Shiny Bowie

My kids love the Moana soundtrack and who can blame them? Lin-Manuel Miranda is amazing. So back in February I introduced them to the Hamilton soundtrack. Turns out, there are a lot of kids who love Hamilton (despite the not-at-all-age-appropriate material in many of the songs).

So, given that music linking success (I’m getting burned out listening to Hamilton every day), I decided to try my luck with some other music. My son loves the Moana song Shiny which is sung by Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords fame.

The song has a definite David Bowie feel, somewhat influenced I think by Flight of the Conchords Bowies in Space.

So, anyway, I figured he might be interested in some classic David Bowie. So, I let him listen to both Changes and Fame on the way back home this evening. He seemed to enjoy them (well, at least he didn’t ask to listen to anything else), so who knows maybe I can get them interested into a lot of different kinds of music. That will definitely save me from getting burned out on just a small handful of songs.

Amy Winehouse

Out of nowhere, I got into the mood to listen some Amy Winehouse this afternoon. It struck me as a real shame she never got to record a Bond theme, among the many disappointments of losing her. Winehouse just had the perfect sultry, throwback voice for a Bond film intro. I realize that it was ‘attempted’ and, honestly, having a duet by Alishia Keys & Jack White is a pretty good consolation. “Another Way to Die” is a great song, but I can’t help but wonder what could have been…

Beatles Versus Led Zepplin

I always though the only things the Beatles and Led Zepplin had in common was that they were both genius, English rock bands who had a penchant for misspelling. While that is probably still true, what would it have sound like had The Beatles written “Stairway to Heaven?” Well, it might have sound like this:

That’s the Australian tribute band, The Beatnix, performing on a television show in the early 90’s (via BoingBoing).

Five Fun Things Friday – Mid-June Edition

Okay, so this is turning out to be more of a bi-weekly thing than anything else. I don’t recall ever promising anything — as who would I promise it to?

Five things that have been on my radar ‘o fun over the past couple of weeks:

  1. This is a great music video by a formerly-not-known-to-me Brit indie Bats for Lashes. I like the kind of creepy, haunting sound of the song which matches perfectly the Donnie Darko inspired video imagery (via BoingBoing).
  2. Angela and I have been watching Judd Apatow’s “Undeclared” via Netflix. It’s not nearly as good as "Freaks and Geeks” but still better than your average comedy. Most of this, by Apatow’s description is due to the fact that the really good stuff that goes on at college can’t be shown on network television. True, that. Anyone wanting to go see Knocked Up, please give me a call.
  3. Last night, we went to see Son Volt at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens. Last week was Big Head Todd & the Monsters. Two really good bands. Frankly, I didn’t have too high of hopes for the Son Volt show as the “reunion” of that band feels a lot like Jay Farrar cashing in on the relative success of the band as compared to his solo career (especially last month’s new album, which I found disappointing). However, I really like Farrar’s songs, be they Son Volt, solo career, or Uncle Tupelo – all of which got some play-time last night.
    Uncle Tupelo Cover
  4. Per everyone-I-know’s recommendations, I read the late Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.’s "Slaughterhouse Five" recently. Well, after having read the book, of course the next thing to do is see the movie (no, not really – I think it’s a shame that the general notion seems to be that the highest status a novel can have is to be made into a film). So last weekend, I watched the 1972 movie based on the book. I was fairly pleased with how it got portrayed and apparently, Vonnegut was, too.
  5. Last, but probably the most important, Angela and I really enjoyed the baby shower our friends Holly and Meg threw for us at also-friend Jessica’s house. It was great and we were simply amazed at how generous our friends are. We clearly have no idea what we’re doing with this whole baby thing (apparently just like everyone else, knowledge that has kept us going). However, in addition to the really great gifts that everyone went out of their way to get us (and mail us, too!), having people to count on is a big deal. Thanks, everyone.

Five Fun Things: May 18th Edition

I’m trying to make this a weekly thing, but who knows how long it’ll last.

Another week flew by me and I’m not sure where it went. That’s more the norm than not I suppose. Here’s a few things, in no particular order that have been interesting and enjoyable this week:

  1. Getting to see inside me by having an MRI done. I’ve been learning some about medical imaging in the past few months with baby ultrasounds for Angela as well as x-rays and MRIs for me. It’s all amazing stuff and makes me really appreciate modern medicine and our ability to see what is happening inside us without ever opening us up. Of course, the cost for all this imaging is still high enough to make it as common as I expect it someday will be, so that makes me appreciate having good insurance.
  2. Having a good boss. Okay, he doesn’t read this so don’t assume it’s for his benefit or anything. However, I’ve had some bad jobs before and I’ve been lucky to work for people sense college that allowed me to work in my own style instead of some rigid framework. Work has been insanely hectic for the past couple of months and that’s going to continue for a while in the future. However, my boss never beats me up about it. He’s demanding, but not unreasonable and that’s about the best you can hope for in this kind of work.
  3. Okay, just so you don’t think this is some thanksgiving list, I’ve also been loving three new albums I downloaded this week. Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky is kind of a continuation of A Ghost is Born; some quirky and soft melodies punctuated with some rockin’ moments. Not having listened to Modest Mouse for all that long, I can’t say if We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank is much of a progression for that band since their last album, but I can say I like it a lot. After seeing The Avett Brothers last week, I can see why my friend Chris likes them so much. Their live album on iTunes – Live, Vol. 2 – seems to capture a lot of their live shows and “Pretty Girl From Annapolis” has been stuck in my head for days, now. I need to pick up their new album as well.
  4. I got on a Futurama kick a few days ago and have been watching a number of episodes off of Comedy Central (I only occasionally watched it first run in my pre-TiVo days). It’s best moments are using Fry & Co. to make commentary about modern life (this must have been the inspiration for Idiocracy…). It’s most boring moments to me are showing once again how annoying Dr. Zoidberg is or how crass Bender is.
  5. This weekend is the Lebanese festival in Richmond. Angela went to lunch there with some of her co-workers, as did one of my co-workers, and they said it was great. Angela is going to take me to dinner there this evening. I haven’t enjoyed it just yet, but I know I will!

Stephen Simmons Show

Stephen Simmons Show 1

The Coal Men were supposed to be playing in Ashland tomorrow night (the fourth), but as things happened, that show fell through. However, Tuesday before last, Dave called me up to let me know he’d be in town with Stephen Simmons to play a show on the 27th. I really enjoyed Stephen’s show last time and this time even more so, since I had been listening to a couple of his albums and knew the music. I tried to take a bunch of photos, but I still really suck at low-light stuff. The best of them made it to Flickr. Speaking of photographing live music, if you haven’t seen Scott’s photos of Mojave 5 from that same weekend, you should check them out. I’m going to have to hit him up for some advice.

Five Random Songs

This is blog meme from a long time ago and I’m just now getting around to posting it, even though it was old even before I did it, as at least one of the songs indicates. In keeping with the idea of the meme as I first read it, I one day just put my iPod on Random and hit play, without starting any playlist or selecting a genre. Frankly, I was somewhat surprised with what came up (as I figured it’d would be some iTrip station selectors or a podcast). This was the first time I did this, and here were the first five songs that came up:

  1. Good Grief by the Foo Fighter’s eponymous album. While they’ve virtually crossed over intot he pop genre, the Foo Fighters are still a pretty solid rock band. My only dislike about the band: Dave Grohl no longer plays drums.
  2. Hey Now from Finley Quaye’s sophomore album, Vanguard. Quaye borders on trippy, but never loses a melody in this slow-paced song. Also, his attention to detail has always been something I liked; slight changes throughout a song keep it from becoming monotonous.
  3. I Like It from the Dixie Chick’s latest album, Taking the Long Way. Yes, I do like it. I would have outdone Rick Rubin on this song by really making the final couple of choruses epic sounding, but it’s a good song anyway. These ladies are the top of pop-country, even if that’s really not their fit so much anymore.
  4. Pieholden Suite from Wilco’s much unappreciated album Summer Teeth. A melody more than a single song (as the name suggests); this one seems to be Wilco’s take on the sounds of the 20’s. Summer Teeth was my first Wilco album, and maybe that gave me a somewhat different window to view them through.
  5. Left A Slide from Son Volt’s Straightaways. Jay Farrar just behind Jeff Tweedy; the story of his career, right? Probably not, really. Farrar is experimental in his own right, even if not pushing the same boundaries that Wilco does. Like the previous Wilco song, this one might not be my top pick from this artist, but it’s still a great song from one of my favorite artists.

Just for the record, although I don’t know that it’s worth going into more detail, here was the next ten:

  1. Retrieval of You – The Minus 5 – Down With Wilco
  2. Hold Yr Terror Close – The Go! Team – Thunder, Lightening, Strike
  3. Cool Blue Reason – Cake – Prolonging the Magic
  4. Jet Pilot – Son Volt – Okemah and the Melody Riot
  5. Words So Leisured – Franz Ferdinand – Eponymous
  1. Humble Me – Norah Jones – Feels Like Home
  2. Stumbling Through the Dark – The Jayhawks – Rainy Day Music
  3. Lose Something – Velocity Girl – Gilded Stars and Zeolous Hearts
  4. Punch Drunk – Uncle Tupelo – Steels Feel Gone
  5. Come To Love – Mathew Sweet – 100% Fun

I suppose I could have kept on, but at some point you have to just stop and say ‘this is probably way more than anyone else in the world cares about.’ This is about that point for me.

The Coal Men Play Richmond

Early last month, my brother, Dave, and his band mate Dave Ray traveled up to Richmond to play a Coal Men show at the Ashland Coffee and Tea House. I wasn’t sure what to expect when Dave C. told me that the bass player, Hitch, wouldn’t be able to make it. Most trios have to pay close attention to filling in the space that comes so easy to four- or five-piece bands (or larger), and The Coal Men have done a great job at this for years. However, just a guitar and drums can sound a little weak at times. I suppose the most popular line-up like that right now is The White Stripes, and the fact that they have expanded to more piano and even different arrangements on albums should suggest that they struggle with that as well.

The Coal Men Duo at Ashland

Dave Coleman (my little brother) and Dave Ray play an amazing show as just a duo, Sept. 8th at Ashland Coffee and Tea.

It didn’t take too long into their sound check and warm-up for me to realize that this was not going to be an issue. Dave Ray’s drumming is so musical and intricate that he easily fills up the space, allowing Dave C. to elaborate on melody lines or even play a instrumental solo without loosing the tune. The entire show was a lot of fun and the two sounded great in the The White Boys line-up. They did a great job of talking just enough to introduce themselves to a largely unfamiliar crowd, giving some interest to a group of people that had mostly shown up to hear a band they knew nothing about.

Epiphone Guitar

Dave’s birthday present to me during the Coal Men show (other than the show, itself). It even has been customized with stickers on the back reading 30.

The best part of the show for me came in the second set, where my brother surprised me by announcing my recent birthday to everyone. He mentioned to the audience that he and I played music together quite a lot in our younger days and how I had more-or-less stopped about nine or ten years ago1. So, in light of my big 30th birthday and the fact that he wanted me to pick back up the hobby of music, he presented me with an acoustic guitar on stage. To say the least, I wasn’t expecting that (seriously, have I just become easy to surprise in my middle age?). It’s a very attractive Epiphone six-string that has a tobacco-burst finish.

Dave Ray was able to spend some time with his parents that evening and the following day (they’re from NoVA), while Dave C. got up the next morning and went on a nice 18 mile run with me (Angela did 15, nothing to shrug off for sure). We spent the rest of the day just kind of hanging out, although Angela and I did attend a wedding for one of my co-workers. We took Dave Ray out for Indian food for dinner, since he’d never had it before but was willing to give it a shot (I think he liked it; who doesn’t like chicken masala?). That evening was spent watching Family Guy and just chilling out. They guys took off the next day, but it was great to get to spend some time with them. Of course, I always miss hanging out with my brothers and I enjoyed getting to spend time getting to know Dave Ray, as well (I hadn’t actually seen the guy in over two years, I think).

I’ve been playing my guitar most days since. I’ve been able to remember some things (mostly just chords). There’s this new thing called the internet where you can find the chord progressions to just about any song, which is handy. I’ve also sat down in front of my computer with iTunes and picked up a couple of tunes, as well. I have no aspirations of every playing for anyone else, but it’s a wonderful hobby and maybe someday I’ll convince Angela to play a little guitar-flute duet with me, just as long she goes really slow.

  1. That was never really an intentional thing, but I just never had the space for a drum set. Also, a drummer rarely has really friendly neighbors for very long. I’m really glad that Dave still has my old drum set that I refinished with his help, along with my older brother, Steve, and our friends. []