Indecent Digit: January 29, 2006

Friday, February 03, 2006

Friday Night Cat Blogging Rockfest!

...in which we revisit one of my favorite songs of last year:

GIRLS ON STRIKE: Rue Cortot

Also be advised that GIRLS ON STRIKE are playing a show in Seattle on February 9th. Here are the details, in Jeff's own words:

"Girls on Strike at the Ball of Wax Audio Quarterly CD Release Issue #3

Volume 3 will be out very soon!

The Winter 2006 volume features An Evening With..., James Apollo, Big Lake Trawler, Darryl Blood, Boo Hiss, Boring Ghost, Ollie Byrd, The Critical Hits, Robert Deeble, Levi Fuller, Girls on Strike, Bill Horist, The New Death Show, Drew O’Doherty, OldManWinter, Open Choir Fire, Petting Zoo, and Brian Michael Roff & the Deer.

Release party at Conor Byrne Pub

Thursday, February 9th, 9 p.m., $4, and that gets you a copy of the brand-spankin'-new Volume 3.

All 9 of the Seattle-area contributors are playing.

Kickass!"

Kickass indeed!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

FAMILY FUN TIME: Move Over Bunnicula


Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Dreamworks Animation/Aardman Animation 2005

It seems as though computers have taken over the world. With the advent of each new year, the human race becomes more beholden to them than it was the year before. While some of the advances have been beneficial, the ever growing digital dependence we seem to be developing does have some serious drawbacks. A perfect example of this is the demise of traditional forms of animation. Checking the animated film releases for the past few years it is easy to see that what was once a novelty (and a risk) for animators and studios has become the lifeblood of the industry. Hell, even the once great Disney has chosen to shut down its hand animation department to focus on computer driven projects. Perhaps it is this lack of more traditional animation in the marketplace that helps to add to the wonder and charm of Nick Park's latest animated effort "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit". The love and attention to detail that Park and his team bring to the screen is evident in every frame of this stop motion beauty in ways that would never have been possible in a computer animated release.

For those not familiar with the Wallace and Gromit short films (shame on you), Wallace (voiced by Peter Sallis) is a good natured inventor and cheese lover, while Gromit is his ever faithful, and silent, dog and clearly the real brains of the pair. In "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit", the first full-length animated film from Park et al to feature the duo, the entrepenurial man and dog have opened a pest control business named Anti-Pesto in their small British town in order to help curb the destruction of the local vegetable gardens. Seeing as the 517th Annual Giant Vegetable Fetstical is just around the corner, the business is booming. Everyone is using their high-tech humane vermin control methods, and everyone is satisfied. Even the slightest disturbance to the heavily protected produce triggers wonderful Rube Goldberg alarm systems in Anti-Pesto's headquaters, springing our heroes into action. Things only start to go awry when local aristocrat, animal lover and vegetable enthusiast Lady Tottington (Helena Bonham Carter) calls upon Anti-Pesto to relieve her of a rabbit problem so the above mentioned festival can take place on her estate as planned. As a result of the job, Wallace finds himself with more rabbits than he can deal with, inspiring him to brainwash the bunnies to get them to stop wanting to eat vegetables at all. So as to not ruin any of the fun, we'll just say that his plan backfires, and it's up to Gromit to clean up the ensuing chaos.

To say that this movie is filled to the brim with wondrous things to see would be an understatement. It is one of those rare films that will offer up new things to see and gags to entertain you with every viewing. Whether it's the things hidden in the background by the creators (check out the titles of Wallace favorite books), the constant references to classic horror films (you Hammer Horror fans will be delighted), or just the visible fingerprints in the Plasticine used to create the stop motion models, the details imbedded in this film are infinitely rewarding. Luckily, the DVD release of this gem will give us the chance to watch over and over to our heart's content. If you're a fan of stop motion animation, Britain and it's dry humor, classic horror films, or fun, you have to see "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit". You will not be let down.

DVD Release Date: 02.07.2006

DVD Special Features:
1. English & French DD5.1 Surround
2. English & Spanish DD2.0 Stereo
3. English SDH, English, French and Spanish subtitles
4. Cracking Commentary - Audio commentary with director/writer Steve Box and director/writer Nick Park
5. Deleted Scenes with optional commentary
6. How Wallace & Gromit Went To Hollywood - Learn how Wallace & Gromit grew from the imagination of Nick Park and became Academy Award winning stars.
7. Behind the Scenes of 'The Curse of the Were-Rabbit' - Enjoy a rare look into how these lovable characters were brought to life.
8. A Day in the Life at Aardman - Experience a day of production at the famed Aardman Studios as seen through the eyes of a crewperson.
9. How to Build a Bunny - A unique look at how the clay bunny models were assembled using time-lapse photos.
10. Stage Fright - View this award-winning short film with an insightful commentary by its creator, Steve Box.
11. The Family Album - Colourful production stills of the elaborate sets and meticulous character development.
12. Dreamworks Kids - A variety of fun-filled, engaging interactive games and creative activities.

