Sunday, December 30, 2007

One of my New Year's resolutions is to resuscitate this thing on an occasional basis. Or at the very least, finish and post the five (!) draft posts I started and never completed. Given my previous resolutions, there's a good chance that this will never actually happen, but I at least intend to work on it. And that's something, right? Right?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

'Tis the season for endless rehashing of the cultural year in list form. Even blogs that the author seldom gets around to updating get into the act. Here's my top 20 albums of ought seven:

1. LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver
2. Panda Bear - Person Pitch
3. Marnie Stern - In Advance of the Broken Arm
4. A Place to Bury Strangers - s/t
5. Sunset Rubdown - Random Spirit Lover
6. Pissed Jeans - Hope for Men
7. Oh No - Dr. No’s Oxperiment
8. The Shining Path - s/t
9. Arp - In Light
10. Strategy - Future Rock

Second 10: Meg Baird - Dear Companion, To Kill a Petty Bourgeoisie - The Patron, Om – Pilgrimage, Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam, Wooden Shjips – s/t, Madlib - The Beat Konducta Vol. 3-4: In India, Frog Eyes - Tears of the Valedictorian, Black Moth Super Rainbow - Dandelion Gum, Dan Deacon - Spiderman of the Rings, Bear in Heaven - Red Bloom of the Boom

Monday, June 04, 2007

Oh yeah, this. I've been very busy: I'm changing jobs at the end of the month, and...uh, well, that's about it, really. Rest assured that I have several half-finished blog entries that I will foist upon an indifferent public in the months to come. Until then, here's 10 things that I am enjoying a great deal, Summer 2007 edition:

1. Working in downtown Bethesda. OK, Bethesda is a suburb, not a real city. But tons of lunch options within walking distance! Beats the living hell out of the exurbs I've spent working in over most of the past five years.

2. Black Moth Super Rainbow, Diamond Gum. I read reviews of this record describing it as "Animal Collective folk mixed with Boards of Canada electronic touches," which sounds like something custom designed for me to enjoy. It's the hazy, gauzy, tuneful, vaguely melancholy soundtrack every summer needs.

3. Marnie Stern live at the Rock and Roll Hotel, 7/24. Jawdroppingly precise guitar playing, plus the incredibly limber-limbed drumming of Zach Hill. I like inspired amateurism as much as the next person, but there's nothing quite like watching incredibly talented musicians lock into each other's playing.

4. Quizno's raspberry lemonade. I don't know why this is so refreshingly delicious, but it is. Sweet with more of a kick than you'd expect from a sub shop fountain drink. I can't get the exact formula right at home - it's always too tart. As for Quizno's actual subs...ennh.

5. The 7-11 Kwik-E-Mart promotion. I visited the one in Bladensburg (and of all the suburbs of DC, Bladensburg is one of the last you'd expect to go for this kind of thing) this month. Tons of gags that you'd have to be a nerd to appreciate.

6. Jodorowsky films finally coming out on DVD. I already loved the Western mythology-twisting El Topo and the hallucinatory satire of The Holy Mountain is some kind of genius.

7. The Dugout. Consistently hilarious. Every time I watch baseball now, I can't help but think of possible player IM names.

8. Flight of the Conchords. So deadpan that it's one of the few comedies that rewards repeated viewings.

9. Patton Oswalt - Werewolves and Lollipops. The KFC bowl bit, people. When I die, please transcribe this and put it on my tombstone. Thank you in advance.

10. Yoko Ono - Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band and Fly. Why I slept on these for so long, I dunno, but they're genius. The first two songs on Plastic Ono Band invented no wave and post-punk, respectively. Best Beatles solo career? That's not contrarianism, it's just the facts.

Friday, April 20, 2007

OK, maybe, just maybe, it's time to start this up again. I make no guarantees about the regularity of updates and I definitely make no promises with regards to the quality of anything written here, but it might be time to go back into the breach once more. In the coming weeks, I'll fix up the template, add more links, and maybe even post an update or two. In the meantime, here's a compilation of the best of the Vitamin B Glandular Show. Don't read the other entries, they suck.

A tribute to Dan Rather.
The lost recordings of James Brown.
Rejected band names and movie titles.
A review of the 1970s Christmas special "The Life and Times of Santa Claus."
William Carlos Williams: great poet, lousy roommate.
An appeal from the New Hope Children's Fund.
John Philip Sousa's lesser known marches.
How Charlie Kaufman ripped me off.
A dispatch from the high pressure world of office equipment sales.
A retrospective of the career of 1970s Saturday morning TV PSA icon Timer.
The aftermath of the Janet Jackson Super Bowl scandal.
The concession speech from my failed 2004 presidential bid.
Hank Williams, Jr. on football preparedness.
The Paris Hilton - Saddam Hussein sex tape (the entry responsible for 90% of the hits to this blog)
Scenes from the Reagan miniseries.
An excerpt from my hardboiled crime novel about the rough and tumble world of accounting.
Labour Party rap.
Madison Avenue Babylon.
Remember that California governor's election? Man, that was crazy.
Behind the scenes at the Kansas City Star newsroom.
Classic movies summarized by the New York Post.
The Connecticut School of Singer/Songwriters.
Rejected television pilots.
Snappy answers to stupid church signs.
Hair metal haiku.
McGriddles, man. McGriddles.
The Vitamin B Glandular Show Corporate Retreat and Muffin Bakeoff.
More stuff you can expect to find in this blog. (Not really.)

