Kitty vs. Kittie

Who’s a pretty kitty, then?

Hello Kitty
Hello Kitty JapanJust the facts: Japanese children’s character introduced in 1974 (and whose trinkets and tchotchkes were found EVERYWHERE in Bangkok when we lived there in the mid 1970s). Like Japanese Knotweed, Hello Kitty invaded our shores not long after her introduction and has crept around making a nuisance of herself. Alright, to be fair, we have kind of a soft spot for her, probably due to the fact that we had a bunch of her paraphenalia as kids and it reminds us of four wonderful years in Thailand. We miss thee oh heavenly kingdom!

Kittie (Alternative Metal Band)
Female Heavy Metal artistsJust the facts: Formed in 1996 in Canada by a group of teenage girls that began a lifelong trek into anger after being cut from a gymnastics team. Most of the parents of the members were part of a folk-singing troupe that encouraged their children’s musical talents although in later years several have come to regret spanking them as toddlers.

Lamb of God forgives David Gray

We were feeling musical tonight and since we haven’t done one of these in a while, here’s a new Firewater and Chaser combo.

Death Metal

Within every genre of pop music, there is a mountain of poo with the occasional gem hidden in the mess. Such it is with death metal. There are soooooooo many bands that sound like they trying way too hard to be angry, aggressive, or whatever. Most of them just sound interchangeable. If you’ve heard one vocalist scream with that growling demonic thing and thought “hey, that sounds just like the last guy” you’re not alone. It’s hard to be a bone-crusher when you’re boring the parents of the kids that listen to that detritus. So, groups like Lamb of God are refreshing. In the sea of mediocrity, Lamb of God actually sounds interesting.

You know how we don’t like to bother with a lot of biographical detail when we do these fireball and coolant duos. That’s what Wikipedia or Allmusic are for. But we like to glean the essentials because, like us, you are a product of the 3-second generation and … see? You’re already losing interest. “On with the music, damn you!” OK, OK, settle down. We still have to write something that the search engines will glom onto.

Lamb of God: Formed in 1994 in Virginia. Followed the same trite formula of religious provocation and antagonism (really? is invoking Satan so outrageous anymore? Wall Street execs listen to Jason Mraz just before scribing demon circles to call up the servants of the Dread Lord of Darkness). Lamb of God has released seven mainstream albums — all of them pretty decent compilations within their dirty corner of modern popular music.

Other than that, they’re kind of hairy 40-somethings. Here’s your moment of discomfort:


And, here’s your chaser.

Popular MusicDavid Gray is a British guy that was formed in 1968. He does moody, kinda folksy pieces. Sometimes he jams on his acoustic guitar but it’s mostly non-threatening. There are plenty of contemporary adult alt-pop coffeehouse musicians (that’s a genre, right?) but, like Lamb of God, David is more interesting. His songs make us breathe and think about things like yogurt and winter sunrises. Kind of bleak but not in a bad sort of way. So, kind of like the British as a whole. Pasty and listless but wonderful company nonetheless. (Hey, hey. Shout out to our limey cousins who periodically wander to this sector of the Internub. Represent).

We really like his smash hit “Babylon”, but since we already did a post with a song that was titled as much, we’ll choose another favorite: “Please Forgive Me.” (Damn! We just realized this song is 13 years old. What the hell? Seems like just a couple of years ago. Oy vey.)

Since we’re now kind of in the mood for music from the hip single scene, here’s a cover of “Dancing in the Moonlight” by Toploader (originally recorded by King Harvest in 1973).  We aren’t sure if we want to beat the crap out of these people or join in the frolicking. Maybe we can do both? Frolicking first, though. Hard to dance with shattered femurs.

Alright, fine! If we’re going to do the cover, we might as well do the original. Here’s “Dancing in the Moonlight” by King Harvest. (What’s an everbawduh?)


Today’s hard swill and chaser combo brings us two versions of “Hafanana.” Boney NEM is up first.

