Wednesday, October 07, 2015


I love Weezer.  I'm indifferent to Kanye West.  When put together, however, the results are surprisingly good.  Some kid at Ohio State (fuck Ohio State, by the way) mashed up Weezer and West, to create ten songs under the name "Yeezer."  (Thanks to Mr. 6000 for turning me onto this.)  You can still listen to the songs on the embedded player in the link above.  I tried to embed the Yeezer album here, but it's been removed from the site that was hosting it due to a DMCA complaint.

Glorious Ladies of Rocktober Song #5: "Out Here All Night" by Damone

Damone was a Boston-based band who put out three albums between 2003 and 2008, before breaking up.  As with many bands, I discovered them thanks to Pandora.  I have the band's second album, 2006's Out Here All Night, which was their most successful, reaching #168 on the Billboard album charts.  Their sound is a nice combination of hard rock, power pop, metal, and glam metal (and last song on the album is a soothing, acoustic cover of Iron Maiden's "Wasted Years").  Lead signer Noelle LeBlanc can wail when necessary, and can also bring it down a notch and sing like a normal human being when she needs to do so.  I would call her White Christmas if I knew her -- certainly if I dreamed about her.

"Out Here All Night" (the song) got to #32 on Billboard's Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart, and it has been featured on multiple video games, including Madden '07, Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam, and Rock Band.  The song is a pretty straightforward hard rock/metal song, and the video is a nice prelude to Halloween, with its homage to slasher flicks.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Glorious Ladies of Rocktober Song #4: "The World Comes Tumblin'" by The Distillers

In the early 2000s, The Distillers were a punk band fronted by Brody Dalle (although for most of the band's existence, her last name was Armstrong), who remained the only constant band member throughout the band's three albums.  Dalle -- who was at one time married to Rancid frontman Tim Armstrong, and has been married to Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme since 2007 -- has a raspy, gritty voice that very much fits with her punk rock look and the abrasive, hard-hitting nature of her music. I can't remember exactly where or when I first heard of The Distillers, but it was the description of Dalle's voice that piqued my interest.  Whatever article I read equated her voice to a rusty bucket of nails being dragged through gravel, or something along those lines.

I used to have several Distillers' songs on my iPod, but they aren't there anymore for unknown reasons -- probably because of ghosts.  My favorite of their songs that I had was "The World Comes Tumblin'," which is off of their 2000 self-titled debut album.  Like any good punk song, it has plenty of aggression, but also a catchy, sing-along chorus that offsets the almost discordant verses. When you listen to it, you will understand why it used to be on my workout mix, back when I actually worked out -- before the ghosts.

Tuesday Top Ten: Worst Movies Ever Made

I love a good bad movie.  My friends and I used to rent movies that we thought would be horrible, based on the cover alone.  If you've never seen Around The World in 80 Ways, A Polish Vampire in Burbank, or Orgy of the Dead, then you need to go to your local Blockbuster and check them out immediately.

Last week, friend and loyal GMYH reader DBH sent me a link to an article on Some Entertainment entitled "The 10 worst movies ever made that you'll want to see immediately."  I haven't seen any of them, and had only heard of one, but these movies all look pretty awesomely bad.  The best part is that many of them star famous actors or actresses.  You got John Stamos, George Clooney, Kristy Swanson, Delta Burke, James Spader, Jeffrey Tambor, Nicholas Cage, Judge Reinhold, and Christina Applegate.  And, of course, two films in which Gene Simmons appears.  I'm looking forward to a binge watching all of these once I get my VHS player back up and running.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Glorious Ladies of Rocktober Song #3: "Cannonball" by The Breeders

Grunge had its share of female rockers, perhaps more than any other mainstream rock genre.  The Breeders formed in 1990 as a side project for Pixies bassist Kim Deal and Throwing Muses guitarist Tonya Donelly, whose groups toured together.  After putting out an album in 1990 (Pod, produced by Steve Albini), the members of The Breeders returned to their main bands.  The Pixies broke up in 1993, but Donelly went on to form Belly, so Deal (who sang lead vocals in The Breeders) recruited her twin sister Kelley to play guitar for the next album.  Drummer Jim MacPherson joined the fun, along with bassist Josephine Wiggs, who also played on the first album.

