Maynard James Keenan and the Great Grape Gonspiracy

I mentioned Blood into Wine the other day – I decided to buy it having gotten one positive comment from someone and one e-mail telling me my comments didn’t work and I should kill myself and it happens to be decent.

I also would like to plug Caduceus. I’ve been sitting here far longer than I should at work paging through it (I’m up to 07/28/06) and having a blast reading it. The intro to the site is deceptive, wait until you see the vine come up onto the trellis and click on the book. Start from the beging. Click on the photos. Maynard is one of the people I would love to meet in real life. Yeah it’s a great artist and all that but he understands the purpose of The Great Work (emphasis on the last word) for what it takes to actually invest yourself in something. More on the point he’s got a wonderful sense of balance of nature to his vineyards. Some of them are graded, some of them are on the side of a hill, and when they found a mystery grape vine, they kept it. That grape vine has seen two world wars, the prohibition, “hippies and smelters” and now it’s his.

Reading this type of thing I tend to feel like I’m missing out on life by not owning a vineyard, but I suppose there’s perks to having more money than god. For one, Maynards tasting notes from literally around the world are interesting to read, if not terribly brief. But on the other hand he doesn’t come off being a wine snob. It’s something he’s interested in doing. To quote the journal, what other rock star owns a backhoe? Or what other rockstar has a subaru brat which has seen some real amature welding. Lord only knows.

My grandparents had grape vines growing around back, but I never remembered the taste. Not sure if they ever produced anything workable, certainly I don’t ever remember eating them. I do remember their back yard in the valley house being a total wash for the most part. I do plan on trying to grow grapes here, I think it would dovetail nicely into the beer brewing and the honeymead. If the cross pollonation happens the way Maynard suggests with growing fruit near the grapes, then the grapes grown in the backyard should be fantastic if we can keep the apple, pear and nectarine trees alive.

Anyway, if I’m ever in Arizona, I figure I’ll show up with my purple postal carriers hat and a shovel and see if he could use the help or if I’ll just become another paintball target.

RIP Andy “Kitten” Zebrowitz

The end is the begnining is the end is the begining is the end…

ZEBROWITZ, Andrew ANDREW (ANDY) MORRIS ZEBROWITZ Andrew (Andy) Morris Zebrowitz, born July 27, 1979, passed away Sunday evening, February 14, 2010 at Emory University Hospital. He is survived by his mother Cyndy Newcomer, father Michael Zebrowitz, sister Robin Zebrowitz Harpak and her husband Dotan Zebrowitz Harpak, stepfather Robert E. Newcomer, stepmother Kathy Aldan, grandmother Rosalyn Felheimer, and aunts, uncles, and cousins, all of whom loved him deeply. Andy lived in East Cobb County for 29 of his 30 years and graduated from Pope High School. All his life, Andy marched to the beat of his own drummer, amusing (and sometimes irritating) his family and his many friends with his wry humor and mischievous pranks. Andy was known for his deep, melodious voice and his unique way of expressing himself, both verbally and in writing. Known to his friends as “Kitten,” Andy was a very talented writer who entertained people from all over the world with his website, http://www.mirrorshades.org, filled with his unique observations and his rants against conformity as well as his specially chosen musical selections. As a last generous gesture, Andy chose to be an organ donor, so that others may experience the joy of life that was his for nearly 31 years. The family wishes to express its gratitude to the amazing medical personnel at Emory University Hospital’s Neuro ICU. A funeral service will be conducted by Rabbi Steven Lebow on Tuesday, February 16, 2010 at 4 p.m. at Sandy Springs Chapel, 136 Mount Vernon Hwy, Sandy Springs, GA, followed by a graveside service at Arlington Memorial Park, 201 Mount Vernon Hwy. Following the funeral, the family will receive guests at the Newcomer residence. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Humane Society of the United States, http://www.humanesociety.org. “The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long.”

Quote from the family placed obituary.

If you don’t know, he ran Mirrorshades, contributed to The Walled City, and if you’re saying HAY WAS HE A CYBURPUINK? The answer is yeah, he enjoyed that style and William Gibson and we enjoyed HACKERS together while docking. Maybe not the last part. He also frequented Shampoo and did some of their music and shows on Wednesdays. He also posted to K5. The community has already embraced it.

Dead City Radio covers it here.

It’s sort of strange to have a literal tape of someone laying around in terms of what they published online full well knowing they’re dead, it’ll never be updated, and no-ones got the password to close it down. Like everything else, it just sits around until it’s officially dead media.

Song for a Son

Not sure if I can repost this so here’s a direct link. Via spinner, The Smashing Pumpkins released A Song for a Son. I know everyone is like “Billy Corgan didn’t kill himself yet?” but it’s actually a decent song. It’s somewhere between ZWAN and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. MCatIS opened up entirely new genres of music for me, and probably was the gateway album to TOOL. It doesn’t have the depth of the rock on Siamese Dream (“if one guitar is good, 10 are better”) but then again the new Smashing Pumpkins are lacking James Iha who was responcible for most of the guitar. Does it sound like Zeitgeist? Thankfully no. Zeitgeist is the louder-is-better production style of music which was pioneered by Green Day and frankly I’ll never forgive them for it.

