August 7, 2014

Speaking of coloring...

Crayola has a nifty little page right over here where you can draw, paint, and stamp to your heart's content. Enjoy!

August 4, 2014

Methodist Coloring Book


The Dead Milkmen are truly fantastic. They're a punk band from Philadelphia who never took themselves (or anything else) very seriously. This funny-as-hell song helped get me through my time at my uber-conservative uber-religious high school, and the video is pretty cool too. I really want to know who they hired to play God. Also, whenever there's a shot of the full band, pay attention to the bassist!

July 29, 2014

Garfield understands


I know a lot of people who are into comics love to hate on Garfield because it's pretty much the opposite of edgy and the cartoonist, Jim Davis, has never hidden that he's only in it for the money. I don't care. Garfield rocks. This is a sticker from 1978 I found scanned on Tumblr.

July 24, 2014

GUI Gallery

Have you ever wondered what any OS version looked like to use? Ever? At all? This site has the answers.

July 21, 2014

DiE


BiS stands for Brand-new Idol Society. They were a Jpop idol girl's group... kind of. Traditionally, Japanese idols are presented as chaste, happy, and cute. They meet with fans, laugh a lot in interviews, and do fashion photo shoots. And they acquire legions of sometimes-creepy fans and pretty much give up a normal life in the process.

BiS's purpose was to take the traditional image of the idol and blow it to pieces. The group leader, Pour Lui, sought the craziest and weirdest people from auditions instead of the prettiest or the most talented. They played with punk bands, collaborated with the noise band Hijokaidan, and stage dove at their shows. They did things that flew in the face of the "rules" of idol groups. They filmed PVs nude, with shaved heads, with horror-movie makeup, with fake tattoos, covered in dirt and blood. In the videos, they made out with each other, tortured guys, were beheaded and crucified. In one they actually stuck endoscopic cameras down their throats, taking invasiveness to new heights.

Basically, their image is a reaction to and rebellion against the ridiculous standards and underlying problems of idol culture. It's accepted for idols to make sexualized videos, sometimes with lesbian subtext, while retaining a clean and sweet image. It's normal for idols to have and meet and pander to their obsessive male fans, even if it exposes them to the potential for uncomfortable encounters, stalking, and even attacks. It's expected that idols be constantly polished and pretty and happy. It's expected that idols share their thoughts, dreams, and lives with their fans while sacrificing their own. I'm guessing you can see how BiS's image relates. They wanted to make people question these norms. They didn't want to make people love them. They wanted to make them uncomfortable.

I'm not sure how much they've succeeded with the former, but by God have they managed the latter. Their videos have a huge amount of dislikes and nasty comments on youtube and apparently they were pretty hated in Japan.

Now, with all that in mind... here is the video for DiE. The girls are presented in contexts that could easily be sexual: in bed, in lingerie, in the shower. But at the same time, it's shown in the least sexy manner possible. They aren't wearing makeup or posing. They're crying, visibly uncomfortable, or just plain emotionless. One is trying to hide. The surroundings are unremarkable and sometimes dark and dingy-looking. The lyrics read like an existential crisis. The overall effect is extremely uncomfortable, like we're seeing something we're not supposed to see. But at the same time, is it really that different from, for example, this extremely popular slumber-party AKB48 video laden with fanservice and hints at voyeurism? What exactly makes this, as one commenter put it, "ugly and dirty?" Does it kill the sexy when the girls show emotions besides happiness and express discomfort with their sexualization?

I think some of BiS's points are relevant for American pop culture, too.

The information in this post is from various sources, including my own knowledge of BiS, but this article from Vice was very helpful and if you're interested in the group you should definitely check it out.

July 16, 2014

The Return

Hi, everyone. I decided to care about my online presence again, because I don't know, I might need it for something later. Is it cool to be honest about that? Probably not. Seriously, though, I think that after taking some time off I have a lot of new stuff to write about here. Besides, Perfume just dropped a new EP and it's fucking incredible and it inspired me.

Anyway, so yeah. It's summer. I have a vaguely interesting job. I'm still trying to figure my life out and stuff. And I am working on A Project which you will all definitely hear about in September or so.

Now, I'm going to get to queueing.

March 29, 2014

This is not goodbye forever

Until the end of this semester (mid-May), don't expect any posts. Too much schoolwork. Sorry. If you just can't get enough of me, feel free to check out my tumblrs. Otherwise, see you then.


March 3, 2014

The Tim Trilogy


The Replacements hated music videos. They even devoted a song to how much they hated them. But then they signed to a major label and they forced them to make a few because they wanted them to be the Next Big Alternative Sensation. So the Mats decided that if they had to make music videos, they were going to make the most halfass boring ones in the world. You have to admire that kind of dedication to obscurity. 

Yes, I did say "ones." They made three of these.

 "Left of the Dial" is a different clip of the exact same thing. It doesn't include the guy putting on the record, it's in black and white, and there are other little differences to show it's a different take, but you're still just staring at a speaker and a guy smoking a cigarette. (This is one of my favorite songs ever, by the way.) 

"Bastards of Young" is the not-so-grand finale of this trilogy. Yes, once again you get to watch a speaker and a guy smoking a cigarette, but at the end, something actually happens! Just to add to the general laziness, there's a little bit of the song after "Bastards of Young" at the very end, like they couldn't even be bothered to cut off the video when they were supposed to. Even though I adore this song, I cannot stand watching this video because "Bastards of Young" is sped up or pitched up the tiniest bit and it makes me irrationally mad. (Here's the album version if you want to compare. I'll wait.) I like to imagine they did this on purpose, as one last fuck you to everyone watching.

February 26, 2014

See Through Head

This is "See Through Head" by the Swedish garage rock band The Hives. This song rocks, and its main hook during the verses... I don't even know how to describe it, haha. It's weird. You can see from this slideshow video that the band always wears some matching style of black and white suits. Also, they have a "sixth member" called Randy Fitzsimmons who may or may not actually exist. All their songs are credited to him and there are hints at a sixth person in their videos and album art.

February 25, 2014

Scroll while looking

Adam Ferriss makes these fantastic flickery pieces of monitor/eye abuse. I'm not sure exactly how they work but they're so rad.

February 21, 2014

Cat Punk


Here are some punk kitties I drew as a Christmas present for the fabulous Allison on tumblr. One has an earring, one has a Santa hat and Milo glasses, one has a spiked collar, one is a kitten who was born with a mohawk, one is super shaggy, one looks really devious, and one looks really confused. There's an extra close up of the shaggy cat because he's my favorite.

February 20, 2014

Ladies and gentlemen...

I give you...

Pigeons.

With music.




February 17, 2014

Road to Nowhere

This is the video for "Road to Nowhere" by Talking Heads, from 1985. I am a huge fan of both this song and this bizarre video. The little icon of David Byrne running in the corner the whole time, the chorus, all the deranged stop-motion (especially at 2:55), the desert vibes- I dig it. After this video, the director (Stephen Tobolowsky) made the video for "Sledgehammer" by Peter Gabriel, which is an award-winning slice of stop-motion insanity that I will probably give its own post someday.

February 12, 2014

Stay With You

This lovely, chill song is "Stay With You" from the Japanese electronica duo Capsule. The vocalist is Toshiko Koshijima and the song producer is Yasutaka Nakata, who you may know already from Perfume's and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu's music. I'm not that huge of a fan of Kyary's music, to be honest, but Perfume is awesome and Capsule also has some great stuff. I listened to their newest album CAPS LOCK recently and it's really good. It's much more electronica than this song, but I'd definitely recommend it!

February 11, 2014

S'mores Cake

Q: WHY???
A: Because I was hungry and wanted to share the hunger. Sorry. The picture source and recipe is right over here.

February 6, 2014

A Different Side of the Music Blogosphere

Here's an article called "The Rise and Fall of the Obscure Music Download Blog" that I found interesting. I've run across a few of these blogs before. Believe it or not, there are still some around and actively updated despite being repeatedly decimated by copyright takedowns and upload services being shuttered. I salute them. But most of them are internet ghosts, not updated in years, with descriptions of obscure artists leading to dead links. I wish I was around at/aware of their heyday, it sounds like it was a crazy internet scene.

SIDE NOTE: The article contains a few references to the Nurse With Wound list, a list of musicians included with a 1979 album by the experimental British band Nurse With Wound. The list seems to have eclipsed the band in music nerd circles. According to Wikipedia, many consider it "a type of 'shopping list' for collectors of outsider and avant-garde music." (Yes, the list does have its own Wikipedia article.) If you're interested, there's a website all about it here.

February 3, 2014

Yr town's run by criminals


This Monday's music video is for "Criminals" by Johnny Foreigner. It's an amazing song and the music video is so appropriate. All this band's songs are a glorious mess and that's why I love them. Also, I'm in awe of the guitarist Alexei because he plays without a pick. HOW.

February 2, 2014

I GOTTA KICK 'EM OUT!

Because copyright law fucked over my last Weird Song Wednesday post, I'm making a new one.
Back in the day, MySpace was an amazing way to find bands. You could find a new band from one band's friend list, hear some of their songs right away, and then find even more bands from their page. It rocked. I found a lot of great super-obscure stuff that way. This band was definitely one of my best finds.

The Portugal Japan was a kickass Japanese punk band. They formed in 2003 and broke up in 2007, not long after I found them. Their original songs are sound very early punk rock and have completely indecipherable lyrics (I don't think anyone in the band actually knew English, but that didn't stop them from trying to sing in it). I like their songs a lot, but what's really stupendously awesome are their cover songs. Their self-titled album has two of them, one of Have Love, Will Travel (originally by the Sonics) and this fucking insane cover of Kick Out The Jams by MC5. I like this cover more than the original, to be honest. It's like twice as fast, the guitar is much more distorted, and there's a bass solo!

I would pay stupid amounts of money to get my hands on this whole album. I think the guy on Amazon who wants $400 for it is being a little ridiculous, though.

January 29, 2014

You Lost Me

I love Sleigh Bells so much. I love how the noisy guitars and crazy beats contrast with the pop melodies and Alexis Krauss's super-sweet voice. Plus, their songs sound like a high school experience I never had, a "normal" one in a big high school with a football team and cheerleaders. It doesn't sound like it in a sugar-coated way, though. This sounds like a high school where you can and probably will get your ass kicked.

But this song is totally different.

When I was listening through Reign of Terror for the first time and got to this song, I was floored. It's sad and gorgeous. It sounds huge and echoey and electric, like a suburban summer night. Alexis' voice is soft and breathy and layered. The guitar sounds eighties arena-rock in the best way. Also, those wailing guitars in the background, god damn. The story from the lyrics fits it perfectly- but I won't give away what it is. Just listen.

EDIT: Fuck, the video got taken down! I'm sorry, I can't find the song anywhere else. I'm whipping up a new song post right now to make up for it.

January 28, 2014

Here comes the rain again

This is just a nice picture I found on tumblr, to be honest. But it actually has a source!

January 23, 2014

Geometry of Circles

I've always loved geometry, it just makes so much sense. So when I found these clips one night while perusing old Sesame Street videos, I freaked out. They're hypnotizing animated segments from 1979 on the geometry of circles with background music by freaking Philip Glass. These are the highest quality versions I could find of each segment. Watch them in order! Enjoy.


January 20, 2014

Oyasumi



This is "Oyasumi" (Night) by a Japanese math rock band named Tricot. This video seems to be about the singer trying really, really hard to play baseball. It's pretty cool. Pay attention for the random bits of reversed video. And the song is amazing: fast, angular guitar, dissonance, tempo changes, and cool vocals. Plus three out of the four members are women, which is especially cool for a math rock band- like 90% of music genres out there, it's super male dominated. This band is so awesome and it pisses me off that they aren't more popular.

January 15, 2014

It's Cold


I found Smoosh when I was ten from a little feature in American Girl magazine. They're one of the reasons I'm such a music nerd today and still one of my favorite bands to boot. They've recently changed their name to Chaos Chaos. Asy, the singer/keyboardist, was twelve when this album was released, and Chloe, the drummer, was ten, like me.

I was obsessed instantly, hunting down every song of theirs and article about them I could find on the internet. I loved that a band so close to my age was making such awesome music. It made me feel like I could do anything in a way that stories about ten-year-old college graduates or baby violin virtuosos never did. I think I liked that the album is so obviously theirs, too- their little sister painted the cover, Asy sounds like a kid, the songs are skittery and occasionally silly. They're both super talented, but the level of adult-y polish on those other child prodigies wasn't there. This was my first exposure to indie music and to music that's kind of... amateurish? That sounds like a put down, though, and this isn't. I absolutely love it when music sounds a little sloppy. It reminds me that there are people playing this who maybe made a few mistakes or aren't quite as good as they want to be but are still trying to bring you this song, dammit. Or maybe they just truly don't give a fuck if they're a little off. That can be pretty cool too. Anyway, this song and this entire album and this band in general are just amazing. If you like this song do yourself a favor and find more.

PS: I think I've finally discovered the secret to blogging consistently: post writing/queuing binges. Keep checking in, everyone, because the weird shit is going to keep coming right on time!

January 14, 2014

Untitled (Burma-Bibas), 2011

Martin Klimas is a German photographer who does really cool stuff with high speed photography. This picture is from his Foulard series, made up of pictures snapped of silk scarves as they fall.

January 9, 2014

You love the sickness...

This is one of the freakiest things I’ve found on the internet. "The Asylum for Shut-Ins: Video Psychotherapy" started as a public access TV show in Cleveland in the late 80s. In it, a malevolent ventriloquist dummy with sunglasses who calls himself the Doctor gives disturbing little speeches in between brain-melting machine-gun montages of violent clips. The editing is really incredible and the Doctor is a caricature of every charismatic megalomaniac with bad intentions out there. This little intro is a great way to decide whether you can stand more… if you like it, there’s plenty more over here.

OBLIGATORY WARNING: If you hate horror movies and/or have zero tolerance for blood and gore, you should probably stay the hell away from this.
 

January 6, 2014

Space Sirens & Italo Disco

They go together like cake and ice cream, don't they? This is the insane video for the equally insane song "I Wanna Be Your Lover" by La Bionda, from 1980.


The animation in this is so late-seventies and lovely and it's synced with the song perfectly. Really, all the insanity is the song's fault. Who sticks "I wanna be your lover, not just be your friend" as a chorus next to a verse like "What's this thing before me from the depths of space? Blue and green and slimy, it ain't got no face?"

January 3, 2014

La Résurrection

Hey! I'm reviving this blog, because I'm off school and I miss it. I've kept blogging on and off for such a long time because it makes me feel like there's worth to my aimless internet meandering if I can make a post out of it when I'm done. Having a real output makes me feel productive- probably falsely so, but that's a matter for another time. Also, people might find it entertaining, and as Jane Lane put it,
 I'll keep to my two-posts-a-week schedule for now, even though I'm not sure how I'll keep it up when I go back to school. We saw how well that worked last semester. Also, I'll be working on my theme a bit. And as much as it pains me, I might change my "xyzzyzzyzx" url because I recognize that it just looks like a weird mash of letters to most people. (Xyzzy Zzyzx, everyone.)