We're a geek couple living in PA with our two boys -- Milo and Otis -- who are short, orange, and furry. Oh, and they're the cats we're bookended by! 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, July 19, 2019

Friday 80s Flashback for July 19, 2019

[Comics!] -- I'm currently in San Diego for the San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC). It started with Preview Night on July 17th, and it will roll through until Sunday, July 21. This year is the 50th anniversary of the venerable Nerdhalla. It was founded in 1970 as the Golden State Comic Book Convention. As it grew, this convention was later rebranded with the name we have come to know and recognize. SDCC bounced around to several locations in San Diego until it landed at the San Diego Convention Center where it has been held since 1991. SDCC is now widely recognized as a juggernaut of TV and film events. So much so that critics regularly complain it's "not about comics anymore!" However, there is still plenty of comic book related activity at SDCC, as Comic Spectrum pointed out last year and in 2016. To celebrate SDCC this year, I've selected several 80s tunes inspired by, or about, comic books. What made the latest playlist? Read and hear more the jump.

Monday, July 15, 2019

SDCC last minute reminders

Print out all your confirmations: SDCC Merchandise pre-order, Exclusives Lottery wins, tickets to parties, anything that you think you can get on your phone, don't trust it and print it. Some places only accept the print out too.

Make sure you have binoculars, sunscreen, swimsuit, a few pairs of shoes, extra socks and underwear, and business cards if you are handing them out this year. If you are cosplaying make sure you have all the parts for your costume. And most of all, YOUR BADGE!

I was trying to go from memory for packing and I decided that I shouldn't trust that, so I pulled out my travel folder and found a fun checklist from Crazy for Comic Con's 2012 post!! It was perfect, it helped me remember to get the binoculars out and into my carry on. I love to use them when in our hotel room, if we are lucky enough to get a view.

Another fun thing that someone did and I "stole" :) was creating a secret Facebook group with your friends so that you can safely post where you are and when so a potential meet up could happen at any time. Instead of trying to text everyone or Tweet out your info publicly, I though this was a great idea. So I created one for my group of friends and I am hopeful it will work for us. *Crosses fingers and toes for good service in the center*

I also highly recommend using the My Sched that is offered by CCI. If your friends all use it and you are connected by social media then you can see your friend's schedules and see if anything overlaps. My hubby and I even use it for each other!!

Last but not least, have fun, be nice, sleep well and remember we are all here for the same reason... the love of comics and all that entails.


Friday, July 12, 2019

Friday 80s Flashback for July 12, 2019

[High 'n' Dry] -- 38 years ago this week, Def Leppard released their second full length album, High 'n' Dry (1981). This record charted at #38 on the Billboard 200 in the US, and #26 on the UK's Albums Chart. Those are good rankings, but Def Leppard didn't really achieve breakout status until 1983, with their third album, Pyromania. And after the success of Pyromania, High 'n' Dry entered the charts for the 2nd time. The first time around, High 'n' Dry released two singles: "Let It Go" and "Bringing On The Heartbreak." The latter of the two was remixed and re-released as a single in 1984. This is a seminal record in the annals of hard rock history. But I have to admit, I didn't really pay attention to it until after Pyromania. But looking back on it, I can see Def Leppard's craft developing. Was it evident that their brand of working class hard rock was going to conquer the charts? Well, I don't know about that. But I do know the band's guitar riffs and vocal tracking were developing quite nicely. At least, if you're a fan of that kind of thing, and I definitely am. 

For this week, I couldn't pick just three tracks. So, I'm featuring the entire album. Enjoy!

Flashback"Let it rock, yeah | Let it roll, let it | Let it go, let it go."

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, July 9, 2019

SDCC 2019

So next week at this time we will be in San Diego anticipating the start of SDCC 2019, the 50th anniversary of SDCC. How amazing is that??

I am very excited for this trip and can’t wait to see all my friends and all the amazing panels and wares to be had on the floor. We don’t have many exclusives to get, except for one in the portal. We did our best to use our credits appropriately but only time will tell if it works out for us. Hopefully the 80th anniversary SDCC Batman will come home with us. What are you looking for this year?

