Thursday, December 18, 2014

Frame me and hang me on the wall

I need happy tunes today, for no particular reason.

Okay, maybe because of this.

Or this. And this. This.

(Or, despite its utter inconsequence in this unjust world, this.)

Yeah, see how things get too serious too fast? Maybe that's why I've needed several layers of satire to deal with them.

I'll miss you, Ham Rove, Dr. Stephen Colbert DFA, and everybody.

Edit - adding this to save and remember: 
"'Stephen Colbert' was about creating a full person that both heightened the absurdity of those he was parodying while also grounding them in psychological truth."

Saturday, December 13, 2014

It's just a silly phase I'm going through

I've dug this song from Day One (which, for me, was when I wasn't even in school yet). It wafted out of the tinny AM/FM tuner and all around the little Toyota, borne on a hot summer breeze (the car did not have air conditioning).

And I can dig the moniker "cloud rock," without hesitation. The song, at least the layered vocals that form the most of it, is onomatopoeic to the fullest extent.

But it was revived in a big, blockbuster summer movie earlier this year? Okay. Well, at least that's better than another robot-voice booty song being foisted on the world.

Monday, December 08, 2014

But I'm not the only one.

"Make your own dream.

That's the Beatles' story, isn't it? That's Yoko's story, that's what I'm saying now. Produce your own dream. If you want to save Peru, go save Peru. It's quite possible to do anything, but not to put it on the leaders and the parking meters. Don't expect Jimmy Carter or Ronald Reagan or John Lennon or Yoko Ono or Bob Dylan or Jesus Christ to come and do it for you. You have to do it yourself.

That's what the great masters and mistresses have been saying ever since time began. They can point the way, leave signposts and little instructions in various books that are now called holy and worshipped for the cover of the book and not for what it says, but the instructions are all there for all to see, have always been and always will be.

There's nothing new under the sun. All the roads lead to Rome. And people cannot provide it for you. I can't wake you up. You can wake you up. I can't cure you. You can cure you."

John Lennon, 1980

Friday, October 17, 2014

You'll be okay, follow your heart

So he had a soul that couldn't tolerate the braggadocio and the bleakness of the biz. That's what happened. 
"It's the deal with the devil: if you want your work to be seen, it's unfortunately not just about the work. And when it becomes less about the art, then the art suffers."
I savored this interview with musician/songwriter Gregg Alexander yesterday, reading it twice, listening to the songs*. And THE song:

I loved this song. I found it because I listened to the radio--the actual FM radio--15 years ago, daily. So many blocks between 1 W and 2200 W and 10 S and 1600 N spent tromping around to this, wondering what the hell I was doing in this city after only five months. I only feel like I heard it all the time, because I mustn'tve. Some time was spent hearing this or this and straining to reach the dial when this came on.

But this was constant, at least in my head, and when, a few years later, I could obtain (not legally) and play (legally) digital music files, I found this first, or something close to it (not like I remember my first CD purchase, which was, of course, this).

The song--and its creator--were widely admired and naturally dismissed until he slipped into obscurity. Some of the admirers who stepped up were surprising; Joni Mitchell, herself once an idealistic newcomer, gave the highest praise, including the track among others by Debussy, Duke Ellington and Dylan on an album of "music that matters to her."

Gregg resurfaced later, but no on really knew it. Of course, of course he also wrote this other guilty-pleasure treasure of mine, aerial and poppy and classic rock-y, all at once.

My own well-loved digital file of "You Get What You Give" faded, disappearing sometime in the last few years between device changes and computer upgrades and virus-laden downloaded file flushes from my music storage. That's okay; it's a relic of a time past, sonically, socially, personally. But there are some things about this song that are ageless. I mean, replace some of these names, and then trawl Twitter, the New York Times, or some episodes of The Daily Show (which, incidentally, premiered in its current incarnation at the exact time that "You Get What You Give" and Gregg were pushed out over radio waves in January 1999):
Health insurance rip off lying FDA big bankers buying
Fake computer crashes dining
Cloning while they're multiplying
Fashion mag shoots
with the aid of 8 dust brothers Beck, Hanson
Courtney Love and Marilyn Manson
You're all fakes
Run to your mansions
Come around
We'll kick your ass in! 
But, for me, the bloom is still on this rose because the song's sound matches the point. The sound and the thought soar together. This song was not at shy about aspirational, and that's how I needed to be in early 1999. It says, "Remember how you did that/this with them/those? And who you are? You still are."

You still are.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Random Play: Like an oasis in the sand

Oh, man, What a find on internet radio. The playlist on this joint continues to surprise me.

Take this, for instance. What pierced my work-directed attention--and, really, it pierced--is the fuzzed-out guitar.

I'm pierced--and struggling. Struggling to fully remember other fuzzed-out guitar sounds. Maybe?

No; it was fuzzy--but gloppier. A little wah-wah AND fuzz (as if I know what I am talking about). It's fuzz guitar, but in an R&B song, that this prog-rock (and eventually electronica; see below) guitarist's handiwork reminds me of.

There's this, of course:

But that's not it. No, there's another song with a slow-burning, fuzzy guitar lick, accompanied by sharp syllables gulped by back-up singers, and then...

Send help. Googling "fuzz guitar in R&B song" just sent me chasing that musical cottontail down his hole.

It's not Edwin Starr, or The Undisputed Truth, or The Temptations.

Perhaps I ought to just focus on what's at hand, rather than search frantically forward to try to reach what's way back.

And this guy, Steve Hillage? Brit, prog, summoned forth weird noises from a guitar in the 70s (including a track called "Glorious Om Riff") and weird noises from other artists in the 80s and weird noises from machines in the 90s and beyond.

For the unsatisfied seeker that this guy's earlier efforts sent tumbling across bytes and days (this post was started over a week ago), his second career output is soothing away the burning need to know. But not entirely.

In the end, I'd rather burn with curiosity spawned by the fuzz of electrical impulses snapping through wire and metal and wood and human hands than fade away on gentle, digitally-processed waves of sound.

Monday, September 29, 2014

On Repeat: In love, in love, in love, in love

Not only am I obsessed--obsessed--with this song (and it's been a long time since that has happened), I have developed a huge retroactive crush. An I'd-put-a-poster-on-the-ceiling crush.

My fantasy bf, BF. Can you blame me?

Sure, we might have started out shakily

and aged a bit, as we all must do

But, really, can you blame me for a crush on some essence that's some 39 years old?

I mean, come on.