Dad Stuff: Music Lucy Likes…And Doesn’t

Ask any dad and he’ll tell you that he’ll try anything to stop his kid from crying. In my case, after changing our darling daughter and bouncing her around or trying to burp her, there’s not a whole lot I can offer. The missus is still breastfeeding and not pumping quite yet, so my options are limited. With her still home, that option is obviously open and I’ll practically be a bottle feeding ninja by the time she goes back to work, but as of right now, I’m trying out different music on Lucy to try and calm her down.She likes the Beatles, but the one performer who always seems to calm her down–with some accompaniment by dear old dad–is none other than the Man in Black himself, Johnny Cash. For Christmas, my inlaws gave me the Legends box set, which is on my computer, as opposed to all the other Johnny Cash records I have which are on my iPod. For whatever reason, the other day when Lucy was having one of her mini freak outs, I decided to try playing Johnny Cash’s music and guess what? She loved it. Better than loved, she was transfixed. The first track on the first record of that set is the classic “I Walk The Line.” I’m not sure if it’s the staccato guitar playing, Johnny’s deep voice or me singing along that gets her or all of the above, but that one track seems to always calm her down. Now I’ve just got to learn every other non Super Hits track on the records to be in a place where I can warble along with the master and hopefully calm the kid down.

I’ve tried some other music with differing results. I was hoping the faster aspects of The White Stripes or The Raconteurs would appeal to her delicate sensibilities, but that wasn’t the case. I also tried a little Fall Out Boy because I know all the words, but she was lukewarm to them. Finally, after somewhat successful forays into Charlie Daniels Band, The Allman Brothers Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd, I hopped over to the weirdly smooth tones of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon, but she wasn’t having any of that. Maybe I should start her out on something a little jazzier like A Saucerful Of Secrets. I can forgive her for that as she seems to get a little bored with the solos and just wants to hear the lyrics. She’s definitely my girl. I do my best to vocalize the solos to keep her interested. You should hear me do “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” I’ve got the violin and guitar solos down better than some of the words.

Needless to say, most of my music listening has been predicated on her moods and what I think might lead to less screaming and more sleeping. I’ve got a LOT of music on my iPod and a good deal on my laptop to try and go through. She also seems to be as big a fan of Stephen Kellogg as I am which is good because I know a good deal of the words to his songs. The only downside I’ve found is that singing some of them–like “A (With Love)”–make me a little teary eyed and she doesn’t like the interruption in my singing. I’m starting to understand why people think they’re good enough to go on American Idol, especially if their kid thinks they’re a good singer. My daughter’s only a few weeks old and I think I could fly to the moon on the slightest, possibly-from-gas smile I get as I sing along to “Ring of Fire” or “Octopus’s Garden.” It’s shocking how tightly we can get wrapped around those tiny little fingers, isn’t it?

Favorite New Old Albums Of 2010

After listing my favorite new albums of 2010, I figured I’d also have some fun with a list of records I really dug that I bought this year, but didn’t come out in 2010. I’ve mentioned this before, but I buy a LOT of CDs on the cheap at garage sales, yard sales, flea markets and at stores. I rarely spend more than $7 on something new and get all kinds of deals at those other places, so I’ve been able to acquire lots and lots of music I missed out on in previous years. This list has a whopping 12 records and/or bands on it, but I’ve written about a few of them previously, so I won’t get into too much detail on those. Hit the jump for all the goodness you can handle! Continue reading Favorite New Old Albums Of 2010

Santana & India Arie Cover “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”

I haven’t really spent a lot of time with Santana’s current stuff. I have a copy of Supernatural that I found on the free table at my old job (I really miss the free table), but haven’t given it much of a listen. When I heard he was doing a cover record called Guitar Heaven in his current style by grabbing different artists to sing on different tracks I wasn’t super excited. Then I saw the video for his cover of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” with India Arie and Yo Yo Ma and I think I’m converted. Gotta love that the guy can still play so well and knows solid artists like India to team up with. Hey wait, is Rob Thomas on the new record? That could be a deal breaker.

