Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday Shuffle #184

It's already a hot sticky day at 7:30 in the morning and I have a number of chores lined up. One thing I will definitely make time for is the White Sox/Cubs game - my Sox can sweep, win their 12th in a row and 16th of their last 17. The last time they won 11 in a row was 1961, well before I was born, so it's been exciting to watch this run. Hope you all have a pleasant Sunday...

1. Silver Plate Complaints/Centro-Matic (2)
2. Rust/Telekinesis (4)
3. Left on Laura, Left on Lisa/The Avett Brothers (1)
4. I Could Be Underground/Spoon (1)
5. Broken Bricks/The White Stripes (2)
6. Beneath Your Tree/Bowerbirds (1)
7. More Stars Than There Are In Heaven/Yo La Tengo (2)
8. All the Time/Tom Waits (1)
9. I Think I'm Going To Hell/My Morning Jacket (2)
10. People In The Sky/Sloan (2)

Saturday, June 26, 2010


My Google Reader was advertising a new feature this evening and I enjoyed it enough to add a new part to the blog - you'll see it over there in the upper right-hand corner. It pulls things from the internet that I can look at and share with you, if I find the item interesting enough. Yes, it's another way to waste time on the internet but I got a kick out of the 4 items you'll find over there right now.

I hope to have more things to share with you soon in the way of actual posts. I would like to talk about True Blood (I have one episode left of the 2nd season), Toy Story 3, all sorts of music, and more. I have 4 books out from the library out right now with 2 more waiting for me, so some book posts need to happen too.

I do have one last item to share tonight, a good old-fashioned link. Matt Fraction is relaunching Casanova through Icon soon and GQ did a longish interview about it with him. I've only read the first 7 issues of the original 14 (the 2nd story arc was never collected), so I'm looking forward to more. I think Fraction is one of the better writers in comics today and there's quite a bit of interest to read here.

Ok, enough sharing for one night...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Jayhawks Live Yet Again

I haven't talked about the reissue of their first album yet, which I really should get around to. In the meantime, here they are playing tracks from that album and others last week...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday Shuffle #183

Happy Father's Day to any of you who might be reading this. I'm going to spend my day working on a quiz for my summer class and watching my White Sox go for a sweep against the Nationals, which would also be their 6th win in a row.

1. Wash It Out/The Mynabirds (2)
2. I Called Out Your Name/The Thermals (2)
3. The Greatest Sum (acoustic)/The Avett Brothers (1)
4. I Love My Label/Nick Lowe (1)
5. Cannibals/Crooked Fingers (1)
6. No Key, No Plan/Okkervil River (1)
7. I Felt the Chill Before the Winter Came/Elvis Costello (1)
8. Canvey Island/British Sea Power (1)
9. The Big Three Killed My Baby/The White Stripes (2)
10. Night Falls/Cracker (1)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thursday Pop

Last week's batch of comics hit all of my pleasure centers but this week's (smaller) batch didn't do quite so well. A month or so ago I picked up Brightest Day #0 and found it an intriguing start to the new bi-weekly series spun out of Blackest Night. I thought #1 was a big pile of crap. So, I decided that #2 would be my make or break (and yes, #4 came out this week - I'm behind, what can I say?) and while it wasn't terrible, it also wasn't particularly good. You can see the plot mechanism working and characterization seems to just be shouting. I won't be reading any more of them.

I thought S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 was a lot of fun with its secret origins of the organization and presence of Leonardo DaVinci. #2, however? It was an incoherent mess. Tim Callahan over at CBR gave this issue 4 1/2 stars and while I often agree with his point of view, I just don't get it. The issue is a swirl of pseudo-mystical speak and answers are promised but I'm not interested in finding out what they are. Oh well.

My wife and I are slowly working out way through the DVR and I'm still sorting through True Blood through On Demand and trying to catch up to the present. Here's the TV yet to be watched list...

Glee (5 eps)
Doctor Who (6 eps)
True Blood (10 eps)
Burn Notice (2 eps)
Treme (2 eps)

Meanwhile, I've also started reading the insanely long The Passage by Justin Cronin. I also have work for a summer class I'm taking, so it's going to be tough to get it all read and back to the library in time. I'm going to try, though...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Happy Returns

When I went to the comics shop on Wednesday this week, I didn't overthink anything. I bought four comics I was interested in (including three first issues, featuring the returns of characters and titles) and I did it without guilt or hand-wringing over the cost. It felt good, especially after I read them. Unfortunately, I'm not made of money so I can't do that all the time but I am going to try and keep the feeling. Anyway, here are a few words about what I bought...

Legion of Super-Heroes #1 - I've written often about my love for the Legion and how they were my gateway into the world of comics. This new series follows on the heels of a couple stories which brought back "my" Legion and the continuity of the original series (with a few additions from other version of the Legion over the last 15 years or so). It also brings back long-time Legion writer Paul Levitz, who was at the helm for many years and who solidified my Legion love. I admit to being a bit nervous about him returning to the title after 20 years but I was worried for nothing. While it isn't the best issue of Legion I've ever read, it felt like the Legion with multiple subplots and multiple characters and things such as the Time Institute. Yes, it picks up on some threads from Green Lantern lore but is quite balanced. I enjoyed the work of art team Yildiray Cinar and Wayne Faucher as well. I'm looking forward to the 2nd issue.

The Unwritten #14 -Even though the impending publication of the 14th Tom Taylor novel (an obvious fake to the editor, who nevertheless wants to cash in) is the spine of the this issue, it's really more of a character study of Lizzie Hexam. She uses an interesting method, known as "Channel 2," to contact Wilson Taylor, which is immediately noticed by the shadowy group who have been on the trail of Tom. The ending is fascinating and I can't wait to see where it goes.

