They Might Be Giants can’t help but be They Might Be Giants. Since 1982, TMBG have been doling out idiosyncratic melodies with unusual instrumentation and clever, visual lyrics. Their jump to making music for families (not kids, specifically, but families) was less a jump than a side step, and a logical move. Those of us who listened to TMBG as yoofs have been known to foist cassettes of their music on our own children (who, if they have any taste at all, loved them) and one day, those children will foist hologidgets of TMBG on their children and thus the cycle will be repeated forever and ever, etcetera.
Welcome to Episode 4 of The Official Popshifter Podcast. This one is titled “Texas Gators, Violent Pornography, and Tales from the Pit.”
Already, you should be enticed. It’s another fascinating discussion of American pop culture with Less Lee and X! Please enjoy. Preferably with a nice glass of cold Bosco.
Blu-Ray Review: The Beast (from Dirge Magazine)
One of the glorious things about living in a college town is getting to listen to college radio. Flexible playlists, fresh new music, and DJs who haven’t quite learned to read out loud are only a few of the entertainment benefits. In fact, the first time I heard Protomartyr was on our local college station (WUTK – Volunteer Radio, baby). I thought the announcer said the name of the band was “Robo-Margaret.” I searched for that non-existent band for two days!
By Tim Murr
Glenn Danzig could have ended his career at any time in the last 30 years and still left an indelible mark across pop culture. Most artists don’t get one iconic band to front, much less three! From Misfits to Samhain to Danzig, Glenn has given the world some of the best albums in punk, goth, and metal, while always staying true to his rugged individualistic vision and not giving a fuck about trends.
Is there a more intriguing story than an enormously talented, rock and roll recluse? The kind of artist that is so gifted, with a vision and unique sound, and he (or she) just walks away? Don’t you want to know why? What did they do after they stopped being famous? Does it make that person more exciting?
“Would we still be talking about Buck Owens if it weren’t for Hee Haw?” I was asked recently and have spent an inordinate amount of time mulling over the answer. The answer, of course, is maybe. Hee Haw was an amazing music delivery system, imbuing Buck’s image with a family-friendly, easily accessible shorthand: he’s that smiling guy on TV every week with his Buckaroos and the pretty girls and Grandpa Jones and Roy Clark, and he’s kind of funny with his dad jokes, and he makes some catchy tunes. You think (if you’ve spent time watching Hee Haw) about what Buck Owens looked like, which, in an pre-MTV/CMTV videos era, is pretty spectacular. You can conjure up what he looks like playing his American flag striped guitar, you know what the Buckaroos look like, you can see Don Rich smiling in your mind’s eye.
The first album from Fuzz (review) was a stoner rock delight, all guitar solos and epic jams. The latest, the succinctly titled II, is more of the same, but bigger, better, and more bodacious. Since then, member Ty Segall has released his most accomplished album yet (2014’s Manipulator) and the effects of an astonishing improvement in songcraft shows on this album. If you like epic jams or if you want some serious hooks mixed with your stoner rock, Fuzz is just what you’ve been waiting for.
I don’t know that a lovelier box set than Hulaland: The Golden Age Of Hawaiian Music has ever crossed my desk. Four discs of carefully curated tracks (105! 105 tracks of Hawaiian music! Your luau could go on for ages!), collecting a vast range of music from the 1920s to the ’70s, are housed in a gorgeous, hardbound book. The book serves as liner notes, written by James Austin, as well as a collection of memorabilia from a time when the States went tiki crazy, and reproductions of vintage sheet music covers from the Hawaiian heyday. It’s compulsively readable, showcasing notable Hawaiian musicians, a brief history of the ukulele, and all kinds of lagniappe wrapped in a candy-colored package. It’s worth the price of admission alone.
By Tim Murr
After about 40 years of head banging and pumping iron, THOR is having a kick ass 2015. With the re-release of the landmark Unchained EP and a hit documentary (review), THOR is topping the year off with a new album called Metal Avenger that’s chock full of guest stars from members of The Dead Boys, Twisted Sister, Kix, DOA, Motorhead, and Black Flag! That’s right, Henry Rollins shares mic duties with the mighty one on “Master of Revenge.”