Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Burnout Tastes Like Burning… Welcome Solstice & Goodbye 2011

Note: Cross posted from Suburban Eschatology Part Two.


From 2011-12 (Dec)

8:15 PM
I talk about this later in the post, but I wanted to let everyone know right at the top that this will, probably, be the last post until 2012.  I am taking a break.  It’s been a heck of a year, and I’ll be back, fresh and ready, after Winter Break! 

This includes the Photo of the Day on Rubble.  One sign of my burnout is that the Photo of the Day has become the photo of every now and then.  Daily posts will return in 2012.

2:30 PM
Winter Solstice today, thank the Gods!  Now the days start getting longer.  Happy day.  It was also my birthday yesterday.  These days, though, other anniversaries feel like bigger deals than just making another trip around the sun…  It was a nice day, though.

The sun is out and The Big One and I are going to take the dog out for a long walk.  Hopefully I can take some pictures and keep on getting to know the new camera I received for said birthday and for the upcoming holidays.

Yes.  Burnout.  I am very burned out.  It has been a long year.  The new year is not here yet, but I am a year older and the days are getting longer, so this seems as good of a time as any for a 2011 wrap up post.

This is the last task I am knocking down before stepping away from the computers for a couple weeks.  No Photos of the Day (or of the every few days, as it has been going recently), no posts to any blogs, little to no activity anywhere else.  Stick a fork in me, I am done.  Break time.

For the next couple weeks it is about the kids, books, cameras, watching some movies and catching up with some Breaking Bad, Rescue Me, and some other badly neglected shows.

It is going to be some time to get some perspective, to get some rest, and to get ready for 2012. 
This past year was a strange one and not an easy one.  2012 looks to be very different.  No less easy, but definitely more stable. 

2011 was a year when my life was on hold.  I started in California helping my mother with several issues, and ended in Gresham helping my children through several issues.  Those tasks took up the whole year.

But that leaves me in a strange place where my plans for my life in 2012 look exactly like my plans for my life in 2011.  This is not to say that I did not accomplish anything in 2011, far from it.  The work with my family has been tremendously productive and rewarding.  But in 2012, the main goal is to resume work on my own career and to start earning some damn money.

This also not to say that the work with my family is done, of course it is not.  The boys have come a long way, but there is still a long way to go, a lot of healing left.  Their wounds are no longer bleeding, but they are far from being back to normal.  The Big One still has a long ways to go before he is back up to speed with school.  The Little One, well, he has a long way to go before he’s back up to speed with life.

However, the progress they have made since April and May is amazing.  Some solid foundations are now in place and they are both further along than I would have guessed they would be at this point.  They are far enough along where I am feeling pretty good about heading back to work. 

There will be challenges, of course, with this transition, but I think they are part of the growing process now, challenges encouraging growth, not obstacles hindering it.

Time to get out in the sun for a few.  More later.

From 2011-12 (Dec)
From 2011-12 (Dec)
From 2011-12 (Dec)
From 2011-12 (Dec)

6:00 PM
Dog walked, boy walked, errand ran, dinner cooked and served…


I’ve been putting a lot of work in on the RubbleSites for the last couple months, a lot of posts, but even more time spent behind the scenes getting this and that set up.  I feel, for the most part, this work is coming to a close and that, after a few small projects that will be completed after winter break when the boys are back in school, that I am at a point where I can pretty much just focus on content creation.

And that is a good thing, because once I am back to work, there is going to be little time for anything else.  Posts may get shorter, and fewer and further between…  I think my goal at that point will be one decent post for each blog per week, with some other, smaller “feature” type stuff thrown in here and there too. 

Of course, I’ll be keeping up with my photo of the day and throwing music I like up on Retrovirus Lab, too.

So, the plan is, after the break, to take two weeks to finish the construction of these sites and to put a new portfolio together.  Then my full time work and only major project will be landing a new writing contract. 

