Posts categorized “Of the Month”

Friday, 2 June 2017

“Of the Month” June 2017

Album of the Month:

Great and Powerful by The Gentlemen of Leisure.

A wonderfully eclectic EP, featuring influences from soul, smooth R&B, hip-hop, and even surf rock, Great and Powerful is the debut release of a group that just so happens to include some very close, personal friends of mine. I’ve posted about them a few times before; now get off yer duff and get this album. My two favorite songs are the lovely “Please Know” and the frikkin’ hilarous “Don’t,” the latter of which includes one of my favorite lyrics in recent memory:

Y’all gonna make me go off and smack somebody
These hands right here are rated “E” for “Everybody”

Take a listen:

Show of the Month:

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return

It’s back! One in a long, seemingly endless line of shows and movies from the past that are being revived in some form or another, MST3K is back with a whole new cast (though some of the same characters) but the exact same format, one that worked so well for the original series. So why change it? Did you like the original MST3K? Then you’ll like this new version. Jonah is an engaging host, Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt are inspired choices to play the mads. Sometimes during the screenings the bots’ and Jonah’s voices are just a bit too similar and it’s difficult to tell which of them is saying what, but it’s all really funny stuffs.

Tabletop Game of the Month:

5-Minute Dungeon

A harrowing and hilarious cooperative card game in which your team has to play cards from your hands to match symbols on the dungeon cards in order to defeat them. If you defeat all the dungeon cards, you then have to defeat the boss of the dungeon in order to emerge victorious. The cats (as the name of game spoils) is that you only have 5 minutes to defeat the whole dungeon and the boss. And there are a LOT of dungeon cards to get through. The result is some of the most hectic and frenetic card-playing I’ve ever seen. It’s a lot of fun, but it can get harrowing as you watch just how slowly the dungeon deck seems to deplete while the timer (a phone app you can download that includes dramatic music and a narrator marking your progress) counts ever further downwards. It’s not unusual to win with only a couple of seconds on the time… or not to win at all. But since each game is only 5 minutes long, you can just play again!

Categories: Of the Month.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

“Of the Month” May 2017

Album of the Month:

Lookout by Fine Prince

A fun an extremely-hard-to-categorize album, this poppy gem is full of great hooks, funny lyrics, and some very nice polish. It is really hard to describe Fine Prince’s music without using metaphor. This album is a warm summer breeze in the hours before dusk. There, howzat? They call it “sunshine pop” and I dig it. Seriously, listen to all of the things in these songs: overflowing buckets of harmony (male and female), cool synths (two keyboard players), sometimes a brass section, even a choir in “Nostalgia.” It’s all very charming and hard to resist. Buy it. Support these guys and gals so they can record more, ’cause I wanna hear it.

Artist Of the Month:

Felicia Chang, AKA Little Kumiho

Little Kumiho has a fashion-y animé style that I find very appealing. It also sometimes feels like what Mike Allred’s work would look like if he pushed just a little into the animé milieu. Bonus: She’s very local, so there’s actually a good chance I’ll meet her someday!

Video Game of the Month:

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

In an unprecedented move, I am making something an “Of the Month” for two months in a row. Why? Because I’m still playing this game two months after I got it. Almost every day. And it is still just as awesome as the first day. Just take a look at this:

Daaaaaaaaaaaang.

Daaaaaaaaaaaang.

Categories: Of the Month.

Monday, 3 April 2017

“Of the Month” April 2017

Video Game of the Month:

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

I mean, come on. This is most likely the game of the year. It’s so good, and I’ve been very good about avoiding as many spoilers as I can, so I won’t spoil anything for you, either. Except just take a look at this:

Daaaaaaaaaaaang.

Daaaaaaaaaaaang.

Album of the Month:

Rain City Blue by Electric NoNo

After almost a decade of stripping-down their sound to the two-man guitar/drums duo of their previous two releases, Drunken Hillbilly Fight Bar (2012) and The Zoo At Night (2014), this latest release sees them re-incorporating more soundscapes for a lusher, spacier feel. Literally spacier; more than half the songs are either directly about space (“Jupiter” and “Blue Planet”) or have spacey themes to them (“Spin Spin” and “Magician’s Dying Wish”). It’s a good set of songs, though some of them run a little long at over four minutes. The best of the EP are “40 Foot Tall” and “Blue Planet,” which are both impeccable masterpieces (and very different from one another). It’s just a little frustrating that it took three years to record only seven songs!

Show of the Month:

Southpaw Regional Wrestling

This is perhaps the greatest thing that the WWE has ever done. A short (4 episode) webseries of “discovered” video from the 1980s about a now-defunct wrestling promotion. Remarkably, it features absolutely no wrestling whatsoever. But it is a spot-on parody of the highest order, and some unbelievably good comedy from all the wrestlers involved, John Cena in particular (I know; I was surprised, too). You can watch them all right here:

Categories: Of the Month.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

“Of the Month” March 2017

Comic Book of the Month:

Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat

A superhero starts a temp agency that matches super-powered people to jobs other than fighting crime. Hi-jinks ensue! Along with Ms. Marvel and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat forms a triumvirate of fun, funny, optimistic, and kick-ass female-led comics from Marvel. Hellcat is seriously a joy to read each month, with Patsy’s searing optimism and amusingly convoluted back-story (she was once the star of teen romance comics about 50 years ago, and at one point she died and went to Hell under the influence of a depressing villain (but she got better), and she has an ex-husband who’s a sorcerer) serving as fodder for great comedy. Writer Kate Leth gives each character an excellently funny voice, and the art is vibrant and cartoony without being un-relatable. These feel like real people. Extreme people in an absurdly extreme world, sure, but real enough that you really do care for them. Seriously, pick up Ms. Marvel, Squirrel Girl, and Hellcat (and toss Howard the Duck in there while you’re at it) and you’ll have a great time every month.

