I trust that all is good in your neck of the woods and you’re all having the hap-hap-happiest Christmas since they last aired A Christmas Story on TBS.
I have a bit of happy/sad news for buriedonmars.wordpress.com. It is coming to end. In fact, you’re reading the very last post from this site right now!
Yes, so long! Farewell! It is time to say goodbye!
Yeah, this has been coming for some time. You might have noticed that the ol’ blog is in need of some serious repair. Real-life got to be a bit of a shitshow last summer, so when buriedonmars.com came up for renewal this past August, I allowed it to lax. The site reverted back to a free WordPress theme sometime in October which explains the banner featuring some broad doing yoga in the mountains. I look at this site now and all I see are broken links, a number of series I started but never finished, and a site that lacks focus in general.
I know, a renewal of buriedonmars.com will fix some of the issues, but not all of them.
So, I’m taking this as an opportunity to begin anew. Yes, I’m NOT leaving WordPress but I am changing my location.
I am really bummed out how this blog is all over the place. I started this site with a focus on reviewing Blu-rays before switching to music, then to straight movie reviews, back to music, to a little of everything. I have a tendency to want to write about everything and I end up burning out. Doing weekly reviews on Tragically Hip albums AND James Bond movies was way too much for me, and it looked like it was never going to end there for a while.
But, I learned so much from writing this blog. I’ve tried doing daily posts, writing on current events, short & punchy reviews, and long technical ones. I experimented with just about everything I wanted to on here.
The process I enjoyed the most was the one I used for The Hip series. I took a full week with each album and really absorbed them. I discovered what I didn’t like at first I’d come to love later. And, sometimes, what I did like at first got on my nerves later. I can never unhear that damn cowbell in 50 Mission Cap, but I’m so stoked to have finally figured out the meaning behind those lyrics!
So, that is what I’m going to apply to my NEW site, canadiangrooves.ca. The focus will be on music from Canadian Artists in my preferred genres of rock, metal, and blues. It will mostly be album reviews with some book and movie reviews that fit within the site’s theme. And, there will be no more than one weekly post (sometimes less) as to not burn out.
I appreciate any and all who do end up joining me there. The site just says “coming soon” right now, but it will be up fully by the New Year. It is sad for me to have to let this site go, but with all that I learned here, I’m way more thankful that it existed.
I can sum up Max the Axe’s latest EP, Oktoberfest Cheer in two words. Bitter Sweet.
The best sound to ascend from Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario is not completely over but it will not be the same going forward. Lead singer Eric “Uncle Meat” Litwiller announced on The LeBrain Train this past summer that he will be moving on from the group, making Oktoberfest Cheer the final release from this version of Max the Axe.
It is hard to believe, but if the EP ishis last with the band, “Uncle Meat” went out on a high note.
It begins with an original, Pygmy Blow Dart. Judging by the title alone, I figured this would have some punk energy and I got it right for once. The band’s biggest difference in sound this time when compared to their previous album Static Electric is Mike Mitchell’s bass. It now sports a Lemmy vibe with punkish Marshall crunch.
I wouldn’t label the entire song as punk, however. “Uncle Meat’s” straight vocal melody keeps the tune grounded in the band’s Ozzy-Sabbath roots. Regardless of which genre you want to fit it into, this is a great high voltage opener!
The next song is a cover of Black Flag’s Thirsty and Miserable (Which, coincidently enough, Lemmy had covered at one point as well) and it is fantastic. I am a fan of this song and have heard it be covered many times before. This might be the first and only instance I have been able to make out its lyrics. A perfect fit on a punkish album about Oktoberfest!
The final tune is the title track, Oktoberfest Cheer. The song’s frantic style didn’t grab me at first. There is a lot going on with the addition of an accordion from Catherine Thompson and it felt like the band was being pushed down the stairs a little ahead of her. But it takes a turn for the better once the song gets into the groove of the chorus. A fun tune that ends beautifully with “Uncle Meat” shouting at us to not crush his smokes or spill his beer.
