July 27th, 2010


CD-a-Day: Post Comic Con Edition

Clem Snide: The Ghost of Fashion

Rookie Card played with Clem Snide once. I asked that we do it, thinking they'd be a good match with us because of their similar "country" roots and "cleverness". Adam kinda disagreed, but got the show anyway. I can't remember if the show went well, but I seem to remember being kinda bored by Clem Snide's set. I'd only known Clem Snide for their song "Moment in the Sun", which was used as the intro to the NBC dramedy "Ed". Great song, but the rest of this CD is hit-or-miss.

Singer Eef Barzelay is pretty whiny, and spends a lot of time repeating lyrics, presumably to impart their importance or said cleverness, but by the fifth time I hear "Tonight I Feel Like Elvis Longing for His Long Lost Twin", I'm leaning less toward "clever" and more toward "contrived".

Then, there's songs like "Moment in the Sun" and the opener "Let's Explode" that just need to be heard. So hear them, but beware the hype. Neo-folksters may cry the Second Coming of Dylan, but I'm not convinced.

A Pleasent, Moving Surprise: Mary and Max

Once in a long while, a movie or comic or piece of music will sneak up on me, and I catch it cold, with no preconceived notions. I LOVE those times. In today's internet driven world, it's so unlikely and uncharacteristic to actually discover anything. I get why people attend things like the Sundance Film Festival, and to a lesser extent Comic Con: To discover things as the creators intend; Unmolested by hype machines.

This is one of the reasons I'm learning to love my Netflix account. While I was immediately drawn to the convenience of filling my queue with favorites like Fright Night and Drunken Master, for very little risk I can sample some films, both foreign and domestic, that I might never have the chance to see in theaters, or have never even heard about. Such was the case tonight, when Shandree and I decided to watch the Australian animated feature Mary and Max.

Now, the four star rating on Netflix was enticing, and so was the cast: Toni Collette, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Eric Bana are the "stars" of the film, lending their voices to the most outspoken of the characters. Also, I'm a sucker for all forms of animation, and Claymation in particular seems to lend itself well to more character driven pieces. For films that excel in the style, I'd recommend anything from Aardman of course, but also try to track down the Adventures of Mark Twain, a truly creepy and deep film that has one of the most frightening sequences in any animated feature I've ever seen. (Watch the clip here)

You can follow the link above to see what Mary and Max is about, but I'd like to recommend that you view it cold like I did. But be aware: While this film is animated, it isn't a children's film, though like many adult-oriented animated films, it is about being a child, or at least being child-like. I was profoundly moved by the relationship that Max and Mary develop, and the end, while perhaps an emotional manipulation, works because it makes sense in light of the whole.

CD-a-Day: Answer Yourself Edition

Clem Snide: End of Love

Less repetitious, a bit more live. Four or so years between albums can be a good thing, though I realize that there was a CD in between. I don't have it. This one I'd likely not have apart from the wonderful music department we have on campus at work. Which begs the question: What rep thought that Clem Snide would be a good idea to send to a videogame company? What shall we put a Clem Snide song on, hmm? The next Mortal Street Kombat Fighter? That would be...interesting, certainly.

The title track is good. I was also intrigued by the song "Jews for Jesus Blues". Eef Barzelay is Jewish himself, and I wonder if this was written from experience or cynicism. Both, maybe? The next track, "God Answers Back" kinda pissed me off, but that is because I didn't like what he had to say. That's between Eef and God, I suppose.

This disk is much more mature than the Ghost of Fashion, and I'm glad for it. It's still unlikely that I will decide to spin this anytime soon. Another disk made for my iPod to shuffle. I also imagine that Steve would love it...maybe I should send it to him?