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Hola, mi amigos! Que Pasa?  It is I, M.C., fresh from vacationing in Southern California or, if you prefer, Northern Mexico.  I gotta tell you, friends, I had an ABSOLUTE blast, although, I will fully admit that I was more than a tad disappointed to find out that Walt’s version of a Fantasyland didn’t include a “Drunken Stewardess” ride, a Carmen Electra ride or even a “Butterfly” fuck swing.  And get this, in Disneyland, “ATM” apparently means a machine that dispenses money.  Who knew?  Oh well, to each their own I guess.  By the way. . .Walt?  I think it might be time for you to call out an exterminator because it appears that you have one hell of a rat infestation.  Seriously, those little sons-a-bitches were EVERYWHERE and, from the looks of things, some of them may be rabid. . .
  

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Hey. . .how about a big round of applause for Double A who, as he would say, “be all fillin’ in n’ shit” while I was away?  Not too shabby what with the “rocking it old school,” huh?  I’ll tell you, friends, I’m so damn proud of him.  It’s kinda like I’m the Brittany to his K-Fed.  Wow, that’s creepy.  I just realized that comparison really hits the mark because much like K-Fed, Double A can’t rap for shit and, much like Brittany, I appear to giving birth to a baby elephant.  Seriously. . .I’ll even show you the trunk.
 

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Wait a minute. . .considering that I’ve never left you kids with a baby-sitter and before we get much further, maybe I should ask you some questions.  So, ahh, did Double A do anything. . .umm, weird while I was gone?  He didn’t do anything to make you uncomfortable, did he?  Force you to play “Hide The Thumb?”  How about “Catholic Confessional with Father Finger?”  “The Pants-less Ventriloquist?”  Anything like that?  I tell you what, I know you may be uncomfortable talking about all this, so how about you just show me on the dolly where he touched you. . .
 

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Hmmm.  Too shy to talk about your naughty spots, huh?  Well, that’s okay.   Tell you what, if you have a repressed memory bubble to the surface, you let me know and I’ll be all over Double A like eyeliner on Dave Navarro.  I promise you THAT!
 

So, anyway. . .enough about all of that.  We have some new releases to look at this week, namely the ones from the Gin Blossoms and Rose Hill Drive, plus, Double A checks in with a review of the new Outkast effort for the movie Idlewild. Should be interesting this week, especially considering that my Grandpa is checking in with his first ever review on the recent Christina Aguilera disc.  Good stuff.  So, what do you say?  Let’s get to it, shall we??!! 
 

m4m-august31-gb_mlv Artist: Gin Blossoms
Album: Major Lodge Victory
Bastard Love Child of: The Byrds and The Replacements
Best for: Cruising down Mill Avenue with Stipp while debating the “musical” merits of Samantha Fox.

 

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“Chatty Kathy” is the one on the far right there.
 

Easily, one of the most surreal rock and roll moments I have ever had occurred at a Gin Blossoms concert waaaayyyyy back in 1993 a.d..  I had gone to this cool, little venue outside of Ft. Collins called the Mishawaka Inn to see a band that I had helped to locally promote, Toad the Wet Sprocket.  Ever heard of ‘em?  Great fucking band.  Anyway, opening that night was a group of guys I had never heard of, the Gin Blossoms.  (Editor’s note:  this was about 2 months before “Hey Jealousy” took over the airwaves, the charts and MTV. . .yes, back when they played videos). 
 

There I was, before the show, taking a piss, same as I usually do after drinking 8 to 10 beers in rapid succession, when this long, blonde-haired, slightly effeminate-looking guy saunters up and stands RIGHT next to me.  He could have chosen any number of open and spacious slots, but, for whatever reason, he chose to throw down next to me.  Granted, he might not have had a choice as earlier that night, I’d thrown on a little Obsession®.
 
 

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So there we were, the three of us. . .me, the blonde guy and some dude in a stall who, from the sounds of things, was making balloon animals.  Obviously, the forced and unnecessary proximity had me more than a little “creeped” out, but again, I WAS wearing Obsession® so I let it slide.  But then, this blonde-haired dude did TWO, yes, TWO things that a dude NEVER does in a dude’s restroom (THREE, technically, if you count standing right next to someone in non-crowded shitter).  First, the guy turns to me and says, “Damn, that water’s cold!” and he shoots me a grin.  Seriously!  He fucking talked to me!  While I was pissing!  Like we were just “hangin’ around” with nothing better to do.  I was completely dumbfounded and disoriented, but before I could stop myself,  I fired back, “Yeah. . .and it’s deep, too.”  Good lord, if I’d had a free hand at that moment, I would’ve slapped myself in the forehead.
 

Then, perhaps emboldened by his urinary-centric male bonding efforts, the guy cocks his head (no pun intended), leans in a bit and sneaks a peak at my junk.  I shit you not.  Maybe he was seeing if my comment was true.  Maybe he was calculating potential fit.  I honestly didn’t know, nor did I care.  I was outta there.  Usually one to luxuriate a bit during “the shake,” I instead quickly zipped and bolted back to my friends who were camped out in front of the stage.  Hell, I didn’t even stop to wash my hands or fluff and primp the mullet.
 

