My Birthday is One Month Away…

My birthday is May 29th.  Long time readers (go outside; get some sun) will remember that I love my birthday.  I sometimes post the wish-list on the blog for all to see.  I don’t recall if I did that last year or not…but I’m going to now.  Sorry, those of you who don’t care what I want.  If you’re interested in buying me a gift, you might want to contact my dad to coordinate what you’ve got in mind, to make sure the list hasn’t been all taken care of already.  🙂

Anyway…here’s the list for this year.  I promise I won’t buy the following things.  However, I reserve the right to add more, should I see fit.  Because, y’know…greed.

MUSIC:

  • Sharon Van Etten – Tramp
  • Shooter Jennings – Family Man
  • Iron Maiden – En Vivo (CD and/or DVD)
  • Pink Floyd – The Wall, remaster from last year
  • Queen – Have the first five of the remasters…need the next five.  🙂  Think they’re available in a handy-dandy five-pack, but if that’s ridiculously high priced, the records are:
    • News of the World, Jazz, The Game, Flash Gordon, Hot Space

Comic Book/Graphic Novel — Sandman Volume Four (of this edition) and following.  (Helpful hint – They’re MUCH cheaper online than they are in stores.)

DVDs:

  • The Muppets
  • Ricky Gervais Show – Season 2
  • Thor
  • Iron Man 1 & 2
  • Red State — Kevin Smith’s most recent movie.  I think it’s only available online at the moment.
  • Futurama Vol. 6 (aka Season 6)
  • Deadliest Catch – Presently only have seasons 1 and 6.
  • The BBC Series Torchwood recently finished another season called “Torchwood: Miracle Day” (aka Season 4). Unsure if it’s out yet, but that’d be cool.

Clothes – All t-shirts in XL, unless you see that it’s made by American Apparel, in which case I’ll need a XXL, because they make those dumbass tight shirts that are in fashion for some reason. Even then, I can kinda do the fat-guy stretch and make them work, but I’d prefer not to. It makes me sad.

  • Flash t-shirt – Classic lightning-bolt logo.
  • Time Bandit t-shirt – Prefer standard ship logo, but use your judgement. (Presumably talking to Dad here, since he’s the one who watches the show). – Think they’re only available online, but they might also sell them if there’s still a Discovery Store in town or at Bass Pro Shop, who sometimes sells crap like this.
  • RAMONES t-shirt – Classic logo.  Had one a while ago, but it’s a Large, and doesn’t fit anymore.  On account of I got fat.

Ink for the old fountain pen. Presumably only findable online. (I bought the ink I have through Amazon.com. Linking to people I believe to be reliable sellers that I would buy from.):

Misc/Less Likely:

  • I’m in need of a new turntable, because the one I have is a piece of junk that I think has scratched more records than it has played.  If you can find a cheap one that looks reliable, that’d be great…preferrably with that cool USB connection thing…  Not really expecting this, though…  I know they’re usually not cheap.
  • Could use a case/bag for my laptop.  It’s a 15.6″ screen.

Gift Certificates, because I know I’m hard to buy for:

  • Fantasy Shop
  • Guitar Center
  • Vintage Vinyl
  • Lukas Liquor
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Amazon.com
  • I’ll take Kohl’s, but they’ve largely gotten too expensive for me.
  • etc

…and that’s it.  Thanks in advance.

First Third Report

It’s almost the end of April, and that means a full third of the year is pretty much gone.  I’ve bought a lot of music this year, and I was kind of looking over it.  Thought I’d toss together a quick blog post, checking in on what just MIGHT make it to the Top Ten list this year, if the rest of the year produces absolutely nothing I like.  (That, of course, is highly unlikely.)

So here’s where we stand as of April…and there’s still a lot more to buy!

  • Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost
    I was shocked to find out that this is Girls’ THIRD record and I hadn’t heard of them.  It’s the kind of thing I like, albeit a little but long-winded.  Contender for the top ten, but could get bumped off the list into the “honorable mentions” if there are some real heavyweights later in the year.
  • Mark Lanegan Band – Blues Funeral
    Love it.  Had to grow on me, but I love it.  Lanegan’s music shoots off into different directions every time he puts his name on something, and this one’s a whole new experience from his other work.  And that’s a good thing in this case.  Manages to feel fresh and new, but still organic to who Lanegan is as a musician and person.
  • Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls
    I will be shocked if this isn’t my record of the year.  If there’s a flaw on this record, I haven’t heard it.  Best band you’ll meet this year, and if they’re not HUGE by this time next year, there is something seriously wrong with society.  (Or the Mayans were right about that “end of the world” thing…)
  • Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball
    Definite top five.  Probably top three.  The record that should have followed “The Seeger Sessions” (though that’s not saying those in-between weren’t awesome).  Those who love classic Bruce will be happy, and those who love the folkier Bruce will be happier.
  • Heartless Bastards – Arrow
    A little bit sleepy and some of the songs are a minute or two too long…but it’ll probably still make the list.  There’s a warmth to the record that you just don’t hear much anymore, and I appreciate that almost more than the actual songs.
  • Hospitality
    This is exactly the sort of thing I should be disappointed or even irritated with…and I have no idea why I like it.  Super poppy.  Almost like what would happen if The Pixies had been happy and let Kim write everything instead of Frank.  That should suck.  But I like it.
  • Bro. Stephen – Baptist Girls
    I go back and forth on this one.  It’s pretty dull and there’s not a lot to hold on to.  It’s largely unremarkable…but there’s something about it I can’t put my finger on that I really like.  Maybe it’s the lyrics, even though I’m not quite sure what all of them are.
  • Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas
    It’s Cohen, and it’s great.  My only issue is that some of the mix of the music is a little quiet in places, bringing Cohen’s voice out front in a way that’s almost distracting…but that’s a personal thing.  And (as I’ve said before) on what COULD be Cohen’s last record, I can understand why they’d bring his voice—that golden voice—to the forefront.  Destined for my top ten, and probably my top five.
  • Civil Wars – Live at Amoeba
    Reviewed in previous posts.  Don’t care for it, and it soured me on the band as a whole…but I’m willing to like things they may do in the future.  Door isn’t closed…but I’m at the back of the house and the doorbell isn’t working.
  • Punch Brothers – Who’s Feeling Young Now?
    Not as good as Antifogmatic, but good.  Goes back and forth between catchy moments you didn’t realize were stuck in your head until you’ve found yourself lying in bed thinking, “What the hell song is that from???  Is that a Punch Brothers tune?” and moments that are entirely forgettable.  But three records in, I don’t necessarily expect every moment to be perfect.  I like it, and that’s good enough.  If I made the list TODAY, it’d make the top ten…but I’ll be making the list in December or so…

And there’s still plenty out there.  We’re still expecting to see releases by the likes of Rush, Rufus Wainwright, a posthumous Joey Ramone record, and a few others.  And I haven’t gotten around to picking up a couple that caught my interest.  (Shooter Jennings, Sharon Van Etten, etc…)  Might shape up to be an interesting and weird list this year!

————

Current Listening:

  • Still a little bit of Elvis Costello.
  • Re-listened to my “Out from the Light” record…why not?
  • A playlist I’m not sure I ever posted here on the blog called “Driving Down Woodson.” Maybe that’ll be a post soon.  It’s a kind of cool list.

The only monster here is the gambling monster that has enslaved your mother. I call him Gamblor and it’s time to free your mother from his neon claws.

Well, as you’ve guessed from the Simpsons quote in the post title, it’s time for a random post.  Sit back, loosen up the old pants, and enjoy the nonsense.

