Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Songs for My Brother - 2020 Version

Every year I offer up a list of things that have been under heavy rotation for me for the past year and gift them to my brother in honor of his birthday.  This year is no different; virus be damned.  Here's the list:

  • Red Hill Mining Town - U2: This is the live version from their Joshua Tree tour of a couple of years ago.  The band played it in front of a Salvation Army brass band superimposed on the screen, with the Edge replacing his guitar for the keyboard.  At the concert, it was simply beautiful.  A great band and a great moment.  Perhaps the highlight of the concert for me.
  • Me and Your Ghost - Sarah Borges & the Broken Singles: The best toe-tapper of the mix.  Part surfer tune, but taken to a whole new level with the chorus harmonies.  Love this tune.
  • The Mermaid Parade – Phosphorescent:  I love the lyrics of this song; just so real.  The end is so heartfelt, you can just feel the guy’s sense of loss and heartbreak “yeah I found a new friend too, And yeah she's pretty and she's small, But God damn it, Amanda, Oh, God damn it all.”
  • Sunday Driver - The Raconteurs: Jack White is just a damned good guitarist.  This just feels like a 70's deep track from Grand Funk or BTO.  Fun to hear this kind of music again.
  • Dancin' Til Dawn - Lenny Kravitz: It is too bad this guy got as popular as early as he did.  He is such a talent, and his musical playbook so diverse.  This is just one example.  His library is worth a deep dive - lots of gems there.  Super talented.
  • Drunk II - Mannequin Pussy: A really good Philly indy band worth a listen.  This is their best-known piece.
  • Lowdown in the Street - ZZ Top:  I know, ZZ Top?  First, this is some fine blues.  Then, just really listen to this and some of the tricks Billy Gibbons does around the chorus.  Plus, I just love me a three-piece band (Rush, Nirvana, etc.) 
  • The War on the Terror and the Drugs - Ike Reilly:  Probably the most entertaining of the mix.  Ike Reilly is a really good songwriter, and while this is pretty simple, there is a lot of good stuff waiting in his library if you're so predisposed.
  • I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine – Bob Dylan: An alt take from the famous John Wesley Harding album, and easily in my top five Dylan songs of all time (and that is saying something).  Pretty much if I find a cover of it, I buy it, regardless of the artist.  I just like the picture Dylan paints with this one.
  • One of Us - Liam Gallager: I don't know what it is about those Gallager boys, but they make music that just crawls into your ear and lives there.  Just consistently good.
  • Good Love - The Bros. Landreth:  Love these guys.  They're kind of this generation's cross between the Eagles and the BoDeans.  I just wish they were more prolific in what they cranked out.
  • Dark Night of the Soul - Van Morrison:  From his latest, this is 100% pure, undiluted Van.  Could have been done by him 40 years ago.  Just love this tune.
  • Feel It Still – Pomplamoose: Known more for their incredible mash-ups, they also do true covers, but always with their own spin.  They take this incredible Portugal. The Man tune and really make it their own.  It would be so fun just to hang in their studio and watch their whole process come together.
  • If I Loved You - Delta Rose: Really like what she does with the chorus after she builds.  Lots of incredible bands doing music like this now.  Hard to peg from a genre standpoint - kind of country but kind of not.  Just good.
  • Missed Connection - The Head and the Heart:  Latest from one of my more favorite bands.  I saw them in Green Bay, but have to believe that I travelled to Milwaukee to do it.
  • Fire Walk with Me - The Black Keys:  Can it be that these guys have been doing this for damn near 25 years now?  Hard to believe.  They still sound so fresh, and so solid to me.
  • On Graveyard Hill - The Pixies:  This sounds like it could come off one of their heyday albums.  Frank Black is underappreciated on so many levels.  Love this band, love this sound.
  • On the Luna - Foals:  Easily a top 10 bad for me right now.  This is pretty representative of what I really dig about what they're doing.  Have not seen them live and would totally have a ball doing so, if we ever get back to live music again.
  • Born Under a Bad Sign – Jimi Hendrix:  Recently released.  Hendrix does this Albert King standard as an instrumental, and it is downright amazing.  Consider he was probably just screwing around at the time – there was no intention that this was going on an album.  I was just a jam.  My goodness, what a talent.
  • Neon Wound - Silversun Pickups:  Just an OK last album, but this tune, in particular, stood out and represents what I respect about them as a band.  Just a driving, pounding sound that is perfect for running.
That's the mix for this year - eclectic as ever, I fear.  I hope some of these ring your bell.  In the meantime, happy birthday.  I love you.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Is the Cure Worse than the Virus?

Our economy has come to a screeching halt, and there are some out there demanding that Trump suspend everything for an entire month (although I can't understand what more can be suspended.  Basically, the only things open now are grocery stores, gas stations, and pharmacies.  Shuttering those would lead to abject anarchy.)

Through this, tens of millions will be put out of work.  Untold thousands of businesses will not survive.  Our already outrageous national debt will balloon and our currency inflate.  We're flirting with a self-imposed economic depression that could last for a decade or more.

I understand smoothing the curve extremely well, but can't we do that and still leave the lights on?  The ones impacted most by this virus and the ones eating up most of the hospital resources are the old and the medically compromised.  Can't we just lock them down (and I mean really down - tight), and put the rest of the world back to work?

I don't say this as someone that pines for my old life back.  I say this as someone that is deathly afraid that the self-imposed emergency dive we've put our economic plane into is something that we will not be able to pull out of, and that our crash is just a function of when.

Is the cure worse than the virus?  We're all going to find out.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

A Wing or a Weight?

Some good words for today's environment.

Long, but stick with it:

Monday, March 16, 2020

Stuff Just Got Real

It is hard to believe that just a week ago life was fairly normal.  Fast forward to today, and all sports are cancelled, schools are closed, the stock market has plummeted, and the next shoe to drop will include the closing of all public places short of grocery stores, banks, and pharmacies.  

Sheltering in place is the mantra, and this article provides the best explanation as to why.

In one week's time, I'm worried about our finances, worried about my job, worried about our economy (the ripple effect of all of these closings is going to be massive), worried about my family, and worried about my neighbors.  

This is 9/11, albeit in slow motion.  What took a morning then is likely going to take a month for us now.  We don't know what's real, what's hype, and what we don't know.  Most of all we don't know how bad it is going to be.  The fog of war is thick, and we're looking for some kind of stable footing.  Unfortunately, we're not there yet.  How long will it take?  Who knows?

What I do know is that this week at work will be a very hard one.  We have hard decisions to make, and they might even involve yours truly.  

I have no idea what the future will bring, but I do know things are going to get worse before they get better.  About all we can do at this stage is to keep our heads and pray for deliverance.     

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Only in Minnesota

For months and months now I’ve been exiting the gym to the pitch black. Today I see twilight and I feel exactly like I just won the freaking lottery.

That's what life is like in Minnesota...

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Monday, March 2, 2020

The Puppy Project

Deuce has been gone a couple of months now, and I'm really missing having a dog.  I'm fortunate that where I work, we've got dogs galore walking around, so I get my canine fix on a regular basis, but there's nothing like having your own dog.

Hence, I've started reaching out to start the process on landing a new puppy.  If I had my druthers, I'd land a yellow labrador female with a pointing pedigree that I could take home sometime after May.

I'll be sure to keep you posted.  In the meantime, wish me luck on landing my new hunting buddy.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Saturday Song Share: Jackson Browne - Love Needs a Heart

This is the most underrated Browne song in his library, and one of the most underrated songs of the era.

The harmonies are incredible, and the "vacancy sign" line is virtuoso: