Saturday, February 16, 2013

More Music for a Saturday Night Zombie Apocalypse

After a sterling Saturday emceeing the Jazz and Poetry presentation for Black History Month at the US Air Force Academy—imagine me in a suit actually interacting with people—it’s back to the basement to get Bleeding Kansas moving in the direction I got it pointed in at 2 a.m. this morning. I’ve set up the stakes and all that will be lost. Now it’s time to set about losing them, with satisfactory degrees of style and drama and good old fashioned gore.

We need some suitably dark and frenetic music for this, and “Red Flags and Long Nights” by She Wants Revenge from their self-titled 2006 album is our sine qua non for tonight’s activity. For what it’s worth, I’m royally off-with-my-head raging at myself for not ripping my own MP3 to a static photo of the album cover. This is the best I could find sound-wise, so please never mind the artsy-fartsy, pseudo-sexy B&W photos of bulimic chicks in red underwear. 

I often like to think of She Wants Revenge as “Bauhaus 2006,” because that’s the sound this former hip-hop duo were going for, and sho ‘nuff got. However, given that they outdid Bauhaus on that entire album for dark, banging, rhythmic gothic rock on their self-titled album, it’s really a disservice to She Wants Revenge to refer to them as such, even if the lead singer sounds exactly like Bauhaus’ breakout star Peter Murphy. Which, I hasten to add, is a studio effect—there are a couple of live videos out there in which you hear how the singer really sounds. Good stuff, but not quite as compelling as the original album track.

So it’s time to pour the wine, crack an ale, and get to work. Minimize the vid to your taskbar and crank the audio. Unless, that is, malnourished young women with legs you can floss your teeth with turn you on. Hell, I’m writing a zombie apocalypse trilogy and this grosses me out!

Saturday, February 09, 2013

More Music for a Saturday Night Zombie Apocalypse

On Facebook Pee-wee Herman posted a still of him rescuing the snakes from the burning pet store in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure by way of welcoming the Chinese Year of the Snake. This caused me to think of some of my favorite lines from my favorite hymn, which you’ll hear at approximately 1:26 into this video. I’m not a fan of posting official videos with my songs, but this one in particular is a dark, surreal classic of the form to rival Peter Gabriel’s infamous videos for “Shock the Monkey” and “Sledgehammer.”

On its own, of course, “Black Hole Sun” from Soundgarden’s 1994 masterpiece Superunknown is probably the greatest thing they ever did. But you all know I’m a sucker for a Great Rock Anthem. This one is the cri de couer of a man so gone in depression and despair he would take the entire universe out with him if he could. Been there, done that multiple times. What’s not to love? 

Put this one on full screen and crank the audio. It’s from the band’s official YouTube site, and they did this chicken right.


Sunday, February 03, 2013

Sittin' Out the Super Bowl

I’ve got no dogs in this year’s fight. I’m sorta-kinda for the Ravens as they’re the only team named after a poem. (Baltimore was Edgar Allan Poe’s adopted hometown. The Ravens are named for his Greatest Hit, which Poe rewrote throughout his brief career for re-publication and whatever it was he was drinking at the time.) I’m somewhat curious to see whether Baltimore gets treated like the Seattle Seahawks did during Super Bowl XL in 2006—ignored when not outright disrespected, with shamelessly crooked calls made against them in favor of the Storied Veterans of Super Bowls past. (I lost all respect for Pittsburgh, their fans, and John Madden following that one. Astute observers have noticed that particular Super Bowl has been long since shoved down the memory hole by the Propaganda Ministry.) But I’m not that curious.

Usually I’m up for the drinkin’ and snackin’ and hollerin’ at the TV. Any excuse for a party for this Good Time Charlie. Not this year. Just not feeling it. The Super Bowl is just weird to begin with, and not in the cool, “edgy” way. Football in February is flat unnatural. And I’ve got all the rest of the year to look at those commercials. All that, and I rather resent the notion I’m supposed to be going cuckoo for Coco Puffs for this, all because the TV told me all the Kool Kids are doing this, so I should, too. No thank you.

Instead, I’m putting up all my completed chapters of Bleeding Kansas in Web posts. I like how reading these things on a Web page forces me to look at them another way and edit them down. Once I’m satisfied with how the first five chapters work I’ll publish them. I’m hoping to do this by Saturday, and resume publishing the later installments every Monday.

I might take a break and rake the yard. Or take a nap. Maybe catch up on some reading. It’s Sunday. I’m not the least bit religious but I’m a strong believer in having one day out of the week in which we’re not all running around like the proverbial chickens with their heads cut off. I made the mistake of going out this morning to go to Costco and the grocery store for provisions. Ye gods. Not doing that again.

Oh, and one more thing: if Jay-Z shows up to “support” his wife Beyonce at the halftime show, they’ll be the Steve and Eydie Goulet of hip-hop. Which I find amusing. But not enough to sit through that. I’m still trying to figure out why Madonna was brought in last year.  

Quoth the Raven, “Nevermind.”

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Music for Cleaning Your Basement Office on a Saturday Afternoon

It’s a shame the Grateful Dead come with such baggage. I knew a lot of Deadheads back in college and what bothered me was how it was less about the music than making the scene. I saw the Dead on Halloween 1985 at the Carolina Coliseum in my hometown of Columbia, SC. I envied the people who could go from town to town following them around, but it was more about hanging out and not working and traveling cross-country from one stoner party to another that appealed than the phoned-in performances.

It’s another shame altogether this band peaked in 1970. They released two albums that year, Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty and aside from “U.S. Blues,” the standout track from their 1974 album From the Mars Hotel, that was it. It’s an opinion I’ve had to keep to myself for a long time. 

I’ve always been about the songs, though. And if you dig good acoustic guitar songs, with melodious, harmonious singing, then put all that stupid goose-stepping teddy bear and skulls-and-roses shit aside—seriously, has the iconography for any other brand (which, goddess help us, they were) been more mismatched?—and you’ve got songs that make you want to pick up your guitar and sing and play along. The following case in point is the first track from Workingman's Dead, and the most fun you'll ever have playing in the key of G.

I find the song especially appropriate for this time of year. The first full month is behind us and don't you know...

Oh the first days are the hardest days
Don't you worry anymore

Because when life looks like Easy Street

There is danger at your door.

So I guess I'm all right, then. Good to know!


Friday, February 01, 2013

Belated Notes on Belatedly Watching Prometheus

I write this under the assumption that everyone has seen and/or formed an opinion about this movie now. If you haven’t, that’s okay, too. You likely won’t understand a goddamn thing I’m talking about. I’d heard/read spoilers about Prometheus for six months since its June 2012 release and it was still a rather, uh, unique experience to see it for myself.

I found a copy of Prometheus on DVD at the library last week. I’d read all the negative reviews, heard it was a waste of two hours, etc. Regardless, this was the great Sir Ridley Scott returning to the very franchise/universe that kicked off his career 30-something years ago. I had to see how he screwed this up.