I have some friends on panels this year so I was sure to put their times on my calendar and we always see the animated film on Friday night. Other than that there are no parties on the schedule with the ending of Game of Bloggers and the Hero Within closing party. While I am sad to not have the parties to go to and the time to see certain people, I am happy to have the time open. Hopefully we will still see everyone we want to.

What are your must do panels? Do you have any parties planned?

I am also just looking forward to being away and hanging out in San Diego. It is one of my favorite places to visit and the bonus of seeing my childhood best friend is a huge factor in my love of the area.

I hope everyone attending has safe travels and may all the odds be in our favor to get the exclusives we want and seats at the panels we want. Happy SDCC!!!!

Friday, July 5, 2019

Friday 80s Flashback for July 5, 2019

[Enola Gay] -- August 6, 1945: A Boeing B-29 Superfortress dropped an atomic weapon on Hiroshima, Japan. It was the first atomic bomb used in combat. That bomb was codenamed Little Boy, and the plane that delivered it was the Enola Gay. 35 years, 1 month, 21 days later, the British synth-pop group Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) released "Enola Gay." "Enola Gay" was the first and only single from the band's sophomore album, Organisation (1980). Some fans apparently thought the song was a coded message that the band members were gay. But that's a misunderstanding. In fact, "Enola Gay" might very well be "the prettiest ever song about an atomic bomber," especially for an anti-war song. And for this week, I've selected three versions of it. You can check them out after the jump.

Monday, July 1, 2019

A Cage Match in a Comic!

Steel Cage #1 is an anthology of three debut comic stories. Each story features top notch, veteran creators. Don't believe me? This book features:

Friday, June 28, 2019

Friday 80s Flashback for June 28, 2019

[Under-appreciated Seagulls] -- I missed a few weekends of Flashbacks. OK, so it was almost the entirety of June. But I'm back to finish June 2019 strong. And I'm doing so with A Flock of Seagulls. You remember A Flock of Seagulls, right? They were a UK synthpop band founded by two hairdressers (look at the image above and guess which guys had that gig). Now, if you're at all familiar with the Flock, then you know their big hits. So, this weekend, I'm going to feature a few of their more under-the-radar cuts. Ready to find out what's on the playlist this week? Read and hear more after the jump!

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Bookended by Cats

So we missed a Friday Flashback and my reviews are not ready so here is a photo of the cats that bookend us and in this case are bookending the bed and not actually us. Meow

Monday, June 17, 2019

Veil of Roses by Laura Fitzgerald

Dangrdafne review:

What a wonderful love story. Deep, sweet, intense, mysterious, and not at all what you think.

A beautiful Persian/Iranian woman comes to the US in order to find a husband and be able to stay in the US. She is a conflicted woman. She wants all the independence the US offers but she also needs to be an obedient Persian woman in order to find the right man who will marry her in a short amount of time. She has a sister and brother in law who are doing everything in their power to help her but can she find a husband before her visa runs out?


Until the very end of the book you don’t know if she will find a husband...and if he will be a good man.

There is Ike, Haroun, and Masoud. Ike is an American, Haroun is an Iranian businessman and Masoud who has a special secret and is too good to be true. This is a true romance novel that isn’t a romance novel. It is a full on love story but

it is really all about Tami learning to love herself, find herself and live the life she was always meant to live.

It is a gloriously beautiful story that every woman, regardless of nationality, should read. It can teach us so much about ourselves and how much we need to learn to love ourselves and put ourselves first. Her friends at her English Language class are just perfect sounding boards for Tami and for us. I want to be friends with these people. Her teacher not only teaches the characters in the book but the reader too about freedom and independence.

So back to the other love story, who will Tami choose? I so want to tell you but I would rather you read the book. I have trouble writing book reviews because I want to talk about it all but at the same time I don’t want to tell anyone anything without them reading it first. This book unfolds so beautifully and your emotions go all over and it is a just a beautiful ride. I have to leave it to you to read it and enjoy the ride on your own.