The band's second album, Last Splash, was released in August 1993, and went platinum in the U.S. by June 1994.  "Cannonball" is the band's signature song and biggest hit, getting up to #44 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.  And, of course, the video on MTV -– directed by Spike Jonze and Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon -- gave the band a lot of exposure.  I love "Cannonball."  The song has a great groove to it, starting with that bass line that draws in your attention and that catchy little guitar riff.  The start-and-stop verses are relatively subdued before breaking into that distorted and loud chorus.  Just a great rock song, and such a perfectly '90s video, especially given that Kim Deal kind of reminds me of Claire Danes and Wiggs may very well be Susan from Seinfeld.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Glorious Ladies of Rocktober Song #2: "Edge of a Broken Heart" by Vixen

It's Hair Band Friday, and as promised, today's Rocktober song will be by a female-fronted hair band.  The hair band genre was dominated by the boys, but there were a handful of ladies who put on the Aquanet and rocked out, as well.  When I think of a female hair band, the one that first comes to my mind is the all-female Vixen.

Named after a female fox -- which raises the question why men refer to attractive females as "foxes," rather than "vixens" -- Vixen was a part of the magnificent glam metal scene in LA in the mid to late '80s, and the band was interviewed in the fantastic Sunset Strip-centric documentary, The Decline of Western Civilization Part II:  The Metal Years, which everyone should watch.  They put out two albums, 1988's eponymous debut and 1990's Rev It Up, before breaking up in 1991 (although they have reunited a couple times and put out albums in 1998 and 2006).

Their self-titled debut album featured two Top 40 hits in the U.S. -- "Edge of a Broken Heart" (#26) and "Cryin'" (#22).  I don't really remember "Cryin'," but I definitely remember "Edge of a Broken Heart."  I thought it was awesome that there was an all-female hair band, and it didn't hurt that they were all hot (or at least they looked hot in Metal Edge, or whatever other metal rag I might have been spending my allowance on back then). The song co-written and produced by the one and only Richard Marx, so it's no wonder it was a hit.  Enjoy.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Glorious Ladies of Rocktober Song #1: "Piece of My Heart" by Big Brother and The Holding Company

I figured we would start off Glorious Ladies of Rocktober with a blast.  Janis Joplin was, in many ways, the first female rock star.  Before her, there were plenty of female pop, R&B, blues, jazz, and soul stars, but she was the first woman to show that the ladies could make a mark in rock music too.  She drank a lot, did a lot of drugs, and, unfortunately, died young, joining the infamous 27 Club forty-five years ago this Sunday, little more than two weeks after Jimi Hendrix did the same.  

More than her penchant for booze and drugs, her bubbly personality, and her untimely death, what sets Joplin apart is that voice. That fucking voice.  Janis Joplin had, in my opinion, one of the best rock and roll voices period, male or female.  How did a little, young white girl from Port Arthur, Texas manage to sound like a middle-aged blues singer with the energy of a firecracker?

"Piece of My Heart" is my favorite song sung by Joplin.  It's one of those songs that I can never get tired of hearing, and for me, it epitomizes Joplin's talent.  I couldn't tell you the first time I heard it, but I can tell you that it was definitely the first time I remember hearing Janis Joplin sing, and I was blown away (and still am).

Originally recorded by Aretha Franklin's older sister Emma in 1967, Big Brother and The Holding Company decided to cover "Piece of My Heart" a year later for their second album, Cheap Thrills, adding some distorted guitars and Joplin's voice to make it a classic.  While the original did pretty well on the charts (top ten on the R&B charts and #62 on the Billboard singles charts), Big Brother's cover was a bona fide hit, reaching #12 on the Billboard singles charts.  