Бони НЕМБони НЕМ (Boney NEM) rocks this catchy little ditty with their Russian metal bravado. Who are we to judge their song choice? Keep in mind that these are the same blokes that covered “Strangers in the Night.” Why are these lads so rough? Well, glad you asked. And… here comes the lazy part because we’re not going to spend a lot of time (read: any time at all) researching the background of the band and since the only Wiki entries we found are in Russian and German and we don’t know either of these languages because it’s hard enough to know “American” so … we don’t even remember what we were getting at here – something about … oh yeah, we’re not going to put effort into regaling you with actual facts about Boney NEM, dammit, so here’s what we are making up on the spot about the band’s background:

It was in 1947 when Uncle Joe was purging and the rest of the world was taking a snoozer that Mr. Boris (of course) Smith-Kozlov first considered the possibility of putting together a troupe of travelling musicians. His efforts were cut short, however, when he was picked up by the local contingent of secret police. Oh, hell, we’re boring ourselves. Long story short … lots of vodka (of course) … woman with sausages for fingers … then a thriller of a plan to escape to the west which never materialized … was his first setback in creating a superstar international sensation … pickles … rehab was of no use … and if he hadn’t been in Berlin in 1972 he wouldn’t have met his muse, Marlena which would have meant … started out in bars and local dance clubs but … and that’s how the bony boys met their Maker. But before that, they put out a lot of silly songs. A lot (maybe most – we can’t say for sure) of the songs were covers of popular songs that were not metal. Like punk covers, it’s fun to hear a diluted  artist’s song revved up and bringing the pain.

Enough with the pleasantries. Here’s Boney NEM’s cover of “Hafanana!”

HafananaSo, who was it that brought us this gem of song originally? Why it was Afric Simone of course. Who is Afric Simone? Well, we’re glad you asked. Again, with the laziness. Afric Simone was the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Commerce during the Nixon presidency. While his colleagues fell like flies around him, Afric was never implicated in any scandal. It was no surprise really. Everyone who knew Afric thought well of him and the words “integrity” and “fellowship of the ring” and all that were synonymous with Afric’s good name.  In 1981, however, that all changed. When rumors of marital infidelities and questionable close-door meetings with Ben Fritzwilling, then the head of Chevron’s controversial oesmetic elemental separation program, began to surface, Afric first resigned and then quickly left the country to return to his father’s home in Kenya. There is almost no record of his activities for the next decade or so, but in the mid-1990’s his name began to surface again in political junkets. To everyone’s surprise, Afric surged out of nowhere to participate in the heated Nairobi mayoral race of 1998. He lost of course. Hakembe Betowansa took the prize and went on to hold the position until 2006 when he was assassinated by a Ugandan contingent claiming to be a faction of the Pan-African People’s Express. Anyway, long story short, Afric is Barak Obama’s half-brother.

And here’s the original version of “Hafanana.” Sorry that the video blacks out part of the way through. But, you get to enjoy Afric’s dexterity and a barely clothed African babe for a bit, so quit complaining.

Well, we suppose if we’re going to do the “Hafanana” thing, it’s inevitable that the immensely catchy and danceable song would end up on the Bollywood circuit. Here’s a freebie for you.

Hrithik Roshan is a popular Indian actor, dancer, or something. And boy is he ever so super-dreamy! Just look at that hair and muscles (which he has graciously provided for our viewing pleasure)! Actually, we have to admit we were paying more attention to the honies next to him, but whatever. He’s still a hottie for our female and gay and ambiguously-inclined audience. Here’s another Bollywood-ish dance extravaganza covering the song du jour. And we all know how much Comics A-Go-Go! loves Bollywood.

Hafanana, sahib!

Bollywood Dancing

Never mind Hrithik Roshan. Who's the hottie in the red top?

Let’s Play Twister with Fear Factory and Herb Alpert

Time for another rotgut and mild refreshment mix.

Fear Factory. Formed in 1990. Mostly a fusion of death metal and industrial electronica. Here from the expanded version of their 1998 Obsolete is Messiah. Pretty simple song really but good at keeping the fingers tapping if played very loudly.

Today’s chaser is Herb Alpert‘s “Angelina” off his big solo album Rise from 1980.  Kind of  a Jimmy Buffet gig but with singing replaced with trumpeteering. We like it because it reminds us of a beach at sunset with outdoor grills … lots of food, lots of friends, lots of fun. On the other hand, it also makes us think of tourists in ugly tropical shirts that think immersing themselves into the local culture is buying some stupid little leather and wood statuette because all of the natives must have them and it is surely a good way to let the kids know that Mom & Dad went on a great big adventure.  It also reminds us of a a James Bond movie from the Roger Moore era (o, travesty) where Mr. Bond walks into an outdoor beach bar wearing a white polyester suit and fat tie holding liver-killing beverate, smiling smarmily at leggy girls in large brim hats and big round sunglasses as they laugh obligatorily at the jokes of old, sunburned rich men with hairy chests, big guts and skinny legs. Yes, the 1970’s were hell. If ever there was a decade to remove from the annals of time. Nonetheless, Rise closes out the decade (yes it was released in 1980, but it really belonged in 1979) with several songs that, while tremendously dated now, are still immensely enjoyable. Hope you agree. Don’t care if you don’t.

