Welcome to Pages of Fun!

This is the personal Web site of Robert Wm. Gomez. I am an artist, musician and nerd living in Chicago, Illinois who has been maintaining this site (in one form or another) since 1996. Enjoy your visit!

The Pod by Ween (7/10)

Format: CD

The record is what happens when a band comprised of talented stoners is tasked with creating an LP's worth of music but is not given any editorial oversight. There are a few good songs and plenty of hilarious, quotable passages ("Pollo Asado" comes to mind). However, there are also quite a few forgetful stinkers. In re-listening to this for the first time in a while there were tracks near the end of record which I had no recollection of ever having heard.

The Best of the Waitresses by Waitresses, The (10/10)

Format: CD

"I Know What Boys Like" was a personal new wave favorite for me as a kid. It was featured on K-tel's The Beat new wave compilation—a comp which served as a launching point for so many bands for me (except for Graham Parker whose track absolutely sucked). The songs here are funny, energetic and fronted with snotty, attitude-filled vocals that are everything that 60s garage rock vocalists shrived for. This is also a rare example of saxophone working in pop music!

Greatest Hits by Ventures, The (3/10)

Format: CD

I bought this from a bargain bin at either Best Buy or some other big box retailer thinking that I would have the definitive collection of The Ventures' classic instrumental guitar rock and roll. The neckerchiefs and wide collars on the cover should have been a dead giveaway for the disco-tinged crap that fills this CD. With the possible exception of "Hawaii Five-O," I think all these songs are remakes of the originals. Remakes with funky bass lines and that steady boom-tiss disco beat that have more in common with Giorgio Morodor than Dick Dale.

VU by Velvet Underground, The (7/10)

Format: CD

Another one of my wife's CDs. I've never been much of a fan of this band but here, upon a second or third listen, I think I might like them despite Lou Reed's singer/songwriter leanings (I care more about music than lyrics). The raw and seemingly untrained playing nicely exists somewhere between 60's garage rock and 70's punk rock. I will probably give there "official" releases a try soon.

Anthology by Vapors, The (10/10)

Format: CD

This is basically a CD repackaging of New Clear Days with about a third of the songs from Magnets. The Vapors are a new wave band that doesn't really get the love they deserve. There's not a bad song on New Clear Days. Their hit, "Turning Japanese" only scratched the surface of what they were capable of creating. These are smart, high-energy power-pop songs that deserve to be played loud and often.

Fear of a Punk Planet by Vandals, The (4/10)

Format: CD

I remember being pretty excited when I bought this CD. I loved the earliest Vandals records and finally being able to get something new from that band was a big thing for me. Turns out something happened between Peace Thru Vandalism and this. A big part of that something was that all but one of the original members remained in the band, and that one original member was now playing a different instrument.

Peace Thru Vandalism / When In Rome by Vandals, The (9/10)

Format: CD

As a kid growing up in Central Illinois Peace Thru Vandalism was one the first "punk rock" records I ever heard. I wasn't a punk rocker (or corn-chip as was the Peoria slang for anyone who looked even remotely "goth" or "punky") but I did like much of the music and this record was a great gateway point for someone who grew up listening to Dr. Demento and novelty music. Vandals' songs are funny and never very serious. Even their anarchist's anthem "Anarchy Burger" is a goof.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami (5/10)

This book started off okay enough and was pretty interesting for the first hundred pages or so. The premise was that a man and wife lose their cat and proceed to hire a psychic to help them. Things start to get weird and I thought this was going to lead to something more but it never goes anywhere. It's weird and dreamy without any real explanation. At best it's just an excuse to tell small tales about World War II. These sub-stories can be good, but they never really get tied together in a way that clicked for me.

Major Chaos! by Untamed Youth, The (9/10)

Format: CD

This is a great collection of rarities from The Untamed Youth that I was hesitant to buy for a long time because I thought I owned all their singles. However, turns out that most of the songs aren't on the band's own singles. There's a few alternate takes and plenty of tracks that came from various compilations. Missing from here is the band's wonderful cover of "Tube City" from Ultra Punch Deluxe.

At The Fabulous El Morocco Lounge by Untamed Youth, The (7/10)

Format: CD

This is far from the best starting point if you want to listen to The Untamed Youth. It's a live recording from Las Vegas that sounds like it was recorded on a handheld dicta-phone. The performance is fine, but I have a much, much better live recording from a show I saw in Bloomington, Illinois back in the late nineties.

Zero Charisma (9/10)

I rather enjoyed this comedy about an angry tabletop gaming nerd who loses what little social standing he had when a hipster geek joins his gaming group. Scott is not a very likable character but the performance manages to capture a little humanity around his edges. I was also glad that, even though it has its share of nerd-mocking, the movie understands subject very well.

Hercules in the Haunted World (6/10)

Mario Bava directed this early sixties Italian Hercules film and his colorful style is all over the place. It's not his finest work but he keeps the silly, relatively dull story bearable and somewhat fun.

Tomb Raider on PC (9/10)

Doom Raider

I guess they are rebooting Tomb Raider again? I really liked the last two games in the series and I don't really think this is a franchise that needed to get dark and gritty. But, there you go. These days, f-bombs and blood are what the kids want in their action platformers.

Labour of Love by UB40 (5/10)

Format: CD

Okay, I'll give them credit for having the balls to misspell "labor" in their record title (USA! USA! USA!), but other than that, this record doesn't move me that much anymore. This one of the first CDs I bought back when there wasn't much released on CD except Beatles records. This was a "Well, I'm here at Musicland. I gotta buy something" record. If you are going to own a single reggae record, I suppose this is an okay one to own especially if you are a fan of Brit-Synth music from the same era.

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