Sunday, May 31, 2015

Weekend Music Roundup

Another week has passed by without the chance for me to listen to new music. It's been a few weeks now since I've listened to new albums, but hopefully that will change this week as I've come up with a new plan on how I can introduce new sounds into my world. In the meantime, I'm continuing to share my love of music with my daughter, playing at least one vinyl record for her a day as I hold her. Though I've been mixing in tons of stuff, I frequently select an all time favorite of mine to play for her. She seems to love any kind of music, much like me, but prefers albums that I can sing to her. Here's her take on some of my favorites. Enjoy.

The Rolling Stones - Goats Head Soup: After a few days of introducing her to The Beatles, I decided it was time she heard The Stones, and went with this '73 record, one my favorites of theirs. Her favorite song seemed to be "Winter". 

John Lennon - Plastic Ono Band: Like most humans, I love The Beatles, but I also truly love the first Post-Beatles albums of John and George, perhaps as much as any Fab Four album. This is a great one for baby and she loved "I Found Out." 

Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea: It was a special moment to share this record with her, and one that I truly hope she continue to love. There's an innocence to this record that makes it simply perfect. As expected, she loved "Two Headed Boy."

Van Morrison - Astral Weeks: Not only one of my all time favorites, it's also my cats' favorite record, so it was important that she hear it. I played this for her last Sunday, as it is the perfect Sunday morning album. She loved "Beside You." 

Nick Drake - Five Leaves Left: The songwriter's '69 debut is one of those perfect records and she seemed to agree. "Fruit Tree" was her favorite song.

Guns N' Roses - Lies: It was only a matter of time before I introduced her to GN'R and I decided to start with the acoustic side here, then turn it over for some real rock. She loved "One in a Million."

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Stains on the Memory

Over the past year and a half, I've had little interest in inventing new stories to construct. This isn't so much due to a lack of imaginative urges as it is a result of half realized stories lingering around like so many spiders on the brain. Coupled with my fair share of industry frustrations during the course of the past half-decade, I came to the conclusion some dozen or so months ago to focus my efforts on stories that I had already worked on to varying degrees, not in hopes of gaining anything beyond my own sense of satisfaction.

Beginning last summer, I started to write the first draft of a story that had been thoroughly outlined some years ago, while also revising a manuscript that had been completed even years before that. I've since completed two revisions of that story, which now awaits its fate in the aforementioned world of "industry", leaving me the chance to return to the first draft of the other one. Though it's been a busy month, welcoming my first child into the world, I've since begun reading over the chapters that were written last summer and starting the process of reclaiming my train of thought and my mastery of the characters. 

These days I feel that I'm more of a completest when it comes to my work. In my younger years, I was so eager to simply write, write, write...but as I grow older, I feel the urge to compose. There's a fine line between writing a manuscript and building a story. So far, I'm enjoying the carpentry of it.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Weekend Music Roundup (Baby's First Records Edition)

My baby daughter continues to deter from my new music listening time, but it's opened up a whole new kind of listening this week. Over the last few days I've been listening to two or more records with her when she's fussy, and since she is my child, it's no surprise that it calms her. I've been trying to share with her not only some of my favorites, but also songs that I remember from my childhood. My up bringing was solidly based in '70s folk rock, and I see hers being steeped in 2000's folk. So without a lot of blabbing, her's what we have been listening to this week.

Rockabye Baby! - Lullaby Renditions of the White Stripes: We've listened to a few of these, so far this is the best one. She was extra fussy during this listen, so hard to gauge her interest. I honestly think she'd rather the real album. Luckily, I got that covered as well.

 Oasis - Definitely Maybe: A modern classic from the Fab Five. As expected, her favorite song was "Live Forever" but it perhaps it was a bit too rocking for the time of evening that we played it. Still, there will be plenty of Oasis in her future.

The Decemberists - The Crane Wife: Took her to a record fair yesterday and we picked this up on vinyl. She adored this album. "Shankill Butchers" was her favorite, the ideal anti-lullabye. She's also heard parts of the new album, but will get a proper listen soon enough.

Jim Croce - I Got a Name: A favorite from my childhood, I was excited to share the Croce with her. She loved "Lover's Cross" and the title track, as do I. Still want to share other great songs with her like "Operator" and "Time in a Bottle".

Langhorne Slim - The Way We Move: This album always reminds me of my dad, not only because it was the album I listened to as I drove home the night he passed away, but also because there are so many references in it that remind me of him. I was happy to share it with her, and "Past Lives" was her favorite song. 

Iron and Wine - Ghost on Ghost: The soft rhythms of his work, along with the complexities that exist under the surface make him an interesting listen. To my surprise, "Joy" was her favorite song, one that I hadn't paid much attention to before.

Neil Young - Everybody Knows This is Nowhere: One of all time favorites, also picked up on vinyl yesterday and listened to it with her. It would have been devistating if she didn't like Old Shakey, but she does. "Down by the River" was her favorite song. 

Elton John - Madman Across the Water: Another favorite of mine, and an album that I believe it is impossible not to like. She liked it, too. Another surprise here, the title track was her favorite, even more so than powerhouse hits like "Tiny Dancer" and "Levon".

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Montage of Music

In case anybody was wondering what happened to the Weekend Music Roundup, the answer is simple. The birth of my daughter last weekend listening to music has not been in the plans. Well, that's not say I haven't listened to music, just haven't had time to absorb new music. However, I did have time to watch the wonderful Kurt Cobain documentary on HBO, Montage of Heck, which did feature some new music, most notably an acoustic Kurt cover of The Beatles "And I Love Her," which is absolutely brilliant.

The entire film was actually quite brilliant. Combing through home videos, interviews, and most strikingly, Kurt's own journals and drawings, the film offered a glimpse into what Kurt was truly like as a person. So often, the prevailing myths about Kurt, and media portrayal of him a depressed junkie, overshadow the creativity of his work and the humor which he displayed so often. Montage of Heck was able to show this legend in such a way that the legend became a man again, one with flaws and genius in equal parts. Bravo!

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Spreading of Wings

After several long months, the revisions of my newest novel have finally been completed. Finishing a third draft, which this essentially was, is never quite the same sense of jubilation that finishing a first draft is, but the sense of accomplishment, while not as enthusiastic, comes with a greater sense of satisfaction. The finished product feels more developed, more complete. 

It's not the last time I will be revising this story. It is off to my wonderful and insightful agent who will surely have more creative feedback. Then, if it's lucky enough to be picked up by someone, there will be more to do. It's hard to say for sure, but one thing I do know is that with each step the story comes nearer and nearer to the images that play out in my head.