Robert Wm. Gomez's

April 2013

Interior Design by Sparks (4/10)


My least favorite Sparks album (Pulling Rabbits Out of a Hat is a close second). Pre-2000s Sparks have tended to follow the audio trends of the day. A Sparks record from 1988 sounds like just about every pop record from 1988, and let's face it, pop music in the late 80's was pretty awful. Interior Design is at times indistinguishable from a Paula Abdul record. There's lots of digital synth sounds, trash can electric drums, and basslines that use that electric bass guitar patch straight off the Seinfeld soundtrack.

Music That You Can Dance To by Sparks (8/10)


Technically this CD is titled The Best of Sparks: Music That You Can Dance To. I imagine that horribly misleading title is due to some rights issue with the label or distributor. In any event, Music That You Can Dance To was the sparks returning to the more dance oriented sound they had back when they collaborated with Giorgio Moroder in the late seventies. The music is very much a product of its time with the digital technology that was available to them. The songs have a Theme from Miami Vice feel.

Wreck-It Ralph (7/10)

Another "secret life of _____" CGI animated feature. In this case it's the secret life of video game characters. I went into this expecting it to be a wall-to-wall nostolgia blast, but that part of the movie ends after the first fifteen minutes. From then on the film focuses on the characters from various fictional games. It's entertaining, but it's your average by-the-book storyline and characters types.

Dead Island on PC (6/10)

Dead Island

This game had one of the best trailers ever. None of the narrative spark that permeates the trailer is in the actual game. The closest thing you get is a few paragraphs of backstory on the character selection screen. This is unfortunate because Dead Island is a big open world game that gives you no incentive to explore it's lush and detailed map. Rather than tell a story or develop characters, the quests are of the fetch and return an item variety. Even the opening cutscene is an insult. It consists of the worst "beeyotch"-laden rap song a 12-year-old wannabe gangsta could come up with.

Plastic Seat Sweat by Southern Culture on the Skids (9/10)


With the addition of a keyboard player, this CD has a slightly different sound than their previous records. SCOTS dabbles a little bit into soul and funk with mixed results. "Banana Puddin'" is probably the only song in SCOTS repertoire that my 9-year-old daughter likes.

Dirt Track Date by Southern Culture on the Skids (10/10)


The major label follow-up to Ditch Diggin' is every bit as good and the production sounds much better. Even thought it was a modest hit which bristles my I-was-into-this-band-before-you fur, I still love "Camel Walk."

Baby Shark's Jugglers at the Border by Robert Fate (9/10)

Although I don't think it's hardly the best book in this series, I burned through this one in just a few days. These Baby Shark books are just tons of action-packed fun.

Peckin' Party by Southern Culture on the Skids (8/10)


This starts out as a chicken themed EP but it turns out SCOTS only had two chicken songs in them and one of them was a Link Wray tune. Half the EP is live material and most of the songs aren't quite as kinetic as SCOTS can get.

Ditch Diggin' by Southern Culture on the Skids (10/10)


Probably my favorite record by SCOTS. All of the checklist items are here: a little twangy country rock, a little reverby surf, and a little Link Wray fuzz guitar. All of it is wrapped in a wonderful self-deprecating Southern hillbilly schtick.

Baby Shark's High Plains Redemption by Robert Fate (10/10)

I love these Baby Shark books. They are just great, action packed reads. I burned through this book in a few days and went right to the next one in the series. Great stuff.

Icewind Dale II on PC (8/10)

Icewind Dale II

The Icewind Dale series is built on the same game system as the Baldur's Gate games. Unlike Baldur's Gate these games are focused more on the fighting and less on the story. As far as I'm concerned that's a good thing.

Mr. Moto's Last Warning (4/10)

Watch as Peter Lorre plays a Japanese man who is a master of disguise. This movie is pretty boring but it does feature a super-spy villain whose cover is a light-hearted vaudeville ventriloquist.