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

Rest of Your Life, Pt. 10

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Jan 24, 2005

Just another tab at Zanzibar

Newer readers may be unfamiliar with the mysterious and seldom mentioned Carlyle. Fortunately, on this particular subject, it is pretty easy to catch up!

There are doin's a transpirin' on the internets, friends. But if real television was even half as entertaining as Jeff Rowland's new webcomic, we'd forget all about the Info-Superhighway and go back to the Info-mercial. It looks like Jeff is going to be creating a lot of different "shows" for this project, which sounds interesting to me! I guess what I am really saying here is, in a world where mysterious crimes can only be solved using science, it takes a person who is good at science to solve these mysterious crimes. This is the world that Science Cop lives in.

Secondly, just look at this trailer for Tim Burton's Corpse Wife. Holy smokes! How is it even possible to have stop-motion animation that smooth? And look at that character design... taking the angular, solid style of The Nightmare Before Christmas and making it look fluid and rubbery in motion. Just look at the faces! This film looks, in the most literal sense of the word "look," amazing. I hope the story can live up to the fantastic art direction and technical execution.

Sam Logan

Jan 21, 2005

It's always better on holiday

Today, I'm wrapping up my favourite ten albums of the year. There are only three left to go!

Ratatat - Ratatat:

What was it about the music in old video games that made it so memorable? Limited to only a couple of channel's worth of clicks and beeps, guys like Koji Kondo were forced to rely on simple, incredibly catchy melodies and counter melodies to craft songs that you will carry with you to your deathbed. Ratatat fully embraces the spirit of that music, right down to the simple, square synth lines and sparse, almost symbol-free drum beats. Then they throw in the power guitar. It's like discovering a secret Mario soundtrack you somehow never knew of before... being covered by Daft Punk. Awesome.

Highlights: Seventeen Years, Breaking Away, El Pico.

The Living End - Modern Artillery:

This Australian band continues to rock my face off. In terms of genre, they lie somewhere between bands like Sloan and bands like Green Day... rock and roll with tweaks towards pop and pop-punk. In terms of songwriting chops and technical proficiency, they are light years ahead of most of the other bands playing this kind of music right now. Shout chorus! Guitar solo!

Highlights: Jimmy, One Said to the Other, What Would You Do?

Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand:

So hey, apparently these guys have gotten pretty popular! I definitely did not see that one coming. But good for them -- they deserve it. I'm sure by now you have heard their energetic mix of Strokes-esque rock, Brit-pop and dance music on the radio. Well, take my word for it: every single track on this album lives up to the promise of its singles. This is the closest thing I have to an absolute favourite album of the year.

Highlights: Jacqueline, Michael, Dark of the Matinee.

Well, that's it for my ten favourite albums of 2004. Thanks for reading/tolerating!

Sam Logan

Jan 19, 2005

I can not fly an airplane

So, here I am, continuing the list of favourite 2004 albums that I began on Monday.

The Pillows - Good Dreams:

This Japanese rock band has experimented with a lot of other styles of music over the course of their careers, from jazz to lounge music to arena rock to thrashy punk to synth-laden pop. And in all honesty, most of these experiments have ended very, very badly. But forget all about the Pillows' disappointing attempts to expand their sound. This album is all about what the band does best: punchy pop-rock with catchy tunes and killer guitar riffs. And holy crap, it is actually getting an honest-to-god North American release in May of this year! This is a huge first for the band.

Highlights: XAVIER, Walking on the Spiral, Good Dreams.

The Futureheads - The Futureheads:

Imagine a nearly-shouting British barbershop quartet backed by some very loud, spastic guitar parts and you sort of have this album. The first time I heard it, I thought it was irritating as hell. But subsequent listens slowly changed my mind, to the point where I now think it's one of the best albums of the year. It's jarring at first, but the music is so creative and so bloody catchy that it's hard to stay mad.

Highlights: She Knows, Meantime, Robot.

AC Newman - The Slow Wonder:

AC Newman (of the New Pornographers) knows how to put together one hell of a power pop album. He and his touring band also know how to put on a kick ass live show... it was easily the best one that I saw in 2004. My lone beef with this mini-masterpiece of songwriting is the treble-heavy mixing that makes the whole album sound just a smidge too tinny to me. The Pornographers albums are the same way, so I guess it is intentional.

Highlights: Miracle Drug, Most of us Prizefighters, The Town Halo.

Slipknot - Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses:

Oh, Slipknot. Way too heavy for the nu metal kids, way too pop for the metal fans, these guys have still built up a huge middle-ground fanbase of angry, indignant, defensive fans used to being attacked from either side. And quite frankly, they had a lot to be defensive about, because Slipknot's early music was mostly pretty awful. But this, the band's third album, is unequivocally great. The musicianship is so much tighter, and the music so much more varied, that it practically sounds like a different group. Mind you, if you hate the genre, this album won't change your mind. But if you can enjoy metal-rock hybrids like "Reinventing the Steel"-era Pantera without thinking it is "too pop," or listen to a NIN CD without being too frustrated by the over-the-top angsty lyrics, then you can and probably will enjoy this CD. Scout's honour.

Highlights: Vermillion, The Blister Exists, Opium of the People.

(Also, Circle, if only for the sheer novelty of an accoustic ballad performed by Slipknot.)

Three more to go... and go they will, on Friday.

Sam Logan