Lemmy Kilmister is Dead

I hate being right.

Eddie Trunk broke the news, subsequently posted on Facebook by Anthrax (where I first read it), and a few minutes later confirmed by the band’s official page…  The impossible has happened.  Lemmy Kilmister, whose 70th birthday just came on Christmas Eve, is dead.  I am overwhelmingly sad to write those words.  I have said for several years that “IF” Lemmy ever died, you’d find me standing on the curb, shaking my fist at the sky, shouting “THAT WASN’T PART OF THE DEAL!!!”  If not for the fucking rain, I’d actually do it.

It was less than four months ago that I attended my last–fucking LAST–Motorhead show.  It felt like it at the time.  At the end of the night, after saying, “We are Motorhead and we play rock and fucking roll” Lemmy added a beat I skipped in my post from that show…  “Don’t forget us,” he said, and shook his finger at us.  How COULD we, Lem?  You’ve left us all with hearing problems we’ll never recover from.  It’s impossible not to think of you any time I say, “Sorry?  Say that again…”

It’s very strange to have Motorhead’s music blaring in the background while I’m writing this and feel a slight numbness to it.  Motorhead always gets my blood boiling.  There’s an inherent energy and even danger to their music.  Tonight, less than two months after also losing Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor, Lemmy–the man so toxic he could not accept a blood transfusion–has died.  There are some who say it should have been impossible for him to have lived as long as he did.  I say it should’ve been impossible for death to find him after he’d eluded it this long.  When Phil Taylor died, Lemmy wrote “Now he’s died and it really pisses me off that they take somebody like him and leave George Bush alive.”  What a glorious, complete and total bastard.

You know, earlier today I was listening to the Beach Boys…

I’ve been strangely touched by the fact that I’ve got friends who upon hearing the news immediately reached out to me with texts asking if I’d heard and expressing sympathy–like I knew the guy!  I’m glad I’m that synonymous with Motorhead to some people.  But that’s what being a fan IS…there’s a thing you won’t shut up about and all your friends think of you when they hear about it…  And I get it.  Moments after reading the news, I called my brother and said, “I thought you should hear it from me…”

The last interview Lemmy gave has a hell of a quote to go out on.  Death and illness rumors have taunted Lem for years.  He’d grown tired of them, but talked about them one last time, saying, “Death is an inevitability, isn’t it? You become more aware of that when you get to my age. I don’t worry about it. I’m ready for it. When I go, I want to go doing what I do best. If I died tomorrow, I couldn’t complain. It’s been good.”

It was, Lemmy.

Lemmy Kilmister was born on December 24, 1945.  He died on December 28, 2015.  He played rock and fucking roll.

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Lemmy’s “Rickenbastard” bass.  Art by Karl Haglund, http://www.fugitiveart.net.  The wall is mine.

Top Ten (or 15) Albums – 2015

Heads-up… Wordpress has for some reason deleted their spell-checker tool, instead depending on the individual’s browser to pick up the errors–which is NOT fool-proof, especially in copy-paste situations.  So I apologize in advance for anything I missed in editing.  I hope WordPress will soon correct this lapse in judgment.

In case anyone needs some last-minute Christmas ideas, thought I’d help out and post my top-ten a little earlier than usual this year.  A lot of stuff came out and it feels like I bought most of it.  I’m sure there are albums I missed.  I know there’s a new Prince record that came out digitally within the last month that I haven’t listened to yet.  Didn’t pick up the Neil Young & the Promise of the Real record, even though I really meant to.  And I’m sure there’s that one thing I should’ve known was out there that I completely overlooked that will make it onto a revised top ten list later…  (By the way, last year’s list should be revised to put Against Me’s “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” at #1.)  But in general I feel good about this year’s list. You can check out the also-rans in my previous post, if you missed it.