4 paws!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The Last Jedi

Dangrdafne review

We finally got around to watching The Last Jedi.

I did not like the first half of the movie. It was hokey, long and disjointed. I felt like Mark Hamill was almost making fun of himself and it was distracting.

But once the second half started I was in it. I was completely engulfed in the story and wanting to know what was going to happen.

Simply put for me and this set of Star Wars movies is...I love Rey. I love Daisy Ridley as Rey. I love this character sooo much. I think Daisy portrays her perfectly and I could just watch a movie with just her and none of the others... well maybe BB8 ;)

I didn’t get the whole Emo Kylo Ren since I pretty much felt like he was just as he was previously. I was excited when Rey and he were working together and I wish he had changed but alas no. I LOVED him taking out Snoke and I did like the trickery with Laura Dern’s character and you thought she was one way but she wasn’t.

I did also love the comedy of the “nuns” on the island and I think the Porgs are adorable.

I want to watch this again already because I am pretty sure I missed some things but overall I give this 1 paw for the first half and 3 paws for the second half.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Friday 80s Flashback for May 31, 2019

[Concrete Blonde] -- Depending on the resource, Concrete Blonde's self-titled debut album is listed as released in either 1986 or 1987. Either way, it is over 30 years old this year! I cannot quite recall when I first heard of Concrete Blonde, but I do know that "Still in Hollywood" still makes me rock out. While "Dance Along the Edge" is one of the most honest songs of the decade ("Can we promise love? Is it all too much? And do our old souls still believe it? It's insane the way we dance along the edge"). Yeah, Concrete Blonde got more notoriety in 1990 with "Joey," but this debut album is the one that has staying power for my money.   

FlashbackConcrete Blonde (1986/87)

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, May 28, 2019

Blade Runner 2049

Dangrdafne review

So Brainwise asked me to DVR Blade Runner 2049 when we had free Cinemax. I’ve been curious about it too so I obliged. We finally got around to watching it the Saturday night of Memorial Day.

I vaguely remembered the original which I had seen once but Brainwise remembered enough to help fill in gaps.

This would have been a great movie... IF...if they cut down on the long drawn out scenes. Oh my goodness this movie was looooong and not in a good way at all. In fact a few times I sighed in frustration at the time scenes were taking. Cut all that out and you have a much better movie.

The concept was good and it was carried out well overall. The cinematography was excellent and the music was good although I am surprised I didn’t think it was great. It had a lot of sounds that I like but it just overwhelmed too much and I almost wished we turned off the closed captioning because the description of the music was laughable and unfortunately it did influence how I felt about the music in some scenes.

Jared Leto overdid his scenes and Harrison Ford just seemed to be going through the motions. I liked the twists the movie took but I did figure it out and I was sad about that. I would much rather had been surprised but perhaps if they didn’t have the long scenes to think about other things during, I might not have figured it all out :)

I sometimes base my feelings for a movie based on if I would watch the movie again...this one I would not BUT it is really just because it is too long with too many unneeded long scenes. I so wish it was edited better so I could be more into it.

2 paws for Blade Runner 2049

Friday, May 24, 2019

Friday 80s Flashback for May 24, 2019

[Overdriving for 33 Years] -- It was 33 years ago this weekend, AC/DC released their soundtrack album for the Stephen King flick, Maximum Overdrive. The album was titled Who Made Who (1986), and it had only three new tracks, the remaining six coming from previous records. The previous material includes the hits "You Shook Me All Night Long" and "Hells Bells" (from Back in Black),  and "For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)" (from, appropriately enough, For Those About to Rock We Salute You). 

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!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Avengers: Endgame

Dangrdafne review

Spoilers obviously

I’m so glad we went opening weekend because not knowing anything that was going to happen made the movie all the better for me.

I LOVED this movie! I don’t care about plot holes, fat shaming, pandering to women, none of it! This movie was perfection!! It was a perfect ending.

Please remember I have no connection to any of the comics for any of these heroes or storylines. I just love the characters and the stories they tell in these movies.

