Thursday, August 28, 2008

Now That's What I Call Justice!

Or: Music Blogger Thrown in Jail for Endorsing Awful, Bloated, Multi-Million Dollar Disaster in the Making.

From the Los Angeles Times:
A man accused of posting nine previously unreleased songs by the rock band Guns N' Roses on a website where they could be accessed by the public was arrested at his home early today on suspicion of violating federal copyright laws, authorities said.

Kevin Cogill, 27, is accused of posting the songs, which were being prepared for commercial release, on the Internet blog Antiquiet in June, according to an arrest affidavit. The site received so much traffic after the songs were posted that it crashed, the affidavit states.

Cogill admitted to posting the songs when he was questioned by an FBI agent, according to the affidavit. He was arrested at his home in Culver City this morning and is expected to appear in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles later today, said Assistant U.S. Atty. Craig Missakian.
This is despite Cogill's position of quite possibly being the only person in the universe to enjoy said tracks, saying "if you ask me, Guns N’ Roses are fucking back, and they’ll be just fine."

The recording industry might also want to pick up the proprietors of a little known site called YouTube which has had the tracks up for at least a few months. Even with the flood of leaks it's hard to imagine any fan of Appetite for Destruction paying for something that sounds like Trent Reznor and Sade taking a nap but at least Tommy Stinson is employed.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

50 Things I Love About Comics

Though I usually devote this blog to rock music geekery rather than comic book geekery I happened across a pair of top 50 lists at The Savage Critics and got inspired.

What can I say? It was a slow day at work.

1 Buddy Bradley
2 Getting excited when a friend is reading Watchmen for the first time
3 Bendis/Maleev's dialog-free issue of Daredevil
4 Miss Misery, the epitome of the "that gal is trouble" archetype used in what seems like all of Ed Brubaker's stories
5 Batman vs Superman fight in the Justice League New Frontier Special
6 Gotham Central
7 Smax explaining that a vision of a three-headed woman with a serpent's tale holding a flaming sword and a human heart is not sign that he's supposed to go on a quest but an "atmospheric phenomena"
8 Spider-Man trapped under heavy machinery
9 Astro City
10 The repeated humiliation/mutilation of Herr Starr
11 Joe Matt's pornography woes
12 Warpsmiths
13 David Mazzucchelli
14 Sensual Santa
15 The opening sequence to the first issue of Suicide Squad wherein super villains really fuck shit up for once
16 The Eltingville Comic-Book, Science-Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Role-Playing Club
17 The before and after "yearbook photos" in Black Hole
18 The brightly colored but eerie psychedelic landscape of Jim Woodring's Frank
19 The Amazing Screw-On Head
20 The predestination paradox denouement of the "Story of the Year" arc in Supreme
21 The repulsive yet somehow adorable recurring characters in Kaz's Underworld
22 That the Acme Novelty Library is so formally and aesthetically stunning and evocative that I keep coming back for more even though I find it invariably depressing
23 Ivan Brunetti's "humor" comics
24 Henry Hotchkiss
25 This "What If Harvey Pekar got super powers?" web comic by Gregg Schigiel
26 Jim Steranko's pop art-inspired work for Marvel in the 60s
27 "You don't get it, boy. This isn't a mudhole. It's an operating table. And I'm the surgeon."
28 Darkseid's cameo on the last page of each issue of the original Ambush Bug mini-series accompanied by the (unfulfilled) promise that the following issue would be "When Titans Clash!"
29 Jules Feiffer
30 Drew Friedman's caricatures
31 Concrete's neuroses
32 Why I Hate Saturn
33 Seeing Jen Grunwald's name when I open a Marvel book (Hi Jen!)
34 Continuity bean counters loitering in any given comic shop
35 J. Jonah Jameson
36 Mike Carey's Crossing Midnight
37 Adam Warlock stealing the soul of his future self using the vampiric soul gem on his forehead (don't ask)
38 The insane Mr Fantastic pastiche talking to his "invisible" wife in Marshall Law Takes Manhattan
39 The Green Lantern Oath
40 Peter Bagge's under appreciated Sweatshop
41 Reading old Life in Hell strips and marveling that a mind that irreverent could create one of the biggest institutions in popular culture
42 Shamrock Squid
43 Chester Brown's The Playboy
44 The fact that I know anyone with a decal of Calvin peeing on something is going straight to hell
45 Dennis Eichhorn
46 Wimbledon Green
47 Pictopia!
48 Douglas Wolk and Scott McCloud discussing the medium intelligently
49 Back issues of Weirdo on sale for the original cover price
50 Knowing that the artist for The New Yorker's post-9/11 cover and the creator of Garbage Pail Kids are the same person

