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?)

Hey man, nice shot. Now follow me and then I’ll follow you.

It’s been a while. Time for another liquid burner and chaser.

Alternative Rock

Don't worry. They get makeovers once they get famous.

First up…Filter. Formed in 1995. Not really big fans. However, the first album, Short Bus, has an aggressive song that will be today’s eye-melter. The reason we like this song is that it reminds us of an angry day when we were driving too fast down the freeway with no particular reason for doing so. “Hey man, nice shot” came on the radio and we belted out an off-key accompaniment until the fire burned itself out and then it was sort of mellow for the rest of the drive to our destination. Lesson learned? Nothing — until we read up on the song. Apparently, it’s about the high-profile, on-air suicide of a political official several years ago. And here we had thought all these years it was about a pickup basketball game. We also learned that driving down the freeway too fast is illegal and dangerous. Buckle up and settle down, kids. [And for our recent readers from India … stay in your damn lanes. “Line driving is fine driving, but lane driving is sane driving.” Line driving makes a commute more interesting but ya’ll are nuts.] This public service announcement was brought to you by the letter Beta.

Pop rock

That's right Phil. Just go through the door. Mediocre pop rock awaits. Can't you smell the Sussudio?

Like Filter, our interest in Genesis is spotty. Yes, yes, yes! We know. Genesis is high brow. Truly intellectual pop culturalists appreciate the progressive sounds and subtle nuances of sublime resonance and the waves of aesthetically pleasing sounds and sociological expression and whatever. Got it. Still don’t care for the music much, with or with Peter Gabriel (although we really like “Shock the Monkey”, Pete). We do have to say that Phil’s first solo venture is in our short list of favorites. Pretty much the whole album pleases us.

Genesis is just one of those bands we try to like but just can’t muster the energy to do so. Nonetheless, we respect the artistry. Sort of. But this song is just so damn warm and cool, and even-breathing and breath-catching all at once. Don’t over think it. Enjoy.

Throat Burner and Chaser: Heaven & Hell is no place for a Girl from Ipanema

It’s been a while since we did one of these, so it’s time for another loud and aggressive song followed by a mellow and soft ditty. Up first, Black Sabbath. Yes, we’ve done Sabbath before but besides liking BS (our blog is full of it), we’re pulling from a different iteration of the band.

Black Sabbath Heavy MetalAs the 1970’s ended, so did Ozzy’s stint with the band. Burned out, lacking creative direction, and absorbing enough hooch and kite fliers to kill six men, Ozzy Osbourne was dropped from the band. Ozzy actually didn’t know about the firing until six weeks later when he came out of a drug-induced coma and showed up at the studio to record. He and Tony Iommi got into it, one thing led to another, and Sharon Arden (daughter of band manager Don Arden and later Mrs. Sharon Osbourne) was called in to cool things down. Shortly after arriving, she got popped accidentally by Geezer Butler who had joined the fray after Ozzy called him Tony’s bitch. Sharon, hothead that she is and already developing a sweet spot for Ozzy, was having none of that sort sort of thing, so she knifed Geezer who went down for the count and ended up in the hospital for four weeks (he’s never forgiven Sharon and they still don’t speak to this day). Ronnie James Dio was visiting from the U.S. and recording next door with Kate Bush (the pair had hooked up after meeting at an awards ceremony (they were just guests) in New York the previous year). Emerging from his studio, Ronnie stumbled onto the scene and attempted to intervene. By this time, Tony had Ozzy in a headlock and was putting some well placed punches into his kidneys. Wailing like a deer speared on an ornamental iron fence (what the hell kind of reference is that?), Ozzy’s pitiful cry unnerved Ronnie who promptly placed a hex on Tony. In a catatonic daze, Tony rolled off Ozzy. Gasping for breath, Ozzy stood up and started kicking Tony in the ribs. Sharon, ever the professional, had re-acquired her composure and pulled Ozzy away. Taking pity on the badly beaten Ozzy, she led him to the upstairs offices where she calmed him down and made sweet rock and roll love to him for the first time. Apparently something clicked, because they’re still together.

Rock and Roll Love

This is what rock and roll marriage looks like before plastic surgery and an overdose.

Rock and Roll Marriage

And, here's the "after." By this time, Ozzy had bitten off his tongue so he's resorted to slobbering on Sharon.

