…or, the Top 10 Bands You’d Think Are Cool To Hang Out With, But Are Actually Dicks

10. Yeasayer

This is the Top 10 member that almost caused Brian and I to come to Skype fisticuffs. I’m not sure what those are, but I would guess it involves a lot of WRITING IN ALL CAPS and heavily exclamation pointing things!!!!!!! And then maybe we’d turn on video chat and beat up our roommates while we make them wear Brian and Chris masks. Good thing I said we almost came to fisticuffs (though I feel like video of that fight would be a pretty good post).

The problem with Yeasayer on this list is that, well, Odd Blood basically fucking rocks. Real hard. It’s my favorite album of probably the last two or three years. Whenever Brian or I can’t think of a post topic, we talk about writing Odd Blood reviews, but then we realize that it would basically be us drooling all over. Sort of like blogging masturbation – it’s fun, but you don’t really get anything out of it after you’re finished (can’t decide whether that pun is intended or not…).

But Yeasayer, despite being awesome, would not be that cool to hang out with. First, they’re from Brooklyn – that pretty much ensures at least a base level of hipster pretension. Also, they look like this:

Oh yeah man...cool, uh, intentionally bleach stained t-shirt.

Being from Brooklyn, it’s also pretty possible they do a lot of cocaine. Which is cool, just not when you’re trying to watch the game or go to some community theater.

9. Hot Chip

Ah, Hot Chip, how we would all love to be ye. Laying down beats like nobody’s business. Grooving in your unnecessary sunglasses and zip-up hoodies and Casio paraphernalia. Surely this is one of the coolest bands you could hope to hang out with!

Well, maybe they would be for a while. But eventually your lack of knowledge of synthesizers would become apparent. And that, unfortunately for you, is when Hot Chip would turn on you. Probably in a sneering, passive-aggressive, elitist manner that would only damage your self-image, but hey, that’s not very cool, and probably not what you’re looking for in a hangout sesh. Also, it might be just be, but it seems like that short guy basically does all the thinking for this band, and everyone else in it just kind of follows his lead. Nobody likes hanging out with that kind of guy.

8. Cobra Starship

More Cobra Starship? You might think that we have some kind of obsession, at this point. This is not exactly the case, it’s just that, coincidentally, this band is super fucking awesome in so many ways that they are probably going to work their way into a lot of posts, until something cooler comes along. (Chromeo, we have our eyes on you…)

Many of you will have seen a Cobra Starship video or two by this point in your lives, and you might be thinking to yourselves that a night in a club with these guys would be pretty cool. They don’t appear to take themselves too seriously, they wear tight pants, and they know how to have a good time! They even know some really hot lesbians! Oh wait.

Wait a sec. Is she… she’s a cop?

You guys have a license for this club, right? Right? Guys? Stop flashing wickedly charming looks at the camera for a sec, if you don’t mind… Kind of a situation here.

Are we going to jail?

7. Sufjan Stevens

Maybe Sufjan wouldn’t be a dick, but I feel like he’d be that guy who makes a ton of obscure allusions that only him and his friends get. Then he’d look at you and you’d have to sort of uncomfortably laugh like you’ve read a bunch of Roman Polanski books and ALSO thought what he said was super funny. Hey, it’s not that bad if it happens once, but I really think it would happen a bunch with Sufjan.

Also, from the few interviews I’ve read, it seems like Sufjan thinks Sufjan is pretty awesome. Which is sort of obnoxious. Illinois was probably one of the best albums of 2005, but it really isn’t the greatest album of all time.

Also, he has a song titled:

A Conjunction Of Drones Simulating The Way In Which Sufjan Stevens Has An Existential Crisis In The Great Godfrey Maze

That should probably convince you.

6. Beck

Again, I don’t think Beck would be a dick. Just SUPER depressing to hang out with. I’m basing my thoughts mostly on Sea Change which, granted, he did write after breaking up with his long term girlfriend. That must have been tough. But that album is one of the mopiest I’ve ever heard (it’s also super good – check it out).

And when Beck isn’t being gloomy (“Time wears away/all the pleasures of the day/all the treasures you could hold”) then he’s talking in Spanish. Which is cool. If you speak Spanish. But Beck seems like the kid that goes to Spain on exchange, then thinks it’s cool to talk in Spanish to people who don’t know Spanish. It’s not.

