Monday, October 3, 2022

Catching Up Quickly

Been in the hospital/rehab for the last 5 weeks. Just got home today. I will try to update you on the September SOTD list within the next day or two.

Dorothy was right. There IS no place like home.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

My Favorite Songs of 2022 So Far

Most years, it's just around this time of the year that I start organizing my favorite songs. This year, I'm going to let you in on the process.

I usually keep a playlist of potentials that consists of my favorite song (or sometimes two songs) from each album I've listened to for the year. Around halfway through the year, I start organizing that list into five categories (in relation to the my Favorite Songs of the Year) list: Definite, Probable, Possible, Maybe, and No. As I listen to my playlist over the course of the year (constantly adding new songs to it), I shuffle songs in and out of the various categories.

Right now, I've got 69 songs in the overall 2022 Potentials list, including four each in the Definite and Probable categories. I think those are the only ones I'm going to describe for you here. So here are those eight songs, in alphabetical order by artist:

Alexia Avina - I Am Opening - A slow, quiet, ethereal song that almost floats away on its own.

Barrie - Dig - Quirky but pretty little alt-pop love song.

Beach House - Over and Over - Dream pop at its finest by this Baltimore, MD duo.

The Birthday Massacre - One More Time - Hook laden alternative rock.

Graveyard Club - Broken Wide Open - '80s influenced alternate pop rock with male and female vocals.

Matisyahu - Lonely Day - Just another heartfelt, well-written Matisyahu song.

The Monochrome Set - My Deep Shoreline - Slighty sarcastic but lovely track from this veteran '80s indie pop band.

Nocturna - The Trickster - Bombastic ballad from this Italian gothic symphonic rock band.

And here, without descriptions, are the 21 songs in my Possible category:

Antigone Rising - Badlands

Bastille - Shut Off the Lights

Big Thief - Spud Infinity

Broods - Piece of My Mind

Calexico - Cumbia Peninsula

Chaos Magic - Garden of Winter

Darkher - Immortals

Envy of None - Never Said I Love You

Faun - Innisfree

Graveyard Club - Rose Wine

Lights - Easy Money

Johnny Marr - Night and Day

Moonlight Haze - It's Insane

The Ninth Wave - Maybe You Didn't Know

Peregrine - The Awful Things

Placebo - Chemtrails

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Not the One

Royksopp (with Alison Goldfrapp) - Impossible

Say Sue Me - No Real Place

SheWolf - Lone Wolf

Visions of Atlantis - Legions of the Sea

Friday, August 19, 2022

My Favorite Local Albums of 2022 So Far

You guys know my rules for what constitutes a local album. If an artist has ever had more than a cup of coffee in the Tr--State area, their album basically qualifies.

Here are the Top Ten I've heard so far this year.

1. Matisyahu - Matisyahu - 7th LP from this American Hasidic Jewish hip-hop/reggae artist. He's back living in New York, in Rockland County, with a newborn infant daughter born during the pandemic. Album was produced by the Columbian musical duo Salt Cathedral.

2. Alexia Avina - A Little Older - Ethereal acoustic artist who was born in Southeast Asia and currently lives in Queens, NY. This is her 4th full-length album.

3. Pete Mancini - Killing the Old Ways - Long Island Americana artist who really comes into his on this, his 3rd solo LP. He's the former lead singer of the band Butchers Blind. A smooth and mature effort.

4. Big Thief - Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You - New double album by this indie folk/rock band from Brooklyn. This is their 5th LP.

5. Titanosaur - Absence - Solo metal/punk project from upstate resident (and former Long Islander) Geoff Saavedra. This is his 3rd LP under the Titansoaur banner. His other projects have included The Raygun Girls and The Orgasmobots.

6. Barrie - Barbara - Brooklyn-based American indie pop band. This is their 3rd LP.

7. Christine Sweeney - Heart in a Hurry - Debut studio LP from this Long Island bluesy pop/folk singer. She is also known from Christine Sweeney and the Dirty Stayouts.

8. Moontooth - Phototroph - Long Island "aggressive progressive" rock band. This is their 3rd LP. They remind me some of Incubus, especially vocally.

9. Steve Vai - Inviolate - 19th LP from Long Island hard rock guitarist Steve Vai.

10. Joe Satriani - The Elephants of Mars - 18th LP from Long Island hard rock guitarist Joe Satriani.

I've also got a number of other albums that I haven't heard yet either here or on the way from artists who qualify as local under my rules, including new projects from Vexes, Soccer Mommy, Regina Spektor, Mothica, Interpol, Florist and Tara Drouin. I suspect that the current Top 6 above are safe, barring another unexpected "local" release or two between now and the end of the year. I think numbers 8-10 are in serious danger of dropping off of this list. Number 7 is in a maybe-yes/maybe no spot - what's there is pretty solid, but it's as much an EP as not - there are only 7 tracks on the album.

