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]
So the dam broke two nights ago. While at Steady Sounds for Daniel Bachman’s in-store, I bought a reissue of A Charlie Brown Christmas and chased it with copies of James Brown’s “Santa Claus Is Definitely Here To Stay” and the Blind Boys of Alabama “Christmas In Dixie” 7-inch that came out on Black Friday. Went home, listened to those. Then I busted out my recently acquired and festively green How the Grinch Stole Christmas soundtrack, discovering — much to Mrs. YHT’s and my delight — that, yes, it does indeed feature all of the original TV special’s narration. (I might as well buy a second copy now, because this one’s getting worn out in no time.) Then Stevie Wonder’s Christmas album happened, prompting me to tweet, tumbl and instragram that “You know shit’s getting Christmassy when Stevie Wonder starts harmonica soloing to ‘Ave Maria’ in your living room.”
Like I said. The dam broke.
For the second time this week, I’d like to hand the YHT keys over to someone else. This time’s a little different, though, because the designated driver isn’t a friend of mine and doesn’t actually know he’s a guest poster. He’s Ben Haggerty, aka Macklemore, of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis fame.
I’ve been a big supporter of his since October of last year. “Thrift Shop” quickly became one of my favorite songs, in part because it offered a rare fusion of fun — “Smells like R. Kelly’s sheets” — and seriousness — “I call that getting tricked by a business” — all while exhibiting an acerbic intelligence and a refreshing message of anti-consumerism. In the past week, he’s had to defend that message because of his participation in the intro to last Saturday night’s NBA All-Star festivities (posted above).
I have to admit — as I watched last weekend, I was a little surprised at the intro’s song choice, but I want to let Haggerty tell you the story himself for two reasons.
[Editor’s Note: I’m excited and honored to welcome my good friend Brian Gorman back to the blog. Gormie works for an accounting firm, but he’s also one of my favorite writers on the entire planet (his letters to customer service are the stuff of legend). If you’ve been reading for a while, you might have caught his touching piece about listening to B.B. King while getting an MRI. If you didn’t, be sure to check it out here.]
By BRIAN GORMAN
If YHT fans were going to the movies at all back in 1994, they will probably remember a certain iconic film with a floating feather and a moral lesson about a box of chocolates. And if you were like me, you may have been too busy watching your favorite shrimp boat captain bounce his way through the decades with his heart-warming mix of dopey antics and life-affirming optimism to realize that you were also simultaneously listening to one of the great compilation soundtracks of the 1990’s. Think about it, that flick had everything: Elvis, Hank Williams, twang master Duane Eddy — then Forrest grows up and he’s jamming out to Creedence and Jefferson Airplane. But it was more than just a “Greatest Hits” collection for nostalgic Baby Boomers and aging hippies. The music gave that flick a sense of time flow and defined whole periods and settings of American civilization as they passed by. Add to that The Supremes, a very healthy dose of The Doors, and as a final topping, the very memorable original score by composer Alan Silvestri. Memorable is the right word. For the rest of your life you will never see a feather glide to and fro upon the breeze without hearing the title theme come streaming into your head via an invisible piano. All in all, Forrest Gump was almost as good for the ears as it was for the heart.
Almost 20 years later (I know! can you believe it’s been that long?), Silvestri and filmmaker Robert Zemeckis have teamed up again on another great compilation soundtrack.
There are two things in this life that I love overthinking, and those things are music and basketball. So when fellow Richmonder and proprietor of breakout 2012 album Big Inner Matthew E. White posted the following question to Twitter, let’s just say that a few analytical gears started turning…
I didn’t know until I started doing some research, but his query first appeared in “Slam Harder,” a cut from Onyx’s 2002 album Bacdafucup Part II. And while the song and its video (posted above) attempt to provide an answer — a cry of “ONYX” rings out immediately after the question is asked at the beginning of each chorus — we clearly can’t accept such a biased judgement. We’re going to have to dig deeper.
A band for all seasons
(especially the cold, hot, wet, dry ones)
By Greg A. Lohr
Last fall, in an article lamenting the “lean times” for modern music critics, The Guardian suggested that album reviews have been made unnecessary by the ease and speed of illegal downloading. Who needs a review? “If you want to know what an album’s like before release, you can probably find out for yourself.”
With a blend of chagrin and nostalgia, I’d tend to agree. Grooveshark, Youtube, Pandora, Spotify … take your pick of music purveyors. Hate the ads? Pay the fees, and the end result’s the same: You can have the tunes you want, anytime. All the time.
And yet … Easy access may have granted reviews more power, rendered them more personal. Written well, they’re a friendly introduction, a vouching-for in mafia style. “Dear readers, I’d like you to meet [so-and-so band]. I stamp my approval. I think you’ll agree.”
So it is in this spirit that I introduce you to Molly Wagger, a band of Scots. They got stuck in my head. They’re my most recent crush.
[Editor’s Note: A little while back, I gently asked my friend Travis if he would do a guest post when he hit his much-anticipated 100-concert milestone. I couldn’t be more excited about what he wrote (if the benediction at the end doesn’t leave you a little verklempt, you may want to check your pulse). Without further ado…]
By TRAVIS HOFFMANN
I had to say goodbye to my horses. It just had to be done. Buffalo Bill would be proud.
A few years ago, I was trolling through my stack of concert ticket stubs (I’m currently working my way through a mild case of hoardism), nostalgically reminiscing about each concert fondly as I thumbed through. Or in the case of one particular show, where a particular tween high on ecstasy (not as high as whatever this guy is on though – yikes!) kept wanting to incessantly hug me, maybe not so fondly. Out of pure curiosity, I decided to count them. I ended up with 66. Shit, I thought, as I looked at them again, I really haven’t been to that many shows in the past few years (8 shows in a 3 year span??!!). What the hell had happened? Had I lulled myself into some kind of boring and pathetic 9-to-5 routine? Had I stopped participating in one of the pure enjoyments that gave me such great pleasure? Fuck dat, I knew what I had to do. I had to put my thang down, flip it and reverse it. And the only way I knew I could ensure that I actually got back at it was to set myself a firm goal: 100 concerts before I turned 30. It wouldn’t be easy, but it was guaranteed to be a whole whopping load of fun – I’d essentially have to do about a concert a month for the next 3 years, but I was excited like all get out. I didn’t really care about the actual number – the 100 or the 30 – they were just both nice even numbers that my tiny brain could remember easily. Hell, in the past month since show 1-0-0, I’ve been to three more (200 by 40 anyone? Just kidding honey).
Concerts are time capsules of unique musical goodness, snowflakes of the stage – each their own little piece of individuality. Along this journey I’ve learned that attending a show is the epitome of being able to completely immerse yourself in the moment. Something it seems we rarely get to do in this day and age of instant-gratification-need-it-now-no-I-will-not-wait-5-seconds-for-this-to-download culture. For as long as I can remember, music, and more specifically being at a live show, has been my preferred vice when I need/want release from all the worries/concerns/stresses that happen to creep up in the course of everyday life. The band Reptar sums this construct up perfectly with their Twitter bio: “we play music that makes you wanna dance and feel all your emotions.” Like any good vice, it’s a balance – wavering on the edge of an addiction – but that’s a battle I’m more than willing to address when the time comes. Or maybe I’ll just go see a show and leave that worry behind.
Alright, enough with all that mumbo-jumbo, let’s talk about this 100th show.
Filed under #guest, #live