Nada Surf - Never Not Together (Barsuk, 2020)

Nada Surf
Never Not Together

Rating: 8 cloppy children on stairs out of 10

I've been trying to think of something witty/interesting/useful to say about this new Nada Surf record for two months, but I ain't really got shit.  "Never Not Together" sounds like anything and everything the band might have released since 2002's "Let Go," when they figured out emotive chamber pop was their bailiwick, and they've ridden that horse ever since.  That they haven't really changed in two decades could be read or taken as an insult to some acts, but I really like this version of Nada Surf, they're really, really good at writing pop songs, and I'm glad that every few years they give me a slab full of new material that feels instantly familiar upon the first listen. 

Album bookends "So Much Love" and "Ride In The Unknown" are instant additions to Nada Surf's greatest hits, but perhaps the most interesting track is "S…

May 2020 movie update

May 2020 movie update!

Another robust month of sitting on my ass watching movies!  With 41 tackled in May, I'm now in the black by 37 on the year.  I could sit out an entire month and still be ahead, but obviously that ain't happening.  

Monthly categorizations...

Best of the month (new): Ready Or Not (2019) & Knives Out (2019)
Best of the month (previously seen): Caddyshack (1980)
Worst of the month: Summer Job (1989) (but worth watching because: boobs)
Worst of the month (MST3K edition): Hercules And The Captive Women (1961)
Best stand-up of the month: Patton Oswalt: I Love Everything (2020)
Well, that was goddamn depressing: Always In Season (2019)
What if Downton Abbey had ghost problems?: The Little Stranger (2018)
Not as bad as people said, but still wish it was better: Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise Of  Skywalker (2019) & Joker (2019)
This month in Harvey Keitel being a weirdo: Fingers (1978)

The rest:
Chris D’Elia:  No Pain (2020), Big Time Adolescence (2020), Squirm (19…

The Chats - High Risk Behaviour (Bargain Bin, 2020)

The Chats
High Risk Behaviour
Bargain Bin

Rating: 7.5 diaper babies out of 10

Goddamn fuck yes, a fun punk record.  The Chats appear to be Australia's answer to Mean Jeans, only instead of Ramones worship they're mining the Crass/Angelic Upstarts family of punk - snotty and chanty and could almost be classified as oi at times. If you want to get more contemporary, maybe a comparison to a slightly less garage-y Gino & The Goons would work, but either way you get the drift - straight-forward, sing-along (or rather bark along) rock that sounds like it could have been released at any point of the last 40+ years that punk has existed (or 50+ years if you consider the Stooges and MC5 punk).  Not everything has to be important or save the world - sometimes the perfect thing to her is just stupid, catchy jams from weird Australian kids with mullets (apparently every Aussie punker has a mullet now).  MY favorite track is "The Clap," but you can't go wrong with most a…

Upcoming Shows!

...Maybe some of this will happen.  Probably not though.  At this point I've completely stopped even checking.  The only reason I'm not deleting these is I don't want to have to retype them in the outside even they actually take place...
JULY 2020Sunday, July 26th 2020
Built To Spill at the Cat's Cradle

AUGUST 2020 Nothing yet.

SEPTEMBER 2020Thursday, September 10th 2020
Hopscotch Music Festival in downtown Raleigh (through the 12th)

OCTOBER 2020Friday, October 2nd 2020
Sleaford Mods at the Cat's Cradle

April 2020 movie update

April 2020 movie update!

To the surprise of no one, quarantine leads to a lot more movies watched.  The equals 43 for the month of April, resulting in a whopping +27 on the year's goal so far.  The thing is, I was making an active effort to watch more series and less films, and I still saw this many.  It might be time to get a hobby or learn a musical instrument...

The monthly computations follow...

