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Archive for the ‘Graphic Novel’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: PJ MORTON-Tiny Desk Concert #120 (December 2, 2020).

PJ Morton did a Tiny Desk Concert back in 2018 and he won me over musically (although I didn’t love his voice).

If we invite artists to return to the Tiny Desk, we ask that they do something completely different from their first show. For PJ Morton, the obvious shift would’ve been to come solo. After all, he defied the laws of space back in 2018 and managed to squeeze 14 bodies behind the Desk. This time around he’s just as generous with the spotlight, but puts a new focus on gospel.

Gathered in a big airy space in his hometown of New Orleans, PJ and his band performed three selections from the now Grammy-nominated The Gospel According To PJ, his very first gospel album. He grew up playing gospel music, but chose secular music as his professional path. The album brings him back full circle, a journey mapped out in conversations on the album with his father, Bishop Paul S. Morton.

I like the sound of gospel, although lyrically I’m not that interested in it.  I’m also not that keen on his guest vocalists.

PJ only sings lead on one song but is clearly the maestro for this Tiny Desk (home) concert.

I like that the guests appear on TV screens in the middle of the room.

They open with the reggae-infused “So In Love,” featuring Darrel Walls and Zacardi Cortez.

This song opens with the standard reggae drum fill from Ed Clark before the reggae guitar of Shemaiah Turner and bass of Brian Cockerham join the trumpets from John Perkins and Stephen Lands and saxophones of Tajh Derosier and Brad Walker.

Darrel Walls sings first; Zacardi Cortez has an interesting raspy style of singing.  But I am far more interested in the backing singers who sound fantastic: Tiondria Norris, Jarell Bankston and Ashton Fortner Francis.

The song slows way down to just some lovely horns and piano as the song segues into the very religious song “All In His Plan.”  Morton sings this one and again, I love the backing singers.

The set closes with “Repay You,” featuring J Moss.

I’ve also never heard of him.  He’s got a Stevie Wonder kind of delivery.   I really don’t like the grace notes that he uses, but when he tells PJ to “let him be intimate” and he sings quietly it sounds really nice.  Morton’s piano is also really good.

[READ: December 30, 2020] “Acting Class” 

In 2019, the New Yorker experienced a cartoon takeover issue.  The same has happened to end 2020.  There are many many cartoons in it, including this excerpt from a Drawn & Quarterly.

I don’t know Nick Drasno’s work.  At first I thought it looked a lot like Chris Ware (lots of detail).  But Drasno’s people look very different from Ware’s.  Drasno’s people are realistic but with very limited line work–he conveys a lot with just a few lines.

This story opens in a car–there’s a neat moment in an early panel where he has light fall on one of the characters to show movement–a simple but elegant touch.  They are driving from the city to the middle of nowhere to go to an acting seminar. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: MULATTO-Tiny Desk (Home) Concert #117 (November 25, 2020).

Most of the Tiny Desk (Home) Concerts have been live (or slightly edited).  This one is clearly not.  There are many times when as she crosses her leg one way, a quick cut shows her with her legs crossed the other way.  So I’m not sure what’s going on–if it’s multiple takes or just her lip-syncing, but it’s very disconcerting.

Mulatto, known as Big Latto has released her debut album, Queen Of Da Souf,

At a time when women in hip-hop are running laps around the guys without so much as shifting their lace fronts, Latto is finding her footing in the new rap canon with Gold-charting singles and standout freestyles.

Also, who knew this was a thing:

As the inaugural winner of the Lifetime reality show The Rap Game and someone who’s made music since the age of 10, the personality that Latto brings to her bars is goofy, assertive and steadfast.  Latto rocks an aqua wig and raps perched from her throne.

I really like that the first song features a live violin (Joy Black).  It’s such an interesting idea and she plays some fast, intense strings.  It works perfectly.

“Blame Me” is a slower sone.  The melody sounds more than a little like “The Way It Is.”

It’s not until “He Say She Say” when Latto rises up from her seat to put extra emphasis behind this reminder: “Self-made b****, hell you talkin ’bout? / Yea, I got it out the mud, no handout.”

“He Say She Say” has a cool off-kilter almost horror movie melody from keyboardist SK.  Her singing and rapping is really good, but I get really bored of all the bitches and f-bombs and n-words.  I realize that that’s the street and the way young people talk, but it gets really monotonous.

