Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Awesome April

So earlier today I was walking across campus, and I found myself very pleased by some of the great new music that has found its way into my iPod this past month. Par example:

"I'm a Fire" - Donna Summer
"4 Minutes" - Madonna & Justin
"I'm Not a Kid Anymore" - Sloan
"Pork and Beans" Weezer
"I Like It, I Love It" - Lyrics Born
"Headcase" - The Fratellis
"Turn Me Loose" - Prince (live on Leno, 4/25/08)
"Deviant Ingredient" - B-52s
"Man-Sized Wreath" - REM
"Try It Again" - The Hives
"The Quickening" - Roger Joseph Manning, Jr.

"Vinyl Records Making a Comeback"

A good article posted earlier today at Boston's Enterprise News:

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Surprise Party

One of the funniest SNL skits of all time.

On my turntable: The Who - Sell Out

<--- Fave Who album.

Sell Out
(1967) is a big spring record for me. My first experience with the album was the expanded '90's CD edition, which featured a whole mess of extra tracks. When I finally got around to purchasing the vinyl version, it seemed too short. I think I read that there is now a double vinyl version of the expanded Sell Out, which would be worth owning.

Now is definitely the time for Who fans to think about updating their collections, since much of their early catalog is being beautifully reissued on 180 and 200 gram vinyl. This version of Sell Out is the 200 gram reissue from a couple of years ago, which comes with a replica of the poster (right) that was included in first pressings of the album (image from whocollection.com).

Sunday, April 27, 2008

On my turntable: Elliot Easton - Change No Change

Change No Change (1985) is another one of my "time capsule" albums (see 4/21 entry). When I was a freshman in Duluth living in the dorms, there was this guy across the hall (Terry) who was a Cars fanatic. If it weren't for Terry (who would become a roommate the following year), I probably would never have heard this record, but as it was I heard it a lot. It's a great album, and as I listen to it now I wonder, as I did back in 1985, why Easton wasn't a more prominent member of The Cars. The songs on Change No Change are every bit as good as the songs on Benjamin Orr's 1986 solo album (which got a lot more attention and airplay).

When sophomore year ended I moved back to Minneapolis and never heard Change No Change again, until this afternoon when I found this handsome copy at the thrift store for 80 cents. Before playing it I only recalled a couple tracks by title ("Tools of Your Labor" and "(Wearing Down) Like a Wheel"), but upon listening I instantly recognized every song, each sounding just like it did the last time I heard it 22 years ago. Music is a powerful thing.

Video:
"(Wearing down) Like A Wheel"

Saturday, April 26, 2008

On my turntable: David Bowie - Hunky Dory

My Bowie period was short, from '96-'97, (maybe '98, tops). Of all the albums I bought during that time, Hunky Dory (1971) is my favorite. Despite some sporadic lush arrangements, the album's strength is in its simplicity. Stripped-down tracks like "Queen Bitch", "Kooks", and "Oh! You Pretty Things" are standouts. Great record.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

On my turntable: Elvis Costello & the Imposters: Momofuku

Released just this week, Elvis Costello's Momofuku (2008) is currently only available on big ol' fancy nancy super purty VINYL. The double LP comes with a free download of the full album (available starting May 1st), and also includes a cardboard stencil that says "MOMOFUKU". I love getting freebies inside LPs - it brings me back to the days when records frequently had goodies like posters, cutouts, or stickers tucked inside.

VEEP

The elections for the Executive Board of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (GAPSA) were held tonight.

I was elected Vice President for Student Affairs for the 08-09 school year.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

On my turntable: Fleetwood Mac - Behind the Mask

This here is my biggest prize from last Saturday's Record Store Day. Behind the Mask (1990) is one of those unexpected gems that I like to call "time capsule albums". This was a disc that I never actually purchased, but I listened to it a lot when I worked at the record store, and probably had a tape copy at some point. Then for whatever reason I moved on and never revisited the album until this past weekend when I found this gorgeous vinyl copy. The thing about time capsule albums is that the music, and any memories associated with it, is locked into a very specific period and gets unlocked when you hear the music again, no matter how many years later. I had probably not heard this album in 17 years, but as soon as I put the needle down I was back in the cassette room at the record store, and the apartment where I lived in the spring of 1990, and the Chevette I was driving at the time - anywhere I listened to this album, basically. It's a cool experience.

