Saturday, September 25, 2021
(General Mills Records) The cereal came out a few weeks earlier, with the song links dormant and teasing, so we were building this up in a little too much I fear, because I sure wanted this to be better and funner and funnier. The "Behind the Music"-style promo video was kinda koooky and had some good moments, but the voices seemed off (there must be Rich Little Youtube tutorials on Lorre, Karloff, Lugosi impressions...and if not, you know General Mills has the the Caliendo coaching cash!) and I just expect more from these Saturday Morning TV commercial legends. Even if the record was this meh and they had it be a cardboard cereal box cut out record I woulda been appreciative enough of the effort to give this four skulls. Then again, original "Monster Mash" is in many ways a more perfect record than anything the Beatles made, so there was no chance of living up to that legacy no matter how many late nights in the lab they worked on this. I am still glad they made this.
Friday, September 24, 2021
(General Mills) Best monster cereal character design by far (the strawberry fingernails are magnificent) but at best a decent tasting fruity cereal. This is appropriate for a seasonal cereal but does not merit year round bowl time. That said, get excited about this every Fall!
Thursday, September 23, 2021
(General Mills) Of the Big Three of Monster Cereals this is the most exciting in that it doesn't seem to be guaranteed the annual re-release his more corporeal living dead colleagues enjoy, thus is a rare-er treat, but it tastes the worst of all of them. Definitely not particularly blueberry flavored. And not even blue, more purple-ish. I suppose they never said "blueberry" anywhere. Also, I hear they got rid of the chemicals in Monster Cereals that turned kids' poop colors...boo indeed!
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Tuesday, September 21, 2021
Monday, September 20, 2021
(ABC, 2021) Pilots often try to throw a lot in to lay out the scenario/hook you in/show what they are about, and this episode did A LOT. But that might just be the pilot, I will decide later if I want to watch this show. But I will say, no doubt, when Dule Hill shows up at the baseball field in this suit it was nice. This still does not do justice to how slick this outfit looked on TV. As of now, this is not the funniest sitcom going, but fuck it, Best Dressed is worth points.
Sunday, September 19, 2021
Saturday, September 18, 2021
Friday, September 17, 2021
Thursday, September 16, 2021
Sunday, September 5, 2021
Saturday, September 4, 2021
(FridayMusic, 2021) In a very Record Store Day move these three absurdly overpriced single LP, non gatefold records add collectible colored vinyl to these late 80s/early 90s rarity comps. They do not add any liner notes or explanations of the songs beyond recording year and city of recording. And they opt to not improve upon the inept CD cover designs (which I guess is historical and OK, but weird when you are paying like $40 for a record that looks like a truck stop bootleg). In a very me on Record Store Day move I bought them all. These feature dozens of genuinely weird, quirky, oddball rarities, with each Monkee presenting songs/singing/weirdness very typical of them, and that so many of these songs/takes did not make the cut for their bubblegum pop and TV excursions is an asset, not a flaw. i mean, they sing about a gnome! These are great and obviously coulda been greater, but more obviously did not need to be. And I guess the vinyl colors are pretty!
Friday, September 3, 2021
(Columbia, 1987) Tastefully produced mostly by Willie (with three very slightly more popping tracks helmed by Booker T. Jones wrapping the record), this is a low key, mellow, and incredibly solid record from a year (heck, a decade) where many, many artists were betrayed by production and trends.The most outstanding achievement on here is one of the frequent re-recordings of his own 60s compositions that feels like it exceeds the original in quality. The at-risk-of-mawkishness child custody sing-talker "Little Things" was solid in 1968, but the tasteful, spare arrangement here and the seasoned vocals make this the best version. Also, there are no prevailing standards, philosophies, or quality control for Willie Nelson LP art, and this van art sleeve is definitely a step down from the cover of the album the originally hosted "Little Things."
Thursday, September 2, 2021
Wednesday, September 1, 2021
Tuesday, August 31, 2021
Monday, August 30, 2021
(White Castle) The Impossible Burger at White Castle has been kinda bitter the last few times I got it. I am not vegan/vegetarian, I just like to mix it up, so I don;t have to take this as serious as some, but sorry to say the science of faking meat seems to have slipped. On the other hand, the veggie slider has improved, and has embraced non-meatiness. There are just whole peas and carrots in this, and it tastes great. Happy 100th White Castle.
