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Archive for the ‘I’m from Barcelona’ Category

squish1SOUNDTRACK: I’M FROM BARCELONA-“Just Because It’s Different Doesn’t Mean It’s Scary” (2009).

miaI like I’m From Barcelona, although I don’t know too much about them.

This song opens with ukuleles (or small guitars anyhow) and a big farty bass line. It offers a sensible lyric about things being different and offers suggestions of new things you might enjoy, like fruit or a park.

The band has some fun backing vocals (“let’s taste it baby”), (“run run run run”) and have made a fairly complex song out of what is a very simple concept.

For these Yo Gabba Gabba songs I have to wonder if the bands have taken old songs and made them kid friendly or if they have written all new (fairly complex) songs just for the show.

This is a good one.

[READ: May 16, 2014] Squish: Super Amoeba

I thought I had written about all five of the Squish books so far (there’s a sixth one coming soon).  Except, I realized, that I never wrote about the first one.  So, here, three years after I first read it (I received it as a prepub for crying out loud, so I’ve had it for over three years), I’ve read it again for this post.

I hadn’t even read Babymouse when I read this book, although in retrospect it’s easy to see the similarities between the two (especially in the drawing style).  Of course, while Babymouse is colored primarily in pink, Squish is colored primarily in green.  And of course, Babymouse is a girl and Squish is a boy (well, a boy amoeba, but still a boy).  But there are kid friendly hardships and valuable (if not necessarily obvious) lessons to be learned.

All the characters who have been with us for the duration of the other books were introduced here: Pod another amoeba, who is Squish’ best friend and who is super smart, Peggy (a paramecium) who is happy all the time and Principal Planaria, who is a flatworm (and like all flatworms is really crosseyed).  This issue also introduces us to The Adventures of Super Amoeba, the comic book which Squish loves and the guy who acts as a role model for Squish. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: The Believer June/July 2007 Music Issue Compilation CD: Cue the Bugle Turbulent (2007).

The 2007 Believer disc smashes the mold of folkie songs that they have established with the previous discs in the series.  The theme for this disc is that there’s no theme, although the liner notes give this amusing story:

one decaffeinated copy editor (“the new guy”) made a suggestion: “The Believer CD should be composed of eight a.m. music/breakfast-substitute jams, like that commercial from a while back with the guy who gets out of bed over and over again while ELO plays over his morning routine. You should tell all of the bands to write/contribute songs worth listening to within three minutes of waking up.”

So, without a theme, they just asked artists for some great songs.  There’s one or two tracks written especially for the disc (Sufjan Stevens, Lightning Bolt).  There’s a couple B-sides.  There are some wildly noisy raucous songs: and three of them come from duos!  No Age offers a very noisy blast of feedback.  Magik Markers play a super-fast distortion-fueled rocker, and Lightning Bolt play 5 minutes of noise noise noise.  Oh, and there’s even a rap (Aesop Rock)!

Tracks 3-7 are just about the 5 best songs in a row on any compilation.  Oxford Collapse plays a catchy and wonderfully angular song with “Please Visit Your National Parks.”  It’s followed by a song from Sufjan Stevens that sounds NOTHING like Sufjan Stevens, it’s a noisy distorted guitar blast of indie punk.  I’m from Barcelona follows with a supremely catchy horn driven song that would be huge on any college campus.  Aesop Rock comes next with a fantastic song.  I’d heard a lot about Aesop Rock but had never heard him before, and he raps the kind of rap that I like: cerebral and bouncy.  This is followed by Reykjavik! with a crazy, noisy surf-guitar type of song.  It reminds me of some great college rock from the early 90s.

Of Montreal, a band I’ve been hearing about a lot but who I’ve never heard (and didn’t think sounded like this) plays a wonderfully catchy two minute love song that sounds ironic, but which likely isn’t.  The melody is straight out of the Moody Blues’ “Wildest Dreams,” and yet it is still fun and quirky.

There’s a couple instrumentals as well: The Clogs do a cool, mellow instrumental and Explosions in the Sky do one of their typically fantastic emotional tracks.  Also on the disc, The Blow contribute a delightfully witty song and Bill Fox, a singer I’d never heard of (but who has a great article about him in the magazine), really impressed me with his Bob Dylan meets Nico delivery.  The disc ends with an alternate version of a song by Grizzly Bear.

This is definitely my favorite Believer disc thus far.  See the full track listing here.

[READ: Throughout 2009] Schott’s Miscellany 2008

This year’s edition of Schott’s Miscellany is very much like last year’s edition (see that review here).  I mean, it is an almanac after all.  However, it is a wondrous testament to Schott that even though I read every word of the 2008 edition, I was able to read every word of the 2009 edition and not feel like I was duplicating myself very much.

Obviously the news, facts and events of 2008-09 are different from last year.  And since Schott’s writing style is breezy and fun with a hint of sarcasm and amusement thrown in, you don’t get just a list of facts, you get sentences with subtle commentary on the facts.  And it’s a fun way to re-live the past year.  Plus, the Sci, Tech, Net section discusses science stories that sounded really impressive and important which I can’t believe I didn’t hear about at the time. (more…)

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