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There he is again. . .second from the left.
 

Long story longer, after regaling my friends with the tale of a men’s room encounter gone horribly awry and enduring a solid, twenty minutes of “did he need a microscope” jokes, the opening band, the Gin Blossoms, bounded on stage, grabbed their instruments and ripped into their first number.   Being right next to the stage, I actually had to crane my neck to see the band and, as I did so, I looked right up into the face of the Peek-a-boo Pisser.  The guy from the restroom turned out to be the band’s rhythm guitarist and, as I was motioning to my buddy’s that THAT was the guy, the guitarist looked down, gave me the “nod,” smiled and winked.  Apparently, I’d made an impression.
 

Of course, it’s been a long time now since I’ve heard from this friend, whose name is actually Scotty Johnson.  In fact, it’s been almost 10 years since anyone’s heard from the Gin Blossoms.  But after a small, yet successful smattering of live “reunion” shows to support their recent Greatest Hit’s compilation, the band (singer Robin Wilson, lead guitarist Jesse Valenzuela and bassist Bill Leen) hit the studio to record some new material.  The result is Major Lodge Victory, a hook-heavy new release that goes a long way in recapturing the band’s “heyday sound.”   No, this is not an album that attempts to re-define rock’n’roll, but rather a worthy attempt to recapture the pre-grunge explosion, pop-rock popularity that the Blossoms once enjoyed.  And in that, they are extremely successful.  All of the songs here are solid, but the standouts for me are the first single, “Learning the Hard Way,” the vocal showcase of “Someday Soon” and one of the catchiest songs I’ve heard in awhile, “Let’s Play Two.”  Good, solid, vintage Gin Blossoms through and through.
 

This is a great new album from a band that I’ve sorely missed.  Sure, their guitarist is solely responsible for turning me into a stall-pisser and I haven’t worn Obsession® since, but if that’s the price for having them back. . .so be it.
 

Rating:  4 out of 5
 

m4m-august31-rhd Artist: Rose Hill Drive
Album: Rose Hill Drive
Bastard Love Child of: The Led Zeppelin and Triumph (the band, not the insult comic dog)
Best for: Proving that the Denver music scene actually has something “meaty” to offer.

I’ll be the first to admit that Denver (et al) is hardly a “musical hot spot” here in the U.S., ESPECIALLY when you compare it to places like L.A., Chicago, New York, Nashville or, umm. . .Dubuque.  I mean, sure, we gave the world The Foggy Mountain Fuckers, Lying Bitch and the Restraining Orders and, of course, The Fray, who single-handedly caused the automobile-related instances of dry-humping, crazed fingerings and awkward oral in the teenage population to sky-rocket, but otherwise, we haven’t had a whole lot to offer the world, musically speaking.  Until now.
 

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Starting a few years back, there was a buzz around town centered on a hot, new power trio that was tearing up bars in and around their hometown of Boulder, Colorado.  Named after the street where they grew up, Rose Hill Drive, featuring brothers Daniel (19) and Jake (21) Sproul on lead guitar and bass, respectively, and childhood bud, Nate Barnes (21), behind the kit, had quickly managed to become the “must-see” band in the Denver area.  So see them I did.  Twice.  And let me tell you, friends. . .holy shit.   I still get chills (and there multiplyin’. . .it’s electrifyin’!) thinking back to the first time I saw these boys play.  Think:  the intensity of live Zeppelin with the virtuoso performances of Rush. . .heady comparisons, I know, especially invoking the names of two of my all-time favorite bands, but I’m not joking.  I hadn’t seen anything like it in quite some time.  
 

Needless to say, I have been anxiously awaiting the release of this groups self-titled, debut album for some time now.  And, after giving it a few, initial run-throughs, I gotta say. . .I’m a bit disappointed.  Wait, wait. . .NOT in the way that you might think.  This new disc is packed with an amazing array of songs that alternate between pure, driving, riff-laden rock anthems to bluesy, pure-toned ballads.  Numerous songs on this disc, namely the album opener, “Showdown,” with it’s in-your-face guitar riff and the driving, “Raise Your Hands,” have an immediate and classic feel that will make you fully understand the Zeppelin reference above.  On the contrary, this disc has shown a melodic sensibility and musical craftsmanship that I wouldn’t have expected from these “kids.”
 
 

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And there in lies the rub.  You see, as good as this disc is, (oh, and it IS good, nay, great) it does ZERO justice to the insane and blistering live shows that these guys put on.  THAT is a crying shame.  Sure, it’s hard to capture the type of energy that these guys put out on stage in a studio setting, but I’m betting that a more raw, less polished production would have served these guys better on this outing.  Yes, I’m a nit-picky little bitch.  Whatever.  Luckily, with the recent resurgence of the classic rock sound and the success of bands like Wolfmother, Rose Hill Drive is destined for stardom and will undoubtedly have ample time to experiment with this notion next time out.  Seriously, folks, I highly recommend this disc, but understand this. . .it pales in comparison to their live shows
 

Rating:  5 out of 5
 

AND NOW A WORD FROM DOUBLE A. . .

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You know, I’ve never really jumped on the whole Outkast bandwagon.  Sure I enjoyed a few of their songs, but really, they’ve always been pretty boring to me.  There certainly hasn’t been enough on an Outkast album to make me run out and actually buy one.  So at this point you may be asking yourself why did I pick up the groups latest album ?  That is a question that only my therapist can answer, because I really don’t know.  It may have something to do with the fact that I have an irrational fear of wooden spoons and spandex.  I honestly cannot say.  There were other albums that have come out recently that I could have opted for, but no, I chose to get an album from a group that I’m not really into.  Go figure.  

I’ve seen the previews for the movie Idlewild and it looks pretty good, but to call this album the soundtrack to the film is not quite right.  Sure the songs from the movie are on the disc but there are other normal songs on the album as well.  I guess you could call it a companion album, much like Tom Cruise and Katie Holms are “companions.”  Sure they look pretty standing next to each other, but really, they just don’t belong together. 
 
 

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The strange thing about this album is that the soundtrack songs are the best songs on the disc.  Seeing as the movie takes place in the 1920s, all the songs have a great jazzy feel to them.  The tempos are fast paced and the lyrics flow really well.  The best song on the album is “PJ and Rooster.”  With piano and trumpet backing up Andre 3000’s unique vocal styling, this song just flat out kicks.  Of course the song probably makes a bit more sense when the context of the movie is known, but one doesn’t need to know the movie to dig the song.
 

On the flip side, the normal raps fall a little short to the soundtrack songs.  They are not bad, but they are nothing special either.  Take for example the song “Hollywood Divorce.”  Featuring guest appearances by Lil’ Wayne and Snoop Dog, the song just never gets going.  In fact, listening to it actually sounds like three different songs all mashed together.  With the two guests and Andre 3000 all going in completely different directions, the song just seems to stumble through its 5:23 running time.  The track “Morris Brown” is the best of the “normal” songs.  Sounding like a cross between the regular raps and the soundtrack songs, it has a nice funky beat with some clever lyrics. 
 

Many people are saying that this is going to be the last Outkast album, as Andre 3000 and his partner Big Boi have actually not really worked together in making the last two albums.  If they go their separate ways?  Eh, no biggie.  I think I could continue to live.  Oh and on the back of the album, there’s a picture of a rooster on a microphone.  I’m assuming that this means Outkast likes to rub their penis’ on microphones, but that is only conjecture on my part.

Rating:  3 out of 5

REVIEWS. . .

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by Grandpa
 

Christina Aguilera
Back To Basics

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My goodness she’s a pretty one. Reminds me of a young Linda Treverse. It’s awful nice of her to put such a pretty picture of herself on the cover like this. Heck, if I were a younger man I’d pin this here photo up over my work table. No bother doing it now – seeing as how my parts don’t work. Haven’t since Korea.  I hear there is medicine for that now, but I take enough medicine.  Most of it for the gout.

I use to have a picture of Rita Hayworth over my desk and I would stare at that thing for hours. Boy howdy.  In fact, I’ll tell you right here, boy. . .sometimes, I’d picture Rita there, when I was with your grandmother.  You see, it helped get me over them gawd-awful child-bearing hips and that gal-darn hairy chin. Looked like Burl Ives or some such nonsense.  You know?  That image was the sole thing that kept my marriage together and the reason you’re here today.  Nope, my wife, your gran-mammy never looked half as good as Rita… or this Christina Augl…aga…lera. What’s that?  Hell, with a name like that she must be a Spaniard. I remember, back in WWII, meeting a girl named Christina while I was fightin’ in Spain. I wonder if she’s a relation.  Hmmm. 

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I don’t know much about much, but the music on this contraption sounds like a cat in heat… all “rrrrrr, rrrrr”. . .with drums.  Like the one time that tractor trailer ran through our cabbage field in early May, Aught 8.  I always liked watching the Wheel of Fortune, but I just turned my hearing aids off and stopped listening to this. . .this cat diddlin’.  After a spell, I just sat there starring at the picture. That girl, I’ll tell you what. If Eisenhower was still alive he’d show her a good time, tell you THAT right now.  And you can take THAT to the bank there, mister. 

Well, there you have it friends.  That’s going to do it for me and the gang this week, so, until next time, keep wearing it proud and playing it loud!
 

Send your repressed memories, review copies, presents and assorted hate mail to:

M.C. Bell
P.O. Box 1222
Arvada, CO 80001

 

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This one’s for you, Stipp.  Enjoy!

 

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