Tag Archive: life


Music to buy; rock

Well I know what you’re probably thinking- you’re thinking ‘Dan Jones, I’m loaded with cash, I love music, and I want you to tell you to tell me what to buy!’

No? Ok, I still have some suggestions for you.

I love music. I struggle to think of any genre of music that I dont like. Even music I dont regularly listen to, I have an appreciation for everything. Today’s topic is a broad one; Rock music.

In short, Rock has been around since the 1940s. It stems from old time blues music made by artists like Blind Lemon Jefferson, W.C. Handy, and Robert Johnson. Johnson was arguably the originator of Rock and Roll, writing classics that are still sung today by huge artists like Clapton and John Mayer. It has worn many faces, and changed many times, but it still keeps pieces of origins.

#1 Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton has been playing the rock and blues for longer than most of my readers were alive. Starting off in a band called The Yardbirds, he grew to fame almost immediately after joining the band. He has been in Cream, Derek and the Dominos, and in a very effective solo career.

I very rarely suggest buying “Best of” albums, in short I think that its not the way most music is intended, but in Clapton’s case there is little choice. Unless youre into collecting vinyls, you will find it very hard to come across his albums.

#2 Jeff Beck
Jeff Beck was in the Yardbirds as well. He has grown into a blues/rock/jazz musician, and loves to prove that there is nothing he cant do. With his guitar in his hands, he becomes a jack of all trades and merges with whatever artist he is around.

You can pick up Emotion and Commotion and learn what hes all about. He also plays some killer tracks with artists like Joss Stone, and really brings out an old time Rock and Roll that . He also does a killer song with Imogen Heap in his Live at Ronnie Scott’s. You can watch it here; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuXcGHjBeac

#3 Foo Fighters
The Foo Fighters started off as more of a grunge rock band, not reaching too far from Grohl’s roots in Nirvana, but they have grown over the years, and have perfected their own unique version of rock. They still hold to that old grunge feel, but they have refined their tastes at the same time. You can check out their latest album Wasting Light and see what they are all about. Two albums from them? The Color and the Shape is my favorite, and I know I have already plugged that album several times before.

#4 Ryan Adams
Ryan Adams is first and foremost an Alternative Country artist, but his album Rock and Roll is a brilliant display of how much he knows about rock music. With songs like “This is it”, and “1974” he blows the album up with a genuine classic rock feel. Its only disappointment is towards the end of the album when he sings “Everybodys cool playing rock and roll, but I dont feel cool, feel cool at all”, so I suppose that he quit the rock and roll scene and returned to the Alt Country scene, because he never put out a sequel.

#5 People in Planes
The next band is what I think would technically be considered Alternative Rock, but its roots are so steeped in classic rock that I think its unfair to put them in the same category as Alt Rock bands like Hinder and Disturbed. People in Planes is a great band that has really brought back a classic rock feel that I havent heard from a contemporary band in a long time. Its a tough call to say which of their two albums to buy, but I think that I slightly prefer “As Far as the Eye Can See” to “Beyond the Horizon”.

Just you wait, I have every genre keyed up for you. Polka is gonna be a tough one.

Advertisements

The Best of 2010

So as this year ends, we bring in a new one. Thats the way it works. I’ve never quite understood the cliche of  “ushering in the new year” cause it comes on in, like it or not.

Nevertheless, I thought it would be good to look back and reflect on some of the best times in 2010. Not all of these things happened this year, but this is the year that I found them.

This year had some big moments for me; first year anniversary with my wife, I got my first dog, I turned a quarter of a century in age, got my first blog, I got a twitter, I graduated college, I lost friends due to differences, and solidified other friendships at the same time.

Ive seen some great movies, but this list wont include just movies that came out in 2010, but movies I saw this year

Best Movies

1. Inception

2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

3. Iron Man 2

4. Hes Just Not That Into You (yeah, I saw it)

 

Music defines so much of who I am. I love or at least appreciate just about any kind of that I hear from any time. Its hard picking out just five for this list, but I feel pretty good about a list of music I have found this year.

Best new found artsits

1. Mumford and Sons

2. Barcelona

3. Ryan Adams and the Cardinals

4. The Black Keys

5. The Dead Weather

In Relation with music, I love live music I have been to some of the best live shows of my life this year, and I cant wat for more this new year.

1. Mutemath

2. Athlete

3. John Butler Trio

4. OK GO

 

I love books, but with school and such, I have had a slow year when it comes to reading.

