Let’s Do This…

I’m going to do a random post, just as a catch-all for things that’ve been happening over the holidays and the days before and after…  Let’s go…

  1. Work’s been pretty good.  Things have slowed down a little this week (I think people don’t realize that they can report a claim over the holidays or something).  Today, my computer slowed down, too…so I didn’t get as far ahead as I was hoping, with our decreased volume, but I’m still in good shape for tomorrow and shouldn’t have too much to worry about after New Year’s…
  2. The Blue Tattoo record is very, very nearly finished.  I’m polishing up my last few vocal tracks (and maybe re-doing some guitar work I’m not 100% happy with) this week, and hopefully should hand a tester-mix to the guys on Tuesday night.
  3. The Blue Tattoo record cover is in flux.  I’m not sure if we’re going with something I drew or with a guy Johnny knows.  I took a look at some of Johnny’s guy’s work, and he’s good…so I wouldn’t worry about it.  We just need to have a band pow-wow and fully decide which way the art’s going.  At that point, we’ll be pretty close to finally having this thing DONE.
  4. Been working pretty hard on the Feldman record as well.  I have just a couple of small fixes to complete and we’ll be done.  Should do my final tidy-up on it tomorrow night.
  5. By the way…  Happy New Year, I guess…  I don’t particularly celebrate it myself.  I usually try to ignore New Year’s Eve, in fact…but I know it’s a big deal to a lot of you…so enjoy Amateur Hour, and try to stay safe.  🙂
  6. Stuff I got for Christmas:
    • Complete Monty Python series (Wow!  Didn’t think anyone would do that!  Thanks, Dave!)
    • The three (major) Python movies (Also pretty cool!  Thanks, Dad!)
    • The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (20th Anniversary Edition)
    • Beatles – “Let it Be” (Remaster)
    • Mastodon – “Crack The Skye”
    • Tom Waits – “Glitter and Doom” (The “Tom-Tales” disk is awesome, btw!)
    • Final Crisis
    • Batman – “Battle for the Cowl”
    • Couple of shirts that I really like.
    • Couple of gift cards.
    • Leonard Cohen’s “The Book of Longing”
    • Kurt Vonnegut’s “Look at the Birdie” (Which is AWESOME and make me really miss the grumpy old bastard.)
    • Pearl Jam – “Backspacer”
    • A decent Merlot (which is really saying something from a guy who only kind of tolerates Merlot…but this one was pretty good!)
    • A gift card to a wine bar, which I hope to visit soon.
    • A $50 Visa gift card from my bosses—which was really nice.
    • …and Grandma also gave me some really awesome chocolates.
    • I think I missed something…sorry whoever gave me whatever I forgot.  I’ll try to remember and post it later.  In all, really good gifts this year, and I’m pretty happy with what I gave everyone, too.  Thanks everybody!  …plus, I had a really interesting conversation about wine with a guy who both looked and sounded like Fat Albert when I was trying to find a wine to go with Christmas dinner…so that’s cool.
  7. In case you’re keeping track…no…I STILL haven’t caught that mouse that has been spotted in my basement!  Haven’t SEEN it again, either…but it’s still kind of disturbing…  Possibly not a mouse?  Yikes…
  8. I’ve been pretty tired lately.  Not sure what the deal is…naps haven’t helped and neither has actual sleep.  And by the way, yes, I DO try to nap, but my insomnia is of the type that even THAT is often difficult to accomplish.  People probably think I take 3 hour naps…but a lot of that’s just lying down.  One of these days, I should probably see a sleep specialist, but they’re just going to give me pills…and I don’t want to take pills.  That shit killed Heath Ledger.
  9. My brother and Valerie (y’know…his wife…not just some random lady named Valerie…) found out the genders of the twins today.  They’re going to be a boy and a girl.  Not going to lie…I was kind of hoping for two boys, so they could be named Bo and Luke (after the Duke boys)…but I guess I’ll have to settle for Daisy and Uncle Jesse.  🙂  (Alternatives – Peaches and Herb, Captain and Tennille, Rebecca Romijn and Stamos—one named after Rebecca Romijn and one named after Rebecca Romijn Stamos, and George and Tammy.  …and now I’ll stop, because this is bound to piss off Dave and/or Valerie eventually.)  🙂
  10. Splunge
  11. It’s snowed twice in St. Louis recently.  Neither stayed with us very long…but today’s did make me late for work.  So, well done, nature.  (I like snow, actually…don’t know what it is–but usually, when it snows, something good and significant happens in my life…and I usually don’t really have to LOOK for it to figure out what it is…)
  12. One of my bosses might have pneumonia.  He still came in to work, though…  Which makes him like WAY more devoted than I am…to anything…  Like, if I felt as bad as he seems to, and the most awesome thing imaginable were happening in the morning…I’d miss the most awesome thing in the world.  So, good-on-ya, Kris.

