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Comics

Gary & Gorilla

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Video of The Day

Jim Gaffigan on McDonald’s

Comedian Jim Gaffigan poses the question, “Has your mom EVER made anything as delicious as a McDonald’s french fry?

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Quick Spins

The Armoires/Zibaldone

The Armoires

Zibaldone (Big Stir)

http://www.bigstirrecords.com

In the world of The Armoires, it is perpetually 1967. California is the only place to be, and the golden sun never sets. It’s a beach party where everyone wears paisley, and Brian Wilson is in deep conversation with Mike Nesmith and Stephen Stills, about the between-the-grooves meaning of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

Lead Armoires Christina Bulbenko and Rex Broome, as well as their bandmates, bring these neo-psychedelic tunes into focus, with sensational vocal harmony arrangements and 12-string Rickenbackers, stacked eight miles high. “(How Did You Make) A Mistake Like Me?” and “Alesandra 619” are pure-pop perfection. Highly recommended.

By Dan Pavelich

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Quick Spins

Chrissie Hynde & Valve Bone Woe

Chrissie Hynde & Valve 

Bone Woe Ensemble 

Valve Bone Woe (BMG)

http://www.chrissiehynde.com

This is the jazzy pop record that rocker Chrissie Hynde has always threatened to make. Focusing on the late 1950’s through the early 1960’s, it’s a pleasant record that isn’t overly fussy, which is welcome relief these days. An emotional voice lending its own beauty, as well as its own flaws.

The Kinks’ “No Return” sounds even more samba-like than the original, and Brian Wilson’s “Caroline, No” gets turned into a sultry torch song. Sinatra’s “I’m A Fool To Love You” takes on a whole new elegance in Hynde’s hands. This is a very special moment in a long and fascinating career.

By Dan Pavelich

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Video of The Day

Abundant Kindness

The age of this little chef isn’t the most remarkable thing about this video, the kindness with which he goes about his work is. Though he is meticulously careful, he is most intent on including his sibling in the process, making sure to stop and let him sample the ingredients.

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Comics

Just Say Uncle

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Video of The Day

The Jonas Brothers/What A Man Gotta Do?

Poor grammar aside, The Jonas Brothers’ new single comes complete with an actual old-school music video. Alongside their wives, the brothers recreate iconic scenes from “Grease”,”Risky Business” and “Say Anything.” Fun.

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Quick Spins

The Beat/Public Confidential

The Beat featuring Ranking Roger

Public Confidential (DMF)

http://www.thebeatofficial.com

The English Beat broke big in the early 1980’s, blending elements of ska and new wave into their own thing. Like a lot of early MTV bands, they eventually disbanded, before resurfacing in the 1990’s in multiple forms. Principal vocalists Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger both continued to tour as The Beat, as recently as last year, before Roger’s untimely passing in March.

“Public Confidential” is Roger’s swan song, and it’s an incredible one. The title track lopes along with spooky sax fills, feeling like the eery epitaph to “Mirror In The Bathroom.” While all of these songs stand with the band’s best, “A Good Day For Sunshine” is that feel-good anthem that eclipses them. Roger will be missed.

By Dan Pavelich

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Comics

Please visit http://www.kennydurkin.com

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Quick Spins

The Laurie Berkner Band/Waiting For The Elevator

The Laurie Berkner Band

Waiting For The Elevator (Concord)

http://www.laurieberkner.com

From Laurie’s promo kit, “Laurie Berkner has been a professional musician since 1992, but her success as a children’s recording artist was a surprise to her. “It was so unexpected,” says Laurie. “I’d been performing in rock bands and struggling to write original music. Writing music for kids has not been a struggle at all. The more I started working on material for children, the more I realized that it opened up creativity in me that I never knew I had.”

It appears as though Laurie’s days of “struggling to write original music” are over. In writing music for children, she has found her calling. Blessed with a sunshine-pleasant voice to get her songs across, tiny ears will eagerly bend toward her. 

Her chosen subject matter is varied, and not the usual kite-bicycle-mean sister trifecta usually associated with kids’ music. How many words can she rhyme with “elevator” while “Waiting For The Elevator”? You’re about to find out. Other delights include the silly “Chipmunk At The Gas Pump” and the sweet “A Hug From My Mama.” Berkner’s band is also first-rate, making this massive nineteen-song collection a real winner.

By Dan Pavelich