[READ: December 20, 2020] Long Way Down: The Graphic Novel.

Jason Reynolds wrote the novel Long Way Down in 2017.  This graphic novel adaptation has some great artwork by Danica Novgorodoff

This is the story of William Holloman–Will.

The story starts out with Will and his friends on the basketball court.  His friend Tony is a great player but he is short and he knows you can’t go pro if you’re short. Will’s brother Shawn comes over to say hi to them.  Then there is a gunshot. Everybody

Did what we’ve all been trained to do.  Pressed our lips to the pavement and prayed the boom, followed by the buzz of a bullet, ain’t meet us.

But this time it hit Shawn.

When bad things happen, we can usually look up and see the moon big and bright shining over us.  But when Shawn died the moon was off.

Novgorodoff does some wonderful color work in these scenes–really creating a range of emotions in a small space. (more…)

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  SOUNDTRACK: OZUNA-Tiny Desk (Home) Concert #97 (October 16, 2020).

Ozuna is described as a global superstar and is one of the most watched and listened-to artists on earth. [That link takes you to a Guiness Records page where he is recognized for how much he has been listened to].

Of course, I’ve never heard of him.

Ozuna is a crown jewel in the global crest of Latin pop, a movement whose modern success in reggaeton and Latin trap is indebted to the Caribbean genres Ozuna heard growing up in Puerto Rico, sounds like old-school reggaeton and reggae en español, dembow, dancehall and more.

This Home Concert apparently brings Ozuna’s sound to a more quiet place.

For someone whose work often operates at galactic proportions, this performance of five songs makes room for Ozuna’s sweet tenor to take center-desk in a love letter to the global communities that supported and streamed him to god tier status.

The Puerto Rican singer kicks it off with a breezy rendition of “Caramelo.”

Breezy is a great word for it.  It feels tropical with a reggae rhythm from Freddie “YoFred” Lugo on bass and Elí Bonilla on drums.  The two guitarists (Carlos Mercader and Benson Pagán) play reggae chords and some lead licks.

that leads into a solo version of the sun-drenched “Del Mar” from ENOC, his fourth album that he’s deemed a return to his roots.

It opens with a cool guitar lick and some pleasant keys (Edgardo Santiago).  But Ozuna’s delivery is much faster than the chill music.    I really like the way the backing singer José Aponte matches his voice so perfectly.

Dancing around in the back is the DJ Erick “Yonell” Pachecho.  I’m not really sure what he’s doing back there but he seems very busy.

This pared-down performance makes good on that promise, reworking star-studded collaborations, like the ballad “Despeinada,” as they should be sung: languorously and with intimacy.

“Despeinada” is a quiet ballad.  You can hear Hector Meléndez on the piano playing pretty fills as the rest of the band grooves.  It segues into the banger “Taki Taki” (which I can’t help but imagine is about those purple-bagged chips that I see at the Wawa).

Even the pop smash “Taki Taki” sounds brand new, buoyed by his alchemical flow and energy.

This is my favorite song of the set, from the bouncing rhythm, to the loopy keyboard melody to the fun of singing “taki taki.”  This song is quite short, so it’s clearly just an excerpt. The same is true for “Mamacita” which is barely 2 minutes.  But the flow of this song is great.

I guess the world is right about him.

[READ: November 24, 2020] Nano

I found this book in the hold of our library.  It’s from 2009, although I believe that we received it in 2012.  This means that it has been sitting in our storage area for 8 years and nobody has asked to see it.

This isn’t the only book in this situation–we have many, many books that are unlikely to be read–but most of them are nonfiction and not really timely anymore.  This book, however, is a cute little (40 page) book of cartoons.  And, best yet, they have no words.

There is an introduction (in Spanish) from Máximo, who I assume is the cartoonist Max.  I assume this because Máximo doesn’t come up in searches and because the introduction talks about how Nano is the tiny everyman.  So Máximo is a funny twist on a tiny person.  Or so I think. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: AND THE KIDS-When This Life Is Over (2019).

I’ve seen And the Kids twice and they put on a fantastic live show.  I highly recommend seeing them when live shows start again. 

The core of the band is Hannah Mohan on guitar and vocals and Rebecca Lasaponaro on (fantastic) drums.  For this record they were a four piece (although no names are included on the disc).

