Friday, February 29, 2008

On my turntable: Paul McCartney - McCartney

I'm pretty sure it was the winter of 78/79 when I bought this album at the Record Shop at Brookdale Mall. I remember the day as being very cold, very sunny and bright. It always amazes me how memories can so strongly attach themselves to music. At least that's how it is for me.

McCartney (1970) is a very charming and simple album. There are songs here that could very well have wound up on a Beatles album ("Junk", "Teddy Boy"), and others that would later become Wings concert highlights ("Maybe I'm Amazed", and towards the end of the band, "Every Night"). I love how McCartney is rough around the edges, fueled by spontaneity and influenced by the simple home life that Paul and his new wife Linda were enjoying at the time. Beautiful stuff.

Video:
"Maybe I'm Amazed"
"Every Night" (MTV Unplugged, 1991)
"That Would Be Something" (MTV Unplugged, 1991)

11:14 am

The Hollows EP by WHY?

STOP HATE

Ellen reaffirmed her status as one of my heroes today when she spoke about the death of Lawrence King on her show (video below). This is a political issue. Our current administration supports the hatred of LGBT Americans. Something is seriously, seriously wrong when a 15 year old kid is murdered at school for being gay. This affects all of us.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

11:24 pm

Plugging away at stats exam.
Austin keeping me company (background).

Sunday, February 24, 2008

On my turntable: Journey - Greatest Hits

First of all, I know that Journey is still a working band, and that they are far more than just a relic of the 80's. Having said that, Journey is an 80's band for me, which means I'm not always in the mood to listen to them. Correction - I'm rarely in the mood to listen to them. I am not one of those Journey fans that won't leave the driveway without the Journey boxset in my CD changer (I don't have a CD changer, but that's beside the point). In fact, the more I think about it, I may not even really be a Journey fan. There - I said it.

Still, in all fairness, I do believe that most of the songs on Greatest Hits (1988) do, oh how do I say it, KICK SWEET ASS. OK I who am I kidding. This is a great album, and Journey rocks. As I type this, "Open Arms" is playing, and I'm so totally in my high school gym at the Sadie Hawkins dance with my date Anita, who later that night would spill Boones Farm all over herself in the car. Good times for damn sure. Earlier, during "Don't Stop Believin'" I wanted to get out my Journey Escape tour jersey, which - oh wait. I don't have a Journey Escape tour jersey, because I was practically the only loser at my high school that didn't get to go to that concert. I had forgotten all about that painful memory.

Oh well - No worries! This album still ROCKS!

Atari E.T.

If you were alive in America in 1982 you remember the ridiculous hype that surrounded the release of the Atari E.T. video game, which was very hastily rushed to the market that year in time for the holidays. That Christmas day, little children across the land cursed the name of Santy Claus as they played what is possibly the worst video game ever made. The day after Christmas, E.T. video games across the land sat abandoned, until the day when they inevitably wound up in the trash. Seriously - this game was junk, as you can see in this YouTube review:

Saturday, February 23, 2008

9:22 am


My handy-dandy schedule for the day...

stats...check.
laundry...check.
research...check.

read...check
.

and so on...

Friday, February 22, 2008

McCartney MixTape

The way I see it, Paul McCartney's career can be broken into at least five distinct periods:

Post-Beatles (70-72)
Wings (73-79)
Post-Wings (80-84)
Solo (86-93)
Post-Anthology (96-present)

I recently watched a 1989 interview with Paul, and it occurred to me that some of his most interesting music has been from these last two periods, when he became increasingly comfortable with his role as a former-Beatle. I see the mostly mediocre Press To Play (1986) as the precursor for the greatness that followed, from the excellent Flowers in the Dirt (1989), on through to his most recent Memory Almost Full (2007).

So here's a little playlist I just assembled, with my personal favorite McCartney tracks from the past 22 years.
"Fine Line" (2005)
"This One" (1989)
"Ever Present Past" (2007)
"My Brave Face" (1989)
"C'mon People" (1993)
"Tiny Bubble" (2001)
"English Tea" (2005)
"Distractions" (1989)
"The World Tonight" (1997)
"Promise To You Girl" (2005)
"Your Way" (2001)
"Hope of Deliverance" (1993)
"See Your Sunshine" (2007)
"Cosmically Conscious" (1993)
"Flying to my Home" (1989)
"Vintage Clothes" (2007)
"Back on my Feet" (1987)
"Stranglehold" (1986)
"Peace in the Neighborhood" (1993)
"Beautiful Night" (1997)

11:24 am

Infusion day.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Welcome back, REM

I am one of those REM fans that has enjoyed the band's output of the past ten years. That aside, I couldn't help feeling all tingly inside when I first heard their new single "Supernatural Superserious". The track signals a true return to the late 80's REM sound, with the pronounced crunchy guitar riffs, and Mike Mills doing his signature backup vocals. I've heard the track about a dozen times now, and I'm still pretty tingly.