So that's how 2022 is shaping up for me a little more than halfway through the year.


Wednesday, August 17, 2022

My Favorite Albums of 2022 So Far

I don't usually name the albums in contention for my yearly My Favorite Albums list in advance. Unfortunately, this time out, I'm not sure what kind of shape I'm going to be in to write about it by the end of the year.

So these are the LPs that I have rated at least 3.5 out of 5 so far in 2022. They're roughly in the order I like them in now, except for the last one, which I haven't officially ranked yet. And certainly, the order could change a lot.

Faun - Pagan - 11th LP from this German neo-Pagan folk band from Munich.

Matisyahu - Matisyahu - 7th LP from this American Hasidic Jewish hip-hop/reggae artist. He's back living in New York, in Rockland County, with a newborn infant daughter born during the pandemic. Album was produced by the Columbian musical duo Salt Cathedral.

Johnny Marr - Fever Dreams Parts I-IV - Former lead guitarist of The Smiths with a collection of his four most recent solo EPs. It's his 4th solo LP.

Avril Lavigne - Love Sux - 7th LP from this Canadian pop rock star. This is her most scorching LP in years.

Nocturna - Daughters of the Night - Debut album from a Italian gothic symphonic metal band with two female vocalists.

Royksopp - Profound Mysteries - 6th LP from this Norwegian electronic music duo. Album features several guest vocalists.

Visions of Atlantis - Pirates - 8th LP from this Austrian female-fronted bombastic symphonic metal band.

Beach House - Once Twice Melody - American dream pop duo from Baltimore, MD with a collection of their four most recent EPs. This is their 8th LP.

The Monochrome Set - Allhallowtide - 16th LP from this British post punk new wave band.

Chaos Magic - Emerge - 3rd LP from this Finnish symphonic metal band fronted by Chilean singer Caterina Nix.

Alexia Avina - A Little Older - Ethereal acoustic artist who was born in Southeast Asia and currently lives in Queens, NY. This is her 4th full-length album.

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Unlimited Love - 13th LP by this world-famed alternative rock/funk band from Los Angeles, CA.

Hallas - Isle of Wisdom - Swedish progressive rock/hard rock band. This is their 3rd full-length album.

Calexico - El Mirador - 12th LP by this Tucson, AZ-based Tex-Mex indie rock band.

Darkher - The Buried Storm - 2nd LP from this West Yorkshire, UK-based doom metal/folk musician.

The Birthday Massacre - Fascination - 9th LP from this gothic alternative rock band from Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Moonlight Haze - Animus - 3rd LP from this Italian symphonic power metal band.

Graveyard Club - Moonflower - 2nd LP from this American synth rock band from Minneapolis, MN.

Those are my highlights of 2022 so far.

Adding to the My Favorite Artists List

Yesterday I posted a bit about my My Favorite Artists list - the history of it, some playlists I made for myself, etc. I also posted just a little about what it takes to make that list - an artist doesn't need to have an extensive discography, but they do need to have music that I love, and I also need to have an emotional link to them. I not only love their music, but in some way, they represent me.

On yesterday's post, I named the first 25 of those bands (and thirteen playlists I made for them as well). The list included:

1. Jethro Tull
2. The Who
3. Pink Floyd
4. Yes
5. The Good Rats
6. Procol Harum
7. Bruce Springsteen
8. Joni Mitchell
9. The Cars
10. The Police
11. Blondie
12. Eurythmics
13. The Smiths
14. The Go-Go's
15. Fleetwood Mac
16. Rush
17. 'Til Tuesday
18. The Cranberries
19. Nirvana
20. The Slant

My original list of 20 ended with Denise's band The Slant. A few years later, I added five other bands that had become very important to me.

21. Future Bible Heroes
22. Paramore
23. Bayside
24. Black 47
25. Blackmore's Night

What I didn't tell you (because they were added too late to be included in those thirteen playlists) was that at some time over the course of the pandemic, I added two other more modern bands over the course of the pandemic that have become important to me through the last few years. They were:

26. Nightwish
27. Mostly Autumn

Nightwish started a new passion for me, that of symphonic metal (and I've been exploring a variety of bands in that genre over the last three years). Mostly Autumn, on the other hand, proved to be something I didn't think existed anymore - a modern-day prog rock band in the vein of bands like Pink Floyd, Renaissance and even The Who.

