Drive Time Selections
: Where I pick a random release from my collection and perform a close listenining, or as close of one as I can achieve while driving to and from work:)

Artist: Adriana Nano
Recording: Cebolla en Aceite
Release Date : 2007 S-Music S.A.
Track Listing:

  1. Gricel
  2. Teresa
  3. Te Recuerdo Amanda
  4. Por una Cabeza
  5. Viernes 3 A.M.
  6. El Corazón al Sur
  7. Candombé para Figari
  8. Nostalgias
  9. La Pomeña
  10. Cambalache
  11. Como Dos Extraños
  12. El Día Que Me Quieras
  13. Cebolla en Aceite

Carrie and I got this CD back in 2008 while we were on our honeymoon in Buenos Aires. At first listen, Argentine Folk really wasn’t my thing, but something about Senora Nano’s voice and Gustavo Suárez’s Guitar playing allows me to indulge in a fantasy evening in which Carrie and I are sitting back, relaxing in a back alley cafe in Buenos Aires, sipping on glasses of Malbec, munching on empanadas, quietly enjoying an evening of music like this.

real_ramona

For some reason, I felt myself wanting to drink a red ale while listening to this recording. I made a trip down the road to Full Throttle Bottles where Erika, the owner, steered me to the Bockor Cuvee des Jacobins Rouge Sour from The Omer Vander Ghinste Brewery in Belgium:

BockorCuveedesJacobinsRougeSour-500x500

Like many of the recordings in this series, I was first introduced to this when I was in my early twenties, not too long after I had joined the Navy. If memory serves me correctly (and sometimes it doesn’t), I bought this originally on cassette and played the magnetized bits out of it while wondering about the San Francisco Bay Area:)

Group:Throwing Muses
Release:The Real Ramona
Year:1991
Label:4AD (Uk) / Sire (US)
Track Listing:

  1. Counting Backwards
  2. Him Dancing
  3. Red Shoes
  4. Graffiti
  5. Golden Thing
  6. Ellen West
  7. Dylan
  8. Hook in her head
  9. Not too soon
  10. Honeychain
  11. Say Goodbye
  12. Two Step

From Wikipedia:

The Real Ramona is an album by Throwing Muses. Released in 1991, it was the last album recorded by the band before the departure of founding member Tanya Donelly.

The album marked the end of a time for the band, and a transition into a new one. The band’s two heavyweights, Kristin Hersh and Tanya Donelly, had been the anchor holding the entire group down. After this album, Donelly left and formed Belly, taking the bassist on this album, Fred Abong, along with her. Hence, the album can be seen as an epitaph to the early days of the band.

The Throwing Muses’ sound is hard to describe, and this record is especially difficult. Despite having the hallmarks of their unfamiliar song structures and Hersh’s voice, The Real Ramona’s sound has been considered as quite poppy. Though this album was the last to feature Donelly, it carried many of her signature sounds. While she only wrote two songs for this album (“Honeychain” and “Not Too Soon”), the Muses had a jumpier, poppier sound that Donelly kept with her when she moved to Belly.

From Allmusic:

The Real Ramona marked the perfect balance of Throwing Muses’ angular songwriting and latent pop tendencies. Where Hunkpapa tried, somewhat unsuccessfully, to mix these elements, this album succeeds with surreal pop songs like “Counting Backwards” and “Red Shoes.” They’re catchy and riveting, clearly linked to the band’s early material yet more focused and accessible. “Graffiti” and “Two-Step” are two of Kristin Hersh’s most appealing pop snippets, but dark, uncompromising tracks like “Say Goodbye,” “Ellen West,” and “Hook in Her Head” reaffirm that she can still write troubling, fascinating songs like nobody else. And just before she left the Muses to form Belly, Tanya Donelly finally arrived as a full-fledged songwriter with the giddy, gleeful “Not Too Soon” and “Honeychain,” proving that she could be a charming foil to Hersh’s more challenging style. Their final album as a quartet, The Real Ramona highlights the best points of the group’s sound, making it a great starting point for new Throwing Muses fans.

Random Thoughts:

  • Counting Backwards: Hell of a good start, and I just took a sip. Wow, this is good stuff (the beer and the CD)!
  • Red Shoes: Maybe it was this song that made me want a red ale?
  • Golden Thing: I’m reading from the description of the sour ale that I’m imbibing and finding it awesomely accurate:

    Cuvée des Jacobins Rouge is a Flemish Sour Ale, red in color with a beguiling balance of malty sweetness and acidic sharpness. It is made from spontaneously fermented and barrel-aged beer of at least 18 months in age. The beer is cooled overnight in a large, shallow metal vessel called a coolship and then fermented and aged in large oak foudres which are made in France and assembled on-site at Bockor.

