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This Mistletoe Belt's For You: Christmas Rapping with the Yule Logs!

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, December 10, 2010 10:00am | Post a Comment

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You don't have to love the holidays to love the Yule Logs, but for me it was love at first listen! Seeing them headline the annual "Christmas is the Best!" bonanza last year was an absolute blast and just thinking about their show coming up this Sunday at Amnesia in San Francisco (festivities begin with holiday crafting and shitty gift giving at 7pm, show at 9) has got me all worked up like a little insomniac on the night before Christmas --- baby, I can't wait! Making spirits bright since 2005, vocalist Marty Parker, bassist Kirt Lind, guitarist Maurice Spencer and drummer Jake Specher dole out hit after original hit of Christmas and Hannukah jams and spruced up traditional holiday classics with such contagious enthusiasm and flawless four-part harmonies that one cannot help but drink their kool-aid. With a good-time party sound that recalls British Invasion class, California surf-rock sass, pop savvy hooks and non-stop borscht belt humor the Yule Logs'll have your shoes off and your socks twistin' under your feet dancing their "Hannukah Mambo," fist-pumping to their "Runaround Rudolph" (featuring guest appearances by presidents William Howard Taft and Richard Nixon, along with Elvis "the King" Presley) and swooning for their rendition of Wham's "Last Christmas." Recently I rapped with the boys from Chico, California about their music, their muses and their state of holiday affairs, and their status as a "the world's premier Christmas and Hannukah rock 'n roll band;" here's what they had to say:

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The Friendly Ranger Returns: Early Thin Lizzy Remasters Available at Long Last!

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, December 6, 2010 09:35pm | Post a Comment
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Anyone been obsessing as much as I have over those early Thin Lizzy double-disc remasters that were supposed to hit the shelves over a year ago? After what seemed like an eon, Decca has seen to giving the first three Lizzy records a polished shine, reuniting a-sides with b-sides, outtakes, Peel Sessions, live jams, and the like appropriately on each respective extended reissue. Sadly, Thin Lizzy's self-titled debut and their sophomore effort Shades of a Blue Orphanage are not packaged as two CD super sets, as was promised once upon a time, but they pack just as many fever-inducing extras as the stellar Vagabonds of the Western World double-disc bonanza --- the final of the initial three Lizzy albums recorded as the bluesy, folk/rock trio of Eric Bell on guitar, Brian Downey on drums and the legendary Philip Lynott fronting the band on bass, acoustic guitar and vocals. Even if you have most of the rare and "unreleased" content squirreled away in your Lizzy collection already (like I do since I can't stop obsessing over this band because, let's face it, every Lizzy fan is Lizzy's greatest fan), it feels real, real good to have it all spiffed up and compiled together in the sort of slick, comprehensive presentation the music really deserves. The only thing that's missing here is the inclusion of the "lost" Thin Lizzy tracks, like this bongo-rific boho alternate version of "The Friendly Ranger at Clontarf Castle."

"Friendly Ranger at Clontarf Castle" -- an early early version


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Victory Vignettes: San Francisco Celebrates Their "Misfit" Giants With a Song (and Then Some)

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, November 4, 2010 02:34pm | Post a Comment
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Yesterday was an orange day in San Francisco, a day worth putting responsibilities aside in order to get down there and be a part of it. Amongst fans who had cheered the Giants to their World Series victory in Monday night, fans who cheered the Giants through the post season, fans who had rallied the 2010 "misfits" team when they were playing to win, fans who chanted their names when they were playing like an "unbelievable" machine, fans who cheered our homeboys -- including a rookie named, of all names, Buster -- when they played like fools and lifelong fans who have been waiting for as long as they can remember to savor the sweetness of a 56-years-in-the-making world championship, I reveled in yesterday's parade and subsequent celebration knowing that the memory of it will bring smiles to faces in the city for a long time to come.
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Donning a shirt I bought during the 2002 season (a #5 Tsuyoshi Shinjo shirt, the center fielder who hit the first Major League homer I ever witnessed in person at the then still new Giants ballpark and a player who went from "one to watch" to "hard to watch" in the span of just a few months) and hadn't worn or washed since game seven of that wretched "Rally Monkey" series, I headed out for the beginning of the parade route (four blocks from my Chinatown roost) to cheer everyone on our home team through the streets of the Financial District, only to make the journey across town to meet up with the frenzied masses again at parade's end in front of City Hall. Despite the fact that it was an unusually hot day in San Francisco, with hardly a breeze to speak of, my old Giants tee never felt so fresh or so clean (clean).

A Happy (and Hairy) Heavy Metal Halloween Top Thirteen!

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, October 31, 2010 01:13pm | Post a Comment
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If you missed banging your head during the three hour heavy/hair metal sets DJ BJ (who shared many glory stories of nights spent in the trenches of the glamorous Hollyweird sleaze-rock scene) and I spun this past Friday at Amoeba Music San Francisco, here's a wee cross-section of the darkest and most sinister selections you can spin for your pleasure whether you're spending this Halloween night in your inner oubliette or amongst fiends!

1.) "Halloween" - King Diamond

2.) "Touch of Evil" - Judas Priest

3.)
"God Bless the Children of the Beast" - Motley Crue

4.)
"Madhouse" - Anthrax

5.)"Walk in the Shadows" - Queensryche

6.)
"Close My Eyes Forever" - Lita Ford feat. Ozzy Osbourne

7.) "
Fear of the Dark" - Iron Maiden

8.) "Black Sabbath" - Black Sabbath

9.) "
Gail" - Alice Cooper

10.)"
Midnight/Tornado" - Skid Row

11.) "
Scared" - Dangerous Toys

12.) "Iced Earth" - Dracula

13.) "Halloween" - Helloween


What's Got Into That Cat!? Japanese Cult Classic Hausu Out Today on Criterion DVD and Blu-Ray!!!

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, October 26, 2010 02:00am | Post a Comment
Everybody knows that old cats can open doors, but did you know that only ghost cats can close them?
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Well, to quote the great Levar Burton, don't take my word for it, find out for yourself! Here's to the joy of lessons learned from Nobuhiko Obayashi's 1977 cinematic freak-out Hausu (or House if you speak American), a film that'll give you a trick-or-treating of horror-infused psychedelia like you've never ever experienced, not even in your wildest, most delightfully random-ass frightmares. Hausu dvd criterion japanese horror cult kitch film movie eye cat While it's difficult to know where to begin in reviewing this amazing monkeyshine, it should not go without saying that supposedly the story was dictated to the director by his 11-year-old daughter, which pretty much makes the movie itself just as crazy as, well, a story told by a demented little girl with cat fancy, Auntie issues, and campy ideas about "indecent" piano behavior. Add to that the fact that Hausu seems to be a visual exercise in testing the limits on how many times a movie can one-up itself, utilizing a lightning round of every stylistic technique known to film-making all the way, as if daring viewers to exclaim "this shit is bananas!" to which the movie quite literally delivers a shit-ton of bananas, no kidding. hausu house dvd japanese movie cirterion cult classic weird funny wacky campy

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