Until recently, I only had two genres of music to abhor: Country and Gangsta Rap. Now I can add a third – Emo. And for the purists who want to divide it down into Emotional Hardcore or Screamo or Post-Punk-Whatever-Core, save your breath. I’ll be more specific:
Tight, punchy metal or rock music
Throwaway, sappy, broken-hearted lyrics.
Whiny singing, possibly punctuated by guttural screaming.
Dashboard Confessional. Fall Out Boy. My Chemical Romance. The kind of music that makes me wish California would break off and slide into the ocean, taking all these bands with it.
Nothing against the music, mind you. Often the music is top-notch. It’s the singing that wrecks it for me. I can understand the xenophobic, directionless anger of Hardcore music, but its tough to sympathize with a whiny singer whom you would kick in the balls if he had any. And screaming gutteral nonsense doesn’t make you sound tough after you just whined and cried a bunch of sappy lyrics that sound like they were inspired by a Danielle Steele novel.
There are real bands out there that are able to mood swing from angry to melancholic and it sounds authentic. Listen to NIN’s brutal ‘Big Man With A Gun’, then listen to the intimate ‘Hurt’, and then try to call Trent Reznor a pussy. You can’t. Then listen to Linkin Park and try to imagine the lead singer getting into a fist-fight. You can’t. The singer’s lyrics, subject matter, and delivery are so sensitive that anything more brash than flipping him off on the Interstate would make him burst into tears.
Most of these songs are based around two characters, and the relationship gone wrong between them, told from a first-person perspective. They all contain the word ‘trust’ (or more likely ‘trusted’) and they are drowned in first and second person pronouns: I, Me, My, and You. Some Examples:
‘I know you felt like I was fading away’
‘Youre everything I wanted’
‘Ive left nothing for myself’
‘You said you wanted me’
‘I love you’
‘I hate you’
My theory is that lyrics like this are easy to write. An afterthought, really. Even easier now, since bands have moved beyond the need to rhyme. Kiss the vocal hook goodbye. I kinda wish these bands would kiss their lead whiners goodbye and write instrumentals instead.
With any luck, Emo is a fad that we’ll look back on and laugh, “Yeah, people used to listen to that.” You can call me old if you like, but I’d rather be called old than listen to the 2000’s version of Trixter.
If Punk had worn a condom when it screwed Death back in the 70’s, the bastard child known as Goth wouldn’t have been born when it was, and future generations of music appreciators would have traced the roots of Gothic Rock Music back to Minneapolis, and the band Revolver Modele, who would have appeared ‘a priori’, without previous influence. This fact is overlooked by many other reviewers who can’t seem to listen to Revolver Modele without imposing influences, and drawing comparisons to other bands because they are too
All of the above
to write an original review. (‘INXS? Um, they’re like Cheap Trick, only, um, newer.’ ‘Jethro Tull? Um, they’re like Pink Floyd, only more so.’)
It was a dark and stormy night when local fashion maven, Anna Lee suggested Revolver Modele to me, and I stumbled down to The Kitty Kat Club for a look-see. I was not prepared for the lead singer (Ehsan) to become possessed by demons and begin thrashing around on the stage. The only hint that he still held onto a small piece of his humanity was the fact that he was able to continue singing, and keep the microphone near enough to his mouth so we could all hear it.
When he rolled off the stage and dropped, crashing to the dance floor in an indeterminate spasming heap, no one rushed forward to help. The band played on; Mikal (guitar) climbed up onto things and jumped off them, all without missing a note, his actions as dangerous as his guitar work. Jesse (drums) belted out clockwork timing, oblivious to the impending threat of being landed upon, and Natasha (bass) simply watched with all the attitude of your cat watching you have sex.
It was then that I realized, even though Ehsan’s body had now become a marionette for other-worldly forces to control, even though a portal to Lovecraft’s ‘Ancient Ones’ had certainly been opened, even though sane audience members should flee in terror, we could not leave. Because through the portal came music.
The music was awesome.
