December 28th, 2008


Let's Have Fun

Now that I've had to chance to check out some of my Christmas presents, here are some of my often-written and probably seldom-read reviews:

The Vermillion Lies album, Separated by Birth, is really good. They're a band that can successfully sing comical lyrics, use unusual instruments like toy drums and barbecue grills, and make cute interjections without coming across as overly cloying. Those girls definitely have talent. I think What's in the Box? is probably the better of the two, but they're both quality records. I guess now I need to get their solo albums. You can also see the Vermillion sisters in this recent video by Amanda Palmer:

What's the Use of Won'drin'? -Amanda Palmer & Vermilion Lies- from Amanda Palmer on Vimeo.

While I don't have that much to say about it, the Amy Miles album, Heavy Packer, is also a good listen. My favorite song of hers is still "Kill to Know," which isn't on this album, but hey. I know Amy from her participation in The Last Car, a band quite possibly formed when Robin Goldwasser was jealous of her husband for getting to perform alongside someone really skinny. {g} I've also heard that she appears in a few of the Stella shorts, and Amy Poehler sings some backing vocals on the album, so she'd probably be pretty easy fodder for that Six Degrees game.

I'd had the XTC box set, Coat of Many Cupboards, on my wishlist for years, and bethje finally bought if for me this Christmas. It's an interesting mix of rare songs with alternate versions of old ones, with the occasional album track thrown in. I'm somewhat bothered by this last element, especially since anyone who'd get this set most likely already has the albums. While it does include all the hits, the box isn't really a good introduction to the band. Still, I suppose the occasional album track just adds to the grab-bag nature of the set, and they're cool songs, so it isn't really that much of a problem. It's a little disappointing that the only Dukes of Stratosphear songs included are the album versions, but it's not like we didn't get a fair number of demos for this psychedelic project on Fuzzy Warbles. There are a few songs on Coat that I hadn't previously heard at all, like "Let's Have Fun," "Terrorism," and "Didn't Hurt a Bit." There are also two Barry Andrews songs, and believe it or not, "My Weapon" and "Super-Tuff" probably WERE the best ones he came up with in the Go 2 era.

And that's it for music in this post, but I'd also like to say a bit about the DS version of Chrono Trigger, which I've been playing. I've made it up to the bleak future of 2300, and so far I haven't noticed any real differences from the Super NES version aside from slightly better dialogue translation. Also, all references I've seen to Magus have referred to him as the Fiendlord. There's actually an option to play the game with traditional controls and no stylus. I'm still having some trouble adjusting to the stylus myself, but the only way to get better at it is to keep practicing, so I didn't choose that option. The game has an interesting plot, and the complicated history of its world as told in it and its sequel Chrono Cross is discussed here and here. I never really made it that far in Chrono Cross, and I'd like to give it another shot someday, but I don't have a PlayStation. Incidentally, one thing that I'm not sure was ever explained was how the Guardian royal family came to have a Zeal pendant. While it's pretty much stated that Ayla is an ancestor of the royals (from 65 million years earlier, suggesting some amazing genealogical research), I don't recall any ancestors showing up in the Dark Ages.