May 2014

The Great Lost Trashmen Album! by Trashmen, The (9/10)

Format: CD

Another fine collection of Trashmen recordings. Not much to add here except that these were all previously unreleased and there's only one bird themed song included.

Tube City! The Best of the Trashmen! by Trashmen, The (9/10)

Format: CD

The Trashmen were a standout band from the surf era known mostly for their hit, "Surfin' Bird." That single captures much of the appeal of the band. They are at their best when they are going crazy and having goofy fun. They will often fall back into covering rock standards like "It's So Easy" and the result is never as good when they're doing their own crazy thing. Fortunately, they maintain a high level of stupidity through most of this disc. Oh, and the liner notes are fantastic.

Godzilla [2014] (7/10)

Well, like everyone else who saw this movie, I think the first quarter is very good, mostly because Brian Cranston's character is actually interesting. The rest of the film is by-the-numbers summer faire. The characters are merely signposts to get us from one plot point/set piece to the next. The monster battles are very well done so I guess characters and solid plotting don't really matter. Just sit back and watch the cool battles and be nauseated by the 3-D crap.

Singles 83/84 by Toy Dolls (9/10)

Format: CD

This CD compiles four of the band's early 7" singles. This was when the Toy Dolls were at their punkiest. So, despite its short length, Singles 83/84 is good collection of tunes that fills a few gaps missing from the early LPs.

Twenty-Two Tunes Live From Tokyo by Toy Dolls (8/10)

Format: CD

Another new record label and another quick cash in on the band's older songs. This time it's a live set from the Wakey Wakey tour. While there's nothing wrong with this, an actual greatest hits record would be a better purchase.

Ten Years of Toys by Toy Dolls (9/10)

Format: CD

I got this back when it came out and it was about the only way to get Toy Dolls on CD here in the States (I only had the first LP on vinyl at the time). I absolutely loved it at the time. Now, more than 20 years later, I still like the compilation but I can hear its flaws.

Orcastrated by Toy Dolls (6/10)

Format: CD

What's with the "Z" in Toy Dollz? That was the first sign that this might be a questionable release. In fact I think this was their weakest record. The sound is tinny and the songs just didn't hook me. There are parts that are okay such as the chorus from "I Loathe You" or the Andrew LLoyd Webber cover, but nothing really jumps out as being great. After this came out I stopped buying Toy Dolls records. They have had a few good songs since then, but that's what Spotify is for.

Absurd-Ditties by Toy Dolls (9/10)

Format: CD

After a string of just okay records, The Toy Dolls finally released an LP that almost stands up to their first recordings. I guess I like the raw, punk aesthetics of the first three records, but I have to admit that, despite the heavy metal-esque shredding solos, this record sounds great. The song highlights on this one are "My Wife's a Psychopath," "Toccata in Dm," "Sod the Neighbours" and "Alec's Gone."

Fat Bob's Feet by Toy Dolls (7/10)

Format: CD

This CD includes the embarrassing bonus track "Turtle Crazy!" which is a song about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Aside from that misguided career low-point the rest of the songs are passable. The only real standout here is the nostalgic anthem, "Back in '79." 

Wakey Wakey! by Toy Dolls (7/10)

Format: CD

Well from here on out these records are business as usual. The highlights on this CD are "There's a Trollop up Elmwood Street," "Cloughy Is a Bootboy" and, despite its cheesiness, "Sabre Dance."

Memento Mori on PC (5/10)

Creepy gameplay from Memento Mori

In the above scene from Memento Mori you are supposed to trick a little, abused girl into thinking she's your friend. The only thing that's missing is the white panel van and sick puppy dog. Fortunately, the rest of the game isn't quite this creepy.

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (6/10)

Amazon recently gave this ebook away for free as a promotion for the sequel Inferno. It was my beach read for spring break this year. It's an okay mystery thriller, but the writing is not terribly good (not that I'm one to judge such things). Actually, it's really not much of a thriller or a mystery for that matter. It's more of a straight forward treasure hunt. One treasure leads you to the next until you get to that final goal. I have no idea why this book was so successful. Maybe the underground Christianity themes impressed people? Not bad, but whatever.

Bare Faced Cheek by Toy Dolls (8/10)

Format: CD

From here on out, Toys Dolls records and songs start to follow a pretty standard formula. While every release is guaranteed to have a couple of good songs, there are more and more clunkers in the mix. Bare Faced Cheek may feature one of the worst album covers ever, but it also features one of the Toy Dolls best songs, "Fisticuffs in Frederick Street." As for the rest of the album, "Ashbrooke Launderette" is good but tracks like "Howza Bouta Kiss Babe??!" are just too intentionally silly... well, at least more so than your usual Toy Dolls tune anyway.

How to Piss in Public: From Teenage Rebellion to the Hangover of Adulthood by Gavin McInnes (9/10)

When I started this book I was apprehensive. As much as I love Gavin's current incarnation as a wild libertarian/conservative provocateur, I knew this wasn't going to be a collection of political essays. Rather, it's a memoir documenting his sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll filled early years, and, given his propensity to shock and offend, I wasn't looking forward to reading about weird sex, self-inflicted STDs and the titular pissing in public.