VA’s BEST OF 2015: GREAT TUNES FROM A ROTTEN YEAR

VA's Best of 2015 Great Tunes From A Rotten Year

(Graphic by VA)

My year-end recap is appearing late, just as it usually did back on Open Salon.  But I see this as a victory that I am even getting this up online as my blogging has largely been in deep freeze since the shuttering of Open Salon—which housed the former flagship (and much more widely read) version of this blog—in March 2015.

OS shutting down is but just one fabaroony event of many that helped make 2015 a particularly rotten, rotten year for me (and I had thought 2012 was a bad one…).  Mind you, last year seemed like a less than fine one around the world as well as for a high proportion of people I know, for seemingly a variety of reasons.  That’s the nature of life, sometimes, so I guess I’m not an outlier in that regard.  Misery and company, etc. etc.

Enough of the Deborah Downer … On the plus side, there was lots of terrific tuneage and related media to lift the spirits.  And so, without further adieu, here are 15 foci from 15: the soundtrack highlights to one crappadoodles set of twelve months, starting with … Read the rest of this entry »

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15 Favourite LPs

VariousArtists Top 15 LPs 16 Covers16 covers?  You’ll have to read to find out why.

Originally published on OS on September 3, 2010 as part of an open call to writers on the site.

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This post was part of an Open Call here on OS for people to list and discuss 15 albums they have their greatest emotional attachments to.  Since I create associations between albums/songs with, well, just about everything, trying to pick 15 LPs that are memorable owing to specific parts of my life or events would be an insurmountable task.  Therefore, I zoomed through my collection, made a (long) short list and picked my 15 favouritesor what passes as such at this momentbut will briefly discuss each more in terms of memories, time and place, etc than as a critique. (The full long list appears at the bottom.)

My Favourite Album

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VariousArtists’ 13 Halloween Listening Recommendations

variousartists 13 halloween listening recommendations

 (Graphic and pumpkins by VA.  Stills grabbed from web and videos from YouTube)

 

Last week I laid out 13 possibly-Halloween-friendly viewing suggestions and this week I have an unlucky 13 playlist appropriate for the season of graves’n’goblins.  I’ve tried to avoid the more obvious selections with choices ranging from Halloween-specific to it’s-a-conceptual-stretch.  So, parade around in the costume of your choice, inhale bite sized chocolate bars, crank up the gramophone and groove (there’s also a link to the playlist at the bottom of the page) …

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June 1, 1974: Eno, Cale, Nico, Ayers — 40th Anniversary

BLOG June 1 1974 Cover

While I’m a fan of both recorded music and live performances, I’m not frequently overly enamored with the results of their intersection: the live album.   More often than not, they are merely contract fillers, between-project marketplace bookmarks or low cost quickie $$$ generators.  They are rarely creative high points in an artist’s output.

Just because a particular artist can consistently wow ‘em live doesn’t necessarily mean that the live document will have the same effect.  Concerts are not just heard, but experienced, in person and in real time, and that in-the-moment vibe rarely translates fully to the recorded medium. Read the rest of this entry »


RIP Lou Reed: “Between Thought & Expression Lies A Lifetime”

BLOGP LouNY89

One of the greats; not to be forgotten. (Photo by VA: A lifesize Lou that used to live on my wall at the top of a stairwell).

“What would I see if I could walk away from me” from “Candy Says”“Between thought and expression lies a lifetime” from “Some Kinda Love”… my two favourite lyrics by Lou Reed … or anyone else for that matter.

I’m not a natural off-the-cuff writer but decided that I had to put something up to mark the passing of Lou Reed.  I couldn’t let it pass without my saying something.  Something like, I’m absolutely gutted.

The Velvet Underground and The Beatles are my two favourite groups, so the impact of Reed’s work upon my world has been huge. Read the rest of this entry »


20/12: My Musical Favourites and Re/Discoveries of Last Year

2012 BEST OF 8TRACKS BLOG
 (8-Tracks Mock-Up by VA)

After a break of several months I’m returning to writing and to the My Life — In Concert! series.  But first, my annual recap …

Rarely have I been so happy to put a year to bed as 2012.  For me, it was the very essence of the phrase “exceedingly crappadoodles.” So, rather than rehash the family crises, near job loss, triple shooting and homicide a few doors down, car theft, etc. etc, etc., I’ll Instead ac-cent-tchu-ate the positive: it’s a new year that’s off to a much better start; spring is around the corner — and there was a shed-load of great tunes during the past year so that not all my associations with it are bad ones. Read the rest of this entry »


018. I Keep A Close Watch: John Cale, June 13, 1983

CALE017 handbill BLOG I do not have a ticket for this show, so a big Thank You to MZ for this handbill scan from her collection.

018. I Keep A Close Watch: John Cale with Sheep Look Up, Fryfogle’s, London, Ontario, Canada, Monday June 13, 1983

Given my life-long obsession with music of many genres, it’s difficult for me to pair it down to a singular favourite.

That said, if pushed, there are probably two bands who could split that mantle between them. In my world, they are equal twin peaks and share a number of similar traits Read the rest of this entry »