(Editor's Note: I just noticed that aside from the Sensual Santa there is nary a mention of Daniel Clowes here and do I love Daniel Clowes. Maybe he should remind me how much I love him by, oh I don't know, PUTTING OUT ANOTHER COMIC BOOK!)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

This Moment in Slack History: Morsels from the Last Great Era of the 7 Inch Record

"This Moment in Slack History" collects songs from 90s indie 7 inches. For further explanation, please see my original post here.

King Loser "Stairway to Heaven"

Most 90s band name ever? That's debatable but it takes some chutzpah to call a song "Stairway to Heaven." If only King Loser had succeeded in freeing us from the tyranny of the song we've heard ad nauseam for the past 40 or so years. Twas not to be. Auckland, New Zealand's King Loser released a pair of albums and a handful of singles from 1993 through 1997. This song is taken from their 1994 debut for the illustrious Flying Nun label and is probably their finest moment. It seems the band reunited for a one-off show earlier this year and even has a myspace page attesting to this.

Play or Download King Loser "Stairway to Heaven"

Monday, August 18, 2008

Paleontology for Dullards: Special All Creep Edition!

"Paleontology for Dullards" rates records I've found in used LP bins by assigning them a cash value. For further explanation, please see my original post here.

KISS Double Platinum
Let's forget for a moment everything imminently abhorrent about KISS, namely the grandiosely stupid spectacle, the unsurpassed greed and sleaziness of Mr Chaim Witz, and their influence on a generation of misguided cock-rockers. (You didn't think the Poisons and Warrants of the world were really into Sabbath, did you?) The music of KISS in their prime is basically a dumbed down variation of the dumber branch of British glam i.e. Slade, Sweet, et al. This isn't an entirely bad thing as the group could spit out worthy bits of hard rock from time to time. Enough to justify a 30 plus year career? Not really. Enough to justify this double LP sampler of their glory years? Almost. You would think a band with legions of devoted (for reasons that continue to bemuse me) fans could distill their first six(!) albums into an all-killer, no-filler collection. Songs like "Deuce," the Faces-sound-a-like "Hard Luck Woman" and even the "disco" remake of "Strutter" pack genuine wallop but too often KISS grins when they should growl. Case in point, title-track from Hotter Than Hell starts with a nasty riff but moves into a total limp-dick chorus lacking any impact whatsoever. I know the music is only part of the KISS experience but Alice Cooper managed to have the theatrics and the tunes. Double Platinum is probably as much KISS music as I, or anyone else with a degree of taste, will ever need. Wait... no "Plaster Caster?" Dammit!
Price paid: $8 Rating: 37.5%

David Crosby If I Could Only Remember My Name
1971 debut solo album from the crack-smoking, menage-a-trios-endorsing, Crazy-Horse-hating, gun-toting, Roseanne-guest-starring, liver-stealing, sperm-donating, beautifully-harmonizing former Byrd and CSNY member. Crosby is backed by what seems like the entire state of California circa 1970 including members of Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead as well as Nash and Young. (No Stills though.) Man, the drugs at this session must've been good. The ambiance is that of doing enough coke to keep the jams going all night long but smoking enough grass to keep the vibe sufficiently mellow. It almost feels Skip Spence's Oar except played by pros instead of a crackpot. Songs like "Laughing" are engrossing darkly mellow psych and others like "Traction in the Rain" succeed on the strengths of Crosby's vocal and compositional skills. There are times when the vapid hippie sentiment is a bit stomach-turning ("Music Is Love?" Whatever you say, David) but mostly the music and particularly the harmonies and strong enough to power through it. And nothing here is quite as egregious as "Mind Gardens."
Price paid: $8 Rating: 62.5%

