Classic Album Review :: The Presidents of the United States of America

When people talk about pop music from the 90’s, often they bring up bands like Nirvana, or Alanis Morissette. My mind goes directly towards TPofUSA. They are the only band that I don’t find annoying that finds the absurdity of that decade.

The album opens with a song about wanting to pet a cat. You know an album is going to be something special when a band can earnestly write a song in that vane and keep is respectable.

Really, the song Lump is the one I wish to highlight. It combines the feel of classic punk, and the lyrics are very cynical. It’s not too often you can find a song about falling in love with a person you know is bad news, as the narrator. The bit that makes it truly special, in my eyes anyway, is how the subject remains lovable regardless of what is said.

There is a chance that I am just reading far too into this song.

I am going to post a live version of this song. Mostly because seeing them play this song is far more impressive than the song sounds initially. The drummer is very good, and the recording does not do justice. Also, saying that there is no bass player is different from seeing that it’s true.

Assumptions

This post might seem like I’m just bitching…

The issue I have been noticing with being disabled is that people expect you to have some sort of grand insight into what social issues there are with being disabled. I have noticed myself being hindered by the idea where not everything I write or vlog about is in relation to me being in a wheelchair, so this post is to people who are in that camp.

The irony of feeling I should be discussing disability issues is the deafness and tragic comedy of the situation.

Okay, that sounds incredibly selfish, so please allow me to put it another way.

I spent 24 years of my life not disabled. I got the meningitis vaccine in high school, and got meningitis anyway. It induced encephalitis, and now I am in a wheelchair and suffer from epilepsy. So, when I start to complain about how “hard life is”, I feel disingenuous. I feel like I am just complaining because my life has hit a road block, and I am worried that my “plight” will take attention away from more important issues. I also feel as though I am far from qualified enough to talk on the social and economic issues at hand.

When someone says that they will not follow or promote my work because it’s not focused enough on disability issues, this is why I find my respect for that person start to drop.

I have lived a great portion of my life under the assumption that I should not let my shortfalls hold me back, and now that I am in a place where my shortfalls have a greater impact, I still hold that advise to a higher regard. Possibly, a higher regard than I should.

My point simply being: if I have a “hot-take” on some social or political issue, I will probably write about it. If I don’t, it either doesn’t impact me or I don’t want to give wrong information. If I am NOT focused enough on things you feel I should be, don’t read my blog. That simple.

Classic Album Review :: Portishead

I don’t know how, but I kind of forgot about this album. It will always be one of my favourite albums from the decade of the ’90s, but somehow I have never written about it. I think I have this sick sense of personal ownership over it, like I am the only person who remembers this album even though Portishead were huge and sold incredibly well.

I think part of my hesitation is how there is no real instruments on the album. Portishead are one of the few acts that I jump to describe as Trip-Hop. That sleepy, almost dreamscape portrayal of soundscapes which only film better catches the emotions created by the sound.

Trip-Hop is one of the few genres that actually benefits from music videos, in my opinion. Still remaining completely unnecessary, The videos illustrate the worlds generated by the music. Few successfully capitalized on this as well as Portishead, even though they only released four videos over a career spanning from 1994 to around 2008 (as far as my research shows).

It is important to point out how 2008 is a softcap, as they went “silent” from 1997 to 2008 with little noise coming from their corner of the world. According to what I could find, they have done one-off teases to their fans and those still paying attention.

So, what about this album, I hear noone ask? As I mentioned before, it is quite important in my collection. It reminds me of a detective movie from the 1940’s. Heavy bass shots, mixed in with simple (but tasteful) drum loops. There are few albums that I can describe as “cool” with little else needing to explain what I mean, but this is very much a perfect example of exactly that.

Oh, her voice is a bit… different…? I am not saying that it is bad, by any stretch of the idea. Her ability is amazing and her range is unmatched. I completely understand if anyone is turned off by her tone, yet I implore you to listen again.

This song remains one of my favourite songs of all time. There is something perfect, and the video illustrates perfectly just how haunting the song is.

A Dilemma

I want to talk about the book idea I just had, but is that even a good idea? It is rather cerebral, and there is a good chance that I am nowhere near smart enough to make it happen. Hell, I have little more than a concept, at this point.

I have talked to family about the idea. One thought it sounded like an interesting concept, but did not elaborate. One thought it would make an interesting screenplay, but could not see it working as a novel. I get that take more than most: I write a lot of ideas out that would make great screenplays but fall short as novels. Maybe I should write a movie? Do I really want to enter that world right now?

