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Archive for the ‘Deadwood’ Category

internetSOUNDTRACK王蓉Rollin-小雞小雞(Chick Chick) [RONG “ROLLIN” WANG-“Chick Chick”]. (2014)

chickchickDon’t call it a novelty! You must watch it.

Is it a kid’s song?  I have no idea.  But it is mesmerizing.  I have now watched it about a half a dozen times and somehow it gets better each time.  Not as awesome as Babymetal (who are Japanese), but awesome in a wholly different (Chinese) way.

So far it only has 8 million views, the number must be increased!

[READ: November 15, 2014] The Best of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency

Although I have been a fan of McSweeney’s from the very beginning, I have never faithfully read their online Internet Tendency.  Of course I have read the often circulated ones, and a few years ago I said I would read the old posts from the beginning (I didn’t).  Now I discover that in the years since I said that, the Internet Tendency has 283 pages of archives (with something like 30 entries per page).  Get moving on that.

Having these best pieces in a book form is nice, as is anything with “It’s Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers” printed on the cover.  Since I haven’t read all 8,000 entries, I can’t say what qualifies as the best.  Although I have to wonder if some of these were picked more for their contributors than their actually bestness.  (Take a look at some of the heavy hitters represented below).  Regardless of how these were chosen, it is an excellent collection of funny stuff.

When I finish reading all of the online pieces (in about two years), I will have more authority to say if these 50 are the best, but in the meantime, I’m just going to enjoy this very funny selection. (more…)

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tobo3SOUNDTRACK: iMOGEN HEAP-Speak for Yourself (2005).

heapI really liked Heap’s first album i Megaphone, but I didn’t really think to much about her after that.  Sometime last year I heard a track she was in with Frou Frou, which I liked.  So I thought I’d get this album which was highly regarded.

The problem with it is that I have listened to it a bunch of times, often several times in a row and it really just never sticks with me.  I keep relistening to see if it ever does but it’s just a kind of nebulous dancey pop.  Heap has an interesting voice–she can hit major highs, but she can also do a raspy voice that is unusual and intriguing.  But I suppose the problem is that there’s so much going on that she is effectively lost in the sound.

The standout track is “Hide and Seek” but that’s because her voice is manipulated by a vocoder, making her sound like a machine. It’s a very cool effect, especially when she hits a very high note, but it can’t really be a good sign that the most memorable track on the album is the one where you sound like a machine.

This is not to say that the album is bad–there are a number of interesting moments on it, unfortunately there aren’t a lot of great songs.  When I was looking this disc up to see other comments about it, I see that it was very highly regarded in the dance genre.  And maybe given those parameters I should revise somewhat as well.  As dance music this is more interesting than your average four on the floor stuff.  I can see how it led to the duet of Frou Frou.  And yet, compared to i Megaphone, I fear that it’s a lot less exciting.

[READ: January 12, 2013] The Dangerous Animals Club

I don’t often read autobiographies or memoirs.  I really never even look for them.  But I was waiting online at the library and this book jumped out at me.  I don’t really know why.  The title is kind of interesting and catchy.  And the author’s named seemed, if not familiar, then at least compelling in a very-long-and-Polish-or-Russian way.  So I started flipping through it.  And it sounded interesting.

But who the hell is Stephen Tobolowsky?  Well, if you have seen just about any movie or TV show, you have seen him.  He has been in a ton of things.  He was in Groundhog Day, he was in Heroes, he is in Glee, he was in The Mindy Project briefly.  Community? yup.  The New Adventures of Old Christine?  you bet.  Deadwood for a lot of the show.  That 70’s Show for one episode.  He was in the unaired pilot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  He was even in a 1976 movie called Keep My Grave Open!

So who is he?   (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: QUEENSRŸCHE-The Warning (1984).

Queensrÿche fulfilled the promise of their debut EP with this album.  It takes the blueprint of the EP and expands it wonderfully.  They introduce some cool low vocal chants to compliment Tate’s soaring alto (like on “En Force”), they also introduce some wonderful effects and riffs and scales (also on “En Force”).

There’s also some really great, odd “keyboard” bits thrown in as kind of sound effects or jarring moments (“Deliverance”).  “Deliverance” also has great backing vocals, and I love the way the “Deliver Us” part of the song is quite different from the soaring of the rest of the vocals.  The back and forth of “No Sanctuary” also showcases the bands skills very well.

The band even shows signs that they’re not sticking to standard heavy metal.  On “N.M. 156” there’s some sci-fi chanting and the really cool section of the song in which Tate sings “Forgotten…Lost…Memories” and the “Lost” part is a completely unexpected note.   They were taking chances from the beginning.

“The Lady Wore Black” is updated with the stunning “Take Hold of the Flame,” a slightly more progressive version of that first song.  “Before the Storm” was the first song I heard from this album and it has always been my favorite on the record (this is one of those few albums where the better songs aren’t front loaded).  “We watch the sun rise and hope it won’t be our last” (they were always happy guys).

“Child of Fire” opens with a wonderful riff and the compelling, “the souls that are damned by the pain that you bring send you higher.”  The song settles down into a slow part and Tate growls “Damn you and the pain they must feel” and you can tell he means it (whatever else the song is about).

All this time I don’t think I ever realized that “Roads to Madness” was nine minutes long.  It is definitely foreshadowing the kind of epic work they would do later.  And it closes out the album in a cathartic blast.  It’s wonderfully pure metal from the mid-80s.

[READ: October 20, 2011] Celebrations of Curious Characters

I had never heard of Ricky Jay before getting this book, but apparently he is a reasonably well know radio personality (on KCRW), he is also an actor on Deadwood, and he’s a magician.  This book is a collection of his KCRW radio show broadcasts along with accompanying pictures from his vast collection of obscure ephemera.

There are forty-five entries in the book–each one is a page long (it’s an oversized book and they are two columns each).  Each essay is Jay’s take on a particular subject or, as the title says, curious character.  Jay is a collector of esoteric information, especially that related to magic and, for lack of a better word, freakish behavior.   One of the most enjoyable parts of the book are the pictures that accompany each entry.  The pictures come from Jay’s collection and each picture’s provenance is given in the back of the book.  So we get pictures like “The little Count Boruwlaski, engraving by A. van Assed ([London]) Borowlaski [sic], 1788). or Lithograph of Chung Ling Soo (Birmingham: J. Upton, c. 1912) or Frontispiece portrait from George Devol, Forty Years a Gambler on the Mississippi (Cincinnati: Devol & Haines, 1887).  Some of these photos you can see on his website.  Or you can enjoy this picture of a chicken firing a gun that is not in the book (it comes from his site). (more…)

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