Posts from October 2018

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

For Your Wednesday Listening Pleasure: “40 Days” by Conan O’Brien & The Basic Cable Band

The end of an era…

The end of an era…

Last week was the final episode of Conan O’Brien’s late-night show as we know it. Come next year, he’ll be launching a brand-new show with a brand-new format. There are some things about this change that are very exciting! But one thing that’s not so exciting: his new show will not have a house band.

So for their final episode, Conan O’Brien let Jimmy Vivino and the Basic Cable Band tear up the place. Here, partake and enjoy for the last time:

I watched the very first episode of Late Night with Conan O’Brien back in 1993 when it was the Max Weinberg 7, and I’ve been with these guys ever since. It is sad to see them go.

Categories: Music, Wednesday Listening Pleasure.

Friday, 5 October 2018

Movie Review: Ant Man & the Wasp

These guys...

These guys…

Ant Man & the Wasp (2018): ★★★

Ant Man & the Wasp is pretty much the epitome of a three-star movie. It’s fun, breezy, exciting, and hilarious, but never earth-shattering. You won’t come out of it a better person, or wanting to be a better person, or still gasping in amazement at the things you saw on the screen. You will have a good time, though.

Like Captain America: The Winter Soldier, this is a better film than its predecessor. You’ve got the origin story out of the way. Now you don’t have to be bothered with watching how Scott Lang became a superhero; you just get to watch what he does as a superhero.

And what he does is be hilarious. Gotta confess, I’m a big Paul Rudd fan. I love his put-upon, slightly loser-ish, everyman persona as Lang. His interactions with exasperated FBI agent Jimmy Woo are gold. His reactions to his suit’s frequent malfunctions are fantastic. Plus Rudd is a great physical comedian. That’s all put to great use in this movie. There’s a montage towards the beginning of the film that shows how he tries to pass the time during his house arrest stint (due to the events of Captain America: Civil War), and he gets to show of some fantastic up-close magic. There’s also an absolutely amazing scene where Michelle Pfeiffer’s character (Janet Van Dyne, the original Wasp) possesses Scott Lang. So for quite a long stretch of time, we all get to enjoy and laugh at Paul Rudd doing a spot-on Michelle Pfeiffer impression.

Also funny are Lang’s ex-con sidekicks, who are all trying to start a legitimate security business together with Lang. Michael Peña is once-again amazing as Luis, who while under the effect of a truth serum (“It’s not truth serum!” “It’s truth serum!”) gets to have another one of his monologues where we get to see all of the actors lip-synching to his prattling on. I wonder how long one of those could be before it got old? Could we see a whole movie from Luis’s point of view? I’d probably want to watch that!

As much as this movie is called Ant Man & the Wasp, though, this is really the Wasp’s story. It’s her mother who is in lost, and in accidental jeopardy due to the not-really-villains Ghost and Bill Foster. She’s the one who gets to debut as a superhero. She’s the one who has all the drive. Ant Man is just kind of along to support her, and I thought that was great. It reminded me a lot of Mad Max: Fury Road, in which it was really Furiosa who was the main character, with Max just along for the ride.

I really appreciate the small scope of the plot. Sure, there are huge (literally) superhero fights across San Francisco, but there is no earth-shattering, world-ending threat. The Pyms just want to get Janet back. Scott just wants to make amends. Sonny Burch (the only real villainous character in the movie) just wants to make some extra black-market money. And Bill Foster just wants Ghost to be stabilized. That’s really it. Nobody is going to try to take over the world. Nobody is trying to kill half of all life in the universe. It’s just a story about people trying to fix their families. And after 20-some Marvel movies about megalomaniacal villains trying to be the be-all-and-end-all, it’s pretty amazing that a very small, personal story like this can work so well in the superhero milieu.

Categories: Movie Reviews, Movies, Reviews.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

For Your Wednesday Listening Pleasure: “Fool” by Frankie Cosmos

You make me feel like a fool…

You make me feel like a fool…

I first heard of Frankie Cosmos (which is not the actual name of any members of the band) only a couple of weeks ago, because this song was used in an amazing new cartoon series that I’ll tell you all about soon. I believe this song might be the very definition of “twee.”

I also love that this song is barely over two minutes long. I love songs that don’t overstay their welcome. In fact, on the album that this song is from, the longest track is only 2:43 and many songs are under two minutes.

Also, the lead singer, Greta Kline, is the daughter of academy-award-winning actor Kevin Kline and famous actress Phoebe Cates! Now you know!

Anyhoo, hope you enjoy(ed)!

Categories: Wednesday Listening Pleasure.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Album Review: Cool Cool by Electric NoNo

Cool? Cool.

Cool? Cool.

Cool Cool by Electric NoNo (2018) ★★★½

What’s that? Are those the dulcet tones of the Cortese Brothers, Jared y Dominic, of Electric NoNo fame?

Nay, it can’t be, I say! For they released a collection of music naught but 18 months (or thereabouts ago). And everyone knows that it takes years and years and years and years for Electric NoNo to release new musics.

But my ears do not deceive me, nor do mine eyes: Electric NoNo have released two sets of music in two consecutive calendar years! I do declare: It’s a miracle there.