But as I'm faced now with possibly the end of my life, I thought it might be time to look back and add a few more artists to this list to bring it back to an even number. Just as I had originally overlooked bands like Fleetwood Mac and Rush, who else might there be that I'd missed initially, but really deserved to be here?

First, let me say that I've decided for now, at least, to keep with my original principal of letting The Slant be the only local band without a national following to hold a place on this list. I could immediately add a bunch of Long Island artists from the mid-1990's through early 2000's who absolutely deserve to be here, and they'll always hold a special place in my heart. But none of them included my life partner. So although I'd love to someday write about some of those others, it won't be now.

Instead, I looked back over the various decades and found one band each from the 1960's, 1970's and 1980's, each of whom clearly deserves to be here, to round my list out to an even thirty.

1. The first, when I think about it, really should have always been here. They might not have the sophistication of most of the rest of these artists, and for years, many treated them as a joke. But they were the first musical love of 9-year-old LIMusicGuy, and although they were drafted together by the producers of a television show and initially many of them couldn't play their own instruments, they always had top-flight songwriters to help them and individual charisma to help them through. I'm talking, of course, about The Monkees.

I guess I never officially added them before because there was a part of me that was embarrassed, given that The Monkees have always been treated as if they weren't legitimate, But there's a reason that even today, after the death of Mike Nesmith, the public will still spend good money to see the last living member of the band, Mickey Dolenz, go out on tour an play there tunes. And grammar-school me never had a purer love for any band. When I got my first transistor radio for Christmas of 1996, the #1 song on WABC (my first radio station of choice) was their single "I'm a Believer" (written by Neil Diamond, btw, a not-too-shabby songwriter). It was the biggest selling single of all of 1967. And it was the first single I ever owned.

It's time to embrace 9-year-old me and his biggest musical love. #28 on my list of My Favorite Artists goes to The Monkees.

2. The second addition is a band that began in the '60s, but for all practical intents and purposes, they're a '70s band - that's when they had their period of greatest success.

I'm talking about Strawbs. In a lot of ways, I always had them grouped in my head with Renaissance and the Peter Gabriel version of Genesis. But in recent years, I think the band they most closely resemble, at least thematically, is Procol Harum. The biggest difference is Procol found me earlier in life. But from the moment I heard Dave Cousins barking, "May you ROT in your grave!" they were really one of my bands.

Strawbs has everything - a vocalist with a distinct but attractive voice, good keyboards (Rick Wakeman even played with them prior to his Yes days), unusual lyrics that told a story ("Witchwood"), some positive, Buddhist-like lyrics ("Benedictus", "Blue Angel"). And not only did I get to know one of their former members, John Ford, after he moved to Long Island, he even backed me one time at the Brookhaven Lab when I sang my classic hit single, "Alien Anal-Probe Blues". Let's face it, these guys are an absolute natural to make the My Favorite Artists list.

3. The third really became clear to me when I took the '80s Cruise last March. I know I posted here than at some point in the early '80s, I wrote about six bands that I expected would lead music through the 1980s. Before now, the only one of those six who made the My Favorite Artists list was Eurythmics. But no more! I'm proud to name A Flock of Seagulls to the My Favorite Artists list.

I really loved Flock's first three albums. I think one of the things that stopped me from naming them to this list was how much I hated their fourth one. But they did eventually put out a fifth LP almost a decade later that had some things going for it. And they've just always been a band that made me smile - even their various remix comps, or their two recent orchestral albums.

So there we have it. Henceforth, My Favorite Artists consist of the following thirty artists:

1. Jethro Tull
2. The Who
3. Pink Floyd
4. Yes
5. The Good Rats
6. Procol Harum
7. Bruce Springsteen
8. Joni Mitchell
9. The Cars
10. The Police
11. Blondie
12. Eurythmics
13. The Smiths
14. The Go-Go's
15. Fleetwood Mac
16. Rush
17. 'Til Tuesday
18. The Cranberries
19. Nirvana
20. The Slant
21. Future Bible Heroes
22. Paramore
23. Bayside
24. Black 47
25. Blackmore's Night
26. Nightwish
27. Mostly Autumn
28. The Monkees
29. Strawbs
30. A Flock of Seagulls

Monday, August 15, 2022

About My Favorite Artists List (and some playlists for your enjoyment)

The other day as I started my listening for Rush, a question occurred to me. Early Rush (especially that first LP) was considered to be pretty derivative of Led Zeppelin. Why did Rush make my Favorite Artists list and not Zeppelin? I certainly respect Zeppelin's work a lot - hell, almost everything on their third and forth LP is a classic. Even with a smaller discography, Zeppelin might even have more songs that I love than Rush does. (I haven't tried counting them up for both bands, but it's definitely possible.) So why Rush and not Zeppelin?