FAMILY FUN TIME: Music the Size of an Ocean

OCEANSIZE: Everyone Into Position 8/10

Slowly, the idea of prog rock is creeping back into popular music acceptance, and I couldn't be happier. Nowhere is it more rapidly spreading, it seems, than in the "underground" music scenes in the US and UK. Bands like Cave-In, Mars Volta, Aloha, and Dredg are letting their obvious love for acts like Genesis and Dream Theatre shine through unashamed. Next week the second full length from Britain's Oceansize, Everyone Into Position, will arrive on US shores, and I for one welcome it with open arms.

Taking the best bits from classic space rock bands like Pink Floyd and combining them with newer metal acts like Tool and shoegazers like Slowdive, Oceansize has managed to develop a sound all their own. Though they are reminiscent of acts like Porcupine Tree or other "progressive" metal acts in their use of expansive melodies and complex arrangements, they manage to maintain catchy hooks and avoid too much pretension. The layered guitars, multi-tracked vocals and orchestrated walls of sounds are all backed up by tricky time signatures and artful composition. Everyone Into Position takes all the promise from their debut album, Effloresce, and pushes it forward. It manages to be heavier, more epic, and somehow more immediately accessible. Though it is certainly not for everyone, anyone who likes complexity and depth in their music should certainly give this album a listen.

Release Date: 02.07.2006

Tracks to check out:
“Heaven Alive”
“Music For A Nurse”
“Ornament/The Last Wrongs”

Oceansize
Beggars Banquet

VITTLES OF THE DAMNED: Metal Bunny Food Food

I have recently been released from the intermittently eternal torment of He Who Cannot Be Named. It was hell and boy-o-boy was I hungry when I came to my senses. So I headed to the one place I knew I could get a juicy burger, good and quick - the Iron Rabbit! I'm not too fond of the name, so I'll be referring to it as "the Metal Bunny" from here on out. The Metal Bunny is located in the old Burrito Heaven / Tequila Bar space - in the same strip mall as the mailbox place and Paradise Video!

The Metal Bunny's burgers are, well, absolutely delectable! Juicy, tasty, satisfying. Now that you can't order burgers temperature-specific (thanks, o' State o' Washington), you run the risk of receiving a dried out hockey-puck. Not so at the Metal Bunny! Could it be because they use Misty Isle Farm beef? Maybe they cook their patties in butter? Who cares!?! They're the best burgers in town since Bob's Big Burger became Koibito!

The Iron Burger is great, but if you like a stronger taste, try the Tough Burger topped with Gorgonzola sauce and bacon! Yummy! Also reported as very tasty: the ABC chicken wrap, chicken strips and GARLIC FRIES!

I highly recommend the Metal Bunny, especially because I want this place to succeed. It's really nice having a great beer & burger joint within walking distance of your house. Plus if you fill out a comment card they'll send you a gift certificate for your birthday! So GO! EAT! Sit in the bar because it has better atmosphere!

And don't forget to tip your server!

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

FAMILY FUN TIME: Musical Year In Retrospect/Desert Music

Greetings,
Seeing as I've been posting music reviews up here lately, I thought some of you regulars might be interested in getting to know my taste a little better. That way you can choose to accept or ignore my reviews with a more informed opinion about me. To that end, here is a list of my favorite releases from 2005, as well as list of my top 10 "desert island picks" that I had to compile for a recent newspaper article. I realize that not everyone is going to agree with my choices, and that it opens me up to virtual ridicule, but if it can turn even one person on to a band they'd never heard of before then I'll be pleased.

Top Releases of 2005

31 Knots-Curse of Longest Day (ep)/Talk Like Blood
Ryan Adams-Cold Roses/Jacksonville City Nights
Bloc Party-Silent Alarm/Silent Alarm Remixed
Coldplay-x&y
Death Cab for Cutie-Plans
Decemberists-Picaresque
Dungen-Ta Det Lugnt
Elkland-Golden
Fall Out Boy-From Under Cork Tree
Franz Ferdinand-You Could Have It So Much Better
Kasabian-Kasabian
Kent-Du & Jag Doden
Matt Pond pa-Several Arrows Later
Maximo Park-Certain Trigger
Minus the Bear-Menos el Oso
Okkervil River-Black Sheep Boy
Open Hand-You & Me
Sigur Ros-takk...
Stars-Set Yourself on Fire
Wolf Parade-Apologies to Queen Mary


Top Reissues:

