Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Smooth Sailing: The Best Albums of 2013

Editor's note: You can hear me and Jay Breitling go over our choices for top music of the year in a CompCon trilogy that concludes this week (listen to parts 1, 2 and 3), and I played two hours of my favorite songs of the year on last week's Stuck In Thee Garage radio show.

It has been interesting to watch the continuing evolution of music formats. I didn't buy a single new CD this year, although I did "borrow" a few from the local library. I bought plenty of albums via Amazon MP3 when they were deeply discounted. I also purchased a new turntable and occasionally made vinyl purchases. But it's amazing how little music "ownership" means to a whole generation of music fans. Streaming services like Spotify, Bandcamp and NoiseTrade now let you listen to just about anything any time you want, so it's very possible to be extremely well-versed in new music without spending a penny. I still like to own music, even if it's digital, so I can put it in on my iPod or iPhone or play it in my radio show or podcast.

I'm pleased to report it was another good year for new music, so without further ado, here are my top 15 albums.

15. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Push the Sky Away
Nick Cave has been making fine music for more than 30 years now, but he's impressively remaining vital and interesting into his late 50s. I'm late to the party, getting into his last few Bad Seeds and Grinderman releases, which have been more on the rocking side. This album is quieter but still very powerful.


14. Diarrhea Planet - I'm Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams
An excellent band with a terrible name, Diarrhea Planet is a Nashville act that is renowned for its wild live performances and its triple-guitar attack. I haven't had the good fortune to see them yet, but this long player is full of fun rockin' jams from a band that doesn't take itself too seriously, or even seriously at all. 


13. Mudhoney - Vanishing Point
I loves me some Mudhoney, even the post-Lukin version of the band that has valiantly forged on for the last decade or so. But I haven't felt the need to buy any of their new material since 1998's Tomorrow Hit Today, which was their last for Reprise before getting dropped. But I checked out the MP3s Sub Pop had given away for the new album and they were pretty kickass, then listened to the album on Spotify. They still sound like Mudhoney, as loud and snotty as ever but with an additional layer of world-weary cynicism that I can certainly relate to. Mark Arm, Steve Turner and crew still sound great to me.


12. Swearin' - Surfing Strange
Swearin' is a band I knew virtually nothing about before I checked them out, essentially on the recommendation of friends whose opinions I respect. The Philly band is led by Allison Crutchfield, who sings most of the songs here (her twin sister leads the band Waxahatchee). Swearin's main export is uneasy indie rock, and they do it well. Picked this up late in the year, but I really dig it.


11. Iceage - You're Nothing
There was plenty of hype around this Danish punk band when they first emerged in the late '00s as teenagers. This album is their debut for Matador and it's raw and powerful. Twelve songs, 28 minutes, no bullshit.


10. Barrence Whitfield and the Savages - Dig Thy Savage Soul
I've got a personal connection to Barrence, an old-school rock n' soul belter who lives right here in Beverly, Mass. I first became aware of him in the mid-'80s when he was getting airplay on WBCN for his James Brown-esque shrieks, which were combined with the garage rock flair of the Savages. The last few decades, he's explored roots and country sounds, but he reunited with Savages for this sizzling return to form.


9. Ovlov - am
This brother act from Newtown, Conn., (yes, THAT Newtown) came out of nowhere (at least for me) with this stunner of a debut album on Exploding in Sound, a label that had a sick year in terms of breaking hot rock. Strong '90s-influenced fuzz rock that echoes Dino Jr. at times. Speedy Ortiz's Sadie Dupuis guests on two songs, which makes a good thing even better.



8. Future of the Left - How to Turn Off Your Brain in an Accident
In a year dominated by bubblegum pop, sometimes you just need a kick in the teeth and Future of the Left is just the band to deliver that kick. Ex-McLusky fronter Andy Falkous is the driving force behind this relentlessly sardonic and pummeling band. Record company weasels, slimy DJs and sexist pigs all get their comeuppance on FoTL's fourth album. Loud, hilarious, exhilarating. 


7. Savages - Silence Yourself
Savages is another band that seemingly emerged fully formed, dropping a stunning debut only 18 months after joining forces. Led by French singer Jehnny Beth, the London-based four-piece rips through 11 songs that sound like Siouxie Sioux fronting Joy Division. Powerful, driving and thrilling post-punk.


6. David Bowie - The Next Day
On his first album in a decade and 24th studio release, 66-year-old Bowie sounds rejuvenated. Recorded secretly over the last two years, Bowie reunited with longtime producer Tony Visconti and guitarist Earl Slick to make an album that sounds energized and youthful. He's not breaking any ground, but Bowie sounds great and, well, like Bowie.


5. Superchunk - I Hate Music
Superchunk's second album in the last three years since taking a decade off has plenty of classic 'Chunk moments--upbeat power punk-pop--but there are also moments of reflection on songs like "Me & You & Jackie Mittoo," "What Can We Do" and "Void." Singer Mac McCaughan sounds as young and peppy as ever (dude's 46 but still sounds like he's 22) even as he's singing about getting older. 


4. Speedy Ortiz - Major Arcana
What started as a solo project for Sadie Dupuis turned into the breakout indie rock band of the year with the release of Major Arcana. The album combines Dupuis' sharp lyrics about sexual politics with a singular Pavement-esque guitar sound to create a sound that moves well beyond its '90s influences.


3. Kurt Vile - Wakin' on a Pretty Daze
Philly-based Vile has been around for a while now, making music on his own and with The War on Drugs, but this album really brought him to the indie rock forefront. Wakin' on a Pretty Daze is a sprawling, chill record that isn't afraid to go long (six songs are over 6 minutes) when it has to. Filled with shimmering guitar and spacey lyrics, the album was a great spring and summer driving companion, although it sounds pretty damn good in the winter, too.  


2. Arctic Monkeys - AM
Arctic Monkeys have explored many different sounds since their debut in 2006, going from punk pop to hard rock to stoner rock. On their fifth album, the Alex Turner-led quartet incorporates a strong groove and pop sensibility while still maintaining a rock guitar base. The result is their catchiest album to date, with "Do I Wanna Know? and "R U Mine?" proving to be especially earworm-inducing. Given that Turner is only 27 and not prone to sitting still, it's going to be interesting to see where the band goes from here.


1. Queens of the Stone Age - ...Like Clockwork
As the buildup increased to QOTSA's first album in six years, it sounded as though Josh Homme was reuniting the lineup that made 2002's masterful Songs for the Deaf album: Dave Grohl, Mark Lanegan and even Nick Oliveri were all on board. As it turned out, Grohl only plays drums on a handful of songs while Lanegan and Oliveri contributed backing vocals to a few numbers...and it doesn't matter. Informed by Homme's near-death experience following a routine surgical procedure, ...Like Clockwork explores emotional depths only hinted at on past QOTSA albums. There are rockers, but it's the slow stuff that really hits home: "The Vampyre of Time and Memory," "Kalopsia," "I Appear Missing" and the title track are as gut-wrenching as anything released this year. 
UPDATE: And, a Spotify playlist as well...