Restaurant of the Month:

Mizuki Buffet

An inexpensive, all-you can eat buffet with an entire wall of fresh sushi, within walking distance of my work? Uh-oh, that’s trouble! Seriously, the lunch buffet is only $15 bucks, and you can easily eat $40-$50 worth of sushi for that much money. And if (for some unfathomable reason) you get sick of sushi, they have two entire other walls full of other Asian (and some non-Asian) foodstuffs. Bonus: if my team at work meets or exceeds our monthly goals, our manager treats us to lunch here. That’s fantastic motivation.

Tabletop Game of the Month:

Get Bit!

A very fun, small game where you play as a bunch of robots swimming away from a shark, who will devour a limb off of whichever robot is in the back of the line at the end of the turn. The last robot with at least one remaining limb wins! Each player plays a numbered card to determine their place in the line, but if two or more players play the same number they get stuck and have to watch as all the other players swim ahead of them. A great deal of the fun is that the robots and shark are all actual pieces, with movable parts (and removable limbs for the robots). It’s such a simple idea that my three-year-old daughter figured out how to play almost right away. And she giggles quite a bit when she makes the shark eat a robot’s leg. They played this game on Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop a couple of years ago, so you can actually see how it goes here (Get Bit starts at 19:30):

Categories: Of the Month.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

“Of the Month” February 2017

Album of the Month:

Heart Tones by Julia Massey and The Five Finger Discount

The latest release from JM+FFD is another joyous album. I’ll have a full-length Album Review up soon. Honest!

Company of the Month:

Sago Mini

An absolutely delightful Canadian company that makes gentle, funny, and engaging video games aimed at toddlers and younglings. All the games star a group of friendly characters. They’ve recently expanded to make toys and books and we’re in trouble because our daughter absolutely loves them. I love the way they make my daughter giggle. And I really love the art style and art direction of Sago Mini. This team knows how to make stuff that appeals to kids while not being off-putting to adults. I mean, just look at how frikkin’ adorable “Hugbot” is here!

hugbot

I’m jealous of this design.

Website of the Month:

Can’t Do Nothing

Now is not the time to do nothing. If you can’t do nothing, DO SOMETHING.

Categories: Of the Month.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

“Of the Month” January 2017

TV Show of the Month:
The Expanse
The Expanse

A very intelligent Sci-Fi show on the SyFy channel. At its heart it’s a mystery—Why did these events happen? Who orchestrated them? Why? How? It slowly unfolds into an epic scope but stays focused on a core cast of about six people, sifting its story through the lenses of three intertwining storylines: an old-fashioned, hard-boiled detective; a crew of working-class space miners; and a very powerful government worker of nebulous rank and legality. Periodic vignettes and flashbacks show what life is like in the Solar system about 200 years from now. Turns out it’s a gritty, downtrodden, paranoid place. A powderkeg waiting to blow. But should the fire be put out or should the flames be fanned? Gripping and exciting. Excellent.

Comic Book of the Month:

Steven Universe: Too Cool for School

Basically like an episode (or likely a two-parter) of the cartoon, “Too Cool for School” wonders what would happen if Connie took Steven to school for show and tell… and he ended up staying. There are monster fights, gem superhero action, and some junior-high drama all mixed in together. It’s great fun.

Tabletop Game of the Month:

Takenoko

Takenoko (Japanese for “Bamboo Shoot”) is a game about creating a bamboo garden in which a hungry panda lives. Points are scored by laying down certain configurations of garden tiles, by growing certain configurations of bamboo, or by having the panda eat certain configurations of bamboo. It’s a very easy game to learn with some surprisingly complex strategies, and the art style is delightful. The little panda playing piece is pretty durned cute!

Categories: Of the Month.

Monday, 5 December 2016

“Of the Month” December 2016

Album Of the Month:
sharonjones
Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings: It’s a Holiday Soul Party

Perhaps the most accurately-named album of all time. It is a soul party. It’s got groove. From top to bottom, it is yes. Just listen to this version of “Silent Night:”

Not enough people make music like this anymore, and it’s a damned shame.

Movie of the Month:
krampus
Krampus

You think you get a heart-warming holiday movie in 2016? Nopes! You get a horror movie about the consequences of giving up on generosity and the spirit of giving. *Cough.* It’s also a pretty funny movie at times, much in the spirit of a Joe Dante film. The low budget starts to be evident once the titular villain steps out of the shadows (where he is very effective) and you get a good look at him, but this is a great & fun horror comedy.

Website of the Month:
thelifeyoucansave
The Life You Can Save

You think you can’t afford to give? Are you reading this in your own home on a computer? In front of a fully-decorated Christmas tree? Perhaps with a flat-screen, high-definition TV in the same room? Then you can afford it. Don’t be a selfish asshole this holiday season; give to strangers who need it much more than you do. And as bad as things are likely to get in this country in the next four years, keep in mind that compared to much of the world we all might as well be eating caviar off of solid gold spoons. The great thing about The Life You Can Save is that it vets charities for you to find the most effective ones where your dollar goes the farthest and does the most possible help. Just frikkin’ do it.

Categories: Of the Month.