I don’t always hit up sidewalk sales, but when I do, it always seems to be at Deep Groove Records. There’s something about flipping through records in nice weather right there on Robinson Street… I love it.
I’ve had luck at their sales in the past, but nothing like this weekend. I snagged five items, and I’m going to try to do quickie posts about each of them, because I’m that psyched and can’t help sharing.
First up is Mirror, the third album from one man band Emitt Rhodes. All the instruments, all the vocals… all Rhodes, same as the self-titled album he released before this one. I have the kind folks from Sleepwalkers to thank for putting him on my radar when I first met and interviewed them. Fitting, given how versatile and studio savvy the guys from Sleepwalkers are.
The record was pretty cloudy, which might explain why it was part of a sidewalk sale, but a wood glue peel cleared things up considerably. I hadn’t heard a note of Mirror (it doesn’t seem to be available via iTunes or streaming), but much like his eponymous album, it’s excellent, especially when you factor in Rhodes’ solo approach. Right up there with Paul McCartney’s best post-Beatles output.
See what I mean:
Emitt Rhodes — “Better Side of Life” [YouTube/Discogs]
Two people told me — in totally separate conversations — that yesterday felt like Thursday to them. The weird thing is that I felt the exact same way, and I felt it before either of those conversations happened.
My displacement probably has something to do with there being a highly anticipated college basketball game tonight, during which I’ll be ending a self-imposed and sickness-related alcohol prohibition. I’d guess that yesterday felt like Thursday to folks in Richmond because we’re supposed to get some relatively (emphasis on “relatively”) serious snow today. There’s the potential for work/school/life getting canceled tomorrow, so today gets to pretend to be Friday, which, given the weekday pecking order, is a solid upgrade for poor old Hump Day. (Don’t get me wrong — I’m sure Monday would still kill to be Wednesday, even if it had to endure being nicknamed something so undignified.)
I say we go with it. I’m declaring today an unofficial Friday, and I have the perfect musical accompaniment — Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr’s new mixtape.
I love our first lady.
She can Dougie. She can Oscar. She listens to Frank Ocean. And that’s just what we learned about her this past weekend.
It all started on Friday night, when she appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Not only did Mrs. Obama participate in an “Evolution of Mom Dancing” skit with Fallon, demonstrating how hard it is for people who can dance well to act like they can’t (and how oddly convincing Jimmy Fallon looks in drag), she also sat for an interview and talked about the music that the first family’s been listening to lately. Two of the names she mentioned — Frank Ocean and Beyoncé — were familiar, but she mentioned another, less-familiar artist — Elle Varner.
The context in which Varner’s name came up is my favorite part.
[Editor’s Note: The London games have officially been declared open, and I for one am excited as hell — so excited that I’m setting aside a whole blogweek to dive into the crazy stuff that’s happened so far. So without further ado (please read the following words in a British accent), it is my honor to officially declare open You Hear That’s “OMG! OLYMPICS!” week!]
OMG, YOU GUYS! OLYMPICS!
Can we talk about the opening ceremony for a quick second? About the Queen of England (kind of) jumping out of a helicopter? About the hilarious squadron of Industrial Revolution dudes dancing in tuxes and top hats? About the terrifying, 100-foot-tall Voldemort? About the above-pictured sparks-spewing rings that themselves looked like something lifted out of Harry Potter? I must admit to being a little underwhelmed by the first few minutes, with the cricket-playing and the maypole-winding and the over-the-top pastoral bliss, but things picked up significantly, and if you didn’t catch it, I highly recommend you set aside those 3 hours you have just lying around the house and indulge in the most schizophrenic display of national pride you’ll ever see.
Oh wait, I would make that recommendation if NBC wasn’t criminally out of touch with how people consume media these days. They’re militantly policing the interweb, taking down full streams of the opening ceremony wherever they pop up, offering instead chopped up highlights, each with an annoying commercial tacked on to the front. And don’t get me started on how they still think it’s OK to tape-delay events like this to get bigger ratings. Ugh. Dicks.
Wait a minute… this post was supposed to be a celebration! I’m not letting NBC throw an ice pack on my Olympic fever! Let’s look at the sunny side…
So guess where I was this weekend? If you said, “On your couch, watching hours of European soccer, NASCAR and playoff basketball, without exhibiting the slightest inkling of productivity,” you’d be DEAD WRONG, alright?
That was the weekend before.
I’m proud to say that this weekend, I was up in the fine state of New Jersey, providing the music for my cousin Leigh’s wedding ceremony with the dinged-up, pink-tape-sporting guitar amp pictured above. This was my second gig playing guitar at a wedding (the first was at my sister’s in Chicago a few years ago, in which instance you could technically say I opened for David Vandervelde), and I’m so happy Leigh and her newly-minted husband Dan asked me to be a part of their special day. One of the best parts was corresponding with Leigh beforehand about which songs I’d play and when in the ceremony I’d play them. Helping my cousin choose the soundtrack to one of life’s most meaningful events was an incredible honor.
The funny thing is, though Leigh and I exchanged messages about the playlist, brides actually miss out on like half of the tunes. Seems unfair, right? Some random second cousin’s +1 gets to hear everything, but the bride, fulfilling her role as the fashionably late piece in the processional puzzle, only gets to hear the second-to-last and last songs? An outrage! I thought I’d remedy this by recreating the experience for Leigh via some favorite cover versions of all 4 songs played, along with a link to a runner-up for each (sorry, YouTube has way too much cool stuff to choose just one), starting with the music that helped the guests get settled in their seats.