Wednesday, March 27, 2013

25/365 - British Sea Power

25/365 - British Sea Power, originally uploaded by freeloosedirt.

BSP is, of course, a British band, and they are one of my favorite bands to see live. Last time I saw them, Noble, the guitarist, performed the entire show with a giant bird's nest on his mic stand. He explained that the nest fell out of a tree while he was taking a walk around West Hollywood before the show. They are coming out with a new record soon, which means they'll be touring. I wonder what they'll have in store for us this time.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

23/365 - My personal edit

23/365 - My personal edit, originally uploaded by freeloosedirt.

Two out of three ain't bad.

Friday, March 22, 2013

22/356 - March 16-20

22/356 - March 16-20, originally uploaded by freeloosedirt.

Essentially, this Uncle Tupelo album is my entry into the genre of Alt Country. I read a review in Rolling Stone, where Peter Buck's role as producer was described. I was being a completest regarding the output of R.E.M. and so this was required for my collection. Little would I know that I would find a band whose song writers would captivate me from that point forward.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

21/365 - Wanna come to my room and see my record collection?

Not something you'd see on iDigs, but I still have trouble remembering what I have and deciding what to play.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

20/365 - Glossary's national television debut

Carson Daly was taping showcases at SxSW and will broadcast my favorite band, Glossary, tonight on his NBC show. Set your DVR to record, or stay up. But set it to record, even if you think you'll stay up because you and I both know you'll nod off.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

19/365 - Is there anything a koozie can't do?

Every record I buy goes through a ritual cleaning, cataloging, and then a listen. A koozie is a nice place to set the record after cleaning, and before playing it for the first time.

Monday, March 18, 2013

18/365 - Don't you get forgotten

Jason Molina, who died today at age 39, didn't often write songs that you would like on the first listen. His music could be more challenging than many of his contemporaries whom he recorded and toured with. But if you stuck with them, you would be rewarded with an appreciation of dark, heartfelt and nuanced music that would play in your head long after the song had finished. If you gave it a chance, it would find you.

“Don't you get forgotten” is a lyric from “Twenty Cycles To The Ground.” It is the first track on a record that Jason recorded in collaboration with Will Johnson, and is sung by Will. I bought this record because of Will's involvement but, after a few listens, became as fond of the songs sung by Molina.

The official word from Molina's website is that he died of natural causes. I have to wonder, though, if his addiction to alcohol played a role. Molina spent time in and out of rehab facilities after canceling the tour that had been scheduled in support of this record. About a year and a half ago Henry H. Owings, a close friend of Jason's, wrote a plea to his fans to donate money so that he could afford this treatment, as he had no health insurance. Indeed, this morning, Owings wrote, “What many of us were slow to find out is that Molina had a pretty significant drinking problem. This disease, which snuffed out his life, controlled Jason for most of the last decade.”

I make no secret of the fact that I'm in recovery for my own alcoholism. A significant reason why I chose to get sober had to do with hearing of tragic ends, like the one today. There is no way a body or mind can survive an addicts brutal self abuse. “Jason leaves behind him an enviable body of work that will be continually rediscovered because what Jason wrote wasn't fashion. It was his heart. It was his love. It was his demons. And ultimately, it brought his life to an end,” is what Owings wrote, and what is true.

Here are resources for musicians, and others, looking to get clean and sober:

Sunday, March 17, 2013

17/365 Listening to my Dad's 45s

I'm perusing the box of 45s, and listening to ones that look interesting. There are a few surprises in here: My dad pretty much hated rock 'n roll after the 60's got to it, but there is a 45 from the Rascals (See/Away Away - Atlantic records 1969) and a another by The Flying W Wranglers, featuring a track called "Who Sputt Tabaker" which sounds like something off of HeeHaw, and my dad hated that too.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

16/365 - Recordings of bands' live performances

There is a whole subculture of individuals built around making recordings of bands' live performances and sharing these recordings amongst themselves and others. I look for some of these recordings that are of bands I like and who are including new, previously unreleased songs in their live set. I also like listening to recordings of shows that I attended. Just this morning my friend Kevin sent me a recording of the Frightened Rabbit show I went to on Wednesday night, and I'm looking forward to listening to that. However, I don't listen to recordings of live shows as much as I used to. I find that an audio or video recording of a concert never entirely captures the experience of attending a show in the same way a audio or video recording of a thunderstorm would never replicate being caught in one.

This Bruce Springsteen live set isn't from one of those “tapers.” It's a professionally recorded official release from Springsteen. The songs included here are from many different Bruce performances between 1975 and 1985. Many hardcore Springsteen fans were disappointed in “Live 1975/85.” They will tell you that there were performances during that time which were more interesting, dynamic and representative of his live shows. On the other hand, when this was released, I was very excited to see the track listing, because seven of the songs were from a show I had attended: the 9/30/85 show at the L.A. Coliseum. In fact, if you listen carefully, you might hear Heidi's whimpers of desperation from the stall in the women's bathroom during “Born In The USA.” The band took the stage and the women still waiting for an open stall rushed into the ladies room, which made it impossible for Heidi to leave until the mob had cleared, several songs later.