One of the things that has been a little rough the last month or so is that I’ve fallen into a strange schedule with life.  Since most of the uninterrupted work time I have these days is at night, after everyone is in bed, I’ve become rather nocturnal these days.  I get a few chores done during the day, then the afternoon and evening has been spent working with The Big One and his homework, cooking dinner, usually more work with The Big One and his the homework (let’s face it, it has been more homeschooling than helping with homework), then getting everyone to bed. 

Only then have I found the time to get the serious work done on the bigger projects I’ve been working on, like the One Day on Earth video, the Occupation photos and videos, etc.  Since The Ex One gets up early, she’s been handling the mornings, getting the boys out the door to school.  Through the end of November and up until the last few days, I’ve been going to bed about the same time she’s been getting up to get her and the boys’ day started.

This schedule actually worked pretty well for that period, for the most part.  The Ex One was fresh for the mornings, and I was fresh for the afternoon and evenings, and the boys were spared dealing with a tired and grumpy parent!

Now that the boys are home, though, this schedule is terrible!  Today we hardly got anything done.  I have a few chores I need to complete before I start my break, the day is almost done and I feel like I haven’t accomplished anything.  Of course, on the old schedule, my real work wouldn’t have even started yet, but I am done with the nocturnal thing.

Once I start the job hunt, I will need to be on a normal schedule.  Since it would be murder on me to swing back and forth between day and night schedules every two weeks for the next month or so, I am not.  I am just going to switch to a days only schedule and keep it there.

After break, my days will be compressed into what I can get done while the boys are in school.  That means I will probably be a lot less productive, but there are no big projects, just a few small ones and wrapping up some big ones, so that should be fine.  The challenge will be not getting sucked into any new big projects.

So, for the rest of break, I am taking some time for me.  I might get caught up editing a few pictures here and there, but that is pretty much it.  I have a small project, also, that I need to complete for my mother’s Christmas gift, but that is a small project. I might also finish the One Day video, but probably not until the boys are back in school.

That is the project, the One Day On Earth video,  that was really burning me out, and it is still not done.  I put a lot of time into that video and, at this point, I am not crazy about the results.  With the limitations of the camera I shot the video well, there’s not much more I can really do with it. 

I took a break from the video for the last 10 days or so, once the deadline was extended for a month, to get some distance from it and to make some decisions about it.

Pretty much, I needed to decide if it was something that I wanted to put another 40 to 80 hours in to or was it something I wanted to just wrap up and move on from.  The break was good.  It is time to put a few final touches on it and to move on.  I was thinking about recording new music for it, nope.  I was thinking about re-cutting the whole thing in Lightworks, nope. 

I do need to put a couple more hours into it, but that is all.  Upload it and move on.  But it took several days of distance from it to realize that this was the best thing to do here.

The other big project I still need to finish is editing and posting all the Occupy Portland material.  Of course, that stuff was sort of time sensitive, so the longer I go without posting it, the less relevant it becomes, the less of a priority...  Still, I do want to get it up while it is still something of a current event and before it becomes history.  But at this point, January is fine.

And that is about it.  All that stuff, in a nutshell, was 2011.  And since I am putting everything not done at this point off until 2012, that means my year is done.  And I am tired.  It is time for a long break and a lot of rest.

See you next year.  It should be an interesting one!

Related Posts

Sunday, December 18, 2011

RIP Cesária Évora

Never heard of her until she died.  But she was very good.

Cesária Évora, Grammy-Winning Cape Verdean Singer, Has Died : The Record : NPR:

Évora was perhaps the most widely known performer of morna, a style of music indigenous to Cape Verde. She began singing professionally when she was just a teenager — the only woman in a group that performed all over the islands — but she did not gain international attention until the late 1980s. In 2004, Évora won a Grammy for her album Voz d'Amor.



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What I Am Listening To Now: The Roots Undun

I’ve been enjoying this album recently…


Audio Link to the NPR interview:

The Roots Weave A Tale Of Crime And Karma : NPR:

Drugs and crime are common themes in hip-hop, but Thompson says they're often described in the past tense — e.g., Jay-Z's early raps about his old life as a cocaine dealer.

"It's always a grandiose vision of this particular character," Thompson says. "We wanted to show the minion — the guy who's lowest on the food chain."

