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Archive for the ‘Flight of the Conchords’ Category

[ATTENDED: June 28, 2016] Phish limb

phishA friend of mine in college first got me to listen to Phish (circa 1992), but it wasn’t until the LivePhish releases starting in 2001 that I really got into them.  [Incidentally, if you bought those discs and kept them in that plastic liner thing, check your discs because those plastic things have eaten away most of the whatever is on them that allows a player to play music.  Most of my discs have sections that are totally see-through and register an error.  I don’t think anything can be done about it DIY and I’m quite sure that Elektra isn’t about to give us new copies or anything.]

I had never gone to a Phish show for a couple of reasons.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to dive into the “culture” of the shows, which seemed intimidating at best.  And, once I decided I wanted to see them, I could never actually get tickets.  Well, the Phish lottery came through and I scored a ticket to this show at the Mann Center.

A word about Phish now.  I knew that people were devoted to the band, but I never knew how much the band reciprocated.  In order to let fans have a fair shot at getting tickets to their shows, they have set up a lottery.  All ticket prices are the same and you either get tickets or you don’t (you can later by them on Ticketmaster or whatever).  If you get tickets, your seat could be front row or lawn or anywhere in between.  And the price ($49 face value for all) is quite cheap, I think.  Well, I won a lottery ticket, and my ticket came all psychedelic instead of a standard Ticketmaster type ticket.  Which is cool.  But not only that, your ticket gets you a free download of that night’s show when it becomes available on the LivePhish website.  And that’s usually within a few hours of the end of the show.  The shows are normally around $10 to download, but if you bought a ticket you get a free one.  That’s super cool.

Also, every once in a while (12 times now) the LivePhish site has released free compilations of live songs from various shows throughout the band’s history.  Most of these downloads are 3 hours or more.  That’s a ton of free music.  Nice.  So I’ve listened to these collections a lot and I know most of the songs they play very well.

Back to the Mann.  (more…)

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Harpers-1404-302x410SOUNDTRACK: BECK-Midnight Vultures (1999).

midnightIt’s not entirely clear to me how serious Midnight Vultures is meant to be. The songs are all quite good musically, but they are so very different from anything Beck has done so far—and they have a sheen of R&B that at times feels like a parody (especially coming from someone like Beck, especially when the lyrics are included).  The music is definitely designed to party (when I first heard it I found it rather Prince-like), and while I didn’t really like it very much, i have since grown to relax and enjoy the funk.

“Sexx Laws” has horns that work very well as accents. And yet for all of of its party slickness, there’ a banjo solo at the end of it.  That’s the kind of party music Beck makes.  “Nicotine & Gravy” is a slinky song with a weird chorus: “I think I’m going crazy, her left eye is lazy, she looks so Israeli, nicotine and gravy.”  What is someone supposed to do with that?  “Mixed Bizness” is an incredibly funky song that reminds me a lot of Prince’s “Dance Music Sex Romance.”  “Get Real Paid” has female leads vocals and a funky but staccato style–it’s unlike anything Beck has done up to this point.  “Hollywood Freaks” stands out for the weird and some would say bad lyrics—it feels a little like old school Beck and out of place with this new funky dancey Beck.

“Peaches & Cream” is another Prince-inspired track and is super catchy.  It has backing vocals (very high pitched) that sounds a lot like Beck, I just can’t imagine he’s doing them).  “Milk & Honey” is a 70s style rock song, less dancey but with all kinds of funky effects  “Beautiful Way” and “Pleasure Zone” are okay–the party seems to be ending a little here.  But the disc ends with “Debra,” which is super fun.  Beck sings in an incredible (for him) falsetto.  The song is about a ménage a trois. It is meant to be humorous (I hope) about a guy picking up a girl in his Hyundai.  But it sounds so much like Flight of the Conchords, that it’s hard to even consider it seriously in retrospect.

There is a very lengthy silence before our “bonus” track, which in this case is about a minute of fast drums and spacey noises, then some lounge music and some crazy voices.  Again, not worth the wait.  So I’m mixed on this one.  As with a lot of Beck CDs it seem like your own mood determines whether you’ll enjoy this one.

[READ: March 17, 2014] “The Grave-House”

I’ve read more of Vollmann’s non-fiction than fiction, so I really wasn’t sure what to expect with this short story.  And I did not expect a man who is in a house which is trying to eat him.

