Saturday, May 30, 2009

Saturday Morning Is Sometimes A Bear

Click to zoom in on the caption, which is so unnecessary it's mindblowing. Saturday Evening Post of 1952, hooray.

The picture is an illustration by Stan Galli – I picked it up from here. How great are the facial expressions? (Answer: "Quite")
It originally accompanied a short story. I'm a big fan of that story's spectacular title and headline:

What chance indeed?

You'd think that even a couple of "giddy women" would know better than to picnic at a place called Danger Canyon, though. It's like when people climb Mt Disappointment and they're surprised that the view isn't very good.

Also the bears are cool

Monday, May 25, 2009

Rage Roundup @ 22 May '09

I saw some music videos on Rage, and here are some words about the three most of them.

Q. Three most what?
A. Shut up

okay let's go

The embedded clip is a live performance – you'll have to follow the headline link to get to the actual video clip, because EMI policy is conceived by drooling moronic dustcakes. (I mean come on, people! Music videos are advertisements, so why disable embedding? Is uncontrolled free publicity honestly worse than the possibility of being embedded in an unfavourable context, or whatever? Dustcakes.)

Anyhow, the video is pretty dull & unremarkable, so who cares.

As for the music: I can't tell if it's a ripoff of Rapture / !!! / etc-style dance-rock circa 2003-2008, or if... no, actually I can tell, the music is definitely a ripoff of that style. But the lyrics are weirdly ironic and enough to make me think twice. Singing "I'm just too fake for the world" in a tone which could be both bitter intensity or a completely breezy joke – it's a very unusual posture to listen to. I honestly can't tell if it's a clever statement or something completely empty, so I guess that's probably the point.

And I wouldn't have paid any attention at all if it wasn't a catchy chorus, too, so there's definitely something here. But then again – am I giving these guys too much credit? It's a catchy tune, but also too repetitive. Let's see what else they can do before we make rash decisions. Okay then.

"All I Want" is a terribly generic song title. That's about the most severe criticism I can come up with for this one.

It's a gorgeous video – beautiful dark light, and a weird sort of mystic-Victoria-Western visual vibe that's a great match to the music's Morricone-ish strings & whistles & drums. And then at the end (SPOILER) she destroys ghost gunfighters using magic smoke from her hands! Awesome.

Seriously, it's a beautiful piece of music. I wasn't thinking about Blasko's new album before, but I'm really looking forward to it now.

So a band from the '80s are reformed, and releasing a new album? The lead single isn't crap? Hm.

It's very unusual for a band that's been around so long to release music that sounds exactly like you remember them, but also feasibly new. On the other hand, Madness weren't much of a typical sound in the first place. Even so – it's unusual, right? There's an interesting & original melody here, it's a pleasant piece of music all over, this is nice stuff. But its existence is definitely unusual.

So why is it (usually) difficult for pop musicians to be productively creative past their first decade, then? Is it just a lifestyle thing, the difficulties of living music while also living life & family? Is it an industry thing, unwilling to finance old troupers when the new ones are prettier (and cheaper too)? Bob Dylan released another album the other day. AC/DC's* recent album was surprisingly good. And yet.

Aw, let's assume it doesn't even matter. There's enough room & time to listen to everyone. Yes?

*what's the html tag for 'lightning bolt'?

Okay, folks, I've got a big week ahead so I'll have to leave it here for now.

But in the meantime, if you like: for a Bonus (!) let's check out Eagle And Talon. Yes Yes '90s revival is GO, my friends, let's enjoy it where we can. I am an abominable snowman! Right on.
--the Musical Thoapsl

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Is Out Of Context

Yeah man, who cares. Like, tell me about it.

What's even better: the full title is officially listed at a site you could purchase it from as:

Who Cares About Elderly People ? ((Who Cares Ser.))

Of course "Ser. means the "series" it's a part of – see also – but am I the only person who instinctively reads the full list title as:

Who Cares About Elderly People ? ((Who Cares, Seriously.))

This Friday Is Out Of Context Thoapsl Says: A rhetorical question is not always questionable?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Surprisingly busy these past seven days, what with various encomplicatory happenings & eventuations. In the meantime, do you remember this? I recently found another odd Amazonian amusement (it seems I'm a couple of years late to this one, but anyhow):

Titles like this totally attract the best reviews.

Behooves! hahahahaha rofl
Note also:


Thursday, May 14, 2009


It was the seaside. At first...
I thought of the number 10. Then I forgot about her.
Nine. The AM. She greeted me. Something sour in the smile. Something familiar, but I couldn't place it.
I failed the interview.
Eight, and getting later. I was trying to relax, but the lighting in the bar was too bright. Everything was shiny. Everything glinted. Way too bright.
I might have been staring. I decided to buy myself another drink.
Seven. The AM, they tell me. The pink is supposed to calm me down. Her smile is supposed to calm me down. It's not working.
I like her dress. Is that allowed? Tell me if that's allowed.
Six, now. I'm walking towards the group of them when I see her head turn. It's weird, though, it's almost like it rotates. The pattern on her jacket was sewn by a robot. Maybe her hat, too.
Have you been looking at the sky? It's a lovely day, it really is.
Five. It's almost five, now. They've been making me wait, you see, they've kept me waiting until it's too late. They're not even pretending to give me another chance. I'm going to need to make another appointment. I want an appointment.
Her lips look like wax. Suddenly, I remember where I know her from –
Four. She's been dyeing her hair every four days. Is she trying to throw me off the scent? Or is it the other way around?
Everything is turning red. It's a signal. It's definitely a signal. I can see her teeth. 
Three. Everything happens in threes. They think I don't notice, but I do. I'm counting everything and I don't forget.
Still red, I notice. Everything I drink. Everything in my mouth. Could she be frightened, now? I'm looking in her eyes, but all I see is 
Two. The two of us now, that's all there is.
She knows. Oh shit, she knows everything
One? Not one? Not one print, not one shred of fibre, not one scrap of evidence. Not a clue. Of course not.
I have nothing left to give her. Nothing left
Zero. I knew it. The ziggurat, she said. This was the end. Was it Mexico, still? We might have made Guatemala during the night. No way to tell.
At the edge of the jungle I took a blade to the gut. She tipped her hat and smiled like the sun coming out.

