Monday, February 28, 2011

Completely Conspicuous 165: Same Old Song and Dance

Part 1 of my podcast conversation with special guest Eric Convey as we discuss the familiar themes of American political rhetoric. Listen to the show below or download it directly (right click and "save as").



The show notes...

Topics:

- Eric's Managing Editor of the Boston Business Journal

- Worked for congressman in DC in early '90s

- It was a contentious time

- In '94 mid-term elections, Newt Gingrich led the Republican takeover of the House

- Big Clinton tax increase didn't go over well

- Convey: There's always a backlash in mid-term elections

- In '92, local Democratic congressman was indicted on corruption charges

- Convey got gig as press secretary for the new Republican congressman

- "I was nowhere near cynical enough."

- Eric was good at political spin

- After a few years, he made the jump back to newspapers

- Eric was a master of political spin

- Eric: Don't think the rhetoric now is no worse than '94 or 2000

- Rhetoric raises money

- The two-party system sucks

- Eric: Parliamentary system is better

- Nowadays, everybody is more concerned with themselves than politics

- People are more likely to read viewpoints they agree with

- Too many distractions; our attention span is shrinking

- Eric: Giffords shooting was caused by a disturbed person, not political rhetoric
- Eric turns to the Washington Post for the most fair political reporting

- Jay and Eric reminisce about their days covering local politics

- There were a lot more sources of local news 20 years ago

- The public doesn't trust journalists anymore, mainly because of TV news

- Recalling Eric's tormenting of a rival press secretary

- Back then, the newspapers were the main conduit for news for political campaigns

- Now campaigns can use YouTube, Facebook, Twitter to get their message out

- The Palin phenomenon

- People in Middle America relate to her

- Jay: Suspicious of every candidate

- Eric: Wish politicians would have the guts to say things people don't want to hear

- Bonehead of the Week

Music:

Sloan - Follow the Leader

The Dodos - Don't Stop

Sunny Ali and the Kid - I oh you

Completely Conspicuous is available through the iTunes podcast directory. Subscribe and write a review!

The show is sponsored by Eastbay/Footlocker.com. Use the following codes to get athletic gear from Nike, Adidas, Asics and more. AFCOMP15 will get you 10% off any order of $50 at Eastbay.com, AFCOMP20 will get you 15% off any order of $75 at Eastbay.com and AFCOMPFL will get you 10% off any order of $50 or more at Footlocker.com.

The Sloan song is on the forthcoming album The Double Cross on Yep Roc Records. Find out more and download the song for free (in exchange for your e-mail address) at SloanMusic.

The Dodos song is on the album No Color on Frenchkiss Records. Download the song for free at Stereogum.

The Sunny Ali and the Kid song is available for free at Bandcamp.

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Find out more about Senor Breitling at his fine music blogs Clicky Clicky and Keeping Some Dark Secrets. Additional music used in the show is by Me and Boris the Bull, which is the brainchild of the mighty Mark Campbell. Thanks to Bob Durling for the album art; find out more about his photography at his blog. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Completely Conspicuous is a Tan God Production. Word.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Unsung: Bring It On Home

Unsung is an occasional feature in which I take a look at a pop culture phenomenon (be it music, TV, literary, whatever) that has been forgotten or underappreciated.


I know what you're thinking: How can Led Zeppelin be unsung? Zep was one of the biggest bands in the history of rock. Just massive. The band was only together from 1968-1980, releasing eight studio albums and a live album in that time. Anybody's who's listened to rock radio over the past 40 years has heard their fill of Zeppelin. Songs like "Stairway to Heaven," "Whole Lotta Love," "Rock and Roll," "The Immigrant Song," "Heartbreaker," and many more are staples of classic rock stations. I can't even listen to some of them any more because I've heard them so many times. Zep wasn't a singles band, but as album-oriented radio took hold in the '70s and then gave way to the rock formats we know today, programmers knew that Zep was a go-to act that would always resonate with listeners.


But even a band as huge as Zeppelin has songs that don't get a lot of exposure for whatever reason. Sure, you'll hear them from time to time, but they're nowhere near as overplayed as the aforementioned songs. So here's a list of some of my favorite unsung Zep songs.


