music

Finally got my Matt Alber vinyl

Months ago when Matt Alber was raising funds to record and release his new record Wind Sand Stars, one of the options for funding was a vinyl copy of the album. It would come also with a bamboo USB Flash Drive (which I honestly didn’t really care about) but hearing the record on vinyl was what I really wanted.

Here’s his video for Handsome Man..

(BTW, I have offered to direct a video for Matt, even submitting a treatment for his cover of Everything But The Girl’s ‘Missing’ but so far no bites… I’ll keep trying, I’d love to do more music videos).

Well the album came out quite a while ago but the vinyl had numerous delays, one of which was faulty USB Flash Drives. So I cared about those even less than before.

Well, today when I got back from my Key West vacation, I had the record waiting for me. LOVE it… the live instruments and Matt’s voice sound wonderful coming out of my speakers and it’s the perfect record for post-vacation recovery morning.

And then I popped in that (admittedly cool) Flash Drive. OK so… it doesn’t just have the new record on it, it’s got the ENTIRE Matt Alber catalogue on it. All the albums, the Live EP, the unreleased B-sides, the dance remixes and alternate versions… PLUS it’s got all three of his fantastic videos, lyrics for all the albums, lots of photos AND a free PDF copy of his semi-nude Meat Magazine appearance. So I will begrudgingly admit that waiting for the Flash Drive was worth it.

The vinyl is still available at his Website.

Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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Fart Metal

I’m ashamed to admit I actually watched this whole video.

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My September 11th Ritual: God Hates Us All

Morbid as it may be, my first impulse when people mention “September 11th” is to grab my copy of God Hates Us All by Slayer. It’s how I spend the day every year. Playing it over and over. It really is a good album.

That morning was pretty normal. I was working in purchasing for HMV, a huge international record chain that never really broke into the US market before music retail chains became a thing of the past. I worked at the flagship store in downtown Toronto and we had just gotten out of our Tuesday new release meeting and were trying to guess which of the two major new releases that day would sell more.

One was the new Mariah Carey offering “Glitter” which, if you didn’t know what it said, kind of looked like it was titled “Gutter.” We all agreed that it was a downright noxious album of horrible songs that would accompany her equally horrible movie of the same name (“Glitter,” not “Gutter”).

The other was the new album by venerable metal band Slayer. The album was called “God Hates Us All” and featured two different album covers since the first one that featured a bible, nailed shut and bleeding, was deemed a bit too “offensive” for some markets. I predicted Slayer’s album would sell more. I bought three copies of it myself. The Japanese import, the Canadian release with the censored cover and the blood-red vinyl.

When we got out of the meeting, staff on the main floor were all a bit worked up over a movie playing on the screens throughout the store. It looked like a bad Michael Bay movie. Before long, the chatter filtered up to us that this was NOT, in fact, a movie but live footage of the World Trade Center in New York where “someone” had “flown a plane into one of the towers.”

We all just assumed “some drunk billionaire in his Cessna” or something along those lines.

We crowded around the VJ booth at the back of the store where the music and video were played so we could watch it on the screen live. We had started to become a bit flippant about it and said “Hope the money wasn’t seriously hurt.”

We then all watched while the second plane hit and in one moment realized exactly how far off we were from that first assumption that this was a minor, random accident.

Without much news or information available… speculation started. Then panic. Confusion. Complete bewilderment at what was going on. A few minutes later I sat on the floor of my office listening to the radio and trying to absorb it all. Before long, reports of a third plane in Washington DC and possibly a fourth “near Pittsburgh” came in. Reports of “taking out radio communication in New York” and “gunfire in the streets” and “terrorist groups attacking in Chicago” had started. Of course most of that was bullshit but by that point it was hard to not believe anything.

Not unlike the movies you see of people crowding around the TVs in store windows to watch news about the Kennedy Assassination, people stood around in the front area of the store watching the video on the screens. Some would blankly say “my son is in New York right now” and I remember taking a mother in my arms telling her not to panic. One man told us that most of the tall buildings in downtown Toronto had been evacuated just in case…

Of course we were only in shock and disbelief for so long. Canadians were just separated and isolated enough from it all that we still remember it like a movie. We may have known people there but it all still seemed unreal. Of course Canadian conservatives and anyone desperate enough to paint Canada as “important” on the world’s stage would warn us about the “terrorists coming for us in Toronto” and tell us to “imagine the CN Tower smoking like that.”

Most of us rolled our eyes at the absurdity of a spindly concrete tower “smoking” and the catty answers we’d throw back were “the terrorists won’t attack Toronto, their mothers all live here” or “let’s hang a target on the east side of the tower and see if we can get them to knock it into the Skydome and take out TWO eyesores at once!”

Canadians have always had belligerent senses of humor and even something as horrific as the September 11th attacks wasn’t going to take that away.

One of my most chilling souvenirs was the poster advertising the new Slayer album. It featured the bloody bible, nailed shut with “Slayer: God Hates Us All – September 11th, 2001.” How’s that for a bit fucked up?

So… that’s my ritual. I don’t even realize I’m doing it. I don’t believe in “god” so it’s not like I take much from that message. But when the news hits every year… I go right to my vinyl wall and haul out my copy. It’s spinning on my turntable right now.

Kinda freaky, really.

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Sick Like Me.

The new In This Moment track. Their 2013 album “Blood” was one of my favorites. Glad they’re already back.

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and if you lose yourself… I will find you.

I have discovered the joy of young adult sic-fi. Yeah, there’s a lot of teenage angst and hormones in it but that’s half the fun. I’ve always been a fan of the dystopian future fiction so throw in a bit of angry young men and I’m THERE.

If you haven’t read any… I can make a few suggestions. Of course The Hunger Games books you’ve heard of. And the Divergent books. Probably the Maze Runner series.

You can also check out Z by my buddy Michael Thomas Ford and if you want some self-published gay young adult sci-fi, check out the Degan Series. Those are kinda goofy but in a fun, rather sweet way.

Anyway… I just picked up the Divergent soundtrack which, to my joy… is a double picture disc vinyl. So… even better.

 

 

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Bob Mould “Tiny Desk Concert”

Bob Mould, punk rock Godfather and cultural icon dropped by the NPR studios to do a very impromptu 4-song set. Three of the songs were from his latest album Beauty And Ruin (a personal favorite that spends a lot of time on my turn table lately) plus one classic Hüsker Dü song, ‘Makes No Sense At All.’

It’s easy to forget just how many songs from his career have been part of the soundtrack of my life. With so many incarnations (he also fronted the early 90s band Sugar), unless you’re engaged enough, you might not realize you know that many songs from his catalogue.

Anyway.. pick up the vinyl of his album here. Enjoy the show.

Download the whole show from the NPR site.

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Holly Johnson. On BBC Radio on Sunday Morning. Times have changed.

It was about 30 years ago when I first heard “Relax” come blaring out of the speakers in my high school cafeteria as the “closed circuit radio station” dared to play it. At the time it was just an aural assault to me. Knowing nothing about the band or even the lyrical content of the song, it was just a smashing, overwhelming melding of electronic noise, desperately emotive vocals and a heavy rock ‘n’ roll band.

The next Saturday, I hopped a train and got to the closest city where I could buy the record. At the time all that was available was an import 12″ single that cost me two week’s allowance. But I got it home and played it on continuous repeat for about a month. Soon after, Boy George mentioned in an interview that both Holly and Paul were gay. I was even more excited.

Within a month, their second single “Two Tribes” was getting played on the video shows and again I trucked it up to Moncton to get the 7″ single. Again… played it to death. Not long after, more 12″ singles of both songs were available.. I got them all.. a third single followed along with a video that was just a reenactment of the Christmas story.

Frankie Goes to Hollywood managed to be everything controversial… sex, love, politics, religion, violence, homosexuality and commercialism.

They burned out hot and fast but their fan base has never stopped loving them. Occasional rumors of a reunion have never materialized… but I do hold out hope.

Holly, however, is back. Looking and sounding great.

His new album Europa will be out soon.. preorder it on vinyl now.

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Fave Song of the Day – I Won’t Let You Go by Snow Patrol

From the Divergent Soundtrack. For a medium-budget film adaptation of a dystopian YA novel, it’s surprisingly entertaining.

I did like the book series a lot and while they left out a few of the key parts of the book I thought were important… I thought they did a good job of putting it on screen. Looking forward to part 2.

And yes… it’s on vinyl.

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This is apparently the “Most Relaxing Song Every Recorded” according to scientists.

For women, anyway.

A team from Mindlab International hired by Radox Spa conducted experiments with music, intentionally frustrating women with puzzles and then playing them music and testing stress indicators found that Weightless by Marconi Union reduced overall anxiety by 65% and brought them to a level 35%lower than their usual resting rates. Using intentionally sparse spaces between notes with none retesting, the brain stops trying to predict what’s next and the 8-minute length allows a 5-minute come-down period followed by three minutes of maximum relaxation.

Crazy as it sounds, it works. Go figure.

I highly recommend listening to this with headphones in the evening before going to bed.

You can find it on Just Music Cafe: Ambeint Zone 4.

The top ten relaxing songs, according to this study, are:

1. Marconi Union – Weightless
2. Airstream – Electra
3. DJ Shah – Mellomaniac (Chill Out Mix)
4. Enya – Watermark
5. Coldplay – Strawberry Swing
6. Barcelona – Please Don’t Go
7. All Saints – Pure Shores
8. Adelev Someone Like You
9. Mozart – Canzonetta Sull’aria
10. Cafe Del Mar – We Can Fly

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This new Peter Murphy album is possibly his best ever…

Seriously… I’m sitting here with the album spinning on my turn table and I’m in awe.

Peter Murphy’s new album is called Lion and it’s everything you’d expect from the Godfather of everyone who wears black. Dark, lush, haunting, beautiful, emotional and still clean and clear. Perfect.

(and since many of you asked, THIS IS THE TURNTABLE YOU SHOULD BUY)

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