Friday, December 27, 2013

Sky Ferreria's "Night Time, My Time" ... Mind Blowing!

I didn't see this one coming...

I've been listening to Consequence of Sound's Top 50 Albums of 2013 and the one that's caught me off-guard is Sky Ferreria's "Night Time, My Time." (Ranked #49 by CoS)

It's loud, thick, catchy and luscious. Damn. It's not normally my preferred genre, but I can't stop listening to it. Check out "Ain't Your Right" or "Nobody Asked Me (If I Was Okay)."

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Music Overload

It seems like every December I say, "Man. I can't believe it's Christmas season already. I'm totally unready
for this." Last-minute shopping notwithstanding, the other thing that I don't do until too late is listen to Christmas music.

This year, however, was the exact opposite.

I think I was spinning Christmas tunes about one week before Thanksgiving. Unprecedented for me.

So by now, as I write this, let me tell you: I have had my fill of Christmas music in 2013! I've listened to it all this year: classics, rockabilly, country, contemporary and polka. All, and unequivocally, no matter the style, I'm done. No more Christmas music! If I don't hear it again for another 11 months, that will be just fine by me.

Now it's time for some Def Leppard or something. Anything to get these ringing bells out of my head...

Metallica in Antarctica ought to do the trick. It's about as far away from the North Pole as one can get. Plus it's only the second concert to have ever been played on the polar continent!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Thank You, RadioMilwaukee

There was a time when I swore I'd leave the city of Milwaukee. Not because of our brutal winters. Not because of our lousy teams (looking at you, '90s Brewers). Not because of a terrible inner city violent crime rate (hey, all cities have this; we gotta figure this one out together). But because the radio stations populating our airwaves in the final decade of last century catered to the dependable but unadventurous masses.

The stations didn't reflect me or my interests. They didn't reflect risk-taking. They didn't reflect the city Milwaukee was to blossom into -- a progressive city willing to step out of the shadow of Chicago and become its own thing (again).

Then along came 88Nine RadioMilwaukee and saved the day. Just take a look at their 25 most spun songs of 2013. It's great. Oh sure, I don't love every song listed here, but Little Green Cars, McCartney, Jake Bugg, The National, Beck, and City and Colour are some of my favorites. It's not always about liking every song -- it's about being exposed to something new. Also, though only one local band made this list (Volcano Choir), they play "Milwaukee Music" like Vic and Gab's fun new album. Stuff you wouldn't hear anywhere else.

I am very grateful RadioMilwaukee is now on my FM dial, 'cause I really didn't feel like moving anyways.

And don't get me wrong, there's wrong with belting out "Don't Stop Believin' " or snake-dancing to "Welcome to the Jungle" every now and then, but after 20 years, that stuff can get a bit tiring.

Rock on, RadioMilwaukee, and Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Fire Packers Coach Mike McCarthy? That's Crazy Talk.

I love sports ... but hate sports fans.

Under Mike McCarthy, the Packers are 81-45-1 with five playoff appearances and a Super Bowl win. Yet I hear (see) Packers fans clamoring "FIRE McCARTHY!"

Are they nuts? The biggest problem is, as Packers fans, we've become so accustomed to success that an injury-plagued, .500 season is deemed a failure and we demand someone be held accountable.
That's just dumb. McCarthy has earned the right to have a mediocre season for a change. The four years prior to this season all ended with double-digit victory totals.

I'll stick with Mike, thank you very much.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Hans Solo or Chewbacca? You Decide, Kid.

I heard the best example of teaching kids the value of money tonight. It was told to me by Gene, who was seated immediately to my right at Barley's Taproom in Asheville, North Carolina.

The story, as told by Gene...

"I was 1978. I had been saving up my coins for months to buy a Star Wars figurine. When we finally went to the store to pick 'em out, Mom looked at my savings and said, 'You only have enough money to buy Hans Solo or Chewbacca--you don't have enough money to buy them both.'"

"But, but, but, Mom," I said. "Hans and Chewbacca have to stay together. They belong together. They're partners!"

Mom, relentless, replied, "I'm sorry, Gene. It's either one or the other. You have to choose. If you want the other, you'll have to save up your allowance and come back in a few months to complete the set."

"Aww, Mom. I thought you could pick up what I'm short!"

"No, Gene. I'll clothe you. I'll feed you. I'll provide you shelter and love you, but if it's something you want, you'll have to save up for it yourself."

Total daggers to the chest, right? Was Gene's mom cruel? Was she cheap? Was she strapped? Or was she just teaching her child, Gene, a valuable life lesson of work and reward? (It was a good lesson--35 years later, Gene still remembers!)

Based on the quality guy Gene seemed to be, I'd say the latter.

Anyway, Gene's mom's plans worked. He went with the Chewbacca and returned about two months later and purchased Chewbacca's sidekick, Hans Solo.

Lesson learned. Gene kept working through his 40s and now owns the whole set--Jar Jar Binks included!

And now, because it's Christmas season, here's something completely annoying ...