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Archive for the ‘Jimi Hendrix’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: BOMBINO-Tiny Desk Concert #301 (September 7, 2013).

So who or what is Bombino you, like me, are probably asking.  Well:

Omara “Bombino” Moctar is a Tuareg guitarist, born in Niger.  There’s something alluring and charming about Bombino, whose childlike face belies his fierce, hypnotic guitar playing. The familiarity in his music stems from the blues, a common thread between American music and Africa for obvious reasons. Bombino grew up on the music of Jimi Hendrix, whose sound keeps getting sent back and forth from America to Africa and back again.

Bombino plays three songs.  They’re all pretty lengthy with a lot of guitar playing.  But none are instrumental.  However, I certainly have no idea what he’s singing.  In addition to Bombino, there; a rhythm guitarist, a bassist and two drummers–one playing a djembe I believe and one playing that drum that you thump with your fist–I can’t find the name of it.

  • “Tamiditine” has a Western sounding melody
  • “Her Tenere” opens with a lengthy guitar solo–and o course his guitar has that distinctive tinny guitar sound  This one is really catchy.  I assume he is singing real words, but it just sounds like “deh deh deh.”
  • “Imuhar” feels a bit more Nigerian, than Western–it’s interesting to hear the distinction in scales there.  Overall this has a long jamming quality to it.

Before listening to the Tiny Desk Concerts, I’d never listened to music like this and I’m grateful for the exposure to it.

[READ: January 24, 2017 ] Snow White

Matt Phelan continues to make great graphic novels.  This one is an adaptation of Snow White.  I assumed it would be a fairly straightforward telling of the fairy tale, but Phelan changes the setting of the story and makes the whole thing far more “real,” which is a neat trick.

Phelan has moved the setting of the story from the forest to the glamour of 1920s Manhattan.  It is just before the Depression and the city is hopping!  Bright lights, (for a black and white book anyway), dancing and money everywhere.

And amid this, a young girl is born.  Samantha White is a few years old in 1918.  As she runs through central park her mother calls to her: Samantha…Snow!  The girl responds to this name, but as she turns around, her mother cough up blood into a handkerchief (virtually the only color in the book). (more…)

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41116 SOUNDTRACK: SERATONES-Tiny Desk Concert #521 (April 15, 2016).

seraThis Seratones show totally rocked!  And it was a nice change of pace from the slower bands who have been on the Tiny Desk lately.

The lead singer and guitarist is A.J. Haynes.  She plays guitar with a pick on her thumb and has a very clean guitar sound.  Her voice is really lovely—powerful and strong and covering multiple styles from Grace Slick to PJ Harvey.  The blurb says

Haynes grew up singing in the Brownsville Baptist Church, learning to sing out to and hit that back wall without a microphone.

And that’s apparent from the ease she has at singing.  The rest of her band is really great too.  Continuing the blurb:

bassist Adam Davis heard a lot of American rock’s greatest guitarist, Jimi Hendrix, as well as the amazing voice of Janis Joplin. The rest of the band is rounded out by the drumming of Jesse Gabriel, who is spare but there with a sharp backbeat, while guitarist Connor Davis rocks with lyrical grit.

Although I had to laugh because Haynes seems to be having so much fun while her bandmates are rather stonefaced.

They play three songs and they are all great.  “Don’t Need It” rocks out like nobody’s business.  Haynes is a charismatic (and adorable) lead singer with a big afro and a great smile.  “Get Gone” has a much more bluesy sound.  I like the way she delivers the line: “Suns coming out like you knew it would.”  After each verse she gives a big high-pitched “ooh oooh.” And then comes back with a growly low voice.  I love that she’s alternately belting out notes and then singing falsetto.

“Chandelier” has a great funky groove.  When the song sorta stops and just the drums kick in she gives a delightful giggle.

I was really delighted with this band whom I’d never heard of before and I definitely want to check out their recently released debut album.

[READ: April 11, 2016] “The Burglar”

I enjoyed the way that this story was structured.  One paragraph at a time with a dot in between them.  This allowed for a strange juxtaposition of time, with some things happening simultaneously and others possibly out of sequence.

There are several characters in the story.  There is a the burglar (known primarily as “he”); there is the wife who is waiting for exterminators to come to the house–she’s out and hopes to get home before they do).  There is the husband, who is off at work.  His job is fascinating, he’s writing his first script for a TV pilot.  The producers of the show want it to be edgy and different.  The character he is working on (the only person named in the story) is Emmet Byron Diggs, who is falsely accused of killing his wife.  Emmet is black, but the producers don’t want him to think about that as he develops the character.