Completely Conspicuous 309: Top of the Rock

Part 3 of my conversation with guest Jay Breitling as we discuss our favorite music of 2013. Listen to the episode below or download it directly (right click and "save as").



Show notes:
- Recorded at Clicky Clicky World HQ
- JB's #1
- Speedy Ortiz jumped to Carpark Records
- Sadie Dupuis is an actual poet
- JK's #1
- Queens of the Stone Age went to interesting places on ...Like Clockwork
- Matador's first #1 record
- Favorite live shows
- JB saw Lilys in a tiny venue
- Whirr and Nothing at Great Scott made Breitling's brain shake
- Krill, Speedy Ortiz record release shows
- Saw Soccer Mom several times
- JK: Golden Gurls, Soccer Mom and Reports at TT's
- Clicky Clicky benefit was great
- Saw Titus Andronicus twice
- Obits and Pile at TT's
- Just got ticket for Rocket From the Crypt reunion show in April
- Mission of Burma and Reports at the Sinclair
- JK: Vinyl continued to make comeback
- JB: The reality of YouTube as a legit streaming music service
- No sympathy for the record industry
- We're in a pop-driven era
- Novelty songs, bubblegum were huge
- Rock bands have no staying power on the charts
- Anticipated albums for '14
- JB: Johnny Foreigner, Lubec, Soccer Mom, Golden Gurls, White Laces
- JK: Titus Andronicus, Malkmus, Speedy Ortiz EP, Soccer Mom
- Many '80s bands will release new albums

Music:
Speedy Ortiz - No Below (live)
Mudhoney - I Like It Small
METZ - Can't Understand
Completely Conspicuous is available through the iTunes podcast directory. Subscribe and write a review!

The Speedy Ortiz song is on the band's Epitonic Saki Session. Download the song for free at Epitonic.
The Mudhoney song is on the album Vanishing Point on Sub Pop. Download it for free from Sub Pop.
The METZ song is part of the Adult Swim Singles Series. Download the song for free at Stereogum.

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Find out more about Senor Breitling at his fine music blog Clicky Clicky. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Through the Past Dorkily: Rock Out, Roll On

Editor's note: Through the Past Dorkily is a recurring feature that looks back at the embarrassingly dorky diary I kept as a 16-year-old in 1984. This is the final installment.

Saturday, December 22, 1984

Song of the day: U Got It - Ratt

Didn't do much of anything today. Later.

- The Barbarian

Sunday, December 23, 1984

Song of the day: 2000 Miles - The Pretenders

Well, I did it: I got confirmed. I was wicked nervous but it went off without a hitch. The rest of the day I didn't do much of anything. I won in Trivial Pursuit tonight, too.

- The Barbarian

Monday, December 24, 1984

Song of the day: Vices - Kick Axe

Top 5 at Five
1. Santa Claus and His Old Lady - Cheech and Chong
2. The 12 Days of Christmas - Bob and Doug McKenzie
3. Do They Know It's Christmas? - Band Aid
4. Happy Christmas - John Lennon
5. Santa Claus is Comin' to Town - Bruce Springsteen

We spent all day getting ready for the big party. So what happens? One person shows up, at 9 o'clock no less! Actually it was Dad's friend and his girlfriend. She was pretty good looking. They left at 12.

Ho ho ho.

- The Barbarian

Tuesday, December 25, 1984

Song of the day: The End of the World - Gary Moore



Top 5 at Five
1. Do They Know It's Christmas? - Band Aid
2. Christmas is the Time to Say I Love You - Billy Squier
3. Happy Christmas - John Lennon
4. Santa Claus is Comin' to Town - Bruce Springsteen
5. Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer - Elmo and Patsy

Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas.

Stocking: lotsa candy, a blank Maxell 90-min, 4 AA Duracells

Presents: "Corridors of Power" - Gary Moore, shirts, PJs, aftershave, keychain, camera, $40. Not a bad haul considering we already got a computer.

I just sat around all day. I stuffed my face like a pig at lunch and dinner, too.

We had a mungo game of Monopoly. Dad won. I was the last one left with him.

-  The Barbarian

Wednesday, December 26, 1984

Song of the day: Just Got Lucky - Dokken

Top 5 at Five
1. Perfect Strangers - Deep Purple
2. The Boys of Summer - Don Henley
3. Do They Know It's Christmas? - Band Aid
4. Naughty Naughty - John Parr
5. If I Had a Rocket Launcher - Bruce Cockburn

Cold. Very cold. We're talking 20-degree stuff here.

Mom left the car at home so we all went to Methuen Mall. Uncle Peter gave me $10 and I bought the new Hit Parader, Comics Feature, FF 271, ROM 62, Jack of Hearts 4, Kazar 29 and 4 Marvel Ages. I dug all these up at Waldenbooks. Pretty good, eh?

The car didn't give us any trouble. I drove. We got back at 5.

Uncle Peter and Auntie Jini are leaving at 9 a.m. tomorrow. Time flies when you're havin' fun.

- The Barbarian

Thursday, December 27, 1984

Song of the day: California Girls - David Lee Roth

Top 5 at Five
1. California Girls - David Lee Roth
2. Perfect Strangers - Deep Purple
3 Naughty Naughty - John Parr
4. If I Had a Rocket Launcher - Bruce Cockburn
5. It's Only Love - Bryan Adams

I got up at 8:30 to say goodbye to Peter and Jini. They left at 9. I went back to bed and didn't get up till 12:30.

Later on I moved my bed back into my room and then I just read comics. I also taped Thunder Seven and Tooth and Nail on that Maxell I got in my stocking.

- The Barbarian

Friday, December 28, 1984

Song of the day: Wire - U2

I was awakened at 8 by the doorbell. It was that cleaning chick. I told her I didn't know about it (the job) so she said she'd check. And she never came back. Oh well.

I finally finished that UNH application.

Jeremy said he wasn't going to the movies tonight because he was broke. Maybe next week. He did say we could stay over at his uncle's place on Sunday. I got it OK'd by Mom, but I hadda tell her it was at his place. I hate lying to her. But once I move out, I won't ever have to again.

[Buddy from Washington state] sent me a Christmas card. That guy's awesome!

- The Barbarian

Saturday, December 29, 1984

Song of the day: It's Only Love - Bryan Adams

Today sucked. Massive bore. Mom and me went to Peabody to the Northshore Mall. I thought it was beat, but she liked it. It was pretty big.

- The Barbarian

Sunday, December 30, 1984

Song of the day: Naughty Naughty - John Parr

I slept in. At 3, we went to [mom's friend]'s house. We got back at 6. Jeremy picked me up at 7. First we went to his uncle's house. We stayed there till 10 or so. I checked out a couple of Playboys, the Suzanne Somers one was good. We stopped by Westville where I picked up Daredevil 217. Good.

So I wouldn't get in trouble, we decided to sleep over at Jeremy's house like my mom thought. It was a little more boring but at least I saved my hide.

