Archive for May, 2012

20
May
12

High Speed Cakes…

It’s the unexpected that keeps things fresh. This past week two things I wouldn’t have thought would transpire did exactly that: Happen. First, I became rather loaded, or struggled to remain coherent after enjoying Chicago and Local H, and left my rather costly phone in a cab. But about 48 hours later, it was found; then after many days, successfully retrieved — major financial fiasco averted.

My musical catalog consists of many artists who put out only one, or if I was lucky, two unstoppable, timeless records. Perhaps blame these short lifespans on major labels — realistically the factors and variables are endless for why acts only craft a record. Previously highly coveted quartet the Cupcakes were ones who crumbled due to their major label Dreamworks and released a record; then disappeared into Chicago rock oblivion. Until a few days ago. I went about 12 years enjoying, playing louder than most, what I thought was their one and only record. A long player consisting of crunch, spaced out techno rhythms, and enough power pop to appease me for about 1/3 of my life. And now, I can bask in more of this exemplary formula with 15 new tracks care of their true debut and five b-sides.

Most likely one of the top finds of 2012:

Cupcakes untitled debut record & five b-sides

15
May
12

It’s just one of those things….

My 9 to 5 presents me the opportunity to enlighten 10 and 11 year olds to music beyond Tech N9ne and Nicki Minaj. By no means is this stated on my job description — that writeup looks something like teaching kids how to read, write, compute, and think critically. But the finale is upon me and my classroom of 30 plus characters. And with this little time we have, it’s where I throw most things I should be covering out the door. What it boils down to is keeping a bunch of pre-teens engaged and still interested in what I have to say.

“I’m going to try something totally different today. You all know my strong interest in music. Today I’m sharing two songs with you”

A few ears perked up; overall though, only so many were truly curious. As lyric sheets were provided to the students, I had them peruse the lyrics for the “more chill, relaxed track” and their task was to provide a short prediction on what the artist is trying to say. Interpreting poetry meets the standard, boss. We discussed how many songs are written about past loves, for a current love, or about relationships in general. Next, all they had to do was write a short guess on what the song may sound like. Taking a chance is not a strong point for most.

The listening party’s initial selection was “Don’t Be Crushed” by none other than Hawksley Workman. They were promised a “drastically different and upbeat track” next. “Sunlight” by Bag Raiders, another track previously featured on this blog was the “kinda cool because it was like techno” selection. It’s been a good week plus, or when students weren’t in summer mode, where most everyone was listening, contemplating, and sharing their thoughts. One girl asked, “Can you bring more songs tomorrow?” Well, yes; I might have a few more to share…

Hawksley Workman :: Don’t Be Crushed

13
May
12

Finding inspiration….

It’s all over: shuffle, mood music, daily feeds, etc. Why can’t I stay routine with probably the most consistent thing in my day-to-day: music. Like music, sharing and attempting to discuss this medium is therapeutic; like sweating it out or downing more whiskey than one should. It took a read, more like a small tip-toe down memory lane, through the mind of James VanOsdol — he’s the man hopefully responsible one day for this — to help me to understand that this writing thing is something I dig. This time, it’s initially a conversation with myself. A way to put my thoughts out, better my ability to communicate, and most importantly, maybe, just maybe, turn someone onto something that’s brought me inspiration.

Chicago’s music scene was the catalyst and true inspiration for me to become the music fan I am today. Some of that’s owed to James mentioned above, and the other responsible ones are the Smoking Popes.




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