And just because we’re feeling lazy, here are some other ones we suggest might be worth a listen.

Nina Hagen. What we specifically remember about our first listen back in the 80’s of Nunsexmonkrock is that Nina was nuts. Or at least a great show person. It’s no surprise really that the bi-product of a post-Nazi cum Communist East Germany FUBAR would not be a well-grounded, socially graceful, delicate flower. No, Nina was much more like sandpaper chaps. Here for your listening pleasure is “Born in Xixac.” Nina pokes the USSR in the eye and chainsaws her way through a quirky little tune.

The Roots with Cody ChestnuTT. “Seed 2.0” … kind of an odd ditty about agricultural reproduction. The guitar track is super catchy, though.

System of a Down ♥ Owl City

Yet another rum-diddly-um hard liquor and chaser combo. Told you we were going to do this one.

Nu-Metal RageToxicity” is the eponymous title track for System of a Down‘s 2001 album (10 years old!?! – jeez, where does the time go?). The big hit of the album is “Chop Suey.” “Aerials” brings it too, but “Toxicity” takes a rough slash through the vein that neatly summarizes the sensibilities of the happy-joy-joy boys of SOAD. By the way, the name “System of a Down” derives from a poem Daron Malakian (guitarist) wrote about victims of a corrupt establishment. The word “Victims” was changed to “System” because it sounded more ominous or something, and voila – a confusing band name.  Not that we much care. The music rocks. Sometimes, one is distracted by the preachy and counter-intuitive (peace through violence or something)  messages , but by gum, those Armani-Americans (what now? Oh, Armenian-Americans) sure channel their rage into some good stuff. Keep the faith brothers.

Alright. Alright. We can tell you want it. Us too. Off the same album, here’s “Chop Suey.” What an awesome song. Video’s kind of cool in a mainstream, slick kind of way. As for the answer to your question, Serj Tankian, the Father has forsaken you because on your next studio release you told us all to “Steal This Album” but you didn’t really mean it. Dick.

On to the chaser …

Barney just saw Owl City in concert with his daughter. The rot about it being syrupy goop is all wrong. Owl City (a happy-emo-poppish project by a dude named Adam Young) is actually more like cotton candy. Cotton candy on a cloud. With soft cotton T-shirts. Listen to “Toxicity” first and follow immediately with Owl City’s biggest hit “Fireflies.” It’s like being on fire, then pouring cool water on yourself to put out the flames but then realizing that the burns won’t go away. So, you close your eyes, find your happy place and dream of flying.

And here’s the official video.

By the way, did you notice Carla Gugino’s younger sister Breanne Düren on keyboards?


Lyrics to Owl City Fireflies – written by Adam Young

You would not believe your eyes
If ten million fireflies
Lit up the world as I fell asleep

‘Cause they’d fill the open air
And leave teardrops everywhere
You’d think me rude
But I would just stand and stare

I’d like to make myself believe
That planet Earth turns slowly
It’s hard to say that I’d rather stay
Awake when I’m asleep
‘Cause everything is never as it seems

‘Cause I’d get a thousand hugs
From ten thousand lightning bugs
As they tried to teach me how to dance

A foxtrot above my head
A sock hop beneath my bed
A disco ball is just hanging by a thread

I’d like to make myself believe
That planet Earth turns slowly
It’s hard to say that I’d rather stay
Awake when I’m asleep
‘Cause everything is never as it seems
When I fall asleep

Leave my door open just a crack
(Please take me away from here)
‘Cause I feel like such an insomniac
(Please take me away from here)

Why do I tire of counting sheep
(Please take me away from here)
When I’m far too tired to fall asleep

To ten million fireflies
I’m weird ’cause I hate goodbyes
I got misty eyes as they said farewell

But I’ll know where several are
If my dreams get real bizarre
‘Cause I saved a few and I keep them in a jar

I’d like to make myself believe
That planet Earth turns slowly
It’s hard to say that I’d rather stay
Awake when I’m asleep
‘Cause everything is never as it seems
When I fall asleep

I’d like to make myself believe
That planet Earth turns slowly
It’s hard to say that I’d rather stay
Awake when I’m asleep
‘Cause everything is never as it seems
When I fall asleep

I’d like to make myself believe
That planet earth turns slowly
It’s hard to say that I’d rather stay
Awake when I’m asleep
Because my dreams are bursting at the seams