I think it has something to do with a special closeness I feel with the band or artist. It's like not only do I love this artist's music, but I feel a special relationship with them in some way. And of course, I also stand behind, their music and their overall output.

I'm kind of a list guy (aka, an obsessive-compulsive nut). And my original list of My Favorite Artists was probably written more than a decade ago. It consisted of 20 artists, naturally ending with The Slant (Denise's band).

They were:

1. Jethro Tull
2. The Who
3. Pink Floyd
4. Yes
5. The Good Rats
6. Procol Harum
7. Bruce Springsteen
8. Joni Mitchell
9. The Cars
10. The Police
11. Blondie
12. Eurythmics
13. The Smiths
14. The Go-Go's
15. Fleetwood Mac
16. Rush
17. 'Til Tuesday
18. The Cranberries
19. Nirvana
20. The Slant

Note that The Slant was the only local band without a national following. I reserved that honor for them, although at some point, I may decide to change that. (More on that in my next post).

I don't remember how long it took, but before long (probably around the time I started on Sputnik Music), I added another five artists from more modern times:

21. Future Bible Heroes
22. Paramore
23. Bayside
24. Black 47
25. Blackmore's Night

Now in my weird little mind, each of these entries is kind of all-inclusive. What I mean by this is, for example, by including Future Bible Heroes, I automatically include The Magnetic Fields and all of the various Stephin Merritt projects; along with 'Til Tuesday, I get Aimee Mann; along with The Slant, I get Killer Kelp, etc. I also get the projects by the various solo members of the band, e.g. all of the Pete Townshend solo albums, all of the various offshoots of Yes, etc.

In my next blog post, I'm going to talk about some possible new additions to this list. But I'm going to close this post out (and also make it very long) by telling you that at this point, when I had twenty-five artists, I made myself a series of thirteen playlists for my MP3 player. Each included one song from each artist, in this original numbering of 1 though 25. This means each list has 25 songs in it, approximately the size of a strong double-album (and long enough to take a really nice nap to). I've listened to these lists extensively over the years, and now that I'm sick and I can't do a whole lot more than listen to music, I'm using them again.

You'll notice they're kind of quirky - they very much reflect my own taste. And while it's not exactly true that the first list contains my favorite song by each artist, the second my second favorite, etc., it's a little bit true.

Why 13 lists? Simple. The Slant only ever recorded one album other than their Christmas LP, so one one list for each of the 13 songs on that album.

Don't care at all about any of this? I don't blame you. Feel free to move on to the next post. But if you're up for it, here are the 13 playlists for my Favorite Bands of All Time:

My Favorite Bands of All Time # 01
1. Jethro Tull - Heavy Horses
2. The Who - Behind Blue Eyes
3. Pink Floyd - Welcome to the Machine
4. Yes - Turn of the Century
5. The Good Rats - Songwriter
6. Procol Harum - A Salty Dog
7. Bruce Springsteen - Thunder Road
8. Joni Mitchell - Chelsea Morning
9. The Cars - Just What I Needed
10. The Police - Don't Stand So Close to Me
11. Blondie - 11:59
12. Eurythmics - Doubleplusgood
13. The Smiths - There Is a Light That Never Goes Out
14. The Go-Go's - Head Over Heels
15. Fleetwood Mac - Landslide
16. Rush - Limelight
17. 'Til Tuesday - Voices Carry
18. The Cranberries - Linger
19. Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
20. The Slant - Call You on the Phone
21. Future Bible Heroes - She-Devils of the Deep
22. Paramore - Brick By Boring Brick
23. Bayside - Existing in Crisis (Evelyn)
24. Black 47 - Funky Ceili (Bridie's Song)
25. Blackmore's Night - Renaissance Fair

