Archives for: March 2009
Every spring, our local trails are covered in beautiful shades of blue, pink and purple as the Blue Bells bloom. Today, the plants are spreading wide and preparing for their colorful onslaught.
A couple plants opened early, but I suspect the majority will be open within the week.
Swimming in a little pond in the cheetah enclosure. 'tis a braver duck then me.
Something so cute and cuddly looking shouldn't have teeth like that...
The dB's - She's Not Worried: A creepy little track from the fun Stands for Decibels recording. No particular beat lasts longer than 20 seconds, lots of stray instruments, mournful Chris Stamey vocals, and some backwards-recording that somehow weaves itself into a typical pop-sounding dB's track.
Hocico - Un Alma y el Vacio: A short, gothie synth track without the requisite evil vocal track. For shame.
Motorhead - Sword of Glory: Again, Lemmy Lemmy Lemmy.
Amon Tobin - Bitter & Twisted: The Bricolage release seems to be a favorite of the shuffle play recently. Good for the shuffle play; this is another fun Tobin track with great sounds and samples mixed throughout.
Husker Du - Never Talking to You Again: The dismal acoustic track from the Zen Arcade release, preceding the loud "Charted Trips" in what I suspect is meant to be an arty transition. It is a fun track that has made its way into solo Grant Hart acts for years afterwards, and Zen Arcade has proven to be a decent punk "concept" album over the years.
Chainsaw Kittens - She's Gone Mad: A quiet track that concludes the first Kittens release, Violent Religion. Tyson Meade seems to always enjoy closing out his releases with tracks like this.
Pit Er Pat - 3D Message: I really enjoy this band. They produce a lot of very offbeat, engaging, generally subtle tracks. This one is no exception.
Afghan Whigs - What Jail is Like: From the EP of the same name, this is a live track of their popular song. These EPs were always worth the purchase (or, these days, download) due to the collection of stunning covers. What Jail Is Like would be my highest recommendation with fantastic versions of Mr. Superlove and Dark End of the Street.
Made another trip to the zoo this weekend, so here come a number of new shots.
First, my favorite, the cheetahs.
Knut - March: March the month? March the action of walking? March of war? Ides of March? Thing is, with a 20 minute metal track starting off the morning random eight, there is plenty of time to contemplate the answer.
Flaming Lips - Lightning Strikes The Postman: But then who will the dog bite?
Tomorrow is Already Here - Favorite Son: Hey, Garret makes it to the random eight two weeks in a row.
Blind Willie McTell - Broke Down Engine Blues: I find something comforting in these old tracks sometimes. I think the perfection in recording and producing these days has a tendency to take a spontaneous creativity out of music that sitting on a chair with a microphone and guitar can only provide. I probably couldn't listen to stuff like this continuously for the rest of my life, but it is fun to go back to how "popular" music really started in America.
The Boomtown Rats - House on Fire: Another blast from my high school past, but as I've said before, the Rats have held up very well for me.
Howard Hello - Follow: A pleasant enough track. I guess, when dissected, all music is kinda pointless, but this seems even more pointless than a typical song. Pointless isn't bad...it's just...pointless.
Toshira Mayuzumi - ???: I have no idea what I'm listening to here. It came from a various artists from Japan recording that I have no recollection of now that a lot of the relevant metadata is removed from my ipod display. That said, this is a goofy electronic track that is a pretty fun listen.
Dalek - Voices of the Ether: You're not going to find much hiphop on my ipod (or triphop, a category this probably falls into), but the mix of loud guitars and harsh beats keeps me listening to Dalek. Although this track is older, now is a good time to promote the latest release, Gutter Tactics, which is really a remarkable collection of songs.
If you watch hockey, then you know what I mean.
Image swiped from tsn.ca.
A few months ago I wrote about being excited for the pending novel from Margo Lanagan. Then, oddly, Tender Morsels arrived and sat on a pile of books waiting to be read. Finally, this weekend, I picked it up; it only took a few chapters before my nose was buried in print to not be released until I finished the adventure.
My first statement is this: starting with her short stories and now this novel, I've never read a book from anybody who can so effortlessly create an unusual world in an unknown place and time as Margo Lanagan can. It is fair to call it fantasy, but not in a sense that I'm constantly reminded that the author has created something clever that I need to adapt to. Accepting Lanagan's worlds is as easy as accepting the stray cat fur on my computer keyboard - it is just the way it is.
And while I'm not the biggest fantasy buff in the world, part of what makes her writing so compelling is that I don't have to be. The only other author who has been able to create a similar setting for me is Clive Barker, so that is pretty good company in my mind.
