Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Sooner or Later

You're probably thinking I'm referencing Hank Williams with the "see the light" jazz in the previous post. Bzzzzzt wrong answer. "I Saw the Light" is a great song, and would be on a top 100 list of them if I ever made such a thing. But what I was thinking of, what was going through my head, was the Jeff Healey band's "See the Light".

Remember that. It's important.


Sunday I got a chance to listen to Oi!sters on XM radio 53. I've meant to tune in to that show as long as I've had my receiver but just never actually did. Wish I had before, because I enjoyed it quite a bit. You may remember how dissapointed I was with the Slam-A-Lot show on XM 53. It is touted as the hardcore show but was mostly metal, or at best "metalcore". Hey, I enjoy that style, but if you order a strawberry shake you want strawberry, not chocolate.

Oi!sters was truer to its advertising. Plenty of good old-fashioned working-class themed punk rawk. Exactly what I wanted to hear.

As pretty much everything does, this inspired many an hour of surfing the 'net. I was curious: was the Wikipedia definition of Oi! worthwhile (unlike the Wikipedia definition of girl group)?

I was pleasently surprised to find it was. As a bonus, I also discovered a great way to waste a few hours (or, if you're like me, a few days): Bandtoband.com. I've only played around with it a bit, first connecting 7 Seconds to other bands, then Funkadelic. I was a bit surprised by the longest path I found - Madonna->Funkadelic. Expected that one to be shorter.

After playing around on that site for a while I returned to Wikipedia, looking up straightedge bands. Apparently there have been 3 'waves' of straightedge. I fit in best with (guess it) 'old school straight edge', even though I was listening primarily during the 'youth crew' era. (Confused? You won't be after checking this link out. Or, at least not by this anymore).
One of the articles mentioned the pro wrestler CM Punk. Straightedge posturing is part of his in-ring gimmick. Interesting. I really dig this kind of connection between disparate interests.


Remember Jeff Healey? I told you he would be important. He played the leader of the bar band in the movie Roadhouse. Also in that movie was Terry Funk. A professional wrestler.

See? Sooner or later everything comes down to pro wrestling. Somehow.


A little housekeeping here: this post is again way off task, but the next few should be more on-topic so to speak. Not that I'm abandoning the idea of not talking about what I'm talking about. Even though I'm talking about it.

Oy vey. I'm giving myself a headache. If only things were as simple as left and right, black and white, 0 and 1.


Monday, July 30, 2007

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road/See The Light

Well, Shinders folded.

Chances are this means nothing to you. Shinders was a Minneapoliis area newstand/collectables store. It was founded in 1916 and from 1992-2004 was my employer. 4 years of the current (prior to the recent shutdown) ownership managed what the Great Depression, WWII, Vietnam, and Iraq failed to do: shut 'er down.

I have fond childhood memories of Shinders. It was always a part of what "big city" to me. A place I could pick up the latest issue of "Maximum Rock n Roll" or whatever. Where I could feel a part of whatever pop culture clique I was aspiring to. Where the folks picking up "Better Homes and Gardens" were the odd ones out, and folks like me looking for obscure imported titles were the norm.

As an employer Shinders was a mixed bag. I was probably lucky to move on when I did. However, it was during my time at Shinders I moved from casual comics reader to die hard collector. It is a hobby that greatly enhanced my life, and working at Shinders had more than a little to do with my becoming passionate about it.

The downtown location used to be open 24 hours. I remember the lights, shopping in that store at 3 am.

Those lights are gone, now. There are other places with similar product, but Shinders is gone.

One commentator after the shutdown said he couldn't understand why folks were so loyal to that store.

Guess he never saw the lights.

Friday, July 27, 2007

My Tshirt Disturbs Me

Yesterday I was wearing a t-shirt from '92, around the time of the "Death of Superman" storyline in the (guess where) Superman titles. That is relevant because the shirt depicts (guess it again) Superman's funeral. (Don't worry. He died but he got better ...)

The shirt depicts a funeral procession with many of the DC heroes following behind the pall bearers carrying the casket. For fun I will sometimes try to name them all. Since many of them are at best minor characters, this is quite a task even for an alpha geek like me. Yesterday, looking at it, a few things bugged me a little.

1) No Lori Lemaris.

Come to think of it, I don't even know if she was in continuity (or real in the fake Superman universe) at that time. Goofy as DC comics may sometimes be, they have stayed away from things like mermaid girlfriends in modern continuity.

2) Beast Boy is a pall bearer.

The pall bearers include many of the heavy hitters hero-wise ... and Beast Boy. Why? I can't fathom it really.

3) No Batman.

Granted, Bats had his own problems around that time (broken back and all), and was in a "crabby pants" phase and probably didn't want to hang out any way. Still seems like a pretty major omission.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

How I'm Spending Sunday

If it is not Sunday when you are reading this, you may wish to wait untill that day for maximum effect.

Or not.

Spending most of today using my computer. Thought I'd take the time to rip an old cassette I have from the Finnish band Terveet Kadet and make a CD. Not going well. The source material isn't terribly well recorded. GIGO. Sounds like mud no matter how much tweaking I do.

My other computer-related project is debugging a comic-book database I'm writing in Java. I've been working on this project in one form or another for over a decade. I get a useable product and then restart. I'm just having fun, so it doesn't really matter.

This post is totally off task. Doesn't fit into the structure I have for this blog at all.

[Ominous music]

Or does it?

[Ominous music fades]

The Lost Post (Freakwater)

Well, everything turned out for the best with loosing my last post. I'll never get that hour and a half back, and I haven't found a way to retrieve what I had written, but it set events in motion that ended a years-long quest.

First though, the external sites I linked to. I went through the trouble of tracking this stuff down, might as well use it: Hayseed Dixie, Otyg, Finntroll, The Angels. Obviously I had a musical theme, but I may use the same general themes in a later entry, so like the guy in the Monty Python sketch says: "Say no more!"

Pity I lost the post. Best writing I've ever done. Shakespeare quality really. Would have changed the world of music criticism forever. And who's going to contradict me? :)

Actually, losing the post saved me the embarassment that would have resulted from posting it. See, I made a little mistake. In one part I mentioned a band but couldn't quite remember the name - and got the name wrong. It's funny how memory works. The group in question records for a label out of Chicago. I was using the name of another band also releasing stuff on a Chicago label.

The group I was misnaming is Freakwater. Being able to say that represents the end of a quest.

The quest began several years ago when I heard this haunting Carter Family-style cover of Black Sabbath's "War Pigs". It was a "Brian Wilson" type moment for me. (The first time Brian Wilson heard the Ronnettes "Be My Baby" on his car radio he actually had to pull over and stop driving. I call that a Brian Wilson moment - you hear a song and it just floors you, expanding your notions of what music can be.) I've since heard it again once or twice, but could never quite remember who it was.

I figured I might as well link to info on the band as long as I was redoing my original post. In looking for info on a group whose name I could not remember I finally found the information I had been looking for on and off for years.


Saturday, July 14, 2007


I continue to be befuddled by Blogger. I've taken to just signing in to make a new post right off my blog's page, but today doing that froze my browser. No problem, that has happened before, I just kill the process the browser is running as, it goes away, all is right with the world. Only today I couldn't kill the process and had to reboot entirely. Weird.

And I have a reason to want to blog today. No, nothing notable is going on in my life, and my desire to ramble about girl groups isn't THAT compelling, but when life pretty much hands you a topic, well, you gotta blog about it.

Three things that have a common thread:

Thing one:

I sumbled across the MySpace page for the band (A).P.P.L.(E). I probably haven't thought about them once in the last dozen years. I listened to them a lot in the early/mid 90s. I kind of like when folks play with expected musical paradigms, and with a style that can only be described as folk-punk (folkcore?), (A).P.P.L.(E) do just that. Glad to see they're still kicking around. Real blast from the past for me.

Thing two:

A coworker lent me a big stack of CDs. Mostly anime soundtracks, but one of the non-Japanese discs was

THIS STINKS. I just lost 1 1/2 hours work finishing this post ... and no, nothing beyond the above was saved as a draft. I'm going to bed, and maybe redo this tommorrow ...

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Live Earth

You readers don't know how lucky you are. I had a different post in mind, but 2 things happened:

1) The Live Earth concerts were today
2) It was the hottest day of the year, and heat tires me out - even when I'm not actually out doing anything in it.

I had planned on listening to the concerts on XM, but spent enough of the day in a situation where I had to be able to hear anyone buzzing my apartment that I just said to heck with it (another effect of hot weather - almost complete lack of ambition). I did manage to catch the summary show on NBC, which included at least some of what I was interested in.

Madonna - I really prefered her performance at Live 8. Too much emphasis today on the non-musical aspects of the performance. I like Madonna, but really wonder - why did she get TWO songs on NBC when everybody else got at most one?

Metallica - I never thought of them as a global benefit performing sort of group, but there they were. Unfortunately the song shown on NBC was "Enter Sandman". These guys did 3 straight-on classic albums (Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets, ...And Justice For All), somebody thinks we need to hear a song off a less-than-classic album. I guess the fact that it was a commercial success decides these things ...

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Continuing the theme of bands I like doing material that doesn't grab me ... If you're going to play an older song, at least make it from your artistic high point. But again, probably the whole commerial success thing.

Duran Duran - Speaking of older songs, it is either cool or sad that the one NBC broadcast ("Girls on Film") is nigh on 25 years old. But I liked it then, liked it today.

Roger Waters - The good first: giant floating inflateable pigs are cool. It's axiomatic. And the giant inflateable floating pig was present. The bad: performed "Another Brick in the Wall II" (no points for creativity, but an OK choice) with a bunch of kids on stage - and I'm pretty sure they weren't miked! They made little hand motions and stuff, but the kid vocals were clearly lifted from the album.

Those were pretty much the ones I was looking forward to. Pleasant surprise: Garth Brooks. He did almost an old-time spiritual, a la "We Shall Overcome". I enjoyed it, which is not what I expect as a reaction to Garth Brooks. Only one performer inspired me to channel hop and wait for it to be over: Shakira.

Not a mind-blowing musical experience by any stretch, but not a terrible batch of performances either. I give it (what I heard of it) 2 1/2 out of 5 stars.

You're probably wondering how you are lucky to get this little rant rather than my original idea. Stay tuned. "What's In A Girl (Group)" is on its way. :)

Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Letter

I'm posting this from work. Which is probably wrong, but oh well. I picked up my mail before work. I got this bizarre card in it.

Yes, card not letter. But I have this little game where I title posts after songs. I don't know of a song called "The Card" ("Postcard", yes. But not just "card". Synchronicity here: that is a Boris Grebeshnikov song ... I mentioned him a few posts ago ...) Thus "The Letter".

The card was from the manufacturer of the drug I inject daily to control my MS symptoms. It congratulated me on one year of taking the drug.

Weird, huh?

Wednesday, July 4, 2007


No, I'm not going away.

Final words (probably) on Chris Benoit here. And they're not even mine! But they are very similar to what I would write.

Final climb: I'm tiring of this metaphor. I had planned on a big celebratory post and virtual flag-raising. But things didn't turn out that way. Reached the summit, on the other side just more mountains.

Oh well.


I guess.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

I'm gonna be the coolest kid in the neighborhood

I was feeling kind of down today. Let's face it, I've got plenty lately to feel down about. Even grocery shopping didn't work as a pick-me-up (I usually enjoy that activity. Go figger.) I stumbled across something that improved my mood.

I'm going to buy a T-shirt.

Not just any shirt, though. I came across a domestic source for shirts featuring the band Guitar Wolf.

Guitar Wolf is not horribly well known here in the US, even though the movie Wild Zero, featuring the band, is out on region 1 (US/Canada) DVD. Here are some links to learn about them: wikipedia, official site, MySpace, IMDB.

How I stumbled upon this shows the benefits of having a short attention span when using the Internet. I started trying to answer a simple question: who is touring currently as TheTime? Morris Day of course, but the rest of the group? They played a free concert tonight Unfortunately I couldn't go, but it got me curious. I of course ended up on Wikipedia looking at the current lineup. There was a link there to other Prince-associated artists, so I started clicking on some of those. Eventually that got me to the entry on Vanity 6. There was a link there to a list of girl groups.

I have to say, the definition there of "girl group" is flat-out wrong. The working definition seems to be groups fronted by multiple female vocalists. And many girl groups are indeed that. But other groups that fit that definition are most assuradly NOT girl groups. Including Vanity 6. But I digress.

Anyway, on this list was a link to an entry on Puffy AmiYumi. I like that group, so I clicked there. This linked me to a list of Japanese groups, which led me to Guitar Wolf, whom I had not even thought about in quite a while ...

I also might get a shirt for my favorite Japanese band Judy and Mary (the vocalist, Yuki, reminds me of a hyper Ronnie Spector. Who had been sucking helium.) I'm not sure because the one I found is a homemade shirt. No money gets back to the artist, which is important to me even if the artist's cut is small.

But anyway ... I figure once I get the shirt I'll just about be the coolest cat my workplace has ever seen. Of course no one but me will know (we are trolling some pretty obscure waters here), but that's part of being cool.