Things We Lost in 2015

Several musical happenings seem to slip through the cracks in a year, but it’s my honor to remember the bands that broke up/went on hiatus and the musicians who passed away.

Bands who broke up/went on hiatus

The Gaslight Anthem

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Noah and the Whale

The Replacements (again)

 

 

Musicians who died in 2015

Jack Ely (wrote “Louie Louie”)

Lesley Gore

Lemmy Kilmister

Ben E. King

B.B. King

Carey Lander (Camera Obscura)

Robert Loggia (not sure if this really counts, but I want to post the video)

Leonard Nimoy

Billy Joe Royal

Percy Sledge

Allen Toussaint

Scott Weiland

Corey Wells (Three Dog Night)

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Top blog posts: 2015

At the end of the year, I like to take a look at what were my most popular posts of past 365 days.  I find it interesting what actually connects with the huddled masses, what people keep finding throughout the year on my site.

  1.  My most popular blog post, with 56 views, was when I chose to research (and ultimately failed) the date of the 1992 Deck the Hall Ball, featuring Evan Dando & Sarah McLachlan, because Dando allegedly jammed with Kurt Cobain around the same date of the show.  I searched through several months of The Rocket magazines at the library, sent an email to the Sarah McLachlan camp (receiving a response that they couldn’t remember the date), and ultimately somebody else from LiveNirvana got in touch with Dando via Twitter in order to determine the date.
  2. My vinyl review of the My Chemical Romance Greatest Hits collection keeps getting views.  I wrote the post in March 2014 and it got 34 hits this year.  I’m still hoping the title of the album, May Death Never Stop You, turns out to be prophetic for the now-defunct punk band.
  3. I seem to still be the only site on the internet which features the lyrics to the Self Defense Family song “I Encapsulated the Human Experience in a 10 Second Song”.  I’m kinda proud of the fact this keeps getting views; 33 views, including already today.
  4. On November 18, I received word that my dad had died, after a long battle with various cancers (the 4th one was what got to him).  That day, I poured my eulogy into a blog post of songs and stories that reminded me of who he was.  It was my most viewed day of the year, with 119 views, mostly from friends and family members snooping around my site.
  5. I’m a little embarrassed that I keep getting views for my posting of a video for the piano version of “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots”.  I think it’s because the title is “Here’s a BBC Piano version…”, leading people to think I have the song available for download.  19 views of something they can find on Youtube, when my original reason for posting the song was the 2014 April Fool’s trailer for a movie based on the song.

Two surprise covers

In the past week, I’ve come across two cover songs.  Both of them caused me to think to myself “well, that’s out of character for the person covering the song”.

First up is Aurora, a pop singer from Norway, covering Oasis’ “Half the World Away”.

 

Next up was Shovels & Rope, a husband wife alt-folk/country duo from South Carolina, covering Nine Inch Nails’ “Last”.

Fun with The Force

I’ve been obsessed with Star Wars since seeing the new movie about a week ago.  Today, the inspiration struck me to listen to these songs.

and of course, the original opening crawl, from before there were “Episodes”:

The Pittsburgh/Seattle punk connection

Silence, the Pittsburgh punk/goth band which features a member of Seattle punk band Left Askew, played a live set on December 7th on WRCT’s Advanced Calculus show.

They have just posted those tracks online.  Many will feature on their debut album, The Deafening Sound of Absolutely Nothing, out in the spring on the Profane Existence label.  Also featured was a new, non-album track titled “Can’t Go Home Again”, written following said band member’s recent trip back to Seattle.

Listen to all the tracks here

or, enjoy “Can’t Go Home Again”

All songs are available as a Name Your Price download.

It’s a Christmas Miracle!!!

LCD Soundsystem, who disbanded in 2011 with a concert at Madison Square Garden, chronicled in the DVD Shut Up and Play the Hits, have surprise released a new depressing Christmas song ahead of their run of festival dates in 2016.

The last song they ever played in concert was titled, New York I Love You, but You’re Bringing Me Down, and the best comment so far on this youtube page is, aptly “Christmas, I love you, but you’re bringing me down”.

