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Blood Bank

Bon Iver – Blood Bank

Look at that album cover. Brrrr. It doesn’t matter that I know exactly what I’m getting out of winter in New England, I am never ready for its arrival. It’s not that I’m caught off guard, I just live in denial until the last possible minute. Why spend one second more than you’re forced to thinking about it?

I don’t really wish I could join the legions of people who love winter, or even those who tolerate it well and think it can be pretty. I am very content to continue singing the praises of spring and summer. And one thing’s for sure, if I ever moved to someplace that doesn’t have winter, I would never miss it. People have questioned me on that one but I have lived through more than enough winters to last me a lifetime.

As I sit here now, wrapped up in a blanket, the wind is blowing down the chimney and rattling the glass doors on the fireplace. Snow is falling and pelting the window screens making an icy sound. So it begins.

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Cuyahoga

R.E.M. – Cuyahoga

I didn’t post yesterday. I had been thinking of a post in my head during the day but by the time I got home from work, we’d put the kids to bed, I talked with my mother about Thanksgiving travel plans, and I finally could get a chance to write, I felt I had nothing to say. I was disgusted by the grand jury decision in Missouri yet anything I thought of to write felt like too little too late. I stayed up late reading articles and watching Twitter and kept coming up short when I tried to find the right words.

The post I had been mulling over during the day yesterday came to me courtesy of driving my daughter to school again. It was raining heavily and I decided I could just as easily drop her off and spare her the wait for the school bus in the rain. She started telling me about a project they are doing in school. They have been divvied up into groups and each group has to start its own country. It’s an interdisciplinary project so all of her classes were taking part. In math they discussed different monetary and economic systems, in science they had debates about the impacts of genetic modification and from there, whether or not the countries they were building should allow it. In social studies they discussed different forms of government, laws, and rights.

I started singing this song then said they should use it for their country. No, she said, they had to write their own anthem, both the music and the lyrics, for the music part of the project. I wondered to myself if the social studies teacher, who organized this whole assignment, is an R.E.M. fan. In any case, I feel like congratulating him. We don’t really get to start a new country up but getting the kids to put their heads together and think about it, and understand how many different elements there are, what the ramifications of different decisions will be, I hope it will be a lesson they can take with them.

It could be a lesson for us as well. It’s clear that our system is not just flawed but skewed heavily in favor of those in power remaining in power. By any means necessary, it sometimes seems. Is this a government of the people, for the people, by the people? A police force so heavily armed it looks like it belongs on a battlefield instead of a city street?

When I was a kid we had School House Rock on Saturday mornings in between cartoons. I grew up absorbing those little history and civics lessons to catchy tunes and believing that’s how our country really worked. I can recite (or sing) the preamble to the Constitution because of it. Sing along. “We the people, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility…” Where is the justice? How can the police insure domestic tranquility when they are dressed for war?

So I go back to we the people, in order to form a more perfect union. I know it sounds sappy and simplistic but if we are ever going to achieve justice, it is going to be a lot of hard work. A lot of putting our heads together and thinking about the end results. There are no quick fixes. We need to work on the more perfect. A union that incorporates the view points of those who were left out of it when our father’s father’s father tried would be a good start. This can’t just be something we tell our kids to do for a school project. It has to be what engaged citizens just do because this land is the land of ours.

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Had to Hear

Real Estate – Had to Hear

I’m back home after a quick trip down to New York for The Twilight Sad/We Were Promised Jetpacks show. It was not a late night, especially for New York, but I’m still a little tired after going to two shows this week. I am telling myself it’s the driving to these places that’s the culprit rather than the actual going out to see bands. Being at a show is always really rejuvenating for me and the effects can last for days.

I wasn’t joking the other night when I said live music was addictive. If the show was good, it leaves me jonesing for more and I start looking for another show to go to soon. If the show was great, it makes me want to hit the road and go catch that same band the next night in some other city. This is usually pretty easy to accomplish in the northeast, so long as you can swing the time off.

Thanksgiving is in a few days so hopefully I’ll be able to catch up on some sleep then, but I really had to hear some live music this week.

 

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Keys

Hooray for Earth – Keys

This posting every day is really challenging. I’m going to have to schedule some posts in advance if I’m going to be able to pull it off during the next week. That would necessitate having a bunch of free time to do multiple posts at once and I have enough trouble just getting one done.

On Thursday mornings, I like to listen to the local college radio station on my way to work for as long as I can keep the signal. College radio isn’t known for its far-reaching broadcasting capabilities and I often will lose it before there’s a break telling me what they’ve just played. The woman who does the early morning slot on Thursdays plays new and recent releases for the most part, so I have the phone in its hands-free dashboard mounted holder and when something comes on that I’m curious about, I Shazam the song so I can look it up later. Often I’ll forget about it until I’m sitting here late at night and then I wind up going down rabbit holes. Next thing I know it’s really late and I haven’t written the post or decided which song I’m using.

This song comes from one of those bands. If you don’t like it, just be grateful that I’m not posting songs from the show that’s on the college station on my drive home. Three hours straight of polka.

 

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Getting Away With It

Electronic – Getting Away With It

Strangely, though I feel uncomfortable about Peter Hook playing all those New Order and Joy Division songs, I have no trouble with Johnny Marr playing Smiths songs or ones like this. Perhaps it’s because the Smiths and Electronic really did disband whereas New Order is still around. Plus, with all the credits going to Morrissey and Marr, it always seemed obvious to me that Johnny Marr wrote the music while Morrissey wrote the lyrics and came up with the vocal part. He’s just playing the songs he wrote.

One of the perks of having bands that were big break up is that sometimes the individual band members keep making music, but now they’re playing tiny venues for $20 or less in little out of the way places instead of huge arena shows for big bucks. It’s a little present for those of us who stuck around and waited it out.

I’ve got new tires and windshield wipers, now I just have to hope that my back holds out and decide if I need to have a Johnny Fuckin Marr t-shirt that I’ll never be able to wear.