2019, Podcasts

COMMONS: Dynasties (2019)

This is an interesting but flawed podcast about major recent familial dynasties in Canada. I have a bunch of reservations about it but, given that I know of no other coverage of this subject in Canada, I still recommend it to you if you are at all interested on the impact of inter-generational wealth and …

1980, Music

Joan Jett aka Bad Reputation (1980)

Joan Jett was pretty young when she made this record – only 19 or 20 – but it sounds like it was made by someone 10 years her senior. That’s often a compliment but it’s not here: like so many punk-adjacent albums of the late ’70s and early ’80s, this one is obsessed with the …

1975, Music

Steppin’ (1975) by The Pointer Sisters

This is the extent of my knowledge of The Pointer Sisters: I’ve heard “Jump” a million times. Sure, it’s possible I know some other hits of theirs. If I played all their Top 20 hits maybe I’d recognize a few of them, but the only one I could identify by name (and would know as …

1975, Music

There’s No Place Like America Today (1975) by Curtis Mayfield

My general, um, impression of Curtis Mayfield is that his version of soul is just way too slick for me. I’ve felt this about the limited albums of his I’ve heard, be it solo or the Impressions. I don’t feel that way as much about this record and I’m not sure if that’s me getting …

1975, Music

Captain Fantastic and the Dirt Brown Cowboy (1975) by Elton John

I keep having the same experience over and over again with artists I’m relatively unfamiliar with, like Elton John: I listen to 2 or 3 or 4 albums and I’m unimpressed and then I get to like the 5th album (or sometimes even the 6th) and I have some kind of epiphany and suddenly worry …

2000, Music

Figure 8 (2000) by Elliott Smith

I think Elliott Smith is a good songwriter. As I have said when reviewing his other albums, I really don’t get the idea that he is one of the great songwriters of his generation, but he’s certainly very good. His songs are a little too poppy for my tastes, but I can at least appreciate …

2000, Music

The Discovery of a World Inside the Moone (2000) by The Apples in Stereo

I read that this was an attempt by Apples in Stereo to sound more like they do on stage, so it’s rawer than normal. I’ve heard one of their earlier albums – Tone Soul Evolution – but I don’t remember it. But reading my review that sounds like it might be true. But it’s kind …

2000, Music

Things to Make and Do (2000) by Moloko

I don’t know Moloko at all, so I don’t know how this album changed their sound from previous record. I read that they were considerably more electronic before this record, but I’m taking that on faith. All I can really talk about what’s here, whish might be described as soulful, funky, dancier  Portishead – like …

2000, Music

Dongs of Sevotion (2000) by Smog

During one of our podcast episodes, we were discussing Palace Brothers and one of the guests said he reminded him of Smog. When I first listened to Smog – the earlier, weirder, more lo fi Smog – I had no idea what he was talking about. But listening to this record I really, really do. …

2009, Books, Fiction

John Dies at the End (2009) by David Wong

Full disclosure: I didn’t read this when it was on the web, before it was published. But I saw the film at Midnight Madness TIFF in 2012. I don’t really remember the movie much any more but my review suggested I enjoyed it except for two things: 1) the CGI (which I remember being awful) …

1995, Music

Astro-Creep: 2000 – Songs of Love, Destruction and Other Synthetic Delusions of the Electric Head (1995) by White Zombie

Like so many albums, I am coming to this backwards: I’ve heard a Rob Zombie solo album before listening to this. It’s possible that this colours my experience of this record and will make my review unfair. It’s also possible that I just don’t like what Rob Zombie does nor what his band does, whether …

1995, Music

Tindersticks [II] (1995)

I’m not sure exactly what it is, but Tindersticks hit me in a place where I am just incapable of disliking them. It’s like Staples et al. just stumbled upon the formula for music I like, and for convincing me that it’s totally okay to release three double LPs to start your career. (If another …

2018, Movies

Ready Player One (2018, Steven Spielberg)

It’s possible that reading bad reviews of this book and this movie prejudiced me ahead of time. But I’m not sure it would have mattered. This is a bad movie. And it’s somewhat shocking that a director as skilled at making popcorn entertainment as Spielberg couldn’t turn it into a passable film.

2018, Movies

Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018, Christopher McQuarie)

This is now the sixth Mission: Impossible film and the third in the 2010s reboot. Things are tired: there are too many damn characters and the plot echoes the plots of previous movies (i.e. some element in the US government doesn’t trust/disavows Hunt and the IMF, again). I’m bored and I’m not laughing as much …

1990, Music

The Good Son (1990) by Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds

I love Tender Prey. For me, it’s the culmination of the Seeds through their first era, a powerful combination of punk-influenced music and songwriting well beyond the quality of most punk albums.

1990, Music

Hammerheart (1990) by Bathory

I have read that this is perhaps the second “viking metal” album ever. I really can’t confirm that because, well, I’ve never heard of viking metal before. I didn’t know it was a thing. What I do know is that black metal was definitely not this varied in its early years but I don’t know …

1990, Music

Songs for Drella (1990) by Lou Reed and John Cale

I’m not sure why but I find Lou Reed’s memorial lyrics way too explicit for my tastes. He’s so specific that it removes the universal appeal. I don’t normally have a problem with specificity in and of itself, and with Reed’s other lyrics but, for some reason, when it comes to death, that’s how I …

1990, Music

People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm (1990) by A Tribe Called Quest

As I have said more times than I now count: I sure don’t know much about the history of hip hop. But, to the extent I know much about hip hop, I’m pretty sure I know that there wasn’t much out there that sounded like A Tribe Called Quest in 1990. Obviously I don’t know …

1990, Music

Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches (1990) by Happy Mondays

I’ve listened to a few madchester/baggy albums at this point and it’s safe to say that I just don’t get the genre. Now, I get very few dance-rock hybrids outside of Talking Heads’ version of that kind of thing, but this one I find particularly perplexing.