motor dolls cd: burning memories

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After listening approximately a gazillion times to the Motor Dolls album we posted twelve days ago, we had to pick up this one, too. Burning Memories is the second and final solid slab of Detroit rock and roll from this trio, the stand-out cuts being “You Want It” and “Nailed to the Cross”. Several people have told us to include “Power” in that list, too, though the whole album is a veritable non-stop blaze of straight-up rock fury. You can find it on Amazon as Motor Dolls: Burning Memories, and it is usually selling for about half the price of Motor Dolls: All Fired Up.

One of the songs on this 1996 album, “Hangover”, appeared two years later on a compilation called Motor City’s Burnin’ 1: 1968-1998. That disc places the Motor Dolls right alongside legendary acts like the MC5 and The Stooges, and other hard-rocking southeast Michigan bands of the mid-90s like Big Chief. We think after hearing this album you will agree that placement was well-deserved.

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scotty karate postcard

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We love getting weird stuff in the mail. Who doesn’t? No, not creepy weird. More like “strange and mysterious and fun” weird. This mysterious postcard arrived in the martian mailbox signed only by “The DJ Who Shall Not Be Named”. That just brings a smile to our little late-night-blogging-obsessed faces. It features Scotty Karate, and you can witness him performing in this same outfit and colorful stage set-up in the video below.

Video notes: Scotty Karate plays Dig A Hole at Smalls. February 13, 2011. Part of the Henriettahaus Coffee Roasters Acoustic series.

Swans: Crescent Ballroom, April 2015

As a teenager, the only thing I knew about Swans was that Henry Rollins loved them. It wasn’t until my early 20s, when I was at the radio station, that I had a chance to listen to one of their albums. I found their brutal approach to noise interesting, but I couldn’t get into it. That was a little over 20 years ago.

But a couple years ago, after a breakup period, Swans began releasing new work. They made their album To Be Kind available to listen to for free, so I checked it out. This time around, Swans blew my mind. They followed it up with The Seer, an album which included several monumental jams clocking in at 19, 23, and 32 minutes – and all of it pure power.

The six videos in this post were recorded (not by me) at Crescent Ballroom in Phoenix on 13 April, 2015. I’ve been to hundreds upon hundreds of concerts in my life, from piano concertos to free jazz to punk rock. This concert stands out as one of the most amazing.

tobacco & fluoride

Tobacco_and_Fluoride_Cover_for_KindleTobacco & Fluoride: Two Essays on Domestic and International Public Health Policy collects both of my research papers from last semester in a 70-page paperback. It is also available in a Kindle version. It continues the public policy themes of my essays from the previous semester, collected as Patents & Public Health: Two Essays on Medicine and Genetics as Intellectual Property.


Consider two substances, each with a body of research confirming its toxicity to human beings. People consume one of the substances for pleasure, and the other for its supposed health benefits. The World Health Organization actively bands nations together to reduce the marketability and consumption of the former, yet promotes the latter as an effective health measure. The essays in this book examine the policies governing these two substances: tobacco and fluoride.

Tobacco control policies have gained significant traction as nations around the world evaluate the success of Australia’s recent laws concerning cigarette packaging. Given impetus by the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, these policies have met with little public resistance, their sole opponents the companies which manufacture tobacco products.

At the same time, another movement has gained traction: the opposition to adding fluoride to municipal water systems. Though the World Health Organization advocates fluoridation, a growing number of researchers and voters have called its touted benefits into question. Unlike tobacco, the efforts to eliminate fluoride have met resistance from the medical establishment.

What is the future of these two substances, each known to have harmful effects on human beings and yet viewed so differently in the court of public opinion? The two essays in this book will answer that question.

motor dolls: all fired up CD

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Once upon a time I lived in Michigan and held a copy of this awesome album in my hands as a volunteer DJ at the college radio station WCBN. But that was 20 years ago, and the album has been out of print for some time. So, this month I got a copy from Germany. Yeah, Germany! eBay is an amazing thing.

At WCBN, we had a section of the massive CD and vinyl library dedicated to local music. You could find on that shelf so many great bands from Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Detroit, and all over Michigan. But, it was not that special shelf that introduced me to Motor Dolls, though I would often pull this disc from the shelf to play on the air.

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No, I had a friend who was into this band, and we went to Detroit together many times to catch their shows. Motor Dolls could seriously throw down in concert, and we always had fun. So you know what? Instead of recouping my cost by putting it back into the eBay market, I’ll just send him this disc in today’s outgoing mail. He’ll get a kick out of it.

The Motor Dolls t-shirt I bought at one of their shows was one of my favorite pieces of clothing ever, and I wore it until the damn thing practically disintegrated and fell off my body. I haven’t loved a shirt like that in a long time. And you know what? This album sounds even better to me than it did 20 years ago. It would go well in a set with L7, Mensen, and Bikini Kill, for starters, along with Ann Arbor/Detroit legends Big Chief, Easy Action, Speedball, and Wig.

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If you want to hear this great little slab of mid-90s Detroit rock, you can buy it on Amazon. Currently, the lowest price is around $20. Feel free to hate me for picking up the only available copy on eBay for less than $10, even including shipping from Germany.

And, don’t forget to pick up the Motor Dolls: Burning Memories album, too! (That one, you can currently obtain for less than $10 including shipping to the USA.) These two albums have never, to my knowledge, been made available as “official” downloads.

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Here’s a Motor Dolls video from singer/guitarist Paula Messner’s YouTube channel. The jam is “You Want It” and appears on the Burning Memories album. Paula was a bad-ass frontwoman, and her rhythm section (Monic on drums and Dana on bass) was a powerhouse. Where are they now? I honestly don’t know. But their rock lives on.


Indie Comics Spotlight: Rise of the Antichrist

antichrist coverThe Rise of the Antichrist develops a parallel between mental illness and religious extremism. The main character believes himself to be holy, despite committing repulsive acts of assault and mayhem. In juxtaposed panels, the reader sees both the reality of what happens and the delusional version of events from the character’s perspective.

For example, when undergoing electroshock treatment, the character hallucinates he is Jesus of Nazareth being nailed to the cross. When he dies in this process, he makes a deal with the devil which brings him back to life – a deal he believes was made with heaven, not hell. Throughout the text, biblical quotations give context to the protagonist’s unswerving yet totally misguided devoutness.

The result is violent and often disturbing. The first two issues establish the origin of this new antichrist and set the stage for the chilling possibilities of events to come. They are now available to download from Comixology. See for more about this challenging and confrontational new comic book series. Story by Betvin Géant and artwork by Kay.

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sketchbook sundays

toy robot - Copy

This wind-up toy dutifully marches through a sky filled with Kirby Krackle in tribute to the 1978 toy created by Tomy. For a photo reference, we used a picture taken for our eBay listing which sold this robot a few months ago. This black and white drawing was created with Micron 05 fine point pen, various Sharpie markers, white gel pen, and black pastel. 5×7 aspect ratio, from a high-resolution (300 dpi) scan of original art.


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