Monday, March 31

Play ball!

It's Opening Day for most of Major League Baseball, and my beloved Cubbies are taking on the Milwaukee Brewers. I think I've had just enough time to recover from the ups and downs of last season, when they won the Central but tanked in the playoffs. Great to have baseball again!

Harry Caray - Take Me Out to the Ballgame
Steve Goodman - Go Cubs Go

I'll be in Chicago (and Wrigley Field) later in the week, at which time blogging will slow down. Per usual, odds are I'll post some pictures from the trip.

Good luck to your team, unless they're the Cardinals.

Sunday, March 30

Guy Gardner's Flat of Squalor

Over at Comic Coverage, Mark has devoted a week of blogging to the wonders of Superman's famed Fortress of Solitude. Along with places like the Batcave, the Justice League Watchtower, Avengers Mansion, and the Baxter Building, it is one better known superhero hideouts and headquarters. Not all heroes enjoy such comfort, however, especially at home.

A good example of this is the home apartment of Guy Gardner of the Green Lantern Corps, as revealed in Green Lantern Vol. 3 #25. While Superman has his Fortress of Solitude, Gardner has something more like the Flat of Squalor. Guy is often portrayed as a crude, brutish meathead, so it might not surprise that his place would be a dump. Let's take a look shall we?

The first hints of apartment 401's contents are its door, on which both "666" and "IZZY" are scrawled. Given that this comic hit stands about six months after Use Your Illusion I and II were released, I'm totally guessing that's an Izzy Stradlin reference. Awesome.

Guy's apartment is initially nondescript, but a few features stand out. The dirty dishes, spilled can, and "Playman" magazine set the scene, but it's the dartboard with Batman's picture that steals the scene. I bet Supes doesn't have one of those.

Further sneaking around Guy's place reveals film tastes dominated by Sly Stallone and John Wayne. There seems to be a theme here, no?

Another view of Guy's apartment offers a glimpse of a prominently displayed Elvis poster. There's also an obscured view of a peppermint-striped lamp. But that tells only part of the story...

That's not just some silly lamp. It's a Statue of Liberty lamp with an American flag lamp shade. Seriously, that sort of thing could get Stephen Colbert all worked up. The fact it's nestled up with the Gun Fun Guide, 101 Ways to Get Even, and even more porn? Bonus.

Another perspective reveals Guy's leopard-print futon and chair, which further illustrate his taste and class. It probably doesn't help that he creates livestock with his ring, and lets them charge through his place. The single pink wall is a nice touch.

Unfortunately for Guy, this apartment was demolished in the following pages. It wasn't much, but not every superhero can be a billionare industrialist, royal official, government employee, or create a hideout from their sheer genius. Here's hoping those jackasses know how good they have it.

Saturday on Avenue Q

I had to miss Kimya Dawson at the 40 Watt to do so, but on Saturday I ventured to Atlanta's Fox Theater for the afternoon show of Avenue Q. There's not much original left to say about the Tony-winning musical, but it was great fun. For the unfamiliar, it's the story of several neighbors (and their super, former child star Gary Coleman) who live in crappy New York apartments and discuss their lives and loves. Also, most of them are puppets.

I'd heard the score earlier, but really enjoyed the touring cast's performance. It's hilarious, a bit raunchy, and almost accidentally a pretty good commentary on post-college life.

From the original Broadway cast recording:

Avenue Q Original Broadway Cast - What Do You Do with a B.A. in English - It Sucks to Be Me
Avenue Q Original Broadway Cast - The Internet is for Porn
Avenue Q Original Broadway Cast - Mix Tape

The show finishes its run at the Fox Theater today. The complete touring schedule is available online, and you can order the soundtrack from Amazon.

Friday, March 28

Citified - "Read Like a Number"

I've been enjoying the new EP from North Carolina band Citified, The Meeting After the Meeting, and wanted to offer up an appetizing little taste. Their sound is a nice mix of dream pop and radio-friendly hooks, and they often remind me of local products King of Prussia or Jupiter Watts. They're not shy about building soundscapes, or hopping right out of them for big beat breakdowns. Now I'm bummed that I've missed their Georgia shows over the past couple years.

Citified - Read Like a Number

The band have several tour dates coming up, all in the southeast:

3/28 The Pour House, Raleigh, NC
3/29 Solaris, Greensboro, NC
4/05 The Soapbox, Wilmington, NC
4/06 The Spazzatorium, Greenville, NC
4/25 The Good Cherry, Lynchburg, VA
4/26 (TBA), Richmond, VA
4/27 The Galaxy Hut, Arlington, VA
5/23 The Flat Iron, Greensboro, NC (w/Hammer No More The Fingers, Jupiter Watts)
5/30 The Star Bar, Altanta, GA (w/The Preakness)
5/31 The Nick, Birmingham, AL

You can order The Meeting After the Meeting from Eskimo Kiss Records.

