Wrapping Up March

Since it’s the end of the month, I figured I’d post a playlist of what I’ve been listening to this month that I haven’t had a chance to talk about yet.  Not all of the songs are new; in fact some are quite old.  If you’re looking for a playlist that flows together or ‘makes sense’, this probably won’t be it.

On this playlist you will find a variety of different artists and genres, but they’re just a few songs that are worth knowing.  So check it out. Hopefully you’ll find something that you love as much as I do.

(My apologies in advance, but I do believe that you are required to sign up for Spotify to listen if you haven’t already joined that app- but it’s free!  Just head to http://www.spotify.com)

(Also, hand-typing the code for this web player in just reminded me of 1st year University Computer Science.  Not that I retained any of the information in the course, besides the fact that our professor looked like the guy from the Pringles container and he mentioned ‘GUI’ aka gooey a lot.  I still managed to pass the course somehow.)

Premiering Today!

Kiefer Sutherland (aka Jack Bauer for you ’24’ fans out there) released his brand new video for his first single “Not Enough Whiskey” today; and I’ll be honest…I don’t hate it.

Kiefer will be debuting a new Americana/Country album this year, and if this single is any indication, it may actually be worthwhile checking out.  His voice has a worn-in, gruff quality that suits the song, although if I’m being honest, there were some cringe-worthy parts in the video that threw me off a little (in particular, there’s a notable head movement that goes just a little too perfectly with the music, almost as if it’s choreographed which makes it seem a bit inauthentic, at least to me).  It’ll be interesting to see what he follows this up with next.

Check out “Not Enough Whiskey” below:

Zombies, The Wild West and 90s Boy bands

Surely by now you are aware that in conjunction with the SyFy network, Nick Carter will be teaming up with other members of the Backstreet Boys, N’Sync, O-Town and 98 Degrees in a made for TV movie entitled ‘Dead 7’.  Penned by the Backstreet Boys heartthrob himself, the film follows the band of misfit boy band members as they battle a zombie apocalypse in the Wild West. From the Syfy official website:  “Nick Carter began writing the Dead 7 script over eight years ago. ‘It takes a long time, especially when you have no credibility whatsoever and you’ve got to figure it all out yourself,’ he admitted. Things took a turn for the better (and the undeader) when he launched a campaign on Indiegogo and received $156,214 in funding.”

RAYMOND LIU / THE ASYLUM/SYFY

RAYMOND LIU / THE ASYLUM/SYFY

I actually thought this was a joke, particularly because its release date is none other than April Fool’s Day, April 1st.  The good news (or bad news, depending on how you look at it) is that it appears to be legitimate.

Sneak a peek at the official ‘Dead 7’ movie trailer below, and tell me the flame of your former boy band love doesn’t flicker just a little:

Are we surprised that the makers of ‘Sharknado’ are involved?  Maybe not.  I think the more surprising aspect of this is that so many former boy-banders were willing to have a part in the creation of this movie.  There is representation from nearly all of the major groups of the 90s, which is pretty impressive.  I mean, I could have used a little New Kids on the Block in the mix, but that’s just me being an old boy band purist.

Taken from Nick Carter's Instagram account, Joey Fatone (N'Sync) and Howie Dorough (Backstreet Boys) are suited up to battle zombies

Taken from Nick Carter’s Instagram account, Joey Fatone (N’Sync) and Howie Dorough (Backstreet Boys) are suited up to battle zombies

Today, we were also treated to the premiere of the new song that will be featured in the film, released exclusively to Buzzfeed.  You can listen to this collaborative effort here, and because this is a gift that just keeps on giving, they have also provided a link to a free download as well.  It kind of brings me back to the days when we’d argue over which band was better, and which boy band-er was the cutest (personally, I flip-flopped from Nick Carter to Justin Timberlake often, although Lance Bass had a starring role in my dreams for the briefest of times).

“Dead 7” makes its debut on Syfy officially on April 1st, 2016.  Check your local listings for times.  I know how I’ll be spending my Friday night!