- The Barbarian

Monday, December 31, 1984

Song of the day: 1984 - David Bowie

Top 5 at Five
1. Naughty Naughty - John Parr
2. California Girls - David Lee Roth
3. Rock Out, Roll On - Triumph
4. It's Only Love - Bryan Adams
5. Dream On - Aerosmith

We got up at 10. We had some waffles and watched a little tube and then Jeremy dropped me off at home around 12 or so.

At 3, I went to put my money in the bank and pick up some stuff from the PGA. I got the new Guitar Player with Rik Emmett on the cover. I met [classmate] there, too. Man, she looked great! What a babe! She's hot! Who knows?

[Another female classmate] was working, too. She was luscious as ever.

[Dad's friend] came at 7. He left at 1:30.

Hello 1985, goodbye 1984!

- The Barbarian

P.S. I toldja I could keep up a diary for a whole year!

Postscript: And thusly, a year in the life of a high school dork ends as boringly as it began. What can I say? I was a good kid who didn't take a lot of chances. I got worried about telling a lie to my mom about where I was staying and ended up not even doing it. Oh, well. By the following fall, I was boozing it up at college on the regular. All that good son stuff pretty much went out the window the minute I got to UNH.

Speaking of which, interesting that I got my application to UNH done this week. I had no expectations of going there. It was literally a last-minute application; I was hoping to go to Yale or Dartmouth, but my grades didn't stand out enough to make a difference. Too much screwing around senior year, I guess. It's just as well. My UNH education has served me well. I certainly don't have any regrets.

There's no 1985 diary. It was a one-year exercise. As for the girl situation, I asked a few girls to the senior prom who were already going with other guys before a cute sophomore in my typing class (which given my eventual career was a great choice for more than one reason) asked me. We dated for a little bit but I had grand designs for my college dating life and basically let the relationship fizzle out over the summer. Little did I know that my romantic adventures in college would be even more futile than in high school for the most part. But that's a story for another day. Rock on, rockers. Happy New Year!

 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Stuck In Thee Garage #16: December 27, 2013

It's amazing to think that 2013 is all but over. Fortunately, there was plenty of great music released this year, and this week on Stuck In Thee Garage, I highlighted a good chunk of that in this week's show, which spent the entire two hours on my favorite music of the year.



I was able to get four months' worth of shows in this year and I had a blast doing it. Definitely looking forward to 2014!

The playlist:

Artist - Song/Album
Parquet Courts - Borrowed Time/Light Up Gold
Iceage - In Haze/You're Nothing
Pissed Jeans - Bathroom Laughter/Honeys
FIDLAR - Cheap Beer/FIDLAR
David Bowie - The Next Day/The Next Day
Grant Hart - Morningstar/The Argument
Barrence Whitfield and the Savages - The Corner Man/Dig Thy Savage Soul
Girls Against Boys - It's a Diamond Life/The Ghost List EP
Pearl Jam - Mind Your Manners/Lightning Bolt
Mudhoney - Douchebags on Parade/Vanishing Point
The Night Marchers - All Hits/Allez Allez
Obits - Taste the Diff/Bed & Bugs
Kurt Vile - Snowflakes are Dancing/Wakin' on a Pretty Daze
Swearin' - Echo Locate/Surfing Strange
Radiator Hospital - Our Song/Something Wild
Arctic Monkeys - R U Mine?/AM
Savages - Husbands/Silence Yourself
Future of the Left - Donny of the Decks/How to Stop Your Brain in an Accident
Calories - DMT/Calories III
Los Campesinos! - What Death Leaves Behind/No Blues
Arcade Fire - Normal Person/Reflektor
The National - Demons/Trouble Will Find Me
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - We No Who U R/Push the Sky Away
Queens of the Stone Age - I Appear Missing/...Like Clockwork
Yo La Tengo - The Point of It/Fade
Speedy Ortiz - Plough/Major Arcana
Krill - Never a Joke/Lucky Leaves
Idiot Genes - Puke/Lousey
Ovlov - Where's My Dini?/am
Deer Tick - The Curtain/Negativity
Mikal Cronin - Weight/MCII
Thee Oh Sees - Maze Fancier/Floating Coffin
Mind Spiders - They Lie/Garage Swim
Superchunk - Me & You & Jackie Mittoo/I Hate Music



Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Completely Conspicuous 308: Your Favorite Thing

Part 2 of my conversation with guest Jay Breitling as we discuss our favorite music of 2013. Listen to the episode below or download it directly (right click and "save as").


Show notes:
- Recorded at Clicky Clicky World HQ
- JK's #6
- New Bowie album was kept secret until it came out
- Cover art's either brilliant or lazy...or both
- JB's #5
- Los Campesinos! perseveres through lineup changes
- JK's #5
- The Chunk keeps bringing the rock
- Jon Wurster's the busiest guy in rock
- R.I.P., The Best Show on WFMU
- JB's #4
- The long-awaited MBV album
- Getting the album was a chore
- Kevin Shields took his time
- JK's #4
- Strong leap forward for Speedy Ortiz
- New EP on the way
- Memories of Epitonic
- JB's #3
- Veronica Falls' album sounds like a singles comp
- JK's #3
- Back to Philly with Kurt Vile
- Vile was a frequent guest on The Best Show
- JK's #2
- Krill first released album on USB stick in ball of mozzarella
- JB: My default setting is to hate everything
- JK's #2
- Arctic Monkeys' sound has evolved
- Went from punk to stoner rock to catchier R&B feel
- Very English band
- To be continued

Music:
Los Campesinos! - What Death Leaves Behind
Superchunk - FOH
Krill - Never a Joke

Completely Conspicuous is available through the iTunes podcast directory. Subscribe and write a review!

The Los Campesinos song is on the album No Blues on Wichita Recordings. Download the song for free at Soundcloud.
The Superchunk song is on the  I Hate Music on Merge Records. Download the song for free as part of the Merge Records Summer Sampler 2013 on Amazon.
The Krill song is on the band's self-released album Lucky Leaves. Download the song for free at Gimme Tinnitus.

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Find out more about Senor Breitling at his fine music blog Clicky Clicky. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Through the Past Dorkily: Santa Claus and His Old Lady

Editor's note: Through the Past Dorkily is a recurring feature that looks back at the embarrassingly dorky diary I kept as a 16-year-old in 1984.

Friday, December 7, 1984

Song of the day: MLK - U2

Top 5 at Five
1. Santa Claus is Comin' to Town - Bruce Springsteen
2. Do It Again - The Kinks
3. The Old Man Down the Road - John Fogerty
4. The Boys of Summer - Don Henley
5. Don't Worry Baby - Los Lobos

Today was alright. I got a camera today in Field Biology. In Adv Math I did alright on that quiz. I think I got an 80. I hope I got an A on the Psych test.

Me, [buddy] and Jeremy are probably going to that comic shop in Salem tomorrow. Jeremy's gonna call me tomorrow morning to let me know.

I finished reading those comics Jeremy lent me.