My Favorite Bands of All Time # 02
1. Jethro Tull - Life Is a Long Song
2. The Who - Amazing Journey/Sparks
3. Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb
4. Yes - And You and I
5. The Good Rats - Ashes to Ashes
6. Procol Harum - As Strong as Samson
7. Bruce Springsteen - Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
8. Joni Mitchell - Conversation
9. The Cars - It's All I Can Do
10. The Police - King of Pain
11. Blondie - Denis
12. Eurythmics - Love Is a Stranger
13. The Smiths - This Charming Man
14. The Go-Go's - We Got the Beat
15. Fleetwood Mac - Dreams
16. Rush - The Spirit of Radio
17. 'Til Tuesday - You Know the Rest
18. The Cranberries - Salvation
19. Nirvana - All Apologies
20. The Slant - Simple
21. Future Bible Heroes - I'm a Vampire
22. Paramore - Hallelujah
23. Bayside - Stuttering
24. Black 47 - Voodoo City
25. Blackmore's Night - Past Time With Good Company

My Favorite Bands of All Time # 03
1. Jethro Tull - Skating Away on the Thin Ice of a New Day
2. The Who - You Better You Bet
3. Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
4. Yes - Wondrous Stories
5. The Good Rats - Injun Joe
6. Procol Harum - Pandora's Box
7. Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run
8. Joni Mitchell - Free Man in Paris
9. The Cars - Drive
10. The Police - Wrapped Around Your Finger
11. Blondie - Sunday Girl
12. Eurythmics - Julia
13. The Smiths - Bigmouth Strikes Again
14. The Go-Go's - I'm With You
15. Fleetwood Mac - Say You Love Me
16. Rush - Red Barchetta
17. 'Til Tuesday - What About Love
18. The Cranberries - Zombie
19. Nirvana - Polly
20. The Slant - Outside My Dreams
21. Future Bible Heroes - Memories of Love
22. Paramore - Misery Business
23. Bayside - Sick, Sick, Sick
24. Black 47 - Big Fellah
25. Blackmore's Night - Under a Violet Moon

My Favorite Bands of All Time # 04
1. Jethro Tull - Too Old to Rock 'N' Roll: Too Young to Die
2. The Who - Sea and Sand
3. Pink Floyd - Us and Them
4. Yes - I've Seen All Good People
5. The Good Rats - Cover of the Night
6. Procol Harum - Barnyard Story
7. Bruce Springsteen - 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)
8. Joni Mitchell - That Song About the Midway
9. The Cars - Let's Go
10. The Police - Synchronicity II
11. Blondie - Contact in Red Square
12. Eurythmics - Here Comes the Rain Again
13. The Smiths - Girlfriend in a Coma
14. The Go-Go's - Our Lips Are Sealed
15. Fleetwood Mac - Gold Dust Woman
16. Rush - Freewill
17. 'Til Tuesday - Love in a Vacuum
18. The Cranberries - Dreams
19. Nirvana - Heart-Shaped Box
20. The Slant - Since I Met You
21. Future Bible Heroes - Hopeless
22. Paramore - All I Wanted
23. Bayside - Choice Hops and Bottled Self Esteem
24. Black 47 - Livin' in America 
25. Blackmore's Night - Loreley

My Favorite Bands of All Time # 05
1. Jethro Tull - Black Sunday
2. The Who - Don't Let Go the Coat
3. Pink Floyd - Hey You
4. Yes - Into the Lens
5. The Good Rats - Cherry River
6. Procol Harum - Shine on Brightly
7. Bruce Springsteen - Racing in the Street
8. Joni Mitchell - Court and Spark
9. The Cars - Touch and Go
10. The Police - Message in a Bottle
11. Blondie - Call Me (Theme From American Gigolo)
12. Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
13. The Smiths - Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others
14. The Go-Go's - Beneath the Blue Sky
15. Fleetwood Mac - Gypsy
16. Rush - Red Sector 'A'
17. 'Til Tuesday - Maybe Monday
18. The Cranberries - Promises
19. Nirvana - Come As You Are
20. The Slant - Game Player
21. Future Bible Heroes - Death Opened a Boutique
22. Paramore - We Are Broken
23. Bayside - The Ghost of St. Valentine
24. Black 47 - Izzy's Irish Rose
25. Blackmore's Night - The Dancer and the Moon