"I wanted to present it in a way that wasn't exaggerated or cartoonish," Trotter adds. "I wanted to make it easier to understand how people wind up in the situations they wind up in — how easy it is."


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Friday, December 16, 2011

Listen to the first recording of human voices…

Spotted by William on Facebook, translation by Google…

The first record of voices in the world in 1860 - Anecdote of the Day:

It is generally accepted that Edison was the first to reproduce recorded sound, with the invention of the phonograph in 1877. The first sound recording has kept him took place in 1860 and we owe it to a French scholar, Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville . Scott invented the phonautograph , a device to translate sound waves on a roll of paper coated with soot. The special feature of the device is that it could record the sounds but not to reproduce . Scott filed a patent in 1857 for the phonautograph.

Follow the link to hear the recordings…

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Craig’s List Groupie Ad… Here Comes Sickness

This was making the rounds on Facebook.  Someone said that the ad had been pulled and the link was dead, but it was up when I went there this morning.

As I wrote there, this is funnier than hell. Almost every band I've known has some variety of this chick lurking on the sidelines.

I hope it is just satire. It IS even if it isn't. Or if it is someone mocking the poor girl in the photo, then it is sad and a bit cruel.  But too funny to resist posting… 

I guess that makes me cruel.

From Retrovirus Blog

Really, I can’t post that without posting this…


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Monday, November 28, 2011

NOW AVAILABLE: A. F. Litt 2012 Wall Calendars

Note: Cross posted from Rubble.


It’s been a long and winding road, but at long last and just hours before my hard deadline, here it is.

There are two versions to choose from.  The only difference is the size, the content is the same

Oversized Wall Calendar; Calendars; RubbleShop by A. F. Litt:

Oversized Wall Calendar

A. F. Litt - 2012 Calendar


Product Information

Keeping track of important dates on your calendar is easy when you can view 12 months of inspiring images that reflect your personal interests. Our high-quality calendar has oversized date boxes providing plenty of room to write in important events.

    • Each page measures 17" x 11"
    • Measures 17" x 22" when hung on wall
    • Full bleed dynamic color
    • 100 lb cover weight high gloss paper, wire-o bound
    • January 2012 - December 2012, 2013 preview, US holidays marked


Wall Calendar; Calendars; RubbleShop by A. F. Litt:

Wall Calendar

A. F. Litt - 2012 Calendar


Product Information

Keeping track of important dates on your calendar is easy when you can view 12 months of inspiring images that reflect your personal interests. Our high-quality calendar is printed on thick 100lb cover weight paper and adds impact to any room.

  • Each page measures 11" x 8.5"
  • Measures 11" x 17" when hung on wall
  • Full bleed dynamic color
  • 100 lb cover weight high gloss paper, wire-o bound
  • January 2012 - December 2012, 2013 preview, US holidays marked

2010 Calendar 11282011 12754 AM

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Alternative meaninglessness…

Just Me… From 2011-11 (Nov)

Blah… Sitting here waiting for my computers to do their thing instead of just beeping at me and freezing…  Need to be doing some real work, but I need those picture files from my dying laptop first!

So, instead, a rant.

On the local “alternative” station, 94.7, a show called “The Bottom Forty” is featuring Peal Jam and U2 tonight…

I know, though I struggle with acceptance, that “alternative” does not mean what it used to mean 20 to 25 years ago.  Still, it bugs me when two of the biggest bands in the world are tagged with that label. 

To me, the word means “non-mainstream.”  Pearl Jam was once there, for a few minutes.  U2 might have spent a few minutes there back in 1980 when Boy first came out. 

Today, I suppose, for most people alternative is a genre (which will never completely make sense to me).  But, not long ago, I glanced around the radio and it started making some sense.

There are hard rock/metal stations, there are Top 40/pop stations (which includes hip-hop and rap), there are country stations (which, let’s face it, is just pretty much rock with southern accents these days)…  There’s oldies stations and adult contemporary stations (slightly less old oldies)…  There’s jazz and classical… There’s latin stations and many others.