10. In the Evening

From 1979's In Through the Out Door, the band's final studio album and a lesser work than the previous efforts. But this song captured the mystical feel of some of their best work, incorporating the Middle Eastern sound Zep used successfully on songs like "Kashmir."




9. Achilles Last Stand

This mind-blowing epic is off 1976's Presence, an album that is very underrated and pretty much devoid of anything played on radio. The song is relentless and uncompromising. Great driving song.




8. Down By the Seaside

Off 1975's Physical Graffiti, the 15-song double album that is my favorite Zep release. Other than "Kashmir," this is another record that went pretty much unheralded. But there are so many killer tracks, including this sleepy summer-sounding favorite.




7. That's the Way

After the blues-powered stomp of their first two albums, Led Zep III took a lighter, folk-influenced approach. "The Immigrant Song" aside, it was a new sound for the band. "Tangerine" was featured in the movie Almost Famous, but "That's the Way" is another terrific song in that acoustic vein.




6. When the Levee Breaks

Zeppelin's fourth album, IV or Runes or whatever the hell you want to call it, was immensely popular. It featured "Stairway to Heaven" and many other songs that have been ingrained into the rock consciousness. This one is familiar more for the common hip-hop sampling of Bonzo's thunderous drums. Awesome song.




5. Ten Years Gone

This song was the inspiration for this post. Heard it on the radio last weekend and was struck by how great it is and how rarely I hear it. Another slow-build burner off Physical Graffiti that seems tailor made for lazy day listening.




4. No Quarter

I remember getting Houses of the Holy on vinyl back in '82 or so from Columbia House and listening to it a lot. Songs like "The Ocean" and "Over the Hills and Far Away" and even "Dyer Maker" jump out at you, but this song is a spooky Nordic tale that gives you shivers down your spine.




3. Bring It On Home

The first Zep album I ever picked up was Led Zeppelin II. A kid in my school got the bright idea to sell all his older brother's stuff while the poor bastard was away at college. I believe I traded some old hockey cards (doubles, of course) for Zep II, Rush's Fly By Night and Triumph's Just a Game. Highway robbery. This album especially was the one that turned me from a pop fan into a full-on rocker. This particular song starts off as a old-school blues ditty before transforming into a ferocious hard rock classic.




2. We're Gonna Groove

After the brother of my aforementioned classmate returned home from college, he gave his idiot kid brother a beating and made the kid get all his stuff back. This unfortunately meant the albums I had swindled out of this kid, including Zep II. I sold them back for $2 each. Eventually, I traded my Saturday Night Fever soundtrack at a local record store for In Through the Out Door. Not long after, John Bonham died and the band broke up. Their final release was Coda, a B-sides collection that included this ripping cover of an old Ben E. King song. Holy rockness. And the live version below is Zep at its finest. Just devastating.




1. Custard Pie

Another Physical Graffiti track with a riff so damn heavy and groove so deep, it's guaranteed to stick to your brain. I had this riff as my ringtone on my old phone for a few years. I was shocked that I couldn't find any live footage of this song on the YouTubeses, just the alternate take below. Still, a barn-burner with Robert Plant at his mid-70s loverman peak. Drop down, indeed.




Honorable mentions include "Out on the Tiles," "Four Sticks," "The Rover," "Sick Again," "Hots on for Nowhere," "Tea for One," and "Wearing and Tearing."

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mixology: Rock This Joint

Mixology is a recurring feature in which I take a look at one of the many mix tapes (or CDs) I made over the years. Some are better than others, but all of them are fun to revisit.

Rock This Joint (January 2009)
A lot can happen in two years. When this mix was made, Barack Obama had just been sworn in as our new president and things were looking up (unless you were a Republican). Two years later, things don't look a whole lot different than they did in '09. Sure, there have been some superficial changes, but the economy still blows, we're still in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Gitmo's still open. Call me jaded, but we've seen this before. The party in the White House may change, but behind the scenes, it's a lot of the same players. Same shite, different year.