The story rotates through these characters.  We see the scriptwriter and the producers talking about the show: a time travel show in which Emmet is going to start killing people.

The burglar encounters a dog in the house and tries to figure out how to deal with it.

The wife is racing to get home.

And Emmett is also walking down a street checking out the twenty-first century world he’s in.

Okay so the burglar is in the woman’s house.  But she hears him upstairs and assumes he is the exterminator.

And then the burglar hears her and tries to figure out what he’s going to do.  He calls out, “Just the cleaning crew.”  he berates himself for saying such a weird thing and she thinks its weird that the exterminator would call himself the cleaning crew.

And that’s when the phone rings and it’s the exterminators calling to say they’ll be late.

How does this real-life scenario play out at home while her husband is trying to create a similarly fictionalized setting on the page?

The stories even began to overlap somewhat with action in both stories taking place in a kitchen.  By the end of the story it’s not entirely clear what’s even happening, at least to me.  And yet despite or because of this confusion, I really loved the story.  It was intense and strangely funny at the same time.

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sleazeSOUNDTRACK: MARKETA IRGLOVA-Tiny Desk Concert #174 (November 10, 2011).

marketaMarketa Irglova came to the world’s attention in the film Once, where she duetted with Glen Hansard.  They formed The Swell Season and made some beautiful music together.  But he has another band and she has done some solo work, like in this Tiny Desk.  Incidentally, watch the video, but listen to the audio.  For some reason the sound in the video is all wonky and weird, but the audio is fine.

This concert is a little surprising because Irglova plays a synth, rather than a piano, and she is accompanied by Iranian singer-percussionist Aida Shahghasemi whom she met in New York.  And Shahghasemi and her drum (called a daf) are actually a bit more interesting than Irglova.

Irglova has a nice voice, and I have really enjoyed a lot of her music, but I found these songs to be a little long and a little undramatic.  However, once you accept that she’s not going for drama, these songs are mellow and lovely.

The opening song, “We Are Good,” has an interesting main riff on the keyboard and her voice blends nicely with the music.  The end section has a very nice melody as it builds and builds.  But as I mentioned, it the daf that is so fascinating.  The drum itself looks like an Irish bodhran (or any other hand-held drum, I suppose), except it has a much bigger diameter and is very thin.  It also has a series of dangling items on the inside, which bring about a lot more percussive qualities.

“Dokhtar Goochani” is a traditional Iranian song sung in Farsi.  Shahghasemi sings the song while Irglova plays.  With the keyboard, the song doesn’t really sound very Middle Eastern until Irglova joins in on harmony vocals in the chorus, when it takes on a very cool quality.  And the drum and percussive sounds in the middle are really enticing.

After this song, Shahghasemi talks a bit about her drum and says that it can be much louder than she’s playing it here.  It’s a traditional Kurdish drum with “jangles” which she explains is usually made of goatskin, but this one is synthetic because the humidity doesn’t affect it as much.

The final song, “Let Me Fall In Love” is about the idea of being in love, with lyrics that are a bit didactic, but whatever.  I really like the middle section where the two women harmonize quite beautifully.  But again the song is a little long.

[READ: October 25, 2015] Sleaze Castle

The cover of this book is crazy.  The full title appears to be:

Markosia/Gratuitous Bunny Comix
Sleaze Castle : The Director’s Cut
Part Zero: “Tales from Sleaze Castle”
Reprinting “Takes from Sleaze Castle” #1-#4
Screenplay by Terry Wiley & Dave McKinnon  Art Direction by Terry Wiley

And then a drawing of a woman with what looks like a magic wand and another woman standing by watching her.

And then there’s a whole list of “Starring” (these names are actually characters in the stories)
and then Film Sound Track Album by MWOWM available on Gratuitous Bunny Audio #GBA3

That’s a lot to take in and it made me wonder if the comic would be that busy.  And it is.  This book is a wonder to behold.  Self published in 1992, this book is just chock full of story, with an astonishing amount of detail included in the drawings–nods to other comics, musical appreciation and all kinds of fun things to look at.  It took me a pretty long time to read this because there was just so much to see and read.  It was a lot of fun.  Even if the plot was a little confusing.

This book collects the original books and adds material (which is not at the end of the story necessarily (so art quality varies).

