26Mar2014 1900: Adversion
I have been known to pontificate on the sorry state of TV today vis-a-vis not being free on the Internet. "If only," I would say, "the nebulous 'they' would make TV free on the Internet with commercials intact, I would watch that." I thought my problem was with the schedules, with the antiquated pairing of content with temporal location, with the manufactured scarcity of entertainment. But it appears that I may have been a curmudgeon too long; curmudgitis has taken root within my marrow and a cure would require extensive bone grafts from kindergarteners. I've been trying to watch that new Cosmos for two days now, but the nebulous 'me' has been throwing up roadblocks at every turn.
Firstly, that official site I just linked refuses to play on my computer. Could just be that they're getting slammed with traffic, could be some arcane combination of Flash and browser on my end, but it loads not a whit of science for me. Industry heavyweight YouTube wants $2 an episode for the privilege of showing you things that are beamed through the air to every house in the country. I very nearly watched an episode on Hulu, but had to bail out around minute twenty-five. And that's when it hit me: no, I don't want to watch your damnable commercials. Especially not when your ad breaks are spaced four minutes apart. Especially when it's the same four ads in the same order every time. Maybe you've done a lot of focus testing and your target demographic really wants to see car insurance and yogurt spots repeated over and over again; we'll have to agree to disagree. I'll be over here on this torrent site finding a product I can stomach.
[ceo - Wonderland] is a very familiar sound...and by sound I mean cacophony. I've described this music before as Carnival Cruise pop, but I don't know that even the stoniest Caribbean stoner would choose to be associated with the weird sounds coming out of this guy's computer. You should listen to either Cee-Lo or Skee-Lo over ceo.
[Gem Club - Braid] brings the tempo way down from ceo. This is a folk dirge of the kind I always skip at the end of the album. Piano and sad guys for five and a half minutes? I'd rather be watching yogurt commercials.
19Mar2014 1810: Two Buttons
About this time last year I was trying to get people interested in the supreme silliness of DiveKick. This didn't take root mainly because it didn't have multiplayer lobbies and so we couldn't easily play each other. But aside from all the stupid in-jokes about fighting games, DiveKick almost made interesting innovations in distilling a fighting game to its barest essence. I say "almost" because it then re-added extravagances like a super meter and the attendant super attacks, backing away from the shining purity a two-button fighter could be. Gamers intervened and a compromise was reached between the two-button gag and years of entrenched "wisdom".
One Finger Death Punch is shining purity.
OFDP, from the industry heavyweights at Silver Dollar Games, is once again a venerable genre whittled down to a mere two buttons. There is no movement control, no way to control whether you punch or kick, no jumping...there is only right and left. Is a guy coming from your left? Click the left mouse button. A guy on the right? Click the right mouse button. That. Is. It.
If that was it, this game wouldn't be getting
from normally jaded gameophiles. There are guys that require more than one hit,
guys that carry knives, light
sabersword rounds, and
passive abilities to pick up; but crucially, there are no controls beyond
left and right. I've never even had to click them both at once. It doesn't matter
what weapon you've picked up or what perk you have equipped, if the closest dude
is on the left I'm going to click left. It is utterly stunning how much can be
layered on top of these two buttons, in both presentation and strategy. It is
amazing that a purveyor of skeezy fart apps had the platonic ideal of a video
game hiding deep within them all along. It is an adrenline rush to play, a
wonder to behold, and is five bucks max. Goddamn, what a stupid treasure.
An added bonus for people as old as me is the stickman art style. Back in the Wild West days of the Internet there was a minor phenomenon known variously as Xiao Xiao or Stickdeath. This is finally, finally, the videogame we envisioned.
[Courtney Barnett - Avant Gardener] is mope rock about a crappy apartment and almost dying. Courtney slouches her way through a not-at-all metaphorical gardening exercise, and in between the ghost of a guitar screeches at you. Also, I don't think emphysema can be used as a verb. Disproper speeching aside, this song is mellow and lovely.
Teen pop punk reaches my ears rarely these days, so [Modern Baseball - Your Graduation] seemed fresh and new when really they're the latest Ataris/Sum 41/Lavigne folderol. Adolescent angst and prom drama are all we get, but Modern Baseball never promised you an avant garden.
