Monday, November 28, 2005

it's beginning to sound not a lot like christmas

so, it seems it's that time of year again, too many happy holiday greetings, too much egg nog and brandy, one too many secret santas, the fist fights in the malls for x-boxes, the online shopping scams, the endless rehashes of classic christmas songs done by lame no-talent-disney-girl-boyband-rap-country hacks pushing everything you really don't need from stores you never go to the rest of the year, and of course, all the music bloggers are rushing out their x-mas mixes. i thought i would beat the good reverend frost to this, but alas i shoulda known better. at least i can try and mix it up with the big boys myself. i choose to take the low road on this one. a bit of an edgier, grittier, obscure rockin' kinda christmas mix. the kind of stuff you wouldn't want to sing while roasting your nuts over the fire (then again maybe you would, i can't tell from here).
well, i better leave it at that before i start getting all sentimental and shit ...

here's the 1st wreckroom x-mas mix in mp3 (via yousendit):
the sonics - don't believe in christmas

keith richards - run rudolph run
sparks - thank god it's not christmas
the darkness - christmas time (don't let the bells stop)
the ramones - punk rock christmas
cheap trick - come on christmas (edit)
the kinks - father christmas
xtc - thanks for christmas
the beatles - christmas time (is here again)
jet - back door santa
the eels - christmas is going to the dogs
jimi hendrix - little drummer boy/silent night/auld lang syne (ext ver)

... or the whole thing all mixed already for your christmas cheer:
the wreckroom x-mas mix no.1 (39mbs file)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

it was 37 years ago today ...

the greatest rock and roll album of all time was released on november 22, 1968. the beatles by the beatles, or the white album as it is known in pop culture vernacular, is a sprawling, chaotic two record masterpiece that can't be pinned down to any fixed conception of what a rock album should be. even today musicians are trying to emulate the breadth and scope that the white album delivers; it is truly one of the few records that has a little something for everyone. from the beach boys/chuck berry send-up of 'back in the ussr' to the grandeur of the closing track 'goodnight' it has an enduring, appealing magic that still seems to grow with every listen. when taken as a whole it's like a three course dinner, very satisfying, while still leaving room for dessert ... at any rate it is a mouthful of a record.

this was the album that really changed my life. 1968 was a very wierd year, things were changing very fast all over the world (i remember my aunt claiming it was the end of the world during the riots after martin luther king, jr was shot). but i was only 12 so to me that was just the way it was supposed to be. nothing had been normal in my life to that point and that was a time where it felt as if anything goes. that was the year i found sex, drugs and rock and roll. my aunt gave me her old guitar for my birthday in janurary and i was off to the races. constantly listening to songs on the radio and trying to pick them apart for chords or watching shindig and hullabaloo hoping to see the fingers on the frets, (i woulda learned a lot faster if they had the early emp-tv back then). the music seemed to be getting cooler as i got older, like it was following my lead (altho now i know it was the other way around). i started reading and listening to anything and everything ...and i kinda sucked up as much as i could, as fast as i could, from that year on.

the beatles were always on the radar. when i was 10 my best friend's dad was a lieutenant in the las vegas police dept. he got the two of us tickets and we sat in the back of the convention center on that afternoon of august 20, 1964. i sorta remember the band, but mainly we went there to watch all our female classmates pee on themselves over the beatles. i didn't really care about music then (or about girls, unless it was to humiliate them), so i don't feel as it really counts for much. but things changed in the next year or so. my first real album was a copy of 'yesterday and today' that i got xmas of '66. my sis got what she wanted, 'headquarters' by the monkees and i remember these bloody knock-down-drag-outs over who was the best band. we would spend our weekends fighting over this massive, ostentatious piece of furniture that was mom's stereo only to have her cut in and start playing a sinatra record to break us apart (we would flee in all directions at the first hint of frankie. funny how your tastes change as you age, i love that stuff too now!). but in the long run it seems my argument has won out. and i still have that first record in my archives, along with about another hundred or so other beatle albums, 8 of those being copies of the white one because i kept playing them til they were unplayable (plus 4 on cd, because i keep finding lower numbers, daggnnabbitt!, my first white l.p. i got for xmas of '68 is #0307809, i haven't found one lower yet on vinyl, but i'm not done.)

it's now known that the beatles were also going through a lot of changes that year. at the time no one had any idea of the turmoil within the greatest band in the world, the output had slowed but the music was so much better. they were no longer those lovable mop-tops. the fab four had found new loves and interests that made the whole concept of stardom a bit less attractive. earlier in the year all the beatles and their friends and lovers went on a sabbatical to india to study meditation under the maharishi. they left seperately after it was found that his exhaultedness was chasing the young women in the group like harpo marx (john became very bitter in the aftermath and wrote a scathing song about the guru that evolved into 'sexy sadie'). and it would be the last time they would gather as a group for anything other than making records. and they only had that to keep them together at all from that point on ...

the record was begun on may 30th with the initial sessions focused on john's 'revolution' (which was morphed into to three radically different
released versions) and ended on the 21st of october. in between the band had many rows, with even the mild mannered ringo quitting the band for 2 weeks because of the squabbling. of course no word of anything rotten in the land of beatles got out, but the feel of their music on the white album had definetly gotten edgier and in john's case, more personal. gone were the frilly promises of a psychedelic wonderland envisioned only a year ago. this was no mystery tour, it was more like a misery tour. john even reported later that it was really a solo record by the band, each one using the rest to highlight their songs.

yet the white album, with all it's uneveness, is more a beatle record in feeling than 'sgt. pepper', which relied more on studio wizardry over songwriting prowess. each song on the white one is like a celebration of life itself, the loose studio feeling of songs like 'birthday' and 'yer blues' with hooping and hollering all throughout, the little snippets of songs that float in and out, the heartfelt ballads wedged in between the raucous rockers, the sense that every song did not fit with the last, all made for a roller coaster of a ride. even the dreaded 'revolution 9' is a snapshot of the times the beatles were living in with it's aural description of the wars, riots and chaos of 1968. in fact the whole l.p. encapsulates it's surroundings more than any other record, while still sounding relevent and mysterious, even after 37 years of repeated listenings. i have tried to collect as much of the outtakes over the years, and have amassed all that i know is out and about, except for a mono copy of the white one (if ya got one for sale i am in the marrket), take 3 of helter skelter and the 20 something minute version of revolution 1, but i am afraid if i ever do find them my hunger for music will be filled and then i'll just wither and fade away. but i keep looking anyway .

a few rare alternate tracks from the white album sessions on mp3 (via yousendit):
i'm so tired (take 14)
step inside medley (recorded 9-16-68)
sexy sadie (remix from take 117)
revolution 1 (yoko's diary/session mix take 20) 23 min

buy the white album!

along with the beatle's 'anthology' tome, mark lewisohn's essential beatle books, 'recording sessions' and 'complete chronicles' are a constant source of reference and entertainment, a real must for any beatle fan of any age.

not done yet tho ...
here is a link to the charlie manson/white album connection,
and a track from dj dangermouse's mash-up of the white album and jay-z's black album on the grey album... (which is fairly bizarre in it's own right, this cut features rips of helter skelter)
99 problems

... i think that is all i got to say, for now.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

it's beginning to look a lot like christmas

on sunday mornings s.a. and kimmy always launch into a small skermish over the stack of ads that arrive in the newspaper. the paper is promptly discected and shredded, rendering the wreckroom into the likeness of a brawl between william hearst and rupert murdoch.
such was the case last sunday, as usual ...

one of our fave ad booklets is the best buy thingy. it's usually the only time i do any window shopping, looking for all the newest high tech gear i would love to have but know better. well, s.a. starts digging and shoves it in my face, pointing at a vgc-rc110g sony vaio media center desktop with accompanying monitor, printer and all the accruement on sale for an obscene price ... 'you want this don't cha?', she chimes, (she really just wanted the monitor, a 17" lcd, i'm a crt guy, much better color for viddy). 'yeah, right', i said dubiously, (i know where this is going but i certainly don't wanna get my hopes up just to be dashed). then with a wicked smile tells me, 'kimmy and i'll go pick it up today before they're all gone, just gimme a list of what all ya need to make it work' ...

i swear this woman is trying to spoil me ....

so i've been kinda busy this week transferring files and tweaking the new HAL (this is my 3rd vaio, gettin' bigger and badder each time), and not had much time for much else. it's finally up and running in my own graven image with more speed and space than i should be allowed. it's funny to think my first pc in '96 was a silly 'compact' with all of 4 gig of hard drive ... this mother's got 250! but i'm sure i'll find a way to fill it up too fast. and now i feel this gnawing need to make some videos ...

good old john, of the open mind in the land of the aus, tagged me with this little piece of blogging bric-a-brac, so i guess i gotta make someone else pay for it too ... at least it ain't a chain letter ...

The tag is as follows:

1. Go into your archives.
2. Find your 23rd post.
3. Post the fifth sentence (or closest to it).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
5. Tag five other people to do the same thing.

(from the sex pistol post)
the sweat and humidity dripped off the walls like a waterfall, even tho it was early january, and the smell of almost a thousand black leather clad punk rockers from all points south was almost gagging.

there ya go, and for those keeping track ... danno (nola cuisine), laurie (do ya know what it means ...), mike (sonicfrog blog), the reverend frost (spread the good word) and mr snave (various miseries) ... tag, ya'll are it!
and no fudgin' now, cuz i know where ya blog.

... enuff messin' around, i got a new toy to play with. i'll leave a few mp3s i found that were hanging forgotten in the old HAL, a bit obscure perhaps, but fun none the less ...

the rolling stones - cocksucker blues (ext ver)
heatmiester - plainclothes man (elliott smith's first band)
led zeppelin - black dog (a very weird acoustic version)
paul mccartney - growing up falling down (bonus chaos tune) wma file
marvin gaye - what's going on (backing track)
buchanan & goodman - flying saucers (parts 1 & 2)
(... flying saucers is my 1st memory of rock-n-roll, i was about 4 and it scared the bejezzums outta me, now it is just plain silly)

and a really neat viddy, how'd they do this? ...
gorillaz - feel good inc (live) quicktime video from devil ducky

and on a sad blogging note, one of our favorite daily reads (and good bunch of net buddies too) is shutting the shades. 'last night an mp3 saved my wife' is calling it quits. i am really bummed about this as i got to know these whacky boys from leeds quite well, and a lovelier lot you won't find on this side of the pond i tell ya. well, good luck ya'll, we hope you change your minds about it and resurrect the wife soon, we're gonna miss the music and the witty banter. so, here's cheers to 'the wife'. r.i.p.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

there and back again

jeesh, where to begin? i finally feel up to posting in here after s.a. complained about a definite lack of activity on my part (the jaunt just left me broken, tired and lazy).
it's been a pretty hectic few weeks for us, what with the trip to new orleans and back, kimmy havin' a baby and all that goes with that ...

the drive to the easy was, well, easy. s.a. and i tag-teamed our way across the country, making good time and enjoyed wonderful weather until the last push from okc. the sunny days turned grey, nasty and very sierra-like all the way to metry. and then the cold swept into the city as we did, and stayed the whole time, much to my pain and dismay.
the wreckhouse was still standing, altho the ground floor had the drywall and carpets stripped and the yard was a mess of broken trees and debris. there's nothing in the house but what we dragged down from reno, so we slept on a matress on the floor of our empty new master bedroom (that sucker's huge!) and watched t.v. on a silly little $20 b&w set we bought at a gas station (it paid for itself that week). it seems we spent nearly the whole time talking with adjusters, electricians, plumbers, painting and cleaning upstairs and looking for stuff to replace the whole kitchen (that was s.a.'s favorite part, she shopped for countertops and ovens while i just tagged along nodding and playing my harmonica up and down the aisles of lowe's and home depot).