Mix-wise, I dig this one. The Sabbath song is from the 1983 album Born Again, which featured Ian Gillan of Deep Purple on vocals. It was post-Dio and was extremely heavy and dark (natch). Unfortunately, it was marred by really shitty
production and sounded really muddled. I still dug it as a 16-year-old when it came out. There's a great back story to the album, as it was plagued by an awful cover that was a rip-off of a Depeche Mode cover from a few years earlier. I had a t-shirt with the devil baby on it that freaked the hell out of my very religious mother, so I never wore it around the house. The subsequent tour featured some classic Spinal Tap moments (even though the movie had already been made by that point) with dwarfs and a Stonehenge stage set gone awry. Classic stuff. Nonetheless, I was psyched in January 2009 to find an entire album's worth of demos online that sounded better than the released product. I listened to that a lot for a few months. Same with the Gary Numan album The Pleasure Principle; I knew "Cars" from back in the day, but I downloaded this album from eMusic and really enjoyed it. It's always fun to rediscover old music in a new way.

Daily Grind - Bob Durling
Trashed - Black Sabbath
Automatic Thrill - Gluecifer
Sometimes I Don't Know - The Hellacopters
Nobody's Fault - Aerosmith
Now I'm a Fool - Eagles of Death Metal
Total Fucking Madness - Carbon/Silicon
We Call Upon the Author - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Metal - Gary Numan
Great Expectations - The Gaslight Anthem
Pop Lie - Okkervil River
Come On Over (Turn Me On) - Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan
Why Do They Leave? - Ryan Adams
Postcards from Tiny Islands - The Walkmen
I Feel My Stuff - David Byrne and Brian Eno
Like a Hitman, Like a Dancer - A.C. Newman
Atomic Heels - Secret Machines
Fitz and the Dizzyspells - Andrew Bird


Trashed (ah, '80s videos):



Metal:

Monday, February 21, 2011

Completely Conspicuous 164: The Story As I Was Told

Part 2 of my podcast conversation with special guest Christian Douglass as we discuss the story behind his new novel. Listen to the show below or download it directly (right click and "save as").



The show notes...

Topics:

- Christian wishes he started writing books 10 years ago

- Plenty of life experience

- Learned most from time spent writing the book

- Jay: You learn by doing

- Christian credits The Teaching Company, which sells college lectures on tape

- Realized in '99 that he could write books

- Christian's wife Kerry says hi

- Best way to get published is through a writing program

- Or go to conferences or the "slush pile"

- Tried to write book while working full-time in 2001-2003 and failed

- Hopes to start writing second book in April or May

- Wanted to write "something good"

- Christian: I didn't like this book until 3 or 4 weeks ago

- Christian uses YouTube to capture characters' voices

- Scott Sigler turned his books into podcasts and then got traditional publishing deal

- Book's down to 330 pages, just doing final edits

- Christian's going to Alaska to visit his mom

- She lives near Sarah Palin's hometown

- Christian's going to research a story while up there

- Bonehead of the Week

Music:

The Strokes - Under Cover of Darkness

Obits - Shift Operator

The Raveonettes - Forget That You're Young

Completely Conspicuous is available through the iTunes podcast directory. Subscribe and write a review! Check out and "like" the show's page on Facebook.

The show is sponsored by Budget, the country's premier car rental service with 900 locations. Go to Budget.com/CompCon and save 10% off any reservation or $30 off a weekly rental.

The Strokes song is on the forthcoming album Angles on RCA Records. Find out more and download the song for free at the band's website.

The Obits song is on the forthcoming album Moody, Standard and Poor on Sub Pop Records, where you can download the song for free.

The Raveonettes song is on the forthcoming album Raven in the Grave on Vice Records. Download the song for free at Pitchfork.

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Find out more about Senor Breitling at his fine music blogs Clicky Clicky and Keeping Some Dark Secrets. Additional music used in the show is by Me and Boris the Bull, which is the brainchild of the mighty Mark Campbell. Thanks to Bob Durling for the album art; find out more about his photography at his blog. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Completely Conspicuous is a Tan God Production. Word.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Now You're Gone

These days in professional sports, players rarely spend their entire careers with one team. Whether it's for performance or salary reasons, there is much more player movement nowadays. And if you're a fan of a particular team, you may become attached to certain players but you also know at any time that they can be traded or leave as free agents.

I discovered this at a fairly young age when my favorite team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, started trading away its best players. In the mid- to late 1970s, the Leafs had a strong core of good young players with Darryl Sittler, Borje Salming, Lanny McDonald, Ian Turnbull and Mike Palmateer. They didn't quite have enough to make it past the semi-finals, but they were seemingly a team on the rise. But GM Punch Imlach began feuding with captain Sittler and started trading away the players he was close to, including McDonald in late 1979. Eventually Sittler waived his no-trade clause and was dealt to the Flyers and the Leafs descended into sheer awfulness for pretty much the entire 1980s.

Another favorite player of mine, Leafs defenseman Tomas Kaberle, was dealt away today to the Boston Bruins for picks and a prospect. The trade was no surprise; Kaberle's been the subject of trade rumors for years as the Leafs have struggled to win games since the lockout in 2004. Kaberle had been with the Leafs since the '98-'99 season, a slick skater who quarterbacked the power play and always put up good numbers. He wasn't very physical, but he was a premier player for the Leafs his entire career.

Unfortunately, GM Brian Burke has been looking to deal him for the last few years and has come close a few times, but Kaberle wouldn't waive his no-trade clause. This year, he had enough and agreed to be traded to the Bruins; he's an unrestricted free agent after the season and probably wouldn't have re-signed with the Leafs. They got a decent return for him, but it's still a bummer to see him on another team, especially the B's, whom Kaberle helped the Leafs defeat Tuesday night.

I felt similar pangs of depression when the Jays traded away ace pitcher Roy Halladay after the 2009 season; Halladay was another player who spent his entire career in Toronto and was one of the best pitchers in the game. But it was another case of getting something in return for him before he left as a free agent.

It's part of the game. During the 2007-2008 season, Leafs captain Mats Sundin refused to waive his no-trade clause to allow the Leafs to get something for him before he became a free agent. Instead, he sat out the first half of the following season before signing with Vancouver and retiring after the season. He had played 13 seasons with the Leafs and had been one of their best players ever. It was a crappy way to go out. Kaberle saw that and decided he didn't want the same thing to happen to him, so he consented to the trade.

Tonight, he played in his first game as a Bruin, which Boston won 4-2 over Ottawa. He didn't have any points, but he kept the puck moving on the power play, which eventually led to the game winner by Dennis Seidenberg. It was strange to see him in a Boston uniform. It'll take a while to get used to that. But unlike the Boston fans who lustily boo most players who leave, I'll root Kaberle on, like I do for Halladay and other faves of mine who leave my teams. I rooted for Sittler on the Flyers, McDonald on the Rockies and Flames, Carlos Delgado on the Marlins and Mets, and many others who moved on. It's part of the game, and I understand that.



Monday, February 14, 2011

Completely Conspicuous 163: We Call Upon the Author

Special guest Christian Douglass joins me on the podcast as we discuss the story behind his new novel. Listen to the show below or download it directly (right click and "save as").



The show notes...

Topics:

- Christian started writing the book in May 2010

- Nearly done; "just checking the verbs"

- Spent three years working for oil industry consulting company

- Collected cost of living info around the world

- Company founder was involved in early research into the Internet

- Company needed to figure out cost of living allowances for oil engineers

- Christian took the job for book material

- Studied journalism in grad school at BU

- On the road six months of the year for three years

- Went to more than 80 countries

- "Talking about spoiled white people abroad"

- Book is like "Catch-22" for global petroleum world

- One protagonist is "diabetic, drug-addicted 40-year-old doing my job"

- Inspired by former co-worker who doesn't know about this book

- Revisit places once or twice a year

- Story opens in Dubai, moves to Lagos, then to Turkmenistan

- "Glands Across America"

- Female character is narrator

- "Absurdist immigration story" about lies

- Christian quit his job to write novel

- Debating the value of journalism school

- Putting yourself in debt to get a low-paying job

- Life got in the way of Christian becoming a reporter

- Bonehead of the Week

Music:

PJ Harvey - Written on the Forehead

J. Mascis - Is It Done

Telekinesis - Car Crash

Completely Conspicuous is available through the iTunes podcast directory. Subscribe and write a review!