Sunday, August 29, 2021
Monday, August 16, 2021
Sunday, August 15, 2021
Saturday, August 14, 2021
Friday, August 13, 2021
Wednesday, August 11, 2021
Tuesday, August 10, 2021
(Pictures & Blather, 2021) This series of tavern-based vignettes and character studies and fucked up scenes with dim lights illuminating the unifying magic of a certain late night hour and level of inebriation where rich and poor, hipster and regular guy, old and young, all show their asses (sometimes literally). But unlike Dmitri's collections of cab driving vignettes and character studies and fucked up scenes with dim lights illuminating the unifying magic of a certain late night hour and level of inebriation where rich and poor, hipster and regular guy, old and young, all show their asses (sometimes literally), this is a novel. Because names have been minutely changed, and Dmitri is a character, not himself. And it is great. Is there an apposite of FOMO called something like GAFIWT (Glad As Fuck I Wasn't There), because reading about these bar shifts I am not envious. But I am intrigued. This is not romanticized or heroic like Bukowski (mainly because "Dmitri" is rarely interested in sinking to the depths of his cohort) but it's not the opposite of that either. And as an object this beautiful, generously illustrated book, is the perfect size and shape and you can take it anywhere! Even rehab!
Monday, August 9, 2021
Sunday, August 8, 2021
GUEST REVIEW BY GARY PIG GOLD
Now, whilst viewing, Gary suggests you pay particular attention to…
1. The Doors as German (as in Astrid Kirchherr circa ’61-photographed) existentialist beat-group musicians, moodily half-lit and rockin’ in near darkness, for their delightfully low-budget “Break On Through” video from 1967. Nevertheless, making their television debut a mere eight weeks later, mimeing “live” to said song on Casey Kasem’s Shebang, J. Morrison seems so utterly stiff and scared he’d be fortunate to be taken for one of the Pre-fab, let alone actual Fab Four.
2. The late, often great Ray Manzarek, chatting with a surprisingly respectful Dick Clark between numbers (“Crystal Ship” and “Light My Fire”) on American Bandstand, already has mastered down pat his trademark gobbledygook interview style. And I quote: “Well, it’s impossible really to put a label on it because of where we are in the music being on the inside, you’re only of the music, and all categories have to come from the outside so, someone else is going to have to say what our music is, rather than us, because we are our music.” Dick wisely shifts immediately over to John Densmore.
3. Bringing things considerably back down to earth, The Doors – well, three of them (Robby’s brother Ron had to fill in for an AWOL Morrison for most of the footage) – climb aboard a beach blanket bikini-festooned antique fire engine for a Malibu U performance of, yes, “Light My Fire” which is absolutely one of the most ingenious clips this side of the Bonzos’ “Canyons Of Your Mind.” Most unfortunately though, Malibu dean Rick(y) Nelson’s post-song commentary is also absent.
4. As the camera pans semi-cinematically off a still-not-ready-for-prime-time Doors, unwanted down the uneven streets of Battery Park for a Murray the K (!) lip-sync of “People Are Strange,” we are suddenly confronted with an above-motley collection of pantyhose-headed characters direct from Beefheart’s Strictly Personal inner gatefold. Why these exact bystanders weren’t utilized further for the Strange Days cover shoot is a question for the ages …or at least for Elektra Records’ art department. (I guess no one remembered their names?)
5. “Now I don’t want anybody to come unglued, but it’s GANGBUSTERS time!” So enthuses none other than Jonathan Winters as he welcomes The Doors, and “Moonlight Drive,” to guest on the Christmastime 1967 debut of his CBS Television variety show extravaganza. Far from surprisingly though, even the dry ice-clouded, sub-Star Trek …no, make that Lost in Space set, not to mention Jimbo’s quite ill-advised choice of John Kay-style Ray-Bans, can’t hope to compete with the ultimate born-to-be-wildness of Maude Frickert et al (…who, according to Messrs. Krieger and Densmore’s R-Evolution commentary track, kept the entire proceedings in stitches that whole day, even after the studio audience had long returned home to their leftover turkey and cranberries).
6. We are next whisked from the sublime to the ham-fisted for the band’s own “visceral film” …as in a friend with a 16mm spending $5,000 of Elektra’s money on the beach one afternoon to shoot, literally, “The Unknown Soldier.” They say it was the anti-war, extreme social commentary which scared even Canadian television from airing this naughty short subject back in the day. Personally, I think it had more to do with the sight of a dirty-jacketed Morrison being tied, Christ-like (by Ray’s girlfriend) (with a handful of colored twine) to some rotting old dock support, then vomiting up what appears to be a mix of cherry Jell-O and tomato juice over some strategically placed roses as he’s symbolically (?) executed. Or crucified. Or something. No wonder half of this band never made it out of UCLA Film School alive.
