May 2012

My Brain Hurts by Screeching Weasel (7/10)

Format: 
CD

This is one of the CDs that my wife owned before we got married. I think she bought it on the advice of my roommate who, along with me, my brother and a few other friends, went and saw Screeching Weasel play at Treno's in Urbana. I thought they were okay, my roommate obviously liked them more than me. I just remember we watched the show from the side of the stage—where the opening band had broken down their drum kit. While Screeching Weasel played my brother was stepping on a kick drum in time with the music. Ah, the stupid things you remember. Anyhow, this CD isn't that bad.

Don't Cry For Me by William Campbell Gault (8/10)

I recently discovered Prologue Books—a publisher devoted to re-releasing old pulp novels in ebook form. This is a company that understands ebooks. Every few weeks they offer a free book and everything else is priced just under four dollars. Don't Cry For Me is a pulp crime novel about a former collegiate football star who has since gone on to associate himself with bookies, crime bosses and the assorted low lifes of 1950's Los Angeles.

More Gone Gassers From The Untamed Youth by Untamed Youth, The (10/10)

Format: 
LP

One of my favorite records from the early nineties. This is a great mix of vocal numbers and surf instrumentals featuring Derek "Deke" Dickerson's great guitar stylings. And, although they are not at the forefront here, let's not forget Mace's great bass playing. Turn up that bass knob on your hi-fi and you will hear what I am talking about. Most of the songs on this LP were compiled on the Untamed Melodies CD with the exceptions of "Big 'T'," "Alright" and "Beach Party."

The Greatest Gift by Scratch Acid (9/10)

Format: 
CD

I discovered Scratch Acid after becoming a The Jesus Lizard worshiper. At the time I remember thinking, despite have 50% of the JL lineup, how different the two bands were. Now listening to this years later, yeah they are different, but they don't feel quite so distinct to me. Scratch Acid still falls a little short of the mark. Perhaps they are bit too noodle-y in the guitar department, Or maybe it's just the lack of focus in terms of style. Still, there are some great songs here. "Greatest Gift," "Crazy Dan," and "Albino Slug" are my favorites.

Romantic Fish Eating

The Italian thriller Death Walks on High Heels is not terribly noteworthy even within the tiny cinematic sub-genre of giallo. There is, however, one scene in the movie that does jump out like a breaching marlin. It is the only film that I know of that sexualizes the eating of a grilled fish dinner.

Death Walks on High Heels - The Fish Seller

Nothing foreshadows an evening of passionate romance like a cart of dead fish.

Death Walks on High Heels (7/10)

Although a bit lacking in terms of style, Death Walks on High Heels is another reasonably good giallo. The first part of the movie is filled with corny burlesque numbers and a cringe inducing romance that includes romantic, close-up grilled fish eating. Like a seafood Lucio Fulci. When the movie finally gets around to the business of murder it shifts gears and becomes a very standard detective story with lots of red herrings and the usual twists and turns.

Foundation by Isaac Asimov (4/10)

I was bored silly by this classic sci-fi book. I wanted to like it. It's voted as the greatest sci-fi series of all time. I'm not sure why. Perhaps because of the grand ideas it supposedly postulates, but heaven forbid those ideas get wrapped in an interesting plot with even moderately interesting characters. If only Asimov could weave a tale like he could grow his sideburns.

The Great Silence (9/10)

What at first glance seems like a rather derivative spaghetti western (except for the unusual snowy setting), reveals itself to be a bleak and nihilistic vision of the Old West. This movie takes no prisoners. Except for the scenes in which characters are put in prison. This film has one of Morricone's best scores and you'll be bobbing your head and humming along while your favorite characters get gunned down in cold blood.

The End Of Rock And Roll by "Blind" Rage And Violence (10/10)

Format: 
CD

Guitarist and switchbladist extraordinaire "Blind" Rage is said to be the illegitimate son of Link Wray. From the liner notes: "he's on a mission to reclaim the greatness that man's name once stood for." These sixteen tracks pack all the fuzz and fury of Link. The only thing missing is the one-lunged blues howl of Link's voice. Come to think of it, Mr. Rage's vocals suspiciously sound an awful lot like Deke Dickerson's, who, coincidentally, produced and released this album. Hmm.

Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP on PC (8/10)

Superbrothers Sword & Sworcery EP

Sword & Sworcery is a bit more art than video game. In fact, the game itself is more of a container for the synth-heavy soundtrack and pixel art animation. The art style is a cross between the blocky designs of early Sierra 3-D adventure games and the limited color palette and vistas of Another World. A lot of reviews describe the sound track as being "prog rock." It's not. It has much more in common with a mid-eighties Golan-Globus action movie score (Rob Walsh's Revenge of the Ninja OST comes to mind) than Yes.

Reckless Nights and Turkish Twilights by Raymond Scott (9/10)

Format: 
CD

In the past, most people's introduction to Raymond Scott came when some hipster nerd told them that the music from Looney Tunes was okay, but you should really listen to this guy who Carl Stalling totally ripped off! Nowadays most of us have heard these songs in various modern cartoons from Ren and Stimpy to the present. I remember bringing this CD into work at Tandem Press and it immediately got the thumbs down from the staff because they had all been inundated Scott and other music from the 78 era when Art Spiegelman had been artist in residence the month before.