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Hey kids,

Earlier today I poked my nose into a conversation between my friends, Adam and Brian, who were joking about making a bitchy spinoff to Brian’s Fireside Magazine — which was recently fully funded on Kickstarter. Congrats, guys! — call Firesnide Magazine.

So, of course, I threw my hat into the ring and shouted “I WANT TO WRITE FOR THAT ONE!!!”

Brian joked about needing to see some sample reviews before I got the job, and I immediately sent him a link to some of the bitchy CD reviews I used to write for Tastes Like Chicken.

Needless to say, I got the imaginary position.

Feeling a bit nostalgic, I dug up my old TLC review files and, man, did I write some of the bitchiest CD reviews.

Here’s a few of my favorites:

MARCUS SATELLITE — A TRIBUTE TO U2
Want to hear some techno-loving douche-bag with a laptop ruin 14 of your most beloved U2 favorites? Then check out Marcus Satellite’s latest release.
RATING: ONE STAR


SMOKE OR FIRE — THIS SINKING SHIP

If you DON’T buy this album, then they WON’T make more. Only YOU can prevent “Smoke Or Fire.”
RATING: ONE STAR


SNATCHES OF PINK — LOVE IS DEAD

You know that feeling you got when you found out that your dad and his goofy friends were in some Rolling Stones-wannabe rock band — whose name giddily alludes to a woman’s vagina — that no one’s ever heard of, like, twenty-some years ago and they’ve decided, during one of their mid-life crises, to get the band back together and perform in front of all of your friends and then tried to sleep with your girlfriend afterward? Feel kinda skeasy and uncomfortable? Yeah, that’s kind of how I felt listening to this album.
RATING: ONE STAR


ALIENS — ALIENS

It’s true: aliens are among us. I know this because this album just probed me.
RATING: ONE STAR


LACONA – 35/ HALF OF 70 and PRESIDENT’S DAY

Before the release of their upcoming album, Pantomime, the Chicago-based Lacona decided to release two singles, each with it’s own complimentary b-side, that takes a flying leap away from the ordinary into the realms of uncertainty. With wildly unconventional instrumentals and lyrics that are, regrettably, lacking – for example: “you can swallow you pride but if you swallow your tongue, then you’ll choke” — Lacona is going to be either the band you tolerate or the band you hate.
RATING: TWO STARS

 

KIFF – YOU CAN’T KEEP IT DOWN
Story goes that Chris “Kiff” Gallagher left “an impressive career in business and politics” to… well… make this, I suppose. Don’t get me wrong – the guy has a decent amount of talent and drive – but I can’t see his music being listened to by anyone other that middle-aged mothers trying to connect with their teenage daughters or being played on a radio station that doesn’t have the words “sunny” or “lite rock” in their name.
RATING: THREE STARS

 

THE CHARIOT – THE FIANCEE
Six things I thought while listening to this album:
1) My dog pissed herself and hid behind the couch as soon as the first track started.
2) The lead vocalist sounds like the deranged love child of an angry, snarling bear and Cookie Monster. I have no idea what he’s saying. I’ll have to read the liner notes later.
3) Why do the lyrics have to be screamed at me? It feels like I’m being punished for receiving this album.
4) Christian metal? Really? Doesn’t that sort of defeat the purpose?
5) I’m almost tempted to give them one star because the cover originally made me think that this was going to be some shitty indie rock album.
6) I pretty much hate this.
RATING: ZERO STARS

 

THE EXIES – A MODERN WAY OF LIVING WITH THE TRUTH
The Exies are back with their fourth attempt to try and revive the post-grunge era. The only problem with this is that no one else really wants 1994 back. It is worth mentioning, however, that they also do an almost impressive job of completely ruining the revered Talking Heads’ classic “Once In A Lifetime.”
RATING: ONE STAR

 

BLAIR LOTT – ROOMS AND BOXES
Listening to Blair Lott makes me feel like I’m somewhere else completely. Unfortunately, that place is a dive bar at the airport. I know that sounds harsh. The guy has a decent voice and a capable backing band, but they just sort of sound like Phish with half of their instruments and none of the pot.
RATING: TWO STARS

