Smashing Pumpkins New Album Pre-Ordered

I love The Smashing Pumpkins.

I have written many times about this band. They played a pivotal role in my formative youth starting with “Siamese Dream” which I first heard at my Uncle Phil’s house. His son Chris had the album and I listened to it there for the first time. It was unlike anything I was into at that time and since that day, I have loved the band and Billy and all the incarnations and solo stuff.

I collected weird one-off songs in the Napster days. I remember the day I listened to my CD copy of “Melancholy And The Infinite Sadness” in my room while cleaning and thinking how mind-blowing the combination of songs were, how epic. Then I got “The Aeroplane Flies High”. What a crazy collection.

Then came “Machina” and “Machina II”… and I began to wonder. Then it was Zwan, then Billy Solo. There were some lean years when I thought that The Smashing Pumpkins might be no more.

Then Dalton and I went to see the movie “If All Goes Wrong”.

This one was a stepping stone. I didn’t realize that The Smashing Pumpkins had a new album “Zeitgeist” which is amazing, and had no idea a new Smashing Pumpkins revival was happening.

Then came “Oceania” and “Monuments To An Elegy”. I picked up the latter on vinyl.

I have been seeing posts about a new Smashing Pumpkins tour on Instagram and been heartened that Billy is still at it. Then came this yesterday:

O M G !

So, yeah Billy. Instagram works.

Smashing Pumpkins’ reunion album, Shiny And Oh So Bright, Vol. 1, out in November

I immediately went to the site via the link and  pre-ordered a copy. Booyah! More Smashing Pumpkins!!

Now, you will note that I go the dismal “normal” vinyl bundle. There are plenty of other options if you are deep of pocket and love colored vinyl or Limited Editions etc…  I drooled over several of these options. The only reason I bought the David Bowie clear vinyl edition of Blackstar was because it just a little bit more. I had no idea it would be his last and that the crazy thing would still be going for hundreds of dollars at this point. So I passed on the violet version and the version with the 7″ singles and bundles with shirts and sweatshirts.

My bundle comes with regular lack vinyl and downloads of 2 songs from the album: “Solara” and “Silvery Sometimes (Ghosts)”. Now often I will not listen to pre-release songs. I like the surprise of hearing the whole thing. This time however, I couldn’t resist.

“Solara” is a great throwback to the old Pumpkins “Gish” era sound. Love it. Rocking out all the way. I see why they pre-released this one.

“Silvery Sometimes (Ghosts)” is softer and smooth with some amazing wispy guitar work in the quiet moments. Billy’s voice is crisp and the hook is great. You can listen to this song by the way at the Consequence Of Sound link above.

These songs sound great and I am excited for the new release. There are 8 tracks and I suspect it will be on the short side, but none the less I am stoked. Billy and James and Jimmy are back together and Jeff Schroeder (featured in “If All Goes Wrong”) is still with them too.

The Smashing Pumpkins are one of the few bands that I will buy a new album from without ever having heard a single song. They are just that good.

Here’s to November!

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Bag ‘O’ Tapes 2018

Let me say that I had no intention of going to any garage sales this weekend. In the fall Waunakee does a second city-wide garage sale day, but compared to the spring weekend, it doesn’t even rate. I know, I spent many a bored weekend sitting in the garage with my own junk to sell.

I was out picking up groceries and outside of Waunakee I spotted what looked to be a busy garage sale at a place I have stopped before. I thought… why not.

There was not much to temp me until I got into the garage, where there happened to be a large (under the bed style) plastic bin. In it was a hundred or so cassette tapes. Some were prerecorded, some were store-bought, and what’s this?… some were blank and brand new.

Good ones too. Now they had my attention.

I started flipping through the tapes and spotted a couple that were pretty good. There was no price on the bin though and there were a lot of tapes that were just out of their cases and sadly had their tape exposed and getting ruined. There were some gems in there though.

I was about to either put the blanks back, or go ask the price when a woman walked over to me and told me I could fill a plastic shopping bag with tapes for a buck and she handed me a bag.

