Monday, October 22, 2012

Lately I've Been Listening To...

   Just my luck. I start writing this post and the CD I was just listening to has ended and now I have to pick a new one. Yes, I still listen to CD's. I'd listen to vinyl if I had a turntable, but I don't.
   I suppose I could just bring up the playlist of songs I have on my computer, or my smart phone that's sitting right here on my desk for that matter, but I like the fullness of the sound that comes from my living room stereo. Excuse me a moment.
   *sounds of CD player opening then closing*
   You're probably wondering what I picked. I went with the album "Build A Rocket Boys!" by the band Elbow. Even though the album came out in 2011, I only just purchased it earlier this summer and it hasn't left my little stack of most played albums since then. I really can't say enough good things about Elbow and I only just discovered them a little over a year ago. Turns out the Manchester, UK based band have been playing for 20 years!
   Here is a live version of the song "Open Arms" from that album.
   So what else have I been listening to lately? Actually, quite a variety of artists. It goes without saying that my work in live music this past summer has exposed me to a lot of new artists I've never seen or heard before, so my playlist is forever changing. When I say new artists, I mean new to me. Like Elbow, many of the bands I've recently gotten into have actually been around for some time now.
   A good example of this is The Flaming Lips, a band I've mentioned a few times in my recent posts. Sure I've heard a couple of their bigger songs like "She Don't Use Jelly/Vaseline" and "Do You Realize" on the radio over the years, but it wasn't until I worked with them this summer that I really gained an appreciation for their wonderful weirdness.
   It's hard for me to pick just one song, as they're all so different, but here is a great version of The W.A.N.D. from a couple of years ago that shows just how fun their live shows can be.
   Another band I've gotten into over the past few years is Metric. I had the chance to see them when they came to Victoria a couple of years ago and I thought they were great. The CD I was listening to when I started this post was their latest "Synthetica", and it's another one that hasn't left my "most played" stack. 
   Here is an acoustic version of the title track from the album "Synthetica".
   Band Of Skulls is another great British band that I've really come to like recently, and is another band I had the pleasure of working with at the Rifflandia Festival. It was a real treat to help set up their stage equipment and then hang out with them later that evening after the show. They're the kind of band you just have to listen to loudly and they were a big hit at this year's festival.
   Here is a clip of Band Of Skulls playing "Patterns" at the Rifflandia Festival here in Victoria. Look close and you can see Wayne from the Flaming Lips hanging out stage side and enjoying the show.
   Finally I'll mention another one of my modern rock favorites, Mother Mother. This band hails from right here in Beautiful BC and has had a string of hits that are always played in rotation on The Zone radio station and I can't get enough of them. They also played at this year's Rifflandia Festival and I really enjoyed meeting with them and helping them, and yes, hanging out with them after the show. We chatted about Quadra Island, which is where a few of the members of the band are from and is also where I met my wife back when we were teenagers. Lead singer Ryan thought that was pretty cool.
   One of my favorite Mother Mother songs is "The Stand".
   Of course this is just has been just a small sampling of what I've been listening to lately. My long time favorites such as Led Zeppelin, U2, Queen, The Tragically Hip, The Foo Fighters, and Jack White will always have a permanent place in my playlist, but there are so many other brilliant musicians that I can't even begin to list here. I'm sure right after I publish this I'll think of some that I should have featured, but I can always write another post like this in the future.
   For now, I want to turn it over to you. Tell me what YOU have been listening to lately. Who knows, you might end up introducing me to another future favorite artist!
The Wandering Oak

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Travels, Turkey Dinner, and a Twisted Hull

   I'm sitting at my desk with a mug of very hot hot chocolate, spiked with spiced rum, and the music of the Flaming Lips is coming through my speakers. Outside, the changing leaves and cool, damp fog might just be enough to convince Victorians that Autumn has finally arrived and that we can put away the shorts and sandals we were wearing just last week. My lovely wife Megan is at work and I have the condo all to myself. Well, not entirely. Our cat Merlin is at my feet demanding my attention making it very difficult to type this opening paragraph.
   Since Rifflandia ended, my life has been pretty quiet. I find myself looking for work once again and I'm hoping I have better luck this season than I did last season. I really only need a part time gig to get me through the winter and I hope to get back into working in live music in the spring, so long as the Mayans are wrong and we survive past December 21st.
   It was nice to get away from Victoria over the recent long weekend, though. Megan and I visited her mother in Comox for Thanksgiving (Columbus Day, for my American readers, or whatever the day was in your part of the world), and we had a nice relaxing time there. I always enjoy visiting Comox and I get along really well with Megan's mother and her husband.
   A highlight for me was taking a nice, long walk along the beach on the Friday afternoon. The air was so clear and the only sound was the chatter of the sea birds swapping fishing stories - or whatever it is birds talk about.
   I also made friends with Megan's mother's newest cat Sneakers.
   Of course, it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without the turkey dinner.
   In other news: I've also been spending my spare time working on another 1/700th scale model ship, my third, and the project is not without its challenges. The biggest challenge is dealing with a defective part of the kit. What you see in the next picture below is the main portion of the ship's upper hull from directly astern. Your eyes aren't tricking you, the hull is twisted.
Forgive the sloppy paint job around the portholes. Those details will be taken care of when I do all my paint touch-ups.
   Lucky for me the lower portion of the ship's hull is straight and true, so I went ahead and joined the two components as well as the main decks and gently, yet firmly, clamped it all down. With a little heat from Megan's hair dryer the twist should work itself out.
   I still have a lot of work to do on the ship and I hope this issue doesn't set me back too far. There are a bunch of components left to install including the entire bridge and superstructure, the mast assembly, and a variety of equipment for the main deck such as sensor and communication domes, antennae, and weapons. In ship building lingo that would be "fitting out" and I enjoy that stage of the build. Wish me luck!
   That's all I'm going to write about for now, my friends. I've finished my hot chocolate and Megan just got home from work. My eyes have gone a little buggy from staring at the screen, or maybe it's the rum, and I need to stretch my legs. I was going to write about some of the music I've been listening to lately, besides the aforementioned Flaming Lips, but I think I'll save that for my next post.
   Until then, take care of yourselves, and each other.
The Wandering Oak
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