Behind the Mask was the first Fleetwood Mac album following the initial departure of Lindsey Buckingham, and the result is a very collaborative record by a band that sounds hungry to prove itself. 1987's Tango In The Night had some excellent singles, but also some lousy filler, mostly from Lindsey. In contrast, Behind the Mask is beautifully produced, and more organic sounding than its predecessor. Standout tracks: McVie's "Skies The Limit", "Save Me", and "Behind the Mask" (featuring Buckingham on guitar), Nicks' beautiful "The Second Time", and the album's standout (in my opinion), "Hard Feelings" by new songwriter/guitarist Billy Burnette.

Video:
"Save Me"
"Skies the Limit"
"In the Back of My Mind"

Sunday, April 20, 2008

4:11 PM

*SUN*

candidate

So I've been working on this research paper on student civic engagement. In doing this research I've been asking myself if I should find ways to get involved on campus. Professionally speaking, it's a good idea to have some type of out-of-classroom affiliations to put on my resume, but I know from past experience that getting involved on campus can also be quite gratifying.

Later last week an email went out to graduate and professional students at the U, encouraging us to get involved with the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (GAPSA). I looked into it a little, and after weighing the pros & cons I've decided to run for GAPSA Vice President for Student Affairs for the upcoming academic year. I'll find out this Wednesday if I get the position or not.

Go Gophers!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Look Through My Window

Saturday Morning in the City.

"Ken Lee"

From the Bulgarian version of American Idol:

On my turntable: The Beatles - Abbey Road

So Rolling Stone has an article (Beatles Remasters) that talks about The Beatles' CD catalog, which has not been remastered since the discs first started hitting the market in 1987. Interestingly, different vinyl pressings (mostly from the UK) have been coming out every couple of years. For example, this here version of Abbey Road (1969) was issued domestically a couple of years ago on Apple, and it sounds beeeeeautiful. I'm sure there are some fans who would disagree with me, since the LP was probably digitally remastered for vinyl, but I love the detail in this pressing. The bass response is amazing.

This LP is pretty available, from what I can tell, and it's reasonably priced (insound.com is selling it for $13.99). Capitol/Apple in the U.S. has only chosen to issue Abbey Road so far with this latest batch, although I would expect that the popularity of vinyl right now might encourage future re-issues.


Oh, and by the way... HAPPY RECORD STORE DAY, everyone!

Friday, April 18, 2008

On my turntable: Van Halen

Do you ever just sit and think about how great it would be if Van Halen were to match this album? I don't really think about it much, but as I listen to Van Halen (1978) right now I am reminded of how groundbreaking this album was (and still is, actually). Few bands manage create an original sound that is so uniquely theirs like Van Halen did with this first album.

Original Promo Videos:
"Runnin' with the Devil"
"Jamie's Cryin'"
"Eruption"/"You Really Got Me"

Thursday, April 17, 2008

"Diet Coke and a pizza, please"


Another great Mika track that I just purchased on 7" vinyl. The man definitely has a knack for turning his videos into 3-minute singalong celebrations:

keg talk

So the Pope finishes his talk at the White House, and Dumbya responds with "Thank you, your Holiness. Awesome speech." Awesome speech.
For godsakes, George. You're not at a kegger. How do you even respond to such a thing when you're the Pope? "Uh, thanks dude - kickass party! I'm so totally adding you to my Facebook." This clip is equal parts embarassing and hilarious. It would be more funny if this were not our president.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

On my turntable: Cometogether (soundtrack)

I've recently started collecting the Apple Records catalog, a) because it gives me something to do, b) because Apple was such a cool record label, and c) it appears to me that some of the Apple releases are pretty interesting. The soundtrack for the film Cometogether (1971), for example, sounds like a record that some kooky swingers would have stacked up on the hi-fi at one of those early 70's key parties. It's a far-out, happening scene, man. The album's musical theme is the groovy "Love is Blue", which was a big hit for Paul Mauriat in 1968. The LP features a cool version of the song by The Dells, called "I Can Sing A Rainbow/Love Is Blue".

I know very little about the actual film, although I understand Ringo Starr was one of the producers (which is probably why the soundtrack is on the Beatles' record label, I'm guess'n).

