Feb 22, 2009

I have had nothing to say


I've spent the last 3 days in bed with the flu, and haven't even been able to muster the strength to listen to music.    

This is not helped at all by the fact that twitter was all aflutter today with stories about potential breakthroughs in flu prevention/treatment


Uh great news but I don't need to hear it right now.

Anyway.. I'll be back after the oscars and/or when my fever breaks.

Feb 16, 2009

It's not all about the music

To clear up any misunderstandings about the purpose of this here thing.. (ok. to clear up my fear that if anyone reads this, they'll misunderstand it),  this is not, exclusively either a music or a knitting thing.  Its a regular all-purpose exercise in self indulgence,  in which I discuss both music and knitting on a semi-regular (heretofore highly irregular) basis.   Which means, I'll still talk about knitting should I do any. I'll still talk about yarn,  and I'll still talk about stuff other than music.  The music thing just gives me an incentive to post regularly.


I saw the movie Milk yesterday.  I liked the movie well enough.. but felt it was a little Oliver Stoney in its glorification of the title character.  I think Harvey Milk was an impressive person who accomplished impressive things.  The world ne
eded him, and the world could stand to learn about him now.  But I would have been happier seeing a more humanizing portrayal of him,  one in which  I appreciated his flaws in greater detail, and appreciated his strengths more because of it.  That said, I thought Sean Penn was beyond excellent in his portrayal, and the supportin
g cast was great as well.

I'm sort of amazed at how much I either never knew, or managed to forget about Harvey Milk.
For instance, I forgot that the mayor was assassinated at the same time he was. 

I either forgot,  or never knew, that the infamous Twinkie defense was connected to this case.  That was remembered as one of  the most outrageous legal defenses in history, and not much since has come along to challenge it (even the Robert Chambers "rough sex" defense paled).  Interestingly, if Snopes.com is to be believed, it is also something of an urban legend  It was not his defense,  but evidence of his defense.   Interesting.  
And just to keep this from being a picture-free post, here is a random shot from my computer.  These were the kitchen cabinets (and countertops) from my old house - picked by my mother in 1975 or so.  Kitchen cabinets for dummies.  Scary.

Feb 15, 2009

Its all in the attitude

So yesterday we were in the car, heading home from another sublime Trader Joe's run..  

We bought one of these for dinner tonight (don't scoff.. they're delicious)  and picked up a few other treats for later in the week, most of which we've already started eating.  

Car rides offer a great opportunity to explore music so I broke out the trusty iphone,  and fired up Shazam

Shazam, if you don't know it, is a music identifying program, that identifies songs from 10+ second clips.  This is a complete lifesaver for those of us who can't leave the car before we know what that song we just heard was.  I can't tell you how much fun I'm having with this thing.  If I didn't already love my iPhone, this would have been enough to make me fall in love with it all by itself.  It works great, even identifies cover versions reliably.

Now a week ago, when i started this mess, I spent 1/2 hour doing my first listen to the top 10 in the hot 100, and I made notes  on what i thought.  Most of which were very snotty.
This, for instance was from the first listen I gave to the top 10:

Lady GaGa Featuring Colby O'Donis - Just Dance
Just stop.. really.  I couldn't take more than 72 seconds before I had to turn it off.

So yesterday we're riding in the car, and a song comes on and I say  "what is this? I like it?",  and i turn on the tag feature in Shazam, point it at the speaker,  and 10 second later, I learn it is.. surprise...  "Just Dance".  I thought it was energetic and fun.

This is not the first time in my life, that not knowing what something was improved my opinion of it.  (For about a decade, I liked Sinead O'Connor songs only when I didn't know they were her.)  and it suggests that my 'open mind for music' needs a little work.  It also suggests from here on out that i should try and do blind listens and see what I really think.

The next song, on the same station, was Prince - "When Doves Cry".  Purple Rain was absolutley HUGE in my senior year of  high school (a very very long time ago), and I've always liked it.    So i'm listening to the song, and making fun of the lyrics (which are silly in places), and I realized that if I had applied my current level of scrutiny to music, back when I was younger, I never would have liked anything.    So I'm going to try and take a more detached listening approach, and see how I react to stuff before I start digging into it, and see if i like things more.

Anyway, I'm off to do some household maintenance, and then going to see "Milk" with a few friends, and then home to eat Tofurkey.   Don't knock it till you've tried it.

Feb 11, 2009

I'm not anti hip-hop. Or anti-rap for that matter

If anything I'm pre-disposed to like it.

However, I have to give this # 5 on the R & B/Hip-Hop charts an enthusiastic UGH.

Jim Jones & Ron Browz Featuring Juelz Santana
Pop Champagne

Very silly lyrics. (I think i would have enjoyed this a lot more had I not been reading the lyrics when listening to it, sometimes ignorance really is bliss)
and, not on key enough for my taste.