“No Way Sit Back” starts the record with a slow swinging song that features the wonderful wordless hook of Mohan singing “oooh oh oh no.” Midway through, the song shifts gears to a kind of glockenspiel melody over the lyrics “the world is never made for us.”  Even though lyrically this album is dark, musically it is really lovely.

“Butterfingers” lopes along at an unusual pace before a really catchy guitar melody kicks in midway through.  There’s some more catchy melodies as the two vocals line intertwine with each other.  Then comes “Champagne Ladies” a remarkably catchy song right from the get go.  The quietly rumbling guitar and the great vocal melody is nicely mimicked by the bass.  It’s a really fantastic song and should have been a big hit, even with the uplifting chorus: “life is a bastard, it wants to kill you don’t let go.”  But if the lyrics are too dark, there’s another fun wordless “ah ah ah” melody near the end.    

“2003” opens with a penny whistle introduction (when I saw them live, Mohan played the whistle and then just tossed it aside before she started singing).  There’s some excellent unusual and complex drumming at the top of this song. 

“The Final Free” has grooving guitars and a cool part in the middle where the guitar follows the vocal line in a quiet but catchy melody.  “When This Life Is Over” has a kind of hawaiian feel to it with guitars and choral vocals.   “Special For Nothing” is a quieter song that builds into a gorgeous soaring chorus. When the song shifts to the middle part and the music all falls back except for the vocals, it’s really quite lovely.  I love when the backing vocals do counterpoint over the refrain

“Get To That Place” is a short song, less than two minutes and sounds like a bedroom recording (lots of hiss) but as the song gets bigger there’s some cool vocal tricks (so much soaring highs) and glockenspiel.  It’s followed by another short song.  The mellow “Somethings (Are) Good” is just over two minutes with more overlapping vocals and a dynamite melody. 

“White Comforters” sounds bigger and more full sized.  It’s much slower with a bouncy guitar melody and a lot of spare playing. It starts a little too quietly but it builds very nicely.  “Religion” brings back the rocking guitars with a loud opening and a simple but catchy guitar melody, the joyous vocals with two layers of oh ho ho s really makes this song soar to glorious heights.

The disc ends with “Basically We Are Dead” a longer song that opens with a quieter guitar melody and vocal.  Atmospheric keys fill in the backing moments along with a bouncy synth melody and some joyful bah bah bahdahs.  But before the song ends, some familiar chugging guitar chords enter the song and they sing the chorus to “Champagne Ladies” one last time before it’s all over.

And the Kids play wonderful indie pop with plenty of unexpected twists.  And they are terrific live, too.

[READ: November 5, 2020] The Divided Earth

This is the final book in the The Nameless City trilogy.

The book opens with the leaders of the city agreeing that their sacred fire, Napatha, must be destroyed, lest it be used by one of the splintering factions.  But one copy of the recipe spared–given to the monks to hide for as long as was necessary.

Then we flash forward.

Kaidu is sitting with Rat and the others, resting up for what’s to come.

We see Mura, the woman who was abandoned by the monks as a little girl, receiving that copy of the book from the monks (they are hesitant).  She has every intention of learning the formula and creating the Napatha again. She imagines giving the formula to all of the other Dao generals for maximum production against the Yisun.  But Ezri, who has forcibly put himself in charge of the Dao people, wants to keep it under wraps.  Being a treacherous person, he anticipates treachery from everyone else as well.

The Yisun army is marching on the city.  Ezri hopes to have the Napataha ready to use against them.  He has just enough to show how powerful it is.  And it has the desired effect.

When Rat and Kaidu see what happened, Kaidu announces that he is going to steal the book from Mura’s clutches.  How?  Well, that’s where most of this book’;s adventure comes in.  It’s clever and stealthy and very exciting with switches and crosses and trouble everywhere.  They even get help from their minstrek friends (it’s always nice to see minor characters come back). 

At the same time, Kaidu’s parents (Kata and Andren) are (unbeknownst to Kadi and Rat) planning to negotiate with the Yisun army to save the city  Kata explains that she is in charge of the Dao tribe Liuvedao and she is no friend to the Dao regime currently ruling.

The soldier in charge of the Yisun army scoffs at this idea.  Until Kata’s secret weapon (which she didn’t know she had) steps forward and explains why the Yisun leader might want to hear them out. Kata proposes an dambush on the city, using an equal amount of Kata’s forces and the Yisum army. 