Anyway, back downstairs, paramedics had shown up and were attending to Geezer. Ronnie removed the hex on Tony and struck up a conversation. The two hit it off and Tony asked Ronnie if he’d like to record a couple of tracks.  Initially not really planning to hire Ronnie as Ozzy’s replacement, within two hours it was clear that they should be playing together. Just so. Ronnie was now heading up Sabbath.

Kate Bush

Kate Bush. Apparently she sings.

Kate Bush had been flitting in and out of the hallway where the melee was taking place and once she was able to get a hold of Ronnie again, she begged him to come back with her to finish the duet they had been working on. Ronnie refused. Flabbergasted, Kate asked why. He responded: “Cuz I’m Ronnie James, bitch!” That ended the project and their relationship. Bush sidelined her work for a year while she recuperated emotionally at Shrublands Health Clinic (which you may remember is the same place James Bond was sent to at the outset of Thunderball). After returning, she finished recording and released Never For Ever. Incidentally, a few years later she referenced  her nine month relationship with Ronnie in her titular song “Hounds of Love” (Hounds of Love, 1985).

Heavy Metal

Ronnie was only 5'4" so photographers had to do some tricky shoots to make him appear more in alignment with the height of his bandmates.

Heavy Metal

See? Clever. Put Ronnie on the top step. Presto! He's not longer an imp! Actually, he still looks like one, huh?

Anyway, so where was Bill Ward in all of this? Once the dust had settled, he was discovered sitting in the recording booth eating a Subway sandwich and watching West Indies kick England’s ass with 289 total (9 wickets, 60 overs) in the Cricket World Cup. Incidentally, Bill left the band the following year, declaring Ronnie James Dio was simply too short to be a Prince of Darkness.

Black SabbathThe first outing with Ronnie James was a tour de force — Sabbath’s first real success since Sabatoge (although we think Never Say Die doesn’t get a fair shake – certainly not traditional Sabbath and admittedly one hell of a mess, yet, still some really interesting music). Heaven and Hell was one of only two studio albums that the newly formed group recorded together. What a shame. This and Mob Rules were two very good albums.

So anyway, the opener “Neon Knights” is the biggest hit and best song off the album. Here you go.


Ready for the chaser? This time around it’s a favorite from the 1960’s and Brazil. Yes, we kind of did a Brazil thing before when we chased a chaser with Gal Costa.

Brazil holds a special place for us. Besides having lived there around 1969-1970, it is a land of a beautiful coast, beautiful people, beautiful music, and a beautiful language. The popular myth is that German is the language of love (or French … they both sound Greek to us), but it is Portuguese, particularly Brazilian Portuguese, that makes us swoon.

In our minds, the best way to describe Brazil is through an exercise. Go outside on a warm day, take a slow, deep breath through the nose, hold it for three seconds and release it the same way it came in.  Of course, it helps if where you’re at when you do this exercise sounds like a beach and the air has a soft salty waft to it.


Captains of Industry are we!

Girl from IpanemaIpanema is the beach in Rio de Janeiro made famous by the Bossa Nova musical movement in the 1960’s. Strangely, the word “Ipanema” is an “Indian” word for “stinky lake.” Well, this stinky lake is home of the Brazilian equivalent to the beach society in the south of France.  The music for the iconic song “The Girl from Ipanema” (“Garota de Ipanema” in its original Portuguese) was written by one of Bossa Nova’s early creators, Antônio Carlos Jobim. The original Portuguese lyrics were written by Vinicius de Moraes and the English lyrics were written later by Norman Gimbel. [By the way, we put “Indian” in quotes because we hate that misappropriation of the term. Columbus’ error has had over 500 years to be corrected but, hey, we still use the damn Imperial measurement system too. Holy hell, only three (THREE!) countries are left in the world that still use that old measurement system. The U.S. is one of them, and…drum roll…Liberia and “Myanmar.” Liberia isn’t really a country. It’s a botched effort to fix one of history’s greatest horrors. Go read up on it yourselves. We’re too upset. And you can imagine what we feel about “Myanmar” (yeah, that’s right you loony junta-ists — we’re putting your “official” name in quotes because it’s really Burma unless Aung San Suu Kyi and the people decide otherwise).]

