On the subject of Fun and Music…I guess…I don’t know…

I keep ALMOST writing.  I keep having things in mind to write about, but then I start writing about them and don’t feel like finishing.  I guess part of that is because the main two things I’ve felt strongly enough to write about in recent days are the Limbaugh thing and the Kony 2012 video that’s been circulating.  But other people on the Internet have done a much better job of writing out my thoughts on those things, and I quickly get tired of writing long, serious, political posts on this blog.  (Short versions, for those who are interested: Limbaugh – I’m opposed.  Kony – I’m opposed to him, but also to Invisible Children.  There, that’s it.)

So then I started thinking about fun stuff I could write about.  But a lot of what passes for “fun” for me is boring to other people.  For example, I’ve spent a large amount of time on the Internet researching different types of fountain pens.  I now know a LOT about fountain pens.  I’m still looking for a supplier in town (there aren’t any, really), but if I can’t find one, I think I know what I’m buying online.

…and for ME that’s fun.  For YOU, you’re wondering where the punchline comes in, and how could it possibly be a good punchline if it’s about pens???  And you’re right.

Of course, I HAVE been working on some music.  Made some progress on Pop Art Manifesto in the past week or two…but there’s a blog all about that…which I also don’t write on enough.

I picked up some new music though.  That’s fun.  (And yes, I know that should go on Empty Checking…but that might be dead.  Didn’t mean for it to die, but I think it did.  We’ll see.)  So let’s review the music really quickly—most of it being kind of obscure and found by reading Magnet Magazine, which my local record store (Vintage Vinyl in U City) gives out for free…so this won’t be THAT interesting to most of you either, since several of these bands aren’t really making headlines.  (And I’m not a hipster for saying that.)

  • Bruce Springsteen – “Wrecking Ball” — We can start off well though.  Everyone’s heard of Bruce.  He’s The Boss, after all.  “Wrecking Ball” is one of the year’s best records, and I’m glad it came early so I’ve got a full nine months left to enjoy it and figure out just how high into the top five it goes.  It set the benchmark for anything else that comes out this year.  It’s kind of a departure for Springsteen.  He marrys the E-Street sound (and this is NOT an E-Street record) to the folk sound of the “Sessions” band from a few years ago, and does it masterfully.  Mixed with loud guitars, Celtic influences, and a buttload of horns in all the right places, it’s all win.  As I described it on Facebook, it’s like The Boss saw how f’ed up America has become and decided to throw a party about it.  Grade: A+
  • Hospitality – (Self Titled) — In the same vein as Camera Obscura, if that means anything to you.  It sounds kind of like something that should be played while Hello Kitty figures dance across a brightly flashing screen, only less irritating.  It’s the kind of record that I listen to and just think, “It’s so pretty outside.  It’s going to be a great Spring.”  And that’s not so bad.  But it’s not for every day.  Grade: B-
  • Heartless Bastards – “Arrow” — Bought for the name of the band, mostly.  It’s pretty close to my cup of tea.  There’s a touch of Americana and a touch of Zeppelin…and a girl lead singer.  That last part doesn’t matter really, but it was a surprise.  Didn’t expect a band called Heartless Bastards to have a female singer.  In the end, it’s good, but I don’t have any of the songs stuck in my head and a couple of the tunes are a little long-winded.  I think I need to give it another couple of listens to decide fully.  Grade C+, but probably a B to B+ by the time it grows on me.
  • Raven Wolf – “Spiritual Jazz …on South 9th Street” — (Link working as of time of writing.)  I met Raven Wolf outside of Vintage Vinyl.  He was standing out there playing some really good saxophone.  Chatted with him a little bit and he was really nice and I liked him, so I bought his CD.  It’s good.  (And cooler than that, I’ve seen him since and he remembered me, which is a sign of a genuinely nice guy.)  I was expecting something from the realm of traditional sax-Jazz, and that’s definitely there, but there’s something else too.  He has some tribal elements to his music and provides a different spin on traditional ideas.  “Spiritual Jazz” is a good name for it.  You can hear Raven Wolf’s spirit flowing through the music and though it delves into some areas that fans of traditional sax-based Jazz might not be anticipating, it’s a very welcome trip off the beaten path.  He’s playing down at Kirkwood Train Station on March 31.  $10 admission.  Thinking about going if anyone wants to come with.  Grade: A, possibly A+.
  • The Chieftains – “Voice of Ages” — Technically “The Chieftains featuring…” a whole bunch of other people including Imelda May (yay!), Punch Brothers (yay!), Bon Iver (I really want to say “yay!” but I’m not quite there yet!), and The Decemberists (meh!).  The Chieftains turn 50 this year and they decided to mark it by pissing off the handful of fans still alive from their hey day.  And that’s awesome.  It’s not your typical Chieftains record, but it’s not NOT a traditional Chieftains record either.  Well worth a listen with St. Patrick’s Day coming up this weekend.  Grab a pint and a friend and have a good time.  Grade A-.  (Too interesting to not give an A, but the “-” is there because it’s not quite all my cup of tea—but it’s close.)

And that’s the reviews…  Was THAT fun?  I think it was…

Fun’s where you find it I guess.  I plan on having some fun this week, as I’m taking off Wednesday through Friday, and I think I’m going to get to meet up with an old friend for a while during that time, so I’m excited, but also a pessimist, so I won’t blog about it in advance just in case she has to cancel for some reason.  🙂  (Seriously though, really looking forward to it.)

Either way, I had to get something on here.  I keep ALMOST posting, and ALMOST convincing myself that something’s worth writing about, then I don’t.  So tonight it didn’t seem as important to write something GOOD as it did to just write SOMETHING.

But I hope you enjoyed the part about the CDs anyway…

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