  • Dylan: Haunting. Mellow. Creepy. I like it.
  • Hook in her Head: One thing that I love about this album is the fact that even the longer songs feel stripped-down to their core. Self-editing is very clearly on display here.
  • Hook  in her Head (ps): Okay, maybe this one does drone on a bit. Bummer.
  • Honeychain: Do I hear a bit of a twangy swing there in the refrain? Funny how I never noticed that before.

AV Slug:

Here is just a sampling of some of the wonderful songs on this album; aplogies for any low-quality videos or broken links in advance:

April has been a busy month! The major event for us here at Casa Gaboli has been the recent trip to DMV (about which I have said a little bit here,here, and here), and the subsequent my-having-to-catch-up-at-work. I’ve finally been able to upload  the contenders for this month and give them a good listen:

  • Duran Duran: Ordinary World
  • LTJ Bukem: Inner Space Sonata
  • Sugar: Changes
  • Smashing Pumpkins: Rhinoceros
  • Bob Mould: Trade
  • Butthole Surfers: Dracula From Houston
  • Go Home Productions: Finally, Did You No Wrong [Go Home Productions]
  • Public Enemy: Reggie Jax
  • Single Gun Theory: Fall
  • EST: Sipping On The Solid Ground
  • Great Lake Swimmers: New Wild Everywhere
  • The Cure: Close to Me
  • DJ Me DJ You: Salsa & Microchips
  • Loron: Can Angels Fly
  • Future Sound of London: Stolen Documents
  • Emmylou Harris: Hold On
  • The Orb: Little Fluffy Clouds
  • Emmylou Harris: Machengoidi
  • Fishbone: Psycholgically Overcast
  • MV & EE: Common Ground
  • Ministry: Walrus
  • Butthole Surfers: The Wooden Song
  • The Orb: DDD (dirty disco dub)
  • Nouvelle Vague: Pride
  • Lemon Jelly: Space Walk
  • Charlie 2na: Comin’ Through
  • Ministry: Whip and Chain
  • The Orb: Vuja De
  • DJ Me DJ You: People Together

The “winners” this month:

At some point, I’ll get around to explaining how the “Winners” are determined:)

Basehead_Play_with_Toys

For this post I am doing something a bit different. It’s been a while since I have been to El Diablo Coffee in Seattle’s Upper Queen Anne neighborhood. I had discovered this place close to ten years ago right around the time I had moved into Seattle proper from Kitsap County. This place is notable in that it’s one of the few places  in this city where one can get a genuine Cuban Coffee:) I am currently sipping on a Cafe Diablito, which is described as a “Double shot of espresso floating atop a layer of condensed milk”:

IMG_0003
Group:Basehead
Release:Play with Toys
Year:1992
Label:Imago
Track Listing:

  1. Intro
  2. 2000 BC
  3. Brand New Day
  4. Not over you
  5. Better Day
  6. Ode to my favorite Beer
  7. Hair
  8. Evening News
  9. I Try
  10. Play with Toys
  11. Outro

From Wikipedia:

Play with Toys is the debut album of Basehead has been voted one of the top 50 albums of 1992 in Q magazine, and listed as number 43 in NME’s top albums of 1992. The album was originally released in limited quantities on the Emigre label and was subsequently re-released on a larger label, Imago, with some of the tracks altered to remove samples that had not been cleared prior to its initial release.
The music style of Play with Toys fuses elements of rock, blues, funk, hip hop, pop,psychedelic and reggae, and was described as an alternative hip hop “cult favorite”. David Jeffries described Play with Toys as “slacker rap”. According to Michael Ivey, “There are hip-hop elements in there, but if a hardcore hip-hop fan bought it, they might be disappointed”. Ivey also stated that Basehead’s music “doesn’t have the expected samples and sounds.” The lyrical themes of Play with Toys focus on diverse subjects, including alcohol and marijuana use, depression, philosophy, politics,[3] and relationship breakups. Francis Davis wrote that Ivey’s lyrics “[subvert] both rock music and gangsta-rap conventions.” The instrumentation of Play with Toys was created largely with live instruments rather than samples, which differentiates the album’s sound from that of mainstream hip hop. Instruments were altered with studio techniques for effect, and Ivey altered the pitch of his voice for sketches in which he voiced the friends of the album’s protagonist. Ivey’s vocals mix singing and rapping.