From the band name I thought maybe Google had slipped me another South American treat, but [Milagres - Jeweled Cave] is just another Killers. The Killers was pretty great for a stretch in the mid-00s, but I don't feel the music held up and I definitely don't think we need another one.
12Mar2014 1750: Life On Mars
It's March! So I guess that means we talk about Mars! Specifically, it's very nearly the one-year anniversary of the Veronica Mars Kickstarter. The movie releases this weekend and reviews are all like "Hey it's pretty good you guys I guess". I have completely failed to watch the entire series, but I watched enough to make me sorry I missed it. In 2004 SciFi still had a hold on my viewing habits, and a WB series about a sassy blond high-schooler where the title is also her name set off pretty much every red flag I have. I Kickstarted the movie out of whimsy and a sense of kinship with Serenity. But hey you guys it's actually really good! The second half of season 2 in particular ramps up the zingers to a fever pitch.
My Veronica Mars homework will have to wait, though. Another detective procedural has appeared, and the Internet is telling me I need to watch True Detective. The Internet was telling me this for a month, but I didn't listen until Penny Arcade let slip something about Lovecraft. Now that SyFy has abandoned genre programming to reality shows and wrestling, we've been getting a lot of stealth genre. I'm on board for this. I think next season of 2 Broke Girls should reveal they live in a Prisoner-like system that conspires to keep them broke.
[Noah Gunderson - Ledges] is an exemplar of that fuzzy borderland between a folk dude with a guitar and the twangy vastness of country. There's a guy with nary a twang to him, but there IS a violin (or two) and he IS singing about alcoholism, so I think this comes down on the country side and can thus be deleted.
There's no such ambiguity here: [Lydia Loveless - To Love Somebody] is country on the other side of its domain, where it starts to blend into rock and become even blander than usual. Joining in the 80s rennaissance of the past few years, this song is emblematic of the early 90s when country made a move to sound like early 80s rock music. Country: proudly ten years behind.
Ever since leaving Amazon Music, I've been cut off from terrible Spanish music. Still am, as [Karol Conka - Gandaia] is apparently in Portugese ("Russian Spanish"). Have you ever wondered if other countries have really annoying gangster rap? If that's a uniquely American combination of failed industrial centers and the great-great-grandsons of slaves? Well you can quit worrying; the worst tendencies of rap have reached Brazil.
What would a week of terrible music be without a feat? [K Camp - Cut Her Off (feat. 2 Chainz) fills our quota of American rap that required outside help to be this bad. Reggae beat, shallow lyrics about an ex-girlfriend (or three), and a guest verse that...I couldn't even finish this one. Literally, he threatens to turn "her ass into a Frisbee". And then rhymes that with "Frisbee". Again. Jesus.
06Mar2014 1900: Teaser
Have I talked about Godzilla yet? Oh. Kind of. Comparing it to Christmas seems fair. I am at a fever pitch and I'm sure it's going to move quite a few toys. I watched the trailer two more times between sentences just now.
I usually talk about buying things, eating things,
consuming things around here. But not this
Today I begin giving back with my not-so seeeecret project. Considering the
wet fart that
Armageddon turned out to be, there is an EDF-shaped hole on PC and I
This will not do.
Time to get to work!
[Tacocat - Crimson Wave] turns in a cheeky surf-punk song that lasts almost exactly two minutes. Those are the key ingredients to be featured in a Tony Hawk soundtrack. Tacocat could have educated a whole generation of gamers about lady problems, like Del did for general hygiene.
[Eric Bellinger - I Don't Want Her (feat. Problem)]. I concur, Eric; "feat" is a problem. It's only natural that several years after an 80s pop revival, we would run into a 90s R&B revival. Everything, from Eric's tone through the squeaky sound in the chorus, is straight up out of my middle school years. No diggity.
Goddammit what did I just say about feat? Google be trolling. [Black Atlass feat. XXX - Free Angel] is three minutes of Little Black Boy without commercial interruption. Also there's some dude whispering about girl and basically ruining the beat.
Okay, now we are fully into the thick of it. [Pillar Point - Cherry] is fighting back against the 90s R&B revival with... aw shit. More 80s pop. Syyyyyynth synth synth and then (what I can only assume is) a razor-thin stubbly guy in an effete scarf comes in to tell me I'm doing it wrong. Between the news's focus on Russia and this song lineup I almost feel six years old again.