Friday, June 29, 2012

Music Velocity

Time to catch up on Music In, which will be followed by a discussion of Music Velocity.

  • "Slipstream", Bonnie Raitt. Man, what is not to like. She has such a fabulous voice. So many completely catchy guitar riffs. It's interesting, she does a cover of "Right Down The Line", by Gerry Rafferty. You really wonder how someone of her stature decides to do a cover. Like on Prince's "Emancipation" albums, where he covered "Betcha By Golly Wow!", "La-La(Means I Love You)", "One Of Us", and "I Can't Make U Love Me" -- the 1st covers he ever did (of course, he was trying to get out of his Sony? contract). Notice the Bonnie Raitt tune there -- but somehow I don't think her version had "U" in the title. We will revisit the covers issue later. 4 stars for "Slipstream", major props for Ms. Raitt.
  • "Underwater Sunshine (or What We Did On Our Summer Vacation)", Counting Crows. My youngest told me she no longer listens to Counting Crows. They did do that Shrek song after all -- and I for one completely quit listening to Phil Collins once he started shilling for Disney. But, I think that CC still has some authenticity, and some excellent guitarists. However, sometimes the lead singer Adam Duritz, starts doing talking and other stuff which tells me he's bored. He needs to get that shit reined in.

    Back to the topic of covers. They cover "Amie", Pure Prairie League, and "You Ain't Going Nowhere", The Byrds. I still have them in the Southern Rock genre, those are OK there, but, not totally compelling picks for covers??? BTW, I have like 4 of the 1st 6 Byrds albums on vinyl. Ripping those to MP3 is definitely on my stack.

    3 stars, 4 stars for "Like Teenage Gravity" and "The Ballad of El Goodo" -- which has banjo, yes!

  • "Stars and Satellites", Trampled by Turtles. I think the genre for these guys, and Fleet Foxes, and Mumford and Sons, and OCMS, is "Power Folk". Enjoyable stuff, 3 stars.
  • "In The Time Of Gods", Dar Williams. I have a fair bit of her earlier stuff, and I saw her live at Woodsongs. Good tunes, no real standouts, 3 stars.
  • Butterfly Boucher, eponymous. I think my friend David gave me one of her early works. This is a nice effort. I thought maybe there would be 1-3 4 star tracks -- maybe the 1st track "5678!" -- but it wound up all being 3 stars.
  • Delbert McClinton, "Keeper Of The Flame" (1979) and "Live From Austin" (1989). Both of these reminded me of Paul Butterfield "East-West" -- I heard that, I'm going "Damn -- that's half of Patty Butcher's material". There are several songs off of both these that are permanent parts of the repertoires of good players that I've played with. 3 star, with several 4 stars for the ones I've enjoyed playing. "Standin' On Shakey Ground" (the last hit of The Temptations in 1975) and "Givin' It Up For Your Love" are in my book.
  • Norah Jones, "Little Broken Hearts". My first couple of listens to this were totally, "meh". But it really grew on me. Noteworthy is the creepy "Miriam", about murdering a female rival who messed with her man. I read an interview with her, she's saying "Oh, it was just a "murder somebody" song -- traditional" -- I don't know. Really comes across as some seriously bad feelings towards another female who f#cked her boyfriend. 4 stars.
  • The Lumineers, eponymous. Another Power Folk band. I think some of my young friends are totally into these guys. Nice tunes, no standouts. 3 stars.
  • Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, "Soul Time!". If I've said it once, I've said it 100 times, there's nothing as fun as playing in a funk band. Ms. Jones has played Lexington a couple times in the last few years and gotten rave reviews, and rightfully so. Man, does she open the can of funk. Totally kick-ass. 4 stars.
  • Yes, "Fly From Here". So Amazon (still looking for an alternative) has this as a $5 special. I go for it. It is totally excellent. Totally Yes. But I'm like, it is ~50% evolved from 1970 Yes. Shouldn't it be like 400% evolved from 1970? Very interesting listening. Yes is definitely added to the list to be burned from vinyl. 3 stars.
  • Ben Harper, "Diamonds On The Inside (2003). Another $5 Amazon special. I remember some of my kids liking Ben, and having a decent impression of him. Very nice collection of tunes, a variety of genres including reggae. 4 stars, except for a couple which are a little too raucous for my current years. Sad but true, heavy rockish doesn't work for me anymore. And Metal is Right Out.
  • Monica Lionheart, "Indian Summer". Holy crap, another great new Brooklyn artist! IMHO, Brooklyn is indeed the coolest city in the USA. And my daughter Erica is now the proud owner of an apartment in Park Slope 2 block west of the Civil War Victory monument. (What? The Civil War is over? The North won?) This album has an excellent variety of orchestration. The hook was planted deep in the 1st track, "Air And Sea", which has a very nice, reverbed pedal steel track as the main ambience. 4 stars.
  • John Mayer, "Born and Raised". He's a great guitarist, too bad he just seems to come across in his People Magazine personal life as such a dork. Maybe we'd work harder to ignore that, but then there's songs where he bemoans how hard his life as a multimillion celebrity is. Please. 3 stars.
  • Regina Spektor, "What We Saw From The Cheap Seats". I have the rest of her work and I like it, but somehow, I was expecting that somehow she should mature somewhat as time passed. In particular, sometimes she does this teenager cutesy stuff in her vocals which I would say is becoming inappropriate, as she is now 32 YO. But, I guess it is still distinctive. 3 stars.
So, onto the topic of Music Velocity. We just reviewed music acquired from 4/10/12 to 5/29/12. So that's 49 days, 7 weeks, in which I ingested 15 albums, 173 tracks. Let's do the math! 2 new albums per week, 3.5 new tracks per day.

