Tag Archives: Music

Good Sounding Music

Who knows if I’ll ever get around to doing those twelve 2017 movie reviews… I did see Phantasm in the theatre; it may have been on Blu-ray, which was disenchanting to say the least. Thusly, I’m currently down on the notion of the theatre, so in lieu of cinema I wanted to talk about music. I hopped on Amazon music this evening and downloaded MP3s of a couple albums that I’d bought in physical formats. One album was Lana Del Ray’s Ultraviolence. I really liked her Honeymoon, but dear lord… the songs on Ultraviolence aren’t bad, but the production on the album actually hurts my ears. It doesn’t matter if I’m listening to it on CD or MP3; it sounds dreadful.

Conversely, David Bowie – my fu**ing god – I picked up two albums recently, Blackstar and Hunky Dory. The production on both is impecable. I know the former was on everyone’s best of list, but bear in mind this is coming from a respectful fan, not an avid fan (my wife is an avid fan; there’s a difference); Blackstar is like listening to the album Radiohead has been trying to record (A Moon Shaped Pool is pretty good, but it’s no Blackstar). However, where Blackstar sounds amazing, it is Hunky Dory that floors me; the album is 45 years old. Sure, it might not be Boston by Boston, but to my ears the production sounds fantastic. Point is that if you are looking to invest in some great sounding music, I can’t recommend the Bowie albums enough.

P.S. Bowie should have also done more novelty songs. This song is on neither album, just YT it.

Falco’s Greatest Hits

Falco's Greatest Hits

Parental Advisory – This review was written at 2:55 AM. And while the album was being listened to after sitting on the shelf for two months.

A) Classic 80’s techno pop backed by incomprehensible German lyrics.

Examples – Amadeus – I always thought he was singing “Rock me I’m a danish” – as in pastry.

“Der Komissar” – I had an advantage on this one. I had the 45 and copied it on cassette when the record first came out. Later that year, I was living with Guido who, like me, is Italian and German, but being from Europe, spoke both languages, as well as English (ok, close enough on English). He said the lyrics were, “Don’t look over your shoulder, the commissioner is sneaking along the street.” Somehow I think something got altered in translation.

“Vienna Calling” – See A.

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It came from Chook – Africa Edition

The boys sent me a tape of some prime Chook-era material while I was in Africa. I want to thank them, because it really helped me get through my time there. From my mosquito-infested bed, I listened to the tapes on a cheap walkman with cheap African batteries and imagined myself being back home with the crew, staying up until 5am to make these “creations.” As my 10-year anniversary of shipping off to Africa is coming up soon, I recently digitized, edited and segmented the whole first tape.

There are 3 basic sections: Chook Radio Drama, Larry Sings the Hits, and Mike’s Improv. I’ll post lengths and some comments for the good ones, so you know what you’re getting into.

Chook Radio Drama

Larry and Jim at Home, 11:45
Larry and Lester Break into Orange Julius, 2:37
Larry and Jim visit DC, 11:18
History Lesson from Larry Snow, 2:21 Has some Clinton-era commentary. Trippy to think of how long ago that was.
The Story of Curtis Rufus as read by Mr. Snow, 1:41
At the Office, 0:48
Chook Origins: Larry Snow, 0:42
Please Hold, 2:34 This one is a must-listen.
Making Calls, 3:08 And, you probably want to avoid this one.
Chook News Reel, 5:39 A bunch of Chook radio news broadcasts, chronicling events of the company and of Larry Snow’s misadventures.

There’s also a track of Joe and Mike cold-calling certain media and entertainment organizations as Chook employees to try to make business deals with them. I left that off the site because of possible legality issues, but anyone who wants that can get it from me directly.

Larry Sings the Hits

I’m a Lonely Man, 1:41
Shake Yer Rump, 0:39
Pennywhistle of Doom, 0:26
Beem Doodah Beem Doodah Hoombah Heem, 1:29
Steady Truckin’, 0:39
Mr. Nutcracker, 0:22 This is one of my faves.

Mike’s Improv

No Fudgies, 0:45
It’s a Party, 1:58
Canada, 2:28
Pennywhistle Rap, 0:54
Goblins Eating Noblins, 0:29
Mike Deedlee, 4:11 Random noises from Mike. Tim has a cameo at 3:00.

Torture Porn Disco – Demo

Que pedo? My sentiments exactly. Hence this tune.

