Category Archives: posts by aaron
As I am not Reading or Posting, please know that I think of you all often, and I hope you’re doing well.
Over months, during my daily 05:00 a.m. walk, I’ve done much reflecting on what’s happened to cause my prolonged disappearance from these pages. I am generally slower to myself, but this post contains the ongoing thinking, thus far. It has taken me weeks to compile this short-ish post of thoughts in a text file on my desktop. There is a Takeaway summation at the bottom, if that’s all you need, but the rest might be informative (or not) as well:
First off, it’s nothing serious. No illness being hidden, no dire straits in any way (although I do listen to Dire Straits, natch!). Simply, we are busy, with only one night per week not at some scheduled thing. This is all good, family comes first, always, but this leaves little enough energy or time for me. I am rarely at the computer for more than a couple of minutes. No time to blog.
So make time, you say. Well…
1) I can’t seem to do anything by half (I’m a high energy guy). At peak, I was posting daily, and reading and commenting on 43 blogs (I counted). A day off was unthinkable. I truly wanted to contribute to the Community. It added up to a lot of content and time. I wore myself down.
2) Worse, what I was posting, I was forcing. I’m certain you could tell. You could generally sum up all of my KMA posts (over 2000 of them) with one word: WAHOO!. There is little art in that. But more, and this on me: it always became a Thing with rules, schedules, and lists, and that added to the wear down. How many series did I start that fizzled, or how many times did I change up the format – Sunday Service, 80 word challenge, etc… I never learned that when it becomes work, it loses its fun. As radiohead said it best, “You do it to yourself, you do, and that’s what really hurts.” Oh brother, do I know it.
1) I’m still listening to music. But at peak blogging, it was with far less pleasure, because I was mentally writing my post about it in real time. I wasn’t able to just relax and listen, or even simply have my thoughts about it. I was writing my post for it, in my head. Over time, that’s exhausting. So, you ask, why not just write down those purer thoughts without added pressure? Well, as I said above, I can’t seem to do that yet, though I am listening just for the simple pleasure of listening and it’s beautiful.
2) Also, how I listen to music has changed. As noted above, I am rarely at the computer for sustained time anymore. But I’m onscreen long enough to fire up the iTunes and listen as I do other things away from it. Some days I don’t even sit down in front of it, and am considering building a standing desk so I can just have a brief work station. Anyway, I can’t remember the last time I actually put a CD in the player, or dropped the needle on an LP.
3) Over the past two years, in an effort to create more of the mental clarity that comes from less clutter, I have done two culls of the piles here. I work in a place where I can buy music very, very cheaply, so my impulse control is ridiculously low when it comes to buying things on spec. Nothing by half, right? This led to piles of stuff, carted home in dribs and drabs, that I’d play once and likely not ever play again. NB: I did not clear out anything gifted to me by generous KMA benefactors (thank you all so much!), but only stuff I’ve lugged home myself, over time. As you can see by these numbers (below), if I can unload this many items without regret, without even touching the core collection, I had way too much:
CD (717, 686) = 1403
DVD (127, 88) = 215
CS (577, 0) = 577
LP (366, 189) = 555
TOTALS: (1787, 963) = 2750 items
And looking around at the shelves here now, the removal of so many items still hasn’t seemed to even make an appreciable dent. I could probably do a third cull and be just fine. I know.
Life time is finite, and none of us are drawing on an infinite well of youth. Priorities always win. This time away, like water always finding its level, is allowing my life to level out into what it is now and I am letting it do so. That is family and work, as always, and whatever free time remains (before I fall over, exhausted at the end of every day which starts at 04:50 a.m., even on weekends) has many, many demands upon it. Responsibly, I should not return to blogging until it can be done in some manageable way. That’s on me.
I’m sure there will be further thinking on the matter, and if I get enough of value, I will post it here in future, as well. I’d love to know your thoughts on any of this, in the comments. You are friends, after all and everything, and I do miss you.
I truly do hope you’re all well. I love this community, you are a great group of people. Thanks for everything, and for Reading.
Holy crap 3000 posts. I just had to get in here and say quick, what year is it? We started this blog in October, 2006. You know the story already. But 3000 posts that’s a lot. I mean logically it had to happen eventually because math, and so here we are.
Thank you all for Reading over the years, and for putting up with my recent (almost) disappearance, and for being excellent friends and a stand-up community and excellent writers all.
And because the universe is random, here is Henry Rollins with Cyndi Lauper from November 2019, covering Black Flag’s mighty Rise Above. Because we love you 3000.
Like the title says, Happy New Year to all of you! James and I hope 2020 brings you much love and happiness and connection, energy and passion and new adventures and giant piles of albums with which to fill your ears!
I am certain that James will continue to bring his excellent writing flair to the KMA this year. No idea what 2020 will bring from me, though hopefully some content here and there at some point. I am in the midst of so many other things unrelated to blogging, these days, so we’ll have to see!
We didn’t party last night (we’re old fogeys). Our boy hasn’t been feeling the best (though he’s on the mend), so we just stayed in and played cards. We did see midnight but it was bed straight afterwards.
And this morning, I woke with a song clearly in my head, blaring like a klaxon and still echoing there now, hours later. Perhaps its message is a sign. Or maybe it’s just my memory of the 80s coughing up a hairball. I’d choose the former over the latter.
But a slow glowing dream
That your fear seems to hide
Deep inside your mind
Silent tears full of pride
In a world made of steel
Made of stone
Close my eyes, feel the rhythm
Take a hold of my heart
I can have it all
Now I’m dancing for my life
And make it happen
Pictures come alive
You can dance right through your life
Close my eyes, I am rhythm
In a flash
It takes hold of my heart
I can have it all
Now I’m dancing for my life
And make it happen
Pictures come alive
You can dance right through your life
What a feeling
(I am music now)
(I am rhythm now)
Pictures come alive
You can dance right through your life
(I can really have it all)
What a feeling
(Pictures come alive when I call)
I can have it all
(I can really have it all)
Have it all
(Pictures come alive when I call)
(Call, call, call, call)
(Take your passion)
(What a feeling)
What a feeling
(Take your passion)
Welcome to my 14th annual Best Of The Year post!
Turns out, according to my iTunes, that I only bought 9 new release albums from 2019. True, I haven’t been buying anywhere near as much, overall, but apparently what I did buy was mostly older releases.
* Interesting Fact: Fully 1/3 of my 2019 purchases were from Guided By Voices. In this way, we know that life is very good, indeed.
UPDATE: And if you saw my last post, you’ll know I was also gifted the latest Opeth (In Cauda Venenum) for Christmas, so I mention this only after the neat and tidy GBV math (above). And even though I love Opeth, and this is a great record, I’d already chosen my Best Album and I just haven’t heard the Opeth enough (I’ve only owned it for 3 days, at the time of this posting) to really get it into my blood.
When the list is short like this, it’s easy to remember what they all sounded like, my thoughts on them. And I can say without equivocation that I loved the hell out of all of these releases, for various and good reasons.
So now I gotta choose? Well, this year I’m just gonna choose the one I’ve played the most, the one most steeped into my brain. It’ll probably be high up on a lot of other peoples’ lists, too.
AARON’S BEST ALBUM OF 2019:
Tool – Fear Inoculum
It had to happen. I mean, just through 13 years’-worth of anticipation alone, they could have put out an album of the four of them farting and laughing for an hour and it still might’ve made the list. But no, this is a strong Tool album, full of moments of weirdness, moments of yeah we’ve heard that before (but it’s still solid), and moments of sheer brilliant genius and raw power that just keep me coming back again and again. Add in the fun packaging on this limited edition set (with the LCD packaging, et al.) and it’s a natural. Few bands draw as much love and hate as this band has/does, even fewer care as little about any of that as these guys do, bent as they are on their own twisted missions. Straight up, I loved it.
