Stones Throw Makes Store, Cleans Out Basement

July 23, 2008

This kind of reminds me of when I was a kid and would set up shop outside my friend Taylor’s house and we’d sell any toys/random crap we could find which pissed off our parents to no end. More recently, and more applicably i suppose, I made an ebay account and went around my house with a crazed look in my eye trying to find anything i didn’t need that was small enough to ship easily. Something like this probably happened over at stones throw a little while ago as they just added some pretty sweet stuff to their store.

Sure there are the ultra hip Parra made shirts

but mostly its about the joints over there. There’s now a CD Version of Madlib‘s Saturday Morning Remixes out which I can’t comment on because I haven’t ever heard it.

Things get more exciting with the release of Sniper Elite and Murder Goons which are two tracks recorded by Dilla with Doom and Ghostface separately that were intended to be mixed together for Donuts. The EP contains each track separated and then the combined version. I actually ended up having to buy these tracks on the spot and I gotta say I already kind of love them. I think Doom is a pretty over-rated mc whose verses can sound a little forced, but the beat really complements his style. The volume of those cymbals in the back, the retro sounding intro, and those held notes make it seem like Doom has the room for a lazy verse but the spastic moments in the guitar give Dooms delivery a sense of urgency like he’s getting tripped up by how much he wants to spit out his words. Then there’s Ghostface, who always sounds like he’s going to get tripped up these days for the same reason. This is more of the same for Ghost but its on a beat that’s perfect for him. It sounds kind of like a bank heist car chase in the 70’s. These tracks just remind me of why every artist wanted to work with Dilla, not only was he going to have the best beats, he was going to have the best beats for them.

The super big fanboy news however is the release of the “Madvillainy 2” box. Apparently this is what happens when Madlib has time to kill on a plane. The box will include the 25 track reworking of the original, a “One Beer” 7″, a cassette of the original Madvillain demo, a tee, and a comic book continuation of the All Caps video, oh and a dope box “wrapped in a silver like a mask” This thing looks absolutely crazy (which is mirrored in the 125 dollar price tag) and you can check out all the gear here. Oh and they promise that there’s still stuff going on with the new Madvillain too but it doesn’t sound too promising. If you really are losing sleep over that thing you might actually considering trying to hold yourself over with one of these bad boys.

here’s an mp3 for boulder holder (originally money folder) that came with the announcement

**edit** Stones Throw has now made the album available for download for 10 bucks

Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog

July 17, 2008

I’ve got to hand it to Joss Whedon, (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly) this is a pretty interesting marketing technique. Apparently Whedon enlisted the help of some friends during the writer’s strike to create a super hero villain musical. Dr. Horrible is a three act play in miniature and each act will be debuted a day or two apart over the course of a week at the end of which they will be taken down. Then there will be a comic released and the play will be available for download or on dvd. I understand the idea of creating a sense of urgency around it but all of these releases should probably be pretty close together. It seems to me that something like this would require a flurry of promotion. I’d be curious to gauge the level of buzz around this.

Anyways this week is the aforementioned week. Acts I & II are already up here and act III debuts on the 19th, the vids say goodbye at the end of the 20th.

On to the actual play. The story follows Neil Patrick Harris as fledgling supervillain Dr. Horrible as he tries to get his ticket to the big time by joining an evil alliance. Piling on the trouble for Dr. Horrible, he inadvertently introduced his arch nemesis to his altruistic crush an they’ve begone dating. We’ve all been there. The musical is a quirky production (as I would assume a supervillain musical would have to be) from the characters to the musical numbers to the narrative devices. I really like the character ideas here from the legendary villain bad horse (who speaks through singing cowboys) and a best friend whose power is to make things moist. In my opinion the musical numbers are pretty much a novelty that just serve to make the play seem quirkier and grab a little more notice. I’m sure this is not how the musical aspect was intended though I’m pretty sure Joss Whedon just really likes making musicals (remember Whedon’s musical Buffy?) Because of its truncated length, there’s not alot of time to establish exactly what’s going on all the time. The musical numbers could be meant solve this problem but mostly its the blog aspect of the play that makes the difference. I haven’t really seen the idea of a video blog mined for this type of characterization and plot summary in a fictional work before but it’s a great idea. I mean, the Real World has been doing this for at least a decade and a half. I’d say this is definitely worth watching.

Things I Like: Infinite Horizon

June 22, 2008

This guy just realized he’s not getting any for 10 years

Although the series has been out for a little bit and picked up some good press (nominated for an Eisner in best new series among other things) I was kind of sleeping on this title and I feel like a lot of other people have been too. The biggest thing you should know about Infinite Horizon is that its a retelling of the Odyssey. This to me is interesting. Every time I hear that something is based on the Odyssey I can’t help but spend the bulk of my time with the material trying to recall all of those middle school classes about the original and compare it to whatever updated version I happen to be experiencing. What makes Infinite Horizon even more interesting to me is that they decided to condense this bagillion page classic into a 6 part comic book run. How in the world are they going to do this? So far, I’ve read the first three issues (put out by image comics) and they’re going at a brisk pace, to say the least, but are still hitting the major plot points.

There are though some major and potentially problematic differences. Some of them can be attributed to the fact that this is a modernization of the story and some things just aren’t going to work the same due to changes in social norms. The most obvious example would be the suitors. In today’s day and age a bunch of men moving into a woman’s house when her husband is lost in a war just isn’t going to read with the same authenticity as it does in an ancient setting. I’m not so sure about the solution though. Instead of having mooching suitors eating her out of house and home and competing for her affection as she does her best to preserve her honor, the Penelope character is a commanding woman who appears to be caught in some struggle between two factions of farmer’s who are competing for her water. (apparently she alone controls access to this powerful aphrodisiac.) I wonder what her analogous action to knitting will be in order to delay her “suitors'” unquenched thirst for water turning a thirst for blood.

Another change is the lack of the supernatural. This change though could lead to some interesting applications of artistic license as Duggan tries to create parallels through scientifically explicable lanes. And that twisting of the source material is really the most fun things about these kinds of projects to me. His vision of the cyclops for instance is a really big soldier in high tech armor that they guess is of Israeli or Russian origin. His sheep are really just prisoners that obey his command. I’m waiting to see how Circe turns everyone into pigs. The absence of divine intervention though means that some of the more complicated bits of intrigue and the switcheroo shapeshifting elements of the story are probably going to be cut, but that’s probably for the best when we consider the limited space Duggan has to work in.

Two changes in terms of character bother me though. 1. Telemachus becomes a little boy and the role is is given in the beginning of the Odyssey hasn’t been brought up yet. I don’t understand yet how he is going to be an effective force in dealing with the suitors; especially because he has been kidnapped which I don’t recall happening in the original. This new plot point puts a lot of pressure on the Penelope character who decides to take decisive action which seems out of character for her. That is emblematic of my only real problem with this series. This abridgment seems to have forced a sacrifice of cleverness on the part of the hero’s. The battle with the Cyclops was a little disappointing for me because it lacked the flair that Odysseus had in the original. Odysseus is the dude that thought up the Trojan horse right? He’s a crafty guy. I’d like to see more of that.

Overall though I find it interesting enough to keep reading and its a nice alternative to the big superhero comics. I’m liking Noto’s art a lot too.

Also, you might want to check out

House of Mystery (Vertigo) which is on its second issue right now and is co-written by Matthew Sturges and Bill Willingham.