None of the attacking plans go smoothly.  Rat and Kaidu face very difficult odds (and many soldiers) and the ambush team literally walks into a dead end and needs to be rerouted through a sewer tunnel (ew).

There is a terrific showdown between Rat and Mura, two women whose lives began in a similar way but who took very different paths. And there are many many pages of battle scenes.  Hicks does a great job of keeping the action exciting and clear, with lots of one one one combat as well as an army of warriors.

The story has an epilogue set three years later, which is fun. It’s neat to see Kadi and Rat grows up some, although I could have used a dozen more pages of epilogue to see what things are like now.  And to see them catch up (there’s no Facetime back then). 

But even so, this was a great series, full of excitement and very emotional moments,.

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  SOUNDTRACK: PRIMUS-“The Devil Went Down to Georgia” (1996).

I’m not sure who the first band to cover this fantastic  Charlie Daniels Band song was, but Primus probably had the largest profile when they released it–even if they credited themselves as Festus Clamrod and The El Sobrante Twangers.

The song came with an excellent animated video.  Unfortunately, it was only ever available with the video.  It was eventually released on the vinyl reissue of Rhinoplasty, but you still can’t stream it on Spotify.

Which is a shame because it’s a real hoot.

Les Claypool excels at the story-song, so him narrating the story works perfectly (it’s just him and the drums for the verses).  Mark “Merv” haggard does a perfect young Johnny voice and Brian Kehoe is the great growly devil.

There’s some excellent fiddle work throughout the song (nothing deviating too much from the original,but played perfectly).  The violin is credited to Violina Mysteriosa (um thanks?).

It’s got some slide guitar (from Merv), but when the middle bridge come in it’s got lots of Primus-oddball guitar but the melody is spot on and Les’ voice has a delightful country twang to it.

When the band of demons joins in, the song goes bonkers with some weirdo guitar twanging from Ler and some noisy distorted bass from Les.  It sounds great, although I do miss the actual band of demons song which I’ve always thought totally kicked butt.

When Johnny starts playing, it’s all violin and Les stompin’ until the band joins in compete with a one-two bass and some slightly improv violin (in addition to the actual melody).

It’s a fun version of the song–not deviating too much from the original, but clearly Primus’ own.

[READ: November 3, 2020] The Big Break

I have really enjoyed everything that Mark Tatulli has written.  He’s a bit off my radar though, so I wasn’t aware of this full length graphic novel (or his previous one Short & Skinny).

This book is about two seventh grade boys, Andrew and Russ.  They have been friends for years and have done everything together.  Right now their project is to make a short film for The New Jersey Middle Grade Movie Viral Video Contest.

They have the perfect concept: The Jersey Devil!

Now, being from New Jersey, I found this concept to be wonderful.  I grew up hearing rumors about the Jersey Devil (even though I am hours from its haunting grounds).  Tatulli grew up in NJ as well, and he was obsessed with the devil (he lived closer to the PIne Barrens, I believe).

Their movie is a half-true / half-fictionalized account of their attempts to find the Jersey Devil.  It’s a kind of Blair Witch Project for middle schoolers.  Of course, they don’t have a Jersey Devil to film and their Play Doh monster is pretty lame.  But the rest of the film is really good.  They just need a good ending and they are on their way to becoming filmmakers–this will be their big break! (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: MAGIC SWORD-Endless (2020).

Not long after the release of the Awakening EP, Magic Sword is back to conclude the story arc that the previous albums have created.

The Keeper (red, keyboard, audio-visual), The Seer (blue, guitar), and The Weaver (yellow, drums) are Immortal and they have seen a story like this one unfold many times.  So they are not surprised by the direction it goes in.

“Depths of Power” opens this chapter with a slow pulsing matched with occasional power chords.  “Invincible” adds a new sound palette to the band’s music.  This song sounds a bit more like Tangerine Dream but with some more contemporary techno type sounds.

“Aftermath” adds some swirling uneasy sounds to the album.  It contains curlicues of sound that wiggle around and segue into “Empress” which has a low rumble underneath the propulsive synths.

“Shores of Oblivion” is a more eerie soundscape of wind and slow pulsing waves of emptiness. When the fast melody comes from out of the waves it feels like something sinister heading right for you.

“rophecy” adds some light to the proceedings with an uplifting melody which is eventually corrupted by “Corruption” and turns into a more threatening tone.