The book opens on a planet far away.  A blonde woman is talking about the trip she will take which will last for ten minutes their time.

Then we jump to the Prologue set in Jo’s house.  Her sister Petra is giving her a hard time.  Jo wants to take her watchman to school (she is a film studies graduate student) but it was Petra’s new present.  So they are fighting of course.  The amazing detail starts here with books on Jo’s shelves and all manner of other things to look at. (more…)

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 june30SOUNDTRACK: LES CLAYPOOL’S DUO DE TWANG-Four Foot Shack (2014).

Four_Foot_Shack_coverAfter touring around for the then latest Primus album, Les Claypool and M.I.R.V. guitarist Bryan Kehoe.  They got together for a bluegrass festival and decided to keep going with it.

So this is just Les and Bryan each playing a resonator bass and resonator guitar and twanging up the songs (with extra mandolin and backing vocals on a few tracks by Wylie Woods).

The disc opens with the only new song, a 42 second bit that doesn’t quite prepare you for the nonsense inside.  Because this is really a fun record of covers (Primus songs, Les’ solo songs, and others).

I tend to like the proper Primus versions better, but I really enjoy the way he has transformed them in this format.  “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver” totally fits in this format and I do like it (the yodel bit is perfect) I just happen to like the bass and guitar better in the original.

The covers include: “Amos Moses” which works fine in this format.  “The Bridge Came Tumblin Down” (by Stompin’ Tom Connors) sounds very Stompin’ Tom.  It’s quite a sad song (thanks Tom).  “Stayin’ Alive” is fantastic–it really works with that style and the “how how how” is funny without being mocking.  “Pipeline” is a surprisingly good surf song for these two instruments–they really rock it out.  Perhaps te second biggest surprise (after Stayin’ Alive) is “Man in the Box” from Alice in Chains.  It projects a “Rawhide” vibe, and works very well It’s also kinda funny with the lyrics: “for some reason I’m buried with my very own shit.”  “Battle of New Orleans,” sounds really familiar although I’m not sure where I know it from.

There are several songs from Les’ solo albums done in twang style.  “Red State Girl” works great in this format (although it makes me sad that we still know who Sarah Palin is).   “Boonville Stomp” I like this version better than any others I’ve heard–some great steel guitar soloing going on in the second half.  The intro to “Rumble of the Diesel” is funny where he says that Seattle people don’t know anything about fishing and they turn on him.  “Buzzards of Green Hill” works really well with the twang, as does “Hendershot” (although I like the way he says “Hendershot” in the original more).  “D’s Diner” is fun in this format, less weird (the original is pretty weird).  And I’d love some malted buttermilk pancakes all day long.

The final song is a cover of Primus’ “Jerry Was a Race Car Driver.”  It feels very different.  The guitar solos are fun–there’s a Benny Hill vibe before the solo for Jimi Hendrix’ “Third Stone from the Sun.”

So while the album is goofy, it’s done in good fun, and the impact is really strong–Les’s songs have always been about rhythm and they translate really well.

[READ: January 29, 2015] “Pink House”

Rebecca Curtis continues to be one of my favorite recent discoveries.  Strangely enough I bought a copy of her short story collection and then proceeded to lose it in my house. How is that possible?

This story comes from a different narrator than the other stories, although she is just as bristly and straightforward as Curtis’ other narrators.  And in the way of delightfully convoluted stories, this one has an unusual setting to get to what it wants to say.

The narrator is at an artist’s gathering . None of the seven people gathered around–a Korean American crime-noir novelist, a Lebanese fantasy writer, a Thai journalist and three Brazilian painters–knew each other.  A foundation had flown them out together to practice their arts for six weeks.  “None of them knew who’d selected them for the residency, or why.”  I love that.

So the narrator decides to tell them a story about a ghost.

She had been living in Manhattan, although she was originally from Maine.  She was barely scraping by but then she was accepted into the MFA program in Syracuse.  She asked them to secure housing for her and she accepted an apartment sight unseen.

Before she left, she decided to have one last fling with her boyfriend.  She makes a point of telling everyone that he is black (she pretty much exclusively dates black men), and there’s an awkward moment where she says that her boyfriend half comic half angry asks, “”You like black cock?”” The rest of this answer is out loud: “I hesitated.  To me the question seemed off, since it was evident that I did.  Who I wondered wouldn’t like such a good thing?”  Meanwhile, the journalist asks her, “This relates to the ghost story?”  She says that it does.

