Media Consumption Report: Comics & Music
Since finishing up with grad school, I’ve had lots of long-anticipated time to read and do whatever the hell I want. So here’s the first installment of what I’ve been reading, watching, listening to in the past couple of months.
Transmetropolitan, a science fiction comics series by Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson. Spider Jerusalem is the protagonist, a kind of twisted future Hunter S Thompson gonzo investigative reporter. I’ve been reading a story arc centering on a US Presidential Election, with The Smiler coming up against The Beast, an incumbent. Very sharp writing, lots of future-fantasy drug use, plenty of telling truth to power. It’s been very helpful for getting me through the real-life Presidential campaign (it’s finally over!). Especially amusing is when Spider discovers that The Smiler’s VP candidate was grown from a test tube at a human farming operation only three years before, in an effort to secure a candidate that didn’t have any dirt on him.
Also been reading Joss Whedon’s run on Astonishing X-Men. I’m not real familiar with Whedon’s other writing work– haven’t seen Buffy, only seen the pilot of Firefly. His talent for real dialogue works well in an action comic that has a lot of soap opera interaction going on. Warren Ellis is now doing the writing on this series, and it’s looking decent so far. I just kind of wish that the costumes wouldn’t have to change every time a new writer & artist team comes on board. Also, they should get rid of The White Queen. That bitch’s haughty personality isn’t doing this comic any favors.
Music, music… I’ve been getting into some Glitch Mob stuff… Math Head, ediT, some others whose names I don’t know yet. Glitchy, hard, diverse… pretty much my favorite kind of dance music.
Aimee Mann’s latest album (Fucking Smilers) is stuck in my head a lot these days, and I can’t stop listening to it. She’s got a great husky voice, solid songwriting, interesting instrumentation (synths, trombones, harpsichord?).
After a handful of listens to Skeletal Lamping, the new Of Montreal album, I think it’s a winner. The songs are mostly cut up into short minisongs, and are damned catchy…. I can guess that maybe I’ll get real sick of them with too many listens, though. There’s not much real structure going on, just quick cuts and Kevin Barnes playing the character of a black shemale (groan).
Blitzen Trapper’s new one, Furr, shows off a pretty Dylanesque side, and it’s a good thing. I confess I do prefer the rockin’ bits on their previous Wild Mountain Nation.
Michna is one guy from Secret Frequency Crew, one of my favorite electronic acts around. His debut album, Magic Monday, combines Miami bass, lush synths, trombones, and a variety of live and programmed minor-key music to make a damn fine album. Highly recommended, yes.
Otto von Schirach is another electronic musician with ties to Miami. Oozing Bass Spasms combines a whirlwind of beats (more styles than I can really categorize) with scary/disgusting sound effects and ample vocal samples from porn films. Sometimes it gets a bit silly, sometimes a bit stupid, sometimes it kinda falls apart. But there are some solid ass-shaking tracks here, such as “Dance Like a Ho.”
Oh, and I keep coming back to The Devil, You and Me, the latest album by The Notwist, a German post-rock band. I believe this one makes use of a symphony orchestra, along with the guitars, bass, drums, and electronics. Less rocking than their last album, Neon Golden, but so much more complex and emotionally charged. It seems like every song has such an intricate and unconventional structure, moving from one place of sound to another seamlessly. I’m not very good at writing about this kind of thing, but if you can place any trust in some guy who blogs infrequently, go out and find this, listen to it as much as you can.