Category Archives: Music

BLOT – my way

This is a post from one of my favorite blogs to follow.

BJØRN ANDREAS BULL-HANSEN

During the recent few years, everything Viking has become more popular than ever. And while I think this is great, some of us are still struggling to get used to what best can be described as that feeling you would get if you’ve anchored in that secred, secluded bay you thought only you knew about, when suddenly a bunch of cabin cruisers full of loud people arrive. Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that we are now seeing what I like to call a Second Viking Age. It’s just that sometimes I wish people could consider the fact that some of us have been living the Norse way of life for decades, long before it became fashionable. That said, 99% of you are perfectly understanding and respectful. But there is always that 1% who has a need to “educate” other people and to discredit their efforts. I…

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Our National Anthem

Again? How come folks keep confusing other patriotic songs with our national anthem?

After waking up in the middle of the night I checked Facebook and found an odd trending topic that annoyed me enough to get downstairs and onto my computer to compose this post.

Once again people are up in arms over our “national anthem” being disgraced and disrespected. However, what they’re mad about and what’s actually happening are not the same thing. The sad part is, we went through a very similar situation 2 1/2 years ago and people still can’t seem to remember what song our national anthem is.

During Super Bowl 2014 a whole bunch of people showed the world how idiotic they were by getting bent out of shape about Coke using the song, “America the Beautiful” sung with an assortment of languages. Personally, I found it to be a lovely testament to our “melting pot” nation by highlighting the cultural diversity of our population. However, people were angry about it. Much of the absurd outrage centered around two thoughts: if you’re in America you should speak English and that the “national anthem” was being disrespected and desecrated. Um… wait a minute. Isn’t the national anthem a totally different song?


2 years later, Gersh Kuntzman of the NY Daily News, has made a suggestion that Major League Baseball stop asking fans to rise and remove their hats, for “God Bless America” during the 7th inning stretch.

Again, people are outraged. How dare Kuntzman suggest MLB drop the national anthem from baseball games!

Eh, what?

I feel people have every right to be outraged and complain about the massive amount of disrespect toward our national anthem, because it’s obvious many folks don’t even know what song our national anthem is and THAT is the real disgrace.

Not so subtle hint: it’s “The Star Spangled Banner”.

Perhaps understanding HOW “The Star Spangled Banner” came to be will help understand why it is our national anthem? Maybe?


And now for your listening pleasure, our national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner, sung by the Kentucky All State Choir.

“Every night of the All State Choir conference at about 11pm, everyone comes out to the balconies of the 18 story Hyatt hotel to sing the National Anthem.”

 

Musical Information

My husband recently expressed how much he enjoys my blog posts. I had greatly scaled back for a variety of reasons, most of them stemming from life being incredibly busy. But I thought about it and I know he’s right, I need to get back on this. I’ve been supplementing in a variety of ways, but none are quite to the degree of a full blog post.

Today I’m going to post something that was started by a Facebook post. I shared the photo above and following some of my friends used both my first and last name. Now that I’m married my last name is rather long, but that was part of the fun. I insisted on only using names of groups rather than solo acts and tried to pull from a variety of genres.

Yes
Vai
Ozomatli
Nekromantix
Neuroticfish
Earth Wind & Fire

Covenant
Oingo Boingo
New York Dolls
W.A.S.P.
And One
Yaz(oo)

Within Temptation
Iron Maiden
Louis Armstrong and the Hot Fives
Lacrimosa
Irish Rovers
Arctic Monkeys
Madness
S.P.O.C.K.

One of my friends, a young man, expressed he only recognized the following groups in my list: Yes, Earth Wind and Fire, Yaz, and Madness. After a bit of prodding he admitted he’d heard of Louis Armstrong, but not with the Hot Fives, and had also heard of both Oingo Boingo and Iron Maiden, but could not name a single song by either of them.

I was a little surprised. I felt a bit obligated to help educate my friend on what he’s been missing out on. Omitting the bands he knew, I posted a bit of facts about each band, added a few personal anecdotes, and included a video. I’m going to repost that thread here in the hopes it helps broaden another person’s musical interests.

Starting from the top:
VAI- (1992-19994) Vocals: Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad, Frontline Assembly), Guitar: Steve Vai (Frank Zappa, David Lee Roth, Alcatrazz, Whitesnake), Bass: TM Stevens (James Brown, Pretenders, Billy Joel, Cindy Lauper, Tina Turner), and Drums: Terry Bozzio (Frank Zappa, Missing Persons, Jeff Beck, The Knack).

Steve’s one of my absolute favorite guitar gods and I can recognize anything he plays within the first couple of notes. I never had the chance to interview him, but we’ve run into one another a few times back then, and Devin even climbed over me at the Foundations Forum (a heavy metal music industry convention) while I was in the media section. Steve made sure I was ok because Devin stepped on my shoulder. He’s a bit of a spaz.

Here they are performing on the Tonight Show.

Ozomatli is a seven piece band playing primarily Latin, hip hop, and rock music, formed in 1995 in Los Angeles. They are known both for their vocal activist viewpoints and their wide array of musical styles – including salsa, jazz, funk, reggae, rap, and others.

I first saw them perform at the Galaxy Theater in 1998 when I had just started as the Editor in Chief with a new music magazine called “Authentic”. Our publisher was buddies with the band. They were amazing! They snaked down from the back of the theater to the stage like a marching band where to collected on the dance floor surrounded by their fans. Everyone was dancing and having a fantastic time!

This is the song they came down the audience playing when I first saw them.

The Nekromantix are a Danish-American psychobilly band formed in 1989 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Their music is generally structured around monster and horror themes. A central icon of the band’s image is founder and frontman Kim Nekroman’s “coffinbass”, a custom-built double bass with a body in the shape of a coffin and a headstock the shape of a cross. Nekroman has been the sole constant member of the band, the rest of the current lineup consisting of guitarist Franc and drummer Lux.

For about 2 years I was a goth radio dj and we would occasionally play their music on our show.

Neuroticfish is a German musical group who’s style can be categorized under electronic body music (EBM), futurepop, and synthpop.

They were another group we’d play on our radio show. This was one of my fave songs to play by them.

Covenant is an electronic band formed in 1986 in Helsingborg, Sweden. Their music comprises a mixture between synthpop and electronic body music (EBM).

They are another band I’d play on our radio show and this is one of my fave songs by them.

Oingo Boingo was an American rock band. They are best known for their influence on other musicians, their soundtrack contributions, and their high energy Halloween concerts. The band was founded in 1972 as The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo, a performance art group. From 1976 it was led by songwriter/vocalist Danny Elfman, who has since achieved success as a composer for film and television.

The group’s format changed twice. In 1979, it reshaped from a semi-theatrical music and comedy troupe into a ska-influenced new wave octet and shortened their name to Oingo Boingo. Towards the end of the 1980s, the band began shifting to a more guitar-oriented rock sound, and away from the use of horns and synthesizers. The band retired after a sold-out farewell concert on Halloween 1995.

To me it seems impossible to have grown up in SoCal and never heard of Oingo Boingo, one of LA’s biggest influential bands. It’s nearly impossible to have never heard “Deadman’s Party” somewhere… so much so, I’m sick to death of hearing it.

Here’s one of my fave Oingo Boingo songs. Oh, the 80s!

The New York Dolls are an American hard rock band formed in New York City in 1971. Along with the Velvet Underground and the Stooges, they were one of the first bands in the early punk rock scene. The line-up at this time comprised vocalist David Johansen, guitarist Johnny Thunders, bassist Arthur Kane, guitarist and pianist Sylvain Sylvain, and drummer Jerry Nolan; the latter two had replaced Rick Rivets and Billy Murcia, respectively, in 1972. According to the Encyclopedia of Popular Music (1995), the New York Dolls predated the punk and glam metal movements, and were “one of the most influential rock bands of the last 20 years”.

W.A.S.P. is an American heavy metal band formed in 1982. They emerged from the same Los Angeles scene that spawned Van Halen, Mötley Crüe, Dokken, Ratt, Quiet Riot, Guns N’ Roses and others. The band’s popularity peaked in the 1980s, yet they continue to record and tour, making them one of the most enduring of the West Coast heavy metal bands. W.A.S.P. gained notoriety for their shock rock themed image, lyrics and live performances.

In high school they were one of my fave bands. I had HUGE posters of Blackie Lawless all over my room. I went to several of their concerts and know all the lyrics to their albums from the 80s. I was a definite fan.