Then it was on.

I started digging through them in earnest. I do have a tape deck in the music room, though none in the cars any more. I don’t know who’s tapes these were, but damn, it was like looking in my own collection. Eclectic to say the least. I walked out with a bag and paid her $2. The 2 blank tapes were worth more than that alone.

My bag.

Did you spot The Smiths? That was the first one I saw.

In all, it was quite a little haul for 2 bucks.

Plus the blanks and a few assorted dubbed tapes like Nine Inch Nails and Beatles that were on nice Maxells, and a Demagnetizer Head Cleaner. Nice.

Tone-Loc cassingle? Yes.

Again, I say who ever owned these certainly had eclectic taste.

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, Skid Row and Neil Diamond?

Though I’m not so sure it speaks to THEIR collection as much as it does to mine.

Touche garage sale proprietor. Touche.

… and thanks!

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Deep Deep Dub

I have dabbled in Dub (Reggae Dub – not Dub Step!) for many years.

I have written about how Mikey Dread and The Clash turned me on to Dub with their tracks “Police and Thieves Dub” and “Bank Robber Dub” from the Black Market Clash album.

I had been familiar with Bob Marley and Reggae, but this Dub stuff was kind of blowing my mind.

I even got into it when I got back to buying vinyl again, picking up some Robbie & Sly and some Lee Perry. I picked up a book on Dub that finally explained the magic behind what I was hearing and the confusing array of so-and-so meets so-and-so albums.

If you have any interest in this genre of music I highly recommend it. “Michael Veal – Dub”

I have to confess though that it was the King Shilo Soundsystem that finally broke the dam open and launched me headlong into it with a passion. Who is King Shilo? He is a selector in terms of the genre. He plays tracks on a giant rig, adds some sirens and reverb and spins the record back at times in conjunction sometimes with toasters (people who sing along to the tracks) and interject stuff here and there. So… a DJ? Not exactly. Though that is a pretty close comparison.

I’m sure I stumbled onto this video after a long slide down the rabbit hole, but it really struck me. The music, the crowd, the toasters… man it just hit all the right notes. Check it out.

The sound is not top-notch from the live camera, but it’s more the feel of the music that got me. I found myself finding all the King Shilo shows on You Tube and devouring them. Good work music too by the way.

I started checking out other sound systems.

Then I found some great dub mixes.

Then experimented with some Rocksteady and Rub-A-Dub.

… and here is where things went a little crazy.

I decided that I would like to listen to King Shilo on my I-Pod. So I tried my typical method to download the music of the video from You Tube. The method I use is a bit outdated and fraught with advertisements and fake downloads and pop-ups and I don’t recommend it, but I eventually got it.

A few weeks passed, and I kept listening to this stuff. I tried Aba Shant-I, I found a killer show by the Coxone Sound System (‘Rare’ Coxsone Sound 1986 Supercat, Nitti Gritti, Nicodemus, King Kong, Frankie Paul. Brixton 86 – find this one, you’ll love it) and found an amazing Dub radio show called Dub Me Crazy Radio Show that had over 200 (multiple hour) episodes.

I wanted all of this music, but no way in hell was I going to use that crap site I was using to get them. On a whim I checked the Microsoft Store to see if they had an app that would do the same. I didn’t hold out a lot of hope because I had done this in the past and it kept crashing and I ended up deleting it.

This time however, I got an app called FLVTO. I was amazed that it not only worked, but worked fantastically. I downloaded 4 or 5 other King Shilo sets in like a few minutes and spent the next few nights setting up a huge list of You Tube videos to download as MP3’s.

This went on for about a week. Suddenly I had over 40 Gig of Dub, Rocksteady, Rub-A-Dub, Soundsystem, Festival appearances and some full albums to boot. It was an entire evening’s work just to sort it all out.

I especially love the Trojan Compilations and the Dub Me Crazy Radio Show. I think it would take several weeks to listen to just those.

