Thursday, December 30, 2004
How much $$$?
We're off to Coinstar to cash-in some of the change we've saved-up over the last year or so. Any guess how much is there?
Ebay item of the day
As with all releases on the CREEPS label, this is a very primitively packaged, rustic objet d'art, with its j-card insert handmade by Grillo himself. The cassette itself is taped over an old Billy Squier tape.
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Famous Last Words
Hey look - it's a picture!
I need to figure out where I can post some mp3s. Maybe I'll do that this weekend.
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Gay on allmusic
The term "gay music" is hardly derogatory -- it is simply a way to categorize all the music that is made specifically for a gay audience by gay musicians. Certainly, there have been gay musicians throughout recording history, from Noel Coward to Bob Mould, yet they usually don't identify themselves as "gay" -- they wrote for a broad audience. Gay music is different because it is music written and performed by gay musicians for a gay audience. Frequently, the music takes familiar forms, whether it's dance or punk, and adds homosexual themes. At times, the music is campy, at times it is sober, but it's all distinguished by its independence (almost all of the music is released and distributed by the artists themselves) and its ideology.
It goes on to breakdown the gay genre into 3 unlikely categories: Gay Comedy, Gay Country and Gay Gospel. The descriptions on these 3 sub-genre pages are pretty much the same. Substitute "gospel" or "comedy" for "country" and the descriptions are virtually identical.
Gay Country is straight-ahead country and country-pop music, but it has specifically gay topics and themes, and is performed by gay musicians for gay audiences.
That's a whole lotta gay going-on.
Things like this really annoy me. It almost implies that any song that references being gay takes you out of the overall picture and dumps you in the "Gay Music" genre. Their reference to Noel Coward and Bob Mould almost reeks of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
I'm not a musician, but if I was (were?), I can't imagine I'd want my music to be classified as simply "gay". It sort of overshadows everything else you put into it. Not to mention telling you nothing about what the music sounds like. Do you do showtunes? Or are you more like Pansy Division? That's much more useful info than "Gay."
The most popular CD in the "Gay" genre? "Club Verboten". A various artists compilation featuring the oh-so-gay antics of Carmen Miranda, Marilyn Monroe, The Duke Ellington Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic. OK - Sylvester is on it too. I guess he qualifies.
Monday, December 27, 2004
Bob Dylan - Bootleg Series 1-3
Elton John - Peachtree Road
Elton John - Dream Ticket (DVD)
Pearl Jam - rearviewmirror (Greatest Hits 1991-2003)
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Greatest Hits
The Decemberists - Castaways and Cutouts
Ray Charles - Anthology
R.E.M. - Leaving New York (single)
Galaxie 500 - On Fire
The Damned - Damned Damned Damned
Moody Blues - In Search Of The Lost Chord
Cowboy Junkies - The Caution Horses
Jimmy Buffet - Boats, Beaches, Bars and Ballads
Jerry Garcia - After Midnight - Kean College 2/28/80
hmmm...I think that's it. There will be more once we use the gift cards we got from various people (including my mother - grrr).
I'll bet we're the only people in the world that got CDs by both Jimmy Buffet and The Damned as presents.
A Christmas Story
Started off at around 6:30am, opening presents with the BF. Not many surprises this year. We just decided to go shopping together, tell each other what we'd like and get those gifts. This year's unofficial theme was "things that are warm." Hats, coats, slippers, robe, etc. And music, of course. My "big gift" was an mp3 player. However, my favorite present was these slippers. mmmm....toasty.
Off to pick up BF's mom. Exchanged presents with her (she got me Dylan's Bootleg Series 1-3 box - Sweeeeeet), then back to our place to load-up the car with gifts for my family.
