Scott Douglas’ Terse Bloviation

Archive for the 'Muzak' Category

Music-Related Minimalism Book Giveaway

Here’s the deal: You recommend a band I wind up liking more than anyone else’s recommendation, and I’ll send you a copy of my minimalism book.

Below are the 25 band or musician names at the top of the most-played list in my iTunes library. On the basis of those, recommend someone else for me to listen to.

If I’m already familiar with the band or musician, I’ll let you know, and you can make another recommendation.

I’ll take recommendations through Sunday, June 16, and then decide whose recommendation I like the best, and send that person the book.

Send your recommendations here or leave them in comments below. Here are the musicians to use as the basis for your recommendation:

Vincent Herring
The Feelies
The Liminanas
Whirr
Yuck
Pia Fraus
Wild Nothing
Bears
Eric Reed
Stereolab
The High Violets
Matt Pond PA
Swell
Sparrow
American Analog Set
Black Tambourine
Lush
Metropolitan
God
James Moody
Nord Express
Band of Susans
Luna
Jim Rotondi
Real Estate

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The Bard and The Feelies

“If all the year were playing holidays, To sport would be as tedious as to work;
But when they seldom come, they wish’d for come, And nothing pleaseth but rare accidents.”
Act 1, Scene 2 of Shakespeare’s Henry IV

In other words, I’m quite enjoying the new Feelies album, their first in 20 years. You put it on, you think, “Yup, that’s a Feelies album, happy to hear it repeatedly.” I wonder how much of that is because of their sparse output. If they had been putting out records every two years the last two decades, would it be more, “Eh, another Feelies album. Why do I need to get it?”

But they didn’t, so the new one is a welcome ennui ameliorator.

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A Few 2010 CD Acquisitions That Brought Me Pleasure This Year

Some of them were even released this year, instead of my playing catch-up. Alphabetically by artist:

Black Tambourine: Black Tambourine
So, uh, I was a mere 20 years late in really listening to this beautiful noisepop from a band with two members that went on to be in Velocity Girl (who, in my defense, I caught on to when they were new and fresh). One of those two guys, Archie Moore, was also in Heartworms and The Saturday People. I could listen to wall-of-feedback-over-pop-song stuff like this all day. This 2010 release compiles everything they recorded, including four new songs taped for the purpose of this record. Review

Steve Davis Quintet: Live At Smalls
A four-song set, with all five band members firing on all cylinders throughout. The first time I listened to it, Mike DiRubbo’s solo on “Spirit Waltz” literally stopped me in my tracks. I went over to the stereo and sat staring at the speakers in awe. Review

The High Violets: To Where You Are
In addition to the noise-over-pop mode of Black Tambourine, I have a weakness for swirling, swoon-inducing dreampop. These guys from Portland, Oregon do it really well. After playing this 2006 disc to death I’m inspired to get their release from this year, Cinema. Review

Phantom Buffalo: Cement Postcard With Owl Colours
Stacey first heard these locals (as in Portland, Maine) at an outdoor crafts fair in August, and was the impetus for us exploring them. This being Portland, of course we’ve since learned that we know the ladyfriend of one of the band members. I’m not sure how to describe them, but you won’t be disappointed if you like the usual suspects like The Shins, Rogue Wave, Carl Newman, etc. wrung through a 12-percent psychedelica filter. Review

Craig Ramsey: Parting Gift for a Party Girl
A solo release from half of the songwriting chops behind favorites Bears. This is classic should-be-a-hit indiepop. Ramsey’s sweet, gentle voice and bouncy songs belie the venom in the lyrics, which either document the end of a relationship or display Ramsey’s ability to imagine having lived through such a thing.  Review

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Reconstruction of the Fabled Records

While running the other evening I was feeling especially fatigued and the song “Feeling Gravity’s Pull” came to mind. So when I got home and started the usual 13-hour post-run routine I put on the album it’s on for the first time in years. Damn, that’s good stuff! I love dredging up something from the archives and finding it still speaks to me. In this case, I was thinking, “Wow, that’s really held up well for being 15 years old. Wait, it’s 25! Holy telescoped time, Batman!”

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Maine Winter Ameliorators

Stacey and good friends across the street and around the corner.

Ibex clothing.

A huge stash of tisane mixes from Homegrown Herb & Tea.

The new stove in the living room.

Friends to run with.


Enjoyable
new music acquisitions, and occasional dips into old favorites.

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Little Hits o’ Pleasure

I’m in one of those stages with no big projects or adventures or cool trips to look forward to, so I need to remind myself to not forget quotidian items that reliably pierce the clouds. Ten off the top of my head:

  1. Solo trail runs.
  2. Trail runs with friends.
  3. First 83 cups of coffee in the morning.
  4. Dinner with Stacey.
  5. Harold Mabern at full force.
  6. For some reason, merino wool tops make me very happy.
  7. A good chai is nice.
  8. Interesting e-mail exchanges.
  9. Perusing Slate.
  10. At some point during the day, each of the pets does something that makes me smile.

Your list?

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You Definitely Heard it Here First

Look out world! The demo process for the next great band, Reistershell, has begun.

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Ear Candy 2008

In alphabetical order, some CDs I acquired this year that brought repeated pleasure:

Blind Pilot: Three Rounds and a Sound

Buildings Breeding: self-titled

Nord Express: Loveland

Pia Fraus: After Summer

Eric Reed: Here

Kate Tucker and the Sons of Sweden: self-titled

Winterpills: The Light Divides

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Top Reason to Look Forward to Christmas

So that a certain someone will receive this band’s CD as a present from moi, thereby allowing me to hear it. (Yes, this is akin to when Homer gave Marge a bowling ball with his name on it.)

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The Band I Most Regret Missing Live

In 1990, my training partner went to see them–all the way from Australia–with my then-girlfriend, while I stayed home to rest for a meaningless Baltimore Road Runners Club cross country race the next morning. Idiot.

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