Friday Thoughts

Some Friday thoughts:

May your coffee stay hot, but your demeanor cool

May your boss keep a liberal distance

May the phone not ring, and the breakroom not stink

May the copier not offer any resistance

Here’s to another, week under the belt

And at 5PM the traffic not vociferous

For there’s beer in the fridge, or soda or tea

If there’s anything better I can’t think of it

The week’s been a shit, this much I know

There’s no other words I can say

But the garage door is up, the wife’s filled me cup

Christ, thank God it’s Friday – J. “Hub” McHenry

I’m pretty much out of words today. It’s been a pretty terrible week all around. People arguing about guns, people mourning yet another large group of innocent lives taken by the hand of a lunatic, and we lost an American treasure in Tom Petty. I woke up this morning feeling like shit. Achy, stomach sour, and just a general feeling of malaise. But goddammit, it’s Friday and I’m not going to let a little ick in the gut ruin that. My oldest is coming home for the weekend and I took Monday off so I’m happy about that. I’ve also got lots of music to indulge in over the weekend(which you’ll hear about I’m sure.)

So despite the shit storm yet another week in 2017 has brought us I’m going to try and appreciate what I’ve got and who I’ve got to enjoy it with. Time is limited on this rock. How limited? Well, we don’t really know. We’ve just gotta enjoy each one like it could end tomorrow. Let ’em know you love ’em. Take care of yourself. Savor that cup of coffee. Indulge in a piece of cheesecake. Get outside and breathe in that fresh air. Throw the ball with your kids. Watch a movie someone wants to watch, even though you may not want to. Take time to read that book you’ve been meaning to read. Make yourself as well-rounded of a human being as you can. Shove as much knowledge into your head as you can before your skull blows open. Even then, keep shoveling it in. You don’t have to love your neighbor, but at least wave at ’em when you cross paths, you jerk.

And most of all my lovelies, Happy F*****g Friday.

 

SEX=DEATH

No, this isn’t a pro-abstinence post. It really has nothing to do with abstinence. Please, continue the fraternizing and heavy petting. No, actually I’m just sitting here on a blustery December Sunday afternoon with the snow accumulating outside. We’ve been under a winter storm warning all day and will be until late tonight. We could see as much as 8-10 inches of the white stuff(I believe we’ve gotten at least 7 inches up to this point.) It was a weekend of laziness on my part. Other than my dad coming over for coffee yesterday morning, I spent the rest of the day in pajama pants and my Wooden Shjips pullover hoodie and did nothing. I did some writing, then sunk into my leather recliner and let Netflix guide my moves from then on.

The wife and my 13-year old headed out of town for some Christmas shopping, and my son was over and my mom and dad’s house so I took advantage of the quiet and watched the film White Girl. The story of a promiscuous, drug-addled pixie of a blonde college girl living in Brooklyn. Her and her roommate get high, hang out with the drug dealers across the street, have sex, get high, go to clubs, get high, have sex, sell drugs, get high, party, have sex, and get high. There are a couple redeeming characters in the film(including the Chris Noth-played lawyer and the drug dealer with a heart of bronze played by Brian ‘Sene’ Marc), but everyone else are just horrible people. Well made, but Kids it is not. After that I watched the excellent documentary DePalma. It’s Brian DePalma talking about his career and films for nearly 2 hours and it was amazing. I forgot how prolific of a filmmaker he was. I’ve always been a huge fan of his, but this film made me think about all of his movies I haven’t seen in years. Raising Cain, Carlito’s Way, Body Double, Dressed To Kill, and Femme Fatale just to name a few. He seems to have a pretty good head on his shoulders after so many ups and downs in his career, and he tells some great stories about Bernard Herrmann, Sean Penn, and Orson Welles. My son and I watched A Christmas Horror Story. It’s an anthology horror film about the events on one Christmas eve the involve the Krampus, zombie elves, a Changeling, and a ghostly possession. It was a pretty funny and gory flick that the boy and I quite enjoyed. Stupid fun.

I suppose Saturday was in response to last weekend where there was no downtime. Honestly, it felt great to just do nothing and get caught up on some movies I’ve wanted to see for some time. I also finished up the first two volumes of Jessica Jones : Alias. It’s the 2001 series that created the Jessica Jones character for Marvel and is also what the Netflix series is based on. It’s a great series. It’s more like a noir tale with hints of superheroes strewn throughout. I highly recommend it to all you comic book folks that haven’t read it yet.

mansellIt’s now Sunday on this lazy weekend and I’m listening to Clint Mansell’s score to the horror short In The Wall. This was one of those LPs I got back in January of this year that I’ve only recently just begun to enjoy. I haven’t seen the movie yet, which is sad as it’s free to watch on VEVO. I’ll fix that very soon. If the score is any indication it’s a tension-filled 26 minutes. Mansell is another favorite composer of mine. He’s done some amazing work, with his scores for Requiem For A Dream and Moon being two of my favorites. I’m just finding myself being drawn to scores and instrumental fare lately. Gives more space to explore ones own mind without all those pesky lyrics and vocals. Mansell goes for a more classical approach to his composing and arranging, but likes to throw in elements of noise and dissonance here and there. On In The Wall there’s a couple of spots where loud explosions of distortion break up the quiet.