Dinner with my family was nice. Very little drama (not always guaranteed). My parents went WAY overboard with gifts though. I hate it when they do that. They don't have much money at all. My dad is retired and my mom is going to retire this spring. They need to be saving their money. I made a deal with my mom that they would just get us a toaster-oven that we wanted, and that's IT. She finally got me to agree that she could also buy us something small to surprise us with. Like a cheap gift card or a sweater. So we're opening our presents...the toaster oven - cool...a sweater for each of us...cool. hmm... another shirt for the BF. That's cool. But she still got us gift cards too. That wasn't part of the deal, but it's ok - she LOVES giving presents and it makes her feel good. Fine. But then we get a look at the value of the cards. In addition to the toaster-oven, sweaters and shirt, she got us $225 in gift cards ! Dammit. That wasn't how the deal was supposed to work. We've now progressed from a single, $80 present, to about $400. My parents CANNOT afford that. Especially when they basically did the same thing with my sister and niece. My parents (who are supposedly worried about paying their bills next year) have no business spending $1500 on Christmas presents for their adult children and grandchildren.
My mother's logic: "We might not have any money next year, so we're giving everyone lots of presents while we can.
Anyway - enough of that. After dinner and way too much carrot cake for dessert, we headed for home. A quick stop at the house to change clothes, then up to Germantown to drop of the BF's mom. From there directly to Iota to catch The Slickee Boys.
Tru Fax and the Insaniacs were up first. I never got to see them back-in-the-day. They didn't disappoint. Lots of fun. They were "new wave" back when "new wave" was still cool. I was glad to see they had their LP available on CD, but it's just a CD-R. I bought it anyway. Supposedly, it has 5 bonus-tracks. They said they're playing somewhere again in February. I'll definitely check them out again.
But the highlight of Xmas had to be the return of local heroes The Slickee Boys. Mark wearing a fez, bottle of Jim Beam in-hand. Marshall dressed as an ice cream man. Kim dressed as...well...Kim Kane. They did not disappoint. Lots of classics: "Going All The Way/Glendora", "Jailbait Janet", "The Brain That Refused To Die" (including the jungle mask and lots of wiggly fingers), "Escalator 66", "Pictures Of Matchstick Men" and lots more. Of course they ended with a combo of "When I Go To The Beach" and "This Party Sucks". Awesome. There were a couple of shaky moments, but overall it was terrific. Unfortunately, Dan wasn't there, so we didn't get "Eighteen". Oh well.
The only thing missing was my old buds I used to hang out at these shows with. They're all married with kids and rarely go out these days. The fact that this show was on Xmas night didn't help. Their loss. As far as I was concerned, it was 1985 again. Merry Christmas to me.
Saturday, December 25, 2004
(and don't forget about the Slickee Boys tonight :-) )
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
I've apparently scratched my left cornea. My vision was getting very blurry over the last 2 weeks and I was becoming painfully sensitive to bright light (including sunlight). The doctor gave me some steroid drops and told me to stop wearing my contacts for a week or so. My vision is improving and the light sensitivity is pretty much gone. I hate wearing my glasses though. They're about 8 years old and the prescription is way-off. I can't wear them at night at all. I'm debating either getting new glasses or going for the laser surgery. Everyone I know swears by the surgery. I just have this fear that 10 years from now it's going to be common knowledge that this laser stuff was a Very Bad Idea. I may go for it though. We'll see how the finances are after Xmas.
Last night I came home after my eye doctor's appointment, greeted by my BF at the door doing his best Michael Stipe impression. He was mimicking what Stipe does when he sings "Animal" in concert. He's so adorable. "Whoa."
Now playing: My current favorite Xmas CD "VH-1's The Big 80's Christmas". The Ramones, The Smithereens, The Waitresses, Squeeze and more.
Things I'd like to do this week, but probably won't have time: John Waters at 9:30, The Hard Tomorrows at the Black Cat. I'm absolutely determined to see The Slickees though. Tru Fax and the Insaniacs are opening. Yowza. Sorry Mom. Gotta leave Christmas dinner a little early.
Speaking of The Slickees, I met someone at a different Xmas party this weekend who used to hang out at the old 9:30 Club back in the 80's. It sounds like we were probably at a bunch of the same shows...Black Market Baby, The Dead Milkmen, Black Flag, The Slickee Boys....Swapping stories about the good-old-days is always fun.
I've recently become addicted to "Days Of Our Lives". Partly because of him. (I'll post a better link when I'm not at work.) Thank God for The Soap Network.
Update: Here's a better link. His name is Kyle Lowder. He still looks better on tv though.
