For a few weeks now, I’ve been listening to the latest effort from the Aquabats, and contemplating my critique. Having done a number of reviews and critiques over the years, this one has been the hardest, because it is such a unique project. I have heard of the Aquabats but had never heard their music until now. So, rather than review this by comparing and contrasting it with past works, I am simply going to focus on this particular body of work.
So, to point out the obvious… this is not your “typical” band. With their spandex “rash guard” super hero shirts and their anti-negativity helmets, they not only deliver everything you would want from a world famous rock band, but they also travel the planet in their highly customized Winnebego fighting crime, including notorious bad guys like Gasface and Kitty Litter.
Or at least that’s what I hear.
So, on to the music… It’s juvenile, cheesier than cheetos in nacho sauce, completely over-the-top, borderline ridiculous, and… FUN! It’s actually refreshing to have something on my iPod that is fun, light-hearted, energetic, and full of satire. Continue Reading →
Vol 1 No. 8, Week of April 18, 2011
In this issue: A (non-Arcade Fire) Mormon storms the Canadian music awards scene; Cary Judd tries out a new career path; Low and Uncle Jesse’s project comes to fruition; The Steelwells get remixed; Mayan Fox mash up; SHeDAISY talk breakfast, Aquabats, Neon Trees, and Brandon Flowers do Coachella; Jennifer Thomas give a tutorial on instrumentation, and more.
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Vol 1 No. 5, Week of March 28, 2011
In this issue: Some linescratchers break up! The Pearl and the Beard make the rest of us feel like worthless lumps! Gladys Knight takes on Vegas and Amtrak! The Aquabats! make the rest of us feel like real go-getters! Low does some stuff! I include a bowdlerized Jawbreaker reference! and more!
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Vol 1 No. 2, Week of February 28, 2011
In this issue: Gladys Knight, The Aquabats!, bands and people with rather more tenuous connections to Mormonism, a story about a ward talent show that you’ll not soon forget, Porter Rockwell, Spencer W. Kimball, and much more.
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When a member of The Aquabats! gives you free backstage passes to one of their shows just to give you a signed copy of his book, you know that he really feels strongly about the message contained therein, and that’s exactly what happened with A Sound Salvation: Rock N’ Roll As A Religion by Ian Fowles. As soon as he handed it to me, I opened it up to a random page and saw a large section on The Hold Steady, and knew I was going to love it. The basic premise of the book is that traditional religions in the United States, such as Christianity, have steadily declined over the last century, especially among young people, and that, for many, Rock N’ Roll has taken its place. Fowles argues that Rock N’ Roll is not just a past-time; for some, it functions precisely in the way religion does for its adherents.
This is not a new idea. Most scenies, hipsters, and people in the musical community are aware that some approach Rock N’ Roll religiously, devoting their time and energy to it and hailing its saints as more than human. Fowles’ book is unique in that it makes a point-by-point argument for this idea, using the definition of religion from the Encyclopedia of Religion, edited by Eliade. Though I was skeptical at first, his entertaining and easy-to-read book had me fully convinced by the end, with one crucial qualification, noted below. Interested readers and fans of Ian Fowles might want to know that the first run of 300 copies are all hand-numbered and signed by the author. The link to get a copy is at the bottom of this review. Continue Reading →