But regular current, contemporary rock music?  Not metal, not country rock, just music, essentially, with a guitar as the lead instrument?  Well, that is what they call “Alternative Music” these days, it seems like.  Sure, these bands have top selling albums and they reach the Top 40 charts, but the Top 40 stations are not playing many songs that feature lead guitars these days. 

And about the only rock bands that are not included in the “alternative” tent these days are the hard rock and heavy metal bands; the descendants of the big hair 1980s bands that the original grunge revolution was a  rebellion against.

So all these bands end up on the “alternative” stations, and because of that are thought to play a genre called “Alternative Music.”  At least, that is how it seems to work from my perspective. 

Back in the day, though, to me alternative meant “outside of the mainstream,” with punk, metal, industrial, and, eventually, grunge all being some of many sub-categories.  It meant songs that you would never hear on the radio.  It meant bands that most people had never heard of before. 

It, inherently, could NOT mean Pearl Jam (in 2011) and U2.

Now I am not saying that I wish we could go back to the days before all these great musical genres found widespread, mainstream commercial acceptance.  I am glad people are listening.  It is great music, which I why I was listening to it in the first place.

I just wonder if there isn’t a better label for it.  Like rock, perhaps? That’s what we used to call it back in the olden times.  If the Rolling Stones came out today, they would be considered “alternative.”  So would the Beatles.

One of the ways we ended up here, I know, is because of “alternative” radio stations like 94.7 here in Portland and The End up in Seattle. 

I first heard The End, just after it started, while driving home from the first Lollapalooza. 

Let me describe that experience for a moment…

Nirvana had not hit yet.  Grunge was not a fashion defined by Vogue magazine yet.  Alternative bands were bands you saw in small venues and clubs, not in the big concert halls, and definitely not in arenas or stadiums. 

But then came along Lollapalooza, where a bunch of indie/alternative bands got together and put on a big show, a festival, taking it on the road.  Now, there are plusses and minuses to big shows, of course.  But it was great seeing these “small” bands in a big environment, with the huge crowds and towering light and sound systems.

The best part, though, was that all of us punk, metal, goth/industrial, and grunge misfits finally had a big show of our own.  Thousands of US all gathered in one place at one time.  The BIG cheers for the bands we loved that sounded like cheers in the videos for the BIG bands.  That was a new experience for all of us, a first time thing.  It was a big touring festival of non-mainstream bands for non-mainstream people.  Only the first Lollapalooza was like that, but it was a remarkable thing.

People from The End, which had just gone on the air, were handing out flyers as we were heading back to the car after the show.  We put the station on the radio, and lo and behold here were the bands we all liked to listen to on a real radio station (not one of the little college channels that you could only receive on your tuner if the wind was blowing just right and the barometric pressure was just so).

The End called themselves “alternative” radio.  And they were back then, even by my definition.  They were playing the songs no one else was (not counting those tiny college stations).

It was very cool.  All of it. 

But, when the grunge thing made it big, so did these stations, so did events like Lollapalooza.  Suddenly, the songs these stations were playing actually became Top 40 songs.  Suddenly, middle aged housewives were buying the CDs of those bands and listening to those new “alternative” radio stations.  The second Lollapalooza had a serious infestation of the jocks who were all listening to Warrant and Winger the year before.

“Alternative” didn’t feel very alternative any more.  “He’s the one that likes to sing along” was singing along right next to me.  And punching people in the slam pit and calling it “moshing.”  Asshole.

I guess the final change that happened, though, was where “mainstream” radio and popular music went from there.  Basically, rock died.  R&B, hip hop, crappy pop music, these took over.  Alternative stations that were always throwing a little U2 or R.E.M. (a band that had ceased to be alternative by this time) into the mix were suddenly the only ones playing them.  So, those sorts of bands, more and more, were through of as “alternative” bands.  Or, in R.E.M.’s case, were once again thought of as an alternative band.

And I suppose that really sums it up for me.  Alternative was a state that bands used to be able to graduate from.  And, if they still sounded good, that could be a fun and rewarding experience for the fans who were with them from the early days.  It was a validation of us as much as them.  At the very least, we had fun with the inevitable debates with our more jaded friends about whether the bands had “sold out” or not.

