My favourite album of 2013

I don’t keep up with current music the way I used to. That happens in your 30s when you’re not in the entertainment industry. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, it will.

When I heard that Monster Magnet (Wikipedia entry) – one of my all-time favourite bands – was releasing a new album and doing a North American tour, I got a little excited.

Here’s how I told Sean:

Texting with Sean about Monster Magnet
Good thing I know how to get caps lock on my phone.

By the time I got home from work, Sean had already purchased tickets to the show. He’s good like that.

I listened to the pre-released tracks online, put the release date into Google Calendar and scoured music blogs for any information I could get on Last Patrol. On release day, I purchased the album from iTunes as soon as I got home from work. I’ve played it constantly ever since.

An aside: Tracking and learning about music (and everything else) is so much easier in the internet age. That really makes me appreciate the work and effort music (or any pop culture) superfans put into their fandom pre-web. Zines and tape-trading took more effort and likely cost more when you don’t include computer/smartphone/internet costs (since those are used for more than supporting your fandom). Think of the postage costs alone!

The concert date rolled around and I was getting a little worried. The show was on a Tuesday night and it was going to start late. Going to work after a late night isn’t as easy as it used to be. Sean and I arranged for a friend to babysit. I was looking forward to having a night out with Sean to see a concert that I was really excited about.

My early morning after a late night never happened. The show got cancelled the day before it was scheduled to go on. Suck it, influenza. Sean and I were both  disappointed, but probably not as much as the guy I saw on Facebook. He said he was flying in from Thunder Bay just for the show. I really felt for him – I’m not sure if he was able to cancel his plane ticket.

Sean has recently gotten back into vinyl and he’s been expanding his collection. As much as I appreciate digital music and its portability, rock music sounds so much better on a turntable. Sean picked up the vinyl version of Last Patrol, and the gatefold really makes the artwork pop. This record was pressed on orange vinyl, which makes it extra cool. Sean’s turntable is set up in our mancave and I snapped some pictures of the album last night (click for larger image):

Monster Magnet's 'Last Patrol' on vinyl
Rock music really does sound better on vinyl.

Have you read this entry and still not looked Monster Magnet up on Youtube? Here’s the official video of the first single, ‘Mindless Ones’. If you like your rock music heavy and with a bit of trippiness, you will like this.

Do you pay attention to music? How do you keep up with your favourite bands? Tell me about the music you love.

Red lipstick brings me good luck

Sean and I in the StonesVIP photo booth.
Sean and I in the #StonesVIP photo booth. Couldn’t convince him to wear the prop scarf.

Sean called me at work a few months ago and asked me this question:

“Do you want to go see the Rolling Stones in June?”

It was not the question I was expecting on a quiet workday morning just before lunch.

When I asked him why, he told me that they were releasing a bunch of discounted tickets, but buyers wouldn’t know where they would be sitting till the day of the show.

Seeing that we’re both under 40, we’re too young for the Stones’ heyday. However, as someone who loves reading about the history of music and pop culture, I figured we better take the opportunity to see them before they finally decide to retire.

Besides, a night out is a night out, right?

This past Thursday night, I rushed home from work, picked up Flora and got ready for my night out. On a whim, I purchased a tube of bright red lipstick. I haven’t worn really red lipstick since I was a teenager, but it seemed like the right thing to do. A classic look for a classic rock band, right?

Flora really liked the red lipstick and was annoyed when I wouldn’t let her have any. I was trying hard not to screw up the application or get it all over my teeth. Once I dropped her off next door for a sleepover with her BFFs, I did a fast manicure and Sean and I were off to the train to go back into the city.

When we got in line to pick up our tickets, the person who checked Sean’s ID asked us to go into a different line. When we got there, the woman told us that we got tickets in the Tongue Pit. On the floor. In front of the stage.

Holy crap.

The woman put our wristbands on for us and we walked into the arena. We checked out the merchandise (lots of choices and all overpriced), got a couple of drinks and did the modern thing and posted our surprise to Facebook, Flickr, Foursquare, Twitter and Instagram. The picture at the top of this post was a staged setup where there were people taking pictures with your phone so you could upload the picture to Instagram. Any opportunity to get a picture of Sean and I together that we don’t have to do selfie-style is good so I handed my phone over for some pictures.