It's the new range from American Optical. 1959 is looking good.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Rage Roundup @ 8 May '09

Something a little different, this time - for brevity & ease, I'm cutting the Roundup's pretty face down to a Three Most singles of the week.
Go for it.

Family Galaxy — Tim Exile
Now this is fun! Electronic, synth-based songwriting that's not afraid to just be nuts. It might sound like the pursuit of unpredictability as an end in itself, but I think it always serves the song. (And the lyrics talk a lot about "always changing" and "never stay the same", so it makes sense to hear the musical form mirror this.) Maybe it reminds me of Devo: as weird as it gets, there's an underlying aesthetic of tuneful-pop that's never totally eclipsed. And they borrow another Devo gesture by spinning a nifty trick of disrhythmia, not once but at least thrice – it's kind of spectacular.

The computer graphics are fairly  primitive, but the video works well enough anyhow. It's always pleasant to feel like you're moving at speed. I guess there's nothing going on here that's absolutely brilliant, but it's neat and nice all over.

I came to Phoenix a little late; I still haven't gotten around to hearing their 2006 album, but I love their first two records. So I'm looking forward to this new album of theirs, but I'm kind of unsure about it too. The sound that made their first couple of albums so great is a fragile kind of thing; it's a balance of production and arrangement that's very easy to screw up. Without the right kind of songwriting to back it up, you end up with the worst kind of '70s-FM-pop-via-French-electro instead of the best. It's tricky...

Luckily this is a real neat tune, I think. Great title, for one thing. It's got a lot of momentum under a light touch, and there are a couple of nifty suspension bridges across the middle. (An interesting structure all over.) Vaguely wistful and melancholic, but it's upbeat even so. Reasons for optimism, I hope?

This one has actually been out for a few weeks, but it took me a couple of weeks to warm up to it. The video was immediately appealing, though: it's built around a clever visual effect which looks like the visuals are printed on to crinkled paper, layers of which are then ripped and torn like a sort of stop-motion effect. But on top of this basic format, the singer's head is covered by its own animation of wrapped paper, and then there are flashes of colour, and then there's even more than this besides... it's really excellent stuff. Overall it's the kind of spectacular that you'd probably want to call "a visual tour de force" if you weren't worried about clich├ęs, but you know what? I reckon it is a bloody visual tour de force, so there. I liked it.

The music is a sort of indie electronica – it feels like it shares a zeitgeistish commonality with Animal Collective's recent stuff.  (And you can tell it's coming out of indie rather than pop because the vocals are high-pitched, male and slightly distorted.) It's also a lot more inventive, songwriting- & arrangement-wise, than you'd expect from something that started in a club. The melody feels strong enough to carry any sort of instrumentation, and that's what really lets it kick. The more I listen to this, the more I like it: excellent.

Bonus (!) video, for the sake of Interest: check out Shoes — Tiga.
What's that sound? It's the sound of my shoes. I'm still not sure if it's really any good, but the video certainly holds my attention. But you know, maybe that means that I do like it? It's some fine fun either way, right?

Deadpan. It's very, very deadpan. (Also, apparently, Canadian.)

So, anyhow: no rocking out this week? No decent electric guitars, anywhere? Synths ahoy at every turn? What is this, freaking 1999? What the hells is wrong with music these days?

Ah, well... but things could be worse, I guess. Right? Things are not bad. Yes?
Okay then. Okay. Let's just stay cool.

--the Musical Thoapsl

Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday Is Out Of Context

If you click on the image, you should be able to enlarge it enough to read the caption.

It's the facial expressions that really make this one, I think. Go ahead and drown in those big dark eyes.

(Also: is that a Loch Ness monster in the background, or a dragon? Wt?)

So yes, apparently the Saturday Evening Post magazine was a culturally prominent publisher of fiction with illustrations. This picture is from an illustration by Lynn Buckham from their issue of July 26, 1958. I don't know everything about the story that it accompanied, but I do know it included the following line of dialogue (no joke): "Softy muscle man, I hate you!"

See, people assume that 1950s America was all conservative and repressed and boring, but the truth? This is where the '60s begins. Woman in scuba gear rides moose, escapes Scottish loch monster. Those freaky beats.

This Friday Is Out Of Context Thoapsl Says: A moose is not to make fun.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Yo, what?

Yeah, I know. I had a pretty good routine going, and then I go for more than a week between posts?


If I were a couple in an Austin Briggs illustration, this is what I'd be thinking of me:

However, in my defence: I've been doing stuff.
(If you can't follow that link, send me an email & I'll invite you to the private blog where my novel hangs out.)

Anyhow: never mind. More to come, etc.

See you soon