25Sep2014 1840: Hacking
If you are a programmer or ever had aspirations to such, you should give Hack 'n' Slash a go. It starts out as a riff on Zelda games, with a sword that plugs into USB ports and edits badguys instead of stabbing them. It very quickly spins out of control, with alternate-universe amulets that let you rewind the entire game, ghost hats that reveal the invisible bounding boxes, and bombs that let you enter and tweak the code of the game itself. Quite literally: the game is scripted in Lua, so when you edit a turtle the game rewrites turtle.lua and re-imports the script into the game. You can ruin the game entirely if you wish. I might have ruined it already! I haven't reached the throne room of the final boss but I'm pretty sure I wired him up so he can't attack me. Because PROGRAMMING.
[Fat White Family - Is It Raining in Your Mouth?] starts discordant and only gets echoey from there. It's all the sloppy rockabilly I don't like about Mojo Nixon plus unintelligible lyrics. And let me tell you about Mojo Nixon: Amazon once put every single damn one of his albums on sale for free, and I downloaded and listened to them all based on the recommendation of the Dead Milkmen. When I came out the other side I kept exactly one song. The Fat White Family are more annoying than 99% of Mojo Nixon.
The opening of [Frnkiero and the Cellabration - Weighted] had me worried that this week was going to be wall-to-wall droning lyrics and cheap guitar amps, but then the chorus exploded into party punk and I had visions of Burnout Paradise dancing before my eyes. I would never listen to a song like this on its own, but maybe if I was ramping a sports car off the top of a mountain?...
I suspect that [Coves - Honeybee] is not actually remixing Nancy Sinatra 45s, but I don't know why they'd go to all the effort of perfectly mimicking her sound when they could just remix Nancy Sinatra 45s.
After the shouted energy of the first two songs, this week really fell off a cliff. We close out September (!) with [Amen Dunes - Lonely Richard], the ideal song for watching a car drive off into a sunset. Words don't show up for a minute and a solemn guitar+drum beat underscores the whole thing, giving it a lazy motion that could close a 70s movie. Roll credits on September.
17Sep2014 1930: 2.5 Billion Dollars
I've mentioned my huge nerd boner for time travel many times before. The mumbling indie Primer is dear to me, Timecrimes is a precious gift, Looper a promise of a better Hollywood. So I rented(!) Coherence with high hopes and open arms. And it's...not good? It's not great, anyway. The main problem is that these characters aren't in charge of the situation and only slowly work out what's actually going on. Far slower than the audience! They're not engineers or scientists or even lab assistants, they're normal people bumbling through Wikipedia content on comets. One character is saddled with an unseen brother that works in a lab and wrote a maybe-relevant book on the subject of quantum mechanics. The exposition is forced and faked and provides a stark contrast to the relationship dynamics. After all the stupid expository clunkers, we watch a bunch of increasingly jerk-like organisms attempt to comprehend infinity before settling into a nicely tense thriller at the end. You can, and have, watched worse in your lifetime but Coherence should be last on your list after all those other movies I mentioned.
[Chet Faker - Gold] has that male-cracking voice you might remember from a Dave Matthews Band or a Soul Coughing, a tone so disaffected it doesn't even want to hang with itself. Instead of mid-90s drone guitar we back that up with a mellow electronic beat. It doesn't do anything exciting but I guess the precedent is there.
[People Get Ready - Jealousy] have a more upbeat boop beep, but it feels more hollow. This song has a very loft-apartment-art-scene vibe to it. I swear I'm not just saying that because all the band pics appear to be set in a art studio/apartment.
[The So So Glos - Diss Town] is reminiscent of a mid-80s sound, when punk collided with pop but before pop-punk took hold. The guitars are light and jangle-jangle, then they drop out for a vocalist who is just this side of tone-deaf. It's They Might Be Giants shouting at clouds.
Slipping further back into the timestream, [AJ Davila - Ya Sé] sounds like 60s flower-power music in a language I don't understand. Just like The Man didn't understand the language of peace, right, senior citizens? Get a job.
If there's one thing I can't get enough of it's six-minute looping dance tracks that accurately replicate the terrible sound quality of vinyl. Most DJs scratch sparingly and on purpose, but not [Paume - Transalpine]! It's all scratch, all the time, the sonic equivalent of Tarantino just really film graining it up.
[Lust for Youth - New Boys] is the most direct Thompson Twins analogue I've heard in probably thirty years. Stop. Stop with the 80s. It is the Teens and we should be copying hot jazz. Put music on a century cycle instead of a decade.
10Sep2014 2000: GerbilMechs Reborn
It's a good thing I have a small comic buffer because I spent all weekend restoring GerbilMechs to its former "glory". I'm sure both of you will appreciate it. I did make some small edits to remove actual mp3s from the site (YouTube didn't even exist for 50% of GMechs!) and there were gaps in the HTML until the second archive CD kicked in at 36. Yes, "archive CD". I was as surprised as you! Burned CDs aren't even supposed to last this long.
Every comic should be linked up properly and every comic but one should be there...although part of me wishes they weren't. Reading the whole thing from the beginning may have set my face in a permanent cringe. It needed like twice as many comics, with bigger panels and backgrounds. It needed color. It needed more distinguishing marks on the gerbils. I got better! But maybe the Internet needs to forget some things now and then.
A funny thing happened on the way to this text window.
IN THE ACTUAL FUCK, NICK?
At first I thought that Nick
pulled Korra from TV because the next episode got dark and/or weird.
Then I thought that Nick
pulled Korra from TV because the finale totally had
03Sep2014 2000: Restoration
I don't mean to alarm anybody but GerbilMechs is currently down. That's what comes of forgetting a password like six years ago. I'm surprised it took this long to disappear! Anyway, when I linked it last week (without checking) a reader brought this oversight to my attention. Yes! A complete stranger attempted to read GerbilMechs! I know!
I have backup archives of everything except apparently the 30-episode index pages, so my weekend project will be finally moving GMechs to a sub-domain here. Each individual comic page is preserved so the order of GMs and MMs should be okay, I'll try to reconstruct index pages from them. I may have been editing all that manually, but I think all the links are rooted properly to just work on a new site. I'll find out Friday!
A new month brings a new and exciting crop of disappointments on the Antenna list. [FKA twigs - Two Weeks] is a disappointment as disappointments go; it's okay! The lady can sing, and she spits words into a canyon of moog and waits for the echoes. Most other synth sounds put my teeth on edge, but for some reason this particular fuzzy-violin tone is fine by me. And this song sounds a lot like some other Antenna song I kept. Good luck finding any single song in my weird collection, but maybe I'm thinking of [Hundred Waters - Cavity]? [Slow Club - Complete Surrender]?
And that video is the nega-universe version of [Kanye West - Power], so that's pretty great.
September's off to a great start, actually. [Royal Blood - Figure It Out] is a decent lo-fi rock song and is probably yet another band for Jack White to perform in. If anything this song says "figure it out" perhaps too many times. The title should not also be the rhyme scheme. This also has a not-cover synergy with [Emma's Mini - Figure It Out], so obviously I was going to keep it anyway.
Oh here we go. [Rustie - Raptor] is four minutes of dancestrumental that sounds like a Sega Genesis being smacked with a mallet. Try harder, kids.
[Naomi Punk - Firehose Face] remembers punk the way most fifty-year-olds do: back before pop punk and actual chords and lyrics about girls, punk just played whatever notes whenever and shouted stuff into shitty microphones. As I understand it, punk also had a tempo that caused heart attacks, which is where Naomi Punk couldn't quite capture the magic. This is 70s punk played at a lower turntable speed (ask your parents).