Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ten Months Later, We're Talking Acoustic

There are times when I would love to be able to just sit down and talk to some people. Today, I would want to sit down and talk to the lads of One Night Only; let me tell you, I've got a couple of things to give them a talkin'-to about. I was thinking about this and it immediately registered as blog material. So, here we are.
At first, my annoyance was at the fact that their latest EP is only available on iTunes UK -- and that this EP included the video for Chemistry, which has been buried in the sands of music video time since last year.

We've waited a year to see this, and NOW you tell me there's a guitar swing (2:40 timestamp)? Somehow, that erases those 365 days. By the way, when are the fabulous variations on the French comb-forward coming back? Can they? Please?

The video aside, I finally got a minute to go on YouTube and listen to the acoustic versions of some of the songs on the EP itself. Just as predicted in a post on this very blog (dated November 16, 2010) Chemistry was re-recorded.
If I may quote myself for reference:

There is also an acoustic EP of some of this newer material in the pipeline, and that will certainly help boost sales. Folks do love their acoustic (and, let's be honest, I'm one of them... it isn't my fault, my sister played a lot of Simon and Garfunkel when I was small). I know I love to see the difference in the bare, stripped down versions (since, in essence, it's how most songs start out), compared to the electrified finished products. Sometimes, the acoustic is just incredible, and you wonder why it was pumped up at all (George Harrison, I'm lookin' at you), but most of the time, you'll go back to the final product.
Would you like an illustrated example?
Well, pretend.

We're going to skip past the discussion of the album version, simply because I can't find a video on YouTube. If you want to read it, click that link up thar! comparison with this stripped down, bare bones, acoustic guitar and vocals only version...

Try not to fall in love with it too much, though; I have a feeling that, if this were to appear on their EP (and, let's be honest, it probably will), it would end up more like this...

Really, can't the French comb-forwards come back? Surely I'm not the only one that misses them. I blame my anachronism mind.

Well, of course, Chemistry was on the record, along with a few other songs from the eponymous album released last year. My previous prediction, however, was way, way off.

Buh-wutza? Are you sure this is the same band?
Did I not prove in a post from ten months ago that these lads can do acoustic? Not only can they carry it off, but they do it bloody well; furthermore, they've always had the potential to do it splendidly...

This was the B-side to their very first single, "You And Me", back in 2007.

I listened to every track on the EP, and let me tell you, some of them sounded remarkably like elevator music.

Don't get me wrong, I have a tendency to dislike a "new sound" from a band I like: Wonders of the Younger (I'm sorry, my dearest Mr. Higgenson), Dirty Work (oh, for shame, Mr. Gaskarth!), but there is a difference in these examples compared with One Night Only's EP: after getting over the initial shock of "EVERYTHING-IS-DIFFERENT-WHY-DON'T-THEY-LIKE-ME-ANYMORE-WHAT-WILL-I-DO-NOW?!" the sound is basically the same, and you end up assaulting the replay button. Sure, there are differences due to growth as an artist, but the material is pretty much what you should expect from that band/songwriter. This EP? I'm not so sure. There are two lovely versions of the same song -- acoustic, yet different -- prior to this release. Was there some kind of agreement with Burberry that they wouldn't infringe on an "exclusive"? (Would that even be possible, since publishing rights trump recordings themselves?) What was so difficult about not over-embellishing? Have these guys never listened to ANY George Harrison demo? The alternate version of "Isn't It A Pity"?
My first inclination is to not blame my ears, but ask a couple of questions: 1) who in hell produced this? 2) who mixed this? 3) what were they thinking? 4) as we talked about in that post I've referenced, is this just another case of influence, rather than natural progression as artists?
Let's face it, we already know that there is some poor management going on. With little activity from the social networking resources (not to mention that their YouTube channel is now one of those weird "by request" things now, which eliminates LOADS of potential fans, not to mention cutting off access for several folks in an already existent fanbase), minimal information on touring, lack of updates about the "breaking of America", and the fact that two of their three releases (not including singles) are not available in the US, I get the feeling that something is off kilter. Earlier this year, there was supposed to be an exclusive US release -- they re-recorded "Just For Tonight" especially for it. Sure, there was the Coke ad, which is a major plus, and some promotion/touring for that, but what else are we privy to? Whatever we can make sense of from George Craig's Twitter? Good luck with that.
With all of this being said, what would I actually say if I had these guys in front of me for a chat?
Why did you ditch the French comb-forwards?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

