ALIEN SONGS

I’m doing an Astronomy project about UFOs, so that’s kind of where my head’s been the last couple days. Here are a few good alien songs.


WIPERS are a personal favorite of mine. Angsty Portland punk. Really cool guitar tones and heavy, rhythmic songs.

This song, “Alien Boy,” is off my favorite of their records, Is This Real?. It’s great!


I think I did a post a while back about HALF JAPANESE. One of the weirdest bands ever. It’s two brothers, Jad and David Fair, who have played with each other for together since 1975. Their sound varies from straight up noisy no-wave chaos to straight-up rock songs.

This song’s called “Deadly Alien Spawn.” Weirdly enough, this is one of their most normal songs.


From time to time, SUICIDE moves up to the #1 spot on my Rawk Band Ever list. I mean, they’re just the best. Their debut album is perfect in every way. It totally revolutionized electronic & punk music, and it still sounds otherworldly.

Here’s a song from their oft neglected second LP The Second Album.


THE ONLY ONES are a super good British power pop band. They achieved moderate success through this song, “Another Girl Another Planet.” I don’t totally know what it’s about. I assume it’s some metaphor with space travel and a girl he likes or something.

It’s good though. Really beatiful song!


We all know PARLIAMENT, hopefully. Well, basically all their music could be categorized as “Alien” or “Otherwordly,” but this song in particular ties into the topic.

“Mothership Connection (Star Child)”

 

 

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NEW MUSIC

I post a lot about dusty old bands that nobody cares about, so now I’m going to post about new bands that a few people care about! 2018 has already been a pretty good year for punk music. New releases from BETA BOYS, JACKSON POLITICK (ANDY HUMAN), NANDAS, and sooooo many other great bands.


I just recently caught up with SPARROW STEEPLE’s new 12″ A Aardvark. Yeah, this came out last November, but I wasn’t made aware of that fact, and Google Play Music says it’s from 2018, so whatever.

I have to say that this new 12″ is my favorite thing SPARROW STEEPLE’s ever put out. I liked, didn’t love, their LP last year. With this 12″ they displayed a more refined, streamlined approach to songwriting. The songs are better, and the THE SCENE IS NOW style experimentation is still there. Even more, Harmonica Dan, who is also credited on some BIRDS OF MAYA songs, does some great work on this 12″.

Here’s the third song on A Aardvark entitled “Frank N’ Cliff.” It grooves!

 

 

 


Next, RIK AND THE PIGS put out a 12″ this year called A Child’s Gator. It absolutely rips! The guitars sound fantastic, the saxophone blasts, and Rik’s voice sounds even more sneery than normal.

It opens with a RIK AND THE PIGS classic, “Steve B Goode,” which first appeared on their demo from 2015. The rest of the album continues in a similar vein — turbo-boosted, old-school rawk music. It’s supremely enjoyable (and even funny at times). Blast it in the car, blast it in your room, blast it through the intercom at a supermarket.

My current favorite track on A Child’s Gator is “(Baby I’m) Electric.”


Oh lord. Former members of PATSY and MYSTIC INANE team up to make an electro-glam-no wave band. Not only that, but the songs all slam and are exceptionally catchy. SIGN ME UP!!! The band is SPECIAL INTEREST and the album is Spiraling. 

The LP is so good. There such a palpable anger fueling every moment of every song. Not only that, but the instrumentation (steady drum machine, jagged guitars, melodic bass, ferocious lead vocals) is legitimately great. Every element plays off the other perfectly.I love it!

Here’s the catchiest song on the LP, “Disco II.”

 

 


WARM BODIES are odd ducks. Some people describe their sound as “avant-garde” which I don’t necessarily agree with. Like, the vocals are weird, but that doesn’t make something avant-garde. It’s just fast-paced, extremely fun hardcore punk! Nothing super crazy about it!

The songs are short, catchy, gross, fast, and, on some level, quite irritating. But, at the end of the day, you have to love WARM BODIES. They’re just too much fun!