Here’s the top ten, with 11-15 to follow below:

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You probably can’t see all of that since it had to compress to fit in the window…but the full-sized picture is very neat and well-spaced, trust me.  Here’s where we are…

1. Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear
I think I started talking about this as being the best record of the year the day after buying it.  I’m pretty sure I’ve even mentioned that on the blog once or twice, so this probably isn’t a big surprise.  I’ve described it as Josh Tillman’s visceral love letter to his wife.  (Josh Tillman is aka “Father John” in case you didn’t guess that.)  With lyrics as sweet and loving as you can imagine, but also gritty and a little ugly, it’s the most accurate portrayal of being in love I’ve ever heard committed to vinyl.  How sometimes you’ve got stars in your eyes, but other times the irritation sets in and all you can think about is how, “…she says like literally, music is the air she breathes.  And the malaprops make me want to fucking scream. I wonder if she even knows what that word means–it’s literally NOT that.”  It’s lush, it’s beautiful, and it’s real.  And it won me over immediately.  (The title track is breathtaking as well, but I’ve talked about it before so I’m not repeating myself.)

2. Bottle Rockets – South Broadway Atheletic Club
I wouldn’t have anticipated this one being on the list a few months ago.  I’ve liked the Bottle Rockets for some time, but I’ve rarely been as swept away by one of their records as I was by this one. (Although “Zoysia” came close.)  I recently wrote a post about how important it was to go see them play in-store at Vintage Vinyl on the release date of this record.  But I’ve probably been a little short-winded on the record itself.  It’s stellar.  It’s a relatively quick listen and each song delivers.  There’s one song I don’t like as much as the rest of the record, but even that one’s completely enjoyable–just not as enjoyable as the rest.  There’s nothing to complain about here.  From the working man’s anthem “Monday Every Time I Turn Around” to Brian Henneman’s love-letter to his dog to the poignant lyric “I’m a wheel no matter what shape I’m in” (“Shape of a Wheel”) it delivers on every level. I’d have been just as comfortable putting this one at #1.

3. Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free
I was a little surprised to hear myself saying, “It’s not going to be my number one, but it’ll make the top five.”  I’m on record as having adored Isbell’s previous record “Southeastern” and being a huge Isbell fan in general.  Got into his writing years ago when he was still in the Drive-By Truckers, and he got his hooks in me deep.  “Something More Than Free” is a damn fine record.  There are songs on it that immediately feel like old friends upon first listen (in particular “24 Frames” and “Children of Children” come to mind) and it’s a good listen.  It’s just that “Southeastern” knocked me off my feet while this one asked me politely to sit down and enjoy it.  That’s no bad thing.  I did enjoy it.  🙂  This album was #1 in Rock, Country, Indie, and Folk the week it came out and #3 overall.  Also #3 on this list, by coincidence.  It’s probably a great starting point for those who’ve never heard him, and for long timers, you’ve got a lot to hold onto as well.

4. Craig Finn – Faith in the Future
Craig Finn is known as the lead singer of The Hold Steady.  He has a “love it or hate it” delivery/voice.  I love it.  Even if you don’t, it’s hard to deny that his narrative-driven lyrics are a cut above any other writer working in the genre today, drawing you into a town you’ve never lived in with residents you’ve known your whole life.  Finn doesn’t exactly write concept albums…he has more of a concept career.  You feel like you’re walking around the small town in his head with every new release.  Some people are recurring.  Some people show up and leave.  And sometimes it’s just a song about drinking too much and making hazy memories.  His solo albums are a little more soft-spoken than The Hold Steady, but there’s still great stuff there.  “Faith in the Future” is a nice, relaxing, deep listen.  You’re lulled into false security by the music, but once you start listening to the lyrics, you realize he’s talking about a family trying to escape a religious cult, himself being hopelessly in love, and also mourning lost friends.  He’s a deep guy.  You should really explore that depth sometime.

