April Fool’s Day

REVIEW: Robert Pollard with Doug Gillard – Speak Kindly of Your Volunteer Fire Department (1999)

ATTENTION ALL PLANETS OF THE SOLAR FEDERATION! ATTENTION ALL PLANETS OF THE SOLAR FEDERATION! ATTENTION ALL PLANETS OF THE SOLAR FEDERATION! We have assumed control. We have assumed control. We have assumed control….

SATCHMO

 Welcome to an April Fools Day switcheroo!! Mike and I have told each other what to listen to for today’s post.  Fun times!! Initially, we were even gonna try to write in each others’ styles, and really try to fool you guys. But, as you’ll see from the album choices, it might have been a nigh on impossible task!

For Mike, I chose Robert Pollard & Doug Gillard’s ‘Speak Kindly Of Your Volunteer Fire Department,’ largely because Mike awesomely found it and bought it for me in Ottawa, but I already had it, so I said he should rock it himself! But it’s awesome that he’ll get to hear a bit of the MAJESTY of Bob Pollard! I can’t wait to read what he says about it…

And for me, Mike has chosen Deep Purple’s In Rock (for which I thank him profusely). And here is where I really worried about trying to write like Mike for a post. That man KNOWS his Deep Purple, and there’s no way I could bring perspective to an album he’s heard for years and probably has coded directly into his DNA by now. It just wouldn’t work. You’d all know it wasn’t Mike!

Anyway, we hope you enjoy this April Fools site switcheroo! Let’s get in there and GIVE ‘ER!!

A

IMG_20160319_132526


 

Scan_20160325 (3)ROBERT POLLARD with DOUG GILLARD – Speak Kindly of Your Volunteer Fire Department (1999 Luna)

Guided By Voices have always eluded me.  Aaron says they’re brilliant but not for everybody.  This Robert Pollard “duo” album with Doug Gillard looks really interesting.  Let’s see if I’m everybody or not!

“Frequent Weaver Who Burns” is instantly likeable.  The lo-fi but genuine recording sounds right out of 1969, and the song recalls some of the best hippie rock bands from that era.  I hear a hint of 54-40’s “I Go Blind” in the guitar, but this is far more ambitious, as it descends into dance music madness.  “Soul Train College Policeman” (how the hell do they come up with these titles?) is different and indescribable, but “Pop Zeus” is brilliant.  Simple guitar melodies weave together with layers of rhythm guitars creating a power-pop rock track without embellishment.

Most of these songs are short bursts of ideas; in and out and no nonsense.  The longest track at 4:20 is “Slick as Snails”, a slow and enticing exercise in mixing sweet notes with sour notes and making a delectable concoction regardless.  Regal guitar chords keep the ship from running aground.  Power pop returns on “Do Something Real”, a simple guitar riff melded with an unorthodox melody.  In fact the album in general is built from these ingredients.  The guitars retain catchy rhythms, often classic sounding in nature.  Meanwhile the vocals are not constrained to sing anything simple or straightforward.  The lo-fi tape hiss and nature of the recordings do not detract; they enhance.  “Life is Beautiful” sounds as if recorded in the can.  Mix in a smidgen of psychedelia.  There is also a contrasting bombast on the album, a power just bursting at the seams.  Drama is often the companion of the arrangements, “Port Authority” being a fine example of this.  The short tunes meld influences varied far and wide.  Aaron hears the Who, and it’s there, and I think I even picked up on some Ace Frehley in the ring of the guitars.

Speak Kindly of Your Volunteer Fire Department comes highly recommended for the musically fearless.

4.5/5 stars

 

 

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#382: Record Store Tales Mk3 – The New Direction

SHAW BLADES

RECORD STORE TALES Mk3: The New Direction

Having been on the interweb for three years now, endlessly driveling on about heavy metal music, science fiction movies, and whining about the trials and tribulations of working in a Record Store, I have decided to make a clean break with the past.  It feels like all I’ve been doing here is dwelling on events and music of the past.  I’m through with the zoilism.  I have now made peace with it, and moved on.  It’s time to do something new for a change.  I have analyzed the trends of the internet, let go of my rage, and found the next big thing.  My new direction.

The new direction is this:

Mushrooms!  Delicious mushrooms, the edible kind.  Not the poisonous or psychoactive ones.  The kind you would put in a salad or on a pizza.  I love mushrooms.  I always have.  Some people consider them “shit flowers”* but I think they’re awesome.  They taste great and smell great when cooked in butter.  They’re even delicious and healthy when served raw.  They are loaded with vitamins B and D, and are an excellent source of minerals.  The fruit among fungus, mushrooms are a delicious way to eat healthy!

