Archive for the Music Category

preaching for tomorrow, lacking for today (and the past few months)

Posted in Music, Popular Culture with tags , , , on January 5, 2019 by phanteana

….aaaaand just like that, it’s a new year….which typically means posting best-of lists from the previous year (though that probably should have been done last week, er…year).

2018 certainly had no shortage of new and interesting music/film/books/etc. but to be perfectly honest, there were only a few standouts for me. i feel terrible for admitting this, but i STILL haven’t seen the new Suspiria. that whole “i’m in an immersive boot camp” thing doesn’t offer much of a work/life balance. but i’m currently on a break, as i’ll be transferring from Software Engineering to my school’s recently acquired UX/UI (at no charge, woo hoo!) course, so maybe i’ll squeeze in some time to watch it before the new program begins next month. i mentioned previous that Back-End Development was a problem for me. i discovered that UX/UI is something i’ve been unintentionally participating in my entire life (or at least, in the years that i’ve had internet access, which is a looooooong time). i find it enjoyable, plus it’s extremely compatible with my Library Science background. but more on that later…

most people who read this know i love music (or at least certain genres of it). in the past few years, my tastes have shifted from classic Goth to Progressive Metal (much to the dismay of some of my more Goth-leaning compatriots…i still love Peter Murphy, though, and always will). there were 3 albums released this year that captivated me:

 

Kobra and the Lotus, Prevail II

Calgary is jokingly referred to as “the Texas of Canada”.  but if you’re a relatively unknown band from there and are on an independent label, releasing a double album is no laughing matter. in fact, it’s serious business and for Kobra (yes, it’s her real name) and her band of mischief makers, it paid off. the companion piece to 2017’s Prevail I, this albums continues to accomplish the band’s goal, which is to connect people through music. they’ve definitely surpassed that mission.

 

 

TesseracT, Sonder 

to fanboys, a TesseracT is something in the Marvel flicks. to me, it’s an atmospheric outfit from England who take listeners on a journey through space and time. they’ve switched vocalists (formerly Ashe O’Hara, currently Daniel Tompkins) but that adds to the special effects, as each has their own unique style.

 

 

Last Union, Twelve

i actually discovered Italy’s Last Union 2 years ago when they released an unsigned, self-produced album titled Most Beautiful Day. what drew me in was a special guest vocalist on three of the album’s tracks: James LaBrie (as in THE James LaBrie). when an obscure band secures an iconic singer to duet with them, that signifies something special. now signed to a label, they’ve released an official version of MBD (re-titled Twelve) and are set for a bright future.

 

 

…now back to working on UX/UI projects while blasting these up-and-coming masterpieces.

 

 

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cut from the cloth of greatness

Posted in Music, Popular Culture with tags , , , , , , on October 17, 2018 by phanteana

the 90’s were a transitional period in music: glitzy Hair Metal gave way to grimy Grunge, Faith-based singers crossed into Pop territory, Rap artists shed their party-time lyrics in favor of more politically-oriented content & Dinosaurs still roamed the airwaves decades after their big breaks. then, there was Alternative music: a library so vast it encompasses a multitude of genres (and this is only a fraction of it).

among the artists lumped into the Alternative category is Peter Murphy. anyone who has read this blog or knows me IRL is well aware of how devoted i am to him, & that despite forgetting my name (because famous people meet thousands of fans, so i don’t expect him to remember anyone’s name), he recognizes my face whenever he comes through my city and can recall little things here and there (he once complimented my haircut, and on a separate occasion asked me if i was still living in [name of section of city], but i had since moved to another section). his easy-going manner when talking to fans is just part of why i love him. i don’t view him as a celebrity, but rather as a (stunning looking) regular person who just happens to have been blessed with immense talent.

that immense talent landed ex-Bauhaus front man Murphy the honor of a Number 1 hit in 1990, as well as Billboard’s 9th Greatest Alternative Song of All Time (not too shabby), bringing him out of the shadows of Goth Rock & into the dorm rooms of Dr. Martens-wearing art majors (i was one, until i switched to Film Studies). that song, “Cuts You Up“, and its subsequent album Deep, stood apart from other artists receiving radio & MTV play with its moody violin, soul-searching lyrics, and its high-cheek-boned, bleached-blonde singer poised to perfection under the influence of David Bowie (the Godfather of Alternative Music). it was pre-Grunge, post-Glam…whatever you called it, it was a peak point for Modern music in 1990. although Murphy only cracked the US charts a total of 3 times in his 40-year career, “Cuts You Up” still reigns as a prominent piece of his catalog and brings back fond memories for those who remember it well…and considering Murphy is currently touring to mark Bauhaus’ ruby anniversary (and hopefully, that tour will make its way to the States), perhaps his signature song i due for a pop culture boost.

 

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a bearded Peter Murphy and his Bauhaus band-mate David J. Haskins still love their audience 40 years later 

How-weird

Posted in Music, Popular Culture with tags , , , , on August 16, 2018 by phanteana

meeting someone with the same first & last name as you is fairly common. it can also be an exercise in mistaken identity, occasionally warranting awkward results- for example, if you share a name with a noted serial murdered or something like that. (no, i’m not talking about myself…y’all don’t even know my name, but i can tell you i’ve only found one other person with it and she is now deceased, soooo….kinda eerie).

other times, having a common name can be just plain funny…there’s this metal band called Killswitch Engage whose now-ex lead singer is named Howard Jones. anytime his name is mentioned, i immediately think of the OTHER Howard Jones– the adorably British New Wave singer/synthesizer wizard.

so why am i bringing up this totally random pop culture tidbit? it’s because the (non-British) Howard Jones joined his old band mates onstage in London last week & it circulated around various social media feeds. naturally, confusion regarding the two Howards poured in & folks had a good laugh. of course, it makes me wonder what it would be like if they ever collaborated…

 

 

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See the source image

 

they would make, um…interesting music together.

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).

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!