Weighing In On the Latest Bieber Controversy…

In case you missed it, Justin Bieber announced this week that he would no longer be offering a meet and greet package on his “Purpose” world tour, effective immediately.  Bad news for fans (and probably more likely, parents) who shelled out anywhere from $900 to $2000 (!!!) for the opportunity to meet the 22 year old performer- these meet and greets are non-refundable.

Due to the fact that the meet and greet passes were purchased in conjunction with the tickets to the show, fans have been told they cannot be given a partial refund.  This means that fans who want their money back for the meet and greet passes will also be forced to forfeit their seats (I believe all of which are located in the pit, front of stage) and will have to look at buying tickets in less desirable areas of the venue if they still want to attend the show; or, they have essentially paid $2000 to see Justin Bieber.  Either way, a loss.

bieberJustin released a statement on Instagram, saying “I enjoy meeting such incredible people but I end up feeling so drained and filled with so much of other people’s energy that I end up so drained and unhappy…I always leave feeling mentally and emotionally exhausted to the point of depression…”  He accompanied the statement with a photo of conceivably one of the last fans to participate in a meet and greet with him.

Now, I’m under no pretense that artists are obligated to meet their fans after their shows.  Your ticket guarantees you a live show and nothing more.  I am fortunate that many of the bands that I listen to will very often make themselves available to fans before or after the show to sign autographs and take photos.  Granted, they are also not on the same level of fame as Justin Bieber (which is a travesty, but I digress), but regardless, they put themselves out there to meet their fans, probably also at the risk of emotional exhaustion.  They do this because I believe they genuinely appreciate their fans.  At 22 years old, Justin Bieber needs a wake up call.  His fans have made him what he is, helped him build his empire, and he is essentially allowing them them to become victims of theft.

Now I’m certainly not saying he’s obligated to do meet and greets, but this could have been handled more appropriately.  I would have suggested that he follow through with the meet and greets for the rest of this tour, and then going forward discontinue them.  Barring that, accommodations should have been made for the partial refunds;  if you are not willing or able to provide a service that has already been paid for, the logical step is to refund that money.  To someone in Justin Bieber’s tax bracket, I’m sure that $2000 is chump change, but for the people who are paying it, that is probably at least a month’s wages, if not more.  I would hope that he would advocate for his fans a bit more and work with his people to ensure that these people are compensated appropriately without losing out on the prime seating- because, for some odd reason these people still want to see him perform.

Given Justin’s ‘colourful’ history (see a full timeline of bad behaviour, including fights with paparazzi and various traffic violations, here), I don’t know how much more bad publicity he can afford before the ‘Beliebers’ finally abandon ship.  Up until now, they’ve been extremely forgiving, but that good will is bound to have an expiration date, and he’d be smart to realize it now.  It’s safe to say that Justin’s PR team will be working overtime to try to fix yet another media disaster, but is it too late to say sorry now?

 

New Music Friday- 03/25/16

Coming in under the wire today for a new music post, but I’ve spent the day checking out the offerings and here is what I’m excited about- I hope you are too!

youngnheartless“Stay Away” by Young and Heartless

Unfortunately, this is a band that I’ve only heard about now, and this is already their second release!

Hailing from Pennsylvania, Young and Heartless formed in 2011, with their first full length album “The Pull of Gravity” being released in 2014.

With a sound comparable to alternative rock band Brand New, the lead single from the album, “Fevers” is likely the best introduction to the sound of Young and Heartless.  With lead singer Jeremy Henninger’s moody vocals and poetic lyrics layered over lush instrumentals, this album is the perfect juxtaposition between light and dark.  It captured me from the start, and I’m really looking forward to checking out their previous album as well.  Definitely one to be excited about!

Don’t miss: “Fevers”, “Nightwalking”, and “Heaven Nights”

You can purchase “Stay Away” by Young and Heartless here or on iTunes.


 

bobmould“Patch The Sky” by Bob Mould

Confession: I’ve never listened to a Husker Du album.  I’ve barely listened to a Bob Mould album.  Despite hearing both names come up frequently,  I just never became inspired to listen to either form of Bob Mould.