Hawkeye & Mockingbird #1 - I've never been a huge Marvel reader, though I have read many Marvel comics over the years. One of my earliest titles was West Coast Avengers, which featured Hawkeye and his wife Mockingbird. Hawkeye instantly became one of my favorite characters. There has been a lot of upheaval in the Marvel Universe over the last few years and Mockingbird has come back from the dead, or rather from the alien planet she was held captive on for years. Hey, it's comics. Anyway, this debut issue does a great job setting up the relationship between the two as it currently stands, bringing in some villains with past ties to the heroes, and a great opening action sequence. I've not read Jim McCann's work before but I was impressed with this, along with the art by David and Alvaro Lopez. More of this would be nice.

Tom Strong and the Robots of Doom #1 - I tweeted that I wanted to marry Chris Sprouse's artwork after reading this issue and I stand by that statement. This is a welcome return to the world of Tom Strong, though Peter Hogan is at the helm and not Alan Moore. That's okay, though, because this issue has a lot going for it - humor, family, and an alternate universe that Tom has somehow survived to see. Plus, a sexy and evil as hell Ingrid Weiss. My one complaint is with myself - when I made the switch from single issues to trades 10 years ago I missed some things along the way. Obviously, this series is picking up plot points from the earlier series which I know nothing about. It's not impeding my enjoyment but makes me want to read (and reread) the whole series. Maybe I'll trip over a few hundred dollars soon...

Sunday Shuffle #182

Today I'm going to stop feeling sorry for myself over the fact that I can't just read and listen to music when not at work this summer. I have a class I'm taking and I need to deal with that fact and just get the work done. So, yeah. I will still have time for myself too, so it's not all doom and gloom. Let's see if today's ten can get me going...

1. Citronella/Aesop Rock (2)
2. Bright Lights/Black Mountain (1)
3. Things Nobody's Named Yet/Warren Zanes (2)
4. Marie Provost/Nick Lowe (1)
5. Blood On The Knobs/Glossary (2)
6. Johnny Viola/Shearwater (3)
7. The Americans/Saturday Looks Good To Me (1)
8. Guest Room/The National (2)
9. Riot Coming/Elliott Smith (1)
10. Reach Out/Sloan (1)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Small Portion

I've been aware of Aimee Bender for a number of years but never quite managed to pick up one of her books. That fact has now changed with the release of her new novel, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, although it almost didn't. I've found that I have a harder time settling into books as the years have gone by, usually based on my mood at the time. It could also be that I have less free time than I ever did and more distractions. Whatever the case, after a pause of two days or so, I picked this book back up and went the distance.

The big idea here is that Rose Edelstein can taste emotions in food, specifically the emotions of the people who made the food. This is a pretty traumatic discovery for her, especially since it takes place when she is 9. Much of the book deals with her ways of coping with and finally learning to deal with her "gift."

Rose is not only in her misery - each member of her family is off in some way, from the flat-out strangeness of her brother Joseph to the intense need of her mother and the mostly vacant spot that is her father. Luckily, the claustrophobic feel of the family is broken up from time to time by Joseph's only friend George, who serves as an anchor to reality throughout the book.

I said it was a big idea and these are crazy characters but this isn't a big book in temperment. It's a small book, concerned with everyday discoveries about ourselves and the world around us. That's not a bad thing.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sunday Shuffle #181

Tomorrow I start my summer schedule of being in the pool a lot more and taking a class. The class is a hybrid, so I only have to be on campus for 3 hours each week and the rest is done online. That will last 8 weeks. We'll see how it all goes. Right now, though, let's get to the music...

1. Rollin' Back/My Morning Jacket (1)
2. Malibu Gas Station/Sonic Youth (1)
3. Hang Me Up to Dry/Cold War Kids (1)
4. Forty Dollars/The Twilight Singers (1)
5. Un Dernier Verre (Pour La Route)/Beirut (2)
6. My Love Is True/The Broken West (1)
7. Ambuscade/The Broken West (1)
8. Open Eyes/Apples In Stereo (1)
9. Lord, Don't Pass Me By/The Ladybug Transistor (4)
10. Pride of the Yankees/Patterson Hood (2)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Heavy Rotation #10

As we head into June, I thought I'd mention the albums that got the most play in May...

The Beatles/Revolver - This is the other of my two favorite Beatle albums. John's "I'm Only Sleeping" is just a perfect marriage of lyric and music - that woozy, chuggy feeling of needing some sleep. Paul's "Eleanor Rigby" is famous, of course, and justifiably so with the strings and the sense of urgency to such a depressing song. All that, plus 12 other great songs too!

The National/High Violet - This is the newest album from the band and it's another winner. One could listen to "Bloodbuzz Ohio" or "Afraid of Anyone" over and over and over again and still be entranced on the tenth repeated play. I really should do a longer post on this one.

The New Pornographers/Together - This has everything you want from a New Pornos record. An insanely catchy song or five? Check. Neko Case working those pipes? Check. A brilliant Dan Bejar song that you have no idea what it means? Check ("Silver Jenny Dollar," in this case). Just another great album (their 5th) from a great band.

Matthew Sweet/100% Fun - I tend to think of this as Sweet's 3rd album (behind Girlfriend and Altered Beast) but it's actually his 5th. No matter the number, this is a collection of great songs of the power pop persuasion and a highly underrated album of the 90s. I have an idea for a series of posts and this one will definitely be covered more in depth.