Albeit somewhat tangentially.  She wound up oversleeping on the night she was supposed to pack.  Her parents drove down from Maine to help her move and her father was super mad that she wasn’t ready (he had no intention of sleeping in a hotel in Syracuse).  The whole relationship with her family: her angry father and her mother who believes that she will be going to hell because of her premarital sex is very funny.  It also takes up a large chunk of the story but has little to do with the actual ghost part, well, except for one important thing. (more…)

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greatestSOUNDTRACK: PINK FLOYD-“The Hard Way” and “Wine Glasses” (1974).

glassThis book informed me about these two unreleased Pink Floyd songs (there’s a Wikipedia site that lists some fifty more !).  While the were unreleased in 1974 (from the abandoned Household Objects album), they were eventually released in 2011 on expanded versions of albums.

“The Hard Way” features some “percussion” that sounds like someone taking steps.  There’s a bass riff which I gather is from rubber bands (but very well tuned).  There’s clocks ticking and chiming and tape being unspooled.  It’s a neat idea and while it is absurd to think you could make a whole album with this kind of stuff (in 1974), it’s a surprisingly good sounding track.

“Wine Glasses” was apparently made with wine glasses.  It is all of 2 minutes long.  It was designed to be a full song but was eventually used in the introduction to “Shine on You Crazy Diamond.”  I never really considered that there were wine glasses making the sounds (and clearly there are synths added on top), but yeah, so that ‘s kinda neat.

[READ: November 25, 2014] The Greatest Albums You’ll Never Hear

I found this book at work and knew I had to read it.  I was actually surprised at how long it took me to read (there’s a lot of entries).

The title and subtitle pretty much say everything you need to know about this book (and if you need to read it or not).  This book collects a series of writers who give a brief history of some of the more famous (and some not so famous) albums that were never released.  It explains (as best they can) why the albums weren’t released and even gives a percentage chance of likelihood of the album ever seeing the light of day (interestingly, most seem to be a 3/10–they may have been able to use a 5 point scale).

I knew some of the records they talked about (The Beach Boys’ Smile, Neil Young’s Chrome Dreams), but was ignorant of quite a lot of them. And while big fans of the artists may know all of the details about their favorite lost album already (these are sketches, not exhaustive research), there will certainly be some new information.  For instance, I’m a huge Pink Floyd fan but had no idea about the two shelved works mentioned here.

I liked the way the book was done chronologically and grouped by decade.  It was also interesting to see how the “reasons” for the non-release morphed over the decades from “the record label didn’t like it” to “it was leaked online.”

The one major gripe I have with the book is that it is chock full of “imagined” album covers.  This in itself is okay, but it is not made explicitly clear that they are all imagined (credits are given at the bottom of each image, but it took me a few entries to realize these were just people’s ideas of what the covers could look like).  And most of them are gawdawful.  Just really lame and dull (as if they had 20 minutes to come up with an idea).  They mar an otherwise cool collection,especially since some of the unreleased records actually do have proposed covers (even if they were never released).  I see that there is in fact a paragraph about the covers in the front pages of the book, but it is almost hidden away.

In addition to the albums I’ve listed below, I learned some fascinating things.  That Bruce Springsteen has hundreds of songs that he wrote but never released for various reasons.  That Pink Floyd did try to make an album out of household objects (with no instruments).  That the Sex Pistols’ Never Mind the Bollocks was almost simultaneously released illicitly as Spunk.  And that Danger Mouse’s The Grey Album was recently remastered.

The end of the book includes two small sections: other favorites that were never released.  Not sure why they earned only a small column instead of a full entry, but that’s okay.  The second was albums that we eventually did see, like My Bloody Valentine’s MBV and Guns N’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy.

So if you ever wondered what happened to that long lost album, this may be the book for you.

A sampling of the unreleased records include:

  • The Beach Boys-Smile
  • Buffalo Springfield-Stampede
  • The Kinks-Four Respected Gentlemen
  • The Beatles-Get Back
  • Jeff Beck-The Motown Album
  • Jimi Hendrix-Black Gold
  • The Who-Lifehouse
  • Wicked Lester
  • Rolling Stones-American Tour ’72
  • CSN&Y-Human Highway
  • Pink Floyd-Household Objects (1974), Spare Brick 1982
  • Dusty Springfield-Longing
  • David Bowie-The Gouster (1975), Toy (2001)
  • Sex Pistols-Spunk
  • Neil Young -Homegrown (1975), Chrome Dreams (1976)
  • Frank Zappa-Läther
  • Beastie Boys-Country Mike’s Greatest Hits
  • Weezer-Songs from the Black Hole
  • Jeff Buckley-My Sweeetheart the Drunk
  • Van Halen-IV
  • Foo Fighters-The Million Dollar Demos
  • Green Day-Cigarettes and Valentines (the author doesn’t believe it was actually stolen)
  • Tapeworm (Trent Reznor and Maynard James Keenan among others)
  • Deftones-Eros
  • U2-Songs of Ascent
  • Beck-The Song Reader