5. Mumford & Sons – Wilder Mind
One of the more controversial releases of the year, just because there’s no banjo on it. That’s dumb.  It’s a great record, banjo or no banjo.  (And I PLAY the banjo, so I know what I’m talking about!)  This record had been reviewed to death before anyone even heard it.  Most people reacted to just the idea…  It put me in mind of people screaming “WHY DID DYLAN PLUG IN!?!” at Newport…  Here’s the long and short of it.  If you like Mumford for their deep, thought provoking lyrics and passionate melodies, you’ll like the record.  If you only like the banjo, there are Bluegrass bands a dime-a-dozen and I’m sure you can find one.  I think this is a great record.  Controversy alone would’ve promoted it to the top 5…but it deserves to be there anyway.  Most telling moment for me was when they were playing it in Barnes & Noble one day and I stayed until the end, even though I had it in my car and could’ve played it on the ride home.

6. Motorhead – XXXX: Bad Magic
I don’t know if the “XXXX” is supposed to be in the title or not, so stop asking me.  I’ve seen it there in reviews, but personally opt to just call it “Bad Magic.”  Motorhead (particularly frontman Lemmy Kilmister) has been plagued with health issues recently.  I’m a little concerned that they may be reaching the end of a long road…but if this were the album they went out on, I’d be cool with it.  It’s a great record.  Powerful and blood-pumping.  If nothing else, it’s worth the price just to hear their version of “Sympathy for the Devil.”  Lemmy singing that song makes the kind of sense you don’t get every day.

7. The Mountain Goats – Beat the Champ
Kevin McDonald from the Kids in the Hall referenced this album in a tweet he wrote, referring to it as a beautiful folk-rock record about professional wrestling.  That’s exactly what it is.  It’s silly and fun, but also heartbreaking and deeply emotional to anyone who appreciates the industry and gets what the road-life is like for the wrestlers.  I’ve been a wrestling fan forever, and this one spoke to me on a lot of levels, especially in a year where we said goodbye to Roddy Piper, Dusty Rhodes, and Verne Gagne.  Made me laugh with “I’m gonna stab you in the eye with a foreign object.”  Make me almost cry with “Work like a dog all day.  Born to chase cars away.  Die on the road someday. I try to remember what life was like long ago, but it’s gone you know. Climb the turnbuckle high…take two falls out of three.  Blackout for local TV.”  If you’ve ever loved the sport–and fuck you, it’s a sport–then you need to hear this record.

8. Refused – Freedom
This is probably the first album I really fell in love with this year and I was very glad to hear it.  I was a little worried about how the year was going, musically until I popped this one into the player and thought, “FINALLY a Top Ten contender!”  Refused put out a record like 20 years ago called “The Shape of Punk to Come” that pretty much hit the nail on the head.  They disbanded pledging never to reunite.  So of course they reunited.  And this year, they put out “Freedom,” a great hardcore album with plenty of screaming, riff-changes, time-signature changes, and crazy energy.  There isn’t a moment’s rest on the album…and that’s perfect.  Kind of sounds like “The Shape of Where Punk Went.”  (Except it’s much more metal than punk.)

9. Brian Wilson – No Pier Pressure
I adore Brian Wilson.  “No Pier Pressure” was apparently intended to be a Beach Boys album until it became clear that Mike Love remains only on Mike Love’s page.  I listened to this record as soon as it was on my radar this year.  It’s classic Brian.  People have been complaining about some of the choices made.  Yes, there are drum loops.  Well… “Pet Sounds” had bicycle horns and barking dogs.  Who do you think you’re listening to?  He’s going to make odd choices and be a step outside of where you think he’ll be.  And that’s very much present here, but so are the beautiful melodies and heartwarming lyrics you’re used to.  I found this to be a really charming, at times moving listen.
This list was completed a few days earlier, but yesterday my roommate gave me a copy of this record on vinyl for Christmas that was part of a promotional thing Brian did with Barnes & Noble where he autographed some copies…  So I’ve now got Brian Wilson’s autograph!  I’m glad this was already on the list and I didn’t have to move it up because of how excited I am about that!  🙂
(As a side note, if you haven’t seen “Love & Mercy” yet, it’s out on DVD and Blu and probably on Netflix or whatever…so check it out.  You don’t need to like the Beach Boys.)

