Audios

By Degrees

Mark Erelli – By Degrees

It’s crazy how things seem to be spiraling out of control since the attacks in Paris on Friday. Did you hear what the idiotic mayor of Roanoke, VA has said? It’s not just a race to the bottom, it’s a stampede. It somehow feels even worse, even more knee-jerk reactionary than during the W. years. It’s shameful.

I really don’t even know where to begin. Plus, I know I’m preaching to the choir and my little online footprint is so small that my spouting off about how ignorant politicians are ginning up fear to score political points against an outgoing president is not going to make a particle of difference.

There’s a college in Maryland right now that has shut down and sent all of its students home until after Thanksgiving because of a home-grown threat by a student. Yet there’s a Texas state legislator who doesn’t want any refugees to enter the country because it’s too easy to buy a gun here and just think what they could do. That’s not from the Onion either. Seriously, how does this hypocrisy not give people whiplash?

So I’m just going to keep on looking for ways to restore my own sanity. Listen to songs that help me know I’m not alone, count myself extremely lucky to live where I do, and be thankful for the company I keep.

Bad Art & Weirdo Ideas

Beach Slang – Bad Art & Weirdo Ideas

Thanks to a random retweet I caught today, I have been checking out Beach Slang. I love the title of their forthcoming album, The Things We Do to Find People Who Feel Like Us. Pretty great.

The other day This Is My Jam, a music site I took part in, announced that it would be closing up shop. I first got the word from a Facebook post that a friend made, a friend I know from another music site that folded a year or two earlier (sniff! R.I.P. Turntable.fm). And I found that site through a friend I’d made on another music site that’s still in existence but a shell of its former self.

A lot of my friends aren’t really into music. I have a hard time understanding how they can have such a passive relationship with music and they have a hard time understanding why I get so excited about it. We have other things in common and they’re nice people that I like a lot. But there’s something about people who get the same high from music that I do. It’s how it makes us feel, or maybe it’s more accurate to say, it’s how the music expresses what we feel. The thing is already there. Music just gives it shape. When words aren’t enough, that’s where music comes in and fills those holes.

The things I do to find people who feel like I do? I go to shows by myself, I hang out on music sites with unstable futures, I follow total strangers on Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr. I write about how my life has been influenced by music in hopes that other people who have that same passion will recognize me as coming from the same place and say hello.

No Television

The Can’t Tells – No Television

It’s that time of year again. March Madness. Only I’m not talking basketball, I’m talking about SXSW. I used to dream about going down for it but now I find the whole thing overwhelming. Instead, I keep my eyes and ears open for new (to me) stuff thanks to the music press that are all down there doing the leg work.

For months I will see announcements about what bands have been added to the line up but as much as I try, I simply don’t have the time between work, a long commute, and stuff at home, to know what many of these bands sound like. The NPR Austin 100 list is a good place for me to start. That’s how I came to find The Can’t Tells and this track “No Television.”

I picked this one for the title of the song because we have no television in our house. We have a tv, a new one even, and we have a Blu-ray player and a Roku box with Netflix, Hulu Plus, etc., but we don’t have cable, satellite, or over the air television. Yesterday I tried to change that by buying a digital antenna that my online research lead me to believe might be able to get a couple of PBS stations and maybe a major network or two. Sadly, I got four home shopping channels, the ION Life station, and Qubo. Unless the customer service rep will be able to help me find the right position for this thing later this evening (via the phone) then I’m taking it back.

I don’t usually miss broadcast tv all that much but it’s nice to be able to watch the weather and for live events. For example, I couldn’t watch the Oscars last night and I felt like the only person on Twitter who wasn’t tuned in. That’s not a problem but I do end up feeling a little out of sync with the rest of society. In keeping with my lack of video content, I went with the SoundCloud rather than YouTube version. If you like what you hear, they’ve got the whole album streaming on their SoundCloud channel.

Northeast Winter

Mazarin – Northeast Winter

It took me 2 1/2 hours to drive home yesterday on snow covered roads. I wish I could say I won’t let winter bother me but I do hate it so.

So why do I live in the northeast? I like it during spring, summer, and fall. I like that the cities are close together (good for touring). I like the history, all the old buildings, the landscape. I just hate the cold, dark, icy parts. I hate the barren tree branches, the grayness of everything. The squeaky sound of snow underfoot.

The Men’s Room at the Airport

The Karl Hendricks Trio – The Men’s Room at the Airport

I was going to reminisce about where I was 25 years ago tonight and then I decided instead to mention where I’m not today. Not in New York City, which is crammed with bands for the annual CMJ Music Marathon, in addition to your average Friday night concerts in New York, like New Order, say.

I had hoped to be there to see the Karl Hendricks Trio so I could put some real life faces to some of the monkeys I hang around with online but it will have to be another time. Even though I’ve been known to complain about how “kids these days” don’t ever listen to music like we did, they just stream stuff online, never owning anything you can hold in your hand, no understanding of what an album is, I do love the internet. Without it I’d be oblivious to lots of new music and music that I missed here and there over the sleep-deprived years of parenting.