Okay, so I’m not a reviewer, I have no desire to be a reviewer, and I suspect that my reviews don’t mean shit to anybody, even if I wanted to write them which I don’t.
I hate writing reviews.
However, I do owe several friends and colleagues reviews. Since I genuinely have enjoyed their work and want to help share the word, and I know every little share makes a difference, instead of being a dick about it, I thought I would review a bunch of things I have run across recently as well. Not new stuff, necessarily, but new to me, stuff that I have loved, books and music and other things, and maybe this won’t be too boring, making everyone who comes here for the crazy stream of words and ideas just jump ship.
NOFX, “First Ditch Effort”
I mean listen: first and foremost this is a NOFX record which means you pretty much know what you’re going to get, which is a bunch of great, fast, polished songs. These guys have been making killer punk tunes for a few decades now and if you haven’t came across them before, then you just aren’t into this kind of music, even peripherally.
In my opinion, this stands with the best of NOFX and is really the first time we get to see what sincere Fat Mike looks like. Well written and funny and honest and catchy as hell, its an instant go-to if you need some rocking tunes with a sly bit of heart and openness that you might not have seen in their other records, with the exception of a few songs like Orphan Year. 8.889/10.
Rick and Morty
I have no idea why I am so late to this party, but holy shit, it is as this show was made for me alone. It is crass and violent and disrespectful and completely batshit insane, and they still manage to sneak moments of brilliant commentary, and unexpected and jarring flashes of heart. It is smart and manic and gross and hilarious and terrible all at once. Absolutely brilliant. 9.5/10 Long live Mr Poopybutthole!
My friend Eric:
I love this guy, man. I’ve known him since the fifth grade, and even though we live thousands of miles apart we have stayed in touch through all the madness and moving. He is a ridiculously talented musician and songwriter, my hetero bro soul mate, and I couldn’t be happier to be his friend. Seriously. Love you, brother. Cheers Dude! 10/10
Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran by Marion Grace Wooley
I end up reading a bunch of different books that I might not normally be drawn to, partly because I believe that reading a variety of subjects and genres and authors is vital to being a good author, and partly because I am trying to be supportive of people that I know and like and respect. Mostly it works out well enough; people that have the discipline and vision to complete a novel length manuscript generally know their way around a keyboard. Sometimes though, you end up reading something really, really great, and this is the case with this book. Wooley has created a real, living world filled with living characters, both sympathetic and deeply flawed people, as most of us are, and it works so well that it seems effortless. The setting is nineteenth century Iran, and the customs and language and culture all feel authentic. Similar to a very different book Memoirs of a Geisha, the protocols and customs and rituals all fit seamlessly into the narrative that it all falls in place naturally. This is a very different tale than that, it is much darker and fulled with reflections of the expression of our darkest and most basic instincts. It is beautifully edited and produced by my friends at Ghostwoods Books, whose love for the written word shines throughout. Wooley is a brilliant author that needs to be celebrated. Give it a read, seriously. 10/10
Without question, the greatest Mom to have ever walked the Earth. I love her like crazy, and I am blessed to have had her as my friend and guide. Love you, Mom. 11/10
Meh. I’ve had better. ZING! 4/10
PUP, “The Dream is Over”
I don’t know what it is with these guys but I can’t stop listening to this album, a weird garage rock/punk hybrid from Canada. It rocks my goddamn socks off. That is all. 9/10
Now We are Talking Podcast
This podcast is filled with absurd nonsense and terrible puns and ridiculous accents and flawed production and still manages to crack me up every time. I look forward to every new episode. The host Josh (@ruinedpicnic on Twitter) plays the well intentioned straight man interviewer as each of his guests takes the show completely off the rails. It is crazy and stupid and consistently hilarious. 9.5/10
Scout’s Honor by Dori Ann Dupre
I think it is a testament to the skill and warmth of Dori’s words that I read this book, and I really enjoyed reading it. It made me feel things, which is a trick that not many writers can pull off. It is the story of a girl that is taken advantage of at a young age by a trusted older man, and how his careless decision informed her decisions throughout the rest of her life. Her characters are complex, and don’t always behave in the ways we would want them to. I am hardly the target audience for this kind of book, my being a dude that has no reference to the motivations of a young southern girl, and I think Dori wrote this so well that even I cared about the characters and their lives. I have made a vow that the guy that sets things in motion in Scout’s Honor that I want to call a villain, even though he is really just a selfish and cowardly weasel, will get violently murdered and desecrated in my next horror book. Seriously, though, Dori has written a great book that pretty much anyone can pick up and read and identify with. You should read it, for reals. 10/10
The Electoral College
Are you for reals with this shit? What the fuck are we keeping this archaic bit of garbage around for? 0/10
I usually say band, or singer, or rapper when I am talking about music. I hard;y ever use the word artist, because I think it is pretentious as hell, and mostly the bands and singers and rappers that are referred to as artists are anything but. that being said, I believe there are genuine artists out there that express themselves artistically. P.O.S is an artist, and his music is a goddamn work of art. I believe there is an interesting convergence between the punk and hip-hop underground’s scenes, and their ideals and their politics. P.O.S nestles neatly in that convergence, with a foot in both camps, a hip-hop punk kid, or a punk hip-hop kid, whatever it is, I love the hell out of all of his albums, and his work in the collective Doomtree, another group of artists, making art. If you have even a passing interest in hip-hop, check out P.O.S, and Doomtree. 10/10
The Lolligaggers, The Icehouse Demos
So full disclosure, this is a band that I was in a couple of decades ago. However, this album is post-Ralph, and I believe to be one of their better efforts. I don’t believe I have ever given my old friend Ben Schneider nearly enough credit for his singing, mostly due to my own stupid jealousy that he got to take the place that I abandoned singing for these goddamn yahoos. These are a bunch of awesome songs that deserve to be heard and loved and held up as the rock n roll magic that they are. Cheers, Benny. I wish I was as good a friend to you as you were to me.
Get it here, and pay what you like:
This Half-assed Review Entry
Look, they can’t all be winners, right? I wrote this piecemeal here and there and finally decided to just post the damn thing so I can get it out of the queue, and move on with my life. Follow me on Twitter, @RDPullins, buy my book Antiartists (the kindle version is $1.99 right now, and maybe I don’t know what my book is worth, but I guarantee it’s a whole fuckload more than two bucks). I have completely abandoned Facebook, but you can like my book’s page there if you like. I owe a few more reviews to some great friends and authors, so if you don’t see your book here, I haven’t forgotten; you will probably be on the next one. Cheers.