From Allmusic:

An alternative rap cult favorite, Play with Toys is the mysterious Basehead’s shining moment. Originally released by the long-gone Émigré label — an American 4AD wannabe with a design wing and everything — the album is Basehead rapper/producer/leader Michael Ivey’s snoozy vision of “slacker rap,” which is organic, lazy, smart, and head over heels in love with beer for some reason. Hops and barley and their negative effects on the body are the topic of “2000 B.C.,” a slow shuffling track with loose guitars, real live drums, and Ivey’s echoing mumbles pining the loss of 2000 brain cells. “Ode to My Favorite Beer” opens with the sound of a pop-top, then slides into a strange soundscape that comes very close to the dream pop of A.R. Kane, making another 4AD connection. When Ivey delivers “Clair and Cliff Huxtable never lived around here” on the great “Better Days,” he’s depressed, not ghetto proud like the hardcore ballers would sound. Filled with these lackadaisical, down-and-out moments, this debut album with a hangover isn’t for everyone. It really didn’t have much of an influence once alternative rap and indie rap began to flourish, either, but Toys deserves its cult status and sounds like little else in the hip-hop universe.

Random Thoughts:

  • Not Over You: I first came across this recording over twenty (!) years ago during my stint in the military. The first thing that impressed me about Play With Toys was its overall self-deprecating sense of chill; the second thing was the fact that Michael Ivy and company vigorously refuse to hew to convention and continually defy genre and attempts at classification. The songs lazily drift in and out, gliding from more typical construction to  spoken vignettes to sparing usage of samples. Like this song:)
  • Ode to my Favorite Beer: I’m now looking at a review that I posted on Amazon 14 years ago which goes something like this:

    Take with maximum pharms, folks. This understated masterpiece is like the first “Friday;” massively blissed out, unassuming, and takes the world by storm. There has not been a CD like it since. Off-Kilter vocals, gently strummed guitars, and hillarious [sic] sample all drift in and out of consciousness. Thing is, this CD is a decade old, and every time I hear it, I am left thinking that it is still fresher than most of the music being released today. Dieu merci for the small labels.

  • Hair: I’m not really digging this song right now, which is fine because, in all honesty, I’m not really digging this place right now; being located on the wrong side of I-90 for me, it’s clientele represents that which I find emblematic (and, in my opinion, distasteful) of north Seattle – smug, entitled, and more than a bit patronizing. Plus, I’m not really all that fond of my Diablito now that its layers have been melded. Maybe I should go for a traditional Cuban.
  • Evening News: Now this is more like it! Both in terms of the CD and the coffee. I’ve switched it up to the more classic offering:IMG_0851
    Which, in my mind (just being honest), is just okay. I’m not sure if my memories of the supposed awesomeness of this brew are colored by the fact that it was at this place that I first had a Cafe Cubano or that this particular time in my life was a transitional one for me; it could also be that something in the ingredients and or processes had changed over the years,  but in any case I’m just not all that enthused by what I am drinking.
  • Play With Toys: Whoa, I hadn’t realized how creepily apocalyptic  this track was! Very nice little change of pace. Speaking tangentially of which, I decided to get an early lunch:
    IMG_0852

    Cuban pork quesadillas with a queso fresco drizzle and pickled red onions

    The filling is alright, nothing too special, while the red onion could use way more pickling and the drizzle itself is pretty unremarkable.
    Have I become this jaded? Wow.

  • Outro: I was born in DC and raised in the rural environs of western Maryland.  In this track  you have a band from DC playing in what could very easily be the extreme rural environs of western Maryland. The interplay between the locals and the bandleader is (admittedly somewhat datedly) pretty humorous.  Definitely more so than my own😦

AV Slugs:

I managed to find the following vids on YouTube; some of them are not of the highest quality:

Confession

I had intended to submit a blog post each day of the trip to Maryland; however, after the first night, I realized that I was coming dangerously close to becoming the type of blogger that I’d rather not be – one who lives to blog life rather than experience it. During my stays at both my cousins house and the Wachters (my friends in Maryland), I made the deliberate decision to not have wireless internet access (I opted to not get the passwords to the networks), and take the time to briefly compose my thoughts after the day was done.