Thankfully, Revolver Modele were able to capture that music on their latest release, ‘Discotheque Crypt’. Amazingly deep sound for such a small group (Guitar, bass, drum, vox) and Ehsan has an amazingly deep voice for such a slim body. Mikal does a fantastic job of switching between rhythm and lead guitar, and from flat-out-distortion to crystalline ethereal echoes to undead silence. Natasha (AKA: The Nun) bottoms-out the songs with clean, prominent and punctual basswork, and a beautiful, catlike stare. (I am fairly certain that she does not ever blink. Or smile.) Jesse holds the songs together with all the tight timing of a Swiss Swatch, and calls attention to his drumming by Not calling attention to his drumming.
The lyrics actually make for good reading and are as meaningful as you make them; a kind of Rorschach Lyrics Test, to see what you read into them. And you will probably have to read the lyrics to distinguish some of them; the vocals on Discotheque Crypt are intentionally thick, and syrupy as if they were drowned in old blood. The feeling roller-coasters between deeply emotional and deeply emotionless, often within the same song.
You might hear the single Les Diaboliques if you listen to ‘cool’ radio stations, and you certainly should request Revolver Modele at [email protected] (770 Radio K) and [email protected] (89.3 Current) For those of you who decided that anything New is also Bad, Revolver Modele might be just the cure that restores your faith in local music.
It’s hard for me to pick a favorite song off the album, as I tend to listen to it in it’s entirety like a concept album, but I will admit that ‘Les Diaboliques’ and ‘Body Without Organs’ tend to make me drive way too fast, and it is almost impossible to sit still during ‘Deca-Dance’ without tapping some part of your body against something else.
So if you fire up Revolver Modele at home on some dark and stormy night, and Cthulhu suddenly possesses your cat, which falls to the floor, spasming, gargling and pawing at the air uncontrollably, just laugh and tell it ‘thats what you get for staring at me while I’m having sex.’
There are occasions where I actually get more than 4 hours of sleep at one time. I call those occasions ‘Sunday’. When I get out of bed (notice I did not say ‘when I wake up’ because that is a different time altogether) and stagger into the kitchen and take something out of the fridge and put it in my mouth, I decided that this particular meal needs a name. For many people the word Brunch covers it nicely, a clever combination of Breakfast and Lunch.
But not for me.
Years of the graveyard shift and dabbling with both caffeine and occult forces resulted in a wide variation of the timing of this meal. It could be 4AM or 4PM. And the foodstuffs could be anything as well: Pop Tarts, cold pizza, or three-day old Cheddar Bay Biscuits leftover from Red Lobster. Regardless, the meal is always accompanied by Diet Coke.
I created a new word for this meal, a combination of the words: Breakfast, Lunch, AND Dinner.
The word is Brunner.
Brunner describes a generic “meal” without locking down any particular time, or place, or foodtype.
If you work till 11PM and stop at SuperAmerica on the way home for one of those sausage things that your dog wouldn’t eat, are you going out for Breakfast? Lunch? Dinner? No, you are going out for Brunner.
What do you call waffles at 7:30PM? Brunner.
When you make a PBJ in the middle of the night and haul it back to bed, then discover that what you thought was a misshapen piece of bread was actually an old, flattened Cat Toy? Brunner. Bad Brunner, but Brunner nonetheless.
I wasn’t able to fit any part of the word ‘snack’ in there, but Brunner should also be assumed to cover ‘Midnight Snack’ without much problem.
The original Jolt Cola was released in 1985. The grandfather of energy drinks, Jolt’s motto was “All the Flavor and Twice the Caffeine.” The caffeine content of Jolt was equivalent to drinking several cans of Mountain Dew, which had the highest caffeine content of any soda at that time.
Now, 20 years later, Jolt Energy has re-released Jolt Cola with a new logo, and resealable, 695ml, battery-shaped cans, and several new flavors. As a public service, I have sampled each flavor, and here are my findings:
The original. Ick. I never liked the original Jolt, but then again, you don’t drink Jolt because it tasts good. You drink it because the mail server is *down* and I don’t care if it is 3AM, By God, if you don’t get that thing fixed by the time the boss gets to the office to check her daily milflist, you might just as well jump in the car, head to Canada, and never look back…
Appearance: Standard color – dark-brown cola crossed with coffee.
Aroma: Earthy Bittersweet Cola mixed with Hydrochloric Acid and Wookie Scrotum.
