Archive for April, 2014

Crap: Almost Human Cancelled

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Fox has evidently cancelled the science fiction police drama Almost Human. Which is a damned shame, since it was the first attempt to do a serious post-cyberpunk drama on American TV. (The true first was Japan’s animated Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.) While it wasn’t a great show (it had too much 1970s cop dram patina to it, including the requisite Climatic Gunfight at the end of every episode), it was a pretty good one and had a lot of potential.

Well, so much for that. Unless another network picks it up, or the DVD sales convince Fox to pick it up again. I’m not holding my breath.

Almost Human

Mousetrap Madness

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Back in the dim mists of time, they used to demonstrate the speed of atomic chain reactions with arrays of mousetraps. Now someone has done the same experiment, with the added benefit of a high speed camera:

Shoegazer Sunday Bonus John Paul II Edition: Adorable’s “I’ll Be Your Saint”

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

Given that Popes John Paul II and John XXIII were canonized as saints today, here’s Adorable’s “I’ll Be Your Saint”. Never mind that they’re more Dreampop than Shoegaze, or that I’ve already done a Shoegazer Sunday post; two posts for two saints!

Shoegazer Sunday: Mercury Rev’s “You’re My Queen”

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

Mercury Rev is an American ban that got dubbed Shoegaze early on, then evolved in a more pop direction. “You’re My Queen” is actually one of their more pop numbers, but I think it fits nicely into the shoegaze category somewhere between Black Tambourine and Polyphonic Spree.

William Friedkin’s Sorcerer Finally Out on Blu Ray

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

In the 1970s, director William Friedkin made three great movies, one after the other. The first, The French Connection won the Academy Award for best picture. The second, The Exorcist, was not only one of the greatest horror films of all time, but one of the highest grossing films ever.

However, his third film, Sorcerer, a remake of the French film The Wages of Fear, sank like a stone at the box office, despite having one of tensest action sequences ever filmed:

It also doesn’t help that the film was later butchered for the international market.

The film has long been champion by many (including Roger Ebert) as a lost classic. But the film was never released on Blu-Ray.

Until now:

The Blu-Ray version is the full film, restored and remastered with Friedkin’s oversight, and is reportedly “stunning”.

I’ll definitely pick this up, because even on VHS (kids, ask your parents what a VHS was), it was an extremely well-made and gripping film (and one I prefer to the original Wages of Fear).

Warning: Don’t pick up the DVD released the same day as the Blu-Ray, which is reportedly a “botched” full-screen transfer, as the restored version of the DVD isn’t available yet.

Mr. Irish Bastard

Friday, April 25th, 2014

While I was poking around iTunes listening to covers of “Road to Nowhere,” I stumbled across this:

If you like Flogging Molly or The Dropkick Murphys, you’ll recognize the Celtic folk punk sound of Mr. Irish Bastard.

Would you believe they hail from Münster, Germany?

Like other bands of their ilk, drinking seems to play a big role in their music:

I should really put up one video that’s an actual video:

I liked the sound so much that I picked up their first album, St. Mary’s School of Drinking for a mere $4.83 off iTunes.

They’ve also done a complete album cover of Never Mind the Bollocks, but I think I prefer their original work.

Obviously, I should have put this up for St. Patrick’s Day…

Road to Nowhere: Attack of the Clones Division

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Sometimes I’ll cruise iTunes looking for covers of songs I like. While doing so for Talking Heads’ “Road to Nowhere,” I discovered that one ensemble had released the same cover of “Road to Nowhere” under multiple band names.

Eleven times.

Indeed, the versions of “Road to Nowhere” on iTunes by the following bands (all of which clock in between 3:49 and 3:53) are all exactly the same:

  • Burning Down the House
  • The Insurgency
  • Klone Orchestra
  • The Minister of Soundalikes
  • Monsters of Rock
  • Psycho Killers
  • Secret Popstars
  • Studio Sunset
  • Studio Union
  • Tribute Stars
  • Wildlife
  • Moreover, several of those incarnations of the same band (Studio Sunset, Burning Down the House, Psycho Killers, Wildlife, Klone Orchestra) appear to have issued the same entire album of Talking Heads covers (with the same tracks) multiple times. Indeed, they appear to have done it three times under just their Studio Sunset name!

