Thursday, August 4

Six Smaller Bold Headlines.

Don't Ask Me To Explain.

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(Pictured: Grand Buffet. There are several things in this photo that make me laugh.)

I had yet another album review published this week. The group is Grand Buffet, the album is Five Years of Fireworks, and the review can be read over in the writings section. Enjoy.

My interview with Of Montreal is beginning to snowball, and I'm currently working with Of Montreal's publicist on setting something up in time. The show is less than a month away, but the sooner we can get this article in the bag, the faster I can stop worrying about it. After the Communique show, I more or less apologized to Rory (Communique's frontman) about the write-up, even though I shouldn't have had to (he said he enjoyed it, by the way). I don't want that to happen again, so I want to get a few drafts looked over before we go live.

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(Pictured: Of Montreal. Kevin looks slow.)

Quick Reviews Of The Last 16 Albums I've Listened To.

Communique – Poison Arrows – (A)
Moving Units – Dangerous Dreams – (C+)
Hum – You’d Prefer An Astronaut – (C+)
Slow Reader – Slow Reader – (B-)
Ben Folds – Songs For Silverman – (C+)
Q And Not U – Different Damage – (B-)
The Promise Ring – Wood/Water – (C+)
The Decemberists – Picaresque – (B)
The Pixies – Death To The Pixies – (B+)
Broken Social Scene – You Forgot It In People – (B)
Algebra One – The Keep Tryst EP – (A-)
Algebra One – Conscious Pilot EP – (B+)
Nada Surf – The Proximity Effect – (B)
Of Montreal – Satanic Panic In The Attic – (A-)
The Impossibles – Anthology – (A+)
The Arcade Fire – Funeral – (A+)

I've listened to at least 45 albums from start to finish in the last ten days. I'm going on a frantic grading spree in preparation for my "best albums ever" post. I can already hear people arguing with me, but that's the point. Do your own list, and then I'll show up and explain to you in detail why your tastes in music are revolting.

Lost In The Summer.

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(Pictured: Cast of television show "Lost". I'm more confused each week.)

As I’ve mentioned in the past, me and the Missus are catching up on Lost over the summer. We missed out on the original first season run due to American Idol, but thanks to TiVo, we’ll be completely in the know and ready to go come September 21 (Season Two premiere). Unfortunately, ABC is starting to skip over important episodes in an attempt to show the last few episodes of the first season before the start of the second season. This is okay to those who have already seen all of these episodes, but it’s starting to become a pain in the ass when I have to figure out what happened over the last two episodes on my own. Fortunately for me, the Season One DVD is coming out on September 6, giving me a couple of weeks to watch every second all over again in preparation for Season Two. That being said, it’s driving me nuts. I think I may actually stop watching until I get the DVD, so I can watch them in order and stop this back and forth crap. I could just talk to Ben about P2P'ing the entire First Season for me, but I like to keep my nose clean by not affiliating myself with known pirates. Obviously, these are the sorts of problems that you want to have. I’ve just typed well over 200 words on the way a summer re-run is altering my mood.

You'd Prefer An Astronaut.

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(Pictured: Future's past.)

I’ve been paying close attention to the Space Shuttle Discovery mission over the last several days. What these astronauts are doing is absolutely unreal and terrifying when you sit quietly and think about it for a good minute. Can you imagine, I mean, can you really imagine what it must be like out there? These people should be signing autographs and posing for pictures for the rest of their lives, because astronauts are bigger rock stars than actual rock stars. Thanks to 2001: A Space Odyssey, I was living under the assumption for a while that space was infinately boring. Thanks to Stanley Kubrick, I’ve grown up with mixed views on old hotels, futuristic methods of crime prevention, the marines and the pre-destruction of Tom Cruise’s career. Listen Stanley; didn’t you go to film school? Be a man, make the cut!

But you know, the more I look into space exploration, the more I honestly question that we ever went to the moon. I don’t know if this drastically changes your perception of me, or makes you think I’m insane, but think about it. NASA is 30 years behind where they said we were in 1969! They are nowhere near capable of some of the stuff we believe NASA can accomplish, and there’s scientific proof to back that up. All of a sudden, in 2005, we don’t know how to make a space shuttle. Things keep blowing up, crewmen are losing their lives, and mission after mission is scrapped for adjustments and repairs. Now, rewind back to July 20, 1969. A flawless mission straight to the moon. Color TV’s were still a novelty, and there’s Neil Armstrong driving a goddamn go-kart on the lunar surface.

I won’t get into the facts, the conspiracy theories or any of that. I just want you to think about why we needed to be on the moon so badly in the 60’s, or why we would want to fake it. The Cold War was bubbling, the Russians were launching sattellites and humans into space, and we Americans were terrified of being knocked off of our perch. We needed something drastic to show the rest of the planet. A little while later and we’re playing golf on the moon. Sounds right to me. Nowadays, every mission is met with problem after problem, which is why we haven’t sent a shuttle up in over two years.

I remember watching a piece of declassified footage from NASA in the early 60's. An astronaut was working a mission in a NASA flight simulator, and things weren't going right at all. Communications were down, knobs and switches were snapping off, and people were starting to get snippy. The astronaut in question (I forget his name) was disgusted with the lack of working components, screaming "How are we ever going to get to the moon when this won't work three feet off the damn ground?" At that exact moment, the simulator (yes, the simulator) burst into flames with the astronaut still inside. The "ship" was all sealed up, and they couldn't get him out in time. The poor guy burned to death in the freaking simulator. I can't help but think about that every now and then when we start to assume that NASA is a brilliant and trustworthy operation.

I’ll go back to wearing my tin foil hat in the corner now, but just know that there are a lot of questions that still need answers concerning this piece of history. I need to watch out when I'm on the streets now, because Buzz Aldrin's gunna punch me in the snoot if he ever finds out what I just said.