I hope those are not the last words I hear him say as the front man for Max the Axe as I can’t think of many pills that are harder to swallow. Although, who knows what the future may bring? Reunions happen all of the time. For now, we just have to accept how this might be it. Someone much wiser than me once said “You can feel sad that it is over or be glad that it had happened.” Well, I am so glad that it had happened!
Oof. This is one late post. I usually get these on the site close to the beginning of the month and we are already… 20 days into August?!!?
Well, that is life for me. One month I’m on vacation, relaxing, posting every day. The next is so busy I can’t find the time. Well, I got a long and lazy Friday shift ahead of me today, so… better late than never!
The Movie Watch List–
An asterisk (*) indicates a first time viewing.
Strike-through means I didn’t enjoy it enough to finish it.
Baseball time! These are the “batting stats” compiled for the FIRST TIME watches. I give each movie a rating out of 5. 4.5 and up are home runs, 4s to 2.5s are hits, 2 and lower are field outs, an 0.5 (did not finish) is a Strike Out. This tells me how well of a job I’m doing at picking which movies to watch.
Good Movie Average: 13/15 – .867 (Last month: .762) Home Runs: 3 – The Sugarland Express – Thief – The Celluloid Closet Strikeouts: 0.0
Awards Most Fun First Time Watch: Frankenstein Movie That More People Should See:The Celluloid Closet Most Disappointing:Blow Out Most Fun Re-watch:¡Three Amigos! Most Forgettable: The Post Better Than I Remembered:Skyfall The movie I can finally cross off the Bucket-list:Never Say Never Again Best performance: Sean Connery’s loin cloth (Zardoz), Tuesday Weld (Thief) Most Pleasant Surprise: Contagion Worst Movie: Zardoz Best Movie: Thief
I knew I was going to listen to ZZ Top during this morning’s commute. I needed their groove as I entered the world’s first full day without them. Yes, ZZ Top will carry on with Dusty Hill’s long time tech, Elwood Francis, filling in but we all know it won’t be the same.
I have full confidence in Billy Gibbons and Franks Beard’s abilities to continue to perform top shelf hard rockin’ southern boogie, but it won’t be the same with Hill’s powerful voice, spinning guitar, and waggling long beard missing.
Now, which album will I listen too? It was early this AM in a pre-coffee fog that I looked at my full set of ZZ on CD and grabbed Eliminator and Afterburner. For most kids my age the synth heavy/commercial peak era was my introduction to the band. Their videos were featured regularly on Video Hits and it is were I fell in love with their sound.
I almost had one of their albums back then too. Almost.
If I wanted to get an album in the ’80s I had a major hurdle to jump. Being a kid with no money of my own, and there only being one turn table in the living room, I had to convince my Mom to buy it. Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and Huey Lewis were easy sells compared to the “sleezy” ZZ Top. (Mom had a similar hang up with David Lee Roth.) I almost convinced her with TV Dinners but song wasn’t as big of a hit like the other singles from Eliminator. I think Video Hits only played it twice before it was gone.
I didn’t gain full control of my music until ’89/’90 when I started having money of my own and a cassette player in my bedroom. Eliminator and Afterburner became early entries in my collection. I wish I had kept those cassettes but they would serve no purpose other than to make for a cool photo on this blog. Well, you will have to settle for the CDs I upgraded them to.
But are those the right albums to choose for today?
Hill sang lead vocals on many ZZ Top tunes, but it was usually only one per album. After the success of Tush on Fandango!, they reserved a big rocker for him to belt out on their following albums. Ten Dollar Man, Hi Fi Mama, Party On The Patio. It became a thing.
I remembered Hill sang I Got The Six on Eliminator but I couldn’t remember if he sang one on Afterburner. Again, early AM pre-coffee fog. Plus, with the heavy synth on those albums, I’m not afraid to admit how at times I have no idea what is Hill/Beard and what is a Korg and drum machines. With little time to think, they became my choice.
