Joup Confessions…

xanaduFact: I have never actually sat down to watch the roller skating musical fiasco that is 1980’s Xanadu.  I have seen bits and pieces and scenes from it, often with my older sister, years and years ago, but I have no real recollection of anything other than light and colors flowing behind roller skating muses.  I understand that the film is supposed to be an abysmal mess, but I like to remember it as a soft-focussed, neon-tinted piece of 80’s kitsch.

The Joup Friday Album: Roky Erickson and The Aliens – The Evil One

rokyericksonFull disclosure: I am super stoked that I ended up with the Halloween edition of Joup’s Friday Album.  That being said, it was actually kind of difficult to narrow my options down to one solid choice.  I skidded around from Goth metal to dark and creepy drone, from horror scores to silly, Halloween themed surf rock, finally settling on The Evil One, Roky Erickson and The Aliens’ punk and 80’s rock riff on all things monster movie.  This 1981 opus has everything: monsters, demons, zombies, vampires, and the devil himself.  It plays out like a love letter to a midnight B-movie marathon.

New Music Enthusiast’s Club: Leonino

leoninoLeonino – Naked Tunes

Leonino is the latest project from legendary Chilean artist Jorge Gonzalez, original member of and songwriter for the highly influential 80’s band Los Prisioneros.  Coming up in Pinochet’s Chile, Gonzalez’s music was a resistance to the dictatorship, a rising cry for the alienated and disaffected youth of the nation.  The group’s particular brand of new wave flavored, rock-a-billy punk made them arguably the biggest band in their native Chile, saw them achieve immense popularity throughout the rest of Latin America, and culminated with tours with artists like Peter Gabriel and Bruce Springsteen.  And then they disbanded in the early 1990’s.

Goodbye Mailbox: A Short List of my Favorite Sketches from The State

state1Over the last year, I have written a number of articles about the music I’ve spent my life listening to, poking and prodding and digging around to see how it all affected me, how it made me grow as a person, how it helped me, defined me, or influenced my life and personality. There was a lot to sift through, but it was a joy to revisit and re-experience it all again. And now that musical nostalgia highway has got me thinking about other aspects of me that the pop culture I grew up with molded like so much clay. Like my sense of humor. Where did that come from?

The Joup Friday Album: Tune-yards – WHOKILL

tuneyardswhokillcoverThere is a band that is doing something unlike any other band out there. I’d say they are the future of popular music but that’s a stupid knee-jerk reactionary statement that makes absolutely no sense and actually diminishes the band because, well, the future of popular music should be so good. That band is Tune-yards and they are making some of the most interesting music I have heard in years. And while their two newest records – 2011’s WHOKILL and this year’s Nikki Nack – are both great examples of the classic philosophy that presupposes to treat the musical album as an artistic statement they are also considerably eclectic, strange even when compared to modern rock/popular music.

Joop Confessions…

Christopher_crossI can’t claim to dig an entire record by Christopher Cross, probably not even all of his singles. However, there’s a handful of this guy’s music that, when time and space are properly aligned, I dig. Part of this is no doubt nostalgia. Part of it though is that I think Cross’ brand of Adult Contemporary-meets-Pop Rock wasn’t so much the former at the time but the latter. I’m pretty sure that when this guy was releasing music the term “Adult Contemporary” didn’t even exist. I think it was eventually made to accommodate Cross and his peers. This particular strain of rock is very much where a certain niche of “artists” in the early 80s headed after Michael McDonald segued out of The Doobie Bros. and hit it big making slightly atmospheric soundtrack music for aging hippies seduced from their thoughts of changing the world by thoughts of changing their income tax bracket by glombing onto the watered-down trappings of the “New Age” (or as I like to call it “Failed Hippy”) movement. You know New Age- that sinister pointlessness that, for a certain demographic in the early 80s replaced taking acid and holding sit-ins with taking cocaine, moving to New York City and selling candles and cassettes containing mantras. ALL of that baggage appears present in Christopher Cross’s music, but the funny thing is, after hating this for most of my life I’ve subsequently found, not so much a redeeming quality to it as an interesting musical archeological imprint from it.

Thank God for VOD! – ABC’s of Death 2

I don’t get to go to the movies as often as I’d like to, but that doesn’t mean I can’t watch awesome flicks at home. Thank God for VOD!

abcsofdeathABC’s of Death 2

A hairy and half-naked man running down the street, eyes aglaze, mouth frothing, attacking innocent bystanders! A new castaway coming between two men stranded on an island! A group of ungrateful family members pining away for their inheritance from their defiant benefactor! Granddad on grandson violence! Monsters! Jilted lovers! Deranged babysitters! Guns! Robots! Badgers! There are 26 new ways to die in the latest installment of the horror anthology series The ABC’s of Death, and they’re delightful. Part two finds a brand new group of directors from all over the world being assigned a letter from the alphabet, and then just going nuts from there. The first film was a lot of fun, though sometimes cringe-worthy, and the sequel keeps up the pace, at times even upping the ante.

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