That is part of the reason I haven’t been writing here so much in recent times. Between that new concept, and two books that I have been working on for a bit, I am mildly distracted.

What I would like to remind people is that Canada is coming up to an election. I implore you to vote for YOUR interests, and not just tow a family line on principle alone. I am going to have to vote strategically for the first time in my adult life, and I am far from a fan. I want to vote NDP (you know: one of the five major parties of Canada. We do have more than two.), but to keep out the party that would damage my way of life the most, I will have to vote Liberal.

The Worst.

Well, FUCK ME I GUESS! I have not been writing, like, at all. Whether here, books, other sites, NO WHERE.

I am sorry. I do not have a solid excuse, at least not one I want to share right now, but I will correct it.

I promise.

Seriously!

Stop laughing.

You’re Special.

So, it has been far too long since my last update.

I have been ruminating on what I want to write about, new podcasts to record, and dealing with this Hellscape I call life.

Hellscape is probably a bit extreme.

I am just trying to illustrate that I am in another point of flux. So many fantastic things on the horizon, and so many horrible and abusive things until then.

Did you watch my last PodCast? It was to you, so I hope you did. I also spend a very long time scripting it out, considering how short it was.

I have an idea for my next one. My plan is to have it recorded, cut, and published by the eleventh. That would mark one year of me doing that whole thing.

My plan was to examine how society is ableist, but the reading and research is far too much for me to get it done before I want to have the recording done. Instead, I think I will do an opinion piece on similar things, but illustrating how single-serving stores and businesses are in regards to accessibility. That way, the reading is minimal, because I am actually an idiot with too much time on their hands.

Oh, please subscribe to the page if you find this at all interesting. I have heard from a Patreon individual that I don’t give enough updates on there, and they fail to see the point of being subscribed. The Patreon is just a way for me to supplement the costs in relation to keeping this site up-and-running. I know I don’t push it, pretty well at all. I know I don’t pay enough attention over there, and that is something I am hoping to rectify soon. I am completely going by the seat of my pants on all this writing and online marketing BS. I am sorry.

Classic Album Review :: Cardigans — Gran Turismo

Every once-in-a-while, I listen through my music library and wonder how people don’t pay attention to albums.

This is one of those albums.

It straddles the line between being pop gold and being depressing as hell. Something about it is unsettling. The use of synthesizers to fill in the low end leaves the album strongly in this minor chord valley where everything is awkward yet somehow beautiful.

This is far from the biggest album this band released. First Band on the Moon had the single “Love Fool” which got them a ridiculous amount of attention. This band experimented a lot with a take on the almost lounge jazz sound from the ’60s. On this album, they seemed to stray far from that dystopian and haunting sound, instead opting for a journey into almost electronica. They keep the bubble gum pop sound they cultivated, just added this layer of darkness that the ’90s did so very well.

Of course, the song best known off this album is also their second most known song ever. “My Favourite Game” follows the tried-n-true 4-chord structure, but with a twist. The chorus launches the listener into a dark hole, and this song actually works brilliantly as an example of the entire album. Complete with awkwardly placed lyrics, melodic shots, and a tradition but distorted structure.

I recommend this album highly, but everything they did is gold. Earlier albums are very lounge jazz, as I mentioned above, but later albums journey further into a darker void and explore what is possible with traditional pop. Also, this band has this awkward obsession with doing Black Sabbath covers in non-traditional ways. It’s always fantastic, and worth the adventure to find all two or three that were recorded.

In Summation: this album is well worth remembering. I recommend it highly, and very much recommend looking at the whole catalogue.

whoops

I need to finish what I start. I have started 3 books this year, and completely abandoned them a few week into writing them!

I do intend to finish roughly two of them. The one is a kind of description of the best relationship I have had in my life, and the other I just started, and is an interview. That’s all the information you are getting about either.

I find myself wondering if it is a good thing or not that I give myself so many projects at once. A part of me is proud that I have three books on the go that all show promise, another part of me is embarrassed and concerned that I am going to only put a third of myself into them.

On that note, I am not going to release any of them unless I am extremely proud of the outcome. It might take a year, or two, but I promise that I will not allow anything half-assed to be released under my name. I actually have two books of short stories complete. I’m soft shopping those around to agents. If you are an agent, and are curious, let me know somehow. Comments are a good place to start.