty (with a song called Move On, that I have to wonder if it was written for this compilation as proceeds went to MoveOn.org), Ben Kweller (great song title: “Jerry Falwell Destroyed the Earth”), Blink 182 (with the only song I know by them, “I Miss You” that reminds me When in Rome’s The Promise“), the much missed Sleater-Kinney, a remix by R.E.M., a great track from Nada Surf, a live piano version of “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots” from The Flaming Lips, a staggering song by Laura Cantrell (who I only know from her work with TMBG, this song is a cover of a John Prine song), Tom Waits’ amazingly powerful and very emotional “Day After Tomorrow,” and a rocking piece from Elliott Smith.

Proceeds for the disc went to MoveOn.org in an attempt to raise money to defeat Bush in the 2004 election. We know how that turned out.  But, as that is not relevant anymore, if you like your indie music good, this is a wholly worthy collection.

[READ: December 17, 2009] Maintenance Volume 1

Now this is a comic that I can get into.  And I’m already delighted to see that there are two more volumes out.

The premise of the comic is that the two guys on the cover, Doug and Manny, work as maintenance men for TerroMax, Inc., the world’s biggest and best evil science think tank!  Their work is sometimes scary, often disgusting and always interesting.

There are three stories in this volume.  In the first one, the guys encounter a ManShark.  In the second, they are sent back in time to the cavemen era (where they learn that a scientist has already visited them) and in the third, a minor character from the first story comes back to play a large role in an alien invasion. (more…)

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tekSOUNDTRACK: RUSH-Retrospective 3 (2009).

retro 3This disc filled a hole that the public had been really clamoring for: a collection of the most popular songs by Rush from the 1990s until today.  [cue crickets chirping]. Okay so this period isn’t exactly the best selling Rush era, and many people probably didn’t even know that they were still around (they weren’t for a while, but then they came back with an amazing vengeance).

Back in the 1980s I was a huge Rush fan. They were hands down my favorite band. I don’t like them any less than I used to, I just like a lot of other bands more now.  And yet this era of Rush’s music has some of my favorite of their songs, and they’re pretty much all here.

Disc One is a selection of tracks and Disc Two is a DVD of all of their videos. Perhaps the most interesting thing to me is that if you compare the videos track list to the audio tracklist, they don’t jibe as much as you might think.  This leads me to believe that the band doesn’t think that their original singles were the best songs from the discs (and I agree, I think the track listing of the CD is much stronger than that of the videos).

Presto is one of my favorite discs of this era, as are their two most recent releases Vapor Trails and Snakes and ArrowsTest for Echo, on the other hand is one of my least favorite discs of theirs.  The last time I listened to it I thought it was pretty terrible (and yet I am very surprised to see how well liked it is by Rush fans in general).  Nevertheless, all of these discs are well represented here.

And speaking of their videos, I have to say that Rush has some of the w(and every one was directed by someone different it seems) they’re just terrible.  They always seem to have a “plot” of some sort, yet it is elliptical and lacking in specifics.  It frequently involves a teenaged boy, often shirtless, in some kind of peril.  The only parts I like are the band scenes, because it’s fun to see a) Alex’s hair b) Geddy’s hair and c) Neil’s scowl.

One of the major selling points of this disc is that the two tracks from Vapor Trails are remixed.  Anyone who knows Rush knows that their releases are definitive.  You don’t get remixes or even B-sides out of this band.  So for them to release a different version of these songs is pretty amazing.  I wonder what’s up with that.  Research suggests that the band was never happy with the quality of Vapor Trails, and there are rumblings that they’d like to remix the whole disc.  I hope they do, as these sound great.

But the real selling point is the bonus video: a live interview/recording from The Colbert Report.  As I mention below, I simply don’t watch the Report as often as I ought, so I had no idea the band was even on.  I wish that Colbert had let them speak a little bit more, even if the fawning and funny questions are really great and show what a sense of humor the band has (as does the “cheering fans” that Alex has on his board).  And “Tom Sawyer” (which, I get as it’s their hugest song, but really they had to play a song that’s 27 years old?) sounds great.  And they clearly have fun with it.

If you’re on the fence about getting this disc, those two items should convince you to pick it up.

[READ: June 30, 2009] Tek Jansen

I enjoy the Colbert Report.  Quite a lot.  And yet, I don’t watch it very often.  I find the idea of committing to a daily show (like The Daily Show) is just impractical.  And so, even though Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart are queued up on my TiVo, I rarely have the time to watch them.

And so, it was news to me that Colbert had the character of Tek Jansen on his show. I heard about this series via Oni (who publishes it, and all good comics).  I also just learned, (thanks Wikipedia) that there are animated shorts of this character which I must track down.  In fact, heck, for the hilarious background of the origin of this comic, just read this. (more…)

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