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26Nov2013 2015: Happy Eatsgiving

Happy holidays, now EAT SOMETHING. 'Murica.

Holy crap, maybe I should use headphones more often. Stereo separation means so much more when you accidentally leave your headphones marked as the default audio device. [Active Child - Subtle (feat. Mikky Ekko)] contains the dreaded "feat" and isn't that impressive of an electronic/R&B fusion, but the ping-ponging noise at the beginning was more impressive than I'm used to. Ever since my venerable Q22s died I've been stuck in a sport-earbud hell. A cheap hell of my own making.

[Foy Vance - Feel for Me] feels things very very strongly, you guys. He feels things SO HARD. And then he writes really really slow, trite songs with a choir part to convince you how much he feels.

[Night Beats - Sonic Bloom] sounds so much like it was recorded in a dude's garage it can only have cost millions of production dollars. It harkens back to the heyday of psychedelic rock, when hundreds of bands nobody remembers tried to sound like the Doors.

[Black Milk - Dismal] laments his sudden lack of "bitches" for nearly four minutes. The thrust of the song is that somebody that is now poor used to be a big deal, with said big deal described in the most stereotypical gangsta' terms imaginable. Then! Thrill to the minute-long cheap-Halloween-music outro! And then! A fragment of what must be the intro to the next song! This is a total misfire as a single.

Google, c'mon. Halloween was last month. Take your goth rap and your [Russian Circles - Deficit] metal and GO HOME. This month is TURKEY month. I don't want to hear a seven-minute song about the deficit. And...and wait. Is this an instrumental, too? EVERYTHING IS TERRIBLE.

20Nov2013 1500: Impending Boom

Console gamers are firmly in the middle of Panic Time, caught between last Friday's PlayStation 4 release and this Friday's XBox One. I'm almost certainly sitting this round out -- in the past five years the PC has eventually seen every game I've cared about, sooner or later. It takes a hell of an exclusive to pique my interest in a console these days; I'm not sure what kind of exclusive game would cause me to buy an entire $500 console for it. But in the corners of the Internet I frequent everything is FUCKING ON FIRE OMG.

If the XBox is anything like this Windows 8 laptop I bought last week, Microsoft is going to have some 'splainin to do. Their vision of One Unified Windows for All Platforms is just as screwy as I imagined it. My laptop comes out of hibernation a whole lot faster, and I don't have to deal with their app launcher if I'm careful...and those are the two good things I can say about it. Otherwise it's Windows! Things mostly work! The bad is the same bad that Microsoft always has: Microsoft decided on a thing that the real world doesn't really want, and eventually we'll all get used to it. Used to be the Win95 Start Menu hiding your beloved programs, then it was the ribbon on Office, now it's touch tiles on computers without touchscreens. If we all ignore it, and send Microsoft metrics of us ignoring it, maybe it'll go away? But it probably won't.

[TEEN - Big Talk] is Camera Obscura at double time. The guitar is there, the Moog is present, and the entire song sounds like you could disperse it with a wave of your hand. I think I like what it's doing, but the live video linked above cuts out most of the weird guitar distortion and is better for it.

What the hell is this, now? [Micatone - Trouble Boy (Eva Be's Trouble Girl Mix)] may be relatively unknown, but I doubt very much they fit the definition of "up and coming artist". There's a YouTube video of this song from four years ago, and this specific remix is at least two years old. If I'm going to suffer through songs I've never heard before from bands I've never heard before, I at least want to not have heard them from this year. Or...something? Lost the thread there. Hey, this song is pretty chill. Are we sure this wasn't on a Nip/Tuck soundtrack? Micatone has the lounge-trip-hop-jazz thing really working for them.

Personally I'm going to keep [V V Brown - Samson] to sit next to [Regina Spektor - Samson] on my "Not Covers" playlist -- reigning champion being the title "Blue Eyes". There's an outside chance that you're not as ridiculous as I am, in which case you'll want to give this a pass. If gin joint chanteuses had survived into the late 1970s, their torch songs might have morphed into this drum-heavy drone of a song. Come for the tom-toms, stay for the electronic noise outro!

