1994, Music

Mars Audiac Quintet (1994) by Stereolab

I don’t love Stereolab’s shtick though I get why lots of people do. So my mileage with them varies in so much as I can convince myself that the album is either important (because they probably pioneered their particular fusion) or how ti compares to the other albums of theirs I’ve managed to get around …

1994, Music

Living Under June (1994) by Jann Arden

Before I get to my review, I just wanted to mention that my experience of this album was disrupted. I was listening to it on Google Play but when I went back for my second listen it had just disappeared. Vanished without a trace. I assume the licensing agreement expired but I don’t know what …

2007, Movies

Chicago 10 (2007, Brett Morgan)

The trial of 10 people after the demonstrations outside the 1968 Democratic Convention is certainly a notable trial in the history of civil liberties abuses in the United States. And it is a story that deserves to be told. But I’m not sure if this ADD movie is the right vehicle for it. Moreover, it …

1979, Music

Drums and Wires (1979) by XTC

I maintain that the Atlantic created a pretty different sonic difference between American and British New Wave and and, later, American and British Post Punk. With New Wave that gulf is so big that it almost feels silly to call them the same genre; compare to Elvis Costello or the Police to Pere Ubu and …

1979, Music

Off the Wall (1979) by Michael Jackson

I was listening to this record and I was struck once again by the fact that I just don’t like Michael Jackson. I was so struck by this that I posted a crude joke about him on my podcast’s social media which I will refrain from including in this review because it’s both not the …

1974, Music

New Skin for the Old Ceremony (1974) by Leonard Cohen

This record has the reputation of being the moment when Cohen switched up the way his songs were arranged. But though there is some truth to that, it doesn’t bother me anywhere near how I imagined it would, which might have something to do with my imagining what it sounded like before I listened to …

1974, Music

Perfect Angel (1974) by Minnie Riperton

Jimbo: Not that sure. I think we better come up with a backup plan. Uhh, let’s see here. Hey, bookie! Wha- what’s the halftime show gonna be?Bookie: You haven’t heard?! John Stamos’ older brother Richard Stamos is gonna sing ‘Loving You’.Ned: I love that song.Jimbo: ‘Loving You’? That’s perfect! Come on Ned, Middle Park’s gonna …

1969, Music

Monster Movie (1969) by The Can

Like most people, I am coming to CAN’s first album (as The Can) having listened to their peak motorik albums many, many times. I’ve treated this one like the first child given up for adoption or something, only getting around to looking for it well after I became a fan of the band.

1964, Music

Where Did Our Love Go (1964) by The Supremes

A lot of Motown albums don’t hold up that well 55 years later, as many of them if not most of them are sort of built the same way that rock and roll albums of the ’50s were built – a bunch of hit singles, their b-sides and then a bunch of dross that was …

2019, Podcasts

The Last Days of August (2019)

This is an interesting story of what caused a porn star to take her own life. In many ways it’s like a less accomplished version of Shit Town. So I’m sorry to say that there will be minor spoilers for both podcasts in this review. If you haven’t listened to Shit Town (i.e. S Town) …

2015, Books, Non-Fiction

Intelligence: All That Matters (2015, Stuart Ritchie)

I am of a generation where skepticism over IQ was widespread. I don’t know where it comes from exactly but I know that it is everywhere. Essentially I was raised with the idea that IQ had been “debunked”. The reason I read this book is because I got into an argument with someone and afterwards …

2015, Movies

Chevalier (2015, Athina Rachel Tsangari)

I am somewhere in the middle when it comes to “people being awful” or “people being dumb” movies. I generally find them amusing but my degree of amusement doesn’t just depend upon the quality of the film, it also regularly depends upon my mood and where I watch them – if I am in a …

1999, Music

The Writing’s on the Wall (1999) by Destiny’s Child

I was born on the same day as Beyonce. She’s the celebrity I always go to when that social media game about sharing celebrity birthdays comes up. But I only bring it up in regard to this album because, though I generally do not believe in any conspiracy theories, the album cover for this record …

1999, Music

On How Life Is (1999) by Macy Gray

I was not exactly paying attention to soul in the 1990s, so to the extent I was aware of Macy Gray it was entirely due to “I Try” being on video channels and the radio a lot. I had started reading contemporary reviews at least a little bit by this time and I remember positive …

1994, Music

It Takes a Thief (1994) by Coolio

I guess serious hip hop fans have strong feelings about Coolio, like he got too famous or something, or he’s not as talented as less famous rappers, or something. I don’t know anything about this and, frankly, I couldn’t care less. I hate arguments about whether or not someone is more authentic than someone else …

1994, Music

Roman Candle (1994) by Elliott Smith

Your mileage with Elliott Smith likely depends upon when in your life you first heard him. It sure feels like the people who first got into him in their teens – or even their early 20s – have a much greater desire for him to be appreciated as one of the great songwriters of his …

1994, Music

Cracked Rear View (1994) by Hootie and the Blowfish

The joke goes something like this: Q: What is the biggest selling album in history which nobody bought? A: Cracked Rear View. (Because everyone who bought it was so embarrassed by it later that they hid it and swore to their friends they never bought it, or sold it to the local used music store …

2016, Movies, TV

OJ: Made in America (2016, Ezra Edelman)

I must say I paid relatively little attention to the OJ trial. I think I watched the car chase and I remember our French teacher bringing in the TV to watch the verdict, but that’s about it. My memory of the entire case is more about perceptions of what other people thought rather than facts. …

2008, Movies

Che (2008, Steven Soderbergh)

So the first thing that must be said is that this is an incredibly ambitious project – rarely is a biographical film this detailed and this long. Only in TV now could you get this level of depth into a the subject of a person’s life. The fact that the film exists is an accomplishment …

1989, Music

Paul’s Boutique (1989) by Beastie Boys

My understanding is that this is the Beastie Boys’ best record. But I have come at it a super weird way, having heard three other records of theirs first, completely out of chronological order. So whatever awe I might have experienced hearing this immediately after Licensed to Ill is just not happening because of this, …

1984, Music

Double Nickels on the Dime (1984)

The Minutemen’s magnum opus is really a magnum opus, coming in at a fairly ridiculous 45 tracks in 81 minutes. (That runtime is longer than Zen Arcade by over 10 minutes…) The band basically admits they included virtually everything they had, dubbing the final side “Chaff”. This is supposed to be a record by a …

1974, Music

Rejuvenation (1974) by The Meters

This is my first encounter with The Meters, the legendary New Orleans funk band, at least on their own. (I think I may have heard a few songs through the years where they were the backing band.) So I’m happy to report that this is a legitimately funky record.

1974, Music

Rock Bottom (1974) by Robert Wyatt

As I write in seemingly half the reviews of albums I write, expectations are a terrible thing. I have heard about Rock Bottom for perhaps as long as I was aware of Wyatt’s existence, which dates back to my first encounter with Soft Machine maybe 20 years ago (or slightly less than that).

1974, Music

Fulfillingness’ First Finale (1974) by Stevie Wonder

Good Stevie Wonder does nothing for me. Middling Stevie Wonder does less for me. It’s hard for me to even care enough about this record, which doesn’t have any of his biggest hits on it, and which fails to move me, like all of his records. But I guess I have to try. (That’s what …

1964, Music

All Summer Long (1964) by The Beach Boys

I just listened to A Hard Day’s NIght for the nth time before listening to this record, because they both came out in the same month. And the problem with doing that is that the Beatles record makes All Summer Long sound like it is from another time; as if popular music has passed the …