Friday, March 15, 2013

15/365 - Visual Art

15/365 - Visual Art, originally uploaded by freeloosedirt.
One great thing about being connected with fellow music fans through an internet forum is that many of them are creative, talented people. Here are two examples of visual art created by two members of this group.

The sculpture is titled "Knox Witness John Baloga" honoring a victim of the Pennsylvania Knox Mine disaster in 1959. I believe the Seattle artist, Zeno Henry, created one for each of the 12 miners who perished and whose bodies were never recovered.

The painting is one of a series of turntables painted by Athens, Georgia's Scott Long. I enjoy the fact that my music community has scattered their art across the country.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

14/365 - My Dad's 45s

14/365 - My Dad's 45s, originally uploaded by freeloosedirt.
I came across these records yesterday while gathering up my old home brewing equipment to give to my friend Dan. If my hazy childhood memories are correct, I believe this box of records is from a birthday party my mother threw for my father in December of 1971. She rented a jukebox and purchased 45s of my Dad's favorite songs to use in it. They put it in the family room that was in the lower part of our Kansas City split-level. I remember sitting there listening to the songs play while the guests argued politics. I listened intently and found myself agreeing with the mutton-chopped man wearing a turtleneck and jacket. He was alone in supporting McGovern, but wasn't going down without a fight. I don't think that my parents appreciated that this discord over politics was happening at their party, but 40 years later I remember that moment with fondness. Who else thinks listening to music on a jukebox and arguing politics sounds like fun? Mutton chops and turtlenecks not required.

13/365 Waltz across the carpet 1-2-3, 2-2-3

I went to see Frightened Rabbit, a Scottish rock band, tonight at the Fonda Theater in Los Angeles. I got my ticket from a new friend I met about a week ago at another show. He got me on the guest list, and then couldn't make it himself. He missed a great show. Frightened Rabbit played a rousing set featuring a number of stirring rock anthems powered by grand guitar and organ riffs. But it was one song off of an earlier record that was the highlight for me; "Old, Old Fashioned." The song is a simple folk song that starts off with the lyric,

"I'll turn off the TV
It's killing us, we never speak
There's a radio in the corner
It's dying to make a scene”

We are asked to connect with those around us and then:

“We will waltz across the carpet
1-2-3, 2-2-3
So give me the soft, soft static
Of the open fire and the shuffle of our feet
We can both get old fashioned
Do it like they did in '43”

In this song, it's the promise of a better evening through the simple joy of being with someone, listening to music and dancing. Watching each other instead of the television makes for a better evening. It sure did tonight.

Come on, get old, old fashioned with me.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

12/365 - The Better Angels Of Our Nature

Glossary's ”The Better Angels Of Our Nature” has been on my mind since reading my friend Lance's post on his blog Adios Lounge. In his moving post, he described finding meaning about the death of his father and the birth of his daughter through “Little Caney,” one of the songs on this record. His words resonated with me, because I've always found that reflecting on someone's song lyrics can connect with us on a fairly deep level when we are going through life's meaningful moments.

I wrote about Frank Turner recently, and how one of his lyrics connected deeply with me around my decision to get and remain sober. In another one of his songs, “I Still Believe,” Franks sings, “I still believe that everyone can find a song for every time they've lost and every time they've won.”

In the words of Glossary's Joey Kneiser, “I'm still holding on to rock 'n roll.”

Monday, March 11, 2013

11/365 - SxSW

11/365 - SxSW, originally uploaded by freeloosedirt.

This time last year, I was heading out to Austin, TX for the South by Southwest music festival. I enjoyed a week of music, friends, tacos and BBQ. I'm not going this year, but plan to go again, perhaps next year. SxSW is a trip worth taking at least once.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

10/365 -Side With The Seeds

10/365 -Side With The Seeds, originally uploaded by freeloosedirt.

"Side With The Seeds" is a song on Wilco's beautiful album "Sky Blue Sky." While a far cry from their alt-country beginnings, it is one of my favorite Wilco records. It reminds me of spring, new beginnings and renewal.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

9/365 - I found my missing iPod

My iPod had been missing for about two months. I had looked all over the place for it, and finally decided that I had left the car unlocked, and someone had swiped it. I listened to it through a transmitter while I drive around. I've got playlists that I shuffle play; Top Rated, Top Rated by artist, "Cannonball Songs," unlisted, unrated, just added and more. But today I went into the garage to put something away, and found it on the floor behind the box of Christmas lights waitling to go up into the rafters. That'll teach me to procrastinate. (The lights are still sitting on the floor. I'll put them away tomorrow).

Friday, March 8, 2013

8/365 - Blues

8/365 - Blues, originally uploaded by freeloosedirt.

Perhaps my favorite genre of music is that of American blues artists. This record is collection of songs from separate recording sessions done by Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf. The Muddy Waters tracks come from a session he did with Mike Bloomfield, Paul Butterfield, and Otis Spann from the "Fathers and Sons" sessions. The Howlin' Wolf tracks are from the "London Howlin' Wolf" sessions.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

7/365 Me And My Friends

7/365 Me And My Friends, originally uploaded by freeloosedirt.
I went to a second Frank Turner show tonight, and was glad I did. While last night's show was with a full band at the Roxy, tonight Frank played acoustic guitar and accompanied by a second musician who played mandolin at the much smaller Hotel Cafe. I prefer these smaller acoustic shows over those with his full band.

But what made tonight more fun had to do with one of those “small world” moments. While waiting for the doors to the Hotel Cafe, a guy who had been standing in front of me the previous night recognized me and stopped to say Hi. We soon learned that we both lived in the same city, Simi Valley.

When we began discussing how we came to “discover” Frank Turner, the world got even smaller. I shared with him that my friends on the email listserv “postcard” had seen Frank at SxSW before he became well known, and were raving about him. He shared that a friend of his from San Francisco had received a recording of one of Frank's live shows, and became a fan after listening to that recording. As it turns out, that recording was made by another friend of mine from Postcard, and the friend of my new friend is friends with my old friend.

This community around music is one of the reasons I love going to watch live music.

6/365 - We Are What We Believe

Tonight I went to see Frank Turner play the Roxy Theater in Los Angeles. He is an engaging performer and his music is tailor made for involvement and interaction from the audience.

“We are what we believe” is a lyric to a song of his titled “Poetry Of The Deed” and has become a touchstone for me during my sobriety. In recovery we are taught that our thoughts become our beliefs, which become our actions, which, in turn, become our habits. Frank Turner states that more succinctly in his lyric.

Tonight a fan bought some drinks for Frank, and when they offered them to him, he declined, telling the audience that he'd quit drinking. His new record is called “Recovery” so maybe there will be more touchstone lyrics awaiting me when it is released next month.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

5/365 - New Music

5/365 - New Music, originally uploaded by freeloosedirt.

If you ask most people about their favorite music, most everyone would tell you about music that was recorded and released when they were in high school or college. Most of us were just finding our way into our own music during that time of our lives, and when we began taking on adult responsibilities, we found less time to dig into what could be happening with new bands and new types of music. Nostalgia gets a grip on our playlists, and what is familiar takes the reins from what might be new and exciting. I might be an outlier with this dynamic, as I still look forward to Tuesdays when new music comes out.

Most of you know that my prefered medium for playing music is the vinyl record: You just can't beat the analog and uncompressed sound. However, I still consume a lot of music through other mediums, such as Spotify. There are quite a few new releases today that I'm excited about, including Josh Ritter, Son Volt, The Replacements and even a “new” Jimi Hendrix album.

But the release I'm highlighting today is from a band called Great Peacock . They are a southern band of sorts; really just two guys Andrew Nelson and Blount Floyd. You might find comparisons with Fleet Foxes or even Mumford and Sons. What I find is the authenticity of a couple of guys who love what they are doing and talented enough to take what is in their heads and share it with all of us.

Throw off the familiar and check them out.

Monday, March 4, 2013

4/365 - Bulletin Board

4/365 - Bulletin Board, originally uploaded by freeloosedirt.

This is a bulletin board on the wall in my "listening room." It is full of buttons, decals, download cards from LPs, setlists and more. I've thrown in things from other things that I've done for good measure as well. I'm probably going to need a bigger bulletin board before too much longer. Click through to flickr, zoom in and see what you can find.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

3/365 - No Depression

3/365 - No Depression, originally uploaded by freeloosedirt.
"No Depression" is a song by The Carter Family, and is covered by Uncle Tupelo on this album, their debut. The band went on to record three more records in the 1990s before breaking up and spawning two more bands, Son Volt and Wilco. However, the title of this song and album became a descriptor used by some to refer to the entire genre of music more aptly named Alternative Country. Alt Country is a favorite genre of mine, and this band in particular. I'm not alone in that. There is a group of us active on an email listserv named for another Uncle Tupelo song, "Postcard From Hell." We gather, discuss music, current events, share recommendations for the best TVs or Tacos and make lists ranking things. Reading "Postcard" is a daily part of my life, and many of the men and women there are close friends of mine.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

2/365 I go wild over real hot music

2/365, originally uploaded by freeloosedirt.

It really isn't a mystery to me where I got my love of music. Here is a letter my father wrote to my mother while in the Army. They weren't yet married, and he is on his way to New York before shipping out to Berlin, where he would be stationed. He writes, "I hope we get to spend a few days in New York. I haven't been to New York since I was a little kid. I couldn't really enjoy it then, but now I can go to the the joints and listen to the jive. I go wild over real hot music. I hope you like Jazz, because I sure do. I don't go for the long hair stuff at all."

Friday, March 1, 2013

Starting a "photo a day" project: Day 1/365

Day 1/365, originally uploaded by freeloosedirt.