Sunday, August 30, 2009

7 x 7

I discovered tonight that I had seven spare 45 adapter thingies lying around, so I proceeded to pick seven records into which to snap them.

Then I played 'em:

1:04 PM

listening to 45s

Friday, August 28, 2009

1984

This time of year evokes interesting feelings for me. It starts with the aisles and bins full of school supplies at Target; A new school year is commencing soon, and with it, the promise of a fresh start. Being in education as long as I have, this is a feeling I don't expect to outgrow.

Earlier today I was thinking of 1984, a year which brought me some profound life transitions. It was the year I graduated high school and moved to a new city, attended a new school, and reluctantly attempted to create a new life. I have my memories of this time, a scant few of them captured in photos, but the greatest artifact I have from that heady and exciting time is the music. I've no doubt that music is one of the most effective tools for opening the gates of memory -- It's one reason why I frequently document my life in terms of its relation to a particular song, album, or band. Any of you who also do this know that it can be a very powerful medium.

So today I worked through a stack of LP's from 1984 as I labored around the house. The music made me appreciate how naive, innocent, and scared I was at 18. My own experience tells me that revisiting our past through music allows us the opportunity to see periods in our lives through a new lens, with the gift of hindsight, and perhaps some compassion and understanding.

Yet further evidence, I believe, of the healing power of music.

5:17 AM

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

On my turntable: Ravi Shankar's Music Festival From India

Ravi Shankar is one of those artists that I like to listen to when I'm really feeling the need to cool out. Music from India tends to help me feel more centered and less anxious.

I bought Ravi Shankar's Music Festival From India (1976) a few years ago. The record was produced by George Harrison and released on his Dark Horse label (which at the time was distributed by A&M). It has become one of my favorites of the genre.

1:19 AM

I took a five hour nap this evening,
which means I'll be up for a while.

A good time for cleaning, I reckon.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Look through my window

laundry day

5ive fancy b-sides

  1. "Stomp" - George Clinton/Parliament Funkadelic
  2. "This Painting" - Psycho Sisters
  3. "Make It All So Real" - Steve Forbert
  4. "Shock to the System" - Rod Stewart
  5. "When I Was Cruel" - Elvis Costello

'tis the season

Every year, at precisely this time of August, I start pulling out my Beach Boys records. I can't help it - it's like birds flying south or bears hibernating. I just do it.

The reason for this, I'm sure, is that The Beach Boys used to play at the MN State Fair practically every summer. It was one of my yearly rituals, beginning with my first BBs concert in 1983. Oddly enough, the last time I saw The Beach Boys was not at the fair, but at the Mankato Civic Center in 1995, not long before Carl Wilson started his decline from cancer (see setlist from show, below left).

I miss The Beach Boys, especially as the State Fair approaches. The current touring version of the band (which I call the Mike Love and Bruce Johnston dog & pony show) does not interest me. I've never seen the Mike & Bruce show, partly out of fear that it would make me sad for what is no longer possible. I'm also a little afraid that Mike Love has extended his dreadful "Car Medley" and doubled the number of "Beach Boys Cheerleaders" for his "Be True To Your School" routine. *Yawn*. I'd much rather wait for the next time Brian Wilson comes to town.

So with August drawing to a close, tonight I instinctively began listening to my Beach Boys LP's again. I pulled out Smiley Smile and Pet Sounds, and relaxed as the familiar end-of-the-summer feeling washed over me. I felt grateful that, even though I'm somewhat sad over the passing of an era, I am fortunate to have experienced some of it while it was still around.

Friday, August 21, 2009

It's all about the glamour...

Simon willingly posed for these high-glam portraits this morning.
"Beautiful, Simon. Now give us that pouty look.""Perfect! Now make love to the camera, baby. Yes!"

On my turntable: The Beatles - Something New

When I had first blogged about this LP two years ago this week (I guess the planets just line up for this album around this time!), I mentioned that Something New (1964) has been one of my least-played Beatles LPs. One reason for this could be that side one of my original copy was pressed slightly off-center, which annoys the piss out of me. Last month I found a 70's Capitol orange-label copy (shown here), in practically Near Mint condition and still in its original shrink, for $7. So now I get to listen without gritting my teeth, and it's a much more enjoyable experience :).

Thursday, August 20, 2009

3:51 PM

New stylus. *Sigh of satisfaction & contentment*

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

11:18 PM

I accidentally broke the stylus for my turntable tonight. I was planning to replace it next month anyway, but it still sucks! I have resorted to using "emergency backup stylus", which is sort of like wearing those glasses with the masking tape in the middle because you broke your other frames. Eh - at least I had backup stylus on hand!

On my turntable: The Beach Boys - Summer Days

Until tonight, this album was the final frontier for me as a Beach Boys collector. I've owned it on CD since the early 90's, but never found a vinyl copy that was cheap enough and/or pretty enough to make me part with my cash. For $3.98 this copy was worth every cent.

This is the DUOPHONIC (fake stereo) version of Summer Days (and summer nights!!)(1965), which I admit is a different listening experience. In case you've never heard any of Capitol's DUOPHONIC records, the sound is really just electronically re-channeled mono, with the majority of the low frequencies on one side, and most of the highs on the other. In some cases it sounds OK, but in all cases the mono versions sound better than DUOPHONIC, in my opinion.

