The Joup Friday Album: Helmet – Aftertaste

I had a rocky start with Helmet. In high school, when Meantime first hit, some friends and I played it out very quickly and somehow I went from absolutely loving the record to feeling as though it was stunted. At close and repeated examination it didn’t hold up to my teenage metalhead mind because I hadn’t really learned to listen for the kind of nuances that Page Hamilton and crew would become known for throwing down on their records. This stigma stayed with me for a few years. There were a never-ending stream of great bands in the 90’s, many reaching high profile status due to the “alternative” boom wherein the major record labels tried to sweep up anything they thought might be the next Nirvana, and that coupled with the rise of the indie label and my own submersion into various pockets of the underground meant that by the time Betty came out I was barely cognizant of it. Then, somewhere around 1997 everything changed.

Thee Comic Column #83: Free Comic Book Day

CAM00340You know, I have never been to a Free Comic Book Day event before. I know that probably seems a bit incongruous with my interests and character, but really it wasn’t until about two years ago when I first started going to The Comic Bug in Manhattan Beach that I learned what a big deal the industry-wide holiday had become. And when I heard a member of the ‘Bug’s staff describe the crowd and frenzy, well, I thought, “Nope. Not for me”. Crowds don’t always work for me.

Thee Comic Column #82: Larry Hama’s Wolverine

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It hardly ever rains in Southern California. It’s one of the more irritating things I’ve had to acclimate to in the nine years since I moved from my Midwestern birthplace, where every spring and every fall thunderstorms would roll in and punched out the sky, replacing ho-hum reality with a charged and ethereal atmosphere that perfectly complimented the many late night comic book reading sessions of my early adolescence. One of the most vivid memories I have of an example of this was reading two very specific issues of Larry Hama, Marc Silvestri and Dan Green’s run on the original, on-going Wolverine solo book.

Thee Comic Column #81: Transformers Regeneration One Finale

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All good things must come to an end. That’s a cliched statement, but as with many cliches it’s true. And so it was with a somewhat heavy heart I purchased the 100th issue of Simon Furman‘s Transformers: Regeneration One. This was it – the final issue in a saga that goes back 30 years and had intermittent ties throughout my coming of age. In my hands. Open it up, read it, it’s all over. Finished. Ka-put.

I couldn’t do it.

Thee Comic Column #80 Ennis & Percio’s Caliban

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Thee Comic Column #79: Chris Claremont Documentary

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Last month the good folks at Sequart’s documentary about Chris Claremont and his classic run on Uncanny X-Men became available. Comics in Focus: Chris Claremont’s X-Men is something I’ve been waiting for since I found out about it some months ago and now that it’s out I heartily recommend all X-fans out there follow the link at the tail of this article and grab it. If you need some convincing just hope over to Sequart’s youtube page and subscribe to their feed – there’s so much promotional footage for the film that you will almost instantly become pleasurably overwhelmed by it.

The Joup Friday Album – PJ Harvey “Uh Huh Her”

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There is no one else that makes music like PJ Harvey does. Ms. Harvey is one of those rare talents that was able to carve out her niche in the massive hierarchy of popular music at the onset of her career and has since been able to get away with only doing her own thing. How nice then that “her own thing” sounds nothing like anyone else’s. Because of this I think some people have trouble with her music. Not me. PJ Harvey’s records often take me to dark places, but they are always areas of my soul or psyche rich with rewards, and for that I treat these records with the utmost respect. This is listening music, not background music, not toe-tapping distraction. This is introspection, a long and polished mirror that shows the listener as much about themselves as it does about the woman making it.

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