Thee Comic Column #148: We Can Never Go Home

wecannevergohomegreenphantomAbout three weeks ago I walked into The Comic Bug to pick up my pull list and peruse the shelves when Ben – one of the employees there that has a pretty good feel for the type of books I dig – sauntered up to me and slapped a copy of We Can Never Go Home #1 into my hands.

“Check this book out. Think you’ll dig it,” he said and walked stoically away. I looked at the art, the clip-art style image of a cassette on the inside front cover that said “1989” and had a feeling. It’s that feeling I get when expectation meets intuition. This was going to be a great book, I could literally just feel it.

The Joup Friday Album: The Libertines – Up the Bracket

2002Libertines600Rising above the Strokes and their imitators during the garage rock revival of the early aughts, the Libertines embraced the fuzz and scuzz of the garage, but overlaid it with a pretty tunefulness better suited to a campfire singalong than a garage jam session. “Up the bracket” is a British slang term that means a punch in the throat and it’s a fitting title, as this album strikes fast and hard, forcefully grabbing your attention.
The Libertines’ co-front men Pete Doherty and Carl Barat don’t fall into a typical lead and rhythm guitar confederation, instead their melodies intertwine and climb over and under each other, reminiscent of Richard Lloyd and Tom Verlaine’s trade-offs in Television’s “See No Evil.” Likewise, the dueling vocals of Doherty and Barat wrestle and tumble over each other like a pair of puppies fighting over a toy, equal parts playful and combative. Barat is the croon and Doherty is the yelp. This interplay is in full effect on the opening track “Vertigo” in which the two harmonize like the Everly Brothers in the midst of a bender. Barat and Doherty get all the attention, but “Vertigo” demonstrates that there’s a talented rhythm section backing them up.
Doherty’s slurring delivery on “Horrorshow” and “The Boy Looked at Johnny” bring to mind another famously wasted front man, the Pogues’ Shane MacGowan. Many would happily write Doherty off as just another off-his-head wastrel, but the lyrics of a song like “A Time for Heroes” place him firmly in the junkie poet mold, and many a fan spent years expecting to shake their heads sadly at another talent tragically squandered in an OD.
Meanwhile, Barat’s talents are best demonstrated in the striptease swagger of “Boys in the Band,” a tribute to groupies or bar fights, or maybe bar fights with groupies? Barat also takes the lead on “I Get Along,” which along with “What a Waster” ends Up the Bracket with a double barreled bang that renews one’s faith in British punk and dares you not to pogo along.
Up the Bracket is a perfect example of one of those songwriting duos, like Strummer and Jones or Morrissey and Marr, whose combined talents are far greater than the sum of their parts. Nothing either Barat or Doherty has done since has matched up. And now that they’ve reunited, the pieces no longer fit back together quite right. Perhaps the angry young men have mellowed with age and lack the previous angst that fueled them. Maybe Up the Bracket was just lightning in a bottle – the rare kismet of the right people coming together at the right time to make a brilliant album.

Endless Loop: Nothing Compares 2 U

sineadoconnorHave you ever had one of those songs that gets stuck in your head for days…weeks…years? Sure you have. These are the songs that always make the cut. The songs on repeat. We all have them. I have a ton. Welcome back to Endless Loop.

“Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinead O’Connor

Sinead O’Connor played a very vivid role in my pre-adolescent, pop-cultural memory bank, a massive hit single, a memorable video to accompany it, a live (totally overblown) TV scandal, and…you know…she was a girl with a shaved head. (I was eleven! What do you want?!) The artist was everywhere, on the radio and MTV, invading the whole spectrum of pop culture and media, even getting parodied on the after-school cartoon show, Tiny Toons Adventures.

Thee Comic Column #147 – Man Vs. Rock

Man vs. RockWhatever you are doing, stop. No really, STOP. Go to the windows and carefully pull down the shade or shut the blinds. Did anyone see you? No? Are you sure? Because there are eyes and ears everywhere. Well, not eyes and ears per se, but there are people watching. Well, not people per se. Not people but ROCKS.

F$*K YOU ROCKS!

So says Professor Buck Stone, the one man who stands between humanity and a malevolent, invading force of rocks! They’re everywhere, all around us, and they’re tired of taking our shit! Now the rocks are going to make us pay and…

Endless Loop: Dry the Rain

betabandHave you ever had one of those songs that gets stuck in your head for days…weeks…years? Sure you have. These are the songs that always make the cut. The songs on repeat. We all have them. I have a ton. Welcome back to Endless Loop.

“Dry the Rain” by The Beta Band

Thee Comic Column #146: Descent of the Dead

DoDI’ve said it before, I’ll say it again; zombies are overdone. We’ve reached the  saturation point and most of what we see from here on out is recycled in some way or another.

Most.

It takes something really special in the, ahem, Zombie ‘genre’ to get on my good side because at this point not only has almost everything conceivable been done with Zombies: comedies, Romcoms, adventure/sci fi takes, big budget, low budget. Has there been an Elmo meets the Living Dead? Oops. Too soon?

The Joup Friday Album: Post Stardom Depression – Prime Time Looks A Lot Like Amatuer Night

PSDI Love this album. I mean, I LOVE this album. Somehow though that love has never incited me to look into anything else that Post Stardom Depression has done, or any of the groups that frontman/guitarist/chief songwriter Jeff Angell has done since PSD called it quits in 2008. That’s a mistake I need to remedy, but I guess I have this thing where, when I find an album like this one, something I’d never heard of before that comes out of the blue, and it’s this damn good, well, I become a bit paralyzed. What if it’s a fluke and I hate the other records by the band? Ridiculous? Yeah. But if there’s one thing we human beings excel at, it’s ridiculous, no?

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