We’ve been to a lot of concerts over the years and we’ve never had seats that good for a show this big. I worried that the standing-room only would mean that I wouldn’t be able to see anything and it would be crowded – my usual issue with general admission tickets. I learned that the advantage of seeing a band who’s been around for 50 years is that their audience is way more laid back than other shows we’ve been to. People brought their tween/teenage kids. We stood at the left-hand side of the pit, right next to the ego-ramp. And the security guard who reminded us not to lean on it as it was ‘put together with duct tape’. I stood up straight because I wasn’t going to be responsible for breaking Mick Jagger’s hip.

Sean in the pit

 I will admit that I didn’t know every single song, but my classic rock band of choice has always been Queen. The show was what you would expect of a band who’s been together for 50 years: tightly choreographed, heavy on the big hits and to the point. We were close enough to count the wrinkles, but also close enough to see that those guys are in incredible shape. Which you would have to be to still be able to tour worldwide.

I’m glad I said yes to Sean buying the tickets. We had  a lot of fun. I’ve decided to keep that red lipstick in my purse for good luck. Interesting things may happen when I wear it next.

Dude! We got lucky on our Stones tickets!

I used to be with it

“I used to be with it, but then they changed what “it” was. Now, what I’m with isn’t it, and what’s “it” seems weird and scary to me. It’ll happen to you.

Grampa Simpson, ‘Homerpalooza‘ episode of The Simpsons (Episode 3F21, original airdate: May 1996)

I didn’t believe Grampa Simpson at the time, but in the 14 years since this episode originally aired, I find this statement applies more and more to my life.

I’ve paid attention to music since I was a little kid. I remember rocking out with my parents when my mum and dad would put their records on and turn it up. I also remember when they’d turn up the music when they were having parties and my sister and I were supposed to be sleeping. Not sure how we were supposed to sleep through “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” played at top volume, but it helped when I knew what that song was when they played it at high school dances. (I clearly remember saying “Oh my *gawd*, my *parents* used to listen to this song!”)

I used to read a lot of music magazines. I didn’t always pick up the albums the critics recommended, but I liked knowing about them, and being able to know something about who was singing the song on the radio or on TV. Now, I rarely buy new music. I may pick up the odd album that a favourite band or artist has put out, but I find I’m even doing that less and less. Good thing I didn’t end up becoming a music critic as I dreamed of being when I was in high school.

I’ve recently started tuning into the pop stations when I’m driving by myself for errands and whatnot. I’m a rocker so this feels weird to me, but it gets me out of my head for a few minutes, even if I think some of the songs on today’s playlists are dirty dirty. (Another example of me no longer being with it – where did my cane go so I can shake it at the kids while I tell them to get off my lawn?) I’ve even been known to drive around a little longer just to hear the end of a song – something I haven’t done since I was a teenager.

While I’ve been writing this I’ve been trying out Grooveshark. I was happy to find some of my old favourites, but I got a huge kick out of the Lady Gaga/Beyonce/Metallica mashup “Enter Telephone”. Maybe I will catch up with today’s music yet. Or maybe not  – Sean just bought us concert tickets to see KISS – a band that made it big before either of us were even born. We’re crazy excited about it – we’ve never seen them before, and the show should be high on spectacle. Should be good value for my buck.

Because the biggest thing I’ve discovered about music since becoming an adult is that I’m a lot choosier about what I spend my money on.

Are you still up on the music of your youth? Do you pay attention to the music the kids are listening to? Does music sound as good as it did when you were a teenager? Let me know in the comments.

I am loving this record right now…

I’ve been listening to Priestess‘ record “Hello Master” constantly since Sean bought it for me back in October. We actually went to the big HMV downtown and browsed – something we haven’t done together in a long time. It was fun, and made me nostalgic for when we were dating and HMV was one of our mandatory stops on our trips into the city.

Priestess has a song on the Guitar Hero III soundtrack (and by the way, I totally rocked it on Easy), but you should give the rest of the album a listen. It’s catchy, the songs have enough crunch to them that the rockers will like it, but the non-rockers won’t run out of the room if this is put on at a party. The songs are just the right length – no excessive guitar wank here.

I haven’t seen them live, but I’d like to – I imagine that the live shows are pretty fun.

Metalocalypse is one of my favourite things on TV right now

Nothing like interviewing a cartoon band (albeit, the Biggest Band in the Universe) to keep your interviewing skills sharp.

This file lasts about half an hour, so make sure you have enough time to listen to it.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada
This work by Melissa Price-Mitchell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada.
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