Well that’s all for now. I’ve got a great one cooking up that will be up very soon. Until then, take a weekend off here soon if you can. I highly recommend it.

 

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Ode To A Friday

From the 4th grade up to 9th grade my favorite day of the week was Friday. That’s not all together odd, really. I mean, I’m sure there were LOTS of people whose favorite day of the week was Friday. For me it started around 3pm when we’d get all of our graded tests and homework assignments from our teacher. Leafing through and looking for that “Great Job!” written in red ink, or even a sticker next to the handwritten message. A clown sticker? Balloon sticker? Oh boy! A “scratch ‘n sniff” sticker! When you got those you know the teacher thought highly of you. They didn’t waste scratch ‘n sniffs on just anybody(especially that Skaggs kid…jerk.)

It was a Friday process. Gathering of the week’s evidence of a job well done(or not) from the teacher so you could bring it home and impress mom and dad with your knowledge of Indiana History, the multiplication tables, and your unique ability to speak when not spoken to(no scratch ‘n sniff for that.) That ritual meant for the next two days it was sleeping in, watching cartoons, playing with action figures, and whatever else the parents had in store. Friday night, though, that was the best spot of the weekend because you were the furthest point from another week. It was the dead zone where you were still in the past week, but over with all that schoolin’ nonsense. Friday night was like the Switzerland of the weekend. It was neutral territory where you were both winding down and winding up(as an adult that only happens after a Benadryl/coffee chaser.)

priazzoFriday night for me was cleaning up my bedroom and making camp on my bunk bed. Only light on in the room was my desk lamp. I had whatever new cassette tape I’d bought playing in my GE boombox, and I was setting up whatever crazy battle I’d thought of for my arsenal of Star Wars or GI Joe action figures(this was up to 6th grade, after that it was sitting in my bedroom attempting to learn AC/DC and CCR songs on my newly acquired acoustic guitar.) Once we bought a VCR, Friday nights were going and getting pizza with my parents and then heading to Video World and renting some movies. In the 7th grade I’d discovered the syndicated radio show ‘Metal Shop’. This was hosted by a guy that sounded like your typical radio DJ, except with a little added grit, like a guy that ate cigarette butts and gargled with Jack Daniels and shards of glass. He’d play all the latest rock and metal and have bands on the show to interview. It was aired every Friday night on 95.3 WAOR out of Niles, MI. If I had my stereo at just the right spot in the living room I could get it in. That spot was usually on the floor next to the coffee table. I’d go from ‘Metal Shop’ to Late Night With David Letterman. This was how I’d end my Friday evenings. Occasionally a Jeno’s frozen pizza was part of that late Friday ritual(unless there was leftover pizza from dinner.)

For me, for a good few years, this was how I wanted Friday night to be. Sure, I’d have friends come over and stay but we never deviated from the Friday ritual. Friends that would come over looked forward to this Hubner Friday party. Pizza, movies, hair metal cassettes overplayed, and an arsenal of Kenner and Hasbro toys to create the perfect imaginary world crisis with. The older I got it was more Friday Night Videos, horror films, and a plethora of music to soundtrack quiet conversations about that cute girl in Industrial Arts and how we should form a band and kill it at the Talent Show. Regardless of the interests and whether we were at a PG level or a PG-13, all of this took place at home. The most important decisions of adolescence took place surrounded by those four walls I called home. Whether we were cracking cue balls in the basement over a game of Nine Ball with “The Four Horsemen” blasting through tinny speakers, or it was just me cultivating a plan to ask some girl to the movies in my dimly lit bedroom, my home was where things were clearer and more evident.

moviesI don’t know why I never had the desire to head out with a friend to the arcade or roller skating rink; or catch a movie and stalk the downtown streets in search of trouble or girls to feel awkward around. Maybe it’s that my parents made home a place you wanted to be. There wasn’t conflict or strife. There wasn’t any nagging about the music I listened to, the movies I watched, or the magazines I brought home from the newsstand. We didn’t argue about my grades or “that attitude, mister!”. I felt safe and comfortable in those four walls. I felt closer to who I really was there, with my parents and brother, than anywhere else. I feel lucky that I had that experience because I know a lot of folks didn’t feel the same about their homes. I suppose that’s why that house in the Pines was the hangout headquarters for most of my adolescence for me and my friends. Blanket forts, late night movie hangs, Lip sync concerts in the basement to Prince and Ratt, billiard games, forest adventures, and lots and lots of shady horror flicks were all part of the home experience in my youth. Friday nights were the opening games to those times. It was the gatekeeper to the weekend.