Here’s a song about DB Cooper.

 

 

ROXY MUSIC

I’ve been listening to a lot of ROXY MUSIC for the past two weeks. They’re one of those bands that I enjoyed a fair amount after hearing one or two songs, but I never dug into their discography further. This is probably due to the fact that they don’t have one stand-out, icononic record. Their first five albums that are all considered to be classics.

Also, all their songs didn’t initially grab my ear. It took me a little while to appreciate ALL the songs on these first albums.

Now that I’ve listened to those first five records a few times and have done some research on the band, I’m going to share my thoughts on ROXY MUSIC. I’ll also give some basic background on their founding and their influence on popular music.


First I’ll give you the basic lineup. BRYAN FERRY is the band’s lead singer and premiere songwriter. He founded the band, and he’s been the anchor through various lineup changes. ANDY MACKAY is the band’s saxophonist and oboist. PAUL THOMPSON was the drummer. BRIAN ENO played keyboards (and overall sonic weirdness) until 1973. PHIL MANZANERA was their guitarist from 1972 to their breakup. There were many different bass players in ROXY MUSIC. Some include JOHN WETTON (from KING CRIMSON), GRAHAM SIMPSON, and JOHN GUSTAFSON. Finally, EDDIE JOBSON played synthesizer and violin in the band from ’73-’76. Related image

As you can tell, there were a lot of members of ROXY MUSIC. There were frequent lineup changes, and new sounds were brought into the mix constantly. This is part of the reason ROXY MUSIC remains such an interesting and dynamic band. They weren’t afraid to experiment and explore new terrain.

Most of the band members’ musical occupation are fairly self-explanatory. However, BRIAN ENO holds a unique role in ROXY MUSIC’s formative years. ENO brought had an understanding of the weird and the avant-garde. He frequently introduced bizarre and unusual sounds both to their studio recordings and live performances. This live recording of “Remake Re-model” is a fantastic example of ENO’s frenetic energy.

Unfortunately, due to creative differences between he and FERRY, ENO left the band in ’73. But, surprisingly enough due to how much ENO contributed to the band, the post-ENO ROXY MUSIC albums are just as good (if not better) than the first two.


In that video, you’ll have a good sense of ROXY MUSIC’s fashion which was…unique to say the least. BRYAN FERRY is quoted saying the band’s early look was informed by the glamor and slickness of Motown. It’s easy to see how ROXY MUSIC translated this look to fit the new “glam” sensibility of England in the early 70’s. Image result for roxy music

Their look is similar to their contemporaries. I’m easily reminded of BOWIE and T.REX, even the NEW YORK DOLLS. Their bombastic style no doubt influenced other 70’s glam and punk bands around their world.


Now onto the music. I think the first four ROXY MUSIC albums are stone cold classics. The fifth, Siren is decent, but it doesn’t pack the same punch as the first four, and it incorporates some disco elements that don’t totally work for me.

If I had to rank the first five albums…I’d do

  1. Stranded 
  2. For Your Pleasure 
  3. Country Life 
  4. Roxy Music 
  5. Siren 

Stranded is my top pick simply because the albums’ pacing is near perfect, and it has some of my all-time favorite ROXY MUSIC songs on it. I feel bad for putting their self-titled near the bottom, but the second half of it simply doesn’t match the quality of the stellar first half.


Here are some of my favorite ROXY MUSIC songs…

SOME MORE SONGS

So I’ve been sick since Friday, which would normally mean I have an excuse to lay around and do nothing in particular all weekend long. HOWEVER, I had to work at the movie theatre all weekend, so I’m pretty exhausted.

I was originally going to write about my feelings on THE DOORS, but I didn’t have the time (or the will) to listen to all of their albums in preparation of writing this post. So instead I’m just going to spotlight some songs from artists I’ve been listening to recently.


First, I’ve been listening to a lot of ROXY MUSIC as of late. I own one of their albums on vinyl (Stranded), but I still wasn’t all that familiar with their discography until recently.

I’ve been listening to their record For Your Pleasure, their last collaboration with sound guru with Brian Eno. I’m going to share the song “Beauty Queen” from that album. It’s not necessarily the best song on the album, but it’s been stuck in my head the past few days. Enjoy!


I’ve been on a ROYAL TRUX kick the past week. They’re one of my favorite bands (I was even able to see them live last summer), but I still feel like I lack a certain grasp of their music. They’re sound changes with each album they make, so there’s always something for whatever mood you’re in.

I’ve been listening to their album Thank You the most. It’s probably their most straight-forward, “easy listening” album. Here’s the song “Lights on the Levee” off that record.


Another artist I’ve been “spinning” lately is Willie “Loco” Alexander. He’s a Boston rocker that used to play at venues like The Rat with the likes of Wayne County and Nervous Eaters. His career was jumpstarted when he joined the Velvet Underground briefly during during their Loaded tour.

After that, he recorded several albums with the Boom Boom Band and released some solo records. I haven’t listened to too much of his work, but I’m a big fan of his early singles.

Here’s a live recording of the song “Kerouac” at The Rat.

SPRING JAMS

Spring is approaching, which means I’ll be more inclined to listen to upbeat stuff. I’ve already noticed my music trends changing a bit. So, I’m going to share with you a few songs I’ve discovered (or re-discovered) lately. Enjoy!


First, I’ve been listening to some Boston power pop/punk. Boston had a really good scene in the 80s. Bands like Scruffy the Cat, Volcano Suns, The Dogmatics, and, of course, The Cars come to mind.

I was listening to this compilation called Claws that compiled some of Boston’s best underground rock/power pop bands. A lot of it is disposable, but I found this ONE song by a band called BUZZ AND THE GANG that is damn near perfect. Apparently the guitarist from Jerry’s Kids played in this band. This is the only song they ever put out.

The song is “Hearts Waiting” by BUZZ AND THE GANG.


Going off of that, I’ve also been listening to BIG DIPPER, a great late-80’s Boston rock band. I knew of them because Tom Scharpling of The Best Show is a big fan of them. He even got them to reunite on his radio show!

Anyway, I was listening to their first album the other day, and the first song on the record is my current favorite.

The song’s called “She’s Fetching.”


Leaving Boston, I’ve also been listening to a bit of UK punk. I was searching through some old punk compilations to see if there were any bands I could dive into, and I found a band called PENETRATION. They’re fronted by Pauline Murray who has a really strong, anthemic, New Wave-y voice.

Their overall output is shaky, but their third single called “Firing Squad” is great.


And, finally, Lydia Lunch is a bit of a kook, but TEENAGE JESUS AND THE JERKS will always be great. I haven’t really gotten into No Wave for a couple years, but I was listening to this song the other day…

It’s called “My Eyes” by TEENAGE JESUS AND THE JERKS.

MORE MOVIE TALK

I don’t really want to talk about music right now. Just not feelin it.

BUT, recently I’ve been watching a lot of movies (I get free tix because of my Mariemont Theatre gig). So I’m going to talk about the last few movies I watched! Okay?

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I watched Paddington 2 a week ago. And yeah, it ruled. It was very funny & sweet. Almost a little too British for me at times, but not so much that it overpowered the funniness and sweetness. Image result for paddington 2

I went in with absolutely no idea what to expect, and ended up having a great time. I thought the CGI bear would bug me, but I got used to it after a few minutes. Overall, it’s just a good time.

We could all learn a thing or two from Paddington, I think.

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Next, I saw Phantom Thread twice, once with my friend and once with my mom. I’ve got to say, I enjoyed it even more the second time. I, like a lot of people, am a huge fan of Paul Thomas Anderson’s movies (The Master, Boogie Nights, etc.). So I came into the theatre with HUGE expectations for the movie.

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And it lived up to them!