Franklin's version is a more straightforward soul song, but when you compare it to Big Brother's version, it seems too polished.  Joplin just tears the song apart, and when you hear her sing it, it's cathartic.  You feel her pain and you imagine her, with tears in her eyes, yelling at her man, "And while you're at it, take another little piece of my heart, you asshole!" before throwing an empty bottle of SoCo at his head and giving him some sort of drunken ultimatum.  Joplin was only 25 at the time she recorded the song, which is amazing to me because she has always seemed so old (even though I'm now ten years older than she was when she died) and certainly too old for that voice.  Next time you see a 5'6" 25-year-old woman, ask her to sing.  It will not sound like this.  If it does, kidnap her.*

Anyway, don't expect all of my Glorious Ladies of Rocktober posts to be this long.  Or maybe you should.  Expect nothing, but at the same time expect everything.  Here's the song. Listen to it, you son of a bitch, and listen good.

*Do not kidnap her.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Rocktober Begins Tomorrow!

Rocktober is nearly upon us!  As I do every October, I am going to inject you with a daily dose of rock, at least on the weekdays where I'm in the office or have access to a computer.  This year, I'm calling it the Glorious Ladies of Rocktober, and I'm featuring a different song each day by female artists or female-fronted bands.

I have two young daughters, and I try my best to expose them to awesome music.  It's inevitable that they will hear popular music, and that most of the female-sung music that they will hear will be pop, R&B, or hip hop.  I have nothing against those genres, but I try to make it a point to show them that not all women in music are signing about how boys like a little more booty to hold at night, coming at you like a dark horse, or never ever ever ever getting back together.  For instance, when, say, Heart comes on the radio to tell them, "These are two sisters.  One sings, and one plays the guitar.  They rock."

There is a misconception that women can't rock, and I feel it's my parental duty to show my girls that women can play instruments, write their own songs, kick ass, and most importantly, be more than just a pretty girl on stage.  So, even if they know too many Taylor Swift songs for a kindergartner and a preschooler, they can also recognize "Barracuda" within the first few notes of that magnificent riff.

Remember that this is Rocktober, so these will all be songs that rock.  The intent is not to highlight the many great female artists other genres, like pop, soul, R&B, blues, jazz, or folk.  Rather, the intent -– as with all Rocktobers –- is to highlight rock and fucking roll.  There will be hard rock, classic rock, metal, grunge, garage rock, punk, and alt rock, among others.  I am going to try my best to feature bands and artists that are rock-focused, as opposed to bands or artists that may trend more poppy and have a handful of harder rocking songs.  So expect Janis Joplin to make an appearance, but don't expect Stevie Nicks.  Expect Pat Benatar, but not Sheryl Crow.  Veruca Salt, but not The Cranberries.  You get the picture.

As always, Fridays will feature songs from the hair band genre (and yes, there are women that fit that mold), and the week of Halloween will feature songs with dark, evil, or macabre themes.  Retro Video of the Week will be suspended during Rocktober, but Hair Band Friday will continue to thrive.

Retro Video of the Week: "Don't Look Back in Anger" by Oasis

This Friday marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Oasis's second album, (What's the Story) Morning Glory?, which vaulted the band to international superstardom and has sold over 22 million copies worldwide.  This is definitely (maybe) the first album I remember from Oasis.  It peaked at #4 on the Billboard album charts, and it featured classic Oasis songs like "Wonderwall," "Don't Look Back in Anger," "Champagne Supernova," "Morning Glory," and "Some Might Say."  While "Wonderwall" was the highest-charting in the U.S., hitting #8 on the Billboard Hot 100, and it's the song I equate most with Oasis, I'm going with "Don't Look Back in Anger" for the Retro Video of the Week.  I love both songs, but I feel like "Don't Get Back in Anger" gets as much love as it should.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Tuesday Top Ten: Bowls I Expect IU to Go To This Year

It's not always easy to be an Indiana Hoosiers football fan.  We have suffered through plenty of heartbreak, and even though we tend to expect the team to overachieve each year (and bear in mind that overachieving for us is usually somewhere between 4 and 6 wins), our dreams are almost always shattered by injuries, untimely lapses in judgment, or porous defense.  But not this year.  

In case you aren't a die hard fan and, therefore, have no reason to know this, my beloved Hoosiers are 4-0 for the first time since 1990.  Running back Jordan Howard leads the nation in rushing yards, and wide receiver Ricky Jones, Jr. leads the Big Ten in receiving yards, with a ridiculous 22.8 yards-per-catch average.