7. Come Christmas of ’68, the Smothers Brothers – now there’s entertainers who know how to protest the Vietnam war on television! – present a festive, fully orchestrated “Touch Me,” complete with Nelson Riddle’s Orchestra and completely wailing sax solo by Curtis Amy. Jim has by now wisely left all Bigger-Than-Jesus aspirations behind and donned his iconic black leather pants and Elvis belt, with golden microphone and maracas to boot. But that’s not all! R-Evolution finally reveals the source, perhaps, of Robby’s great big shiner, which I admit has always intrigued me about this clip: John claims Robby was actually the victim of an en-route-to-Smothers car accident. No, wait! Maybe it was an altercation with some backstage, training-for-Altamont Hells Angel that caused the flaming black eye? Alright, John can’t remember. Robby has on other occasions put the cause a bit, uh, closer to home. Tommy and Dickie Smothers aren’t talking …and, for once, neither is Ray either.
8. The more than obvious change – and not for the good – between the vividly hued recording studio footage of “Wild Child” (July 1969) and the drudgingly monochrome’d rehearsal footage of “Crawling King Snake” (just seventeen months later) shockingly demonstrates just how soft this band’s particular parade had become as Sixties turned Seventies, and pop/rock’s intelligentsia had duly moved on to all things Wishbone Ash and King Crimson. The “Wild Child” shoot, which almost managed to completely hide all signs of bassist Doug Lubahn, shows four enthused musicians a bit crusty, but still completely confident and supremely creative. On much the other hand however, even the most catatonic Let It Be footage of those Beatles, for instance, can be tons more fun to watch than the 1970 Doors (bassist du jour? no less than Jerry “TCB” Scheff, completely hidden) desperately trying to fulfill duties to label and lawyers before calling it a wrap as Jim escapes, permanently it turns out, to the other side.
9. Of course the post-Morrison Doors never were much to listen to, and despite all the MTV-era technological advances still aren’t much to watch either. Wholly late-night-cable caliber clips of “Gloria” (lotsa teasingly blood-red-nailed, slo-mo back-and-belt-scratching), “Strange Days” (featuring a boom-box-totin’ cameo by R. Manzarek) (not to mention cardboard cut-out Morrisons galore, I kid you not), “L.A. Woman” (wherein director Ray hires protégé John Doe to attempt his best John Densmore impersonation over Josef von Sternberg’s Hollywood Star) and “Ghost Song” (surviving Doors “re-unite” with their old singer via the wonders of nascent digital video and, as Robby still tries to explain it, extremely posthumous “poetry and jazz, kinda” from the American Prayer, um, album). You mean there wasn’t enough space left in this collection for more Malibu U out-takes ?!!
10. Which reminds me: Pay real close attention especially to the Bonus feature Love Thy Customer, a miraculous half-hour 1966 Ford Motor Marketing Institute training film with music by a moonlighting Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger. This is a band who may have once turned down the chance to license “Come on, Buick, Light My Fire” for commercial use, but it seems, on quite the sly, they cashed all the way in corporately nevertheless. A trend which, apparently, they continue to embrace to this very day …if the Official Cyber Doors Store with its “high-quality light-weight terry-lined hoodies with distressed Doors logo,” “Ladies’ Hello I Love You T-shirt,” “Doors Logo Beer Glass” or “Dusters California Doors Skateboard Collection” is of any indication whatsoever.
Saturday, August 7, 2021
(Personal, 1983) This was such a classic dance record in Chicago (and around the world) and at Whitney Young high school in Chicago there is an African choreography dance that the dance team has done for decades that is legendary, and the song re-peaks in popularity every few years. Yet I can't help feeling it has a joyful Dr. Demento novelty aspect to it. You can seriously dance to it, but the nonsense words and robotic music spurts and stops seem so fun and funny that I do not take it seriously in the pejorative sense of "serious." This is such a good record that it makes me feel religious fervor, even if it is silly fervor. This is my gospel music!
Friday, August 6, 2021
Thursday, August 5, 2021
Wednesday, August 4, 2021
(whitesox.com) People really wanted to hate Tony La Russa when he got hired to manage the White Sox, mainly because he is old as hell. That seems like a shitty reason to dismiss him. He definitely drove drunk at least once and he certainly did not stop some of his players from steroid-ing up in the late 80s/early 90s, though no one else did, either. That his players took more seems immaterial. Some folks think he is racist, which he may be, who knows, and the thing he has done this year that I hate the most is using the "no racist bone" line is a presser. Don't invent a bone to defend yourself! But to me the loudest critiques when he was hired seemed to be super racist. How could young Black players like Tim Anderson relate to this old White man?, many asked. As if Anderson (at the time the only American-born Black player on the roster, La Russa has added and regularly played two more) was some kind of undisciplined hip hop wildman that did not know what a coach was. Anderson has the highest batting average in the league since 2019 and is as disciplined and mature as anyone; wearing nice sneakers and listening to hip hop does not change that. The two things the White Sox, with all their talent, needed in a manager was a Spanish speaker (check) and someone who would not fuck things up. I guess La Russa possibly lost one game this year because he (and many others) did not know a new complicated rule for extra inning ghost runner substitutions in the case of a pitcher being placed on 2nd automatically to start the 10th. People also act like he ruined Yermin Mercedes because he criticized him for something not unreasonable (nor was Yermin doing something unreasonable humiliating a fake pitcher with a big homer). Well, the Sox won April because La Russa put Yermin as an opening day starter when no other manager in the league woulda done that. The team had a bizarrely challenging injury onslaught this season and La Russa has helped some ragtag lineups win a lot of games, so I'm all in. Just take Ubers when you drink and don't say anything racist out loud and you are a Hall of Famer baseball person in my book.