 

 

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mccarthySOUNDTRACK: PHISH-Undermind (2004).

undermindAs I understand it, Phish fans didn’t like Undermind that much and yet I really liked it and still do.  Indeed, “Undermind” is one of my favorite new Phish songs, it’s clever and boppy and just really catchy.  The album has very Beatles vibe to it—a kind of echoey feel on all the songs.  And I have recently read that people interpret the cover design to be a nod to Let It Be (there are other connections made but I’m not going to go too deeply into that).

“Scents and Subtle Sounds” opens the album.  This is a brief intro–the full songs, which sounds different appears later on the disc (it’s 97 second here)).  It leads into “Undermind” which has a loose, slightly funky sound—one of their more fun songs on recent albums.  The album version has some big fat organ sounds on it which make it even cooler.

“The Connection” is another great poppy song—gorgeous harmonies and wonderful melody, and indeed it was their first real hit.  “A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing” is another great song, great backing vocals, an excellent melody and great alternating verse vocals from Mike.  It also has a great middle guitar section—it’s long and wild and reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix’ solos.  “Army of One” is sung by Page.  It is a big soaring song and it’s got a very upbeat sound.  “Crowd Control” is a very Beatleseque song.

“Maggie’s Revenge” is a noisy instrumental, with Trey’s guitars making all kind of squealing noise.  It’s weird and quite refreshing from Phish’s more recent fair.  “Nothing” picks up with the open and poppy sounds of earlier records and has more great harmonies.  It seems to fade out in the middle though—a song that could have been longer!  “Two Versions of Me” is another mid tempo song with great harmonies and  great chorus.  “Access Me” is a brief poppy song that feels a bit like filler, although it has a cool and interesting coda.  “Scents and Subtle Sounds” resumes

“Tomorrow’s Song” has a very African feel to it.  It is a simple repetitive rhythm that lasts for about 3 minutes before it fades out just like it faded in.  “Secret Smile” is a very pretty piano ballad.  It’s a little heavy handed with the strings, and at nearly 7 minutes it’s too long (especially the long coda), but the melody is certainly nice.  The album ends with “Grind,” a barbershop quartet track which shows just what kind of great harmonies they cool do.

Although it’s a mature sound, there’s enough weird stuff to let them show their funky side too.  The CD comes with a DVD called “Specimens of Beauty.”

[READ: October 8, 2013] C

I received a prepub version of this book back in 2010.  The cover and title were weird and I thought I’d like to read it.  And it sat on my shelf for two years.

And then Borders closed (bummer, their chai tea was the best!) and I saw a hardcover copy of the book for $1 so I bought it (I’m enough of a geek to want to see how prepubs and final copies are different.  In this case, the books appear identical except that in the last two dozen or so pages, there’s a section with ellipses.  In the prepub, they are single spaced but in the final book they are double spaced which throws off the line spacing.  So by the end of the book, the lines are about three lines different.  Fascinating huh?).

Anyhow, what on earth is a book called C about?

Well, it is a Bildungsroman or coming-of-age story.  By definition these stories focus on the psychological and moral growth of the protagonist from youth to adulthood.  Our protagonist is Serge Carrefax, even though he is not the first person we meet.  That would be a doctor delivering materials to Serge’s father, Mr. Simeon Carrefax.  Mr Carrefax runs a school for the deaf in which he tells children to stop using sign language and to start speaking properly.  And he has had considerable success with the children, each of whom acting in a play every year.  (The book, by the way, is set in the late 1800s).  His mother is a silkworm farmer, and much of their money comes from this job.

