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Went Caspian

March 30, 2010 Leave a comment

I was a hesitant Phish fan for many years.  I think it just took me a long time to ‘get it’.  But it takes me a long time to ‘get’ most trends.  I guess I’m just slow like that.

Then again, Phish are hardly a trend. They’re something very special and timeless.  A successful experience with Phish is one that appeals to the very essence of what it means to be a human being – the realization that we can revel in melody, in rhythms, and in the communal experience of a concert. And to those who don’t ‘get it’, I can only say that I’m sorry.

Look, you need’nt be a wanderlusting vagabond to appreciate this band. Do not let the reputation that’s perpetuated about a small sect of their fandom keep you away.  In a time where the market is absolutely saturated with bands – most of whom are bereft of staying power or individuality – Phish are one of the great forces in rock and roll that still care to share their abilities with audiences.

Sorry, what’s the cause for this screed? Most Phish fans get pulled into the band via one specific song, or jam.  For me, the performance that really hooked me was their ‘Prince Caspian’ from the Great Went.  It’s not necessarily a ‘jam’ per-se, but instead an exposition for the guitar.  But in being so, it also demonstrates what Phish do best.  Here you have essentially one long solo, but in that solo are several different melodies, all completely spontaneous, and all resolutely furnished by the other three members.  It’s a real triumph.

So if you hate my self-important soliloquies, then I’m truly sorry I wasted your time.  But if you’re curious about what it takes to turn a normal dude/casual fan into a normal dude/serious fan, then look no further…

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Categories: Music Tags: , ,

Mumford and Sons – The Cave

March 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Here’s a tidy, little performance of a standout song from Mumford & Sons, one of my favorite new folk acts.  Their album ‘Sigh No More’ has been on almost constant repeat in my car for the last week.  Enjoy…

(action starts at :30)

Categories: Music Tags: ,

Before the Recession pt. 4

March 25, 2010 Leave a comment

I’ll never forget the summer after finishing 6th grade.  I believe this was the summer I first put my tongue in a girl’s mouth.  In fact, I may have even touched my first mammary that summer. But most importantly, this was the summer my dad first sprung for cable TV.  And to this then-adolescent boy that meant two things: MTV and ‘Skinemax’.  Though I would later discover that there was one beautiful bacchanal that basically combined the two.

I can’t really describe my initial reactions to MTV’s ‘Spring Break’.  To tell you the truth, I didn’t believe it was real, and to be fair, I’d bet that most of it probably isn’t.  But I had no idea what college was all about back then, what being drunk was all about, and what being horny for actual real human beings was all about either.  Yet there it was – all of it, sometimes even with whipped cream, honey, and bubbles to boot.

As time passed, I began to realize that the Spring Break ‘scene’ was probably a little bit too shallow for me.  I don’t have a six pack, I tan like a cat swims, and I dance even worse.  I was not bred for such things.  So in college I think I must have subconsciously convinced myself that MTV had cut short its seasonal fiesta.  Maybe I didn’t want to believe that such a thing could thrive in perpetuity.  I thought it was dead, and apparently I was wrong, because – like cicadas – out from the frozen ground have sprung commercials touting MTV SPRING BREAK 2010!!!!  (…and the cast of Jersey Shore crosses their swollen chests but again…)

Still, as wet t-shirt contests on white sand don’t fascinate me like they once did, I can’t shake the intensity of those first few ‘Spring Breaks’.  In a lot of ways they were a right of passage.  From Saturday morning cartoons to soft-core, from staying up late to sneaking cigarettes, from house-phones to email: MTV’s ‘Spring Break’ just typified what was a time of great upheaval in my life.  So while I may never be able to dance comfortably, I’ll certainly do my best to hold on to that fascination I once had for those who can…

Times were simple. Life was good.

Categories: Uncategorized

A guide to set your compass…

March 24, 2010 Leave a comment

President Obama’s recent victory on health care got me thinking about the election days, and the talent he demonstrated therein.  While mulling over some old youtube clips I stumbled over this snippet of a Colin Powell ‘Meet the Press’ sitting, where it was billed that he would publicly endorse the Senator from Illinois.  He did do so, but what stuck with me was the beautiful, eloquent preamble he gave to his endorsement.  I remember seeing this clip when it happened, and I distinctly remember thinking how refreshing it was.  Here was a major political figure being completely candid on national television.  When does that ever happen? Gen. Powell is a patriot of the highest order, and – in my opinion – couldn’t be more dead on in his assertions.

The good stuff begins at 4:30.

Enjoy…

Categories: About Me, Religion Tags: , ,

The War on Drugs – A Needle in your Eye #16

March 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Kurt Vile rocks.  I want to make that very clear.  And quite frankly, his solo work – especially the careening opus, ‘Freaktrain’ – says more than enough about the intensity of his talent.  I had already been a fan of said work when I was turned on to The War on Drugs – his pet rock band with Massachusetts native, Adam Granduciel.  No doubt both sides of Vile are similar.  Both have a haunting, desert drone and a propulsion that weigh heavy on the general vibe.  But, and many Vile fans may disagree, I think War on Drugs’ ‘Wagonwheel Blues’ is a much more concise, and ultimately fully-realized offering than anything in Vile’s solo catalogue.  It’s all balls – rock star stuff, and I’m a shameless sucker for a good hook.  But I’m also just a normal dude from the ‘burbs.  It’s so interesting to me that Vile, a guy – unlike me – clearly in touch with a ‘Freak’ element, can curl up next to a juicy hook as well.

p.s. – Don’t miss ‘Wagonwheel Blues’ 10-minute swan song ‘Show Me the Coast.’  It’s one of those songs that strides easily in the weighty shoes of a potentially-grandiose title.

Categories: Music Tags: ,

Stephen Stills – Manassas

March 11, 2010 Leave a comment

“A sprawling masterpiece, akin to the Beatles‘ White Albumthe Stones‘ Exile on Main St., orWilco‘s Being There in its makeup, if not its sound. Rock, folk, blues, country, Latin, and bluegrass have all been styles touched on in Stephen Stills’ career, and the skilled, energetic musicians he had gathered in Manassas played them all on this album. What could have been a disorganized mess in other hands, though, here all gelled together and formed a cohesive musical statement.” – Allmusic

How nobody ever mentions the tune ‘Colorado’ as a touchstone of the alt-country genre is totally beyond me.

Categories: Music Tags: ,

She Keeps Bees – Stand Where I Can See You

March 7, 2010 Leave a comment

I know very little about this duo beyond that one’s a dude, one’s a chick, one’s a drummer, and one’s a guitarist.  But as any credible write up will tell you, they’re much more Cat Power than they are the other folk in their musical niche – The White Stripes, The Black Keys.  Their tunes are short, and there’s clearly growth that needs to occur, but I’ve found the moody vibe of their stuff consistently fulfilling.

Categories: Music Tags: ,