Monthly Archives: January 2015

Game Music Revue: The Konamic Game Freaks

konamicKonamic Game Freaks (Compilation)

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Scrunged: Toadies’ Possum Kingdom

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Scrunge (second-rate rip-off grunge) is a largely forgotten genre, and every few weeks I’m going to examine a scrunge act or two and see if they deserve a second chance. Today’s band: The Toadies.

One thing about grunge that most scrunge acts seemed to miss the point on was that a lot of it was really dark and creepy in a menacing way. Nirvana frequently sang from the point of view of serial killers and rapists. Soundgarden’s metal influences frequently came to life with nefarious tracks like “Gun,” and of course there was the entire Alice In Chains discography, with its unhealthy focus on heroin and the joys that come with it. Shit, even Pearl Jam would often dive into the deep end of the disturbing with tracks about child abuse, incest, and murder.

You didn’t see Bush do shit like that. STP did on occasion with songs like “Sex Type Thing,” but they had too many love songs to really be all that down in the dumps. Sometimes Paw came close with their debut album, but while they nailed the mood of grunge, that was about all they got right.

No, the only scrunge act that really hit grunge’s darkside was The Toadies.

Makes sense, they are from Texas after all. Continue reading

Game Music Revue: Video Game Music (1984)

Since moving to Japan I have bought a lot of game music. Seriously, like probably too many. In my travels and adventures in buying these LPs and CDs, I’ve discovered that there isn’t a lot in the way of editorial information online in regards to these releases. Sure, there’s the VGMDB, but that’s just factual info on content, I mean reviews and more in-depth information.

While I don’t consider myself the end-all expert on game music (my lack of knowledge/interest in RPGs kind of makes that impossible) I’d like to think my obsessive collecting has given me some credence to talk about these releases. So I present to you the Game Music Revue, where I will take a look at all the crazy, bizarre and insane (as well as the boring, mundane and not very good) game music releases that I’ve bought and continue to buy in this wonderful country.

And I felt that it would be best to start at the beginning.

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Vinyl Review – The Music Of Grand Theft Auto V

gtav

Grand Theft Auto V was one of the biggest and best games of 2013. Its re-release on the PS4 and Xbox One also made it one the marquee titles of 2014, and it’s upcoming PC release might make it a standout release of 2015 as well. It’s a rare feat for the same game to be a newsmaker three years in a row, but GTAV certainly deserves it. Despite its heavily problematic elements, which includes a wicked misogyny streak and more than a few disgusting digs at minorities, the game is an absolute blast to play. This is in large part due to its amazing immersive world, which in itself is largely due to the stellar in-game soundtrack. Continue reading

Vinyl Review: Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Inside The Pleasuredome

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Let’s make a list, if my nightmare of a Facebook feed is any indication, the Internet goes gaga for lists.

Top Ten Albums of the 80s. All genres, hit or no hit, anything that came out between 1980 and 1989. Here’s mine:

  1. Prince – Purple Rain
  2. Game Theory – Lolita Nation
  3. Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Welcome To The Pleasuredome
  4. Michael Jackson – Bad
  5. Bruce Springsteen – Born In The U.S.A.
  6. The Stone Roses – s/t
  7. Sisters Of Mercy – Floodland
  8. Def Leppard – Hysteria
  9. David Bowie – Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)
  10. The Pointer Sisters – Break Out

Yeah, that’s right, the Pointer Sisters, but that’s a discussion for another day.

That’s my list. Of course, ask me tomorrow and I might substitute Madonna’s Like A Prayer for Bad. Ask me again and I might remove Sisters of Mercy and slide in some Yellow Magic Orchestra. Get me on a grunge kick and I’ll probably replace a couple of the albums in there for Nirvana’s Bleach and at least one Pixies record. And Daydream Nation would probably go in there a least a few days of the week too.

It’s a nebulous list, but the top three will never change. Prince’s Purple Rain is the greatest album of the 80s, and I don’t think that’s an opinion that would garner me much flack. Lolita Nation is a strong number two, and while it’s not a popular choice, I know of some critics that have declared that record to be one of the greatest of all time, not just the 80s, so I know I’m not alone there either.

But Welcome To The Pleasuredome is probably an odd choice to most people, especially to any Americans who view Frankie as nothing more than a cheesy one-hit wonder ala Kajagoogoo or A Flock of Seagulls, but they’re wrong. The truth is that Welcome To The Pleasuredome isn’t just one of the greatest albums of the 80s, it is, without question, one of the most accurate documents about what living in the early 80s was all about.

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