Archive for the ‘Lucy Thomas’ Category

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.


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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jokesSOUNDTRACK: THE FLAMING LIPS-Transmissions from the Satellite Heart (1993).

transIt’s easy to see how people could cry about the Lips moving to a major label.  I mean, comparing this to Hear It Is, they’re like different bands. Except that they’re not.  They’re still the same band, they’re just better, more refined, more mature (maybe) and they know how to use their previous experiments in a way that assists and strengthens the music.

Pretensions aside, this was the disc that scored them their biggest hit, “She Don’t Use Jelly.”  It’s a super catchy, slightly annoying, certainly borderline novelty song (except that all Lips songs are borderline novelty, they’re so weird).  I was thrilled when I saw the Lips on the Soft Bulletin tour and they not only played “Jelly,” they made a big party out of it with balloons and all kinds of fun.

“Jelly” isn’t entirely representative of the album, but, if you really listen to it, it’s not that far afield from the rest of the disc either.  “Turn It On” is the first time you can really hear all the elements of the Lips coalescing into what they would one day become.  Wayne’s voice is coming in close to what we know now, and the musicianship is quite good.  “Pilot Can at the Queer of God” (see, their titles haven’t sold out!) on an earlier disc would have been a messy shambles, but their refined sense makes this a fantastic song with cool backing vocals and everything.  A sort of punk Beach Boys if you will.

“Chewin the Apple of Your Eye” could actually have been a B-Side of Soft Bulletin, in its simple acousticness.  “Superhumans” starts showing off the kind of interesting drum sound that would be a staple of their later releases (this disc welcomes drummer and main contributor Steve Drozd, so that makes sense).

“Be My Head” is another fun Beach Boysesque song. It’s such a simple, happy song (complete with ahh’s in the background).  The distorted guitar isn’t overpowering.  The only thing that is decidedly not Brian Wilson is the lyrics (“You can be my head, I’m through with this one).

“Moth in the Incubator” seems to summarize their whole career in one song.  An acoustic intro, a noisy, crashing middle section and then a slight weird yet catchy as hell melody to close.

Track 9 is listed as “********” but its’ actually a song called “Plastic Jesus” from the film Cool Hand Luke.  A short acoustic song.

The disc ends with the really cool “Slow Nerve Action” a very simple riff, but it is played so differently from the rest of the album, (almost like a professional guitarist?!).  A simple song but very catchy.  An excellent end to a great disc.

[READ: January 26, 2009] Jokes Told in Heaven About Babies

I can’t really say how disappointed I was by this book.  And primarily I was disappointed because the title is awesome and has so much potential.  However, the title is neither accurate nor expounded upon.  That’s right, the book with probably the funniest title published in 2003 is misleading. (more…)

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