This song was almost like a battle cry for kids in the metal scene in 80s.

And One is a German new wave, synthpop and electronic body music (EBM) band founded by Steve Naghavi and Chris Ruiz in 1989.

Yet another band we’d play on our radio show.

Within Temptation is a Dutch symphonic metal/rock band founded in 1996 by vocalist Sharon den Adel and guitarist Robert Westerholt.

Though they consider themselves more symphonic metal and not goth, we still played them on our radio show.

Iron Maiden are an English heavy metal band formed in Leyton, east London, in 1975 by bassist and primary songwriter Steve Harris. The band’s discography has grown to thirty-seven albums, including fifteen studio albums, eleven live albums, four EPs, and seven compilations.

Seriously, they’re one of the most prolific metal bands ever. Get out a little, stretch your musical legs a bit.

They have a lot of awesome songs, but this is one of my faves and the first to come to mind.

I know you said you knew who Louis Armstrong was, but then I thought it’s likely you’d never heard his work with the Hot Fives or Hot Sevens. So here’s one of my fave songs with the Hot Fives. It always makes me smile and want to dance.

Lacrimosa is a gothic duo led by German Tilo Wolff, the main composer, and Finn Anne Nurmi. They are currently based in Switzerland, but originally from Germany. Originally counted among the bands of the Neue Deutsche Todeskunst genre, Lacrimosa have developed their style more towards powerful metal, but Gothic elements still remain.

I must credit Däch with my even knowing about these guys. They’re one of his favorite bands.

He and I were co-hosts of the radio show. I was only on for about 2 years, but he ran the show for 11 years, maybe more. He can clarify that. We would play them regularly on the show.
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The Irish Rovers are from Ireland, but half now live in Canada. Founding member George Millar and his cousin Ian are both from Ballymena, long-time group member Wilcil McDowell is from Larne, Sean O’Driscoll from Cork, Gerry O’Connor from Dundalk, with Morris Crum from Carnlough and percussionist Fred Graham both from Belfast rounding out the lineup

The group formed in 1963, are named after the traditional song “The Irish Rover”, and best known for their international television series, contributing to the popularization of Irish Music in North America.

Arctic Monkeys are an English indie rock band formed in 2002 in High Green, a suburb of Sheffield. The band consists of Alex Turner (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Jamie Cook (lead guitar, backing vocals in the early days), Nick O’Malley (bass, backing vocals), and Matt Helders (drums, backing vocals). Former band member Andy Nicholson (bass guitar, backing vocals) left the band in 2006 shortly after its debut album was released.

They have released five studio albums: Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2006), Favourite Worst Nightmare (2007), Humbug (2009), Suck It and See (2011) and AM (2013), as well as one live album, At the Apollo (2008).

Their debut album is the fastest-selling debut album in British music history by a band, surpassing Elastica’s self-titled album.The band have won seven Brit Awards—winning both Best British Group and Best British Album three times, and were twice nominated for Grammy Awards. They also won the Mercury Prize in 2006 for their debut album, in addition to receiving nominations in 2007 and 2013. The band have headlined at the Glastonbury Festival twice, in 2007 and again in 2013.

Arctic Monkeys were heralded as one of the first bands to come to public attention via the Internet (through fan-based sites rather than from the band), with commentators suggesting they represented the possibility of a change in the way in which new bands are promoted and marketed.

I’m unable to get this song out of my skull… and I have no desire to make it go away. It’s haunting and I love it.

S.P.O.C.K (aka Star Pilot On Channel K) is a Swedish synthpop-band which formed around 1988.

In 1988, Eddie Bengtsson wrote a handful of songs to be performed at Finn Albertsson’s birthday party, with Alexander Hofman performing vocals; the three young men dubbed the band Mr. Spock (after the name for the character Spock of Star Trek). After the performance at the party, the band continued for several months to play at other house parties, but soon managed to secure some event bookings. In 1989, the band members contacted Paramount Pictures for permission to use the name “Mr. Spock”. When Paramount demanded a heavy compensation for the privilege, the band renamed themselves using the initials S.P.O.C.K, which are an acronym for Star Pilot On Channel K.

This is perhaps my most fave song by them because it always makes me giggle. All of the “He’s a doctor, not a…” are real lines from Star Trek. Add to it the silliness that a band named after Mr. Spock wrote a whole song about Dr. McCoy given how much McCoy found Spock annoying. It just makes me giggle.