10. Sleater-Kinney – No Cities to Love
You probably know Carrie Brownstein as “is that the girl Fred Armisen is dating from Portlandia?”  You’re way off…but yes.  She’s also one of the guitarists/vocalists in Sleater-Kinney, and was that long before Portlandia was a gleam in Armisen’s hipster glasses.  (That said, I really like Fred Armisen.)  Sleater-Kinney went away for a while, like most bands seem to…but they came back strong with “No Cities to Love.”  It’s punky, it’s fun, and it’s deeply catchy.  Put it on and have a good time.  Talk note Taylor Swift…this is what girl-power ACTUALLY sounds like.

And because I can’t just like 10 things and move on…here’s the 5 that *almost* made it, expanding our list to 15.  (As usual, actually…  This really shouldn’t be a surprise at this point.  I think it happens every year.)

15.pngIt’s very frustrating that this photo is easier to see all the names and stuff than the top 10, but what can you do?  Here’s what just barely fell short…

11. Coheed & Cambria – The Color Before the Sun
Coheed has made a career of writing sci-fi concept albums that are all part of a greater story and all related to one another.  This was their first album that was not part of the concept.  You get the sense that Claudio (lead singer/guitarist/the guy who does all the stuff) had a kid and wanted to write some songs about his day-to-day.  This put off a bunch of Coheed fans, who just want the story.  But I think it’s great.  It holds up perfectly well with the rest of their discography, musically.  Musically it sounds pretty happy and upbeat, although lyrically it has some anger and a little bit of a dark edge in places–the lyrics are definitely a different look into the band…  But in general, if I had to pick one word to describe it, that word would be “fun.”  Pick it up, if you’ve been on the fence.  You’ve been missing out on a great listen.

12. Metric – Pagans in Vegas
Metric’s previous album “Synthetica” was my number one record of whatever year that was…  “Pagans in Vegas” has a similar vibe to it.  Which might make one wonder why it’s not properly in the top ten.  It was under consideration, but ultimately “Synthetica” hit me at the right time in the right place, and this one was good but hit me at a different time when I didn’t need it as much.  I like it.  It’s singable and a great listen.  In true fashion, they’ve remained able to feel pop-danceable, but also somehow anarchic.  Totally what you want out of a Metric record.

13. Pokey LaFarge – Something in the Water
A little surprised that this wasn’t in the actual top ten.  Great rootsy, folky, jazzy record.  Totally legit.  Feels like you step into a different time with speakeasies and all that bullshit every time you listen to it.  It was on and off the top ten a couple of times.  In brief, I think the above just stands a cut above it…but believe me it was a tough call.  Really like this one.  It’s fun.

14. Lamb of God – VII: Sturm Und Drang
Lamb of God is one of those cookie-monster-vocal metal bands where you can’t understand a damn word he’s saying and it’s a stupid processor not the guy’s actual voice (even though he’s a really good singer without it).  And yet I love it.  Really great riffs and stuff.  This one is heavily informed by the manslaughter charge that Randy Blythe was up against leading into the record and you can feel the weight of that…but with him free and clear, it’s kind of a good weight.

15. Iron Maiden – Book of Souls
I love Iron Maiden.  It was a VERY tough call to put them this low on the list.  There are some REALLY great songs on this record.  “The Red and the Black” is an amazing song.  But.  But…  This is the worst-mixed Maiden record I’ve ever heard, and I’m counting “X Factor” in that.  Plus…it’s just too long.  It’s a double-disc, and it should’ve been cut down to one.  But the bigger problem is the mix.  The mix is so bad I’m actually concerned for Steve Harris’s hearing, and it kept it from being a top ten album; almost pushing it into being an “also-ran.”  Great songs…bad mix…averages out to a just-okay record.

…and that’s it!  That’s my top 15 of 2015.  Are there any I missed?  If so, write your own list.  I don’t get paid to do this.

See you next time…for…stuff!  If I don’t blog before then, have a holly-jolly Christmas.  I’ll be listening to Dave Brubeck’s Christmas record and Aimee Mann’s “One More Drifter in the Snow” all week to get in the mood…even though we’re going to be near Springtime temperatures in St. Louis.