For some reason, I wanted Afterburner first and as I played it down I realized that any ZZ Top album was right to salute Dusty with. Although Gibbons sings lead for the first four tunes, Hill harmonizes along with him whenever the moment is right. He does for Gibbons what Michael Anthony did for David Lee Roth. Elevating the vocals.
Gibbons is a good, but not great singer. You don’t have to be for rock ‘n roll. Hill was a great singer who knew how to thicken Gibbons voice when a song needed it. His support was prevalent on the ’70s albums but I was surprised to find how subtle and effective the technique is on Afterburner. It is surprising what you can find in a song when you are looking for it. Even if you have heard it countless times before.
After Gibbons wrapped up Rough Boy with a guitar solo that never fails to make my skin vibrate, the next tune, Can’t Stop Rockin’ kicks in. Shit, this is the song Hill sang on. What a brilliant bout of remembrance to hit me in the face at 6:45 AM. Because Hill didn’t stop rockin’ no mater what anyone did or said until he couldn’t do it anymore. Darn right I cranked this! You crank too, please. Rest easy, Dusty.
Bonus Bond! Its the unofficial Bond with the most official Bond, Sean Connery!
I originally wasn’t going to included Never Say Never Again in this series for two reasons. First, it wasn’t included in my blu-ray box set because it wasn’t made by Eon Productions. Second, I had seen the movie before by catching random bits and pieces on TV. What I saw didn’t impress me. But there it was, on one of my streaming service just begging me to watch it all the way through. So, I did.
Before we get to the review, how this movie came to be is interesting. At least more interesting than the movie itself.
The process of getting Bond to the big screen started in the late ’50s as Ian Fleming’s spy novels which featured the character rose in popularity. Fleming first worked on a film screenplay for Bond with two other writers, Kevin McClory and Jack Whittingham. During the writing process, McClory released The Boy and The Bridge, a film which flopped horribly. Fleming lost all confidence with McClory’s ability and scrapped the partnership.
Instead, he took the screenplay and turned it into his 1961 Bond novel, Thunderball. After McClory got an advanced copy of the novel, he contacted Whittingham and the two proceeded to take legal action against Fleming. Ironically enough, Thunderball is the novel where Fleming drew from his personal experience the most. His visit to a health clinic, life as a naval officer, and even his own medical records are used in the novel.
Of course, Thunderball went on to become Fleming’s best selling novel and Eon Production’s first choice to bring Bond to the big screen.
Unable to come to an agreement with McClory, Eon Productions skipped Thunderball and opted in 1962 to make Dr. No instead. Besides, Dr. No‘s story about nuclear missiles in the Caribbean was topical for the early ’60s.
An agreement was eventually made with McClory out of court in 1963 and in 1965 Thunderball became Bond’s fourth film. As part of the agreement, McClory received a producers credit and was restricted from producing another version of Thunderball for 10 years. He began working on his version in 1975.
Incredibly, Sean Connery was on board from day one… as a co writer. The film was at first set to be an new Bond adventure but United Artists, the franchise’s copyright holder clamped down. As per their agreement, McClory had to stick to Thunderball‘s story.
Eventually, veteran producer Jack Schwartzman became involved, he smartly convinced Connery to drop the idea of writing for Bond and accept $3 million dollars to return to portraying the character instead.
And that is how in 1983, Never Say Never Again, a remake of Thunderball was released in theatres. Is that wacky or what?
What is also whacky is how it was hardly worth the effort. Outside of a fun first 30 minutes or so, the film isn’t very good.
It is a bit of a shame too because the cast is all top notch. Connery miraculously is still able to deliver the charm that at the age of 53. Kim Basinger is underused as Domino. She has so little to do they tack on these unnecessary dancing scenes. Max von Sydow makes a small appearance as a rather tame Blofeld. I don’t think you see him in the last half of the film.
The villains, Klaus Maria Brandauer as Largo and Barbara Carrera as Fatima Blush are actually pretty good and I think would have shone if the script was better. There is a ridiculous scene where Brandauer and Connery battle over a video game that can kill you… unless you let go of the controller. Imagine that. Bond died because he would let go of a joystick. The fact that they make it work on some level is a credit to their talents.