“Patch The Sky” might be the gateway drug to the world of Bob Mould and Husker Du that I needed.  I was immediately taken by “The End of Things” and the rest of the album as I listened to it.  Mould rocks harder than current chart toppers half his age.

I’m still spinning it even as I write this, and I would suggest that everyone check it out as well.  You may find that, like me, you were missing out on something great.  The songs are bangers for sure, but listen closer to the lyrics; they paint a dark tapestry of life, loss and sorrow.

Don’t Miss: “The End of Things”, “Hold On”, and “Monuments”

Purchase “Patch the Sky” by Bob Mould here or on iTunes.

Psychological Warfare: Fighting the War on Mouse-y Terrorism

Today, I am straying from the music scene temporarily, to bring you a probably soon to be long-winded tale of the mouse that might be in my house (it’s currently unconfirmed), and my battle against it.

Strap in, kids.  It’s going to be a long ride.

To give you some backstory, I am utterly and completely terrified of mice.  I don’t have a reason (unless my mind has willfully blocked the trauma), but I can tell you of the first time it really came to fruition.


 

Nearly four years ago, I was living in Thunder Bay with my then-roommate Kyle.  All was peaceful, until one night, when I came home from work, and exhausted, laid down to do a little internet surfing in my room as Kyle was out.  Suddenly, something caught my eye.  Movement.  I jerked my head to the left to look and caught sight of something that struck fear into my heart:  a long, skinny tail slithered behind my dresser and out of sight.  My blood went cold and I leaped up to a standing position on my bed, desperately trying to blame this on a trick of the eyes.  In my heart, I knew it wasn’t.  A mouse had come for a visit, and it was not welcome.

Exactly something Master Splinter would say.

Exactly something Master Splinter would say.

I stood on my bed for probably 20 minutes, if not more, texting everyone I knew, and hyperventilating to a point of tears.  I had to force myself to take a flying leap off the bed, grab my purse and leave the house.  The battle had begun.

I immediately drove to Home Depot and bought just about every mouse repellent possible.  I was determined that I wouldn’t have to kill the mouse;  I would simply buy the ultrasonic pest chasers that claimed to rid your house of mice.  I spent $80+ dollars (I know, I know) on a large unit for my room, and individual units that could be plugged in around the house.  I got home with my electronic weaponry, and went about plugging the individual units in downstairs.  I wouldn’t allow myself to even think about going upstairs until Kyle came home because I couldn’t face the fear alone.  Instead, I sat downstairs and drank wine alone.  Straight from the bottle.  I was too scared to even go into the kitchen and get a glass.

Kyle came home around 11pm to find me balled up on the couch, with my feet up and Ugg boots on (in case it tried to run across my feet, of course) and downing a full bottle of wine, and laughing, asked what I was doing.  I told him I thought I had seen a mouse, and he got strangely quiet for a moment, and then said, “Yeahhhh…I didn’t know if I should tell you or not…”

He had seen Master Splinter a few days prior, and was going to try to handle it on his own without alerting me, because he was sure of what my reaction would be.  I didn’t know if I should be upset or if I understood his logic.  Instead, I drank more wine.   With his assistance, I went upstairs and plugged in the rest of the individual electronic units, as well as the large unit in my room, directly beside my bed to try to prevent the mouse from climbing onto my bed and trying for a snuggle.  That night, I left the lights and TV on, thinking the light and noise would be enough to keep Master Splinter at bay.

A few days later, Kyle saw the mouse again.  It had climbed onto our kitchen counter and was standing directly beside one of the ultrasonic plug ins.  He was clearly showing us that he laughed in the face of my feeble attempts to drive him away from the house.  The battle was getting serious.  I had to up the ante.

"Bow down, bitch"

                   “Bow down, bitch”  

I returned to Home Depot, and bought the standard snap traps and glue traps.  I had been unable to sleep properly for days because of Master Splinter, and now I was getting mad.  Death was the only answer.  Together, Kyle and I set up traps in the kitchen, placing them near to the deep freezer, under which he was known to frequent.  We baited them with peanut butter, and waited.

Days went by again, and we started to notice something:  the traps were being licked clean, but the springs were never deployed.  Master Splinter was mocking us.  I was fearful, but also pissed.  He thought it was a game.  My bloodlust grew stronger.