Converge-Petitioning the Empty Sky/When Forever Comes Crashing...
Elvis Costello-King of America
Manic Street Preachers-Holy Bible


Top Albums Only Available Overseas (at time of list creation):


Arctic Monkeys-Singles
Art Brut-Bang Bang Rock n' Roll
Editors-The Back Room
Elbow-Leaders of the Free World
Magnet-Tourniquet
We Are Scientists- Love & Squalor

Desert Island Picks

Radiohead-OK Computer
Kent-Hagnesta Hill
Fugazi-Repeater
Jawbox-For Your Own Special Sweetheart
Sunny Day Real Estate-Diary
Refused-Shape Of Punk To Come
Yes-Fragile
The Beatles-White Album
Jimmy Eat World-Clarity
Jawbreaker-24 Hour Revenge Therapy


Thanks for indulging me.

Mr. Biscuits

...mmm... ...Biscuits...

Thanks be to Mr. Biscuits for being such a productive team player right out of the gate, and super-hard thanks to the lurking Digiteers who have helped to make him feel welcome. Nice to see a debate break out every so often too. Keep it up!

Tim Eyman: Scumbag

Good news. Tim Eyman crawled out from under his rock again yesterday. Apparently he needs some cash for an asshole transplant, so he's going to start collecting signatures for an initiative to overturn our new Gay Rights Legislation. Good plan, since you can never go poor by appealing to the interests of bigots and morons, and there are still plenty of them around, even in a State as "liberal" as ours.

Let's just hope that the transplanted asshole doesn't reject him...

The money quote:

Rep. Hunt expressed outrage over the proposal.“Tim Eyman, have you no shame?” Hunt said. “Eyman is stooping to a new low just to line his pockets and get a mailing list of bigots.”

Hunt described himself as “pissed but sober,” then added, referring to Eyman having dressed up as a prisoner during a legislative hearing last week: “If Tim Eyman is fond of wearing costumes, I suggest his next one be a white sheet and a pointy white hat. I just think it is a sad day for Washington what he is doing.”

While you're busy mulling that over in your own "pissed and sober" way, let us wash out the unpleasant aftertaste of "The I-man" by remembering the words of the late, great Coretta Scott King on this very issue:

"I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice," she said. "But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said, 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.'" "I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream to make room at the table of brother- and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people,".

[Thanks to AMERICABLOG for the linkage.]

Monday, January 30, 2006

FAMILY FUN TIME: New "New, New Wave"


EDITORS: The Back Room
9/10

Cyclical trends in popular culture seem to have caused some type of return to the "glory days" of the 1980's. Many of the new consumers of pop music and "fashion" may not realize that all this has been done before, but those of us born before 1985 might just remember the last go round. Hot young bands that ape the sounds from days gone by are becoming quite the staple for DJ's in college radio and on the O.C. Whether it's the Duran Duran worship of the Killers, the Gang Of Four passion of Maximo Park, or the New Order synth of Elkland (all of which are VERY much worth checking out, by the way) the 80's are back with a fervor. One of the most recent additions to this stable of throwback bands is Birmingham, England's Editors. Their debut album, The Back Room, was released on Kitchenware Records in the U.K. last year, and is set for release Stateside in April of this year. While many detractors have accused them of jumping on the Interpol bandwagon, how can we really hold that against them when Interpol is just taking the best parts of Joy Division and rehashing them for a new generation?

The influence of Ian Curtis and Joy Division is obvious from the opening of the Editors’ debut. Unlike Interpol’s Joy Division love, however, there’s something else going on underneath the doom and gloom that the Editors are giving us. Tom Smith’s vocals contain elements of Brendan Perry (of Dead Can Dance fame) as well as twinges of Stuart Adamson (of Big Country). This gives him a bit more texture and depth to work with than Interpol’s Daniel Kessler, much like the music that backs the vocals seems deeper and more varied than that of Kessler’s band. Certainly, there is an overwhelming sense of somberness and gloom throughout the album, but there’s also a driving pulse that seems to give life to the music. The stuttering drums and reverb drenched guitars create the feeling that, despite the serious tone of the lyrics, the Editors are still having fun making their music. Nowhere is this more apparent than in their latest single, “Blood”, where Smith’s chorus cries “blood runs through our veins, that’s where our similarity ends” over Edge-like guitar swells and a pulsating rhythm section designed to get people moving. Something about this willingness to allow the music to be entertaining as well as serious and brooding allows The Back Room to transcend the darkened hipster feel that weighs down Interpol’s records, making it more satisfying to return to again and again. Besides, the British accent just seems more appropriate somehow.

Release Date: April 2006

Tracks to check out:
“Blood”
“Fingers in the Factories”
“Bullets”

Editors

Kitchenware Records