I’m Sure SDCC Is Rad, But So’s The Met

Okay, so New York’s Metropolitan Museum Of Art probably isn’t as cool as SDCC, but it had a few things going for it. One, no weirdos in costumes. Two, it didn’t have that familiar con smell to it. And three, I got to see some cool art, which included sketches by one of the most famous artists of all time, some pop culture relics and a giant hall filled with armor, so it wasn’t TOO far off. The above picture is of the American Wing of the museum, which was featured on Project Runway last season (I don’t remember it, but the missus does, which lead me to searching for this pic). We kicked things off with a tour through the incredibly boring American Wing which mostly had furniture. Holy shit, you guys, looking at old chairs is boring. Anyway, I eventually ducked into the musical instrument section where I saw some crazy old instruments, heard some incredibly pretentious teenagers discuss the intricacies of outdated instruments and got to see two pieces of musical history. I love jazz. When I started getting into it, I thought big band guys like Benny Goodman were squares, but as I delved in I found that he was a sick musician whose orchestra could swing like no other. His Live At Carnegie Hall two disc set is absolutely worth checking out for anyone interested in the man or swing or jazz. Anyway, I was pretty excited to see Goodman’s clarinet on display. According to the sign next to it, it’s the one he has in the picture which was taken just a few days before he died. The other piece of popular music history on display was Ringo Starr’s Golden Drum which was a gift given to him by the Ludwig drum company in 1964. It’s not super interesting, it’s not like the 70 year old Beatle actually played the thing, but hey, I still haven’t been to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame yet, so I’ll take what I can get. Here’s another pic. We didn’t actually go down and walk through the Hall Of Armor (I have no idea if that’s what it’s called, it just makes sense because, you know, it’s filled with armor) but I snapped this pic from above mostly because the armors look awesome and it reminded me of how Jim Lee drew the Batcave in All-Star Batman And Robin The Boy Wonder. I want to see a movie set just in this wing where these bad boys come to life and kick the hell out of each other. There was also a pretty big showcase of Picasso artwork that was kind of whatever. I guess I’m not really into the man’s art or at least I don’t want to look at it with tons of other slow and smelly (hey, I guess it is like a con) people in small rooms. There was an interesting display at the very end of the circuit with drawings Picasso did. The man sure loved to draw naked women. My favorite piece that I saw was this one, I can’t remember the exact name of it though, but it’s something like “A Former Patron and His Ingenue Visit An Old Artist.”I got a kick out of this one because my reading of it is that Picasso’s poking fun at himself, showing himself drawing these huge naked people while his stuffy old patron shows up and is most likely embarrassed and confused by what had come over the artist. Hey, I just found a link on the Met’s site, the piece is called “Patron and his Retinue Visiting the Studio of an Old Painter,” check out more info here. The last picture I snapped, I wasn’t supposed to. It’s a cartoon for The New Yorker by artist Barney Tobey (you can read his 1989 obit here to learn more about the man). I’m not sure if you can read the caption, but one well-dressed woman is saying “Keeping it dusted must drive them crazy!” to another well-dressed woman. It’s kind of meta, but it was fun.

We also checked out the American Woman fashion installment, which was kind of cool, though, again, not really my thing along with a collection of photographs by Leon Levinstein which I loved. He basically walked around New York in the 60s and 70s and snapped pictures. They’re amazing. Nowadays we have reality television to give us a look into peoples’ lives, but back then, all there was was guys like Levinstein snapping pictures on the streets. I loved it. It helps that I’m fascinated by New York’s long history, but he had a great eye for snapping pics that really capture people in their natural element. Absolutely worth checking out if you’re in the area.