I still intend on purchasing the restored & reissued Summer Days when it comes out on November 3rd (presumably in Brian Wilson's original mono form), as part of the From the Capitol Vaults vinyl series. It's exciting that, as a result of this series, Beach Boys fans can easily get the following LPs on shiny new 180 gram vinyl:
Pet Sounds (9/2/08)
Endless Summer (10/28/08)
Sunflower (6/16/09)
Surf's Up (6/16/09)
Today! (11/3/09)
Summer Days (and summer nights!!) (11/3/09)

9:13 AM

Took this picture for posterity before packing it all up.
My office is moving to another building on campus next week.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

9:32 PM

comfy cozy.

5ive fancy b-sides

  1. "We Got The Beat" - Go-Go's
  2. "(nothing but) Flowers (promo radio edit)" - Talking Heads
  3. "Bullroarer" - Midnight Oil
  4. "Standing in the Way of Control (live on Radio 1)" - MIKA
  5. "Down the Road (live)" - Bee Gees

Friday, August 14, 2009

today's pics

Today was one of the hottest days of the summer. I snapped some shots to take advantage of the great afternoon sunlight.

5ive fancy b-sides

More b-sides to help me through some of today's much needed housework:
  1. "My Lisa" - Bay City Rollers
  2. "Beatnik Beach" - Go-Go's
  3. "Airliner" - R.E.M.
  4. "Can't Get Next To You" - Billy Squire
  5. "Walls Scream" - Rex Daisy

Product Plug: Market Pantry green tea

When I started exercising a few weeks back, I also made the decision to reduce my caffeine consumption. In the academic business of the past year I relied way too heavily on the stuff, and it was starting to wreak havoc on my nerves. My approach to the new school year is hopefully a more holistic one.

So I bought this green tea mix at Target last night, for something to try with my new water bottle. I gotta say this stuff is mother f'n delicious. It's still got caffeine in it, but it's got to be a bit more healthy than my previous 4 to 6 cans of diet soda per day. I highly recommend.

More from the Capitol Vaults

The next batch of vinyl reissues from the Capitol Vaults have been announced, and once again, Beach Boys fans have reason to celebrate. On November 3rd, Capitol will release The Beach Boys Today! (1965) and Summer Days (and Summer Nights!!) (1965), the two LPs that preceded the legendary Pet Sounds (1966) album.

* * *

November 3, 2009: “FROM THE CAPITOL VAULTS”

The Band / Cahoots
The Band / Stage Fright
The Beach Boys / Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!)
David Bowie / Aladdin Sane
David Bowie / Diamond Dogs
David Bowie / Young Americans
Faust / Faust IV
Frank Sinatra / Come Dance With Me!
Frank Sinatra / Come Fly With Me
Frank Sinatra / In The Wee Small Hours

* * *
www.fromthecapitolvaults.com

5ive fancy b-sides

Tonight as I was getting ready for bed (which can include a handful of rituals, so sometimes it takes a while) I started grabbing random 45's and listening to the b-sides. Thought I'd share them here, and maybe test this out as an occasional blog feature.

Tonight's fancy b-sides, selected at random:
  1. "I Never Wanted a Rich Man" - Belinda Carlisle
  2. "Never Too Young To Smoke" - Superchunk
  3. "Out On the Highway (acoustic version)" - Kula Shaker
  4. "Sing for the Common Man" - Dolly Parton
  5. "Help Me!" (mono promo) - Marcy Levy & Robin Gibb

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

8:38 AM

Bunnydaddy & bun.

I f'ing love this picture.
Note the Chuck Jones-era Looney Tunes expression on Leo's face.
Example at right -->



(pic borrowed from Looney Tunes Appreciation)

2:05 AM

Beach Party is on TV.
When I was 18/19 I was obsessed with this cheeseball movie.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

2:05 PM

our front yard

On my turntable: Get The Knack

It's challenging for me to accept that it's been THIRTY YEARS this month since The Knack dominated the airwaves with "My Sharona". If you were alive in 1979 you got The Knack -- "Sharona" was the biggest hit of the year, and out of nowhere the band was the biggest on the planet, which made some people wonder if the fame was well deserved. The Knack refused interviews, which made them appear pompous, and an eventual backlash killed the momentum.

Yesterday I scored this dazzling copy of Get The Knack, still in its original shrink, for $2.99. Thirty years after I bought it the first time around I enjoy this LP just as much, although at a louder volume than in '79 (reasons including a much better turntable and the absence of parents yelling "turn that racket down"). Get The Knack remains as good as it ever was, and if you've never heard it I suggest you go get it now.

Monday, August 10, 2009

"Live and Let Die"

This has to be one of the greatest singles of all time. George Martin's orchestral arrangement is incredible, and the melody and catchiness of the track is trademark McCartney. A little trivia: the song's middle break ("what does it matter to ya...") was written by Linda McCartney, who was a big fan of reggae music. Here's a clip of Wings performing the song on the 1973 James Paul McCartney television special:

Sunday, August 09, 2009

11:46 PM

As you can see, Austin was fine for the first pic, but he was annoyed by the flash so he got up for a big yawn and stretch (as seen in pic two). I love yawning bunny pics because it looks like they're either screaming, singing, or on the attack. In this case it looks like Austin's saying "HEYYY! Enough with the touching and the petting already!!", as he performs an exit - stage left.

Click on the image for an enlarged version of Austin's fierce jaws of death.