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Archive for the ‘Nick Offerman’ Category

[LISTENED TO: August 2015] The Organist Season 1

organistGiven my love of the McSweeney’s empire, it seems logical that I would have listened to The Organist sooner than this.  But I didn’t.  It has been on for a couple of years, so i assumed I’d never catch up.  But then I saw that there were only 50 episodes and most of them were quite short.  So it was time to see what it was all about.

And, since it is more or less in conjunction with The Believer, it should come as no surprise that it is sort of an aural equivalent to that magazine–longish pieces about esoteric subject, but geared specifically to “radio.”

The Organists first season was done as a monthly podcast starting on Feb 1.  Each episode was about 50 minutes long and covered a variety of subjects with fun guests and other ephemera.

Episode 1: (February 1, 2013)
The inaugural episode kicks off with Nick Offerman spouting some hilarious nonsense about podcasts.  The rest of the show includes an interview with George Saunders talking about the voices of his fiction; Greil Marcus discusses the impact of the first Bikini Kill EP now that it is reissued.  Perhaps the most unusual and interesting piece is when Amber Scorah tells the story of her defection from the Jehovah’s Witnesses while working as a missionary in Shanghai; In short pieces, Brandon Stosuy editor of Pitchfork, presents five five-word record reviews of interesting new guitar rock and then musicians Matmos take a song from their new album apart, piece by piece, revealing its brilliant, pulsating innards.  Basically they used thought control to get people to “create” a song for them.  It’s a really neat process even if the final result doesn’t really sound like the sum of its parts. (more…)

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axe3SOUNDTRACK: SPIRITS OF THE RED CITY-“Halfway Poem” (Tiny Desk Contest Runner-Up 2015).

spiirtdLast week, a Tiny Desk Contest winner was announced. This week, All Songs Considered posted ten runners up that they especially liked.  And I want to draw extra attention to a couple of them.

I know very little about these bands, but I assume that this folkie collective uses this kind of instrumentation all the time, although I have to suggest that two upright basses and a viola seems excessive.  The beginning of this video shows an early aborted attempt with different instruments (accordion, banjo, flute, drum and ukulele), so that sounds promising–and honestly the overload of large strings doesn’t sound bad at all in the final product.

It’s interesting that bands with lots of members are a kind of trend–it’s so impractical.  And yet when done well, it’s quite lovely.  And when these seven folks starts singing along near the end of the song it’s really pretty.

The story of this video is also interesting.  They had planned to film their video outside.  But on the day of their video shoot it was 33 degrees below zero (in Minnesota).  They have some brief footage at the beginning and then the video switches to them inside a quite cozy cabin.

It’s hard to tell from just this one song what kind of folk collective Spirits of the Red City is, but I enjoyed this song quite a bit.

[READ: February 20, 2015] Axe Cop Volume 3

Axe Cop Volume 3 returns to the format of Volume 1 (the one I liked better) with a mix of shorter comics and the return of Ask Axe Cop!

The first comic we see features the return of Bat Warthog Man and features the practical science of Chemist M (whom Axe Cop buys for ten dollars). It also has a chihuahua who was a soldier that was turned into a chihuahua when the soldier’s dog bit him (Malachai’s understanding of how transformations work makes me hope he never gets bitten by anything).  The dog can turn back into a man “only when I am not ready to fight…which is almost never.”  There’ also a hilarious scene where Axe Cop is inside the imagination of a mouse which is in color and is “full of unicorns and cheese.”

The Ask Axe Cops are more intense in these later variations, like the one that asks if he ever got in trouble (he got in trouble with his mom when he chopped the head off a rabbit who was not following rabbit rules).  We also see the introduction of head trash–a place where all the heads that axe cop has removed are disposed.  There’s dating advice (very sound); a jumping competition and a hilarious bit about Halloween (where he gets 1,051 candies to share with his friends, but the bad guys have poisoned 1,040 pieces of it.  There is also Axe Cop’s strangely violent generosity on Thanksgiving (yipes).  (more…)

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axw1SOUNDTRACK: COLD BLUE MOUNTAIN-“White North” (Tiny Desk Contest Runner-Up 2015).

cbm Last week, a Tiny Desk Contest winner was announced. This week, All Songs Considered posted ten runners up that they especially liked.  And I want to draw extra attention to a couple of them.

I know very little about these bands, and I seriously hope that the guys from Cold Blue Mountain look like this when they play all the time.

This may be the best set up and reveal of a joke that actually contains an awesome song.  The video is 4 and a half minutes long, but the music doesn’t start for nearly a minute and a half as the set up proceeds.

When the music starts it is heavy, like really heavy, but beyond heavy there’s a great riff mixed into the music on the second guitar–it’s a great sound.

But the “joke” isn’t over, since at 2 minutes the music stops for 20 seconds until the next reveal comes in.  It’s pretty awesome.

My only gripe is that I don’t like the vocals (growly cookie monster type)–they work pretty well with the music, but it’s not something I want to listen to, which is shame since the song really really rocks.

And the video is awesome.

[READ: February 15, 2015] Axe Cop Vol. 1

After watching Archer on FX the other week I saw a few minutes of an animated show called Axe Cop which looked weird and silly and starred Nick Offerman as Axe Cop.  I only watched a few minutes of it and then went to bed.  A few days later I was in the library and saw four volumes of Axe Cop books.  Well, I had to check that out right away.

And here’s what I learned.  Axe Cop is a web comic that was drawn by Ethan Nicolle.  But the best part is that Axe Cop was written by Ethan’s younger brother who was 5 at the time.  That’s right, five.  So Axe Cop comes from the delightfully twisted imagination of a (rather precocious in my opinion) five year old.

This book collects the beginning web comics, including the first slew of Ask Axe Cop, perhaps my favorite feature of the comic.  It also has a forward by Mystery Science Theater 3000’s Kevin Murphy!

In the beginning, there was Axe Cop.  No, in the beginning Ethan tells about how he was visiting his younger brother over a Christmas break and they started playing with action figures and what not.  And one of the guys was a firefighter with an axe.  Malachai didn’t want to play fireman, so he called this guy Axe cop.  Ethan decided to make a comic out of it and it all started from there. (more…)

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