  1. After further exploration, I’m just not a Civil Wars fan.  I tried.  I tried VERY hard…but I’m just bored by the songs.  The couple I like are okay, but would benefit from a full band (or at least just the addition of a piano player) and the stuff I didn’t like is the music I will put on from now on when I’m having trouble sleeping.  Don’t get me wrong, they’re both very good singers.  The guy’s guitar playing is fine (but not remarkable—and being an unremarkable guitarist, I should know).  But they just lack the energy I was hoping for, and I think adding another member or two to the lineup—hell, even just a bass player—would make me a fan.  But until then, I get why people like them.  I just don’t.
  2. As a FYI, my music will be coming off of iTunes, Rhapsody, and Napster on May 15.  It’s not worth what the host wants to charge.  I will either get it back on iTunes through a cheaper host, or I will find some other way to sell digital music…but I’m done with TuneCore, and I don’t care who hears me say it.
  3. Been sleepy lately.  But haven’t been sleeping.  Correlation, I expect.
  4. Been a little behind at work lately.  We all had our jobs re-defined a little bit.  (That somehow sounds bad, but it really wasn’t.  I just can’t think of another word for it.)  A bunch of new stuff landed on my desk that I’m still learning how to do.  I’m too slow right now.  Speed comes with time, and unfortunately that means I’m behind.  Hope to have that corrected soon.
  5. It’s hot in here.  I’m sweating and all I’m doing is typing.  Really hate St. Louis in this time of year.  Wish it would have rained like they said it was going to.  That would’ve cooled it down.  (Maybe it rained in some part of the St. Louis area, but I wasn’t in that part.)
  6. Got an oil change today.  They cost too much.  But, on the other hand, I am now only getting my oil changed every 5000 miles, because 3000 is a lie.  I have a reminder light that comes on every 5000 miles, so that works just fine for me.  Still…  $40 for an oil change is ridiculous.  Then I also had them put a windshield wiper on my back window, since it was literally falling apart.  Took the girl who was doing it 10-15 minutes…  I’m pretty sure I could have fashioned one in the time she took to attach it.  But at least I got the “green” oil, so I’m being a good person.  You should all really try to be more like me, y’know.  I’m great.
  7. Been listening to Elvis Costello non-stop for the past couple of days.  Last week it was the RAMONES.  This week Costello.  Enjoying it.  I sometimes forget how great his non-hits are.  I mean, I love “Alison” and “Peace, Love, and Understanding” and whatnot…but there are some really great “deep cuts” in the Costello catalogue.
  8. Watching GI Joe on cable.  The old 80s cartoon one, not the stupid-assed movie.  The stupid-assed SERIES.
  9. Very close to launching some cool new stuff on the Two Hangmen website.  Have it working on the laptop, but not online yet.  Working out a couple of bugs and hope to go live with it in the next weekish.

…and that’s all I want to write for now.  Other stuff to say, but no energy.

Really Big Shoe — Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Ridiculous Ice Sculpture that was in the Building We Have Church in Today

So when I walked into the community center that hosts our church this morning to set up for the service, there was a four-foot tall, melting ice-sculpture of a stiletto-heeled shoe in the corner.  That happened.  (See my tumblr page for photo.)  We spent a lot of the morning making shoe-puns.  I threatened to do all shoe-themed songs–“Christmas Shoes,” “Blue Suede Shoes,” “These Boots Were Made for Walkin'” and “Step By Step.”  That last one was Jeremy’s, and it was genius.  That’s why we’re friends.

So, there was a layer of hilarity to the service that wasn’t intentional, but that made the day a lot more fun (I think).  And it was a good service, with a powerful message out of Acts 17.

Here are the songs I played:

  • Blessed be the Name of the Lord
  • You’re Worthy of My Praise
  • His Eye is on the Sparrow (as communion song)
  • Famous One
    T-Shirt Worn: Harvey Pekar tribute

Then when I left I got a call from Jeremy while I was on the highway.  I figured I’d left something behind…and I did.  I left Jeremy.  I was his ride home.  Oops.