Because of these experiences, “alternative” as a genre has never made a lot of sense to me.  Alternative was a condition, not a sound.  Today, it still is not a sound, but it is a genre.  And that doesn’t make any sense to me.  But it is what it is.

And it is still the music I like.  Sure, I spend more time listening, still, to bands that few people have ever heard of, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t still listen to Pearl Jam or U2 from time to time.  And the show I mentioned, “The Bottom Forty,” does spend a lot of time playing bottom 40 bands.  I’ve heard a lot of great, new music on that show.

Which is why I was a little surprised to see who they were featuring tonight, but I have to live in the world the way it is, not the way I wish it could be.

I may have a functional laptop by now.  If not, I’ll just have to leave those files behind.  It is time to wrap up my work for the day so I can get to bed at a reasonable hour.

Good night!

Related Posts

Flavorwire tells us what is cool, NME doesn’t.

From 2011-11 (Nov)

Well, they convinced me with Tom, of course, but they almost lost me because they stuck him in at 10.

Flavorwire » 10 Artists Who Really Should Have Made NME’s 2011 Cool List:

Tom Waits

Fact: Tom Waits is cooler than you. And me. And pretty much everyone else (except maybe Leonard Cohen). And that’s pretty much all there is to it, really.


Others on the list include Carrie Brownstein and Kristin Hersh.  Agreed.  Others that I haven’t listened to yet because I am old and dead to cool.  But I will try to check them out when I have a chance. 

PS: Throwing Muses is back together?  Hells yeah! 

Related Posts

What I Am Listening To Now: “I Ain’t Afraid” by Holly Near

Spotted by Jennie on the FacyFace… A nice little ditty.



Related Posts

Thursday, November 10, 2011

For Peter - What I Am Listening To Now: "Beers, Steers & Queers" by The Revolting Cocks

Poor boy is stuck in Texas. (Does Austin count as Texas?) Anyway...  He won't tell me how he got there.  Sounds fun (1996 sort of fun).

100th Post! What I am Listening To Now: "Sub Pop Rock City" by Soundgarden

100 posts! Wrapping up my Sub Pop 200 review the only way I can.

What I Am Listening To Now: "Come Out Tonight" by Steven Jesse Bernstein

Coming up on the 100th Post for this blog...  Think I'll roll it across with a Sub Pop 200 review. (Post #99)

What I Am Listening To Now: "The Rose" performed by Mudhoney

Coming up on the 100th Post for this blog...  Think I'll roll it across with a Sub Pop 200 review. (Post #98)

What I Am Listening To Now: "Swallow My Pride" performed by The Fastbacks

Covering Green River. Soundgarden played this one too, played it very well... Coming up on the 100th Post for this blog...  Think I'll roll it across with a Sub Pop 200 review. (Post #97)

What I Am Listening To Now: "Dead Is Dead" by Terry Lee Hale

Coming up on the 100th Post for this blog...  Think I'll roll it across with a Sub Pop 200 review. (Post #96)

What I Am Listening To Now: "Sex God Missy" by TAD

Coming up on the 100th Post for this blog...  Think I'll roll it across with a Sub Pop 200 review. (Post #95)

What I Am Listening To Now: "Spank Thru" by Nirvana

Coming up on the 100th Post for this blog...  Think I'll roll it across with a Sub Pop 200 review. (Post #94)

What I Am Listening To Now: "Underground" by Chemistry Set

Coming up on the 100th Post for this blog...  Think I'll roll it across with a Sub Pop 200 review. (Post #93)

What I Am Listening To Now: "Hangin' Tree" by Green River

Coming up on the 100th Post for this blog...  Think I'll roll it across with a Sub Pop 200 review. (Post #92)

What I Am Listening To Now: "Got No Chains" by The Walkabouts

Coming up on the 100th Post for this blog...  Think I'll roll it across with a Sub Pop 200 review. (Post #91)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What I Am Listening To Now: "City Sleep" by Talkdemonic

I have been wanting to post this all day.  Finally, I decided to just drop everything and get it up here...