My Favorite Bands of All Time # 06
1. Jethro Tull - Cross-Eyed Mary
2. The Who - Dig
3. Pink Floyd - Mother
4. Yes - Heart of the Sunrise
5. The Good Rats - Papa Poppa
6. Procol Harum - Homburg
7. Bruce Springsteen - Dancing in the Dark
8. Joni Mitchell - The Gallery
9. The Cars - Shake It Up
10. The Police - Roxanne
11. Blondie - (I'm Always Touched By Your) Presence Dear
12. Eurythmics - There Must Be an Angel (Playing With My Heart)
13. The Smiths - Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now
14. The Go-Go's - Lust to Love
15. Fleetwood Mac - You Make Loving Fun
16. Rush - Roll the Bones
17. 'Til Tuesday - Limits to Love
18. The Cranberries - The Icycle Melts
19. Nirvana - The Man Who Sold the World
20. The Slant - Sell Me
21. Future Bible Heroes - Keep Your Children in a Coma
22. Paramore - When It Rains
23. Bayside - Devotion and Desire
24. Black 47 - Maria's Wedding
25. Blackmore's Night - Shadow of the Moon

My Favorite Bands of All Time # 07
1. Jethro Tull - Velvet Green
2. The Who - Pinball Wizard
3. Pink Floyd - Learning to Fly
4. Yes - Starship Trooper
5. The Good Rats - Back to My Music
6. Procol Harum - Still There'll Be More
7. Bruce Springsteen - Drive All Night
8. Joni Mitchell - Cactus Tree
9. The Cars - Candy-O
10. The Police - Can't Stand Losing You
11. Blondie - Dreaming
12. Eurythmics - This City Never Sleeps
13. The Smiths - Panic
14. The Go-Go's - Vacation
15. Fleetwood Mac - Sara
16. Rush - Presto
17. 'Til Tuesday - David Denies
18. The Cranberries - Ode to My Family
19. Nirvana - About a Girl
20. The Slant - Nuclear Age
21. Future Bible Heroes - But You're So Beautiful
22. Paramore - Crushcrushcrush
23. Bayside - Boy
24. Black 47 - Bodhrans on the Brain
25. Blackmore's Night - Fires at Midnight

My Favorite Bands of All Time # 08
1. Jethro Tull - Clasp
2. The Who - Cut My Hair
3. Pink Floyd - One of These Days
4. Yes - Parallels
5. The Good Rats - Dear Sir
6. Procol Harum - All This and More
7. Bruce Springsteen - Point Blank
8. Joni Mitchell - For Free
9. The Cars - You're All I've Got Tonight
10. The Police - Walking on the Moon
11. Blondie - Danceway
12. Eurythmics - Thorn in My Side
13. The Smiths - Vicar in a Tutu
14. The Go-Go's - This Town
15. Fleetwood Mac - Rhiannon
16. Rush - Fly By Night
17. 'Til Tuesday - Coming Up Close
18. The Cranberries - Roses
19. Nirvana - Lithium
20. The Slant - Morse Code
21. Future Bible Heroes - Doris Daytheearthstoodstill
22. Paramore - Where the Lines Overlap
23. Bayside - Transitive Property
24. Black 47 - The Day They Set Jim Larkin Free
25. Blackmore's Night - Ocean Gypsy

My Favorite Bands of All Time # 09
1. Jethro Tull - Dun Ringill
2. The Who - It's Hard
3. Pink Floyd - Dogs
4. Yes - Run Through the Light
5. The Good Rats - Boardwalk Slasher
6. Procol Harum - Fires (Which Burn Brightly)
7. Bruce Springsteen - Spirit in the Night
8. Joni Mitchell - Don Juan's Reckless Daughter
9. The Cars - You Might Think
10. The Police - Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
11. Blondie - Love Doesn't Frighten Me
12. Eurythmics - Right By Your Side
13. The Smiths - Is It Really So Strange?
14. The Go-Go's - Turn to You
15. Fleetwood Mac - Little Lies
16. Rush - Subdivisions
17. 'Til Tuesday - Maybe Monday
18. The Cranberries - Electric Blue
19. Nirvana - Rape Me
20. The Slant - Slipping Away
21. Future Bible Heroes - I'm Lonely (And I Love It)
22. Paramore - Fast in My Car
23. Bayside - I Can't Go On
24. Black 47 - 40 Shades of Blue
25. Blackmore's Night - Sister Gypsy

My Favorite Bands of All Time # 10
1. Jethro Tull - Under Wraps #2
2. The Who - Love, Reign O'er Me
3. Pink Floyd - Brain Damage - Eclipse
4. Yes - Long Distance Run-around 
5. The Good Rats - Victory in Space
6. Procol Harum - A Whiter Shade of Pale
7. Bruce Springsteen - Tunnel of Love
8. Joni Mitchell - Carey
9. The Cars - Tonight She Comes
10. The Police - De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da
11. Blondie - Under the Gun
12. Eurythmics - No Fear (No Hate, No Pain, No Broken Heart)
13. The Smiths - Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before
14. The Go-Go's - Yes or No
15. Fleetwood Mac - Big Love
16. Rush - Show Don't Tell me
17. 'Til Tuesday- Don't Watch Me Bleed
18. The Cranberries - Pretty
19. Nirvana - Dumb
20. The Slant - Junk Mail
21. Future Bible Heroes - Living, Loving, Partygoing
22. Paramore - Decode
23. Bayside - Winter
24. Black 47 - Forty Deuce
25. Blackmore's Night - Streets of London

