Archive for the 'Randominity' Category


Moving Day Loves Digital Media (Draft Resurrection)

A post began in 2013 on the eve of saying goodbye to another apartment. I wasn’t a gypsy in my former life. Though every 12 months, it was time to move. There wasn’t one reason why this was always the case; but it continued to happen. Drafts from my past are comical to relive. Some make me realize I am the same person, mindlessly living through this ongoing chapter, while others are afterthoughts as I slammed that chapter shut lifetimes ago.

Damn, another lease is up. It’s time to pack up my goods, squash them strategically into my ride, and begin anew. As slightly nomadic, my physical music collection is non-existent. I desire a collection representative of Rob Gordon’s — but before that curation, a permanent residence; or enough means to hire professional movers to safely pack up my collection and treat it as a sacred artifact.

As much as I yearn for yesterday and its tangible music mediums, there is something to be said about being a music fan in 2013. Forget boxes, crates of dusty wax, heavy hardwood shelves to haul. Today’s collection is digital. Pack that laptop and continue your Siamese twin connection with your phone. Your music collection is ready to be shipped.

Ideally, I’d love to peer around my place and be surrounded by musical experiences; records, CDs, gig posters, merch. Today’s streaming options are missing that unreleased 1997 LP from a little known Chicago act, amongst countless other cherished oddities. A light CD collection must exist. My CD collection resides in my car; smashed in the dash, vertically placed in the console, haphazardly in the doors.

When this gypsy-like chapter in my life ends and a new chapter of permanent residency begins, a long-term goal, one that I will attack with great enthusiasm is building a physical, hard as hell to move music collection. Until then, do I have the option to go month-to-month?


Nashville, The Features, and Skulls…

Your favorite artist consistently turns out new records. They have a sound and overall vibe you’ve come to expect. But they don’t stay the same. They’re always tweaking who they are as an act. Evolving helps them to stay in the game. Why make the same record twice? Each record presents itself a new opportunity for the listener, too. And when that opportunity is a visit to their hometown for a rock show, you bite. If you’re lucky, you string along a few friends to jump start the night. Or in my case, the weekend.

You take away the music, you remove so much; the trips, the random conversation, an unexpected local showing you the town, impersonating Prince amongst Nashvillians, etc. I learned on that first trip outta state to see a show that those opportunities should never be turned down. Ever. The show is the final destination, but it’s the journey leading up to the gig that creates timeless memories. Last weekend in Nashville, I was part of a modern-day classic in the making.

An act not featured enough on this rarely breathing blog was The Features. Why? It was once said they’re too tough to put into words and whatever was said wouldn’t be doing the band justice. Shit, no doubt it’s a tough endeavor. See them live, get lost in their records, it’s a fair statement. The truth? It’s the best band you’re not spinning. A quartet stringing together anthems of love, longing, family, and anything else that in the end really matters. Those themes are backed — formidably — by melodic sunshine, aggressive and danceable grooves, and a  passion and energy always ready to jump off.

My attendance at shows isn’t what it once was. And forget the now a days it’s quality over quantity, because at one point, rarely was I not at a show that was worth noting somewhere or generated conversation tomorrow and a week later, too. The objective of catching quality, intimate live music hasn’t changed, nor has the desire for antics — this past weekend further corroborates this. But today, priorities have evolved and every moment of this experience is special. Nothing is taken for granted. I got into music to be entertained aurally. Over time, I realized it’s so much more than something to hear. The Features and Nashville gave me a reason, countless, really, to continue to be a fan of music and every other opportunity and experience it creates.