As this story opens, with once upon a time, the narrator has built a house by himself.  But since it was not paid for, it was condemned to be knocked down.  So instead, he bought a house with all the furnishings—it was all paid for.  But as soon as he decided to go outside, the house refused to let him. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: BILLY KELLY with DAVY JONES-“Me and My Brand New Haircut” (2010).

This is a fun and silly song in which the beat is kept by scissors.  It’s a very light song (as befits a song about a haircut).  Indeed it’s amazing how much you can sing about a haircut.

The lines that Davy speaks (there’s some call and response) reminds me a lot of Flight of the Conchords.  This is the kind of silly kids song that I really like.

I see that Billy Kelly has a few albums out.  He may be worth investigating further.

[READ: sometime in 2011] We Need a Horse

Like with Arthur Bradford, this book is Sheila Heti’s first children’s book.  I haven’t enjoyed Heti’s adult work all that much, but it’s hard to disagree with the message of this book.  The message is simple enough–you are what you are and what you are is valuable.  But I have to admit that the first few pages are a little unexpected (a horse talking to light, a sheep with a tennis racket, etc).  Nevertheless, it has a happy ending. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: LONELY ISLAND-Incredibad (2008).

Since I enjoyed the second Lonely Island album, I figured I’d check out the first one as well.  I mean it had “Lazy Sunday” on it after all.  But in this case my initial instincts we pretty correct. There are a  few songs on here that are funny and worth the time–and you’ve heard them all already.  The rest are filler–mildly funny songs that are too long by half (even when they are under two minutes).

The opening song, “Who Said We’re Wack” is only a minute and change and it overstays its welcome after about fifteen seconds.  Although, as I’m finding with a lot of the tracks, there are little bits that are funny, like the “raise your hands in the air” bit of this song.  “Santana DVX” is an amusing little skit about Carlos Santana making his own champagne.  Again, kind of funny, but not that funny.  And worse yet is that they keep reusing the joke throughout the disc.  “I’m on a Boat” is like the demo version of “I Just had Sex.”  It’s the same premise, with the same repeated joke, but you can get a lot more mileage out of having sex than about riding a boat.  At this point I have to wonder how many of these songs were skits (I don’t watch SNL as a rule) and I wonder if they are funnier with visuals added.

“Jizz in My Pants” is the first really funny thing on the disc.  The best part is that it starts out so seriously and then the absurdity gets faster and faster.  It’s very clever.  Although musically it sounds like The Flight of the Conchords might do it better.  “Sax Man” features the mighty Jack Black, and it’s funny, but I have to say that having the sax man play more bad notes (and not synthesized ones) as opposed to all that silence, and maybe having Black get even angrier would have been much funnier.

“Lazy Sunday” is still a highlight, a funny track with, and I think this is the key, new lyrics in every verse, not simple repetitiveness as humor (the old SNL standby).  And of course, “Dick in a Box” is still hilarious (oh, Timberlake, I can’t hate you).

However, that repetitiveness is a problem on “Like a Boss” (although parts of it are very funny) or “Boombox” (is boiled goose supposed to be funny?) although at least the chorus is catchy.  “We Like Sportz” is amusing but I feel like they aren’t dorky enough.  

Then, why does “Dreamgirl” turn into an ad for Chex Mix?   I know it is “sponsored by Chex Mix” but why?  It seems lazy.   And I simply don’t understand “Punch You in the Jeans” or “The Old Saloon” they just seem like stupid filler or in the case of “Jeans,” an attempt at at catchphrase generator or something.   

As on their follow-up, the skits are lame: “Normal Guy” is awful and “Shrooms” is boring.  But at least there’s only two skits.

Finally “Space Olympics” seems like a funny concept but what happens to the song?  It has potential to be a really amusing concept about actual space olympics, but it drifts off into a completely different direction.  Where’d the focus go? 

“Natalie’s Rap” on the other hand is focused, brutal and unexpected.  It is really, really funny.

All in all, this is an excellent place to hear a few good tracks and a whole lot of filler. I’m really happy that the sequel was so much better as it speaks to the possibility of even better stuff in the future.

