Monday, October 31, 2011

Sunday, October 30, 2011

On my turntable: Beach Boys - The SMiLE Sessions

Just pics for now...too engaged to write much. I picked this up tonight at 7:18 (according to my receipt) at one of my local shops. I don't think I've ever driven home from the record store so damn fast!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Artsy Mcfartyson

So if you follow my Fancy Blog you've likely noticed a sharp decline in the number of posts at this site. That's because I got an iPad over the summer and started a tumblr site to easily post all the photos I was suddenly taking.

Some four months later and I'm still in love with tumblr as well as instagram. I've also begun using various apps with my ipad to manipulate images and create "art".

As a former Studio Art major, I love art that uses and/or manipulates existing images to create something new or different. As an undergrad I used to do this with xerox machines, and later with the editing of video and music.

This picture of The Monkees (above), taken from the back of their 1969 Instant Replay LP, is an example of what I've been working on lately. It's just a black & white photo that I colorized myself, but I like how it turned out. If I have any particular favorites in the future I may post them here, otherwise you can always see what I'm coming up with over at the tumblr site.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Lemonheads @ First Avenue, 10.22.2011

Before the show, photo by Ellen
The first time I saw The Lemonheads in concert was at First Avenue in 1990, prior to the release of their iconic masterpiece It's A Shame About Ray (1992). Since then I have seen varying lineups of the band at different venues around town, but last night's show was uniquely special because they performed Ray in its entirety, from start to finish. 

Like many members of 'Generation X', I experienced some of the trademark disillusionment and lack of direction often identified with this particular demographic, especially after graduating from college (one year prior to the release of It's A Shame About Ray). Judging from the looks of the crowd at last night's show, I wasn't the only young white male in '92 who felt a strong personal connection with this album.
Rockin Stroll!
It's a Shame About Ray has the notable distinction of being directly associated with a generation, something I imagine most artists would kill to have but very few achieve. It's a cultural phenomenon that just happens, which is why I think so few albums obtain such status. In fact, one of the things I found so interesting about last night was witnessing all of these people from my age group, eyes glued on Evan Dando, singing along to every song as if it were Sgt. Pepper or Thriller, or even Nevermind.

For some reason the night's scheduled opening act, The Shining Twins, did not arrive in time to take the stage (according to one of the bartenders the group partied pretty heartily after the previous night's stint in Chicago), so the first live sound we heard was the opening riff and heart-stopping launch into "Rockin' Stroll", setting off the first twelve songs of the night.

The Lemonheads' triumphant return to 1st Avenue
After Ray's closing song, "Frank Mills" (a cover from the 60's musical Hair), Evan played a seemingly random set of songs that included six from '93's Come On Feel The Lemonheads. The singer appeared very relaxed, asking for requests from the audience. My friend Ellen and I both commented on how the ageless Dando seemed to really be enjoying himself, even smiling a few times throughout the night. Towards the end of the set the other members of the band returned for a few more songs.

10.22.2011 setlist:
  • All twelve songs from It's a Shame About Ray
  • "The Outdoor Type"
  • "Frying Pan" (Dando solo tune from '93)
  • "Why Do You Do This To Yourself" (another Dando solo song, from the Baby I'm Bored album)
  • "It's About Time"
  • "Being Around"
  • "Divan"
  • "Different Drum" (early Lemonheads cover of the Linda Ronstadt hit written by Monkee Nesmith)
  • "Down About It"
  • "Hospital"
  • "No Backbone"
  • "Tenderfoot"
  • "Big Gay Heart"
  • "Into Your Arms"
  • "The Great Big No"
  • "Style"
After "Style", the very tardy Shining Twins arrived on stage to sing one song, and then the show was suddenly over.  The venue's video screen began its slow descent (which always means "show's over folks - goodnite!"), and as the house lights went up the room was filled with stunned whatthe? faces. Sorry, no encore. It was the first time I'd ever seen an opening act perform the night's closing song!  An awkward and odd ending to what was otherwise a pretty killer, and certainly memorable show. 

Oh - and those Shining Twins had best be counting their blessings today because if Ellen had gotten within arm's reach of either of them she would have clocked 'em.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The power of TRUTH

Our elderly next door neighbor passed away last Friday. Even though she was up there in years it was still a shock to hear that she had died.

Leo and I had known Eunice (not her real name, but she sorta looked like a Eunice) since 2002, when we bought our house. Although I never established any sort of close friendship with her, I certainly cared for her and appreciated having her as a neighbor. Leo on the other hand, was Eunice's buddy. He understood her and you could tell that she was terribly fond of him.

Yesterday Leo stopped next door to chat with Eunice's daughter, who is currently staying in her mother's home. She shared that when Leo and I first moved in Eunice called her daughter to say that a gay couple had bought the house next door, and there was no way she could live next door to gays. She was adamant that she simply had to move.

Of course Leo and I never knew this. Eunice's daughter told Leo how much her mom grew to care for both of us, and how she thought we were two of the best people you could ever meet. To me, this speaks volumes to the importance of living one's truth and being one's authentic self. Leo and I, by simply being who we are with this 80+ year old conservative Christian woman, managed to change her heart without even knowing it. In her final wishes Eunice requested that Leo be one of the pallbearers at her funeral.

Thank you Eunice (not your real name, I know) for watching our house, for being our neighbor, and for sharing yourself with us. Thank you for welcoming us into the neighborhood and into your heart.

We will miss you.

