Heartless Bastards – All This Time

18 05 2010

Listened: Monday May 17

I have to thank my co-worker Jim for turning me on to this band recently. The music is ragged garage rock and Erika Wennerstrom is a force of nature. The album art is also a favorite of mine.

This CD was part of the soundtrack to a crazy house party in the not so distant past. And that worked – really well.

George Harrison – All Things Must Pass

18 05 2010

Listened: Monday May 17

I remember having this on in the background during college when my Indian-American roommate pointed out the “Hare Rama, Hare Krishna” lyrics in My Sweet Lord, which I don’t think I understood or noticed before then.

She laughed at a white British dude singing that. Poor George can’t catch a break!

Also – sacrilege alert – I think I like George’s version of If Not for You better than Bob Dylan’s original.

U2 – All That You Can’t Leave Behind

18 05 2010

Listened: Monday May 17

It’s like Zooropa and Pop never happened – it’s the old U2 from the Achtung Baby days.

In fact, I would say this album is a grown up version of Achtung Baby. Still singing about love and hope, but from a higher level of understanding.

Just Jack – All Night Cinema

18 05 2010

Listened: Monday May 17

All Night Cinema is Just Jack’s latest. He’s not really known here in the US, but by way of an introduction, he’s like The Streets, but less hard-living and ambitious. He’s a regular guy who has a way with words, storytelling, and catchy hooks.

Goth in the Disco is an amusing portrait of exactly what the title says. What would happen if a goth stumbled into a cool-people disco? And The Day I Died is classical Just Jack – poignant and detail oriented without being sappy or corny at all.

OneEskimO – All Balloons

18 05 2010

Listened: Monday May 17

I saw their album was $1.99 on amazon as a one-day promotion and I knew they would be at Coachella 2010 so I bought it. Funnily enough, they played so early in the day that we didn’t see them after all.

All I know about them is that they are British and I think one of their songs is in a commercial. I wouldn’t be surprised if they find their groove and are huge someday, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if they release a couple albums and fade away either. Only time will tell.

My Morning Jacket – Acoustic Citsuoca Live! at the Startime Pavilion

18 05 2010

Listened: Monday May 17

I confess – I don’t actually own any other MMJ records. Every time I do a test listen of their stuff, I can’t seem to get into a whole album of it.

But somewhere I heard Bermuda Highway and I had to have it. Jim James’ voice is beautiful and even though the line “Don’t let your silly dreams fall in-between the crack of the bed and the wall” seems like it’s been purposely crafted to make English majors swoon, I must admit it worked.

U2 – Achtung Baby

18 05 2010

Listened: Monday May 17

Another appropriately momentous album appearing early in the process. I actually got into U2 before the Beatles – early high school. They were the first band I fell hard for. And to this day I have never been to one of their shows. Someday I should change that.

This album is – for lack of a better phrase – dead sexy. With amazing lyrics.

“I’m only hangin’ on to watch you go down, my love.”

“Love is clockworks, and cold steel, fingers too numb to feel.”

“Who’s gonna ride your wild horses? Who’s gonna drown in your blue sea?”

“One life, you’ve got to do what you should.”

The Beatles – Abbey Road

18 05 2010

Listened: Monday, May 17

It is only fitting that the first album I listened to is a Beatles album. I consider the Beatles to be the band that blew my musical horizons wide open.

I was woefully ignorant of the Beatles from age 0-16. I am sure my parents listened to them back in the day before I was alive but for some reason my parents did not play music that held nostalgic value for them after I came around. Or maybe music isn’t especially nostalgic for them. It was always newer music like jazz, classical, or world music that I remember hearing, aside from Sesame Street, Raffi, and the like.

So, in typical kid fashion, I just figured the Beatles were in the category of “old people music” and I ignorantly dismissed them. Until I saw A Hard Day’s Night on PBS when I was 16. Upon seeing that film, I immediately understood so much that I had previously ignored. The Beatles’ music was great, sure, but they were also funny, intelligent, intriguing, and exciting people and I wanted to know everything about them.

I immediately went to the library and ripped every one of their CDs to tape (that’s what you did back when I was 16 when there was no Napster) and became a total Beatles nut. I knew everything there was to know. I am positive I know more than my parents know about the Beatles.

But I think that is the way history works sometimes – you are too busy living your life to follow along when things are happening, but some whippersnapper that wasn’t alive yet can read up on every single bit of commentary and analysis that has been done over the years. I wonder if my kids will lecture me on minute details of The White Stripes’ career?

(Yeah, maybe that isn’t the best example, but really, is there a modern example of someone like the Beatles that I could have used? I don’t think so!)

This is a new experience for me

18 05 2010

Despite having some degree of writing ability – I was an English major at UC Berkeley, though my subsequent career path has never required much regular exercise for my writing muscles besides writing clear emails and occasional process documentation – I have never tried even once to blog in the past.

I just didn’t believe I would keep it up or have anything interesting to say for any length of time and I couldn’t fool myself into thinking I would, enough to actually get over the hump of creating a site.

I knew it would take some kind of conceit for it to have any chance of it working out and when I was trying to consciously think of a conceit, I couldn’t.

Yesterday I randomly decided to listen to all my albums I’ve ripped to my work computer (which represents 80-90% of my collection – I have a few CDs I didn’t rip and about 40 or so albums on vinyl) in order from A to Z.

I am an album person, I always have been. Of course there are some songs I can fixate on, like anyone else, but I really don’t enjoy setting my iPod to random. Never have. Once you get into the groove of a song, you are ripped away to some entirely different era, style, sound, or tempo. Maybe my collection is just too eclectic for the “random song” kick.

Today I considered that it might be fun to log the progress and comment as I go along (maybe not on every album, but just a couple of impressions per day as I progress through them). So here I am.

I really think this is going to take forever. It has been 2 work days and I am not out of the letter A yet. But we will see how it goes. I hope to keep it somewhat interesting, though it might devolve into my own stream of consciousness inside-joke nostalgia thing, I suppose.

Cover photo

18 05 2010

If I were to somehow find musical talent and release an album this would probably be my cover photo.