Both hearing that James Murphy is getting the band back together is great and unexpected news.

Top 5 Not Christmas Songs

Bah Humbug everybody!  Below is a list of songs that, while associated with Christmas, make no overt mentions of Christmas.

5.  Happy Holiday-  Bing Crosby

From the movie Holiday Inn, this Bing Crosby classic is trotted out everywhere during the month of December.  However, there are no mentions of anything relating specifically to Christmas, unless of course the only holiday that has ringing is Christmas…

4.  Jingle Bells- James Lord Pierpont

Written by a drunken man about racing sleighs down the street, Jingle Bells has become a Christmas staple.  Check out the forgotten verses about the best kind of horse to hitch to your sleigh (verse 3) and best of all, finding a woman to take on a sleigh ride only to have the sleigh be upsot, a term which either means “overturned” or “intoxicated”.  The song was written to be sung by children, but in the 19th century was thought to be too racy.

3.  Winter Wonderland-  Richard Himber

Written by a person dying of Tuberculosis who was watching people walk and play in the snow outside his window, the song never mentions anything having to do with Christmas.  People, listen up, snow and winter are not synonymous with Christmas.  Humbug!

2.  Over the River and Through the Woods-  Lydia Maria Child (original poet)

If there is any doubt about the original intentions of this song, the original title of the poem was “A New England Boy’s Song About Thanksgiving Day”.  Yes, this song is about Thanksgiving.  In the version above, it even mentions Thanksgiving.  And the original version says they’re going to grandfather’s house.

1.  Baby It’s Cold Outside-  Frank Loesser

Written in 1944 and featured in the 1949 film Neptune’s Daughter, just look at how disturbing this video is.  That man is working way too hard to ensure that she doesn’t/can’t go home for the evening and just HAS to stay with him.  In the second half of the above video, the tables are turned, with a woman trying to get a man to stay.  That doesn’t make the song any less creepy, though.  This song mentions nothing of Christmas.  Being cold and snowing has no corner on Christmas Day.  Plus, this song has earned it’s moniker as “The Date Rape Christmas Song”.

R.E.M. – Everybody Hurts

I was looking back through several of my oldest posts and realized that, among my 25 favorite songs (from back before I thought of putting in Youtube videos), the only one I haven’t covered in detail is this beautiful song.

In 1992, the year after grunge took over the airwaves, R.E.M. released a gorgeous album titled Automatic for the People.  In an era of gritty videos, snarling guitar and howling lyrics, Michael Stipe sings about feeling alone…as tenderly as possible.

This song has helped me through many a rough time, and is sure to help me through many more.  The album is high on my list of vinyl Holy Grails.  The song is in my top 35 most played tracks.

Plus, there’s the video, which shows people in a traffic jam.  You get to read their thoughts.  Then, you see them all leaving their cars.

It’s coming on Christmas

It’s coming on Christmas
And they’re cutting down trees
Putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on

It don’t snow here
Stays pretty green
I’m gonna make a lot of money
And quit this crazy scene
Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on

 

Although I enjoy Christmas as a time to give things, I have really come to despise the commercialism and obligations that have come to be centered around the holiday.  Why do Christmas decorations need to be on sale in stores on Halloween?  Doesn’t Thanksgiving get its own time of year?  Do we need 30 days plus of Christmas time?  Do people understand Black Friday doesn’t mean anything other than “day for businesses to stop losing money”?

We haven’t decorated for Christmas in 3-4 years now and I don’t miss the tree, I don’t miss the lights.  I still have a bunch of ornaments from my childhood, but it’s actually kind of nice to not have the stress of putting them on display with several cats to worry about.

It used to snow around here every couple of years.  It’s now been almost 4 years.  “It doesn’t snow here/stays pretty green”

I’ve got two days of work this year, I’m taking off three hours tomorrow to see Star Wars, and I have half a day off on Christmas eve.  Then I get to play “Home Repair Man” for 9 days (since I’m insisting on Christmas being a ‘watch tv all day day).