“Hey Beck! Alice in Wonderland is coming out…want to check it out?”

“Alicia en el país de las maravillas está muy bien, pero prefiero hacer un montón de cocaína y limpio mi apartamento en la actualidad.”

“Yeah…alright man, I’ll call Sufjan.”

Also, Beck is a Scientologist.

5. The Shins

Cool name! Cool band! Garden State was a cool movie! Natalie Portman seems cool!

But I still think The Shins would be pretty uncool guys to hang out with. I have neither good nor funny justification for this.

4. Islands

Islands seems like they would also be pretty cool. Another band that doesn’t take themselves too seriously, they’re smart and creative, and their music kind of rocks.

But again, there’s another whole layer there, and it becomes apparent when you realize that the band is basically entirely the project of Nick Thorburn, or as you may know him, Nick Diamonds. Yep, he changed his last name to one of the most valuable substances on Earth. He also wrote a song about himself (“Rough Gem”), so you know he’s kind of a douche and not, probably, quite the type of guy that would make for a fun, casual, get-together. But wait, there’s more!

Did I mention he’s “inventing” his own sub-genre of music, and it sounds like basically the most pretentious thing ever? Well, he is. And it is.

3. Of Montreal

I really like Of Montreal. And yet, I still suggested them for this list. “But why Chris?” you might be asking yourself. And I would respond that, despite liking them, I completely realize that Of Montreal’s lyrics make No. Fucking. Sense. Also there’s this description of frontman Kevin Barnes’ stage persona from Wikipedia:

He has described Georgie Fruit as a black man in his forties who has undergone multiple sex changes. Georgie, Kevin told Pitchfork Media, was in a funk-rock band called Arousal back in the seventies.

So I really feel a typical hangout-sesh would be of Montreal doing a shit-ton of acid and then just rambling on about random stuff they were seeing while you suggested fun activities:

“There’s a two-for-one at the Zoo today…”

“Ricardo is a raccoon who desires to be human – fettered by the confines of his animatistic forepaws usage”

“Oh…yeah, cool. Um. Does anyone want to order some food?”

“But the horses need to go to the Comptroller’s Office!”

“I keep forgetting about that…maybe we’ll just sit here some more?”

“Who has more acid.”

2. Arcade Fire

Pictured: Cooler than you.

Arcade Fire! Indie rock sensation of the middle 2000’s! Redefined the genre! And, completely full of themselves! To be fair, it’d be kind of hard not to be when your debut album is, far and away, one of the best albums of the decade. But still. Rumors abound of how douchey this band is on tour, and I believe every word. Let’s be clear, this band rocks, but not at hanging out with people like you.

1. Muse

Muse? What?

Believe it. First of all, have you seen Matt Bellamy’s wardrobe? Not a good sign.

This band has the problem of a lot of groups on this list: each one of them is so good at what they do that it’s hard for them to relate to even appreciably-cooler-than-average people like you. What are you going to discuss with guys that compose sweeping musical epics of near-future Orwellian dystopias and the tragic demise of love to machinery? Not fucking much, that’s what.


My Musical To-Do List

Alrighty everybody, a brief, boring post today because I am not feeling very good. This is a topic I’ve been thinking about off and on basically ever since I started listening to music: it’s a short list of the bands I’ve heard a lot of positive things about, but for one reason or another have never really gotten around to listening to them. I’ll talk about five today.

5. Wilco

A lot of people I know are pretty big fans of this band, and actually, I have seen them in concert, so I do have some idea of what they’re all about. But I don’t own a single one of their albums and for some reason cannot motivate myself to get any of them. None of the 30 second samples on iTunes are particularly enthralling to me, which is a bad way to judge music, I know, but that’s kind of how it goes. I do like the cover to Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, though.

4. Iron & Wine

This is an act (I’m pretty sure it’s just one guy, right?) that I’m pretty sure I would actually like quite a bit if I got some of his stuff. I’ve got a soft spot for mellow acoustic music, and by all accounts that is what this is. Plus the dude has a hella sweet beard, which never hurt anyone’s musical chops as far as I know. Iron & Wine has held a pretty solid position on my “Dammit, I keep forgetting to get some of that music” list for quitesome time (as opposed to Wilco, who’s just on my “Oh, yeah, I hear they’re good…” list.)

