Keep What You Love

Some of my friends and I share music with one another while we work. We’re supposed to review/rate what gets shared with us, and share those reviews with the group, but that doesn’t always happen.

Flametal – Heavy Mellow (2010)

When Spencer introduced this album of flamenco covers of classic metal tunes, I immediately thought of Rodrigo y Gabriela, although after listen I feel like it’s more like Apocalyptica.

I’m not sure if this is just Benjamin Woods or if he has some other guys playing with him, of if he just dubs it all himself. Continue reading

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I’ve Been Here Times Before

For more than a year, some of my friends and I have been sharing music. We’re supposed to review/rate what gets shared with us, and share those reviews with the group, but that doesn’t always happen.

This week I didn’t share an album. A year ago, we shared a playlist of songs from high school. A year later, I’m sharing a mix of songs that inspired me in my rock band from high school.

A number of factors have led to me thinking about this recently.

  1. I got back in touch with the guys from my high school band (rock band, not symphonic/marching band)(although I guess our drummer was in that band with me, too).
  2. As a by-product of that, I invited Scott to play this game with us (since he was in that rock band).
  3. While I have shard some of my early musical influences with you guys before (The Beatles, Eagles, Black Sabbath, Fountains of Wayne, Weezer), Scott’s recent Elvis suggestion really got me thinking about my musical influences.

I put down some other influences just to get my mind going. They were bands that someone else had already shared in this game and I didn’t want to repeat. Bands like Simon and Garfunkel, The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Beach Boys, Elton John, Buddy Holly, Billy Joel, Steely Dan, Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Wonder, ChicagoCat Stevens, Everclear, Bon Jovi, Kiss, AC/DC, and maybe a little Judas Priest, too. I’m sure Scott might point out some other cover we did or influence I’m not thinking of, but this is what I came up with.

But first, here’s what my friends suggested I listen to this week. Not that there’s anything wrong with it or that I’m complaining, but both albums shared with me this week come from artists we’ve already visited in this game. There have been weeks when one of the three or four have revisited an artist, but this is the first time that everything I listened to has been a repeat of an artist.

Boston – Third Stage (1986)

I really haven’t listened to a ton of Boston – pretty much just the hits. On this album, that means I had only heard Amanda, which I’ve never really been a fan of (I think the lyrics are a little corny) and didn’t make me want to go out and listen to more Boston, even though what I had heard from their first album was awesome. Continue reading

Out into the Blue and Sunny Morn

Some of my co-workers and I started sharing some of our favorite music. We’ve been doing it for a while, but now we’re actually reviewing them and sharing those reviews with one another. Here are the three albums that were suggested to me this week.

A note on how I rate things. One star means I don’t think it qualifies as music. Five stars mean I wish I wrote the thing. Most music for me is a three.

Boyz II Men’s self-titled album (1994)

First off, what is the name of this album? Some people call it their self-titled and other people call it II, since it’s their second studio album (if you don’t count their Christmas album, which apparently nobody does). Whatever. Continue reading

I Got My Mind Made Up

Some of my co-workers and I started sharing some of our favorite music. We’ve been doing it for a while, but now we’re actually reviewing them and sharing those reviews with one another.

As some of you may know, I play music. So when I listen to music, much of the time I listen for things to try, to push my skills and make me better. There are some musicians – like Chris Thile – who are so good, I get discouraged that I’ll ever be that good. One of those musicians is Django Reinhardt on guitar.

The man was born to gypsies and grew up on the streets of Paris. When he was a young man, he got caught in a fire and burned his ring and pinky finger on his left hand. But he didn’t let that hold him back from his playing. Not only did he invent and pioneer gypsy jazz as a genre, but using only his first and middle finger, he is still a better – and faster – guitar player than 99 percent of the guitarists I’ve heard. Just watch 20 seconds of this and you’ll understand what I mean:

He died in ’53, so pretty much all of his work was singles; before recording musicians thought of albums as anything more than collections, like greatest hits. Since it would be hard to make sure my coworkers – who use a random assortment of iTunes, Spotify and Google Play – all listen to the right album, I’m going to share a different artist who has albums like we tend to think of them, but I couldn’t let Django go unmentioned. FYI, I’d score almost anything Django plays at least a 4/5.

Before we get to my coworkers’ suggestions, though, this is one of my favorite Django Reinhardt songs. He led a jazz group for 14 year called le Quintette du Hot Club de France with violinist Stéphane Grappelli. Here’s a collaboration between the Quintet and singer Beryl Davis called Undecided:

Continue reading

Just Livin’ Up my Dreams

Some of my co-workers and I started sharing some of our favorite music. We’ve been doing it for a while, but now we’re actually reviewing them and sharing those reviews with one another. So here are the four albums that were suggested to me this week.

A note on how I rate things. One star means I don’t think it qualifies as music. Five stars mean I wish I wrote the thing. Most music for me is a three.

Living Colour – Vivid (1988)

My first thought was that this is not at all what I was expecting. Frankly, I thought I wouldn’t like it as much as I do. Only Open Letter (To a Landlord) had elements of what I was expecting, but it also had some face-melting guitar and a steady groove.

Second, I thought I’ve heard this before, even though I know I haven’t. It took me a couple of days to realize these guys are the less manic precursors to Them Crooked Vultures. The opening track especially reminded me of the Led Zeppelin-Foo Fighters-Queens of the Stone Age supergroup’s Elephants.

Continue reading

That Funny Feelin’ Again Winding Me Up Inside

Some of my co-workers and I started sharing some of our favorite music. We’ve been doing it for a while, but now we’re actually reviewing them and sharing those reviews with one another. So here are the four albums that were suggested to me this week.

A note on how I rate things. One star means I don’t think it qualifies as music. Five stars mean I wish I wrote the thing. Most music for me is a three.

Kiss – Destroyer (1976)

When my coworker shared this, he acknowledged the fact that this might not be Kiss’ best album, but it is one that he really loves.

I’ve never actually listened to a whole Kiss record. I’ve only ever heard their hits on the radio from time to time. Continue reading