My Favorite Bands of All Time # 11
1. Jethro Tull - Jack-A-Lynn
2. The Who - Pure and Easy
3. Pink Floyd - Shine on You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V)
4. Yes - Children of Light
5. The Good Rats - Great American Music Halls
6. Procol Harum - Broken Barricades
7. Bruce Springsteen - Atlantic City
8. Joni Mitchell - Tin Angel 
9. The Cars - Dangerous Type
10. The Police - Reggatta De Blanc
11. Blondie - Island of Lost Souls
12. Eurythmics - Who's That Girl?
13. The Smiths - The Boy With the Thorn in His Side
14. The Go-Go's - The Whole World Lost Its Head
15. Fleetwood Mac - The Chain
16. Rush - Tom Sawyer
17. 'Til Tuesday - I Could Get Used to This
18. The Cranberries - Schizophrenic Playboys
19. Nirvana - Sliver
20. The Slant - Rubber Ducky
21. Future Bible Heroes - Cafe Hong Kong
22. Paramore - (One of Those) Crazy Girls
23. Bayside - Moceanu
24. Black 47 - Blood Wedding
25. Blackmore's Night - Way to Mandalay

My Favorite Bands of All Time # 12
1. Jethro Tull - Songs From the Wood
2. The Who - Substitute
3. Pink Floyd - Run Like Hell
4. Yes - Awaken
5. The Good Rats - Taking It to Detroit
6. Procol Harum - About to Die
7. Bruce Springsteen - The Promised Land
8. Joni Mitchell - Blue Boy
9. The Cars - Panorama
10. The Police - Secret Journey
11. Blondie - A Rose By Any Other Name
12. Eurythmics - Missionary Man
13. The Smiths - Cemetery Gates
14. The Go-Go's - Skidmarks on My Heart
15. Fleetwood Mac - Go Your Own Way
16. Rush - Vapor Trail
17. 'Til Tuesday - Will She Just Fall Down
18. The Cranberries - Animal Instinct
19. Nirvana - Pennyroyal Tea
20. The Slant - Diane
21. Future Bible Heroes - Lonely Days
22. Paramore - That's What You Get
23. Bayside - Mona Lisa
24. Black 47 - Long Lost Tapes
25. Blackmore's Night - The Circle

My Favorite Bands of All Time # 13
1. Jethro Tull - With You There to Help Me
2. The Who - Won't Get Fooled Again
3. Pink Floyd - Pigs (Three Different Ones)
4. Yes - Yours Is No Disgrace
5. The Good Rats - Gino
6. Procol Harum - Wreck of the Hesperus
7. Bruce Springsteen - Prove It All Night
8. Joni Mitchell - People's Parties
9. The Cars - Since You're Gone
10. The Police - The Bed's Too Big Without You
11. Blondie - The Tide Is High
12. Eurythmics - Would I Lie to You?
13. The Smiths - Frankly, Mr. Shankly 
14. The Go-Go's - Can't Stop the World
15. Fleetwood Mac - Tusk
16. Rush - Closer to the Heart
17. 'Til Tuesday - Everything's Different Now
18. The Cranberries - Never Grow Old
19. Nirvana - In Bloom
20. The Slant - Blue-Eyed Gypsy
21. Future Bible Heroes - How Very Strange
22. Paramore - Emergency
23. Bayside - We'll Be O.K.
24. Black 47 - Paul Robeson (Born to Be Free)
25. Blackmore's Night - Sake of the Song

Note that I did this without the use of mega-songs, like "Thick As A Brick" by Tull or "In Held 'Twas in I" by Procol. Note too that I came up with 13 playlists without using derivative versions of the band (e.g. The Magnetic Fields instead of FBH or Aimee Mann instead of 'Til Tuesday). Pretty impressive, eh? (No? Whatever.)

I'm out. Next post will be about possible additions to the My Favorite Artists list.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

My Favorite Artists/Future Blog Posts/Med Updates/Upcoming LP

I've actually started the listening for the next article in the My Favorites Artists Series, Rush. They have an extensive discography, so it's going to take awhile, but I think I can get through. I might have a little free time coming.

