Listen to This: Portugal, You Are the Man!

 

A few months ago I went out to a local bar for a thing I never thought I’d go out for: music night. Ugh — is there anything worse than listening to whatever band happened to convince the bar owner to give them a night on stage? It’s like going to amateur hour at the comedy club, or even worse, going to amateur hour at the STRIP club — it’s a waste of a perfectly good cover charge, and neither one sufficiently arouses you to any sort of boner, so why bother?

This night was different, though: my friends were like “no but trust me, Kyle’s a cool guy, this will be fun.” I was super skeptical, if you can believe it. “Who’s Kyle?” I asked, clearly at least a little annoyed.

“I dunno, he’s the keyboardist for Portugal the Man or whatever.”

I’m not sure if you could have uttered a less impressive sentence at the time. I’m not super fond of live music what with my incredibly sensitive hearing (“and get off my lawn while you’re at it!”) — you might as well have been like “Candice Bergen is hosting a knitting convention!” or “we’re gonna go see Amy Sedaris read a David Sedaris book doing her ‘Amy Sedaris doing an impression of Amy Poehler’ voice!” Have I tortured the point enough yet? I wasn’t excited about going, is the point.

But look: I decided to keep an open mind about things and I tagged along. Lucky for me: it turns out Kyle (O’Quin, I would later learn [BTW, most Irish name ever?]) was a decent solo musician, yes…but as it turns out, his group is OUTSTANDING. This, my friends (aka brother), is the story of the first time I encountered Portugal the Man.

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Reality Fiction

Pic related.

 

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here, outside of obviously being included in the podcasts (more of those are on their way!)…but I was pretty bored this weekend and, motivated by my free time and by the extraordinarily funny Fantasy Fiction podcasts, I decided I’d try my hand at a short story.

The subject? Well it’s actually grounded in reality, if you can believe it: back in college, I had a boss who lost part of one arm in a work-related accident (at his old job, thankfully, not at the one we both did). He ended up getting a prosthetic with a hook attachment…but moreover, he was an…interesting guy, to say the least. So my story is about him. It’s called “Hooked.” At least, it is for now…maybe I’ll change it later. I don’t know. Anyway, enjoy!

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Listen to this: Limp Bizkit & Gold Cobra – Take the Good with the Ballad

We’re you an angry white suburban kid that by all accounts had no reason to be angry? Chances are you were the key demo for Fred Durst & Wes Borland’s seminal band Limp Bizkit… I know I was that kid.
After the poorly received double bomb of Results May Vary and The Unquestionable Truth Pt. 1, it seemed like the death nail had already been driven in. Imagine my surprise when I heard that after almost 6 years, the original line up was coming back to make a whole new album, apparently because they’d grown bored with the current music scene… That’s actually fucking awesome. Not even ironically awesome.
A lot of people who’ve followed bands don’t have the luxury of their bands maintaining a level of consistency over the years; ask fans about their favorite bands from the 60’s and 70’s (Hell, up to any generation), so I was wholly prepared to hate whatever this Gold Cobra was going to become. Imagine my surprise when I walked in expecting the Bizkit, and got The Bizkit.
Say what you will about this group, they had a specific voice. Whether you believed it, followed it or were ever bothered to hear it, they were there. Gold Cobra has that voice that was lost after Chocolate Starfish, from the Intro to Combat Jazz, the wanton youthful energy of the 90’s is prominent throughout the whole experience.
Gold Cobra leads the charge with their signature reckless abandon, party-mosh rhythm. Shark Attack and Get a Life follow suite with the twisted humor and blunt, humility-free middle finger wave at the people not joining in on the fun. Douche Bag challenges you. Yes, you. Like the chorus says, “I’ma fuck you up,” with all the disdain of a 80’s movie jock. Slowing down with Walking Away, the group flexes their fully competent power ballad chops. It’s a welcome break from the raw energy with a cool rolling wave of emotional content; it’s oddly sincere, like the cry of a dying animal, it’s raw, but real.
2 tracks that round out the tail end of the album bring it to an explosive crescendo. Why Try and Killer in You seem to offer a dueling perspective on the same call-to-arms. One tells you to Die, the other tells you to Fight. It’s potent, it’s heavy, and Borland’s psychedelic sonic experimentation is in full force as it drills itself into your very core. You will bang your head.
As I listen to this again, I think it’s oddly reflective of the times we live in. We live in a world where a perfectly empowered youth presents a complete lack of interest in the conventions of our world, knowingly divorcing themselves from the last generation with a song and a looping GIF-set. It’s a surprisingly youthful mood piece full of passion, yet contradicting wearing the mask of the nihilistic “whatever,” mantra spitting flannel of the 90’s. It has all the energy and meaning of a time capsule, a lost voice from my generation that despite it’s displacement on the surface, has something that still rings true today. What it lacks in a flag to carry, it has a bizarre wisdom that hopefully the next generation will heed as it’s finds it’s own meaning, it’s own cross to bare. When a Poser lives to become the real deal.
Sometimes, all you need is something to kick you in the ass and get you moving. Gold Cobra does this.

The Artist & The Economist Podcast – Episode 2: The Whip Set

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Who remembers that show? I do.

In this episode, we discuss a rarely touched topic: Male Body Image in Pop-Culture (particularly in Video Games).

Worklejerks, Vol. I: Stop Wasting Your Workday (and just head home already, man)

 

Whip (that’s what I’m calling my brother now) and I have had career paths as diametrically opposed as…huh, I can’t even think of a metaphor for this one. But it’s true — part of the reason we even picked the name “The Artist and The Economist” is because we’ve taken such branching paths. He’s spent very little time in a traditional office environment, I’ve been in one almost exclusively; I’m confined to pretty strict office hours, he’s just responsible for getting things done before a given deadline, no matter when that may be. Such is life when one of you is primarily an artist and the other is in finance. As a result, it’s possible he won’t fully appreciate the point of this post, but I’m going for it anyway:

The traditional office structure, from the length of the workday to the types of interactions that take place to the pervasively toxic social atmosphere, is complete bullshit — and if your office is anything like mine, it’s actively harming your best employees.

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Listen to this: Brendon Small’s Galaktikon

So here’s the funny thing about Brendon Small. Apparently he can do whatever he want’s and it will always be amazing. Good find Loren, good find.

Anybody already familiar with Dethklok, the metal band his (and Tommy Blancha’s) animated comedy Metalocalypse revolves around, will already have a fairly accurate expectation from this album; the harmony in Truth Orb and Kill Pool carry that Dethklok inspired structure. That said, the satirical yet wholly sincere Black Metal visage is stripped away for something much more complex and varied; traditional with elements of Sludge and Prog. And while I invite that comparison, it seems to change every time I listen to it.

I see the Groove/Prog influences in a track like Beastblade, and genuine Speed resonates all across Dangertits (yes, Dangertits). All of it culminates into a sound that has nothing to really compare to. This is an album that feels like the voice of an artist, not seeking to sound like anything but themselves.

This album came out 2 years ago, and I’m kicking myself for not pick it up sooner.