 

That’s it…I’m going to try to sleep…which is usually impossible…so wish me luck.  And, again, Happy New Year.

EDIT: …and Rest in Peace, Steve “Dr. Death” Williams.  Thanks for the memories and for proving that not all wrestlers die of drug over-doses.  Some of them die as heroes.  (He had been fighting cancer.)

Just for the Sake of it…

I haven’t blogged since Christmas.  Super-sorry.  Been busy and restless…not a great combination for blogging, I’ve found after some personal experimentation.  I’m mostly just writing now because I feel like I should write something.

 

I’ve been tired lately, and I’m looking forward to New Year’s Day to catch up on some sleep.  That’ll be great.

 

…and I should probably remind y’all that the downloads at my website are still up for a little bit.  Should be coming down at the end of this week, to soon be replaced by something I think you’ll all find interesting.  So grab ’em now, if you haven’t grabbed ’em yet.  Once they’re gone, they’re GONE.

 

I’ll write more later, including a Christmas wrap-up and some Blue Tattoo news…probably talk about the Feldman record I’ve been working on, too…we’ll see how it goes.  That’ll probably be tomorrow night.  So, look for that.

 

For now, I’m going to bed.  Sorry this post sucked.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!  Thanks for making the blog part of Jesus’ birthday.  🙂

 

In celebration of the holiday, I’d like to present a link to my new favorite Christmas song.  It’s by Eric Idle (Monty Python).  It’s…well, it’s pretty offensive, and some of you probably shouldn’t download it…  But if you like to laugh at absolute irreverence, this is the song for you.  Please notice that I’m linking to this via eric-idle.com, which you should probably visit sometime (it’s got a pretty impressive stash of stuff, though I don’t think it’s Eric’s “official” page).  I just want to be absolutely clear in stating that I do not own this download—it is being linked directly from them, and is not my own upload—for all due legal and ethical purposes.

 

Anyway…with no further ado, and all apologies in advance…

 

“F**k Christmas” (mp3 format, uncensored)

 

…but seriously…Merry Christmas.  Hope Santa’s real good to you.   Even if you’ve been bad all year.

December 24, Again

It is once again Christmas Eve—or December 24th, if you’re in one of them other religions… 

 

I will once again be breaking out my copy of the “Potter’s House – Live” EP/Record.  (If you’ve never heard of them, you’re not alone…they’re an old, defunct, local, Christian act.)

 

…and once again…

 

I still miss you, Paul.  Your bass tone is still my favorite, and I’m still trying to copy it.  Your songs are still awesome.  You’re still the best harmonica player I’ve ever heard.  I’ll see you in Heaven when I get there.  Hodgkin’s Disease may have taken you away from us down here, but nothing–NOTHING–can ever kill the impact you had on every life you touched.  Merry Christmas, brother.

 

(Thanks, friends, for indulging me on that little, kinda sad, kinda wonderful Christmas Eve tradition once again.)

Best Spam Ever

I get spammed a lot on this blog.  Usually it’s someone wanting to sell something—usually something lewd—or promote their own (usually for-profit) website or blog.  They try to leave spam in the comments of pages and/or posts.  99 out of 100 times my spam filter blocks it.  I’ll usually quickly survey the offenders to make sure nothing good got caught up in the filter by accident.  Today, I got some of the best spam I’ve ever gotten, because not only do I have no idea what they were trying to communicate, it doesn’t even have a link or web-address to send people to what-ever they were pimping in the first place.

 

Here’s what they wrote (and no, it’s not find-able elsewhere on the blog…I deleted it.):

 

What’s up everyone, I’m new to the forum and justified wanted to approximately hey. hi love manipulate to recollect new pepole and slice things with them

father a glad year

 

Now…I’m not sure what  “slice things with them” was doing in there…but I’m pretty sure that what-ever they’re selling, I’d have bought it if they’d left a link.  Oh well.  Can’t win ’em all.

 

Father a glad year, everyone.  Father a glad year!

 ————

EDIT: (Also, on a sadder note…  Rest in peace, Brittany Murphy.)

Top Ten of 2009

Okay…I think I’m ready to post my Top Ten Records of 2009.  This was a good—if not GREAT—year in music and there was plenty to choose from.  I’m including a few more here, but if you’re wondering what else didn’t make the top ten, please check out my list of “also-rans” that I posted a little bit ago. 

 

But, with no further ado, here is the list (with comments following—in order of how much I liked them):

 

  1. Mastodon – “Crack the Skye”
  2. Wilco – “Wilco (the album)”
  3. …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead – “The Century of Self”
  4. The Reverend Horton Heat – “Laughin’ & Cryin'”
  5. Patterson Hood – “Murdering Oscar (and Other Love Songs)”
  6. Bruce Springsteen – “Working on a Dream”
  7. Elvis Costello – “Secret, Profane & Sugarcane”
  8. Them Crooked Vultures – “Them Crooked Vultures”
  9. Pearl Jam – “Backspacer”
  10. Cheap Trick – “The Latest”

 

Okay…here’s how this broke down.  The first three have been battling for the #1 spot on my list for months—which is especially surprizing since when I first heard the new Trail of Dead, I didn’t like it much.  4-5 are definitely in the right places.  6-8 are pretty much interchangeable in their order.  9-10, again, are in the right places.  I had a lot of stuff on par with each other this year, and actually assigning numbers to it was difficult…with the exception of #1.

 

Mastodon BY FAR had the best record of the year.  (I’m embarrassed to say that so far I’ve only been listening to it on Rhapsody’s subscription service and I haven’t bought the physical product yet—but it IS on my Christmas list!)  Yeah, there were two other records battling for the #1 spot…but it was kind of like if Cambodia and Latvia decided to go to war with the USA.  It’s heavy in the right places, melodic in the right places, complex, simple, thought provoking, fun, and inspiring (musically, if not philosophically).  For a while, I’ve thought of Mastodon as being the BEST metal act to come out of  this side of the year 2000…and this record more than proves me right.  It’s not as heavy as some of their previous work, but it’s still the best metal you can find on the market today—and also the best progressive music, as well.  (Attention Dream Theater: I love you guys…but you’ve been replaced.)  There was no doubt that this was my record of the year.  It should probably be everyone’s.

 

About the rest of the list, as I said, Wilco and ToD were also fighting for the #1 spot.  Wilco has produced their best work since “Foxtrot” with this one—possibly even since “Being There.”  The Trail of Dead record had to grow on me…but once it did, it got the hooks in DEEP.  It’s really stellar, once you get past the initial shock of how much sound they crammed into the opening track and just accept the fact that they aren’t trying to write anything catchy—they’re just trying to overpower the songs that are already stuck in your head.

 

The Rev returned with “Laughin’ & Cryin'” which is some of the best country he’s ever done (and definitely SHOULD be all over country-radio, even though that’ll never happen).  It’s a lot of fun and were this limited to the genre, it would have been #1.  It’s followed by Patterson Hood’s “Murdering Oscar (and other Love Songs)” which at one time was much higher on the list.  GREAT record—and probably more immediately likable than even the last Drive-By Truckers release (which is saying something, coming from me—that was #1 on last year’s list).  Lyrics that are smart and funny and a sound that is steeped in the same vibe as DBT, but is also wholly separate and stands on its own two feet.

