Thursday, December 24, 2009

Mixtape Monday - not Monday edition

Hello Boys and girls, hope you're all staying warm in this wonderful winter holiday season. And what better time than to introduce yet another running segment to the blog!?

I had meant to start this Mixtape Monday piece a few weeks ago but things have been a little crazy. So here we go, just a little late (or early, depending on how you look at it)

In this segment, we'll dig through the Bieber musical archives to pull some classic mixtapes out of the vault and see how mad my skillz really were when it came to making the "ultimate" mix of music to take with you. Note that the mixtapes used herein are actual TAPES that I have stored somewhere in my collection, unless otherwise noted. I will also do my best to link to listenable versions of the tunes included so you can get a taste for the feel and the flow of the mix. The flow is very important, though some of my more complex mixes may be challenging to find all the tracks and skits and stuff. But we'll see how it goes

Also, note that my cassette of choice is and always will be Maxell XLII, 90-minute tapes. Anything longer than 90 minutes and you ran the risk of the tape itself becoming stretched, worn and flimsy and usually meant a shorter tape life.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Moment Ends, Parts I & II

Ok so this is my attempt at starting a regular segment into this darn blog thinger. Rather than writing about a full album, this segment is dedicated to those brief little moments, in songs, concerts, etc, that make you step back and realize. Whether it's realize how much you absolutely LOVE or HATE a song, how much you enjoy the band, or how badly you need to go to the bathroom, it can be collected here.

I'm including two parts so that those who are not schooled in the verse of Phish can still participate.

Part I (note the classy use of Roman Numerals)
At a Phish show, during Harry Hood, right after the "Thank you Mister Miner" is repeated for the last time. They kind of draw out the "thank you mr. uhhh....." and then the tune just drifts off into a nice soft open piece, usually with Paige going on a little walk across the keys. Kuroda uses some good soft lighting and it honestly feels like what was a hot, sweaty box of a concert venue (or humid ampitheatre) suddenly has a cooling breeze blowing right through. No matter how hot it is, it feels lile someone just opened all the doors in the venue and just aired the place out. I love it. It's one of those moments during a Phish show I truly enjoy, both musically and physically cuz it's usually hot as shit in those shows. This link will take you to an example. I started it about 10 seconds early so you can see a little bit of the buildup.

Part II (yes, more roman numerals)
Stone Temple Pilots
Interstate Love Song
There are a few songs that have those catchy hooks that just totally get me. And this is one of those, big time. From the opening riff, I'm totally diggin it, and then when the chorus hits, it just makes me want to roll down all the windows and drive really, really fast (which I know I usually do already anyway). So that's why I think the name of the song is so fitting! If you aren't an STP fan, or haven't heard the song in a while, I STRONGLY SUGGEST LISTENING TO IT RIGHT NOW to see what I mean! You'll be humming the tune for the next two days.
Ok so those are my first two installments of "The Moment Ends". I'm sure you all have moments too, and I'd love to hear them. Drop me a line (brian dot bieber at gmail) if you have one you'd like to be highlighted here on the site in a future segment. I promise, I'll give you full credit for it!
Until then, enjoy the music!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Steely Dan: Gaucho

When I was little, I thought that Steely Dan was a man, not a band. It wasn't until years later that I realized that it wasn't a guys name. I was able to track back and figure out why I thought this, though.

My exposure to Steely Dan was again compliments of my Father, who had "Gaucho" on one side of an old Maxell Cassette (hence the old school photo). On the other side of the tape......Christopher Cross' self-titled album. Ugh. But I'll save that for another time.

So I think it makes sense that a 5-year old would think that if it's a guy's name on one side of the tape, then it would be another guy on the other side, right? Gaucho came out in 1980, so I figure that's around the age we're talking, maybe a little bit older. And in case you were wondering, Christopher Cross came out with his first album in 1979. Ahh, sailing.....

It's funny now that I look at the Track list that I only remember the first five tunes with any sort of clarity. Perhaps that old cassette cut off the last couple tracks because it wasn't long enough? (btw, when was it that you could release an album that was only seven tracks?! And it still couldn't fit on a cassette!

But what I do remember is good times. I remember my sister and I waiting in the back seat until the "shake it!" line of the chorus after the ladies voices sang the first part of the line. And I remember wondering what the hell the Santa Ana winds were.

For "Hey Nineteen" I totally have one of those " 'scuse me while I kiss this guy" moments where I totally got the words wrong. In the chorus, I had thought they were singing "The Fine Coat Run Me In". Not that I really knew what that meant. The actual line is "The Fine Colombian", which is kind of funny because there's really no way in hell I would have know what THAT meant either! Though I do credit that song with giving me the name of Aretha Franklin to look up and see who was the actual Queen of Soul. Hard to argue with that. It wasn't long after that I first saw Aretha play the angry wife/waitress in the Blues Brothers movie, which showcased her abilities with an awesome version of the tune "Think".

And I realize now while reading the lyrics of "Glamour Profession" that I had no idea what the song was about. But hey, that's what happens when you're a kid under the age of 10 listening to Steely Dan, the man or the band. Either way, they're still great tunes.

A few years ago I had the chance to go see Steely Day play at the E Center in Camden, NJ (now the Sovereign Bank Center). It was one of the most enjoyable shows I can remember. Just sitting on blanket on the lawn, listening to some musical genius played live in front of us. I was dying to try and get tickets to see the special shows they played this past year (they did a few shows where they played complete albums and then a few other all-request shows).

In later years, I became a HUGE Steely Dan fan. I still remember the day I found the ultimate bargain when I pulled a used copy of their boxed set Citizen Steely Dan. It was selling for $60 new and the used copy, with collector's booklet was only 20 bucks! I LOVE POSITIVELY RECORDS! It was one of my first real finds there. You will certainly hear that store's name again and again on this blog. If you're in the Fairless Hills, PA area, definitely check them out. Still one of the best sources for used music in the Philly area, IMO.

During the years since I purchased that set, I've worn it into almost flimsy shape from so many playings, bringing on road trips, to and from college, etc. But the music still sounds just as good as it did when we used to listen to that old Maxell Cassette. Good stuff! Go Listen!

Friday, December 4, 2009

iPod Makeover this weekend! Need your recommendations!

OK so it's time for a long overdue revamping of the musical selection on the iPod currently. I have a 60 gig unit, so I'm sure some of the standard stuff that's on there will remain. But I want to wipe it clean and start from scratch. And I'm looking for YOUR recommendations of things to add. Whether it's new and on the charts, or old and needs to be dusted off, tell me what it is and why it should be added. A special prize to all who post comments (as long as you include your email address)!

Thanks for your assistance!