Thursday, December 22, 2011

Music Review: Pterodactyl

Spills Out (Brah)
Pterodactyl take the falsetto vocals of early Who, Beatles and Beach Boys, bring it to a boil in Brooklyn, then bake it in the studio for days on end before serving it to an unsuspecting public. The result is a delicious blend of shimmering pop tunes with plenty of hooks and almost more sounds than a soft squishy brain can absorb in one sitting. That’s understandable, the record is layered with vocals and guitar tracks, organs, megaphones and toy keyboards which has the tendency to send songs into the realm of otherworldliness—they seem to want to scatter and veer off into every different direction at once. Surprisingly, however, they are secured by some sort of invisible fence that keeps it all together... might be the rhythm section doing that anchoring but it's tough to tell. It's something that I'd rather appreciate without thinking too much about—Jubson Jones [Pterodactyl]

Always read Reglar Wiglar!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Decline of Eastern Civilization

PUNKS NOT DEAD! It was just in Indonesia.

Thanks Dan Kiss!

Music Review: Michael Yonkers with The Blind Shake

Period (S.S. Records)
Michael Yonkers is the kind of musical figure that music geeks really like to geek out over (no offense to geeks): He’s obscure, he’s got an unfortunate back story, he suffers from an unfortunate back injury and he's got a back catalog that stretches back over five decades. Yonker’s tale of failure in the mainstream music industry was the shelving of his Miniature Love record by Sire in the late 60s. Now considered a psychedelic masterpiece by more than a few aficionados of the genre, it has since been released by both De Stilj Records and Sub Pop. Yonkers wrote a series of bleak folk albums after Microminature Love which have also seen re-release on various small labels, but his work with Blind Shake is his return to form in terms of heavy, challenging pysch rock. Which brings us to their latest collaboration, Period. This eleven song album of heavy, metallic blues and crushing noise guitar is a terminal punctuation point with Yonker's deadpan vocal delivery cutting through the chaos to make us feel just a little more alienated. Not that we need any help driving in that direction. Hopefully, this period doesn't mark the end of Yonker's output but refers rather to a particular section of time. Or maybe I'm just reading too much into that title. Probably—Jubson Jones [Michael Yonkers]

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Comics News: Canuck Comics Publisher Does Digital

The venerable Canadian comics publisher, Drawn & Quarterly, has partnered with Canadian e-book seller Kobo Books to release two comics on Kobo’s Vox tablet. Chester Brown gets the nod as the first comics artist to see his work move to the digital platform. Brown’s Louis Riel: A Comic Strip Biography (which snagged Chester a Harvey Award in 2006) as well as his more recent work, Paying For It: A Comic Strip Memoir About Being a John are being offered in time for the holidays. More titles will be available in the New Year with proceeds from the sales of future e-books being split 50/50 between D&Q and the artists. Read more at Publishers Weekly.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Comic Review: My Life in Records

By Grant Thomas
My Life in Records is a comic book about Grant’s life in records. Records, as in the vinyl variety. The book is proportionate to a 45 record, but smaller, and features an A side and a B side. Side A starts with "Prologue," in which Grant waxes nostalgic on his formative years listening to, and playing music. “Side by Side” is a story, perhaps autobiographical, about three young brothers and their early love of drawing and listening to records, Bert and Ernie in particular. Side B features two more short tales on the effects music had on Grant as a kid. "Little Wooden Head" concerns Grant's Pinocchio worship and "Bad Mountain Record" recounts the time Grant played one of his parents' good records on a crappy Fisher-Price turntable. You can almost hear that needle scratchChris Auman

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Cassette Review: Panda Kid

Scary Monster Juice (Already Dead Tapes)
Panda Kid is a one man band from Vicenza, Italy who bashes out batches of home recordings that will play well on blown out speakers. With a guitar (acoustic or electric), a couple drums, harmonica and maybe some keys, Panda Kid works out his lo-fi muse on fuzzy indie rock. The Kid rides alternate waves from track to track, surfing from island pop ("Surfer Girl") to catchy hooks ("Junkie Girl"), lush pop washouts ("Confidences") to short instrumental weirdness ("Panda in Space") all in the span of a ten track cassette tape. And not only that, Scary Monster Juice sports a 3-D cover. Take that James Cameron, you hack!—Jubson Jones [Panda Kid]

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Comics Review: Armstrong

An On-line Graphic Novel by David Halvorson
Comics artist David Halvorson has created a three-part (so far) on-line graphic novel in which pint-sized super heroes battle evil during recess at Armstrong Elementary School. Fourth grade characters like Clinton, (the drawling cowboy sheriff), Scrap and Yoshi (super heroes in their own right) wage war against cootie plagues, schoolyard zombies and treasure hungry pirates. In addition to being a talented artist, Halvorson is a good writer and storyteller. His fantastical playground tales flow well and the writing is clever and quite funny. Creating a comic specifically for the web allows for Halvorson to execute some cool visual tricks on the page. Like their print counterparts, on-line comics are still read from top to bottom, left to right, but because you’re scrolling down, the action is hidden until you get to it. The impulse to sneak a peak at the panels of facing pages has been removed in this format. This allows the artist to create an almost cinematic visual effect, like the opening of the third chapter "Rise of The Wreckyard." The top of the page starts with a few descending word bubbles set against a blue sky. It pans down to a blazing, playground pirate ship where a fierce battle is being fought on deck. It's a nice contrast that would be difficult to pull off in an old school comic. The tales of Armstrong Elementary are still unfolding with “The Ballad of Sheriff Davenport" up next. Bookmark itChris Auman [ Armstrong]

