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Friday, January 3, 2014

Putting a Bow on 2013. Best of December etc...

Dum Dum Girls
2013 by all accounts was a fabulous year.  We live in a pretty idyllic (although secretly evil) little town 20 miles away from New York City.  It is now 16 years strong with my very special lady.  Anyone who a) has a spouse or b) knows anything about me in particular understands that shit ain't easy.  We are in a good spot right now.  There is communication.  There are laughs.  Hell we even share mutual goals and are cooperating in various ways to achieve them.  Our only child has, to an extent, a fairly solid blueprint to success.  Sh has access to good schools and role models in a place far removed from her parents humble upbringings.  Upward mobility is an option.  She is supper witty, generally kind and pure in heart.  Isn't that what parenting is about anyway?   Make sure your kid is empathetic and shows an aptitude for making this World better.   In other words, don't create an asshole.

The work thing didn't suck either.  Well, the working part did.  It is always a challenge dealing with commutes and everyday headaches.   But we are pretty lucky to have good clients, decent vendors and a real pro as an employer.   Do your work and you get left alone.  We joke that we could never again work under the constraints of a human resources department.  But after 15 years without having to answer one I fear there is no turning back.  The thought of sitting through a sensitivity training seminar sends chills up my spine.  And don't get me started on drug testing.  Although I remember working at Blockbuster in my college days.  They took a hair test on my then pony-tailed freak flag.  And I still got the job!  Long story short the job doesn't suck.  Is it what I imagined myself doing when I was a kid?  No.  But up until my late 20s I wasn't really sure what adulthood consisted of.  More specificallyI had no idea the importance money plays in this part of the World.  As I enter my mid-40s I am finally realizing I might actually  have the ability to earn it!

Christmas time and the New Year ahead were going to be a celebration of all we have.

Then I got a call a few Sundays ago just past 11pm.   It was not a snow event so it could not have been the school calling.  We had just fallen asleep so we heard the ring, faintly, through our haze.  "Who else could be calling?"  That question was answered in my head moments after I asked myself.  "Something is wrong with dad."

My dad was a funny guy.  He was a bright guy.  He was the kind of guy that kept the party going a bit longer.  He made sure someone was having a laugh.  He kept you on your toes while making you feel at ease.

But he had been ill for quite a long time.  Arthritis with a side of heart disease and diabetes.  It was a freaking drag.  A man, and certainly not from his generation, was supposed to earn for his family.  He was supposed to stay at the plant for 50 years and retire to Florida.  Well, this story was a bit more unconventional.  His body gradually broke down and he was comfortable hanging near home and being close to those he loved.  Everything else was an unneeded stress so why bother?

He and my mother celebrated their 51st anniversary a few weeks back.  As stated earlier, that shit ain't easy.  But there they were after a nice weekend, getting ready for the routine that they had done for decades before.  He went for coffee with his pals a little earlier.  His beloved Giants knocked the Lions out of the playoff hunt.  I am sure they talked about that game and his friends were taunting him about their Eagles.  Coffee and shooting the breeze with his pals.  There was nothing better.  Chewing on a toothpick and drinking whatever  Kool Aid O'Reilly was serving filled out a perfect evening before heading upstairs with his wife.

When I entered the hospital there were tears and hugs.  We all lost a great man.  A man who loved with such vigor that it exhausted him.  Through the tears my mom felt compelled to share.  "They had such a good weekend" she told us.

She remembered as they were getting ready for sleep her nightie was a little loose.

My dad noticed and politely asked to squeeze her ass.  She told us she obliged.

If you had asked my dad that morning if he was going to pass away my guess is he would have approved.

In the town he loves.  In the home he loves.  His most treasured and adored wife next to him playing periodic grab ass.  That my friends is as fitting a send off as he could have hoped for.

Do the flowers make me sad when they show up at my door?  Yes.  Is it difficult to open and read sympathy cards and messages from friends both far and near.  Sure does.  Am I worried about the woman he left behind?  My sister?  His grandkids?  Absolutely.

But his was a life of meaning.  And his message would have been to remember the good and move toward the future.  Thanks dad.  You made this place a lot better to live in.  I can only hope to follow your lead.

