Back…with a music recommendation and kidney chat

Dunno what really prompted me to dust off the blog after 5 months of snoredom (and a heap of people responding to my Kidney for $50000 post with, of course, offers to sell their own kidneys), but I thought I’d do so and see what happens.

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In the interests of promoting fine unsigned musical talent, check out this link to a band called The Project, headed up by Andrew Furth, who regularly posts at one of my regular forum hangouts, the Dave Matthews Band fan forum http://www.antsmarching.org – Andrew’s been working on a live EP and has tracks to download:

http://www.theprojectboston.com/onathursday

Now, to kidneys.

My Dad’s recuperating in hospital after an operation to remove what’s most likely the very beginnnings of a cancerous growth on one of his kidneys, so it’s sort of a current affairs issue in the family. But looking over the 5 months of yet to be approved comments (as of this afternoon), I was rather stunned to see 20 comments by people who were offering one of theirs. My approval of these is by no way an endorsement of their “for sale” ads, but a simple way of showing just how willing people are to put a price on one of their organs.

It’s just…well, interesting.

Great forgotten rock songs of the 90s

I’m listening to Closing Time by Semisonic – a great song that got plenty of airplay when it was released back in 1999, but you probably wouldn’t have heard it much ever since. I think I have the CD single of it somewhere here at home, such did I enjoy the simplicity of the song. Plus I like the line “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end”.

 

What good rock songs can you think of from the 90s that are so easily forgotten about in this current junk-riddled world of R&B, hip hop and other sugary pop music?

Defending heavy metal

Craig’s written a very thoughtful piece on one of his favourite musical genres. Personally I’m not a big fan of heavy metal (although I really like progressive metal, which I guess isn’t too much different), but I know that it’s not a genre that one should generalise and dismiss in one foul swoop. Craig shows some fine examples of how thought provoking the lyrics actually are from bands such as Megadeth and Iron Maiden.

Happy Birthday Les Paul!

Les Paul 006 (Large)

The man whose name graces Gibson and Epiphone guitars the world round turns 93 today. The story of how he helped to come up with the idea of an electric guitar is fascinating to say the least, as this excerpt from a PBS tribute to him explains:

Along the way, he kept tinkering with his instrument.

Hollow body electric guitars were being developed and commercially manufactured as early as the 1920s, but they were prone to distortion when amplified. When he was still in his Waukesha band shell days, Paul often found his acoustic guitar drowned out in a band.

He started experimenting with different ways to amplify the guitar. One experiment was to fill his hollow body guitar with plaster of Paris; it cut distortion but left him with a very, very heavy instrument. He apparently also tried mounting strings on an old railroad tie.

"He was an early innovator," says Alan di Perna, West Coast editor for Guitar World. "There were other people who were technical innovators, but they didn’t play like Les did."

By 1941, still only 26, Paul had fashioned a workable solid body guitar he dubbed The Log, since it was essentially a four-by-four block of solid pine with a tailpiece, two pickups and a Gibson neck mounted on it. Later, for appearances, he fixed two side wings from an Epiphone guitar so it would actually resemble a guitar.When he approached Gibson Guitars about the commercial potential of The Log, Shaughnessy reports, they told him it was "nothing but a broomstick with a pickup on it."

In 1952, Gibson launched their first solid body electric guitar, and the endorsement of Les Paul has made him a legend over the years in which the guitar bearing his name has been sold. If my Les Paul wasn’t suffering from a broken string at the moment, I would gladly strum “Happy Birthday” as a tribute to one of the great innovators and inventors of history.

Amazingly, Paul performs 2 shows every Monday night at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York City. Forget the Rolling Stones – here is the ultimate example of musical performance longevity!

 

TWIST Conference

Just curious to know whether any of my readers attended part or all of the TWIST Music Conference over the long weekend. I was working all day today and had some other commitments as well that prevented me from being there.

If you went, how was it, and what did you learn that you will take back to your music ministry?

Your favourite song with a number as the title

A track on Coldplay’s forthcoming album as named 42. Frontman Chris Martin has described the song as "a nod to U2’s 40 and 1979 by the Smashing Pumpkins", inevitably because these 3 songs have in common the fact that the title of each song is a number.

So I thought I’d pose a question to whoever reads this blog. What is your favourite song that has a number (and a number only) as its name? My favourite is almost certainly the song #41 by Dave Matthews Band (so named because it was the 41st song written by Dave Matthews). As a tribute, I thought I’d share one of my favourite versions of the song, from the DMB show at the United Center in Chicago on 19 December 1998. It features a guest solo by bassist Victor Wooten and is in my opinion very close to musical perfection.

 

Looking forward to some good discussion, and possibly discovering some new songs.

Myrmekiaphila neilyoungi

Canadian singer-songwriter Neil Young has had a species of spider named after him by the fan of his who discovered it last year.

Source: BBC News