For those of you who missed Volume 1 of YHT’s Tournament Album Coverage, I spent last weekend glued to my couch, watching the first rounds of the NCAA Tournament in a most gloriously sloth-like fashion. I can think of no better occasion for acting like a shut-in and no better way to enhance the experience than muting the television and choosing your own soundtrack for each game. (There’s only so much of Jay Bilas’ voice I can take before I just start yelling at the TV screen like a crazy person.)
With a few exceptions, things took a decidedly more contemporary turn after Friday night’s Garfunkel-fest. Below, I’ve posted the art for everything my friends and I listened to on Saturday and Sunday, along with a sample song and a context-free quote from someone in the room about each record.
I’ve heard it said that “Good people eat good food.” Can’t remember where though. Probably on the Food Network. It sounds like something Ina Garten would say while smugly assembling a delicious picnic lunch. HOW DOES SHE MANAGE TO BE SO UPSCALE AND SO RUSTIC AT THE SAME TIME? HOW?!?!?
In any case, I’d posit that the “Good people ___ good ___” axiom holds true for music as well, and this idea actually played a big part in how Mrs. YHT and I got together. One of the first things I knew about the fellow University of Richmond senior who would eventually become my wife was that she liked The Band. I knew this because her apartment had a few people over for brunch on Easter weekend, and we all watched what I believe was her DVD copy of The Last Waltz. I can remember thinking this was immeasurably cool, and that coolness proved to be just the tip of a whole iceberg of awesomeness that I’ll be happily chilling with for the rest of my life.
I’ve since learned that, as matters of coolness often are, this predilection was inherited from the previous generation — in this case from her music-loving father. Now, if my father-in-law was simply a fan of The Band and their contemporaries, I would count myself as lucky. During holidays, we could put on the brown album, drink some brown liquids, and both of us would be happy as clams. But it’s even better than that — he gets just as excited about finding and sharing new artists as I do, and I can’t tell you how awesome that is. That’s why I’d like to introduce a new feature that will hopefully pop up on YHT every now and again: Joe’s Picks. Maybe I can even twist his arm into making a guest appearance.
First up is a Brit called Jamie T. (See what I did there? I’ve always wanted to use “called” instead of “named.” It’s so sophisticated, innit?)
Just a quick post-election post…
I found out about To Love Somebody while I was adding the epigraph to my recent post about David Vandervelde – “To everything there is a season.” I’m embarrassed to say I couldn’t remember who sang the iconic version of ”Turn! Turn! Turn!,” and while I was using Spotify to find out, I stumbled across Nina Simon’s version. A few clicks later, I was excitedly bouncing from track to track on To Love Somebody, trying out all these fascinating, moody covers of late 60′s hits, many of which I wouldn’t immediately associate with Simone’s vocal style.
I have some pretty strange eating habits. Mind if I share one? I promise to make it snappy. It involves Hot Tamales, which are almost certainly Mrs. YHT’s favorite non-chocolate candy. Whenever I manage to wrest one away from her, I apply squishing pressure to either end of the capsule-shaped Tamale until it looks like how movies sometimes depict catastrophic explosions in space (it more closely resembles this yo-yo, but that’s not nearly as dramatic, is it?). Once the capsule’s modification is complete, down the hatch it goes. I don’t know how my Hot Tamale ritual started, and I sure as hell don’t know why it makes me so happy. It just does.
I have a listening habit just as idiosyncratic that I’d like to share, and unlike the candy custom above, you can join in on the fun right this very minute! It has to do with cover songs. Often, when I find a cover I really like, I’ll listen to it, then listen to the original version, then the cover again, then the original again, cover, original, cover, original, over and over, until I absolutely, positively have to take my headphones off and and pay attention to something else. A little crazy, right? I’d say it’s like being a tennis spectator, glancing left and right to follow a rally, but if I’m being honest, it’s more like being the ball. And as nutty as it may sound, I could go on forever like that, comparing the songs, finding little differences in the phrasing of the lyrics, trying to imagine why certain decisions were made during the respective recording processes.
Wanna play a little cover tennis? C’mooooooon, it’s super fun. I’ve picked out three pairs of tunes, and I’ve even assigned a tennis player (two of whom are competing in the London Olympics) to each pair, based on how obsessed with them I’ve become. So let’s crack open a new tube of balls, take a sniff — because it’s the best smell in the universe — and get to thwackin’!
If you’ve been reading this here blog for a while, you may have seen me mention my friend, the musical sherpa, Clay. Well last August, Clay gave me one of the best birthday presents I’ve gotten in my entire life: a generous starter collection of 45′s, cradled by a 7-inch Peaches record crate. This is a short video of my reaction upon being given this gift. There was tons of great stuff in there — everything from Queen to Radiohead and back again — and in the nine months since, I’ve had lots of fun exploring and expanding this collection (probably too much fun on the expansion front, but WHATEVER). So for Clay’s birthday, I’ve done the only reasonable thing — I’ve assembled a tactical playlist from my seed set of 7-inch records entitled “H-A-P-P-Y B-I-R-T-H-D-A-Y” (you’ll see why), accompanied by a quick, solo game of Adjective Battleship for each one. Let’s do dis!