1.The Complete Verse of Rudyard Kipling

2. Anthem by Ayn Rand

3. Lullaby by Chuck Palahinuk

4. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Steig Larsson

 

So I have a whole lot to be proud of this year, and I hope to have a whole lot more in the next year. I’m not big on New Years Resolutions, especially since I heard the statistic that most everyone has given up on them by the end of February. If I want to improve my life, I don’t wait till January 1st,  I start immediately. Pretty much all of these have been goals of mine ever since I graduated, so I figured that I can call them new years goals as well… So that being said, here are my goals for the year

1. Be more conscious of what I am eating and putting into my body.

2. Continue to run outside and stay in shape.

3. Become more fluent in Spanish.

4. Continue educating myself past what I already know.

5. Blog at least once a week, but try to hit as many Monday and Wednesday posts as possible.

6. Finish the rough draft of my first book and begin looking at getting it published.

what you arent reading

Ok so this post is for all of those who are reading my blog and are really thinking “Is there anything out there as amazing as this blog that I can read on the other 5 days of the week?” Sadly, the answer is no. BUT if you’re looking for something close to as awesome to read as this blog, then this post is for you!

 

http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/

This is a pretty funny blog about fads and trends that people like. I don’t get why it singles out white people, but its fun to look at our culture and laugh.

http://stuffchristianslike.net/

Even though this blog could be considered a spinoff, I think its fun Christian satire. This guy covers a lot of funny topics like “Asking people to scoot to the middle of the pew”, “awkward prayer requests”, “thinking that the rapture happened every time you are alone”, and “women with really big hats”.

http://foodgawker.com/

This is a great site that links to other food blogs. It pretty much covers everything you would ever want to cook. It goes from native dishes from different countries, to awesome desserts that make you fatter just by looking at the pictures.

http://bodyhobby.wordpress.com/

Ok, so I had to follow this after reading food gawker, to balance it out. This is a Canadian guy who writes on healthy eating. He doesn’t seem to be one of these people who want you to join the cupcake diet, or jump on a fad, he just talks about living healthy.

http://drjoshaxe.com/

Dr. Josh is a doctor that lives here and lives more of an extreme life in terms of diets. He came up with a way of eating foods that helps you balance your body’s PH level. Its really amazing, and he shares testimonies from people who have overcome cancer and diseases with his transform your health eating plan.

http://lifehacker.com/

This is a nerdy blog, I admit. It covers anything to do with computers or electronics. You can use it to break into another computer, find apps for your ipod/phone/pad. Its pretty cool to read if you want to decrease your social skills, and learn how to make anything work for you.

http://caintechnews.wordpress.com/

This is another nerdy site for people who want to know the most random things that their computers can do, or that the internet can do for you. Anyways, if you’re looking to read about viruses, Windows 7, find helpful sites, or get free vector art, then read this often.

And heres a few other helpful sites

http://www.truecar.com/

This is an average of how much cars are bought and sold for, so you know that you got a good price.

http://www.cse.unsw.edu.au/~geoffo/humour/flattery.html

This is for those who are feeling down….

My life in a pie graph.

 

Ok, thats enough links for one day, see you Wednesday!

Pet Peeves #4

This is a multiple part pet peeve. Since they fall under the same general subject, I think that its a good idea to make some pet peeve parallels.

So we all have become a culture dependent on our cell phones, right? Just ten years ago, when I liked a girl, I had to call her house phone and hope that her dad didn’t answer! Now they just text all day without even having to hear each other’s voices. I’m not saying that having your phone on you all the time is a bad thing, necessarily. Its great for emergencies, and for people who travel for their profession; I mean its a pretty fantastic invention when you really think about it.

But we become addicted to things. Its what we do. If we like coffee, we drink it till we have the jitters, if we enjoy a meal, we eat until we can’t move. Its not like we are alcoholics, but we just get dependent on anything from asprin to pepsi to the internet.

So I have some caricatures of cell phone addicts for you that really get under my skin.

This first one is for anyone who has had to work at a register. A man walks in on his phone, going on and on. You watch him as he talks and talks, thinking “I sure hope whoever is listening is getting paid to listen to this man”. He approaches the register.

“Yeah, and so I told him I can’t sell it for anything less than fifty thousand! I’lltakeanumberonenopickleswithcheeseandadietcoke – I know, I mean I have a business to run, and we need synergy if we want to….”

Did he just order? I could have sworn that he said something about pickles… “I’m sorry, what was that?”

“Thats why I hired Terry Tate, he has been a huge boost to productivity- numberonenopickelswithcheeseandadietcoke Yeah, he has really brought us closer to the tipping point!”

It is now clear that you don’t deserve his attention for even a fraction of a second. Hes sending you the message I am more important than you. These people sincerely believe that they are so busy, that they cannot set their phone down for about 30 seconds just to give you the dignity and order. I have seen a sign hanging in a few independent cafes and shops that simply says “we will gladly help you with your order when you are done with your cell phone conversation”. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, its about like saying “we will gladly give you desert after you eat all of your vegetables”, but some people really just have no manners at all.

Then theres the guy who talks so loud, you wonder if the person listening is hard of hearing or working on the runway at the airport. You will find this guy is very important; he goes on and on about everything he can do for his friend, and how he is going to help. Do you care? No, but he will sit in the chair next to you and talk so that you can hear how benevolent he is with his advice. Is there anyone on the other line? Probably not, but you would be smart to leave before he puts his phone down and starts trying to help you!

