Category Archives: Music

Music I’m listening to

The answer to all my prayers.

In case you hadn’t heard — maybe because of ear fatigue from records that are over-compressed — Turn Me Up! is leading the march toward a happier world full of clearer, more dynamic music. Watch the short video on the site, and then you’ll know why:

  • You can’t find a comfortable volume on your car stereo between click 6 and click 7
  • Loudness is not the same as dynamics, and makes your music sound like ass
  • How machines are now dictating how people hear music

Circus of Dreams comes to town.

The gig last night at IOTA went great. A little wrung out this morning as a result, but the price must be paid to Bring the Rawk. Our crowd was very large and (thankfully) a little less chatty than the last show there, at which it was sometimes even hard to hear ourselves! The important thing is that they really got into the show, which made it so much more enjoyable from the stage.

The earlier half of the double-bill show was the simply incredible Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams. I don’t know how to describe them except as maybe Loudon Wainwright III meets The Who, or maybe Sufjan Stevens meets Pink Floyd. They were AMAZING.

And as a bonus, they were the nicest folks imaginable. Three of the band members are family members (mom, dad, and son), which I think is as cool as it gets. And it is somewhat circus-like, the very unpretentious family atmosphere they create. We chatted with them for a while between sets and they were thrilled to have finally found a DC-area club that really seemed to get what they were doing. We loved them, and they said they would love to get together with us for another show. Any time!


Both Tim Waugh and I are apparently big Justin Currie fans. My copy of his new solo album just showed up and HOLY HELL is it good. I was glad to see a bunch of the Dels play bit parts here and there, and Justin dedicates the record to longtime guitarist partner Iain Harvie.

Now if only get to see him here in the US, life will be grand.

Master of the b5add9.

It’s pleasant enough to work outside for a little while, and at least I can confirm while typing this entry that this Dell is, in fact, usable in more-or-less direct sunlight. I’m going to work on some side projects today since I’ve been keeping up with core Fedora docs work pretty well over the last week or so. As much as I’d love to work outside all day, the temperature is going up to an unseasonable 89 F today, and still no rain in sight.

I’m looking back at the drainage ditch that runs along the rear property line of our lot, wishing that we could get enough moisture to make it worthwhile to plant some erosion control. We’ve selected some juniper and other low shrubbery to help hold the soil together where the ditch was reconstructed this summer, but without any precipitation, I don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on new flora just to watch them wither away in this extended Indian summer.

The drought here is worsening and mandatory water restrictions are in effect in our county, as well they should be. I’ve been able to use the opportunity to “seize the learning moment,” and show Evie why it’s important that we conserve water and other resources, not just in a drought but as a conscientious, day-to-day activity.

We have a meeting for the Docs Project at 1pm at IRC Freenode #fedora-docs at which pretty much anyone is welcome, although we’ll probably try and stick to some sort of agenda for the first half of the meeting. We might be in #fedora-meeting, so if you don’t see it happening in one channel, try the other. We’ll probably decide at this meeting where to hold future instances.

Yesterday was a whirlwind of activity. The kids had swimming lessons at the Y, after which Eleya zipped home and I met her in the driveway. At that point I took over driving and brought her to her next destination, where she was teaching bellydance at a friend’s studio. When she was finished there, we picked her up and headed up to the nation’s capital.

We were attending the 40th birthday of my friend Arch, a superb musician who seems to have mastered pretty much every instrument he ever picked up. We try to keep Arch away from cloning technology because if he got a hold of it (which, in common parlance, is known as “falling into the wrong hands”), we’d all be out of jobs.

Arch’s SO, Chrstina, planned an afternoon shindig at Lucky Strike Lanes in the Verizon Center. Not only is this a gorgeous, upscale alley, but it has great food that really takes you back to being a kid. I was reminded of the Fair Lanes in Bowie, Maryland, where my parents used to take us once in a while when I was very young.

And if I can digress for a moment, I wanted to point out that the staff at Lucky Strike was AMAZING. It’s very rare to find any establishment nowadays that provides actual customer service at less than top dollar, and even more so to find one that makes you feel so at ease even as you try and corral small children amidst the bustle and brouhaha of bowling. The couple of small spills were met with smiles and a simple “No problem, we’ll take care of it!” In fact, “No problem!” was pretty much their response to any request I heard made of them.

A young lady named Jeanette, who coordinated the day’s entertainment, told me later, as I tipped her for her incredible service, that to her it’s as simple as treating others the way she would like to be treated. What? The Golden Rule in actual use in the new millennium? My hat’s off to Jeanette and the rest of the Lucky Strike D.C. staff for being, hands-down, some of the greatest customer service practitioners in the Washington area.

I also picked up some new music at the store the other day — new records by Iron & Wine, Jill Scott, and Annie Lennox (the last maybe not so hip, but I was there in the early Eurythmics days and have a soft spot for Annie). From an immediate listening standpoint, I like the Jill Scott record best, but I think the others will grow on me.

Daddy’s day in.

Sure, anyone can just sleep in on Fathers Day, but me? I helped my lovely bride out by going through a whirlwind of cleaning this morning. I did get a cute card from Evie that read:

happy Grouchy Father’s Day!

Following this was a small emblem of Oscar the Grouch in his trashcan. Funny to see this, since my daughter only knows Oscar from some old childhood Sesame Street books of mine. The other side read:

Dear Daddy, It’s your lucky Day!
Here is what you can do:
sleep longer
Tell everyone to be nice to you

Nothing like freedom of choice! Of course I got a nice card from my sweetie as well, with complimentary scrawled drawing on the back by Ethan, entitled “Giant Whale” and looking pretty much exactly like one would imagine, if one’s senses were deranged by a massive amount of hallucinogens.