I asked coworkers for advice.  It was now going on 2 weeks since that fateful evening that I saw the mouse, and I was irritated that we still hadn’t been able to catch it.  Someone suggested that we burn the peanut butter onto the traps, making the smell more potent and the peanut butter harder to eat off the trap.  It made sense, and at this point I had nothing to lose, so I went home, collected the traps from the kitchen, and reapplied the peanut butter, taking a lighter to burn it to the surface.  I set the traps as loosely as I possibly could, put them back near the deep freezer and waited….then panicked because I didn’t want to actually be there when it was caught, so I left and went to Starbucks to visit a friend.  I figured within an hour that mouse was sure to be caught.

When I arrived home from Starbucks, I cautiously looked into the kitchen, expecting that the nightmare was going to be over.  The traps remained untouched.  I became convinced that we would never be rid of this nightmare.  Instead, I sat on the couch and watched a live stream of The Gaslight Anthem on my computer, hoping against hope that they would ease my pain.  Again, much like the first time, a movement caught my eye, dragging my gaze over to the deep freezer.  Master Splinter’s shadow-y figure darted back and forth underneath as he sized up the burnt peanut butter on the snap trap.  I froze, convinced if I so much as breathed the opportunity would be missed, and braced myself for the inevitable ‘snap’.  It didn’t come.  I sneaked another small peek towards the freezer, and as I did, the bastard appeared.  He inched towards the trap.  I squeezed myself against the couch as *crack!*; the trap had sprung!  It rattled and flipped briefly as I squealed like a small child, and then laid still.  The nightmare was over.

The only 'dead mouse' I can deal with

The only ‘dead mouse’ I can deal with

I was elated until I now realized there was a mouse body, in a trap, in my kitchen.  I was unprepared to deal with the aftermath of the carnage.  Instead, I called my dad (who lived 8 hours away at the time) and gave him the good news.  He told me to go throw the entire trap outside and mocked me when I said I couldn’t even enter the kitchen at that point.  He disconnected out of frustration, and I texted Kyle, who was at his girlfriend’s for the weekend, to find out when he would be home to deal with this situation.  Understanding my horror, he told me to just shut the lights off in the kitchen, and go have a good sleep knowing that the mouse wouldn’t be alive to crawl over me while I slept anymore.  He would come home to dispose of it.  I avoided my kitchen until Kyle confirmed it was gone.


So now, here we are 4 years later, and Master Splinter’s equally nasty brethren have finally tracked me down and have come to make my life a living hell.  Possibly.  Again, this is currently unconfirmed, and my conviction is based only on some rustling in my room that could potentially just be attributed to a slight draft.  The only thing is, it was aggressive rustling.  The kind that could be made by a pissed off mouse out for blood.

First (and hopefully only) wave of weaponry.  Not pictured: peppermint oil.

First (and hopefully only) wave of weaponry.  Hoping 3 litres of wine is enough.

In a first wave of attack, I’ve thrown peppermint oil soaked cotton pads all over my room.  Quite literally, I made it rain peppermint pads.  It smells like I live in a candy factory, but apparently mice don’t like that and will actively try to get away from the smell.  I’m hoping this is enough to get it to surrender, but if not, I’m prepared with more glue traps, as well as a solitary live trap, that I simultaneously wish it would go into as well as not (because the only thing I can think is that if I tried to pick that trap up, it would suddenly open and the mouse would jump on me, but still, I also don’t want to kill it).  I’ve also picked up enough wine to effectively get shit faced because when you go into battle with a mouse, you should be drunk.  It’s the only way.

I will keep you all updated as World War 2 progresses.    Wish me luck.

 

Laura Jane Grace Releasing Memoirs!

trannyLaura Jane Grace, front-woman for punk rock group Against Me! has announced today that she will be releasing her memoir, entitled “Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout”, set for release on November 15th, 2016.

Laura came out publicly as transgender in 2012, and has since been very active in advocating for the LGBT community.  Not only did she continue to perform with Against Me! through her transition, with whom she released “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” in 2014, but she also collaborated with AOL to produce “True Trans”, a series focusing on the experiences she and other members of the transgender community have had during their respective transition periods.