The new album is called Teargarden by Kaleidyscope and has the same sort of bright artwork ZWAN had but in watercolor. The wanna-be punk image from Zeitgeist is gone (thank god – if there was ever a genre of music even more ironic than rap by it’s very existence – it’s “punk”) and instead it’s replaced by a music which is just as much about the artwork (watercolor) as it is the production method. So says Corgan:

[I] don’t think I’m going to make albums in the old-fashioned way, meaning 12-15 songs, etc. in one small package. My desire at this point would be to release one song at a time, over a period of 2-3 years, with it all adding up to a box set/album of sorts that would also include an art movie of the album… My thinking is that if I focus on one song at a time I would approach them as beautiful, distinct paintings that would each require the attention they deserve. This would also mean I would choose what I am recording quite carefully as there would be tremendous internal pressure to get it just right, and that is the kind of pressure I like, which is to make the most beautiful thing possible. I’ve gotten lost many times during the long haul of making a record and have overlooked some great songs because of that. The new standard for an SP song would that it be excellent and fantastic and most importantly essential or it’s not coming out. I will do my best to meet that intention fully.

Frankly it sounds like a win to me. If there’s ever a style which is going to make it in the New Music market of ipods and droid and imaginary property, it’s an artist who understands that every song needs to be a single.

Coraline Soundtrack

I’ve been listening to the Coraline soundtrack. If you haven’t seen the movie, it’s well worth it. Skip the 3D one, it ends up getting in the way of the plot.

The soundtrack, however, compliments the plot beautifully. Like “the other puppet movie” (The Nightmare Before Christmas), the music is well integrated. How does it stand on it’s own? Actually quite well. For one, most of the lyrics are anamanapia (which is Latin for “sounds nice, man”). The second thing which grabs you is the range and depth of the tone. The keys are well chosen, as are the instruments for texture and color. Clean instruments make up the “happy” or “whimsical” parts, while the instruments tend towards rough percussion for the less happy songs. They’re all well played, and played by hand. Expect to hear the fingers on the harp. There’s watercups thrown in there too.

The third bit of niceness is that while parts are often quoted between songs, the songs change key and use a broad, broad range. Expect to hear an obo playing at the top end of it’s range, and flutes playing at the bottom. Since woodwinds have a tendency for intubulation distortion, literally the shape of each instrument works against the instrument at the edges of it’s range, these are extremely well chosen.

Oh, the songs are nice too.

Sturgeon: It’s Like TOOL-Lite

Sturgeon’s new album, errr, only album is a free download. Can’t go wrong with free. Question is – what are you getting?

I’ve been on an American Folk kick as of late with Iron and Wine and Nickel Creek plus a few others.

Sturgeon is not American Folk music.

Sturgeon is like TOOL-lite. If you dig the mysticism in TOOL as a “must have”, then Sturgeon isn’t for you. If you like the time and key of TOOL’s music, you’ll probably like Sturgeon.

While it occasionally gets bogged down as a victim of it’s own design (guitar licks are repeated more than they should – almost like NIN) and some of the songs aren’t as well realized as others, it generally feels fresh. Lyrics generally are meaningless but then what does anyone else talk about on their first album anyway?

Iron and Wine

I love American Folk Music, especially when it’s done well. Iron and Wine is one of those where it’s close to perfect. It’s still flawed – from what I’ve heard there’s a bit much in repetition – but the potential is there. The man has a tendency to say, “This is a cool guitar lick” but then runs it over and over and over and sings to it. While not bad, the variance is in his voice, it sometimes makes the songs drag a bit. I would suggest listening to the previews on amazon.

I hate to admit it, but I heard him in the prom scene in TWILIGHT. Kelly loved it, I think it’s a cute but fairly strange Mormon fairy tale. (Protip: The vampires are the angels who chose to live among humans, the American Indians being called dogs is a slur, the rest is left as an exercise to the reader).

The song in TWILIGHT is Flightless Bird, American Mouth which isn’t his best work. Belated Promise Ring really shows off his stuff, but the band is only one guy, so he has to play all the instruments and harmonize with himself. He does have some free downloads on his site, I would suggest checking it out.

Whats the GEARS OF WAR 2 TV Spot Song?

Devotchka – How It Ends.

I’M GLAD I DOWNLOADED THE REST OF THEIR ANTHOLOGY BECAUSE IT SUCKS.

No really, I would love to have said the band is great – and there’s moments where it almost is and has this philip glass quality to it. Those moments are few and far between and mostly it just stays as a folk band for folk music I’m not interested in. They also helped out with the Nightmare Before Christmas Revisited album, which is why the GEARS commercial sounds so familiar. That album is actually this album, which I have a download of since it wasn’t available state-side for the longest time. Some of the tracks are sincerely awesome, but the Devotchka track isn’t it. What is awesome are the tracks from unknown (to us USians) artists who really did a good job redoing the songs. What sucks is that bands like the All American Rejects put no effort into redoing the song whatsoever so you’ll waste five minutes of your life every few tracks putting up with craptastic emo one shot American band trash. Protip to the All American Rejects – If you’re producing a cover track, don’t just sing along with your vocals to the original. That’s karaoke night, not cover night. On the other hand, The Polyphonic Spree did a cover of “Town Square” and it sounds like Pink Floyd did the music. It’s absolutely fantastic.