Month: October 2017

1977, Music

Street Survivors (1977) by Lynyrd Skynyrd

This album is perhaps most famous for its unfortunate album cover, showing the band (nearly) engulfed in flames. Three days after this album was released, 2/7ths of Lynyrd Skynyrd and four other people were killed in a plane crash, including one of their backing vocalists. The album then became their most successful, as is often …

1977, Music

Like a Mother Fucker (1977) by Heartbreakers

Aka L.A.M.F. and these Heartbreakers are not to be confused by Tom Petty’s band of the same name. Recorded in the UK, this record still sounds extremely “New York.” In fact, the central feature of this record and the thing that I struggle with while listening to it is its huge resemblance to the New …

2014, Movies

As Above, So Below (2014, John Erick Dowdle)

This is yet another found-footage horror film, number 300 and something at this point. (I have no idea whether that’s high or low.) When this was made, it was 15 years since Blair Witch. At some point, shouldn’t low-budget horror filmmakers realize this gimmick is a little tired?

1972, Music

Talking Book (1972) by Stevie Wonder

Of all R&B artists, I have been familiar with Stevie Wonder about as long as any, because Wonder was acceptable to the Oldies station I grew up with to a much greater extent than most of his contemporaries. (There was Motown of course – just the hits! – and a few Ray Charles hits, but …

1972, Music

I’m Still in Love With You (1972) by Al Green

The first time I heard an Al Green record, I must say I was disappointed. I had heard so much about his music over the years that I guess I was bound to be disappointed. In addition to the hype, I think I was probably disappointed by the lack of variation in the record. I …

1972, Music

Greetings From LA (1972) by Tim Buckley

Ever since Tim Buckley embraced jazz and abandoned the more staid, more traditional singer songwriter approach of his earliest records, there is always been a bit of soul to his music, but that soul, such as it was, was always filtered through the lens of jazz.

1972, Music

Bustin’ Out (1972) by Pure Prairie League

I feel like one of the problems of getting into a genre through a progenitor of that genre is that later bands don’t hold up. If you manage to listen to the later bands first, they always sound better because you don’t know what came first, you don’t realize how derivative they are.

1967, Music

Pleasures of the Harbor (1967) by Phil Ochs

I have a heard a lot about Phil Ochs as a songwriter and he has been recommended to me both by the critics I used to read and by friends of mine. Yet I have still managed to barely hear any of his songs, and usually only covers. Like so many other artists, his music …

1967, Music

One Nation Underground (1967) by Pearls Before Swine

There is a school of thought about how music evolved before the internet that believes that music needs urbanization to really develop. This school of thought views music as evolving in scenes in specific major cities. The internet has made this no longer necessary as now anyone can communicate with anyone else and even create …

1967, Music

Chelsea Girl (1967) by Nico

The first time I heard the Velvets’ early singles, with Nico on them, I didn’t like her voice. And for quite some time after, I don’t think I did. I’m pretty sure that, for a long time, I regarded her presence on that first album as some kind of weird aberration, forced upon them by …

1962, Music

Surfin’ Safari (1962) by The Beach Boys

I listened to the Beach Boys a lot growing up, along with a lot of other music from this period. I had some Greatest Hits tapes and such, I believe. So when I discovered actually interesting music, the Beach Boys went the way of nearly all oldies bands and artists I listened to – I …

1962, Music

Modern Sounds in Country and Wester Music, Volume Two (1962) by Ray Charles

Ray Charles’ radical reinterpretations of country standards sound so dated now it’s really hard to appreciate them both for their radical boundary-breaking (black performers didn’t perform white music much at all at the time) and for the way in which Charles reinvigorated soul music with a new source of inspiration and a new avenue down …

1957, Music

Elvis’ Christmas Album (1957)

Without doing the appropriate research I am going to assume this was the first “rock and roll” Christmas album. There had been Christmas albums ever since the invention of the format but, until Elvis, they were more the purview of Bing Crosby than rock and roll performers.

2017, Movies

Gifted (2017, Marc Webb)

This is a film about one of those precocious child geniuses that only exist in Hollywood movies (and independent movies that wish they were Hollywood movies – I’m looking at your Good Will Hunting) and how such geniuses should be nurtured. In real life, nobody is quite as smart (or quite as high functioning if they …

2017, Movies

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017, James Gunn)

I don’t know what kind of ill-humour causes me to not love these movies as much as the next guy, but I was pretty damn underwhelmed by the (possibly over-hyped) first Guardians of the Galaxy and really had no plans to watch this one, unless I was bored one day looking through Netflix (which is how …

1997, Music

Tone Soul Evolution (1997) by The Apples in Stereo

I am not very familiar with Elephant 6 but, to the extent that I am, I am familiar with weird, idiosyncratic indie pop bands, with a big emphasis on the “indie.” I assumed that Apples in Stereo would be along the same lines as the other Elephant 6 bands but, at least based upon this …

1997, Music

Urban Hymns (1997) by The Verve

I have made no bones about my dislike of Oasis, a band nearly everyone else seems to love (or at least enjoy). I don’t like their songwriter’s songs, I don’t like their sound and I find their biggest hit to be poorly produced. So what the hell am I supposed to do when I have …

1997, Music

Homogenic (1997) by Bjork

It’s been a while since I sat down and listened to all the Bjork records I own at once time so you should really take what I say with a grain of salt because, maybe if I had done that recently, I wouldn’t be so damn blown away by this record. But, without having listened …

2017, Daily Log, Personal, Travel

Goes to Amsterdam Friday October 13, 2017

This morning we went to another bakery, more expensive and not as good as the bakery of the previous morning. My tea was insanely hot so we had to wait a while, and I actually had to dilute it was some of our bottled water.

2017, Daily Log, Personal, Travel

Riley Goes to Amsterdam Thursday October 12, 2017

This morning we wandered around looking for dessert places in the Red Light district until we found a dessert place that had the odd breakfast pastry. We had croissants and a Danish.

2017, Daily Log, Personal, Travel

Riley Goes to Amsterdam Wednesday October 11, 2017

Though staying at a “bed and breakfast,” breakfast was not included (this city is pricey) so we went out to find breakfast, a little groggily as our neighbours came back at 3AM (they couldn’t open their door…).

1959, Books, Fiction

Hawaii (1959) by James Michener

This was my first Michener, though I did read a novel called London, which was basically an imitation Michener, back when I was a teenager. My understanding is that he is very much the author of these alternative histories of given places. So I guess I had to read him at some point. But holy …

1997, Music

Dots and Loops (1997) by Stereolab

Stereolab do their thing. It’s a very particular thing that sounds like no one else and, for that, they should be commended. They invented this kind of fusion of lounge, krautrock and pop, and that’s to their credit.