Sunday, August 26, 2018

JAM OF THE WEEK: 8/26/2018

JAM OF THE WEEK: "Ju-Ju" by Leningrad

A friend on Facebook linked this video saying it had "a very Shadowrun vibe to it". Now, as some of you may know, I've been getting DOOOOWWWWN on that Shadowrun goodness with the new games by Harebrained Schemes. For those of you further behind, Shadowrun is basically cyber punk but with fantasy races. Like, Orcs that can hack into shit and Elves that control robots.,format&fit=crop&h=353&w=616&s=dc0d9d366d2c4cf48ee752547beab49d

The music video was directed by Ilya Naishuller, who's best known for the movie "Hardcore Henry", and is his first foray into animation. A cyberpunk tale of woeful ambition over a song about people who aren't happy with they have. Though I don't know how a good a Peugeot is, but singer doesn't give a fuck, so I guess they're OK, I guess?

While the video is cool, the acoustic guitar on this song SLAPS. The bass and drums are still there, but they only come in to accentuate the low notes at the end in the riff. Sometimes the sound effects in the music video help out, like when the white haired woman hacks the car, and that SLAM goes into the chorus.

"Ju-ju" has to be one of my favorite music videos of this decade because of how well it all ties together, even though I know jack shit about the band, the language, or the culture.

Monday, August 20, 2018

JAM OF THE WEEK: 8/19/2018

JAM OF THE WEEK: "A Change Is Gonna Come" by Aretha Franklin

One of the most talented singers in the history of music, Aretha Franklin, passed away last week, and her talent and influence cannot be denied, even in the spheres of rock music.

Everyone's been posting up their favorite tracks, usually her cameo in the movie "The Blues Brothers" where she performed her hit song "Think". Ehhhhh....

"A Change Is Gonna Come" is originally a song by Sam Cooke, written after an incident at a motel in Louisiana where Cooke was denied a motel room due to the color of his skin. He rightfully made a fuss about it, and was arrested by the cops at another lodge up the road.

Sam Cooked was murdered 3 years before Aretha Franklin recorded her version, and by changing around some phrasing, she turns it into a eulogy, using his song to ensure that the fight will continue.

One thing I never appreciated about Aretha until I copped most of this article for research is that she sound so natural when she sings. Like, not "talk singing", but singing in a conversational range. Yet, for a tone reserved for clarity and intimacy, she can still belt out every note. And IT JUST. KEEPS. BUILDING. AS. THE. SONG. GOES. ON.

It feels like, she's putting a hand on the listeners shoulder, singing a lullaby as they start to cry themselves to sleep, and saying "It's going to be OK. Change IS coming."

Monday, August 6, 2018

Mini Iwai 2018 Justifies A Full Status Quo Sunday

WHEW, that was a wild one!

So, this has been my first con show ALL YEAR. And I wanted to do something special for it, as well as add a little hype to my intro, so I'm not going "OK, we're here, let's do this!". I'm not spoiling it here, since I want it to be a surprise when you come out to shows, but I felt like it went over well. Some tech issues prevented me from doing some new tracks, but what can you do? Got a lot of new fans!

The 3000 Brigade show also went over big, as we did it as Completely Real Boy Band B12. It still astounds me how well that gimmick goes over, and yes, they WILL be back in November as part of the full show. I'd give you spoilers, but then the stage ninjas would get me. In the rock world we call the people who wear all black and give us stuff "roadies".

Get your tickets now!

Holy shit, they have a wedding package? I will offer my services to play one traditional song and one cheesy wedding song of your choosing


Yes! "Deep Space Tragedy" is a song I've played live for a while, and I get goosebumps singing it out loud. I do plan on putting it on my 10th Anniversary Album, which is why I've actually recorded a "good" version of it. Before it's only existed as a slap-dash demo for the comic's artist.

Deep Space Tragedy is a comic about a teenage rock n' roll band in outer space, and are unwillingly part of something greater.

What I liked about writing this is cribbing a lot of the internal lingo from the book, because it's so dense, but you're able to pick it apart in context. Also, it's very consistent tonally. All the buildings are comprised of sharp and twisting geometry, and originally the artwork is all these shades of a very dark gray. It makes everything just feel shitty, but the people have been dealing with the shittiness for quite a while. But then Deep Space Tragedy comes along and it sucks less!

Also robots. Did I mention robots?


In the words of Strong Bad, IT'S OVER!!!

Not as good as I remember, obviously. Some good moments in there, but it's clear that Heavy Rain was a MAJOR step up for them.

I don't know if I'm doing this series again, or streaming, then premiering the episodes on Fridays, but I at least owe you all Danganronpa 2.

JAM OF THE WEEK: "Super Rad" by The Aquabats!

How has this NEVER been a Jam Of The Week?

ANYWAYS, The Aquabats have a Kickstarter out now, to produce more albums and more episodes of "The Aquabats! Super Show!".

"Super Rad!" is the first song people know from them, with this music video directed by, of all people, Bobcat Goldthwait. This was back from when they were a third wave ska band, and had like 8 or 9 members. Travis Barker was drumming for the band, before he made it big as part of Blink 182. His Aquabat name was Baron Von Tito.

Super Rad! is a goofy, energetic song that you can not sit down during. It's a mission statement, that, even though the band has changed genres 2 or 3 times, have always stuck to for the past 20 years. 

My first album from them was "Charge!!" from 2005, and was part of their new wave/synth rock sound after trimming down their crew significantly down to 5. There's a lot of good songs there, my favorite being "Look At Me! I'm A Winner!" which is straight up power pop. The single "Fashion Zombies!" is OK, but "Look At Me!" is more upbeat and has that sick solo.

But for me, the sweet spot for The Aquabats! is their 1999 album, "The Aquabats vs. The Floating Eye Of Death!". That album was their last one with a horn section and represented a shift that would finalize in Charge!. Vs. The Floating Eye! is the closest they've come to straight up punk. It starts off with "Sequence Erase!", which the web series Mega 64! uses for it's theme song. Then it goes into "Giant Robot Birdhead" and "Anti Matter!" which is up there for the best three song run on an album.

I'll talk more about them in another JOTW, but man I love The Aquabats!

Also I share a birthday with MC Bat Commander.