Also, as a side note, there was a “Planet Earth” documentary playing in the background as I wrote that last paragraph and I just saw a tiger bite the head off a monkey.  So that’s my Sunday wrapped up.

The Also Rans – 2015

I’m somewhat known for my “Top Ten Records” lists that I write every year.  I’ve got one waiting for this year, but I bought so much stuff that if I covered everything in one post, it would be intolerably long.  So I’m going to break it up into two posts.  (I think I did this last year, too.  But I’m not checking.  Do your own research!)  This post represents the “also rans.”  The stuff that I bought but that didn’t make the top ten.  (Spoiler alert — It will actually be the Top FIFTEEN!)  Some of the stuff here is great.  Some of it sucks.  Let’s get into it…  Here’s the spread…

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Ready?  Okay.  In no particular order, other than left to right from the top down:

  • My Morning Jacket: The Waterfall
    I’m on record as not having liked the band’s previous record “Circuital.” This record is proof of why you shouldn’t give up on a band when they release a record you didn’t like.  (There’s a lot of that in the “also rans” this year.)  This was a strong return and I genuinely enjoy listening to  it every time I put it on.  That “The Waterfall” didn’t make the top 10 or even top 15 is evidence of how great a year this was for new music.  It’s kind of shocking that it’s on this list and not the one coming later.
  • Slayer: Repentless
    I like it.  But not enough.  After the death of Hanneman, there was a lot to live up to and a lot to prove.  For the most part, it sounds like Slayer and I’m happy with it.  However, there are some drumming missteps that I can’t overlook.  One song sounds like it’s just plain off beat and while I’m not a Dave Lombardo purist, maybe they should’ve done what they could to extend him an olive branch.  The tracks as they are seem like they’re both trying to live up to Dave and also be willfully not referential to him.  That’s right…following the death of Jeff Hanneman, I’m more distracted by the absence of Dave Lombardo.  Weird.
  • Prince: Hit N Run – Phase One
    It’s Prince and it’s fine…but I’ve barely had time to absorb Art Official Age and Plectrumelectrum…and “Phase Two” came out THIS month in another “surprise” release, and I’m not going to even go near it until the new year.  I love Prince and it seems like every time he puts out a new record, he ups his game…but as much as I hate to say it, this would’ve benefitted from about a year’s wait.  The music is stellar, but I don’t have the time to develop relationships with his songs before having to hear new ones.  Not necessarily a BAD problem to have…but it does keep this one out of the top 15.
  • Brent Best: Your Dog Champ
    Brent Best is a recurring influence on my musical life that I don’t talk about enough.  He’s the front-man for both Slobberbone and The Drams, and this year he put out a solo album.  I was expecting to love it…but unfortunately it fell a little flat with me.  I don’t think it’s a bad album–I think I just expected something else.  It’s probably going to grow on me.  But it’s about a dozen songs about murder, and I guess I just have trouble getting into that headspace in a mostly acoustic folky record.  (Not an unprecedented topic in his writing though.)  I don’t know…it might be that the same songs done with the raucousness of Slobberbone would be my record of the year, but there’s just something about the presentation that–while they’re elegantly written murder-songs–just falls a little flat and gets a little too dark for me.
  • Modest Mouse: Strangers to Ourselves
    It sounds like Modest Mouse, and I liked it…but I also haven’t listened to it in months.  When I’m on a Modest Mouse kick again, I’m sure I’ll break this one back out and re-listen, then kick myself for not putting it in the top ten.  But that time hasn’t come yet.
  • Best Coast: California Nights
    It’s fine.  But it’s JUST fine.  Didn’t blow me away.  Might need to listen a few more times.  It’s just that there’s been so much to be excited about in music this year that this one didn’t excite me.  I’ll probably listen to it while cleaning some night and it’ll click.  It’s one of those…
  • Sufjan Stevens: Carrie & Lowell
    More like Suf-YAWN.  Dull.  Boring.  Haven’t listened to all of it even once.  I read review after review that talks about how personal and moving this record is and how it’s a real look inward for Sufjan.  But if that’s the case, then he’s a really boring person on the inside with no lyrical depth remaining.  I know this is harsh…but to pull a phrase from Roger Ebert, I hated hated hated hated hated this album.  In fact, I’m not sure I’ve enjoyed any Sufjan since “Illinoise.”  If this is where he is now, I’m ready to stop trying.  Resonated with me once…but I guess never again.
  • Carly Rae Jepsen: E-Mo-Tion
    Sometimes one of the best songs of the year isn’t on one of the best albums of the year.  That’s the case here. “I Really Like You” is infectious, fun, silly, and wonderful.  I like it.  I really really really really really really like it.  It’s great.  Rest of the album is a good, fun pop album–and I’ve got a big place in my heart for that–but the rest doesn’t live up to the single and while I’m definitely going to continue to listen to the album as a whole, it’s not making the top ten.
