Monday, April 6
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Tag: folk

The Best Bizarre Christmas Album Covers Ever, Part 2

The Best Bizarre Christmas Album Covers Ever, Part 2

Album Cover of the Week, Music
I had to take a year off after the first gallery of odd Christmas album covers, but I'm back with a strange vengeance. Here's another set of Yuletide records sure to leave you saying, "Ho ho huh?" The Border Brass -- Tijuana Christmas (date unknown) So outrageous it can't possibly be offensive, right? From the back cover: Take the festive spirit of the Christmas season, spice well with the merry mariachi sounds & you have a wassail bowl full of the happiest holiday music ever! Nina and Frederik -- Christmas at Home with Nina and Frederik (1960) From the looks of Frederik, there's only one of four things he wants to do this Christmas. 1. Sex you up. 2. Chop you into little pieces. 3. Sex you up and then chop you into little pieces. 4. Chop you into little pieces an...
Vintage View-Master: Electra Woman and Dyna Girl, reel 1

Vintage View-Master: Electra Woman and Dyna Girl, reel 1

Ephemera, TV & Radio
Here's one of the more bizarre View-Master reel sets in my collection. It was issued to promote the short-lived live action series Electra Woman and Dyna Girl, which ran for just 16 episodes in 1976. It was one of the segments aired during the first season of The Krofft Supershow, which itself only lasted for two years. Electra Woman and Dyna Girl followed the adventures of two comely reporters for Newsmaker magazine -- Lori/Electra Woman (Deidre Hall) and Judy/Dyna Girl (Judy Strangis). Over the course of the series the pair battled an array of colorful villains like the Pharaoh, the Sorcerer, Glitter Rock, Ali Baba, Spider Lady, and the Empress of Evil. The segments seemed to be a none-too-subtle homage to the Batman TV show from the '60s, as you'll see in this clip of the opening the...
Commercials I Hate — “Honeymoon” (Subaru Outback)

Commercials I Hate — “Honeymoon” (Subaru Outback)

Advertising
I promise I'm not hyper-focused on car ads for this series, but it just seems that they irritate me the most these days. And this one is currently at the top of my list. It's the oh-so-cute and romantic "Honeymoon" spot for the Subaru Outback. Can we quit it with the sloppy hipsters in car ads already? I happen to really like the Outback, but if I saw a couple like this driving one I might just run them off the road. Of course they'd probably just say "oh, what a great adventure!" and grin like idiots. I could probably handle the sappy montage, but then the douchenozzle husband kicks in with the smugness: "We could've gone a more traditional route. But it wouldn't have been nearly as memorable." You know what, hipster honeymooner? Your special little trip in the dirt is no ...
New Adventures in Hi-Fi: My Journey Into R.E.M., Part 4

New Adventures in Hi-Fi: My Journey Into R.E.M., Part 4

Music
When I started this series I honestly had no idea R.E.M. was on the threshold of releasing yet another studio album, Collapse Into Now. And as much as I would love to check out the new album, I think I'm going to hold off for a bit. I'd like to continue down the path I started in order to get a better perspective of their output so I can approach the new record with more than an outsider's mindset (unlike what I had when I reviewed Accelerate). We're up to album number five, Document. It's the last studio disc R.E.M. released on the I.R.S. label, and it is the group's first major commercial hit. My first thought as "Finest Worksong" got underway -- HELLO big rock production! My second thought -- Hey, so that's what Michael Stipe sounds like when he faces the microphone! Document ...
New Adventures in Hi-Fi: My Journey Into R.E.M., Part 3

New Adventures in Hi-Fi: My Journey Into R.E.M., Part 3

Music
It seems like a totally foreign concept now, but there was a time when bands managed to tour and release albums on a regular basis. An album per year was standard for most acts, and some overachievers managed two per year. Now fans are lucky to get a new record every three years or so. I don't know how this started or why, but it sucks. I'd rather get a new release every year, with eight or nine songs, than these 14 or 15-song monstrosities that come out whenever a band gets around to it. Anyway, we're knee-deep in my journey through R.E.M.'s discography in case you hadn't noticed. They kept up an old-school release schedule throughout the 1980s, with a new studio recording every year from 1982 through 1988. Pretty damn impressive if you ask me. We're up to LP number three right now, Fa...
Album review: The Decemberists – The King is Dead

Album review: The Decemberists – The King is Dead

Music
The term progressive can have rather dangerous effects on music. For starters it makes the typical music fan cringe with ideas of long-winded guitar solos and lyrics about gnomes fighting dragons. Second, it can cause musicians to try to make albums that actually match those ideas. When coupled with other words like “19th century sea-faring folk ballads” it has to be questioned whether anyone would even bother listening. And yet here we are witnessing the sixth studio album from the Decemberists more than a decade into their career. After having built a sizable following with what seems like a rather niche take on indie rock, perhaps it is those potential trappings that forced Colin Meloy and company’s hand towards taking a more stripped-down and straightforward approach on The King is
New release roundup (feat. Midlake, Stone Temple Pilots, and Maya Beiser)

New release roundup (feat. Midlake, Stone Temple Pilots, and Maya Beiser)

Music
Sigh.  Once again there's so much music and so little time.  In fact, most of albums on this list can't properly be considered "new" anymore, but that's life. Dave King - Indelicate (Sunnyside Records) King has already established himself as a jazz percussionist par excellence with the Bad Plus and Happy Apple, but here he decides to carry the entire load himself.   While I'd love to say that Indelicate is a prime example of a talented artist finally allowed to break free from the shackles of the group format, that isn't really the case here.  King's muscular and primal rhythmic approach to the drum kit carries over to the piano but it becomes clear fairly quickly that while King has a number of good ideas (among them the simple but engaging "Homage: Young People" and the bouncy "I
Album reviews: Unpacking the Trailer… & Gravity and Air

Album reviews: Unpacking the Trailer… & Gravity and Air

Music
It's certainly too early to predict whether or not 2009 will best last year in terms of quality musical output, but a pair of new releases from the fledgling New Amsterdam label already has it off to an interesting start.  The imprint, which opened its doors in January 2008, has become a showcase of sorts for a diverse group of artists based in the greater New York City area. The first of these acts with a new release is QQQ, a modern chamber quartet made up of two husband-and-wife teams (Dan Trueman on Hardanger fiddle, Monica Mugan on classical guitar, Beth Meyers on viola, and Jason Treuting on percussion). When I gave a spin to the group's debut album, Unpacking the Trailer..., the first comparison I thought of was with Build, another New Amsterdam act.  QQQ's style of music is a
2008 – The Year in Recorded Musical Performances

2008 – The Year in Recorded Musical Performances

Music
A few months into this year I couldn't shake the feeling that 2008 just wasn't going to be the great year for new music that 2007 was.  And so here I am, about a week away from 2009, and I still feel the same way.  It wasn't a total wash mind you, as there was definitely some quality to be enjoyed.  So here's my take on the 2008 music year - good, bad, and ugly. The Best of the Best (Albums) Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes (Sub Pop) Yeah, this seems like an obvious choice, but it's also a damn good one.  I'm always up for listening to good vocal harmonies, and this band has them in spades.  The music is gorgeous to boot, and is a highly engaging blend of folk titans like CSNY, America, and early '70s Fleetwood Mac.  The vocal round of "White Winter Hymnal" is worth the price of admission