"Vinyl's Staying Power"

And the revolution has officially begun. Seems every week I'm seeing another article talking about vinyl's resurgence. Here's an article over at Minnesota Public Radio, featuring pics from one of my local vinyl haunts:

Go to article!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

11:22 pm

I bought this single yesterday after hearing the song in my iPod for the past two months. I can't stop listening to it...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Record Store Day: April 19, 2008

fresh

One of Simon's favorite activities is diving head-first into a fresh bag of hay. If we walk in the door with a bag of Timothy he's on the floor waiting, ears stretched out like airplane wings. You can't see Simon's expression in these pics, but trust me - he is in bun-nirvana. After this he'll likely take a dump and then sleep it off. 'Tis the life of a house rabbit.

11:11 am

Juno Soundtrack

Friday, April 11, 2008

So wrong.

So tonight I tuned into Miss USA 2008, since Donny and Marie are the hosts and you know how I like my Osmonds. HOLY CRAP - this show is so offensive on several levels (refer to pic of me being offended). Here's an idea: If all the evangelical yahoos in this country are so worried about familyvaluesthis and familyvaluesthat, maybe they could they focus for a moment on getting some clothes on these young ladies. For the swimsuit competition, each gal came out in a bikini and a skimpy fur wrap, did a little smile and strut for the camera, and flirtatiously allowed the dead animal to slide off her shoulder. What year is this anyway? 1952? Jesus.

Miss USA is touting these women as role models for young girls. If I had a young daughter I would be using this show as an example of what not to aspire to. This sort of blantant objectification of women is one of the reasons we have sexual assault, because when you turn someone into an object they are no longer human. This shit turns my stomach. Sadly, it represents what much of this country sees as "entertainment". Fart jokes are smarter than this crap.

Oh and Miss Texas just won.

On my turntable - Heartbeat of the 80's (k-tel)

"Without whispers, without warnings, without expectations, the 80's are here and the world feels more open to change. The active cities and blinking lights are overhwelming at times. You need a softer sound. It's the faster pace that creates a special appreciation for the tender moments.

As always, the music of the day reflects the mood, and you take comfort in the fact that an escape from it all is just a song away.

As you dim the lights and move closer to that special someone, experience the
Heartbeat of the 80's. Discover the essense --- together."
- from the liner notes of k-tel's Heartbeat of the 80's (1983)

Hmmm. So what exactly was the "essense" of the 80's? I must have missed that part of the decade.

Brilliant

This is one of the best online vids that I've seen, possibly ever. Keep an eye out for cool cameos:

Thursday, April 10, 2008

72 hours

This is where I'll be parked for much of the next three days, working on what will eventually be a pretty sizable research paper. Necessary supplies: various sources of caffeine, numerous printed articles, sharpened pencils, textbooks, and (not pictured) a positive attitude...

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

On my turntable: Footloose (Soundtrack)




Guilty pleasure.

Record Company Screw-Up #19

Blender magazine has listed the "20 Biggest Record Company Screw-Ups of All Time", which is a very satisfying read (thanks to Jim for sending it).

I am particulary enamored with number 19:


"#19 The industry kills the single—and begins its own slow demise: In the early ’80s, the music industry began to phase out vinyl singles in favor of cassettes and later, CDs. Then, since it costs the same to manufacture a CD single as a full album, they ditched the format almost altogether. But they forgot that singles were how fans got into the music-buying habit before they had enough money to spend on albums. The end result? Kids who expect music for free. “Greed to force consumers to buy an album [resulted] in the loss of an entire generation of record consumers,” says Billboard charts expert Joel Whitburn. “People who could only afford to buy their favorite hit of the week were told it wasn’t available as a single. Instead, they stopped going to record shops and turned their attention to illegally downloading songs."

It is satisfying to see the vinyl single experiencing its renewed popularity as a format (more so in the UK than in the US, but still oh so satisfying). It's as if record buyers and the 7" single itself are telling the industry what it can do with its inferior junk formats.

Long live vinyl!

...and for my spanish speaking friends, "¡desea el vinilo vivo!"

You heard me.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Simon burrito

So I walked into the kitchen a few minutes ago to find Simon sprawled out on the floor like he owned the place. I threw a dish towel over him and started giving him scratches. He totally settled in and began purring. I wrapped him up in the towel and he got all cozy.

What a bun.