Yesterday I got a little administrative work done for the Docs Project, including a draft schedule for our release notes. We should be deciding by consensus where to throw our weight for the next round of guide hacking. I’m already planning to give a hand to Jeremy on a “new world order” briefing document. It will hopefully help people who haven’t had time to keep up with the rapidly shifting landscape of package building and submission.

Interestingly, yesterday I got a call from one of my favorite Red Hatters who, through an unfortunate set of circumstances, ended up having a great deal more free time to kill this weekend than expected. I had made a big deal at the last FUDPub that she should drop by for a visit, as my house is not too far off her normal route home, so I invited her to come by and visit for a bit. (Thus the aforementioned cleaning escapades.)

Now I’m just picking up some odds and ends (or rather, avoiding doing that) while waiting for her to arrive, and hoping the kids don’t embarrass us by breaking into the liquor cabinet or running around naked and screaming “WHAT’S THE FREQUENCY, KENNETH?!?”. Eleya is making taquitos tonight and prepared some nice chocolate pots for dessert already. Will report details later.

Listening to: Bleu – “Redhead” (At some point I need a plugin to handle posting things like that.)

If it’s too loud, you’re too old.

Yesterday I turned 37 and got a bunch of swell gifts, including a previously-mentioned gift certificate from friends, with which I bought some good music. My wife and kids got me some additional great stuff, including the “new” Elliott Smith album, the latest by The Shins, and a collection of music by the Beach Boys, by whom I only have the much-loved Pet Sounds. They also got me a couple of great concerts on DVD. (Yes, I do live for music.)

My office had its annual picnic today, so I basically got a two-fer. We had some great food, with Yours Truly serving a good portion of grill duty (and an extra helping of my wife’s awesome baked masterpieces). The high-70’s (F) weather is apparently going to finally yield to the onrushing freight train of summer later this week, so some friends and I took full advantage up the sun, minus the heatstroke, by renting a couple of canoes to paddle out on the lake. We saw an assortment of young fawns, blue herons, and other beautiful wildlife gathered among the coves as we coasted along the perimeter of the lake, before finally heading back to shore.

We cooled off after the picnic by heading to a local pub (or what passes for one in the States) for a couple pints, then said our goodbyes. The subjects of sake and soju had come up over our beers (you’d think we’d get enough), so I stopped by the local grocer’s and to my delight found a couple different kinds of sake. So I’ve been sipping some warm while I catch up on email and get dinner ready for the family.

I think I like the idea of the extended birthday. 🙂

Six degrees of Jon Brion.

So it looks like just about anything to which Jon Brion can be connected, even indirectly, is pretty much great by definition. Sure, there’s the easy links like Aimee Mann, Paul Thomas Anderson, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I didn’t know until yesterday that my favorite musical supergenius was also part of Jellyfish for their second album.

This all came to my attention this weekend when I was looking up information on Jason Scheff, a very good studio and live bass player I saw and heard on a concert DVD given to me by a friend. Scheff was involved with a project called L.E.O., a sort of ELO-style one-off project saluting the amazing studio prowess and melodic hook-heaviness of 1970s AM-era power pop, but with more modern lyrical sensibilities.

I was immediately intrigued since I grew up on ELO’s music and am not afraid to admit it. I have a bunch of their stuff on CD, including Time, which I think is one of their best. (Apparently one of the songs from that album is familiar to anime fans, meh.)

L.E.O. was put together by a Boston-area musician who goes by the pseudonym “Bleu,” and includes members of Self (free as in beer music!), Jellyfish, and other great indie acts. I found a good deal online and ended up buying not only the L.E.O. album, but also Redhead by Bleu, the two original studio albums by Jellyfish, and the new one from Fountains of Wayne.

Power pop festival at my house!

*Nothing to do with Fedora at all, but I wanted to share the melodic goodness with someone. Enjoy!

Gearing up for the ‘sploit-o-rama.


Eleya and I have been wanting to go see Grindhouse, but our weekends are generally getting pretty booked up at this point. So I figured, what better way could there be to get some quality time than to call up da Moms and get her to sit the kids? After all, my daughter is off school for spring break this week.

But it turns out that Mom’s only day free is tomorrow, despite my telling her repeatedly that the kids were really hoping for later in the week, so they can, I don’t know, keep up with their Pilates classes and lunch at Elaine’s or something. Right, Mom TOTALLY not buying it. But it is a Tarantino/Rodriguez double feature… Hm.

One call to the boss later, and I’m free! On a TUESDAY! To go TO THE MOVIES!!! Oh yeah, bring on the popcorn, baby. And I can’t be too uppity about the scheduling — after all, my mom raised me on a steady diet of B- to Z-grade movies when I was a kid.

Does anyone else remember the 4:00 movie they used to show on Channel 7 when we (meaning those of us over 35 but not yet officially Over the Hill) were kids? Creepy, crappy stuff like the Karen Black Trilogy of Terror and The Devil’s Rain (other than Star Trek, my favorite role from the pre-corpulent William Shatner).

My hope is that this movie will remind me of those Channel 7 exploitation films, only, you know, amped up on a case of Rockstar.


Mugshot makes it a lot harder to hide that I’ve been enjoying an advance copy of the new NIN record, which hits stores in about a week. It’s the best since 1994’s The Downward Spiral, in my opinion. I can’t wait to see more of the art project that’s springing up around this.