- The Barbarian

Saturday, December 8, 1984

Song of the day: I Don't Care - Airrace

I was awakened at 9:30 by the phone ringing. But by the time I got to it, the caller hung up. I called Jeremy and it was him. He asked me if I could be ready to go to the store by 10:30. I got ready and Mom pulled in at the same time he did. I got $10 for allowance plus about $6 in change. The place is called Chris' Baseball Cards and Comics. It's cool. I bought 10 comics - $8.75 worth. They've got comic boxes there--I'm gonna get some.

I got home at 12:30. Mom and JP went shopping and didn't get home till 4:30.

- The Barbarian

Sunday, December 9, 1984

Song of the day: Billy's Got a Gun - Def Leppard

Went to church. I bought THING #19 and 20 at Westville after I dumped the garbage. The rest of the day was wasted getting a Christmas tree and decorating the yard.

- The Barbarian

Monday, December 10, 1984

Song of the day: Fly By Night - Rush

This cold I have sucks. I was sniffling all day. Other than that, though, it was a pretty good day. I got an 80 on that Adv Math quiz and a 95 on the Psych test.

[Cute chick who works at Market Basket] gave me a note from [girl I made out with]. At first I was scared that she wanted to get serious or something. I was relieved to read that she just wanted me to come by the store and see her. Phew!

Also the rumor is confirmed. [A buddy of mine] has broken up with [his girlfriend]. Great! She's hot! Who knows? We'll see...

There was a 3-car accident in front of our house today. I saw it.

- The Barbarian

Tuesday, December 11, 1984

Song of the day: Reaction to Action - Foreigner

Top 5 at Five
1. Santa Claus is Comin' to Town - Bruce Springsteen
2. Reaction to Action - Foreigner
3. Perfect Strangers - Deep Purple
4. Naughty Naughty - John Parr
5. Do It Again - The Kinks

First period I went to the Computer room to work on my program and see [hot chick who just broke up with her boyfriend]. I told her what he said and she said she's planning some sweet revenge. I wished her good luck. Well, well...

Today was pretty good, too. We took a quiz in Adv Math and I think I got 100 on it. I hope so. That should eliminate the chances for a warning. I hope.

I got all my applications finally completed! I just have to get the checks from Dad and I can hand 'em over to Guidance.

- The Barbarian

Wednesday, December 12, 1984

Song of the day: Father Christmas - The Kinks

Top 5 at Five
 1. Do They Know It's Christmas? - Band Aid
2. The Old Man Down the Road - John Fogerty
3. Santa Claus is Comin' to Town - Bruce Springsteen
4. I Want to Know What Love Is - Foreigner
5. Perfect Strangers - Deep Purple

Wow, man, 3 in a row! Good day. I talked with [hot chick] again first period. She's hot! Second period I took my applications to the Guidance office, filled out the checks and gave it all to the secretary. I didn't turn in my UNH one because I have to get it notarized. I hope can get into Yale! Wish me luck!

That financial aid meeting was at 9:30 so I got to miss 3rd and 4th periods. Actually we got out at 10:50 but I went to the cafe, had something to eat and then went to Adv Math. I got a 90 on that quiz. Yaah! A lot of people did lousy so they're having a retake tomorrow. Maybe I can get a 100!

Went to church at 3:30. [Reverend] says we're gonna see the Bishop on Friday right after school.

- The Barbarian

Thursday, December 13, 1984

Song of the day: The Old Man Down the Road - John Fogerty

Top 5 at Five
1. Santa Claus is Comin' to Town - Bruce Springsteen
2. The Old Man Down the Road - John Fogerty
3. Perfect Strangers - Deep Purple
4. Do They Know It's Christmas? - Band Aid
5. Do It Again - The Kinks

Good day. I got the beginning of my program to work, sort of. I hope I did good on the Field Bio test. I got 100 on the Adv Math retake! Good! That should hold off a warning. We have a test soon.

Jeremy ran out of gas on his way home from track. He managed to coast right into our driveway. Ha!

I got ROM 64 from Westville.

- The Barbarian

Friday, December 14, 1984

Song of the day: Stranger in a Strange Land - Triumph

Good week. I had an essay test in Psych and a quiz in Computers. I hope I got A's on 'em.

After school. [the Reverend] picked us up and we went to Concord. Both me and JP fell asleep on the way. The Bishop was pretty cool. He gave us Pepsi and cookies and we talked for a while. Then we looked around the place and left at 5:10 or so. We got home at 6:15 and JP went to his dance. Me, I'm gonna relax.

A Triumph concert in Providence was announced. It's on January 11 and tickets go on sale Monday.

- The Barbarian

Saturday, December 15, 1984

Song of the day: Follow Your Heart - Triumph

I got up at 9:30. It snowed so me and Mike couldn't go to Salem. Crap. Later me and Mom went to Methuen Mall. I got Mom these Chinese trays and Ad some cologne. I bought some comics and the new Circus. We got home around 5.

- The Barbarian

Sunday, December 16, 1984

Song of the day: Rockin' at Midnight - The Honeydrippers

We slept in this morning till 10. At 1, me, Mom and JP went to the Mall of NH. Man, was it crowded! I bought JP U2's Boy tape. He got me Gary Moore's Corridors of Power. We got home at 6.

- The Barbarian

Monday, December 17, 1984

Song of the day: The Price - Twisted Sister

Top 5 at Five
1. Perfect Strangers - Deep Purple
2. The Old Man Down the Road - John Fogerty
3. Do They Know It's Christmas? - Band Aid
4. Santa Claus is Comin' to Town - Bruce Springsteen
5. Naughty Naughty - John Parr

Good day! I got an 88 on that Field Bio test and a 99 on that Computers quiz! [Cute chick in Computers] likes me. A lot. I think. Who knows?

We finally got new stuff in the jukebox. "Round and Round," "Hot for Teacher," "Panama," "I Will Follow," "2 Hearts Beat as 1," and lots more! Awesome!

- The Barbarian   

Tuesday, December 18, 1984

Song of the day: Tooth and Nail - Dokken

Top 5 at Five
1. Father Christmas - The Kinks
2. Perfect Strangers - Deep Purple
3. Reaction to Action - Foreigner
4. Santa Claus is Comin' to Town - Bruce Springsteen
5. I'm Leaving You - Scorpions

Good day, I hope. I took just about all of my pictures today. I took that Adv Math test. I hope I did good. I need an A!

I also finished my program in Computers. [Cute chick in Computers] has been wicked nice. What a babe!

- The Barbarian

Wednesday, December 19, 1984

Song of the day: The 12 Days of Christmas - Bob and Doug McKenzie

Top 5 at Five
1. The 12 Days of Christmas - Bob and Doug McKenzie
2. Father Christmas - The Kinks
3. Do They Know It's Christmas? - Band Aid
4. Naughty Naughty - John Parr
5. Rock Out, Roll On - Triumph

I got an 80 on that dumb Adv Math test. Stupid mistakes! I got an A on those Psych essays and an A on my program.

It's late.

[Family friends from Toronto] got here alright.