Saturday, December 11, 2004
Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln....
Patti Smith was incredible. She makes most of the other shows I've seen this year look like amateur-hour. She performs with such passion and energy it's amazing. She can sure work the crowd into a bit of a frenzy. It's hard not to get caught up in it. Her records are good, but her live shows are just mesmerizing. I was surprised how few people were at the show. Despite my run-in on the way to the club, I still made it about 10 minutes before she came on. The place was only about 1/2-full. As the night went on it seemed to fill up though. By the end of the night there was a respectable crowd. Frankly, I prefer shows like this. Comfortably crowded. Enough of a crowd to get some good energy going, but you're not packed-in like sardines.
Random Xmas Stuff:
I got my Xmas bonus this week.
We're getting our Xmas tree tomorrow.
We're also going to visit my folks tomorrow. We're taking them the presents we bought for ourselves so they can wrap them and give them to us.
We're having an open-house/Xmas party next weekend.
I hate having open house/Xmas parties.
We recently got Digital Cable. Now we get the Speed Channel. There's racing on 24/7.
We recently got a new mini-stereo for the living room. It's going to get lots of use, because I can't stand the Speed Channel.
Friday, December 10, 2004
Return of The Slickees!
These guys are by far my all-time favorite DC band. They practically created the DC scene. They were around before the Bad Brains. The Teen Idles (a precursor to Minor Threat) use to open for them on occasion. They're often credited with being the very first punk band in DC. Cybernetic Dreams of Pi is an absolute classic. Fun, rockin'-psychedelic-psycho-surf stuff.
You can see some Slickees videos here. There's a nice summary of their career here. There are some mp3's here.
I can't recommend this show enough. It's gonna be one big party. Even I can't help dancing when I hear them. And I rarely dance. They only play once a year. See them while you can.
Thursday, December 09, 2004
"Baby was a black sheep..."
Another concert tragedy
Guitarist Among 5 Killed in Ohio Shooting
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A man charged onstage at a packed heavy metal show and opened fire, killing at least four people including guitarist Darrel Abbott before an arriving officer shot him to death, authorities said.
Click the link to read the rest of the article.
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
I was surprised how much this bothered me. Elvis had died a few years earlier, but I didn't see what the big deal was. He was just an old singer. But then John Lennon died. He was murdered, actually. Maybe that's why it hurt so much more.
I was exactly 15 years and 3 days old. I was starting to branch out a bit musically. I was growing out of the cartoon antics of KISS and the remnants of disco just weren't cutting it. I was starting to take music a little more seriously. The Beatles were a big part of that. I was the only kid I knew that owned The White Album and Abbey Road. I adored the Beatles.
My mom woke me up and told me. We watched TV all morning and I cried a bit. My mom didn't make me go to school that day. I didn't have to ask her - she just didn't say anything. I always thought that was very cool of her.
Imagine. I can't help but think of John every time I hear that word - regardless of the context.
I briefly met Erica after the show. We talked a bit about WSC before I had to run off to catch my friends. Very nice to meet you Erica. You definitely need to get to a WSC show soon.
Walking back to my car I was thinking about how unseasonably warm and nice it was outside. Of course I got a block from my car and the sky opened up, unleashing a torrential downpour. Sprinting to my car wasn't much help. I was soaked from head-to-toe by the time I got inside. Oh well.
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
A Pixie Confession
Maybe it'll be more clear after tonight, when I go see them at D.A.R.
Sunday, December 05, 2004
We did have to leave a little early though, so we could get home, change and head out to the Birchmere to catch Bob Mould. I had never been there before, but I have heard very mixed things about the Birchmere. People seem to either really love it or really hate it. I don't think I've made up my mind yet. General admission, but totally seated. No milling about at all. Talking too loud would probably get you thrown out. Great sightlines all around though. We sat at the bar, with a direct side-view of the stage. Not a bad view at all and we never had to wait for a waitress. It was nice to come out of a show not completely stinking of cigarette smoke.
I had heard there were two stages - the main room and the bandstand. We weren't sure if we were in the right area when we walked in, but then we noticed Bob about 10 feet away, so we figured we were in the right place. Bob waved, so we walked over for a quick hello before grabbing our seats at the bar. mmm....Shiner Bock.
