Thursday, May 16, 2019

Songs for My Brother

Every year I gift my brother some music that has interested me in the past year.  This year's installment is no different, other than I am unacceptably late.  Thus, let's get right into it:

Arctic Monkeys: Four Out of Five - One of the better bands out there making new music right now, and this offers a pretty good taste of what they deliver.

Lord Huron: Wait by the River - Kind of an old school, '50's vibe, but way more than that.  Wish more music being made right now was more along these lines.

Snail Mail: Pristine - I do love an alternative band with a female lead singer and this one doesn't disappoint.  Lots in here to like, including some cool Sonic Youth undertones.

Trevor Hall: Karma - His whole album from which this was taken was damned good.  While his musical style is pretty consistent (for him), I do like it as a change-up.  Check out the whole latest album, as it's well worth it.

Caroline Smith: Bloodstyle - Some really good recent soul that isn't autotuned crap.  Well done.

Kurt Vile: Pretty Pimpin' - I really enjoy this one - it's easily in my top five for the past year.  Maybe because it has the closest thing to a guitar solo that I've heard in new music in a long time.  I really enjoy the guitar work across the whole song.

Cognac: Buddy Guy - Buddy is clearly the last of an era, and it's nice that he gets to team up with guys like Jeff Beck and Keith Richards on this.

JD McPherson: Crying's Just a Thing That You Do - I'm not a huge rockabilly guy, but I really like this guy and his take.  Really good.

Dennis Lloyd: Nevermind - The best night driving song of the set

The Devlins: Coming Alive - Not sure why these guys were not bigger.  I think they make really, really good music, and this is an example.

Boz Skaggs: Rock and Stick - Wow, is his voice still amazing.  High notes are still there, as is the smokey smoothness.  This sounds like the Boz of the '80's.  Remarkable.

4onthefloor: Fancy - One of my favorite rockers from my favorite Twin Cities band.  These guys totally rock.

Songs:Ohia: Farewell Transmission - Got this cool '70's vibe that I absolutely love.

Joe Bonamassa: Just Cos You Can Don't Mean You Should - The best blues artist out there right now.

Billie Eilish: You Should See Me in a Crown - The most popular song on the list.  Not sure if this one is your cup of tea, but there is a lot about this that I enjoy a lot, hence its inclusion.

Peter Wolf: I Stole Some Love - Kind of hard to believe how long he's been at the game, and how I've enjoyed his work across all of those decades.

The Black Keys: Lo/Hi - Another band out there that I seem to consistently enjoy.  A great new effort.

Ronnie James Dio & Yngwie Malmsteen: Dream On - Yeah, that Dream On.  I never heard this song before this year, and I have no idea how I missed it.  Dio's vocals far exceed Tyler's, and Malmsteen's guitar work far exceed Perry's.  I usually don't like covers that don't have their own original take on the song, and admittedly, this is very similar to the original.  That being said, when I hear it, I can't help but feel like "Damn, this is how Dream On should have sounded..." 

Ryan Adams: Welcome to New York - Taken from his song-for-song cover of Taylor Swift's 1989 album.  I just love his music, even when it is an interpretation of someone else's music.  This guy is just awesome.

Happy birthday, bro.  Love you tons.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Saturday Song Share: Frank Black - "Men in Black"

An old-school screen grab from an MTV feed, and Frank kicks some serious ass.


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Monday, April 22, 2019

Religion in Free Fall

Gallup has published a study on church membership, and the details are concerning.  Church membership is at its lowest level since the survey began in the 1940s, and is most assuredly at its lowest level in US history:

Things started in the past 20 years, and the trajectory of the graph is shocking.  

Some things to consider:

  • Interesting to see how the fall coincides with the rise of the internet
  • Given strong religion participation by immigrants, pretty much our source of population growth in this country, actual fall-off by long-tenured American citizens is likely significantly steeper
  • Catholics are falling off at a great rate.  Gallup reports that 63% of Catholics belong to a church, whereas just 20 years ago 76% did
I'm not sure how all of this will ultimately manifest itself in our society, but I have the fear it will not be good.

I think we're already seeing that...

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Saturday Song Share: Johnny Cash - The Unclouded Day

My goodness, do I miss men like Johnny Cash:

Here's to great men and simpler times.

Friday, April 19, 2019

The Sorrowful Mysteries

As I've been praying the rosary this lent, the subject is the Sorrowful Mysteries.  As I've been meditating on them, the five mysteries really revolve around Jesus being forced to suffer what we, as humans, will suffer in one way, shape, or form.  Consider the following:

  • The Agony in the Garden - Here Jesus knows his fate, yet is seeking a miracle to save Him from it.  Likewise, he's betrayed by a dear friend - someone he loved and trusted who ultimately wronged him in one of the worst ways imaginable.
  • The Scourging at the Pillar - Jesus is brutally beaten to within inches of His life and suffers physical pain most humans would never have to endure.
  • The Crowning With Thorns - Jesus suffers both the physical pain of the crown, but the added pain of ridicule and rejection.  It starts with soldiers teasing and spitting on Him, and ends with an entire crowd screaming, "Crucify Him!" 
  • Carrying the Cross - At this stage Jesus encounters His mother, and sees how His fate is impacting her.  The emotional pain of watching one we love so much suffer so much had to be equal to the physical pain manifested in carrying the cross.
  • The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus - His was not an easy, quiet death.  It was long, painful, and torturous.  
When we think about our individual suffering and what we endure as part of our human lives, pretty much any of our suffering kind of fits into one of the Mysteries above.  No, they may not be in perfect alignment, but they're close.  Hence, when we pray and tell God of our suffering and ask that He understand, we can be assured the He understands quite well.  He has walked a similar path, He knows our pain, He's felt it all.

That may not take away our suffering (which in itself remains a mystery of both life and faith - why must we suffer?), but sometimes when mired in what can at times be something that is unbearable it helps us to talk to Somebody who has endured similarly.   

Happy Good Friday.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019