Our Wheels and Our Hearts

Some of my friends and I share music to listen to while we work. Sometimes we rate/review what gets shared with us and share those reviews with the group.

Last year, I had a goal to write 12 new songs. I was finishing up my Master’s degree and it had been a couple of years since I had played in a regular band – and even longer since I was really writing music.

And I failed rather miserably. I wrote a couple, but it’s just hard to be motivated when it’s just you in your basement, you know? Last fall, however, I was presented with a solution.

My mother-in-law’s birthday is the beginning of December. Years ago, my wife’s family decided to make a lip sync video and they decided to do something similar. But also new and unique. One of my mother-in-law’ favorite songs from her … childhood? adolescence? is The Association’s Windy. So my wife and her siblings (who are all musical in different ways) did a 7 part arrangement of Windy. But they live all over the country. With my musical and technological know-how, I created the arrangement, the backing track, and the method to combine all of their parts. And, considering most of the vocals (and the flute, courtesy of my wife’s brother’s wife) were recorded on phones, I think it turned out pretty well:

The point, though, is that experience inspired me as to how I can improve upon my musical goal. This year, my goal is to record 12 original (not cover) songs. Over the last two months, I have found more than 100 songs I have written in the past 15-20 years that are in various stages of completeness. I also started thinking through all of my musical friends (remember how part of the problem last year was the solitude?) who might like to participate. Now I’m in the process of recording four or five songs – all of which I thought I was done writing, but all of my friends have great ideas which improve my initial offering.

My current co-worker David and I are working on a song, and while talking instrumentation and influence, he shared this song:

Specifically, he was pointing to the guitar playing as something that could be emulated in the song we are working on (although he suggested we do so on ukulele). Continue reading

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May Tomorrow be Sunny and Bright

Some of my friends and I share music to listen to while we work. Sometimes we rate/review what gets shared with us and share those reviews with the group.

Chris was going to share his top 10 albums of 2018 one at a time, but (for reasons unexplained), he shared them all at once. Number 3 was Christine and the Queens’ Chris, so I decided to tackle number 2 this week and his number 1 next week. And I’ll probably do the other albums in subsequent weeks when nobody else shares anything. If you want to know all of his top 10 albums of last year, you can check out his blog here. In the meantime, here are my thoughts on

The Voidz – Virtue (2018)

This is the second offering from a side project (or perhaps just the next project) for Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas. Continue reading

Come a Little Closer, You’ll Understand

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.

Return to Forever – Romantic Warrior (1976)

I’ve listened to these guys and this album before, also at Spencer’s suggestion, after a discussion of prog rock influences on video game soundtrack composers like Koji Kondo. Continue reading

A Sudden Taste of Magic

For a couple of years, some of my friends and I have been sharing music with one another. We’re supposed to review/rate whatever’s shared with us, but that doesn’t always happen.

The Winery Dogs – Hot Streak (2015)

Spencer shared another blues rock band he discovered, but this time it’s a bit harder. And it features Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater on drums. Continue reading

Nothing is New

For a couple of years 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.

The Black Keys – Turn Blue (2014)

After I shared what I did for the week, Tim suggested we all share our favorite album that has come out in the two years since we started playing this game. And it’s a great idea. Except I already shared (and I don’t listen to a ton of new music, so I’d have to think about it a little more). But here’s Tim’s: another Black Keys album. Continue reading

I Think I’m Slowly Going Sane

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.

The Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (1995)

I remember listening to my brother’s copy of this album. Possibly without his knowledge.

He had it on CD, so to me it was like two albums – Dawn to Dusk and Twilight to Starlight. Although I don’t know that each of those felt self-contained. This week I found out that the vinyl version was three records and each side was an EP – Dawn, Tea Time, Dusk, Twilight, Midnight and Starlight. After listening to the whole thing, I’m not sure it feels like six EPs. Continue reading

I Know Just What You’re Saying

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.

The Cars – The Cars (1978)

This is (apparently) the album that ushered in new wave rock. At least into the mainstream. I haven’t heard much from this album, pretty much just the singles, but what I heard doesn’t sound a lot like later ’80s new wave. But I like what I’ve heard from The Cars. I’m excited to listen to more. Continue reading