Thursday, March 27

It's Fon to Due

This is Cash, my roommate and partner in cheesing:

If you have no idea what the hell I'm talking about, you missed tonight's South Park.

How sweet was that Heavy Metal tribute? PRETTY DARN SWEET.

'Narrow Stairs' cover query

Death Cab for Cutie revealed the Narrow Stairs (due May 13) album art a couple days ago. Thoughts?

I'm hoping it's a product of the first time somebody's niece or nephew played with Microsoft Paint for an hour. Otherwise, not impressed.

Yes, I'll be buying the record anyway.

Wednesday, March 26

Johnny.... Boo!

I picked up the new Previews catalog today along with my comics, and it includes a nice little preview of James Kochalka's all-ages graphic novel Johnny Boo: The Best Little Ghost in the World. It's the story of Johnny Boo and his ghost pet Squiggle, and their adventures. There's less swearing and senseless violence than in Superf*ckers, but it still looks nifty.

Johnny Boo: The Best Little Ghost in the World is due in June from Top Shelf, with the second volume due in December.

Cryptacize - Dig That Treasure

As I keep doing lately, I've stumbled onto another record about which I have decidedly mixed feelings. This time it's Dig That Treasure from California's Cryptacize. They are now of the Asthmatic Kitty roster, and the record has many ingredients I find appealing -- it's unique and genre-bending, features a lovely female vocal and interesting instrumentation, and occasionally drifts into some pretty nifty surf, jazz, and retro guitar riffs.

Dig That Treasure also, however, tends to meander and dwell in ambient noise, perhaps reflecting the role of ex-Deerhoof member Chris Cohen. I say "perhaps" because I'm unfamiliar with the rest of the trio's earlier output. Regardless, I am not a Deerhoof fan so your mileage may vary. It's certainly an interesting record, and where it focuses on melody rather than shimmering noise I find it pretty compelling.

Cryptacize - Heaven is Human
Cryptacize - Cosmic Sing Along

The band is currently on tour, and the dates are on their Myspace.

Tuesday, March 25

Athens ticket giveaway: New Pornographers and Okkervil River at Georgia Theatre, April 17

Huzzah! Free tickets!

I have a pair of passes to give away for the New Pornographers (with Neko!) and Okkervil River at Georgia Theatre. The show is April 17, and features two stellar acts.

If you'd like the tickets, send me an e-mail with "NP tix" in the subject line by April 1. I'll pick a winner at random that evening. The e-mail link is at the top of the sidebar.

New Pornographers - My Rights Versus Yours
New Pornographers - Myriad Harbour
Okkervil River - Our Life Is Not a Movie or Maybe
Okkervil River - Black

New Pornographers with Okkervil River on tour:

4/09 Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, Ontario
4/10 The Crofoot Ballroom, Pontiac, MI
4/11 Newport Music Hall, Columbus, OH
4/12 Carnegie Music Hall in Homestead, Munhall, PA
4/13 The State Theater of Ithaca, Ithaca, NY
4/14 930 Club, Washington, DC
4/16 Toad's Place, Richmond, VA
4/17 Georgia Theatre, Athens, GA
4/18 The Cannery, Nashville, TN
4/19 The Pageant, St. Louis, MO
4/20 Riviera, Chicago, IL
4/21 Orpheum, Madison, WI
4/22 Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland, OH

Good luck!

South Park Studios is online!

Want to watch every single episode of South Park ever, online? Want to embed clips from the show on your blog? Now you can at South Park Studios.

For a taste, here is a clip from the Season 5 episode "Scott Tenorman Must Die" featuring Radiohead:

This, friends, is a good day.

Tip of the hat to The Beat.

Pop culture potpourri at NPR

Need a pop culture fix? NPR has your back. Turn on your speakers and listen to audio features on Long Duk Dong, Catwoman, or Jack Bauer.

Agent Bauer

Selina Kyle

The Donger

That's the good stuff.

Saturday, March 22

Adron - "Never Have to Leave My Room Again" video (live)

Atlanta's Adron, 19-year old singer-songwriter Adrienne McCann, has been generating a nice local buzz for the past year or so. I understand she has already done some recording with Tommy from The Selmanaires and others, and has been working with the folks from New Street Records. I haven't acquired any of that material yet, but the good people at GSU's Digital Arts Entertainment Lab have been kind enough to share a live performance from last year via YouTube.

Her Myspace page indicates she's splitting time between Atlanta (Decatur, to be specific) and Brooklyn these days. If you're in the latter, check her out at Zebulon on April 14 or Pete's Candy Store on April 15. If she's selling anything, I want one.

What the world needs now...

... is more movie-themed street art.

Luckily, there's a great big gallery of it at /Film.

Thanks to Pulp Secret for the tip.

DeVotchka on tour, Atlanta date May 13

Colorado's DeVotchka hit the road next month, and about five weeks later their travels bring them to north Georgia. They'll bring their blend of indie and world music to the Variety Playhouse on May 13 in support of their new album, A Mad & Faithful Telling. It's another record that doesn't quite live up to the promise of its first single, but hits much more than it misses.

DeVotchka - Transliterator

The full set of North American tour dates:

4/26 Coachella, Indio, CA - Empire Polo Field
4/28 San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
4/29 Eugene, OR - MacDonald Theatre
4/30 Portland, OR - Wonder Ballroom
5/02 Vancouver, BC - Richards on Richards
5/03 Seattle, WA - Showbox Sodo
5/04 Boise, ID - Big Easy
5/07 Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue
5/08 Milwaukee, WI - Turner Hall
5/09 Chicago, IL - Vic Theatre
5/10 Indianapolis, IN - The Vogue
5/11 Nashville, TN - Mercy Lounge
5/13 Atlanta, GA - The Variety Playhouse
5/14 Asheville, NC - Orange Peel
5/15 Richmond, VA - Toad's Place
5/16 Washington DC - 9:30 Club
5/17 Philadelphia, PA - Fillmore/TLA
5/18 Boston, MA - Paradise
5/20 New York, NY - Terminal 5
5/21 Pittsburgh, PA - Diesel Club Lounge
5/22 Newport, KY - Southgate House
5/23 St. Louis, MO - The Pageant
5/24 Omaha, NE - SlowDown

European dates are on their website.

She & Him

The blogosphere is full of commentary on the new She & Him record, Volume One, but I'll chime in anyway. For the unfamiliar, this is the new project from indie stalwart M. Ward and actress/musician Zooey Deschanel. I was as taken by the initial single as anyone, and still recommend it. Fans of indie folk/pop, grab it below if you haven't:

She & Him - Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?

Now, as for the record... mixed feelings. I'm generally impressed with this effort, and I applaud their building on classic influences and styles. Fans of retro pop will think some of the material sounds familiar even the first time through. Rather than a 13 track album, however, Volume One seems like it would have been stronger if it had trimmed the fat a bit.

I generally like Deschanel's vocal contributions, though they do occasionally fall flat. I could have done without the all-too-recognizable covers at the album's back end; they may be fun to perform and record but I found them distracting. I think I audibly groaned when Beatles cover "I Should Have Known Better" came around, and I adore the Fab Four. Maybe it was just too obvious? Despite its faults, I'm on board. Overall, a good debut that may have suffered a bit from overreaching.

Friday, March 21

Friday Night Fights: Knockout!!!

The Mighty Thor! The Incredible Hulk! Stan Lee! Jack Kirby!

As Thor reaches for his war hammer, Mjolnir...

The Thunder God and the Jade Giant duke it out in Journey Into Mystery #112 (1965), reprinted in Marvel's Greatest Super Battles.

"King" Kirby and Bahlactus know how to bring it.

Stipe statement on sexuality of Buck and Mills

Video in today from the R.E.M. camp, in which Michael Stipe discusses the decisions of bandmates Mike Mills and Peter Buck to reveal their sexual orientations to the world.

I knew it all along...

First look at Snake Eyes...

As a kid, I loved the original G.I. Joe cartoon and the toy line associated with it. My favorite character was definitely the ninja/soldier Snake Eyes. For that reason, I'm geeking out a little over the newly released first image of Ray Park in costume for the 2009 G.I. Joe film....

The sculpted chest/abs are a bit odd, but I'll be glad to see it in action.

For comparison, the character and the man inside:

Thanks to Cinematical for the tip and top image [via Newsarama].

Thursday, March 20

In the funnybooks: Cap, Herc, and Secret Invasion

New comics hit the racks yesterday, and it was a light week for yours truly. I only picked up three new books, two of which are personal favorites. One brought a startling revelation, another featured a brawl between two gods, and the third continued the build-up to Marvel's big Secret Invasion event to come.