I loved that I got lost in the movie, I was immersed and I didn’t want to leave but at the same time I was good with everything that happened that was I was actually able to leave. And like always we stayed to the very end and I am so glad we did. Although there was no end credit to watch there definitely was one to hear. It was a lovely call back to the beginning OR was it a call to the next chapter?

There were lots of tears from me but the most were for “on your left”. I could not control it. This has been my favorite interaction in ALL of the movies. The friendship between Falcon and Cap is my favorite and this statement they use between themselves just makes me happy. I knew I knew the voice and then he said the line and I just lost it.

I should have had the most tears for Black Widow but I am ok with what happened. Black Widow is my favorite character and Scarlett Johansson portraying her is also my favorite. I cosplay as undercover Black Widow a lot and to watch her die was pretty powerful but in a good way (?). I get why she did what she did and I think it is the way it had to happen. It is a proper end to her character in these movies.

Then to lose Iron Man too! I was ok with that too. Doesn’t mean I didn’t cry but it was handled so well and again it just seemed to be what needed to happen.

I love the hope for the future of these movies. Falcon as Captain America being my favorite. I feel like I could keep going on and on but really just see it and you will understand. I can’t wait to see it again. I am sure I missed lots of little things and some things while I had tears in my eyes. I thank everyone involved in these movies. It has been quite the ride.

Four paws and tail for this one. I love this movie 3000.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Captain Marvel movie

Dangrdafne review

We went to see Captain Marvel at 9:30 am the same day we went to see Avengers: Endgame. It was the only Marvel movie we hadn’t seen yet and we definitely didn’t want to see Endgame without seeing it. So us and about 10 other people watched the awesomeness that is Captain Marvel.

I really liked this movie. It was funny, heartwarming, action filled, good story telling, and a great movie for girls/women to cheer for. And cheer I did.

I loved that Carol Danvers never spoke to the males who put her down or even discussed it. In fact, the male treatment of women was never really discussed in the movie. Carol just showed how she was equal, or even better. I appreciated that so much.

I especially loved Goose but if you look at our blog, you could guess that. Goose was adorable and sooo important to the story. I adored Nick Fury’s interaction with Goose and was pretty sure Goose was the cause of the eye issue for Nick.

I loved Maria and her daughter Monica and I am hopeful they were continue in the Marvel universe. I loved seeing Coulson starting out and how he worked with Fury. I just really liked this movie.

My only complaint is that the movie was too dark to see the action scenes most of the time. In fact, I even missed what happened in one of the scenes. I know that Game of Thrones people said it was the settings on the TVs when the same complaint was made about a recent episode of GoT so what would cause this in a movie theater?? I look forward to seeing this movie again on my TV and hopeful I will be able to see what I missed - as long as my setting are correct ;)

I give this movie 4 paws and I am soooo happy we saw it before Endgame. It was definitely an added bonus to seeing Endgame and my feelings throughout that movie.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Friday 80s Flashback for May 10, 2019

[Breakout] -- Swing Out Sister started out as a trio, but became a duo during the making of their sophomore album. Fortunately, that duo still included vocalist Corinne Drewery. As an act, Swing Out Sister has a catalog of 10 studio albums, two of which were recorded and released in the 80s. In fact, their debut album, It's Better to Travel, was released 32 years ago as of tomorrow, May 11. So, let's celebrate SOS's anniversary with some selections from that debut album. I know you're wondering if your favorite made the cut. And to find out, you'll have to read and hear more after the jump. 

Friday, May 3, 2019

Friday 80s Flashback for May 3, 2019

This Flashback originally appeared at Prophet Or Madman on 5/3/2013, six years ago today. 

[Goodbye Dad - Redux] -- There was no Flashback post last week, and there isn't a proper one this week. Last week, I rushed to my Dad's bedside because his condition had worsened and the prevailing wisdom was that he was close to leaving us. He actually improved slightly, but not enough to really merit a celebration. It was simply a postponement of the grief to come.

Dad's condition continued to decline into the beginning of this week. There was an unidentifiable (yet treatable) infection, fluid continued to build up around and in his lung, and his liver was failing. As it turns out, the only diagnosis that could be made was that he was rejecting the transplant (bone marrow and stem cells) from 2010. Or, more technically accurate, the transplant was rejecting him. So, I picked a few songs to work through what we need to work through. If you care to join me, you can read and hear more after the break.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Friday 80s Flashback for April 26, 2019

[33 Years Ago This Week] -- I'm going to be 51 soon. In this very month as a matter of fact. So, for this final weekend of April 2019, I'm taking a look back to April 1986. Specifically, April 26, 1986. On or around that day, Marshall Holman won the Firestone World Bowling Tournament of Champions, France performed a nuclear test, the Chernobyl nuclear power station in USSR exploded, and these five songs topped the Billboard Hot 100. 

Friday, April 19, 2019

Friday 80s Flashback for April 19, 2019

Album cover for Status Quo's 1982 release: 1+9+8+2

[1+9+8+2] -- I have something of a treat for you 80-philes this weekend. English rock band, Status Quo, is anything but the status quo. They formed in 1962 and they are still active -- that's six decades of recording and performing! Seven of their 32 studio albums were released in the 80s. They even performed at Live Aid in 1985. Yes, the lineup has changed over time, and so has their sound. In the 80s, they were still playing the hard boogie rock style they had adopted in the 70s. 1+9+8+2 (1982) was their 15th studio LP, and it represented the 20th anniversary of the first meeting between guitarist Francis Rossi and bassist Alan Lancaster. Hence the XX ("20" in Roman numerals) on the album cover ... and because 1+9+8+2 = 20. Now, even by the 80s, over 30 years ago, there was a sense of "been there, heard that" in regards to Status Quo. Some critics even said the band's late 70s and early 80s works were a parody of their earlier endeavors. And the critics weren't exactly wrong. But, maybe, not every record has to be groundbreaking and trendsetting. Sometimes, maybe, you need more of the same. Something comfortable to slip onto the turntable. And that's certainly the case with 1+9+8+2. It's not bad, but it's fun. You won't be humming these tunes an hour later, but while this record is spinning, you just might bob your head and tap your foot along with it. With that sincere plug, read and hear more after the jump! 

Friday, April 12, 2019

Friday 80s Flashback for April 12, 2019

[Your Moody Dreams] -- In April of 1986, the Moody Blues released their 12th studio album, The Other Side of Life. Although the Moody Blues are widely regarded as a 60s progressive band, this was the third of ultimately four records they released in the 80s. That feat certainly qualifies them to be considered 80s artists as well, then, yes? If releasing four albums isn't enough to qualify them, then maybe having seven top 40 rock singles does. And two of those tunes came from this very record. Long time fans of the Moody Blues might have been a bit disappointed, or even confused, by the band's embracing of synthesizers, sequencers, and drum machines over their usual more symphonic sound. But new fans flocked to the record. The Other Side of Life peaked at #9 on the US Billboard 200 albums chart and it went platinum, meaning it sold well over 1,000,000 units in the US alone. Of course, the Moody Blues later proved they still had those symphonic chops with a live performance at Red Rocks, Colorado (1992). But, back to The Other Side of Life, "Your Wildest Dreams" was a massive hit for the band peaking at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart. And the title track, "The Other Side of Life," reached #11 on the Mainstream Rock chart after being released as a single in August 1986. "The Other Side of Life" was decidedly more plodding and introspective than "Your Wildest Dreams," so you might not recall that one. But I bet you're hearing the chorus of "Your Wildest Dreams" in your head now that you've read the title just a few times. Well, it's the very first track of this 33-year-old album, so if you join me in revisiting The Other Side of Life, you might purge that earworm by the time you finish the other eight songs.  

Flashback: The Other Side of Life (1986) by the Moody Blues 

That's all till next week, folks. 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!

