Robert Wm. Gomez's

Pure Guava by Ween (8/10)

Format: 
CD

This was my introduction to Ween. At the time I thought of them as They Might Be Giants with profanity. In hindsight I think the appeal was that they were, like us, a couple of nerds playing around with a cassette four-track who weren't afraid to try whatever they could to make a cool song. Listening to them now I realize they haven't aged well. Nowadays, anyone with a computer can make songs a gazillion times more creative than this.

Weekend by Kim Savage (6/10)

A fairly blah read from Vixen Press. This one is pretty short on plot and lacks the hardboiled edge that I usually like in these pulp novels. Read an excerpt

Elder Scrolls V - Skyrim on PC (10/10)

Skyrim: Gettin' Some Sun

In terms of overall game-play, Skyrim stays pretty close to the system Oblivion used. You roam a giant open-world map, revealing new locations to explore as go. Along the way you receive quests that you can complete at your own leisure. Therein lies the danger of this game: it is easy to get distracted and veer off from your goals and before you know it you've wasted twenty hours just trying to level up your blacksmithing or collect ingredients. I have already sunk 126 hours into this game, completing most of the main quests, and there's still the urge to keep playing. I think I "only" managed to log about 95 hours in Oblivion.

The Pod by Ween (7/10)

Format: 
CD

The record is what happens when a band comprised of talented stoners is tasked with creating an LP's worth of music but is not given any editorial oversight. There are a few good songs and plenty of hilarious, quotable passages ("Pollo Asado" comes to mind). However, there are also quite a few forgetful stinkers. In re-listening to this for the first time in a while there were tracks near the end of record which I had no recollection of ever having heard.

The Best of the Waitresses by Waitresses, The (10/10)

Format: 
CD

"I Know What Boys Like" was a personal new wave favorite for me as a kid. It was featured on K-tel's The Beat new wave compilation—a comp which served as a launching point for so many bands for me (except for Graham Parker whose track absolutely sucked). The songs here are funny, energetic and fronted with snotty, attitude-filled vocals that are everything that 60s garage rock vocalists shrived for. This is also a rare example of saxophone working in pop music!

Greatest Hits by Ventures, The (3/10)

Format: 
CD

I bought this from a bargain bin at either Best Buy or some other big box retailer thinking that I would have the definitive collection of The Ventures' classic instrumental guitar rock and roll. The neckerchiefs and wide collars on the cover should have been a dead giveaway for the disco-tinged crap that fills this CD. With the possible exception of "Hawaii Five-O," I think all these songs are remakes of the originals. Remakes with funky bass lines and that steady boom-tiss disco beat that have more in common with Giorgio Morodor than Dick Dale.

VU by Velvet Underground, The (7/10)

Format: 
CD

Another one of my wife's CDs. I've never been much of a fan of this band but here, upon a second or third listen, I think I might like them despite Lou Reed's singer/songwriter leanings (I care more about music than lyrics). The raw and seemingly untrained playing nicely exists somewhere between 60's garage rock and 70's punk rock. I will probably give there "official" releases a try soon.

Anthology by Vapors, The (10/10)

Format: 
CD

This is basically a CD repackaging of New Clear Days with about a third of the songs from Magnets. The Vapors are a new wave band that doesn't really get the love they deserve. There's not a bad song on New Clear Days. Their hit, "Turning Japanese" only scratched the surface of what they were capable of creating. These are smart, high-energy power-pop songs that deserve to be played loud and often.

Fear of a Punk Planet by Vandals, The (4/10)

Format: 
CD

I remember being pretty excited when I bought this CD. I loved the earliest Vandals records and finally being able to get something new from that band was a big thing for me. Turns out something happened between Peace Thru Vandalism and this. A big part of that something was that all but one of the original members remained in the band, and that one original member was now playing a different instrument.