Treehouse Records

Sunday, October 16, 2011

On my turntable: Pink Floyd - Relics


Buck, Berry, Mills, Stipe
I am feeling a bit melancholy this morning about last month's breakup of R.E.M. (which from this point on will be typed without the periods because it's cumbersome!).

I reluctantly welcomed REM into my musicsphere in 1988 after sensing that it wasn't the band for which I'd been harboring disdain but their "college radio" fans. You know the smartie-smarts who believed that their love for REM made them smartier-than-thou. In retrospect I'm sure that there were far fewer of these individuals than those that existed in my judgmental imagination. Still, it's hard to dispute that when Document (1987) came out everybody seemed to suddenly love, adore, and darn-near worship REM, and I just didn't get it. Nor did I want to get it.

But then Green (1988) happened, preceded briefly by Eponymous (1988). I started borrowing and taping REM LPs from my friends at the record store, remaining cautious not to hop on any bandwagon. I attended Green's tour stop in the Twin Cities, which was followed by a bowling afterparty attended by the band (Bob Mould was also there - another smarty that I wouldn't appreciate for years to come). When I tried to get Michael Stipe to autograph my Eponymous CD he didn't look me in the eye as he muttered "I don't do autographs - I'll shake your hand later". Actually, the first mutter resembled more of a mumble, so I said "what?", after which he muttered more clearly. As Stipe continued right on past me I stood dumbfounded, feeling like an idiot, and thinking "I didn't ask to shake yer stinkin' hand, I asked for your au-to-graph. On this here Eponymous CD. JERK!". (I heard that the rest of the band arrived after catching part of a Robyn Hitchcock show at First Avenue, and that they were far more accommodating with fans).

Though the bowling alley incident left me feeling a bit bruised and shaken I found I just couldn't quit REM. And I never did. For the next 22 years I anticipated and bought every REM release (with the exception of In Time (2003) and Live At the Olympia (2009), which I'll buy when I find vinyl copies within my budget). Throughout the 90's REM's evolution was dazzling, from the Beach Boys folk of Out of Time (1991), the in-your-face grit of Monster (1994), to the frazzled & fractured beauty of 1998's Up. Each turn of my own life's evolution seemed accompanied by a new REM record, conveniently providing a soundtrack into adulthood.

And now they're suddenly gone. I've found that mourning the breakup is a mixed bag of plusses and minuses: Yes they have announced their disbandment, but at least it was an amicable split. While we can no longer look forward to new REM music, just look at the legacy of recorded output they've left us. Time marches on (as Olbermann says), and as corny as it feels to say this I feel lucky for the opportunity to have marched, waving my REM flag for the past 2+ decades. I will always have the records, ticket stubs, and memories connected to their vast, incredible catalog of awesome.

To Berry, Buck, Mills, and Stipe I say "Thank You" for the journey.

With love and gratitude,
Jeff A.

Morning sun

she is bright, no?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Bangles @ The Fine Line, Mpls 10.11.11

On the men's room wall.
So tonight I saw my third Bangles show. They were so good tonight, especially on the songs from their new disc, Sweetheart of the Sun (2011).

The doors opened at 7:00, and the opening act, Half Demon Doll, started around 7:45. They were quite good and very young!  It was cool that The Bangles gave this opening spot to a local band, especially one that didn't suck. 

Kicking things off with "Anna Lee"
The Bangles started around 9:45, I think. I had been standing for quite a while by this point because I just happened to have a totally mint spot right next to the stage, probably six feet from Vicki (who was wearing some kickass boots). There were a couple of times when I swear Vicki looked directly at me -- I was pretty hard to miss in my new Bangles shirt and a cheshire cat grin on my face. 

Bangles Setlist, 10.11.2011:
  • Anna Lee (sweetheart of the sun)
  • Hazy Shade of Winter
  • Some Dreams Come True
  • Manic Monday
  • I'll Never Be Through With You
  • Ball and Chain
  • Rain Song
  • If She Knew What She Wants
  • Restless
  • Live
  • September Gurls (dedicated to Alex Chilton)
  • He's Got a Secret
  • Under a Cloud
  • Going Down to Liverpool
  • Eternal Flame
  • Get the Girl/Outside Chance
  • Open My Eyes
  • Ride the Ride
  • In Your Room
  • Hero Takes A Fall
At this point in the night I decided to leave. My back had been feeling the strain from standing for so long. From what I've read about recent shows I probably missed an encore including the awesome new tune "Sweet and Tender Romance" and of course, "Walk Like an Egyptian". 

The Bangles, thirty years strong, are at the top of their game. If you have a chance to see them on this tour I suggest you go, or at least buy their new CD. In my opinion it's their best work yet.

Debbi, Vicki, Susanna: The Bangles

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Top 10 Fave Bangles songs

Posted earlier today at my tumblr page:

In recognition of the Bangles’ return to Minneapolis tonight, I’ve assembled my personal Top 10 Bangles tunes. This was harder than I expected, but I think I got it right. It’s a pretty bitchin’ top ten, in my opinion:
  1. Anna Lee (sweetheart of the sun) (2011)
  2. Tear Off Your Own Head (2003)
  3. Hazy Shade of Winter (1987)
  4. Some Dreams Come True (1988)
  5. The Real World (1982)
  6. Light My Way (2006)
  7. Get the Girl (1999)
  8. Following (1986)
  9. Tell Me (1984)
  10. In Your Room (1988)