[READ: October 30, 2011] Chew: Volume Two

As Sarah wrote in her post, I was pretty happy to have Volume Two of Chew in the house after finishing up Volume One (I’m only bummed that I don’t have Volume Three!!).

Volume Two continues the adventures of our favorite cibopath (see the previous entry for the explanations of all of these awesome ideas).  As the book opens we see that Tony Chu’s former partner, John Colby is back.  We knew he was still alive, but we didn’t know how alive he might be–after all, he had a cleaver in his face last time we saw him.  But he has been repaired, with the latest in technology, by the FDA.  And now Chu and Colby are back together, bickering as ever with new superpowers (the scene where Colby shows off what he can do is awesome). 

Chapter Two (Issue Seven if you’re keeping track), introduces Lin Sae Woo.  When I mentioned last time that Guillory draws grotesque characters, I had her in mind.  Lin Sae Woo is an aggressive, angry woman and she is drawn to reflect that. But she also has an absurd body shape.  Her breasts are preposterous–not even superhero large, stupidly large and the rest of her can barely keep up.  I can’t even decide if she’s supposed to be sexy, she is so ridiculous.  But she makes a formidable foe (even if she’s on the same side as Chu). (more…)

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On July 25, I reached 90,000 hits.
It took me seven months to get from 60,000 (Dec 25, 2009) to 90,000.
It took me nine months to get my first 30,000 hits.

There are some obvious contributing factors to this improvement (not the least of which is links from referrers that make absolutely no sense whatsoever (and which are pretty clearly spam, but hey, numbers are numbers, right?)  But the most obvious is the huge outcry at the failure of Scholastic to continue publishing the Ulysses Moore series.

If you Google “Ulysses Moore” I am the first post (after the official Scholastic site, Amazon, and fantasticfiction).  I have received so many comments from people who are frustrated that the can’t finish the series. It is amazing that so many voices are ignored.  As you can see, this series has garnered me 4020 views.

At 60,000 views I posted some theories as to why I thought these posts were so successful.  Since very little has changed (mostly just a little shuffle of the top ten), I won’t bother repeating that.  But, there is one post (see the bottom, hee hee) which has absolutely skyrocketed in just a few short months.

1. 4020 views posted April 25, 2009 [was #1 at 60,000: 1663 views]
Pierdomenico Baccalario–Ulysses Moore series Books 1-4
SOUNDTRACK: PEARL JAM-Vitalogy (more…)

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[cue music]:

I saw these stats come sailing in, on Christmas Day on Christmas Day.
I hit 60,000 views on Christmas Day in the mor-ning.

I hit 30,000 views back in March, and I was quite thrilled.  When I started the blog in May of 2007 I didn’t expect to get all that many views, it was more or less a blog to keep track of my books and maybe have other people comment too.  And so, it took nearly two years to get to 30,000.  Imagine how delightful it is to reach the next 30,000 views in the span of just nine months!

So thanks everyone for checking out what I had to say.  And thanks also for all the comments.  As with the first 30,000, I’ve included the stats that have brought me to this hallowed (but random) spot.  And I must add that Infinite Summer, which is underrepresented in my top ten posts, was absolutely essential for this huge spike in views (thanks DFW fans).  But, by far the biggest surprise was the surge that came from the first book(s) on the list below.  I posted about the Ulysses Moore series in April.  And it was by far the most frequently sought and (presumably) read post on the blog.  So, Scholastic Publishing, if you read this, please note the craving that my readers have for the rest of the series!  And please update your site!!

So, anyhow, thanks all.  Listed below are the Top Ten (and a few extra) viewed posts on my blog.  Happy New Year!

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3000030,000 views may not be a milestone for many blogs. But, for a blog like this which was intended mostly as a record of what I’ve read, the fact that I’ve had 30,000 views is pretty exciting. And it seems appropriate to let you, the readers know what you the other readers have been reading here. So, here is the top ten most read posts on I Just Read About That… with a director’s commentary tacked on.

1. 819 views
Gordon Korman–Son of the Mob (2002)
SOUNDTRACK: GORDON LIGHTFOOT-The Complete Greatest Hits
I’m pretty much 100% certain that Gordon Lightfoot is NOT the attraction that made this post my highest one. Son of the Mob is usually a summer reading book. However, I get hits on this throughout the year.  I’m guessing it’s just a popular book.

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