“Ritual” introduces a fairly heavy bassline and some more modern sounding synths.  Then “A New Quest” returns to the pulsing sound of old.  “Hope” starts quietly but brings am uplifting melody that continues throughout the song.

“Endless” ends the disc with strings–ominous at first but which move into a more stately melody that fades out slowly over a long time–continuing endlessly

The band also released a single of “Invincible” with a remix by Waveshaper.  I don’t typically like remixes, because mostly they just dump a new drum beat over an old melody, but this one plays around with the song in interesting ways.  It turns it into something different without losing the original.  I rather like the new bass line they add to the song.

In the comic book, Magic Sword says that this ends the cycle.  Does that mean the end of Magic Sword … or the beginning of a new cycle?

[READ: October 29, 2020] Magic Sword Volume 2, Chapter 3

Chapter 3 concludes this cycle somewhat unexpectedly for me (although it makes perfect sense once it is explained).

When Chapter 2 ended, Nayia came face to face (or more like face to big toe) with The Colossus.  It was the size of a mountain and seemed to be covered in bark.  It quickly grabbed hold of her with its tendrils, trying to burrow into her orifices.

But the power of the Magic Sword was still within her and it fought back where she couldn’t.  With its help she was easily able to best this beast.

But the story doesn’t end there. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: MAGIC SWORD-Awakening EP (2019).

It took three years for Magic Sword, the instrumental band from Boise Idaho, to release chapter two of the second volume of their saga.  In that time, they had released individual songs, but for this entire seven song EP (and comic book), the year of the sword took much longer than expected.

The Keeper (red, keyboard, audio-visual), The Seer (blue, guitar), and The Weaver (yellow, drums) have continued the saga but have expanded their sound a bit.  They still sound like a 1980s movie soundtrack, but it’s a bigger budget movie.

“Herald” opens the EP with a deep-voiced narration of the opening page of volume one, the paragraph that sets up the story of the Magic Sword.  It segues into “Awakening” which sounds bigger than anything they’ve done while still retaining the recognizable retro Magic Sword sound.  Midway through the guitar comes in with a quiet solo that introduces a funky element to the song–there’s even the a kind of bass guitar element.  It is a slow opening that sets the tone of the album as we await “The Harbinger.”

“The Harbinger” is under three minutes and projects an ominous low tone as a distant, distorted voice recites a passage that I can’t make out.  It segues into “Lady of Light” which follows a pretty synth melody that mutates into a middle with a distinctly funky/disco bass.  “Reborn” bursts forth like a big 1980’s synth anthem.  But it quickly changes tone with a pulsing soundtrack and a ripping guitar solo.  It all resolves into the anthemic conclusion.

“Shadow” introduces a more sinister sound–both the harsh higher notes and the menacing low growling synth that works as a perfect segue to the album ending “Colossus.”  It continues like the rest of the album with just a hint more menace in the crashing drums and delays of the loud synths and an absolutely roaring guitar solo to close out the disc.

Magic Sword still sounds like the same trio, but they sound even more assured.

[READ: October 29, 2020] Magic Sword Volume 2, Chapter 2

Chapter 1 introduced us to Tayia, the chosen one.  She is pure of heart and is therefore eligible to wield the Magic Sword and restore balance.

But as The Keeper explained, the Magic Sword will take control of her body–she will become death.

As Chapter 1 ended, The Keeper stopped time and Tayia grabbed the Magic Sword.  As Chapter 2 opens, time resumes and the creature who was about to attack her, a member of the Kihlhi tribe, realizes she is no longer where she was (time did not stop for her).

He crashes to the ground.

Continuing with the parallels between this story and present reality, the Kihlhi was

Spouting vile hatred through slurred speech.

One can only hope that in reality the vile creatures also

had no idea of the mighty change that had overtaken and transformed his prey.

Tayia’s power and will merged with the will of the sword creating beautiful arcs of pink.  She fights effortlessly, including a full page scene of her dance/kick. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: MAGIC SWORD-Legend EP (2016).

Magic Sword, the instrumental band from Boise Idaho, is back, following their epic Volume 1 with a 15 minute EP and a new angle to their story.

The three members of the band remain: The Keeper (red, keyboard, audio-visual), The Seer (blue, guitar), and The Weaver (yellow, drums).

This EP has three songs.

“Legend of the Keeper” begins slowly, like something building from primordial ooze.  Steam escapes as the music builds and turns into a kind of 1980’s montage soundtrack introducing the hero.  There were guitars on the first album, but they are more prominent here with a lengthy solo.