If I only knew being a concert technician was an option…

Earlier in my life I had to pick a profession, perhaps a trade. Ultimately, something that would afford me a living of some sort. Awhile back, like yesterday and today, music was at the forefront of my thoughts, and when it came time to pick something to focus on in school, I wanted it to be music based. The kicker though, my musical talent was nil. So the thought of entering into the business on the business side of things was perhaps my only choice. When this life altering decision time presented it self, the industry was almost at the point of a radical overhaul due to the internet and what it was — at the time — slowly doing to physical record sales. I decided against it and chose something radically different. Fast forward a decade plus and for most artists, stepping out on the road and performing live gigs is how one makes a living. Enter the concert technician.

A working professional doing what they love. For a very respectable wage, too. The Wall Street Journal shares an excellent write-up on what we all used to know as the roadie and how this gig has evolved. With so many artists having to tour, and for many, tour extensively, there is a great demand for tech production crew gigs.

Roadies: Unlikely Survivors in the Music Business



The Essential Shuffle…

Streaming is convenient. The cloud has a lot to offer someone who’s about the music. Things are different now. I no longer have all my music on a hard drive and can randomly hear unrelated track after unrelated track. The surprise factor has disappeared. No longer am I telling myself how great of a track that is; now when I listen, I know what to expect. I’m the curator of my listening habits.

I broke out my old laptop with 10,000 plus tracks. I hit shuffle. It reacquainted me with tracks from yesterday. Ones that weren’t worthy of being forgotten but got lost in the transition from digital files to streaming content. Below is a five track sample of tracks from another era. A time period not too long ago. Songs that I used to bump louder than today’s blast level. Due to them not being conveniently located in the cloud, simply disappeared from my conscious. Someone’s not going to dig it, but there is going to be an old, tank-like laptop that’s going to be permanently housed on the shelf. Why? Shuffle.

Hood Internet :: Burn It Again

Felix Da Housecat w/ James Murphy :: What She Wants

Earlimart ::Everybody Knows Everybody (Such a smart pick as an album of the year)

Fluid Ounces :: She Blinded Me With Science

Thieves Like Us :: Drugs In My Body (long version)


Bangin’ out the iPhone speakers…

But I know so many people who listen to music out of their iPhone speakers. It becomes background noise, part of the wash. It makes music not special anymore. If you eat pizza all the time, it doesn’t taste like pizza anymore.


Nick Waterhouse doesn’t like your smartphone and its audio capabilities. In ‘Music Is More Mobile Than Ever, But Convenience Comes At a Price’ the Chicago Tribune’s Greg Kot speaks of how empowered today’s music consumer is and how challenging being an artist in 2014 truly is because of music’s ubiquity and undervalued worth.

Now I can’t condone someone using their smartphone’s speakers to experience music, but ya know, as a last resort, sometimes it happens. The speaker is an essential piece of — can I say furniture — anyone’s bedroom. Mistakes happen though, and water can be a speaker killer.  One second you’re shaking it; then the next your loved one is flustered and flailing like a wet fish knocking over drinks on the audio furniture.

Like a sensual dance or a straight up striptease, music can seduce. It should be an essential component in your about to get down repertoire. And because my dance moves are only best performed in front of the mirror, alone, and the only striptease I have is by Hawksley Workman, the playlist has become an integral part of foreplay. Without it, I’ve hit a dry spell. So for the past few weeks, with the most essential bedroom piece since the mattress out of commission, it’s either a silent soundtrack to our last dance, or a crackled, faint bump wafting out of my smartphone’s tinny sounding speakers. Whatever, Waterhouse, the latter always equals some of the best tasting pizza.



Shake it until my….

David Letterman and his musical guests keep us guessing.

‘the voice of a soul singer coming out of the mouth of an accountant’ and ‘like a repressed P.E. teacher finally allowed to direct the school play’

C’mon, you’re on Letterman to potentially earn a new fan, perhaps a new cult following. Bring it. Whatever you got, showcase your best. If you can drop it to the floor, add a shoulder shake, and swing below the waist, let’s see it.

Future Islands, the Baltimore quartet churning out catchy synth pop direct from the heart has now set the standard. Dave said it best, “BUDDY, C’MON! I’ll take all of that you got! That was WONDERFUL.”

