Album of week 34: Born a Lion

Except at the office, where I’m not allowed to, I love playing music most of my spare time. perhaps it’s to exhausting for many, but I love performing activities with a little support from an album. When I have guests at the Hellhouse I usually pass the choice of the soundtrack to them, of course if I trust their taste in music, feeling very curious about what they will select. Sometimes it can be very predictable, but in many cases I feel really amused and pleased when they removed the dust from one of my old CDs or records I haven’t listened to in years, and all of a sudden lots of memories, melodies and lyrics come back to my head and I recover some sort of excitement remembering how great that album and that certain band was back in the day.

Last Saturday, Tani, Jaume and I were recovering from the funny night before, and I was in the mood for cooking if Jaume to be in charge of music. He accepted the challenge and also bough beer. His first choice was Kick of INXS and it was great to listen to so many hits at once. Eventually I’ll talk about that album, because it’s pretty good. He completely changed the style with his second choice, which was Born a Lion.

born a lion

I’ve been so pissed off lately with Danko Jones due to his terrible and boring shows, with too much talking and quite few music, I had forgotten how great he used to be. Well, not that his late albums are crap, because you can always find a bunch of great songs, but the groove, power and sexuality in his early stuff was unbeatable.

I had vaguely heard of this trio from Canada formed by Danko, John Calabrese and Damon Richardson, the former drummer who played on the best albums of the band, until I saw them opening for Backyard Babies in 2001 I think. Basically they ate the Swedish band with a steamroller act which turned the audience crazy. The recipient for the success of their act was powerful and sticky rock n’roll songs, mixed with blues and garage, sexual lyrics and Danko’s speeches to heat people. The magnetism of the frontman was irresistible and everybody ended surrendered to his knees. He was a sort of preacher of rock.

The Mango Kid used to be the king on stage when performing sets of 45 minutes, but at some point, when the band became more popular and started headlining 85 minute shows, his speeches became repetitive, the rhythm of the performance was losing tempo all the time because between songs there was too much spoken word, and of course, the albums weren’t as brilliant and fresh as the first ones. It is a pity because the band has its own identity regardless of their influences, but Danko squeezed the lemon too much, and the band is a bit stuck in its old formula.

Thus recovering Born a Lion the other day was as exciting as to time travel 12-13 years back, remember all the funny lyrics, Danko’s tongue and mean attitude on stage, and we getting crazy with their songs. ‘Love is Unkind’, ‘Lovercall’, ‘Sound of Love’, ‘Papa’, ‘Play the Blues’…one hit after another. I used to love this album, and for me, the concept of power trio was expressed in these 3 guys to its maximum level.

I still hope The Mango Kid forgets about horchata and comes back to the right path to give us a lesson.

Hamilton Ventura

Hamilton Ventura, what a sexy name! It could work for an adventurer, a super hero or an actor. One of those names that, I don’t know, they just imply something classy, far from the standard.

hamilton ventura

Ventura is actually a wristwatch, and it was one of the first electric models in the world designed by the American industrial designer Richard Arbib in 1957 for the Hamilton Watch Company. Not only It was quite revolutionary for the mechanism but also for its non-traditional assimetrical design.

The first celebrity wearing one of these Ventura models was Elvis Presley, known for being a passionate for wristwatches, including Longines, Omega and Rolex. You can see his Blue Hawaii film poster with him wearing this watch. After him, the creator of one of  the most amazing tv series ever, The Twilight Zone, Rod Serling, was introducing the audience to the 5th dimension every week with his Hamilton Ventura. Stray Cats leader, Brian Setzer had one too, and it was part of the outfit of the Men in Black, Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.

hve

You realize when a design of an object is a work of art when it’s not affected by the passing of time, this is, it never gets old nor outdated. This is the case of Hamilton Ventura. It’s elegant, classy and timeless. In fact, the company has been releasing updated editions of the watch, but also recovering the classic models in limited adition, for the 50th anniversary of the first electric watch, and the 75th birthday anniversary of Elvis in 2009.

Most of my life I’ve been using wristwatches, since I was 6 and wanted to assimilate the concept of passing time. it’s been few years, since I got my right forearm tattooed with the lighthouse since I don’t wear watch, but I’ve been thinking of recovering that habit because as soon as the battery of the phone runs out, I’m totally confused not knowing what the time is.

So, if you have approx. spare USD 700-1000, and feel like making me a present, one of these wonderful toys would be terrific. :-)

Album of week 32: AMORICA

Right now if you were seeing me on a webcam or some other face to face device, not only i’d look a bit ugly and exhausted thanks to the heat of the summer and the fuckin’ peak season at work, with lots of incidences and shit putting my patience and professionalism into a test, but leaving my physical state, my face would reflect some astonishment as a consequence of being surfing my own blog looking for albums of The Black Crowes commented, to realize only Three Snakes and One Charm and Shake your Money Maker had been cited. Not that I’m a Crowemaniac but I’ve been following the Robinson bros’ career quite close.

amorica

This time I feel like talking about Amorica, an album that, due to some factors and events , has turned into a very deared piece. I’ve been listening to it very often these past days as I find that any record of the Crowes has some elements which make them perfect for summer. They are warm yet fresh, with lots of groove, and they always give the good vibes. Honestly, I feel happy whenever I listen to them and my mood gets excellent.

I’ve always thought Amorica marked a change from the previous albums and it also meant the definition of what The Black Crowes were, and what they were looking for. The way songs were written, with their structures, their extended length and the way they were played, one had the feeling of being listening to a live album. They were able to create that wonderful hippie atmosphere for people to break free, get loose, and experiment the joy of music. Rock wasn’t a pose anymore for them, and they were committed to spread music as the perfect medicine for all.

You might be thinking I’m on acid, but it’s been almost 18 years since the last (light) trip. Ha!

If you had attended their Amorica tour show in Zaragoza in July 1995 at the main park in an open air “amphitheatre”, you’d understand what I’m saying. That show was as if the band was in the living room, including lots of jam parts in the set. They didn’t even play ‘Conspiracy’. Most of the audience expected something different, song oriented, and those jams had a different impact on people. I particularly enjoyed the show even though I was flipping a bit observing Chris Robinson playing percussion thinking the guy was high in the sky, as his smile never abandoned his face. I guess we weren’t yet prepared nor educated to face a show like that one, moreover, since then their shows are more focused in recovering their classic hits rather than experimenting or improvising.

The Black Crowes

I bought a Japanese digipack copy of this album when I visited Japan. He (urgh) had his copy and was all the time complaining and wondering where his digipack copy bought in Paris was, and when I found mine he told me not to buy it, as he had his own CD and at that time we were meant to share everything. But I was determined to have my own copy, so I got it. unfortunately at some point during our divorce my CD remained with his stuff and I lost it, like lots of stuff I never recovered. I thought at some point we would behave like adults so I would recovered my things, but some time ago I came to the conclusion that after 4 years there was no point in claiming anything, plus I don’t need to approach him at all.

The wonders of friendship made I told this last story to Arantza and Paula, my favorite sisters and old friends since high school, reckoning I would eventually have a new copy of Amorica. I love giving them music as presents, or suggesting bands and albums, because they usually apply themselves seriously and are very appreciative, and it’s great to introduce good friends to music you’re fond of. But it was their time to give me something back, so being really busy at work, Mr Postman came to my office and asked for me. I wasn’t expecting anything, especially because these months I’m quite short of dough after festivals and summer social life. whn I opened the envelop and saw Amorica was inside, and there was a pink note from my friends, I got really moved and dropped a little tear, feeling the luckiest person on Earth for having such great people by my side.

So now I got my Amorica to play anytime I want, and this has been the album of the week. Some people regard it as a minor work, but considering it includes ‘Wiser Time’ and ‘Gone’, I can tell you this is one of their greatest works.

Every time I listen to The Black Crowes I have the same thought:  the world would be much worse if they didn’t exist. God bless!

Summer, FEET and Phobia.

Phobia [ˈfəʊbɪə]

noun

noun: phobia; plural noun: phobias

an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something.

“she suffered from a phobia about birds”

synonyms: abnormal fear, irrational fear, obsessive fear, fear, dread, horror, terror,dislike, hatred, loathing, detestation, distaste, aversion, antipathy, revulsion, repulsion;

Summertime. Apparently the best season in the year, or at least we’ve been brought up and educated in this belief, as it’s associated to good weather, holidays and fun. This should be my summer 25 years ago, but not anymore.

summer

In my case it is mainly marked by the peak season in my job, with work overload, the absence of holidays on behalf of colleagues who have couples and families and want or have to go on vacation in July or August. I’m usually broke thanks to IRS (basterds!), mosquitoes bite the hell out of me, humidity and hot weather in Barcelona is a shit and my forelock disappears forcedly, but trying to look at the right side of life, I’m still glad I have air conditioning at work. It is a relief, for real. There’s nobody here in August because everybody is on holidays, and there are not shows to attend either. I don’t get bored though, don’t think Barcelona is kind of jail in August, but let’s say that my country stops routine for 4-6 weeks, and no matter how I keep acting normal, somehow also affects me.

Honestly I’m positive when I admit it’s not my favorite season anymore, yet I can cope with that quite decently even though I’m complaining in excess to make this more dramatic. It is not the above mentioned situation what really makes me feel pissed off with this season. There’s one thing that actually makes me hate summer and the world more than any other:

FEET

Almost bare feet everywhere. Flip-flops and  sandals are not so weird in Barcelona due to the weather, in fact, I’d say many people try to wear half the year if possible, something I find totally exaggerated to be honest.

bare feet

People footwear shouldn’t be of my concern and I shouldn’t give a shit about this, but believe me, a tube trip of 6 stops is enough to make me feel like vomiting sometimes after being mistreated by the sight of terrible deformed bared aliens threatening me in my peaceful way to somewhere. Arggggh!

Has it ever occurred to you that you discover something abhorrent but you cannot keep the eye out of it so your stomach starts aching, your repulsion is even reflected in your face and you’d just love to go towards the human being and tell them how disgusting motherfucker he or she is? Well, similar situations I’m experiencing most of the times I catch a train, as I’m surrounded by many ugly feet with deformed toes, rotten nails, and disgusting corns. We can leave aside the subject of smelly feet, so classic in summer too, huh?

And I always wonder the same. How the fuck do you dare going out with such monstrosity at public glance? Ain’t you ashamed? How can you be so calm while you’re torturing my poor eyes? Sometimes I dream awake of being myself some sort of Feet Enforcer…

Check the beginning on this post with the definition of Phobia and think of the story I’m telling you and you will find the perfect example of extreme aversion. Yeah, that is me!

I don’t regard my feet as horrible, but I’ve always find the strange lack of proportion between my quite big piggy toe and the rest of small and rigid ones quite weird, and since I started wearing sneakers and Doc Martens at 14-15 I started not feeling very comfy showing them. Also I used to hate my mum cutting my nails when I was a kid and got very very anxious and tense when someone touched my toes. Have you watched Kill Bill? Do you remember when Beatrix Kiddo wakes up from years in coma and has to work on recovering the mobility of her legs, feet and toes for hours? I suffer with that scene.

kiddo feet

My obsession has been gradually increasing, especially in the years I had a boyfriend with the hugest feet I’ve ever seen (QUITE smelly and excessively delicate too, he was complaining aaaaaall the fuckin’ time). Moreover, I guess he projected his feet obsessions, pains and concerns (and phobia) on me, so I developed this extreme dislike. He was also quite a world hater, lucky I’ve been into people too much as to fall under his anti-social influence.

Thus nowadays I can only stand baby feet, really decent feet,or close and old friends’, mainly female, of course. Even my male best friend share some of this feet shyness and I never seen his feet at full either. Those apparent enjoyable pleasures such as pedicure or a foot massage (Mia Wallace, how can you stand it without breaking anyone’s jaw with a kick?) are completely out of question.

Should I go to a shrink to overcome this phobia? Maybe, but as far as I’m concerned I’m not willing to invest the few dough I have in being gentle to disgusting feet of unknown people. I feel lucky for having a phobia which doesn’t affect much to my daily living, but being this a stupid example, try to think of something more serious. Frightening, huh?

Do it right, baby! Well, at least the best you can.

Oh, God! It’s been ages since I wrote my last post, Germany won the World Cup, and that event seems to have been ages away. I had opened a draft document and written some stuff few days ago but I was so busy and last week was such a shitty one I think I deleted it at some point or just lost it. Meh! What a shit!