NB: Leonard Cohen has won my Best Album award four times since I started this annual project in 2006, more than any other winner (list of all previous winners below). And this year’s posthumous release was definitely in the running, especially considering we don’t know how many more Leonard releases (of new material) we’ll even have, going forward. I may change my mind in future, but here we are. You should still buy the Leonard, though, it’s awesome. RIP Leonard.
AARON’S BEST BOXED SET OF 2019:
Sloan – Navy Blues
ALL THE OTHER KICK-ASS 2019 GOODNESS (In No Particular Order) (9):
Mounties – Heavy Meta
Leonard Cohen – Thanks For The Dance
Hawksley Workman – Median Age Wasteland
Guided By Voices – Zeppelin Over China
Guided By Voices – Warp And Woof
Guided By Voices – Sweating The Plague
Flight Of The Conchords – Live In London
Baroness – Gold & Grey
Opeth – In Cauda Venenum
PREVIOUS YEARS’ WINNERS:
2018 Sloan – 12
2017 Iron Maiden – The Book Of Souls: Live Chapter (Deluxe Edition)
2016 Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker / Metallica – Hardwired… To Self-Destruct (tie)
2015 Iron Maiden – The Book Of Souls
2014 Leonard Cohen – Popular Problems / Sloan – Commonwealth (tie)
2013 Black Sabbath – 13
2012 Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas
2011 Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton – Play The Blues: Live From Jazz At The Lincoln Center
2010 Jack Johnson – To The Sea
2009 Leonard Cohen – Live In London
2008 Metallica – Death Magnetic
2007 Carolyn Mark – Nothing Is Free / Immaculate Machine – Fables (tie)
2006 Sloan – Never Hear The End Of It
Thanks for Reading! All the very very best to everyone in 2020. Truly!
Hey everyone, all the best and merry merry happy happy from James and Aaron this 2019 season!
I know content has fallen off around here from my (Aaron)’s end, but James is still providing the quality content we’ve loved for years and that’s the special sauce. No updates on when/if I’ll get back to this regularly, who knows, but it’s Christmas and I thought you might wanna see the music-related goodies that found their way to me this year… and oh, there was goodness!
Of course, there were other things… I mean, I got a new Tilley hat. My old one (from 1992, I think) is finally beaten enough to be a beach-only hat. So now I can wear this new one for 27 years before I need another new one! See you in 2046, Tilley! Best hats ever. And I got a boxed set of DVDs of 5 Kurosawa films I haven’t ever seen, and that’s solid gold. I love Kurosawa. A few other goodies too, like a subscription to my hockey magazine, and new snowpants for whenever I need to get out the snowblower (not even once this year, yet, which is unnerving and weird)…
Anyway, you wanna see the music-y goodness…
This book always intrigued me, and I see there are other later editions too (which would update things), but this seems to be the first one and it covers a huge swath of the incredible output of this amazing (I love them dearly) collective of people’s music. I think of this as the paperback edition of the gbvdb.com site.
This new Opeth album (In Cauda Venenum) was on my wishlist, as I own all their other studio albums (I think) and the completist in me was getting twitchy… It’s 2 CDs, the first all in Swedish, the second all in English. Can’t wait to dig in and see what they’re up to this time around!
This book has been on my wishlist a while, and this year it came to me as a gift! I’ll be curious to see what all is in here, how it differs from the Never-Ending Present book, and so on. Hip Forever! We miss you dearly, Gord.
Yup, this is the double silver-LPs edition. I don’t want to pick a favourite Hip album (that’s like choosing a favourite child, you just don’t do it), but this one ranks very very highly for me, in their discography. This set is glorious all around!
So yeah, it’s been a beautiful Christmas here, lots of family visiting time, and some bittersweet as it’s the first Christmas without my lovely wife’s Dad. But there was so much amazing food, and a fog so thick it caused zero visibility advisories and we couldn’t get home last night and had to stay over and I had to miss work today. The kids are at the right age to be amazing though it all, and they were truely wired for sound and loving every minute of it, so all in all it’s been wonderful.
I hope Santa was good to you, and you were able to get together with family and friends and make the most of it all, safe and warm and loved and happy.
PS. I am making my annual Best Of 2019 list, and will try to get that posted before the 31st.
Hey there if you’re still out there, this is just to let you know I’m still out here. I haven’t blogged much in a long while, it’s just how it has gone. I still think of you folks a lot, though, so you know. I truly do hope you’re well.
Here’s some stuff from the past while…
Last GBV From Vinyl Diner
When we lived in Saskatoon, I always checked out Vinyl Diner on Broadway (Hi Stu!), and it was my go-to source for new GBV releases. I loved hanging out, chatting. Stu is straight up awesome. I used to say “I need something new, recommend something!” and he was able to parse that into a) something he knew I’d like, and b) something he had on hand. A great example is the mighty Nasty On EP called Lester Bangs. I still love that one.
Anyway, we left Saskatoon in 2005, and for the past 14 years, I have mail-ordered my new GBV releases from Stu because he is still my source and I love to support his shoppe. Well, Stu is retiring and the shoppe is being taken over by a couple of new guys. I received Sweating The Plague in the mail recently and it’s my last-ever Stu GBV album. End of an era. Thank you Stu. You are the absolute best!
Possibly The Last Big Smoke Run Of 2019
My Dad and I went to Toronto on Sunday, just to do our usual wander. We invited Mike but he had prior plans to be in London, which is geographically in the opposite direction from our goal. Alas. Still, we wanted to get in one more run to the city before winter makes the roads not worth the hassle. Turned out to be a beautiful sunny day, hovering around 0C and lovely.
Now, I’ve recently bought Charlotte (my kick-ass Classic Vibe Strat – see last post) and the Sloan Navy Blues boxed set (which I still haven’t opened, if you can imagine… I really should do, as I want the MP3s for the car!), so I really probably shouldn’t have even gone into record stores. But I seem physically incapable of going to the city without being magnetically pulled into them. It happens. But I tried to be good. I really did. And of course, I still found a few wee things to tide me over…
Hall Ranaldo Hooler – Oasis Of Whispers: Seems to be a jazz album, but with Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo? I’m in.
Wynton Marsalis Quartet – The Magic Hour: Bought because Wynton.
Leon Bridges – Good Thing: I have the LP but I saw the CD and thought why not, since I have the other one… ah, collector brain…
Elevator Through – Original Music From The Motion Picture “the such”: I see Rick White, I add to collection.
True Love Waits – Christopher O’Riley Plays Radiohead: all those cool tunes in piano versions? Yeah I could dig that.
Ronnie Wood – Anthology: The Essential Crossexion: I do love Ronnie and this is a sweet-looking set. I had James check pricing and I got it for a deal.
Tool – Fear Inoculum (Limited Edition): I really didn’t need to buy this. Brother Criag gave me his download code, so I’ve heard it. But the collector in me wanted the cool set with the screen etc. And when Tool says Limited, they mean it. I left Salival one time, and when I went back they were long gone and now they’re stupid-expensive. So I panicked and bought this.
Mike Goldsmith – Discord: The Story Of Noise: I’ve always been sensitive to noise, and it seems as I age it’s getting stronger. This book’s flyleaf intrigued (see below). Looking forward to reading!
Noise is a widely recognized and ever-increasing problem–and a growing health concern–in the modern world. In Discord, Mike Goldsmith looks at the science and history of the long battle between people and noise–a battle that has changed our lives and molded our societies. He investigates how increasing noise levels relate to human progress, from the clatter of wheels on cobbles to the sound of heavy machinery; explains how our scientific understanding of sound and hearing has developed; and looks at noise in nature, including the remarkable ways in which some animals, such as shrimps, use noise as a weapon or to catch prey. Goldsmith also examines the importance of managing noise levels and developing suitable “soundscapes” in industry, schools, or public spaces. In addition, the book shows that noise, in the sense of dissonance, can also be used positively: composers have employed it from Baroque music to Rock feedback; medicine harnesses it to shatter kidney stones and treat cancer; and even the military uses it in (real and rumored) weapons. Goldsmith concludes by turning to the future, discussing ways in which new science and new ideas may change the way the world will sound. (pullled from Amazon dot com).
The rest is just living a busy life. I’m still at the same job, the kids are now 10 and 8 and going in lots of different directions and thriving. I’ve been cheering for the Leafs and, let’s face it, this year that’s become a really tough gig. Winter is upon us, and all reports say it should be good one, lots of snow. Cool, I love the snow. And it’s OK, we’ll hole up with my tunes and guitars and be just fine… As for this site, I suppose time just fills in with different things, when you let it. I do truly miss reading all of your blogs. As for writing, well, sporadic will have to do. I’m honestly not at the computer much, anymore. Take care, Dear Readers, and stay warm.
PS Just putting it out there that I have, of late, been absolutely hooked on listening to Opeth’s 2003 album Damnation. It is anomalous in their discography (not one single vocal growl to be found!) and that’s OK too. It’s just so utterly beautiful and haunting and memorable. I’ve been listening carefully and it truly seems to be a complete, perfect album. Get you some!
Herein lies a tale.
I’ve told you about my other women, by which I mean my guitars (it’s what my lovely wife calls them). I love them all equally, and play whenever I can.
Now, you know I love my Squier Classic Vibe 50s Telecaster. She’s a beaut. Plays like butter, and she twangs and sustains like all get out. That was me happy.
Still, for years, in the back of my mind I’ve also eyed the Classic Vibe 50 Stratocaster (2-colour burst with maple neck).
However, because I’m silly, I never pulled the trigger. I stalked it and watched as the price would jump to double as stock would deplete and secondary sellers looked to capitalize.
Turns out, the Classic Vibe series, as I knew it, was ending after years of awesome. My 50s Strat was out of stock and unlikely to return. They had other series, but it wasn’t the same.
Digging around, I found one left in Ontario, through Long & McQuade. I ordered it. It arrived very quickly, but it was the incorrect guitar! They’d sent a Classic Vibe 60s Strat in 3-colour burst with rosewood neck. It’d had the sales tag of my guitar, but attached to the wrong guitar!
The dude at L&M found one left in Charlottetown, PEI and ordered it in. Staff there said it had a slight blemish in the finish but we could have a look when it got in, decide then. It took two weeks to arrive.
This time it was the right guitar, and I watched as it was removed from a Gretsch box (used for shipping only!), and it’s glorious. It called to me the minute I laid eyes on it. I played it in-store, on the exact same amp as I have at home, and it’s so sweet. It’s exactly what you want from a Strat and, not unlike the Tele, plays like the $2000 Fender Strat for a fraction of the price. And, like the Tele, it’s true to 50s spec.* This series is so damn perfect.
The blemish in the finish is a truly wee little nick on the underside of the body. Obviously someone bonked it while trying it out in the store. Totally liveable, not even visible, not a dealbreaker. Otherwise, there’s not a mark on her. The guy at L&M even broke out the guitar polish and showed her some love before I played it.
I’ve named her Charlotte.
- Alder body with gloss polyester finish
- 1-Piece Maple, Modern C Shape neck, 9.5 in radius maple fingerboard and 21 medium jumbo frets
- 3 Custom Vintage Style Single-Coil Strat Pickups with Staggered, AlNiCo 3 Magnet Pole Pieces and Aged White Covers
- Vintage Style Synchronized Tremolo. Nut Width: 1.650 inches(42 mm)
- Master volume with 2 tone controls with 5 position pickup selector switch
“MUSIC HEALS US. It can provide solace in difficult times, and help us celebrate moments of joy. The transformative power of music is at the heart of this compilation of intimate recollections by Canadians from every province and territory. In these remarkable stories, Canadians from all walks of life – including world-renowned celebrities from Sarah McLachlan and Chris Hadfield to Madeleine Thien and Theo Fleury – share how music changed their lives. The Awesome Music Project Canada: Songs of Hope and Happiness is a beautifully illustrated tribute to the music that comforts us, moves us, and lifts our spirits. Rounding out the book are descriptions of the neurological research confirming that music is good for us. It improves our mental, emotional, and physical health, wards off depression, and even delays dementia. Put simply: music makes us feel good. Written for the music lover in all of us, proceeds from The Awesome Music Project Canada will go to music and mental health research, starting with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Canada’s largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital and one of the world’s leading research centres.”
My lovely wife got me this gorgeous hardcover coffee table-sized book as an anniversary gift. She’s a therapist, so it was natural for her to support the Center for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH). But she knew, even more so, that the stories in this book would please me. In fact, would probably only confirm what I, and all of us, already know. As our KMA tagline read ages ago, Music Is The Lifeblood.
I’ve really enjoyed just picking the book up and flipping randomly to a page, reading a different short piece whenever I have a minute or two. Even early days of owning it, I’ve loved the Bob Egan story, and I learned that Theo Fleury made a music album. I’m sure this book will teach me so much more. Brilliant concept and execution.
Here are pics of the contents pages (I’ve got a lot of reading to do!):
Yes! James and Aaron met up in Taranna this past weekend!
James and his lovely wife Mika came for a visit to the Big Smoke! We hadn’t met Mika before this, which is absolute bad form on our part, but then again, they started dating after we left SK so… Anyway, she rawks (Hi Mika!). Their visit was for several reasons, which will surely be told in an upcoming post about a concert, right James? Naturally, my lovely wife and I took the weekend and met up with them for an afternoon of their trip! So awesome.
We walked around in the chaos of downtown, dodged several colourful and unwell characters, and checked Chinatown for tea and gummie candies. I bought a bottle of super-weird green tea that I hate-drank because I wasn’t wasting $2.50 by throwing it out. I don’t know what it was, but that shit wasn’t right. All who tried it mocked it, and mocked me for finishing it. Anyway, random non-English-labelled questionable Chinatown beverages (and narrowly-avoided gastrointestinal distress) aside, we also checked out a pop-up store full of old-school wrestling figures and unopened packs of old 80s trading cards. Total trip down memory lane. Then we had yummy delicious Thai food at Bangkok Garden, and then checked out the Ripley’s Aquarium.
All in all, an excellent visit that flew past waaaay too quickly, probably owing to the anticipation beforehand and because hanging with these two brilliant folks makes hours seem like minutes. We can only hope it isn’t nearly quite so long before we meet up with them again. Maybe this time my lovely wife and I will descend on SK! Haven’t been back there since 2005 (also bad form), so who knows.
Rock on, James and Mika! Thanks for visiting us in sunny ON! All is well in the Universe when the KMA Brothers reunite!
Hey folks, I’m still out here, and I’m still listening. This post is to give a massive shout-out to Rhino for their incredible work in compiling this 5CD set of Pogues material. Here’s the pull:
Over 100 tracks across 5 CDs spanning three decades of The Pogues. Includes demos, rehearsal recordings, BBC sessions, live tracks, outtakes and other rarities. Also includes recordings with Kirsty MacColl, Steve Earle and Joe Strummer.
I know. I KNOW! It’s a ton of Pogues goodness. Brilliant to hear all of this stuff.
Here’s the back jacket, as I do not have the time to type all of this out. Click on the shite photie to make it bigger (and therefore legible):
For the Labour Day weekend, Dad and I hit up Taranna yesterday. We took the streetcar to the CNE, where it was so busy and packed and loud that it actually wasn’t all that fun. I didn’t buy anything, and you couldn’t get near much of anything, so I just ate my $20 philly cheesesteak (and a Coke) and spent the afternoon pushing my way through the crowds.
We hung out in Chinatown, and I got some more new kinds of green tea to try. Dad also gave me some green tea egg rolls, cookies, and Pocky Sticks that he’d found. There was a theme. Anyway, after all, we didn’t get back to our town until almost midnight, so it was a long day with a lot of driving and a lot of crowds, but it was full and interesting and (ultimately) fun!
I did get to do BMV and Sonic Boom, though only quickly. It felt like skim-scanning rather than digging in, but getting to be there at all was still better than not. Sonic Boom was completely sold out of the new Tool album. I wanted to get it so badly and.. no. It’s sold out here in my town too, and I didn’t see it on Amazon, either. Ah well. Another time.
So you’re probably curious about what a cursory dig in those shoppes might turn up for me, so here ya go:
Eva Cassidy – Somewhere. I love Eva’s albums, and I buy up what I don’t have, sight-unseen.
Robert Johnson – Devil On My Trail: The Complete Songbook. I didn’t need this, but, you know…
Subtle – For Hero, For Fool. I remembered this being a crazy record, wanted to try it again.
Tragically Hip – Evolution Advances. A neat promo disc containing the single for Vaccination Scar, and snippets of Summer’s Killing Us, Heaven’s A Better Place Today, Gus: The Polar bear From New York, and Mean Streak. Never seen this before, likely never see it again, so it had to come home.
radiohead – Com Lag. I’ve never owned this Japanese-only EP. Now I do!
Wallflowers – Rebel, Sweetheart. I like these guys, never heard this one so I’m excited.
Dictators – Go Girl Crazy. I blame Geoff. This had to come home!
U2 – The Best Of 1980-1990, and The Best Of 1990-2000. These 2cd sets have what you wanna hear, and second discs full of b-sides. I don’t wanna own all the albums, but this was a good way to get all the singles in a fell swoop.
Rezillos – Can’t Stand The Rezillos: The (Almost) Complete Rezillos. I blame ROLLINS. He played these Scottish punkers on his show, and I wanted to hear more.
Viletones – A Taste Of Honey. Because awesome.
Undertones – Teenage Kicks: The Very Best Of. I was curious if anything more than the one song I know is any good…
Jimmy Lee Williams – Hoot Your Belly. I am a simple man. I see Fat Possum blues records, I buy them. They’re always awesome.
Dinner Is Ruined – Love Songs From The Lubitorium. A great left field Canuck supergroup fun times.
Isis – Temporal. I grab up Isis releases whenever I see ones I need, and this 2cd/1dvd made my day!
Jake Bugg – Jake Bugg. I already own this on CD and LP, but this one was signed so I rescued it.
Steve Winwood – Chronicles. I was in the mood for some of this, and this hits set covered a lot of what I had in my head. Excellent.
Counting Crows – Hard Candy. Haven’t heard this one before, so I’ll be curious to try it out…
And that was a super-full day, covering a huge swath of the city. I felt like I’d done my 10,000 steps for the week all in one day!
In honour of the new Tool album (dropped today – I will be buying my copy in Taranna tomorrow), here are two pics from the interwubs that pleased me:
You may recall, back in April our son was gifted a cool wee stereo for his 10th birthday. Well, recently, it was our daughter’s 8th birthday and she got the exact same stereo!
Early this morning, when we were the only two awake yet, she sat on my lap in front of the the ol’ Mac, picking out songs she wanted on her first disc of MP3s. I was proud of her choices in Iron Maiden, AC/DC, and CCR. She went into unfamiliar turf for me, though, choosing Maroon 5, Pink, and a song called Old Town Road. I hadn’t heard it before, but since it’s been playing on repeat in her room all afternoon, I can definitely say I’ve heard it now.
I’m chuffed that both our kids like music (I’ve made it my on-going mission since before they were born… yes, I played music at my lovely wife’s belly bump), and I’m all for supporting whatever they want to listen to, so long as it’s not too violent or language-filled, at this point. They’re still in that cute stage where someone in a movie will say ‘hell’ or ‘damn’ and they’ll look at us to see if it was OK haha. We just tell them that other people use bad words, and you’re gonna hear them, from time to time. It’s just a better choice to not use them yourself. And they nod sagely and think about the times Daddy hits his head on something and how bad words might turn the air blue for a few seconds… Anyway.
So, now both kids have the machinery to blast their own tunes and they’re thrilled. It’s a rite of passage, and I couldn’t be happier that they’re both into being excited about music. They both have it in them and, as ol’ John Lee said, it’s got to come out. These stereos will really help open up the world for them. And, since their bedrooms share a common wall between them, we’re thankful both kids also have decent headphones.
Now I just gotta get Old Town Road out of my head. Time to crank some Stooges…
Driving our son home from the soccer (football/fitba’*) complex the other night, the radio was on in the car.
On comes Rush’s ‘Freewill.’ Of course, I’m drumming along on the steering wheel (because it is a physical impossibility to not drum on the steering wheel like you’re Neil Peart while listening to Rush) and from the seat beside me I hear, sotto voce, “You can choose a ready guide / In some celestial voice / If you choose not to decide / You still have made a choice / You can choose from phantom fears / And kindness that can kill / I will choose a path that’s clear / I will choose free will…”
Yes! Not only was my boy singing along, he knew all the words! I sang along too and he liked that – Father/Son moments!
It warmed my heart. Proud of my boy!
From Urban Dictionary:
1. (m) the beautiful game
2. (f) the stupid game involving 22 grown men (and 3 officials of dubious parentage and eyesight) kicking around a lump of leather around a field, often sparking irrational behaviour, bad language and blind devotion to a team or player, to the detriment of normal marital relations.
(see Fitba’ Widow)
Thought I’d share what I’ve picked up lately, so you know what’s been in my ears. Given the time available, this sort of post makes some sense these days. Give ‘er…
AC/DC – Powerage
I own most (if not all) the AC/DC studio albums. In oversiiiiiight, I didn’t have this one, so this fixes that.
Bon Scott with Fraternity – Livestock
Still haven’t played this one. Mike says it’s not so great, but it’s been a while since he heard it so maybe his opinion would be different now. I’m curious to try it out!
Wynton Marsalis, Yo-Yo Ma, and Cho-Liang Lin – Haydn: Three Favourite Concertos
Bought for the Marsalis, I’ll stay for the Haydn. Yes.
Wynton Marsalis – In Gabriel’s Garden
Wynton does Bach, Purcell, Torelli, Mouret, Clarke, Dandrieu, Charpentier and Stanley, with the English Chamber Orchestra and Anthony Newman. Yes please!
Diana Krall – Live In Paris
A cool tracklist, and this copy looks like she autographed it. Neat-o!
Fleetwood Mac – 50 Years: Don’t Stop
Bought this out of curiosity. Didn’t really need it as I already have the Greatest Hits. Also, this is the 1CD version, and it turns out there is a 3CD version which would be a whole lot better. Anyway.
Various – Punk City Rockers (4CD)
Cool-looking comp with a pile of old-school punkers. Bands include UK Subs, Angelic Upstarts, Anti Nowhere League, Vibrators, Exploited, Gonads, 999, Cockney Rejects, Lurkers, Defects, Infa Riot, Stiff Little Fingers, The Business, Adicts, Ruts, Chelsea, Adverts, Slaughter & The Dogs, among many others. Cool!
Ryan Adams – 1989
I buy any of his stuff whenever I see it cheap. Bought this one despite his cover of Bad Blood. I think I’ve just heard it too many times on the piped-in music at work. Blah. There’s surely other, better songs here.
Counting Crows – This Desert Life
I spend most of my time with their first two records, so I never heard this one. Now I can!
Tin Machine – Tin Machine & Tin Machine – Tin Machine II
Always wanted these David Bowie project albums. Can’t wait to dig in!
King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard – Murder Of The Universe
Bought on spec. I mean, with a band name and an album title combo like that, this is has to be the most epic stuff possible, right?
Otep – Sevas Tra
I love their song Blood Pigs. Love love love. Now I have the whole album!
Pantera – Far Beyond Driven
Love me some Pantera, and for some inexplicable reason, I never owned this album. Now I do, and I’m gonna crank it!
Hey y’all, it’s Sunday and this is a long one (that’s what she said), so settle in with a coffee and put your feet up…
Last post, I covered our July trip to Taranna, and all my scores. Fun! But with this extended time away from the blog, I haven’t even finished our May trip to Taranna. Not to mention my scores in June. This post corrects that.
So. There were a couple left from that abandoned series way back in May:
Ryan Adams & The Cardinals – Cardinology If I don’t already have one when I find them, I buy his releases (at reasonable prices) on the spot. I have yet to be truly disappointed.
Black Mountain – IV The only one of theirs I still needed (I think). Love their stuff.
And now here is the stuff I found during our June excursion…
Live – Secret Samadhi For some inexplicable reason I did not have a copy of this on hand, so this corrects that omission.
Branford Marsalis – Romances For Saxophone Honestly, this one is in the 3-For bin during several visits. I rescued it, because Marsalis.
OMPS Natural Born Killers Love the film, been ages since I heard the soundtrack. Time for a re-listen. I remember NIN, and Leonard…
Scarlett Johansson – Anywhere I Lay My Head I have the other (second) album she did with Pete Yorn too. I think I owned this ages ago, as the single is very familiar to me…
Paradise Lost – Medusa, and The Plague Within HMO recommended. Totally awesome.
Solstafir – Svartir Sandar 2cd, I Blodi Og Anda, and Otta Also HMO recommended, I totally cleaned up and, in this fell swoop, nearly completed my collection of this excellent Icelandic band’s output. I already had the deluxe Otta in the box with swag, so this rescue copy is for play.
Silver Jews – American Water I always buy Silver Jews albums when they contain Malkmus. This one does.
Pixies – Indie Cindy Bought because Pixies, because I hadn’t yet heard it, and because the title (her namesake) makes my lovely wife happy.
Danny Michel – Matadora All Danny Michel is excellent Danny Michel. Another one for the collection!
Metallica – S&M I realized I didn’t have this 2cd Metallica/SFO set on CD (I have the LPs), so I snapped up a reasonably priced copy. “Of Wolfgang And Man,” indeed!
Opeth – My Arms, Your Hearse My first time seeing a copy of this one in the wild. There’s only one or two left, now, for me to have to the whole Opeth studio collection!
I like everything Rick White has done, so when I see a release I don’t yet have, it’s an instant yes please!
I also got a bunch of stuff for $2.99 at Sonic Boom, bargain-hunter that I am:
Big Rude Jake – Live Faust, Die Jung I realized there are gaps in my BRJ collection, which is inexcusable. This was one I needed.
Frank Black and the Catholics – Frank Black and the Catholics I do love me some Black Francis, and I was fairly certain I hadn’t heard this one. I’ve loved everything I’ve heard of the Catholics output.
Violent Femmes – Rock!!!!! I know next-to nothing about this one, but I do love the VF so why not!
Smashing Pumpkins – Momuments To An Elegy I grabbed this simply because I hadn’t even known it existed. What would SP sound like in 2014? Let’s find out!
Lyle Lovett – I Love Everybody, and Live In Texas There’s something about this loveable weirdo I have always enjoyed, so cheap albums of his made me happy. I especially liked the track listing on that live record…
Jesse Dangerously – How To Express Your Dissenting Political Viewpoint Through Origami I was thrilled to find this one, and for so cheap. James said this was the score of the trip and he’s right.
All in all, an excellent Taranna run!
And tucked way down here at the bottom, here’s what else I’d found in May, and covered in these pages, as you may recall. [Rescue Missions] are the ones I bought and already had because it’s what I do apparently…:
Rheostatics – Greatest Hits [Rescue Mission]
Atoms For Peace – Amok (deluxe) [Rescue Mission]
Eva Cassidy – American Tune
Various – Ballin’ The Jack: The Birth Of The Nu-Blues
Kelly Hogan – Because It Feel Good
Kelly Hogan – I Like To Keep Myself In Pain
Ani DiFranco – Allergic To Water
Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – ‘Freedom Tower’ No Wave Dance
Tinariwen – Imidiwan: Comapnions cd/dvd
Pixies – Head Carrier
Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs – Medicine County
Paley & Francis – Paley & Francis
Hardship Post – Somebody Spoke
J. Mascis – Live At CBGBs: The First Acoustic Show
Sadies – Precious Moments
Mark Lanegan – Bubblegum
Mark Lanegan – Whiskey For The Holy Ghost
Sadies – Tremendous Efforts
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – F#A#
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Lift Yr. Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven
And if you’ve read this far, your coffee is surely gone and you are a true trooper. Thanks for Reading!
First up, HAPPY CANADA DAY! Give ‘er!
So, it’s about time I put something here. Dad and I went to Taranna yesterday. It was a perfect day in the city, gorgeous weather, easy traffic, and a big party in the market as it’s a holiday weekend.
I’ll just post up my scores (no reviews), for y’all to see what caught my eye…
First up, the 3-for-$10 bins are now 4-for-$10 bins. Awesome! I asked the dude, and he said he’s pretty sure it’s a permanent change. They just have so much stuff to clear through. He did say they may make some 4-for-$10 and some 3-for-$10, depending on what they are. Will see going forward.
Willie ‘Big Eyes’ Smith – Nothin’ But The Blues Y’all Looks like Taranna-based fun, half studio, half live tracks.
Clutch – Pure Rock Fury I don’t own any Clutch, but they’ve come recommended, so why not.
Joe Strummer – Earthquake Weather This was an immediate grab. A rescue mission for Joe!
Hootie & The Blowfish – Musical Chairs Our son heard Hootie on the radio and loved it, so this was one I didn’t have and it rounded out the 4-for-$10.
Tim Armstrong – A Poet’s Life I think I owned this at one point, but not until I found it again yesterday. CD/DVD.
Jakob Dylan – Seeing Things I asked James if Wallflowers are making a comeback like Hootie is, and he didn’t think so. But I’ve been hearing them everywhere, so when I saw a Jakob solo album, I was curious.
Guided By Voices – Vampire On Titus/Propeller In all the years I’ve checked the GBV sections, I’ve never seen this double album single CD. I own both albums individually, but when I saw this I grabbed it because GBV. Then I went to Sonic Boom and saw another copy. What are the chances, in all these years…
Tuns – When You’re Ready b/w Kiss Yourself Goodbye Awesome 7″ from awesome band. Woo!
Syd Barrett – The Madcap Laughs and Opel I owned Barrett already, so I was happy to round out the collection.
Descendents – Milo Goes To College Classic. Had to get a copy as I was inexplicably without it.
Godspeed You! Black Emporer – Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress and Luciferian Towers Slowly completing (if not completed) my GY!BE collection. Glory.
Baroness – Gold & Grey New Baroness makes me happy and this is probably the score of the day!
All told, a perfect run to the city, and so many great tunes, to boot. Thanks for Reading, folks!
Yesterday we buried my lovely wife’s dad, my father-in-law. It was a lovely service for a good man, with family and friends gathering in numbers.
His name was William Wesley, but everyone called him Mike. Through it all, he did love his family, and he did dote on his grandkids. He went through a decade and more of varying/related health issues, finally passing a week ago. We were with him at the end.
As you no doubt know, difficult times cause reflection, and reminiscence. You take stock of your own life, and wake up to the things you may have been neglecting. You realize, as you look at ashes in a box, that a lot of the things bothering you matter little, in the end. Things clear up in a damn hurry in such sobering times.
I posted a short while ago about things we cherish, so what of the record collection, etc. Life is for the living, so enjoy it. For me it’s people. Tell them you love them today. Family, friends, this community. Thank you, everyone, for your messages of support and understanding. Thank you for years of Reading, and conversation, and being awesome.
I’ve been neglecting these pages in all the busy, but knowing you folks are out there helps a lot. Thank you.
RIP Mike. Thank you for everything, and especially your beautiful daughter, my lovely wife.
Sonic Boom #8
Just out of curiosity, how are you folks liking this picture/caption gig? Lemme know…
Sonic Boom #2
Trying new formats to see what’s sustainable. Larger, centered picture with caption text. Lemme know what you think…
I love Pixies, full-stop. They have a wonky rocking glorious sound all their own, they rarely miss, and it’s always worth hearing. Get Head Carrier in yer ears!
Hey folks! So, I’ve been slowly recounting my awesome Taranna finds from our trip there last month. I still have the rest of my BMV scores to tell you about, and ALL of the Sonic Boom finds too! So much to do.
Well, as a sign of how far behind I actually am, we were in Taranna again yesterday. And I have more music scores! So… um, I’ll tell you about all of them. Eventually. I am at the point where I’m gonna just have to post the album art and a one-liner and call it a day. Good grief.
Anyway, the city was awesome yesterday. Perfect weather, about 15C with a breeze off the lake. People had coats on, but us northerners were in t-shirts. Traffic was a bit rough on the way down, backed up at the 400 and the 427, but that happens often, and we made great time getting out of the city so that’s a win. The stores were way less busy as it wasn’t Record Store Day anymore.
Speaking of stores, Kops Records on Bloor was gone. No sign in the window that they’d moved, so I dunno. Maybe it’s all in the Queen St. location now? And She Said Boom! on College was gone too, but my panic was short-lived as they’d only moved a few doors further west down the street. Whew!
Also: I had a list of four albums I knew I definitely wanted to find, and I found two! Cool beans. I did not find any Grail List items. Speaking of which, have a look at the Grail List link (above) and if there are any updates for your lists, let me know!
Alright, stay tuned. I have awesome musics to hear/tell you about. And all the previous stuff too. Let’s see if I can find a way to get this done before we go again next month…
I still thank Mr. 1537 for pointing me towards this incredible unit.
If, like me, you dig their groovin’ desert blues, then this album will please you as greatly as any of their other work pleases you. Brilliant stuff!
My copy came with a DVD containing a 30 minute documentary about the band.
It’s cleaner-sounding, but he’s still shouting and they’re still rocking. They’re still in control, and the blues is still #1!
This is her 18th album, and I’ve been on the Ani bus for a lot of awesome listening years. She’s always on point, and she’s always brilliant. This one’s another fine example that sounds great.
This lady can sing. Without a doubt, she does it with control, power, and soul. Here she interprets songs others wrote for her (including M. Ward, Vic Chesnutt, Stephen Merritt, John Wesley Harding, Robyn Hitchcock, and Andrew Bird, to name a few), and is joined by Booker T. Jones and others to make it all sound stellar. Glorious.
So I bought this Neil Young book.
Nothing amiss there, oughta be a good read.
Then, when I got it home, I looked inside at the first page and saw this:
Yup, that’s in pen.
Alright. I have questions.
- Is this thing signed by Neil Young?
- Is he known to simply autograph with his initials?
- Further down the rabbit hole, could this have been signed to Rik Emmett? Am I thinking too hard about this?
Of course, surely there are other people named Rik, but there you go.
So what do you think?
Grammatically painful title aside, this is one hot CD. I knew of Kelly Hogan through Carolyn Mark. And Neko Case. Turns out she’s collaborated with a ton of others too, like Mavis Staples, Decembrists, Mekons, Tortoise, Jakob Dylan… the list is long and awesome.
You’ll know why she’d be a popular guest when you hear her creative, fun, beautiful record. What a voice! Hot damn. This is straight-up kick-ass gotta-hear it stuff.
I f*ckin’ love comps like this. The write-up on the back cover says it all:
Balling The Jack: 1) Gambler speak for risking everything on one throw of the dice. 2) A railroads man’s term for going full speed on a train. 3) Afro American argot for a dance characterized by sexually explicit pelvic movements. 4) Black slang for generally having a goooood time.
The Nu Blues: The Old Skool Blues feel, given a techno turbo-charge and pepped with hip-hop thrills, punk power, indie angst, art-rock experimentalism and an extra helping of 21st century soul to go. The Devil’s Music Deconstructed. You know it ain’t a sin…
Reid Paley – Lucky’ Tune
Asie Payton/Go Gittas Camp – Oooh Baby
Tom Waits – Big In Japan
Jimpson & Group – Road Song
Chris Thomas King – Mississippi Kkkrossroads
North Mississippi Allstars – Someday Baby
Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band – Electricity
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Stagger Lee
Olu Dara – Strange Things Happen Everyday
Pig In A Can – Slow Down Train
Gary Lucas w. Mary Margaret O’Hara – Poison Tree
Soft Boys – Give It To The Soft Boys
Billy Childish & His Famous Headcoats – The Wond’rous Day
Petit Vodo – Border Line
Moby – Findy My Baby
Penny Lang – Lost And Found
R.L. Burnside – Let My Baby Ride
Cowboy Junkies – Postcard Blues
Johnny Dowd – A Picture From Life’s Other Side
Bob Log III – Stirring Round A Stick
Diamanda Galas – See That My Grave Is Kept Clean
The only disc I found in the 3-for-$10 bin that needed to come home.
This bluesy beautiful set contains covers of Ray Charles, Billie Holiday, Paul Simon, Duke Ellington, Lennon-McCartney and Cyndi Lauper (among others). The sound is clear and roomy, and the band is on point. This one’s just more proof of her brilliance. She died far too young (at 33, in 1996). May she RIP.
TARANNA: As I mentioned in an earlier post, my Dad and I made were in Taranna recently. I bought musics, and will tell you about all of it. I plan to keep the posts super short, and to try to hone my Briefly Telling You Something Informatively skills.
(ARGUABLY UNNECESSARY) RESCUE MISSIONS: I keep a .txt list of all my music (artists and titles) on my phone. Apparently it needs an overhaul because on this last trip I bought a few items I already own. They were:
Rheostatics – Greatest Hits. I will forever love the Rheos, and not only because they called their first album their Greatest Hits. Turns out I already had this CD. And the LP.
Atoms For Peace – Amok (Deluxe Edition). I already own the CD. And the LP. But this was a shiny lovely deluxe fold-out CD edition for cheap, which I did not have. Unnecessary? Yes but also no.
Rollins Band – Nice (Advance CD). This is just the album (which I already own), with some promotional content added to the CD (which I also already own). This was a rescue mission (and my third copy). Because ROLLINS.
Mounties – Thrash Rock Legacy. I already own this CD, but it’s Hawksley (et al.) and it was in the clearance for $2.99 so I could not leave it to languish. I will find it a good home.
OK. First CD from BMV posts tomorrow.
Recently our son turned ten years old. Not sure where the time went, but our beautiful bundle of joy has grown to be a thoughtful, intelligent, strong young man.
He got a ton of gifts, of course (LEGO is still his favourite, now in the Technic form) but he got a couple of other gifts for which I think he’ll always remember this year’s birthday:
Up until now, he’s been listening to classic rock on his clock alarm radio. A rite of passage (I did the same). This year, my parents got him his first stereo. It’s a little CD/MP3 bookshelf unit with its own remote. I’ve been hooking him up with tunes (at his request – so far it’s been Gowan, Led Zeppelin, and Iron Maiden). I don’t know about you, but I’ve always remembered my first stereo, that light switch turning on and opening up the whole world to music and possibility. I can already see it’ll be the same for him.
And this year, I got him his first acoustic guitar. A real one, as he called it. An Art & Lutherie, just like mine. Actually, his is more capable as it has a pickup in it, but he liked the connection. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always remembered my first guitar, a Yamaha acoustic that endured my first plunking twangs. I was 18 or so when I got my first guitar, and I can’t help but think that if I’d gotten one at 10 years old, I’d have been so much further ahead. He hasn’t said anything about lessons yet, but we let him know it’s an option. I can show him basic chords to get him started.
There’s a different look in his eyes. I see that he sees the world opening up. Now he can listen to music (and control it), and he can begin to make his own.
Parenting comes with a lot of cool moments, too many to count. But some bigger ones you have to wait for, and I’ve been waiting a long time for these. I can confirm that when you get there, it’s so worth the wait.
It’s easy to trundle along thinking life will always be like it is now.
My lovely wife’s father has been ill for over a decade. He lived at home as long as he could. But eventually he wound up in the hospital and now, for the past couple of months, in a nursing home. It’s the best situation, with care on hand.
We visited him for Easter, and he’s in a room with an occupancy of four. He has a closet for a few clothes, a bulletin board above his bed, and a wee rolling shelf box beside the bed. Simple living.
Naturally, after visiting, my thoughts eventually roll to our own future. What if we end up in a similar situation? You want to live in your own home for as long as you can, of course, but as he discovered, health conditions can easily dictate otherwise despite your wishes.
And, being a collector, my brain takes the next logical step and asks: what about the records? Sure, they’d be at home. But, as an example, he’s unlikely to ever return home. And there’s no space in a place like that for anything like a turntable and even a few records. And, even if there was, the other three roommates might not like the tunes, so it’d be all headphones… I suppose an iPod would do, as a vehicle for getting the music to your ears.
And after we pass, what then? I don’t suppose I care what happens to any of it after I’m gone – I can’t play them anymore, after all – but the thought nags and, after our visit, I look at the collection in a different way. All my readings of Zen, Tao, and Walden flood back. I think minimalist. I calculate my current age and start guessing when I’ll be unable to maintain a private residence. It may never happen. Could be in 30 years. And so on. Isn’t my brain FUN?
The other side of this whole thing is to just not think about it, for now, and just enjoy the hell out of the music while I can. But that thought of the future will always be in there, and seeing his set-up which, admittedly, is comfortable and clean and enough, preemptively undoes all of my collecting efforts and life-hours. Eyes open.
Got my first free day with good weather (after winter), so Dad and I headed for Taranna.
It was Record Store Day. BMV wasn’t any busier than usual. Sonic Boom, however, was jammed with people so you could barely turn around. Great for sales, of course! But also hard to actually shop. They had live music on a stage at the back. I heard two acts (* photo credits to Sonic Boom’s Instagram):
I didn’t get any RSD 2019 scores. I could have bought the Mastodon Stairway To Heaven EP, but it was $27 for two songs and that’s too rich for me. I did get a ton of other scores in both shoppes, and I will report back here on all of them. Which leads me to…
As noted recently, I’ve got minimal time to blog/Read. Gah! I still want to tell you about stuff I hear, so I’m going to have to go shorter, though it must still tell you something about my thoughts about the thing, not just ‘hey this is what I heard/saw/etc.’
I’ll bet I could do it in one or two concise sentences.
Here’s one I’ve had in Dennis (my post hopper) for some time now. I’ve updated it to current and here it is:
I love hockey. I really do.
I grew up playing it, and wasn’t too bad as a center/left wing. But I got out at 14 years old, when everyone else had grown and I hadn’t, as with body contact allowed I was getting crushed. Turns out I don’t have or enjoy the mean tough hockey thing. I prefer the finesse have-fun hockey thing. Anyway.
As a kid, it made sense I should’ve been a Leafs fan. My Dad is a lifelong Leafs fan. Heck, they were the city closest to us, and they were the team we watched most on Saturday night Hockey Night in Canada. Yet I was an Oilers fan. Gretzky and Messier are still my top two hockey gods. Hard to fault a kid for cheering for those 80s Oilers. I even got to go to an Oilers/Leafs game at the old Gardens, ages ago, to see my heroes… And the Leafs… well, they’ve had a long, difficult slog since… the 60s.
Then I lived 20 years without a TV, so I didn’t see a whole lot of hockey. What I did see, I struggled to watch. I hated the zone trap, it actually made the game boring. And all the lazy hooking from behind on the backcheck (which is now a penalty, thank goodness) made the game unwatchable. I even hated when Fox tried to put that stupid streak behind the puck so everyone could follow along. Dumb. Honestly, who can’t follow the puck?
And now, over the years of having internet I began to follow the NHL again, just highlights and stuff. I’m not a Oilers fan, per se, anymore. I’ve tended to just hope that the team that deserves to win actually wins. And this season, I found a channel on Youtube that condenses every 60 minute game into an 8-10 minute highlight reel. I watched many of them here and there, while I was cooking supper, or while the kids were in kung fu, or whenever my attention wasn’t immediately required elsewhere. Over time I got re-acquainted with what has always been in my blood, and we even go to our local OHL games now and again, and I love those. I just grew to love watching hockey again.
And I found myself rooting for the Leafs.
I can’t quite articulate why. There are so many good teams in the league, now. Honestly, the speed and the skill these days is off the charts from what this old dog is used to seeing. And still, for all the great players the Leafs have, somehow they often manage to be a hot mess. But when they get it right, goddamn it, it’s superb.
So I’m learning what beginning to identify as a Leaf fan means. It’s an annual tough row to hoe, it’s a lot of bitter disappointments and crushed hopes… and yet somehow hope always springs eternal. I mean, even the Cubs won a World Series eventually.
And last night, at my folks’ place, I watched Game 7 of the Bruins/Leafs first round series, held in Boston. I found myself actually nervous for the buds. And they lost, in big fashion, 5-1. Despite out-playing, out-shooting (by a wide margin) and out-hitting the Bruins. Really it was 3-1, but they stupidly pulled Andersen with about 3:00 left, allowing those last two coffin-nail goals. And so their season ends.
Honestly, now with Toronto, Tampa, Pittsburgh, Winnipeg, Calgary (and maybe Washington, tonight) out of the playoffs [all major teams!], I don’t really care much who wins anymore. I’m happy Nashville’s out, though. I have watched (off and on) all season, and I’ll still watch to the end and see who wins the Cup, but with the Leafs out it just doesn’t feel exciting in the same way. That’s a huge new first for me.