13Nov2013 1445: Prescience

In and around all my holidaying and gaming and stuffy snobbery I've been catching up on Person of Interest. I floated this topic to anybody who came within fifty feet of me, but: does anybody know of any other TV show that got better in retrospect? Because of something that happened in the real world? Did Cheers get better because of Frasier?

Because let me tell you, every ad I ever saw for this made it look like yet another blue-tinted CBS Cop Show. TV is glutted with procedurals and I had no clue what would separate this from other Cop Shows like Numb3rs or Criminal Minds or L&O:SVU or The Mentalist or The Closer or NCIS. But then I started hearing interesting things when I was trolling for Internet content. Chiefly, that a show about a machine built for the NSA that spies on every American citizen to simulate prescience was prescient about spying on every American citizen by a machine built by the NSA. Person of Interest started two years ago but is premised on, essentially, PRISM. It definitely starts in a place of crime-of-the-week, but the couple of Season 3 reviews that kicked this all off give me something to look forward to. A dystopian, slightly trans-human scifi something.

I'm halfway through season 1 and so far there's no wacky comic-relief sidekick or annoying computer nerd, so I guess I can recommend this. I'm also unreasonably tickled that neither of the main characters is using their real name...or ARE they?

Bizarrely, [The Flavr Blue - Hearts Racing] is nowhere to be found on YouTube, so the best I can do is that Amazon preview. The opening verse is what I imagine The XX sounds like; none of my volume sliders go high enough to actually hear The XX. Then the song goes off a weird digital deep end, with synth and bells and a baby voice all showing up for a few seconds at a time. And later: samba.

[Red Fang - Blood Like Cream] dedicated their lives to ROCK. It's rare to hear metal with an intelligible lead singer, let alone one this laid-back. His entire band is ripping shit up around him, but he sounds like a barista sight-reading GWAR lyrics. He can't quite believe the shit that's coming out of his mouth.

[Lindi Ortega - Voodoo Mama] is unapologetic country. No fancy production, no arena shows, in fact nothing that sounds like it's newer than 1975 or so. Hand claps! This is a grand ol' hillbilly time -- a pretty stupid song overall, but is it any more stupid than Venti Fang singing about eating cancer or whatever the hell that last song was? Lindi just sings for two minutes about going back to Louisiana. Simple.

06Nov2013 1045: The Crustacean Tsunami

Half-pay at work means half-time at work, just in time for Lobstergiving! Let me tell you, I do not need adult obligations getting in the way of Milwaukee good times. I need only the good times. And Mom really knocked the family theme shirts outta the park this year, cannot wait to get my hands on that. Also I will get my hands on like three pounds of lobster.

Friggin' Giant Bomb is suddenly chock-a-block with subscriber-only Dark Souls content, and it's kindling the bonfire of desire within me. I bought that game for PS3 years ago mostly on principle and played almost none of it. I just want games like that to exist, and I'm willing to throw some money in to make sure they continue to exist. I am all about the concept of patronage. But watching people who are not crazy Dark Souls savants muddle through their games makes me want to start muddling through again. Maybe if I'm unemployed I can devote a couple weeks to losing at a game.

If you're ready to get CRAZY WILD you can go download a 15th anniversary Barsuk Records sampler and then you won't feel like getting so crazy and/or wild any more. Auditory quaaludes with aggressively calming band names like "Yellow Ostrich" and "Minor Alps". But all that music is the past, and my pissy uninformed music opinions are all about the now. Let us therefore hit up the usual Antenna playlist and become disillusioned!

[CHVRCHES - We Sink] is some eminently agreeable beep-boops. It's got a shiny 80s Tiffany patina, electronic pop from before clubs got dark and bassy. So much of the modern pop is going back to the 80s well; at what point does this sound cease to be 80s and become 10s?

Mellow rock outfit [Battleme - Just Weight] is something slightly new to me. They took the vocals of mid-70s radio rock and injected the guitars of mid-90s radio rock and called it a day. And why not call it a day, when you've mathematically harnessed the power of two different decades of mellow radio hits?

Probably-not-Quebecois rap artist [Quelle Chris - Super Fuck] performs a probably-not-serious song about being good in bed and also exercise. If Adult Swim was going to create an animated blaxploitation comedy, this would be the theme song. The show would have twenty hardcore fans and would last five seasons.