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Archive for the ‘Quentin Tarantino’ Category

tokyoSOUNDTRACK: THE MOPS-“Goiken Muyo (Ilja Naika)” (1971)

mopsThe Mops were a Japanese psychedelic band who were inspired by American psychedelia.  They appear in one of the films below (Stray Cat Rock: Wild Jumbo from 1971) in a really weird scene in which the band is playing on the back of a flatbed truck (in the middle of another scene that has nothing to do with them).  They play their song and then drive away.  Weird.

Anyway, the song is pretty great.  There’s all kinds of interesting percussion (the film clip shows them playing stuff which most likely is not what they are playing).  But the studio version (linked to below) has great audio quality and a lot of depth in the bass and cool screaming guitars.

The band released possibly 9 albums (it’s a little hard to tell from their Wikipedia page).  With their first album being pretty psychedelic and this one (I assume their third) being much heavier and fuller sounding.

I had found a clip of the band from the movie.  Then I lost it and cannot find it anywhere.  But here’s the studio version dubbed over the movie clip

But really, check out the whole album, it’s pretty great.

[READ: October 10, 2015] Tokyo Grindhouse

The life cycle of a book at my work is pretty straightforward.  If I see it at all, I usually catalog it or send it on its way to someone else.  But for some reason this book came back to my desk three times.

I didn’t know a thing about Tokyo Grindhouse, I’d never heard of pinky movies, but if something keeps coming back you gotta check it out.  So it turns out that this book has about ten pages of text and the rest is pictures.

And the book is about “classic” exploitation films made in Tokyo from 1960-1970 (or so).  The text by Jack Hunter explains that women and violence have been in Japanese exploitation films since the 1950s.  Evidently there were some landmark films in the mid-fifties about topless pearl divers that set off a craze for topless women in films.  This morphed into movies where women were the victims of violence with translated titles such as Nude Actress Murder Case: Five Criminals. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: PJ HARVEY-Rid of Me (1993).

For Rid of Me, PJ Harvey jumped to the big leagues (relatively) by enlisting maniac Steve Albini as a producer.  And he takes the rawness of Dry one step further into a sound that is both raw and sharp.  He really highlights the differences between the highs and lows, the louds and quiets.  And man, when this came out I loved it.

Like NIN’s “March of the Pigs,” the opening of “Rid Of Me” is so quiet that you have to crank up the song really loud.  And then it simply blasts out of the speakers after two quiet verses.

“Legs” turns Harvey’s moan into a voice of distress, really accentuating the hurt in her voice.  And Harvey hasn’t lightened up her attitudes since Dry, especially in the song “Dry” which has the wonderfully disparaging chorus: “You leave me dry.”

“Rub Til It Bleeds” is a simple song that opens with a few guitars and drums but in true Albini fashion it turns into a noisy rocker.  “Man Size Quartet” is a creepy string version of the later song “Man Size” (I’ll bet the two together would sound great).  And the wonderful “Me Jane” is a great mix of rocking guitars and crazy guitar skronk.   Albini really highlights the high-pitched (male) backing vocals, which add an element of creepiness that is very cool.

For me the highlight is “50 Foot Queenie”.  It just absolutely rocks the house from start to finish.  The song is amazing, from the powerful…well…everything including the amazing guitar solo.  “Snake” is a fast rocker (all of 90 seconds long) and “Ecstasy” is a song that feels wrung out, stretched to capacity, like they’ve got nothing left.

It’s not an easy record by any means, but it is very rewarding.  This is a CD that really calls for reamastering.  Because it is too quiet by half, and could really use–not a change in production–just an aural boost.

[READ: end of February and beginning of March] A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again

This is a collection of 7 essays that DFW wrote from 1990-1996.  Three were published in Harper’s, two in academic journals, one in Esquire and the last in Premiere.  I devoured this book when it came out (I had adored “Shipping Out” when it was published in Harper’s) and even saw DFW read in Boston (where he signed my copy!).

click to see larger

[Does anyone who was at the reading in Harvard Square…in the Brattle Theater I THINK…remember what excerpts he read?]

The epigram about these articles states: “The following essays have appeared previously (in somewhat different [and sometimes way shorter] forms:)”  It was the “way shorter” that intrigued me enough to check out the originals and compare them to the book versions.  Next week, I’ll be writing a post that compares the two versions, especially focusing on things that are in the articles but NOT in the book (WHA??).

But today I’m just taking about the book itself. (more…)

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gospodinovSOUNDTRACKTHE REPLACEMENTS–All Shook Down (1990).

shookAnd here we come to the end of the recorded history of the Replacements.  7 albums (and an EP).  4 and a half hours of recorded music.  And a steady maturation from drunken punks to elder statesmen.  Or really statesman (Paul Westerberg at the ripe old age of 31!).   All of the reviews state that this was originally designed as a Westerberg solo album, and that the band barely played together on it at all. And it shows.

To me, this album just isn’t very good.  It’s not that the songs are bad…I ‘ll always admit that Westerberg is a great songwriter.  I’m just not inspired by them.  The single, “Merry Go Round” is the most (there’s that word again) mature sounding rock tracks that Westerberg has written.  And “Nobody” is a decent acoustic type rocker (although the drums are kind of boring).  “Bent All Out of Shape” shows promise but never lives up to it.

“Sadly Beautiful” is another of Westerberg’s solid ballads.  But it doesn’t stand out because the rest of the album isn’t that radically different.  “Someone Take the Wheel” and “When It Began” are decent rockers, but the rest of the album is just sort of…there (except for the awful duet with Johnette Napolitano (whom I used to like but who i just find annoying all these years later).

Westerberg went on to do about a half dozen solo albums but I haven’t heard any of them.

There’s nothing wrong with a songwriter maturing, especially if you get to mature along with him or her.  It’s just such a surprise to see it happen so quickly.

[READ: June 15, 2009] Natural Novel

My coworker and I were experimenting with our library’s catalog.  We started searching for books in specific languages.  We noticed that Bulgarian was one of the languages, and were surprised that our branch had anything in Bulgarian.  It turned out that there was one book that was originally written in Bulgarian but which had been translated to English.  It was this book. It sounded bizarre and fascinating.  And it was only 136 pages.  How could I pass it up?  And what would it be about?

Well, that’s hard to answer.

The premise of a “natural novel” is that it is meant to be a man’s attempt to deal with the dissolution of his marriage.  He starts to talk about the divorce several times, but he can’t really come to terms with it, and so, rather, he gets involved with other things. (more…)

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