Next is the guy girl (lets make it a girl this time) who is in your circle of friends. She wants to be entertained. She can’t wait to see you and hang out with you! You make plans to hang out a week ahead of time, and she knows just how to show you how much she missed you; minimal eye contact, and texting on her phone. It doesn’t matter if there is a movie going on, a birthday party, if its the 4th of July, or if its her own dad being pulled out of a Chilean mine, she is texting on her phone.

Sure she thinks shes being social, but later she will wonder why no one calls her to hang out anymore. Its cause shes sending out the message whoever I am texting is more important than you are. Now granted, maybe she has Katy Perry’s number, and they are secret friends- or Shaq is asking her out on a date. Maybe its Steven Spielberg, who wants her to star in his next film, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

Heres the honest truth: we are too dependent on our phones these days. If someone doesn’t return your calls, you don’t think that their battery died, you assume they are in an awful, fiery car wreck on the interstate! I think that the cure isn’t to end your contract with AT&T and toss your iPhone in the trash, but to realize the message you’re sending when you are on your phone, cause I have news for you; if you don’t know anyone that fits one of my caricatures, it might just be you!

5 Albums that changed my life

I know that There has been a trend going on since the earlier days of myspace.com of writing your top favorite albums, favorite songs, or random songs on your iPod, so I know I’m not exactly groundbreaking with today’s post.

But music has the ability to cross certain paths that conversation simply cannot traverse. Once defined for me as “organized sound”, music is found everywhere; its in every store or restaurant you enter, its playing in every car you pass, and its being played every night in the deepest parts of the rainforests by the most primitive people. Its quite inescapable.

I don’t think that we could ever accurately depict what music does to us. Its almost magic how we can be moved by a homely old Scottish woman singing in a language we don’t understand. Or how we can watch one person moved by a song that just feels silly or corny to us.

Anyways these are the first five albums that came to mind when I thought up the topic. Ask me next week and I might give you five different ones.

First up is an album by David Crowder, “A Collision”.

“Everybody wants to go to Heaven….. But nobody wants to die.”

This album is beautiful. When I listen to it, I hear a man who really believes. Its not someone who writes for a living, its someone who writes to live. Its set up like an old sermon you might hear on the side of a crowded street; first you are invited to come and listen, he tells of his own flaws, he talks about losing his best friend, and how he came back from his despair in the 7th track “A Collision”. This song was written not long after he lost his friend, and it one of the most powerful songs I have ever heard. It goes on for over 20 tracks detailing his message eloquently to anyone who would hear.

Then at the end is this strange interview in which he torments a poor radio host by trying to talk about his album in a jumbled, enigmatic way ( I have a feeling that this is what happens when he tries to express himself in speech, which explains why he writes music and not speeches). I always thought of this as an opportunity to talk with  him after its all over.

The next album is especially influential because of how I came across it. When I was in middle school, I would tape songs on the radio, so I could listen to them whenever I wanted. There was this one song, though that always eluded me. I would turn my radio on, and it would already be playing, and the DJ wouldn’t say the song name or the band when it was over. I had about the last minute of it for the longest time, and I would listen to it over and over.

Fast forward to my senior year of high school, when my buddy John starts playing it on the guitar. I immediately got chills down my back, I hadn’t heard that song in so long, and yet as soon as it started I recognized it. I found out that it was “Everlong” by the Foo Fighters, and I bought the album “The Colour and the Shape” as soon as I could.

This album really shows Dave Grohl’s ability to write.

“what have we done with innocence
it disappeared with time
it never made much sense”

“real life is so hard
we hide in the stars
that’s where our heads are
my head and your heart”

“come and I’ll take you under
this beautiful bruise’s colors
everything fades in time it’s true
wish that I had another
stab at the undercover
was it a change in mind for you”

The band does an amazing job at timing lyrics with music, and placing crescendos at the most vital parts of the songs. They are still one of my favorite bands ever.

Heres my favorite off this album “Everlong” on youtube;

Just a heads up, its a really strange video. I heard in an interview once that its based off of dreams he used to have.

I have to thank my old roommate Jon for introducing me to Stars. They are a Canadian band on Arts and Crafts Records, and I don’t even know how I would categorize their music. Want me to try anyways? ok, here goes. Going by this album alone, I would describe it as semi-electronic, jazz influenced, modern somewhat progressive indie rock. There, theres my categorization; take it or leave it.

Its the perfect music for almost anytime in your life.”Ageless Beauty” is a feel good song about being in love, “One More Night (your something something something) is about a hard breakup and letting go,  “Your Ex-Lover is Dead”  is about running into an ex, as they are getting over each other, and then “Celebration Guns” and “Soft Revolution” seem to have a political overtones (not sure I agree with them). Its not just an album about love, it really seems to hit you wherever you are in life.

Ok, I had no idea that this blog would be as long as it is. I’m going to take a break, post it, and write more later.

Up next: My other two albums, and honorable mentions!