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30Mar2016 1800: Crossover Appeal

I'm glad I suffered through Supergirl up to this point, because the Flash crossover episode Monday was the best that show could hope to be. It felt like an entirely different writing team, to be honest. Earnest speechifying was kept to a minimum, characters cracked actual jokes like actual friends, and there was an 85% chance of punching. If you can't be bothered to catch up -- and you probably shouldn't -- here's the payoff for all of Season 1. It's all downhill from here.

As to that other Kryptonian crossover event that happened in the past seven days: I am very disappointed in all of you. I've listened to a couple full-spoiler reviews now and, even aside from the dour cinematic canon that Zack Snyder is roping DC into, it sounds like it fails as a film from a basic plotting and editing standpoint. WHAT A SHOCK. Now that the word is out among non-critics I can hope that the second weekend tanks hard...and Superman is all about hope.

I had a hard time listening to [Quilt - Roller]. The first two minutes I was simultaneously struck by how I'd heard this before and how I couldn't place it in any sort of music history. But of course it finally dawned on me. This is some forgotten deep dark B-side from 70s pop, CCR guitar bridges jangling under Suzi Quatro overdubbed harmonies.

This week has a secret feat., with [Carter Tanton - Twentynine Palms] hiding Sharon Van Etten down in the harmonies. Speaking of the 70s, Carter wants to do the whole folk-rock confessional thing with modern production values. The sweeping whooshes in the background sound crisp and clear, the product of forty years of synth refinement.

[Crew Love - Smokers Delight (feat. PillowTalk & Soul Clap)] doesn't hide their feat.s under a basket. Crew Love puts together a funky beat that don't quit while PillowTalk talks a bit and Soul Clap provides claps. It's also a cautionary tale about the dangers of smoking and diminished lung capacity, as Smoker's Delight isn't half the length of Rapper's Delight.

[Fatima Al Qadiri - Battery] is an assault of a thousand synth patches. Keyboards streteching to the horizon, marching upon a castle. It's an instrumental blaring from a pinball machine, conveying without words how it wants to brutalize your puppy.

Ah, here's the monthly metal. [Death Index - Dream Machine] slaps a terrible echoing vocal effect on top of some decent guitar work. I think he's singing about bringing some cheese and wine to a party? There aren't enough metal songs about fondue. But hey, it's barely two minutes long.

[Colours - Monster] brings it back around to synth. Some boy-band sounding jackass falsettos over a drum machine and fuzz bass. You don't need to ask; of course there's a drop in the middle where he reiterates the chorus in a plaintive voice. Songs like this are why I gave up on radio in the 2000s.

24Mar2016 1730: Disaster Movies

Oh no. Oh NO. God in Heaven, NO.

This is it. This is my limit. I'm not going to see this in theaters, if at all. I urge both readers of my blog not to give Batman V Superman money. Especially on opening weekend. 10 Cloverfield Lane is far more respectful of your time (by an hour!) and far more deserving of your patronage. We need to spike this movie like Catwoman and make sure Hollywood learns the correct lesson.

Bright side: this gives me more time to knock out that ideal script. If I just square away a couple hours this weekend I can probably knock out a better plot than this alleged turd.

23Mar2016 1900: D-Day

Well, here it is. Time has finally run out on my extremely vague ambition to write a better script for Batman v Superman than whatever turgid bummer is lurching into theaters this weekend. I mean...Metallo just makes a lot of sense, guys. Luthor works on recovered Kryptonian armor suit, step 2, Metallo. But I ain't no scripter and it will remain just a beautiful dream in my heart, safe and secret from the ravages of DC's unrelenting cinematic death march.

Can everybody just go see 10 Cloverfield Lane instead? John Goodman for Best Actor.

This week's tautology is brought to you by [Mothers - It Hurts Until It Doesn't]. Mothers: dispensing motherly non-advice since 1996. (Addendum: I just saw the album title "When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired". They committed 100% to the bit.) I chose 1996 because I assume that's the year Mothers is trapped in, a wavery waif fronting the exact guitars that every Irish rock band used from 1994-1998. Five and a half minutes is a long time to spend in 1996 but kids? It was even longer back then.

[Somos - Thorn in the Side] could have easily been our monthly dose of death metal, but it kicks directly into a driving beat there such a thing as lite math rock? Goth Ok Go? The drummer is doing some interesting things behind three guitars and a singer that sanded down all their rough edges a decade ago.

Back to a five-minute runtime on [Wildhart - Stuck in a Second]. It's a synthy Europop tune blowing in across the prairie and is incredibly damn familiar. Where have I heard this? Santigold? Oh wait, it's already over a year old; I've probably heard it on three different car commercials.

[Loner Chic - Be a Burnout], from the album "Year of the Goth", doesn't mess around or subvert expectations. They wanna mope all over your couch, if that's cool, and maybe borrow a flannel shirt if that's cool too. Can they get a ride to the mall? They don't strum guitars as much as they let their incurable depression draw their limp digits across the strings.

[Mount Moriah - Baby Blue] is a straight-ahead country/gospel lady that wants you to get right with contemporary American Jesus.

16Mar2016 1745: Unseasonable

The unseasonable warmth continues! Which is bad. But also good because if this Daylight Savings Trick had hit during a normal Fargo winter I would have had to call in sick to life the whole week. I'm no longer rising with the sun but at least the sun puts in a showing. The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was "banana"-flavored candy, but daylight savings is top five.

I'm still a month out from birthday weekend but I'm already getting my siblings hyped for Mysterium. Dixit was a surprise hit over Christmas break, pulling in even our Farkle-lovin' momma. The power of Dixit-but-also-Clue is too great to be denied. I look forward to putting on my best spooky voice and getting unreasonably angry about their terrible guesses. They're terrible. I was clearly hinting at the wooden furniture. Why doesn't anybody understand me?!

[Run River North - Run or Hide] is the latest scion of a bloodline stretching back through Coldplay into the misty pasts of Verve Pipe and the goth pop of the 80s. A mopey guy gets really yelly in the chorus and the instrumentation leaves nothing to the imagination.

Sure, okay, Google wants us to get stoned this week. Run River North is a bad trip angsting over a breakup, while [Thomas Fekete - Pick Up The Things That You Need] is muffled and mellow and not interested in holding down a job. It's also a svelte two minutes long, odd for a song that is still 50% feedback jam.

Kathleen Hanna and a Casio keyboard welcome you to [Seth Bogart - Eating Makeup (feat. Kathleen Hanna)] before it turns into the worst B-52s karaoke night you've ever heard. It's B-52s as performed by an ironic 90s mope band, except I've recently heard that even those bands are getting their shit together these days so I dunno.

[Lucy Dacus - I Don't Wanna Be Funny Anymore] is what I imagine it sounds like when teen girls stop believing in John Hughes movies, except they're still interpreting their actions in terms of John Hughes movies. She wants to be in a band but that means she has to stop being a funny girl but it means she could wear short skirts but she can't do all of that oh no.

I don't know what particular subgenre of rap this is, but it's the worst. [J.R. - Best Friend (feat. Trey Songz)] is the kind that I've heard from Riff Raff, with staccato rapping and basser bass and unironic use of the word "twerk". Although I don't concur with Google's sloppy application of the "explicit" tag; this song talks about "taking that dick", but Eating Makeup had a cussin' mouth too.

09Mar2016 1930: Cat TV

Spring is in the air! I've already grilled three pounds of meat! Most of it is already in my belly! It's a little early for all the snow to be off my patio. Hell, it's a little early for my patio door to be thawed out. But if humans are really intent on making the middle latitudes uninhabitable I'm going to take advantage. Maybe throw out some carbon emissions of my own, sear this meat and help Spring along a little.

And the bird crop is coming along nicely!

[Chimurenga Renaissance - Girlz With Gunz] is electronic hip hop about an African Annie Oakley. It's weird and proud and still kind of about shooting people.

[Twerps - Back to You] makes a good first impression with some nice bass and a terrible second impression with their mid-60s flute/organ whatever-it-is whistleomatic. It's got a real good tempo but no teeth; the usual thing that happens when a punk band wants to write a saccharine love song.

Here's a mash-up I haven't heard before. [Holy Esque - Tear] is Bob Dylan trying to play U2 arena rock. It's mild in the verses and bombastic in the refrain and in the middle of it all is an old man rasping slightly off key. Why do bands keep using U2 as a template? Is it the money? The fame? I've never heard a U2 song that made me want to hear it again, but they're popular somehow. I keep hearing their chords and instrumentation at least twice a month in these lists...

[POLICA - Wedding] is the cold sweats the night after going clubbing. A lady on the other side of an industrial exhaust fan sings about a wedding or funeral? While keyboards score your pounding headache and dry mouth. There's something compelling about it all the same.

[Basia Bulat - Infamous] sounds like an ex-country chanteuse leading a dark march to the heart of her reticent lover. Steel guitars weren't getting her point across so she slathered on goth eyeliner and mounted her mic on a chromed drum major baton.