Since the return of Alita, the titular Battle Angel, and her eclectic group of friends, we’ve been treated to a series with a few interesting ideas and a large number of lumbering, slow-moving expanses of non-story overstuffed with oddball characters and fighting so excessive it actually ground the plot to a complete halt several times. The overlong fighting tournament that literally conquered the series and even left out the main character for entire volumes at a time made Last Order considerably less enjoyable and, at times, actually something of a chore to wade through. Usually it was interrupted by either equally overlong flashbacks focusing on characters we the audience were not terribly invested in, or by long, rambling monologues or strings of dialogue that didn’t really seem to be going anywhere. It wasn’t like the original Battle Angel Alita series that had pulled so many of us in back in the day. Continue reading
I like albums that sneak up on a listener. Sirens, the fourth record by Christopher Bell is like that. Bell uses his looped vocals to create textures along with his cello. The result is a record that sounds like some sort of mix between Björk’s Medulla, Todd Rundgren’s A Capella, the work of Zoë Keating and some of Sean Altman’s stuff — Bell’s pop hooks is the world of Rundgren and Altman, where the artiness and interesting arrangements are similar to Björk and Keating. But the mix is all Bell’s own. Sirens isn’t going to take the place of any of these records, nor could any of these records replace Sirens. They’re all good but different, even if there is some DNA shared. So, unless you think kids are just lame rip-offs of their parents, it is an unfair slight to call Sirens derivative by any means. Continue reading
I just found out today that Bob Casale, or Bob 2 of DEVO passed away last night from heart failure. I’m absolutely heartbroken, and I’m listening to my DEVO records all day today.
Bob 2 is the only member of DEVO I got to meet — it was after the first time I got to see DEVO live. Just to clarify, not only did I never think I’d get to see DEVO live (but I’ve seen them four times now!), but to make it even better, Bob 2 came out and took time to meet with fans afterwards.
He was the nicest guy. My best friend and I told him how DEVO got us through high school and was so incredibly important to us, and he said that he was retroactively our High School Advisor.
I’m gonna really miss him. At least I got to tell him how much he meant to me. You don’t get that a lot, especially with famous people who had a huge impact on you. I’m not being facetious when I say that, alongside David Foster Wallace, I wouldn’t be who I am today without DEVO. They’re that important, and Bob 2 was a huge part of that — both in playing and his engineering and producing skills for the band (along with others — including the Barnes & Barnes version of “What’s New Pussycat” from Zabagabee).
What a wonderful man, and I’m so deeply sorry to see him go.
I’m seriously trying not to cry.
I’m not sure I’m going to succeed. Continue reading
I always have enjoyed Nathan Rabin’s writing — first at the AV Club and now at The Dissolve. His memoir The Big Rewind was outstanding, as was his book on Weird Al. (And, of course, his My Year Of Flops project for the AV Club and turned into a book itself.) One thing that does make me sad about him writing at The Dissolve is that site is devoted to film — and while a brilliant film writer, Rabin’s wonderful at all types of pop culture. I’d been excited for his most recent book, You Don’t Know Me But You Don’t Like Me since he teased it in some of his articles for the AV Club about Insane Clown Posse and the Gathering of the Juggalos. Honestly, it was right up my alley — I love Rabin and I find the Juggalos fascinating. (And, though I’m not a fan of ICP, I think the Juggalos tend to get a bit of undeserved shit.) Continue reading
Sometimes, I find it odd that there were not more comprehensive collections of music videos by bands released during the Golden Age of DVD. Plenty were released, though they were largely cash-in budget titles, with little regard to quality, curation, or historical context. The music video collection occupies a space akin to the Greatest Hits album, with the extra requirement of demanding your eyes, as well as your ears. In this post-MTV era, the music video is best suited for YouTube over disc. Continue reading
Edward Ka-Spel‘s brilliance with The Legendary Pink Dots is to introduce us to isolated characters and then immerse us in their world-view through expansive and mysterious soundscapes. He begins with the most restricted, infinitesimal point of consciousness and then slowly expands it outward towards a state of ‘cosmic consciousness’ (to use the phrase of 1960s psychonauts). Musically, he often follows this template of expansion, with simple melody lines repeating and layering in increased complexity of texture. Much of the LPD’s music is an undertaking to help the listener (and perhaps composer) escape his/her own head. Lyrical phrases, musical motifs, album titles and themes recur across decades, but tonal shifts between albums are slow and subtle. Hopefully, The Legendary Dots Project, like the Residents and Sparks projects before, will provide the keen reader and listener with a giddy entry-point into the Legendary Pink Dots’ musical world. Fulfil the prophecy! Continue reading
Listeners of Crush On Radio know full well my love (as well as Andrew’s) of Primus and the work of Les Claypool. So it should have been a given that I’d be picking up the new album Four Foot Shack from Les’ new Duo De Twang, a country group with Bryan Kehoe from M.I.R.V. The album is almost all covers — the only original song is the brief introductory track, “Four Foot Shack”, though a little more than half are covers of Les’ various other bands (so does that count as a cover?), including two from Primus, a couple from the Frog Brigade, and one from his first solo record, Highball With The Devil (“Hendershot”, one of my favorite tracks from that record, as it turns out). Continue reading
This almost feels like a companion volume to The Idea Factory — the other side of the phone company. Phil Lapsley’s book, Exploding the Phone, is an absolutely fascinating book on the history of phone phreaking, or exploring the phone network (and hacking it). The phone system, back in the days of analog, was made up of switches thrown by tones and was considered the world’s largest machine. The phone phreaks figured out how this machine worked and started figuring out the tones necessary to do different things. It wasn’t all about getting free calls, but about exploration. (Though, the free calls were their own siren song that couldn’t be ignored either.) Continue reading
“Hey, I’d like to write for Kittysneezes!”
Is this you? If so, then that is AWESOME! A+ on your hastily arrived-at desire! Contact me via the Contact Page, and I’ll give you more details and get you set up with an account! We pretty much take anything! Essays, Reviews, Interviews, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Humor, Comics, Recipes, Journalism, WHATEVER! In fact, aside from the usual (we don’t like being sued for libel or plagiarism or anything like that — well, we don’t like being sued at all, really), we only have one real rule:
1. If it’s a review, it should be positive. Be critical, sure, but be constructive, and the general takeaway from the article should be “I think that it would be worthwhile for you to spend a small slice of your limited time on this here lump of dirt on this particular item!”
That’s pretty much it. There might be other stuff, like, “interviews should have the “Part the First” questions in there too, but that’s pretty minor compared with that one. (And the not-getting-us-sued thing.) Continue reading
Hey, everybody! Your Internet TV Pal Ted is back, and this time, he’s talkin’ eggs! Apparently there are opinions to be had about eggs! Who knew?! Continue reading