- The Barbarian

Thursday, December 20, 1984

Song of the day: Eye on You - Billy Squier

Top 5 at Five
1. So This is Christmas - John Lennon
2. Do They Know It's Christmas? - Band Aid
3. Naughty Naughty - John Parr
4. Christmas is the Time to Say I Love You - Billy Squier
5. missed it

I didn't do much of anything at school today. It was pretty much a waste.

[Two hot girls] gave me cards.

- The Barbarian

Friday, December 21, 1984

Song of the day: Santa Claus and His Old Lady - Cheech & Chong

Top 5 at Five
1. Do They Know It's Christmas? - Band Aid
2. Santa Claus and His Old Lady - Cheech & Chong
3. Perfect Strangers - Deep Purple
4. Naughty Naughty - John Parr
5. Santa Claus is Comin' to Town - Bruce Springsteen

First day of winter, man.

[Buddy] gave me a ride to school. [Girl in my class] gave me that Ratt tape. [Two other girls] gave me Christmas cards. [Buddy] left without me. I bummed a ride home off [another girl]. Jeremy called me and we went to Chris' Comic Shop in Salem. I got a bunch of new comics and joined their subscription service. They hold all the titles I want for me and I get discounts on stuff, free bags, Marvel Age and more. It's awesome.

At 6, we went to see Beverly Hills Cop. Funny! That movie is awesome! Kicks butt!

- The Barbarian

Postscript: The year is winding down. This entry closed with the last day of school before the Christmas break. My grades were improving, which was good. Still no progress on the girl front, but at least I wasn't so desperate about it. Although I'm not proud of talking smack behind my buddy's back to his ex. At least I didn't ask her out. Nothing happened with the other girl I liked from the Computers class. 

Chris' Comics was a cool store. I was a customer there right through college. I would come home once a month and pick up a month's worth of comics and leave them at home, because I didn't want my roommates seeing me read comics. Probably didn't get to read too many of them during the school year. Finally when I moved down to Massachusetts after college, I closed my "account" and basically just stopped buying comics. Things were getting pretty crazy in the late '80s in terms of certain titles coming out twice a month and all sorts of new titles based around the X-Men and Spider-Man. It was ridiculous and a good time to get out.

Ten days left...



Friday, December 20, 2013

Stuck In Thee Garage #15: December 20, 2013

Just because we like to blast the noisy rock music doesn't mean we don't enjoy the Christmas season. Today's episode featured an hour of kickass indie rock followed by an hour of Christmas rockimafying. I dare say even these guys would dig it.



The playlist:

Hour 1
Artist - Song/Album

Electric Six - Danger! High Voltage!/Fire
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Flavor/Orange
Sonic Youth - Kool Thing/Goo
Fugazi - Sieve-Fisted Find/Repeater
Come - Bell/Epitonic Saki Session
Guided by Voices - Jane of the Waking Universe/Mag Earwhig!
Modest Mouse - Satellite Skin/No One's First and You're Next EP
Okkervil River - Unless It's Kicks/The Stage Names
Les Savy Fav - Patty Lee/Let's Stay Friends
The Foxboro Hot Tubs - Stop, Drop and Roll/Stop, Drop and Roll
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks - Vanessa from Queens/Pig Lib
Spacemen 3 - The Sound of Confusion/Taking Drugs to Make Music to Take Drugs to
Black Mountain - Druganaut/Black Mountain
Kyuss - Green Machine/Blues for the Red Sun

Hour 2: Christmas rock
The Kinks - Father Christmas/Misfits
The Ramones - Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight)/Brain Drain
The Pogues - Fairytale of New York/If I Should Fall From Grace With God
The Beach Boys - Little Saint Nick/The Beach Boys' Christmas Album
James Brown - Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto/Have a Very Funky Christmas
Marvin Gaye - Purple Snowflakes/Motown Christmas
Otis Redding - Merry Christmas, Baby/Single
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings - Ain't No Chimneys in the Projects/Single
Run DMC - Christmas in Hollis/Tougher Than Leather
Steve Martin - Five Wishes at Christmas/SNL
Thurl Ravenscroft - You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch/How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Vince Guaraldi Trio - Linus and Lucy/A Charlie Brown Christmas
The Hush Now - On Holiday/Single
Papas Fritas - Holiday/Pop Has Freed Us
The Raveonettes - The Christmas Song/Maybe This Christmas Tree
Yo La Tengo - Rock 'N Roll Santa/Merry Christmas From Yo La Tengo
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - Annunciation Day/Born on Christmas Day/Living With the Living
The Minus 5 - Your Christmas Whiskey/Oh Santa! New and Used Christmas Carols
The Sonics - Santa Claus/Here Are the Sonics
The Smithereens - Auld Lang Syne/Christmas With the Smithereens

 


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Completely Conspicuous 307: Ramble On

Part 1 of my conversation with guest Jay Breitling as we discuss our favorite music of 2013. Listen to the episode below or download it directly (right click and "save as").


Show notes:
- Recorded at Clicky Clicky World HQ
- Breitling's working on a new catchphrase
- Zeppelin's on Spotify
- Brought to you (not really) by Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
- When did year-end lists begin?
- Breitling: Listen to Bandcamp and Soundcloud all day
- Olive the dog nearly causes technical difficulties
- JB's albums that just missed his top 10: It Hugs Back, Bent Shapes, Kal Marks, Slowdim
- JK's bubbling under albums: Iceage, Diarrhea Planet, Deer Tick, Swearin', Mudhoney, YLT
- JB's #10
- Joey Sweeney's second solo album
- JK's #10
- Great return to form for Barrence Whitfield
- JB's 9
- Guillermo Sexo album was picked up by Midriff Records
- JK's #9 and JB's #8 are the same
- Ovlov plays the hot rock
- Exploding in Sound label had a monster year
- Music scene in the Boston area is terrific right now
- JK's #8
- Future of the Left's latest album was crowdfunded
- JB's #7
- Beyonce's new album release isn't that groundbreaking
- Calories did it last month
- The upside of releasing "pay what you want" music
- JK's #7
- Savages' debut album is excellent
- JB's #6
- Radiator Hospital is another Philly act with a fine 2013 release
- To be continued

Music:
Guillermo Sexo - Fall Lens
Calories - Neighbours
Savages - She Will


Completely Conspicuous is available through the iTunes podcast directory. Subscribe and write a review!

The Guillermo Sexo song is on the album Dark Spring on Midriff Records. Download the song for free at Soundcloud.
The Calories song is on the album Calories III. Download the song for free at Bandcamp.
The Savages song is on the album Silence Yourself on Matador. Download the song for free as part of the Matador Intended Play 2013 sampler on Amazon.

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Find out more about Senor Breitling at his fine music blog Clicky Clicky. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Stuck In Thee Garage #14: December 13, 2013

Friday the 13th is traditionally considered a bad luck day, but Stuck In Thee Garage rocked it up good. I rolled out some new Swervedriver, threw in some old stuff you probably haven't heard in a while and played an hour of soundtrack songs in hour 2.

I'd wager to guess even the Voorhees boy enjoyed the show. Although it's very clear that boy ain't right.