Taste: Flat, stale Pepsi, only more bitter, and more sweet, and still more bitter.
Effect: The ghastly taste has more effect on your state of awareness than the caffeine and sugar combined.
Overall Evaluation: Ick. With other flavors to choose from, the only use for this I can imagine is stripping paint. Do not take on an empty stomach.
Jolt Cherry Bomb
Now we’re talking. I’ve always loved Jolt Cherry Bomb, and the fact that it is difficult to find only makes it more attractive.
Appearance: Color was standard cherry cola; no surprises.
Aroma: Unmistakable cherry cola and a hint of tangy, wet leather.
Taste: Thankfully, the taste has not changed – Sweet cherry and slightly bitter cola with a surprisingly smooth finish.
Effect: Similar to the effect of eating a kilo of chocolate and a kilo of raw Sumatra coffee beans. Decreases reaction time to a negative number, meaning the body can react slightly before stimulus occurs. Increases eye-hand coordination along with speed; making it possible to thread a sewing machine while it is still running.
Overall Evaluation: OMFG. Without question, the best cherry cola ever made. Do not exceed .733 of one can in a 24-hour period, or Spontaneous Human Combustion can occur.
Be careful, this can is very similar to the regular Jolt Cola but significantly different in both taste and effects.
Appearance: Unnaturally bright red. Actually glows in the dark. Glow increases when shaken. (Warning: DO NOT SHAKE!)
Aroma: Pungent floral and tropical fruit with a splash of turpentine.
Taste: So impossibly sweet that the taste of smoked salmon, guava and an entire acre of condensed pseudo-fruit is nearly imperceptible.
Effect: Limited superhuman abilities, possibly including the ability to fly (I was not able to test this.)
Overall Evaluation: Dangerous, possibly flammable. Do not smoke while drinking this product. Attracts killer bees. Do NOT sell to third world countries or terrorists. Does not cause stains; instead, it actually disintegrates most common elements.
Surprise! I had low expectations from a beverage I thought might actually stain my tongue permanently blue, but was overjoyed when I tasted it. I was not so overjoyed when it foamed all over the place when the can was opened.
Appearance: Liquefied Smurf.
Aroma: Extremely strong odor of Grey Latex Paint and Cilantro massively overpowered by Dark Fruity Citrus and Raspberries.
Taste: Highly-carbonated Blue Raspberry Snow Cone, mixed with Ammonia and Tang.
Effect: Hysteria, Dementia, Visual and Auditory Hallucinations, Blackouts, Memory Loss.
Overall Evaluation: Excellent cohesion, bonds in seconds. Stains everything it comes in contact with bright blue, but cleans up easily with Liquid Nitrogen. May attack some plastics. Mixes well with tequila – best results were achieved when mixed one part Jolt Blue to 6×10^3 parts Cuervo 1600. Seems to negate the effects of Jolt Red, resulting in a warm sparkling water when mixed together.
This sugar/carb free alternative was another unexpected pleasure, and a fine addition to the Jolt family. Contains Splenda sweetener.
Aroma: Weak Citrus Fruit with a hint of overripe bananas and seawater.
Taste: Radiator Fluid and Uranium 238, but mostly watered down Mountain Dew.
Effect: Heightened sensory awareness, body temperature raised enough to melt snow within one meter; making this a poor choice for those attempting winter sports. Causes all bodily fluids to glow in the dark.
Overall Evaluation: I always wondered what they did with the used coolant from nuclear reactors. Slightly less flavor than the rest of the Jolt family, but with no carbs, this is still a great alternative to Crystal Meth. Half life of 4.5 billion years. Contact the EPA for disposal of containers.
Jolt Cola Nutrition Info
From the website (like you care):
Serving Size: 8 fl. oz.
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0 g 0%
Sodium 10 mg 1%
Potassium 0 mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 27 g 9%
Sugars 27 g
Protein 0 g 0%
Vitamin C 0%
Not a significant source of other nutrients.
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Just to set the record Straight (pun intended) I am, in fact, Heterosexual. Homosexuality between men? I don’t understand it, but help yourself. Homosexuality between women? I don’t understand it, but can I watch?