  • Leonard Cohen: Can’t Forget
    Interesting idea.  An album recorded at least mostly during sound-checks.  It’s more interesting from an almost archival perspective than a song-to-song listen.  It’s almost like you get to hear a guy (and band) who has crafted his art just throw stuff at the wall and figure it out–although in a really beautiful way.  At the same time though, it ain’t exactly toe-tapping and I’ve got to be in the right headspace for it.  Still, when I’m on a Cohen kick, I’ll be likely to reach for it.
  • Wilco: Star Wars
    Genius title.  Star Wars (the movie) released this week and this album preceded it by months as a FREE download.  Great marketing move.  But I just haven’t been able to get into the album, unfortunately.  It’s solid.  It’s good.  But…  Put it this way…  I haven’t seen the Star Wars movie yet, but if I have the same reaction to it that I do to this album, I’d be happier to see it for free.  Wouldn’t pay for it, because I’m just not that big a fan.  Wilco has become the Star Wars of indie music…you’re either all-in or you’re not.  And I used to be all in…but now I’m not.  And that’s okay.  It doesn’t make the record bad.  It just means I like the Lord of the Rings way better now.  (The metaphor has gotten away from me, so I’m going to move on.)
  • Ben Folds: So There
    I like this a lot.  It’s another one that only falls short because there’s other stuff I liked more, even though I definitely liked this a lot, too.  It’s based largely around a symphonic piece he wrote.  Saw him perform a movement of it in St. Louis with our symphony, which he referred to as being one of the BEST symphonies in the world.  (And he’s played with a LOT of them!)  It’s an elegant piece and the rest of the record is beautiful and in places Folds-style silly, just how you want it to be.  It feels a little bit like he had the symphony and just put some b-sides on to fill it out…but even if that’s the case, it’s still a must-have for Folds fans, and maybe not a bad jumping-on point for people who don’t know where to start, as you get a little bit of all sides of the guy.
  • Bunnygrunt: Vol. 4
    St. Louis kids.  Good album with a kind of punky, indie vibe and a ripoff of a Sabbath album cover.  Features our dear departed St. Louis musician/trendsetter Bob Reuter, who died in a stupid accident.  Worth having just to hear Bob again.  Fun record.  Considered it for the top 10 for a while, but felt like I was just inflating it because of the local connection.  Might end up regretting demoting it to an also ran over time.
  • Godspeed You (!) Black Emporer: Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress
    If you’re a Godspeed fan, you basically know what to expect and it basically delivers.  Not overwhelmingly innovative or groundbreaking for them.  Not their best album.  But far from terrible.  It’s the kind of thing you put on in the rain and just deal with.  And that’s the kind of thing I like.
  • Frank Turner: Positive Songs for Negative People
    I really like Frank Turner.  I bought this and was super-excited about it.  And I’ve only listened to it all the way through once.  Here’s my problem with it…  Turner always has one song per album that I find incredibly tedious, boring, derivative, and a chore to get through.  He always has that ONE song on every album that I skip every time.  And on this record…it’s the first track.  He led with the worst song on the album.  And that’s in my head, and I can’t get away from it.  I think of this album and I think, “Oh, the boring one.”  And that isn’t fair, because I know the rest of it was better.  At some point I’ll relisten to it and find the ONE song on it that has been missing from my life for years, because he always has THAT song on every album, too…but it’s going to take me a while to talk myself into finding it.
  • Alabama Shakes: Sound and Color
    Probably my biggest disappointment of the year.  Those who remember my 2012 list–weirdos–will remember that I had their previous record at #5.  I loved it.  It was great.  Fun, emotive, rootsy, and passionate.  So…where’d that go?  People are talking about how great “Sound & Color” is and how it’s innovative, etc…  I hear a record that meanders and doesn’t have a single memorable hook or chorus.  In fact, ARE there choruses on this album?  Was there a single?  I don’t hear a single here.  Brittney is a ridiculously talented woman who spent the time between albums playing with just about everybody and becoming almost a household name (among certain houses).  But I would’ve preferred it if she’d spent that time working on her OWN BAND’S album.  Because this sounds slapped together, unfinished, and unfocused.  At best, they were being experimental for the sake of being experimental.  At worst, they didn’t know what the hell they were doing, but didn’t want to be forgotten.  I don’t see why people are telling me to like it.  They’re wrong.  …but as I established earlier, you can’t give up on a band you like based on an album you didn’t.  So I’ll check out #3, when it comes.  And I’m hoping and even EXPECTING that it will be great.
  • Beach House – Depression Cherry
    Not a longtime fan of Beach House and picked this up on a whim.  Enjoyed it a lot.  Nice, lush, rich melodies and a good listen.  If I were a longtime fan, I get the feeling I’d put this high up on my top ten.  But as a casual listener, I like it a lot, but not “top ten” levels.