I think this is called "irony"

This made me chortle this morning:

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

On my turntable: Styx - Crystal Ball

I just got this album this past weekend for fifty cents, and am far more pleased with it than I had expected to be. I particularly like Side 1, which opens with the almost Jellyfish-esque "Put Me On". Crystal Ball (1976) was the first Styx record to feature Tommy Shaw, and the last album the band released before being propelled into AOR superstardom with 1977's The Grand Illusion.

Video:
"Crystal Ball" (live, 1996)

New B-52's on vinyl


I learned today that Funplex (2008) is indeed getting a vinyl release. Street date: 3/25/2008.

You can pre-order the LP now at insound.com.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

"Rock 'N Roller"

There are hundreds of Bay City Rollers clips on YouTube, but most of them are lip-synching performances from various 70's tv shows. Once in a while I come across a clip that really shows what a great power-pop band the Rollers were, and this is one of those clips. While I think the instrumental track may be pre-recorded, the vocals in this clip (as well as Eric's guitar, I'm pretty sure) are live. The song, from the band's Dedication (1976) album, is unique in that it features Les, Woody, and Eric taking turns on lead vocals. The vocal levels are louder here than on the original record, which really puts the group's harmonies front and center.

Tumble out of bed & stumble to the kitchen...

...Pour myself a cup of ambi -- uh-oh.

Oh no.

I can't be out of coffee.

Please, God.

Don't panic - without coffee I won't have the energy for panic.

Think strategically. Think crisis mode.

It's OK It's OK. What else do we have?


Oh, thank you Lord.


TAB.


It's warm Tab, but it's got caffeine, and it saved my life this morning.


I love you, Tab.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Quote of the day

"We will not survive as a republic
nor move toward a genuine democracy unless we can
narrow the gap between the rich and the poor,
reduce our racial and ethnic divides,
and create a deeper sense of community."

Taken from
Hard Lessons: Public Schools and Privatization (1996)
by Carol Ascher, Norm Fruchter, & Robert Berne

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Today at the thrift store

University of Minnesota sweatshirt.
$2.50, gently used.

Go Gophers.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Rob Hill

Rob Hill is a mountain climber who lives with Crohn's disease. In 2006 he scaled the biggest mountain in Antarctica. Pretty inspirational stuff. In this video he describes some of the pains of Crohn's, which sounds pretty spot on, in my opinion:

On my turntable: The Donnas Turn 21

I just got this album today and I've not yet listened to the whole thing, but I think I can say that I like Turn 21 (2001) at least as much as the other Donnas album in my collection, Get Skintight (1999). In a couple of weeks on the 28th I will finally see The Donnas play live when they open for The Hives at First Avenue. I'm pretty excited about it.

Viva Piñata

Even if there aren't safety warnings on piñatas, common sense dictates certain precautions, I reckon. This video kills me every time I watch it, especially the lady with the broom at :32.

Friday, February 15, 2008

8:24 pm

Although Higher Education is the primary focus of my Ph.D work, I've been finding myself getting worked up over the state of public K-12 education in this country, particulary in terms of politics and the privatization of education. Some of the stuff I've been reading has been very eye-opening.

On my turntable: Mika - "Love Today"

Although Mika's album Life In Cartoon Motion (2007) is not on LP (yet), there have been 5 0r 6 vinyl singles pulled from the album, including this gem, which I received in today's mail. Seems fitting that it be the last record on valentine's day.

Watch the video for "Love Today", if you like.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

6:44 pm

Having some coffee and catching up on my stories. All My Children has been really good these past few weeks, although it pisses me off that Kendall is supposedly pregnant. Why is it that every time a woman cheats she gets pregnant? I swear half the children in Pine Valley were mistakes.

On my turntable: The Time

Sure, this isn't really The Time as they are pictured on the cover. I know that this album is mostly just Prince and Morris Day. Still, The Time (1981) was the blueprint for what was to come, as the band soon developed into one of the greatest funk-rock acts of all time. Plus, it's a great album.