The show is sponsored by Eastbay/Footlocker.com. Use the following codes to get athletic gear from Nike, Adidas, Asics and more. AFCOMP15 will get you 10% off any order of $50 at Eastbay.com, AFCOMP20 will get you 15% off any order of $75 at Eastbay.com and AFCOMPFL will get you 10% off any order of $50 or more at Footlocker.com.

The PJ Harvey song is on the album Let England Shake on Island Records. Download the song for free at Chromewaves.

The J. Mascis song is on the forthcoming album Several Shades of Why on Sub Pop Records, where you can download the song for free.

The Telekinesis song is on the album 12 Desperate Straight Lines on Merge Records. Download the song for free at Spin.com (right click and "save as").

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Find out more about Senor Breitling at his fine music blogs Clicky Clicky and Keeping Some Dark Secrets. Additional music used in the show is by Me and Boris the Bull, which is the brainchild of the mighty Mark Campbell. Thanks to Bob Durling for the album art; find out more about his photography at his blog. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Completely Conspicuous is a Tan God Production. Word.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Half Right

The winter drags on here in New England. There's still tons of snow and ice out there, but signs of spring are on the way. We're supposed to get some warmer temps by the end of the week, possibly hitting the 50s. It's not the easiest weather to get in those long runs, which is why I'm glad I decided not to do a marathon this spring.

Yesterday I ventured out for my first long run in five weeks, getting in 10 miles. Even when the sidewalks were clear of snow, they were pretty icy, so I did most of the run on the road. There's not as much room for cars, especially on smaller side roads, but I managed to get through it without getting hit or falling. But it wasn't too cold (30-35 degrees) and it sure as hell beat running on the treadmill.

I had a good week of running, increasing my speed on my three treadmill runs during the week and feeling strong and then doing the 10-miler yesterday. I felt so good that I went and signed up for three races today: The Black Cat 10-mile race in Salem on March 6, the Great Bay Half Marathon in Newmarket, NH on April 3 and the Run to Remember Half Marathon on May 29. I'll also be running the Poco Loco on April 30, a 13.1-mile fun run organized entirely via social media. I expect to do a few smaller races as well.

It's nice to feel invigorated and psyched for stuff, instead of worn down like I could be at this point in marathon training. I still plan to do a full marathon as well as the Reach the Beach relay in the fall, so I'm not totally swearing off marathons. But it's good to have fun with running, too. I'm fired up.

Happy 50th to Henry Rollins:

Friday, February 11, 2011

Mixology: April Amplification

Mixology is a recurring feature in which I take a look at one of the many mix tapes (or CDs) I made over the years. Some are better than others, but all of them are fun to revisit.

April Amplification (April 2006)

What were you doing (almost) five years ago? I was watching my wife run the Boston Marathon (and joining her for the last nine miles), training for the Vermont City Marathon, watching the Leafs miss the playoffs and celebrating Hannah's 4th birthday.

I was also making this mix, which featured plenty of the so-called indie rock. Five years later, I'm digging it for the most part. Wolfmother definitely doesn't hold up, but pretty much everything else does. That first Arctic Monkeys album still stands out as an amazing collection of tunes by a young band. I've enjoyed both of their albums since, but their debut was a startlingly good surprise.

The mashup of "Eminence Front" by the Who and "Root Down" by the Beastie Boys is a lot of fun. This was probably the height of mashups and there were some pretty good ones. I used to enjoy it when WBCN DJ Bradley Jay would mash up songs back in the mid-'80s; he was good at matching seemingly disparate songs. I don't have a ton of mashups but the best ones seamlessly graft different songs together in an original way.