 

Then we’ve got Bruce, Elvis, and the Vultures, all of which could be swapped around into what-ever order you want at this point in the list.  Springsteen’s record isn’t quite as good as its predecessor (“Magic”), but does much to feed the hunger of the E Street fans, and there’s a lot worth loving on this release.  Costello made a return to recording with an acoustic setup on his new record, and the results are simply beautiful (again, were we limiting genre, this would be at #1 among its kindred).  And the Vultures…WOW!  Best thing Homme’s done outside of Queens of the Stone Age, LIGHT YEARS better than Grohl’s last two Foos records, and…actually, what the hell has John Paul Jones been doing for the last 30 years?  (Still waiting on that Zeppelin reunion, guys!)

 

Then there’s Pearl Jam.  I was hoping for more out of the record, but it’s definitely top-ten worthy—just not top 5.  And Cheap Trick’s “Latest” is pretty good.  A little ballad-heavy, but y’know…play to your strengths and all that. 

 

And, also among the also-rans, we have the following:

  • Tom Waits – “Glitter and Doom” – Ineligable because it’s a live-record, but REALLY GOOD—though I should again note that I’ve only listened on Rhapsody, and this is on my Christmas List.)
  • Grand Duchy – “Petits Fours” – Frank Black/Black Francis side project with his current wife or whatever she is…it’s good, but it’s not top-ten good…and Black puts out music so often that it’s difficult to absorb it in time for something to make it onto a list.
  • Monsters of Folk – Enjoyed it…but it’s hardy made up of big names, as the band-name indicates (most would be hard-pressed to identify anyone in the band, aside from the My Morning Jacket guy) and it’s also often not anywhere NEAR being folk.
  • Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – It’s okay…but Jason was better in the Drive-By Truckers.
  • Billy Talent – “III” – Entertaining, but their records are starting to feel repetitive.  Don’t get me wrong…it’s good.  They’re one of the few punk bands out there today that I feel are worthy to still be called punk…it’s just kind of the same as I and II…but hey…it worked for the RAMONES.  🙂
  • Modest Mouse – “No One’s First, and You’re Next” – Disqualified because it’s an EP.  It’s also not their best work.  Listenable and kinda fun…but gimmie a full record, guys.  This one just felt kind of slapped together for the sake of having a summer-release this year.

 

…and that’s it.  Hope you enjoyed the ridiculously long read…and I hope it inspires you to go out and buy something.

Non-Religious Religion

Here’s the playlist I mentioned in my last post.  It’s a pretty random thing.  There’s definitely more I could have used, but I wanted to keep it all kind of on a similar musical vibe and I limited myself to 15 tracks.  The theme is secular bands talking about religion.  No Christian acts allowed…just bands/artists who don’t define themselves as Christian who address spirituality.  The other thing about it is that I wanted the songs to have an INFORMED opinion.  Couldn’t just be “religion is dumb, lalalala…” or “God is great doodoodoo.”  There had to be some depth there.  And—most importantly—there had to be SOMETHING in there that I agree with, even if it’s something small.

 

So here we go…15 secular songs about God…  (And for the record, most of the time I’ve had this on “shuffle,” so it’s not necessarily best in this order.)

 

  1. “Sympathy for the Devil” – Rolling Stones (obvious choice, I know)
  2. “The Righteous Path” – Drive-By Truckers
  3. “Real Good Looking Boy” – The Who
  4. “Under the God” – Tin Machine (David Bowie)
  5. “Intervention” – Arcade Fire
  6. “Anthem” – Leonard Cohen
  7. “Salvation on Sand Hill” – Sammy Hagar
  8. “Thumbing My Way” – Pearl Jam
  9. “Jesus Gonna Be Here” – Tom Waits
  10. “I’ll Fight” – Wilco
  11. “Monkey Gone to Heaven” – Pixies (okay…this one’s kind of silly and is on here just for fun…)
  12. “Overcome” – Live
  13. “I Believe (When I Fall in Love it will be Forever)” – Stevie Wonder
  14. “Manitoba” – Frank Black
  15. “Devil’s Road” – Headstones

 

EDIT: Yes, I am aware of the exclusion of “Knocking on Heaven’s Door.”  Already had one cliché on there in “Sympathy…”  But more than that…whose version of “Heaven’s Door” would I use?  One of the myriad of Clapton versions?  Guns ‘n’ Roses?  Warren Zevon?  Tough choice…so I left it off completely.

 

Current Listening:

  • …^ that…