It's Official: I Hate Tropical Places, Or, Fisher Man Caret

It's about that time of year when this little slice of webbynet becomes a really busy travel blog. It's not like there's nothing else going on this time every year, travel just takes up the biggest chunk of time. Besides, who doesn't like to get out every now and again, right? (I don't really do it often, so humor me, OK?)
This week, it was off to the brown shores of Corpus Christi. Yippie-skip; or, as I like to say, my-whole-life (I don't know what it means, but it just feels right).
Maybe you remember, maybe you don't, but I truly dislike tropical places. Call it a flaw in my DNA if you wish, but I'm just too pale and easily bothered by heat and sand to enjoy going to a sunny, hot/humid, and, yes, sandy place. Regardless of the guaranteed unpleasantness, we packed up and shipped out anyway.
Some highlights and memorable snippets from the trip, I hear you asking for?
Well, that's how I imagine this scenario theoretically playing out, at any rate.
Just nod and smile.
Reginald Kitty is not amused.

Highlights first? I thought you'd never ask.

* Two beautiful early morning walks on the Riverwalk in San Antonio. Everything was practically deserted, and serenely quiet for a big city. You'll see a lot of those pictures in the slideshow later. Yes, there's a slideshow.

* We made it down to Rockport to see the Fulton Mansion, which was an interesting experience (again, wait 'til you hit the slideshow). We were on the tour with a bunch of morons who couldn't get the grasp of "the only original furniture in the home are these two mirrors, and a desk", and, therefore, kept asking if every-little-thing was original. Um, no. Read the brochure, please and thank you.

* Also in Rockport (or thereabouts, I guess), we made a stop by one of the oldest trees in the nation, aptly called "The Big Tree" (I think it's the briny air). It was so far out of the way, you almost expected the banjos to start playing.

We were afraid we'd never been seen again; of course, that fear was probably greatly exaggerated by the fact that I was whistling this the entire time.
While there, I solidified the fact that I am the Squirrel Whisperer. Don't worry, you'll see pictures.

* Half-Price Books. How do they always manage to get my money? How? I don't understand it. They didn't even have the books I'm looking for, yet I spent money. It's some kind of law that if I spot cheap books, I will bring them home.
If my house doesn't end up looking like that of C.S. Lewis, I'll be incredibly surprised.

* This was hanging up in our hotel room. Can anybody tell me what a Fisher Man Caret is?
Fisher man? OK. Caret? Yeah-huh. But why?

* The biggest story of the entire trip! I saved it until the end!
The first full day into our tropical adventure, I noticed a tiny-widdle ant crawl out of our air conditioner vent. I thought nothing of it, gave into my pathetic bleeding heart, and ignored it. The next day, I saw a few ants crawl out of the vents, and move along the dashboard. Speaking up, we folk from the high and dry Panhandle thought nothing of a few little ants. When we got in the car the day after, around half-way to Rockport, it was teeming with those damn tiny-widdle ants, mixed with a combination of whispy, willowy spiders. We had to pull of in the small town of Portland (oh, why couldn't it have been Oregon?) to fumigate our vehicle. True story. We were fighting those ants all the way home. Fortunately, they are no longer living, but we keep getting plastered with carcasses when we turn on our air conditioner. And that's why I officially hate tropical places.

All in all, this trip was pretty fun -- even in spite of those little ants.
Those bitches will DOMINATE you.
Was it more fun than the jury duty I had to miss to go on it? I'm still not sure about that (jury duty, yes; tropical places, no).

Picture time?

Oh, by the way, I've got a question for you, dear reader.
You see, I -- being so brilliant -- just discovered the "Stats" tab on Blogger. I decided to give mine a look, since I love to do that kind of thing (hate math, love statistics; something just isn't right about that). Imagine my surprise when I saw this amazing little graph.
The question, dear reader, is why in hell did my views go up exponentially during the quietest month this URL has experienced in its history? Is this just irony, or are you folks trying to tell me something?
Also, this is the moment I just realized that all of this twaddle I rattle off truly does get read somewhere, by someone. Just like me, you're sitting there with the blaring artificial light of a fancy plasma screen smacking you in the face. Maybe you're scrolling with interest, or even doing some kind of blog research of your own. I'll be buggered if I know. I always just figured that a blog like mine would get lost in the shuffle, which afforded me some slight bit of comfort in the false security that strange eyes would not peruse these pages.

Yes, Simon. I was wrong.

