Archive | November, 2011

Personal Soundtrack

30 Nov

The Song

Sister by The Black Keys

“Sister” comes off The Black Keys’ new album El Camino, and with great cuts like this, the Keys are here to fill your holiday season with grimy guitar licks that find the blessed union between sleaze and swagger.  While the Keys’ last album, Brothers, offered some of the more soulful and laid-back songs of the band’s repertoire, it sounds like El Camino is coming in hard with some brawny, fuck-you-blues that the duo does so well.

The song  is an efficient blues-rock number, with a taut rhythm guitar line holding the bottom end of the song tight while Dan Auerbach’s guitar cracks like an electric current over the top.  Patrick Carney stomps away and the duo play as if they’ve gotten sharper than ever before with their dual guitar-drum attack.  Expecting more great songs from El Camino to toe the line between tightly crafted hooks and loose, down-low, dirty blues.

The Activity

You’re walking down the city streets, and if you don’t smoke, you wish you had a cigarette right about now, taking an effortlessly cool drag as the strumming guitar line back-beats your steps.  Where are you going?  Doesn’t matter, as long as there’s a new lady there.  Your old thing is now just that, an old thing, and you’re dangerously close to swaggering as you enter into the world looking for someone to appreciate just how fucking laid-back your style is right now.

The guitar riffs in and that strange combination look of snarl, scowl, and jutted-out chin comes across your face.  If only that tattooed girl on the corner could hear that lick right now – she would understand how it pretty appropriately soundtracks your walking game right now.  Old thing did you wrong, and sooner rather than later a new thing will help set it right.  For now you’ll groove your way in between the two, with style.


On Bended Knee: Spreadsheets vs. Blood

22 Nov

(Note: On Bended Knee delivers the gritty details of wedding planning straight from those with their ears to the pavement.)

“Sign it in blood” is a saying of yesteryear that refers to a serious and unbreakable pact that if broken, is punishable with certain death. The few people alive today that still practice the literal meaning of this saying probably reside in the high violence unit of your local private prison. Other dying relics of a better time include soda fountains, free speech and as this post refers to, the US postal service.

Compiling a guest list is a tough but necessary process for every bride and groom. Modern spreadsheet applications offer a blank canvas for even the largest extended families, but what happens when a technology inept mom attempts to spearhead guest list management? The answer is literally in the details.

I told my resident tech neophyte “build the list in excel and send it to me and we will edit it from there.” A week passes and my daily ritual of idling impatiently near the mailbox for anything of substance is rewarded with a large manila envelope, holding a custom sized printout of the guest list in progress. Proving once again that the worth of the US Postal Service will last only as long as those who continue to use it.

On Bended Knee Rule #2: Details, details, details

On Bended Knee: Respect is Now Served

16 Nov

(Note: On Bended Knee delivers the gritty details of wedding planning straight from those with their ears to the pavement.)

Expect nothing but the unexpected, as that is the essence of planning a wedding. The minute you assume that the thousands of dollars you hand over to Don Kess Catering is a green light to cease worrying about the contents of the duck bisque is the minute you fail as a  professional human being. I am sure your biggest worry is the use of salted vs. unsalted butter, but that extra salt might be coming from a more natural source.

True, you can buy respect from your catering staff, but for those of us not in the 1%,  it is earned through back alley blunts and double shots of bourbon in between prep of the hor d’oeuvres and the main course. As long as the job you are paying for is getting done, why shouldn’t a wedding be a celebration for everyone involved?

On Bended Knee Rule # 1: You can pay a man to cook you dinner or you can pay a man to be a man, while cooking you dinner.

On Bended Knee: Intro

16 Nov

This is the official diary; the word in stone; the history that will be told for generations about a love born bathed in inhibitions yet evolved into a rare South American flower untouched by time.

On Bended Knee is an attempt to capture, as best words can, the flurry of mysticism that is wedding planning.

Personal Soundtrack

7 Nov

The Song

New Theory (RAC Mix) by Washed Out

RAC set themselves apart from the countless other remix artists out there by following a well-honed and simple formula: find the essence of a great song, pull out all of the structural aspects of the song that contribute to that essence, beef up those aspects, and plug them back in to the song along with some of their own stylistic touches. RAC’s work with “New Theory” follows their standard approach.  Washed Out are frontrunners in the chill-wave music scene, and their songs are spacey, laid-back soundscapes that get locked into a melody or synth riff and groove off on it for as long as they damn well please.  RAC’s mix of “New Theory” sounds distinctly like Washed Out, with the laid-back and ethereal vocals floating around catchy grooves, but this remix also adds a few more layers of synths and fills out the sound, making this version feel much more expansive than the original.  Overall, the “New Theory” remix is another solid RAC mix that builds upon the unique strengths of the original song to deliver a tune that stands well on its own.

The Activity

You just saw Drive, or you at least have an affinity for 80s crime-noir films filled with sequence of snightime cityscapes drenched in synths.  You’re driving, or sitting shotgun.  It’s probably nighttime.  It may or may not be raining.  You’re brooding on some kind of emotional score you have to settle, and the overwhelming theme in this vehicle would be cool.  You’re flexing your grip around your steering wheel, wishing you had some fingerless gloves, and setting your jaw as that imaginary camera in your mind pulls back for a wide shot of the urban landscape you’re driving in.  Doesn’t matter where you’re going.  With this song on, everything is lyrically moody and sunglasses are necessary.