Yes, it’s true: here are six more songs of rock’n’roll goodness for us to… wait, only six songs? You mean this is just another EP, not a full-length album!

GOSH DANGIT ELECTRIC NONO! Why you gotta play me like that!?

Seriously, though, if your main complaint about a band is that they don’t release enough awesome music, then that’s pretty durned good.

Cool Cool pivots significantly from their previous release, Rain City Blue. Rain City Blue was a much spacier, more complicated EP. Cool Cool kind of strips all of that back so it’s just pure, fuzzed-up rock. And it makes sense; Rain City Blue was produced by the equally spacey and etherial Julia Massey, whereas Cool Cool was produced by Adam Prairie of the Hoot Hoots. Therefore it sounds much more like the Hoot Hoots than it does Julia Massey.

And it’s really very good rock. A standout is “Chased by Crows,” which Jared and Dom have been playing live for YEARS, so it’s nice to finally have a permanent record of it:

Strangely, the opening song of the album is Rain City Blue, which is the name of a different album. (??)

The finale, “Dreary Place,” is also a very good down-tempo ballad, which repeats just a single verse a few times. Anyone who lives in the Pacific Northwest will get a kick out of it.

The rest of the four songs are also very good, but none of them have the stand-out quality that, say, “Holiday” or “40 Foot Tall” (songs from Electric NoNo’s previous two EPs) have.

A minor quibble I have about Cool Cool is that (for my personal tastes) the guitars are mixed too quietly into the final mix. When you see Electric NoNo live, Jared’s guitar is right there in your freakin’ face. It’s like a second vocalist. But in Cool Cool there are some times where you have Jared singing right in your face and Dom banging the drums right behind him, but then it sounds like the guitar is being played by someone in the next room over. Maybe it got overproduced and washed out a little? I dunno, I ain’t no engineer or nuttin’.

So to conclude: too few songs, too-quiet guitar. Otherwise: excellent. Here’s the whole album to partake and enjoy:

Seriously, guys, you’ve been a band for about like years and you’ve only put out TWO full-length albums! C’mon, we’re starvin’ over here!

Categories: Music, Music Reviews, My Famous Friends, Reviews.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Soft Reset

WOT TH’!? WUT THE WUT!?
Yes, it’s me, posting for the first time since early June. I took the entire summer off from this website. And in that time, some things have changed in my life:

  1. My wife started working from home
    Today, actually! We used to work close enough together that we would carpool to work and back (I’d drop her off and then continue on another ten minutes alone). Now? Not so much. So instead of carpooling…
  2. I’ve started taking mass transit
    I now take the train to work! This has two new consequences:

    1. The train station is two miles from my work
      So (starting today) I will be walking four miles every day, automatically. ♫ Get in shape, girl… ♫
    2. FREE TIME UPGRADE!
      I now have about 40 minutes twice a day all to myself (sans close-proximity strangers) on the train during which I can get work done!

What work am I gonna get done with all that free time, you ask (who am I kidding, nobody is reading this)?

Well, for one thing I can actually update this here website right here quite a bit more. Probably not as much as the infamous March of 2017, during which I posted an update every single danged weekday. But more frequently than once a month. Let’s set the bar at 2 to 3 posts a week.

For another thing, I can plug some headphones into my laptop and start a-writin’ some musics! That’s right, I have an as-of-yet-secret music project that I’m working on this fall. I’m very excited about it! It will be full of sick 8-bit beats!

For yet another thing, if there are any other creative projects I can do with a laptop, I can work on ’em! Like maybe write something (other than websitey stuffs)? Or maybe art something? Who is to be knowing? Not me!

Finally, I can take my Nintendo Switch with me and play some vid-goms. And then review them for this here website!

Ch-Ch-Changes

Coinciding with all of these life changed, you might have noticed (who am I kidding) that I’ve ever-so-slightly changed the header and right-hand sidebar (or if you’re looking at this on a mobile, the bottom-most section):

  1. I’ve decided to discontinue my “Of the Month” features.
    It was just too stressful to have to figure out three things to feature every month. Doesn’t seem like it would be stressful, right? But I just wasn’t enjoying living under the gun of the beginning of the month decision-making process. So instead…
  2. REVIEWS!
    This whole website is going to be pivoting a little bit to be more review-based than in the past. Whenever I see/hear/read something that I like, I’ll write a review of it. The latest reviews will always be featured in the sidebar “Reviews” section. I have decided on six categories that correspond to my personal interest: Music, Movies, TV, Video Games, Tabletop Games, and Books. Right now there’s a bunch of really old stuff in there, just because I haven’t actually reviewed anything in a looooong time. But those’ll get replaced as I review more things! First Up: a new album review, coming this week! HONEST! Oh, and I also created a new blanket “Reviews” category, and changed my site’s top navigation to have a link to that, so you can just go to one place to read all of my reviews of everything. Neat!
  3. Featured Posts
    If I write any post that is of significant interest or length (like this one is turning out to be), I’ll add it to the “Featured Posts” category. And it’ll show up on the sidebar as well! Neat!

That’s about it.

TL;DR

I’M BACK, BABY!

Categories: Featured Posts, Life, Updates.