Monthly Archives: January 2015

First bylines of 2015

It’s been awhile since I’ve said hello here, but not for lack of anything to talk about. Au contraire, mes amis (Je suis Charlie), I’ve been busy with fun events both musical and travel-oriented. Still rummaging through pics and such to share, so in the meantime, I give you two links:

1. My first article for the new year, a simple news items about the return of Scottish punk band The Rezillos, who will be releasing their first new studio album since their 1978 debut, Can’t Stand the Rezillos.

Rezillos copy

2.The Village Voice Pazz and Jop Critics Poll was printed/posted online today and yours truly was one of the 1000+ music writers who sent in a ballot of Top Ten albums and singles for the past year. You can see the overall results and my personal ballot.

As usually happens, shortly after I submitted my ballot, I was reminded of a song that I should have included. I was driving with Sirius XM’s alternative station on the radio when I heard a tune called “Work It Out” by a young band from Arkansas named Knox Hamilton. I liked the song so much when I heard it a few other times on Sirius that I Shazam’ed it and bought it from emusic. If I had my list to do over again, I would probably bump Sondre Lerche’s “Bad Law,” from his fine album, Please (which I reviewed for one of my examiner.com columns).

Happily, the band is coming to play this weekend at my favorite local joint, Jammin Java, so I intend to attend and will write up a review to show my interest in (and, one hopes, enjoyment of) the band.

More to come soon, including my first live reports of the year, including my night as judge at the Jammin Java Band Battle and a trip to Florida, where I visited a most wonderful record store.

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1/5/15. And Here We Go Again…!

Being laid up in bed for much of January 1 and 2 (not a hangover, just an insidious cold), I quickly said goodbye to ye olde Gonna-Post-Everyday-This Year resolution, which is just as well ‘cause it wasn’t going to happen anyway. As much as I love the New School Year/Tabula Rasa element of opening up a fresh datebook for 2015, there’s something unhealthy in tying all good intentions (and we know what the road to hell is paved with) to one fixed point in the year. Why not start a brand new year of great things on May 17th (totally arbitrary date)?

That said, I do want to be more consistent in tracking my musical (and some non-) doings in this hopeful new year. Towards that end, we reset the counter for the annual O/CD Music Tally. On a visit to Best Buy on Saturday, Jan. 3, I came home with the first three music purchases of 2015:

1. ONE DIRECTION – Where We Are: Live From San Siro Stadium (DVD) Go ahead and laugh all you want; I’ve got my philosophy, and it includes giving into the joy of cute boys and happy pop music. In the post-Beatles/Monkees redefinition of what makes a Boy Band, I dare say 1D are the best yet. I thoroughly enjoy sharing them with my daughters (who are in their 20s) and by myself. Seeing the stadium show in 2014 at Nats Park here in DC was great fun. I look forward to reliving it on DVD, and “Steal My Girl” is still in heavy rotation on my current playlist. (ICYMI, Harry’s my favorite, with Liam running a close second.)

The 1D DVD was on my Christmas list, so it was inevitable I would buy it when Santa didn’t deliver (he had bigger fish to fry) and, with a $35 gift certificate from Best Buy (we bought a new fridge and got beaucoup bonus points), I was ready to take a chance on some new stuff, too. Two album that I’d been hearing a lot about caught my eye, especially in cool packaging and at low prices:

2. BANKS – Goddess ($8.99) The jewel case was a sharp, dark red, which gave this CD an edge over FKA Twigs, whose album cover is a mess. Though I’ve had a taste of Banks’ music on my drives with Sirius XM radio, I was surprised by how not very excited I was to hear the whole thing. Played in the kitchen, while hubby was cooking, it made for a pleasant background experience. Revisited last night with headphones while I was falling asleep, there were some interesting blippy/bleepy arrangements but it didn’t have the original spark of a Lorde or an Adele, both of whom could be comparison points. When Banks strips away the excess stuff and you can hear her unadorned voice, it’s actually quite good, but it’s mostly buried in tracks that slither and slide around, never quite finding a hook or a groove.

jpeg 3. ROYAL BLOOD – S/T ($7.99) Been loving this gothic beauty of a cover since I first saw it, and the title kept popping up on Top Ten lists, so I figured why not? By the song titles – “Blood Hands,” “You Can Be So Cruel,” “Ten Tonne Skeleton” – I should have guessed that this was going to skew harder than my usual taste, but I can use a good kick in the head once in a while, and these guys have a knack for putting some blues and grunge in their heavy sound, more like a White Stripes or The Edge with more edge than a metal band. No regrets.

And this just in…

4. BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUB – So Long, See You Tomorrow  If you’d been around the electronics department of Reston’s Target store this afternoon about 5pm, you would have heard me squeal in sheer delight. In the clearance area, where most of the stock consisted of odd lot toys and old iPhone cases, I found this album – on vinyl! – for a mere $5.06 (down from $19.99). This particular Target store hasn’t had vinyl in months and even when it did, it was powerhouse names like Beatles, U2 and Justin Timberlake. Yet somehow, this scrappy little Canadian band, which I happen to know and like, had found its way to me. I really did give a gasp of joy, like I had won a small, sweet lottery prize.

Little things. Happy things. Welcome to 2015.

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