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Archive for the ‘The Monkees’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: TXT (투모로우바이투게더) ‘Cat & Dog’ (2019).

Because this book is about cats and dogs, I was going to put “Cats & Dogs” from The Head and The Heart as this song.  Bit when I searched for “Cats & Dogs” the first video was for this song.  And any band whose name is in a language I can’t read will certainly get posted here.

In fact, I didn’t even realize they were called “TXT” I thought it was something to do with text messaging.

Turns out TXT stands for Tomorrow X Together.  Of course.

The video starts with five cute boys running to the a window and looking out on a cartoon world.  It seemed like The Monkees.

So I was quite surprised when the song started with heavy bass and auto-tuned and I realized that duh, this must be a K-pop band.

I assumed I’d heard of all of the popular K-Pop bands by now (how many could there be?), but here’s one I’d not heard of.  Nevertheless. this song has over 47 million views.

I really don’t know how to talk about K-Pop.

The five of them are adorable and pretty much identical (hair color being the distinguishing factor).  They all seem to dance well (in the heavily edited sequences).  All of their voices are auto-tuned so who knows if they can sing.  They are also singing in at least two languages, so who knows what they are singing.

I assume the language I can’t understand is Korean, although it sounded to me like Spanish at one point (which seems very unlikely).

There’s a repeated refrain of someone gong “brrrp brrrp brrrp” which is a weird but catchy hook for all languages.  I assume that none of the boys’ voices can possibly go deep enough t make that sound.

Apparently, this song has something to do with cats and dogs because there are meows and barks in the song (and in the video they do lots of synchronized cat and dog ear movements).

I’m kind of curious what the chorus actually says–are they saying the word “Pet” or is a Korean word?

At the end he sings I just wanna be your dog, but not in any way like Iggy Pop.

Sometimes it’s fun to dive into music you don’t ever experience.

[READ: February 6, 2020] Kitten Construction Company: A Bridge Too Fur

I really enjoyed the first Kitten Construction Company book.  I loved the premise–not that the kittens were good at building things–but that no one took them seriously because they were so cute.  It allowed for a lot of funny frustrations from our feline friends.

Well, now the city of Mewberg has fully accepted the Kitten Construction Company. They have built a new stadium with updated energy efficiencies and plumbing.

There’s a nice joke that while accepting the adulation for this stadium, architect Marmalade can’t help but knock the microphone stand off the podium.  I only wish that Green had drawn it to look more deliberate–that would have been a lot funnier.  Instead it almost seems like an accident. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: October 26, 20162016-10-26-19-47-23] The Monkees

Like most people of my age I used to watch The Monkees on TV.  I was never a huge fan, but I liked the show a bunch and used to sing the theme (and pretend to be The Monkees when at the beach).  But I never really gave them much thought as a musical act (especially when I got older and learned that *gasp* they didn’t even play on the songs!).

Then I learned that there are some people who really really like The Monkees.  My college roommate was a huge fan, and a fellow I’ve met through another friend is an even bigger one–Craig, good luck on that book, man!  I also found out that Sarah and her fried Joanna used to watch the show all the time and were mega Monkees fans (without the album buying).

So when the band announced their 50th (FIFTIETH!) Anniversary tour, I thought it would be fun to go and thought Sarah would really enjoy it.  Sarah saw them on a previous anniversary tour (25, maybe?), where Peter, Micky and Davy were presence (Mike doesn’t typically do this sort of thing).  Of course, with Davy passed on, we wondered just how much of a Monkees show this would be.

Well, I never realized that Mickey sang most of the songs.  It makes sense now that I think of it, he is the voice of the Monkees after all, but I’d assumed it was a bit more democratic.  So as long as Mickey’s there it is still a Monkees gig.  Having Peter there lends it some credibility (Mike did perform a couple of shows when the tour went through California). (more…)

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[ATTENDED: January 15, 2016] Vanilla Fudge

2016-01-16 20.13.10I had never seen Blue Öyster Cult even though I’ve been a pretty big fan since college.  So when I saw they were playing at the Wellmont, I had to go see them.  As it turns out Vanilla Fudge was going to be the opener.

I have known of Vanilla Fudge, but I realized that I had no idea what they sang.  And when I looked them up, their biggest hits were all covers.  It turns out, that’s what they are–the world’s most successful and unusual cover band (Led Zeppelin opened for them in 1969, and Deep Purple got their organ sound from Vanilla Fudge).

Although they do covers, their sound is very much their own.  They don’t so much cover songs as transform them into their own style.  And that style is psychedelic and very heavy.

The band released five albums from 1967-1969 and then broke up.  They reunited and recorded an album in 1984.  Then split up.  And reunited in 2002 (with a different singer) and released an album of rerecorded old Vanilla Fudge as well as a cover of a Backstreet Boys and an N’Sync song (!).