Any road, to try and make a long point short, if you're reading this right now (which, obviously, you are), big thanks for popping in!
Have a Paul to welcome you.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Shep And Victor Victoria Are Making Hen Sweaters

So, I've been having a brilliant month.
I wrote this post out on September 15th, and, apparently, forgot to post it. If I hadn't been so busy getting ready to head out of town for a week (more on this later), clicking that bright orange "PUBLISH POST" button wouldn't have slipped my mind.
That being said, enjoy a late post on the house (TINSTAAFL, and all those good things).

My life has decided to blow up in my face the past two weeks. There is simply no other way to put into words what idiocy I have dealt with. Really. I wish I was kidding.
But it's quite difficult to linger on what the morons of the world are doing; the weather has been cold and wet (my favorite!), there are patches of yellow in some of the trees, I'm nursing a delicious cup of decaf tea, and I've got the Ross/Walker team on the radio. With these things filling my senses, we're putting all of the week's stupidity aside for another edition of Blog Casserole! That's right, folks, just when you think you're in the clear, it's back for another go around.
Are you ready?
Reginald Kitty is not amused.

We went on a little day trip during the weekend. Nowhere special, really.

Of course, when we got to Colorado, we had to make the final pilgrimage to Borders. Really, we're done now; this isn't like the last time
I thought we'd never go to Borders again.
Personally, this trip to Borders was much more disheartening than the previous one. I've got some lovely memories associated with Borders
(you know, back when I had a life), and I couldn't help but get a little nostalgic as we walked out with our purchases (of course I bought stuff!).
What was once a two-story bookshop was now just an area about the size of the old coffee shop, and a few tables stacked with the mismatched
leftovers of a brighter yesterday.
Sad, indeed. The next day, I saw this picture on the Interwebs, and knew the feeling.
This depresses me.

On the way, I got a chance to listen to some of the Paul remasters (yeah, we haven't really talked about that, have we?).
Honestly, it's like taking Krispy Kreme doughnuts, rain, and tea on a vacation to the Island of Awesome, and deciding you should all live there
forever and ever.
Of course, comparing these remasters to the mono and stereo versions of the Beatles remasters is an entirely different ballpark; there actually is no
comparison as to which is better with the McCartney releases.
On an unrelated note, the same goes for John's solo remasters, but this is a different topic for a different day.
These remasters are fabulous.
And, of course, I LOVE the bonus tracks. So far, my favorite has to be the One Hand Clapping version of Maybe I'm Amazed; it's more like what
you hear when he plays it live, so maybe I'm just a tad bit biased.

Pull out the boarding passes, we're headed to the Island of Awesome!

And while we're on the music subject, I've been turning this thought around in my head over the past few days.
I heard this song about a week ago (mind your own business why)...

OK, I can dig it. I get the premise, the lyrics are clear -- I'm with ya.
Then, of course, I got to thinking. You know, as you do when you can't sleep at four o'clock in the morning (doesn't everybody do this?).
There was just something in the song that didn't make a lot of sense to me: I like you best in my cheap suits.
I turned the phrase over in my head until I realized what was wrong with it.
Girls generally do not fit in men's suits; it would just sort of... hang there, looking like a living clothes hanger. Or like kids playing dress up.
Maybe I'm missing something, but I just can't get past the fact that he's dating Victor Victoria.

There is something about my family that wants to find look-alikes; "this looks like that one guy...", "that guy looks like...", or
"you know who he reminds me of?!" are all familiar phrases in our house. I really don't know why, but it's just that way.
Remember who Reginald Kitty was supposed to look like? And then, I ended up using him again?
The David Cassidy Cat? The Tragic Royalty/Niles the Butler playing cards?
Yeah, that's just a taste of what it's like here at Fusspot Farm.
The other day, my mother comes up to me, giggling and grinning widely.
I asked her what was so funny, so she handed me this little dog figurine...
and asked me who it looked like.
I looked it over for a second, and replied, "Sheperd Smith?"

Somewhere, Carl Cameron is laughing.
And that's why he spent eight years in Crawford.

We'll just add Little Shep to the "File of Weirdness", right next to the guy that thanked me in French the other day, and the fact that people will
talk to you if you dress like a beatnik.
That's right, kids! Dress like an early 60's art student, and you suddenly become popular. It's some kind of law I don't understand.

Well, I don't know about you, dear reader, but this has just been as fun as a hen in a sweater.
No, really.

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