If you don’t care about listening to an album or a show as one long single track, then FLVTO is for you. I don’t know when You Tube changed from having only short videos to having full live shows and multiple hour long videos (I downloaded a 4 hour dub mix!) but it is all out there and eventually I had to just stop when I realized I was going to be retired by the time I listened to all of this.

If you are interested in Reggae, whether it be Dub, Rocksteady, Rub-A-Dub or Soundystem, you should definitely check out You Tube and listen to some mixes. See where it takes you.

In case you stumble onto my music backup external years from now… this is how it happened.

Thank you You Tube.

Thank you FLVTO.


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Vegas Report 2018

It’s been a while since we made it to Vegas, and this year we did it big. We had 4 adults and 3 younger adults.

It was probably WAY too early, but they allowed me to setup and take that picture. Good sports at pre-5 am.

This was the first flight for Joe since he was like 2, which he doesn’t remember, and so I had to take some pics for posterity.

The flight on Delta was fairly comfortable and the seats all had video screens that could play movies and had access to flight info like altitude, MPH and times from destination and such. It was pretty cool actually.

That was not the case when we got to Minneapolis. Sigh. Nor on the way back on Frontier.

At any rate, we made it.

Let me paint you a picture of our first day.  H  O  T.

Yes, we managed to come to Vegas during a time when they were poised to set heat records. Temps were in the 113 to 115 range. It was hot. Even dry heat hot. For those folks that perform outside, like down on Freemont Street, it must be hell.

Outside our hotel, through a gift shop, I heard some music and went to investigate. This poor guy was wailing some Black Crowes out it that heat. He was good, but I didn’t have time to stay and listen. Too bad.

The air conditioner on the chair behind him is a nice touch. Hope it helped.

That night we did KA. It was as amazing the second time as the first. Maybe better. The sights, the sounds, the acrobatics… stupendous. After that we were done. Overdone actually, we were only 2 hours short of being awake for 24 hours, so we called it quits.

The next day we rented a cabana by the pool. It was a nice relaxing time. The sun was behind the fake New York New York buildings for a while, but when it came over the building you could start to feel the effects of the “Excessive Heat Warnings” that were happening. Without the cabana and the surprisingly cool water, I would not have survived the many hours we spent there.

In the evening we ventured over to Luxor for dinner and to check out the ESports arena.

This turned out to be a colossal hit with the boys. We set them up with an hour before our show. Even I had to admit it was pretty damn cool.

There was a Super Smash Bros. tournament happening that night. Joey likey.

From there we went to see Blue Man Group. Cindy and I have toyed with going to see them before, but hadn’t yet, so I was excited. I expected a lot of drumming. There was that, but also there was a lot of comedy and other stuff too, which I found a pleasant surprise. I thought it was great and I’m glad we finally got to go see and hear these guys.

Here is a non-Vegas version of some of their stuff that I found:

Another night that spent us. After the show we went back to the room and passed out.

The next day we took the boys BACK to the ESports arena, reminded them that they would have to remember to order food at some point, and turned them loose. They were in Nirvana. (music reference?)

5 hours of gaming was slayed.

The rest of the day we gambled (thank you “Heidi’s Bier Haus”), had a nice dinner, packed and got some sleep. No one was looking forward to travelling again, but at least it was a straight flight.

On our way to our gate I did notice 2 things I had to stop and take pictures of…

Rush Playing Cards!

No, I didn’t buy them. Probably should have.

Bob Marley ear-buds.

I am not surprised by the branding of headphones with Marley’s image, the connection to music is obvious, at least more obvious than his drink line. What I noticed immediately though was that there was not one in the color scheme I was expecting of black, yellow and red. Ire.

and here is where I learned something.

I tried to search the Jamaican flag, but those colors weren’t right. They are black, yellow and green. Was I misremembering the colors? Nope.

To quote the Internet:

“They’re not “bob marely colors”.
They’re the colors of the Ethiopian flag.
Rastas use an older version of the flag, which has the conquering lion of judah.

They’re associated with Rastafarian’s first and foremost, but since people know so little about them, they associate the colors with Jamaicans (I guess since so many rastas are Jamaicans).

