Thursday, May 16, 2024

Bobby Hebb "Sunny '76"

Who doesn't love Bobby Hebb's song "Sunny?" Like the best uplifting moments, it comes out of a dark place (in this case his brother's murder a day after JFK's murder), and in this case it includes multiple key changes and a delightful flubbed bass note that I cherish. Turns out the studio musicians were working overtime, so I guess it makes sense, but it's the beauty mark on the face of the song that makes it even greater, the one people don't notice.

I did not know that there was a disco remake, "Sunny '76". Wikkypeeeedia describes it as "reharmonized," which is putting things mildly:

As the millions of readers of this blog know, I love disco revamps, but when I first heard this, I thought the big boogie major chords and swirling disco strings were a step too far for this song's minor-key heart. I felt a visceral distaste for it. But now that I've listened to it a few times, I appreciate how outlandish the changes are. It is gaslighting the listener. Oh, those feelings you had when you heard this? Let me reharmonize them. Quit moping and dance. Totally ridiculous. I kind of love it.

Monday, May 13, 2024

Steem Dekk / Pikuniku / Super Mega

I finally gave in and bought a refurbished Steem Dekk. I had a lot of various bundle Steem games sitting around and wanted something that would travel well from the couch to the TV (for the exercise bike). Turns out it is totally great. I should have jumped earlier. Who knew.

The boy was totally delighted watching me play Pikuniku (I was also delighted to play it) and so now we are hanging out in the hammock playing it again, this time in Spanish. Good translation, if a little Iberian-heavy? Fun to see him reading the Spanish and doing a good job translating it into English. Just amazing. Hooray for the DLI program at his elementary school.

Another game I had kicking around in my account was Super Mega Baseball: Extra Innings. While I have only a scintilla of interest in our national pastime, I have to admit that this scratches a lot of the same itches that Hardball! did back in my Apple //c youth. I play on easy mode (or low "ego" as they put it) and it is chill and silly.

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Mdou Moctar / the Resonars / consistency

Everyone is talking about the new Mdou Moctar album, as well they should. I like how they balance their trademark spine-tingling excursions with more intimate moments, and I love that he/they is/are advocating for use of the Tamasheq language instead of the colonial French. (side note: Tifinagh 💕) Sad that their 2024 tour will be skipping our lightly populated quarter of the country.

The new Resonars album sounds like pretty much every other Resonars album, as it should, with the addition of a couple extra-psychedelic synthesizer interludes. As always, instant good times. A bird singing the song it was meant to sing since birth.

I'm a little jealous of people who can consistently make excellent music in a consistent style. I'm like a hummingbird flitting from style to style to sound to sound, always jittery.


Thursday, May 2, 2024

Striped T-shirts

When I went to pick Jennifer R. up before our show at Mother Foucault's on Friday, I mentioned that I was wearing the same thing I'd worn for a Qostqo run a few minutes earlier. She said, oh, probably a striped t-shirt and shorts? Amazingly I was NOT in fact wearing a striped shirt, but rather this fine number from Made in Milwaukie. That got me to thinking: are striped shirts part of my personal brand at this point?

Like other niche items, striped shirts are not consistently available at mall retail, so I have to go big when they are in fact available. Turns out this is one of those years where the Ggapp is pushing Ghostbusterz shirtz instead of striped tees. Sigh!

Then today I ended up working on a certificate from Güira de Melena, Cuba
(side note: looks pretty awesome, and the BIENVENIDO A GÜIRA DE MELENA sign in this video is super cool)

and anyway, that made me think about Spanish pop group Melenas and then I happened upon this video and was flabbergasted by the guitarist's shirt:

It does not appear to be available anywhere online, so in case anyone is reading this, I would like to summon this exact t-shirt to show up in large quantities on extreme clearance at some store that I know about.

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Jody Harris Robert Quine _Escape_ / RYL / late 80s survivors

How had I never heard about Jody Harris/Robert Quine's album Escape? As soon as I heard about it I had to listen to it, and as soon as I listened to it, I heard the distinctive sounds of the Electro-Harmonix DRM-15 (or 16 or 32?) preset drum machine and that was it. Then they started playing alien sped-up guitar and funk bass on top of it. I like it.

Actually it sounds like the Raunchy Young Lepers (at that point just "RYL") were trying to reverse-engineer this album on a crummy boombox on Sex and Heredity. Some of the same beats even. Not that I would know anything about that group, although I am delighted that someone has started selling tea under the name "The Ryl Co." Not that Goat-Boy would have emailed me about that either.

Speaking of things that happened in the late 1980s, I would never have guessed that of all the artists from that era, the one that my seven-year-old would be singing in 2024 would be... Rick Astley?