Video:
"Cool"
"Get It Up" (on Soul Train, 1982)

A 2 Z

I saw this posted over on Jennifer's Brown Baby Bunny blog, and thought I'd give it a go myself:

A- Available or single?
Married (well, "domestic partnered" until we get equal rights in America, or move to Canada).
B- Best Friend? Have several. Don't make me choose.
C- Cake or Pie? Depends on the day, but probably cake.
D- Drink of Choice? Coffee.
E- Essential Item of late? macbook
F- Favorite Color? Orange
G- Gummi Bears or Worms? I don't do the gummies, on account of the gelatin (on account of being vegetarian and all that)
H- Hometown? Northeast Minneapolis
I- Indulgence? collecting records
J- January or February? Probably January. February gets depressing.
K- Kids? Austin and Simon, our bunnies. No human children -- too needy.
L- Life is incomplete without? Coffee.
M- Marriage Date? 7.1.2001 (our commitment ceremony)
N- Number of Siblings? One brother.
O- Oranges or apples? Oranges (although I *love* Honeycrisp apples)
P- Phobias/Fears? Hardcore conservative right-wing wacko republicans in power.
Q- Favorite Quote? "You can have everything if you let yourself be" - Donovan
R- Reason to Smile? just because.
S- Season? Autumn.
T- Taco or burrito? Chipotle veggie burrito without cheese. That's the shizzit right there.
U- Unusual Talent or Skill? Not something I want to put on the web.
V- Vegetable? Practically all, except eggplant.
W- Worst Habit? Procrastination. Case in point: it's the middle of February and our Christmas tree is still up. Wow it hurts to admit that. Maybe we can pretend it's a Valentine's tree.
X- X-Rays? Oh yeah. As a crohnie I get lots of them. Small bowel, colonoscopy, bone scan, rectal ultrasound. Good times.
Y- Yummy Foods I Make: Veggie Chili is my specialty.
Z- Zodiac Sign? Pisces, the fish.

done.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"Get over it!"

People in the UK get it.

Dig this new campaign designed to end "homophobic bullying" in Britain's schools ===>.

I wonder if we'll ever see a campaign like this in America. It is tragic to think that some people actually believe gay kids deserve to get the shit kicked out of them, and that such bullying goes unchallenged in schools every single day. Meanwhile, American right-wing wackos see the idea of protecting gays and lesbians through hate-crime legislation as "the gays just wanting special rights."

I get a pit in my stomach thinking that, as I sit here typing this, some defenseless gay youth is terrified about going to school tomorrow. Even worse is the fact that many of these kids end up killing themselves. Wrong wrong wrong.

Last night's Time performance

Jungle Love - The Time - Grammys 2008

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Finally: Pacific Ocean Blue set for expanded reissue

Great news from Billboard.com:

Late Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson's cult classic 1977 solo album, "Pacific Ocean Blue," will be released May 13 in an expanded edition by Caribou/Epic/Legacy. The project has been out of print for more than 15 years due to copyright disputes.

Billboard.com has learned that "Pacific Ocean Blue" will be available in a two-CD edition as well as a vinyl version via Sundazed. Disc one of the reissue will include the original 12-track album plus previously unreleased bonus songs which are still being sorted through by label archivists.

Hardcore fans will be delighted with the contents of the second disc, which will make available for the first time songs intended for "Bambu," Wilson's never-released follow-up to "Pacific Ocean Blue."

What TIME is it?

The original lineup of Minneapolis legends The Time are slated to perform on tonight's Grammy Awards.The band's stellar 1990 album Pandemonium (pictured) is one of my all time favorite LPs.The Grammys start in 17 minutes. Time to make some popcorn...

Stats day

On my turntable: Liam Finn - I'll Be Lightning

As I type this I'm only on my first listen of this LP, so I can't comment on it as a whole, but I can say that I love what I've heard so far. You may know that Liam is Neil Finn's son, and yes he sounds like his dad. But hey - there's always room for another Finn, in my opinion. The music on this record is very eclectic, melodic, and colorful, with Liam playing most of the instruments himself.

The double vinyl release of I'll Be Lightning (2008) is pressed on two different colored LPs, and comes with a bonus CD of the full album. Can't beat that for your music buying dollar. I highly recommend.

sad

My longtime friend (and freshman college roomate) Randy's dad passed away a couple of days ago, from the same COPD-related complications that took my dad last December. It's had me feeling a bit sad, partly because I feel for Randy and his family, but also because it brings my own family's loss right up to the surface. What can ya do - grieving is something you just need to work through. It sucks.

My prayers are with Randy's family as they go through this tough process. Knowing them as I do, I expect that they intend to celebrate Papa Ed's life over the coming days, rather than simply focus on the sadness of his death. He'd probably appreciate that.

Friday, February 08, 2008

On my turntable: The Free Design - Redesigned volume 1

In 2005 I happened upon Volume 2 of Light In the Attic's Free Design Redesigned series at one of the local shops. I was familiar with "Kites Are Fun" from its permanent home in my brother's jukebox, so I took a chance and bought the ep. Soon I picked up Volume 1 (pictured), and several of the reissues of the original LPs. The Free Design became one of my favorite groups of that year.

Of the three Redesigned ep's, Volume 1 is probably my favorite, if just for the inclusion of "2002 - A Hit Song", which is one of the greatest songs ever. No kidding. Vol. 1 also includes a remix of "Kites Are Fun", although I'm still admittedly sweet on the original version.