But the main person in Serge’s life is his sister Sophie.  Sophie is a deviously clever girl who is alternately mean to Serge (as only older sisters can be) and then encouraging him to play with her.  She is mad for science and is constantly experimenting with her chemistry set (leading to more than one explosion in the house).  The early sections of the book show Sophie and Serge’s education.  And when Sophie goes off to school, Serge is lost, especially when she returns from school but keeps telling him to leave her alone.  And then one day, Serge discovers her dead in her “lab” and experiment in progress. (more…)

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booger1SOUNDTRACK: “WEIRD AL” YANKOVIC in 3-D (1984).

in3dAfter Al’s debut he came roaring back the next year with In 3-D a disc which opens with his first Michael Jackson parody “Eat It.”  The song was leaps and bounds above anything on the debut (even if there are still hand farts in it).  The song actually sounds like the original (if a little less “full” and a little goofier and on the whoo hoos).  But the solo by Rick Derringer rocks and the whole song works very well.  The rest of the album is a solid mix of originals and parodies

I didn’t really understand that “Midnight Star” was meant to parody the Weekly World News and such (I didn’t really know those papers at the time) but I thought the headlines were funny.  And yes its a lot of fun to sing a long to.  It’s always funny when Al parodies a song that is already rather stupid (My Sharona, or in this case Safety Dance), and “The Brady Bunch” opens with a general overview of stupid TV shows and then morphs into the The Bunch’s theme song to the music of “Safety Dance.”  “Gonna Buy Me  A Condo” is a reggae song which I never really got the joke of as a kid.  I mean, I knew it was reggae but I didn’t know enough about reggae to know that this song is kinda funny, about selling out for the mainstream life.  It’s not genius or anything but it’s kinda funny–in fact I think it’s funnier now than I ever did as a kid.

“Jeopardy” works perfectly as a parody.  It retains all of the weird sounds and “drama” of the original and yet it works entirely unto itself.  It’s definitely an early highlight.  This disc also introduces what would be come a staple on all his later albums:  “Polkas on 45” where he mashes together a string of songs into a polka beat.  They are always fun and clever.  This one is a mix of new wave and classic rock bands Devo, Deep Purple,  Berlin, The Beatles,  The Doors,  Iron Butterfly, Jimi Hendrix, Talking Heads, Foreigner, The Police,  The Clash,  The Rolling Stones,  and The Who.

“Mr Popeil” is another one that I didn’t full get until later (why did i like Al if I didn’t get any of the jokes?).  Ron Popeil is the king of the As Seen on TV  product (as listed in the song).  The thing that I really didn’t get was that this is was a parody of the B-52s–one of the first parodies he’d done that’s a parody of band but not really a song.  This is not a parody of Rock Lobster exactly, but it sounds quite a lot like it–and that’s a neat trick.

“King of Suede” is a parody of The Police–I never really liked it even though it does work as a parody–perhaps the original isn’t a very string song.    “That Boy Could Dance” is instantly forgettable, so much so that I had forgotten all about it.  “Theme from Rocky XIII” is a pretty funny parody of “The Eye of the Tiger.”  But it doesn’t prepare you for the genius that is “Nature Trail to Hell.”  An epic song about horror movies with the great line “if you lie the 6 o clock news you’ll love Nature Trail to Hell (in 3D).”  It’s over the top and very silly–the music escalates  with screams and strings and several different sections (although the solo section is a little anemic).  I can’t imagine what he would do with it today if he rerecorded it.

So In 3-D was a big jump in quality for “Weird Al” and was actually a pretty big hit (charting at #17).

[READ: February 22, 2013] Captain Underpants and the Big Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy Part 2

Since it is 2013 and not 2003, I don’t have to wait several months for Part 2.  Huzzah!

The opening comic in this book not only gives all of the Captain Underpants background that it usually does, it also includes what happened in Part 1.  At the end of the book, the robotic booger monsters (Carl, Trixie and Frankenbooger) were on the attack.  They destroyed the Combine-O-Tron 2000 so it would not reverse the effects of the machine on Captain and Melvin.  But Sulu the hamster rescued them by hurling the boogers into space (with his mouth, ew).

The boys want to get things back to normal.  But Professor Krupp (who is in Melvin’s body) is going about his business getting everyone in trouble.  Except that since he looks like Melvin people are getting angry at him rather than listening to him.  This book features a wonderful letter swap from “Check out our school’s big internet website at http://www.jhes.com” to “We shake our big butts when we swim in the toilet.”

The boys give up on trying to fix the Combine-O-Tron and decide to use the Purple Potty Time Machine that is in the library and go back in time.  There’s a great sequence in which the librarian has banned every book but one and I love the posters that are up encouraging the banning of books–it’s another awesome dig at those who censor.  And the librarian is named Miss Singerbrains. (more…)

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