Statistik Austria vs Future Blues (Canned Heat album)

Statistik Austria

Percentage of Chipmunks albums per capita in Austria: 0.0018%

My dad is a stats professor, so I owe my entire upbringing to statistics. They’re great. You can lie with them. You can quote them and sound smart, and then you can dismiss any stats quoted by someone you disagree with because they are so easily manipulated and meaningless. Anyway, as the name indicates, Statistik Austria is Austria’s national statistics office. It was changed in 2000 from the much harder to pronounce Österreichisches Statistisches Zentralamt by a government bill called the Federal Law of Statistics because Österreichisches Statistisches Zentralamt was obviously just too much of a mouthful (these are the important issues the Austrian government has to deal with).

Statistik Austria is an extremely important organization, without whom the country could be a disorganized shambles. And have you been to Austria? It’s the cleanest place in Europe (after Switzerland, but you can’t compare a normal country to Switzerland). It’s like hanging out inside a freaking music box. And if not for Statistik Austria, who would keep track of defining Austrian statistics like how much schnitzel and strudel is consumed per capita, or how many Von Trapp children there are? (Answer: A LOT.)

I would offer you some other choice Austrian statistics, but unfortunately, their website is in German, and my entire German vocabulary consists of “danke”, “bitte”, “schoen”, “ja” and, now, “statistik.” However, I did look up an English-language statistics site and am pleased to report that in Austria there are 28.91 fax machines per every 1000 people. That’s more than Canada (24.49) but less than a third of the Japanese (93.31).

In short, can Canned Heat tell you how much strudel the average tourist to Vienna will consume in a day? (Fact: That number spiked in November 2004, when I visited Vienna.) No. No they won’t. Will they terrify the shit out of you with their beards and Chipmunk collaborations? Yup. You’ll never catch Statistik Austria cavorting with the freaking Chipmunks!


Future Blues (Canned Heat album)

Stop messin' with the planet!

This is the second time I’ve gotten a record to talk about that I unfortunately know almost nothing about.
In this case, I feel in the wrong because I probably should’ve listened to more of the ’60s institution Canned Heat by this point. Sure, I know the hits Going Up the Country and On the Road Again, but apparently the real Canned Heat were revealed onstage where they pulled off mind-blowing blues-based jams. I know what you’re thinking, jam bands are fucking lame. And that’s true.

But Canned Heat didn’t mess around. Just check out some of the clips from them playing Woodstock. Yeah, they played that other Woodstock, the real one. Unlike fruitcake current jam bands like Dave Matthews Band and Blues Traveller, the extended solos and rock outs don’t seem forced but rather a natural extension of their songs. I’ll admit that I’m not a big blues fan, it can be painful to listen to. Especially because in so many cases it sounds inauthentic. I don’t get that from Canned Heat.

If anything is inauthentic about this band or this album it’s that the last track, The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late) is, well, it’s a fucking song with The Chipmunks. Yeah, Alvin, Simon and Theodore. So while that’s pretty fucking weird, the song still rocks more than an Austrian statistical office. And besides, if you want to accuse them of selling out, just take one look at the cover of Future Blues. That’s a take on two great American milestones of history accompanied by a fucking upside-down flag. Apparently, this was front man Alan Wilson’s way of protesting our pollution of the planet in the name of progress. For 1970, that’s pretty hardcore. And check out those beards!

Published in: on January 8, 2010 at 10:32 am  Leave a Comment  

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