Guess I have to take control of this and some other writing homework for the magazine I still got pending to finish and start focusing, but summer is the killer season for a writer, blogger or any asshole who loves spending time in front of the computer, for this unbearable heat becomes even more terrible in front of a boiling screen. Believe or not, my inspiration and motivation go on holidays in summer, and it takes me ages to concentrate and think of anything interesting enough as to waste my time melting. But I’ll do it. I have to, and the best way to do it is to recover one of the funniest episodes occurred lately in my life.

3 hours later…

I had in mind telling you about the day I had to dj with just one CD player for a musical vermouth session at Es Xibiu. Finally I broke my curse and was invited to play some music  10 days ago. the offer couldn’t be placed in a better moment as there were some friends from Zaragoza and Madrid spending the weekend in Barcelona, and we had a reservation for dinner at O’Barquiño, a restaurant feauring some live performances of copla by some (unknown) old glories, freaks and transvestites. Really worth attending if you want to know something of deep Spain in a very underground way. Thus, with the vermouth Saturday was fully booked, with friends.

es xibiu july

Problem was when one of the CD players decided not to work, and cancelation was not an option. I had to deal with playing music with a single player the best I could manage, so I did, without the comfort and security of pre-listening songs and trying to the music gaps of changing Cds were the shortest possible. Imagine I chose mostly 1 or 2 tracks of the CDs without the titles included, sometimes with good luck and sometimes creating awkward changes. Once I overcame the tension of not knowing how to handle, I started getting relaxed and ended enjoying lots of the good companion of all those friends who stopped by. At the end of the day you gotta take things as they come and try to make your best, no matter the adversities.

What can I say? It wasn’t my best session, of course, but we had fun, which at the end of  the day it’s what matters and the main reason for doing this kind of stuff. But I hate that Spotify is constantly removing songs as they please, so this playlist will miss Danny & The Champions of the World, ‘Over The Edge’ of Fu Manchu or ‘No Way Out of D Generation’, among others. My apologies.

Hope my friend Leon reads this. He was a good backup playing music. Thanks a lot!

My World Cup 2014.

world cup

Did you ever think I’d write a post about soccer and a World cup? Well, me neither. I can’t remember everything I’ve been writing here for these 4 years, but there are chances to find some old hate post talking about the shitty soccer business in Spain and how the game has turned into money interests. If such is the case on court I will apply temporary mental disorder or something like that. Ha!

This time I don’t feel like cursing or blaming all my problems on the World Cup but the opposite. More or less I’ve been following the tournament from the beginning and I’ve enjoyed some moments and games a lot.

I think there was a key fact that allowed me to get into Brazil 2014: the awful performance of the Spanish team and their elimination on group stage. The fuckin’ Red only won their match against Australia when there was no option to pass, after the shameful exhibition in the previous games.  It also happened with Italy (I was supporting hot Pirlo from the beginning), and England, but the arrogance of Spain was vanished in a nick of time, and honestly it was a relief.

andrea pirlo

The Spanish league of soccer is one of the most distinguished and praised worldwide, but I don’t really think it’s because of the national players, but for the insane and outrageous money business involved at the time of signing , especially in the case of  two clubs mainly: Real Madrid and F.C Barcelona. Thus both teams have a great percentage of the world best players. In my opinion there should be some rules and limits to this signings, as NBA applies, thus clubs would be more balanced. But of course, this is just my point of view.

Anyway, traditionally Spain didn’t pass from second stage to quarters, in fact there were some megastores offering free tv equipment if the team was reaching quarters or semifinals (of course with some small letter  accompanied). The team has lived a period of glory, always keeping the same formula and varying the players quite few. But eventually repetition starts failing, players get older, and the strength, the tactics and the attitude become obsolete, therefore the strategy turns into shit. Fuck off! It’s time for a new era, and both the team and the supporters reset their attitude towards struggle and competitiveness and humbleness.

This been said, in the era of social networks and communications, the opportunity of enjoying such a popular event through forums and Twitter is a blast. You can comment the game in streaming, faults, penalties, highlights, spread as fast as gunpowder, and memes and GIFs are terrific. You support teams for many reasons, some related to proper soccer, and most for empathy or weird feelings. And something very funny is the way your support to a team changes as the final gets closer. One day you hate Deutschland and a couple of weeks later they make your day humiliating Brazil. That was AWESOME!

ger bra

There’ve been some unexpected surprises too. I loved the evolution of the US team, and I’m pretty sure soccer will be another category Americans will be good at with time, as it’s started to be taken serious and not just as a sport for girls at highschool.