The playlist:

Artist - Song/Album
Hour 1

Swervedriver - Deep Wound/Deep Wound EP
PUP - Reservoir/Pup
Capsula - Seven Crimes/Solar Secrets
The New Highway Hymnal - Side A/Reverb Room EP
Kurt Vile - Never Run Away/Wakin' on a Pretty Daze
Shy Boys - Is This Who You Are/Shy Boys
Dog Day - Wasted/Fade Out
Ian Rubbish and the Bizarros - Living in the Gutter/The Best of Ian Rubbish EP
Disappears - Replicate/Pre Language
The Cars - Cruiser/Shake It Up
Faith No More - Midlife Crisis/Angel Dust
Peeping Tom (feat. Norah Jones) - Sucker/Peeping Tom
L7 - Pretend We're Dead/Bricks Are Heavy
Torche - Kicking/Harmonicraft

Hour 2: Soundtrack songs
Curtis Mayfield - Freddie's Dead (Theme from Superfly)/Superfly
Kool and the Gang - Jungle Boogie/Pulp Fiction
Prince - Baby I'm a Star/Purple Rain
Dinosaur Jr. and Del the Funkee Homosapien - Missing Link/Judgment Night
Chris Cornell - Seasons/Singles
Eddie Vedder - Society/Into the Wild
Mark Lanegan - Man in the Long Black Coat/I'm Not There
Elliott Smith - Say Yes/Good Will Hunting
The Dirty Mac - Yer Blues/The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus
Stealers Wheel - Stuck in the Middle With You/Reservoir Dogs
The Who - Cut My Hair/Quadrophenia
Steely Dan - FM/FM
Sweet - Fox on the Run/Dazed and Confused
The Ramones - Rock 'n Roll High School/Rock 'n Roll High School 
Fear - I Don't Care About You/The Decline of Western Civilization
Iggy Pop - Repo Man/Repo Man



Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Completely Conspicuous 306: Mystery Achievement

Part 3 of my conversation with guest Brian Salvatore as we look back at the music of 1980. Listen to the episode below or download it directly (right click and "save as").

Show notes:
- Recorded via Skype
- Jay's #3
- Bowie's last great album?
- Jay: Tin Machine was an interesting experiment
- Brian's #2
- Sandinista! is a bloated, but great, album
- The Clash went to great lengths to keep price down
- A little better than Extreme's triple album
- A case study of success going to a band's 'head'
- TV theme producer Mike Post produced VH III
- Jay's #2 pick is Brian's #1
- Brian: "Once in a Lifetime" is one of the stranger smash hits of all time
- Great albums created after a serious case of writer's block
- Jay's #1
- Pretenders debut is flawless
- Band only formed two years earlier
- Half the band was dead within three years
- Crappy recording techniques hadn't started yet in 1980
- Next up: 1998

Music:
Shy Boys - Is This Who You Are
Dog Day - Wasted
PUP - Reservoir

Completely Conspicuous is available through the iTunes podcast directory. Subscribe and write a review!

The Shy Boys song is on the band's self-titled album on High Dive. Download it for free at Soundcloud
The Dog Day song is on the album Fade Out on Fundog Records. Download the song for free at Chromewaves.
The PUP song is on the band's self-released and self-titled album. Download the song for free at Bandcamp.

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Find out more about Senor Breitling at his fine music blog Clicky Clicky. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Stuck In Thee Garage #13: December 6, 2013

Lucky show #13 of Stuck In Thee Garage started off with a bang yesterday and ended with an hour of doom and gloom songs as the theme was music for the apocalypse. It was almost enough to drive one to drink.



Here's the playlist:

Artist - Song/Album

Hour 1

The Mighty Fine (feat. Greg Dulli) - Ready to Roar/Get Up to Get Down
The Harmonica Lewinskies - Jesus Christ is Just Rock and Roll/Jesus Christ is Just Rock and Roll 
Ben Kweller - Wasted and Ready/Sha Sha
Diarrhea Planet - Babyhead/I'm Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams
Idiot Genes - Soaked Pillow/Lousey
Iceage - Everything Drifts/You're Nothing
MC5 - Skunk (Sonically Speaking)/High Time
The Sex Pistols - Pretty Vacant/Never Mind the Bollocks, It's the Sex Pistols
Savages - I Am Here/Silence Yourself
Arcade Fire - Flashbulb Eyes/Reflektor
Bottomless Pit - Null Set/Shade Perennial
Minor Alps - Far From the Roses/Get There
Archers of Loaf - Web in Front/Icky Mettle
Mark Lanegan Band - Hit the City/Bubblegum
Queens of the Stone Age - Regular John/Queens of the Stone Age
Riverboat Gamblers - Ice Water/Something to Crow About

Hour 2: Apocalyptic songs
Neil Young - Revolution Blues/Live at the Bottom Line 1974
Peter Gabriel - Here Comes the Flood/Peter Gabriel (1977)
Elvis Costello - Waiting for the End of the World/My Aim is True
Steely Dan - Black Friday/Katy Lied
Built to Spill - Distopian Dream Girl/There's Nothing Wrong With Love
David Bowie - Five Years/The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars
The Good, the Bad and the Queen - Kingdom of Doom/The Good, the Bad and the Queen
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - The World Stops Turning/Living With the Living
Fishbone - Party at Ground Zero/Fishbone
Iron Maiden - Two Minutes to Midnight/Powerslave
Black Sabbath - Electric Funeral/Paranoid
Mission of Burma - That's When I Reach for My Revolver/Live on WERS, 9/21/80
New Bomb Turks - Apocalyptic Dipstick/Information Highway Revisited
Jeff Buckley - Eternal Life/Grace

 


Friday, December 06, 2013

Through the Past Dorkily: Do It Again

Editor's note: Through the Past Dorkily is a recurring feature that looks back at the embarrassingly dorky diary I kept as a 16-year-old in 1984.

Sunday, November 18, 1984

Song of the day: The Number of the Beast - Iron Maiden

I went to church. [A couple of friends] were there.

Later on we went to Methuen Mall. I didn't buy anything.

Heavy Metal from Hell was awesome tonight! Bruce Dickinson was at WBCN and he played some of his fave tunes. He also announced a new tour date. Get ready. Maiden and Sister at the Centrum on Jan. 23! Awesome! Too bad I can't go.

- The Barbarian

Monday, November 19, 1984

Song of the day: School - Supertramp

Top 5 at Five
1. Perfect Strangers - Deep Purple
2. The Boys of Summer - Don Henley
3. Into the Fire - Dokken
4. Call to the Heart - Giuffria
5. Not Such a Bad Boy - Paul McCartney

Today was alright. Not much happened in school. I finally understand domain and range, and it's a good thing because we have a test in Adv Math tomorrow.

I bought my senior t-shirt, didn't like it and then sold it to [a buddy].

I got Holy Diver and Balls to the Wall today.

My contacts should be in tomorrow.

I had to pick Dad's car up from the gas station. I took it to the Post Office to get my stuff.

The financial aid workshop was boring. We left early. They talked to [one of my teachers]. He said I was a lazy bum. They didn't talk to anyone else.

