“Ancients of Mu-Mu”
Sometimes it seems like a hypnotic, strange dream. I question whether it was a childhood fantasy- a perfectly created and lavishly thought out hallucination. However there is enough corroborating evidence to show that KLF did actually exist and that they were as fabulously entrancing, provocative and enthralling as I perceived them to be.
Who am I talking about? What were the KLF? Well… Continue reading
At the back end of 2014 I published a run through of my favorite records from 2014. The way in which I consumed these records varied. Some had been on CD, others vinyl and some I had only experienced through Spotify.
One that I gave a mention to, but didn’t make the top ten, was Frazey Ford’s “Indian Ocean”. It was a record I really liked but I hadn’t yet really investigated it’s every aspect due to time. Anyway armed with some Christmas gift cards I purchased a vinyl copy and it arrived just over a week ago. Continue reading
I love Christmas but I:
a) am kind of ignostic (not a spelling mistake)
b) work in a public school
c) love being sarcastic
Thus about six years ago while goofing with my kids I began wishing them “Happy London Calling Day” on December 14th to celebrate the release of one of the Greatest Records of all time. I loved to explain that this was the only holiday that I celebrated and would proceed to act offended to have to be at school.
Whilst this was a prank it belied and important undercurrent, The Clash are after all “the only band that matters” and I love to expose bands to these kids. I remember being in elementary school and hearing my brother, who is nearly 10 years older than me, discussing alien bands like Pet Shop Boys, Guns N’ Roses, Beastie Boys. It intoxicated me with excitement and I hope I do the same with the 4th and 5th graders I teach.
Especially in regard to The Clash. I’ve discussed their import in other pieces and I still consider them my favorite band. Of all their works London Calling is by some distance their greatest. It is a work of extraordinary audacity, vision and scope. Continue reading
Another day, another sad anniversary. John’s passing is etched in memory and holds particular importance for a generation. Indeed I don’t recall ever not knowing about John’s death. I mean I recall getting into Hendrix and wondering where he was now, or learning about John Bonham’s death. But John Lennon? I always knew.
My parents had a copy of The John Lennon Collection and I vividly recall looking at every minute detail of the inner sleeve with Lennon on a bed with red and white Stratocaster, clothed in denim and looking vulnerably at the camera. But I felt loss in looking at that picture- and we’re talking in about 90-91 here (I can date it by a football shirt I was wearing), so at 7 I knew he was dead.
Does that sense of loss and that cloying “what if” eat at everything someone achieved? Do we view the music in a different way as a result of it’s finite limit? Do we think of the tragedy first and the music second? Continue reading
Not sure if this is necessarily a “Top Ten” but it’s a list of sorts. These are the ten records that have left the biggest impact on me. I don’t want to call them the best records but rather the most interesting, arresting and memorable. This year has been a great year for music. Increasingly I think each year has such an exponential reach due to the ways that music can be released. This allows for so many paths, routes and side journeys, all of which are fun to explore.
Today is the 13th anniversary of George’s death in 2001. He was my favorite Beatle due to his humour, humility and heart. His spirituality maybe a cliche but it really did set him apart. His life and world seemed somehow more real than the superstardom of John and Paul. In his music and film he exhibited a wry sense of humour that also made him more real. Continue reading
The joy of vinyl collecting is this:
11 records for $8
You can happen upon a random store (in this case a book sale place in Rockville, MD) and pick up a bunch of stuff for next to no money.
They might not all be world beaters but I know at least 4 (the Derek & Clive Live, Fun Boy Three, No Nukes and the Herb Alpert records) will be worth the $8 alone. The others are all experiments and could easily repay their modest fees just with a few moments of enjoyment.
Vinyl offers a tactile experience, great sound quality, a sensorial connection and a meandering variety that just appeals to me. The last point is important. It has variety but not in the calculated, whatever you want have it now Spotify/internet sense. It offers it in this way where you can cherry pick and discover. It also gives the possibility of gems not found anywhere else. Things lost to the internet age.
It’s a fine way to pass a few hours is record shopping. The excitement of leafing through stacks (or the hunt as I term it) is really as much of the joy as the listening. You find a beauty on to see a gouge on the shellac and have to pass it up. When you do find a keeper you feel part of some secret world.
Post script: I also got some bloody amazing JBL speakers for $40 here too. The importance of a good speaker can also not be underestimated. The sound quality just aids a greater enjoyment.