Friday, April 5, 2019

Friday 80s Flashback for April 5, 2019

[That's the Book, That's the Book] -- I'm sorry, but the name of this week's band always makes me think of a particular song by ABC. Now, with that out of my system, we'll move forward with the post in earnest. Book of Love's self-titled debut album hit stores 33 years ago this week. This synthpop band came together in Philadelphia in 1983 with vocalist Susan Ottaviano and three keyboardists -- Ted Ottaviano (unrelated?), Lauren Roselli, and Jade Lee. Their first two singles -- "Boy" and "I Touch Roses" -- preceded the release of Book of Love (1986) by a year, and both did well on the US Club Play chart. The band's chart activity earned them a spot opening for Depeche Mode in 1986, also prior to them having an album. But when Book of Love was finally released, it got very little notice. Their third single failed to chart while their fourth and final single barely made the Top 20 -- again, speaking of the US Club Play chart, not Billboard. They would release one more album in the 80s, Lullaby (1988), and two more in the 90s -- Candy Carol (1991) and Lovebubble (1993) -- before disbanding in 1994. I consider them an unsung hero, or team of unsung heroes, of the 80s electronica and dance scene. So, what better way to revisit their debut release than spinning the entire record? 

Flashback: Book of Love #1

Boy - 0:00 Counting The Rosaries - 7:22 I Touch Roses - 10:31 Modigliani - 16:09 Witchcraft - 23:01 Lullaby - 25:55 Tubular Bells - 29:21 Pretty Boys and Pretty Girls - 32:08 Alice Everyday - 36:43 You Make Me Feel So Good - 40:42 Die Matrosen - 45:37 Book of Love - 48:30
Note: Top image from Lansure's Music Paraphernalia entry on Book of Love. 

That's all till next week, folks. 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!

Friday, March 29, 2019

Friday 80s Flashback for March 29, 2019

[R.I.P. Ranking Roger] -- This week 80s fans mourned the loss of Ranking Roger (born Roger Charlery), vocalist for The Beat (aka The English Beat) and General Public. You can read more about his background and rise to 80s stardom at the previous link, at the Guardian, the New York Times, and various other sites. Roger had suffered a stroke last year. And just this past January, fans were informed that he had been diagnosed with two brain tumors as well as lung cancer. At the time of his death, he was only 56 years old. He leaves behind a catalog of nine studio albums, two of which were solo records, as well as compilations, live records, and collaborations with other artists. He also leaves behind five children, two of whom -- son Ranking Junior (Matthew Murphy) and daughter Saffren -- had performed with him in a revival band. Ranking Roger was musically active from 1978 to 2019. So there's no way I can do complete justice to his career. Still, I've selected a few of my favorite 80s tracks so we can attempt a proper sendoff. What's featured today? Read and hear more after the jump.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Friday 80s Flashback for March 22, 2019

[Talking a Good Show] -- The Go-Go's were the first all-female band to top the Billboard album charts by writing their own songs and playing their own instruments. Yes, folks, there were several "girl groups" with writing and playing chops before The Go-Gos, but none of them cranked out hits quite like these ladies. And 35 years ago this month, they released their third studio album, Talk Show (1984), which peaked at #18 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Although the album was critically well-received, it was a commercial disappointment. Not sure that was due to a slight change in style or too many half-realized songs (as AllMusic claims), but Talk Show still has its gems. Talk Show also marked the last time the original lineup would record an album together ... until 2001. So, what tracks have I selected from the Go-Go's last album of the 80s? Read and hear more after the jump.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Friday 80s Flashback for March 15, 2019

[What is Love?] -- In light of the racially motivated terror attacks on two Christchurch mosques during Friday prayers, I just don't have the heart to go forward with my planned Flashback post. Instead, I'm taking a single track that was featured in my 11/4/2016 post on Electric Sun (Heavy Metal Hippie). To my knowledge, "What is Love?" was never released as a single. And I believe the world is poorer for that. Musically, this track muscles its way through nearly three and a half minutes of tasty guitar runs and just enough of a beat to bob your head or tap your foot in time. Roth's lead vocal isn't amazing, but the harmony vocals provided by the combo of Michael Flechsig, bassist Ule Ritgen, and Rainer Przywara more than make up for Roth's shortcomings. Lyrically, well, it lacks in philosophy, but it has that plaintive seeker mojo in spades. Or is that in crystals? You tell me.

