worst album covers

No really, these are awful! The captions are the best part. Oh, and the text might not be safe for work.

The lost art of using an Olan Mills family portrait as your album cover is lost for a reason, and this is it. Polyester as far as the eye can see, and some insane woman wearing the world’s largest ball of twine on her head.

call them what you like

Call them what you like, if you like rock ‘n roll.

Puffy AmiYumi is a pop/rock duo from Japan. I first heard them on the Japan For Sale Vol. 2 album back when I was a volunteer at a college radio station. I liked what I heard, so I made sure to give their next release (Nice.) a few spins when it arrived at the station. That one made me a fan, and eventually I bought my own copy.

The band is called Puffy in Japan, but when they started making inroads into the American music scene, they added on a combination of their own names so as not to be confused with the other Puffy. Ami Onuki and Yumi Yoshimura were brought together in 1995 by talent agencies and currently they have an animated series on the Cartoon Network (Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi). The commercialized nature of the band should make me not like them, much in the way that I do not care for American Idol or the Backstreet Boys, but somehow this particular incarnation of the music industry’s pre-fabricated band formula does not make me want to retch every time I hear it. Maybe the Japanese know how to do it better.

Listening to Puffy AmiYumi always puts me in a good mood. They never fail to deliver just the right mixture of the pop/rock formula that makes this child of the late 70s and 80s happy. Their latest album Splurge! continues with the Jpop/rock goodness.

Continue reading “call them what you like”

behind the lens

I just uploaded my first video to YouTube. It’s is a very shaky video I made with my Canon PowerShot A70. It’s what you see driving I-82 south as you come over the pass into the Selah/Yakima area. You can see the snow-tops of Mt. Adams and Mt. Ranier.

monitor/screen meme

monitor/screen meme

Photograph this blog post (including your monitor and its immediate surroundings), and post the resulting pic on your blog. Then the next person photographs your blog post and posts it, and so on. Leave your post URL in the comments so people will be able to follow the chain, and link your image to the post you photographed… this way people will be able to zoom into the monitors by clicking.

as seen on mike, i am (.net)


Go, 80’s Girl!

Listening to Jodi Jett, one is reminded of the subdued yet aggressive voice of Liz Phair. According to Jett, she had never heard of Phair when she first began playing her music out in the local clubs, a fact which I find nearly unbelievable. I suppose one could chalk it up to her Midwestern childhood and the bland nature of commercial radio in rural locations. After giving Revelations a spin, other comparisons sprang to mind, such as fellow New York rocker Halley DeVestern and the understated stylings of Beck’s sparser tunes. The other name that is frequently mentioned in her press material is Lou Reed, but I am not familiar with his music.

Before I received her CD, I listened to a few tracks on her MySpace page. The one that stood out and made me listen to the rest is “’80s Girl.” The song gives shout outs to the fashion and the hit songs of the American 1980s, ensuring it to be popular among those old enough to remember them.

Go, go ’80s girl
We are the world with your big teased hair
And your short short’s Nair
Your Michael J. hands and your parachute pants,
Your Madonna bras and shopping malls
Go ’80s girl

The video expands upon the theme, showing us the ’80s Girl trying to keep it real in the new Millennium. Once my amusement at her predicament passed, I began to think about how this song is in many ways a warning to anyone stuck in a particular frame of mind when the rest of the world has moved on. While it may be merely amusing to consider a woman stuck in the ’80s fashion scene, it is more serious when one realizes that our current political situation in the United States seems to indicate that our leaders are stuck in the ’80s global politics scene. If only it were that they they had hung onto their parachute pants and Aqua Net. . . . But I digress.

The other gem on the CD is “Bedford Avenue.” The percussion provides the perfect build and drive to move the song forward, saving it from the wistfulness of the electric guitar line. The lyrics are almost a Cinderella style fairytale, minus the happy ending. Bedford Avenue is presented as a romantic memory frozen in time rather than a particular place. The lovers cherished the moment knowing that it would be gone by sunrise. It was a relationship doomed from the start, but the pair entered into it nonetheless. A mistake that is made far too often. Ah, Ms. Jett, soothe our pain!

If Dorothy Gale had been a rocker instead of a girl with some funky shoes, perhaps she would have written an ode to her home in Kansas instead of running off to some wizard. “No Place Like” home gives a nod to the Oz tale while providing a mouthpiece for Jett’s homesick ruminations: “wandering — no place to go — somewhere over the rainbow.”

The most touching song on the album is the low-fi “Heaven To Me.” It could be taken as a sappy song to a lover until one realizes it’s about a parent-child relationship. “Yeah, I like to play and I like to sing, but, Baby, you in my arms – that’s heaven to me.” The bass-heavy acoustic guitar and cello (played by Jane Scarpantoni) bring a dark sweetness to the song not found on most of the other tracks.

My only complaint with the album is that Jett’s vocals are much the same throughout. Her range is limited, almost monotone. Some folks might groove on that, but after a while I get bored and stop listening to the lyrics.


Yay!: Coming up with a great idea for a research article.
Boo!: Doing a literature search and discovering that someone else recently published an article on the same topic.

Oh, well. Back to slogging through email and end/beginning of fiscal year paperwork.