Things really haven’t changed. Friday is still my favorite day of the week. No papers to bring home to show to mom and dad. Instead I clock out at 2pm and I enter Friday’s dead zone a little sooner. My wife and I have created a Friday experience not unlike my parents did for me, as our kids are pretty content with hanging out in their own little universes contained in their bedrooms. It’s the long wind down to whatever the rest of the weekend brings. Vinyl is spun, beers are enjoyed, and conversations about the week are had.

I’m sure in a couple of years when I have all teenagers in the house it might not be as cozy and relaxed on Friday nights as it is now, so I’ll enjoy it while it lasts. I’ll take those lazy Fridays as they come.

But hey, there’s always Saturday.

 

Good Weekend

hotelOkay, I’m beat. It was a jam-packed weekend of record store visits, car rides to the big city, good food, incredible live music, and swanky hotel room living. I’ll tell you the short version as I’m tired and ready to sleep for 12 hours.

This was Record Store Day weekend. There wasn’t a bunch of stuff I was particularly excited to get, but what I did want I was able to snag early Saturday morning at Karma Records of Warsaw. Built To Spill’s Untethered Moon and Of Montreal’s Snare Lustrous Doomings were the two albums I really wanted and I was able to snag them no problem. As a bonus I grabbed High On Fire’s Surrounded By Thieves on blue vinyl. Karma Records had their best turnout yet and I’m happy for the folks over at Karma.

In the afternoon the wife and I headed three hours south to Indianapolis to see Sufjan Stevens. We stopped at Luna Music in Indianapolis and I snagged the one-time pressing of the score to Big Bad Wolves courtesy of Death Waltz Recording Company(it’s absolutely incredible.) We had reservations at the Hilton in downtown Indy. The hotel was nicely swanky. We drove over to the Murat Theater and parked. Ate in the wonderful Bier Garden of The Rathskeller. The food was great and the Rathskeller Seasonal Bier I had was quite tasty.

The show? It was started out by a band called Cold Specks. Very good band with a bit of soul and indie grit. Great band. But the highlight was Sufjan Stevens. Easily the best show I’ve seen in ten years. What I expected was a nice, low key show with some great songs. What I got was a wildly unpredictable show, with some amazing reworkings of songs from his newest record. Speaking of the new record, Sufjan and his band performed Carrie and Lowell in its entirety with a quick detour towards the end. The songs still retained their intimacy and earnestness; but Sufjan reinvented these tracks with some of the electronics he’s been toying with for the last few years. The results were absolutely stunning. The last track on the album, “Blue Bucket Of Gold”(and one of my favorite songs on the album) turns into this absolute cathartic noise explosion. I can’t put into words how intense and emotionally overwhelming this song was live. In fact, with the visuals(several long screens behind the band that showed old family home movies, as well as beautiful landscapes and abstract colors) as well as the lights took you to another place watching the show. Sufjan spoke of his great-grandmother and how her death affected him. It was a funny and poignant story. For the encore, the band returned to the stage to play some classics from Sufjan’s past, closing the show with his classic “Chicago”.

I was moved and literally blown away by Sufjan Stevens. I haven’t been this moved since seeing Wilco up close and personal in 2002 at a small club in Columbus, Ohio, just a week before the release of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Thank you Sufjan for giving me a show I will never forget(at least until dementia hits.)

The wife and I grabbed some breakfast in downtown Indianapolis before stopping off in Noblesville for some clothes shopping. We made it home around 3:45pm today.

That’s all I got. Time to finish this Imperial Russian Stout and then crash in my chair. Hope you all had a great weekend(though I’m sure it wasn’t as good as mine.)

kids in the cityalbumsbig bad wolves

Sunday…the day before Monday

DSC04305Today has been a day of rest, for sure. I’ve spent a good portion of the day in my chair reading and listening to records. I started Chuck Palahniuk’s Damned. I’m not sure whether I love it or I want to line a litter box with it. Jury is still out on that one. Album-wise I’ve hit up Explosions in the Sky, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Sleep, Steve Reich, and Miles Davis. Overall, it’s been a good day. We have Martin Luther King, Jr Day off, so I’m home tomorrow as well. I plan on getting some music business done in the studio, some of which I will be sharing soon.

