Thursday, September 25, 2014

Krautrock: the Rebirth of Germany

Can't remember how I got onto the subject of Kraturock but for some reason I looked up Amon Düül II on YouTube. I think I was reading Iron Fist or Decibel or some shit like that. Anyway, I checked out the aforementioned Germans and really dug it. Far out shit like Kraftwerk meets Hawkwind. Perfect combo! Totally bizarre. So I thought it was about time I checked out more Krautrock proper. I've dug Kraftwerk for years now. I fuckin love em. But I need to dig deeper.

I ran past Flipside on Tuesday and picked up a couple Tangerine Dream LP's from Uberti. Dig.

Then I gave Henry Pardike a holler and asked him for some recommendations as he's a musical oracle. He passed along a link to this documentary that focuses on the big name bands like Tangerine Dream, Can, Neu!, Kraftwerk, Amon Düül II and Faust, etc. I watched it at lunch today.

If your'e a total n00b to the scene like I am, this is a decent place to start. It's even got some Iggy Pop interview footage in it so you can't bitch about your 58 minutes too much.

I'm looking forward to getting some more LPs from this genre, but it's definitely going to be hit or miss. All these bands are very experimental. Very temperamental. So you'll have to do your research to find out what era of each band is good and what is just a couple krauts banging some saucepans together, fiddling with a random tone generator and calling it music. I think Tangerine Dream alone have over 100 albums...

You should watch this if you don't know anything about Krautrock. Hell, even if you do you'll still find it interesting.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Cutie and the Boxer

Marie and I both wanted to check this out, so she made some popcorn and we watched it last night.

An Oscar nominated doc about an old artistic Japanese couple? You know that's my shit. If that doesn't sound like it'd be your jam then stay away. This is what it is.

The most incredible part is how spirited and vital the 80 year old Ushio Shinohara is. The dude is a machine! Very inspiring. Looks like a life of drinking and shirking fathering responsibilities keeps one young in mind and young in body. Righteous.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Into Thin Air

I think I got this at a garage sale in Ferndale a couple years ago. I dig documentaries and I loved Into the Wild, so I figured this would be a good bet.

As luck would have it, I was right. I loved every minute of this story. Read it in three days. Very compelling stuff.

Jon Krakauer is a journalist who was sent to summit Everest in '96 and write about it for a magazine he worked for. An avid climber since he was a young man, he'd always wanted the opportunity to climb Everest. And at up to 65k for a guided ascent, it sure as hell wasn't cheap. So here was a chance to do it and get paid at the same time. Killer! Literally.

The '96 season lead to numerous deaths on Everest, and Jon was there right in the thick of it. Lucky to be alive himself, he documented his story in this nail-biting and foreboding book. It makes for a thrilling and sad read. He pissed off some of the friends and loved ones with his original article, and no doubt he may have pissed off more with this book. But it is what it is. One man's recollection of the events on the face of the tallest mountain in the world. 29,000 ft above sea level. Shit's crazy, man.

If you like any sort of human endurance stories, tales about surmounting the impossible, tales of heroism and things of that nature...this is your jam. Check it out.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Henry and Glenn Forever and Ever. #3.

Henry and Glenn #3. Same as the rest. None are ever as good as #1. But I still feel compelled to buy em. It's Henry and Glenn for god's sake. I just don't like the other artists' interpretations. Tom Neely's is the best by a mile.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Weekend of a Champion

One of my coworkers told me about this one. Jackie Stewart hanging out with Roman Polanski in Monaco in 71. What's not to love?!

Polanski was a big F1 fan at the time so he produced this flick. It's fly-on-the-wall footage surrounding the three days of practice / qualifying / racing at the 71 Monaco GP. It's pretty much all Jackie Stewart. You get an all access view of what it was like to be around him at the time. Having dinner with the likes of Graham Hill and Ringo Starr. Surrounded by HOT ASS SEVENTIES CHICKS. Everywhere, man.

Jackie did quite alright marrying Helen, that's for sure.

Anyway, if you dig racing you should definitely watch this. If not, I wouldn't check it out cuz I think it's too technical and potentially alienating if you don't care about F1. I thought it was pretty freakin cool. A great glimpse at a bygone era.

Scottish beast.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Misery Obscura

I love this book. I bought it as soon as it dropped but it deserved a re-reading. 160 odd pages of photos and stories by Eerie Von. It's great shit, man. It really is.

The thing that really impressed me the first time around was the quality of the book. The design is really freakin nice. A lot of time and effort went into this book. Great production value and finishing techniques.

Anyway, I read it again. I stared at the cool old pics of James and Kirk, of the Misfits and Samhain back in the day. Killer Danzig shots in the studio and behind the scenes. It's all there. But the best part is really just reading Eerie retell his tales of yore. About making Danzig laugh. Lyle Preslar. The whole 9 yards, man.

If you're fiend this is mandatory. I ended up buying an original print off of Eerie for Pickle one x-mas.

And if you're not a fiend...what the fuck's wrong with you?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Lavell Crawford: Can a brother get some love?

Got introduced to Lavell Crawford many years ago on BET. Dude was funny as fuuuuuck. In a sense he's a physical comedian...but he only uses his face. Just look at it. Alllll of it. The dude has gotta be like 400 lbs.

Anyway, years ago Marie and I got the chance to see him live. He performed at the Royal Oak Music Theatre. It wasn't exactly a sold out show. Maybe that's why we haven't seen him return. But it was early-ish in his career, so...

90% black crowd. My face HURT from laughing so hard. I was in pain. The dude was hilarious.

Pickle told me about this 90 minute video streaming on Netflix. Do yourself a favor and stream this shit. Lavell is king.

Lavell and his wife.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Conan and the Midnight God

Picked up another Conan TPB. This is part of the Nemedian Chronicles, but it's not part of the Dark Horse volumes I've been collecting. This is a collection of five issues unto themselves.

This was a classic tale. Actually a pretty good introduction to Conan for the uninitiated. He battles necromancers and snake monsters. He decapitates. He avenges someone's death. And he bangs a hot chick, in this case it happens to be his wife. For Conan is 45 now and King of Acquillonia.

On that note, things are a bit different. Conan is a King and as such he's part of the powers that he's typically fought against. Seems a bit weird for him to be King, to be honest. But at 45, what ya gonna do. You have to settle down at some point. Might as well be a revered ruler of a nation and live in a sweet castle.

The art has its ups and downs. Sometimes the computer colorization gets on my nerves. Looks a bit too Photoshopped for me. At other times the perspectives are just plain wrong or it doesn't look like he's actually holding a sword (it looks like he's making a fist and someone drew in a sword afterwards). But I can live with it.

The story has a good arc and it's non-stop action. Gets pretty dark and oppressive at times. It's a good yarn. Recommended.

Henry and Glenn Forever and Ever. #4

Three stories. The Tom Neely one is good. Obviously. The others, not so much. I need to grab a copy of issue 3.