December 17, 2017

Music to "Live" By

The car is still in the shop, the costs are mounting, I don't care, let's have some live music!

Public Service Broadcasting - Gagarin (live)
PSB is an incredibly clever band, but in many ways a rather serious one too.  I mean, their most recent CD is *Every Valley*, about Welsh coal miners... not exactly the most commonly used fodder for pop music, y'know?  But "Gagarin", from *The Race For Space*, is a fun way to spend a few minutes with them.  I've discovered recently that NPR loves these guys... they've done a Tiny Desk Concert, and at least one other short concert of indeterminate origin has gotten on their airwaves too.  

Caravan Palace - Clash (live)
I used to believe that live versions of songs were inherently inferior to the studio track... after all, the song wouldn't have left the studio unless the band and producers thought it was perfect.  Then over time, I came to feel that live versions were, by definition, better than the studio because of the energy inherent in the performance, and if there are mistakes involved, oh well, that's live music for ya... it lends it flavor!  But what happens when you get a performance like this one which is as tight, as perfect, as flawless as a studio performance, but still has all that live energy?  Does the track collapse into itself, forming an event horizon that no other versions of the song can emerge from?

Rubber Duckie - It Is Not (live)
Maybe a year ago I was looking for a particular "duck song"... you stop rolling your eyes at me... on youtube.  It was a call-and-response thing between a little duck and a cat that was, apparently, from a Hungarian children's show back in the '80s.  Yeah, don't ask how THAT came into my life, but it's one of the oldest mp3s in my collection.  I don't have a real name on it, just "Qua Qua Qua".  I'm pretty sure it was Hungarian, though.. I remember finding info on it once.  Anyway, as I searched I stumbled upon a TV show about the rock music scene in South Korea featuring a band calling themselves "Rubber Duckie."  One of the songs they featured just blew me away, but it had a narrator telling the band's story overtop of it.  At the time, I couldn't find a clean copy anywhere.  Until a few days ago.  This is that song.  Enjoy, don't you?

Bonus: Aya Hirano/ENOZ - Lost My Music 
I've been listening to some tracks from the Haruhi Suzumiya OSTs and it continually amazes me just how good the songs from the "Live Alive" episode are.  After listening to Aya Hirano try to sing them live, however... well.  She did a better job in the studio is all I'm gonna say.  But it wasn't a lost search, because I stumbled upon this gem.  We all know how over-the-top the Japanese are with their pachinko machines... that's the entire history of Rio Rainbow Gate! after all.  But I had no idea that there was a Haruhi-themed pachinko machine, or that KyoAni did 707 frames of animation for an advertising campaign for it, or that they were individually scattered across Japan via smartphone, billboard, konbini, and magazine.  Whenever someone "found" a frame, they were to upload it to a website and eventually the entire video would be revealed.  And lo, it was... a short music video of the cast in their "Extravaganza" costumes.  Kinda cool, that!

That's enough, I'm going to bed now.

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December 13, 2017

RIP Pat DiNizio

Most, if not all of you, my lovely readers, are looking at the title of this post and wondering just who the heck Pat DiNizio was.  This was Pat DiNizio:

Lead singer and main songwriter for my favorite straight-out rock and roll band, The Smithereens.  They never did much on the charts, topping out at #37 on the Billboard Top 100 with "Too Much Passion," off 1992's A Date With The Smithereens.  But it was their earlier albums, Especially For You, Green Thoughts, and particularly 1989's 11 that made them their fans.
My favorite Smithereens moment was when the band was accused by Rolling Stone magazine as "sounding too much like the Beatles."  Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but from where I come from, sounding like the Beatles is a compliment, not a pejorative.  However, I disagree that they sound all that much like the Fab 4, if only because they're better instrumentalists.
Their tunes routinely showed up on movie soundtracks, and "Blood And Roses" was used in an episode of Miami Vice, would you believe?  Sadly, I never got to see them perform live, thought the opportunity appeared twice.  The first time was up in Minnesota; they were playing in Minneapolis at First Avenue, but I had a cast on my foot from an unfortunate incident involving gravity and a loading dock.  The second time was when they played at Duckford's annual music festival, On The Waterfront.  Sadly, the radio station I worked for was broadcasting live from the event and they wanted their best board operator at the controls.  Since she wasn't available, they asked me to do it.  Of course I said yes.  In a way though, it was okay... the Mobile Boombox (yes, really) was positioned near the rock stage, and I could hear 'em through the microphone feed back to the station.
When the band was... um... "on record label hiatus", he had a small solo career, but they never stopped touring together.  Of late, he had been suffering from ill health, and passed away earlier today.  He was 62.  And I'm bummed out.

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