I won’t admit how many times I’ve watched this:


Greg Kot’s Dance Meets Grammys Preview…

Someone with influence can cause me to do some uncharacteristic-like phenomena. It’s Saturday morning, the weather is right, the go-to let’s set this weekend off right vibe is upbeat. Party anthems perhaps. Instead, I start rockin’ a soundtrack. Specifically, Saturday Night Fever. The antecedent? Greg Kot, the go-to Chicago rock critic for the Chicago Tribune.

In his “Will Daft Punk Teach the Grammys How to Dance?” article, he drops historical science on dance music being recognized by the Grammys. Noting how influential sounds like Chicago house and Detroit techno didn’t even make a ripple on the Grammy’s radar. It’s a concise, yet fairly comprehensive look on how for decades this yearly ceremony straight up snubbed dance music, electronica to my generation, EDM to today’s. Kot notes how “best dance recording” didn’t come into play until ’98. It took until 2005 for “best dance/electronica album” to hit the masses. Like Kot, and I’d guess many others, we are hoping that Daft Punk shows this antiquated awards show a 2-step…

Will Daft Punk Teach the Grammys How to Dance


An Oral History of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s ‘Baby Got Back’ Video…

As soon as he heard the finished track, he said, “People are gonna be talking about this twenty years from now.”

Really, how frequently are you sitting around contemplating the cultural shift early 90s hip-hop videos caused? Frequently? Me, not so much, unfortunately. Thanks to — an essential non-fiction jumping off point — I stumbled on an oral history of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” video featuring commentary from the MC, the legendary visionary Rick Rubin, and the video’s director, Adam Bernstein.

The video with its 50 foot yellow/gold ass, blatant sexual innuendo, and enough tail to even make white boys shout paved the way for racier, in-your-face videos. And oh, it let the masses know that a waif isn’t sexy. Nor will ever be.

Essential reading….

‘And I Cannot Lie’; The Oral History of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s Baby Got Back Video



self’s waiting…

It’s 2000. Mahaffey is doing his prolific composing and unleashing of sweet pop simplicity laced with tales of G-I-R-L-S. Back then, I only dug the beat and didn’t really give a damn about the lyrics, initially. With time, its meaning crept in; then sank in and registered. Maybe even spoke deeply enough to compare his message to my life. But at 21 and still wanting to live, I couldn’t start to fathom a song about a girl wanting nothing but a nuptial. With me. But later, 13 years to be exact, the script has been flipped. This is no longer the same song I’d loop over and over again in the infancy of my 20s.

Third decade has arrived. I’ve begun to stretch into it, become acquainted with what it means and what it could bring. Matt’s ode to girls waiting for the man to step up now speaks volumes. Its message has now become parallel with my life.

Selfafornia, where “Waiting” originates from, follows up Breakfast With Girls, the heavily layered grandiose masterpiece. BWG proclaims texture. Has endless moments of experimentation with countless sounds, tweaks, beats, etc. “Waiting” isn’t as deep, texturally speaking. Voice, keys, and a beat care of Matt’s drums. But its message is profound: She’s waiting….

sElf :: Waiting


What Do You Want Me to Say?!

And I thought Bike to Work Day started my morning right. No, this did:

The Dismemberment Plan announce new album Uncanney Valley

The spastic, never know what you might get rockers from D.C are finally releasing a new record come October. As of now, I’m blessed with the D-Plan hitting both of my go-to spots for shows in 2013. But for others, my hope is D-Plan is on a mission from god and is getting the band back together and a national tour is in the works.

Travis Morrison, the frontman for the Dismemberment Plan, is now married. His wife only knew him as a nerdy computer programmer — she spoke of lightly hearing he might have been in a big band way back when. Little did she know he was a rock god in the right circles. Her account here…

What It’s Like to Marry a Rock Star

Upcoming Shows:


May 2021