“Uprising” begins with a menacing pulse that resolves into a tense series of overlapping melodies.  It continues into some laser-sounding pulses that set the tone for the uprising to come.    “The Curse” has a simple keyboard melody, but underneath it, the low distorted notes sound like an animal, a demon, whispering words into your head.  But a soaring guitar solo pushes through the distortion.

There is a Deluxe Edition of the EP with three remixes: “Legend Of The Keeper (F.O.O.L. Remix),” “Uprising (The Indicator Remix)” and “The Curse (The Toxic Avenger Remix).”  I’m not keen on remixes so these don’t do much for me.

[READ: October 29, 2020] Magic Sword Volume 2, Chapter 1

Volume 1 set up the origins of the Magic Sword.  In Volume 2, we see it come to the aid of the desperate.

The Nierhi Valley people were a peaceful tribe, who knew no threats.

But the neighboring Kihlhi tribe had recently crossed the mountain that separated them.  The Kihlhi has been overtaken by a mysterious stranger who slowly sucked their humanity from them.  They soon thought only of murder and defilement.

The Niehri were easily overwhelmed until a thunderous crack on the top of the mountain meant only one thing: the arrival of the Magic Sword. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: MAGIC SWORD-Vol. 1 (2015).

Magic Sword is an instrumental band from Boise Idaho.

There are three members of the band: The Keeper (red, keyboard, audio-visual), The Seer (blue, guitar), and The Weaver (yellow, drums).

Magic Sword makes 1980’s-sounding sci-fi movie soundscapes.  Meaning there are a lot of synths, a lot of retro sound effects, and a lot of pulsing music.

The music feels like a soundtrack and that’s because it actually is. Magic Sword includes a comic book with each release (read about it below).

“The Beginning” sets the stage with a catchy synth melody before the intensity of “Sword Of Truth.”  After setting the stage, the lighter (but with a still menacing underbelly) “The Way Home” propels the story forward.

“Kill Them All” has words.  A quiet, whispered voice states

They came in the night
They killed everyone
I hid in the shadows
And then it came to me
The Magic Sword
And I killed them all

Dramatic chords rise as the music swells.  “In The Face Of Evil” presents a sinister bass melody as a lead melody wanders along it until it turns into a lengthy solo.

“Only Way In” is slower and more intense with a looping synth keeping the tension high as what sounds like birds echo in the background.  After a build up of intensity (can you see a hero making their way through a small passage) the tempo picks up.  This song has the most modern sounding music (almost an EDM kind of distorted beat) letting you know its not all retro.

“Reflection” allows for a moment to rest as gentle music falls down. But an ominous undertone is always present.  “Retrogram” feels like an opportunity to start anew as “Discover” ups the intensity with a far more retro pulsing synth sound.

“Memories In Shadow” slows things down as sprinklings of notes poke out of the ominous lower chords that sustain the song until it begins to rebuild as it heads toward the “Battlefield.”  “Battlefield” does not feel violent as expected–it’s more passionate but not scary.  There’s even a slow, quiet middle for a moment of reckoning.

“Infinite” feels uplifting, but there’s no time for rest as the abyss stares back at out hero.  “Journey’s End” feels solitary.  There is still work to do as our hero soars into the distant sky.

[READ: October 29, 2020] Magic Sword Volume 1

Volume 1 is the first graphic novel from the band Magic Sword.  There are presently four books in the series. The story follows The Keeper (red, keyboard, audio-visual), The Seer (blue, guitar), and The Weaver (yellow, drums) as they prepare for the necessary return of the Magic Sword.

This first book opens

In the beginning there was light

and Darkness.

But soon evil spread over the land like a plague.  [sounds familiar]. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: RHEOSTATICS-Mowat Collegiate Late (1982).

This Rheostatics show dates all the way back to 1982, when the band was very very different.

This is the second oldest show I have been provided with to date… (based on the fact that Chemical World is introduced as a new song and it isn’t played on the other Mowat show on the site). From Mowat Collegiate in Scarborough it is slightly later in the year and has much clearer sound.