Next post should be the official top ten/fifteen!  Going to be a good one!

“I’m a stupid moron with an ugly face and a big butt and my butt smells, and i like to kiss my own butt.” – Moe Szyslak

That’s one of my favorite Simpsons quotes in the blog title.  Been meaning to use it for a long time, and I’ve never really thought I’ve written something to live up to it as a post title.  I still haven’t.  Just tired of sitting on it.  Friends of the blog know the Simpsons quote in the title means it’s a random/potpourri post.  Let’s go!

  1. Scott Weiland died.  That was sad to learn.  The day after, I listened to the Stone Temple Pilots “Purple” album for the first time in a long time.  Still holds up.  I was late to the party getting into them…it took hearing “Tiny Music” in Vince Chandler’s car in high school for me to think of them as anything other than “Pearl Jam Light.”  Mea culpa for that.  STP was a great band–although I’ll admit, I stopped buying new stuff after “Shangri-La-De-Da.”  Didn’t even give Chester Bennington a chance.  It saddens me that none of us has even thought to question the cause of death–even though it hasn’t been released yet.  You kind of want to hold out for it being some kind of accident or aneurism or something…but it was drugs or complications from drug use.  Weiland was an insanely gifted performer with a horrible set of personal demons.  But who isn’t?  Hope his family is okay.  He’s got kids.
  2. Holly Woodlawn also died.  Holly was perhaps best known as being from “Miami, FLA” in Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side.”  But she was also a role model for young transgender men and women in a time when having any non-heteronormative sexual identity was hated and feared on a level that can only be compared to racism.  I’m not sure we’ve come very far on that yet, actually…but people like Holly are part of why we’ve made the strides as a society that we have made.
  3. I promise that this isn’t just the Death Report….
  4. I put down the Rickenbacker for a few days, telling myself I couldn’t pick it back up until I had a passable rough, demo mix of my brother’s record to present to him.  It’s got temporary drums (just a kick/snare), but I’ve got a mix and I’m happy with the work I’m doing.  It’s what I’d call a “for approval” mix.  The guitar parts are pending Dave saying, “Yeah, that’s perfect” or “Way off! Go suck a butt!”  Or any point in-between. It’s his record, so if he wants anything changed, he gets it.  But if these parts are what go to press, I’m happy with them.  (Although I’ve got the levels all wrong.  There’s a remix or ten coming.)
  5. So…then I picked the Ric back up.  I have been playing it just plugging directly into an amp–no effects–and enjoying the clean, perfect tone.  Last night, I finally plugged it into the effect board and tried out some distortions and choruses, etc…  And damn…  I wish I could buy this guitar all over again just to show it how much I love it.  Not one BIT of buyer’s remorse on this thing!
  6. There’s speculation that Neil Peart of Rush officially considers himself retired.  It was big news on Monday.  So of course today, Geddy Lee says Neil’s not retired.  And it goes on.  That will probably be how Rush works until one of them dies (God-forbid!).  Neil’s been saying he’s retiring for at least a decade or more.  He came close after some personal tragedies, and Lord knows if anyone deserves to put their feet up, it’s Neil…  But I imagine Geddy will talk him into SOMETHING eventually.  Probably not a full-on tour this time…but something.  Even if not, everything we’ve gotten since “Vapor Trails” is a gift we were not owed, and I’m not going to freak out if the guy’s ready to walk away.
