Saturday, July 31, 2010

What's Next?

A couple of potentially exciting things may happen in August. First off, I plan on recording my third EP over the next three weeks. I have lots of material lined up so I hope that recording goes smoothly and I have something to be proud of by the end of the summer. I'm not totally satisfied with the songs but I never am so that's no surprise. I will be posting the EP as well as past recordings on when I finished. You will know when this happens. I'll obnoxiously advertise through Facebook.

Secondly, I have applied to work as an album reviewer for and up and coming blog called Seattle Show Gal. I heard about this from my friend and current SSG writer, Dan Ahrendt. My "audition" is to review an album called Beachcomber's Windowsill by a British band called Stornoway. The review is in the works at the moment, due on Monday, the 2nd. Cross your fingers! If I get the job, I'll be a real life music critic!

That pretty much sums up what I've been thinking about in regards to writing/writing about music. The weather sure is beautiful eh?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Well, this has certainly been the toughest "best of the era" post yet. 1973 would certainly be up there if I were to do a "best year in music history" sort of list. The top two on this list have would have been the same if I'd made this seven years ago but that shouldn’t take away from the stiff competition. True classics. For the first time, I have an honorable mentions section at the end.

Gold Medal: Houses of the Holy by Led Zeppelin

My favorite album by one of my favorite bands. More than any other, HH shows the true mystique of the Hammer of the Gods. As great as each one of Zep’s first six albums is, this is the only record where every track is flawless. The word epic gets thrown around far too much nowadays but for this album the adjective is fitting. One of the greatest electric guitar monuments we’ve witnessed, this varied record flows perfectly from the stunning “The Song Remains the Same” to the rocking, 15/8 time strutting “The Ocean.” Listening to this album, you can’t help but feel the magic of Led Zeppelin.

Silver Medal: Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd

Yeah, yeah, yeah. If you’ve ever spent any time looking at rock music criticism or blogging, you’ve read enough praise for this album to last many lifetimes. This isn’t my favorite Pink Floyd album (that would be the follow-up, Wish You Were Here) but like the first album on this post, this set of songs is a sort of a mythical sonic experience. Was there divine inspiration in the creation of this record? Probably not but there was enough pot smoke in the air to warrant some uncanny similarities to the first forty-three minutes of The Wizard of Oz. “Time” is one masterpiece of a song, and the rest of the album isn’t far behind. One of the legendary albums that undoubtedly lives up to the hype.

Bronze Medal: Dixie Chicken by Little Feat

The U.S. of A had to be represented right? Roger Waters and Jimmy Page are very talented but Lowell George more than holds a candle to the creative forces behind the above two albums. The frontman/songwriter of L.A. band Little Feat was a master craftsman of grooving Cajun-like Americana who found his stride here in 1973 but tragically passed away only six years later from a drug overdose. Dixie Chicken is one of the most underappreciated albums in existence. The smooth voice and inspired slide guitar of Mr. George along with some top-notch piano, back-up vocals, bass and percussion makes a fantastic piece of work. I’ve listened to it countless times and it just gets better and better.

Honorable mention: Quadrophenia by The Who, Paris 1919 by John Cale, Selling England by the Pound by Genesis, Countdown to Ecstasy by Steely Dan, The Captain and Me by The Doobie Brothers Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John and Innervisions by Stevie Wonder

Next up, 1985-8.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Busy Doin' Nothin

A Beach Boys reference seems appropriate for this Saturday in July.

I’ve had this blog for sixteen months now and I’m still not sure what to write about and when to write about it. So…I’ll just give a good ol’ fashioned life/music update rambling.

It’s summertime and I’m working 25 hours a week at the PLU library, which means I get to spend lots of time listening to music on my headphones. On the average day, I usually listen to about three albums, which is fantastic. I’m really quite blessed to have the job I do, as boring as it is sometimes. $9.40 an hour, with no stress and lots of quality music listening? I’ll take it…

Listening to music is a very difficult task for an indecisive, mildly OCD person like myself. My “era of the month” thing has been helpful when I can’t decide what to listen to (side note, “Best of 1973" is coming soon) as well as my humongous backlog of music I’ve acquired over the last year or so that I’ve yet to listen to. And of course, sometimes I can be semi-normal and listen to a certain album just because I want to listen to it.

I haven’t had any particular revelations over the past month or so. I’m as optimistic about the future of music as ever thanks to the excellent crop of 2010 albums. I’m going to start reviewing more records and possibly writing more artist profiles here on Page 43. I haven’t started intensively studying rock criticism yet but I hope to get on that this summer before I embark fully on my capstone project in the school year. I’ve written five songs this summer as well and hope to do some recording in August.

The last five albums I’ve listen to have been: The Mission Soundtrack by Ennio Morricone, Nursery Cryme by Genesis, Lift Yr. Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven by Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Meat Is Murder by The Smiths and Destroyer’s Rubies by Destroyer. A nice mix of sounds there I think. If I had to take one to a desert island, it would probably be Meat Is Murder. I’m not totally enamored with any of the aforementioned records but songs like “Nowhere Fast” would be appropriate for that kind of isolated setting I think.

I’ve also become obsessed with NPR Music recently. Every music media outlet has some sort of bias but I feel this might be one of the most open-minded yet thoughtful sources out there. If you haven’t already, tune in to an episode of All Songs Considered sometime. Really great stuff.