The show itself was really good. The first half was acoustic, the second half electric. It was my first time seeing Bob play. I still kick myself all the time for not seeing Husker Du when I had the chance. A couple of my friends made the trip from PSU to DC for see them at the old 9:30 in the mid-80's, but I didn't go. One of my larger concert mistakes.
But Bob put on a great show. The solo setup really emphasized what a good songwriter he is. As much as I loved Husker Du, the melody and lyrics tended to get lost in that massive wall of sound. They were there if you went digging for them, but it was nice to hear Bob's songs stripped down like that. The highlight of the night for me was probably "I Apologize", with "Wishing Well" and "See A Little Light" not far behind. Kudos to the guy in the back dancing like crazy all night long. He looked like he was having the time of his life.
Said goodnight after the show and Bob indicated that he wanted to play a little longer, but it seemed like everyone wanted to go home. So all you indie kids that are too cool to clap, or hate encores because "they're gonna come back no matter what" take note. Show a little love and you may get some more music.
We headed to The Eagle for a nightcap, since it was after midnight and now technically my birthday. However, after driving around the block 3-4 times looking for a place to park, we decided to head home. Still - a great night. Thanks to the BF for the tickets for my birthday.
Saturday, December 04, 2004
Another Teenbeat show
According to the Teenbeat mailing list, there's going to be a 3rd Teenbeat Anniversary gig. It's going to be on 2/23 at Galaxy Hut in Arlington. Most likely a handful of solo performers playing a few songs each. No word on the exact line-up yet. It's supposedly a free show. Can't beat that.
Friday, December 03, 2004
One of my presents from the BF was tickets to see Ted Leo. He also got me Shake The Sheets.
Another present is tickets to see Bob Mould. I hope there's cake too.
BF is nursing a cold. We're staying in tonight so he feels good enough to go to the show tomorrow. He was a real trooper taking me to see Ted and WSC. If it wasn't for my birthday, there was no way he would have gone out. But he did. He's the best.
I'm hoping to pick up a ton of furniture from Ikea this weekend. We went to the College Park location last weekend. After spending a couple of hours picking out exactly what we wanted, we discovered that every single item was out-of-stock. "No. We can't order it for you. You can get it all at our website." Wrong. Most of our items on the website were tagged "Available in stores only". One phone call to the manager of the store and we're told everything should be available to pick up this weekend. We'll see how that goes. No link for them until we get the furniture.
Between my birthday and Xmas this month, I'm not allowed to buy myself any music for about a month. It's killing me. We went to Tower last weekend and bought each other a ton of cds for Xmas. We know what we're getting, but we saved a bit of money. Buy 4 and get a $10 coupon. We've got $40 worth of coupons to use later.
We may go to Coachella. BF has already agreed to go. We just need them to firm-up the dates and the line-up a little before we plunk down the cash. We'll probably make it a mini-vacation in Palm Springs.
We just had a ton of concert posters framed. I can't wait to pick them up.
Last night when I setup the coffee I forgot to put water in. I awoke this morning to a piping-hot pot full of air. Our coffee maker grinds the beans automatically. It sounds like a plane is taking off in my kitchen every morning. Good coffee though. I'm totally addicted.
Ted and WSC
Ted Leo was good, but I'll admit I preferred the show we saw last winter. Maybe because that was the first time, it seemed a little more exciting. Six Months In A Leaky boat was a surprise though. I need to dig out that Split Enz cd. A good rockin' time was had by all. The show was close to a sellout, but I don't think it quite got there.
The highlight of the evening (for us anyway) was Washington Social Club. These guys (and gal) rock our world. Lots of new material. Typical fun, rockin' songs. It'll be nice to see how they develop. It was a little odd watching the crowd just stand around while they were playing. I know DC audiences are infamous for "doing the standing still", but WSC usually gets people moving. I can't recommend this band enough.
Next up: Bob Mould at the Birchmere an Saturday.
Wednesday, December 01, 2004
Be there or regret it tomorrow. Well...unless you're going to tomorrow's show.