Captain America #36 was the newest installment in Ed Brubaker's excellent series, and continued to deliver as usual. Bucky Barnes, the new Cap, again proves his mettle in combat at the issue's front end. The fight's climax features a nice moment when Bucky takes out villain Crossbones, against whom he had already demonstrated that his methods differ from those of his predecessor (hint: offensive weapons are involved).

Though successful while fighting, Bucky struggles when he tries to act in Cap's role as a force for good; he makes his public debut while attempting, and failing, to calm a riot. Obviously, Bucky has a long way to go before the achieving the esteem of Steve Rogers. The issue's final pages feature a reveal I won't spoil here, but it's been getting play all over the place online -- I'll just say that it casts doubt on everything we know about the assassination of Rogers, and his possible future return.

I'm struck by how consistent the art is in this book despite the three artists regularly drawing it -- this issue is split between Butch Guice and Mike Perkins, and I'm honestly not sure I would have noticed if not for the credits. Looking forward to the next issue as the Red Skull's plan continues to unfold.

Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente's Incredible Hercules #115 continued the book's unexpected rise to the top of the stack, bringing the funny and masterfully mixing superhero antics with mythology. This issue picks up where the last left off, with whiz kid Amadeus Cho on the verge of bringing down international police force SHIELD while Hercules tries to stop him and fend off Ares, the "GOD OF #%*&IN' WAR."

Cho cripples SHIELD for a while, including the Negative Zone prison, but the big fun here was the brawl between Herc and Ares -- it's eight pages of awesome. Khoi Pham's art was scratchy for my tastes, but I'll be darned if it wasn't fun to follow -- I mean, Ares throws a missile in Herc's face. The ending did strike me as a bit anticlimactic, but does set up the book for the coming war with the Skrulls.

Along with those books I'm fond of, I also read through Brian Reed and Lee Weeks's Captain Marvel #4. Not a character I'm terribly interested in, but this series has come to be tied closely to Secret Invasion. In fact, it's difficult to discuss without spoilers to spare. In short, Captain Marvel confronts a Skrull prisoner and is given reason to doubt his own identity. Is he himself, or a sleeper agent?

His doubts lead him to seek out the Church of Hala, who have come to worship him, and assist them in their supposed humanitarian efforts. He goes a little nutty along the way, and Tony Stark sends Ms. Marvel to confront him. She does so aided by some special hardware, and events push Captain Marvel away where he'll be in the finale of the mini-series. Certainly a book that has been a bit under the radar, and may have been promoted too little because of its content's relation to Marvel's summer crossover. Captain Marvel's surprising return during last year's Civil War certainly may not have been all it seemed.

I didn't pick up any new DC books, but did fish Paul Kupperberg and Howard Chaykin's World of Krypton limited series (1979) and Steve Gerber and Gene Colan's Phantom Zone mini-series (1982) from the back issues. A little vintage Superman never hurt anybody.

The full list of March 26 solicitations is available from Diamond.

Wednesday, March 19

Les Savy Fav - "Sweat Descends" (live)

The gents in Les Savy Fav are known for their crazy-go-nuts live shows, and now you'll be able to enjoy the debauchery at your leisure. The band is releasing a live album, titled When the Ball Drops, on April 29. It captures their January 1, 2008, performance which rang in the new year with a set of originals and covers including songs by CCR, Nirvana, Love, The Misfits, and The Pixies. Nice.

A taste, courtesy of Frenchkiss Records:

Les Savy Fav - Sweat Descends (live)

For more info, watch their Myspace.

Atlanta's Luigi announce hiatus

In a bit of not-so-awesome news, Atlanta pop/rock act Luigi has announced a coming hiatus after their March 28 show at The EARL (with Silent Kids and The Preakness). The note from the band:

Friends and Fans of Luigi,

We have something to share with you--it's only fair to let you know. After the show on Friday, March 28th, 2008, Luigi will be frozen in time, rendering us unable to perform any more live shows. We can't say it'll be the last Luigi show EVER. But--we know with certainty--it will be the last for a very very long while.

Please keep in touch with us at this web site or There you'll also find links to other endeavors of Luigi members Brian Fletcher, Scott Rowe, Jeff Holt and K. Michelle DuBois.

We thank you for the fun and support over the past few years. And we hope you'll still be around when they thaw us out for a show, years from now (understand, we will look much younger than you--SCIENCE!) and as always,



They were always a band I looked forward to seeing, so this is a bummer. It is, however, a nice excuse to post some tracks from their catalog.

Luigi - Mariposa
Luigi - Wash It Down

It should also be noted that singer Michelle looks better than most in a lab coat, as seen in the video for "Single Cell":

Good band, good folks. Hope to make it to the show.

