20 October 2008

Gram Parsons -- Fallen Angel

Going into Fallen Angel we knew Dinosaur did a Burrito Bros tune. Coming out of Fallen Angel we knew we should check out some Merle Haggard.

18 October 2008

Yusuf's Cafe Session

We figured since we could finally give Dylan a chance maybe we should give this Cat Stevens cat another go-round. We have an inherited copy of Stevens' Classics disc in our library, an album that we spun once or twice in our younger days and disavowed forthwith. So full of hippy dippy cliche, we thought. Such a cornball collection of find-yourself, Give Peace a Chance nonsense. But with No Direction Home running through our minds we decided to pop ol' Cat Steves into the hi-fi, sit our broke asses on the sofa, and prepare ourselves for the shock of havin' our minds...changed?

We didn't know what to expect when we pushed play. Would we pull a 180? Would he still sound like a '70s era softie? Well, as it turns out the Cat is, yep, a dyed in the wool dippy hippy. He toured with magicians! Clowns! He has a whole bunch of songs about hittin' the old dusty trail and strikin' out to find yourself. But behind all that bearded open shirtiness is a lot of stuff that sure gets our gears a-turning, by which we mean fingerstyle guitar pickin' and upper register falsetto-in'. Hmmm...maybe Cat Stevens wasn't so bad, we thought. Half these tunes -- the ones without the awful AM radio soft rock overdubbing -- were awfully sweet and poignant. Cliched folk singer themes to spare, but performed with lots o' honest heart and soul, and lots o' honorable love and tenderness.

So, Cat Stevens... No, wait! We meant to say: So, Yusuf Islam, we've done changed our opinion of ya. We think you're pretty neat. Maybe you grew a funny beard, maybe you wrote a (yeeesh) children's book, and maybe you wore some of them godforsaken beaded necklaces, but we think you've got integrity in spades and a damn fine singin' voice to boot. The Highland Cinema seal of okayness? It's all yours. As-Salamu Alakum, brother!

14 October 2008


Wild Man Fischer: developmentally disabled vagrant or exemplar of unadulterated self expression? To our eyes he looks like a guy hollering at passersby for nickels, but to Mark Mothersbaugh he's a Platonic form. We've tried to put ourselves on both sides of the Outsider Music fence and as far as we can tell the dialogue is equal parts record geek snobbery, half-baked and horn-rimmed undergraduate theorizing, and the privileged elite's sublimated mocking of retards.

One thing we do know is that someone really should do a documentary on this Dr. Demento fella. We thought he was just a trivial novelty like Weird Al, but it turns out he's a music historian like Tiny Tim!

13 October 2008

The Beast Within

When The Beast Within showed up on our front step we were like, "Goddammit!" Not like we haven't wanted to see this thing since, like, '95, but it'd been on the back burner for so long we plain weren't thrilled to have it in our hands at all. Just weren't in the mood, ya know? And most of the time if ya ain't feelin' it, it ain't worth it, right? But tonight we'd committed to watching something by Jove, and thankfully once we loaded the projector and fired the sucker up this flick turned out to be not so half-bad.

The Beast Within is a standard issue monster movie, the kind of old-timey picture that's an hour and fifteen of talking and a final ten to fifteen of darn cool special effects. That much we liked. That and the parade of under the radar character actors and early '80s film stock. But the thing troublin' us was why was such a piss poor etiology of why that teen turned into an insect monster in the first place. 'Cause he was possessed by ghost of a murdered townsman? Come on! If ya gotta get one thing right that's gotta be it, don'tcha think? We're fine with explaining one crazy thing (murderous half-man/half-insect chimera) with another (vengeful demon spirit), but we think these filmmaker guys owed it to us to hammer it home better than that.

Eh, oh well, guess that's what you get for doin' it when ya ain't in the mood.

09 October 2008

Masters of Horror -- Imprint

The Masters of Horror episode so unsettling Showtime refused to air it! Takashi Miike strikes again with both a needles under the fingernails torture scene and a few good ol' flashbacks of countryside abortions. Strange and dense, Imprint is exactly what we expected: second-tier pay cable production values coupled with impenetrable hallucinogenic story arcs that could only come from the Ray-Banned mind of Miike hisself. What the hell was that end about anyway? You see that head and hand grow out of that prostitute's right temple?!?

05 October 2008

No Direction Home

Looks like we're finally comin' to terms with the fact that even though it all reminds us of a super lame dumbed-down basic cable documentary, some of this stuff from the sixties was pretty fucking good.