    (BTW, if you really want that album, the cheapest version is Burning Down the House’s A Salute to Talking Heads, which is a mere $5.99, compared to $7.99 or $9.99 for some of the others.)

    But wait! There’s a completely different group that did the exact same thing with the same song.

    Eleven times.

    All these covers of “Road to Nowhere” under these band names (all of which clock in around 4:01) are the same:

  • Ameritz
  • The Hit Co.
  • The Hit Group
  • The Hit Crew
  • OMP Allstars
  • Party City
  • Rock Fest
  • The Rock Masters
  • Singing Mouths
  • Studio Group
  • Finally, here eight cover versions that are not only exactly the same, but the underlying track is so close to the ones above they might be the exact same version with a different vocal mix:

  • The Comptones
  • Dynamite
  • Driving Masters
  • The Falling Downs
  • Graham Blvd.
  • Road Demonz
  • Rock Playlist Masters
  • TMZ TV Tunes
  • Shoegazer Sunday: Spokraket’s “Just Go Spit Out Another Lie”

    Sunday, April 20th, 2014

    Danish band Spokraket offers garage band psychedelic surf rock married to Here Come the Warm Jets-era Brain Eno, offering plenty of distorted guitars and end up sounding like a low-fi version of Black Tambourine. “Just Go Spit Out Another Lie” is pretty much a steady state Shoegaze song: Like the riff and groove? Just wait around and there will be plenty more of it coming down the pike…

    And here’s an earlier live version of it, when it was called “(Drifting Away In) Solitary Dreams”

    Another Insane Lego Ball Machine

    Friday, April 18th, 2014

    A while back I featured this Lego ball machine from Japan.

    Well, this one (also from Japan) is twice as insane.

    It may even be from the same guy.

    (Hat tip: Lou Anders‘ Facebook page.)

    Library Additions: Two Books, One Signed by Gilda Radner

    Thursday, April 17th, 2014

    Every now and then you see an item outside your sphere of collecting interests at a good price and go “I want that!” This is one of those times.

  • Radner, Gilda and Alan Zweibel. Roseanne Roseannadanna’s Hey, Get Back to Work! Book. Long Shadow Books, 1983. First edition trade paperback original, a Near Fine copy with a few small sports to page block edges. Inscribed by Radner and Zweibel: “Thanks/a lot to/Tim/Gilda Radner” and “”To Tim-/You just brought back/a million great/memories when you/handed me this book./Al”

    Roseanne Roseannadanna's

    Radner Sig

  • Bought in a lot with:

  • Zweibel, Alan. Bunny Bunny: Gilda Radner: A Sort of Love Story. Villard Books, 1994. First edition hardback, a Near Fine copy with a clipped price. Early Saturday Night Live writer’s memoir of working with Radner.
  • Among the areas I occasionally contemplate starting book collections in are the early history of Apple Computer and the original cast of Saturday Night Live. (Warning: Get off my lawn ahead.) I know that Saturday Night Live is about as edgy as a bowling ball these days, but the original SNL was groundbreaking, daring and funny as hell. So when I saw this in that 70% off sale I bought so many SF books in, I snapped it up. Bought for $40.49.

    Though Radner was the best female cast member in the original cast, the Roseanne Roseannadanna character was far from her best bit (see the Judy Miller Show, where she plays a hyperactive girl for that), but she died young enough that books signed by her are not particularly common.

    Two tidbits on Alan Zweibel:

  • On Weekend Update, the Roseanne Roseannadanna character would often read letters written by “a Richard Feder of Fort Lee, New Jersey” In fact, there is a real Richard Feder of Fort Lee, New Jersey, who was Zweibel’s brother-in-law.
  • Zweibel wrote the young adult novel North, upon which Rob Reiner’s famously horrible movie of the same name was based.