  7. Getting new boots for Christmas.  Looking forward to them.  Dad and I went shopping for a pair about a week ago and I found some I like and that will be fitting replacements for the brown ones I’ve been wearing for close to 10 years.  While we were there, Dad bought himself a hell of a nice hat, to.  It might be the haberdashery equivalent of a Rickenbacker.
  8. Ordered a pizza the other day and they left the pepperoni on it even though I’d asked for none.  Decided the hell with it and ate it anyway.  My brother and I share a weird skin-condition when it comes to pepperoni…so if you see me walking around with cold sores within the next week (have one now!), as an FYI, it was the pizza.  Not anything sexy.
  9. I don’t know what to say about San Bernardino.  I do think people are overplaying the potential ISIL connection–I think we saw someone who knew they weren’t going to survive their killing spree that was designed to spread chaos, so why not cause more chaos and pretend to be an actual terrorist instead of just a piece of shit?  But It’s sad, man.  It’s really horrible that we can’t turn on the TV in this country without expecting to hear that someone has shot up a group of people who didn’t see it coming.  What do you even say about it at this point?  Obama’s speech on Sunday (which I note he waited until AFTER football ended to deliver, because that’s how America works) was as inspirational as I’ve come to expect from him…but damn I wish I didn’t have to expect it.
  10. I think I’m right on the edge of maybe catching a cold.  My sinuses hurt a lot on Monday, so I started taking Sudafed and Ibuprofen trying to hold it off.  Felt a little better today, but my head was cloudy and I might still have some sinus pressure.  We’ll see how it goes.  I’m usually sick somewhere in the area of Thanksgiving/Christmas…so I’m due.  We’ll see.
  11. Talking of Christmas…  It’s soon.  Need to shop.  I think people think I don’t like Christmas…and those people can go suck the biggest of butts.  (I say, “go suck a butt” now, by the way.)  I’m not a fan of Christmas MUSIC by and large, but I love Christmas.  Who doesn’t love Christmas, as long as they’ve got someone to share it with and aren’t like Jewish or Muslim or Atheist or whatever?  Okay…so a lot of people don’t love Christmas…  But I do, and I’m not sure why people think I don’t.  I could do without the schmaltzy music, but those sparkly-ass lights and those fly-ass candy canes are always welcome in my book.
  12. It’s presently Hanukkah.  Hope my Jewish friends are having fun doing whatever the hell it is you do with a dreidel.
  13. It’s midnight and I forgot to start the laundry.  Tomorrow’s another day.

That’s it for now.  Come back again for something else!

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Current Listening:

  • The Replacements – All Shook Down
  • Dream Theater – Last couple records–new one coming out next year that looks interesting, so I’m kind of on a kick.
  • Coheed & Cambria – The Color Before the Sun