A guest post I penned about Dead Fame’s new Vicious Design EP just went up over at RVA Playlist. I hope y’all will take a few minutes and check it out. RVA Playlist does so much for Richmond’s music scene, and it’s an honor to have my words featured on Andrew’s site (especially when those words are about a band that’s as exciting as Dead Fame).
Click here to take a look.
Dead Fame — “Joan Crawford” [Spotify/iTunes]
Some non-bloggy writing (and a temporary lack of a laptop) is pulling me away this week, but I thought I’d share my current whistle-while-you-work music.
Max Richter’s 2002 album Memoryhouse was recently reissued for the second time on vinyl, and while I’m stuck listening on Spotify (Record Store Day wiped out my vinyl budget for the foreseeable future), it’s proving to be a very nice work companion. See what I mean by sampling my favorite track “Maria, the Poet (1913),” below.
Max Richter — “Maria, the Poet (1913)” [Spotify/iTunes]
OK, so I may or may not have just listened to The Ride of the Valkyries to psych myself up for Record Store Day. Is that crazy? It is, isn’t it.
Whatever, I’m excited.
I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it differently — there’s a distinct, elevated echelon of songs and albums that manage to both entertain and offer up new perspective on something you thought you had a handle on. For me, it usually happens in relation to words. Most recently, Jason Isbell’s Southeastern took the word “down” and turned it on its head via some gorgeous, wilting guitar work and an overarching narrative of hard-earned serenity. I’ll never look at the hierarchical relationship between “up” and “down” the same way. Black Girls’ new album Claire Sinclaire gets to that transcendent point, proving enjoyable in the extreme while bringing on its own haunting redefinition.
I found out yesterday that the man who wrote “Dueling Banjos,” Arthur Smith, died last Thursday at the age of 93. It was one of those moments in which you realize someone has made your life better in a specific and meaningful way, yet you never even knew that person’s name. Now I do, it’s Arthur Smith, and even though it’s too late, I’d like to say thanks.
So I’ve been keeping a secret from you guys and gals, but I can’t hold it in any longer — Mrs. YHT is pregnant! Knocked up! With child! And not just any child — a girl child!
If you’re a YHT regular, you might have spent some small portion of the last few weeks asking yourself “Hey, why hasn’t he said anything about March Madness? He loves the tournament…” You’d be right! Last year I did a two–part “Tournament Album Coverage” post, and the year before that I celebrated a VCU win by creating a crude mashup of six “Black And Yellow” remixes playing simultaneously. (It still makes me cringe, then laugh, then cringe some more. There’s treble, there’s too much treble, and then there’s my “Black And Yellow” mashup.)
It’s not that I haven’t been watching. On the contrary — I got to binge-watch on the first Friday of the tournament — aka Basketball Christmas — and like last year I listened to records the whole time, but it wasn’t quite as upbeat this time around. My billion-dollar bracket was knocked out of contention by the very first game on Thursday, then Duke was upset by 14-seed Mercer in the very first game on Friday afternoon, killing my personal rooting interest and taking my bracket out of contention in my family’s pool (I had Duke losing in the final game). Just like that, my hopes were dashed, and the weekend hadn’t even started yet. I wondered whether I’d feel like watching at all on Friday evening.
Then I came up with a plan.
Instead of letting my disappointments ruin Basketball Christmas, I decided to put my vinyl collection to good use by throwing myself the most comically depressing pity party I could muster while rooting for every favored seed — no matter how far my bracket had them going — to lose. It was way more fun than it should have been.
Here are the covers to prove it:
I’m sequestering myself by not reading about an album I’m primarily interested in because of one of my favorite music writers. And I’ve written a blog post about it. The Internet is a weird place.
I love reading about music. I love the descriptions, the debates, the cultural contextualization, the personal preferences — there are so, so many songs and albums I never would have heard had I not read about them online. (I really think this interweb thing is going to bring people together, ya know?)
That said, every once in a while, it’s fun (important, even?) to listen in a vacuum. To dive into a lake knowing you’re the only one making ripples in it. That’s what I’ve been doing yesterday and today with EMA’s new album, The Future’s Void.