3. Grizzly Bear

I actually do not know a single other person besides Chris that has recommended this band to me, but there is considerable buzz about them on the interwebs. I’ve listened to maybe one of their songs, I think, and it must not have been anything that really struck me as something I wanted more of, because I a) do not remember anything about it, only that I did press “play” on a Grizzly Bear track at one point, and b) do not own any more of their music than I did before I heard a song or two. I do intend to get some in the pretty near future, if only to see if I like it once and for all, but frankly I do not expect to be blown away. Speaking of which:

2. Animal Collective

Ah, Animal Collective. These guys are the best thing since the Beatles if the music blogs are to be believed. Visionaries. Game-changers. Relentlessly innovative. Fearlessly creative. Animal Collective is all that any band ever could aspire to be, or so I hear. In fact, I have heard a song or two, and since I am not a big fan of jangling, dissonant music, no matter how “sonically creative” it might be, I don’t own any. I have a sneaking suspicion that nobody actually likes this band, but everyone thinks they should and so pretends to like them really loudly (entire writing staff of Pitchfork, I’m looking at you). I do plan to get an album or two and possibly, though doubtfully, have my life forever changed for the better by the experience. We’ll see how that goes.

1. Radiohead

Chris recommends starting here...

I heard that these guys are okay, so I kind of just stuck them on here… This is, in fact, a band that I feel actively guilty about not listening to, and I think that makes it unique on this list. The songs I’ve heard, for the most part, are impressive in a way that Animal Collective was not. Part of the reason I am still missing this touchstone of modern music is that they have made so much good stuff over the past decade or two that it’s hard to know where to begin. I guess one of these days I’ll just get everything and go on a Radiohead binge for like a month straight until I am no longer ashamed to be alive.

Did I miss a band that should have been on this list? (Pretty likely, since it’s only five places long…) Let me know what I’ve been missing out on in the comments! See you Sunday.

Chris Sucks At Music

Welcome to Operation Album Review Counterpoint. This week’s choice, as you know, is Massive Attack’s Heligoland. Chris and I decided to integrate this album into our weekly musical choices in a noble effort to broaden our horizons, and I think it’s safe to say that we were both pretty disappointed.

I didn’t really know what to expect from Massive Attack, having heard at best two of their songs before. I also didn’t know what the label “trip-hop” suggested about the music inside, except that I’ve heard terrible and pretentious things about that genre. I had visions of thumping beats and wailing synths and thought-provoking psychedelic lyrics. Upon listening to it the first time through, I encountered none of these things. The album was certainly interesting, because while I’ve never heard anything quite like it before, there are so many of its components that are incredibly familiar. It was somewhat similar to the sounds of post-rock that I have come to know and love, but not quite… And anyone who has heard anything by TV on the Radio will “recognize” the opening track, “Pray For Rain.” You could stick it right in to Return to Cooke Mountain and no one would be the wiser. I actually did some research, and guess who the vocalist on Pray For Rain” is? If you guessed that it was the actual guy from TV on the Radio (Tunde), you are right. And what was supposed to be a “collaboration” turned out to just sound like a TV on the Radio song. Probably not great news. After the opening verse of that song, I braced myself for an entire album of almost-but-not-quite-TV on the Radio, and I have to say, the idea was not very appealing.

Better than Massive Attack

Seriously, just listen to this instead. Your ears will thank you.

But they decided to change it up on the next track! What’s this? A female vocalist? A faster beat? Interesting percussive fills? Huh! Maybe all was not lost!

Unfortunately, this trend continued for the rest of the album. No two songs are really very similar beyond basic likenesses between the beats. I don’t know what Massive Attack’s standard operating procedure is on their albums (and frankly, I’m not all that curious now) but for this one they decided to change almost as many elements as possible between tracks: different singers, tempos, textures and subject matter (as far as I could discern one from the lyrics) made their appearances throughout the album. The one constant thread that is discernable throughout the album is fairly similar backbeats, which, of all the things they could have used to create unity throughout the work, is not at all the element I would choose.

