Thursday, January 27, 2005 Books: The Family Circus Books: The Family Circus

Open letter to Jeoffroi: I have a new idea for creative writing. Click the link above. What if we posted reviews like these on Amazon and then blogged the links? Be sure to check all of the Keane books, especially "I Had a Frightmare".

Anyway, today my mother went to the new Subway in Akron (that's the restaurant, and the villiage in New York). She tried to pay for four subs with a credit card, but they didn't have a credit card system installed, and I had to drive to the bank, get some cash and go pay for them myself. Problem is, we have a puppy, and the phone woke it up. When the dog wakes up, that means it also has to go to the bathroom. I decided to take it for a quick walk while my car warmed up. When it was done, uh, walking, I put it in the car and drive the 1.2 miles to Subway. Remember: 1.2 miles.

The dog whined the whole way. I assumed that was because it doesn't spend much time in cars; at least, it'd never been in a car with me. But then the backseat became eerily silent. I've quickly learned that silence means the dog is up to something. That's when I smelled the answer. I won't bother you with details but I do need my car cleaned. Apparently after all that, uh, walking, my dog grew a new set of legs. Of logs. Whatever.

New CD reviews:

The Donnas: Gold Medal. Mine came with a DVD and a felt, blacklight poster-type cover. Lots of people compare them to the Ramones but they're a lot more like AC/DC. Good stuff.

Brian Wilson: SMiLE. Freaking amazing. Sadly, the best album of 2004?

Blood Sweat & Tears: various. A mix CD of leftover tracks on my hard drive. I should buy one of their albums. Great horn work. Reminds of early mornings in Mark "The Shark" Flynn's jazz bands. Their first album (1968?) is named "Child Is Father To The Man", a reference to the unreleased SMiLE album. Fun fact!

Cake: Fashion Nugget. I always liked this band and this album. You can tell it's a Cake song within 3 seconds.

AC/DC: Back In Black. It's good, but mindless. I got tired of it halfway through.

AC/DC: Highway To Hell. Same thing. I like Back In Black better, even if it's just for the Black Sabbath-like bell at the beginning. Still pretty good.

John Lennon: Imagine. Lennon can make me cringe; I prefer Harrison anyway. Still, there are some solid songs and an interesting songwriting style. I wonder how many versions of this album Yoko Ono has rereleased?

Phantom Planet: The Guest. I believe this is produced by Tchad Blake, which explains why it sounds halfway decent. Best heard over the PA in a mall clothing store.

Hellacopters: By The Grace Of God. Also overproduced, but with much better songs. Like AC/DC, I don't remember much detail about the whole album.

Generation X: s/t. Billy Idol's band before going solo. So if a band, not a solo artist wrote "White Wedding", that's what it sounds like. "White Wedding" is actually a pretty good song. This album has aged some.

Deep Purple: Machine Head. This is perfect for getting stoned to. And I should know. "Smoke On The Water", people. Like, bong water? "Highway Star" is also a cool song, and good jams throughout.

The Donnas: Get Skintight/Turn 21. I burned them onto 1 CD. You can hear the band get better that way. :) I really wasn't fond of the vocals, and I kind of wished they'd play faster . . . like the Ramones. I like the newer stuff better.

Husker Du: New Day Rising. The jury's still out on this one. I'm going to give it another listen.

Hives: Veni Vidi Vicious. Yeahahahahaaaa. This is a band that can put up a poster saying "Your new favorite band" and the statement would actually be true. They also tackle the problem of having a measurement of time not put into a base-10 framework. I've been worrying about that myself.

Guns 'N' Roses: Appetite For Destruction. Kurt Cobain and Axl Rose hated each other, and that may be why I never listened to GNR. But everyone I know who likes Nirvana likes GNR in the same way. And Cobain and Rose kind of looked the same, and were both bipolar . . . anyway, very cool album.

The Bad Plus: Give. Two words: Jazz Cacophony. Sometimes annoying that way, but there are some great sounds here. Mmm . . . "Iron Man" on piano.

Alkaline Trio: Good Mourning. If you like the album title, you'll like the album. You think it's a bland title? Well there ya go.

Anthrax: Spreading The Disease. ROCK! I have to hear more of these guys. And a pretty heartwarming memorial to the Holocaust victims, ironically enough. I thought anthrax was a poison, not a disease. . . .

Audioslave: s/t. Rage Against The Soundgarden. A better name for this band would be RATS. Decent stuff, but I wish the original bands would get back together instead.

Bad Brains: s/t. Totally awesome. Interesting reggae flourishes. Now I realize the Beastie Boys weren't punk rockers, they were a Bad Brains cover band.

Bad Brains: I Against I. Synthy no-so-awesomeness.

Rolling Stones: Their Satanic Majesties Request. I want the records to clearly state my displeasure with this album.

Pink Floyd: Animals. You already know what this sounds like. No real catchy songs like in The Wall, and that's okay. A pure example of a Concept Album.

Frank Sinatra: Sinatra At The Sands. Playing with Count Basie & His Orchestra, conducted by Quincy Jones . . . there's no way this could have been bad. Suprising to me, Sinatra has some great comedic timing, with a pretty funny monologue inbetween songs. This is surprising to me only because I was born in 1980.

Black Sabbath: Vol. 4. Pretty sweet. As great as they are I still think Black Sabbath is underappreciated. But if I had to pick between the two I'd go for

Black Sabbath: Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath. They pretty much have the same style, unless you're an expert. Hamfists of Doom.

Rolling Stones: Aftermath. Okay, but no Sticky Fingers. Still in the top quarter of this list at least.

Rolling Stones: Let It Bleed. Excellent, classic Stones.

Wesley Willis/The Decemberists: various. Another CD of hard drive leftovers. The have nothing to do with each other. I'm going to get a Decemberists CD someday, I promise. Great, mellow mood from them, and smart lyrics to boot. Wesley, on the other hand, sings the song "Love God" with the Fiasco, not because he loves God but because he IS a Love God. And he wants a sacrifice.

Count Basie & His Orchestra: Swingin' At The Chatterbox 1937. I think this was done as a WPA program. It's background music for when you read the newspaper. Not bad but doesn't jump out at you.

Iron Maiden: s/t. Punkish metal, excellent bass work. And I should know. I tacked on some songs by Meshuggah and it was a loud night in.

Parliament: The Clones Of Dr. Funkenstein. I better listen to this again because for some reason I was bored out of my mind. Parliament isn't s'posed to do that. Is it even possible?

Run-D.M.C.: King Of Rock. Old school rap is good. Treacherous Three, Furious Five, etc. This has much more reliance to the actual production of the beat, whatever that means. It's late and I don't know what I'm writing anymore.

Descendants: Two Things At Once. Pretty decent. Again I should give this another try. Catchy stuff, I gotta admit.

MC Chris: Life's A Bitch And I'm Her Pimp. The first album of geek rap from the artist also known as MC Pee Pants. I wouldn't take it in large doses, but it's actually really good! Huh. This album is available free from his official website.

Richard Cheese: various. If you like MC Chris and Wesley Willis, you'll think this guy is talented. Who else would start singing a lounge act version of "Rape Me" with the intro "This one's for the ladies"? Joyously over-the-top.

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