The movie was paced perfectly, it was much funnier than I had anticipated, and the twist was so so satisfying. Everything about it was good. Daniel Day Lewis killed it, Vicky Krieps killed is, Lesley Manville killed it. They all killed it.

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Finally, I saw Molly’s Game a little while ago. And, look, I’m not a big Aaron Sorkin fan at all. I think his TV shows & movies have bad politics, are pretentious, and are overwritten. So I walked into this movie with a pretty negative attitude.

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However, I found Molly’s Game to be, for the most part, arresting and fun. Sorkin obviously had fun making it, and that comes across. It still felt like a Sorkin movie; there were still long monologues and I don’t think an real human being would actually say a single line in the entire movie, but look, I liked it overall!

It’s about 2.5 hours long, but it sure doesn’t feel that long. It actually made me care about poker, and it was fun to watch the stakes grow and grow until the big finale (Will she go to jail or will she not!?!? Will she betray her clients to save herself!?!?) I give Molly’s Game a thumbs up!

 

 

BEST MOVIES OF 2017

Most of the music I’ve been listening to have been instrumentals and movie soundtracks that I can listen to in the background while I do homework and whatnot. I’ve done about 2 yrs of music posts, so I figured I should change it up and talk about something else I’m interested in – movies!

I currently work at the Mariemont Threatre, so I’ve been able to see a lot of good films in the last couple months for free. Perk of the job!


5. THE TRIP TO SPAIN  

I really like all these The Trip movies. There have been three so far (The Trip, The Trip to Italy, and The Trip to Spain), and each one has been hilarious and touching. There are copious impressions and bits stuffed in each film (notable impressions include Roger Moore, David Bowie, and Mick Jagger). Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan are clearly trying to impress each other with their comedic chops, and it makes for something really entertaining.

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But besides that, this movie delves into deeper themes in a casual, conversational way. Trip to Spain touches on mortality, ageing, relationships, jealousy, and friendship all in one 90 minute timespan. And it never once feels preachy or inauthentic.

It’s also the most Anglo movie of 2017.

4. MENASHE 

This was an unexpected one! It was at the Mariemont Theatre for maybe three weeks, and I watched it on a whim, not really knowing what it was about.

It’s the story of a bereaved orthodox Jewish man who is trying to regain custody (not legal custody, but custody within his community) of his son. Menashe is an imperfect protagonist. He’s rash, disorganized, and, well, he’s basically a failure. But he makes small steps as the movie progresses to get his life together and get his kid back.

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It’s a sweet, compassionate movie, and for whatever reason it’s stuck with me the last few months.

3. mother! 

mother! is a DEEPLY flawed movie. It’s sexual politics are weird, it’s weighty metaphors are overbearing, and it’s weird as hell. But, look, I liked it! My experience in the theater watching it was unlike any other I had this year. It’s a whirlwind of manic activity that consistently surprises. Aronofsky sets up expectations only to defy them.

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I still haven’t parsed through everything this movie attempted to get across (because there was a lot it tried to get across). But, I think it’s safe to say it deserved to be on this list despite my many issues with it.

2. LADY BIRD

I was happy to see Lady Bird picked up a couple Golden Globes. I’ve somehow ended up seeing it three times with my family, by myself, and with friends. I’ve laughed and teared up each time.

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And it should be somewhat relatable to any parent or child going through the high school/college transition. I’d recommend it to all y’all.

It also contains one of my FAVORITE performances this year, that of Laurie Metcalf in the role of Lady Bird’s daughter.

1. GOOD TIME 

I JUST caught up on this one this past weeked. Me putting this movie #1 on my list may be recency bias, but I don’t care. I really loved this movie. It completely wrecked me. My heart was pounding for its entire 2 hr runtime. And the ending upset me more than anything I listened to, watched, or read this year.

I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind since I saw it, and I’ve been continuously listening to the (fantastic) sountrack by Oneohtrix Point Never since I watched.