At this point in time, I want to apologize for my abrupt and downright crappy writing style today. My mind is drifting in and out of focus, causing my attention span to crash and burn at unexpected intervals. Besides, I’m at work, so that can’t help too much. Let’s move on.

You're Never Invited.

On Saturday, me and the Missus are headed over to the Veridian Homes Design Studio to see if we won a house. We entered a raffle sponsored by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County, and the winner gets a $210,000 Veridian home or $100,000 cash. I'll tell you more about it should we win.

Yukon Ho!

Finally today, I want to bring to your attention something you could purchase for me if you're feeling especially giving. After the tremendous success of The Complete Far Side (which I purchased and absolutely loved), the fine people at Andrews and McMeel Publishing have compiled every last scrap of the single greatest comic strip of all time. I can't wait. Later.

Oh man. I hope the Calvin and Hobbes set has the one where he's pissing on the Chevy logo.
If you think the Arcade Fire is an A+ and Satanic Panic is an A-, you're a moron. Listen to what Kevin Barnes was able to do SINGLE-HANDEDLY!!! It STILL sounds better than that poop on a disc we call "Funeral." Oh yeah, and Kevin can actually play an instrument, too. That helps.

Sorry, that pissed me off.
By the way, I made sure not to put a Calvin & Hobbes picture or cartoon on my page specifically for that reason. It's the least I can do for him.

That being said, I'm partial to the Ford logo myself. I also prefer mooning over urinating.
I did my album ratings on a song-by-song basis. I know what all went into Satanic Panic, so don't think I don't appreciate it. I pretty much do these ratings on a whim at work, so don't take it too much to heart.

You think I'm an idiot?
I'm passive aggressive, so instead of peeing on the Chevy logo sometimes I'll just hide its keys, give it the hamburger that's a little burnt, not write down important phone messages, stuff like that.

I believe the monkeys are our future, treat them well and let them lead the way.

Man, I hate that Hum album. I don't believe I've ever felt more suckered than when I bought that based on the one radio hit.
You certainly have to be in a specific mood to listen to Hum. It's only decent if it's used solely for background music to a murder.

Passive aggressive is the way to go. Wear them down mentally for years, until they wake up and realize that they're nothing more than a hollow shell.
From what I heard of Hum it was horrible. You couldn't even hear what was going on, it was all sludgy. And not sludy in a good way. Sludgy in an Arcade Fire-esque I-don't-know-what-I'm-doing-so-I'll-just-make-this-all-sludgy-so-no-one-can-hear-that-I-suck kind of way.

On a song-by-song basis, Satanic Panic absolutely beats Funeral into the ground. You yourself have admitted that Funeral is hit and miss. SPITA only has one song on it that is unlistenable. And it has, what, like 530 songs on it or something like that?

So yes, on those grounds, I think you are an idiot.
It's good to see people can freely express their opinions here.

This is why I don't recommend albums to you kids anymore.
Check that. This is why you shouldn't recommend albums to the Missus. I'm always open to suggestions.

I gave SPITA an A- because I liked Poison Arrows better (A). I gave Funeral an A+ because I liked it better than Poison Arrows. Perhaps leter grades don't properly drive the point home. There's no need to rank these 3 albums against each other anyways, because they are my 3 favorite albums of 2004, hands down. Don't blame me, blame the letter grading system. It's the same system that destroyed me in High School.

However, if I have to put those 3 albums against each other, I'll stick with my decision.

Communique put out an amazing album, but it lacks the depth and range of Funeral. Kevin Barnes may have created SPITA all by himself, but everyone knows that it's easier to do something alone than with a group of people who don't share your vision. They both are produced brilliantly however, much more so than Funeral.

Therefore, I am officially changing the letter grades of the 3 albums in question.

Communique will drop to "A", SPITA will remain at "A-", and Funeral will drop to a hard "A".

The Impossibles will stay at "A+", because they simply rule. End of story.
Communique drops to an "A-", I mean.
If all of your CDP friends don't chip in and buy you the Complete Calvin and Hobbs Set, I will consider getting it for you. Let me know if they come through.
As always, another great review!
Um, they're not going to come through. I don't have any friends.

Thanks for the compliment. I'm happy with the way the review turned 'oot.
I am especially happy to see the Impossibles receive an A+.

Off topic question: Would Ben have been at the Packer Scrimmage as a "cord man?" I could have sworn it was him off of pictures I have seen on this site. Or I may have no idea what I am talking about.

There's a very good chance that Ben was at that scrimmage. In fact, I remarked to the Missus that he would be there as we were watching it. I'm hoping he'll come on here and set us straight, but until then, assume that it was him.

I don't know if I mentioned it on here, but he works at Fox 11 in Green Bay.

The Impossibles Anthology would get an A+ from me 10 years from now.
If he works at Fox 11, then I am pretty sure it was him. He was carrying around the camera man's cords on the field, so it looked like a pretty neat job. I was impressed that I could recognize him.

Yeah, good lookin' out, money.

Did you see him on TV, or were you at the game?
It's pretty easy to "work together as a group" when every one of you is just playing the same note over and over for 5 minutes. Ask any group of 8 year olds in their elementary school music class.

Arcade Fire=crap compared to Satanic Panic.
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The Missus' attitude = Crap compared to Satanic Panic.

This conversation was over 4 days ago. We're talking about Ben being a "cord man" now.

That reminds me of a commercial on ESPN several years ago with Florida State coach Bobby Bowden. The commercial was through the eyes of the kid who holds on to the coach's headphone cord. Bowden kept saying, "Slack, moron!"
I will never stop until you admit you don't know what you're talking about.

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