Tuesday, November 30, 2010

30 or so Songs of Xmas # 05 & 06

Today has two featured songs. Fountains of Wayne released a two-song Xmas CD single right after their debut CD. Original rock Xmas songs were still somewhat rare back in those days. Both songs are great (though Man in the Santa Suit is better), so why choose?

This reminds of how annoying CDs were back in the day. You'd have to pop this in for two great songs, then take it out and pop in another. Even with a 5 disk changer, you were changing CDs too often. Being able to manage a giant playlist from my hard drive is way better. Sepia-toned days of youth my ass!

I wonder what Fountains of Wayne is up to these days. Guess I'll go do some Gooling. Catch you tomorrow.

Monday, November 29, 2010

30 or so Songs of Xmas # 04

Today's song is probably a perfect song. I don't think it could be better in anyway. The arrangement is absolutely brilliant. Ella's voice is like bittersweet honey (if such a thing exists). Pure perfection.

I originally encountered this song on a so-so jazz Christmas compilation CD back in the late 80s.

The album is song is originally from, Ella Fitzgerald Wishes You a Swinging Christmas, is a must have. If you don't already have it, go buy it now! The whole album is a joy and almost as good as this song.

Swinging is Ella's secular Xmas album; she also has/had an album of religious carols, which is really dry and no fun. I listened it twice about 20 years ago and haven't touched it since, except to move houses three times. Maybe I'll give it another go this holiday season.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Painting the Third Floor (Everything is Borrowed)

I have been in a super productive spell for a few months now. Besides working the two places, I have been cleaning out three years of shit from the MGMT Bunker, blogging, and painting my third floor. I also manage to be a good husband and have an active social life. I know these spells of hyper-productivity don't last, so I'm enjoying riding the wave.

My house was built in the 1890s. The roof the house is gabled in several ways and the third floor has a lot of angles. The third floor was been pretty much untouched except for some 1970s era plywood paneling. I spent almost two years renovating the house before we moved in a bit over three years ago. I left the third alone until a couple of months ago.

Painting the third floor has been a project. 2 gallons of primer, 5 gallons of white paint, and I've just started on the 2nd gallon of black paint for the floor. The white and black give the space a very modern minimalist feel, which is somewhat odd to me since the space hasn't really changed in over 100 years.

One of the albums I've been listening to while painting is Everything is Borrowed by the Streets. Many people have lived in this house before me. Probably still more will after I've gone. The house is just borrowed. I'm painting it all the same.

30 or so Songs of Xmas # 03

This Xmas audio treat, Bob Dylan's It Must be Santa, is only a year old. Not all 30 or so will be moldy oldies from a middle-aged guy's sepia colored youth. At least one is a newer one by a senior citizen. So we got that going for us.

Bob Dylan is the eternal enigma. Even the biggest Dylan fan will admit that Bob has dropped some real clunkers. But now and again Bob will pull out yet another masterpiece. When it was announced Bob would be releasing an Xmas album, there was very good cause to expect it to fall into the clunker category. Being Dylan fan, I was cautiously optimistic.

This song and video are the very definition of masterful. After 50 years of doing this stuff, Bob knocks it out of the park. I dare you not to smile repeatedly while listening to this song and/or watching the video. Even Dylan haters love it.

Back to Bob's Xmas album, it's a mixed bag. Right this second, I'm listening to Hark the Herald Angels Sing and it's pretty painful. I'll be Home for Christmas has started off bad but Bob is finding a sort of Louis Armstrong thing in his voice and it has gotten more interesting. The Little Drummer Boy is a pretty basic version in a light traditional Dylan sauce that works very well. Earlier in the album, I really liked Do You Hear What I Hear, which is one my favorite carols (and one I didn't yet have a version of in my collection of several hundred Xmas songs). Bob does it justice. There's more to that album, but
I'm done writing.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

30 or so Songs of Xmas # 02

I'm blogging one my favorite Xmas songs every day until New Years.

Today's song is Carol of the Bells, a techno version by DJ Demonixxx.

Back in the old days of widespread dial-up Internet, the early 2000s, there was a certain file sharing service. I'm usually a first mover on new technology, but I poo-poo'ed Napster when it came out. Why would I want to listen to music on my computer? My computer was slow and buggy enough without trying run music in the background. My stereo with multi-disk CD player was in the same room and always on anyway. A few computers and kick-ass speaker computer system later, I now pretty much only listen to music through my computer.

When a non-techy 21 year old talked Napster up, I finally decided to check it out. Since most folks still used dial-up, the selection was mostly single songs rather than whole albums. Searching for Christmas music, I found this gem. That service made collecting music much easier. It was great for obtaining stuff you knew was out there but not commercially available. Due to the limitations of dial-up, buying music on CD when possible remained the easier and better option.

I tried finding other DJ Demoixx stuff a few years ago, and couldn't, leading me to think it was a one-off, long forgotten thing. So I was very pleasantly surprised to find this song on YouTube this morning. I probably had been searching for Demoixxx with a third x. Google search is smart enough to search on what I want rather than what I type; that's probably a good thing. Turns out DJ Demonixx is still around, living in New Orleans. And Demonixx with two x's is much cooler than with three.

Friday, November 26, 2010

30 or so Songs of Xmas # 01

It's the day after Thanksgiving, so it's time to start cranking out my collection of Christmas Music.

Back in the day, the early 80s, Christmas rock music was hard to come by. There wasn't much of it, and what there was wasn't available in stores. You would have to wait until an Xmas song you wanted came on the radio and you had to have your cassette recorder ready to tape. Jeez talk about primitive. Music collecting back then really was about the hunt. And the good thing about music collecting is that you can listen to it, rather that just have a useless possession.

By the 90s, some Xmas songs wound up on singles or on greatest hits albums. So you actually could possess the music, but playing it around the holiday was extremely laborious.

How it's the 21st century and I have 100s of Xmas songs on my hard drive. All in the same folder. No labor at all to play them.

I'll post one my favorite Xmas songs every day until New Years. Hopefully I can find each on YouTube, which would take care of any copywrong issues.

My first pick is Sting's version of I Saw Three Ships.

Sting has his share of duds as a solo artist; this sure ain't one of them. I really,really love this song, especially the percussion. The whole sound is really different. Caribbean maybe?

I really like this song despite its seemingly stupid lyrics. There were several YouTubes of this song. I picked one with lyrics (which don't seem to match up 100%, but it's good enough for our purposes here, already created, and free).

Three ships? I guess that's a reference to the holy trinity, but that seems to be stretching it. It could be a reference to the three magi, but they didn't travel with Jesus, they traveled to him. So pretty much the title and overall theme are questionable.

And then there is the line featuring "The savior Christ and his lady". Jesus never married, so who is his lady? I guess that would have to be Mary, but when is your mother ever called "your lady"?

Think about that if you wish, but enjoy the song either way. I do.

Monday, November 1, 2010

iPad Will Not Save Struggling Media Companies

I just read an RSS item about a Hip Hop magazine that had stopped publishing a while back, due to publishing costs and decreased advertising, was returning as an iPad store item. It's surprising that so many people still don't get it. Magazines were very essential at one time, but now with a practically infinite number of Websites available 24/7 and updated all the time, there is NO NEED FOR MAGAZINES.

It was like we were starved for information and we had to wait for the regular (weekly or monthly) meal. Now that we can eat whenever we want until we are stuffed, so who needs (or wants) the big meal?

I may be an old foagie but after checking RSS feeds and numerous Websites everyday, the last thing I want to pick up is a magazine or newspaper. I'm full. Plus I have already read or will read the content of the newspaper or magazine on line anyway.