Archive for March, 2012

“Zombies A-Z” gets a D-

Posted in books, movies, reviews on March 30th, 2012 by Nick – Be the first to comment

book-cover-zombies-a-zDan Oliver‘s Zombies A-Z (available next month in the US from John Blake Publishing) seemed like a no-fail proposition. Coming from a British author, it seemed that the book would offer a different perspective on the zombie phenomenon. The idea of easier access to European zombie flicks and BBC series would – at least on the surface – allow for a book that is a little more rounded than those with an American focus.

In that respect, Zombies A-Z succeeds. Bringing to light such UK series as Dead Set, about an outbreak of zombism on the set of Big Brother, makes the book interesting. It’s simple – while reading about stuff about which you already know is entertaining, the main purpose of picking up a book like this is to find new venues for entertainment. And, as I said, the book succeeds in that respect.
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Podcast #82, “Hangover Cure”

Posted in podcast on March 29th, 2012 by Nick – Be the first to comment

hangover-curejpgGoodness. This week’s podcast might be the tightest one yet. I actually kept an eye on the timer as I was recording, and managed to avoid lapsing into my usual blather. Things are focused, direct, and you’re actually going to find that I sound like I know about which I speak. Hangover bitching notwithstanding, of course.

Lots of interesting tunes on the show. It’s a nice mix of loud, angry, tuneful, and catchy. Some of the tracks are white-hot new, and there are a few golden oldies, as well. Honestly, if you wanted to show a friend as to what the show is about, you probably ought to take this gem and give it to them. I’d certainly appreciate it.

Podcast #82, “Hangover Cure”
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“Ticket Masters” a sociological study, economics text, and pop culture history all at once

Posted in books, live music, reviews on March 28th, 2012 by Nick – Be the first to comment

book-cover-ticket-mastersIf you’ve ever wished to determine your exact level of music geekery, Dean Budnick and Josh Baron‘s Ticket Masters: The Rise of the Concert Industry and How the Public Got Scalped makes for an excellent litmus test. The book – out next month in paperback from Plume – is an involving, in-depth analysis of the modern ticketing industry.

Far from focusing directly on Ticketmaster, Budnick and Baron go back to the start of the modern ticketing industry. Beginning with the development of electronic ticketing, and steadily working their way forward, Ticket Masters is a sociological study, economics text, and pop culture history all at once.
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Debut LP from Wisconsin hard pop trio White Faces “a dangerous confection”

Posted in garage rock, reviews, vinyl on March 27th, 2012 by Nick – Be the first to comment

cover-white-facesIt’s entirely possible that I ruined my knee stomping my foot on the basement floor. White Faces‘ self-titled LP on Windian Records is almost absurdly infectious. Be it the toe-tapping, hip-swaying of “Stand Up” or the aforementioned foot stomping brought on by the likes of “Happy,” this Milwaukee trio is just great.

“Great” seems a little noncommittal, I know, but White Faces are just that sort of band that you listen to, and somebody sees you grinning and nodding your head while it comes out of your headphones. They ask what you’re listening to, and when you try to answer their “How good are they?” question, all that comes out is a bigger grin, a sheepish laugh, and “Man, they’re just … they’re great, you know?”
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Podcast #81, “Selling Out”

Posted in podcast on March 22nd, 2012 by Nick – Be the first to comment

selling-out-neonThis whole “doing the podcast in advance” thing is really working out well. I’ve taken to listening to most of my new acquisitions straight-through upon bringing them home or having them show up in the mail, and then immediately dropping the needle on whichever track catches my ear the most. It’s resulting in a record party in the basement kind of vibe, but without the panic and frustration of trying to knock it out the day before everything’s supposed to go up.

That being said, I sourced a lot of this from CDs, mainly because acquiring a lot of this stuff on vinyl would put me in the goddamn poorhouse. Next week’s show is pretty much 100% vinyl, and a little more obscure. I’m considering this a partly-shameless ploy to attract more listeners via bands that might be known outside the usual message board dwellers. I still think they’re some great tracks, though.

Podcast #81, “Selling Out”
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Chicago post-punk trio Nonagon release stellar EP, “People Live Everywhere”

Posted in indie, punk, reviews, streaming audio / video, vinyl on March 21st, 2012 by Nick – Be the first to comment

cover-nonagonIf there’s an aspect of post-punk that sets it up as a genre, as opposed to a time period, it’s the use of the bass as an equal of the guitar. Rather than simply tie the bass to the drums, setting up the “rhythm section,” in post-punk, the bass functions as an autonomous instrument.

A perfect case in point: in the instrumental track, “Fadeout,” Chicago three-piece Nonagon sets the bass in counterpoint to the drums, playing a droning line that compliments the chicken-scratch guitar work. It’s hypnotic, and I’ve had to stop and start this review about half a dozen times to go back, re-listen, and discover new aspects of this EP.
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The Lonesome Savages sound like I’m drunk (and why that’s wonderful)

Posted in garage rock, reviews, rockabilly, vinyl on March 20th, 2012 by Nick – 1 Comment

cover-lonesome-savagesThe debut single from Wisconsin’s the Lonesome Savages, All Outta Love, might be the only thing the rockabilly genre’s produced worth listening to since the first Amazing Royal Crowns LP. It’s an astoundingly original take on the genre, yet draws on enough familiar influences (Charlie Feathers by way of the Cramps) to keep it grounded in some sort of reasonable genre ballpark.

Now, is it three covers and one original? Yes. But it’s not like it’s the first debut release to do so. The Cramps’ Gravest Hits was mostly covers, as was half of the Specials’ self-titled. This is what bands do, if they’re able – when you don’t have enough songs you’ve written, you take the ones you know and put your own sonic imprint on ‘em. Let those fuckers know who you are, one way or another, am I right?
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“Dark Directions” another valid argument to include horror directors in the ’70s pantheon

Posted in books, movies, reviews on March 19th, 2012 by Nick – Be the first to comment

book-cover-dark-directionsUpon first flipping through Kendall R. Phillips‘ new book, Dark Directions: Romero, Craven, Carpenter, and the Modern Horror Film, I was worried that it was going to go down the same path as Shock Value, and attempt to cover too much ground in too short a space. Thankfully, such is not the case.

Dark Directions – while, at times, covering a similar era as that of Shock Value – is a totally different book. Phillips takes the work of three directors, susses out a particular thematic thrust from each, and uses that particular theme as a lens to focus his view of each man’s work.

The particulars are what allows Dark Directions to succeed as it does. Specifically, Phillips doesn’t focus entirely on the “horror” output of each director. Recognizing that such a limited range would hamstring his work, the author brings similarly-themed “genre” pictures from the three filmmakers into his critcism, allowing for each argument to be made more fully.
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Podcast #80, “Better Late Than Never”

Posted in podcast on March 15th, 2012 by Nick – Be the first to comment

late-watchHoly crap! We’re back. The podcast offers up any number of excuses/reasons/rationilizations as to why the show’s been gone for so long. Suffice it to say, I’m sorry, but I’ve got a much better handle on it than I did previously. The episodes will be worked on over the ocurse of the preceding week, rather than a marathon last-minute session. Awesome as that was, it certainly didn’t result in regular updates.

Again, to reiterate – despite band issues, family stuff, personal problems, and work conflicts, there ought never be another unannounced month-long haitus.

Podcast #80, “Better Late Than Never”
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Human Toilet’s self-titled, self-released LP now available

Posted in album overview, punk, reviews, streaming audio / video, vinyl on March 14th, 2012 by Nick – Be the first to comment

cover-human-toiletNew York’s Human Toilet are a dirty-sounding, slightly scuzzy band, as befits their name. Their self-titled debut LP is currently rocking my speakers, sounding very much like the trio’s harnessed the energy of early New York proto-punk acts like the Dolls and combined it with the low end pulse of post hardcore acts like the Jesus Lizard and Helmet. This is rock ‘n’ roll that understands it needs to hit you smack-dab in the middle of the chest to get you to listen. Tracks like “The Flirt” even come close to the likes of Urge Overkill’s sneeringly tuneful lyrics, then immediately revert to smartly declamatory hardcore of “Low Life.”

Human Toilet is available on black vinyl LP (limited pressing of 500), download, or as super-duty audiophile 24 bit/96 kHz WAV and FLAC files on DVD. The album recorded direct to analog tape, meaning this is one of the rare DIY punk releases that will actually sound better on vinyl (analog to analog, you see). There’s a release show for the album in NYC this Friday, and you can get details at the Human Toilet Facebook page.