I’ve never been much of a Pearl Jam fan. I like some of their music, but it really never moved me much. Pearl Jam is officially 30 years old this year, and their last album was released in 2013 to modest reviews, so I figured they had packed it in as a band. Oops, was I wrong. Welcome, Gigaton, due to be released in March. If the rest of the album is like the first 2 songs made available, then watch out.
“Dance of the Clairvoyants” was the first song released and it definitely cooks with propane. Take a listen.
Love the bass line and drumming that drive this song forward with a vengance. And just when I thought the song was ready to end as a tight 3 minute tune, the song morphs into a dreamy jam for a tasty ending.
WARNING: Dad joke ahead. Proceed at your own risk.
2019 was a great concert year for me. I went to 11 concerts, maybe more but my memory fails me on additional ones. Here they are ranked from worst to first.
11) Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple – Imagine playing only Deep Purple songs from the time when you were in the band and the group was no longer making memorable music. I walked out.
10) Black Keys/Modest Mouse – Disappointing.
9) Mt. Joy – Fun.
8) War – Free concert in the park performed with enthusiastic joy.
7) Car Seat Headrest – An pleasant evening with my oldest son listening to music by a band I was unfamiliar with on Chicago’s beautiful lakefront.
6) Smithereens with Marshall Crenshaw on lead vocals – Surprisingly good blending of talents.
5) Beatles White Album Tribute – Todd Rundgren, Mickey Dolenz, Christopher Cross, Joey Molland of Badfinger, and some guy formerly with the group Chicago performing all songs from the Beatles White Album with fun and style.
4) Heart/Sheryl Crow – Crow > Heart.
We don’t subscribe to movie channels with our cable subscription. Every once in a while when the stars align properly, we get free HBO for a few days. I record a bunch of movies, and we watch some of them until the next time we get free HBO. It’s a perfect system, except so many of the movies suck. I use the Rotten Tomatoes website to sort the viewable from the unwatchable.
I recorded Rock the Kasbah from 2015 starring Bill Murray because, well, I love Bill Murray and most everything he has ever done. I didn’t see the movie when it was released, because I heard it was terrible. And this did not look at all promising per Rotten Tomatoes …
Christmas can be a fun time, but also a very stressful time. There are gifts to buy, MAGA relatives to rub shoulders with, and decorations to put up outside often in less than ideal conditions. But Pete Yorn is back with some sage advice for this season.
Where’s Yorn been since he captivated us musically a decade ago with lyrical tales of his “Strange Condition?” Well, he’s been making music, but just not super memorable. This new tune from his 7th album may not be memorable, but it excellent advice to just calm the hell down.
If you aren’t calm after listening to that tune, then there’s something seriously wrong. Calm down. The gifts will get wrapped. The tree will be trimmed. You’ll get to go a-Wassailing, whatever that is. Ask Uncle George in his MAGA hat about his health. He won’t have time to talk about Trump. He’ll be too busy talking about his gout and the root canal he needs and the fried foods he can’t eat anymore because his cholesterol is too high and … well, you get the idea. When he’s done, just tell him to calm down because he looks great. Okay, that’s probably a lie. What is that spot on his head? But, what the hell, it’s the holidays. Maybe that Christmas lie will help him enjoy a Merry Christmas, like all of us will if we just calm down.
So this show came to town last night …
Again. It was here a couple months ago and sold out. Last night it sold out thanks to me and a couple friends being in the crowd. We were intrigued by the concept, but were glad our seats were by the emergency exit, just in case the show was a train wreck, and we did think that was a distinct possibility. I was especially skeptical of the inclusion of Jason Scheff who provided bass and vocals for Chicago in the 1980s when Chicago was cranking out sappy love songs.
Boy, was I wrong.
I was inspired to create this cartoon after watching our middle daughter dance at her university yesterday. She did a fine job. On the way home, somehow the discussion between my wife, middle daughter, youngest daughter, and I drifted to who is our favorite child. I believe our middle daughter “drifted” the conversation that way. My wife and I really don’t have favorites, although none of our five children will ever believe that. We are proud of each of them for their achievements, and do our best to support their attempts to achieve. Our youngest daughter is currently intent on achieving becoming taller than our middle daughter. She’s well on her way.
Yesterday, we were proud of our middle daughter’s performance along with hearing that she will start her professional dance career in Milwaukee this summer where she’s accepted a paid position in a dance company for one month. It’s a start. She’ll return for a 5th year at the university in 2020 to finish up double majors and minors.
If you are interested, here’s a short snippet of a longer dance from last year’s fall dance concert at her university. Our daughter enters the stage first.
I have grown to really like and appreciate Beck’s music as time has passed, enough to actually go see him put on a great live show this summer. I was anxious for his new album Hyperspace to be released after hearing the first song from the album, “Saw Lightning” that dropped over the summer. That song is a collaboration with Pharrell Williams, and it took a while, but it grew on me. I like songs that grab me and pull me toward the speaker or are so melodic that they cause me to sing along. My family prefers I get pulled to the speaker rather than the latter.
I started my listening relationship tentatively with “Saw Lightning.” At first, I took some baby steps toward the speaker, but eventually ran to it. But not so much with his second release from the album “Uneventful Days.” It’s a dreamy and ethereal tune, floating from the speaker to lull me into wanting to be in an elevator heading up to the 17th floor of a nondescript office building on Main Street in Anytown, USA. It doesn’t pull me to the speaker or make me want to sing along. It’s not a bad song, just … uneventful. And I find the music video to be a bit depressing.
The whole album is more minimalist than Beck’s 2017 release Colors which just roars from the speakers with layered perfection. Hyperspace has some decent tunes like “Star” and “Die Waiting,” but none that make me want to turn up the volume and shush whoever I’m with. I’m just not sure if I can stay awake between the moderately decent tracks to get to them. It’s not like it’s a bad album. Beck breaks new ground with his new sound once again. Illinois legalizes recreational pot on January 1st. I think I may enjoy this album a lot more after a few edibles on New Year’s Day.
I feel bad about not sharing some cool new song, so I’ll close by offering up Sturgill Simpson’s new country rocker called “Sing Along,” complete with wild cartoon video.
Makes me want to get in the car, roll down the windows (brrr!), crank this tune, and speed just enough that the cops allow it without pulling me over.