New Death Cab for Cutie - "I Will Possess Your Heart"

Say hello to the nice people, Death Cab.

Such good boys.

Alan at *Sixeyes has been kind enough to share the first single from the forthcoming Death Cab for Cutie record, Narrow Stairs. "I Will Possess Your Heart" is not what I expected from them, and frankly that's refreshing. Rather than their conventional emotive pop, the boys have pulled off an 8+ minute track with a full four minutes of building sound before Ben Gibbard's voice makes a peep. I wonder if Colin Meloy and Gibbard have been sharing an iPod? I like the change in direction, and hope there's more exploration on the album.

Death Cab for Cutie - I Will Possess Your Heart [at Zshare]

Narrow Stairs will be released on May 13.

Monday, March 17

And things were going so well...

Barry Allen, The Flash, wants to tell Fiona Webb how he feels about her. Going for broke, he calls at 3am. She's receptive, but drops a bombshell that just might be a deal-breaker. From Flash #321, written by Cary Bates and illustrated by Carmine Infantino:

Creed? Really? Unless she's talking about Carl Weathers.... game over.

Of Shamrock, Guinness, and St. Patrick's Day

I'm awfully busy on this St. Patrick's Day, but couldn't let the holiday pass without recognizing it in C&T fashion. What that means this year is putting the spotlight on one of Marvel's most identifiable Irish characters -- the lucky lass Shamrock.

Shamrock debuted during the 1982 limited series Contest of Champions (notable as Marvel's first limited series), in which powerful figures capture Earth's heroes and employ them in a personal game. Each contestant, the Grandmaster and an (at first) unknown hooded adversary, chose from among the gathered superheroes a team of 12 to seek hidden quarters of a golden globe.

The teams included international characters including Captain Britain, the Israeli Sabra, the Saudi Arabian Knight, the West German Blitzkrieg, the French Peregrine, the Canadian Sasquatch, and so on, along with more familiar American heroes. In this first appearance Shamrock was established to have probability-altering powers that gave her "good luck." That's not stereotypical or anything.

The 12 contestants for each side were split into teams of three, all of which included a powerhouse, a street-level brawler, and a character who could fly. As fate (and scripter Bill Mantlo) would have it, Shamrock paired off against.... C&T fave Captain America!

The "Struggle in the Jungle" begins in Contest of Champions #3, as Shamrock meets fellow pawns Collective Man, who is basically a low-rent communist version of Jamie Madrox, and Storm of the X-Men.

Not long into the contest, Shamrock encounters Captain America swinging through the trees in search of the prize they must seek, and makes her move. Ever the gentleman, Steve tries to save the mysterious lass from certain doom:


Cap and Shamrock sitting in a tree....

Given that the python in question is rougly the size of the one slaughtered by Conan the Barbarian, that's an appropriate reaction.

Soon after, Cap's teammate Blitzkrieg notes that they both have ongoing trouble with the female of the species:

Things are looking up, however, when Cap spots the prize!

But, much to Steve's despair, luck be a lady:

Although she defeated Cap that day, Shamrock soon left the superhero game. As real identity Molly Fitzgerald, she alternately went on to become an elementary school teacher, a superhero again, an unwitting assassin, and once her "luck" powers declined.... Europe's most sought-after hairdresser. Huh.

As you enjoy the holiday, just remember -- Shamrock's good luck may be hard to come by, but Guinness makes you strong. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Bonus mp3:

Tony Furtado Band - Oaktown Ceili (Irish Medley #2) [6-15-2001]
Tony Furtado Band - Irish Medley #3 [6-15-2001]
Tony Furtado Band - Irish Medley #4 [6-15-2001]

Huzzah for Tony Furtado!

Friday, March 14

Friday Night Fights: Knockout!!!

When you lock a dude named Rage in a cell with a guy named Slapstick, odds are good that a beating will commence. From Avengers: The Initiative #6 by Dan Slott and Steve Uy:

Bahlactus offers all the "splat" you can handle.

Thursday, March 13

Laura Veirs comes to Atlanta, May 18

She provided one of my favorite records of 2007, Saltbreakers, and her show at The EARL was a highlight as well. Now Laura Veirs is set to return to that venue on May 18. Tickets are available now. Yay!

Laura Veirs - Wandering Kind [live 5-23-2007, The EARL]
Laura Veirs - Saltbreakers [live 5-23-2007, The EARL]

No sign of national dates yet, but I'll be on the lookout.

Tuesday, March 11

Long overdue viewing

Currently on the way from Netflix, primed for weekend viewing:

I suspect that one will be somewhat better than the other.