Sunday, May 22, 2005

OK, enough already. Should've done this months ago, but I'm finally retiring this blog for now. I might start it back up eventually, but odds are that this will be another headstone in my graveyard of abandoned projects. The livejournal linked on the right is occasionally still updated and any further junk will be posted there. Feel free to de-link if you haven't already. Thanks to anyone who read any of this stuff.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Obligatory April post because I didn't want to break my 26 month streak of posting something in this thing, even if for the past year it's mostly been excuses for not posting. There's an inverse relationship between my productivity at work and my internet timewasting and I have not yet mastered the correct balance between workslack and interwebwritingslack. Read the High Hat Blog, if you haven't already.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Hey, even though there are a hundred million MP3 blogs out there, why don't I post a few MP3s of songs I've been enjoying lately? That will kill a few minutes and fill some space on this blog for sure!

"Program Me," Bruce Haack. From the 1970 album Electric Lucifer, which is some sort of concept album about war (he's against it) and technology (he's for it, maybe? this part is unclear). Electric Lucifer is a electronic psych rock album that's both ahead of its time (heavy use of synthesizers and vocoders several years before it would become commonplace) and extremely dated (simplistic hippie anti-war sentiment). This particular song, with its robotic groove and anthropomorphizing of technology, reminds me of Devo minus the irony. (This MP3 has a skip from the vinyl near the end. Sorry, but what do you want for nothin'?)

"No Escape," Cabaret Voltaire. For some reason, I always avoided these guys until recently. (Their suffocatingly dour public image, which led me to believe that they would be monotonously grim and dull? Dislike of the countless groups that copped from them later in the 80s? My intense dislike of that rascal Ferris Bueller, who had a poster of the CV album Micro-Phonies in his room for some reason?) I was wrong, their early stuff is great: claustrophobic, atmospherically creepy, grimly evocative of bleak late 1970s industrial decay. It's all the good things about watching Eraserhead without having that cow fetus thing rattling around in your memory space forever. This is a cover of a Seeds song that blows away the original, driven by a simple organ riff and a rickety 4/4 drum machine pattern that repeats itself into your cerebral cortex. And like almost all early Cab songs it's got that omnipresent primitive synth squall that sounds like that thing at the dentist's office that sucks out the saliva from your mouth.

"August Morning Haze," Oneida. From the upcoming album The Wedding, half of which is that good ol' dark droning psych stuff America has come to love from Oneida and half is a stab at baroque, stringladen minor key pop in a Zombies/Left Banke style. This is one of those string-adorned songs, albeit one that is dominated by guitar and banjo with the strings providing color rather than carrying the arrangement. The chorus to this song has been stuck in my head ever since I first heard it. This kind of music is a tightrope between pretty melodicism and overly ornate rococo fluff, and Oneida walks it deftly thoughout The Wedding.

"Gone! The Promises of Yesterday," The Mad Lads. This is from the Volume II of the Stax/Volt complete singles box, circa 1971 when Stax's grasp on the R&B charts was starting to weaken. I never heard this until it came up on iTunes Party Shuffle, and it's not hard to hear why it wasn't a big hit - it's kind of a strange song, with the bass singer ominously interjecting the title and one of the Lads repeating the word "away" in a weirdly obsessive manner for the last minute of the song's duration. It's great, though, those incredibly melodramatic soul string arrangements and the "promises promises" chorus swirling around to that catchy yet haunting finale.

"Oh Lord," Brian Wilson. From the infamous sessions circa 1981 where Dennis Wilson would ply Brian with bags of coke and McDonald's hamburgers in a failed attempt to rouse him from his long stupor. This is the one piece from that bootleg that is worth hearing, although it's a frustratingly fragmented and poorly recorded mess. There are elements here that would make a great song if it had been completed: the funereal organ playing a 1950s doo wop progression slowed down to a crawl, the "let me hear their song" verse melody that recalls classic Beach Boys songs stripped bare of all of their youthful optimism, the lilting organ coda. Hearing Brian break the sad tranquility of this song by shouting out "Oh Lord, please let me see all there is to see" in a cracking, pain-wracked voice is one of the most jarring and disturbing moments I can recall hearing in music. Honestly, this song makes me feel uncomfortably voyeuristic, like I'm intruding on someone else's private turmoil. Nevertheless, it's an incredibly raw, gorgeous, moving piece of art.