It's been a long, long while since I sat down and actually wrote a blog entry. I have all sorts of catching up to do. Where has my life gone in the past two weeks? Well, the usual response-- school. This past week we had the Science MSA for the eighth graders and our third quarter grades were due on Friday. So here I am trying to make up for lost time in cyber space. Sorry dear readers for my neglect (thought honestly the number of readers for this blog is questionable.)
Last weekend, I spent some time in one of my favorite Baltimore places-- The Sound Garden. I love The Sound Garden for its gritty rawness. It really is nothing fancy, which is just how a record shop should be. The best part about them is that they actually sell records and they sell the albums that you can't find anywhere else. I was first introduced to them when I lived in Syracuse during my college days. The awesome part-- there are two Sound Garden locations, one in Syracuse and one in Baltimore. Why those two cities I do not know, but how lucky I am to have moved down from Central New York to the Mid-Atlantic to find that the best record store to ever exist is in both of those cities! Trust me people, many a work-study paycheck was eaten up from this place while I studied at Syracuse University.
When I go to The Sound Garden, it is inevitable. I will most likely not be able to walk out with less than four albums. At times I may purchase seven or eight. And every time I head to the check out I have a feeling the guy behind the counter thinks I must have the most bizarre record collection in the world. For example, on my last visit, I walked up to the counter with albums from Susan Tedeschi, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Young the Giant, and Baltimore's own, The Bridge-- a pretty diverse collection of albums. A quick run-down: Susan Tedeschi-- amazing blues guitarist, sort of this generation's Bonnie Raitt, married to another amazing blues musician Derek Trucks. Grace Potter-- raw rock and roll, some Hammond B3 thrown in there, some blues vocals too I suppose. Young the Giant-- random last minute buy based on a suggestion, Coldplay meets Ra Ra Riot with a little twist of their own juice. The Bridge-- hopped up bluegrass meets rock meets progressive jam band, see my previous blog post Just for the Record.
Honestly, I will listen to most anything that exists except for bad radio music (i.e. Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Lil Wayne, Drake, etc.) and modern day country (a little Hank Williams or Johnny Cash is a different story from cross-over country). What makes music bad in my book? Well, that low quality musicianship that only seems good because you mixed it with flashing lights, crazy dancers, and ridiculous outfits that no one in their right mind would normally wear. Come on, we know that if Lady Gaga was standing up on stage without all that crap in a, let's say, House of Blues type venue, that no one would like her or want to go see her. For me, growing up around quality music, my dad building guitars for a living and being in a band for most of my life, there is nothing worse that bad music. I mean, I grew up sitting in front of the record player listening to American Beauty and Abbey Road through the biggest headphones you've ever seen on a three year old's head.
Side note: true story-- after a U2 song came on the iPod during class, one of my students had an argument with me about the fact that no one knows who U2 is and that U2 is way worse than Lil Wayne. Their argument was that Lil Wayne makes more money and has sold more albums and gets to go to the Grammys. My argument was that U2 has been around for 4 decades, has sold over 100 million albums, has won more Grammys than any other band in history, and actually lost money on their 360 tour and didn't care simply because they wanted to have a cool stage set up. Two weeks later, a U2 song came on my iPod again. Another student said, "Hey! I've heard this song before! There was a short guy with sunglasses singing it on the Grammys last year. I remember!" My response, directed to student number 1: "Oh really. Interesting. Student number 1, do you know who the guy is that student number 2 is talking about? Take a good guess as to what band this is. Now try to tell me nobody knows U2." Student number 1 knew he had been outsmarted. Muahahaha. Nothing like teaching someone that their music is crap. That is why I am a self-labeled pretentious music snob.
Aside from all that. I would deem last weekend's trip to The Sound Garden another success. All albums purchased have had many listens in the last week and all are albums I would recommend. I would love to hear from you-- what have you been listening to lately?