Break Time Calls

Corny or not my highlight of the day, any day, is when she either calls me on her break, or I call her on mine. My job sucks a bit, and her job is rewarding, and allows for really cute anecdotes of the world of taking care of tiny children. It isn’t without difficulties surely, but it is rewarding. The most rewarding thing about my job is really just a customer that gives more than just a little bit of a shit about me and what I am doing for them. But it’s all relative. I always find an annoying coworker or a weird person in the mall, or my boss to tell a weird story about. Otherwise it’s mostly snuggly fluffy butterflies. And that is more than enough. When we’re younger we seem to want so much stuff that we just miss the really simple things that we truly want, which are always just right under our noses. But as they say, that’s life. But nothing is really complicated as it seems, or as the powers that be want us to believe it is, and at the end of the day love wins, actual, simple, unconditional, lovely, love.

When You Decide It’s Time To Watch a New Show on Netflix…

There is so much internal debating on whether to take a chance on something everyone has been raving about for years, or the latest original series that is currently trendworthy, or heading for parts unknown, and watching something nobody you know has ever talked about, it sometimes takes forever to even choose.  I’m sure everyone has been there.  You sit for an hour scrolling through movies and shows, and then you possibly give up and decide to do something else.

If you do make up your mind and pick from one of the three options I have just described, you are either in for a treat, or in for being bummed out by how awful or how boring something is.  You decide in your wisdom to pick a show that has been on for years, and you have always been encouraged to watch by those around you.  You watch the first episode, hoping that you like it, and hoping that if you don’t, that you can at least figure out how to avoid telling everybody you know just how dumb it was, or how much you hated it.  But hopefully you love it, because that makes everything easier.  Someone finding out you hate it will always decide that there’s something up with you for hating something everyone loves.  But what if you like it but don’t love it?  That’s even trickier.

Sometimes I’m left wanting more.  “That’s it?  And you think that’s the best show?”  I might say to my friend.  Everything being so hyped up and overblown, you already have been tainted so much by their reactions, that if you react differently it just makes you feel like some kind of pariah.

What if you pick the new, currently trending show?  If you hate it, well that’s okay, not enough people have watched it yet.  If you love it?  Well my friend, you are a trendsetter and an internet icon.  If you only just like it?  You’re actually a bigger contributor to the growing viewership by being one of the first to the punch.  Good job.

If you pick the untested route, you may start a new trend, or you’ll find something so awful, so terrible, so boring, that you might watch the first episode and do anything you can in your power to make sure nobody else can ever see it.

Tv watching in this day and age is a full time job, wouldn’t you say?

 

I’ve Been Decorating Our Extra Room

Old posters from college and possibly times before sit in the corner, and I decide its high time I root through them and create what is possibly the oddest clusterfuck of wall hangings that you could imagine.  My tastes have always been so random in regards to music, books, and movies over the years, that what I have to work with is bizarre even to me.  Subversive political slogans, stupid comedies, and old rock bands are only some of the things in this pile, but I am determined that our studio/work space/spare bedroom can finally feel a little bit of that shit we call life. Right?

I’ve Been Back At Work For A Couple Weeks NOW, and let me tell you..

I feel better than I have in months, and not just in the last month where I was suffering with my horrible and larger than it needed to be kidney stone.  That thing had to be lodged up there for a long time if you ask me.  My body acts more like it should, and not only that seems to run better.  I have more drive, more energy, more creative impulses than I’ve had in a while, so brace yourself for amazing things in store.

So If You Weren’t Aware…

I went to Canada a couple weeks ago with my partner in awesome.  She’s the bee’s flippin’ knees by the way!  So we went to Canada yet again for Vacation.  We went last year to Niagara Falls, and it was beyond incredible, and beyond incredibly fun.  We even explored a little city further to the North of it, and the air was so pure, and the water on Lake Ontario was the clearest of blue that I had ever witnessed.  We ate poutine, went to museums, figured out that the speed limits were in kilometers, and explored the wonders that the Falls region had to offer. Loved it loved it loved it!  It was the third time I had seen Niagara and my mine was still blown, it’s really hard to grasp the magnitude of the situation.

We changed gears this year however, and visited a closer province, this one a straight shot North of dear old Leominster.  We went to Montreal, in the fair land of Quebec.  From the border here, it is different immediately.  Signs in French are really the defining factor here, seeing is it is straight farm land for almost an hour of car time.  It’s like Vermont’s French part.  Just kidding.  But really it’s all the ruralness of Northern VT, but in French, and with really cute looking houses.  Not that Vermont doesn’t have those, but even the ugliest house was pretty.  I don’t comprehend this place.  Okay, not every building was immaculate, but it was a great contrast to around here with an abandoned building on just about every street.

Montreal is a beautiful place, where trees and pavement aren’t in competition but are perfectly cohabitating.  Canada really gives a shit about the environment if you ask me.  And they spend more time on quality.  May I compare a Tim Horton’s to a Dunkin Donuts?  Sure I can, but there is no comparison.  The subway was a bit confusing, with most of the signing in French, but once we figured out how to get our tickets,( with me initially getting  a ticket for the wrong thing, which I still am unsure of how to use, so it came home with me) it was an ease navigating the train system.  And let me tell you, they move FAST like you wouldn’t believe.

So we visited the Entertainment District on our first day and from being in the 95% French signing in the train station, we entered a world where everything was in both languages.  Not only that, so many people just switched between languages like it was as easy as tying a shoe, and I guess in Canada, or at least this part of it, that is probably the case.  But do they chide us and mock us for not knowing the language?  No, unlike here in America, where if you don’t speak English you are the subject of much derision.  Good job Canada.  People jokingly speak of moving here, but if you’ve ever been, how couldn’t you think of it?

Poutine and late night drug stores that put CVS and Walgreens to shame is reason enough.  Okay, joking aside, I will return to our trip.  We next jaunted through the Olympic Park, site of the 1976 olympics, home to the Biodome De Montreal, the botanical gardens and a planetarium.  Let me just tell you how fucking amazing, this Biodome is.  Several climate controlled rooms house a variety of different animals.  A jungle habitat, a Northern Atlantic Ocean habitat, a Northern Forest complete with beavers, otters, raccoons and the like, and even a room with penguins.  How cool is that? Very cool I know.

I meant to write this up earlier, so I’m a little less detailed than I would have been, but the majority of the rest of our trip was spent at Parc Jean Drapeau at Osheaga Festival de Musique et Arts.  The venue was incredible and so were the bands, the food vendors, and dancing in the fountain.  The park is massive, and contained entirely on one of two gigantic islands right in the bay.  Yeah the subway tunnel is actually underground, seeing as for this stop, it actually travels,  UNDERWATER!  What?  I didn’t think of it at first, so I wasn’t scared until after the second day of the festival.  Silversun Pickups, Passenger, Nathaniel Rateliffe, Bastille, Haim, Red Hot Chili Peppers, St. Lucia, The Wombats, Death Cab, and FUCKING Radiohead, which was the initial reasoning behind the trip.  So much talent, so many bodies, and more Molson beer than I ever thought existed in one place.  People find out your American and they have the opposite of the expected reaction.

 

This was the best festival crowd I had ever been in, no extreme shoving matches, no people getting ejected from the festival, or if there were it was much more discreet. Seeing some of my favorite bands for the first time, and others for the second or third times in a year already filled with great concert going accomplishments, I can’t wait to see where the rest of this year is going in that regard.  But look up this park and this festival, you won’t be disappointed.

I’m still suffering reverse culture shock upon my return, so maybe I’m Canadian on the inside or something?

 

I’ve Been Away For A While It Seems..

So sorry, my adoring public.  And by that I mean the one person that probably reads this.  I don’t blog for recognition, nor to talk a big game about myself, so adoring or not, if there is a single reader, you are a public and that is saying a lot.  You know who doesn’t have an adoring public?  Donald JackAss Trump, that’s who!  But enough’s enough. Let’s talk about realass shit now, okay folks.  This happens almost every time there is an election.  If we don’t feed his flames, they won’t get bigger.  I mean that isn’t true.  But the media is rigged, and has always been so towards those with money and influence. But the truth of the matter is, even those with money and influence are being swayed further from him day by day.  Do you know why?  He only knows how to hold onto wealth, not how to distribute money throughout the land.  And everyone will lose, not just those that could do to lose a little.  But like I said, I’m not here to talk about him, and I am sick to death of talking about him, listening to him, being asked, “hey did you hear the latest thing he said, the latest thing he did?”  It’s sick and it’s foolish.  And am I scared?  Not any less than anyone else, but I have to live my life and better the world all the ways in which I can.

 

Peace and Love,

Craig

“It’s Better To Burn Out Than To Fade Away..”

Kurt Cobain mentioned this Neil Young lyric in his suicide note, which really shook up the music world in a number of ways.  I mean his death in general impacted not just a generation of music fans and fellow musicians, it shook up the entire industry, it shook up entire schools of musical thought.  But all the same, it cemented the truth of Neil Young’s lyrics.  What does music mean to you, or to anyone?  What does making music do for us?  It’s just like what writing does for people like us, here at the bottom of the bottle.  Neil Young’s lyric will always ring true for so many of us.  Nobody wants to fade away.  I mean, I don’t really think anyone wants to literally burn out, right?  But nobody wants to fade, people want to remembered for something for anything.  People want to make a lasting impact or deliver a lasting contribution to this world that we were thrown into, and not by choice.  Nobody chooses the life they initially start with, but we do have at least some choice in the life we end up with.

I recently learned of the passing of a friend of mine.  I wouldn’t say we were close, but I’d say he did always leave an impression on me.  He always lived the way he chose to, and some of those choices, at a very human level, were certainly not great choices, just like all of us don’t always make great choices.  That’s normal.  We choose to smoke, when we know exactly what cigarettes do to us.  We choose to do any manner of things, knowing full well that they are habit forming or that they will kill us.  We choose to spend money on things we know are only fleeting. But that’s the other point of the song lyric.  If we truly live our lives, truly embrace our lives,  and the choices we make therein, we all have the capacity to burn very brightly.

But more on my fallen comrade.  He went out of his way to not be liked, and was the ultimate embodiment of everything my friends and I believed in during the parking lot days. Being uncool was always cool. Doing things just because others wouldn’t.  You would find him on the street any random day, playing some really shitty song on his guitar, because it was his right to be as good or as bad at music as he saw fit.  Addled by drugs at the best of times, my friend still danced to his own drummer, you get me?  He was a compassionate soul, even though he was always rough around the edges.  He couldn’t get out of his own head most of the time, but he always got into ours.  He made us think about choices, he made us think about freedom, and life itself.

He never asked the deeper questions, because he never had to.  Being near him, unsung hero of all that is considered Rock and Roll, of all that we decided to embrace as sidewalk punks and gutter trash, made us think, made us always question authority, and for that we are forever grateful to him for never letting us forget.  It is truly tragic, that some of his choices brought him to this end, but we owe it to him to burn ever brighter in spite of this.  And we also always have a choice on whether or not we look the other way, maybe we should pay more attention to the lost causes, to the people who can’t get out of their own way, and really even just stop and say hi, once in a while, it’ll make all the difference in your life and everybody else’s.

Bottoms Up to You My Friend…

 

Boston Calling Day 3

At long last, I can tell y’all about the final day of Boston Calling, which was a phenomenal ending to an amazing weekend, not to mention that instead of sweating to death we were actually a bit chilly.  Which worked in everyone’s favor, if you ask me.

The Vaccines were pretty cool in their classic punk vibe, and their awesome energy, and and pure appreciation of the crowd.  Again this was a case of us showing up a bit late, so we didn’t get to pay the utmost attention to it, but what we saw rocked pretty hard.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra was pretty interesting, but certainly nothing too memorable in comparison with what was to come, except maybe Vince Staples, which really didn’t move me much at all.  And then there was Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires, certainly the oldest and most soulful act in presence, but they had incredible energy, and amazing stage presence.  To see a soul legend surrounded by so many contemporary, more modern sounding artists was great.

My most anticipated performance of the day was The Front Bottoms, who bring a gutter punk sound from Jersey, which is also filled with heart and killer hooks, and a real fun stage presence makes them pretty damn awesome in real life.  Funny, crass, and good at driving a crowd, they did nothing but impress.  Elle King brought her smoky, hillbilly blend of folk, rock and sheer awesomeness to the red stage, and really kept up the witty banter throughout her set, most memorably saying how hard it was to keep her pants on during Charles Bradley.  She also destroyed my shoes, because of how hard I was dancing to the tail end of her set.

Janelle Monae can surely do it all: command a stage, move a crowd, and boost a positive message of social justice, all while getting us to dance our asses off.  That being said, since Disclosure was ending the night, we had to take a breather during Haim, but we still saw their entire set, and they truly blew my mind.  The point where all three of them were playing the drums togethr was beyond awesome, not to mention their stage setup was terrific.  I don’t think anyone  there could play their instruments half as well as they did, and that’s saying a lot considering how amazing everyone was.

Disclosure do more than just the typical dj set, with a guy standing in front of a laptop and just pushing a button every once in a while.  They both had their own set up much the way that Chromeo did last year, with synthesizers, drums and keyboards.  Most of the singing was pre-programmed, but some of it was live.  But almost all the sounds other than this were live.  Not to mention how awesome their light show, and the media going across the screen non-stop was.  To end in a full on dance party was terrific, even if I could barely move the entire time.  It’s surely another Boston Calling for the record books,  not to mention all the free kind bars that I snagged, always a plus in addition to an amazing weekend, and the most fun you will have in Boston.

 

It may be somewhere else next year, but it will have all of the heart and all of the fun, and that’s a plus.Boston Calling in Allston, you know I’ll be there!!

Yet Another Interesting Album by Radiohead

It’s certainly more an In Rainbows kind of album then a King of Limbs kind of album.  I think it has the most in common with Kid A or maybe Amnesiac, but a little more ethereal.  It’s more spacy, and it doesn’t float out of my head the way King Of Limbs did and still does.  It’s definitely not a return to their more raucous territory the way Hail To The Thief was, and it’s certainly not radio radio the way the first couple albums were.  But at it’s heart it is Radiohead through and through, especially in the fact that you can’t pin at down as one thing, or similar to a specific thing.  It’s definitely a return to a more lyrical approach, and a more densely instrumented sound. I know I used that wrong, but anyone reading gets the idea.  My first listen has sort of relegated this to background noise, but I really love what I here.  And the guitar work is just as gorgeous as anything off of Ok Computer was.  The song, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor Rich Man Poor Man Beggar Thief,”  reminds me a lot of “Pyramid Song,” or even “Paranoid Android,” but even then it’s still something that can’t be pinned down, because I’m hearing shades of “Reckoner,” “15 step,” and others all inside this one track.  “Burn The Witch” is like a mellower “Hail To The Thief” track. “Daydreaming” would feel right at home on Kid A, but also sounds like it would fit as a B-side to King of Limbs or In Rainbows. “Desert Island Disk,” sounds like something you might hear on an album by Alt-J, who many have called the new Radiohead oddly enough.  But it also would fit perfectly in between any two tracks off of Ok Computer. “Full Stop” is really the closest thing there is on here to a straight up rock track.  But here is where Radiohead never ceases to confuse me.  Almost every track on here, not only the ones I mentioned could fit pretty much anywhere in the middle of Radiohead’s very eclectic song catalog from the past 20 plus years So my question to you is this:  how many of these are brand new tracks, as opposed to bits and pieces of the past as it were?  When you listen to music you are listening to the past anyway, just like when you see the moon’s reflection.  The name of the album is A Moon Shaped Pool, so maybe that is part of the concept of this concept album.  And oddly enough, the album ends with a re-working of a song that has been part of their catalog for a number of years, but has never once appeared on any of their studio albums.  They truly know how to come full circle.

Bottoms Up!

It’s Back

The sun has returned to us this week, and now that it is my day off, I couldn’t be more glad of that fact.  The sun is back.  The warmth and joy of Spring is back.  The hint of Summer is back.  Our good moods are back, and our motivations, and faith in our abilities to succeed are all back back back back back.  And Radiohead’s new album has arrived!!!!  I am overjoyed to have my first listen of “A Moon Shaped Pool,” at some point this day, and I’m sure it will not disappoint.  My brief dive into it last night proved that it does have more to offer than “King Of Limbs, ” which was  a great album, don’t get me wrong, but I like that the new album is a concept album that’s actually focused more on a legit concept than the previous endeavor.  But regardless, it will be a delight to the ears I am sure.

Only a couple short weeks till Boston Calling VII, and I am pumped up about that for sure.  Sia, Disclosure, City And Color, Borns, The Front Bottoms,  Miike Snow, Odesza, and many others are going to be awesome I am sure.  Boston Calling has never disappointed in variety of artists and styles represented, and has also hardly disappointed in quality of performers and performances, though certainly Brand New left much to be desired.  But the postives of the experience outweigh the negatives.  We fell in love with bands and artists we wouldn’t have known otherwise, and saw way more artists that we already loved, that we probably wouldn’t have the opportunity without the festival that kicks off the summer in the best possible way.  The line-up this time is much less known to me, to be pleasantly surprised is also a pleasant surprise.

Well today folks, think Spring, and dream Summer.  Take a walk, throw a disc, jam out to some good tunes, open your windows, fling open your doors, and throw out your arms to the gift that is today, and run with it.  I don’t care if you have work or not, you do get out of work at some point right?  Get out and see that big beautiful place we call the world.

I know I’m telling you this from my apartment floor on a computer screen, but once I am done dropping these words in front of your faces, I am going outside myself.  So there!

 

Bottoms Up!