I’m a decent worship leader…but I’m a terrible friend.

————

Current Listening:

  • Elvis Costello – “The Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook!!!”  — Really good.  Lots of fun and not just the standard-faire of EC songs.  Probably not a GREAT introduction for non-fans, but a wonderful snapshot of a cool tour for those who’re already on board.
  • The Civil Wars – “Live at Amoeba” — I have not bought their actual record yet, so this was my introduction to The Civil Wars…  I am completely underwhelmed.  Not a very good production (the quality is about a step above bootleg–very quiet and muddy) and frankly I found the songs boring.  Maybe they’re better on the studio record…but do I really care about a band that’s great in the studio, but bores me live? I’m really hoping this was just a not-great one-off performance that the band didn’t sign-off on and the record company slapped together for RSD…but it definitely didn’t make me want to explore them any further, which is a shame, because from everything I’ve known up until NOW, I was really thinking I’d love this band.  Maybe I’ll borrow the record from someone and see if I like it better.  I really WANT to be on board.

Happy Record Store Day!!!

Today is Record Store Day.  You’ve still got time to get out to one.  So do it.  Keep the physical format alive and keep Steve Jobs’ ghost out of your pocket.

I got up around 9:00 (which is SUPER early for me on a Saturday!) and went down to Vintage Vinyl in St. Louis with my friend (and bass player on my “Out from the Light” record) Jim Ousley.  Glad we went when we did.  The line took us about 2-3 hours to get through, and there was already quite a bit of stuff I wanted that was gone.  (For example, no Metallica EP and no Joey Ramone single.) Still, I walked away with a big haul, and I’m happy about it.

Here’s what I got:

  • Elvis Costello & the Imposters – “The Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook!!!” – Not an actual RSD release, but stumbled upon it and picked it up.
  • The Civil Wars – “Live at Amoeba” (RSD Release)
  • Iron Maiden – “Desde Aqui A Venezuela; Santiago de Leon de Caracas 10/10/1992 Vol. 1” — Possibly if not probably a bootleg, but limited to 400 copies, according to the back and the cover art is cool…so what the hell?  (Not an actual RSD Release.)
  • Patterson Hood & the Downtown 13 – 7″ EP (RSD Release)
  • The Dave Brubeck Octet – “Distinctive Rhythm Instrumentals” — RSD Release on super-fucking-cool RED VINYL!!!
  • Uncle Tupelo – “No Depression” RSD Release/Vinyl Re-Release
  • Lou Reed – “Transformer” RSD Release/2012 Vinyl Re-Release (it’ll be available as a standard retail item soon, but I wanted the bragging rights of buying it on RSD).
  • Leonard Cohen – “Live in Fredericton EP” (RSD Release)

…and I also drank a FREE Schlafly APA.  So it was a good, albeit expensive day!  Hope yours was too!

Record Store Day — Just a few shopping days left!

Record Store Day is just around the corner, and I’m very excited about it.  It’s the closest thing I have to a religious holiday, outside of Christmas and Easter and so on.

The full list this year is interesting.  Lots of vinyl out there I want–and I should really get a better record player to play it, but that’s a side issue.  Figured I’d do a post to list the stuff that I’m interested in.  I think I’m working off a partial list though, as I seem to recall a few that I didn’t see on the list I just looked at for the purposes of compiling this post.  But whatever.  I’m sure I won’t walk out with even half of what I want anyway, since I’m not getting up at the crack of whenever-Vintage-Vinyl opens to get the rare stuff.

For those unfamiliar, Record Store Day (henceforth called RSD) is a day designed for the local, independent record stores.  Lots of bands and companies put out special, limited releases or use the date to launch new projects, or new collectible EPs and such.  It’s pretty cool.  A lot of it is on vinyl, a lot is on CD.  Lots of what comes out is re-released stuff that you can find elsewhere, but that gets a special release for RSD.  And that is often the stuff I gravitate toward, as you’ll see below.  Also included are some regional or VERY limited releases that you’ll never see again after RSD ends.  So it’s kind of a big deal for us collectors.