Not only are they good for you, but mushrooms are also good for the environment.  New studies have shown them to be adept at removing toxins from soil.  The industrial uses for the fungus in the future are limitless, and they are still being investigated for medicinal purposes, in the treatment of various cancers.

The future for fungus is bright, and I hope you will join me daily here at mikeladano.com as we share recipes and the latest science of mushrooms!  But balance is also important.  With me on my latest adventure is the ever loyal Aaron, to add some counterbalance to my raving.  As a taste (yuk yuk) of things to come, here is Aaron’s first rant (I hope of many) on mushrooms!

YUMMY

Apparently Mike is writing something to praise mushrooms. And (I’m imagining) not the super-fun (so I’ve heard) hallucinogenic ones, either. No, my impression was that he meant the nasty, vile, disgusting little fungi that some people inexplicably eat in salads and all the other myriad ways people ingest the revolting things.

In his email asking me to participate as the dissenting voice (an easy job for me), he didn’t exactly specify how long my rant should be… actually, his reply was “I was thinking a paragraph of 4-6 lines, but Jesus…maybe it would be even funnier if you went balls deep, and on and on for a while!” To which, naturally, I replied THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID. Anyway, it would seem I have license to hold forth on these repellent little blobs for as long as I want!

Like most people, you’re thinking something along the lines of: what could I possibly I find so off-putting about these? Surely I’ll agree they’re tasty, and nutritious! Oh, if I’d only ever had them prepared properly, I’d surely change my mind about them! Well, no. No no no no no. And NO. They are a taste AND a texture violation. They’re nauseating, and I pick them off pizzas. Do you even know what they grow these off-putting things in? Hm? And yet still you eat them? Ohhh yes give me more of THAT unpalatable fleur de merde! Mmmmm…

SHIT FLOWER*Yes, that’s right. Shit flowers. That’s what I call them, and it’s entirely appropriate, not only in taste but in the actual gardening of them. My stomach turns at the thought of finding one in a stew, stir fry or pasta. Don’t put them anywhere near my panini, sauce, soup, or my beef/chicken/anything else. Sliced, stuffed, dried, baked, or wrapped in bacon (no, not even the MIGHTY BACON can help these sad little bastards), I do not want your vomitous little bulbs of distaste.

There’s only one (appropriately-named) mushroom that truly tells the story, and that is, of course, the shiitake mushroom. At least that one knows it is shiit. And that’s the only positive I can think of, when asked to turn my mind to even the thought of these little turds.

If you like them, and actually choose to ingest them, power to you. You’re welcome to have my share, today and forever after that. Enjoy eating your shiit.

REVIEW: The Bachelor (Season 18)

JUAN PABLO

THE BACHELOR – Season 18 (2014)

2014 has already been a stellar year for  quality television programming.  In addition to a healthy roster of returning classics such as The Amazing Race, Survivor, and Big Brother Canada, we were treated to the greatest season of the most dramatic of them all:  The Bachelor.  Through your TV screens, you traveled the world, watching many beautiful women from many beautiful talent agencies throwing themselves at the most voluminous douchebag in recent memory:  Juan Pablo Galavis.  

Aye-yai-yai.

Not every Bachelor has the distinction of getting dumped, twice.  Juan Pablo earned that record, with great effort.

The season starts promisingly.  At first, Juan Pablo takes a special liking to a the talented Opera singer Sharleen, who earns the “first impression rose”.   Giving a pretty girl a rose should set a Bachelor up for smooth sailing.

Sharleen is very reluctant to accept his advances; she carries nothing more than a physical attraction to the Venezuelan soccer player.  Of the quality of her relationship with Juan Pablo, she said, “If only I was a little dumber.”

Batting 1000 so far, Juan Pablo!

There is also a dark horse named Andi who Juan Pablo sees potential with.  Near the end of the series, the contestants are given a camera-free evening in a luxury hotel to get to know each other a little better.  Juan Pablo proves he is nothing more than a narcissist by making everything about him.  Fed up, she dumps him in the morning.  Juan Pablo’s response to her feelings:  “Is OK.  Is fine,” the very words that drove her insane prior to this.  Juan Pablo seems to have three words in his vocabulary:  “Is,” “OK,” and “fine.”  When appropriate he plays the language card to escape the wrath of Andi.  Sucks getting dumped on national television I guess?  Aye-yai-yai!