15 Years on the Erie Canal

Sometimes I get the oddest song randomly get stuck in my head. Often the only way for me to remove such an earworm is to play the song, maybe even a couple of times, and then my brain releases it. However, if I have a very specific song stuck in my head I usually want to hear that exact rendition of it to get it out. Sometimes that isn’t always possible and in such cases I’m left feeling sad and disappointed, and the earworm is still in my brain torturing me.

Today is just such a situation. I can’t locate the song, easily, anywhere.  The unfortunate fact is this song is already old and not commonly found. Worse yet, the version in my head is from a children’s album I had as a wee one. Fortunately, I still have the album. Unfortunately, we do not currently have a turntable hooked up. I used to play that album continuously as a child and it included some peculiar songs, such as this one.

When I first looked up the song I was terribly disappointed at what I found on YouTube. Then I found this version, and while not really the version I wanted, still a decent version and thus I share it with you.

This song was originally written in 1905 by Thomas S. Allen. It’s written about an era when barges were pulled by mules. As a child I don’t think I fully understood that. I mean to me, back then, a barge was a large vessel and one mule pulling it wouldn’t have made sense. Remember, I was only about 5 years old at the time.

So as these barges were being pulled down the Erie canal they would come across these low bridges. Again, I didn’t understand why the bridges were so low, only that people needed to get down for fear of getting brained by a bridge. I guess sometimes there would be passengers on the barges and they would stand up top, but if they came to a low bridge everyone would have to duck or lie down to safely travel under them, as would the person on the mule. My thought… get off the damn mule! I mean, it’s already got a heavy enough load with a barge full of product and people, it certainly didn’t need the added burden of one more person, use your own legs for gosh sakes!

Anyway, here’s the song, or at least a good rendition of it…

Zombie Jamboree

I have extremely eclectic tastes in general, but with regards to music there’s hardly a genre I dislike. In fact, there’s only one that I detest; “slow jams” or romantic rap. I would much prefer to listen to Muzak versions of disco, opera, or even mariachi over that.

Music is an integral part of my day to day. I’m the type of person that generally needs music, or the TV playing in the background, to distract part of my brain so that I can focus on the work in front of me. Otherwise, the experience is agonizing for me. Also, depending on the type of music, I can actually become more efficient and work faster with little to no mistakes.

As is my general custom, I put on one of my playlists as I settled in to focus on some work. Today’s selection was off one of my “Randomness” playlist; I have several labeled as such, each on a different media resource. I chose to start in the middle to add an element of, well… randomness. The song, “Zombie Jamboree” popped up, the Rockapella version, but the Kingston Trio version was next in queue. Just then Chris, my fiancé, who was busy on his laptop on the table behind me stopped what he was doing and laughed when he realized what they were singing.

 “Back to back, ghoul, belly to belly
Well, I don’t give a damn ’cause I’m stone dead already
Back to back, oh oh oh, belly to belly
It’s a zombie jamboree

One female zombie she wouldn’t behave
See how’s she’s dancing out of the grave
In one hand she’s holding a quart of rum
The other hand is knocking a conga drum”

He looks at me, smiles, and declares I have unusual taste in music. Aye! That I do.

Chris, for the most part, is very partial to metal and consumes a steady diet of various metal: Black, Death, Thrash, Speed, Folk… yes, there is such a thing as Folk Metal. No, it’s not a bunch of Haight-Ashbury hippies headbanging; it’s more like modern day Vikings singing songs of conquest and praise for the Norse gods. It’s actually a fact that won Chris big points with me on our 3rd date.

I was searching for a particular CD and lamenting my inability to locate it. We were getting ready to head off and Chris asked what I was looking for. I explained it was my favorite Viking Folk Metal band, Týr. I assumed he had not heard of them since many of my friends were unfamiliar with them. In fact, I had to import my first Týr CD from the Faroe Islands (where the band is from) because they weren’t yet available in the US like they are now. As Chris looked at me grinning and said, “Of course I have Týr! Who do you think you’re dating?” a huge smile swept across my face. He then explained he had two of their CDs in his truck, and as I stood gazing upon him from midway up the stairs I became a bit awestruck at this piece of news.

I took it as a good omen.