Bookended by Cats was named after Milo and Otis. They are the short, orange, and furry brothers who, upon entering our lives in 2003, often bookended us on our couch. And who are we? We're a geek couple living in PA. We love music, movies, TV, comics, books, and comic cons. And, from time to time, we'll share our thoughts on these nerdy things.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for May 7, 2021

 


[This Flashback Will Eat Itself, Maybe] -- I cannot truly consider this week's album a Flashback, at least not for me. I discovered it in late 2020 and I've been saving it for around this time of this year. I actually emailed the links and the album graphic to myself (and then I used Gmail's "Snooze" feature to ensure I'd be prompted early this month). But, hey, maybe some of my fellow 80sphiles will recognize this 1989 release, thereby qualifying my latest efforts as a true Flashback. 

Anyway, industrial rockers Pop Will Eat Itself (or PWEI for short) released their sophomore album -- This Is the Day...This Is the Hour...This Is This! -- on May 1, 1989. That was a mere 32 years ago! Flood, a producer who had worked with the likes of Nine Inch Nails, U2, and Depeche Mode, was on production duties for this record, the second of three PWEI releases for which he had twiddled knobs and dials. Flood can be credited for pumping up the thick sound on this record, but PWEI themselves also deserve some credit for, as AllMusic reviewer Ned Raggett puts it, their "mesh and mix of U.S. and ... U.K. pop culture in with the metal riffs, disco backing, monster drum stomps, and more." If you're familiar with their influences, you might be able to catch where they ape such acts as the Beasties or Spinderella (I, however, am not as familiar, so I won't even try to point them out). 

This Is the Day...This Is the Hour...This Is This! charted at #24 on the UK Albums Chart and at #169 on the US Billboard 200. The album's UK success was likely helped by spawning two Top 40 hits (and greater local familiarity, of course): "Can U Dig It?" (#38) and "Wise Up! Sucker" (#41). Oh, and I should point out that "Can U Dig It?" is rife with comic book references, so I'm digging it a little more each time I listen to it, particularly when I watch the music video (which is linked in this paragraph and included in the embedded playlist below). 

So, you tell me: Can you dig this, or should it have eaten itself?

Flashback: This Is the Day...This Is the Hour...This Is This! (1989)



Well, that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Mortal Kombat - HBO Max

 Dangrdafne review:

All I remembered going into this movie was playing the video game a couple of times with a friend of mine over 25 years ago. I remember the two of us going all out with hitting the buttons to just attack over and over and over - even physically pushing each other to help - until one of us would win by chance. I loved it! I miss it! LOL

I really liked this movie. It was a story that you could follow even if you had no previous knowledge of the game or other movies. It was action galore! It was funny. It was poignant. It was ultra violent - like 'oh my goodness I can’t believe they showed that' violet. It more than earned its R rating. But I loved it. I mean, come on, it’s Mortal Kombat not Candy Land.

I loved the actors chosen for all the roles, except perhaps Shang Tsung, he didn’t seem edgy enough for the role but he wasn’t bad, just not perfect. Kano was too perfect, man I hated him but really that is a good thing.  Lewis Tan as Cole was spectacular but Hiroyuki Sanada was perfection. I adore this actor and was thrilled to see him cast in the movie. He portrays Hanzo Hasashi and I couldn't imagine anyone else in the role. I felt he was born to play this role and he did not disappoint.

The music was also perfection! I kept turning up the volume because I just wanted to be immersed in the sounds. Benjamin Wallfisch composed the heck out of this movie. 

There was a section where I thought the fighting was going on a bit too long and I read that they had cut some fights, which I am grateful for as it would definitely would have been too much. I normally balk at all the violence but again, this was Mortal Kombat and it was completely expected and ok overall with me.

3 paws

Friday, April 30, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for April 30, 2021

 

[On a Lark] -- With the exception of the very first week of April, my birthday month, I have been using the Flashback posts to feature music from 1986, the year I turned 18. And now that we have come to the end of April, we are going out with a bang. 