the first thing we noticed in metry was the amount of traffic and number of small signs. signs are on every street and pole. signs for everything from mold removal, house gutting and clean-up to oriental take-out masseuse services and hair replacement. but most of the signs were for help wanted. it seems every open buisness was looking for workers. and a lot of places had signs reminding you they are open, but the sign with the establishment's name was long gone. very strange ...
and the place is more crowded than i can remember. just getting around is a nightmare, every main street is packed with people going somewhere usually following a line of trash trucks or construction equipment

the only time we went into the city was when my sister jan, s.a. and i drove into lakeview to see angel and jacques's house. it was not a pretty scene. as soon as you cross into new orleans over the 17th st canal on veterans blvd it becomes very , very surreal. there is absolutely no color, just a dusty grey covering everything. it is block after block of total destruction; a pile of trash 2 stories high on west end blvd, everywhere you look are wrecked houses with water-lines to the roof, cars strewn about like discarded toys and trees ripped up and uprooted. poor angel's house was a complete mess. the house is wide open and all their stuff is covered with caked mud and mold. the saddest thing was seeing all of jacque's wondeful paintings rotting in the heat.
the only way to lift our spirits after the dismal lakeview tour was to head to the french quarter and find po' boys and bloody marys, which we did at cafe mespero's (we made a toast to ya danno!).

while we were there we didn't get out much, not a whole lot of places are open and those that are run at about half-speed, but things seem to be getting better.
all in all, it was not as bad as i thought it would be. but there is still an unreal amount of trash lining every street in metry. and the damage varies from house to house ( jan's neighborhood had no flooding at all, there's just a lot of 'blue roofs' and tree damage). but we came home feeling a lot better about the future than when we left, and we really love that big ol' freaky house.
my good friend tim has been back in the parish for awhile now and is posting some great stories on his myspace blog, 'tim's nameless blog', about what it's like living in metry on a daily basis. a very interesting read.

but metry is a distant memory since we got back. kimmy was still preggers and miserable the whole week and finally, last saturday, she gave birth to little payton. me, being much too old and never having expereinced the whole process up close and personal-like before, i was just mortified. just sitting in the room i got all nervous and twitchy every time she went into contractions. i was kinda glad to be sent from the room, i don't know how dad's can do it at all. inside i was a wreck, but i put on my brave face for the girl's benefit. kimmy is a real trooper. she just took it all in stride and pulled it off just like the book said to (she read 'em all first). the kid is cute as a puppy and so far is being very good. oh boy, it's gonna be strange and wonderful to have a little guy growing up in the wreckroom ... (i can't wait to put some drum sticks in his little hands, the band needs a good drummer).

a bit of house music on mp3:
paul mccartney - i love this house
maddness - our house (12 inch mix)
the beta band - the house song
prince - housequake
crosby, stills and nash - our house

(and the kick drum is the fault ...)

i dunno if anyone else has seen this, (i am sorta out of the loop lately) ... pete townshend, (yes, the same one), has his own blog, 'the boy who heard music' and is dropping chapters from a new project along with some demo mp3s. and he even has the comments open, worth a look see for sure.
also, i got an e-mail from a wendy williams (no, not that one) at advising us that the w'room should post the new xtc tune 'spiral'. they have a very cool site posting a bunch of free, legal downloads from a vast assortment of bands. we especially love it that they have quite a few videos available that we have never seen. nice, nice, very nice!

an mp3 of pete's 'in the ether'

and some mp3s from
xtc - spiral
spoon - i turn my camera on
the clientele - e.m.p.t.y.