29 January 2007

Now You Have a Reason to Call Me "Dick"

I am:
Philip K. Dick
The brilliant yet trashy master of the reality warp always left you unsure of what was real, but never forgot compassion.

Which science fiction writer are you?

26 January 2007

Put On Your "Fugee" Face

Saw Children of Men the other day (in a theater!). I liked it.

It’s set in the nearish future. For unknown reasons, there have been no births in 18 years and the human race appears to be headed into extinction. Furthermore, wars and terrorist attacks have ravaged much of the planet, and England has become a police state where immigrants (called "fugees," just like Lauren Hill's old group) are rounded up and put into camps for deportation, or made to live in ghettos. A former radical named Theo (Clive Owen) is drawn into a shady revolutionary organization that may have the key to humanity’s future.

Again, I really enjoyed the movie, especially the soundtrack and for the kittens (aww), but I’m also always appreciative of movies that are willingly downbeat – it’s a nice respite from the standard cookie-cutter Hollywood flicks with their grafted-on happy endings.

But since I am not a person who likes children all that much – I pretty much hate them, actually – I didn’t find the movie’s bleak, oppressive milieu nearly as bleak and oppressive as I was supposed to.

23 January 2007

Blasts from the Past

Why are the negative reviews always the ones that turn out the best?

The Singles: 1996-2006

There’s a thin line between moody introspection and narcissistic self-pity, and for such a burly, scary-looking guy, Staind’s frontman Aaron Lewis is quite a whiny douchebag. From a lyrical perspective, he makes Morrissey look like David Lee Roth. But I guess if I owed my career to Fred Durst, I’d be depressed, too.

It’s not that Staind are the worst band ever; when they rock out, they’re a passable metal act. But the group’s turgid, monochromatic balladry – that is, the bulk of this compilation -- is music for bedwetters.

Closing the disc with covers of tunes by three vastly superior bands (Pink Floyd, Alice in Chains, Tool) was a huge mistake on two levels. First, it spotlights how much of Staind’s sound was swiped from Tool and Alice in Chains. Second, it underscores the mediocrity of Staind’s own material.
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The Very Best of Sheryl Crow

For a former Wacko Jacko backing vocalist, Sheryl Crow has done pretty well for herself. Her signature blend of roots rock, folk, pop and country made her a star and allowed her to rack up hit after MOR hit in a decade-long career, plus she’s kept various former members of cult acts like David + David and Wire Train rolling in fat royalty checks and otherwise gainfully employed. Musically, Crow’s material has enough grit to allow soccer moms to feel like they’re rocking out when they buy her discs, while her compositional skills assure a solid level of quality and craft goes into every track. The consummate pro, in other words, and The Very Best of Sheryl Crow is a fine encapsulation of her career thus far. All the big hits are here, but unfortunately, so is her execrable duet with Kid Rock (“Picture”), a country tune that’s an unintentional parody of country music, but I guess that’s why God put skip buttons on CD players.
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This is something I did that previewed a then-upcoming event. I thought it was pretty funny. Took me less than five minutes.

I always thought the Transformers were a cheap-ass Shogun Warriors rip-off, but the joke’s on Raydeen, Gaiking and Dangard Ace, because next year, a live-action Transformers movie hits the big screen. But riddle me this: Did you know that the song "You've Got the Touch," as performed by Mark Wahlberg in Boogie Nights, is originally from the animated 1984 Transformers movie?

Regardless, if you live and die for all things Transformers, you won’t want to miss – I shit you not – BotCon. The convention allows fans to talk shop with designers, take drawing classes, preview new figures, and most importantly, buy, sell and trade the toys around which their lives are based.

The fun runs Sep. 30-Oct 1 at the Lexington Convention Center: Bluegrass Ballroom (430 W Vine St, Lexington, Ky. – ask mom to drive you). Tickets are $9 for adults, $5 for kids (under 4: free).

02 January 2007


Year-end "Best Of!" You knew this was coming. Eventually.

The first five albums listed below are what I submitted to LEO.

The stuff after is what I submitted to the Idolator “Jackin’ Pop” poll. Thankfully, I didn’t have to write capsule descriptions for this poll.

I always miss a few CDs – I am but one man with a mere 24 hours in each day, just like you mortals -- and this year was no exception: Had I heard the Knife’s “We Share Our Mother's Health” before last week, it would’ve made my “Best Singles” list for certain. And so on.


BELLE & SEBASTIAN The Life Pursuit (Matador): A brilliantly consistent disc from a brilliantly consistent band, Pursuit added traces of glam (“White Collar Boy”), boogie rock (“The Blues Are Still Blue”) and psychedelic soul (“Song for Sunshine”) to their already impressive palette. They’re great live, too.

WOLFMOTHER (Interscope): This Aussie power trio takes damn near everything that was cool about ‘70s hard rock – power chords, heavy organ fills, white afros -- and regurgitates it for the here and now.

ARCTIC MONKEYS Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (Domino): Young, loud and snotty. Hooks aplenty. Debut of the year. Et cetera.

GOLDFRAPP Supernature (Mute) Justin Timberlake said he was bringing sexy back this year. Too bad that Allison Goldfrapp beat him to the punch: she’s 10 times sexier than that pantywaist, as “Lovely 2 C U” and “Number 1” demonstrate. Plus she could kill him with her bare hands. She wins.

TOOL 10,000 Days (Volcano): Critics who don’t really listen to much metal will genuflect over Mastodon’s Blood Mountain this year, but Tool’s record is a much more varied, coherent and ultimately, much more satisfying listen. Deal with it.


Local H, ’99-’00 Demos (G&P)

Raconteurs Broken Boy Soldiers (V2)

Your Black Star Sound from the Ground (Wonkavision)

Cold War Kids Robbers & Cowards (Downtown)

Scott Walker The Drift (4AD)


“Crazy” Gnarls Barkley

“Steady, As She Goes” Raconteurs

“Shoot the Runner” Kasabian

“Lloyd, I’m Ready to Be Heartbroken” Camera Obscura

“Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt” We Are Scientists

“So Far We Are” French Kicks

“Wolf Like Me” TV on the Radio

“Redneck” Lamb of God

“The First Vietnamese War” Black Angels

“Throw It All Away” Zero 7


Pulp This Is Hardcore (Island)

Cheap Trick Dream Police (Epic Legacy)

The Clash The Singles Box (Epic Legacy)

T. Rex Tanx (Rhino)

Depeche Mode Violator (Mute)