Duh, It says it right there:  Bear Hands

This space is usually reserved for contemporary music.  We will continue to push new artists and live reviews.  Submissions from other authors on any number of things are also welcome.  DocS still brings it and there have been other guest entries that have made impacts.  You can send me anything you like. If it looks ready to share it will appear.  No judgement here.  Except maybe comma splices.  Ugh with them!

For now you can find the Best of 2013 list here.  Below are the last minute entries.  It was another tremendous year in song.  New records by The National, Arcade Fire and Vampire Weekend almost sent the blogosphere into internet rehab.  All the superlatives have been used by sites far more fancy than this one.  I knows what I like though.  And my ear is pretty darn good.  Don't believe me?  Put on the list of 120 songs and give it a try.  My guess is you will come away with something that strikes your fancy.  Strikes your fancy?  Who says that?

Have a great 2014 all!  Let's go and kick this year straight in the jaw.

Chappo "I Don't Need the Sun"

Alex Chappo and his bandmates debut record was pretty darn good I thought.  It barely made a splash a few years ago and that really disappointed.  The single, "Come Home", was a minor hit thanks in part to appearing in a Sears ad.  They are back with a new record and this trippy first song is more evidence that these folks are more than a one hit wonder.

St Lucia "Elevate" live from Jimmy Kimmel

South African born and New York (Brooklyn to be exact- duh) based musician Jean-Philip Grobler is the man behind St Lucia.  When I read he produces it made a lot more sense.  This is a polished synth pop song, not unlike Cut/Copy or M83.  Good for background music and chill vibes wasting away on your favorite easy chair.

Vance Joy "Riptide"

Australian James Keogh didn't keep his name for stage either.  His alter ego, Vance Joy, is an ex lawyer turned folk singer.  He released his debut EP, God Loves You When You're Dancing, early last year.  Two good things here- One: his contribution to the world of music.  Two: one less lawyer.

Airborne Toxic Event "Hell and Back"

Good to hear new music from LA band Airborne Toxic Event.  They too released a record last spring.  But this track appeared on the soundtrack for Dallas Buyers Club.

Dum Dum Girls "Lost Boys and Girls Club"

Dee Dee Penny is the force behind "bedroom recording project" Dum Dum Girls.  Its Bettie Page for the hipster set.  50s sensibilities for Ipad folk.  Their/Her third record Too True, is set for release early in 2014.  This single fits nicely in any David Lynch bar room juke box.   Somewhere I see Madchen Amick dancing slowly to this right before ending up in the back of Jack Nance's late model Chevy.

OneRepublic "Counting Stars"

Every now and again an enormously successful pop song is un-escapable and you are forced to relent and accept its power.  For 2013 this is that song.

Tired Pony "All Things All at Once"

The word "supergroup" is kind of a tricky one.  Blind Faith was a "supergroup."  I have read descriptions of Tired Pony that label them similarly.  Tis true, Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol and Richard Colburn of Belle and Sebastian, are both in the band.  But "Super" might be pushing it.  In fact, the last group that could call itself "super" was Temple of the Dog.

Rhye "Open"

Canadian singer Milosh (not to be confused with the Seinfeld tennis instructor) and Danish instrumentalist Robin Hannibal released their highly praised debut record, Woman, in March 2013.  Since every other music blog threw it on their best of lists I finally got around to listening.  Turns out the praise was well deserved.  There is a real simple beauty to the record, and this song in particular.

Blood Orange "You're Not Good Enough"

Dev Hynes is the NY based Blood Orange.  This is another record that got my attention late last year.  Hearing that Hynes lost everything he owned in a horrific fire a week before Christmas made me want to listen more intently.  Support this man and wish him well.

Bear Hands "Giants"

I know, I know...  Post-Punk band from Brooklyn...  YAWN!  Well, maybe not.  This track is polarizing.  I know some who really dig it.  I know others who hate it!  How do you weigh in?  The "loving you more" line is a personal fav.

RAC featuring Kele and MNDR "Let Go"

Another commercial hit.  Dance and pop song, plain and simple.  Its got a good groove and you can dance to it.  Sometimes that is all you need.

1 comment:

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