My Favorite Meeting Room Ever!

I noticed the significance of this meeting room straight away, but it took a few times going there to think of taking a picture. More a caricature, but you get the idea.

Rock on Institute For Clinical And Translational Research. Rock on indeed.

We have assumed control.

We have assumed control.

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Worker Bee Misfit?

Homogenizing, or grouping sets of folks happens in so many ways, age, locale, by clothes, I mean you can divide us up and regroup us all in so many ways. I find that we have always done this.

As we grow older and join the workforce there are still more ways to be grouped.

I consider my workplace. We all do similar things (though in slightly different ways) and we are a group coming and going. Worker ants. Worker bees. However, we are still individuals.

As I was walking from the parking lot to the front doors one morning I saw this hanging from someone’s rear view mirror.

I had to smile. Air freshener? Musical statement? Right on.

This worker bee has got an extra gob of honey.

Music. You gotta love it.

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The Black Angels – Majestic Theater Madison – 05-13-2017

I can’t believe it has been 3 years since I saw The Black Angels.

I was turned on to The Black Angels by Otis and I fell for them hard. I scoured the internet for live tracks and obscurities (as I am wont to do) and for those looking for a treat check out The Black Angels on Austin City Limits:

They play without all the lights and you can see and get a sense for the way they play and the talent they all have without all the flash. It’s a good compare and contrast from the live show with all the effects.

And it turns out they are appearing again soon!:

To me, the melding of the psych and heavy bottom end that The Black Angels play is spot on and perfect. The show 3 years ago blew me away and I was stoked for this years show.

So Saturday night we ventured down to King Street. I love getting a shot of the marquee.

We got in and having arrived after doors opened, we went directly upstairs, it was already packed downstairs. I headed for the crows nest (right hand side over the stairs) but there were too many folks standing in the right hand standing zone, so we headed for seating further up. Actually there were only a few rows above us. The view was actually not bad, because we were high enough to be above the railing that often fouls my photos.

The first band (A Place To Bury Strangers) was already playing. They were very psych and the lighting was not conducive to any photos. The lighting was more like strobe explosions. There was a sign out front as we came in warning about “stroke lighting”. They were not kidding. So either the stage was dark, with not even the stage lights on, or the lights were blazing. As a consequence, this is my best picture of the band:

I am undecided about the A Place To Bury Strangers set. Parts were great, other parts were kind of off for me. I think I should check out their studio work.

Then as the members of A Place To Bury Strangers left the stage into the crowd to the sound of feedback the house lights came up and there was a stage changeover. Afraid I would never get another shot, I took this shot of the band as they were between songs and the lights were up. I knew that a light show was an essential part of Black Angels shows.

The show started with “Currency”, my favorite track from the new album, which I bought on Record Store Day (though not an RSD release). It is fantastic to say the least.

There are times when I recommend starting to investigate a band with a particular album, but with The Black Angels… jump in anywhere. Every album is great. I love the artwork on them too. Here’s the newest one “Death Song”.

The music was thudding, the lights were flashing and swirling, and the music was mixed just right. A+ work sound board guys!

They did a nice mix of old and new stuff and the only thing we couldn’t see was the backdrop that the folks downstairs could see behind the band. When I went to the bar for another delicious cider I could see it, and it was, at least at that time, a picture from the inside of the album of “face melting woman”.

I tried to get some more pictures as they played, but I didn’t have much success. Here are the 2 pictures I consider viewable.

There was a time when I thought the inclusion of an organ in a band made it too old time. Probably from my experience with our family organ when I was a kid. The organs that these guys play are an essential part of the psych and they play them well. You can see here that sometimes the lead singer played organ, sometimes bass, and the right hand keyboard guy also played guitar. They are versatile, that’s for sure.

The stage presence of the band is low key, not a lot of movement, but the music and the lights make you feel like the room is spinning or bouncing along. It’s a great show.

I hit the merch table on the way out and picked up a copy of an older album, Phosphene Dream:

It was a great night and I’ll be spinning this and turning on my music room closet lights to give myself the poor man’s effects from the show.

Come back to Madison soon Black Angels!

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Things I Didn’t Know About Ravi Shankar…

First of all, I had no idea that Norah Jones was his daughter. I learned that a few years ago from Rolling Stone (in an article that was actually related to music – personal rant, sorry) and I was surprised, and then when I thought about it, not so surprised. Different instruments, but both full of talent.

I collect Ravi Shankar albums. I find them amazing. They have complicated rhythms and very stringent patterns but at the same time are jazzy almost. If you haven’t checked out any Ravi Shankar I encourage you to try him out. Anything that has a track list that includes ragas… you can’t go wrong.