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2017 TV SHOWS

I’m gonna take a break from “music” and talk about some TV shows that I watched this year that I enjoyed! I haven’t been watching tons of stuff, but I have some strong opinions about a handful of shows that I’d like to share.

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First, we have NATHAN FOR YOU which is probably the best show on TV. It’s astounding what Nathan Fielder is able to achieve in every single episode of this season in particular. I think he’s a genius.

I STILL haven’t seen the two hour series finale of NATHAN FOR YOU. I’m preparing my mind and body for that. But, so far my favorite episode has been the Anecdote episode where Nathan orchestrates an elaborate wedding anecdote in able to truthfully tell it on the Jimmy Kimmel Live.

I also liked the episode where Nathan sets up a fake band called the Banzai Predicament to convince the public that a Blues Smoke Detector is a real instrument.

RIVERDALE has also just started its second season. Not gonna lie, I enjoyed the first season, but the episodes so far have not grabbed me at all. I don’t care about “jingle jangle,” or the Black Hood, or whatever.

It feels kind of scattershot and I feel like they’re sucking the life out of the interesting characters from last season and making the bad characters (I’m looking at you, Archie) soooo much worse. Anyway, I’ll keep watching, but I’m not into what they’re doing with the show right now.

Anyway here’s a Josie and the Pussycats performance that made me laugh.

And finally I’m watching SEARCH PARTY on TBS which I loooved last season. It just came back from a year-long haitus. Last season ended on a HUGE cliffhanger, so I was anxious to see how the crew would get out of it.

I’m worried that after what happened last season (I’ll just say it, they killed a dude) the show was going to lose its innocence and millenial Nancy Drew vibe. It sort of has, but I think the tone’s stayed the same mostly, and its stayed funny and intriguing.

Here’s a funny clip.

 

 

 

 

 

BEST SONGS FROM MUSICAAAALS

I’m not a musical aficionado, but there are a few musicals that have left an impression on me through the years. In this post, I’m going to share a few songs from musicals that I really enjoy!

First, we have a song from the Broadway show called Pins and Needles from the 30s. It’s a super funny show casted and acted by the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union. It’s the only Broadway show that’s been led by a group of relatively inexperienced, non-professionals. A true underdog story!

The song “When I Grow Up” is about J Edgar Hoover. I reference it in my Instagram bio!

Next, we have a CLASSIC song from the 1957 musical The Music Man (which I believe MHS performed a few years back). It’s a super fun tune. “Ya Got Trouble.”

Here’s a song from a musical film entitled A Star is Born from 1954. It’s one of Judy Garland’s last film roles and one of her best. This song, “The Man that Got Away” is one of those scenes you just need to SEE to understand.

Garland’s inflection and movement make the song. It’s such an unbelievable performance!

And finally we have the epic medley “Rose Tint My World” from Rocky Horror Picture Show. All the songs in this soundtrack are basically great, but I feel that this one is often underappreciated.

Enjoy!

 

 

HALLOWEEEEN

In honor of the pagan holiday (helliday?) last week, I’ll be showcasing some cool Halloween songs that I like. Enjoy!

First we have the Misfits fifth single from 1981, the song “Halloween.” It’s probably the best Halloween song. Spooky lyrics & suuuuper catchy chorus.

Next we have “Train to Satanville” by Gin Gillette. This is one of those songs that reached cult popularity, but no one really knows anything about the Gillette, the artist behind it. It’s a catchy rockabilly song with surf guitar riffs and a creepy Halloween intro with a scary laugh and everything.

Annnnd next we have one of the strangest songs ever recorded: “Making Love to a Vampire with a Monkey on my Knee” by Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band. I think it qualifies as a Halloween song. Some expicit language in this one.

The Sonics are one of the best garage rock bands ever, and “The Witch” is once of their best songs. I saw The Cowboys cover this last week. It was great!

And finally we have a fun song by Austin garage punk band The Motards. “Zombies!”