Always read Reglar Wiglar!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Muggsy McMurphy's Top 20 (September 22nd, 1986)

Mötley Crüe
Iron Maiden
Judas Priest
Twisted Sister
Bon Jovi
David Lee Roth
Ozzy Osbourne
Deep Purple
White Snake
Metal Church
Van Halen
Great White

Monday, December 12, 2011

Comics Review: Dodo Comics #2

By Grant Thomas
Issue number 2 of Grant Thomas’s Dodo Comics continues in the vein of its predecessor (that’d be Dodo Comic #1, if you’ve been keeping track). There are four strips in #2. The first is an homage to Sergio Leone in which Grant duplicates the Spaghetti Western director's close-up/long-shot film-making style in comic panel form. There’s an art school inspired strip, "Drawing from Life," concerning the sketching of live nudes. Grant attempts a comics pantoum with "Visions of Johanna’s Concert," in which certain panels repeat at certain points much like the poetic form. Lastly is, “Why Have You Shut Your Eyes,” the second installment of stories Grant took from the sayings of the desert fathers and mothers—Chris Auman

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Friday, December 09, 2011

Reglar Wiglar Interview: Summer Girlfriends

Summer Girlfriends play an easy, breezy brand of rock music that connects the pop dots from the early sixties to the late 70s. They only have one summer under their belts as a band so far, but they've already released two songs via Facebook and have a full-length LP in the can (slated for an early 2012 release on Addenda Records).

What better way to get psyched for another long, cold, crappy winter than to daydream with (or about) Summer Girlfriends? Let's do that now!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Shannon Wheeler Occupies Wall Street for TCJ

 From The Comics Journal.

Zine Review: Dream Whip #1-10

Bill Brown (Microcosm)
Dream Whip is an unabridged compilation of Bill Brown's long-running zine of the same name. Seems like Bill did a lot of traveling between 1994 and 1999 and his zine chronicles that time on the road. DW is filled with short pieces, both fictional and nonfictional observations, comics, drawings and tidbits cut out of local newspapers and tourist brochures. The writing style can come off sounding like that of a freshman writing student at times. It suffers from simile overload in places and it seeks to flatter Beat writers in its imitation, but that's likely a result of a young writer trying to find a voice of his own. There's much improvement by issue number ten which Bill instructs readers to treat as a road map of his travels from Texas to Canada and back againChris Auman

Always read Reglar Wiglar!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Zine Review: Hey Hey Lonesome

Adam Gnade (Punch Drunk Press)
This novella, by author and musician Adam Gnade, is intended to introduce readers to the characters that will appear in Adam’s forthcoming novel. It's a prequel, if you will, that follows the characters around San Diego in the hours leading up to a party where all of their paths will cross. It is at this point that the novel (finished but as yet unpublished) will begin. Hey Hey Lonesome is a part of a series of fiction and music that loosely ties together various characters through songs and stories. The work is intended to convey a picture of contemporary American life the way American Graffiti portrayed life in the early 60s or more recently Dazed and Confused in the mid 70s. Similarly, the characters in Hey Hey Lonesome are young, shiftless, in or out of love, bored, under the influence, or all of the above. Adam's prose style even reads like a script at times. The viewpoints of the characters are first person and we hear their inner monologues, but the scenes and action are described like stage directions, sometimes parenthetically. It is unclear at this point how the characters' lives will intersect and how they will interact with each other, but the scene has been set for the full story to begin. Stay tunedChris Auman []

Always read Reglar Wiglar!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Comics Review: Dodo Comics #1

By Grant Thomas
Grant Thomas is a cartoonist and art teacher living in Champaign, Illinois and DoDo Comics is his latest comics series. Rather than simply draw autobiographical strips about life’s everyday occurrences, Grant experiments with the comics form. Using an idea expounded upon by Neil Cohen at, Grant treats his strips as visual poetry. By establishing a rhythm through the repetition of certain types of panels (polymorphic, amorphic, macro and micro refiner) at certain points, Grant seeks to create a poetic continuity while challenging his skills as an artist and storyteller. “Where Do Ideas Come From?” (they come from Idea Gnomes btw) is one such attempt where Grant employs this technique. In other strips, Grant incorporates lyrics from Dylan’s “Visions of Johanna" in his own version, "Visions of Gehenna"; he offers his own interpretation of the biblical story of the Tower of Babel as well as adaptations of pages found in the magna Lone Wolf and Cub and AkiraChris Auman

Always read Reglar Wiglar!