Thursday, April 19, 2007

The song that'll change your life... right here! I decided that this one just couldn't wait until I finally got around to banging out a review of the cinematic Rolling Stones' Cocksucker Blues (I'll give you a preview: not as good as Gimme Shelter). Today's mp3 is the sublime powerpop classic "Casualty" by Love Nut from their 1998 CD Baltimucho!. Love Nut was a Baltimore band who started indie, got signed (and dropped by) Interscope. I remember getting their lone Interscope CD Bastards of Melody from the record label, and thinking it was good powerpop with a few rough edges. From how I understand it, they recorded their second CD Baltimucho! with the legendary Ed Stasium producing while they were still on Interscope. As part of their severance, they must have been allowed to take possesion of the masters of the unreleased Baltimucho! CD. They then signed to the short-lived Big Deal label, who released the truly classic Baltimucho! CD. What was once tentative on Bastards of Melody is now confident, muscular, and a hell of a lot more on Baltimucho! Phenomenal CD, and criminally out of print.

Love Nut never officially broke up from what I can tell (I believe the term "indefinite hiatus" has been bandied about), although a band van accident and lack of success took the wind out of their sails. Andy Bopp (the primary Love Nut songwriter) has since turned his Myracle Brah side project into his main band; they are a wonderful band which seems to take each album as an opportunity to cleverly pastiche another powerpop-related genre worthy of their tribute. It's wonderful music, but Andy Bopp and Love Nut really nailed it with Baltimucho! If you like this one, there's a hell of a lot more on the full CD where this one came from.

So what do you think?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Thanks, Randy!

Most of you know I'm a big fan of My Name Is Earl. It started out as an extension of my fandom of Kevin Smith movies; Jason Lee and Ethan Supplee in an offbeat (at times absurdist) sitcom? Sign me up for a double helping of that. Not only did I start out a fan of the show, I remain a fan due to the fact that underneath all the cackling at hillbillies, there was just enough high-concept humor injected into it to keep me coming back.

Last week's episode (which I just watched tonight) was no exception. The show's premise in a nutshell is that Earl Hickey is a former-thief-turned-do-gooder, all after a run-in with what he believes to be the forces of karma. His brother Randy, who always rode shotgun during the misadventures, is now along for the ride on Earl's miniature Mother Teresa schemes. This week, Earl felt the need to revisit the sins committed against a local TV news reporter. Essentially, Earl and Randy took the live news "Hi, Mom" wave to the camera to its crasser extreme of "Crazy Arms" (which is an excellent 45 on Sun Records!!). The redneck stunt was such a hit with the trailer park crowd that they repeated it multiple times to the same reporter, earning themselves a bit of hoot-n-holler celebrity, and thusly demoting the reporter to the graveyard shift once all of her credibility evaporated. Can you see the metaphorical revenge to every single one of those salacious news "reporters" that Don Henley sings about in "Dirty Laundry"? I sure did, and as a former CMUN major, could appreciate the dig.

So as part of Earl's "do good", he tries to sell his beneficence as a human interest story for the reporter in order to regain her credibility and a better news shift. The reporter insensitively wishes to completely cut Randy out of the story. This is where the good part comes in, and within the span of 30 seconds, gave me the biggest belly laugh I'd had in a LONG time. Randy discovered how ChromaKey worked, and came in dressed to match the blue (? I always thought it was green) screen behind the reporter as she's wanly reporting the weather. Randy: "Look at me, I'm Crazy Head!!", as his seemingly disemboweled head goes back and forth quickly across the weather map, to the deflation of the hapless reporter. Randy: "Look at me, I'm Pac-Man!! Chomp, chomp, chomp..." as he pantomimed eating the cities on the weather map. I'm still laughing at that crack. Never tell an Irishman a joke on Saturday; he'll be laughing during the sermon on Sunday. I was in tears, and am still finding a hell of a lot of humor in the episode as I'm typing this. Marshall McLuhan would have been so proud.

So thank you, Randy Hickey, for cracking me up in ways that I haven't in a long time.

New WTFF Feature Coming Soon!!

My buddy Sweet Lou wants me to include mp3's in this blog. Now my moral stance on this is still in flux, even in my own mind. I have absolutely no problem posting a track that is woefully out of print, esp. if the rights to it are in dispute or the material has undeservedly fallen out of circulation. That said, I have in mind for the inaugural mp3 a song which will CHANGE YOUR LIFE FOREVER!!! Yes folks, it's that good. As soon as I get off my fat cushion, I'll post it at the end of my next epistle. Wait for it... coming soon...