So the first time through the album was kind of a voyage of discovery, and I tried to keep from judging and just take it in. Like I said, it’s really like nothing I’ve heard before and that part was actually kind of enjoyable, because Massive Attack does do some very interesting things with a few tracks on Heligoland: the quasi-Southwest Asian feel to “Girl I Love You,” the very interesting vocal choice in “Splitting the Atom.”… But the second time through was actively frustrating to listen to because of the massive levels of inconsistencies between tracks and lack of any kind of cohesive feel to the album. Many of these tracks, I began to feel, would be best used as vague background noise in some kind of terrible Bollywood Matrix remake, which I do not intend as any kind of compliment. I forced myself to listen to the album a couple more times out of respect for the process- maybe I missed something? Maybe there was a gem of a sound or lyric buried in all the mediocre and average that would just unlock the whole album for me and reveal it as the glowing sonic treasure it was? This did not happen. In fact, I began to actively hate Heligoland, with the exception of exactly two tracks:

The Two Tracks I Didn’t End Up Hating:

“Girl I Love You”: Oddly, I think this track was very interesting on a number of levels (this is odd because I have concluded that the rest of the album is not interesting in any way). I really like the horns and the bass and whatever that thing is playing towards the end. Synth of some sort, maybe? I have no idea what the song is about, but that doesn’t really matter I guess. This is one song I would not mind listening to if it came up on shuffle.

“Paradise Circus”: Once again, I really have no idea what the probably poetic lyrics are trying to convey in this track, but the percussion really does it for me, and I’ve always been a big fan of out-of-place classical instruments in electronic music.

So in conclusion, I’m going to be a little more harsh than Chris was, like he predicted. I really dislike this album. It had so many ideas that could have been interesting, and that was actually part of its downfall in my opinion. There were a lot of seeds of interesting concepts buried in there, and instead of choosing the most interesting few and nurturing them into a lovely full-grown, cohesive album, Massive Attack decided to give all of them nowhere near enough attention, and the result is the terrible mishmash that is Heligoland. One thing to remember, though, is that I have not listened to any other Massive Attack albums, and maybe this is par for the course for them and maybe there is a dedicated following of people who do not like their electronic music to be too well thought out. I hope that’s not the case, but if it is and you are one of those people, you’ll really enjoy Heligoland.

If you actually liked this album, Brian recommends:

…That you go listen to some good music, because what the fuck is wrong with you.

If you didn’t like this album, Brian recommends:

Something awesome to cleanse your palate and renew your faith in music. Go put on some Explosions in the Sky and crank it up reeaaal loud.

Heligoland – Massive Attack

For this week’s point-counterpoint review, Brian and I are trying a rather unorthodox and perhaps very irresponsible critical technique. We decided to review an album we knew basically nothing about by a band neither of us listen to with the idea that this would somehow result in some sort of unadulterated or pure truth. Never mind putting the work in its proper context or appreciating its place in the larger trajectory of the artist’s career – we just want to know whether or not its good shit.

So this week’s unfortunate victim is the newest from Massive Attack, Heligoland (released Feb. 8, Virgin). I’ve never heard a Massive Attack album before, and frankly, I know absolutely nothing about the band. I haven’t even been to their wikipedia page. So what you’re getting here is my rough opinion on an album, based only on my impressions while listening to it.

Hmmm...looks like Trip-Hop to me.

The only fun fact I have about Heligoland is that the album is named after a German archipelago in the North Sea. I only know that because I had to look up what label Heligoland was produced by. So there’s that.

Overall Impression

Heligoland is weird. Described as “trip-hop,” it has this very etherial, psychedelic vibe going on that mixes in very interesting ways with them more percussive, hip-hop elements of the music. I guess sort of imagine a Run-DMC beat track produced by Roger Waters and sung over by someone pretending to be Thom Yorke. At it’s best, Heligoland is really pretty awesome, blending the more driving rhythms of hip-hop and rock with the spacey wanderings that I like so much in music. But let’s be clear; Heligoland is only at its best on a few tracks.

Part of my problem with the album is that the hit & miss nature of many of the tracks leave the whole package feeling more like a collection of tracks rather than an album. I mean that in the most pretentious of ways. Even after a few listens, I was still never able to really enjoy Heligoland as a whole – it was basically just the sum of its parts.

Contributing to that is an interesting musical decision that I first liked, then disliked. Massive Attack has chosen to allow a variety of different voices cover vocals on the album. Upon first listen, this was a refreshing, change of pace sort of quality. It was nice to hear a different style on each track and this novelty kept me interested. Subsequent listens though left me with a loss positive impression. The lack of vocal continuity is, I think, a major reason for the lack of any sort of album-wide cohesiveness. I’m just never really convinced I know who Massive Attack is. Maybe this is more a measure of my ignorance about the band (which I admitted above), but there seems to be a lot of musical schizophrenia in Heligoland.

I want to like Heligoland and Massive Attack. I really do. This kind of music usually has a lot of appeal for me – much more so than it does for Brian. Maybe I’ll be really surprised, but I would bet his review will be much less favorable than mine was, not that mine was overly glowing. I don’t know, hopefully I’ll come back to Massive Attack and realize I was wrong/ignorant/over my head. But for now, I have to put Heligoland on the lower side of throughly average.

Favorite Tracks

“Paradise Circus”

“Pray for Rain”

Less Favorite Tracks

“Splitting the Atom”

“Flat of the Blade”

If you like this album, Chris recommends

Again, the xx’s self-tilted. Radiohead’s Kid A and Ok Computer would also be a good choice.

If you thought this album sucked, Chris recommends

The National’s Boxer

Orwell, Huxley, and America

This post is going up late and I was having trouble formatting the comic. Here is a link to check it out at – I will work on getting it posted tomorrow.


This is a cartoon that Brian showed me some time ago when it popped up on his digg.com profile (we all now know that stumbleupon.com is way better). I wanted to post it on my “free day” because I just finished reading Orwell’s 1984 for the first time last night. I also polished off Brave New World about a week ago, so both are pretty fresh in my mind.

This comic makes a very good point about the direction western society seems to be headed in. Whether or not Huxley’s novel is a nightmarishly subtle dystopia or a blissfully ignorant utopia is a question worth debating at length, but this post will not do that. For the following, let’s just assume that movement by society toward either Brave New World or 1984 is a bad thing.

Though the cartoon is largely correct about the way we are becoming increasingly captive to our own desires and commodity fetishism, I think it overlooks one major aspect of America that is unmistakably Orwellian – the subversion of logic, thought, and critical thinking in favor of political stability or ideology.  Not to say this doesn’t also exist in Brave New World – what makes Bernard different is that is will question the status quo – but in Huxley’s work, the government is providing for all its citizens – the one party system leaves all satisfied.

Orwell’s world on the other hand, is much more absurd and terrible. In 1984, the populous blindly follows The Party and Big Brother, not because they are being well cared for or desire political stability, but because The Party is the only option – they must be followed. Huxley’s tyranny aims at preserving peace, tranquility, and happiness for all people, Orwell’s is aimed at the abolition of the individual. Winston does not come to love Big Brother because the Party is good, he comes to love Big Brother because the party desires power.

Now, to tie this in with today. I see the beginnings of this line of thought in contemporary American politics. The current American government is not all-good – it does not ensure happiness and stability for all its citizens. Not to say there are better governments out there (though I think there might be), but the fact is that in the most developed nation on earth, hundreds of thousands if not millions of people are poor, undereducated, and uncared for. The U.S. government deserves harsh critique for this fact.

And yet, any person who dares violate the two party, liberal-Democrat v. conservative-Republican dichotomy is branded an “outsider” or a “wacko.” 3rd parties are simply not popularly supported in American, in part because those who seek an alternative to the above false dichotomy are a direct threat to the prevailing power structure. At this point, the Democrats and the Republicans are not two distinct political ideologies: they are two poles of the same party.

Though it has been beaten to death, look at the last election cycle. You have the face of the libertarian movement in America, Ron Paul, running as a Republican because there is no way for him to be taken seriously as a libertarian candidate. Is there nothing wrong with a system that forces people to divorce themselves from the party that most mirrors their politics, simply because there are only two options available? Ralph Nadar is an icon only because of the absurdity of his continued attempts at the presidency. He’s late night TV fodder because the idea of a Green party president is absurd! Only Democrats and Republicans win the presidency!

