Tuesday, June 18, 2019

What I Heard: May 2019

Mixtape Masterpieces

My first month in seven years without eMusic...seems weird. And now I hear the iTunes is shifting their platform, which always makes me more than a little nervous as I'm already using alternate universe technology. I have two iPods Classics, a full 120 with a large chunk of my Metal collection, and the beauty below, which is a customized gold "U2" edition Classic with a terabyte chip. Referred to in my household as "The Precious", it is rarely out of my sight and plays for several hours a day at a minimum. I was warned it would become unstable at a certain capacity, so I haven't put my entire digital collection on it but 57015 songs is a pretty good base. 
The Precious

I've mentioned I've done my fair share of business travel over the years, and never without the Precious, one of my dearest companions. I believe the Precious listens to me as much as I listen to it.

Such meticulous curation

Yeah, that isn't at all weird, disturbing, or obsessive. But then again, neither is painstakingly converting all of one's vinyl (a whole wall of it) to mp3--and it seems like yesterday I'd converted all the vinyl to ATRAC so I could enjoy it all on long playing minidiscs! 
Thousands of hours of music! (Thousands of hours of life wasted not pictured.)

For years I could enjoy Lindsey Buckingham's "Holiday Road" on Minidisc long before it was available digitally (it came back when the movie was rebooted)! Also Cheap Trick's "Up The Creek" (came out last year as part of Epic "rarities" compilation!

I still haven't seen Wall of Voodoo's "Exercise" on a legit digital release...

8-Tracks? I had a few. Cassettes? Never my favorite format, but I loved making mix tapes. I loved making collage art for the various tapes even more. I will always take physical formats over digital, and a digital file over streaming.As convenient as they might be, I don't like streaming services for a number of reasons--control, gaps in content, signal, different mixes, advertising, possible glomming of preferences and metadata, etc.  Quite possibly some if not all of those objections can be overcome but I don't care to try.  Get off my lawn.

I'd still take these over streaming

1. Arthemis, Back From the Heat
My favorite Italian Metal band, and this an earlier album, acquired off eBay to complete the catalogue. If you want to have the greatest Metal cover of a pop song ever--yes, even better than Anthrax's cover of Joe Jackson's "Got the Time", then go to their website for the free download of their 6-song unfortunately named EP. You heard it here: Arthemis's cover of Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi" is the greatest Metal cover of a pop song, ever. Here, I'll make it easy for you: ARTHEMIS . Just listen to Fabio Dessi nail it! 

Fabio isn't on Back From the Heat, but it is still a solid record

2. Sonic Youth, Rather Ripped
3. Sonic Youth, Murray Street
4. Sonic Youth, A Thousand Leaves
5. Sonic Youth, Sonic Youth Live
6. Sonic Youth, Made in USA

I wrote about Sonic Youth a little in this month's "what I read" blog, and decided to fill the last remaining holes in the "official" catalogue. These are all great--and distinctively so. I'd forgotten about their movie soundtrack Made in USA, which I used to have on cassette before my cassette eating car stereo munched on it like twenty-five years ago. It appears to be OOP digitally (another great reason to trust only in the physical). Probably my third or fourth favorite of all SY-related discs.

7. Pink Floyd, The Endless River
8. David Gilmour, Rattle That Lock

I was able to pick up the super-deluxe CD/DVD versions of both of these for a reasonable price. Haven't watched the DVD's yet but love both discs. The Endless River was my morning coffee choice two Sundays running.

9. Hawkwind, Bring Me The Head of Yuri Gagarin

Live set "Classic" line-up, with Lemmy, Turner, Brock, Dik Mik, even Del Dettmar, but a very fuzzy recording and even the big songs lack the punch they have do on other live recordings from this era.

10. Megadeth, Cryptic Writings

$5.99 on iTunes for the deluxe version; not my favorite Megadeth (this one isn't as thrashy as many) but still a very enjoyable record

11. Bill Callahan, Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest

Half the album; as a promo they released a side at a time weekly for the digital release, so I didn't get the second half until June. I'll buy this on vinyl, but Callahan is one of several artists I don't want to wait to hear (or mind if I contribute extra profits by purchasing multiple formats). With my usual sense of good timing, I became completely enthralled with Callahan's Apocalypse and Dream River (not to mention Have Fun With God) just before he got married, had a kid, and took a five year hiatus from recording new songs. Luckily he's got an extensive back-catalogue to explore while I was waiting, and it was love at first listen for  It was love at first listen for Shepherd. And what does that title mean, anyway? Is it a warning? Is he saying, "don't join my flock, because I will leave you shorn and skinless in the end"?

Kim tells me I've said this hundreds of times about hundreds of records, but I consider Apocalypse and Dream River life-changing albums for me. Fittingly, I bought them when I was on the road--the first cut on Dream River, "The Sing", is one of those strange cuts that is intensely personal and yet universal enough to make seem my biography, not Bill's--at a great little record store in Phoenix called Stinkweeds

No vinyl this week, but I appear to have infected my son with both the vinyl rockin' pneumonia and the boogie-woogie flu, as he has been scouring the shops and flea markets for records and has come home with dozens of LP's in the past few weeks. Good stuff, too! We're listening to one of his Magic Sam acquisitions as I write this!

I wrote a novel called Aural History about a musician who sees ghosts of other musicians. You can buy it HERE

Cover Intentionally DIY

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