Filtering by Category: Music
I've got a much bigger soft spot for Louis Armstrong than I do for Frank Sinatra. My Sinatra love comes from his acting (From Here To Eternity's one of my favorite films of all time, and he's just breath taking in it) than from his singing career. I think for the most part, he spent more of his career over the hill than on top of it, so to speak. But Louis Armstrong... the guy was just amazing from birth to death. There's a bunch of early recordings from his first trip to Paris, playing in clubs, and you realize that the guy just plain knew where music was going, and how to ride that wave. Equal parts soulful and technical, Louis represented all of the potential of Jazz and Blues music, much of which, I've always felt has gone untapped since. He managed to be very much his own man, not letting his race, his bizarre voice, or his odd look stop him from taking his place as one of, if not the, greats in the history of music. That indominable spirit is so clear in every note he plays and every word he sings... So much so that you can actually see that rarest of things on the face of Frank Sinatra in the below clip... respect.
This was actually an E-mail to Costello loving buddy Mark Wheaton. But, I though it'd be mean not to share it.
The new release of My Aim Is True came out, and it has an entire disk of him playing the album live with the Attractions like 6 months after recording the album. As the album was recorded with The News, this means it's 1000x better, which is nearly impossible as My Aim Is True is one of the best records ever made.
And, also, this: http://www.rctimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll.../1005/MTCN0303
"I recorded some new melodies for some of my older songs, and for a gag I recorded them on just a cassette player. And I didn't have a microphone so I plugged in headphones into the tape recorder, because you switch them backwards, they work as a microphone. I didn't want to be like a Luddite, so I put them on a CDR, and I put 10 of the CDRs in 10 copies of the best of record that we released in April, and hid 'em in the shops in America, just to see whether anybody bought records anymore. And as nobody's found 'em yet and it's now September, I guess nobody buys records anymore. But somewhere somebody's gonna get a little surprise one of these days . . . They're gonna be in Wal-Mart or somewhere, and they're gonna buy one of these records and they're gonna discover a little free gift from me. . . . There's not enough fun with the business of music. It's all very serious. The record thing for as long as it's gonna last, it needs a little mischief put back into it."
Christina's ready to kill me, I think.
Alright... haven't quite had the time I wanted to post and such this year overall, but, y'know... here's the stuff I liked/loved this year. BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL YOU PROBABLY READ
BKV shows us why he's the best damn writer in comics yet again with... god forgive him... a talking animal book. Really splendid stuff that manages to be poignant, heart-breaking, and pulse pounding at the same time.
BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL I'D BET MONEY YOU DIDN'T READ
While you probably don't know the initials ADL as well as you do BKV, I'd bet you probably will soon enough. LaLS is the book about some obscure Egyptian folks with crazy names like Moses and Pharoah. All kidding aside, I'm far from a fan of just about anything bible related, but ADL and mpMann manage to make a book that's researched without sacrificing compelling story for factual accuracy. Of course, from what I can tell, it doesn't go too far off the known facts/biblically accepted truth, either. It's really a splendid piece of work that shows exactly what the medium of comics is capable of.
BEST ONGOING SERIES
Usagi Yojimbo Hmmm. This is harder than I thought it would be. 2006 was the year I stopped reading monthly comics. The ones I do still read are Ex Machina, Fables, Captain America, Powers, and a handful of others. The best though, is the book that I've read consistently for nearly twenty years now. Usagi Yojimbo. There's just literally nothing better than Stan Sakai drawing the book he loves. That's right. That would be the SECOND talking animal book on my best of the year list.
In a year that saw me go to the movies less and less, and miss virtually every movie I wanted to see, there was one that I made an effort to see, and loved it so much I saw it twice, and have already watched all of the special features and the feature once or twice since picking up the DVD a few days ago. The movie manages to do a couple of things that have never been done. 1) Almost perfectly capture a Phillip K. Dick novel. 2) Almost perfectly capture a GOOD Phillip K. Dick novel. 3) Redefine for a new generation what a Sci-Fi film can be. The movie is small, almost miniscule, by plot standards, yet is about big, big ideas. Bigger than any movie, bigger than any piece of literature. It's a movie that's about blame... and how sometimes EVERYONE is to blame, instead of just one side of the equation. The animation is fantastic, a real huge step forward from any other rotoscoping that's been done (including Linklater's other wholly different (and still wholly awesome) Waking Life.
Anyways, this is speculative Sci-fi filmmaking at it's best. Although I hear Children of Men accomplishes a lot of the same in a very different, and very excellent way.
Oh, and Rocky Balboa is a fucking blast. Well worth the price of admission.
BEST DVD RELEASE
Holy Fuckballs, this is what I'm talking about. Every episode, including the crossovers with Law and Order, the Movie, all the documentaries etc. from the individual sets, and probably the best packaging of a box set ever. Holy Shit. This is how one of the best shows ever made deserves to be presented, and it's worth every penny. A masterclass in research-based writing that knows when to put the research aside and let the character and story take over. There's never been a better cop show, and I severely doubt there ever will be.
Oh, and thank god for the impending Writers and Actors strikes that got them to finally release my beloved St. Elsewhere.
Fast Man, Raider Man by Frank Black
You sort of just wait for a guy to make a solo record like this. Frank Black's had some pretty great solo stuff, but aside from Teenager of the Year, nothing that quite rivalled that of the early Pixies stuff. This does. Equal parts Rock and Roll and Rockabilly Country, FMRM is just an amazing piece of work from a still vibrant pioneer of a an entire genre of music. As long as he keeps making albums even half as good as this one, I think we're all lucky to have him.
SO I'M ASHAMED TO BE A LATECOMING FAN OF...
I'd seen the movies, enjoyed the 3rd and 4th one a lot, and the girlfriend coaxed me into reading the first book. It's a big improvement over the movie, and despite the increasing length the books manage to become more engaging as they go on. I'm fucking ashamed, man.
I'M NOT ASHAMED TO BE A JOHNNY-COME-LATELY TO...
I remember watching Doctor Who with my older brother as a child. I never quite grasped what the fuck was going on, but I always seemed to enjoy it. Of course, I always thought it was a lesser version of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxybut that was clearly just my own stupidity (aside from it pre-dating Hitchhiker's, Douglas Adams was a story editor on Who while developing the Radio show. ) Doctor Who from the very first episode has always been Boys Adventure to the nth degree. It has more in common with TinTin than Star Wars, and that's why it's lasted so long and becomes so all consuming. You want to follow these characters because they're so much fun, and despite the effects, every script is beautifully crafted, and the actors always do their best to capture that sense of childhood fun that is missing in so much children's entertainment. The new shows are perhaps a bit too adult considering the source material, but, it's something that I for one look forward to watching with my kids once they, y'know... exist.
Genesis of the Daleks is a good place to start. It's a Tom Baker, it's got assloads of Daleks, and, well, it's the shit.
BEST THING ABOUT THIS YEAR
That's an easy one. Christina. Meeting her was like a dream come true, and I couldn't be happier, seriously.
WORST THING ABOUT THIS YEAR
Also fairly easy. That'd be how I had virtually no creative output this year, thanks to circumstances beyond my control.
WHAT'S ON TAP FOR 2007
Well, next year you'll see the complete Elk's Run, the long awaited premiere of Punks, Noel and I will be unveiling Three Rivers and Tumor, J-Rod's superbly excellent, Postcards (which has a cover... it's pretty sweet), and who knows what else in the new year.
Plus, I've got a bunch of work for hire on the way. You won't be getting rid of this guy any time soon.
So, have an amazing New Year and go buy stuff.
Ha! I added a little Audio Player plugin that makes it so you can listen to all of the tracks in the blog. No more navigating away and breaking my heart.
Wicked Little Town Probably my favorite song from Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Yes. That's right. I like a musical. It's not really a musical though. More of a Punk Rock cabaret. Anyways, this has been a favorite for a while, and I think it turned out pretty fucking cool actually.
Do You Remember the First Time? I got a thing for Pulp. I remember working at X-15 in Pittsburgh when I was like 14, and this song was in the "Hot" section of the playlist. Must've heard it 10,000 times over the three months it was in there. And yet, never actually listened to the words. It's a tremendously fucked up song. It's the boyfriend of a married woman telling her to leave her husband. Really, really fucking sad song. So of course I did all sorts of goofy voices. And a 50's Doo Wop style talking part.
Ah, just got the Shock Treatment sountrack in the mail today. Shock Treatment is the mostly ignored sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I have on VHS (although, I don't know that i have a VCR that works anymore), and it's actually a pretty good time. It's sort of a surrealist post-modern type thing, with some excellent pop-rock a la Rocky Horror.Anyways, according to Amazon, there's a DVD on the way, but, who knows. Highly recommended all the same.
Just How I Left It This is the first original I've written in a while that I really, really like. Lyrics could use some tightening, but, this one was pretty much free form, so I guess all things considered it's pretty good.
Nice and stripped down production as well, only 3 tracks.
American Music Jebus, everyone wants me to do Violent Femmes songs. So, I do the must mundane middle of the road one there is. Mostly because one of my old bands used to play it, so I actually know the words. Most of the words anyways. I also found a long-thought-lost cache of harmonicas, which you can hear in full effect throughout.
Why Wont You So, I haven't recorded in over a week because I've been sick as shit, and my throat's been blown out. So, I'm all raspy voiced. Which somehow made me write a song as though I was a member of Matchbox 20 or Creed.
It's purely embarassing. Unless you're a record producer who wants to buy it, in which case it's not even slightly tongue in cheek.
Enjoy, and forgive my shitty voice.
Ooh La La Productions getting a bit better. This one was built from a scratch track into a fully seperated 12 or 13 track recording. The biggest challenge with Audacity is that there's just not the fine controls of Pro Tools in terms of structure and mixing.
Anyways, here's your heaping dose of Rod Stewart and The Faces for the weekend. Enjoy.
Do You Really Want to Hurt Me? Man, I'm just in full on mopey 80's mode this week. Culture Club song, although it's probably slightly closer to the Violent Femmes version, cause those are the lyrics I know.