What is love? Well, it's not in the actions of those cowardly stains who feel the need to gear up and shoot people who are guilty only of looking or worshipping in a different way. I do see love, however, in the outpouring of support for this and other maimed communities. This must increase. We must all strive for peaceful solutions in defusing hatred. We must believe that one day we can and will live together in harmony. If you're interested in that, too, click on over to New Zealand's Give Nothing to Racism campaign.

And now, let's give a spin to "What is Love?" from Beyond the Astral Skies (1985) by Uli Jon Roth and Electric Sun!

Flashback"What is Love? | Does anybody know the answer?."

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!

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Friday 80s Flashback for March 1, 2019

[RIP Mark Hollis] -- This week we lost Talk Talk co-founder and enigmatic pop singer, Mark Hollis (1/4/1955 – 2/25/2019). Hollis was Talk Talk's primary songwriter and lead singer. Under his direction, the band moved from its New Romantic and synth pop origins in 1981 to increasingly more experimental outings in their 10-year history. Compare the pop stylings of The Party's Over (1982) with the art rock of, for example, Spirit of Eden (1988). After five studio albums and 23 singles, Talk Talk disbanded in 1992. Hollis recorded and released one self-titled solo album in 1998, but retired from music, and largely disappeared from public life, shortly thereafter. His death this week came "after a short illness from which he never recovered."

To commemorate Hollis' death, I'm taking a cue from Gordon Skene's site, Past Daily, and sharing the audio of Talk Talk's Hammersmith Odeon appearance from May 8, 1986, as broadcast by the BBC:

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!

Friday, February 22, 2019

Friday 80s Flashback for February 22, 2018

[In the Spirit] -- Last weekend I attended a retreat as a member of the staff of the School of Sacred Ministries. In my preparations for that retreat, I found myself with no time to post a Flashback. Before I go on, let me discuss the retreat topic. For that retreat, students of the School of Sacred Ministries focused on their "Religions of Origin." The idea being that, whether we are still part of the tradition we were raised in, it has had and continues to have an impact on us, upon our psyche. That impact can be positive or negative, and is often both. And you need to examine the impact and own it. Then and only then can you move on, taking what you need from the past and discarding the rest. So, this weekend, I present some songs inspired by last week's retreat. These tunes have religious and spiritual themes to them. What those themes are might be obvious in some cases, and hidden in others. I'll try not to spend too much time in spelling any of them out. Like with most art, interpretation should be left up to the observer. Or, in this case, the listener (and music video viewer). If you're curious as to what tracks spirited their way onto my latest playlist, read and hear more after the jump. 

Friday, February 8, 2019

Friday 80s Flashback for February 8, 2019

[Workin'] -- I've been thinking about working and employment this week. Both in terms of having work to do and being unemployed (or even underemployed). It's all we can do to stay one step ahead of the mortgage, or healthcare bills, right? I don't recall if healthcare costs were problematic in the 80s, but finding and keeping decent jobs was definitely high on the social anxiety meter. The more things change, the more they stay the same, eh? So, with this in mind, I opted to feature songs about work and working in this week's Flashback. There are no party anthems like Loverboy's "Working the the Weekend." But this week's playlist isn't strictly somber, either. So, which workhorse tracks made the cut this week? Read and hear more after the jump!

Friday, February 1, 2019

Friday 80s Flashback for February 1, 2019

[RIP James Ingram] -- I had something else in mind for this week's Flashback. But then I read the news of James Ingram's passing. He lost his battle with brain cancer at the age of 66 on 1/29/19. Now, if the name isn't familiar, I'll bet his voice was. Ingram's smoothly soulful voice lent itself to a number of hits in the 80s and 90s. Interestingly, the vast majority of those hits were collaborative in nature. He was either a guest on another artist's record, or he was featured in a duet. He didn't score a solo hit until 1990. But you know his collaborations. "Baby, Come to Me" with Patti Austin in 1982. "What About Me?" with Kenny Rogers and Kim Carnes in 1984, And "Somewhere Out There," from 1986's An American Tail: Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack, with Linda Ronstadt. According to Wikipedia, Ingram scored eight Top 40 hits on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, 13 top 40 hits on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, 20 hits on the Adult Contemporary chart, and two Hot 100 #1 singles. If you want to know what tracks I've chosen to remember him from that spectrum of hits, read and hear more after the jump.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Friday 80s Flashback for January 25, 2019

