Monday, June 29, 2009

Caught by the Fuzz

So I thought it might happen but my post yesterday reviewing the new DAVE MATTHEWS BAND record got pulled from the blog. So the quick version was I really like the record and if you have been a long time fan you will to. But because I had the audacity to post two songs off the album (which has sold millions by the way) my post got removed without notification.

Oh well...funny the way it is.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Dusting off the Tape Collection

I have a crate of cassette tapes of all kinds. Mix tapes I made so I didn't have to carry around a ton of other tapes. Recordings of old radio shows I did (which are basically the same as a mixtape only with annoying radio chatter every couple of songs). Albums I bought that I have since replaced on CD and never discarded. Then there are those tapes that I got while working in college; the demo tape. Demo tapes used to flood into the station and then later to the label I worked at. Every time I went to to a club I would walk out with a demo tape. Most were shoddily made home recordings that soon were taped over. Some were better produced and stuck around to be listened to more than once. On rare occasions the tape made it's way to a show and a song lived on in mixtape nirvana. Then there was MARKET.

I got a tip from a friend when I went to New York for a convention to go see this unsigned band play. At the time I was in radio so I was far more interested in seeing bigger bands, but that night had a unique feel and so I ventured to this dingy old club to see this band play. Maybe it was the consumption of alcohol or the fact that I spent a good portion of the night chatting up a nice young girl from a radio station in New Jersey, but something about the band's music has always led to an intense response to it even years later. It is pretty run of the mill trip hop (a la PORTISHEAD but dancier) but I immediately procured their demo and have ever since treasured it.

A couple of years later they were signed to INTERSCOPE so I waited in anticipation for their album but it never came. One of their songs from the tape made it to a compilation but that was it. Then they disappeared. Did they break up recording the album? Did the label drop them when everyone moved away from Trip Hop? I can't even Google search the band members because the tape has no names on it. All I have is five songs to remember them by. And maybe that's the way it's supposed to be.

p.s. Big thanks to the wife for the purchase of a system that allows tape and record conversion to CD then to MP3. Expect more out of date and unusual stuff as I get time to rip it.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Moving On

The past few weeks have seen me neglect my happy little blog due to a very busy work schedule. Sleep and relaxation have been few and far between so obviously writing pithy little stories about bands I love has not exactly been a priority. But with my chores done for the day and the house quite with sleeping children (and a pregnant, napping wife) I have a few moments to crystallize what is on the horizon for me and my work career.

I have worked at the same place for 12 years. In my universe that is a long time. I have spent roughly a third of my life roaming the halls of Pasadena High School first as a teacher then as an Assistant Principal. I can close my eyes and navigate the quad with no trouble. I can hear the bells that ring in my sleep. I know every one who works there from the Principal to the night custodian to the morning cafeteria cook (who taught me how to make 400 pancakes in 32 minutes). For a while it seemed like this would be my last job. Funny how things change.

When my family moved I thought I could take the commute. What's an hour in a car with a good iPod playlist and decent sports talk radio? But as time went on it got harder and harder. The seat isn't as comfortable as I thought and the music becomes repetitive after a time. Then along came a chance to get closer to home, a job at a local high school. I put my application in and waited. Then I lost track of the process and forgot about it. I just kept working at what I did best, helping the students and staff of good ole' PHS.

Then the call came for an interview. Then a follow up. Then the reference checks began. Then a third interview. For two weeks my life was suddenly in limbo. I had no idea if I was coming or going. I bombarded those I trusted with incessant ramblings about "what if this happens" and "why haven't they called?" I guess it never dawned on me that I would leave the only school I knew. Next thing I knew they had offered me the job and I had accepted. It was like an out of body experience. I remember the call and I remember saying yes in the same spot I had first walked through to start my work at PHS.

Now the work of saying goodbye has begun. This week was graduation which is always bittersweet but with an added twinge since it was my last in red and white. The last day for staff was full of hearty handshakes and slightly awkward well wishes. There were those I had known for a long time that were a little more heartfelt, a little more emotional. Some were angry with me (you can't leave...), some were happy (getting closer to home will be good for you and your family...), most were appreciative of what I had tried to do for them. To be honest I was both flattered and ashamed. Who was I to get such praise? I just tried to do my job as best as I could.

I will miss the place. I will miss the people (here is one instance where FACEBOOK is a valuable tool). But forward I go. Off to new places and new faces. But always with one eye trained on my old school and how it fairs without me. Somehow, I think it will be just fine.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

New From I Am Not Lefthanded

I Am Not Lefthanded has put up a new single for download on their site. It is exactly the sort of sublime indie pop that I have come to expect from these Irish lads and lasses. It's nice to see them exploring new textures with pacing and guitar work that give the song a punch that is new for the band. The addition of male backing vocals from Daniel mesh nicely with Kathryn's usual wonderful voice.

The band is also looking for submissions for the video (get all the details from their site).

Keep up the good work guys!!