Might even use some time to pound out a few more album reviews I had wanted to get to but haven't been able to. And SOTD looks to be back at full strength, so we'll see if we can keep that going (and if I can keep from getting too crazed by it if we do).

As for the med stuff, I had the port surgically placed into me last Thursday, and had my first chemo treatment that afternoon. They changed the chemo plan at the last minute, based on the fact that a second biopsy has determined a point of origin for the cancer - it started in the bioducts in the area between my liver and gall bladder.

The treatment itself was, dare I say, almost pleasant. They gave me nice nurses who put me in a comfy recliner and gave me a blanket. After the first one gave me some extensive education on this protocol and what to expect, I mostly listened to my MP3 player for the next 3 hours (which gave me a chance to start re-listening to my potential Album-of-the-Year stuff).

One thing I've learned quickly is that when people in your life who have gone through chemo or helped a loved one to go through it try to tell you about it, they often can't, because there isn't really just one chemo - everyone's plans get individually tailored with different chemicals and time periods, based on where the doctors believe the point of origin is, what stage you're in, etc. I was literally in surgery to get the port put in when the doctor called Denise about the results of the redone biopsy. This changed which chemicals they used, how often they want to give it to me, etc., on the spot, so when I went in for the chemo an hour later, I was getting a different treatment than had been planned just earlier that day.

I felt pretty strong Thursday night, the night of the chemo, and when I got up Friday, I felt like I could wrestle a tiger.

Then, the combination of chemo/cancer did something cruel and unexpected. Throughout the course of this experience, because the majority of the cancer has settled into the lining of my stomach, sitting has been hard. Almost anything I sit on puts pressure on my stomach, which makes it very uncomfortable to sit anywhere for more than a few minutes at a time. The only two places I was comfortable were in my nice, high bed with a firm mattress (and that was for laying, not sitting) and my comfy old recliner chair.

This chair was long past its shelf life, but it was huge, and soft, even though its days of moving as a recliner were long gone. (It was originally an electric recliner. When she was younger, my daughter used to delight in occasionally unplugging it on me when I was reclining in it, leaving me helpless like a turtle on its shell while she would laugh at me.)

But these days, it listed seriously to the right, and was stuck in a position with the footrest partway up. And as I've gotten noticeably weaker over the last few months, it was getting harder and harder to get out of. It required a sort of one-hand push off from my right hand, which was getting harder and harder to do. And Thursday night was the night I suddenly couldn't do it anymore. The arm was strong, but the legs weren't fully strong enough to push off and take my weight.

It took both my son and my daughter's boyfriend, two of the strongest young men I know, more than 15 minutes working together to get me out of that chair without hurting me. It was both a frightening and humiliating experience.

So we had to finally get rid off my wonderful, comfy old chair. And so far, although I'm starting to learn to some workarounds for this old hospital recliner my sister-in-law lent us, it's been hard to stay in the family room for any significant length of time.

Then, on Saturday morning, the second day after the chemo, the effects hit, and I felt like I'd been run over by a Mac truck. I slept for almost all of Saturday and Sunday, and half of Monday. I couldn't hold much food down, and I didn't feel like eating. It felt like the end.

By Monday night, I started to come out of, and by Tuesday I felt better - good enough to at least organize my work mailbox and start trying to figure out some temporary work arounds to work in the living room. (We ordered me a new chair, which my mother-in-law is giving us as a gift, bless her loving heart. But it probably won't arrive for another week or two).

So that's where I'm at today - trying to get a sense of the cycle of my reactions to the chemo. I'm scheduled for a week off from chemo next week, and then back in the saddle the week after.

So here's my hope. Right now, it's still mid-August, and my doctor is hoping this treatment will improve how I'm feeling in a few months. The last set of unused concert tickets that I bought are for Annie Haslam's 75th birthday tour with Renaissance, playing right here at the Patchogue Theater in November. We've got fifth row seats. That gives me three months to maybe feel a bit better, gain some strength back and maybe actually make this concert.

Wish me luck with that, gang!


Here's one local music nugget that I'm excited about. I got an email last week letting me know that Tara Drouin (nee Tara Eberle) of Iridesense, is releasing her first solo album on Paradiddle Records on August 23. It seems to be called Silver Linings. (I'm not 100% sure on that, though.) In any event, Tara has always been one of my favorite vocalists, so I'm definitely psyched for this LP.