Monday, November 28, 2011

Playlist of the Week: Rawkhawker

The only method of getting music out in to the world more awesome than owning a record label? If I could shoot it through my super-powered talons.

Most of you reading this have been Facebook/Twitter-whipped with all the details by now, but here are the basics, just in case:

1.  I co-founded a record label called Okie Dope Records with my hetero-soul mate, Clint McEwen.

2.  A couple awesome Oklahoma City bands--The Boom Bang and Copperheads--recorded some new tunes and wanted to release them on vinyl.  With two songs each, they opted to split a 7"--which sounds like sharing a sandwich but really just means each band gets one side of the record.  Due to some good fortune and previous connections through a concert Clint and I had been a part of promoting, the parties came together.  The best part?  The talent of these guys is matched only by their enthusiasm for this project and how genuinely easy they are to work with.  Clint and I both feel incredibly fortunate in this regard.

3.  After a lot of hard work, the record is finally being released this Friday at a record release party/show at VZD's in Oklahoma City!  Even if you aren't interested in the show for some ridiculous, un-American reason, I can assure you that the onion rings are the best in the city and reason enough to come out.  And if you don't like onion rings, there's always the pure pleasure of my company which I'm sure you'd enjoy.  And booze, too.  Let's not forget about that.

So no time to go on and on right now because the business of rock 'n' roll is surprisingly time consuming--especially when you have an actual full-time job on top of it!  But my playlists wait for no man--except me.  And I have one for you!  In the spirit of a week devoted to my nasty habit called rock 'n' roll, I present twelve songs in just a shade under 31 minutes--a dozen raw and strong rockers. Included at the top of the playlist are my favorite two songs (it's like a parent picking a favorite child) from my label's (it never gets old calling it that) inaugural release--one each from The Boom Bang and Copperheads.

Now sit back, relax, and give in to the power of rock.  It'll be gentle.  Unless it's not.  And even then, it'll still be great.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Playlist of the Week: Due Northerner

Canada.  It's like a whole other country.

Press play below and begin reading...

As I've always maintained, this blog is full of truths, half-truths, and downright fictionalizations of actual events.  There's so much I want to tell you about Canada and my journey there, but never will.  Partly because of certain implications.  Partly because half of what I'd love to tell you is completely untrue.  And partly because there are so few things that belong to ourselves anymore and therefore, I've decided to keep it locked up in a very Don Draper-esque manner.

What I can tell you is that my approach to story-telling and what you expect of it regarding Canada is much like the country itself.  It's everything you think it'll be, but deep down it's actually quite different.

I can tell you that the beer is overrated.  The food is underrated.  The women are lovelier than I imagined they'd be.  It's cold in November, but I've been colder in Oklahoma.  Canadians are much more patriotic, bordering on nationalistic than you'd imagine.  Tim Horton's is a Canadian institution that I managed to avoid, but now regret avoiding it.  Yoga is really hard, but I was better at it than the teacher thought I'd be.  Namaste THAT, guru!  My friend's kids are both under the age of five and reminded me once again that boys at that age are hilarious messes and it's awesome.  The five year old is already learning French and I felt stupid and unambitious as a result.  To add insult, I need to work on my Crayola skills.  Toronto is more like Chicago than New York, no matter what Canadians think.  And I think that that's a compliment.  I ate a Buffalo chicken sandwich with waffles as the bread on Saturday with a beer and you didn't.  The CN Tower is taller than your brain can really wrap itself around unless you go up in it.  Giggle.  I couldn't get the Kids in the Hall theme music out of my head the entire time I was in Toronto and now if any of you go, you won't be able to either.  Canadians are legally bound to hear at least 25% Canadian music and that's almost completely true.  The people were warm, conversational, and distant all at once.  Oddly, I honestly can't remember one person I met ending a sentence with "eh?".  Canadian money is hilarious to me, but not nearly as hilarious as American money is to them.  That's enough, metric system.  Same goes for you, Celsius.  My friend there who I hadn't seen in six years was completely different and completely the same all at once and I love her even more because of it.

My expectations were somehow unmet and completely exceeded all at once.  And somehow I was a thousand or so miles from home and exactly where I needed to be.  Thank you God, for your curious and perfect combination of both answered and unanswered prayers.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Friday Video Reward: "Roads (Live)" by Portishead

 I read a comment from someone once that said that this song would be on God's mp3 player.  I have no doubt.

My sincerely promised and yet undelivered inaugural "Your Weekly Top 5 List" is coming.  But as many of you may be aware, I'm involved with this tonight.  And if this interests you and you're around Oklahoma City tonight, please come.  Needless to say, super music brain just doesn't quite have the bandwith to focus on much else in depth today.

But I felt the need for reasons I can't quite describe--maybe it's the change in weather or my desire to highlight something completely opposite of what my music world has been revolving around lately--to post this video from the greatness of Portishead.  While at the age of 32 I'm clearly getting handsomer and awesomer by the day, there is an affection I carry--like many others I imagine--for the times, places, and music of my teenage years.  In the way that I felt most adults at that time completely overrated the 70's musically (how silly I was in those days), I'm now certainly a happily functioning hypocrite who feels the same instinctual devotion to the music of the 90's.  There's just a "feeling" I associate with memories from that time--in the same way that certain smells remind you of a long since left place or relative or ex.  And I simply cannot separate those memories from their soundtrack.

Few bands or songs evoke such a "feeling" more than Portishead and their classic song "Roads"--specifically this particular live version.  Seeing this performed live, the combination of lead singer Beth Gibbons' pained and tragically beautiful vocals combined with a lush string section is nothing short of goose bump-inducing.  If you've never really listened to Portishead, I'd actually encourage you to START with the album that this version comes from--1998's Roseland NYC Live or as it is often referred to, PYNC.  It's a strong sampling of the best work from the only two albums they'd released at that time (they've only released one additional album of new material since, aptly titled Third.)

Please, do enjoy.  And of course, no need to thank me.  Even though you probably should.  My concern for your music well-being knows no bounds.  It's really both awesome and difficult being this selfless.