- The Barbarian

Tuesday, November 20, 1984

Song of the day: Stand Up and Shout - Dio

Top 5 at Five
1. The Boys of Summer - Don Henley
2. Perfect Strangers - Deep Purple
3. Tender Years - John Cafferty and Beaver Brown
4. Spellbound - Triumph
5. I Want to Know What Love Is - Foreigner

I handed in my camera obscura today.

[Cute girl] got a rose in her locker this morning from a secret admirer (actually, it was [redacted]). I don't think she really likes him.

I blew 2 questions on the Adv Math test. I think I did good on the Computers quiz.

I got [buddy] to give me a ride to [optometrist] after school. He wasn't there, so I hadda go home. I called the Plaistow office and they had the lenses in. I went and got it at 6:30.

I finished reading White Gold Wielder just before I went to bed.

Everything's ready. Sammy's at the kennel. Let's roll!

- The Barbarian

Wednesday, November 21, 1984

Song of the day: All We Are - Kim Mitchell

We left home at 7:15. It was nice and sunny out. I won't bore you with driving details. I drove about 100 miles. We got there at 6:30.

We had dinner and went to bed. Q107 is now the best rock station in Toronto. Chum FM plays crap like Tina Turner, Prince and Cyndi Lauper along with rock. We listened to WOUR 96.9 Utica/Rome NY for a lot of the way.

- The Barbarian

Thursday, November 22, 1984

Song of the day: Gimme Gimme Good Lovin' -  Helix

Today Dad dropped Mom, me and JP off at the Eaton Centre. First we got our money changed at the bank. I got $40. I went to Music World and found the new Triumph album, Thunder Seven there! Awesome! I bought it along with Kim Mitchell's Akimbo Alogo. I also picked up the new Guitar World with Jeff Beck on the cover and the second issue of Metallion magazine.

Mom met [old friends] and we all had lunch at Mr. Greenjeans. I wanted to go shopping in the streets but Mom wanted to go home.

We went to [family friends'] house. They had a new dog that they were mistreating. It's a cocker spaniel. Cute.

- The Barbarian

P.S. Oh yeah, JP bought me a new pair of headphones.

Friday, November 23, 1984

Song of the day: That's a Man - Kim Mitchell.


Today kinda sucked. Mom dropped me and JP off at Scarborough Town Centre. I bought Deep Purple's Perfect Strangers and Helix's Walkin' the Razor's Edge. I also got 2 books, The Game by Ken Dryden and an NHL guide to the 1984-85 season. Then we had to wait 2 hours for Mom to come because something was wrong with the car. Anyhoo, we finally got home.

Later on, [family friends] came over for dinner. Fun stuff.

- The Barbarian

Saturday, November 24, 1984

Song of the day: Rock Out, Roll On - Triumph 

Busy day. First we went to Scarborough to have breakfast at [redacted]'s house. [The son] is now 5 foot 8, has glasses and braces and is not hyper anymore. [His sister] is the same (height, attitude, etc.). [The father] was looking well. They're gonna buy a $200,000 house.

Then went to [redacted]'s house. [Older son] is 8 now. He's got a little brother, who's 1 1/2 years old. Cute little bugger.

Next was [redacted]'s house. We had dinner and then had to stay over because they asked. I had no toothbrush or new clothes or anything. Oh well.

While at the Morningside Mall with Mom and [redacted] earlier, I bought Vices by Kick Axe.

[Redacted]'s skinnier, [her brother]'s still a little kook. He's collecting comics now.

- The Barbarian

Sunday, November 25, 1984

Song of the day: Lager and Ale - Kim Mitchell

We got up at 10, had breakfast and then met Mom and Dad at [redacted]'s house. We were there for a while. [Daughter]'s all grown up now. She doesn't talk as much as before. Then Dad dropped me off at Pickering. I went in the building and was waiting for [an old buddy] when I met [a kid I knew from elementary school]. He was pretty friendly. He was in a hurry but he asked me to give [my buddy] my address so he could write me a letter. Wow. [Buddy] cane down and we went to the flea market. He still looks the same. We talked about just about everything. We went to the new sports complex and hung out there. It's awesome. It's got a hockey rink, swimming pool and more. We met [two other old buddies of mine] who were skating there. We all talked for a while. Then me and [first buddy] went to the Go station where I got a ticket for the 6 o'clock train. I gave him $10 since I didn't need the money anymore. I took the train and subway home. We had dinner with [redacted]. Dad got drunk and fell asleep. Ha.

- The Barbarian

Monday, November 26, 1984

Song of the day: Under the Gun - Deep Purple

We got up at 4:30 and left at 5. It was so foggy you couldn't see 2 feet in front of you. We had to stop and wait for an hour for it to clear. Even then, it wasn't that good. But somehow, we made it home all right. I drove good.

We got home at 7. We picked up Sammy. Everything was how we left it.

A good trip.

- The Barbarian

Tuesday, November 27, 1984

Song of the day: Heavy Metal Shuffle - Kick Axe

Top 5 at Five
1. Perfect Strangers - Deep Purple
2. Purple Haze - Jimi Hendrix
3. I Want to Know What Love Is - Foreigner
4. The Boys of Summer - Don Henley
5. Steel Claw - Tina Turner

Back to school again. I got a 45/50 on that Daphnia lab. We took a quiz in Adv Math. I did good. I got a 49 on that Computers quiz. I can't believe it.

After school, me and Jeremy went to [classmate]'s house for a Junior class crafts fair meeting. I needed the ride home so I came. [Various friends] were there. We stayed until 3:30.

- The Barbarian

Wednesday, November 28, 1984

Song of the day: Killing Time - Triumph

Top 5 at Five
1. I Want to Know What Love Is - Foreigner
2. Perfect Strangers - Deep Purple
3. Call to the Heart - Giuffria
4. Heaven's On Fire - KISS
5. Heaven - Bryan Adams

Pretty boring day. There was massive fog rolling around. [Cute girl] is getting pretty friendly. Who knows.

Went to the Youth Enquirers meeting at 3:30. It was just us and the Rev.'s daughter.

- The Barbarian

Thursday, November 29, 1984

Song of the day: Summer of '69 - Bryan Adams

Top 5 at Five
1. I Want to Know What Love Is - Foreigner
2. Move It On Over - George Thorogood
3. The Boys of Summer - Don Henley
4. Our Love - Krokus
5. Do It Again - The Kinks

I got an A on my camera obscura. [Teacher] wasn't at school today. [Goofball classmate] was back in school today. Oh, jump for joy.

I came home and just slept.

- The Barbarian

Friday, November 30, 1984

Song of the day: Cool Down - Triumph

Top 5 of the Week
1. Perfect Strangers - Deep Purple
2. I Want to Know What Love Is - Foreigner
3. The Boys of Summer - Don Henley
4. Heaven's On Fire - KISS
5. Santa Claus is Comin' to Town - Bruce Springsteen

Everything was fine until 4th period. Then I found out I got a 64 on that test we took! Plus we took a quiz that I totally flunked! Why can't I get an A in there?