I forgot this was a local band when I first watched this video, so I was surprised to see that it was filmed down the freeway a bit in NE Oregon near the Columbia River Gorge.  Still, it reminds me of the power lines a little outside of Hartline, Washington (on Highway 2 between Hartline and Coulee City).

It is definitely NE Oregon, though, considering those great sunset shots with Mt. Hood silhouetted in the background. While not knowing specifically where this is, I am madly in love with that whole region.

From 000-FB Photo of the Day

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

An ancient artifact washed ashore, remnants of lost times...

From 2011-11 (Nov)

Found this in my desk the other day. It is from about ten years ago, at least, since I have not been since I moved to Portland ten years ago... Wonder if it would still work?

I don't think I actually got a card until close to the end of my time in Seattle. Always used to be a bit too late into my evenings, so to speak, when I landed there (and in the previous, nameless locations...) and I could never quite sort out the membership process. Usually just wandered in with everyone I was with since everyone I knew, pretty much, were "legit" members.

But there were some good times... And even more interesting times. The few memories out of many that linger and remain.

What I Am Listening To Now: "Buried Bones" by Tindersticks

Monday, November 7, 2011

What I Am Listening To Now: "I'm God" by Clams Casino

Spotted by Marco Collins on Facebook.  His comments:
Just got turned on to this band. I know nothing about them other than this song is awesome. It's kinda like the Cocteau Twins meets Star Slinger. McLovin it. Thx Joseph.

Apparently this guy is a hip hop producer and this track was supposed to be a Lil B track... He added a Imogen Heap sample and BAM!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Brian Eno Interview on Sound Opinions

A great interview. A must listen for any one who works in music production. Or for anyone interested in music in general...
Sound Opinions Footnotes:
Frequent Sound Opinions listeners know they can count on one thing: Brian Eno references. In fact some have taken to making it a drinking game. The legendary producer and electronic music pioneer seems to come up no matter what Jim and Greg are talking about. And for good reason—Eno is not just an innovator in the experimental world, but a major pop force as well, first as a member of the new wave band Roxy Music, then as a producer and collaborator with David Byrne and the Talking Heads, John Cale, Devo, U2 and Coldplay. He also composes solo work as well, though whether or not he’ll use lyrics, singing or poetry is never known. His last album Drums Between the Bells was inspired by the poetry of Rick Holland. And he has a new EP called Panic of Looking. Brian joins Jim and Greg from England and shares his unique philosophies on writing, recording and the studio as an instrument.
'via Blog this'
Listen Here: Show 310: Brian Eno, Review of Coldplay

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Facebook Disses Pages With Less Than 1000 Fans - hypebot

Facebook Disses Pages With Less Than 1000 Fans - hypebot:

EdgeRank Checker released a study late last week of activity related to Facebook Fan Pages and found that those with less than 1000 fans are seeing reduced activity after recent FB changes. Overall, while impressions have decreased on Fan Pages, Likes and Comments have increased. But for those Pages with less than 1000 fans the number of Likes and Comments, when combined as an Engagement metric, has decreased by 11.64% presenting an additional challenge for emerging acts just beginning to build their band's Facebook following.

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

What I Am Listening To Now: "Ants of the Sky" by Between The Buried & Me

Still not there...  Kicking it up another notch...

What I Am Listening To Now: "N.W.O." by Ministry

Because I need to blast all that damn U2 out of my ears.  Another album creeping up on its damned 20th... Sheesh.

What I Am Listening To Now: "The Fly," "Zoo Station," & "Where Did It All Go Wrong?" by U2

Everything You Know Is Wrong...

So, another album that is 20 years old...  Maybe I shouldn't be as surprised as I am by all those grey hairs in my beard?

Oh, Bono and the boys... (sigh). Y'all don't make it easy on us, do you? Thirty years of tweaking the dials, sometimes getting them right, quite often getting them very wrong, and, on one or two occasions, hitting brilliance.

About once a decade the band has a nervous breakdown, throws everything out the window, and comes up with something completely different.  In the 1980s, after Live Aid, they freaked out, almost broke up, and then decided to do one more album before breaking up....  The Joshua Tree.