I Gotta Feeling (Just Nineteen) - Eagles of Death Metal
I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor - Arctic Monkeys
Rifle Called Goodbye - The Minus 5
Aftermath USA - Drive-By Truckers
Frontin' on the Root Down - I-Train (mashup of The Who and Beastie Boys)
Twin Killers - Deerhoof
The Funeral - Band of Horses
Your Blood - Destroyer
Publish My Love - Rogue Wave
Star Witness - Neko Case
Louisiana - The Walkmen
I Burn Today - Frank Black
The Bones of an Idol - The New Pornographers
I Love You - Matthew Sweet
Spider's Web - Mission of Burma
World Wide Suicide - Pearl Jam
Revenga - System of a Down
Feeding Frenzy - Early Man
Dimension - Wolfmother
Step on It, Jean - Sloan
Hockey Monkey - The Zambonis with James Kochalka


Dance floor:


Hockey monkey:

Monday, February 07, 2011

Completely Conspicuous 162: Eat 'Em and Smile

Part 2 of my podcast conversation with special guest Brian Salvatore as we discuss nutrition in America. Listen to the show below or download it directly (right click and "save as").




The show notes...

Topics:

- Check out Brian's podcast The Enthusiasts' Radio Hour

- Is banning fast food joints the answer?

- You can't force kids to eat vegetables

- Leading by example

- People should have options

- New restaurant idea: The Fat Place

- Brian: Government shouldn't fund gastric bypass, liposuction

- Jay: Tax breaks for restaurants that serve healthy food

- Easier to be a vegetarian now

- Genetically modified food isn't a good idea

- Brian wants synthetic meat

- Jay's ultimate meal: Either Brazilian BBQ or Southern BBQ ribs

- Brian's ultimate meal: Bacon cheeseburger

- Brian recommends White Manna burgers in NJ

- Jay: Love Indian food, but it gives me heartburn

- Jay: Never had any poutine when I lived in Canada

- Brian: Parents like to cook, but not adventurous eaters

- Bonehead of the Week

Music:

Das Racist - Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell

R.E.M. - Oh My Heart

Deerhoof - Super Duper Rescue Heads!

Completely Conspicuous is available through the iTunes podcast directory. Subscribe and write a review!

The show is sponsored by Budget, the country's premier car rental service with 900 locations. Go to Budget.com/CompCon and save 10% off any reservation or $30 off a weekly rental.

The Das Racist song is on the mixtape Shut Up, Dude. Download the song for free at Pitchfork.

The R.E.M. song is on the forthcoming album Collapse Into Now on Warner Bros. Records. Download the song for free at Amazon.

The Deerhoof song is on the album Deerhoof vs. Evil on Polyvinyl Records. Download the song for free at Amazon.

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Find out more about Senor Breitling at his fine music blogs Clicky Clicky and Keeping Some Dark Secrets. Additional music used in the show is by Me and Boris the Bull, which is the brainchild of the mighty Mark Campbell. Thanks to Bob Durling for the album art; find out more about his photography at his blog. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Completely Conspicuous is a Tan God Production. Word.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Empty Rooms

As I get older, it's not so shocking anymore when musicians or actors I've admired for years die. Still sucks, though.

Today I found out about the death of Irish singer-guitarist Gary Moore at the relatively young age of 58. While not a mainstream success in the U.S., Moore was one of the best rock and blues guitarists around and acknowledged as such in Europe. He's probably best known for his multiple stints playing in Thin Lizzy in the '70s and later for his string of blues albums in the early '90s.

I first heard of Moore in late 1981 while I was still in Toronto. One of the rock stations was playing a song by Greg Lake (of Emerson, Lake and Palmer fame) called "Nuclear Attack" that featured a hot solo by Moore, who played on the album and toured with Lake. It wasn't until a few years later that I heard some of Moore's solo stuff on a heavy metal show on the radio and was intrigued enough to pick up his album Corridors of Power and a Japanese import of his live album Rockin' Every Night at Midland Records in the Methuen Mall. The live album especially revealed a wickedly talented guitarist who could play circles around just about anybody.

Moore was playing hard rock at this point, but I could tell instantly he had much more feel in his playing than the other guitar wank stuff I was listening to at the time. I continued to pick up his solo albums and bonded with my buddy Chris over the ridiculously fast solos Moore would play. To my mind, he was right up there with Eddie Van Halen in terms of the best guitarists of the '80s, and Eddie dropped off after DLR left the band.

I also revisited the stuff he played in Thin Lizzy, mostly for the Black Rose studio album and on the Life live album. He and Thin Lizzy frontman Phil Lynott worked well together and some of the last recordings Lynott made before he died in early 1986 were vocals on a few songs for Moore's Run for Cover album.

Moore had a minor radio hit with the Celtic-themed song "Over the Hills and Far Away" (not to be confused with the Zeppelin song) off 1987's Wild Frontier album. WBCN even simulcast a show he played at the Paradise in Boston on that tour; I taped it, but the recording quality is shite. I wish I'd gone, but I didn't have a car during the school year back then.

A few years later, he switched from the hard rock sound he'd been mining for years to electric blues and he finally found some U.S. success. The 1990 album Still Got the Blues is terrific and features some outstanding guitar as well as guest spots from George Harrison, Albert Collins and Albert King. He followed it up with After Hours, another good blues album. Then I started getting into alternative and punk and didn't keep up with Moore's output, but he made several blues albums as well as some rock releases.

I'm still bummed by the fact that I never saw him play live, but at least he left behind plenty of great music to remember him by.

Thin Lizzy - Waiting for an Alibi:



Victims of the Future:



Over the Hills and Far Away:



Still Got the Blues:

Friday, February 04, 2011

Mixology: Sonic Boomlet

Mixology is a recurring feature in which I take a look at one of the many mix tapes (or CDs) I made over the years. Some are better than others, but all of them are fun to revisit.

Sonic Boomlet (April 2007)

This was one of the last mixes I made for which I actually printed out the tracklist. I'm not sure exactly when I stopped doing so, but I guess my life got so busy that it was no longer a priority. Soon I was burning discs of the monthly iTunes playlists I made but just labeling them with simply the date and occasionally a name. After all, I had all the playlists in iTunes, or I did until I had to get my PC wiped clean of contaminants and I lost them all.

It reminds me of the cassettes I made back in the mid-80s. I used to write the song titles out in different colored markers...for a while until I just went with plain ol' blue or black pen ink. I even went through a phase when I'd decorate the inlay card with some cool picture I'd cut out from a magazine; of course, this would mean there would be no song information, but hey, it looked good.

I did the same thing with burned CDs, mixes and others, using interesting fonts for the artist names and album titles. I did it with this mix, using a cool font that I can't recall for the title. Again, this only lasted a short while.

Something always gets in the way, I suppose, and the frivolous leads to the practical. But no matter the look, fancy or boring, at least I've still got the music to recall a time when it was no big thing to spend some time on a mix CD.

Bomb. Repeat. Bomb. - Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
Death or Life We Want You - The Dears
No Cars Go - Arcade Fire
This is All I Came to Do - Dinosaur Jr.
No Backbone - Lemonheads
Creeping Up the Backstairs - The Fratellis
Hunting for Witches - Bloc Party
Brianstorm - Arctic Monkeys
Everything is Average Nowadays - Kaiser Chiefs
Dashboard - Modest Mouse
Gronlandic Edit - Of Montreal
Spit Shine Your Black Clouds - Blood Brothers
Kreative Kontrol - Hot Snakes
We've Come So Far (To Be Here Today) - Radio Birdman
Province - TV On the Radio
Fiery Crash - Andrew Bird
Impossible Germany - Wilco
The Kids Don't Get It - The Tragically Hip
Before the End of the Race - Sloan


All I came to do:


Province:

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Dig Me Out

Gotta hand it to Mother Nature. She's kicking our collective butts this winter. One big storm after another, just like the good ol' days before global warming was a thing. I don't think getting a lot of snow necessarily disproves global warming, just as having a superhot summer doesn't prove it. But certainly we're getting whomped like we haven't in a long time.

I'm so thankful my company made the move from Marblehead to Danvers in December. Now instead of a 30-minute commute turning into 45 or worse, it takes me 10-15 minutes to get home during a storm via less-traveled back roads. I'm digging it.

Speaking of digging, I've had my fill of friggin' shoveling this year and it's not letting up. The mountain of snow in my backyard (because there's nowhere else to throw it) is starting to look like the mashed potato sculpture in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The aliens should arrive soon.

Mmm...potatoes:



Dig me out: