When comedic musician and king parodist of our time ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic announced that he would be undertaking a tour wherein he dropped the costumes and video screens to concentrate on a stripped-down musical experience, it seemed like a radical idea. When Yankovic explained that the tour would focus primarily on older material – and … Continued

Source: www.starburstmagazine.com/reviews/weird-al-yankovic-live




Cadabra Records is the latest to honor the legacy of scary stories told aloud. Be it records like Alfred Hitchcock’s Ghost Stories for Young People, Edgar Allen Poe being read by Basil Rathbone, or the George S. Irving adaptation of Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, there always seemed to be a & Continued

Source: www.starburstmagazine.com/reviews/hearse-song-fungi-yoggoth-yellow-sign-picture-house

“Geek Rock” doesn’t exactly cover its titular subject

book cover - geek rockGeek Rock: An Exploration of Music and Subculture, the new essay collection edited by Alex DiBlasi and Victoria Willis, succeeds on only one half of its title. It explores the geeky aspects of music, but as far as being a collection of essay about a rock subculture, it fails abjectly.

The blurb on the book’s back cover explains geek rock as “forms of popular music that celebrate all things campy, kitschy, and quirky,” but the editors then present a procession of essays wherein the musical approach is geeky or the lyrical obsession is geeky — it seems that the essay authors, despite the desire to make geek rock a thing and name-checking in the introduction artists like Weezer, Jonathan Coulton, and Frank Black, chose instead to reframe the discussion in a way that reflects their particular interests.
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Podcast #110, “April Fools Rush In”

april foolsTomorrow is April Fools’ Day, so I spent the weekend putting together a plethora of strange and interesting music for you all. For whatever reason — be it feeling better or just the obscure nature of the tracks requiring some explanation — I ran my mouth pretty much constantly throughout this episode. My apologies for that.

You can rest assured that everything is Dr. Demento-eque, if not actually demented. I avoided using noisemakers, but certainly managed to pull together a wide swathe of weirdness, and managed to not pull from any of the good Doctor’s compilations this time.

Podcast #110, “April Fools Rush In”
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“Tales of the San Franciso Cacophony Society” an inspirational bit of dadaist history

book cover - cacaphonyLast Gasp‘s new book, Tales of the San Franciso Cacophony Society, compiled and edited by Kevin Evans, Carrie Galbraith, and John Law, ranks as one of the most dangerously inspirational books I’ve ever had the pleasure to clap eyes on.

While much could be made of the fact that the Cacophony Society are the ones responsible for such occasions of oddball debauchery as Burning Man, SantaCon, and (arguably) zombies, this book doesn’t focus on the influence of these San Francisco eccentrics on society at large. If anything, this is both a visual and oral history of how such a simple set of ideas — such as Chaotic Principle No. II: You Will Never Be Totally In Control — could have such an impact on individuals.
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Going beyond the absurd to philosophize with “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”

book-cover-philosophy-and-hitchhikers-guideThe new book Philosophy and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, edited by Nicholas Joll (out now from Palgrave Macmillan), might be the most invaluable text I’ve ever read too late. That may seem a bit confusing. To clarify: were that this book had been released fifteen years ago, as several of the essays contained within would’ve allowed me to possibly pass philosophy in college, rather than failing it abjectly.

Quite specifically, Michèle Friend‘s essay, “‘God…Promptly Vanishes in a Puff of Logic’,” on the Babel fish, so perfectly outlines basic logic that anyone who’s read Douglas Adams‘ titular installment in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy will finally understand basic symbolic logic. It gets a little hinky in the middle, what with a lot of symbols, but Friend moves the reader through by explaining how it all works in a clear, concise, manner.
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Up and At Them

atomHey, for once a decent press release found its way into my inbox! Usually, I look at the subject line, and most stuff ends up in the trash. But when the subject read “Submission: Atom and His Package tribute album,” I am down like a sonofabitch.

Atom & His Package were one of those artists that popped up on a bunch of comps (when comps were still worth a damn), and I went absolutely batshit for him. Crazy Jewish dude with a synthesizer playing songs about the metric system? Helllllllllll, yes. Then I bought a bunch of his stuff, and wondered why one-man synth covers of Fugazi and Geto Boys songs didn’t make other people flip out. Maybe it was songs about Enya? Maybe the voice? Who knows? All I know is that Atom & His Package is one of those artists that I loved and never got to see play live.

Anyhow, Atom & His Package ended, he did Armalite, and I haven’t really heard anything about him since. I guess he had to retire because of Type 1 diabetes. Hartless Hind Records has put together a tribute record called Up End Atom (nice Simpsons reference), and four bucks from each disc goes to the American Diabetes Association.

The tribute features acts like Zolof the Rock & Roll Destroyer, MC Lars, hockey-core outfit the Zambonis, and – in what has to be the most perfect cover song / artist pairing ever, mcchris doing “Punk Rock Academy.”

I’m going to be watching the mail until this sucker shows. Seriously, that song alone is worth the purchase.

Steinbeck “Possessions (Not the One By Danzig)
the Emotron – “Me and My Black Metal Friends

First Monday Filesharing –

coverEvery year, I make a comp CD to hand out to friends and family. It started back in the winter of ’97, because I was a poor college student living in the dorms of KU. I designed a cover on my computer and recorded off a couple dozen comp tapes for my friends. From there, it moved to CDs. The first couple were just random compilations of songs I thought would appeal to everyone, and from there, it mutated into cover song comps, songs with “whoa-oh,” an actual Christmas song compilation, a ska comp, an instrumental comp, and lord knows what else.

Well, this past year, I decided to put way more effort into the comp, and made a rule: nothing that I didn’t a physical copy of on vinyl. The whole thign was ripped from records down here in the laboratory that is RSJ headquarters (aka my basement). Here, for the first time, it’s getting shared outside my little circle of friends. This is going to be a regular thing here. The first Monday of every month, there will be a fresh comp to download. All-vinyl, nothing pulled from my mp3 collection or CDs. If I don’t own it on record, you won’t find it here. It’ll mean I actually have to work at this, and put some thought into it. You’ll get quality over quantity, essentially.

So, here’s your first treat. Originally given to friends and family as The Holiday Tiki Lounge, I have renamed it as the Rock Star Journalist All-Vinyl Lounge Party. Some tracks can be tracked down on Sin Alley comps and stuff like that, but I’d like to think this is a pretty unique offering. Equally suitable for a night in sipping cocktails or getting bombed on cheap beer on a porch, I hope you enjoy.

1. Lenny Dee – Rock Me Back to Little Rock
2. Cozy Cole – Topsy Part II
3. the Periscopes – Beaver Shot
4. Billy Vaughn – C’est Ci Bon
5. Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood – Oh Lonesome Me
6. Charlie Feathers – Cockroach
7. Sister Rosetta Tharpe – Blow Ye the Trumpet In Zion
8. Sean Mencher – Jumpin’ Track
9. the Frantics – Werewolf
10. Fred Blassie – Blassie, King of Men
11. the Marketts – Out of Limits
12. Xterminators – Wild Hare
13. the Motivations – The Birds
14. Freddie & Hitch Hikers – Sinners
15. Mr. Marcos’ V7 – Shanty
16. Johnny Clark & the Four Playboys – Jungle Stomp
17. Ferrante & Teicher – Brazil
18. Possum – The Cockroach That Ate Cincinnati
19. Ganim’s Asia Minors – Daddy Lolo
20. Joe Bravo – Please Call Me Baby
21. Rix Ortolani – The Festival of the Bull-La Forcata
22. the Yards – Munchimoo Boogaloo (Tiki Torcher Mix)
23. Lani Laurens – Silver Sand
24. Tegu Ni Lagere Group – Kini Varita Yara Mai
25. the Bill Lucidarme Group – Kauai Surf (Torch Lighting Ceremony)

Download the Rock Star Journalist All-Vinyl Lounge Party (RS link)

Yacht Rock returns

When we last heard of Yacht Rock, they’d quietly decided to get themselves can canceled over at Channel 101 after telling us one last story about Steely Dan, then hoisting their sails and drifting away while a satisfied crowd waved goodbye from the docks, exactly one incredible year after their historical debut. Well, surprise (although not really much of a surprise to anyone who’s one of their MySpace friends)! They’re back, this time with the story of how Kenny Loggins wrote the theme to Footloose. Enjoy…

Kenny Loggins – “Footloose

Walk Hard soundtrack review

Various Artists – “Walk Hard soundtrack”
(Columbia Records)

Damn. Despite what you would have guessed from Boogie Nights, John C. Reilly can sing – and well, too. As Walk Hard‘s Dewey Cox, he sounds an awful lot like Chris Isaak, actually. This soundtrack covers every style of music from the mid-50s to late 70s, and you can tell what artists are getting skewered on every track.

Johnny Cash takes the brunt of it during the first half (even his duets with June Carter gets hit with “Let’s Duet,” which is one of the few outright “funny” songs on the album), with everyone from Little Richard (“(Mama) You Got To Love Your Negro Man”), Jim Croce (“Dear Mr. President”), and Bob Dylan (“Royal Jelly”, which is the absolute most spot-on, hilariously ridiculous Dylan take ever) getting it as the record goes on. The disco cover of Bowie’s “Starman” is painfully funny, as well. They managed to get folks like Marshall Crenshaw, Mike Viola, and Van Dyke Parks involved in this, and it’s on Columbia, Johnny Cash’s old label. Thus, this is another Judd Apatow vehicle that’s gonna make a pantload of money.

Dewey Cox – “Walk Hard”

Dewey Cox & Darlene Madison – “Let’s Duet”

Original trailer

Red band trailer