The action is on the weak side as well. The hand to hand fight scene Bond has with a heavy henchman in the medical center is well done. Apparently, Steven Seagal was the chorographer for it. The rest falls flat. There is an OK motor bike chase but the film is heavy on the underwater scenes with sharks. I guess the effect of Jaws was still being felt by movie goers in 1983, but the ones they choose for this movie looked more cute than threatening. Amazingly, this was director Irwin Kerskner’s follow up to The Empire Strikes Back.
Now for the final (for now) competition with my wife, Sarah, to guess how long it would take Bond to first get laid during each of these films. It was my turn to roll the dice and yet ANOTHER FIVE was rolled first! I think this might be six times in a row now. Jeez. Anway, the second roll was a four which meant Sarah had to choose if Bond would get laid over or under 54 minutes. She wisely chose under.
Connery got with a lady TWICE prior to the 54 minute mark. Point goes to Sarah.
Sarah – 12 Mars – 9
Ugh. At this point…
Never Say Never Again suffers from a weak script. I think that is something Fleming recognized during those early drafts when he changed the project into a novel. Eon Productions had the freedom in the ’60s to take good ideas from it and sprinkle them into the early films. Someone made a video on YouTube showing all of the comparisons. It is quite interesting if you know the movies well:
According to the writers, they were boxed in by having to stick to the original story. Even some lines of dialogue could not be altered. I can buy some of that for the reason why it doesn’t work, but not all. There is too much bloat for a film that runs 2 hours and 17 minutes and the production feels like a made for TV film. Even the jazzy soundtrack is off. Bond is a hero who deserves a full orchestra. Brass and strings.
Never Say Never Again rests on Connery’s laurels, heavily using his screen presence to get to the finish line. I suppose the first clue that this would be the case is the title. Never Say Never Again has nothing to do with the story. It instead is a reference to Connery playing the role for the first time in 12 years. After Diamonds Are Forever he declared in 1971 how he would never appear as Bond again. Well, I can say in 2021 *never* to watching this again.
Welcome to the 19th installment of my reviews for the discography of The Tragically Hip! These are tandem reviews with my amazing wife, Sarah who is posting her own over at Caught Me Gaming. So be sure to check out her write up for Man Machine Poem right here!
As for me, of course I listened to Man Machine Poem when it came out. It was released in June of 2016, 6 months after the announcement that Gord Downie was diagnosed with brain cancer.
I’m not afraid to admit how susceptible I am to becoming more interested in an artist’s music whenever they pass away or are diagnosed with a terminal disease. I don’t think of it as jumping on a band wagon so I can morbidly join in on the sympathy train. I’m sure there are people who do that. Maybe part of me is doing the same but it doesn’t feel that way to me.
Knowing the sound they created is more finite than usual influences me to become better aware of their music. The Hip was a band that I thought would be around forever. I took them for granted. I’ll get around to taking Sarah to see them perform one day. I’m just waiting for that perfect storm. When they’re playing at the right venue for the right price. And tickets are accessible. None of that happened.
Sarah and I gave Man Machine Poem listen when she bought it on or close to release day. Like most Hip albums, I didn’t think it was great on that first spin. The exception being the album’s second tune, In a World Possessed by the Human Mind. It brought me right back to that Phantom Power sound as it felt like an extension of my all time favourite Hip song, Escape Is at Hand for the Travellin’ Man. That hit me right away.
As the album got more spins around here, the rest grew on me. What Blue comes close, but there are no real pop tunes on the album as it is driven by a weighty mood. There can be frustration like on In Sarnia or anger like on Hot Mic but I found most of the album to be wistful.
Tunes like Here, In The Dark, Great Soul, and Machine have a slight upbeat tick in the rhythm with Gord’s vocal melodies and lyrics having a hint of sadness. The rest of the band feeds off of this vibe as the songs are not blistering with poppy guitar and drum fills. The songs are performed straight with the instruments ramping up whenever the lyrics do.