In October 1986, English rock band XTC released their ninth studio album, Skylarking. It's a much better record for April and May, what with a third of the tracks evoking feelings of spring through summer. But that still makes sense as the album was recorded between April and June of 1986. Skylarking is one of XTC's better known records, and it reached #90 and #70 on album charts in the UK and the US respectively. Prior to recording, however, label executives had threatened to drop XTC if their next album wasn't a bigger success (their prior record, 1984's The Big Express, had been a commercial failure). Apparently, the label figured the problem was that XTC sounded "too English," so they wanted the band to use an American producer. Of the listed producers suggested to them, Todd Rundgren's name was the only one XTC recognized. On paper, a pairing of Rundgren and XTC probably looked like a smashing idea. However, the sessions were rife with tension, mainly due to clashes between Rundgren and Andy Partridge (XTC's leader as well as primary singer and songwriter). As of March 2016, there was still animosity between the two artists (Todd Rundgren Reignites Feud With XTC Over 'Skylarking').

The results more or less speak for themselves (I already mentioned its popularity and top 100 placements). And with a total of 15 solid tracks to select from, I find narrowing down to a few faves to be a difficult task. Still, I usually cite "Dear God" (about a struggling agnostic who writes a letter to God), "The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul," and "Earn Enough For Us" (which has previously appeared in a Flashback post) as my favorites on this record. Of my selections, only "Dear God" was released as a single, but it was also the b-side for the album's first single ("Grass"). That's kind of interesting given that this song was left off the original pressing, and that it caused a bit of controversy when it hit airwaves. And that was not the only controversy for this album: Apparently Andy Partridge originally had something else in mind for the album's cover art

The entire album's playlist, including "Dear God," is embedded for your listening pleasure this weekend.   

Flashback Skylarking (1986)




Once again, I remind you that the rule of three applies when doing Flashbacks. As I've made my three offerings, that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina - Final Season

 Dangrdafne review:

I loved the first 3 seasons of Sabrina and was really looking forward to this final season. I was a little disappointed through the first few episodes as they were overly predictable and a fully encapsulated story but around episode 4 to 5 it went back to what I liked and the episodes ran together more and carried the story over the episodes instead of ending after an hour.

My favorite part of the season is something I don’t want to spoil for people as I wasn’t spoiled, which I can not believe at all, but it was a glorious idea and a perfect use of characters. A great homage and inclusion of history.

And even though I knew what the ending would be, I was ok with it and I still sobbed (but I cry at almost anything really). I think Kiernan Shipka is just incredible and she did Sabrina proud and any girls who watch this show should find a great woman to watch and strive to be in many ways. I do love how women are the forefront of the show and we see all kinds of women throughout the four seasons.

I love that quite a few story lines were worked through and closed. Many characters received extra special treatment and I am glad for that. It felt good to see some closure for some characters close to my heart. Although I wish there were two more episodes to the season so that some things were not so rushed and prettily put together in order to end the show.

I am grateful this show was created and lasted as long as it did. I loved the family aspects of the show and appreciate the female centric stories. It is a little gory at times and scary too but if I can watch it, you can too. It is worth it.

4 paws - all seasons


Friday, April 23, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for April 23, 2021


[My Memory Lies in Dust] -- For the remainder of April, my birthday month, I am featuring music from 1986, the year I turned 18. Before we go any further with this post, I have to admit that I do not recall the last time I listened to this week's album in its entirety. But now that I've re-listened to both the original release and the CD bonus tracks in preparation for this post, I'm wondering, "Why have I left this out of my personal rotation for so long??" This album is such a time capsule for me, evoking memories and whole moods from my first year of college. 

On 4/21/1986, Siouxsie and the Banshees released their seventh studio album, Tinderbox. This album included two singles: The very excellent "Cities in Dust" (which had been previously released in October 1985) and "Candyman" (which hit the charts in February 1986). Remember, kids, singles used to be used as teasers for upcoming LPs or EPs. I didn't hear either single, let alone the rest of the album, until September of 1986, but better late than never, right? 

Tinderbox was a critical success, hitting #13 and #88 on the UK Albums Chart and the US Billboard 200 respectively. Also notable on this record is the non single track, 92° because it kicks off with a sample of dialog from the 1953 film It Came from Outer Space (clip): "Did you know, Putnam, that more murders are committed at 92 Fahrenheit than any other temperature? I read an article once. Lower temperatures, people are easygoing. Over 92, it's too hot to move. But just 92, people get irritable!"

