Archive for the Music Category

sounds of the Barrow-downs

Posted in Music, Popular Culture with tags , , , , , , on April 24, 2018 by phanteana

peanut butter & jelly. mac n’ cheese. Tolkien & Metal. two great tastes that go together, especially that last one (though the others are pretty solid, too).

by now, it should come as no surprise that Middle-Earth has inspired and influenced generations of musicians. can the same be said about other authors (living or deceased)? yes, but mostly in specific genres (horror, fantasy, science fiction, Gothic romance). there aren’t too many songs written about The Great Gatsby or Heart Of Darkness (that i’m aware of, at least).

if J.R.R. Tolkien were alive today, would he be flattered or offended by the use of his works in Metal music? since i can’t ask him, i’d venture to guess he’d be confused but also pleased that people still cared about him (which they definitely do after all these years).

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me(n)tal health

Posted in Music, Popular Culture with tags , , on February 25, 2018 by phanteana

oh, the irony: back in the 80’s, Metal was deemed as a corrupting influence on young people. parents literally viewed it as the devil and claimed kids were doing drugs, having sex, or worse…committing heinous crimes and killing themselves because they believed there were hidden messages in the lyrics. fans of Metal were labeled as outcasts with few friends who did poorly in school, had trouble at home, or were just plain angry and depressed all the time.

today, there are still those parents who try to shield their kids from Metal. but its influence has taken a dramatic turn, and is now revered in some circles. one such is the mental health community, as more musicians and fans are sharing their stories of overcoming anxiety, depression, and mental illness. so the music that was once considered evil is actually a force of good in this world by helping people deal with stress and even saving lives. in other words, never judge an album by its cover.

“…cannot the kingdom of salvation take me home”

Posted in Music, Popular Culture with tags , on February 8, 2018 by phanteana

if you’re a celebrity, it’s an honor to have a day named for you. it’s an even bigger deal if you’re a celebrity that’s not only largely unknown to the mainstream, but also deceased. such an individual is Cliff Burton, whose brief-yet-illustrious career has always been overshadowed by his early passing over 30 years ago. even so, volumes have been written about his playing technique, his songwriting ability, and his devotion to his family, notably his father Ray (who is just as beloved as his famous son). Papa Ray has kept his son’s memory alive numerous times in the past, but now the late bassist’s hometown of Castro Valley, CA has declared “Cliff Burton Day” to take place on February 10 (which would be his 56th birthday had he lived). first, the Library of Congress inducts Master Of Puppets. now, this…further proof that even though he is gone, Cliff Burton is very much still with us.

youth gone wild

Posted in Library Science stuff, Music with tags , , , , on January 2, 2018 by phanteana

if you’re a parent, you want to impress your kids with all the cool stuff you were into when you were their age. as a librarian, you want to do the same for your youthful audience. sure, libraries have an abundance of video games & YA novels…but what about music? if your branch’s audio selection is lacking in coolness, perhaps it’s time to crank things up a bit…and if you really want to win the award for Librarian (or Parent) Of The Year, you can even tell the kids that the number 1 pick on the list is in the Library of Congress!

original sin(ger)

Posted in Music with tags , , , on November 22, 2017 by phanteana

Michael was the epitome of the charismatic front man: his voice, physical presence, and personality made him the Mick Jagger of the 80’s. he was special, whether he realized it or not. i never got to see INXS, and it remains one of the biggest regrets i could have. the proposed 20th anniversary tour, which Michael was rehearsing for at the time of his death, would have been my opportunity to see him in his true form. i never got that chance.

when we mourn artists we’ve never met, we don’t cry because we knew them. we cry because they helped us know ourselves.

 

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music to die for: the story of Goth in 33 songs

Posted in Music, Popular Culture with tags , , , , on October 29, 2017 by phanteana

music lists compiled as a “history of [insert genre here]” are always interesting to read. some songs fit perfectly, while others appear to be a square peg in a round hole. the story of Goth has long been up for debate: who really started it, where did it begin, etc. these theories can go on for days in online discussion forums and on social media, and sometimes a resolution is nowhere in sight.

to join in the ongoing debate, Pitchfork put together “The Story Of Goth In 33 Songs” in an attempt to shed some light on the dark side of modern music. in addition, they conducted a phone interview with Peter Murphy, who is often viewed as one of Godfathers of Goth despite never fully aligning himself with the title. Murphy’s solo albums are less brooding than his work with Bauhaus and his two greatest influences were David Bowie and Iggy Pop (who were credited with inventing Glam Rock and Punk, respectively), but he never lost his eerie creative flair (thank goodness).

while i can’t say i’m familiar with the latter entries on the list (other than Fever Ray’s “If I Had A Heart“), the classics i know and love certainly reflect the story of Goth well. my only issue with this list is the lack of inclusion of “Paint In Black“, which is probably one of the best representations of Goth in its infancy (and paved the way for numerous covers by both Goth and non-Goth artists)…a job well done, Mick.

days of black

Posted in Music with tags , on October 20, 2017 by phanteana

i live in a major US city that hosts a lot of popular musical acts on their tours. however, some of the artists i enjoy are European, and rarely cross shores whether it be for travel issues, financial matters, or simply just less of a fan base to perform to. while there are some folks who have the means to travel around the world to see their favorite musicians, others do not and unfortunately miss out on the experience. but again, it costs money to have fun these days.

one group that i’ve been a long-time admirer of is Amsterdam’s Clan Of Xymox. for over 30 years, they’ve cast a spell on listeners with dark & dance-able tunes. they’ve headlined some of the biggest festivals in Europe and South America, but finding a home with US audiences hasn’t been so easy; while the West Coast and the Southeast have welcomed the band with open arms (despite their lack of US appearances, they have played multiple one-off shows in Florida, Texas, and California), parts of the Northeast only contain smatterings of fans and obviously concerns of whether or not audiences will turn up certainly have held CoX back from playing places like New York & Boston (despite both being large cities with rich culture). but both these cities will finally have an opportunity once again to see Clan of Xymox next spring, as they tour the US for the first time in almost 20 years…happy days of black are here again.