Then I fell asleep in Psychology. I didn't get my program done, either.

[Hot chick] told me that [reporter] from the Carriage Towne News took a picture of me on Dress-Up Day that's going in the paper. The caption reads: The Gay Blade is alive and well at Sanborn. Great.

I went out and bought 5 comics today. I'm back in the saddle.

I also went to the Bucket. I talked to [two buddies] and the luscious [redacted]. She's hot!

- The Barbarian

Saturday, December 1, 1984

Song of the day: A Gypsy's Kiss - Deep Purple

I got up at 6:40. [Buddy] picked me up at 7:45 and we went to the Achievement Tests. We got in there just as the first group of 15 were sent in. The guy wouldn't let us go with them, so we had to wait til 9. We finally got started at 9:15. The tests weren't that bad. English was easy, Lit you really can't tell and Math I'm hoping for the best. I hope I do good!

We were the last people out. Geez. We went to McDonalds for lunch and then home.

I drove Mom to Methuen where I got 7 comics. Then we went to the Bucket and came home. After that, I picked up a pizza from the plaza.

- The Barbarian

Sunday, December 2, 1984

Song of the day: Time Goes By - Triumph

I slept in this morning and didn't go to church. When I took the garbage to the dump, I kep going past the house on the way back. I went to Westville and picked up Thor 352, Rom 63 and the last Marvel Team Up 150. I then zipped and was home at 12:05 or so.

Later on, I had to go to the Westville Supply to return something. Then I went into Westville and got Capt. America 302, Hulk 304 and Iceman 2.

I did the first essay on my Yale application.

- The Barbarian

Monday, December 3, 1984

Song of the day: Do It Again - The Kinks

Top 5 at Five
1. I Want to Know What Love Is - Foreigner
2. Do It Again - The Kinks
3. Flying High Again - Ozzy Osbourne
4. Santa Claus is Comin' to Town - Bruce Springsteen
5. Spellbound - Triumph

Typical Monday. Well, it wasn't that bad. Me and [classmate] got our enlargements done. The Field Bio test went alright. I hope I get an A. I got an A on that Psychology test. I get till tomorrow to hand in my program.

I got a ride home from [buddy] because Jeremy had track practice. [Classmate] trashed his car on Friday on Hunt Rd. What a joke!

Jeremy told me of a comic shop in Salem. It's on the strip way at the end. Me and [buddy] want to go there on the weekend.

I moved my comic boxes around. 2 of them are out by my record box where I can get at 'em! The Second Renaissance of Comics, Kumar style!

- The Barbarian

Tuesday, December 4, 1984

Song of the day: Dazed and Confused (live) - Led Zep      

Top 5 at Five 
1. Do It Again - The Kinks
2. Santa Claus is Comin' to Town - Bruce Springsteen
3. I Want to Know What Love Is - Foreigner
4. Don't Worry Baby - Los Lobos
5. Heaven's On Fire - KISS

What a day! Whew! I got a 79 on that Field Bio test. I couldn't believe it!

[Journalism teacher] got a letter from the editor of The Kingstonian about my story. He wanted an apology. [Teacher] started giving me crap and giving the whole class a lecture on libel. It really isn't that bad a case, but he wanted to get a point across. I think the "boring rag" line was what did it. Oh well. I have to write an apology now. Beat.

In computers, I didn't get my program to work and I'll probably get an F on it. Beat.

I got Song Remains the Same from RCA today. Awesome.

I bought comics from Westville. Cap 303, Peter Parker 99, Beauty/Beast 2, Daredevil 216, Groo 001, Teen Titans 50 and 51. Good stuff.

- The Barbarian

Wednesday, December 5, 1984

Song of the day: Sunset Grill - Don Henley

Top 5 at Five
1. Santa Claus is Comin' to Town - Bruce Springsteen
2. Do It Again - The Kinks
3. Metal Health - Quiet Riot
4. I Want to Know What Love Is - Foreigner
5. Don't Worry Baby - Los Lobos

Another great day. Ever since I got back from Toronto, school has really sucked! I got a 100 on one quiz, 19 on another in Adv Math. I lost points on that test and got a 60. I don't know. I got a D on that program. I hope I did good on that quiz we took.

After school, Jeremy came in to look at my comics. I let him borrow some. Then we went to his house and he let me borrow a whole humongo stack of his. All the X-Men I missed, Secret Wars, Titans and tons more. Plus he gave me Avengers 249 and Thor 349.

We went to church later.

- The Barbarian

Thursday, December 6, 1984

Song of the day: Don't Eat That Yellow Snow - Frank Zappa

Top 5 at Five
1. Santa Claus is Comin' to Town - Bruce Springsteen
2. The Boys of Summer - Don Henley
3. Stranger in Town - Toto
4. The Old Man Down the Road - John Fogerty
5. Don't Worry Baby - Los Lobos

Snow! We finally got some snow. About half a foot. There was a 2-hour school delay this morning. I just sat around reading comics.

We missed 1st and 2nd periods and had the rest of the classes. I got a 20 on that Adv Math notebook quiz. If I don't get my act together, my class rank will be all shot to hell! We've got another quiz tomorrow. Great. I also have a Psych test tomorrow. Should be easy. I got an 84 on that Computers quiz. Phew!

[Cute girl]'s pretty awesome!

- The Barbarian

Postscript: Whew! Lots going on here. The Toronto trip wasn't my first return since moving away. My brother and I spent two weeks up there in the summer of '83, but this was the first we'd all gone back. Hence all the visits with friends and relatives. It was cool to go back to Pickering, where I'd spent the last seven years before moving to the U.S. Sadly, I've lost touch with most of my friends from those days; of the core group of four or five guys who used to hang out all the time, I'm the only one on Facebook as far as I know. I've sort of connected with one of the guys, who's on Twitter but never tweets. I next went up to Toronto in the summer of '86, I think, with a buddy of mine. And have gone up every few years or so since then. This was also a cool trip because I was able to get some highway driving in.

School's a struggle. I'm not sure if I was just screwing off too much or what, but I don't remember all these shitty grades. Good thing they had no bearing on my adult life, huh?

I had forgotten about the whole Journalism class thing. We had a page in one of the local papers that we contributed to and for some reason they decided not to run it anymore. So I guess wrote a little opinion piece in the paper we jumped to, basically ripping on the other paper. Ruffled a few feathers. It blew over.

I was big into comics for the last few years I lived in Toronto and then in Washington state when we lived there. For some reason, I stopped reading them after we got to New Hampshire. But I guess seeing my cousin's collection while in Toronto got me interested again, and I jumped back into it with gusto when we got home. One thing for sure, I've always been good at spending money on entertainment.

I still enjoy the Can-Rock that nobody down here's heard of. Like Kim Mitchell, who used to be the frontman for Max Webster. Who? Exactly. Dude's a legend up in Canada. Kinda weird-looking but a helluva guitarist. He had minor success Stateside in '85 with "Go For Soda," which everyone thought was an anti-drinking song. The same album had a few odes to getting schnockered, including this song: