I’ve Been Quiet, I know..

I’ve been quiet on here, if anyone might have noticed. But all this hoopla leading to the election, the election itself, the filling of the swamp that was apparently gettting drained, the electoral college and their dumb vote which keeps us from true democracy, Christmas, and being with the ones we love. I just wanted to live peacefully for a bit before the shit started to hit the fan. And Christmas is such a lovely time to spend with loved ones. Unless you are Donald Trump and get visited from three “rude” ghosts, one of which is probably really “yuuge.”  Just be glad 2016 saw such a great punk resurgence from some of the best punk bands that still exist.  The Pixies’ Head Carrier among them, can help us gear up for the fight of a lifetime.  Nazis and White Supremacists will soon inhabit the highest echelons of the American government, which is meant to be by the people, of the people and for the people.  I know the government has never been without its flaws, without its absurd protection of evil corporations as if they were individual people.

I’m sick of all the special snowflake nonsense that keeps floating around.  Our generation continually works their butts off to have their dreams slide down the waterfall and get dashed into pieces on the rocks again and again, without even mentioning the little amount of money that ever ever manages to find its way into our wallet. Sure, our modern world is full of unneeded expenses that previous generations didn’t have, like smartphones, unlimited internet access, social media mind traps, etc.  But the rise of the technology has not only helped make some people too numb to the world, but it has developed a dependence that was unforeseen.  Movies in the cloud, companies updating their info only on their fb pages, and needing the internet to get discovered as an artist anymore. It’s not fair certainly, but it does have its perks sometimes. If the masses can just get their heads out of their new asses known as snapchat for a few minutes, they will no longer be crippled by the technology that has developed a bizarre symbiosis with them.

Speaking of the music biz being the way it is, I will never stop buying records and CDs because the joy isn’t so readily available if I just download anything and everything. The thrill of opening a new cd, putting a newly acquired record under the needle, or the clicking noise a casette makes after it rewinds. The pop and the hiss, the electronic blips that CDs make, the hassle of respooling a messed up tape, beyondthe lyrics, or the sound of the vocals, or the unique sound of the instruments is really what makes listening to music and acquiring music a true joy.  Nobody savors a new single from a favorite band anymore, they just move onto the next new artist and leave it forgotten on the cutting room floor.  Not enough people buying albums or understanding the beauty of listening to it from the first to the last track. We need to increase our attention spans, grow our minds, become the person we have always been, instead of the person we don’t want to ever be just to get by.  Balance your work and your life, get back into music, listen to a new song daily, a favorite album daily, share a favorite band with someone daily. Give a complete stranger a mixtape, regardless of how they look at you.  Our art revolution is fun, and truly improves quality of life as well.

We aren’t robots, and we can’t afford to live in apathy right now.  So *gasp*, open a book, watch a movie more than ten years old, physically hold an album in your hand, do what you like and not what you don’t. Educate yourself against those who would take your rights away from you, so as not to willingly give them up. Learn about climate change, pay attention to the signs. Understand that fracking fracks up everyone’s drinking supply, it is poisoning our own well. Do your best to toss aside intolerant and discriminatory feelings. Empathy is key.  Put yourself in someone else’s shoes if it is the best way for you to see every side to a problem.

Let your voice be heard when you see injustice in all its forms. Don’t be led astray from your own deepest convictions. And if you have a dream, this is definitely the year you should seek it out.  These are the most uncertain times we have yet to experience, so let us experience it not with fear, which is a means to our control, but with hope, which is where true freedom is born….

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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?

 

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!

Burn The Witch

Radiohead’s new song came out a day after they all but vanished from the internet, and it did not disappoint.  Of course it didn’t. This is Radiohead.  It has a lot of the disconnected vibes as found in King of Limbs, but it’s definitely more like a song that belongs on one of their earlier albums, but nothing pre Kid A.

I love that it’s a bit more rock oriented from recent offerings, but I also like that it’s chock full of ambient noise, and the cryptic lyrics scream radiohead through and through.  The sweeping strings, the drum beats, and Thom Yorke’s free-wheeling vocals flying up to the heavens, really make this a solid first single from their new album.  It won’t be long now till the album arrives….

Radiohead is Missing..

So  Radiohead has apparently vanished off the face of the internet.  Their website is gone, their facebook, twitter,etc. is all gone.  But here’s the thing:  Radiohead hasn’t truly vanished from the face of the internet, they have overloaded it.  By vanishing from the internet, they are now everywhere on the internet.  So everybody is now paying attention, those excited about their new album, and those who don’t give much of a shite at all.

Thom Yorke is an enigma even when his band exists on social media, what with coming up with new ways of releasing albums, unexpected albums, and unexpected sonic experiments.  Johnny Greenwood was quoted a number of months ago now as saying that the band was done recording for their new album, and the internet grabbed the words, twisted them up and announced:  Radiohead has finished their album.  Johnny came back at them and said:  “We are done recording, but that doesn’t mean the album is finished.”  I’m paraphrasing here, but I think you get the gist.  Whatever they do will be amazing, and whenever they do it, even if we are looking for it we will be caught unawares.

Right now, I’m enjoying the rain with one of the best rainy day albums that has ever existed: Amnesiac.  I love how different all of their albums are from each other.  Even at their poppiest, and least experimental, they have always been innovators, always defiers of convention.  I would go as far as to say, that they are and always be one of the greatest rock bands, even when they veer into unforeseen weirdness.  They do it for the music more than for the money, more than for the recognition, or to appease executives.

The thing about Radiohead is this:  forward motion and constant change.  That’s how a band exists for 20 plus years.  They are such musical chameleons, and that alone makes them impossible to forget, impossible to get sick of.  But where are they?  We’ll see soon, won’t we?

Cheers!