These old shows confuse me because I can’t tell who is singing.  To me it sounds like Tim singing lead on all the songs, but I didn’t think he was the main singer back then.  Or is it that Dave Bidini’s voice is so much different because they were all just babies?  I assume it’s Bidini doing the talking, and his voice is sure different (not Tom Waits different, but still).  I’m also not sure who is playing what.  I assume Tim is on bass, but he doesn’t usually play bass when he sings.  Dave Clark is also very quiet (he is usually full of jokes and poetry and whatnot).  I’m assuming that’s David Crosby (not that David Crosby) on lead guitar.

And somebody is playing with a high pitched oscillator type sound for the first few songs.  I wonder who is doing that while apparently playing their actual instruments. 

This set starts out with “National Pride.”  A funky, bass-slapping, bass-sliding song that shows that the early Rheos were far more into funk than anything else. 

The set (actually I guess it is two sets) is full of covers.  But each one is done in their new wave-ish ska-ish, not sounding anything like the original, style

The Kinks’ “Well Respected Man About Town” is almost unrecognizable with the bouncy bass in the verses and the entirely un-Kinks-like quality to the rest of the song.

“Chemical World” is described as new song (it’s one of the few from this era that has survived a little).  It starts out with Dave Clark on drums. It’s all new wave guitar and a lolloping bass.

“Girl in My Magazine” is a full-on ska song with bouncy guitars and a big fat bass.

Then they run through “Louie Louie” which sounds like the original in some ways–melodically–but it’s still got that big funky bass sound going on. 

Dave (or Tim) keeps encouraging everyone to come up and dance.

Up next is the “single which we’ll be handing out after our next set (we’re playing twice) called “Satellite dancing.”  It’s got the same basic sound but with a kind of blues riff underpinning the ska guitars.

As the song ends, someone says, stay tuned for Mark Malibu & the funky Wasagas.  Interestingly Mark Malibu & the Wasagas broke up in 1982, but reformed with all the original members in 2014 and have released three albums.

Presumably after a break and they are back with a new set of different songs.

This set opens with a lengthy bass intro and echoing reggae guitars which turns into a lengthy drum solo.  It’s called “Reggae Trenchtown Jam” and it’s basically just a nine minute jam.  In the middle of the song while encouraging people to dance, someone says, In Missouri and Kentucky they’ve outlawed… [can’t hear the rest].

Up next is “My Generation,” which is “on that record.”  This is , like The Kinks’ cover, a very unusual new wave version of the song–again almost unrecognizable.  Despite the prominent bass in this set, there’s no wailing bass solos like ion the original.  There is a wailing guitar solo though and the song jams out about five minutes.   

Up next is the shortest song of the night.  “Man of Action” is under three minutes with more of those reggae guitars.

Then comes a song by Sly and the Family Stone.  “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” sounds like one of their own songs, they have so taken it over.  Surprisingly, given their funk, this sounds nothing at all like the original.  Even the super catchy chorus is done in a very different way.  They are indeed being Mice Elf.  There’s a jamming section at the end with some serious slap bass.

Up next is “an old ska song” called “The Suburb Shuffle.”  I can’t find anything about this song.  Although the introduction says “I’m sure everyone in Scarborough can relate to it.  It’s about green houses and black driveways and well-cut lawns and flowers in the sidewalks.   It has nothing to do with Martha and the Muffins.”  It is indeed a suburban ska song.

They end the set with “Shake Your Body Thang” and “we want everyone up on stage, especially Mark Malibu.”  I think this one musty be Tim singing.  The jam this one out for nearly nine minutes.  Mid way through, they invite people on stage.  There’s a break down when it’s just drums and vocals.  It’s got everything a 1982 collegiate rock band should have.

It’s impossible to believe that these are the same guys.

[READ: October 22, 2020] Lightfall Book 1

This is an enchanting first book in a new series. Tim Probert’s illustrations are wonderful–a fantastic soft palette and delightfully unusual characters.

Set in the land if Irpa, we first meet Bea and her cat Nimm. Bea is somewhat nervous by nature. Especially when it comes to a small jar with a flame in it which she is meant to be guarding.

Bea lives with her adoptive grandfather named Alfrid the Pig Wizard. Alfrid is, as the name suggests, a pig and a wizard and he makes potions for people. But he is also very forgetful. He leaves reminders for himself, but they don’t always help.

Bea ventures out to get some ingredients for a potion. She is in a tree, when the branch breaks. As she hangs on for dear life, a tall froglike creature walks past (on two legs), and as she falls out of the tree he catches her. The creature is Cadwaller, known as Cad. (more…)

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