I feel the need to bring this up because I recently wore white pleather chaps and a matching vest for Halloween, and if nothing else, it should prove that I am secure in my masculinity.
Thanks to Bob Mould for his timely link to a drug called Hetracil, a so-called ‘Anti-effeminate medication.’
What does it do, make you want to putter around in the garage with power tools? Does it make you want to watch old, black-and-white War movies? Subscribe to Soldier of Fortune magazine? What happens if you overdose?
Is there a reverse drug that could make you a homosexual? What if terrorists slipped that drug into Minneapolis’ water supply? Do we all turn into pooftys?
And who knew that Homosexuality was a disease that could be ‘cured’ with medication? Makes one proud to be an American, doesn’t it? Is there anything we can’t cure with pills? Maybe we could come up with some pills to make people a little fucking smarter? Oh, I forgot, then they wouldn’t fall for crap like Hetracil….
Sorry folks, I have to stop, but this is too easy, so I leave the rest to you as a homework exercise.
From Darren Aronofsky, the twisted bastard who brought you the movie Pi, comes an absolutely depressing and horrific mess called Requiem for a Dream. Pi was visually interesting, entertaining, and kept me wondering what was going on,and I went into Requiem with these same expectations. However, the movie continually raised two questions:
How much worse can it get?
How much longer can it go on?
I am not saying this to be funny. I am saying this because it is true. I wasn’t sure what the movie was trying to tell people, so I made a list of the possible messages the movie could hold:
following your dreams to excess is bad
following your dreams is bad
dreams are bad
the American pharmaceutical industry is no different than the American street-gang drug industry
drugs are bad
drugs are bad because they can wreck your dreams
drugs are bad because they can make you create a movie like Requiem for a Dream
The movie might actually not have had any message at all, which would truly suck. The effects, editing and time lapses are good (much like Pi or Spun, or Memento) and the movie gives a good sense of ‘trippiness’ without being ridiculous.
It might be useful to teach High School students that “Drugs are Not Cool.” Or, if you thought your life sucked, you could watch this movie and not feel so bad about it. But it will be a true test of your willpower to see how far down the spiral of depression you are willing to ride.
Last night I was putting together my costume for Halloween. I used up almost two full cans of flat white spray paint, in an enclosed garage, at four in the morning. (It’s beginning to scare me how little sleep I really need.) I held my breath for about half an hour, and got a headache like I haven’t had since the last time I drank shots of Jagermeister with the Jagerettes on St. Patrick’s Day… but I digress.
Anyway, I stopped in at the local fabric store in Brooklyn Park, Harris something-or-other, and my out-of-body-experience went something like this:
“Can I help you?” An older lady behind the counter asked.
“Yeah,” I said. “I’m looking for a polyurethane-based, synthetic leather nicknamed Pleather. Have you heard of it?”
Long pause. A second woman comes over to help/eavesdrop.
Another pause, and a more-than-cursory inspection, not unlike my Drill Sergeant would perform just before a formation. They probably think I’m a City Inspector or with ‘Americas Funniest Home Videos’ or something. At least, I don’t think I look like a terrorist.
“What, um, what color were you looking for?”
I now notice a third woman attempting to get as close to this conversation as possible without getting caught. She isn’t very good at it.
“White” I say, as casually as possible.
“OH!” All three ladies gasp in unison, their hands shooting to cover their mouths as thought I had suddenly contracted the Avian Flu. The third lady pretends not to be shocked (because she isn’t really listening) but she clearly catches about a quarter inch of air.
“Its over there,” the first lady says, pointing with the hand not covering her mouth.
Weird. The rest of the clientele were buying floral-print fabrics which would make the cover of Country Home Magazine puke, and they’re looking at me like I just asked to purchase several yards of Human Flesh.
Oh well, I’ll post some pix when my costume is finished…
Come on now, if you go to see DOOM and you are disappointed, then you are an idiot. Go with no expectations at all, and then there is no way you can be disappointed. Remember, if it truly sucks so badly that you would rather watch a double feature of The English Patient and Legends of the Fall, just remember that you can always walk out during the movie, and trade your ticket for the next Serenity showing. And save your bitchy-whining-blog-post for people less intelligent than yourself. (If there are any.)