"Cities in Dust," the lead single, was the band's first significant success in the States, climbing to #17 on the US Hot Dance/Disco chart. There are several delicious remixes of this track, including the Extended Eruption Mix and the more recent Herb's Banshee Tribute Remix.

This week, we have two playlists. The first embedded YouTube playlist has the eight tracks of the original vinyl and cassette release. The second one has the five bonus tracks from the 1986 CD release. If you remember Tinderbox, it's time to blow the dust off your memories like I did. If you're new to Siouxsie, prepare yourself to experience a post-punk band at their peak. 


FlashbackTinderbox (original vinyl and cassette release)



FlashbackTinderbox (1986 CD bonus tracks)




That's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Zach Snyder's Justice League

 Dangrdafne review:

I am not sure where to start with this movie. I wanted to love it. I wanted to like it. I think I tolerated it in the end. Here are the notes I took when I started the movie:

Note 1:

This is not what he (Zack Snyder) would have done from the start. He did this now because he could. Waaaaay too dramatic and drawn out and I’m only 18 minutes in. I didn’t even know what was happening in the beginning. I’m so confused.

Note 2:

The only good thing so far is Steppenwolf does look Much Better. Annoyed at the overly dramatic themes.

Note 3:

Desaad??? Darth Vader or Doctor Doom or a mix? Totally Dr Doom.

Note 4:

The Flash first scene takes waaaaay too long. Not fast enough at all. Ridiculous music.

Note 5:

Here we forget Martha and it’s all about dads.
Flash = dad in prison
Cyborg = dad issues
Batman = dad issues
Aqua man = human dad
Wonder Woman = no dad

Then something changed in the pacing or the story but I noticed that I stopped taking notes, so I must have gotten back into the movie somehow and stopped complaining and just watched. And I did that all the way through the first part of the epilogue, which was really well done but then Zach had to keep going ... why?....and I was right back to the feelings from the beginning of the movie. So annoyed.

There were changes I liked in the movie and obviously some that I did not like. Was this movie needed? Yes for Cyborg, and no for everything else.  

I am torn with wanting to watch it again to try and not be annoyed, so perhaps I need to watch it with Brainwise so I can hear his take on the movie, and not caring to watch it ever again. 

2 paws - Cyborg helped this not be 1 paw

Friday, April 16, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for April 16, 2021



[America is Hell] -- You might recall that for the remainder of April, my birthday month, I am featuring music from 1986, the year I turned 18. Frank Zappa released two albums in 1986, effectively bookending (heh) the year. In January, he released Does Humor Belong in Music?, a collection of concert recordings from the end of 1984, so that doesn't fully qualify for my music in 1986 theme. But in November of 1986, Zappa released the final studio album (that would be released within his lifetime): Jazz From Hell. In many respects, this has been a week from Hell, and that alone could make this latter of the two Zappa records an appropriate album to feature. But to make the connection even more concrete, according to Zappa himself, this album's title (and maybe even the track of the same name) was a political statement: 
"Things in America can be from hell. Right now we have a president from hell [reference to Ronald Reagan], and a National Security Council from hell, so we should add Jazz from Hell also."  (Quoted here and in the book, Frank Zappa and the And).
While I do enjoy listening to this album on occasion, usually as background music, I cannot give it an adequate review or description. I can tell you that my favorite tracks are "While You Were Art II," "Jazz From Hell," "G-Spot Tornado," and "St. Etienne." And I know Jazz From Hell won the 1988 Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. So, for more detailed analysis, I direct you to this album's entry on zappa-analysis.com, especially if you want a deep dive into the Synclavier, a digital synth Zappa used on every track of this album except "St. Etienne." 

Zappa did not record any music videos for this album, though one YouTube user has an appropriate animation scored with "Jazz from Hell."  Fortunately, the Frank Zappa account on YouTube does feature a complete Jazz From Hell playlist, so that is what I have embedded for you this week. 

FlashbackJazz From Hell



That's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!