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Hello There, Sunrise

Ages ago, we had a Music World in our shite little mall. They closed and I panicked. Then HMV took over and I felt better. As you all know, HMV closed out, and I panicked. But then Sunrise Records took over some of HMV’s spots and, when I found out we were getting one, I felt better. Apparently, these comings and goings are a bit of a rollercoaster for me. In my defense, if we didn’t have a corporate store like this, we’d be stuck with Wal-Mart and that one used shoppe downtown that, well, anyway.

Yesterday I spent about twenty minutes perusing our new Sunrise records. Apparently the shoppe’s already been open for about a week, but I just haven’t had time to get there before this. I wanted to see what was up.

It’s music store ver.3 in my town!

Some First Impressions:

– it really hasn’t changed all that much in appearance (yet, they may change more with time). Pretty sure they just re-used all the old HMV CD bins and everything.

– both staff members I saw working were from the old HMV, so at least a couple of the HMV staffers applied and got the new (old) job with Sunrise.

– I was approached by one staffer to see if I needed help, and I did – I’d looked and did not see the new Solstafir set. I’d have bought it if they had it. Not only had she never heard of them, they didn’t have a section for them in the shelves, and the deluxe wasn’t on their tiny end cap of boxed sets either. It didn’t seem likely they would be getting it either, so I guess it’s the Amazons for me, on that one.

– there are WAY more CDs than HMV ever had. This is awesome. The entire row that used to be DVD and Blu-ray in the HMV are now all CDs as well. This makes me incredibly happy. They do still have movies, at the back of the store, but music is clearly the focal point. Yay!

– CD prices seemed to be OK, maybe a wee bit higher (by $1-$2) than HMV would have done, but I’ve no way of proving that.

– they had a $5.99 CD wall, but it was all those ICON hits set CDs. Meh. Will see if they change things up, but if not I’ll miss HMV’s 2-for-$10 and 2-for-$20 sales racks.

– the LP section is much expanded, and moved front and center by the entrance, so the hipsters can’t miss it. I found most priced too high (like all places), but it’s nice to see them offering the hipsters of my town a new copy of OK Computer for $45.99 (it can be had for $30 online, shipping included). Some of the vinyls were better-priced, around $20-25, but I’d need more time to really dig.

– Punk and metal, in both CD and LP sections, are mixed into one category. Which means it’s possible that Gojira and Green Day might sit side by side in the bin. That’s OK, I guess, but a bit weird.

– There was no Guided By Voices section. While I am not surprised, this is still an oversiiiiight.

– Just testing things out, I looked for myself, then asked and… it turns out they did not have the new Kendrick Lamar album, called DAMN. (on CD or LP). This is quite weird, as it’s a huge record right now. The staffer said they may get it in soon, as their stock is still coming. They’d better!

– I found the 16’ of shelving for board games, and the entire wall of t-shirts (not to mention the other section full of crap tchotchkes, just like HMV had), to be a bit much, but after texting this to James he said (and he’s right) that no store can make it on music alone, anymore. Still, are board games that popular? Is this the new thing that hipsters will want so they can leave our LPs the hell alone? Do we need that many Ramones t-shirts? Hm. Maybe on that last point, we do…

– I didn’t see video games, but I wasn’t looking for them as I don’t play them. I assume they were at the back of the store, with the movies. Not a huge footprint for them, anyway.

In Sum:

It’s nice to have another record shoppe in town. Panic averted! I didn’t buy anything today, but I’m sure I will at some point. With only 20 minutes in the shoppe, I don’t feel I really had time to get to know it, but my first impressions are, by my gut feel, that it’s gonna do alright. I’m super-thrilled with how many more CDs they offer over the (in comparison) pathetic wee patch that HMV offered. Yes indeed, that’s great.

Alright Sunrise, time to make a go of it. Drop your LP prices and increase your sales, and you’ll have reason to stay!

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Hey Dear Readers,

So it’s been busy around here, and I have posts in the works but nothing completed.

To tide you over, here’s some goofy pics a la the old Sunday Service posts of yore.

Enjoy, and stay tuned (pun intended). More All The Everything posts will appear eventually…

Taranna, Grail List Stuff, Contest Reminder

Hiya KMA Readers, it’s your friendly neighbourhood Aaron, here!

Just some admin stuff to clear up…

Let’s get in there and give ‘er!

 

Taranna

I will be in Taranna on May 28. Looking for records. Oh baby. Which means…

Grail List Updates

If you have anything to add/remove from your Grail Lists, let me know by May 27! If you don’t have a list yet, but you want one, send it to us! Remember, these are items you really want but cannot get at reasonable prices. Let’s all help each other find our Grail Items!

Grail List Addition

While I’m at it, I have added the Five Hole Band – Tales Of Hockey Erotica to my list. I can’t find one online for under $50. Can you find me one for good price?

And lastly,

Contest Reminder

Don’t forget a new (still sealed!) copy of 54-40’s amazing Dear Dear album is up for grabs. GO ENTER HERE! Contest runs until Tuesday May 16. Winning entries will be drawn from a toque, and the winner will be posted in these pages on Wednesday May 17!

Thanks for reading. Carry on!

 

What’s The Saddest Song You Know?

There are a ton of songs out there that are sad, or about difficult things, but what’s the song that’s just the saddest damn thing you ever heard?

Giving it a few moment’s thought, the first few that came into my head were:

Nine Inch Nails – Hurt  (and Johnny Cash’s version, too)
Mike & The Mechanics – The Living Years
Eric Clapton’s Tears In Heaven
Hank Williams – I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry
Billie Holiday – Gloomy Sunday
Harry Chapin – Cat’s In The Cradle
and so on…

But for me, the winner has to be George Jones’ He Stopped Loving Her Today.

It doesn’t matter whether you like country music or not. This one is a relationship tune, but it’s not about a break-up. No, this one’s about a man who loved a woman for a long time, but he wasn’t even with her. Unrequited love. Still he loved her until the day he died. THAT was the day he stopped loving her.

Just… damn. Right in the feels!

The Lyrics:

He said “I’ll love you till I die”, she told him “You’ll forget in time”
As the years went slowly by, she still preyed upon his mind

He kept her picture on his wall, went half-crazy now and then
He still loved her through it all, hoping she’d come back again

Kept some letters by his bed dated nineteen sixty-two
He had underlined in red every single “I love you”

I went to see him just today, oh but I didn’t see no tears
All dressed up to go away, first time I’d seen him smile in years

He stopped loving her today
They placed a wreath upon his door
And soon they’ll carry him away
He stopped loving her today

You know, she came to see him one last time. 
Aww, ‘n’ we all wondered if she would 
And it kept runnin’ through my mind-“this time he’s over her for good.”

He stopped loving her today
They placed a wreath upon his door
And soon they’ll carry him away
He stopped loving her today.

Lazy Friday Continues

So this morning you got to read some copy/pasted stuff about an album I loved, so here. Have some pictures.

Can you tell it’s the end of the week?

What’s Your Rap Name?

Try this (and put your results in the comments below!):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apparently, I’m Lil Pretzel Goldfish.

I’ll call my album “This Record Is Making Me Thirsty!”

Metal Band Logos

Calling our benevolent infernal HMO. We need your help!

Back To The Grind, And A Hockey Game

Well, I’ve run out of days to be sick. It’s back to work today. And straight into hell week. Hooboy. Today is a 50% off sale in the store. And then Tuesday is the usual 30% off senior’s day. If the place is still standing on Wednesday, it’ll be a miracle.

And what a welcome back to work! I’ll need every reserve of strength, I imagine. Nothing like jumping in with both feet.

***

Some cool news from yesterday, partially music-related. For Christmas, my Dad got us tickets to see an NHL alumni hockey game, which was held yesterday. They didn’t release any player names beforehand, so it could be big names, or who knows. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to go, feeling as sick as I was, but come yesterday around noon, I thought I could do it. We went.

The tickets said doors at 1pm, puck drop at 2pm, but no one was assigned seats. It was general admission, first come and first served. So of course we showed up around 12:00, thinking there’d be a line-up. No one. We go into the building, the folks are still setting things up. They had a lot of the stairways roped off, only one way in. We stood around, and finally I approached an official-looking lady at the stairs and she let us up to the seats, just as a guy came over to say we couldn’t go up yet. I muttered under my breath “just keep walking!” and we did. Turned out we were the first ones into the rink, so we had our pick of every seat in the place. My son (it was his choice) selected the first row at the ice, right beside the penalty box at center ice. Attaboy.

We were still hella early. They were testing the sound system pre-game, and playing Queen’s We Will Rock You. On repeat. For half an hour, at varying volumes while some guy said “check, check, check” into a microphone. Now, I love that song, but come on. And that’s the music-related bit of the story. Carry on…

Finally the players come out for a skate-around pre-game. This was a benefit game, in support of Special Olympic Ontario and the Law Enforcement Torch Run. The local team was made up of some of my town’s police officers and firefighters. The NHL alumni team… was like we’d been zapped in the wayback machine.

There was Mark La Forest in net, with Mike Krushelnyski, Lou Franceschetti and Bryan Muir on defense. There was Dan Daoust, Dave McLlwain, Luca Caputi, Mark Napier, and Todd Harvey. Even the referee was Mike Pelyk. The two players I was most excited to see were Brent Gretzky (yep, Wayne’s brother), and Rick Vaive. Man, I loved Rick Vaive as a kid, the way he’d blast up the right wing and shoot pure bullets on the net from the top of the circle… Seriously, it was (mostly) like I was back being a kid in the 80s, watching Hockey Night In Canada on Saturday night.

In all, this was a really fun afternoon. The local law were trying their best, and the old pros were barely putting in effort and still winning. It was clear that if they’d turned it on and really tried, the score would’ve been 50-0, and PDQ. The power and smoothness of the skating was still there, and the control was a pleasure to watch. I was watching Vaive in the warm-ups and he still has a wicked shot. He may have a head of white hair, but he’s been keeping up his skills, it was beautiful.

This afternoon was for fun, though, so there was a lot of horsing around. The NHLers made duff passes just to give the other team chances, and the goalie even tried for an end-to-end rush. Krushelnyski kept collecting snow from along the boards with his stick blade, then dumping it over the glass onto the kids up front, yelling “it’s snowing in here!” Fransceschetti kept knocking the net off its moorings and throwing his stick along the ice to stop breakaways. When the referee gave him penalties for it, he threw his gloves at the ref. Oh man.

A highlight was the first goal the cops team scored. La Forest, the goalie, had requested a photo with the goal scorer for his own ‘wall of shame, in his garage back home.’ So they lined up for the photo and then Gretzky pied the guy in the face. That goal scorer is a dad at my kids’ school, so I’ll have to ask him his side of the tale.

In all, it was a fun afternoon. I wish I had been feeling better – the cold of the rink didn’t help much – but I’m glad I was at least well enough to go to the game. My boy, of course, loved it, and my Dad had a blast remembering all the old players. And, of course, just being in the rink and watching hockey (at any level) is a curative for the Canadian soul.

This is a tour of games, not just a one-off here. I don’t know if they have the same players for every match (probably not, just whomever’s available to come to the rink) but it’s a great time. If there’s one in your town, for all you folks in Ontario, get out to it. It’s for a great cause and it’s a really fun time.

Down With The Sickness

This started out out as a one or two post thing, with me figuring I would be back to fighting form fairly quickly (as is my usual). This goes on much longer, it could turn into a friggin’ series!

And so today was more of the same. In fact, now I can add dizziness to the lack of energy. Oh joy! I went with the kids to their swimming lessons this morning. We were at the pool for an hour. And that was enough to do me in for most of the day – and I wasn’t even in the water!

J. suggested tea and cookies would help. I’ve been downing a lot of tea already (with honey for the sore throat), but I hadn’t considered cookies. Which is some fundamental failure on my part, knowing as I do that cookies solve many problems. J. had suggested chocolate digestives and man, that sounded just right. So my lovely wife went out today for groceries and came back with two packets of McVities’ milk chocolate digestives. The real UK McCoy! Did I ever tell you I love that lady? ‘Cos I do.

So, since I haven’t watched any movies or listened to any tunes today (!) (I know, but it wouldn’t help the headache), I’m just gonna cheat and throw in a couple more pictures and call that enough. Man, we’ve got hockey game tickets for tomorrow (hope I can make it), and then I gotta work on Monday! I’m running outta time to feel this shitty.

 

Couldn’t Stand The Weather

Again, thanks to all who wished me well!

Day three, and I know you’re all riveted with how sick my pathetic ass is, lately. I ended up calling sick yesterday (Friday) too. I’d woken myself up coughing to the point of struggling for breath, around 3 a.m. I was awake until the alarm went off at 6:45. Nope, no way was work happening! Fortunately, my boss was understanding.

So again I had that thought, like “Hey I have the house to myself! I should do tons of stuff!” Aaaaaaaand I lay around all day doing nothing. I watched a Statham movie (they always cheer me), the Italian Job (yes, a remake of the old one). Then I started one of my favourite battle/strategy/kung fu films of all time, Red Cliff. It’s 288 minutes long (that’s almost 5 hours), each DVD has about 140 minutes on it. Anyway, it’s just so beautifully done, and so perfectly acted, and John Woo directed it, so the fight scenes are awesome… but my head wasn’t really into following the plotting and reading all the subtitles today. I totally recommend it (though make sure you get the full film, not the 150 minute edited version), if you ever want to watch an unsung hero of an epic frickin’ film. I love it completely.

Anyway, I still haven’t played any tunes, which is frustrating because I have a ton of cool stuff to cover here…

Ach, here’s some more silly pictures…

“Everywhere you go, you always take the weather with you…”

First up, thanks to all who wished me better health yesterday! I’m getting there.

So I called in sick to work yesterday, something I almost never do. But I knew when I got up at 7am to get ready to go that I would be useless in my job. My supervisor was understanding. My folks stepped up and took the kids to school, even picked them up after school and fed them supper so I could sleep.

Here’s something my lovely wife rolls her eyes about, everytime I’m ill. When I get sick, especially when feverish, I decide right then is the perfect time to do all of the everything I’ve been meaning to do. One time, in Montreal, I went on a mission to buy a new stereo and was determined to carry the giant box across the downtown of the city to our apartment. She made me get a cab. I should have been home in bed…

So yesterday I thought ‘I have the house to myself. I can do all sorts of things I’ve been meaning to do! Work in the Man Cave! Play the guitar as loud as I want! It’s endless!’

In the end, I crashed on the couch and half-watched Suicide Squad (really, really stupid film, apologies to its fans). Then I ate a wee bit and slept the entire afternoon. So much for my big plans!

As you’re reading this it’ll be Friday, and I assume I will have gone back to work. I won’t be 100% by the morning, but I can’t afford two days off and I do feel better than I did. Well, better enough, I suppose. Instead of feeling like I weigh 500lbs, it’s more like 300lbs…

Lacking any musical listening and, remarkably, with nothing half-written waiting in Dennis (my hopper), I can’t even half-ass my way through a review of anything. Which is frustrating because I have a lot of really cool music here that I’ve been wanting to share.

Ah well, here are some silly pictures. I’ll be back to usual eventually!

 

The Weather I’m Under

Yesterday morning I woke up to a bit of a runny nose. No big surprise: we have two small children and they are petrie dishes and have been sick several times throughout this winter. I blame the big changes in temperatures this year. The lake hasn’t ever frozen over and that always messes with everything. Folks enjoy the spring-like temps but it’s a fool’s paradise. The cost is too large. We need deep freeze.

Ignore it. I went to work.

I was rocking it like I always do, on pace to crush my quota yet again. Come about 1:30, I suddenly felt like I weighed 500 lbs. Every limb just gave up. I had no breath or energy. I sat down, which I never do. Good thing I leave at 2:15.

I am typing this at 8pm last night, and I still feel that way. I skipped supper – I never do that. I just drank tea and rested. I went to bed early. There’s no fever, no upset anything. Just that feeling like something’s coming on and it’s taking it’s damn fine sweet time in getting around to it.

Here’s hoping tomorrow doesn’t see me waking up to a full-fledged flu or something. I would say a few blue words.

Picking My Way Through Your Work

Hello, dear Constant Readers!

After my further Collection Reorganization post yesterday morning, and my attack on the collection last night (I made it to the start of “S” in the CD section, in a couple of hours! This was quite a bit of work – go me!), I’m left with the realization that I’d also fallen well behind in my readings of your blogs. So my real gift to you today ought to be my insightful and riveting coments on (most) all of your blogs. It must have been like waking up on Christmas morning and finding all sorts of prezzies under the tree! You lucky kids.

Also, have a look at the new guitar picks I just got!

 

 

Super Bowl LI

So I didn’t have anything in the hopper, and I was over at my folks’ place last night watching one hell of an incredible Super Bowl game. The Falcons played so damn well, but the Patriots mounted one of the most incredible comebacks ever, forcing the first Super Bowl overtime in history, to take the win. It was unreal. It played like a frickin’ Hollywood movie.

All of this is to say that I have been listening to tunes but I’ve written nothing (gasp!). So I’m gonna just say Thanks Tom Brady! and slap in some funny pictures. Cool? Cool.

Sunday Ponderings: My Collection

collection2Welcome, one and all, to a rather huge post of Sunday Pondering. I hope you have a coffee and your feet up, Dear Readers, this one is a big ‘un!

Today, I take a closer look at filing music collections. Specifically, how I currently file mine!

Inspired by THIS EXCELLENT POST AT VINYL CONNECTION, I took a much-needed look at how I run things in my own collection. Turns out, given years of rampant collection and a half-assed method of keeping things organized, as well as inconsistent and (often) inexplicable mental whim on an on-going basis, I have quite the interesting process.

It is in dire need of restructuring to make life easier as the collection continues to expand.

I may need your help/suggestions…

***

First an overview. All format collections have the following method:

– Alphabetical by first letter of artist’s last name (“A” for Ryan Adams), or first letter of band name (“A” for Aerosmith).

– Bands with numbers for names, like 54-40, are kept at the start of the collection, before “A.” (Waiting for 1537 to yell… 😉 )

– Where subsections currently exist by genre (jazz, classical, OMPS {Original Motion Picture Soundtrack}, etc), they retain the same (above) alphabetization within that subsection. OMPS is alphabetical by movie title, not composer of score or artist within mix on album.

Simple enough. However…

Where things go a bit sideways… outside the normal alphabetization, I currently keep these in separate sections:

LPs

– Boxed Sets
– LPs from when I was a kid
– Various Artists
– “favourites” (rare, sentimental, expensive/collectible items)
– boxes of Hit It Or Quit It contestants (remember that series?).

CDs

– Guided By Voices/Related (kept chronological not alphabetical, as there’s so much and so many different band names), Various Artists compilations mixed in chronologically by release date too.
– Scratched, but keep ’til replaced
– Jazz (not blues/soul too), Various Artists at end of section
– Rap/Hip Hop, Various Artists at end of section
– Various Artists
– OMPS
– Classical (by composer name, not conductor)
– My Lovely Wife’s collection
– Boxed Sets (Lg) (long boxes and vinyl-sized boxes, etc)
– Boxed Sets (Sm) (CD-sized cases) (incl. abnormal-sized single CD packages)
– Some large artist collections in separate boxes/shelves: Iron Maiden, Pearl Jam, Ani DiFranco, Rush, Black Flag/Rollins Band/Henry Rollins, Rolling Stones.

Cassettes

– My grandfather’s cassettes
– My mother’s cassettes
– OMPS
– Mixed tapes
– My own recordings (bands I was in, etc)
– Collectible/nostalgia (childhood)

DVDs

Kept alphabetical by title in the following sections:

– Kurosawa
– Samurai/kung fu
– Action
– TV shows
– Music DVDs (alphabetical same as other formats)
– My Lovely Wife’s collection (movies and TV)
– Comedy
– Rollins
– Statham

Also: There’s a pile to (possibly) sell.

BOOKS

– Music (currently unalphabetized, but will eventually be by artist not author for ease of locating)

– Piles/shelves of authors’ works, e.g.: Guy Gavriel Kay, Terry Pratchett, Robert Heinlein, Philip K. Dick, Harlan Ellison, William Gibson, Henry Rollins, etc.

Sections:
Philosophy
Canadian (history and authors)
Short Stories
Poetry
Graphic Novels
Books from when I was a kid
Music books (large) (sheet music, coffee table-size, etc)
High school year books
Languages
Zen/Tao/Samurai
Sports
Miscellaneous (large)

Also: several stacks of to-be-sorted books from all sections.

***

collection1SO. A bit of a mess. If you’ve gotten this far, I’m impressed. Few could survive such a look into my crazy brain.

And now I could use your help… I’ve thought of three options for universal collection organization. Which do you like? Or can you think of a different, better way?

Here are three things I’ve thought of to try and make life easier:

1. All For One And One For All:

Rather than have separate subsections with formats, I could alphabetize all genres and types together. That would mean alphabetical by band name, last name of artist, and OMPS or Various Artists title. Reintegrate large band discographies too, all in one huge alphabetized collection, per format.

2. Consistent Subsections Across Formats:

I thought these 10:

Blues
Classical
Country
Jazz
Metal
OMPS
Rap/Hip Hop
Rock
Soul
Various Artists

NB: With this one, I run into many problems. For example, Chuck Berry. Is he Rock? Yes. Blues? Yes. So where do you put him? Or Jeff Healey… same thing. Rock? Blues? Also, I don’t have an electronic section (not enough to warrant it). Where do you put Radiohead, in Rock? And what about Atoms For Peace, then? Still Rock? With Radiohead or not? Or Nine Inch Nails? Rock? And no grunge section either, so does Alice In Chains go in Rock or Metal?

Nitpicking into genres seems like it would create more headaches than it’s worth, trying to remember how I filed this or that band’s work.

3. A (Possible) Compromise Solution:

Maintain full collection alphabetization (option 1.), but limit subsections per format (option 2.) to two subsections:

OMPS
Various

All other genres would be all mixed in together. Why separate those two? Because they’d be by title, not by artist or band name.

***

IN SUM:

If’ you’ve made it THIS far, you deserve every medal on the planet. Thanks for taking this trip with me through my collection. I would greatly appreciate your comments/ideas on how best to organize – by putting it out to you, I’ll wager you’ll return several ideas I hadn’t even considered. Maybe from your own collections, or maybe from something you’ve seen in someone else’s, or just based on what you’ve read here…

Thanks so much for Reading. I look forward to discussions in the Comments (below)! Happy Sunday, all!

collection3

Another Sunday Pondering

Recently, I’ve wondered how much we’ve spent on our collections, over the years. And last Sunday, I wondered what will happen to our collections when we get old and can (possibly) no longer maintain them.

Well, this week it’s a bit of a ramble… I hope it’s coherent. And it won’t have all the answers (not even close). I’m just spitballin’, here. Thinking out loud. Cool? Cool.

This week, I ponder creation versus criticism (and making space for both). And also ponder the future, a wee bit…

Read on…

Records. Books. Movies… I’ve been thinking about why I idolize others and their works, collecting them and, in the case of albums, writing about them in this blog. Appreciation of art, of course. And long conditioning – I’ve been a collector, now, for 32 years. I love me some groovy tunes.

Yet it feels akin to reading novels all my life, but never writing one myself. It doesn’t feel like enough. So, now I consider still collecting things and writing about them (records), but also making time and space to create my own new stuff.

So, it’s simple, right? If I feel like I want to, just go and create new stuff, right? Duh! Obvs!

The basic work of space and time to do this is obvious. The urge is there. The ideas as to what to do… somewhat, but sure to grow stronger given room to breathe. Hell, I used to write a lot of songs, I even played in a band. And I have boxes full of my old writing, but I only make weak stabs at any of it, these days… Why did it tail off? I dunno, but surely no good reason. I’ve been content to be the audience for a long while, now.

As for blogging, I’ve spent 10+ years slapping together my suspect quality contributions to these pages, and that’s fine. That’s a lot of unprofessional armchair criticism jibbering away into the ether…

There’s still a lot to love about it, though. I get to run this site with our great friend James, and I’ve met tons of awesome people via this community and wouldn’t trade that for anything (COMMUNITY!). And I do enjoy listening to records with the thought towards what I’ll say when I write it up so you folks can participate and (hopefully) learn something. In fact, after all these years I’d find it hard to listen to a record without aiming at a review.

And I need to be careful here, because I’m not saying that blogging about music isn’t creating something new. It’s my own thoughts about what I hear so, in a way, it is indeed fresh. But it’s not a record I made I’m offering you, just my own blather about someone elses’.

So as I said, lately, it doesn’t feel like enough. You’ll notice I’ve not read and commented your blogs with as much regularity since before Christmas, surely. And it’s no slight on you. I just feel a shift, that some of my attention needs to be elsewhere. For what? I don’t know yet.

All that’s well and good. But there’s more! Of course, you know my brain by now. If one thought is good, I’ll take it further! Discuss the following:

For example, what do those people in bands or authors do or have that I don’t? Well, they apply themselves to the act of creation of new work (same as we apply ourselves to blogging). Many have talent (whereas mine is weaker, but could potentially improve with work. Only one way to find out!).

Most of these folks, admirably, work damn hard to learn and get where they are and, yes, some of them are extraordinary and quite simply born and meant to do what they do. And I’m sure even those folks collect/hear the work of other people too.

The difference is, to me, primarily that they’re putting themselves out there, and they’re actually doing it. Instead of sitting back and commenting from a comfortable position on this or that work, they’re actively creating and putting it out there.

And yet more thoughts followed, regarding my own leanings, such as “creation for the sake of creation isn’t helpful either – what about meaning?” And also “is what you’re creating for personal use or with intention to sell it?”

In short, though, it’s clear to me that it isn’t for everyone (and that’s fine). As I said, without a second thought I’ve been happy to absorb the work of others most of my life. But I know for a fact for those who do create, it must have value (to yourself or an intended audience) or there’s no point in doing it at all. Just like anything else in your life.

In Sum:

I don’t have concrete answers. I’m just going by feel. But if I disappear now and again, it’s nothing you’ve done. I might be elsewhere… making stuff!

Stop Gap Post #4

Alright, alright. This oughta be my last one of these for a bit, as I might actually have stuff together for tomorrow! I KNOW!

Enjoy!

Stop Gap Post #3

Tra la la la laaaaaaaaa here I am still doggin’ it and posting up funny pictures instead of actually bringing you the incisive, hard-hitting, timely and valuable music reviews you have come to expect from… oh, haha nevermind.

As a result of a fit of being organized, this posts’s all about metal! So, um, yay!

Stop Gap Post #2

Hey folks! Here’s some more mildly humourous crap to cover up for the fact that I haven’t done any actual work for the site yet…

Stop Gap Post #1

Hey folks! Busy around here – I’m sure you know the tale in your own lives…

As such, I haven’t got any reviews done for you. I KNOW! I’ve been listening to tunes, but only half-assedly, and that’s not enough for our beloved Constant readers. So, instead, I offer these Stop Gap posts, until I get my shit together.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy! More fresh content will be along… eventually…

Iron Maiden Bottle Caps

A quick post to share an interesting little collection… these are all the Maiden beer tops I’ve come across thus far. They come from the Trooper, Trooper 666, and Trooper Red ‘N’ Black beers. If I’m missing any, let me know!

Sharp-eyed Readers will notice that several of them advertise Maiden’s video game, Legacy Of The Beast.

Check ’em all out!*

 

* Not pictured: Some of the early bottles of Trooper sported a plain black cap, before they moved to the Robinsons logo. I didn’t include those here, as I can’t imagine you’d need to see plain black bottle tops. You’re free to imagine them in all their glory, if you like.

Ahead By A Century

‘Twas the mighty Boppin who emailed to let us Canucks know that the Hip’s new wine, the Ahead By A Century chardonnay, was in stores last week. It has been released in honour of the 20th anniversary of the Trouble At The Henhouse LP.

I went looking for a bottle of it in our town’s shoppe on release day, and they’d only received one case (whut). I got the penultimate bottle, and the lady who rang it through for me told me I was super lucky to get one:

They’d also received the 2015 Fully Completely, so I snagged one of those, too. Here is my current collection, the Ahead By A Century chardonnay, flanked by the 2012* and 2015 Fully Completelys:

 

 

* All of you savvy KMA Readers will recall when I got this bottle of the 2012, and I’d posted to say I was waffling as to whether I should drink it or not. Most said I should drink it, but ultimately I did not. It’s still unopened today! I mentioned it to the head of the wine department in our shoppe and he said “ooooh that was the good year, nicely done!”

 

Thinking Of The Future

Please join me for (unsurprisingly), yet another pause in the semi-ongoing IOU Series… 

It’s a Sunday, and I hope y’all have a hot coffee (or beverage of your choice) and something tasty to eat while you put your feet up to read all of the excellent blogs in this community.

Since you’re here on our page (and once again, our sincere THANKS for Reading!), I thought I’d share some (possibly) morbid thoughts that have been bouncing around in my head, of late. Won’t that be FUN!

* NB: I was playing Radiohead’s Kid A while I wrote this post. It turned out to be perfectly fitting.

***

 

Ol’ angry ass Hank says do NOT touch the records.

Honestly, I’ve been thinking about aging, about mortality. Mid-life crisis? I doubt it. I haven’t suddenly felt a need to get a flash car and a young blonde girlfriend… sounds like more hassle than it’s worth, to me…

But it does feel like it was about ten minutes ago that I was 18 and the whole world was before me…

…and now here I am, at 42, in (seemingly) the blink of an eye. Will it seem to be only another blink before I’m 85? I mean, my own son will be 50 when I get to that age…

Funny thing is, I don’t feel any different than I did when I was 18. Back then, I played basketball 7 days a week, often more than once a day, so I had just as much trouble creaking and moaning my way out of bed in the mornings then as I do now… it’s just that back then my legs would protest before warming up and being fine again, and now my legs are quite damaged from all that basketball back then, so their aching protest lasts a lot longer into the day…

I suppose I eat less now than I did then, when I had the metabolism of three people and could eat everything that wasn’t nailed down (and I generally did) without gaining a pound. Actually, I’d like to see those days return… Long story short, I’m generally a fairly energetic guy, and I give ‘er every chance I get. The Governor Of Givin’ ‘Er, as the mighty Boppin once put it. Go go go!

Anyway, back to aging. I no longer have any of my grandparents still living, though I knew them all and have fond memories of all of them. I attended 50th wedding anniversary parties for both couples, too. My own parents will reach 50 years married two years from now, in 2019. My lovely wife and I will hit that milestone in 2053, when we’re 79 years old. Even on my street, several of our neighbours are in their 80s. One, in particular, is 85 and has had severe health issues in the last while, even beginning chemo this week…

Truthfully, I don’t necessarily dread aging. Age is fine (just ask a good wine!), so long as good health continues. I like to think I’ve been suffused with enough vitality to see me into old age with at least a little bit of piss and vinegar still boiling in me. But it does all get you thinking, doesn’t it?

Well, I’m not gonna talk about worries such as money for the future. Quite simply, all the baby boomers are gonna suck all of that dry on us long before we get to the fumes of what’s left, so we’re royally fucked unless we help ourselves NOW. And I’m not gonna dwell on potential future health issues (given my family history, it will likely be a heart attack that kills me, oh joy). No, this is a music blog, so I’m gonna focus on that.

Those of us with large collections of music will, no doubt, have wondered the same thing I have, recently, which is what will happen to all of these wonderful records if/when I need to move into a care home? We moved my grandma into a place before she passed (she could honestly not live on her own without care any longer), and she was given one small bedroom. If I had to take all of my records into that place, there’d be no room for furniture. I’d have to crash on the couch in the common room.

But seriously, it’s all well and good to hope that you’ll be able to stay in your own place until you die in your sleep of old age, but as so many people find out, that’s not necessarily a reality.

So what do you do with your collection? The instinct is, of course, to keep it all somehow… Do you digitize them all and take a laptop with a big external hard drive along, selling all of your records? Do you give them all to your kids and hope they don’t sell them off on you? Do you try, in some way, to pare them way down to some manageable level, and hope that some other resident’s asshat grandkid doesn’t nick them from your room for meth money?

In Sum:

Sorry folks, I don’t have any answers for you on this one, as I’ve only just been pondering it all recently myself. But I know it’ll only be another blink of an eye before we’re facing some of these very real, late-life quandries ourselves. I’ve just been thinking that perhaps we’re best to start considering the possibilities and ramifications now. These collections matter. They deserve justice and care!

If you’ve got suggestions for future collection planning, drop a comment. I’d love to hear it!

Station Identification Break

Hey folks, I haven’t spent enough time with my next record in the IOU Series just yet, so here are a couple of pictures to add to your day…

This one’s (apparently) from Russia, circa about 1985…

I am most concerned about the Klesh and the Stodges…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Haha I love Metalocalypse.

Which do you prefer?

 

 

 

And here’s me wishing it hadn’t happened at all…

Intermission

Hey there, Constant Readers!

Yesterday was my lovely wife’s birthday, and therefore rather busy, so I have no IOU Series Post prepared.

Instead, for today, I leaf you with this…

Bonus points: I think it’s Canadian!

 

True Story

I believe their numbers are underreported…

search-rescue

A Thought Experiment

Ready? Of course you are.

Assume, given many priced below and above, therefore, an average price of $10 per item.

Include all items currently owned, as well as those you’ve sold off, given away, etc.

So the question is:

If you had back all of the money you’ve spent on your music collection in your lifetime, all in one go, today, how much money would you have?

Go! Drop a comment!

***

Myself? Let’s see… I know I bought my first tape when I was 10, and pretty much never looked back… switch to CD in high school… all these years of records and discs since… oh man… I could probably buy a nice mid-sized pick-up truck, brand new, right off the lot. Gotta be north of $35-40k. 

Damn, that’s sobering.

My Other Other Other Other Other Woman

You may not know this about me, but I have drooled about Fender Telecasters for… an embarassingly long time. I’ve talked about them for years and years. Hell, I’ve dreamed of buying one of the damned things for over a decade, if that helps for scale.

I haven’t bored you with this tidbit, because probably boring. But back in July, I received some money for my birthday, to spend as I saw fit. And I decided to put it in an envelope and write the amount on it. And then every pay cheque, I’d slide a bit more money in there, just small amounts I’d never miss. The kind of money some people spend on pints at the pub, or a meal out, or a week’s worth of coffees at Timmies. I had no goal, no fixed amounts. Just let it add up, see what happened…

This Christmas, I received a wee bit more discretionary money and, lo and behold, it put me right on the dollar amount I’d need to be able to buy my other other other other other woman!*

*You see, my lovely wife, calls my guitars “the other women.” But then she laughs and says “well, at least I know where you are!”

I do love my lovely wife so much. But why so many (5) Other Women?

Other Woman 1: Epiphone Les Paul Special II
Other Woman 2: Art & Lutherie blue acoustic guitar
Other Woman 3: Fender G-DEC 15W amp
Other Woman 4: Pignose practice amp

And Other Woman 5? Well, I did the research. There are a zillion Telecaster models out there. All nice in their own ways, all slightly different in capability, materials, all ranging from a few hundred dollars to thousands. But I settled on one for which I could not find a bad review anywhere on the internets. I watched countless demos on the Tubes Of You. Everyone loves them. Yes, it’s a budget model, and yes, its made in China. Yes, the body is pine (as they were, back in the day), not ash, and yes the neck is maple. But details details, they just got the whole damn thing right. One reviewer called it “sex made of wood.” Sold.

So I made my first-ever visit to our local Long & McQuade, on Tuesday. I played the Squier Classic Vibe in Vintage White. I played the Mexican FSR Tele. I played the American Standard Tele (it was $1999! Whoa.).

Round about then, the salesman came over to ask if I needed anything. I asked about getting a Classic Vibe in butterscoth blonde. Dude thought they were discontinued. They weren’t! And there would be one on the truck Thursday! It could be mine with a small deposit…

So, since I’d saved up the dough, I made the deposit. And I called after work on Thursday (yesterday), but the truck had been delayed and nothing was yet received. So I went to the shop after work today (Friday) and there it was. And now it’s mine!

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you a photo gallery of the unboxing of my brand new Squier (Fender) Classic Vibe 50s Telecaster. With a maple neck. In butterscotch blonde (natch).

In Sum:

Understatement Of The Year: I am so happy. Oh my goodness. I cannot stop fondling my other other other other other woman!

It plays sooooo well. Straight out of the box. No mods. Just plug in, tune, and go. HOT DAMN.

Life is good. I foresee years and years (and years) of pure bliss.

Christmas 2016, Part 1

Happy Boxing Day, folks!

We should be at my in-laws’ today, celebrating Christmas all over again… Sadly, freezing rain and high winds meant we didn’t even make it out of town, let alone get to their house. We’ll try again on the weekend.

So it’s a quiet day here, the kids are even still in their pajamas… we’re watching the storm and staying warm. And I’m digging through my Christmas loot from yesterday and marvelling at ALL OF THE MAJESTY! Wanna see? Of course you do!

First up, my lovely wife thrilled me with this one, the deluxe Gord Downie/Jeff Lemire special vinyl/book/lyric poster box set of Secret Path! It is BEAUTIFUL.

If you want to know more about this project, you can read about it right here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

criiiispsI also got some Guiness-flavoured crisps (chips)!

I think they’re really good! My lovely wife says she likes them, but that (to her) they “have a bit of a musty after-taste, like you’ve licked the carpet of the pub.” Um… How evocative!

I don’t get anything quite like that out of them, I think they taste fine…

And no, I don’t lick carpets in pubs.

 

 

 

 

My folks gifted me an amazing, versatile gadget, a 1080p, full HD waterproof action camera!

I can’t wait to strap it to the kids and set them loose!

I also intend to mount it on the dash of the car, the handlebar of my bike…

You know, I think this is gonna be A LOT of fun!

 

 

 

 

 

My sister rocked it this year gifting me with both (!) the new Stones Blue & Lonesome CD AND the 2CD/DVD set of their massive Havana Moon concert in Cuba in March of 2016! We’ve already watched the first few songs on the DVD and it is phenomenal.

Expect full reviews…

 

 

 

She also gifted this interesting-looking David Brackett book, which says it “provides a rich and engaging introduction to the development of American popular music and the important social and cultural issues raised by its study.”

Just flipping through it, this looks like it’ll be a great read…

 

 

 

 

 

I also got a few other smaller things about which you might not care, like a renewal on the CAA membership for my car, and some money towards something for which I’ve been saving for a while… more on that later…

Like I said, an amazing Christmas!

***

And now we need to focus for a moment on Marshall from Free City Sounds (go Follow that blog, folks!). I’ve been a Reader over at his excellent blog for a while now, and his insightful, clear, and fair assessments of albums are always worth your time.

A little while back, I got an email from Marshall, asking for the physical mailing address of our KMA Eastern offices, as he’d send a wee something as thanks for reading. I said this was unnecessary, it’s just a pleasure to visit his site… and then this showed up at these offices:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh my goodness. OH MY GOODNESS.

This is, truly, well above and beyond! It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing, and I thank Marshall profusely!

***

Whew! Spoiled rotten!

And this has been Part 1… we’ve still got Christmas at my in-laws’ to go, where I may even receive a wee prezzie or two whilst there, too… which would lead to the necessity of a Part 2…

See you soon, folks! Stay safe, and stay warm!

Sunday Morning Coming Down

So, after the Tool set this week, I’m a little spent. It was a lot to try to digest, and I still feel like I didn’t even come close to covering any of it. Those records are so dense and fascinating!

Also, I am working on a super-big post that, while nearing completion, is not yet quite finished…

With all of that in mind, I’m being a bit lazy today and just sharing the work of other people. Shamelessly. Thank you, internets!

Galileo Figaro Magnifico-o-o-o-o

Trooper Red ‘N’ Black

Last night I tried out a new (2016), Limited Edition beer created by Iron Maiden. Naturally, it’s called Trooper Red ‘N’ Black. It’s a porter, not to be confused with a stout. Or is it easily confused? Let’s get Wiki to do the talking:

“Porter is a dark style of beer developed in London from well-hopped beers made from brown malt. The name was first recorded in the 18th century, and is thought to come from its popularity with street and river porters.

The history and development of stout and porter are intertwined. The name “stout” as used for a dark beer is believed to have come about because strong porters were marketed under such names as “Extra Porter”, “Double Porter”, and “Stout Porter”. The term “Stout Porter” would later be shortened to just “Stout”. For example, Guinness Extra Stout was originally called Extra Superior Porter and was only given the name Extra Stout in 1840.

Anyway, knock it off, Knowlton. Maiden’s beer fucking rocks.* I like darker beers (Guiness is my go-to), so I’m all for this new invention. The flavour is grand, heavy but not overbearing. There’s no nasty “ugh” aftertaste, either. It’s a very drinkable beer, quite a bit darker than the very drinkable regular Trooper beer. Yay!

Sad that it’s Limited Edition, though. It oughta be more readily available. Perhaps, in future, it will be. Maybe this “Limited” run of it was to see if people like it. Yes, people, we do! Then again, when has Maiden ever done anything on a small scale? Ach, who knows. Drink up if you’ve got ’em!

I did find it a wee bit pricey at $4.50 (CDN) for one 500mL bottle. I can get a 4-pack of Guiness of $10. Granted, it rocks in at 6.8% alcohol (whereas Guiness is 4%), so perhaps all can be forgiven due to its quicker inebriating properties. It’s also weird to complain because (I think) the Trooper beer is priced at $4.25 for a bottle. Here’s a quarter, call someone who’s drunk!

In Sum:

I’m glad I got to try this excellent beer. It is very, very tasty. UP THE IRONS!  \m/  🙂  \m/

* At this point I think it’s a given that whatever Maiden does, typically, rocks.

Amped!

For the past couple of days, I’ve introduced you to my two guitars. I was also remiss in not telling you what my lovely wife calls my two guitars: The Other Women. So there’s that.

Anyway, if you’ve been reading along, you’ll know that (way back) in 2007 I posted this big long post, wherein I gave a run-down of my guitar equipment. And in that post, I also talked about my amps, of which I had two. Well, I still have those same two today and they are still as awesome as ever!

The little Pignose is such a practical, fun little practice amp. You can take it anywhere, and if you’ve got batteries, you can go play in the park under a tree, or wail a solo at a campfire party… Not recommended to put any distortion through it, but for just noodling around wherever you are, this one’s a gem.

And the G-DEC? It is (quite possibly) the greatest practice amp ever. Mine’s the 15W (the 30W is tempting but this one’s far loud enough for my needs here). You can read all about it at that post link I provided above. I know it’s been updated in the years since, but this one has never come even close to being boring, or in need of replacement, for me! It’s got enough preset sounds and user-controlled settings to keep even a marginally-interested player going for hours and hours (and hours). I love it completely.

IMAG2277

Acoustic Blue

Following up on yesterday’s post, wherein we talked about my electric guitar (the full story of my gear to be found in a post from August of 2007), I now bring you my acoustic guitar. Electric is awesome, but sometimes (especially when writing songs, or often when I’m playing the blues) an acoustic is what’s needed.

She’s a blue, Canadian-made Art & Lutherie (made by Godin) that was also quite inexpensive, especially considering the quality of this instrument. She has a cedar top, and a big, roomy sound. There’s great sustain at all times and, not unlike my Epiphone electric, she holds her tuning forever. I toyed with the idea of installing an after-market electric pick-up, but decided to leave her pristine.

This guitar does not currently have a name. My lovely wife said if I played this one long enough, a name would present itself. So far, though, this hasn’t truly happened. No matter, she’s a solid acoustic warrior, and my go-to guitar for all sorts of situations.

I present to you my acoustic guitar!

Two Canadian classics, side by side.

Two Canadian classics, side by side.

Cherry Firecrotch

There was talk, a while back, about guitars. I like talking about guitars! So I thought I’d share the gear I’ve got here.

Now, AGES ago (in August of 2007, to be precise!), I posted about the equipment I have here. None of this stuff has changed. The guitars, the amps, all of it. I am loyal to my guitars.

So here’s my electric guitar. She’s an Epiphone Les Paul Special II, red with a sunburst middle. As noted in that link (above), my Saskatoon friends voted to name her Cherry Firecrotch.

I love this guitar. She wasn’t expensive, but she plays well, has great tone, and (perhaps most importantly), she stays in tune for ages. A true pleasure to play, often for hours at a time.

I give you: Cherry Firecrotch!

Cherry and ZZ. A perfect match.

Cherry and ZZ. A perfect match.

My First Thought Was…

‘One bun added on to the one bun, one bun added on on on…’

‘Hey there pretty bun, can I eat you?’

 

Way To Go, HMV

Our local mini-HMV in our crappy little mall strikes again.

So, which one do you think they meant? My guess is Flea.

IMAG0964

Christmas 2014, Pt.5

We spend the holidays at our parental units’ places, so we try to do Christmas a little early at our house. We chose this morning (Sunday) to start the festivities!

Finishing up this round of Christmas 2014, my lovely wife also gave me this rockin’ long sleeve t-shirt. She said she remembered I was looking for shirts to wear on my trip to Taranna with Mike, so maybe next year this one can be in the running. Damn straight, baby, it’s the friggin’ Stones. I’d call that situation sorted!

Super cool!

tshirt headphones

Hey Mick! Sometimes you CAN always get what you want AND what you need!

 

Christmas 2014, Pt.4

We spend the holidays at our parental units’ places, so we try to do Christmas a little early at our house. We chose yesterday morning to start the festivities!

As you’ll no doubt recall, a little while ago I was mentioning how gnarly and hardcore my trusty headphones were getting (right here). They still sound fine, but they look like hell.

Well, my lovely wife must’ve got tired of looking at their raggedy ass, ‘cos she hooked me up with this set of truly sweet Sennheiser headphones. I tried them out, and they sound GREAT and are very comfortable! They’re even padded for the top of your head too – my others were not. One other neat feature is that they are slightly noise-cancelling, which is very cool. I’ve never had headphones that did that, before!

YES!

So. Awesome.

So. Awesome.

Christmas 2014, Pt.3

We spend the holidays at our parental units’ places, so we try to do Christmas a little early at our house. We chose yesterday morning to start the festivities!

Included with my gift from my lovely wife, this year, was a Christmas card. And tucked inside the card were these two plectrums. They’re made by a local wood artist, by hand. He makes them in wood and bone. She selected a couple made from bone because, on the artist’s recommendation, they are very durable and have a wonderful sound on the strings.

I can’t wait to try them out!

Sorry for the shite photie. Neither of my cameras would focus on these. I blame the photographer.

Sorry for the shite photie. Neither of my cameras would focus on these. I blame the photographer.

S’up (Cupface, Pt.3)

IMAG2095

Disturbance In The Force

Locker Room

So tonight at the gym, I just wanted a quick workout, half hour max, better if it was shorter. Give ‘er!

Getting dressed to go upstairs to the gym, I turned around to see a young guy (if he was 20, I’d be surprised), shirtless, taking a selfie with his cell phone. He checked it out, smiled at his own image, then tapped furiously at the screen – presumably sending it to all the single folks he knows.

Anyway.

I’ve switched up my MP3 player, and right now all it has on it is Metallica’s Black. Why? I dunno, maybe something mindless I’ve heard so many times so I could just zone out – yet still rockin’ enough to hold my interest. And apparently, I can do 15 minutes on highest intensity on an elliptical, then stretch, then run 1 km and be done before Wherever I May Roam comes on. Which means I stretched and ran in 6:16.

MATH GEEK BONUS POINTS: Awesomely, adding up the 4 songs prior to WIMR equally 21:12. I should have been listening to Rush, apparently.

And I got ‘er done in under my half hour goal. Suppose I should’ve taken a self-congraulatory selfie.

Father Of The Year

Until recently, I may have been the only person of my generation (or younger) who hadn’t heard Psy’s Gangnam Style all the way through. That shit was everywhere for a while, there, and I studiously ignored it.

I did hear/see a bit of it at Brother Craig’s house when he called up the youtubes on his big screen TV, and after asking “what is this shit I’m watching?” I quickly tuned it out and returned to my wine while he laughed and laughed at his fine joke. He knew I’d hate it.

Anyway. I easily forgot all about the song, as it was most popular two years ago. And then, recently, our kids watched an animated film called The Nut Job, which didn’t interest them all that much (they’ll appreciate it more when they’re older, I think). And that’s fine, at least they tried it. The only thing about the film that interested us grown-ups was that a friend of ours from high school was Animation Director for the whole thing. He’s worked in animation for years, so it looks like he’s definitely moving up in the world, and good on him. He’s always done great work.

Unfortunately, though, guess what song appears in the end credits of that film. Oh yes. The kids thought the little dancing animated man was hilarious, and proceeded to jump around the living room to it, laughing like loons. They made me replay that part three times. They liked the credits better than the movie, honestly… Our kids might be weird. [NB: every parent says that, at some point or other]. Our son, the five-year-old, has recently mastered the horse-riding dance. Oh dear.

They started asking for the song. They wanted it in the car, on their Kids Music CD. I delayed a bit, because I knew what it meant – endless repetition of a song that goes against all that is good and pure in music – but I am a Daddy and a real softie (read: SUCKER), so of course it made it into the mix. And the kids love it. They howl with laughter at the lyrics, which they think are just gibberish (not knowing it’s sung in Korean). They bounce along to its Pump Up The Jam rip-off beat and have a great time. Our 3-year-old daughter will come up to me at random times and yell “OPPA GANG-UM STAR!!” and then jump away, laughing, waving her arm over her head like the guy does in the video. It is cute when she gets the words wrong, I will admit.

Sigh. I swear, the things we do for our kids. I can only hope it’s a passing phase. Otherwise, I’m gonna need a Parent Of The Year award for indulging this.

Garage Band

I’ve already emailed several of you about this, but it bothered me so much I had to make it a post here so that all of our Beautiful Constant KMA Readers can be in on this story.

Craig Ferguson is ending his late night show soon, which is none too soon because we watched his monologue and sketches and none of it was funny. At all. That stupid skeleton robot, the stupid horse, the lame jokes… it’s looong over. Anyway, I suppose he thought he was gonna go out with a bang by having Metallica as guests for an entire week. It’s also great promo for their 10th anniversary re-release of (one of) the most painfully bad rock documentaries ever, Some Kind Of Monster. Also, in 2015, the band will begin re-releasing all of their albums, because everyone sells out and does that at some point, it seems. As if anyone needs to re-buy their Metallica albums. Just because. Oh, and here’s a couple of b-sides that were left off the albums for good reason. Thanks a fucking bunch, guys.

I will not provide youtube links to this TV show thing, you can go find it yourself – but please consider reading the rest of this post before you do so. And if, after reading this, you still choose to look it up, I consider you forewarned and on your own recognizance. I’ve done what I can.

First off, don’t even watch the monologue or interview. As I said, it’s really bad. And not funny. Save your non-refundable lifetime for something important, like clipping your toenails. I type this here as a public service. You may thank me later.

As for the music clips… well. We all know those guys, the ones who have a garage band and they’d quit their cubicle jobs in a minute if their band ever got a gig and got noticed and got a record deal (a deal which would screw them over forever and make their lives hell, but shhh they’re special snowflakes, don’t tell them that part).

Well, Metallica (I love them still) sounds like that garage band on this show. They sound like a hairy, unwashed group ensconced in Mom’s garage, bashing out For Whom The Bell Tolls because A) they can, and B) they have big dreams of success and fame and fortune and knowing how to cover these songs might (they mistakenly believe) give them cultural cache. They do NOT sound like the band that wrote the fucking song!

Actually, they sound like they’re struggling. Lars is doing pointless fills, half-assing it in every song, and still not keeping consistent time, I swear it. Kirk is in love with his pedals to cover the fact that he’s phoning it in, and the volume on his guitar was far too low. And James’ vocals are gone. Not even struggling, they’re just gone. The only one holding up his end of his deal is Rob Trujillo. In fact, he was carrying them, here.

I dunno, watch it and you might diagree. Fair play to you. But don’t let your blind allegiance to this band, er, blind you to the truth. This was so bad. Honestly, I found this to be just awful. And maybe it was bad sound because it’s a late night TV show studio, not Madison Square Garden. Maybe they were tired. Maybe being sober this long has sucked all the verve out of them. Maybe they didn’t rehearse at all because who give a shit about a string of late night TV show appearances?

Or maybe they’ve hit their sell-by date. Maybe doing this into their 50s is showing that it’s over? We don’t want it to be true, but come on. This music is for young players. I dunno, I haven’t been following them too closely the last couple of years. Have any of you had recent news about shows, sound issues, James’ voice, general band suckage?

This wasn’t my Metallica. Not even fucking close. This was amateur hour.

Rock Star Mom

There’s a mom who drops off her two kids at my son’s school every morning, always waves and smiles, friendly-type. She’s a flamboyant soul, with big furs and make-up, jewellry everywhere (especially big hoop earrings), and swishing around everywhere she goes. Rock star Mom. Fun.

I’ve had occasion to talk to her once last year, and that was enough for me, though. Whatever innocuous thing we were talking about, probably school-related, became her ranting about the government and what a dickhead Stephen Harper is… I remember thinking whoa… he may be a dickhead, but how did we get here? And so quickly? It was tiring.

Anyway, this morning. She came barreling in the driveway like usual, but today the music was blaring. I mean, loud enough to be heard clearly outside her SUV as though the windows were down (they weren’t). When they opened the doors to get out, it got spectacularly loud. It turned everyone’s heads because, of course, she drove right up front and wedged in front of everyone else. Remember, this is 08:30 in the morning, most people are still waiting for their first coffee to kick in. Most people are just weary and bleary from having to wrestle their kids into snowsuits and out the door. No one else blasts their tunes in the morning, like that. Not even close.

And the tune? Black Sabbath’s The Wizard. CRANKED. Which is, of course, the only way to play Sabbath.

I have to think that that can’t be doing her kids’ ears any favours. But it is thoughtful of her to be giving the kids an education before they get to school. Rock star Mom!

Amazon Top Ten Sellers List

I had occasion to be on Amazon today, just digging around for Christmas deals, and my eye was once again drawn to the Top Ten Best Sellers in Music, updated hourly. As of 11:25 this morning, James’ theory that the young kids aren’t buying physical media (not as much as us old dinosaurs want to do) seems to be holding true. The oldsters are still winning in this list!

[NB. All are CD – no vinyls on the list at this hour].

01 – Bob Dylan – The Basement Tapes Complete: Bootleg Series #11
02 – Led Zeppelin – IV (Deluxe RM 2CD)
03 – Led Zeppelin – Houses Of The Holy (Deluxe RM 2CD)
04 – Robert Plant – lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar
05 – Ed Sheeran – X (Deluxe Edition)
06 – Barbara Streisand – Duets
07 – Kelly Clarkson – Wrapped In Red
08 – Carole King – Tapestry
09 – Neil Diamond – The Very Best Of Neil Diamond
10 – John Denver – Rocky Mountain Christmas

So. That’s 20% people under the age of 60 (Ed Sheeran, Kelly Clarkson). 20% Christmas albums (I might have guessed more, in the run-up to the holidays, but maybe I’m too early in that thinking). And one surprise (to me). Tapestry? Really? How is that a Top Ten Seller right now? It’s not a Christmas album, I wouldn’t think… are that many people buying it as gifts? Do people just love to listen to Carole King in the wintertime? It’s only $8, so it’s not a fancy-pants deluxe edition (though it is remastered)… I just can’t guess why it’s on here right now, that’s an odd one, to me.

It’ll be interesting to watch this list on the run-up to Christmas. I’d wager that at some point soon, probably by the first of December, almost this whole list will be Christmas albums, which makes sense.

Anyway, aren’t you glad I show you these things? OF COURSE YOU ARE!

iTunes Duplicates

Hey, here’s a fun game for those of you using iTunes. In the View menu, click on Show Duplicate Items. This will group all of your songs by title and artist in such a way that you can see when you have multiples of certain files. If you’re so inclined, you can delete as you see fit and clear up hard drive space!

Of course, if you’re an album guy like me, you won’t do that. You might have (as I do) three instances of Rush’s New World Man, but that’s because it’s on Chronicles CD2, Retrospective II and, of course, Signals. You might choose to not have the hits sets in your hard drive if you have all the albums. Me, I like to have every CD I own ripped and ready to go at a moment’s notice.  Besides, in this example, I love Chronicles almost like it was its own album, so I’m not gonna get rid of that!

Digging around further, I was interested to see 6 copies of Guided By Voices’ Game Of Pricks, 4 instances of Leonard Cohen’s Suzanne, and 5 versions of Iron Maiden’s Run To The Hills. And so on. It’s endless, really, and rather neat to see just what all has been sitting inthere, displayed in this different way…

One of the biggest offending bands, overall (in my collection) is the Rolling Stones. For example, I found 8 copies of The Last Time (5 from compilations, two live, and one from Out Of Our Heads), and 9 copies of Start Me Up (4 live, four compilations, and Tattoo You). Most of their stuff, I have several copies, because I own all the albums and many of the live albums and compilations.

But the biggest duplicator I could see, in casual glancing, was Pearl Jam. I have, for example, 18 iterations of Alive in my iTunes (14 live, 1 compilation and 3 versions of Ten)! Exactly the same number for Even Flow. Most of their songs have high numbers, simply because I own a lot of Pearl Jam (duh, I must, eh?). I have all the albums, plus the live stuff is crazy… for starters, they released every damn show on an entire tour (in 2000) on 2CD sets. I own several of those. Plus the Live At The Gorge box set (which is 3 shows), the Broadcasts set that Scott got for me, and so on…

What to think of all this? Well, on the one hand it points out that the 30,000 songs I currently have in my iTunes isn’t really all that impressive if I have so many duplications. How many individual songs (without duplications) do I have? I don’t know that there’s a setting to show me that. But it’d be way less, certainly. On the other hand, these are all unique instances of the tracks as they are all coming from separate albums. So, from a collector’s point of view, it’s still damn impressive! Ha.

Anyway, I found this all quite instructive. It was a fun experiment, conducted as I waited for the clothes dryer to finish before I headed for bed last night.

***And before you hate my guts for fucking up how you view your iTunes because you went and clicked what I said and can’t get yours back to the way you had it, go back to the View menu and hit Show All Items and you should be right as rain.

Library Book Sale

Our local library has a sale every year, as most (I’m sure) do. It’s all publicly-donated books, and funds go right into the library programs and services. I love supporting this because I love libraries. What we usually do is buy up a bunch of books, read them, and then donate them back so they can sell them again and make even more money the next year!

My favourite day of the sale is the last day, where you can fill a shopping bag to the brim and pay $2 for the whole lot. It’s ridiculous – I’d gladly pay more. What I find happens, on this last day, is a great excitement on first going into the room (after standing in the big long line), and a measure of critical care in choosing books. But, and perhaps it’s the heat of all those bodies crammed into the basement auditorium room, after a certain point I just start grabbing everything that looks even remotely good and that I might want to read eventually. I mean, at $2/bag, who cares? It’s at this point I know it’s time for me to leave or we’ll need to rent a warehouse just to store all the stuff I wanna read. And even then, as I walk out the door, I think back on some of the books I left behind and wish I was going back in to rescue them too! Especially the science fiction (there’s always a bunch of it). It’s a sickness, probably. I just love books!

So how is this relevant to a music blog? I bought music books! Yep, I got a cool picture book of Genesis, a biography of Snoop Dogg, a really weird little book about Syd Barrett, the text of which is half page in English, half in Italian, called A Fish Out Of Water. I also got the Stereophonics book that James’ lovely wife Mika claimed from that contest post a couple of days ago! It looks cool. I also found a paperback of Nancy Sinatra’s book about her father, and a hardcover copy of James Millers book called Flowers In The Dustbin: The Rise Of Rock and Roll 1947-1977. I’ll get around to reviewing this stuff when I can!

And those were just the music-related books. I got a lot of classics (I like reading the Russians, like Solzhenitsyn in the winter), and a whole bunch of other stuff that looked good to me too, like a hardcover Uncut edition of Heinlein’s Stranger In A Strange Land, and Samuely R. Delaney’s Einstein Intersection (with a foreword by Neil Gaiman). I also got my lovely wife a whole pile of books related to her job, and a Richard Brautigan she didn’t already have! In all, I did really, really well.

I was using the larger re-usable grocery bags, so I figured I’d pay double – they’d hold at least two little plastic grocery bags’-worth. I filled three of those bags. But after all of my wanderings around the tables, I was leaving with about half an hour left in the sale and, since they were closing up soon, they just charged me the $6 ($2/bag) instead of the $12 I thought it should be. I tried to pay them more, but they wouldn’t take it and just said they were glad I was lugging all that stuff home. Good thing I’ll be giving a bunch of them back so they can make more next year!

Adding these to the shelves of music books I already own was very pleasing. I have a whole whack of books I need to read and review in these pages!

Oh, and I got one CD at the sale, too. That’ll be my next review. That CD was WAY better than I thought it was going to be!

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