This movie was Surprisingly Good in the way that Alone In The Dark was Surprisingly Bad. It helped that the preview for DOOM was poorly done to start with. The First-Person-Shooter-View which was emphasized in the preview made up a very small (and very humorous) part of the movie. From the preview, you might have guessed the entire movie was simply a recorded video game, but the FPS view was about five minutes, tops, and all in one giant snippet, and one of the funniest parts of the movie, so no worries.
The FX were really good, and like the movie Aliens they don’t show the monsters right away. They did a good job in building a suspenseful environment that is such a crucial part of the game’s success. The movie did not rely on a ton of CG, which I appreciated.
The plot (yes, there was a plot) was just enough to hold the action together, and keep characters moving from place to place (much like either of the Resident Evil movies). This is above and beyond what a film like DOOM requires, and I for one was pleasantly surprised by it. Don’t expect the story to follow the premise of the game.
The ringing endorsement came from Xtna, who said it best: “It wasn’t that awful”
There are two kinds of Rules which Society makes up for themselves to follow. Some call them Agreements, others call them Paradigms, I call them Rules, and there are two kinds: Fake Rules (Opinions, or Rules of Normalcy) and Real Rules (Laws, or Rules of Peace).
The Fake Rules are opinions, and generally have to do with what is ‘appropriate’ or ‘normal’:
Don’t wear white after Labor Day.
Blue is for boys and pink is for girls.
K-Swiss is cool, Levi’s are not.
Bumper stickers promote change.
One religion is right and others are not.
Any stereotype you can think of.
It’s my philosophy for a good life to prove the Fake Rules wrong by breaking as many of them as you can, as often as possible. I make fun of them, and the people who blindly belive in them. Why? Because it drives a wedge between the Fake Rules and the Real ones, and forces people to see the difference. The disapproving looks and comments I get about my appearance and actions are feedback that tell me that I do a pretty good job at it.
It goes without saying that sometimes Society has it’s collective head clearly, squarely up it’s collective ass, but not all of Society’s Rules are bad ones. There are certain Rules we have to agree upon to live together on this planet in Peace. These are the Real Rules; more easily identified when passed into Laws. These are the rules which allow us to live in cities without walls and moats around them. I’m pretty sure one of those rules is to Not Rob Families’ Homes At Gunpoint.
However, on the night of Tuesday, October 11th, sometime around midnight while I was writing up my blog post for the Nine Inch Nails show, three masked men decided to break the rules, and robbed my next-door neighbor’s home at gunpoint. If I didn’t have the fan on in this very room at that very time, I probably would have heard them kick down the door.
I’m sure those three criminals live by a different set of rules – rules in which Peace is not the overreaching goal. One of those rules is probably “Might Makes Right”. A rule in which tying up a ten-year-old daughter, and kicking her father in the head repeatedly until he was bleeding and unconscious is OK. Then, forcing her mother to show them where all the valuables in the house are, loading up their car, and stealing that as well? That’s OK too. Why? Because they had the guns, That’s why. Because Might Makes Right.
In some seven minute period of Tuesday night, while I sat reflecting and blissfully blogging my experiences at the Nine Inch Nails concert, my neighbors went through a hell I cannot imagine, less than fifty feet away. Three people who broke the Real Rules have deeply changed not only the lives of that family, but everyone on this block. Everyone is re-evaluating their home security, inventory, insurance, and most likely, their Last Will and Testament. Everyone is contemplating what they might do in that situation, and none of us knows the answer unless it actually happens.
To those three criminals who choose to break the Rules of Peace: be warned. The Agreement works both ways, and now Society is no longer bound by those Rules when dealing with you. Society is now free to step down to your level. As a matter of fact, at this very moment, Society is gathering money and pooling it into an organization specifically designed to hunt you down and punish you. And they are good at it, they do it for a living.
Just remember, we gave you the chance to live in Peace, and you chose “Might Makes Right”. But you forgot; we are bigger than you, and we have more guns. We have professionals working round the clock to find you, prowling the streets in cars with the word ‘Police’ on the side. Might Makes Right. Are you scared? You should be.