The crisis in America is not one policy or issue (as much as Glen Beck will tell you it is). The crisis is in the structural foundation of our political system. America will continue to suffer the same problems, the same underperformance, so long as the rigid two party system is enforced. Opposition to Big Brother – the homogenized Democrat and Republican Party – is as absurd as it is deadly. We are rapidly coursing for a state where only one narrative is acceptable or reasonable, where you can choose what side of the same coin you want to be on.

We may have beat the predictions of 1984 in 1984, but Orwell is catching up fast.

Quick! Name two things you love? Were your answers, 1) Music and 2) Animals? If they weren’t, feel free to leave. If they were, then by chance you have just stumbled upon the most your-taste-centric Top 10 List on the internet. Congratulations!

Brian and Chris compiled this list over a diet of Gin and Tonic, Hummus, and Mustaches. Brian wrote the even numbered entries, Chris did the odds. Try not to play favorites…unless it’s for Chris’ entries.

Without further ado, The Top 10 Band Names with Animals and our immature, stupid comments about them!

10. Modest Mouse

He's actually kind of a dick...

I personally have not met any mice that are immodest, but one assumes they exist because of the trouble the band took to remind you that this one, in fact, is quite humble. “Good job chewing that hole, Gary!” “Aw, c’mon guys, it was nothing. Really.” “Gary, you’re too modest!” Truly an inspiration to us all.

9. Band of Horses

Much better at rock & roll than a REAL band of horses

When I sat down to write this, I didn’t know where Band of Horses was from.  I looked them up on Wikipedia and found out they were from Seattle.  This didn’t surprise me.

This name is interesting and zoological on two levels.  There is the obvious association – “oh, this is a rock band composed entirely of horses.” This seems unlikely however, as the only instrument that a band of horses could actually play would be vocals. Or really, really bad guitar. Or I suppose drums if they glued the drumsticks to their hooves – which is made extra weird by the fact that glue is made out of horses. Maybe this idea is more plausible than I thought (it actually sounds a lot like a description of Breaking Benjamin)

The other possibility here is that this is a band of horses in the sense of a “band of robbers” or a “band of traveling gypsies.”  Though this seems more possible, it raises just as many questions as the musical horses theorem does. Why are these horses banded together? Are they oppressed and this is a sort of union for horses? Do these horses have larger aims than collectivism? Where is this post headed? These are all valid and unanswered by the band. Thanks Seattle.

8. Ratatat

This picture represents Chris smugly showing up Brian's knowledge of low-evolution Pokemon

This one made our list because Ratatat is almost the name of a Pokemon (we think) and therefore putting it on a list with other real animals was good for a few laughs. I’m pretty sure this was not a very cool Pokemon, in fact I’m almost positive. Since I don’t even remember if Ratatat was in fact a pokemon or not, it must not have been very cool if it was. An aside: if Ratatat the pokemon could make music as sweet as those two guys in the band, he’d probably have been one of the pimpingest pokemon available. Ratatat Drops Beats! It’s Super Effective!

7. Wolf Parade

One of these balloons is joining the food chain tonight.

My first visual about Wolf Parade is some sort of terrifyingly deadly and blood-thirsty Macy’s Day Parade of carnage.  Wolves are dangerous – that’s why we have to hunt them to extinction. It’s for the children’s safety! Keep your wives indoors, your livestock in the pen, and your gun at the ready. Kill. All. The. Wolves.

See, were this mid 20th century America, this Wolf Parade would be a super irresponsible name for a band. Luckily, we’ve moved onto more noble and less emotional environmental pursuits as a country; like helping to get rid of all that pesky oil by driving SUVs and making sure people don’t suffer from needless cold by using hairspray.

Wolf Parade is a super good band. Wolves are a super good animal. Brett from Flight of the Concords has many shirts with wolves. What a good name!

6. DJ Danger Mouse

No witty caption here...but you will NEVER be in a photo this awesome.