I had also planned on doing a day-by-day rundown of our recent visit, but decided against that; in its stead, I will present these highlights:

  • The boys and I took a walk to the White House, something that had been promised to them even before we had left for DC;
  • We got a chance to visit with my grandmother, two of my first cousins; Stephanie and Lunden, Stephanie’s daughter Cami (with whom the boys spent a good amount of time playing), and my aunts Aleta and Gwen;
  • We also got a chance to visit the Museum of Natural History and see the Washington Monument.
  • We had a chance to spend more time with my family whilst staying in Maryland; and,
  • The boys had a chance to spend some time with my friends, Kat and Allen Wachter, and all nine of their wonderful children. During that time we went to one of the C&O Canal trailheads at Point of Rocks and went for a run. Amazingly, Ollie ran with me on and off for a good two miles; even more astounding was the fact that he had done so (in typically Ollie fashion) wearing rubber rain boots, a long sleeve cotton shirt, and sweats. We later had a picnic of Hoagies and chips, and then went back to home base for some quiet time. After that I took the boys to my parents’ house for one last goodbye. We all had ice cream sundaes (with sauces and toppings provided by Carrie via Amazon), and I was able to enjoy a final game night playing Seven Wonders, provided, again, by Carrie (via Amazon)

Our last day in DMV ended with a breakfast of lox and bagels, all of us piling into the Wachters van which holds 15 people (there was only a single free seat), and taking a trip into Baltimore to briefly tour the USS Constitution before being dropped off at BWI for our trip home. Thankfully, this time the flight was a direct one with no layovers:)

After words

The kids and I had a good time during our trip to the DMV. I got a chance to show the kids some new things, including the towns in which I was born and grew up in, and the kids got a chance to see two great-grandparents and some of their extended family; additionally, I was able to introduce The Beans to  friends that I have known for just about all of my adult life.

Here we are, the second evening of the week-long adventure which is Gabe and Ollie’s Foray to the East Coast with their father. The trip over from Seattle, long as it happened to be, was surprisingly shriek-free from both the kid’s and father’s point of view. The three of us had taken the reddest of red-eyes from SeaTac, an 11:45 departure that landed in Detroit four hours later.

(Detroit – terminal A- goes on forever. Note to self- that tram on the upper level does indeed serve a purpose. But I digress.)

(No, not quite done yet. Detroit. After said flight, bypassed McDonald’s in terminal A to Wendy’s in Terminal B. After reviewing rather uninspired  offerings, I settled on a “freshly” “baked” “biscuit” with sausage and eggs so old they had the consistency and taste of plastic. One bite, and that  I threw it away😦 )

We took a quick flight from Detroit to Dulles, and one hour /  a $60 taxi ride later, we were at our hotel in downtown DC. We stayed local for the night, opting to get our dinner from the restaurant attached to the hotel and ending the evening playing in the pool.

The next morning (the morning of  the day on which this post was written), we ventured out to the National Air and Space museum, which the kids  – like their father – loved. We met my parents, brother and his wife in Maryland to visit with my grandfather so that he could have an opportunity to see his great-grandkids. After that we spent some time with one of my two DC-area aunts before my parents dropped us off at the hotel. Another dinner at the hotel (we were so lazy this time we ordered room service!:) and one more time with the kids in the pool, and we are once again calling it a night.

Shameless plug: I am posting quite a few asides and pics on Twitter (@cburrell3), Facebook and Instagram (@deltafront). If you have access to my profile on any of those platforms, check  them out!:)

Not being particularly religious ourselves, Carrie and I have raised our kids with fairly secular values. The entire notion of “God” is pretty foreign to them past the occasional utterance of “Oh my God”.  Their exposure to religion has been thus far been the fact that some of their friends celebrate Chanukah in place of / alongside of Christmas. They haven’t, as far as I know,  ever even see anyone pray.

Ollie and Gabe’s lack of deeper exposure to religion is very likely to come to an end during our upcoming visit to the east coast. My Maryland-based mother, father, brother and sister-in-law  are all very religious, as are many people in my extended family. Additionally, my very dear friends the Wachters (whom I have known for over a quarter  of a century now!!!), with whom we will be staying for a few days, are very active in their faith. I’m curious to see how the kids react to the various expressions of big-F Faith that are sure to be occurring around them, what sort of questions they will have, and the answers that they will receive (especially from me, if asked!:) ).

I fully believe that religion, like culture, language, sexual orientation, political belief and race, is part of the vibrancy that contributes to the greatness of this country of ours. If I can do one thing right as a parent,it would be to make sure that our kids are exposed to as much of that heterogeneity as I can, since that will help prepare them to live and succeed in a world that is becoming increasingly more diverse. In a lot of ways, I envy them and their journey.

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