Man Machine Poem was written and recorded prior to Gord receiving his diagnosis, but I believe his disease is on its surface. Gord could have been Tired As Fuck from brain cancer before being diagnosed. Personally, I think sometimes people just know before they know. I think the Hip knew before they knew.
With all of that said,the album is not a tough listen. It is a reflective and it is heartfelt. It is heavy on the pensive and light on the melancholy. More earnest than bleak. Knowing Gord, that is what he was aiming for. He nailed it.
Be sure to check out Sarah’s write up! The Hip series returns next Sunday (Maybe) with a review of their Blu-ray Long Time Running!
Oh my gaaaaad! I’m buying music again? Well… yeah. Deal with it.
I headed over to Canadian Tire this morning with Sarah to pick out a new faucet for the kitchen. We found exactly what we needed within a few minutes and our exit timed nicely with the opening of our local mission thrift. Hmmm…. it might be a good idea to see what music they have. I mean, I’ll need something to listen to while I install it, right?
All of the CD were $2 moosebucks each, unless you spot a red tag. Then it was 75 cents.
The ’90s metal collection got a nice boost:
Pantera’s The Great Southern Trendkill isn’t my fav of theirs but it was the last I needed to complete the collection. And someone dumped out of their Tool collection. I never been much of a fan in the past but I’ll give the CDs a spin. Sometimes having the album gives you a different perspective. I don’t know why. Anyway, if I don’t enjoy these I’m sure someone in our group will appreciate them.
The Canadian collection got a nice boost as well:
The Burton Cummings album is a live concert from the ’90s. It looks like he performs most of his hits on it. I have already listened to The Northern Pikes Neptune and it is solid. Sarah’s keen eye spotted Skydiggers Northern Shore. It is a Deluxe edition with 3 extra CDs of music.
Crazy! If I read the internet right, this was a special order set that was only available on their website in 2012.
I found a couple of soundtracks:
I still haven’t seen Trainspotting but I know a lot of the music from it. Animal House is a pure classic.
I’ve never seen this John Lennon tribute album before. Should make for an interesting listen. Cheap Trick does Cold Turkey on it. Tom Petty’s Southern Accents and Billy Joel’s River of Dreams are not best album from either artist, but both are fine for a cheap CD addition to the collection.
Rod Stewart CDs are fairly easy to find:
As long as it isn’t one of those albums loaded with old standards, I’ll add it. Vagabond Heart has Broken Arrow and The Motown Song on it so… must buy? Yeah, I think so.
And here is what Sarah got:
I remember buying Adrenalize on cassette when it first came out. I listened to the first two songs on my Walkman, removed the cassette, then gave it to my Sister. I’ve always liked the name Was (Not Was). I don’t really know who they are.
And I found a four back of Jackie Chan DVDs!
Hopefully the quality is good and they don’t look like arse! meh, they’ll still be fun watches even if they do.
Oh yeah, and installing the faucet was a lot easier than trying to figure out what was wrong with the old one yesterday.
I didn’t have time to write much of a post today as I wrestled with the kitchen sink faucet this afternoon. It started dripping a while ago and the temporary fix was to place the tap square in the center to turn it off.
We had a couple of leftovers from the bathroom renos to return to Lowes (hardware store) this morning, and while there I grabbed a new cartridge and set of gaskets to fix the leak. Moen faucets come with a lifetime guarantee, so you can go to any hardware store that sells them for free parts. I picked up a new cartridge and gaskets and set to work on it after lunch.
The instructions and YouTube videos all made taking the tap apart look easy, but after 16 years of service, the integral workings turned out to be corroded. The thing is disintegrating from the inside. Dang.
It will probably be a pain to get a free replacement for it from Moen and we are going to need a kitchen faucet sooner than later. I’ll probably be installing a new one tomorrow.
Well, I did make time for some fun today with an appearance on The Vinyl Collection this tonight. I talked about all of my recent pickups and there are a few surprises backed into the episode as well. At least that was good times!
