That is all. Just listen to their entire album and tell me I’m wrong.
Next week, my ears will be treated to Kathleen Edwards‘ latest release, Voyageur. I’ve been a fan since my first listen to her first release, “Failer,” in 2003. (Holy crap, that seems like ages ago.) That release propelled her into Paste Magazine’s list of artist to watch in one of their early issues, and I think they’ve been a fierce supporter of hers ever since. I just love everything about this girl’s music, including the snark and the swear words.
Here’s the track listing:
Out Jan 17, 2012
Produced by Justin Vernon and Kathleen Edwards
01 Empty Threat
03 A Soft Place to Land
04 Change the Sheets
05 House Full of Empty Rooms
08 Pink Champagne
09 Going to Hell
10 For the Record
So far, I’ve heard “Change The Sheets” and loved it. It’s more polished that her early work, but that’s progress. . Besides, it gives her the opportunity to get back to her roots later on. See, that’s the way I look at it when critics go completely bonkers over things like production. There’s stepping up, and there’s overdoing it. I don’t see Kathleen overdoing it here. The keyboards really punch the poppiness of this song
Looking forward to next week!
I posted the favorite songs, but I never would have discovered some of them if I had not found turntable.fm. I spent some time on that site over the summer, mostly in the “Play 3 & Step Down” rooms. It reminded me of chat room days in the mid-90′s, only with music and avatars.
So, here’s a list of cool music things from last year:
Turntable.fm – I think it’s still in beta and you have to sign in via Twitter or Facebook, but it’s tons ‘o time-wastin’ fun. You don an avatar and DJ name, search for songs and build playlists, and take turns DJ’ing in themed rooms. Oh yeah, there’s a chat feature. So fun!
Spotify – I use the free version, but I’ve heard tons of new music on Spotify. Yeah, there are ads, but I don’t find them as intrusive as the ones on Pandora.
Newbury Comics – As much online music as I listen to, you’d think I’d given up buying CDs. Au contraire! And now I’m back in the vinyl business, too. YAY! This is my favorite place to buy, and now they’re expanding to add clothing lines in their superstores. It’s youth-oriented, of course, so I won’t be wearing any of it, but I can get cool stuff for my teen son.
Vinyl – I bought a DAK mixer and their software to record my LP collection to mp3. Yeah, there are other ways, but this works for me, and it was easy to set-up and use. I bought some new and some old vinyl, and I’m feeling the love.
This Is My Jam – Another site you have to join via invite with FB or Twitter and it’s very user-friendly, and it’s still in beta. You search for a song and post it, and it’s just one song at a time. You leave them up for a week, then post another. When the week expires, so does the song (if you forget and let your post lapse.) It’s perfectly laid-back. I have invites left, so if you want to check it out, let me know in the comments.
Anything else I should know about?
Should I pretend it’s not been since April that I’ve posted? Let’s do, ok?
The Contrast Podcast marches on, and the annual Festive Fifty countdown is underway. My favorite song of the year, Kurt Vile’s “Jesus Fever” came in at number 43 and I am not surprised at all. It’s not a song everyone would relish and it’s one of those laid-back tunes you can listen to while you do the dishes. (Believe me, I have done this.)
I submitted quite a few songs in the first round of picks for this countdown, and they are not in any order. In addition, I discovered some unheard tunes when the final list of songs had been compliled and we chose our favorite ten. That’s always the fun part, since there’s no way in hell I”m going to hear everything.
These are the songs I loved most from 2011:
Ron Sexsmith – Late Bloomer
The Decemberists – Down By the Water
The Decemberists – Don’t Carry It All
Washed Out – Amor Fati
Scars On 45 – Give Me Something
R.E.M. – Discoverer
Real Estate – It’s Real
Noah and The Whale – Tonight’s The Kind of Night
Amos Lee – WIndows are Rolled Down
Amos Lee – Flower
Glasvegas – Euphoria, Take My Hand
Adele – Rolling in the Deep
Noah and The Whale – Life Is Life
Pains of Being Pure At Heart – Heart In Your Heartbreak
Dawes – Time Spent In Los Angeles
Fitz & The Tantrums – Breakin’ The Chains Of Love
Kathleen Edwards – Change the Sheets
Ron Sexsmith – Believe It When I See It
Foster the People – Helena Beat
Girls – Honey Bunny
The Vaccines – Post Break-Up Sex
R.E.M. – Uberlin
Wilco – I Might
Wilco – Whole Love
The Crystal Stilts – Shake the Shackles
Wye Oak – Holy Holy
The Jayhawks – She Walks In So Many Ways
R.E.M. – Blue
Minus the Bear – Hold Me Down
The Kills – DNA
Wilco – I Love My Label
Kurt Vile – Jesus Fever
Built Like Alaska – The Saint Is Here
Fleet Foxes – Montezuma
Said The Whale – Sandy Bay Fishing Song
Toro Y Moi – Low Shoulder
Feist – How Come You Never Go There
PJ Harvey – The Last Living Rose
Cage The Elephant – Shake Me Down
Local Natives – World News
Dawes – A Little Bit of Everything
What were your favorites of 2011?
Nothing will draw me out of a long break like a news story such as I read this morning.
Holy crap on a cracker, the people are fa-reaking out over “dangerous” games such as wiffle ball and freeze tag? Excuse me? FREEZE tag, where someone chases the rest of the gang around and the people who get tagged have to STAND STILL? I know; the ERs are full of kids with freeze tag injuries such as grass-stained knees and stiff legs (from all of the, ya know, just standing there.) According to the officials, Frisbees are safe,but freeze tag isn’t. WHAT? Ever get hit in the head by a Frisbee cuz you’re too busy yacking away with your BFF? No? Happened to me in my backyard when I was about 10. It stings, for cryin’ out loud! I guess Frisbee sting is safe, but wiffle ball sting is potentially deadly.
No freeze tag. No wiffle ball. No kickball. No Red Rover, the favorite game of Waverly Drive kids in Hamilton, OH in 1967. Too unsafe. Oh, they’re ok if the camp pays a 200 dollar fee to NY (Ca-CHING!) and has medical staff at hand. You know, with a cold cloth to offer to the kid who got whacked by the kickball.
Green light: Frisbee, tug of war, and sack races. Nobody gets hurt in those? I got Indian burns (sue me, I’m using the archaic term) from the tug of war, and I fell over in the sack race. Aside from the bruised ego, I had black and blue marks on my legs. I don’t know how I can still sit here and type; I was physically ruined from playing outside. I think the State Of New York is onto something!
All of this “lets get kids moving” talk from experts and bigmouths like Michelle Obama, and this is what we get? Sissified parents who are so afraid that Emily and Aiden might get a scratch that they can’t even pick up a plastic bat to hit a plastic ball?
Some of my favorite childhood memories are from “sleepaway” camps I went to with the “Y” and Girl Scouts, especially the “Y” camp. I was there for a week in late summer, 1968. I’m sure we played lots of these “unsafe” games. We ran and we swam and we made ashtrays out of clay. We performed skits, drank “bug juice” and I still remember the names of some couselors (Skipper and Hokey.) What we did not do is sit inside all day,watching tv, eating cheetos, and using the phone to call our friends. The only serious injury I can remember anyone getting was when one girl butted heads with another while swimming laps. She knocked so hard that, somehow, she bit right through her tongue. I didn’t even see it happen, but the story grossed me out so much that I puked. Well, I was in the pool at the time of the accident, and I had mistakenly thought that she bit her tongue off, and that it had been in the pool. So, that’s what made me hurl.
I loved that oversized sweatshirt so much that I wanted to keep it forever. I could not wait to go back to camp again the following summer, and I spent the school year planning and plotting how to get my parents to cough up the dough to send me for another week. Tough job when there were four other kids in the family that I had to compete with for that small pot of “extras” money in my folks’ budget. It was not to be, though, since we moved from Ohio to Pennsylvania during the summer of ’69. So, I had one week’s worth of memories that have lasted all these years. No scars. These parents and the State Of New York need to lighten up already.
What was playing on my transistor radio?
You know you’re old when members of some of the favorite bands from your youth start dropping regularly. Yesterday, Gary Moore, known mostly for his three stints as a guitarist with Irish hard-rock band Thin Lizzy, passed on. He joins Ronnie James Dio, Kenny Edwards, and Alex Chilton , some big talent we lost last year. An interesting little tidbit for you: Moore’s first band stint was as a member of a blues-rock band called Skid Row. I know you’re thinking, “Wasn’t that an 80′s hair band?” Why. yes it was. Moore sold the name “Skid Row” to the American metal band for 35 large back in 1987.
Thin Lizzy was never my favorite band,nor even in my top ten favorite bands, but I did love the Jailbreak album, which was recorded when Moore was out of the band. He doesn’t actually appear in many studio cuts, but was a sensation when he played on a stage. One of the outstanding things about the band was that they boasted two lead guitars, which led to a virtuoso sound, especially when Moore was one of them.
Here he is, playing in “Still In Love With You.”
Rest in peace, Gary Moore.
Oh, and here he is with David Gilmour, Mark Knopfler, and Lemmy in a fun comedy bit The Easy Guitar Book Sketch.
Favorite Thin Lizzy song: Cowboy Song, especially as covered by Golden Smog.
Recommended albums: Jailbreak (1976), Live And Dangerous (1978)
When my older son was in elementary school, I avoided joining the PTO. It’s not that I was a loaf; I participated in Cub Scouts, lent a hand in Little League and youth soccer as team mom, volunteered in classrooms, and took on small projects for some teachers. Sometimes I regretted the choice to stay out of PTO, since the PTO moms seemed to have an “in” with some of the teachers and school admin. Perhaps my son would have been even more successful in school if I’d volunteered a little more of my time.
That was my thinking when I finally joined PTO when son #2 was in kindergarten. In our town, all public kindergarteners attend the same school, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to meet moms from all over town, before the kids split off into three different elementary schools. Apparently, dads won’t join unless there’s a ball or fire or camping or something involved in the organization.
At the first board meeting, it was apparent that most of these moms knew each other already! I was older than they were (“Wow, you have a son in senior year and one in kindergarten! You look so young!”) They must have sensed that I was willing to do whatever I could to fit in. “We have an opening in the communications job. Would you like to do the school newsletter?” I said yes without knowing just how much work that would involve. I mean, I had been on the high school newspaper, rounding out that brief career as editor of the opinion page, so I’m not work-a-phobic. As newsletter chairperson, I was required to attend all board and general meetings, take notes, gather announcements, write the newsletter, meet with the principal for approval, then publish the thing and get it copied. After that, all I had to do was count them out by classes and distribute them to all teachers and staff. It was a full-time, thankless job. Worst part was that no matter how hard I tried, I was the newsletter lady and although I met several teachers, I wasn’t an officer in the organization and really didn’t establish any long-term connections with the rest of the PTO moms.
It was a blessing in disguise.
The PTO officers ran that organization like they were CEO’s of a bank. They were pushy and unopen to new ideas. We do it this way. Blah blah blah. I was sick of them before we hit the
Christmas winter break, and I dreaded going to the board meetings. The only saving grace was my chumminess with the principal, who knew my son by name and became aware of his challenges. When I brought the newsletter to her each month, we’d have little chats, and I was not just another face in the school.
So, I shut up and wrote my little newsletter, got it out on time, for the most part, and finished out the year. Needless to say, I have not been interested in any further PTO activity. Still, I buy overpriced cookie dough, frozen pies, and endless magazines, just so I have to spend only 7 bucks to send my kid on a field trip.
When I got the email from the Middle School PTO, concerning their upcoming fundraiser, I was a little surprised, even though I was familiar with their M.O..
One of their annual fundraisers is called the Coffee House. It’s a Friday evening when the kids can come to school, hang out, have snacks, listen to tunes, dance, etc. We used to call them dances, but I guess this is looser than that. Parents are welcome, and there are raffles and silent auctions.
Each team/class creates a basket for the raffle, and they are themed. Son’s class has been assigned the theme of “Pop Culture.” Fine and dandy.
The thing that annoys me to no end is that this email states the theme and suggests donations for the basket. There’s a long list of suggestions, too, and an invite to buy gift cards for the basket from a site that benefits the PTO, meaning, wow, a double bonus for the PTO coffers.
Nowhere in this email is the word “please.” No “Please consider donating an item for the raffle basket.” No “We would appreciate a donation.” Not one polite word asking for my thoughtful gift to their raffle.
It’s just: We’re having a raffle. We would like these things, and they are due on February 1st.
And then there’s the “thanks in advance.” Sorry, that’s too little, too late.
But I guess I should be happy enough to see a thanks in advance. After all, they are the PTO.