Juan Pablo describes himself as an “honest” family man who loves his daughter, but he plays these two things like cards too.  If things don’t go exactly as Juan Pablo expects things to go, he throws his Daddy status in their faces.  But is OK.  Even Juan Pablo’s mother called him “sometimes very rude.”

On the final date (in a helicopter) with the runner-up, Juan Pablo said the words that every girl dreams of hearing:  “I don’t know you, but I love fucking you.” After that comment of the century, he uses his comforting Venezuelan accent to assure her that “Is OK.”

One girl left.  Bachelor protocol ensures an engagement ring with a diamond the size of a watermelon and a lot of sweet, sweet words.  Nikki is the waiting girl.  Juan Pablo holds her hands, and shares the most whimsical words of the season:  “I like you a lot too.”

I hate to burst your bubble JP, but you’re a douche.  (Is OK.  Is fine.)

6/5 Aye-yai-yai’s

BOOK REVIEW: What’s Your Poo Telling You? by Josh Richman and Anish Sheth M.D.

POO

What’s Your Poo Telling You? by Josh Richman and Anish Sheth M.D.

Illustrated by Peter Arkle, Chronicle Books, 96 pages

If you’re like me, you probably enjoy a good read while droppin’ a deuce.  And if you’re not like me, don’t judge; no, just take a look at all the Uncle John’s reader’s in the humour section of the local bookstore.  Who’s laughing now?  Uncle John, all the way to the bank!

Obviously, I’m  not alone.

A Christmas gift from my lovely wife, Mrs LeBrain, What’s Your Poo Telling You? by Josh Richman and Dr. Anish Sheth, is an informative illustrated reference book.  For health purposes.  For example, let’s say you encounter the health problem known colloquially as “Log Jam”.  Turn to page 62:   lack of water and/or dietary fiber cause stool to be too hard to pass.  Ahh!  I see!  Treatment:  enemas or…ewwww!…”manual disimpaction”.

Other conditions or events covered in the book include:  “Floaters vs. Sinkers”, “Rambo Poo”, “Number Three” (aka “Butt Piss”), the “Streak”, and many more.  Each article includes health tips, a biology lesson of the gastrointestinal variety, and many are illustrated.

STREAK

There are also interesting factual articles to enjoy, such as a page on dinosaur droppings, and one on toilets owned by presidents and royalty.

For even more fun, be sure to check out the sequel, What’s My Pee Telling Me?  This helpful tome includes content on farts, pee, and even more poo.  New conditions discussed include “Itchy Poo” and “Poonami”.

I strongly recommended one or both of these books to concerned citizens everywhere.

5/5 stars

REVIEW: New Kids on the Block – Greatest Hits

NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK – Greatest Hits (2008)

With their triumphant return to the stage recently, it is only appropriate that today we revisit the 2008 Greatest Hits package by the ultimate boy band, New Kids on the Block.

This album, simply titled Greatest Hits, is a collection of the best of the best by the original Fab Five.  Aside from the four bonus tracks, which we’ll talk about later, the album is chock full of smash hits waiting to be remembered.  Starting with their trademark song “Step By Step”, it never lets up til the end.  This is a breathtaking collection of songwriting prowess and vocal excellence.  Truly, manager Maurice Starr had a talent for discovering stars.

This album is, in fact, a reissue of a 1999 edition, which only had 14 tracks.  The new version has 18.  It also omits a C + C Music Factory remix, and subs in “My Favourite Girl” instead, sung by Jordan Knight and Danny Wood, which is a better tune.  There are a few other changes as well, but chances are, this album will do fine for you.  If you really badly want to listen to their Christmas song all the time, it’s only on the 1999 edition).  It has been taken off this release.  Instead, you will get the hit single “Games”.  This is presented in the much tougher “Kids Get Hard” remix.

You will already know the massive hits, “The Right Stuff”, “Cover Girl”, “Tonight”, “Hangin’ Tough”, and “Please Don’t Go Girl”.  Most impressive is Jordan Knight’s lead vocal turn on the epic ballad, “I’ll Be Loving You (Forever)”.  Impressive pipes.  Truly one of the great underrated vocalists of the 90’s.  As a bit of a bonus, you’ll also get a song from 1994’s Face The Music LP, which suffered from lacklustre sales.  This track shows the Kids (then known as NKOTB) taking a more modern turn, while sacrificing none of their sweet harmonies.

There are four bonus cuts on this disc.  One is a “Mega Mix” that will work ideally for parties and dances.  There are two songs from solo albums (Jordan’s and Joey’s), and Donnie’s sentimental duet with Seiko, “The Right Combination”.

Best of all, you even get a full size poster!  This is perfect for wall or ceiling.

5/5 stars