It seems at times like it's too much. It's like there is a river of music flowing through my mind. I am notorious for not particularly remembering new recent events of import. Maybe it's because the stream of music washes it all away.

Most of us resonate most strongly with the music of our puberty. I continued to acquire music for 8-9 years after that, before I in quick order had 4 kids and forgot about music pretty much for 25 years. I restarted with music in maybe 1997. Since then, it has come to fill my mind. But, I'm wondering if, it's too much so. So I'm trying to slow down on new music acquisition. But, come on, a new Brooklyn band? I've gots to be there!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Big Government Sucks!

In response to someone in a comment thread on a Tim O'Reilly post on Romney's clueless comments on public servants.
Big government sucks!

But, the only other option is letting the .01% and the corporations run everything. Welcome back to feudal times! And with AU, and the government big or little completely for sale, we're practically there already.

I'm a 1%'er, the ultra-rich have been good to me. F#ck them. My dad was a union man, I don't forget where I came from.

Like all those role-players who talk about living in the middle ages and practicing fencing and jousting. I'm sure my forebears from those times were serfs, for whom touching a weapon was punishable by death. Keep this in historical perspective. We're still trying to get rid of kings, dukes, nobles and opposition-crushing hereditary wealth.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

True Life Nature Adventures

This morning I biked Keene Rd through Troy to Paul's Mill Rd. I came back in Delaney Ferry. 2h20m 30.2 miles. Overcast, a little breeze, not too hot.

On Keene Rd just before the Jessamine Co line, a mole ran into the road in front of me. At first I thought it was a leaf blowing, but it was a mole, around 2.5 inches long.

At the small pond (eutrophication experiment #1) on the left of Keene Rd just after Delaney Ferry splits off, a turtle was sunning itself on a rock in the middle of the pond. Not a snapper, shell maybe 10 inches long.

Just past Keene, I spooked a bunch of turkey buzzards feeding on a dead deer. 3-4 of them flew right in front of me, I'm like "Oh crap, I hope I don't hit one." They were full grown, 4-5 ft wingspan, probably weighed 20-30 pounds each. But I was on a slight uphill, probably doing below 10 mph, so I didn't get within 5 feet of one.

There was a man and a woman fishing in the creek that runs next to Paul's Mill Rd -- my map says that is the East Fork Clear Creek. Just past them were two swans swimming. I think the horse farm there on the left keeps the swans.

Yesterday I finished reading "The Drowned Cities", by Paolo Bacigalupi, on an ebook purchased from Carmichael's Book Store. He won some awards last year for "The Windup Girl". This one was short, 286 pages. Post-apocalyptic, or post global-warming ocean rise, survivor/refugee story. Child soldiers like in Africa now. Kind of an ensemble cast of characters, including a war machine "half-man", 400-500 pounds of human/tiger/dog/hyena/wolf hybrid bred for war -- a good character. The main "Drowned City" is Washington D.C. Strangely bothersome are images of warlords shelling the capitol building, etc. An OK read, 3 stars.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Oriole and Peacocks

Sounds like a fable, doesn't it?

I biked to Midway, back via Ft Springs. 34.5 miles, 2h50m. Beautiful morning, sunny and cool but windy.

I saw a baltimore oriole on US62 just south of Midway. Amazingly bright orange, he flew ahead of me down the road for a while.

I saw and heard the peacocks on Moores Mill Rd. I think they're at Elkview Farm, at the top of the hill up from the creek. No tail displays, but the chest feathers are such a brilliant iridescent blue. I was thinking, "This is the place with the peacocks, wonder if there are any ..." and then heard one call -- loud and distinctive, no mistaking it for anything else.

Finished my 2nd library book, "Surface Detail", by Iain M. Banks. It is a Culture novel, I think he's done about 6 or 7 of these. I love The Culture -- an advanced, "8th level", post-singularity galaxy-spanning pan-human civilization. Artificial intelligence is ubiquitous, in orbital and ship minds in particular. Wow, an extensive Wikipedia article -- "anarchist, socialist, and utopian". Most of the stories seem to deal with The Culture dealing with more primitive civilizations. My son loved the 2nd Culture novel "The Player of Games" (1988).

"Anarchist, socialist, and utopian" -- what's not to like? I mean seriously, how do conservatives see the future? Or are they too busy trying to reclaim the past to think about the future? Right now, this very moment, there is enough food to feed the entire world. But 20% of the world is starving because of politics. When are we going to quit letting the "haves" get away with saying "there's not enough to go around". They've been saying that for 6000 years, and it's a lie now more than ever.