The year was 1996, and I was sitting in the lounge of my college dorm watching Homicide: Life on the Street, when this song started to play. It was a sneering, sexy wash of electronic rock and it immediately caught my attention. That was my introduction to the band Garbage, and I’ve been a fan from that day forward. I have no idea if that story is completely true, but it sounds good so it’s the truth I’ll choose to believe in. 1996 was a long time ago, times, and tastes, change and Garbage has always seemed like a fragile creation. More a melding of studio elements than a true band. And it is true that it’s been seven years since their last release, the excellent Bleed Like Me. Now they’re back with Not Your Kind of People, but is it my kind of album? (tl;dr duh obviously)
As I’ve amply proven in the past, I am a fan of fan fiction, both reading and creating. This is admittedly a bit of an oddball opinion since amongst non-aficionados fan fiction is barely a step above furries on the scorn scale. There is good reason for that since 99.99% of the output in the realm of fan fiction is terrible. However, just because most of the output is terrible doesn’t mean all of it is terrible. In the interest of defending a form I’ve enjoyed, I’m going to start doing spotlight pieces on stories that I feel rise above the drek. To that end, for the inaugural entry in Fan Fiction Corner I’ll be looking at a small novel from the risible genre of Harry Potter/Ginny Weasley romance entitled Ghost of You.
For the longest time I irrationally avoided Florence + the Machine’s first album Lungs — I was weirded out by the cover art. Once I got over those reservations I discovered I loved her sound. So much so that I quickly went out and bought the collection of B-Sides she put out last year. Now Florence had a new album Ceremonial out, does it live up to the rest of the Florence canon?
The Muppets have always been one of things I’ve put in the category of “Good.” As one of those kids who grew up on the combo platter of Sesame Street, The Muppet Show (and Muppet Babies) the creations of Jim Henson hold a special place in my heart. One that until recently I considered that affection somewhat unique. Which is an odd position to hold now that I think about it, but there you have it. With the release of Jason Segel’s The Muppets I’ve finally realized just how beloved The Muppets are to my generation.
Let’s just lay the cards on the table, I have a blinding love for this movie. I know people were skeptical when it was announced Jason Segal was making a Muppet Movie, but i don’t think people realized the level of obsession Segal has with puppetry — and hearing him describe it, creepy is the right word. Jason Segel set out to make a love letter to the work Jim Henson and company did and The Muppets delivers on that in spades. I However, it accomplishes this not just through sentimental touches –the several prominent inclusions of Henson’s picture I found highly moving, and Rainbow Connection was beautiful — but by being funny. traveling by map, and the power of montage were the sort of sly fourth-wall breaking jokes that the Muppets have always traded in, and the reveal of Walter’s human counterpart brought the house down in the theater I saw it in. And while none of the cameos rose to the brilliance of Steve Martin in the Muppet Movie:
Jack Black delivered strong work as the shanghaied special celebrity guest, and I loved Dave Grohl’s understated appearance. Even Frank Oz’s dreaded fart shoes joke was completely natural and felt very Fozzy.
If there’s anything about The Muppets that rings false, it’s the notion that the telethon would ever be a failure. The box office success of the film proves that you just have to say Muppets and people my age will say
Really in the end, all I need to say about The Muppets is that I went to see it with my parents and at the end of the movie they both left the theater saying it was the best movie they’d seen in years. It’s pure Muppets, and therefore Good.
This year as part of the thank-you package for renewing my membership in the Dave Matthews Band fan club they thoughtfully included a copy of the latest release in the band’s Live Trax series. Volume Twenty is a recording of a concert from 8/19/1993 at the Wetlands Preserve in New York City. This makes it the earliest official release of concert material from the band, and as such is extremely exciting. Continue reading »
Some concerts are good because the band plays all your favorite songs. Other times, the band doesn’t play any of your favorite songs, but they do play the setlist so well you just don’t care. Last Friday night Umphrey’s McGee managed to pull that trick off. Continue reading »
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals are a throw-back hard rocking band from Vermont with two albums already under their belts. Their previous album — This is Somewhere — was ok. Their latest release however, the eponymously titled “Grace Potter and the Nocturnals,” that is an entirely different story. Continue reading »
K-on! was a show last year that I had decidedly mixed feelings about . For a show revolving around a music club, there was more focus on cake and tea than power chords and riffs. The second season, hasn’t really done anything to silence those criticisms, but it has done a better job at clarifying what K-on is. Continue reading »