Music Doc Triple Feature: True History Of The Traveling Wilburys (2007), Concert For George (2003) & Anvil! The Story Of Anvil (2008)

I watched these three movies over a pretty spread-out period of time, but I figured they’d make a good trio seeing as how two the first two are directly related and the most recent reminded me of the other two. First off, I want to talk about a 25 minute documentary on The Traveling Wilburys that came with the self-titled three disc set that includes the band’s two CDs and a DVD with the doc and some music videos. The Wilburys were a supergroup in the late 80s consisting of Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, George Harrison and Jeff Lynne (I’ll do a Supergroup Showcase about them soon). I’d always heard about them, but never really heard them, so once this set came out, I asked for it for Christmas and got it, but I didn’t actually watch the included DVD until a few months back.

The film covers a recording session and what makes it so interesting is seeing how much these musical giants just hanging out in a house, playing guitars, singing songs and having a helluva good time while doing it. We–or at least I–tend to deify guys like this, they are incredible musicians and some of the most important people in rock, but this movie shows them as just regular people and I dig that. Regular people writing a song a day and making an album of it. The just sounds fun to me. Even more fun because of who’s involved and some of the interesting things they did like drumming on the refrigerator and recording that! I’d definitely watch a longer version of this doc.

Soon after the first Traveling Wilbury’s record, Roy Orbison passed away. Many years later, George Harrison died leaving a final album called Brainwashed unfinished. His son Dhani and friend Jeff Lynne came in and finished the record and I have to say it’s amazing. One year after his passing, a small army of musicians got together to celebrate Harrison’s life. The concert, which was filmed and called A Concert For George, is split into a few parts. The first section is a very moving and intense series of performances by Ravi Shankar’s daughter Anoushka and an Indian orchestra. This isn’t the kind of music I usually search out, but it was beautiful.

Between this group of performances and the next more mainstream set, the surviving members of Monty Python came out to do “Sit On My Face” and then “The Lumberjack Song” which apparently also included Tom Hanks, but I completely missed that and only read it later. The remaining set consists of performances by Eric Clapton, Dhani Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Gary Brooker, Joe Brown, Sam Brown, Jools Holland, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Billy Preston, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney and others on their own and together. I’m a sucker for these kinds of team-ups in the musical world and can’t think of a better reason to have one than to celebrate such a great musician’s life. It’s too bad that Bob Dylan couldn’t be there for a reunion of the surviving Wilburys, but that would have been amazing.

From the celebration of one of the greatest and most successful musicians in the world, to a look at some of the most obscure. Anvil! The Story Of Anvil is a documentary following the trials and tribulations of a Canadian heavy metal rock band called Anvil who were supposedly a big deal on the scene back in the day. I’ll be honest, I’m not 100% sure this whole thing isn’t a hoax. I’m no expert when it comes to heavy metal by any means, but I’ve read enough issues of Guitar World in my time to feel like I have a fairly good grasp on the scene and I’ve never heard of them. The movie starts off with some pretty big deal metal musicians like Slash, Lemmy, Scott Ian and Lars Ulrich singing Anvil’s praises. It just felt a little off. Then, they reveal that one of the two original band members’ names is Robb Reiner which sounds and awful lot like the name of the director who did This Is Spinal Tap. From what I can tell, the movie is all real, but I still had a big question mark in my head the whole time which takes away from things a bit.

The rest of the movie shows how shitty things are for the guys in Anvil. They’re working crap jobs in Canada, doing tours of Europe where they don’t really get paid any money and everything goes wrong and struggle to create quality music with nearly no budget. If you’ve seen American Movie, you’ve seen the basic premise of this movie, but this one has heavy metal and that one has movies. Which isn’t to say Anvil isn’t a good movie. If it is real, it definitely captures the general hopelessness that these dudes are surrounded by at all time and refuse to give in to, which is incredibly admirable. Plus, watching the movie made me want to listen to some more metal. Anyone got any suggestions?