[Iceland's Daisy Hill Puppy Farm] -- Just before I left for Iceland last week, I posted a Flashback featuring the Sugarcubes. Well, I returned from Iceland very early this morning, so how 'bout we follow up last week's post with one about another 80s Icelandic band? If you're up for it, I've got just the thing for you, especially if you're into shoegazers and ear bleeders: Daisy Hill Puppy Farm! According to Rok (rokmusik.co), Daisy Hill Puppy Farm was active between 1987 and 1990. During that time, they released an eponymous 7" EP in 1988 and a 12" record, Spraycan, in 1989. And, yes, they were apparently named after the farm where Charlie Brown got his dog, Snoopy, in the Peanuts comic strip. The band's frontman, Jóhann Jóhannsson (9/19/1969 - 2/9/2018), became a solo artist and then a well-known TV and film composer. If you ask me, that is quite the career arc. If you want to know what his music was like before he composed the soundtrack for, say, The Theory of Everything (2014), you can hear more after the jump.  

Friday, January 18, 2019

Friday 80s Flashback for January 18, 2019

[Iceland] -- I'm heading to Iceland today for an Astro.Tour. Well, my flight departs this afternoon, but I'll arrive in Reykjavík early Saturday morning. So, I figure this is a great time to highlight some 80s music from the Nordic island country. Now, if you haven't heard of, or don't recall, The Sugarcubes, you might recall one particular member of that band: Björk. Yeah, she pretty much broke out as an international artist after the Sugarcubes crashed and burned. She has nearly 20 albums to her credit (including live records and compilations), while her debut band has a paltry three albums in their catalog. But quantity does not always supersede quality. And the Sugarcubes' debut, Life's Too Good (1988), has a certain charming quality to it. Of course, all the songs are built around Björk's unique vocal prowess. You definitely want to delve into Birthday and Motorcrash. But why not just take in the entire playlist? You can enjoy the album at this link, or in the embedded video below.

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!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Friday 80s Flashback for January 11, 2019

[A Logical Animal] -- AllMusic.com refers to Animal Logic as an "experimental pop unit." That's as good a description as any for the trio that came together in 1987 and released their first eponymous album in 1989. Initiated as a potential collaboration between ex-Police drummer Stewart Copeland and jazz fusion bassist Stanley Clarke, there was no actual band until the duo found singer/songwriter Deborah Holland. Animal Logic is the kind of band that was only possible in the 80s, or at least more possible. And this band should have thrived exploring that space that permeates between jazz and rock all while making heady music videos. But instead they're just one more band that didn't live up to their promise. Perhaps Animal Logic's output was a little too artsy, or maybe they came along too late in the decade. Whatever it was, they have been consigned to the great dustheap of forgotten CDs. As you might expect after that intro, the band's debut didn't exactly light the charts ablaze. So I'm just picking three songs I like from the album, and you can read and hear move about my selections after the jump.  

Friday, January 4, 2019

Friday 80s Flashback for January 4, 2019

[New Year, New Possibilities] -- Yes, I realize we are now several days past New Year's Day. But 2019 still has some of that new year smell, right. Right? Of course, I'm right! Now, there really is no (formal) canon of great New Year's songs. However, I subscribe to the notion that New Year's songs, unlike songs about Easter or Christmas, are not about a particular event but are, instead, about an attitude. They are about letting go of errors and reaching out for renewal. They are about boldly striving forth and taking advantage of the proverbial potential that a fresh new year offers. And so, with that in mind, and with the hope that I can help a few people find motivation for their goals, I offer up three 80s songs to power you into 2019. To find out what these motivational selections are, you just have to read and hear more after the break.