Best of the month (new): 1917 (2019)
Best of the month (previously seen): Blade Runner: The Final Cut (1982)
Worst of the month: Slithis (1977) (but comically bad enough at times that it's still worth watching)
Worst of the month (MST3K edition): Fugitive Alien (1987) / Star Force: Fugitive Alien II (1987)
This month's Jerry Reed trucking movie: High-Ballin’ (1978)
Well, that was goddamn depressing: American Woman (2019)
Well, that was goddamn depressing (documentary edition): The Rescue List (2017)
This month in unnecessary remakes: Death Wish (2018)
The greater the number of boobs on a…

Criteria - Years (15 Passenger, 2020)

15 Passenger

Rating: 8 unretired stock car drivers out of 10

“Years” is a fitting title for the new album from Criteria, because a crap ton of them have passed since Stephen Pedersen and company released their last record – 15, to be specific. Much like Stephen's other (fucking great) band the White Octave, Criteria never appeared to officially break up, they just faded away. The White Octave have a played a few shows over the past few years, so it only makes sense for Criteria to show signs of life again too...clearly, whatever it was about being a musician that Pedersen had grown weary of by the mid-oughts, it no longer bears on him with the same weight. 

In the decade and a half between releasing 2005's "When We Break" and this latest effort, it doesn't appear a single thing has changed musically with this group...whether that is good or bad is up to whoever is listening, I suppose.  They sound EXACTLY the same now as they did then, still writ…

PHOTOS: Destroyer / Nap Eyes at the Cat's Cradle - 3/11/2020


Nap Eyes (featuring Ryley Walker)

Destroyer / Nap Eyes at the Cat's Cradle - 3/11/2020

With Nap Eyes
The Cat's Cradle 

Another show at the Cradle that only had one opener and started early (8 PM!) - a man could get used to this.  Especially an old man.

I made the effort to be there in time for opener Nap Eyes - the only thing I knew about the band was they just released a new record on Jagjaguwar, and that seemed reason enough alone to give them a fair shake.  Here is what I learned:

1. They're a three (or maybe four?) piece from Canada. 
2. Guitar virtuoso Ryley Walker was playing with them on this tour - it was unclear if he was actually in the band now or if he even knew the songs, and was just adding a little color to them...I had questions.  He was a nice addition though. 
3.  The bassist was wearing shiny silver pants and looked permanently stoned. 
4. The singer talked to crowd like a friendly space alien that was totally new to the planet; it was equal parts weird and endearing.
5.  They sounded a lot like equal parts Velvet Underground…

March 2020 movie update

March 2020 movie update!

I guess if you want to look at the bright side of being trapped at home during the outbreak of a highly infectious disease, you get to watch a lot of movies.  I went nine over the monthly goal for March, and now sit at +14 for the year.  And we weren't even locked down for the entire month of March - god knows what the total might be at the end of April.

Here is the monthly breakdown...

Best of the month (new): Sorry To Bother You (2018)
Best of the month (previously seen): Apocalypse Now (1979)
Worst of the month: The New Gladiators (1984)
Worst of the month (MST3K edition): Sidehackers (1969)
Best stand-up of the month: Marc Maron: End Times Fun (2020)
Worse than it should have been, but better than expected based on the reviews: X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019)
Probably should have been named "Eventually Stoppable" right? Unstoppable (2010)
Good movie, great soundtrack: Vision Quest (1985)
Billy Gibbons - coolest dude ever: ZZTop: That Little Ol’ Band From …

Vacation Report - Disney World

Vacation Report!

Chelsea loves Disney, grew up going to Disney, and really wanted to take Lola to Disney.  I tagged along too. 

Pop Century Resort - where we stayed. 
 lots of oversized pop culture references everywhere.  

Signs you're in Florida.   Magic Kingdom - our first day.  
 Token shot.

I don't think this was a real bear.  Lo got to meet a lot of princesses, like Cinderella... ...And Elena of Avalor.

Animal Kingdom - our second day.  
 The Tree of Life.  
Siamang monkey howling in the treetop.
Expedition Everest, the best rollercoaster I rode the entire trip.
 Abdim stork.
 Taveta golden weaver.