While I’ve labeled this “stab” (bahahahahwhwwa) at music “demo,” in all likelihood there will never be another version of it. The lyrics are probably also totally indecipherable because of my poor recording methods. I can’t imagine there being a great outcry for the lyrics to this song, but in the event there is, they go something like this:

I was dropping mad amounts of ecstasy
hugs, drugs and moonbows to infinity
moving my rump to the laser freak beat
jumping up and down moving both my feet

when all the sudden i saw this disturbing sight
when i saw by the glow stick light
a dude with something in his nose
and i swear it was a toe

and all the sudden it dawned on me
i was at the torture porn disco

The lyrics don’t go exactly like that. I wrote them in a draft email while I was singing them — but at some point during the recording of them just went off on tangents small and large.

And Tim – if you feel so moved, and want to create a specific streaming MP3 directory that would be great. Because there wasn’t one, and I wanted the QT playback options, I posted this in the video directory.

Interview with Alexander Louis Grass

We came across the artist Alexander Louis Grass posting on Craigslist1. I conducted the following interview with him.

What are your influences?

That’s too hard, man. That’s too hard. You can’t ask a question like that. Well, when I first started, I had the rock ‘n’ roll and acid jazz base that most people did. Jimi Hendrix, Jaco Pastorius, Black Sabbath, Mahavishnu Orchestra, 10 Years After.  Black Sabbath was a huge influence on me, and from there I really delved into heavy metal. I’m not really headed in that direction at all any more (metal, that is), but I’m very thankful I put the time and effort into learning the licks and the history. It’s important. All that minor key stuff… the staccato and legato and subtle hints of classical music… that’s all very important in developing a sense of dynamics. Which is why I’m a huge fan of Tool, as most people with any sense are. Randy Rhoades and Cliff Burton left an indelible imprint on my brain. Especially Cliff Burton. No other bassist has influenced the way I learned about music the way that he did. Les Claypool is great, too… although I was always a fan of his more commercial stuff. I really loved the Primus album produced by Tom Morello. I love Iommi’s more obscure stuff from Sabbath… like “Tequila Sunrise” or “Changes.” I mean, I couldn’t really tell you ALL of my influences, but there is definitely a source. Middle eastern music means a lot to me as well. I lived in Israel for a while, and the different modes they use are just so unconventional. It’s so boring to stay in that little pentatonic box… especially when you’re writing. My influences are too great to name. I just try and pay attention to good songs and great musicians. I try to imagine their thought process in coming up with what they did. I try to put myself in their shoes. Otherwise, if I hear a cool sound, I’ll put it in my memory bank to use later on.

Alexander Louis Grass

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  1. Alexander Louis Grass post on Craigslist was flagged and removed. 

The Hold Steady, Art Brut and the 1990s – 11.20.07, The 9:30 Club, Washington DC and 11.21.07, Terminal Five, NYC

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The Hold Steady, Art Brut and the 1990s – 11.20.07, The 9:30 Club, Washington DC and 11.21.07, Terminal Five, NYC

The 1990s have just completed their set and thrown their set list (written on a paper plate) into the crowd of Washington DC’s The 9:30 Club. A group of three girls directly in front of me have caught the plate and are currently giggling over their newly acquired treasure.

I’m given cause to wonder if the girls are even there to see the 1990s but rather to see the better known acts Art Brut and/or The Hold Steady instead. It is certain that for most of the audience the latter is the case.

It is no matter because the 1990s are rock solid. Singer/guitarist Jackie McKeown even manages to recover from having his fly down for the entire first song. Where many of the 1990s songs on their debut album, Cookies, sounded poppy, in their live incarnations, the songs take on a grittier, garage-rock sound. Even weaker songs like “Weed” prove to be compelling when played live. McKeown’s solo style, the centerpiece in the live rendition of “Weed”, is organic and dirty, perfectly suited to the band’s music. Drummer Michael McGaughrin’s strained backing vocals add additional richness to the songs. Frequently running out of breath, McGaughrin jokes with the audience after most every song. At one point McKeown remarks that the band must truly be a mesmerizing live act to a man directly in front of him who is talking on his cell phone. McKeown asks the man who he is talking to, and he replies “Taylor”. McKeown is sure not to forget Taylor, and when the band plays “You’re Supposed To Be My Friend”, he cleverly makes allusion to the cell-phone conversation in the lyrics. The standout song of the night, though, is “Situation”, which the band introduces as their last number. Before starting the song, they modify the statement by adding that the crowd needn’t worry because the song is a long one. Played live, “Situation” evokes an underlying darkness only hinted at on the album.

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