Ah, the hilarity of DJ names… Like pretty much everything else on this list, I like this one for the mental image it gives me. It’s like Fwad from Family Guy: “Oh ho! Is funny because mice are not dangerous at all! Ohhhh…!” And that’s the joke. It also raises some questions about DJ Danger Mouse’s past. Was there an incident with a mouse? Some danger involved? You get the picture…

5. Cat Power

Cat Power?

This is a really cool name, until you really unpack it and realize that having cat powers would not be any sort of major endowment (I’m talking to you Catwoman).  Let’s review some of the powers that cats have and see how they would perhaps translate into human powers:

  • Sleeping in the sun – most people can already do this with some proficiency
  • Loving catnip – sounds like drug addiction to me
  • Playing with yarn – again, I could easily tangle and fray a ball of yarn with my hands
  • Really good night vision – this one is kind of nice, but is also readily available from cooler animals. Also, night vision goggles do the same thing and support the economy
  • Agility and leaping – this is a legitimate power but as Halle Barry showed us, your movie will still suck even if you have it.
  • Pooping in a box and making other people clean it up – I have nothing to say.

4. Minus the Bear

This one makes me chuckle a little. Who’s this bear that nobody in the band wanted to include? They disliked him enough that their whole band name is driven by the idea that this bear should not be involved in any activities undertaken by the band or anyone they know. “Who’s coming to Steve’s party?” “Oh, man, it’s gonna be wild. Everyone will be there… minus the bear, thank god.” “Yeah, what’s with that bear? I hate that guy.” And so on. Alternately, it could be a depressing homage to a fallen friend (the bear) but I really prefer to imagine that there’s this bear somewhere that feels pretty damn lonely because he’s not getting invited to anything anymore.

3. Cobra Starship

Samuel always RIGs

Brian really wanted to write this one, so I’d better not mess it up. After talking it out with him, we’ve decided that this name obviously refers to an intergalactic war and commerce vessel manned entirely by cobras. You might know it by its more common name – your fucking worst nightmare.

But there is hope wayward space traveler! Turns out, not only do cobras lack opposable thumbs, they lack any sort of limbs at all! They are literally just tubes of muscle with really sharp teeth, venom, and sweet hoods that stick out when they’re pissed (which is actually way more scary now that I write it). This means that though they can’t actually operate their starship, if you try to board it, you’re pretty much done for. NEVER board a cobra starship. Just realize that you won’t be able to steal the cargo and destroy it. If you need a refresher about what happens when you get too curious in deep space, I’d suggest watching Alien again.

This is a lot to take in, so here is a handy acronym about how to deal with Cobra Starships. Just remember RIG when you come across one:

Recognize it’s a Cobra Starship

Initiate Firing on Cobra Starship

Get those motherfucking Cobras off that motherfucking Starship

Congratulations! Now jump to hyperspace and make your next delivery of utanium rod fuel.

2. Simian Mobile Disco

This is going to be WAY more cool than you think...I promise.

This is one of my all-time favorite band names, purely for the image it conjures up. Think about it for a second. Getting it? Yeah? Yeah? Yeah. You’re out late, walking home, when all of a sudden, a van screeches to a halt next to you and a half a dozen monkeys jump out. The bass starts bumping, the synths start… synthing, and you’re in for the most amazing night of your life. For added effect, listen to their song “I Believe” while conjuring this mental image. You won’t regret it.

1. Department of Eagles

3...2...1...Talons to face

Department of Eagles is a side project of Grizzly Bear’s Daniel Rossen, who gets to claim the title of being involved in two bands with animals in their names. Thing is, Department of Eagles is a much cooler name than Grizzly Bear. A few facts about the Department of Eagles:

  1. 73 Eagles work in the Department in close coordination with other birds of prey
  2. The Department of Eagles is consistently under budget
  3. The Department of Eagles has excellent customer satisfaction ratings

Think of Department of Eagles as sort of a really awesome but kind of noisy and smelly DMV. Documents move a lot faster when they’re flown between cubicles and at lunch they all just soar out the windows to grab a tasty field mouse or shrew (or why not both? They’ve been working hard…they deserve it. And they ate a light breakfast and haven’t been snacking as much lately).

