Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Judge the Book by Its Cover #1

I think that covers are important. A cool cover leads a prospective reader to assume that the product is cool as well. I probably never would have started listening to the great Finnish band Circle were it not for the sweet art on Katapult and Sunrise. These covers are shiny and colorful and immediately attract the eye. They argue in This Is Spinal Tap that album art is meaningless, that the Beatles' White Album is great and sold an assload despite the negligible design presence. Yeah, but the Beatles are effin' lame! And Tap rules! The cover for Smell the Glove is a googleplex times better than that of any Beatles record. Whatever! Of course, Tap then go on to release an all-black record sleeve, which is also super-sweet and better than all sorts of other things. Judging the proverbial book by its cover is a worthy undertaking, and one that is shat upon far too frequently. Want to disregard the cover? Have fun sleeping with ugly people forever OUCHkindamean.

Case #1:

Would you listen to this band based on this picture? I'd say OF COURSE NOT. This image is horrible! Who wants this? Is this band called Central Casting for a Christian High School Dramedy? Now touring with The Background Artists! God, that sky blue V-neck absolutely kills me. This whole affair has that weird smarmy quality that's so prevalent in emo bands. Double ESPECIALLY the two fellows at the back. What's that, Tattooed Bangs Guy, you have a plethora of nicknames for your genitalia? Charmazing! Do String Necklace Guy and Blond Shell Necklace Guy ever eye-brawl over who is less threatening? The lady seems cool, though. I feel bad that she has to put up with the constant playing of "old-school Saves" and """""ironic"""" Southern crunk on their bus or plane. Wait, it's bus, though I bet it will be plane soon. Yet I am thankful for this picture. It lets me know that I never need to listen to this band. Consider this book judged!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Belly? More like Crap Factory!

Things that were good about the Hype Williams movie Belly:

1) Method Man was in it, Ghostface apparently showed up for half of a second and the Wu Wear store was mentioned.
2)The film was lit distinctly. Perhaps not well, but at least inventively. Many shots had some sort of wannabe-Argento filter thing going on.
3) DMX barked every line.

Other than that, not so good. Belly is a really boring movie. Its pacing is horrible, making the worrying lack of violence and nudity all the more noticeable. The films features a lot of cussing and tons of dudes smoking weed but those are the distant, underwhelming cousins of sweet action. You get the feeling that Hype couldn't handle shooting very many sequences that featured stuff actually happening, so he compensated with endless, smokey conversations in fancy cars.

The lack of nudity is strange as well, as one would figure that being free of the network content standards so often placed upon Hype would allow the music video director to go buck-wild with gratuitous boobery. I'm pretty sure there's nudity in only one scene. You at least get to kinda see DMX's ass, but in bogusly underlit circumstances. As it's directed by a rap music video auteur, one would expect this movie to make full use of its potential to take place in a strip club yet Hype is more concerned with introducing one meaningless character after another instead of having asses bounce in slow-motion for 90 minutes. For shame. Also, since a bunch of plot points are delivered via this dude speaking thick Jamaican patois WITH A MOUTH FULL OF GRILLS I have no idea what went on in this film. Why did the guy with feathers in his mohawk get shot? Where was NaS for the bulk of the film? Did Meth die or not? I don't know and this movie makes it impossible to care.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Kentucky. Breakfast. Stout. This Founders brew is probably the best beer I've ever had. Better than anything I've had at Monk's or Kraftwerk or Resurrection or Brauhaus. And I got it from Fiume. After two city specials.

I don't know if the contrast between the low of the PBR/cheap whiskey combo and the high of the world-class beer that followed really made the KBS for me, but it certainly didn't hurt. It's extremely dark and high in alcohol content but the thing that separate this from other high-octane black bruisers is the forcefulness of its flavors. Typically a drink summons mere notes of elements, from coriander to daffodils to smoked meat. Or, in the case of 4Loko, poison. The KBS abandons that concept, straight-up kicking you in the face with flavor. It's chocolate, coffee and bourbon swirling milkily in each sip. The flavor is relentless, but so satisfying as to avoid a numbing sensation. I recall the Harpoon Leviathan saison with a huge flavor, yet that flavor was disappointingly monochromatic, making the quaffage a real chore. KBS spaces its taste references so that you experience them individually and then as a wonderful amalgamation. I would rank it above Dogfish's Palo Santo Marron in terms of my favorite dark beers, and along with Ommegang's Tripel Perfection and the Oskar Blues TenFidy as perhaps the greatest beer ever. And I got it at Fiume! The KBS is just a totally metal beer, all the flavors at high volume and speed, melting your face where more polite indie rock beers might tap you on the shoulder and ask if you've heard the new Best Coast. KBS doesn't ask, it fucks shit up.

What Are Probably My Five Favorite Songs. Will Having Glasses Reduce Their Appeal?

I now wear glasses, at least on a part-time basis. My vision is poor enough that the lensmonger said I would fail a driver's test were I to take one today. The frames of these specs are rather large and may qualify me a nerd. They surely, distressingly don't go with my oft-worn SunnO))) sweatshirt. When wearing them I look like John Denver or, if I have a bit of stubble, like Borussia Dortmund gaffer Jurgen Klopp. This accessory has thus changed me in terms of my vision of myself as well as how I am viewed by others. Does that mean that my five favorite songs will lose meaning to me?

1. "Where Eagles Dare" by the Misfits.
- No. Everyone loves the Misfits, and cursing. That includes nerds.

2. "Party Up" by DMX.
- Yes. I will feel more self-conscious about banging this tune at high volumes, worrying that my affection for it will now be rooted in tawdry, socially problematic irony. I enjoy this song whole-heartedly, the hard-hitting grandeur of the production and X's vocal intensity forever raising goosebumps. With glasses, will the importance of "Party Up" be lethally deflated? Will I like it to laugh at, rather than to appreciate? The incongruity of the now-glasses-wearing Caucasian rocking out to a violent club banger is a cheap laugh, and one in which I shan't participate.

3. "Shake Some Action" by the Flamin' Groovies.
- No. If anything, glasses will make me appreciate this song more. The Groovies were, like the Ramones, essentially nice guys masquerading as leathery thugs. Their emotional sensitivity is partially shrugged off with a careless attitude, but that obviously false braggadocio only makes their vulnerability more compelling. Even coupled with metal t-shirts and denim vests, the glasses will betray my true, painfully meek nature.

4. Every Hold Steady song.
- No. Craig Finn wears glasses. As if the flannel wasn't enough, I now blend with the crowd even better. I'll just be another even-keeled beanpole staying up too late screaming "There's always other boyfriends".

5. "Super Roots 7" by the Boredoms.
- Maybe. I tend to think that, despite their references to 'vision' and 'Eye', the Boredoms exist in a theoretical universe governed only by a sense of movement. You hear the music and you see the performers but you react through movement. The song first suggests and then demands it before turning its absence into an impossibility. I have played it while cooking, while writing, while exercising, while driving (of course), for friends and co-workers, dates and family members. In the kitchen of my folks' house preparing for Thanksgiving or cruising around Bridgeport, "Super Roots 7"'s propulsion quickly takes control of your nervous system. The turbo-motorik of its rhythm makes your body's decisions, rendering the brain surplus to requirements. At least for 21 minutes. So the issue of sight is moot. However, my glasses could tumble as I am freaking out, cruelly booting me from the Eye-verse. I'll need to get a chain to keep them on. Or maybe Bo Outlaw-style goggles.