Then the original lineup reunited in 2007 for an album of all Led Zeppelin covers called Out Through the In Door.  And then last year they released a new album called Spirit of ’67 (a collection of songs from 1967).  This featured all of the original members except the bassist who has retired.

So, here it is almost 50 years later and the original lineup (sans bassist) is still touring.  And they sounded amazing.  (more…)

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briefSOUNDTRACK: RHEOSTATICS-Spiral Club, Guelph Ontario (December 18 1997).

spiral This show has an interesting technical glitch that the owner thankfully fixed. It was a soundboard recording (which is awesome), but evidently there was static in the right channel that rendered it unlistenable.  So he simply removed the right channel and mixed it mono.  The sound is actually excellent—one of the best early shows they’ve done.  But since there is only own channel, you miss a lot of what, I think, is Dave’s guitar.  When guest Tyler McPherson plays his solo, I believe you can’t hear it.  Yet despite that, it still sounds great.

I feel like the band was a having a lot of fun on this Thursday night in Guelph (every night in Guelph is a weekend). They mention that their Nightlines episode was aired on the night of Lady Diana’s death (so they feel some kind of weird connection to her).

There’s a few firsts in this set as well.  It’s the first time they plated “Junction Foil Ball” (from Nightlines).  They seem to have finally settled in with “Harmelodia” not “California” in “Easy to Be with You.”  They toss in a bit of “Tubthumping” at the beginning of “Horses,” and a bit of the Monkees, song “Look Out Here Comes Tomorrow)” at the beginning of “Queer.”

Of course there are some flubs as well.  Martin messes up California Dreamline big time and Dave gets lost in the counting of “Four Little Songs” (and then says he never went to school).

But it’s the banter that is the fun part of this show.  They ask the crowd not to shout out requests for a couple of songs.  There’s a very funny sequence in which they try to play a Coors lite anthem.  And Martin says he’s out of his mind.  Dave says he’s a madman and Martin calls him a manatee.  And then someone offers Dave an Islanders jersey which he says he can’t accept—it is too generous, but he’ll always remember it (and now so will we).

Before the end of the set, they offer the crowd some of the food they have backstage (if you like olives). But then they say that $18 was a bit steep of a ticket price for the show (can you imagine?).  So they’re going to play extra long because the ticket price was so high.  Man, how cool is that?

[READ: Summer 2013] Brief Encounters with Che Guevara

Several years ago (long before Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk) I read about Ben Fountain…somewhere.  I was reading an interview with a writer who talked about some new writers that he liked.  Ben Fountain was one of them, and this writer specifically mentioned this collection.  A week or so later I was in a dollar store of all places and saw this book on their piles of books.  I couldn’t believe the serendipity. So I bought it (for a dollar).  And then kind of forgot about it (so much for my theory that if I buy a book I’ll read it).  But I did eventually get around to reading it and now sadly not only do I have no idea who originally introduced me to Fountain, I can’t even find it with online searching (and frankly I could have read it anywhere).  Also, Fountain has since written Billy Lynn which received all kinds of praise (and which I haven’t read), so trying to find specific praise for Fountain from 7 years ago is a lost cause.

And just as I forgot to read it I forgot to write about it until now.  This was his first collection of stories.  There are eight in total.  Even though it has been awhile, most of the stories were so powerful and well constructed that I remember them quite well. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: PETER BJORN AND JOHN-Falling Over (2005).

This is Peter Bjorn and John’s second album.  I enjoyed Writer’s Block and Living Thing and when I read that their earlier discs were just as good, i had to check them out to be sure.  Their first two discs are less polished, less slick.  Normally I’d say that automatically makes them better, but PB&J’s sound is pretty great with or without the production values.  This disc feels like  a transition disc, like something big is going to be coming soon (which it did).

The opening song is a pop masterpiece in the tradition of The Beatles (or more accurately, The Monkees–who wrote great pop songs with just a little less panache).  It is catchy right out of the block, with some interesting slower parts to add drama.  And Peter’s voice is perfect for this kind of pop convection.  It even opens with a Speak n Spell!  “Money” has a harder riff, but the chorus is trippy and fun.  “It Beats Me Every Time” is a darker song with a melody (and vocal style) that reminds me of Michael Penn (especially the chorus).  [I love Michael Penn and think he is vastly underrated].

“Does It matter Now?” is the first song that isn’t awesome.  It’s a fine song and there’s some great backing vocals in the middle of the track, but it’s not as good as the first three.  But “Big Black Coffin” springs back with a wonderful melody and chorus (and more Michael Penn style).

“Start Making Sense” is 2 minutes long and that’s fine, but it would probably drag if it were longer.  But then “Teen Love” is great, with a cool drum section that bridges to the a great chorus.  “All Those Expectations” is a slow guitar ballad.  It is sweet but a bit too long.  “Tailormade” ends the record on a good note, an interesting keyboard-based song with multiple parts and although the verses seems long the pay off in the chorus is worth it.