Blood of the people spilled in defense of the land, from years of slavery and oppression etc.

The church, peace and unification of the people, love.

Represents the land (natural beauty and such)”

It all kind of makes sense now, and I can’t believe it took me until I was in my 50’s to understand this. All because of some Bob Marley airport gift shop advertisement.

Vegas is great, but in the quiet bird chirping morning I noticed my ears were still ringing with the dings and bells of the casino and the Heidi and Hans songs was playing over and over again in my head. It will fade…


There is no place like home.

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Rock And Roll Pictures Continued.

Saw this in a window of place we stopped for breakfast. I walked on the lawn just to get this picture


Oh Lord Yeah!


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Kate Bush – My Gateway Drug To Fiona, Tori, Aimee And Dolores

As I was ripping another St. Vinny’s $1 CD, I noticed something that made me laugh.

The CD is Kate Bush’s “Never For Ever”, her 3rd and one I didn’t have in my catalog, the last time I owned it was on a tape I dubbed from the guy who introduced me to Kate back in my UW Milwaukee days. His name was Anton.

Anton was worldly, smart as hell, taking Russian (which I presume is a difficult language to learn) and was for a short while, rooming with Andy in the double room in our suite.

Anton would go with me to the record store and on one such occasion he purchased an album by Kate Bush. I had never heard of her, but the album blew me away, totally.

Kat Bush – Hounds Of Love

What can be said about this album that easily fits into words. It is so moving, and scary, and beautiful and unforgettable. Each side of the album, sorry CD folks, is a collection apart from the other. The first side, like a bouncy set of pop melodies that make you sing along and shout and rise and fall along with her voice as she belts it out. Then the second side is a weird glorious journey with chaos and calm swirling about each other, then finishing with a lilting way out with “The Morning Fog” which always brought me back and made me smile and shake it all off and made me want to play it all again.

When he discovered that I liked it, he turned me on to older stuff that he had, like “The Kick Inside” and “The Dreaming”. This was SO not the type of music I was listening to at the time. I was listening to Rush and ZZ Top and Judas Priest and even I couldn’t understand what drew me to this voice and style of music, but I was hooked.

The thing that made me laugh was when I ripped the Never For Ever CD, the Windows Media Player album info labelled it as ALTERNATIVE.

Maybe in its time it was alternative, but in this day and age? I don’t know.

She is different, that’s for sure, and the music was just as different. Check out this documentary on her if you aren’t familiar with her voice or music. You can hear her regular speaking voice, and see Johnny Rotten (Sex Pistols – PIL) and Tori Amos speak about her.

The album “The Kick Inside” was the weirdest, songbird vocal mish-mash of styles that I had ever heard. “Hounds Of Love” came out of no where and blindsided me. I don’t know if it was the time in my life, or that it was almost the exact opposite of what I was listening to and I needed a new direction… whatever it was, those 2 albums changed me.

As I look back now, it occurs to me that it was Kate and her voice and style that helped steer me to artists like Fiona Apple, Tori Amos, Aimee Mann (‘Til Tuesday) and Dolores O’Riordan (The Cranberries). All adventurous and mysterious and doing it their way. It all makes sense. A turning point in the music that I listened to and appreciated expanded when Anton introduced me to Kate Bush.

Thanks Anton.

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How To Know If Your 16 Year Old Has Been In Your Music Room

The other day as Joe and I were both in the basement (for different reasons) and I decided to put on a record for us (me) to listen to. I stepped into the music room to put on some vinyl and I noticed something right away that made me smile. Despite being concerned that someone was in my music room, I had to laugh and memorialized it here.

I have a wooden figure that I believe is used for decoration and for artists.

I use it to hold up my “now playing” record.

I use this all the time, but it was especially helpful when I was doing Instagram photos of albums I was playing and collecting. Hello all you vinyl Instagramers! Social media vinyl groups are out there and still going strong. Anyway…

What was it that had me laughing? Someone had been in my music room and while there, posed the wooden figure. Someone young.

Nice Joe.

At least he didn’t try and make him do the Dougie.

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