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. []