So yesterday was St. Paddy’s day. The jukebox at your local bar cant hold another dollar, you’ve played every Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys song at least three times each. You’ve gone far enough to play a bunch of House of Pain songs. Enter Flatfoot 56.
Flatfoot 56 exists in a similar genre as our favorite Irish rockers. A hint of punk, and a dash of bagpipes makes for an enjoyable sound. They are also a Christian Rock band – which, I know, will imemediately turn some people off. But when 90% of people say “I don’t listen to the lyrics,” I don’t know why they suddenly do when it’s Christian music?? The complaint never made sense to me.
Anyway, the good news is the Flatfoot 56 isn’t one of those bands who wanted to jump on the bandwagon. The band formed in 2003. The first note of the first track of their first album begins with bagpipes. They knew what they wanted to be and went straight for it. The downside? After listening to Rumble Of 56, The Sounds of the Midway EP, and Toil, I haven’t found tracks that jumped out at me. The music is good… but none of it is great. Nothing made me go back and listen to that one song again, right away. With a lot of albums, I like to listen all the way through before hearing any song a second time. And that’s okay – but when a song really grabs your attention so much that you immediately want to hear it again? That’s a good sign. Nothing from Flatfoot 56 really had that.
So today’s recommendation comes with, honestly, a little bit of a “it might not wow you” warning, but that’s okay. The point is it’s something different, and still enjoyable. Give Flatfoot 56 a listen! You can start with their latest release, Toil.
I don’t remember when I first saw Trigun, but I remember it was one of the most serious episodes in the series. Vash The Stampede is the main character, who tries to be hero, but is often followed be enough trouble that he is referred to as the Human Typhoon. Johnny Yong Bosch does the English dubbed voice, but he is the person who drew me in. The episode I saw drew deeper emotion out of him than I was used to seeing in most animated series. I was already well versed in anime, and even emotional heavyweights lime Akira and My Neighbor Totoro, but Boch’s voice made me care for this character. After catching several episodes the way most Americans had back then, on Cartoon Network, I went ahead and bought a boxed set of DVDs on eBay so I could finally watch the story unfold.
It has been a few years since I sat down and watched the whole series, but the DVDs sit on my shelf, constantly beckoning me back. Eventually I will, but it’s almost the kind of thing you need to be in the right mindset for, because although there is ample action and comedy, the series can be draining at times, as you get wrapped up in the mystery of this sci-fi western. Go ahead and pick up the Trigun – The Complete Boxed Set.
The Dingees are a band that I find not many people know, because they were relegated to “Christian Music” for a very long time. Evidently all that means is that they didn’t swear in their music, because apart from one reference to David and Goliath, most of the alum is your boilerplate punk and ska album.
I think that is what I like most about Armageddon Massive. It doesn’t pretend to be much more than a first album from a band who was influenced by everything that was popular at the time. As soon as you play the CD, you are greeted by a punk music riff, and vocals clearly inspired by Billie Joe Armstrong (of Green Day).
The album the winds down a path of ska and reggae, taking a brief stop to hint at jazz and swing styles. What’s great is that the hooks may be simple, but they are so widely varied that you have to argue that the band has a range of talents. I haven’t heard it in years, and when I found my CD in my parents’ attic, it had been scratched to unfixable ends. So I recently bought another copy and have been enjoying it lately. I have never heard any albums from The Dingees other than Armageddon Massive, but I also bought their others. Maybe I’ll have an update for you all once I listen to more, but from what I hear, this album was not their most popular – it just happens to be one I remember from years back!
A few years ago, longer now than I had even realized, I saw a small indie film. Then one day, at a friend’s house, we were flipping through the guide on his cable box, looking for something to watch ‘on demand’ – and there it was: Wristcutters – A Love Story.
I told him to press play. By the end, I remembered why I loved that movie, and my friend had a new favorite that he was going to add to his collection as well. Wristcutters is a movie about the afterlife. An afterlife where you can’t smile, even if you want to, where everything is a constant dull, blue tint. A purgatory, of sorts, where you still have to find a job, pay rent, and if you think that you’re in the wrong place, you need to bring it up with the People In Charge. Unfortunately for all involved, the “PIC” is an endless bureaucracy. So you deal with life, as it is. Eternally. At least, you’re supposed to.
The protagonist of the movie hears a rumor that somebody he knew when he was alive may be a new arrival. On his journey, he meets someone who wants to take their case to the “People In Charge” and find a way out. A cast of interesting characters, events, and a beautifully entertaining story all unfold through a story told in a unique setting and perspective. Interesting discussions of what the afterlife might be like often evolve after viewing this movie in the right company. Enjoy Wristcutters – A Love Story.