Tag Archives: music

Davenport, Iowa

So we drove to Davenport yesterday to see Low. It took about six hours with stops, not bad, but enough to mess with our backs. I like roadtrips with Maura, we talked and listened to some new tunes on the way up – the new Jack White is pretty good! Once we got to town, we settled into our hotel, then walked around to check out the downtown area. The venue – the Racoon Motel, was right down the street from where we were staying. Next door to it, we found a record shop, Ragged Records, where we found a nice little haul.

We grabbed some dinner at the Front Street Brewery, and I checked the Racoon Motel’s Facebook page while we were waiting on our food. The show had been canceled due to a couple of positive COVID tests. We were seriouly bummed. I’ve been imagining hearing Low’s latest music live for months and we were just hours away from doing so. The show was rescheduled for another Friday in July, which we will make work. We figured we were here so we might as well make a night of it, so we asked our waitress about other spots to check out nearby. She did not dissapoint; there are some pretty great bars in downtown Davenport. First, we figured we should check out the venue since we had come all this way, so we grabbed a beer there, commiserated with the staff, and checked out the stage – it’s a small area; it’s going to be very loud (in July)! After that, we went to a bar with a perfect name: Devon’s Complaint Dept.

They mixed some great drinks, and the bar had a cool retro vibe. We’ve been trying to get out more lately, but I can’t remember the last time we went bar hopping! It’s kind of a shame that we had to drive all the way to Davenport, but the drinks were tasty and way cheaper!

Meanwhile, back at the hotel, we discovered that it was hosting a youth dance competition. There were many families with young girls in way too much makeup and glittery outfits. I’m sure they were having the time of their lives, but we didn’t particularly enjoy the noise levels. The hotel has a central atrium around the rooms; they were very loud and echoey. They were running around until pretty late, which was so much fun for us after a night on the town! We ended up playing Low’s latest album in our hotel room mostly to drown out the noise.

The next morning, I woke up early, as I always do, and walked along the Mississippi. It was a nice walk, though it made me wish that KC had more down by our river front. I never knew that Pelicans like to visit the river this time of year, but I saw several of them!

Pelicans on the Mississippi

While it was a huge bummer to have the show rescheduled, it was good to get out of town for a bit. I guess we’ll see you again in July, Davenport, Iowa!

Happy Birthday to Me!

Anyone that knows me well, knows of my love for both music and humor. No one combines these better than “Weird” Al Yankovic. In my mind, it’s not my birthday until I hear his “Birthday Song”. Sadly, the lyrics ring truer every year. If you haven’t heard it, or it’s been a while, give it a listen:

The contrast between what should be a happy, carefree day and the realities of the world and the absurdity makes me strangely joyful. 

American Greetings (sorry Hallmark friends) has an app out called SmashUp that allows you to send custom messages from celebrities to celebrate your friends and family. “Weird” Al just announced that he had several SmashUps available and I just had to check it out. The resulting video makes me incomprehensibly happy:

I’m not going to get too sappy and deep about being middle-aged. I really just wanted to share something that made me happy today. Maura and I are going to get out and about today to celebrate our birthdays. Our wonderful but somewhat anxious dog is in daycare and she’ll be there overnight so that we don’t have to worry about her and what she might be doing to the window blinds. I hope all is well with everyone reading this. It’s nice that Spring is finally at least trying to make an appearance and that, at least for now, the infection rates are staying low – which brings right back to the song at beginning of my post. We’re living in some strange times, but there are still ways to find happiness. 

Speaking of ways to find happiness, my wonderful wife surprised me today with tickets to see one of our favorite bands, Low in Davenport, Iowa. Their latest album, “Hey What” is an emotional powerhouse, seriously, chills and sometimes tears, every time I listen. I’ve been trying to imagine hearing them play it live but now I won’t have to! I can’t wait!! 

It’s loud, sometimes grating but the contrast between their beautiful voices and the loud distortion-filled music is amazing. Again, if you haven’t heard it, sit with it a while: 

Thanks in advance for all the birthday wishes on social media, texts, and calls! Hopefully, as we slowly rejoin society and get out more, we’ll see you all soon! 

My Favorite Albums of 2016

2016 was a both wonderfully great year and a fantastically crappy year. I celebrated my ten year wedding anniversary and also ten years at the Kansas City Art Institute. I learned a lot, both professionally and personally. Legends died. A dangerous idiot was elected president of the United States.

Regardless, music is enduring. Here is a list of my favorites from last year (screw the top ten thing, I have a lot of favorites!) Featured you will find two soundtracks that I just can’t stop listening to, two albums by one band, the final albums by two of my favorite artist who happened to end their time on Earth this past year, songs about love, songs about life, songs about songs, songs about humanity, and songs just for fun. In no particular order:

  • Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
  • Andrew Bird – Are You Serious
  • Leonard Cohen – You Want it Darker
  • David Bowie – Black Star
  • Mac Quayle – Mr. Robot OST
  • Yello – Toy
  • Bon Iver – 22, A Million
  • Deerhoof – The Magic
  • Hope Sandoval and the Warm Intentions – Until the Hunter
  • Iggy Pop – Post Pop Depression
  • Jim James – Eternally Even
  • M83 – Junk
  • Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Skeleton Tree
  • Paul Simon – Stranger to Stranger
  • Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
  • Ramin Djawadi – Westworld OST
  • Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop – Love Letter for Fire
  • Thee Oh Sees – A Weird Exits
  • Thee Oh Sees – An Odd Entrances

Top ten Albums of 2014

Listed in no particular order, maybe, probably.

  • St Vincent – St. Vincent
  • tUnE-yArDs – Nikki Nack
  • Sallie Ford – Slap Back
  • Deerhoof – La Isla Bonita
  • The New Basement Tapes – Lost on the River
  • Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots
  • Beck – Morning Phase
  • Thom Yorke – Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes
  • First Aid Kit – Stay Gold
  • The Pixies – Indie Cindy
  • Warpaint – Warpaint
  • Broken Bells – After The Disco
  • Tobacco – Utilma II Massage

Oh, is that more than ten? Oops! Oh well! There was seriously a LOT of good music this year. I can’t wait to hear what 2015 has in store!

One edit: I guess the Nick Cave was out last year, so I’ll sub the New Basement Tapes, which should have made the list anyway.

Lists from the last six weeks (in no particular order)

New albums I’ve missed that looking forward to finally hearing:
Damon Albarn’s Everyday Robots
Liam Finn’s The Nihilist
Lykke Li’s I Never Learn
The Pixies’ Indie Cindy
tUnE yArDs’ nikki nack
The Horrors’ Luminous
The Eels’ Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett
The Black Keys’ Turn Blue
Tobacco’s Ultima II Massage

Books I’ve read:
Nick Harkaway’s The Gone-Away World
Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim, Kill the Dead, and Aloha from Hell
Jeff Vandermeer’s Annihilation and Authority
Daniel Suarez’ Daemon and Freedom

Comic series I’ve consumed from beginning to end:
Runaways
Y, The LastMan
Invincible
Federal Bureau of Physics
Grindhouse – Doors Open At Midnight
Guardians of the Galaxy
saga
The Sandman Overture
Revival
Morning Glories
I also got all caught up on The Walking Dead

I think I’ve read a lot more comics than books because they are so much less work to concentrate on. I remember at one point when I was reading Sandman Slim – I was on both steroids and painkillers, a I could actually hear what was going on in the scenes. Not only the main action, but stuff that my brain made up for background noises. I’m sure the lack of sleep enhanced the hallucinations too. It was kinda cool.