Stay Cool Dad

Total Devo by Simon Sharwood
September 3, 2007, 10:39 am
Filed under: Dotmusic, I like this band because, I'm so old ..., Just listened to ...

Devo, my second or third favorite band of all time (J&MC are in there, so are REM) have sold out. Totally.

They have devolved from being hip, cool and counter-most-things to being just another cog in the machine.


Because their latest single, ‘Watch Us Work It‘ was recorded for a Dell commercial. Yes, Dell. The company that likes to turn everything it does into ‘commodities’ and then brags about it.

This comes on top of the Devo 2.0 debacle from last year when the band teamed with Disney, FFS, on a tween remake of Devo’s Greatest Hits.

Having said that, I discovered this on a website that says Devo toured Europe this year. If they ever tour Australia, I am SO there …. and I will buy an energy dome.

UPDATE: Okay, maybe this was a bit harsh given that Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo apparently did the music the ‘Hi, I’m a Mac’ ads.


National borders suck by Simon Sharwood
May 17, 2007, 3:47 am
Filed under: Dotmusic, I like this band because

One of my favorite bands, They Might Be Giants, has a new album out.

It’s being sold exclusively on iTunes for a few weeks before the CD emerges – hurrah!

But only iTunes USA so far – booooooo – because even though the Internet is global, record distribution deals are local.

How dumb is that?

National borders suck.

I bet by the time the kids have iTunes accounts of their own, this stuff won’t be an issue any more. But I’m not going to bet a lot!

A case for Greatest Hits albums? by Simon Sharwood
July 5, 2006, 12:48 am
Filed under: I like this band because, I'm so old ..., Just listened to ...

One of the reasons for writing this blog is to avoid becoming someone who relives his musical heyday through buying Ggreatest Hits albums by bands I liked when I was younger.

But the new Sonic Youth album has me thinking, because it is pretty ordinary. I first got interested in the band with their album Goo, and specifically the track “Tunic” which was and is like nothing I have ever heard.

“Rather Ripped,” the new album, has nothing to compare with it. And nothing startlingly good either.

And there’s the rub. If I ever decided to introduce my kids to this band, I’d prefer to do it with a Greatest Hits album than with some of their spotty efforts of recent years.

Maybe these things are useful after all …Rather Ripped

Wonderful by Simon Sharwood

Check out this fabulous YouTube video of Stevie Wonder on Sesame Street.

If only the show would invite the likes on again today it would make for some great StayCoolDad moments!

When good bands go bad by Simon Sharwood
April 6, 2006, 11:27 pm
Filed under: I like this band because, I'm so old ..., Just didn't listen to ...

I listened, or tried to listen, to the most recent Weezer album today.

It is called Make Believe. And it is terrible. Just awful. Somehow this band that was once capable of being cute, satirical or delivering moving mini-epics has descended into bad three minute pop/rock songs that have no distinguishing features. I reckon they sound like Green Day album tracks, which is a huge insult so far as I am concerned.

So what’s happened here? Have my tastes moved on or has Weezer declined?

How can I tell? Should I recommend bands I like to my kids, knowing that they might be a good band gone bad? I’d tell my kids to listen to early Dylan or Stones. Anything in the last 10 years is probably an insult to their intelligence (although this is an interesting effort from the Stones).

But back to Weezer. Perhaps they simply ran out of ideas and are coasting on a decent brand. I hope not. Their early work gives me hope that they are a group I could share with people for some time to come. Unless, of course, it really is their problem and not mine that makes this album such a crock.

TMBG Podcast 4A by Simon Sharwood
March 9, 2006, 11:46 pm
Filed under: I like this band because, Just listened to ...

Turns out I do get to listen to new music (albeit by old artists). Thanks to SCD’s own Simon (for pointing it out) and the merciful sanity of the Two Johns (for giving it away), I commuted my way in to The Blandness today wearing a large and unexpected grin, because my iPod-for-the-blind (see footnote) served me up the latest They Might Be Giants podcast (4A). Like a jeweler’s after a ram-raid, it was strewn with gems.

After a couple of free ring tones (including an amusing “NSA: Suspending your rights” one), we’re treated to 25 minutes or so of “venue songs”: songs composed about each venue on their 2004 tour. Musically, lyrically and in the narration between, there is a level of inventiveness inspired by the apallingly banal which is really pretty awesome. These guys are not young, not new to this (true, they’re a shade newer than U2), but a virtually random selection of mid-sized venues across the anglophone Northern Hemisphere brings out the most extraordinarily diverse range of stuff. Musically, you’ll have to listen. Lyrically, here’s one gem:

Put some makeup on that bruise
we’re going to the Anaheim House of Blues

All the songs are linked and explained by a narrator. If I had to say something clever about a place called “Richard’s on Richards”, I might come up with something like “meh”. TMBG concocted and ode built around the venue’s “hypnotically redundant” name … “Hypnotically redundant”, that’s gold!

And it’s free, though you can see from their much too clever to be practical website that you could buy a DVD of the same thing. Free, but I’m living proof the business model works: I slapped down USD15 for their 2005 best-of, and by dang I’ll do it again in 2021 for the next one as surely as night follows day.

Highly recommended.

My shiny new nano snuck itself into the washing machine. I was able to revive all of it but the screen, and the ability to shut down properly (so, playing or not, it goes flat over nite). Eventually, I tracked down some apple info on the menu structure (don’t try googling “iPod menu structure”) so I can find the podcasts menu. I have some control, but not total.

(I also have all the best intentions to put together a resource for iPod users who, whether it be for eye- or screen-related issues, cannot see the frigging thing)

The Wiggles are in trouble by Simon Sharwood

Mashed potato, mashed potato is giving way to MashUps here at StayCoolDad central.

I’ve become addicted to DJBC’s two albums of Beastie Boys/Beatles mashups.

They are expertly done, as you’ll hear if you have a BitTorrent client and hit this link.

The experience has made me think perhaps I should re-evaluate my attitude to the whole dance music thing, which is best summarised by a conversation I had with a twenty-something waitress in a cafe last year that went like this:

(Imagine doof-doof music in the background)

ME: Crikey! Bit early for that kind of music isn’t it?

WAITRESS: Don’t you like it?

ME: Not really.
(Adopts ‘old granny’ voice)
When I was your age we had proper music that sounded like this.
(I make grungey, Nirvana-style noises)
Proper music should have lots of noisy guitars and scarcely-audible lyrics, not this silly modern doof rubbish.
The poor dear was rather perplexed, as you could imagine.

Anyway, “the kids” are into this electronic stuff so I feel a bit cool for having downloaded and listened to some, then liked it! Better do more of it to keep up the mission …