Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Passive Consumer of Entertainment Product: The $1 CD Rack at TD's CD's and LP's

There was a time I could afford at most one new CD a week. That time is gone, but that doesn't mean I should ignore the $1 CD Rack at TD's, esp. since the job where I could buy (usually mainstream) CDs for $2.50 is a distant memory now. Anyhow, here's what I found last week:

The outstanding find was the Lionrock CD, worth it for song #2, Rude Boy Rock, alone (fuck you iTunes! I'll play the song on any computer I want! I ain't got to authorize NOTHING!). Rude Boy Rock is built around various reggae samples and snippets of Jamaican Patois, a.k.a. 'rasta guy talk'. There are horns, there is the somewhat cheap-sounding organ, there is, of course, the big dumb beat that puts it in the 'Big Beat' genre. Big, kinda dumb, but likeable, like a clumsy, sloppy dog slobbering all over you. And actually, the whole album is pretty good. 'Cellar Full Of Noise' and the Title track are favorites.

G-Stoned has a cover that's an obvious parody of or homage to Simon and Garfunkel's Bookends, something people who like both K&D and S&G (like me) were quick to notice. But there are no interviews with the elderly to be found on this CD, just that 'yuppie chillout music' that K&D built a career out of. It's not bad, but it's no Rude Boy Rock.

Finally we have the CMJ Volume 13 album, which I bought because there was a Faith Healers song I had never heard on it. Imagine my disappointment on finding this was the Faith Healers from Arkansas, not the ones from the UK that did the very noisy, repetitive but oddly hippie-ish music in the early 90's. The presence of Tone-Loc and Slick Rick tells us this CD dates from the late 80's. The presence of the Fall was no help in determining what year this came out, as they have been around forever. A hip-hop song from the forgotten 'Big Lady K' uses a James Brown sample, forgotten group S.K.A.M. contributes the song 'We Didn't Even Need James', as in 'we didn't need a James Brown sample to make this song', but maybe they did need James (or, like Tone-Loc, Van Halen), to keep from dropping off the face of the earth completely.

All in all, not a bad use of $3, or of the brief time I spent after my visit to the Laughing Planet Cafe upstairs for a burrito.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Who can('t) end racism with his smile?

When I was in college, I had this friend who, like me, was into hip hop. This was ca. 1989, a very good year for hip hop (Public Enemy, Boogie Down Productions, De La Soul, Yo! MTV Raps!, all of that and more). We also liked Spike Lee's movies (esp. 'Do The Right Thing', which as the song notes came out in 1989, the summer). We were both from whiter-than-white towns (Danville, IN and Brownsburg, IN). My friend was attending Purdue University, and in the spirit of promoting racial harmony and combating racism he decided he was gonna say 'Hi' to every black person he saw. Not all the black people enthusiastically said 'Hi' back. He was very disillusioned and shortly after that he started listening to Rush Limbaugh. He also later was about as cold about Biggie Smalls' death as Ted Nugent was about Kurt Cobain's, if that's possible.

Anyhow, around the time he started getting all disillusioned, as an experiment, I spent a day saying 'Hi' to every white person I saw, and that didn't go too well either. Try it yourself!

I grew up across the street from a kid who became a 'non-racist' skinhead, and would learn that 'non-racist' is skinhead slang for 'just homophobic'. It's kind of like how some vegetarians eat eggs, but others don't. Don't go around assuming vegetarians aren't eating eggs. Apparently at one time skinheads were working-class youth that liked ska music and wore funny little hats. Then some old racist dudes with funny little hats infiltrated skinheadism and twisted it, or something, and from that point on skinheads spent the time they used to spend listening to ska explaining the difference between racist and non-racist skinheads, and telling people which kind they were, after which the explainee would make a joke like 'ha ha, non-racist skinhead, is that like a non-rock punk?'. Google for details.

Prior to the head shaving and gay-bashing, he showed signs of being intelligent, which just goes to show 'he seems intelligent' is about as nebulous and pointless and generally worthless a statement as 'he seems nice'.

This has nothing to do with anything but I am old and like to ramble on with the stories.

One time, we tried using a railroad crossing as a Dukes of Hazzard type ramp in winter, and we flipped over the car.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Comix 'n' Scabies at Boxcar Books

Before my vacation to Lake Michigan I was in Boxcar Books getting some reading material. They were having a meeting of the Midwest Pages To Prisoners group. They give books to prisoners so they'll have something to do other than shank each other or sex each other up or just spend all their time lifting weights (or waiting for the really big guys to finish lifting weights). OK, all I 'know' about prison I learned from watching the HBO show OZ, plus 'Midnight Express' when I was a kid, up to the point where the 2 dudes start kissing, which is when my parents turned it off.

There was a guy with long hair and an interesting beard talking to one of the tattooed girls near the cash register. I wasn't really paying attention until 'I have scabies, but it's not active now'. Then I think he asked her for money. All she had to say to him was 'I'm sorry, I can't help you', and shortly after he left.

I got really uncomfortable, wondering if he'd passed on inactive scabies to me. Maybe it would lie dormant, just waiting until I was old and weak, at which point it would flare up. I might even be suffering from the diabeetus, like Wilfred Brimley, and the scabies would be the straw that broke the camel's back, last nail in the coffin, all that.

I picked these up:

  • Fuzz and Pluck by Ted Stearn (via the inarticulate starving-to-death-monkey Stearn mocks ascetics and mystics, who probably aren't a big chunk of Fantagraphics' readership)
  • Found #4 (aka 'Come into our World')
  • The Comics Journal (requires you to give a shit about details of the industry more than I do, but did tip me off to potentially interesting books)
  • The Believer (again introducing me to books/writers/artists I've never heard of, but suddenly find very interesting, for example: Marjane Satrapi)

I read them all (except the Comics Journal, I skimmed it).

I read this book, which largely has a 'it's a rough and tumble world out there, Data Warehousing ain't no game, son, you best knuckle down and get ready for some pain' tone which was off-putting, but I need to know about this stuff.

I read this book, which was a nice where-are-they-now follow up to Louis Theroux's old 'Weird Weekends' show.

The books were rung up by a friendly young woman with interestingly colored hair and a very detailed, black and white photo like tattoo of Niezsche on her arm.

That's it for now, gotta keep the entries short as in brief (to work on next - more frequently as in often).