And I hope for next season already. I hope they trade Kadri* and Nylander**, promote Ennis and Moore, and put super-speedy Kapanen back where he belongs. I hope they get another defenseman. I hope they work out the top guns lines and stick with what works. Hell, I cross my fingers Marleau sticks around forever. I hope they give Marner whatever he wants – they need him and that kid’s amazing. I hope they treat Tavares and Matthews like kings. If I was a kid now, they’d be my heroes. I hope they find Andersen a solid back-up (is Sparks it? Who knows). So much to handle in the off-season.
And here I sit, newly-minted and full of opinions, probably talking outta my ass. Haha shut up, noob! Yeesh.
Apparently, I’m now a Leafs fan. I wouldn’t ever have guessed it, and yet here it is. I know what it means. And I’m OK with that.
In a beautiful bit of life’s full circle, our son is an Oilers fan. He loves McDavid, and Draisaitl, and all the rest. Good on him. I support him in that, too!
* He’s let them down when they need him too often. Time to go, bud, thanks for everything good.
** I said at the time of all that trade holdout crap that they didn’t need him (not that he’s not a good player, just that They Did Not Need Another Expensive Forward), and I was proven right. Waaaay too many millions, and for waaaaay too little output (called it). Meh.
What? Tea? Am I ripping off Sarca (Juan Valdez Follows her, you should too!) and her coffee posts?
Nope. I mentioned a while back about managing to shed about 25 pounds. I don’t say I ‘lost’ weight because that sounds like something that could be found again and I have no interest in finding it again. Anyway.
I’m fairly certain a significant part of this accomplishment was the ingestion of healthy quantities of green tea. I know lots of folks think it tastes like grass, and who’d wanna drink the lawn? But me, I love it. Just plain, straight up, nothing in it. No lemon, no ginger, no extra anything. Keep it coming.
So I started a survey of green teas, out of my own interest, and thought I’d share the results (thus far, hence the Pt.1 in the title) in case any of y’all were interested.
I used a scale from 0 (hairy grossness) to 10 (rainbow unicorn panacea). Here’s what I’ve got so far:
1 – Lipton Green Tea – basic, cheap, not terrible. RATING: 5
2 – Tim Hortons Green Tea – lemon furniture cleaning spray nose, OK flavour. Would probably make a fairly good iced tea. RATING: 6-1 for the nose = 5
3 – Twinnings Green Tea – smooth, simple, solid go-to. RATING: 7
4 – Tian Hu Shan Dragon Well Green Tea – Chinatown Taranna find. Basic, not offensive. RATING: 5
5 – Lipton Magnificent Matcha Green Tea – expensive, in comparison, but so far above and beyond the others it’s not even fair. RATING: 10
And that’s the first 5. When I get through a few more, I’ll report back. Enjoy a cuppa!
I’ve posted crap like this a lot over these (now) 13 years, but this is a new general state.
All apologies, dear KMA Readers. Post counts are down. Worse, I haven’t read your posts, or commented. Where did Aaron go?
I’ve just lost the mojo. And the further it goes along, the harder it is to get back. I thought I could get caught up and then stay on top daily, but then it slid too long. Apologies all around.
I do still listen to music. In this current state, I’ve now heard more than I’ve posted (natch).
I need a sustainable plan. I probably need to let go of the idea of staying on top. I probably need to stop worrying about it. Not gonna lie, the reflex is dying hard, but it is what it is.
So, a few days ago, I barfed in a post about some of the pros and cons of going to concerts. And then we went to a concert (SADIES FTW!). So I thought I’d go back through my post and see how this show matched up. Thoughts are in italics in the (bolded) original text (because I am lazy)…:
You know, in a way, concerts are rather silly. This one wasn’t! It was awesome.
You spend extra money Truly not a problem, for seeing this band.
and set aside an entire evening to go out of your house not gonna lie, we needed to get out so bad.
and be amongst the masses who’ll mostly likely talk through the whole damn thing, check their cellphones non-stop, chew with their mouths open and probably get drunk and sloppy OK so this happened, in fact one drunk guy kept coming close to elbowing my lovely wife in the head several times and looked at us like we were the jerks when we calmly asked him to move, meanwhile he and his buddies stood right over us and had a shouted conversation throughout several songs but then stopped talking when the band stopped playing ASSHOLES… though eventually they got the hint and moved off, so um, yay?,
just to hear a band reproduce songs that you could reproduce yourself from their album anytime you choose – in your house, in your car, from your phone or iPod. I’ve seen several bands who did this, and I came away wondering why I didn’t just play the CD… Except, as J. correctly pointed out, the Sadies are on another level performing live. Their CDs are great, and their live show is just that much greater, so this was definitely not a re-tread experience.
Very often (for me) concerts are too loud to the point where the sound isn’t even pleasurable to listen to, breaking up and distorted. Admittedly, for certain types of concerts like punk or metal shows, that makes sense and can be fun (with earplugs), but more often, I find it would be better if it was slightly, reasonably quieter. At least, not crush-your-chest and head loud. Loud for the sake of being loud. This show was at a reasonable volume that suited the room and the music, so it was fine (even without earplugs).
Also, for me, most decent shows require at least two hours of travel to a larger city, so it’s not just the expense of the ticket itself, it is the expense of time, gas money, food money and, depending on where and at what time the show is, possibly hotel money as well. It is a planned event beyond just stopping by to check it out. Not to mention we’d need to arrange childcare, and make sure that it isn’t a work night. This one was right here in our town, ten minutes from our home!
So you commit to going somewhere, usually at expense, and being jostled by other people, to hear songs you’ve already heard at a volume that hurts. The mild introvert in me finds all of this very tiring. The mild introvert in me was fine with most of the evening, except for the drunken louts. They really could have tried harder. They’re also harder to take when you’re not drinking yourself. It’s been four years since I had a drink, and I suppose after a couple it might’ve been easier going, but through sober eyes they were just sad and annoying.
On the other side of the coin, concerts are special because very often bands don’t merely reproduce the songs as you hear them on the album. The best bands make the song recognizable, yet they will add solos, or change the words, or make the song shorter or longer, or even blend songs together that you hadn’t previously considered putting together. They will also play cover tunes, and talk to the crowd and tell jokes and stories, making it a worthwhile experience because it’s stuff you wouldn’t otherwise get. This was absolutely the case at this Sadies show.
If you enjoy merchandise, you can get T-shirts, hats, pins, CDs and whatever else. There was a stuff table. CDs were $15, LPs were $20. Pretty sure the t-shirts were $30 or $35. I didn’t buy anything but the prices seemed reasonable. There didn’t seem to be more than a few albums on display, so I don’t know if there were more in a box, available on request, or if that was all they brought with them.
If you enjoy meeting the people who make the music, sometimes you can get lucky and hang around after the show and meet them, although myself I’m more often tend to not do that than the times that I do. We did not stick around after the show ended, as it was nearing midnight and we had to get back and let our babysitter off the hook. There’s a very good chance, though, that if we’d hung around we might’ve met one or all of the band. They didn’t seem too inclined to be rushing out of the building.
Plus it is simply a night out and doing something, just different than the usual routine and sometimes that’s just what the doctor ordered. OMG this, for sure. We don’t often go out, just the two of us, and usually that’s fine. But it sure was nice, on this occasion!
Looks like, in this case, the Sadies win the Pros column easily, and easily disarm the Cons side as well. This was a show well worth it in (just about) every way. Thank you, Sadies. Come back again soon! And go to Glasgow – J. demands it! 🙂