Based on those odds, I may not have the ability to write a post like this again until I'm 62, so I'm going to go ahead and enjoy this moment, as the Hoosiers welcome #1 Ohio State to Memorial Stadium this Saturday (3:30 EST, ABC), with a chance to shock the world.  It's the first time IU and Ohio State are meeting when both teams are undefeated since 1942, when both teams were 1-0.

IU hasn't beaten O$U since 1988 -- a 41-7 trouncing in Bloomington to bring their record to 4-0-1, a year after the Hoosiers beat the Buckeyes 31-10 in Columbus, causing Buckeyes coach Earle Bruce to declare it was "the darkest day in Ohio State football history."  Believe it or not, the Hoosiers were considered Rose Bowl contenders back then.  Of course, IU didn't go to the Rose Bowl that year, settling for the Liberty Bowl after finishing the regular season 7-3-1 and 5th in the Big Ten (with a final ranking of #20 to boot).

A win on Saturday would be program-defining, but I'm not holding my breath, even though the Hoosiers control their own destiny for the national championship.  A mere 11 more victories, and that Dr. Pepper trophy I see on those commercials every Saturday will be ours.  It's just that easy.

But seriously, the Hoosiers need two more wins to become bowl-eligible for the first time since 2007.  Looking at their schedule, they have 2 to 6 more winnable games, depending on how the football gods feel like treating them.  IU's 4-0 start has not gone unnoticed by the college football press, as the most recent bowl projections by a host of websites have the Hoosiers go bowling:

Heart of Dallas Bowl (Bleacher Report, USA Today)
Pinstripe Bowl (Jerry Palm of CBS Sports)
Quick Lane Bowl (Brett McMurphy of ESPN, SB Nation)
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (Mark Schlabach of ESPN, Campus Insiders, Sporting News, College Football News)
Music City Bowl (Crimson Quarry)

I will be inconsolable if IU doesn't go to a bowl this year, but rest assured, I'll be going to any bowl the Hoosiers play in (okay, Jester?).  With that, here are the ten bowls I expect IU to go to at the end of this season, listing the bowl, location, and date:

10.  Orange Bowl (Miami, FL; December 31)
To get to the Orange Bowl, all the Hoosiers have to do is finish in the top four of the college football playoff standings.  That starts with a win over Buckeyes on Saturday.

9.  Rose Bowl (Pasadena, CA; January 1)
The Hoosiers have only been to the Rose Bowl once, following the 1967 season, when they lost to future murderer OJ Simpson and USC.  To get to the Rose Bowl, all the Hoosiers have to do is win the Big Ten Championship game and not finish in the top four of the college football playoff standings.

8.  None (nowhere; never)
Based on my past heartbreaks, I have to expect the worst.

7.  Outback Bowl (Tampa, FL; January 1)
To make it to the Outback Bowl, IU would probably have to win 8 or 9 games, which would make this season one of the most successful in program history.

6.  National University Holiday Bowl (San Diego, CA; December 30)
I would murder you to go to San Diego on December 30.  Also, the Holiday Bowl is the site of the Hoosiers' first bowl victory.  Lee Corso coached IU to a 1979 triumph over previously undefeated and #9-ranked BYU, after IU's Tim Wilbur returned a punt for a touchdown with less than 7 minutes left and the Cougars missed a field goal with 11 seconds left to give the Hoosiers a 38-37 win.

5.  Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl (Nashville, TN; December 30)
I've never been to Nashville, and from what I've been told, I would love it.  I would especially love it if my first trip there was to see the Hoosiers play in Nissan Stadium.

4.  New Era Pinstripe Bowl (New York, NY; December 26)
Last year, Jester and I went to New York on New Years Day, so it would make sense for us to leave our children at home on Christmas Day this year.

3.  Foster Farms Bowl (Santa Clara, CA; December 26)
A weekend in the Bay Area wouldn't be too bad, save for all the hippies.

2.  Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (Fort Worth, TX; December 29)
Fort Worth is Dallas's bastard little brother, but I'm sure it will be warmer on December 29 than Chicago will be, and that's good enough for me.

1.  Quick Lane Bowl (Detroit, MI; December 28)
Detroit in late December.  A guy can dream, can't he?