When I got home Friday there was a box waiting for me. Inside this box was my new stereo receiver. An Onkyo TX-8020 to be exact. I’d been wanting to change receivers for awhile now, but just hadn’t found the right receiver. I’d had my Sony for almost 12 years. I’ve been very happy with it, but I’ve wanted to go with something simpler. The TX-8020 was that receiver. Instead of being a digital receiver, the Onkyo is an analog receiver(no tubes, but close enough.) It also has a dedicated phono jack which I was excited to try out. Well, after hooking it up I realized the phono in sounded like shit. It was noisy, buzzy, and the music was really quiet. I’d recently replaced the RCAs on my turntable as one shorted, so I wondered if that might have affected the phono out on my TT. Fortunately my TT has a built-in preamp so I don’t need a dedicated phone line in on a receiver. I quickly plugged into the tape in on the new Onkyo and the TT sounded fantastic. It’s hard for me to describe the difference, but I could definitely hear one. Less of a scooped-out digital sound. There’s more of a natural sound with this receiver. Anyways, today has been all about soaking my head in the analog noise.

Yesterday Cambodia Highball got together and did some recording. The result was the epic track “In D”, inspired by Terry Riley’s In C from 1968. I’ve been dipping my head in some minimalist composers lately and that influence and inspiration is showing in what Cambodia Highball is coming up with. We are very excited for this next album. I feel we were dipping our feet in the waters with Odd Geometry. With this next album we are diving in head first. Between Steve Reich, Terry Riley, and the classic doom/stoner metal I’ve been listening to obsessively, there’s no telling where this record will go. All I can say is “In D” is a whole new beast.

My other music project, dreamdistrict, is coming along nicely as well. I’m 5 songs in and each one gets better and better. Hoping to have something ready to share(album-wise)by March. We shall see.

Okay, there’s a pizza waiting to be eaten. I’m tired and ready for food. Hope your weekend was a good one.

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Friday, I’ve missed thee….

Finally, Friday is here. It’s been far too long. After groceries, running kids here and there, renting videos, and picking up pizzas, my ass is finally in my chair next to my records spinning BoC’s ‘Geodaddi’ that I just picked up.

You know, they say home is where the heart is(who are they, and who makes them experts?), and I tend to agree with that generalized statement. Home is indeed where the heart is; it’s also where my vinyl is, and where my fridge is which is where my beer lives. I can remember thinking as a kid and teen “Why doesn’t grandpa ever come over to visit? He never leaves his house? Why do we have to always go see him instead of the other way around?” Well, I get it now, grandpa. I get it.photo (12)

Weekend Spins

DSC03841Saturday is upon us once more. I’ve spent a good portion of this Saturday in my basement like some sort of unshowered troll digging through piles of unused and unloved toys. Trash bags filled, they wait for trash day to be handled by our fine friends at Staffords Waste. Until trash day, there are other things to be done. What you ask? Well I’m readying an album release. In-between bagging childhood memories and forgotten birthday gifts I was loading songs onto the Cambodia Highball Bandcamp page. We’re getting there, folks. It’s starting to be a reality. I’ve got four CDs burnt so far as well. Rock n’ roll, behind the curtains. It’s not all debauchery, magic, and improvisational mastery. There’s also those nuts and bolts that need tightening before that machine works to full capacity. I liken it to the carnival coming into town. Before the kids laughs are heard from miles around, and paroled carnies eye underage girls as they step inside the Tilt-O-Whirl, the bolts need tightened on those half ass rides. We’re currently tightening bolts on this half ass ride we’re calling Odd Geometry.

Yesterday before I came home I stopped to see my friend John at Karma Records and he had for me Boards of Canada’s The Campfire Headphase. After waiting forever for those fellas to reissue their back catalog they finally have come through. Or Warp Records has come through anyways. I know everyone seems to put Music Has A Right To Children up on some sort of post-rock pedestal, but for my money The Campfire Headphase is the one that won me over. Hell, their first three albums are masterpieces, we’re just being picky at this point. But for some reason ‘Campfire’ has a hold of me and won’t let go. It’s a little light on the breakbeats and more concerned with creating an overall melancholy vibe. I dig melancholy vibes, in case you didn’t know. This album has made my weekend. Sure, rummaging through toys is fun and all, but The Campfire Headphase with a frosty mug of Amberbock was just the way I needed to start the weekend.

Besides snagging Boards of Canada, I also grabbed Earthless’ Sonic Prayer. It’s two tracks of unadulterated guitar badassness. Earthless are quickly becoming my favorite psychedelic rockers. A show with them and White Hills sharing a bill would be something to behold. And guitarist Isaiah Mitchell is what I’d call a guitar slinger of the highest. It’s not just noise and squall he’s creating in these 20 minute improvisational jams. At the core of his playing is real soul. Hendrix and Cream-era Clapton echo in his playing, with a healthy dose of Iommi riff-mongering as well. But, he creates something completely unique with Earthless. Do yourself a favor and check them out.

Well, that pretty much sums up the weekend so far. I’m on another run-thru with The Campfire Headphase. A feel like a Dayvan Cowboy in an ’84 Pontiac Dream.

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