The Joup Friday Album: Placebo – Meds

Meds“No, the blues are because you’re getting fat or maybe it’s been raining too long. You’re sad that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. You’re afraid, and you sweat like hell, but you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Except something bad is going to happen, only you don’t know what it is. You’ve had that feeling?”

Welcome to the start of Chicago winter.

Thank God for VOD! – Bone Tomahawk

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!

bonetomahawkBone Tomahawk

“Kurt Russell Kurt-Russelled the shit out of that movie!”

I don’t remember when or where I heard the sentiment above. I don’t remember who uttered it. I don’t remember what movie it was in reference to. But damn, if it isn’t the perfect descriptor for a badass Kurt Russell movie.

In Bone Tomahawk, Kurt Russell Kurt-Russells the shit out of that movie.

Endless Loop: Little Trouble Girl

sonicyouthHave 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.

“Little Trouble Girl” by Sonic Youth

The Joup Friday Album: R.E.M. – Green

remgreenI am the youngest of four siblings, with nine years separating me and my nearest brother. As a grade school-aged kid, I could wander from bedroom to bedroom getting a fairly thorough musical education from my teenaged siblings. There was the Zappa and Zep that wafted out of my oldest brother’s room along with a strange smelling smoke that would become more familiar to me as a teenager. If I hung out in my sister’s room, it was most likely the Who – she had every album, every single, every bootleg she could get her hands on. She was literally a card-carrying member of the official fan club and even had Who fan penpals – sadly lost artifacts of a bygone era killed by the internet. But the room I most frequently gravitated toward was my nearest brother’s where I was extensively educated in 80’s punk, new wave, and college rock. Though I later came to greatly appreciate the music my other siblings exposed me to, it was here in alterna-brother’s room where the musical preferences that would last a lifetime were first forged.
Having first heard R.E.M. in his room circa “Radio Free Europe,” they were always there in the background waiting for me to really notice them. Once I became a teenager myself, they found their way into medium rotation, up until I was about 15 when they released the album Green and my full-blown R.E.M. obsession struck with a vehemence that would amuse family, alienate friends, and become mildly embarrassing in retrospect.
Yes, R.E.M. could be obnoxiously erudite, showing off their smarty-pants in obscure allusions that are really nothing more than the intellectual equivalent of whipping your dick out on the table to make sure everyone sees how big it is. And yes, R.E.M.’s environmental and social consciousness could be overbearing, with a chiding smugness and pomposity that borders on being Bono-esque. And as a smug, pompous, socially and environmentally conscious honor student, that was right up my alley.
Fortunately, the high-handed lyrics were laid on top of some solid tunes. Despite my lofty airs, I was still a teenaged girl who was helpless against the wiles of a catchy pop hook, provided in songs like “Stand” and “Pop Song 89.” And as a teenaged girl who desperately sought some form of romance, the wistful, pretty “You Are the Everything,” “Hairshirt,” and the untitled 11th song were the perfect soundtrack for a hormone-fueled, why-can’t-I-have-a-boyfriend crying jag.
And then there are the vaguely political songs that made me feel really smart and, like, aware, man. I didn’t know much about the Vietnam War other than it was bad, and a song like “Orange Crush” allowed me to nod gravely and say, “Yes, Vietnam was bad. Bad indeed.” “Turn You Inside Out” seemed like it could be a defiant, cautionary tale against blindly following a leader or movement. Looking back on all of these songs and reading the lyrics today, they don’t seem early as deep or meaningful as they did back then, which makes my youthful take on “Turn You Inside Out” amusingly ironic.
“World Leader Pretend” was my favorite song on the album back then, with its self-doubt and moodiness, but what stood out most to me was the interesting percussion. R.E.M.’s tour for Green was my first-ever concert and I was delighted to see that the interesting percussion of this song was performed by Michael Stipe whacking on a metal chair with a drumstick. I’ll admit, I still think that’s pretty cool.
These days I get my politically-tinged pop culture served up in the form of fake cable news shows and I allow comedians, instead of rock bands, to keep me abreast of the things I should be outraged about. As for R.E.M., these days I can listen to these songs, give the lyrics a cynical smirk, and just enjoy the tunes.

Endless Loop: I’m Broken

panteraHave 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.

“I’m Broken” by Pantera

I grew up in Texas. It was only a matter of time before I got around to Pantera.

Thee Comic Column #144: Black Magick

Black-Magick-1When I first saw the preview of Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott’s Black Magick in the back of a recent issue of Lazarus I was immediately drawn to it. Since I’ve heard some people predict a similarity to Caitlin Kittredge’s Coffin Hill and I’ll be honest, there might be something to that. However, I only followed Coffin Hill for a few issues before it kind of fell off my radar (I need to do the trades) so I’m not the one to do any kind of accurate comparison. Besides, if there are two books about Occult-involved police women I’m not one to have a problem with that. I spent a pretty fair amount of time studying certain pockets of the Occult and even though I no longer actively practice I am still fascinated by it. And an honest-to-goodness, well-researched incorporation such as Black Magick appears to be (we all know Mr. Rucka does his homework) is a treat. Not since The Witching – which granted took some liberties, as I’m sure Black Magick will for story’s sake, but still managed to work in historical and “orthodox” elements – has there been a book that made me feel as kindly toward it so quickly due to a realistic portrayal of Magick in a fictional setting. This first issue actually begins with an actual Mabon ritual (the Autumn Equinox – so it’s timely too!) that is extremely well-researched. Ms. Scott’s art here is particularly fantastic; she’s able to convey the enigmatic mystery and sacred space of a circle without giving it too dark an edge. This feels Occult and ancient but not sinister, and that is the exact essence of ritual in the real, practicing sense.

The Joup Friday Album: Radiohead ‘Kid A’


kidaI’m not here, this isn’t happening.

For lyrics like this to be presented on a record such as Kid A is kismet. Kid A by Radiohead was created at a time when the band was facing deep pressures. With all of the album of the year and modern classic accolades that the band received with their 1997 classic Ok Computer it’s understandable why the thought of how a follow up to a record that important could be a daunting task. Somehow along the way though, amid all of the stress and tension within the band, a near perfect piece of art emerged in a way most great thing in life do, completely by accident.