Laura worked with Noisey editor Dan Ozzi on this book, which certainly adds to the excitement about its release- Dan Ozzi has produced some of the best pieces of music journalism I’ve read- and it includes not just her life story, but also personal journal entries.

As someone who seems to always be forthcoming and willing to share details of her life in connection with her fans, Laura’s literary venture is sure to be one to watch out for.

“Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout” can be pre-ordered at Amazon here in both hardcover and digital formats.  Scheduled release date of November 15th, 2016.

Record Store Day Coming Soon!

In an age where everything is digital, and easily accessed with the click of a button, record stores don’t get the love that they used to.  Still, there’s something to be said for the warm, rich sound of vinyl, and it seems more and more audiophiles are gravitating back to the old classics.

Record Store Day (this year on April 16) was created as a way of celebrating the culture of the independent music store, as well as the owners, employees and artists who continue to support this medium.  As such, one of the most exciting aspects of Record Store Day is the exclusive releases that many artists make available solely for this day.

The list of special releases is available here: http://www.recordstoreday.com/SpecialReleases . There’s a lot of great material being released, so definitely take a peek at the list and start making your plans for what you’re interested in purchasing!  Be aware that these are limited, exclusive runs and if something is in high demand, you’ll want to get to your local record store early.

If you’re living in a smaller city, it may be beneficial for you to contact them, either via email or by stopping by the store to ask about certain releases.  Not every store is guaranteed to get each and every release, but most owners will be happy to look into what you’re interested in and will try to work with their suppliers to get it in for you.

If you see something on that list that you simply MUST have, make sure you contact your local record store as soon as possible to give them the best chance at being able to bring it in for you.  It may require them to pull some strings and make arrangements, and those kind of things take time.

(I myself have already contacted the participating store here to inquire about “Georgia” by Brian Fallon, as well as the “Positive Songs for Negative People” acoustic release by Frank Turner and am keeping my fingers crossed!)

New Music Friday- 03/18/2016

Happy Friday everyone!  It’s my favourite day of the week, because today is when the new releases come out!  Check out the two new albums I’ve listed below, my choices for some excellent weekend listening and let me know what you think 🙂

The-Falcon-–-Gather-Up-The-Chaps-cover“Gather Up The Chaps”- The Falcon

Featuring Brendan Kelly and Neil Hennessy from The Lawrence Arms, Dan Andriano from Alkaline Trio and most recently Dave Hause from The Loved Ones, The Falcon releases their first full length album in 10 years (since 2006’s “Unicornography”).

It’s a screaming re-entry back into the music scene, with Brendan, Dan and Dave switching up vocal responsibilities over driving guitars and strong drum beats.

Lyrically, the album seemingly roots itself in the seedy streets of Chicago, with references to drug abuse and crime at throughout the journey between tracks.  Although darker, this album also has shining moments of humor and pop culture references scattered in the lyrics.

Don’t Miss: “The Skeleton Dance”, “The Fighter, The Rube, The Asshole”, “If Dave Did It” and “Glue Factory”.

Purchase “Gather Up The Chaps” by The Falcon here


dustin-kensrue-thoughts-that-float-album-2016“Thoughts That Float On A Different Blood”- Dustin Kensrue

Dustin Kensrue graces us with a brand new album comprised of cover songs that are in some cases, a far departure from their predecessors, and it is definitely a win.

Recorded live at The Observatory in Santa Ana, CA, Dustin is at his best, adding his own acoustic spin to songs that range from Miley Cyrus to Tom Waits.  Having seen him perform live with his band, hard rock outfit Thrice, I can attest that Dustin’s vocals live are a thing of beauty, rarely missing a note in his delivery.

Don’t Miss: “Buzzcut Season” (originally recorded by Lorde), “Jesus Christ” (originally recorded by Brand New”), “Round Here” (originally recorded by the Counting Crows) and “State Trooper” (originally recorded by Bruce Springsteen).

You can purchase “Thoughts That Float On A Different Blood” here