8:04 pm

Here we see Austin doing his thing & making love to the camera.
You can tell from his expression that he knows what a sexy beast he is.

The Meaning of Freedom

"Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms--to choose one's own attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way"

- Dr. Viktor E. Frankl
Holocaust survivor

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Mika @ First Avenue 2.6.2008

Tonight's show at First Avenue was one of the most undexpectedly awesome concerts I've seen. The place was sold out, packed to capacity, and filled with young screaming teenagers. I was mildly annoyed at times because people were pushing everywhere trying to get closer to the stage, but once I backed out of the crowd I was fine. Mika was such a showman, and his band was amazing.

That's all I got. I'm pooped & I'm going to bed. But first, I'll introduce the video for "Lollipop", tonight's encore that made the joint explode:

Sunday, February 03, 2008

lingering ouch

Even though I'm in a medically induced remission, I still get the occasional Crohn's episode. Earlier this morning the stomach was upset, but not painful. Around 5:00 tonight the pain kicked in, and by 6:30 it was significant. I'm feeling a little better now, so I'm not overly concerned about it. It will pass (literally). Days like today really make me appreciate the healthy days, which are happily quite frequent as of late.

Best of January 08

There was so much new stuff on my turntable and in my iPod this past January that I figure it deserves mention. I admit that I never expected to have Snoop Dogg or Britney on a "best of" list, and Loverboy's new track was surprising. It's also worth noting that the majority of these tracks are available on vinyl, which is encouraging.

*"See You At The Lights" - 1990s
"Drink Tea" - Kula Shaker
"Mr. Brightside" - Paul Anka
*"By Torpedo Or Crohn's" - WHY?
*"Sensual Seduction" - Snoop Dogg
*"Tick Tick Boom" - The Hives
*"Wierd Fishes/Arpeggi" - Radiohead
"Hey Kate!" - The Fire Apes
*"Liverpool 8" - Ringo Starr
*"Bookshop Casanova" - The Clientele
"Lost With You" - Loverboy
*"Pistol Grip" - The Blakes
"How Deep Is Your Love" - The Bird and the Bee
*"Piece of Me" - Britney Spears
*"One More Time" (from Swing Street, 1987) - Barry Manilow
*"Take My Time" - Junior Senior (w/Kate & Cindy from B-52's)

(* Available in vinyl format.)

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Obamafied

Leo and I went to the Target Center today with some friends to see Obama speak. When we arrived the line of people waiting to get inside was at least a half a mile long. It was pretty impressive to see so many people. We were too hungry to stand in line so went to the Hard Rock for lunch, after which the line was gone so we were able to walk right in.

Obama was great. We definitely got the feeling that we were witnessing history. I left the Target Center feeling a sense of hope, which is a great feeling after living in GW's fucked up reality for the past seven years.

Friday, February 01, 2008

On my turntable: Stevie Wonder: Songs in the Key of Life


Happy
Black History
Month!

On my turntable: Pink Floyd - Obscured by Clouds

In '98 I went through a brief Pink Floyd period, during which I picked up CDs such as More (1969), A Saucerful of Secrets (1967), Meddle (1971), and Obscured by Clouds (1972). The discs were handsomely remastered & repackaged by Capitol, and sounded great. I think I sold them to Cheapo a couple of years later. Eventually I reckon I'll rediscover them all on LP. What I like about the late 60's/early 70's pre-Dark Side of the Moon Floyd is that much of it sounds like Badfinger (albeit a slightly stoned-out version of Badfinger). Tracks on Clouds such as "The Gold It's In the..." and "Free Four" are great little straight-ahead post-Beatles rock tunes that could have easily fit on No Dice.

I've been listening to this Obscured By Clouds LP for the past 2 days and have really enjoyed how different it sounds from the remastered CD I used to listen to. This got me to thinking. Remember in the 80's when we were all so infatuated with CDs and how much "better" they sounded? Turns out they didn't necessarily sound better, they just sounded different. It was merely a new way of experiencing music. Of course, in some instances where record companies rushed out shoddy remasters, CDs sounded significantly worse than the original LPs. Case in point: The first CD reissue of Jefferson Airplane's Volunteers, which was a sonic nightmare. I seem to recall it was so bad that RCA even offered refunds for the disc after so many consumers complained. Lots of the budget CD releases at the time were poorly done, and the record companies must have known this prior to putting them on the market, but there was such a huge demand for all things digital at the time.

3:51 pm

The weather in Minneapolis is pretty bland today, which means it's a good day to stay inside, brew a pot of coffee, study for class, and get caught up on some long overdue housework. Life is good.

Dream Ticket?

I wouldn't have thought it was a possibility prior their response to this question at last night's debate...