Random Record Review, The Plurals, “A Futurespective”

The Plurals

A Futurespective

GTG Records/Bermuda Mohawk (2011)

Remember how Motorhead is the only metal band a punk rocker is supposed to lock, and how Motown is the only pop music that really matters besides the Ramones?

OK, just checking. That really doesn’t have anything to do with The Plurals. No-frills pop-punk, Midwestern rock ‘n roll, screaming post-punk, and obnoxiously wonderful singalongs…these are the elements that can throw you for a loop.  The Michigan power trio’s album is a great and balanced mix of songs that alternate between screaming obnoxiousness and lo-fi honesty.

The bitterness I love in my sense of humor, combined with the earnestness and slight sense of hope we all have to have, manages to turn what could be a pretty generic-sounding punk record into one of the most unique albums I’ve heard in a long time.

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Random Record Review – Real Good, “demo tape”

Real Good

demo tape

self-released (2011)

SHORT VERSION: I’m reminded of Samiam and J Church almost instantly, which in my book is always good.

LONG VERSION: Some days, I really miss simple music. I really do. Don’t get me wrong, groups like Fugazi and Hot Water Music, post-punk and post-hardcore bands that are always trying to push the envelope with some of the most insane and groundbreaking music I’ve ever heard.  At the same time though, I miss power trios like Husker Du, I miss songs without crazy breakdowns or off-time rhythms or whatever.

ANYWAY, I love Rapid Cities, Brick Mower, and Lock And Key, modern punk/indie/post-hardcore bands with amazingly fresh sounds that all still managed to sound like all my favorite records. So here I am in 2011, and I find out some of their members have founded a band called Real Good?

I don’t know where the line is for the hugs, beers, and high fives is, but I wanna get in it.

The mix of post-hardcore and almost emo pop sensibilities and melody is pretty great, despite seemingly lacking any sort of “heavy” guitar and bass work.  And unlike most of the crap that gets classified as post-punk or indie these days that’s crossed my radar, this is no off-tone and spineless sound with nothing going on besides guitar noodling and terrible vocals.

I’m predicting a lot of awesome stuff from Real Good. Road trip songs, late night beers songs, and best friend songs. It’ll be good…real good.*

*) I apologize for that hideous pun.
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Nate Simpson’s NONPLAYER Picked Up by Warner Bros.

The rights to Image Comics’ Nonplayer, the critically-acclaimed new comic miniseries from artist/writer Nate Simpson, has been optioned and picked up by Warner Bros. according to Variety magazine.

The comic is about online gamer Dana, who tops and defeats a famous player in the online fantasy gaming world of Jarvath.  However, with online notoriety comes more than anyone really expected, with Dana’s real and digital worlds beginning to spiral out of control.

Congrats to Nate. Nonplayer is a beautiful comic with an interesting concept and the immense popularity of the first (and so far only) issue  has proven the power that indie non-Big 2 comics can have.

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On the new Ultimate Spider-Man

c/o Marvel, USA Today

In an article in USA Today, Marvel’s revealed the hidden identity of the new Spider-Man in their Ultimates line title Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man.  A “re-imagining” of the regular storylines and characters of the classic Marvel comics, the Ultimate books have given a more modern take on characters like Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron Man, and the X-Men.

Primarily guided by longtime Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis, the title’s been a longtime favorite with fans and the inspiration behind several recent and upcoming animated and live-action adaptations of Spider-Man. Anyway, in the Ultimate line, the character of Peter Parker as Spider-Man recently battled a group of his enemies after barely surviving being shot saving the hero known as Captain America.  He dies in that battle, with the whole of New York City showing up for his hero’s funeral.

ANYWAY, since then Marvel has announced that an all-new character in the book will be taking on the role of Spider-Man, a character whose identity has been kept a closely-guarded secret until today. Continue reading

Posted in comic book criticism, comic books, comic news, comics, marvel comics, racism, random, spider-man, ultimate comics spider-man, what the fuck? | 2 Comments

random comic review – “SCUD the Disposable Assassin: The Whole Shebang”

I don’t ever want anyone to ever say anything bad about comic books from the 1990’s ever again.  Seriously. I will punch you in the face.

Now, that being said…wow.  Rob Schrab’s mind is a strange, strange place, one that I feel very odd after finally seeing its depths.  In a world where robotic killers-for-hire can come out of a vending machine, SCUD’s a one-time-usage hitman-robot who inadvertently discovers the truth about what happens when he kills his assigned target;

He self-destructs.

A bizarre monster that seemingly rotates around a face that’s an electrical plug with mouths on the knees, SCUD’s hilarious attempts to earn enough money to keep his first victim alive through other assassinations eventually evolves into an out-of-control whirlwind confrontation between demonic and angelic powers and a testament to the power of love.

Part graffiti, part art project, part humorous sci-fi and part bizarrely touching fantasy. Remember when you first discovered comics? The vibrancy, the confusion as you worked to decipher the secret of how to read it and then, in a shining instant, figure it out and the whole thing opens up to you?  That’s what reading SCUD the Disposable Assassin is like. It’s like reading comics for the first glorious time ever. And I’ve been been reading comics for quite a while.

That’s pretty much the comic in a nutshell. It’s bombastic, loud, vibrant (despite being a black & white book), an almost perfect incapsulation of the 1990’s/early 2000’s in indie black and white comics. I love the way the fat giant collection sits on my bookshelf, the way it feels in my bag when I take it places, and the way it hefts in my hands when I read it.

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random movie review – “The Cartoonist: Jeff Smith, BONE, and the Changing Face of Comics”

I love BONE.

Jeff Smith is one of my heroes and probably one of the greatest American cartoonists of the “modern” comic era. BONE‘s story of the three Bone cousins lost in the Valley and getting wrapped up in an amazing adventure is the perfect story to be considered a part of American literary canon.

And while I normally shy away from film documentaries about still-working and still-alive artists of varying types (I have a bit of a complicated relationship with documentaries about specific people), hearing the story about the creation of Smith’s work and hearing so many other amazing writers and artists talk not only about Smith and BONE but also about the way comics was changing in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s s was totally awesome.

If there’s one thing I really enjoy as a part-time cartoonist myself, it’s drawing inspiration from hearing other creators talk about the craft, the industry, and their own inspiration and admiration for other great work.

The entire documentary, including an amazing special feature of a talk between Smith and the similarly-groundbreaking Scott McCloud at Ohio State University, is not just a movie about one of the most unique voices in comics, but is also one of those absolutes everyone who loves comics should have on their shelves to draw inspiration from.

Posted in blogging, bone, comic books, documentary, film, jeff smith, random, random movie review, reviews, the cartoonist | 1 Comment