Graham Parker and the Rumor Squeezing Out Sparks
Not so much an creep as a crabby jerk, I've always found Graham Parker to have a conservative streak when compared to his pub-rock-gone-new-wave contemporaries. While other members of the new wave pushed boundaries, Parker is happy to offer traditionalist R&B-based rock. There's nothing on Squeezing Out Sparks that would sound particularly out of place on a Springsteen album. While that isn't exactly as formally exciting as say, Desperate Bicycles, it's hard to complain when Parker writes a set of songs as potent as this. Capably backed by pub rock vets the Rumor, Parker rocks out with abandon on the first three cuts, delivering hooks that are catchy and memorable without blunting his sardonic edge. After that is what might be Parker's most controversial song, the abortion ballad "You Can't Be Too Strong." While it deals with the personal rather than political, it's unlikely to be a big favorite with the pro-choice crowd. Still, it's inarguably affecting. Side 1 is capped with the forceful "Passion is No Ordinary Word" and while side 2 doesn't scale the heights of the first half it's still a solid set of tunes. If only he didn't wear those stupid sunglasses. Nothing worse than a square that's trying too hard.
Price paid: $0.70 Rating: 100%

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Unblinking Ear Podcast: Detox Blues

I created this week's podcast during the first day of my detox regimen. So if while back announcing the songs I sound hungry, weak, irritable, or like I'm about to have an unpleasant bowel movement, that's why.


Play or Download The Unblinking Ear Podcast

Friday, August 08, 2008

Monday, August 04, 2008

The Unblinking Ear Podcast: Firsties!!

Last night as I was unsuccessfully battling another bout of Sunday night insomnia, I clicked over to the Onion AV Club's TV Club's review of last night's Adult Swim lineup (which was pretty awesome, by the way.) As I finished reading the article I noticed that there were zero comments.

I could have posted first! Oh glory of glories! Oh frabjous day!

Well, probably not as in the time it took me to actually, you know, read the article, I'm sure some lonely soul skipped right down to the end to get the first comment in. Still, I was weirdly tempted. Perhaps I identify with the firsties. Perhaps I too have a hole in my soul I need to fill by anonymously and needlessly irritating others.

Question: When a website starts getting firsts on their comments section does that mean the website is officially successful? Subquestion: Is success in the new millennium defined by people who have absolutely nothing to say?

I have yet to get a first on this blog. So the first person to do that will be the first first. That's like extra first.

Play or Download The Unblinking Ear Podcast

Friday, August 01, 2008

Dull, Pitchfork-Sanctioned Music to be Replaced by Cooling, Clear Liquid

From the NY Times (thanks to Maura for the link):
For three years rock ’n’ roll has had a great summer romance at McCarren Park Pool in Brooklyn.

Instant I-was-there concerts in the big, empty pool basin by M.I.A., Blonde Redhead and TV on the Radio. Packed free shows on blazing Sunday afternoons. The thrift-store couture, the human mural of tattoos, piercings, sunburns and hair dye. Every other midriff drenched from a Pete Rose dive down the Slip ’N Slide.

Like every sweet summer fling, though, this one is destined to end. According to a city plan, McCarren, on the border between Williamsburg and Greenpoint, will soon quit its current state — a combination performance space, hula hoop and dodge-ball playground, alt-fashion catwalk and reclaimed ruin — and revert to its original purpose as a public swimming pool.

Built by Robert Moses in 1936 with money from the Works Progress Administration, the 50,000-square-foot pool fell into decrepit condition and was closed in 1984, its steep brick archway a gravestone to the fun once had there. Now, after two decades of political stalemate, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has pledged $50 million to its renovation. The plan is to go before the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission this month; if approved, shovels could be in the ground by spring, and the new pool could open in 2011. The last scheduled concert is Sonic Youth on Aug. 30.

“It was a good run,” said Emmy Tiderington, a 27-year-old Williamsburger with a tattoo snaking down her right shoulder. “Nothing lasts,” she added.

I know many are lamenting the impending absence of a place for adults to use a Slip in Slide or hide a decomposing corpse but look on the bright side. On a hot summer day what would rather have: a nice dip in a pool or Feist? Either way you can still to do a couple of bumps at Enid's afterwards.