Second statement: the emotionally haunting short stories I've become accustomed to from Lanagan were multiplied by about 22 for the novel. Each joyful and suffering experience was set up and delivered with remarkable accuracy throughout the story, all tying together for a conclusion of happiness and sadness with near perfection for the tale it supported.
Third statement: yeeesh. I'm probably getting old and grumpy to really know what passes as "young adult" reading material these days, but I can safely say I never read a book like this when I was a kid. This isn't to say it was foul or smutty, but there were definitely a few scenes where the "young" adjective seemed to be misplaced. I dunno; perhaps I'm just an old prude.
I'm pretty sure this is one of those books that will stick with me for many years to come. While I've been fortunate to read some pretty good works lately, Tender Morsels really stands above the rest.
Amon Tobin - One Small Step: Very fast track from the Bricolage release fully of drummy goodness.
Motorhead - Under the Gun: Very loud track from the Kiss of Death release full of Lemmy goodness.
Edith Piaf - L'accordeoniste: Similar to the recent Lucienne Boyer appearance, it is fun to hear some old music and production from time to time.
Jay Reatard - My Shadow: Kinda don't think this song is about a house cat even though it is an adjective we typically apply to our guys. I heard this first on the Sirius Bande a Part station and it kinda stuck with me. Basically, it is pretty good punk.
Husker Du - Could You Be the One: Decent song from the Warehouse release.
Tomorrow is Already Here - Heroes of the Underground: A mostly-acoustic, self-recorded, self-promoted release from my college friend, available here. It has been fun to watch Garret put a number of years of effort into the album, building both his musical and production skills in the process. The songs and mix are very tight and worth a listen.
Cabaret Voltaire - Jazz the Glass: There was a point in time when Cabaret Voltaire sounded a lot like The Residents, and I think this is one of those times.
Marillion - Lavender: A few weeks ago I got a bit nostalgic for the prog band I listened to regularly throughout the late 80's, so I put all the Fish-present Marillion CDs on the iPod. I'm actually kinda surprised how much I still like the albums. This is a pretty cornball track from the Misplaced Childhood album; as the band started getting popular, a few radio-friendly cornballs would usually make it to the releases, but it isn't to take away from the rest of the album which is very good.
Up until a few weeks ago, I never saw a goose tongue before. Now, they just seem to be coming out anytime I have a camera in my hand.
Of course, the genesis of the scene is the feeding frenzy we cause by giving the white ducks bread. The geese, who apparently like to eat nearly as much as the white ducks do, start yelling at each other. The best yells seem to involve the tongues jumping out of their mouths a few inches. Coincidentally, this also results in the best pictures, I think (or at least the funniest).
What kind of picture should one take of a duck?
One when she talks?
One when she yells?
One when she gives you the duck glare of death?
P - Zing Splash: The Gibby Haynes / Johnny Depp / Flea musical experience; on a fairly diverse album, this track has a lot of similarities to the Butthole Surfers tunes.
Poster Children - Three Bullets: The closing track from the Tool of the Man release, a slow dismal ending to a high-energy album when the band was really starting to excel.
The Beatles - Sexy Sadie: The White Album was my feeble attempt to try and get into The Beatles a few months ago. The songs are enjoyable enough to keep on the iPod, but don't really do much for me otherwise.
The Dead Milkmen - Howard Beware: And really, what chance do The Beatles have when The Dead Milkmen are just a click-wheel away. You'd think I'd outgrow the memories of being a high school dork listening to Beelzebubba with my 4 pound walkman strapped around my waist as I was mowing the lawn, but you'd be wrong.
Barn Burning - 2004.06.20: I'm pretty bad at remembering song titles these days and I can't place the title, but this track, available for free sharing, is from a live recording from archive.org. Recorded around the Weatherbound / Choir Practice EP era, this is a pretty nice collection from the band and gives a good overview of music. Or, you could be very adventurous and download their cover of Run to the Hills at their website.
The Locust - Sperm Donor: At 35 seconds, The Locust puts out one of their longer songs of screaming and noise.
T.S.O.L. - Silent Scream: A recent addition to the iPod, this track is from the creepy Dance With Me release from the early 80's. It's a pretty wacky punk/goth mix.
Tom Waits - Clang Boom Steam: As I said back in October, never has a song title been more descriptive of its contents.
Coco saw her first substantial snow today.
And she was totally wigged out.
She would look to the window and then to us, repeating for a good part of the morning, as if we could somehow provide her tiny little brain an explanation as to why her world was being covered in a strange blanket of whiteness.
The best event of the morning was when I went outside to shovel. She watched me intently from the window until I couldn't resist the temptation of tossing a snowball against the glass. She was, of course, safe from any contact, but apparently put on quite a fit of whining until I came back indoors.
Ozzy took the opportunity to watch birds at our feeders, and then slowly drifted to sleep in the warmth of the sunny window.