Helo Pinheiro“The Girl from Ipanema” was written in homage to a young and beautiful Brazilian girl that passed by a bar where Jobim and Moraes were enjoying a repose. The young lady, Helô Pinheiro, typified the people of the Ipaneman leisure class beach culture and she became famous for her part in inspiring the song. She cashed in on her celebrity and has had her 15+ minutes in the spotlight including a creepy Playboy shoot with her adult daughter. That aside, the song and it’s surrounding elements were pressed to vinyl at a perfect time since Bossa Nova was becoming quite popular worldwide.

The English version of the song was sung by Astrud Gilberto, whose more thorough history we are going to forego (sorry) because we spent way too much time on this post. To summarize: Astrud was born of a German father and a Brazilian mother, was married to Brazilian songster João Gilberto (who came to the U.S. to record Bossa Nova records as the musical style started becoming popular here), was tagged to sing the English language studio version of “The Girl from Ipanema” because she was the only one in the visiting troupe that spoke English and in spite of never having been trained professionally prior to the recording, went on to international stardom for “Girl” and other songs, who divorced Gilberto and hooked up with Stan Getz who was the dude that João had been partnering with to make Bossa records in the U.S. (making us wonder if foul play was afoot but we don’t want to expend the effort to find out), and who loves animals.

And finally, nós presentamos … the English language version of “The Girl from Ipanema”

She looks uncomfortable doesn’t she? Don’t be nervous, Astrud. You sing marvelously.

Lyrics for The Girl from Ipanema

Tall and tan and young and lovely,
the girl from Ipanema goes walking,
And when she passes,
each one she passes goes – ah
When she walks, she’s like a samba,
that swings so cool and sways so gently
That when she passes, each one she passes goes – aah

Ooh, but he watches so sadly,
How can he tell her he loves her,
Yes he would give his heart gladly,
but instead when she walks to the sea,
she looks straight ahead not at he,

Tall, and tan, and young, and lovely,
the girl from Ipanema goes walking
And when she passes, he smiles – but she doesn’t see

Ooh, but he sees her so sadly,
How can he tell her he loves her
Yes he would give his heart gladly,
But each day, when she walks to the sea
She looks straight ahead, not at he

Tall, and tan, and young, and lovely,
the girl from Ipanema goes walking
And when she passes, he smiles – but she doesn’t see


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?

Prime your Tool for a Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Tool (Rock Band)

Time for another entry in our rot gut & chaser thingy. Today we’re thinking about “Sober” by Tool. Why we likey? It’s a gloriously wrenching song with bleak lyrics sung in soul-bottom anguish. Yes, ultimately it’s a pop song (it went all the way to “13” on the 1994 U.S. pop charts) but pop culture is what this blog is all about. Besides, one takes away what one wants from any experience and we like to think that “Sober” can be a personal anthem of engulfing self-defeat…… self-defeat all the way to the bank, hey Maynard?!

Besides, the video is excellent. Stop motion weirdness. What is that nasty goop coursing through the broken pipe? Poop? Sewage? A massive tape worm?  Sausage? Only the man with the vibrating arm will ever know. As for the lyrics, we think they are actually quite well expressed but we have no idea what they mean (besides the obvious) and no Internet searching has turned up anything reliable. Share your thoughts in a comment if you’d like.

Have a listen, why don’t you?

The Chaser: “Doll on a Music Box/Truly Scrumptious” from the musical film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968). It’s just so pretty.

Musical Movie

We rather enjoy this movie, in spite of the mixed critical review. Here’s what we like about it:

1) The title. As kids we thought it was a whimsical name for a movie and it made us laugh.

2) The fact that Ian Fleming wrote the book that the movie is loosely based on and that Roald Dahl adapted the screenplay. How cool is that? Is it a surprise, by the way, that the female lead character’s name is Truly Scrumptious? And isn’t it funny that Gert Frobe (Goldfinger) was cast as Baron Bomburst? And what about the gadgety car?

3) Benny Hill. Bawdy Benny. What the hell is he doing in a children’s movie? The same thing Shel Silverstein is doing in children’s books.

4) One of the scariest villains ever! At least to us when we were kids. The Child Catcher is like The Joker in the creep factor department.

5) The songs! The 1950’s and 1960’s musicals were chock full of catchy tunes and this movie is no different.

6) Dick Van Dyke in his prime. Funny guy.

7) Sally Anne Howes in her prime. Even as kids we thought she was dreamy.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on Blu-ray is in our Trading Post list by the way.