Month: March 2010

Listening Booth – Annuals, “Loxtep”

Listening Booth – Annuals, “Loxtep”

Listening Booth, Music
The first followup project to Annuals' excellent 2008 album, Such Fun, was released today.  It's a five-track EP entitled Sweet Sister, and it's damn sweet indeed.  The first two thing I noticed are the new production flourishes (in the form of electronics) and a more subdued mood - at least for the first half.  This is a much more modern-sounding effort than the sun-drenched, retro Beach Boys-esque arrangements of Such Fun, particularly the strong title track. "Holler and Howl" adds a bit of old-fashioned country tonk to the mix, although filtered through Annuals' distinctive pop prism, while "Flesh and Blood" could easily pass itself off as a modern country radio track (albeit much more enjoyable). Hmmm, I guess this is also a mini-review too.  Anyway, here's the first track from S
Burst bubbles and stale bubble gum

Burst bubbles and stale bubble gum

Ephemera
Via the Consumerist is a recent Slate article concerning the great baseball card craze of the '80s and '90s.  It contains an excerpt from a new book by Dave Jamieson called Mint Condition: How Baseball Cards Became an American Obsession.  It's a topic I am all too familiar with as a former sports card and comic collector.  I never became a card speculator, as others of my age did, so I didn't get burnt too badly.  Nevertheless, I have binders full of football cards that are now barely worth the plastic sheets that house them, thanks in large part to the ludicrous overproduction and subsequent cheapening of cards in the '80s and '90s. I had a lot of fun collecting cards back in the day - I didn't care much about the value of the cards although I did try to keep them in the best condition
Listening Booth – Johnny Maestro & The Brooklyn Bridge, “The Worst That Could Happen”

Listening Booth – Johnny Maestro & The Brooklyn Bridge, “The Worst That Could Happen”

Listening Booth
Johnny Maestro, who died yesterday at the age of 70, made a name for himself as the lead singer of the Crests.  As music lovers know, the Crests scored a major hit in 1958 with "16 Candles".  A few years later, Maestro left the group and eventually became the frontman for a group called (appropriately enough) Johnny Maestro & The Brooklyn Bridge.  Their biggest hit came in 1968 with a cover of a 5th Dimension tune, "The Worst That Could Happen".  Here it is:
Come sail away, eh

Come sail away, eh

People
SI.com published a photo gallery of Wayne Gretzky today.  Most of it is pretty unremarkable unless you're already a big fan of the Great One.  But there is one exception, this little nugget of concentrated awesome. Oh yeah, Wayne Gretzky spinning Styx on the bangin' hi-fi system, complete with record player and 8-track deck.  And you just know he loves all those cheesy Dennis DeYoung ballads.  I mean, check out that Elton John poster.
SNL funny: “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”

SNL funny: “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”

TV & Radio
I'll give credit where it's due - while Saturday Night Live is still very hit-or-miss these days, I enjoyed this sketch a lot.  It's "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet", a takeoff on the classic Twilight Zone episode featuring Jude Law. A few things sold me on this bit - Jude Law's facial expressions, which recalled William Shatner's panicked looks in the original, Bobby Moynihan as the gremlin, and Pearl Jam on the wing of the plane.  Oh yeah, and smoked cedar plank salmon.  Because all gremlins love fish.
Listening Booth – Iron Maiden, “The Prophecy”

Listening Booth – Iron Maiden, “The Prophecy”

Listening Booth, Music
Most longtime Iron Maiden fans would agree that 1988's Seventh Son of a Seventh Son marked the end of the band's golden era.  They've certainly had worthy releases since then, but this album capped off a nearly decade-long as one of the preeminent metal bands on the planet.  My favorite cut from Seventh Son is one that was not released as a single, which is a shame.  It's "The Prophecy", and it stands in stark contrast to most of the band's material to date.  My favorite part is the acoustic guitar outro, something Maiden had never done before.  It's something they would do well to try more often.
I’ve seen 100,000 faces, and I’ve rocked them all

I’ve seen 100,000 faces, and I’ve rocked them all

Blogstuff
It's a momentous day here at GFS HQ - for today this site welcomed it's 100,000th visitor.  Seems this site is picking up a little bit of steam, since it took two years to reach the 50,000 mark, and in the 14 months since then I've doubled that.  But a picture tells a thousand words, so let me show you just how-far reaching this site is by using a graph from Alexa: OK, maybe it doesn't look impressive at first glance but consider this - right now my worldwide site ranking (based on a 3-month rolling average) is 1,578,651, which means I'm just 1,478,651 spots away from showing up on that graph.  Boo-yah! Now I just need Alycia Lane to do something wacky. (OK, so this is weird.  I had this post in the can, waiting until #100,000 before publishing.  Sure enough, #100K was looking
Listening Booth – Tab Benoit, “So High”

Listening Booth – Tab Benoit, “So High”

Listening Booth, Music
This popped up on a last.fm mix the other day, and I stopped what I was doing and proceeded to dance around the room like a mental patient.  I figure this little blues boogie is as good a way as any to kick off the week, now that spring is at the doorstep and the last vestiges of snow are melting away. It's Tab Benoit with "So High", off of his 1992 debut album Nice & Warm.  This is recommended for fans of Stevie Ray Vaughan, although this has more of a New Orleans flavor than a Texas one.