I’ve heard You’re So Vain by Carly Simon a million times before. In doctor’s offices, grocery stores, my Mom never switching the radio away from Sudbury’s best mix of soft rock from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, CJMX. But yesterday was the first time I listened to the song on my newly acquired copy of No Secrets. Isn’t it weird when you do this? I thought I knew this song and it turns out I don’t.
I never noticed that eerie bass intro before. Did they not play it on the radio? Perhaps the DJ usually talks over it. The bigger miss is Mick Jagger singing back up vocals. How could I have noticed that before? I thought maybe the radio used a single version that is different from the album track but it appears to not be the case.
Anyway, solid tune. Great lyrics with coffee and Nova Scotia getting a shout out!
Yesterday we went walking in the jungle and today we took on a concrete one, Toronto. Our goal? To buy more records! I know, I know, I know. We just went record shopping a few days ago, but this will be our last chance to hit some Toronto stores for a while as our holidays are wrapping up soon. And, looking back at my files, I can see that it has been THREE YEARS since we last visited Sonic Boom or Kops in T.O. Where does the time go?!?!
We arrived in the Big Smoke and found some parking just before noon. We headed to Kops first since they were already open at 11AM:
Kops is in a new location on Queen Street West since we last visited and I got to say, HUGH improvement! Their previous location didn’t have the best lighting and it was near impossible for people to squeeze past each other in the aisles. Now, it is as bright as an Apple Store with plenty of room. What I love about Kops is their section dedicated to Canadian music. It works on me as I end up finding a lot more than I am looking for:
All Canadian! We have such great music here. That Frank Marino album cooks. COOKS, I say. I was blown away (yet again!) by his guitar playing. I grabbed the BTO live album because I wanted to hear them play Mountain’s Mississippi Queen live. They did not disappoint. That Turner can really sing! There are two new songs on the album that sounded really fake live. I looked it up on Wikipedia, and yep, they were actually studio tracks with crowd noise added. Boy, was everyone messing with their live albums!?!?!
I haven’t listened to the Saga albums yet but I’m looking forward to it. We’re spinning The Northern Pikes right now, and it is freakin’ good. The Pursuit of Happiness albums I grabbed for two different versions of I’m An Adult Now. Because, why not? It is a great tune. I never thought I’d get a chance to own Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet’s Having An Average Weekend, but here it is on a reissue of Savvy Show Stoppers. Finding this stuff was the best part of the day!
I did visit some other sections of the store and found:
Stiff Upper Lip completes my North American AC/DC albums on vinyl. It will upset some people when I say my collection is complete without having Blow Up Your Video on vinyl but too bad. You go buy that hot mess, lol
Royal Blood’s middle child How Did We Get So Dark? completes the set until they release more. So, with two collections finished, why not start more? Curtis Mayfield is an artist I have been wanting to get into more as I have always admired him from afar. So, why not start with his two biggest albums, Curtis and the soundtrack to Super Fly? For the Raconteurs, I only need their 2nd album to complete that set. Now, onto Sonic Boom:
I got to say… I was a little disappointed with this visit as I only got two items:
I guess it is about time I lucked out a bit.
George Harrison’s Brainwashed is his last album from 2004. It is a great one and I rarely see it out there! And who doesn’t love Carly? You’re So Vain sold a plethora of copies of No Secrets. So at least they were quality additions to the collection!
But, man… the place seemed to be a bit tapped out of used stock. I looked for all of my usual bands but…
Plenty of new stuff on the shelves but it was pricey! $56 for Dire Straits On Every Street? Maybe that is why they had 6 copies of it still. $40.99 for the Sabbath with Dio reissues? Not $39.99. $40.99. Bizarre.
Plus, the guy behind the counter was playing his own music. Not music he owns. Music from his band. I thought it sounded like crap but people were coming up to him asking where they could buy the album. They were telling him it sounded like New Order, and Sarah said the same. So, what do I know? He was directing people to his band’s website and I had flashbacks to the convo Ladano was having with Robert Lawson on The Lebrain Train. Both have experience working in a record store and both said the only rule for playing music in the store was it had to be sold in the store. I think they both would have fired Fake New Order Dude.