SAM & FUZZY, by Sam Logan (updates M/W/F)

Skull Panda Inc., Pt. 2

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Oct 13, 2004

My beloved Cresta

Last week, while I was picking up the Shatner album, I was surprised to find that there was a new Cake CD as well. Man, there was a time when I would never have been surprised by the arrival of a new Cake record... back in the days of Fashion Nugget and Prolonging the Magic, I was such a Cake-head that I would have known about any new album weeks in advance.

But it's easy to stop following a band when they basically drop off the map for three years. And even earlier than that, the band's hold on me had grown tenuous. Their 2001 release, Comfort Eagle, didn't really do it for me. Replacing their drummer with a computer just didn't seem to be a great stylistic move for the band, and that "Short Skirt/Long Jacket" song annoyed the bejeezus out of me.

The new album is doing a good job of sweeping those unpleasant memories under the carpet. Which is odd, considering Pressure Chief features even more synthisizers and robo-drums than it's predecessor. But this time, they don't sound so out of place... in fact, they really add something interesting to the otherwise insanely-consistent-sounding Cake formula. The killer triple punch of the first three tracks is undeniable -- these are some of the best songs the band has ever recorded. The rest of the album isn't quite as good, and as a whole it seems a tad on the short side, but it has it's moments and those moments are usually pleasant. Cake, you've won me back. Hell, maybe it's even time to give Comfort Eagle another chance.

Sam Logan

Oct 11, 2004

Take your economy car and your suitcase

Arrgh! I just lost another painstakingly written rant to an error during the site update upload. This is the second time this has happened in the last seven days! When will I learn to save these rants before trying to upload them? I'm too annoyed to try to rewrite it this time. I guess I'll try again on Wednesday.

The guest strip gallery has been updated with two strips, including Rikk's take on Questionable Content. Relive the magic.

Man, I am so grouchy now. I'm as angry as a horse! A horse named... HidalgSITE UPDATE FAILED

Sam Logan

Oct 8, 2004

Spit out the gum it doesn't work

How? How did this happen? How does a man responsible for one of the worst albums of all time to one of my favourite albums of the year?

It's probably a combination of things. 35 years later, Shatner has traded in his bizzarro wailing for a quieter, more intense sort of hamming. There is still the token weird cover (of Pulp's "Common People," which you will either love or despise,) but for the most part, this time the lyrics are his own. And surprise... they're good, covering the spectrum from clever satire to sincere introspection.

His voice changes to compliment the message -- at times he is an author reading you one of his short stories, or a guy having a conversation with you in a bar, or a crazed preacher giving a sermon from his podium. The accompanying music, written by the incredibly talented Ben Folds, covers an equally broad range of styles -- gospel, jazz, tango, western, rock -- but is a perfect fit with the lyrics every time.

I'm a big Ben Folds fan, but that's not why I like this CD. No question, he is a huge contributor to the album's quality, but most of these songs sound nothing like his usual work. Folds is an incredibly gifted songwriter, and as it turns out, Shatner is a pretty solid writer. They're a heck of a team, and it's a killer disc.

Go figure!

Sam Logan