Anyway…here’s the stuff that caught my eye.  A couple of them merit explanation…

  • Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra “Polly b/w Idioteque” – AKA “Amanda Fucking Palmer.” AKA – “Oh, that chick from the Dresden Dolls?” AKA – “Neil Gaiman’s wife.”  Got interested in her solo career because of her marriage to Gaiman, whose work I admire.  He posts very sweet things about her on his tumblr page all the time, so I checked her out.  The EP coming out this year is a happy coincidence.
  • Iggy And The Stooges “Live at All Tomorrows Parties”
  • Leonard Cohen “Live in Fredericton EP” — It’s my understanding that this is a Live EP from the last tour, which should be pretty cool, because I’ve loved every note of the live stuff he’s released in the past 3-5 years.
  • Metallica “Beyond Magnetic”  — Leftovers from “Death Magnetic,” which is the record that brought Metallica back to life for me.  So I’d love to check it out.
  • Misfits “Walk Among Us”  — Come on.  Super cool.
  • Patterson Hood & the Downtown 13 (featuring Mike Mills) “After It’s Gone”  — Patterson’s the leader of the Drive-By Truckers.  Long-time fan.  I’ll check out whatever the current thing he’s doing is, whenever he does it.
  • Pete Townshend “Quadrophenia Demos Part 2” — Although, to be fair, I have not yet picked up “Part 1”
  • The Civil Wars “Live at Amoeba”  —  I have somehow not yet gotten on board with the Civil Wars, but I’ve been meaning to.  Their song “Lily Love” on the Chieftains last release definitely made me want to explore the duo a little further, so why not start on RSD?
  • Uncle Tupelo “The Seven Inch Singles” — Local alt-country heroes.  I’d like to grab up whatever I can and hear them how they were meant to be heard–vinyl.
  • Lou Reed “Rock N Roll Animal” — Classic release in a RSD special re-release.  What’s not to want?
  • Lou Reed “Transformer” — Ditto.
  • Uncle Tupelo No Depression
  • Uncle Tupelo March 16-20, 1992
  • Uncle Tupelo Still Feel Gone

…and that’s the list I’m starting with.  Probably also check out a few releases that aren’t just for RSD, too.  We’ll see how it works out this Saturday!  Anyone wanna come-with?

Get Me Two Tickets to the State that Springfield is in…

Oops forgot to blog all week.  I’m going to limit myself to ten minutes to churn out a random post.  Whatever I get through by 4:00 (my time) is IT for this one…

  1. Today is my niece Tessa’s fourth birthday.  Happy birthday Tessa!  Now stop reading my blog.  There’s probably swearing in it.
  2. Picked up “Boys & Girls,” the premier record by Alabama Shakes.  If they’re not a household name by this time next year, I just give up.
  3. Played at church this morning.  Jeremy led and I backed him up.  I know we did four songs, but I can’t remember the name of one of them…  Here’s what I do recall:
    • Stronger
    • [Title Not Remembered]
    • Sanctuary
    • I Saw the Light
      T-Shirt Worn: Leonard Cohen
  4. Apparently the Cardinals’ World Series rings include an homage to the “rally squirrel.”  Proof that dumbasses are allowed to have WAY too much money.
  5. Been having trouble with my student loan company.  Hoping to confirm that it is resolved shortly.
  6. A wedding happened yesterday that everyone in my family was invited to…well…everyone except me.  Don’t know what I did, but I’m pretty sure I’m not sorry about it.  Still would’ve liked the free wine, though.
  7. Record Store Day is this weekend (April 21)!  Even if my financial situation still sucks, I plan to go to Vintage Vinyl and join in the fun.  Hope to see some of you there!
  8. Shit…only two minutes left…oh well, good enough.

Hope that was fun.  It wasn’t…but I HOPE it was.