At the end of the decade, having reached a point where they felt the hype was completely out of control, they had another breakdown.  I remember reading in Rolling Stone that the insane level of hype surrounding the band was brought into sharp focus for them when they realized the Olympic Torch at the LA Colosseum had only been lit, at that point, four times.  Twice for the Olympics themselves, once for Pope John Paul II, and... yep...  once for U2 on The Joshua Tree tour.

Becoming fascinated by their own hype, coupled with The Edge's new found love of industrial music, the band hit their high point in 1991 with Actung Baby.  This album, and the tour that followed, probably single-handedly, in my opinion, changed music as much as the whole grunge thing that was happening at the same time.  From the sound, the look, the attitude through to the marketing and to what audiences expect from a live concert...  the mainstream was changed by what U2 did in 1991.  You must remember, while watching these videos, nothing looked or sounded like this on mainstream radio or TV (MTV was still playing music back then, sometimes) when this came out.

Because of this one album, industrial elements were pushed into mainstream pop music, and the tour?  Well, nothing ever, ever had been done like that before.  I saw the Zoo TV tour twice, once in Tacoma in its smaller indoor arena version and then, later, in Vancuover B.C. during the Outdoor Broadcast stadium leg of the tour.  No video can really capture the sensory overload.  It was amazing.  This was the first time a band really figured out how to make a performance in these larger venues really work for everyone in the house, not just for those lucky few within the first 25 yards or so of the stage.

But for me, the music was really what hooked me at this point.  U2 had been one of my favorite bands since The Unforgettable Fire.  But, they were something of an anomaly in my tastes.  For the couple years leading into the release of Auctung Baby, like The Edge, I'd been spending a lot of time listening to the Chicago Wax Trax bands (Ministry, KMFDM, My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult), and when I heard the first opening riffs of "The Fly" (first single) and then, later, "Zoo Station" (first album track), well...  they just sounded perfect.

Of course, this moment of perfection was short lived.  The mocking of their own hype that worked so well at this point in their career was turned up a notch for the follow up album, Pop, and the Popmart tour. Turned all the way up, too far, to eleven.  It no longer felt like they were making fun of themselves and the media, but actually taking themselves too seriously again.  Plus, the album sucked.  Bad.

They've been up and down ever since.  But for a brief ride in 1991 and 1992, they had it all nailed down into perfection.

So, they've thrown down a Deluxe Edition of Actung Baby today. Meh. Nothing new. The second disc has a couple high points (the b-side track "Salome" and the covers of "Satelite of Love," "Paint It Black," and "Fortunate Son") and a lot of unlistenable crap (the re-mixes).  The most interesting track is them getting their Kubrick on with "Alex Descends Into Hell For A Bottle Of Milk / Korova 1."  The second disc, though, is definitely released by the current band, not the band that was getting it so right back in 1991 and 1992.

Listen on Spotify, if you wish...  That is what I did. Here is my playlist, featuring the decent tracks (and the original album in its entirety):  U2 - Actung Baby Deluxe Tracks

Very fittingly, the last track on the bonus disc is "Where Did It All Go Wrong?"

Yeah, I think Bono and Co. get it. | U2 News | U2: Turn off the decline:
And then, suddenly, U2 lost its way.
Pop was the turning point, not just because that oft-maligned 1997 album was the first truly weak entry in the U2 catalogue but because it marked the beginning of U2 pulling its punches. After the electronically enhanced excursions of Zooropa, the band crowed long and loud about making a full-tilt dance record the next time out, enlisting such electro-savvy chaps as Flood, Howie B. and Nellee Hooper to bring those aspirations to life. Yet the work that eventually surfaced from those sessions sounded every bit like the "compromise project" guitarist the Edge would later call it; it sounded like a record by a group that had gotten cold feet midway through the recording process and then hastily backtracked to behaving more recognizably like itself out of fear of alienating its audience.
That's the way I heard it, anyway -- and I think I was right, given the unsubtle retreat to its "classic" sound that the band would make three years later on All That You Can't Leave Behind after Pop's perceived commercial failure -- and I've never forgiven U2 for it.
'via Blog this'
Ten Rock-Star Stunts Even More Ridiculous Than Flying to Antarctica -- Vulture
4. U2 Trapped in Lemon (1997)
When U2 decided to go ironic with their Popmart tour, they literally found themselves stuck inside of a 40-foot, malfunctioning, mechanical lemon multiple times. Bootleg video footage of the ironic lemon that was, ironically, a lemon, is widely circulated among cultural-studies graduate students.
'via Blog this'

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Spotify rising...

Repost from Suburban Eschatology Part Two:

I am starting to suspect that Spotify could be the "next big thing"...

I agree, it has been a long time since I have taken to a service so quickly... Not just in music, but in every department.
Salesforce CEO: Facebook Is Leading The Direction For Where ‘We’re Going As An Industry’ | TechCrunch:
While Benioff’s tone has definitely tempered somewhat since OpenWorld in relation to Ellison and Oracle, it has not changed in terms of what the CEO sees as the future of his company and the future of the enterprise industry as a whole. Enterprise has to be, needs to be: Social.
What do I mean by that? Well, unsurprising for anyone who is familiar with Salesforce, Benioff has a big old man crush on Facebook.
“I really think that Facebook is becoming a vision of what the consumer operating system is”, he said. “Everything I want, I’m beginning to see on Facebook”.
The CEO was speaking largely in relation to Spotify, which he says has become his favorite music service, a quicker transition than he’s made to any other platform in the recent future. Having the Facebook UI built into Spotify is incredible, he said, allowing friends and colleagues to what he’s listening to in realtime — was inspiring to him.
'via Blog this'

Support your local music scene!

Found on Facebook.  Amen!  One of the main points of the blog.

What I Am Listening To Now: "Sexual Healing" performed by Anita Lane

This cover gets the creepy level right for this song...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

What I Am Listening To Now: "Long Night" & "Guaranteed" by Eddie Vedder

Figuring out my new "smartphone."  I finally took a step away from my Luddite tendencies and picked up a phone that does more than just make phone calls.   This is a good soundtrack for cursing my missteps as I get the damned thing set up properly.

Finally got this soundtrack.  It was on my list for a long, long time.  Wonderful movie, wonderful music, and a fantastic book.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

What I Am Listening To Now: "We Must Awaken" by KMFDM

A little motivational music to get me out the door.  Works on so many different levels for me today.

What I Am Listening To Now: "Going Places" by dropa

I really, really like this band. Press play to listen!

      Going places!/dropas


Suburban Eschatology Part Two: It appears that most goths find it better to fade out than to burn out...

Suburban Eschatology Part Two: It appears that most goths find it better to fade ...:

In my time, I've seen spectacular examples of both.  Too many funerals, but also many, many happy endings.

It has taken me a couple days to get around to this article...

Growing-up for goths | Education | The Guardian:

Continuing with education and getting a decent job while staying involved isn't as hard for goths as it may be for those involved in other youth subcultures, some of which promote disengagement with school to the point that academic failure is all but inevitable.

"It's a relatively middle-class subculture, so despite … all the going out and being into the music, goths have always had a fairly positive view of people who are also achieving academically."
It means goths may have better career options than an outsider might expect. Succeeding in their chosen career had, Hodkinson observes, become increasingly important to those he interviewed as they moved into their late 20s and 30s, and he was surprised by how much participants in his study were willing to adapt their look to fit in at work. "I even gave people scenarios where they couldn't wear certain things. I expected them to say that they'd have to leave [their job], but they said they'd have to seriously consider it."

Most of his sample said they still were recognised as goths at work, but had toned down their look. "They retained a residual element of the appearance, but felt, for example, that colourful dyed hair wasn't going to work, and they'd stopped painting their nails black."

'via Blog this'

As for me and my family?  Well, every once in awhile one of the boys will mention dying their hair, but I haven't got them pinned down yet.  And their mom still won't let me give them mohawks!  (Whine.)

I am not a listable goth. No. Am I? Of course I am not...