Friday, August 26, 2011

Flag Day Countdown #2

It has been said that hardly anyone was into the Velvet Underground, but everyone who was started a band. From a historical standpoint, that's a good place to be, but as a working band, that's a miserable place to be. I think this is part of the reason for the band's last release, Loaded. John Cale, the violist, bassist and classical/art influence of the band had gone, and drummer Maureen Tucker, whose standing drum style was unique, replaced by Doug Yule. Style experiments like "Black Angel's Death Song", "Sister Ray" and "The Gift", are gone, as are the drug and sex references of "Waiting For My Man", "Heroin" and "Venus In Furs". The things that make the Velvets distinct were largely missing. And it's one of their better albums. If there's one Velvet song that most everyone knows, it's "Sweet Jane", thanks to the Cowboy Junkies and their cover from the Trinity Sessions. The thing about it is that the "Heavenly Wine and Roses" part was originally edited out of the release. The Cowboy Junkies knew it from bootlegs. I originally had the one-disc CD release of this, and bought the newer Rhino release with two discs. I sold the first copy, and the clerk said, "Tell me you're not selling this!" "Rock and Roll" is another favorite, dedicated to the transforming power of music. "In spite of the amputation, she could dance to a rock and roll station", Lou sings. "It was alright." The biggest difference between takes that I can think of is "I've Found A Reason", which went from country to a mostly voice-and-bass interpretation before release. The "Fully Loaded" Rhino release contains both the edited and original mixes of the album, in addition to bonus tracks such as "Ocean" and "Satellite of Love". Yes, the satellite from MST3K is named after a Lou Reed song.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Countdown to Compact Disc Flag Day #1

I'm signed up to Spotify, to the Google Music beta, to Amazon. I had Rdio for a while, and might go back. I have several gigs of music on my own drives, too, largely ripped from my CD collection.

The future of music media is digital and streaming.

I have declared a personal flag day. After January 1, 2012, I will no longer buy or accept compact discs. I'll keep my collection, of course. At least for now.

I've decided to go through my music, one disc per day, and write about them. And the first one is <a href="">the eponymous release of the Stone Roses</a>. This was one of the first CDs I picked up, and I'm pretty sure it was used.

The first two songs to catch my ear are the first and the last. The first is "I Wanna Be Adored".

It's nice, droning, very much in line with the alternative stream from Britain at that time. I like it. It's good. Really good. What it isn't is transformative. With very little change, it could've come out in 1969 or 1979, rather than 1989.

What is new and transformative. "Fool's Gold" is.

From the 70s on, dance music and rock music were like oil and water, never meeting. This is entirely rock and entirely dance without being pop, using dance beats.

Anyway, brilliant album. See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Reflection on "Stop Doing Stupid S***"

Most of my bedroom playing is me sitting up in bed. Not too surprising, as I have a queen-sized bed in a not-big bedroom, but there are downsides. I can't play out laying down in bed, and there's bits I'm trying to work into my playing that are probably negatively impacted by my playing position. Slide is I'm sure largely uneffected, but I'm very sure that I'm not gonna get anywhere by continuing to try to start progressing with sweep picking if I'm not standing up while practicing, and I'm sure my current status in sweep picking shows that.

Monday, August 8, 2011

How To Not Suck, Chapter 22 or so: Stop Doing Stupid ... Stuff

Saw this blog post through Hacker News. Basically, the way to be better is to stop doing stupid ... stuff. (I decline to curse.) He started in chess, and the stupid stuff he was dealing with was falling for stupid tactics. He then adapted it to piano. There's short shrift given to the specific stupidities he was falling for, because he was hurrying to get to the application in a developer context.

I suppose, then, that each person has their own stupidities to deal with, and identifying them is the first step.