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Archive for the ‘John Warner’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: BLACK SABBATH-Sabotage (1975).

Sabotage seems to be somewhat forgotten (maybe because of the creepy cover art 0f Ozzy in a kimono and fascinating platform shoes, Bill Ward in red tights with a codpiece (and visible underwear on the back cover), and Geezer and Tony’s mustaches).
But this album rocks pretty hard and heavy.
“Hole in the Sky” is a sort of spastic rocker with Ozzy screaming vocals over the top of the rocking track.
“Don’t Start (Too Late)” is the by now obligatory acoustic guitar piece.  But this one is different, for it has some really wild and unpredictable aspects to it.

“Symptom of the Universe” is another classic Sabbath track, a blistering heavy fast riff with the wonderful Ozzy-screamed: “Yeaaaaaahs!”  It then surprises you by going into an extended acoustic guitar workout for a minute and a half at the end.

“Megalomania” is a slow ponderous piece. Unlike the psychedelic tracks from the previous records, this one moves along with a solid back beat. It also has a great bridge (“Why doesn’t everybody leave me alone?”). They definitely had fun with the effects (echoing vocals, etc.) on this one.  And, like their prog rock forebears, this song segues into another rhythm altogether when we get the wonderfully fast rock segment.  And the humorous point where the music pauses and Ozzy shouts “Suck me!”

“Thrill of it All” is a pretty good rocker, which after a  pretty simple opening morphs into a slow, surprisingly keyboard-fueled insanely catchy coda.  “Supertzar” is a wonderfully creepy instrumental.  It runs 3 minutes and is all minor-keys and creepy Exorcist-like choirs.  When the song breaks and the bizzaro Iommi riff is joined by the choir, you can’t help but wonder why no horror film has used this as its intro music.

“Am I Going Insane (Radio)” is a very catchy keyboardy track.  It clearly has crossover potential (although the lyrics are wonderfully bizarre).  But it ends with totally creepy laughing and then wailing.    “The Writ” ends the album. It’s another solid rocker and it ends with an acoustic coda with Ozzy’s plaintive vocals riding over the top.

Sabotage has some truly excellent moments.  It’s just hard to fathom the amount of prog-rock tendencies they’ve been throwing onto their last few discs (we’ll say Rick Wakeman had something to do with it).

Black Sabbath made two more albums before Ozzy left.  I haven’t listened to either one of them in probably fifteen years.  And my recollection of them is that they’re both pretty lousy.  Maybe one of these days I’ll see if they prove me wrong.

[READ: December 16, 2009] McSweeney’s #7

This was the first McSweeney’s edition that I didn’t buy new.  My subscription ran out after Issue #6 and I never saw #7  in the stores.  So, I recently had to resort to a used copy.

This issue came packaged with a cardboard cover, wrapped with a large elastic band.

Inside you get several small volumes each with its own story (this style hearkens back to McSweeney’s #4, but the presentation is quite different).  7 of the 9 booklets feature an artistic cover that relates to the story but is done by another artist (not sure if they were done FOR the story or not).  I have scanned all of the covers.  You can click on each one to see a larger picture.

The booklets range from 16 to 100 pages, but most are around 30 pages.  They are almost all fiction, except for the excerpt from William T. Vollman’s 3,500 page Rising Up and Rising Down and the essays that accompany the Allan Seager short story. (more…)

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mcsweeneys3SOUNDTRACK: PEARL JAM-Riot Act (2002).

riotactThis album seems to get overshadowed by the anti-George Bush track “Bu$hleaguer.” Evidently many people were turned off by this track, and that may have had an impact on sales. Of course, I’m sure many other people were introduced to the band by this song, too. Regardless, the rest of the album shouldn’t be judged by this track, as it is rather unusual.

This disc is the first one to feature a dedicated keyboardist, “Boom” Gaspar.  He’s present on all of the live discs from this concert tour, and it is quite disconcerting the first time you hear the audience yell “Boooooooooooom” when he comes out.  But he plays a mean organ solo.

“Can’t Keep” opens the disc sounding unlike other PJ tracks.  It has a vibe like Led Zeppelin III–almost a world-acoustic feel.  “Save You” rocks out with the classic chorus, “And fuck me if I say something you don’t wanna hear.  And fuck me if you only hear what you wanna hear.  Fuck me if I care.”  A great fast song with a cool bassline.  “Love Boat Captain” feature Boom Gaspar’s first contribution to a song: lots of organ.  It’s a rather touching song, a gentle piece, except for a center part which rocks out. “Cropduster” features a delicate chorus after a skittery verse.  If you are familiar with Matt Cameron’s contributions to the band, you’ll not be surprised by the unusual sound of this song.

“I Am Mine” starts a section of three great songs. This one is acousticy and uplifting.  “Thumbing My Way” is a pretty PJ ballad.  Then “You Are” has a really funky wah wahed sound on almost the whole song.  Three great tracks in a row.

Not that “Get Right” is bad.  It just doesn’t quite fit the mood of the previous three.  Rather, this is a punk blast that feels more than a little off-kilter (another Cameron track, of course).   “Help Help” begins the really weird section of the disc with this peculiar song (catchy chorus though).  It’s followed by “Bu$hleaguer” a spoken word rant, with an abstract chorus.  The chanting aspect is interesting, th0ugh.  “Arc” is a short chant, no doubt reflecting Eddie’s duet with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

“1/2 Full” returns to the “proper” songs with this sloppy jam.  The verses are quiet but the choruses rock.  “All or None” is another mellow disc ender, this one has some good subtle drumming that really propels this jazzy song.

At this point in Pearl Jam’s career, we get yet another solid effort.  You more or less know what to expect on their releases although there’s always a surprise.

[READ: May 7, 2009] McSweeney’s #3

This is the third volume of McSweeney’s print journal.  This one, like the first two, is a white, softcover edition.  If you click on the cover above it will take you to the flickr page with a larger picture.

[UPDATE: September 25, 2009]

It has just come to my attention that David Foster Wallace DOES have a  piece in this magazine.  (See my comment on the Notes from the authors).  His piece runs on the spine of the book and is called:
“Another Example of the Porousness of Various Borders (VI): Projected but not Improbable Transcript of Author’s Parents’ Marriage End, 1971” (which is also available in his book Brief Interviews with Hideous Men under the title “Yet Another Example of the Porousness of Certain Borders (VI)”).

The piece itself is almost shorter than the whole title and is basically a funny argument about which parent would get the double-wide trailer and which parent would get him.  Pretty funny stuff, and even funnier for being on the spine.

Okay, back to the issue.

[end UPDATE]

The opening colophon on this one explains the price increase (from $8 to $10).  It’s because this is a longer issue, it has color plates (foldouts!) and because of a sad but amusing anecdote of a lost bag with $2,000 cash.
There’s also notes about some stories (the Hoff & Steinhardt pieces are true) and an apology of sorts for running a story about the Unabomber.

And an actual (presumably) envelope sent from the titular Timothy McSweeney, as a way of verifying the authenticity of the title of the journal.

The final page of the colophon shows a sample of how long it will take for them to respond to submissions (which should not be funny fake news).  And it ends with a half a dozen or so random questions, which they do answer: ARE THE RIVERS THAT FLOW FROM HOT SPRINGS HOT? They are often very warm.  DO THEY GIVE OFF STEAM? Yes, and they smell vaguely of sulfur. MARTIN VAN BUREN: He had a certain charm.  etc.

LETTERS PAGE:

JONATHAN LETHEM
Ride with Jonatahn Lethem and the Mad Brooklynite as he narrates Manhattan’s superiority complex when it comes to the other boros.  Funny stuff. (more…)

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