Linda McCartney

Sir Paul has written a thoughtful piece about his Lady Linda in The Sunday Times, in recognition of this month being the ten year anniversary of Linda's death. Few people have managed to have the positive impact on animal rights that Linda did. Back when I became vegetarian, Linda's first cookbook helped to make the transition far more enjoyable (and easy). I always thought she was an inspirational and couragous woman.

If you've never seen it, check out Linda's award winning short for her song "Seaside Woman". It's pretty cute. Linda loved reggae, which is apparent in this track, performed by Wings under the guise of Suzy and the Red Stipes:

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Supplies

When I started being a full-time student again I decided that there needed to be an old-school cardboard pencil box in my study space. What's in my pencil box you ask?

Let's have a look-see...
Pencils
An unopened tube of Krazy Glue
Pencil sharpener
paper clips
red & blue Sharpies
Aveda Lip Saver (SPF 15)
U of M College of Education bookmark (go gophers)
Japanese salty snack treat (for when I need to get my munch on)
assorted business cards
staples
Wacky Packages
pens & highlighters
guitar picks
Scotch tape

Thank you for reading.

Sleepy McSleepersons

After four super productive hours of studying I am struggling to keep my eyes open. Must hit ze sack. G'nite all.

"Porpoise Song"

Talk about trippy. "Porpoise Song" was one of the coolest tracks The Monkees ever recorded. This video features footage from the band's 1968 movie "HEAD", which I highly recommend.

Friday, April 04, 2008

On my turntable: Wings at the Speed Of Sound

To McCartney's credit, Speed of Sound (1976) is a true WINGS record (as opposed to a McCartney solo LP). On this album Paul stepped back a bit, resuming his role as lead bass player, and one of five lead singers. Of the album's 11 tracks Paul sings just 6, while Denny takes the lead on 2, and Linda, Joe, and Jimmy get a song each. The results are mixed, but as a whole Speed of Sound is a satisfying record, at least until the middle of side 2, where it starts to fizzle out fast.

Speed of Sound spent seven weeks at the top of Billboard's Hot 100, and included two top 10 singles ("Let 'Em In" and the hugely successful "Silly Love Songs"). That same year Wings embarked on a monstrous world tour that would signify the peak of their career as a band.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

1:37 pm

Burton Hall
University of Minnesota
Go gophers.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

On my turntable: Beach Boys - Pet Sounds (stereo)

I was feeling the need for something sunshiney
to help me get past this April snow...

There are Beach Boys purists out there who consider the 1999 stereo mix of Pet Sounds to be heresy. I'm not one of those fans. I *love* the stereo mix of Pet Sounds. Of course I like the original mono version as well. It is legendary. I just don't understand why some fans can't love both. To each their own, I guess. Maybe they just never heard the stereo version on vinyl (no lie - it is astounding).

On my turntable: The Beatles - Revolver (U.S. version)

Somewhere around the ripe old age of 12 I'd figured out that some of the British versions of Beatles albums had extra songs on them. In some instances the make-up of the albums was drastically different (e.g Rubber Soul), but in the case of Revolver (1966), Capitol simply shaved off three songs, which to this day makes no kind of sense. Knowing this, as I did, and being an astute young record consumer with limited paper route monies, I sought out the British import of Revolver (finally purchasing it at Great American Music in Fridley, probably 1978). I never bothered to purchase the U.S. version until very recently.

In stark contrast to the awesome U.S. Rubber Soul, the U.S. Revolver comes off simply as an aborted Reader's Digest version of the U.K. album. You gotta wonder why Capitol chose three Lennon songs to get the ax; "I'm Only Sleeping", "And Your Bird Can Sing", and "Dr. Robert" were all left off of Revolver in the U.S., released instead on Yesterday...And Today (1966). Thus, John's contribution to the American LP is limited to two songs ("She Said She Said" and "Tomorrow Never Knows"), while George somehow manages three ("Taxman", "Love You To", "I Want To Tell You"). Go figure. Regardless, with fourteen songs or eleven, Revolver is an incredible album, and probably my favorite by the fabs.

Don't mind if I do

69%SOCIAL DRINKER

I actually think "Social Drinker" might
be a stretch. Nowadays I only drink maybe half a dozen times a year, since it doesn't agree with my body most of the time. Still, it's nice to imbibe on occasion. Oh wait - does communion count? If so then I'm a total booze hound.