They Say It Was My Birthday

Hey gang, you might have noticed a serious dip in posting over the weekend. That was because yesterday (Saturday) was my birthday. My folks came out from Toledo on Friday and spent the weekend with the missus and me. It was the first time in years that we saw each other on my actual birthday which was pretty cool. We got lunch at a great place in New Paltz, NY called The Gilded Otter. In addition to being a great little restaurant, the place is also a brewery where, instead of getting a beer, you can get what they call the Beer Garden which is eight shot-sized samples of their beers with a list explaining which was which. I’m pretty sure they were mislabeled, but it was still a lot of fun. We got a growler of one of them for later in the evening when some friends came over and we had a good old time hanging out, talking and playing electronic catchphrase. Thanks to everyone who wished me a happy b-day on Facebook, email and sent cards, like this one from my buddy Chad who’s in Japan right now.Super extra double thanks to everyone and anyone who hooked me up with one of these lovely gifts. Thanks to the Lost Season 5 DVDs, all the Nightmare On Elm Street movies and Modern Warfare 2, I’ll have plenty to watch and do. The Beatles CDs will keep my ears buzzing and I’ll look sick as hell wearing the Superman shirt while drinking out of the Green Lantern mug and playing with my 3 3/4-inch Freddy Krueger figure. Thanks again to everyone!

Ringo Starr Questlove Drum Off On Jimmy Fallon

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I wouldn’t have seen this clip myself had I not watched Conan followed by Jimmy Fallon tonight. In the clip above you have Beatle Ringo Starr having a drum off with ?uestlove and The Roots. I’ve been listening to a lot of Beatles records lately thanks to my dad getting the full catalogue for Christmas and him sending me the extras I didn’t already have. It’s weird how these things coincide sometimes. I gotta give it to Quest, dude keeps his cool while PLAYING WITH A BEATLE!!!!

6 More Rad Lines From CustomCon 24

Okay, so after finding out about CustomCon on Wednesday and writing about the 8 Raddest Figures I saw on there up until that point and then going back through 23 previous CustomCons, I finally got through the remaining entries and found six more favorites. Again, I’ve got to say that everything posted has been inspiring, even the lines I didn’t link to.
Captain Power by HipsterDufus

HipsterDufus created these updated versions of Captain Power and I’m super pumped. Hopefully Mattel or Hasbro will pick this line up and include the rad TV (or maybe even internet) powered action features.

Gaslight Green Lantern & Sinestro by Sillof

I really wish there was a group shot form Sillof‘s Gaslight Legion of Doom figures along with their JLA counterparts. Check out all of them here. I really appreciate his ingenuity and imagination, taking these well-known characters and putting a different spin in them. Seriously, how can you not like that adorably dandy Sinestro?

Friday The 13th MiniMates by Mini-Myte

It’s like Mini-Myte designed this set to appeal specifically to me. I love me some Jason and of course, I’m a big MiniMate fan, so this is right up my alley. Get on these Diamond! I need some slashers in my Christmas Village next year.

A Hard Day's Night Beatles MiniMates by Luke Porter

Again, I can’t resist awesome MiniMates and these black and white Beatles from their movie A Hard Days Night are indeed awesome. Luke Porter has done some stuff for ToyFare if I remember correctly and he always does a great job.

Jack T Chance Green Lantern Mego by The Knights Round Table

This is but one of the many fantastic Green Lanterns created by The Knights Round Table. Do yourself a favor and click this link to give them all a look. There’s even a Black Lantern in there!

Contest of Champions International Heroes by Ibentmyman-thing

Ending with these Contest of Champions International Heroes figures is kind of funny because I’m honestly not familiar with many of these characters. But, Ibentmyman-thing’s Marvel Legends-style figures are not only really well done, but the painting is spot on and not too shiny. I’ve looked through hundreds of custom figures in the past week and that’s the one big thing that seems to set the great apart from the pretty good.

So, after being steeped in so many customs lately, I’m going to do a couple of my own. One’s a secret because I’m surprised that no one has ever done it, but the other will be a Guy Gardner Warrior figure from when he had the tattoos and could morph and whatnot (hey, that was my jam back then). Hopefully you’ve seen some rad figures and will maybe be giving the whole customizing thing a shot yourself.