Another perk at the D of E is that as a protected species, you cannot get fired. This, of course, assumes all employees are Bald Eagles, but let’s face it, all the other kinds kind of suck in comparison and I’m sure they were screened out in the hiring process.

So next time you need to get some generic government paperwork filled out, hopefully you’ll have the good fortune of getting to work with the Department of Eagles. Although I’m sure it’d clear faster if you could, you know, maybe bring a salmon or two. Not saying. Just saying.

Good morning everyone. Last night here at the ol’ apartment, we made some incredibly delicious hamburgers! So naturally, today I’m going to be talking about them, as they are one of my favorite foods. Hamburgers! I’ll attempt to remember the recipe we used and share it with you so you all can have the Brian Campbell Dinner Experience in the comfort of your own homes.

So hamburgers. Everyone likes this food, and why not? Let’s examine all the ingredients for success a hamburger has going for it:

Meat. All real hamburgers incorporate this at least once, and at best two or three times (yes, I will have the extra bacon…) It really isn’t a hamburger without this critical element. Sure, I’ve had the (very) occasional burger without meat anywhere in it, but that was both against my will and incredibly unsatisfying. There really is no replacement for this key ingredient.

Buns. Hamburgers have these too. Mostly they function as meat handles and/or condiment mittens. People often think that the bun has very little to do with how good the burger is, and those people are right.

What are the odds?

By some incredible coincidence, Google Image Search had a perfect visual for that analogy.

Cheese. I know this is about hamburgers, but what the hell. Cheese is awesome. I’m sure you’ve all heard that popular “Would You Rather” involving cheese and oral sex, (and if you haven’t, it’s probably not what you’re thinking) and we all know the only correct answer to that question is “Cheese.” Doesn’t matter what kind as long as it melts, put it on there.

Condiments. Any self respecting burger incorporates as many of the following condiments as possible: Ketchup (obviously), mustard, mayonnaise (there is some debate about this one, but I’m a believer), barbecue sauce, and pickle relish (dill). If you have those bases covered, you are well on your way to a great burger.

Other Stuff. With the exception of sautéed onions, I feel like these extras are mostly for texture, which is not really a bad thing. Sautéed onions are a must. There’s no excuse to not have them on a burger of any kind. They’re delicious and not far from healthy. Some people put tomatoes on burgers, but as I personally feel that tomatoes are one of the most disgusting things a person can put in their mouth, so you will never see me eating a burger which includes them. Lettuce is good, it makes you feel better about eating the 5,000 plus calories that should be present on your burger if you’ve been following along. It’s crunchy, too, which is nice.

So there you have it. Now for the burgers I made last night!

Brian’s Burgers From Last Night

You’ll Need:

Ground Beef- enough for however many patties you’re going to be making. Keep in mind that these will shrink while cooking.

A white onion


Black Pepper

Chili Powder or something-I used this Creole seasoning that I put on my popcorn. Use something spicy at least.


Condiments- I recommend mayo, mustard, ketchup, and barbecue sauce.

Buns- These will also shrink while toasting, especially if you bought the shitty Safeway brand buns.

What To Do:

To be honest I’m sure you could figure it out at this point, it’s pretty simple. Mix up your ground beef with a couple big squirts of mustard. Crack some pepper in there, like ten cranks. Mix it up again (hands work best). Shake in five or six shakes of your spicy stuff, ten or so more cranks of black pepper, then mix it all up and form your patties. I cooked mine up on the stove because we don’t have a grill, just use a big frying pan on medium-high heat. Chop up your onion in the meantime, into not-too-small pieces. Once there starts to be a little bit of grease in the pan from the burgers, throw the onion in there and start it sautéeing. With a little practice you can get the timing so your burgers and onions are done at the same time. You’ll know the onions are done when they’re this nice goldeny brown color. Be sure and throw your cheese on the burgers about a minute before you take them off the heat so it gets nice and melty, but not so it drips down and burns, because burnt cheese is pretty gross. Throw everything together and you’ve got one hell of a burger!

Audience Participation:

I’ll wrap this up with a question:  What’s the weirdest thing that you’ve put on a burger that turned out to be delicious? Sound off in the comments.

See you Sunday.