Another thing I didn’t know was that he is into D&D! Check out the special thanks…

I stumbled on this as I was looking for some info on Ravi and in conjunction with a podcast I am listening to recently (thanks Otis)…

I couldn’t help but add this here. Okay, clearly not the REAL Ravi Shankar… but my recommendation to listen to Ravi still holds.

I’d start with “3 Ragas”

Okay this was just silly, but I did wrap it with a recommendation. So it counts. Sort of.



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Last Night A DJ Saved My Life

That is a disco reference that Max won’t get, but I had to write something tonight and highlight something cool.

I got notification that Max was doing a live feed on Instagram. Yes, I am privy to SOME modern technology. So I clicked it and there he was in the WSUM studio, on video. He wasn’t broadcasting, but I was stoked to see him behind the mic.

Max has been working towards getting his own show on WSUM, taking training and doing jobs and tonight he was doing a podcast in the studio to work with the board and possibly to create a show proposal. It was so cool!

Joey and I joined and he saw that we were on. He said hi to us. He was playing some hip hop and asked us for some requests.

Like a complete music nerd I immediately requested Rush – Working Man. Dalton would have loved it. In hindsight it was SO not in the theme of his show, but he played it anyway. Thanks Mr. DJ.

Then Joey picked a J. Cole song that was a little more in his wheelhouse. It was really cool to see Max in this setting. I was jealous. Back in the day I had a notion to join WORT Community Radio and try and get a show, but I had no time to do it really so it remained a pipe dream. Now my boy is doing it. Cool.

Max told the story of the Sunday night cleaning to Temple of the Dog and how he got his love of rock and jazz from me and crooners and soundtrack stuff from Patty. It was nice. We could hear the song in the background and Max and Patrick, who was in the studio with him, talking about music and memories during the song. I can’t wait to hear the playback when he posts the podcast.

I tried to get some picks a bit closer to the mark with some Prince or Public Enemy and Max played Prince – Kiss. It was awesome.

It was a cool way to see the show in action. Thanks for streaming it Max and good luck on getting a slot there. You know I will be listening. Let me know when and what time and I’ll be making ridiculous requests some more.

Love ya.

P.S.   In case you were curious:

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Is That Blondie !?

Every now and then you hear a sound in a song, a riff, a baseline and it just makes your mind go HUH?

Have I heard that before??

Remember the whole Queen vs Vanilla Ice thing.

Sampling. It was a thing. These days only the rich artists who can afford the rights do much sampling. You could say that the Vanilla Ice thing seemed to usher in its downward spiral. Whether do do do da dado da and do do da do da dado da were fundamentally the same or not was irrelevant really.

That whole thing popped into my head as I was listening to Gary Numan’s Telekon album.

Now, I love Gary Numan, but the brain tilt that happened when I heard the beginning of the song “Remind Me To Smile” was immense. I know that opening synth phrase!

It took me a moment, but I figured it out. It is almost the same as Blondie’s “Heart Of Glass” opening from Parallel Lines:

So weird. Apparently this was a sound created by a Roland CR-78 and many bands were using it, so it was probably less of a copying the same sound as it was experimentation and adopting a similar sound organically as it fit the sound of the time.

Then suddenly I wondered who was there first. Turns out Gary’s album was out in 1979 and Blondie’s in 1978. So they beat him. Although it can be said that Gary Numan took it to a whole other level and made electronic music a cornerstone of his sound.

At this point I need to take a moment to recommend Gary Numan’s first 2 albums which had the moniker Tubeway Army. Especially this one:

This album blew my mind. I love it. The second Tubeway Army album “Replicas” is also fantastic. Rush out and buy them now.

On a tangential rant against Spotify… why are the Blondie albums “Parallel Lines” and “Eat To The Beat” not on Spotify? Sigh. I have to believe there is some corporate licensing reason, because at least “Parallel Lines” was a blockbuster for them.

The rabbit hole grabbed me then and I ended up listening to Debbie Harry “Kookoo”. This was Debbie’s first solo album. I had the tape.

I recall liking this tape and I have some very specific memories of listening to this in the student union on my headphones and tuning out the world. The lighthearted and poppy, even a little 70’s white rappy attitude it had was perfect for the time. I loved “The Jam Was Moving” which was SO not Blondie.

“CRAZY CRAZY CRAZY!!”     You feel me.

You go Debbie.

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No Hammer. Not again…

After seeing M.C. Hammer doing a spot for Command Strips I thought I had seen the last of him in ads for products. Wrong.

At least in this one he is on the street doing his thing and not in a tool box.

Nobody rocks those parachutes pants like him.

Go Hammer, go Hammer, go!

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