FICKLE – THE NATURAL ORDER OF THINGS
You know that feeling you get when you think you’re going to throw up but then don’t? Your stomach gets kind of queasy, then your throat gets red hot, followed by a feeling that something is coming up, so you quickly close and cover you mouth, only to have nothing happen but a hot, bitterness enter and, as much as you try, you just can’t get rid of the taste. That’s kind of the feeling I had after listening to Fickle, except it was in my ears.
RATING: ONE STAR

VERONA GROVE – EP
Remember the days when punk was defined by the Ramones, The Clash, The Sex Pistols, The Buzzcocks, The Germs, and The Stooges? What happened to the days when punk had balls and not a myspace account?
RATING: ONE STAR

AJ ROSALES – ULTRAMARINE
wa·tered-down [waw-terd-doun, wot-erd-] –adjective
made weaker or less effective from or as from dilution with water: a watered-down cocktail; Spectators saw a watered-down version of the famous opera; AJ Rosales latest album.
RATING: TWO STARS

NO HOLLYWOOD ENDING – EVERYBODY’S TALKING
No Hollywood Ending’s sophomore effort, Everybody’s Talking, aptly named because “everyone’s talking everywhere at all times” (a direct quote on the origins of the album’s title from the press release), is “the highly anticipated new full length album, three years in the making.” Personally, it takes me way less time to take that huge of a shit. (Maybe the guys in No Hollywood Ending might require a tad more fiber in their diets.)
RATING: ONE STAR


MAYDAY PARADE

As is turns out, listening to Mayday Parade is just about as fun as watching a real parade… only without the marching bands, the colorful floats, the giant balloons and the midgets tossing candy to kids. So that would make it as fun as, what? Watching rush hour traffic?
RATING: TWO STARS


SCENES FROM A MOVIE – THE PULSE

They should be called Scenes From A Really Bad Movie.
RATING: ONE STAR

 

FOUR YEAR STRONG – RISE OR DIE TRYING
Wayne, I fucking hate you for making me listen to this shit.
RATING: ZERO STARS

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…I might not be off to such a great start with that whole “be a better person” New Years resolution.

2011 was a weird year for me. Granted, most of my years on this planet have been “weird” for the most part; this one was just… different.

2011 was the first year I had lived in my hometown in a decade. Although, I did some freelancing and lived off of what I made, I was technically unemployed — for the first time since I was sixteen years old — the entire year. I knew very few people in town who I wasn’t related to. I lived mostly as a hermit, emerging from my secluded home only for sustenance, out-of-town comic conventions, and, occasionally, for short bursts of human contact.

That said, 2011 also held a lot of big moments for me, as well.

I made more art in the past year than I have in all the years since I dropped out of art school. Some of it got used, some of it didn’t. Some of it I even got paid for.

In 2011, the Amazing David Brame and I stepped into the world of webcomics, with the February debut of Punch-Up.net.

2011 also marked my first time as a paid comic book writer as well as a paid comic book letterer (that book was only just completed and I have not been able to share pages from it as of yet).

And I’ve received shout outs from both Warren Ellis, for a book cover I designed, and Joe Hill, who had start reading my webcomic. I may not be a famous comic book creator, but famous comic book creators are becoming aware that I — or, at least, my work — exists. Hopefully, in a good way.

At the time of this writing, we are nearly through the first day of 2012 and I honestly cannot predict what this new year will bring nor how it will change me. I’m another year older and, hopefully, a little wiser and, with any luck, I’ll be able to say the same this time next year.

Best to you and yours in the coming year. Cheers.

So, every year, I make the same Conan the Barbarian  New Year’s Resolution joke, along with a laundry list of goals for the year that I don’t really have a shot at completing. Y’know, like most people.

This year, however… I dunno. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, but this year is different.

Yeah, I want to keep a sketch-a-day blog, get a copy of Jack Claymore, Agent of V.I.O.L.E.N.C.E. drawn and printed by SPACE, get a few more comics and secret projects completed, and possibly finish up Punch-Up by year’s end or at least find a publisher to collect and print it.

But as far as resolutions go? I think I’m going to keep it simple this year.

This year, I just want to be a better person. I want to be a better person at the end of the year than I was at the beginning. Simple as that.

Little more somber of a resolution than years past, but there ya go.

How do you guys and gals want to change and grow in the coming year?