Tuesday, August 3, 2021
Monday, August 2, 2021
(Motown, 2020) I was kind of expecting this to be like the 2019 "You're the Man" release, where instead of presenting an outtakes/rarities comp this would be presented as a self-contained album that could have been released at the time. It turns out this extra material from the Trouble Man sessions cannot quite carry that load, but I did listen to this fifty times. There are really only a few songs here being repeated in alternate take sor edits, but they sure are good. The best thing here is the "worst" thing here, a rather lo fi vocals sketch with Gaye dueting his high voice against his low voice. I have never seen the movie, but this soundtrack is probably Top 5 Black action movie 70s soundtracks (a VERY competitive field), and the more I hear of it the more I believe that.
Sunday, August 1, 2021
Saturday, July 31, 2021
(CCMA 2021) This exhibit, held kind of insanely at the College of Dupage's art museum, has been criticized because the town did a bunch of Frida Fever weird things, and because possibly the auxiliary parts of the exhibit (including the children's area, complete with a docent in Frida drag and one of those things where your stick your faces into Frida and Diego's cutout picture) seem weird. While I actually think the curatorship and even the family activities at the museum seem pretty deftly executed, and have no comment on the Frida-fying of an affluent suburb, the actual art on display here is incredible and eye opening. The exhibit opens with an historical context section that walks you through Kahlo's life and career with recreations of her outfits and her bed in which she was confined so often and some actual artifacts and archival magazines in which she appeared, and the most eye opening parts of this were examples of Mexican popular art that really informs and contextualizes some of her work. But the heart of the exhibit, the paintings and drawings, are so wild and varied and special that it is revelatory even to super fans. There is one with a spider web rendered so magnificently that it is hard not to be floored. There are sketches and studies of women that capture magnificent beauty with profoundly lusty appreciation. There is a painting of a dead child that can be stared at for eternity. There is genuine surreal insanity. I loved seeing this, and anyone who reduces Kahlo to the greatest purveyor of pain or to a fashion genius will have their opinions expanded. If you can't make it the catalogue does a great job presenting the works.
Friday, July 30, 2021
Thursday, July 29, 2021
Wednesday, July 28, 2021
Tuesday, July 27, 2021
(Hershey) An absolute triumph in that I did not realize fruity cereal was so distinct a flavor and I did not know it could be captured so well and who thought it would work perfectly as a crispy candy bar? And I cannot think of any reason I would want to eat another one of these again. But it's a winner!
Monday, July 26, 2021
Sunday, July 25, 2021
Saturday, July 24, 2021
Thursday, July 22, 2021
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
(Blackbird, 2020) This is a Willie tribute/85th birthday party concert, with Don Was leading the music. For some folks this entire thing must be magical, but I don't have huge investments in MargoPrice, Chris Stapleton, Avett Bros, Tedeschi and/or Trucks, but still appreciate how much they appreciate Willie. Everyone does fine on this thing (even Dave Matthews...even Jack Johnson singing a song he write about Willie) but the real treat is around a dozen tracks with Willie on them. Is there anything I want to hear more than Willie and George Strait sing "Good Hearted Woman?" Not really, and it was decent, if not thrilling. Willie and Emmylou have great chemistry, and Willie and Jimmy Buffett singing Jimmy Cliff is probably almost as good as Willie and Jimmie Cliff singing Jimmy Buffet (we will have to wait for 90th B-day for that one). With Willie songs you can't lose, and with his seasoned voice and the tangible sense of camaraderie he brings to all collaborations this is obviously worth a listen.
Tuesday, July 20, 2021
(High Moon, 2021) This is a small batch of bluesy outtakes, alternate takes, and one track from the 1974 "Reel to Real" LP, which is not a particularly known, coveted, or beloved release, but these Arthur Lee grooves made me go back and take another enjoyable listen. Damn, it's bluesy in here!
Monday, July 19, 2021
(Grand Royal/Universal, 1995/2021) This Record Store Day reissue of this 1995 7" blpown up to an expensive 12" by adding 5 mkinutes of incongruous bonus tracks is still OK. Mid-90s hardcore not as funny as their 80s hardcore which was not good enough for them to remain hardcore is fun but not essential, and adding the Cibo Matto lady's pretty Doors cover just confises matters, which is not a bad flex.