Oh.. and I'm not a fan of bodily functions in pop culture, Maybe its just me, but I think there are some things that are better left to the imagination. I was ok with the Archie Bunker toilet flush, but beyond that its just TMI. I haven't been a fan of the recent trend of showing people vomiting on camera (I'm not sure if the Sopranos, or SuperSize Me was the starter of this trend, but it seems rampant these days)... and I really could have done without the suggestion of this guy "spitting up"his beverage.

Feb 9, 2009

My first success, and the Grammys

First.. a disclaimer: I don't have the music vocabulary that a great many of my friends do. I love music, and I'm an enthusiastic consumer, but I am not good at coming up with intelligent-sounding analyses of songs, fraught with insightful comparisons to past music.  

I just know what stuff sounds like to me... which sometimes makes perfect sense to others.. ( as in the case of  Aerosmith's  Living on the Edge   having the same intro as The Kinks' Have Another Drink) And sometimes it makes sense only to me..  -   The White Stripes Hotel Yorba completely reminded me of The Kinks'  Muswell Hillbilly  (Wow.. two Kinks references and I'm not even that much of a fan)

I bring this up  because my er.. reviews? (if you can call them that).. while sometimes elaborate,  will more often than not be  something like "gee.. I liked this song".  

Which brings us to the first thing I liked..  Glasvegas - Flowers and Football Tops
This came off the CMJ top 20 album chart (its on one of those albums),  and I REALLY liked it.
Granted, the CMJ chart is an easier sell for me, than say Billboard's Hot 100, but I figured I deserved a break from the more mainstream stuff after the 11 hours of Grammy's last night (more on that below)

I had a passing familiarity with Glasvegas because their cover of  Be My Baby made it into the last Coverville podcast.  

Flowers and Football Tops  sounds like (to me) what would happen if the Jesus and Mary Chain did a U2 vocal impersonation and set it to a late 50s pop sound.   It is way too long,  I really didn't need nearly 7 minutes of it, but the good news is that if you picked out any 3 1/2 minutes of it, at any point in the song,  I would have liked it.     Between  Be My Baby and this.. I think I am well on my way to liking these guys.

Now, here are my few Grammy related points
  1. Sugarland blew me away.   I had no expectation that I would like them, and their performance was riveting.  
  2. I liked Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift together. I thought the two unusual voices melded very well.  I was surprised, but by no means alone in this, it was everyone's guilty pleasure of the night.
  3. I don't care what M.I.A. looked like in her  non-maternity wear, I love her!
  4. The only thing T.I. has done so far that I've liked is the Chevy commercial from a year or two back.
  5. Estelle was awesome.
  6. I liked Lil Wayne.  Particularly on the New Orlean's thing.

Feb 8, 2009

What the kids are listening to these days..

I've had a desire, of late to revive my blog.  However, its been, to date, a  knitting blog, and its pretty hard to revive it when I haven't been knitting at all.  (I do stare longingly at the yarn all around my house and plan to knit, but thusfar, nuthin. )So I've been keeping my eyes (and mind) open for another reason to write.. and today was finally given my answer.

Tonight is the Grammy awards.  I LOVE award shows and have been silently practicing acceptance speeches for all sorts of awards since I was a little kid.   As a music fan, the Grammys have always been a favorite.   

When I was younger, I swore I'd never become one of those adults who always liked the music of my youth better than the current stuff, and that when I grew up, I'd always be relatively on top of contemporary music.   Neither of those promises have worked out too well.     When I read over the list of Grammy nominees, I realized  that A.  I've become a geezer music snob  and b. I had no idea what half this stuff was.  I mean I'd heard of it,  but If I had to identify it, I probably couldn't, and I was predisposed to dislike it.  

And so I made a (very late? Chinese New Year perhaps)  New Years resolution.  I will spend the next 12 months being "on top" of contemporary music.  

I will do this by familiarizing myself with the top 10 of (at least) one singles chart each of the following 
Billboard chart categories

1. Hot/Pop (right now the Mainstream top 40 chart seems like a good start but so does the hot 100)
2. R & B/Hip Hop/Rap (chart still being decided, I may need to do two to really cover this category)
3. Country
4. Rock  (this may require multiple charts too)
5. and the top 20 from the CMJ radio 200 chart 

And the rules go like this:
a. I'm not going to overtax myself. I just need to listen to every one of the 60 songs or so at least once in a 2 week period, 
b. listen with an open mind
c. report here (at least) once a week on anything I particularly like or don't.
d. I will solicit, and listen to any suggestion given to me for something contemporary that i MUST listen to.

And thats it.  I'll see how I do.     If anyone ends up reading this at any point,  your input would be welcomed.