The role of the goalkeepers has been decisive as many matches have ended with penalties: Courtois from Belgium, Tim Howard from USA, Argentina Romero, Julio Cesar for Brazil or the German Machine Neuer , are some of the most successful names. Two more days for the final match. Argentina VS Germany. My support goes to the European team. I hate Messi and his fans, and on the other hand I love Muller and Klose’s style, and Mertersaker and Schweinsteiger have the coolest names ever.

So from now till Sunday night:

SCHLAND, SCHLAND, SCHLAND!!!

**Janos! Good luck!

** Reckon I finally understand Offside and I’m very happy :-)

20 years of WELCOME TO SKY VALLEY

sky valley

Last Saturday I was reminded of the 20th anniversary of Welcome to Sky Valley, the third album of the Palm Desert band Kyuss, and this time it’s made me give it a lot of thought, and listen to it again. I’m not one of those who worships this band as if there isn’t anything better in the world and I’m not looking forward to witnessing a reunion between John Garcia and Josh Homme because I don’t regard it necessary. I don’t criticize Homme for forming QOTSA working hard to rise to stardom, but I do get upset with Garcia for not managing to keep a single project steady for long time. There was a time and a place for Kyuss, and for that reason this band probably achieved the status of underground legend, and if its members decided to split ways, I’m sure there was a good reason for that, so there’s no point in insisting on a reunion. Believe me, I learnt the lesson with GN’R some time ago.

I love Kyuss records though I hate the diehard fans of the band, no offence. In my PERSONAL opinion, they are often too narrow minded musically speaking.

I’d say Welcome to Sky Valley is not my favorite album of the band, however every time I recover it and listen to ‘Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop’, ‘Whitewater’ and ‘Demon Cleaner’  I must surrender and admit it’s a masterpiece. Thinking of the first time I approached it and Blues for the Red Sun in cassette, I reckon the experience was totally mindblowing. Kyuss opened the gates to another musical dimension for me, and I learnt to listen to music in a different way, tasting and enjoying the different instruments, both separately and together, feeling the different vibes and atmospheres created thanks to the changes in rhythm, the guitar effects, and the distortions, and I also discovered my favorite instrument was drums. Kyuss could make me travel in my mind (no acid involved), and I think it didn’t happen again until I discovered Monster Magnet’s Dopes to Infinity.

Moreover, it was the first band that I reckon I felt passionate for which wasn’t mainstream, highlighting the fact that in that day even Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam were popular on a global scale, broadcast on MTV and any radio station. In the past it was more difficult to get acquainted with cult bands, due to the complexity of spreading the word, and getting to discover overseas bands in first place, mainly caused by a period of isolation our country was forced to go through for too many years. Also the fact that not many people around shared the same interest in music as me made things a bit worse. Whatever, the point I really intend to make here is that Kyuss was an unknown band for the majority of people here. I was introduced to the band through my friend Pablo, and he heard of, or better said, read about the band on a magazine, so we didn’t know the actual impact and popularity of the band in the States and abroad. As far as we were concerned they were some sort of gurus, with all the Palm Desert scene, playing in the middle of nowhere, just surrounded by cacti, and enlightened by the creative and magical power of weed…or something like that.

I think the cult towards this band had to do with this mysterious halo they were involved, at least we perceived it as such, and the evocative music combined with wonderful hard guitar riffs.

scott reeder

I was talking about Welcome to Sky Valley, huh? Getting back to it, there’s one more thing. I’d like to give the credit to one of the most remarkable bass players in rock/metal scene, Scott Reeder, who joined Kyuss at this point, but I think he earned by far enough credit to be recognized  as THE bass player in the band. His style, his rough way to play, and his attitude just made it. We always focus on the roles of John Garcia and Josh Homme, comparing them to another rock couples such as Plant and Page, Slash and Axl, or Tyler and Perry, as they’re more remarkable and easy to identify and analyze, and after all, their current bad relationship with suing involved makes us all wonder what happened between them, forgetting the rest of the members in the band and their contributions. I couldn’t affirm which is the main Kyuss drummer though, Bjork or Hernandez, no matter their influence on other musicians after their contribution to the band, however, regardless the fact that Nick Oliveri was there first on the 4 strings, Reeder won his place in rock history.