Strangely, the disc actually ends with what sounds like a demo, “Goodbye, Again Or.” If it’s not a demo, then it sounds like he’s in the next room. Maybe with the door shut.  I can’t really grasp the song as I’m so distracted by the recording.

My version of the disc has five bonus tracks.  I’m not sure that this is the kind of disc you want bonus tracks for, (my first listen I couldn’t believe this album was so long!) but, really, who says no to free music?

“(I Just Wanna) See Through” has a rock n roll guitar intro.  “The Trap’s My Trip” starts out slowly but adds drums with a wonderful introduction after two minutes and then brings in a  great rocking guitar.  It’s a wonderful b side.   “Punk’s Jump Up” is a fun little jam/practice.  While “Unreleased Backgrounds” is a slow guitar song.  These are nice bonus tracks.  Not essential but enjoyable.

This is a solid record from PB&J.  Even though some of the early songs are really catchy, nothing is as immediate as “Young Folks.”  But it’s still really strong.

[READ: February 15, 2012] “The Silence Here Owns Everything”

Continuing with Narrative magazine’s “30 Below” winners for 2011, this story won second place.  It was deceptively simple and I enjoyed it quite a lot.  The story was broken down into several sections (which I like), although all the action takes place over one  weekend.

It’s written in the first person from the point of view of a high school sophomore (I gather).  She and her best friend Kendra are walking home from school on a Friday afternoon.  Kendra has bruises on her face, which we assume are from her father.  It’s obvious that despite Kendra’s difficulties, the narrator looks up to her quite a lot (she may even have a crush on her, but that’s not really an issue).

The bulk of the story centers on the girls as they walk home, as they hang out at Kendra’s house, as they smoke some weed and as they fall asleep–you know, a typical high school weekend.  And Clodfelter captures the tone and details of the setting perfectly.  It feels completely real.  Especially when Kendra reveals that her boyfriend is coming over in the morning and the narrator wishes (but doesn’t say) that it could be just the two of them instead. (more…)

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goth.jpglove.jpgSOUNDTRACK: THE MONKEES: Best of the Monkees (2003).

monkees.jpgOne of my college roommates (a guy from Ireland) absolutely LOVED the Monkees (and he was from Ireland, which may not be that weird, but were the Monkees big in Ireland?). Anyhow, he not only had the boxed set that Rhino put out several years ago, but he actually owned all of their records. All of them! I didn’t even know they put out enough for a boxed set. (Evidently, they put out something like six, and then someone left the band and they kept going…what a sordid career!).

My wife, it turns out, also loved the Monkees, but that was when she was a kid, and she and her best friend watched them daily and knew all the songs. I recall watching the show myself, but when we Netflixed the first season I realized I didn’t remember anything about it. Oh, and that you really have to be in junior high to watch it, but I digress.

As a surprise I bought her the Best of the Monkees CD. She was thrilled to get it, and I’ve just been listening to it and realized that it’s a really great collection of songs. There is, of course, the argument that they didn’t play their own instruments, and this is true, somewhat. Although they did eventually start playing their own on later albums. But all that is just splitting hairs.

The album is certainly great. Wonderfully poppy songs, that are clearly from the late 60s/early 70s. Okay, so they didn’t write most of them, but who cares. Back then (as now of course) poppy bands didn’t write songs, they just sang them. I’m not sure if people know the Monkees anymore. I don’t know if the huge hits (“Last Train to Clarksville,” “I’m a Believer,” “Pleasant Valley Sunday”) are still familiar to people but man, they brought back fun memories. And, really, they hold up quite well as great little pop gems.

In addition to the poppy songs, there’s a few pretty ballads, a few all-out rockers, and, as befitting the trippiness of the show, some psychedelic freak-outs (check out “Randy Scouse Git” and “Porpoise Song”). It is nothing if not enjoyable. So put aside all the negative associations you may have with them, and cheer up, sleepy Jean. Oh what can it mean?

Oh yeah, and the CD comes with a 5 track bonus karaoke version of their biggest hits. Whoo hoo!

[READ: December 4, 2007] Goth-Icky & Love Sick

I discovered these books (and his other two in this series) when I was mooching around looking for information about Mystery Science Theater 3000. I learned that Mike Nelson had not only written some books, but that he got involved in this fun series of graphic heavy, silly confections. I bought one in the series, Happy Kitty Bunny Ponybecause how could you pass up a title like that? And, when Sarah looked at it, she discovered that the pictures in it would be make awesome decoupage. And, if you go to her Sew Buttons site, you’ll see some fabulous creations with some groovy pictures and instructions for how she did them.

(more…)

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