And Now For Some Actual Music From One Of Our Contributors

Let me start with some apologies — I should have put this up a month ago, but I’ve been on a continual treadmill of distraction. I have a couple very solid written contributions from the Riverside Green commenter/reader base as well that will be going up shortly. All I can ask is that all of you be patient with me. I work three jobs and I have the attention span of that lesbian fish in the crappy Disney movies.

The Memphis Motor Co. is a band that performs traditional Eighties-style synthpop. If you like Tears For Fears, Real Life, When In Rome, The Smiths, or anything from that era, you will dig this. One of their frontmen is an occasional correspondent of mine and Riverside Green reader. He gave me a scoop on their EP release a while back and I just sat on it because I wanted to give the music a thorough listen before putting it up here.

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I’m Listening To Music On Spotify And I’m Feeling Quite Guilty About It

I think just about everybody who reads Riverside Green is aware that I majored in Music in school—more specifically, I majored in Jazz Performance. When I was in school, the best textbooks I had were actually compact discs. I scrimped and saved from my part-time job to buy used CDs from “Used Kids Records” on High Street for anywhere from $5-7 apiece—new CDs were out of the question, financially. It was thanks to Used Kids that I learned about off-the-radar saxophonists like Mark Turner, Teodross Avery, Wessell Anderson, and Tim Warfield. I digested their musical vocabulary, transcribed their solos, and regurgitated my learnings through the bell of my horn.

I’ve spent hundreds and thousands of hours practicing the saxophone, writing music, and performing on stages throughout North America and Europe. I’ve been blessed to share stages with some of the biggest names in music. And, for several years, playing the brass bagpipes was how I (barely) paid the bills.

Which is why I’m incredibly conflicted every time that I open up my Spotify app.

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Robin Pecknold Is A (Major Contibutor To The) Genius (.com Music Website) But Maybe He Shouldn’t Be

I don’t like to look this fact square in the eye, but every day brings me more evidence that this entire world is simply a simulation created to keep my brain busy while my body generates electricity for the machines in the Matrix. How else can you explain the fact that several of my favorite musicians — Pat Metheny, Natalie Merchant, Sara Watkins, The Black Keys, and a few others — have all decided to leave their major distribution deals in the past few years and move to Nonesuch Records, my favorite label? It’s far too comfortable a coincidence.

Any doubt I harbored about this theory was depressingly dashed when the Fleet Foxes announced a reunion and a new album to be released on… you guessed it… Nonesuch. This is what video game designers think of as resource conservation. If I’m only interacting with one record label here in the “real world”, the others can kind of fade away into the background, the same way that many video games don’t bother to fully render objects until the player’s point of view focuses on them. Here’s another example of this: The less thought I give to BMW, the less distinct their new models become. It’s been ten years since I seriously considered the purchase of a new 7 Series. During that time, the car has basically faded into a generic shape. Am I right, or am I right? Don’t bother to answer; you only exist inside my head. If I need you to answer it will just happen.

Those of us who signed up for early delivery of the new Fleet Foxes album directly from Nonesuch have already received digital delivery of the the track Third Of May / Odaigahara. It’s an utterly brilliant song, sort of a Fleet Foxes Greatest Hits in just six minutes. As is often the case with the Foxes, the lyrics range from obscure to deliberately private. Not to worry; the website Genius.com exists specifically for people to offer their ideas and theories regarding a song’s meaning. And if you click the link directly above, you’ll be taken to the Genius site for this new track, and you will see that there are several notations that are, for lack of a better phrase, curiously authoritative.

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Introducing Esperanto Audio!

A $1,200 guitar cable. One thousand, two hundred dollars. That sounds insane. There is, however, a certain amount of logic to it. From a strict Veblen-good perspective, it doesn’t make any sense to connect a $15,000 PRS Private Stock guitar and a $10,000 boutique amp with even the nicest $65 Mogami Gold cable. But there’s more to it than that. Since the dawn of electric-guitar time, long cables have been a nightmare. They’re noisy and they actually modify the tone of the guitar.

My friend John Marks has solved these problems by applying the same outrageous materials and processes used in the audiophile world to the humble guitar cable. The precise length is calculate to minimize interference. The materials are all top shelf and roughly equivalent to what you’d get in the very highest-end copper audiophile cables. There’s an oiled wooden block on the amplifier end for reasons that still make no sense to me.

It’s bad-ass and it works better than FourLoko on a first date. Click the jump to see and hear it live.

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Still Like The Letters In Your Name

Wave Two Of “The Search For Everything” is out. This one takes a couple of listens to settle into the groove, which in the words, er, #hashtags of a YouTube commenter is “#unfuckwithable #GOAT”.

The cads and bounders of the world will enjoy the lyrics… this is the kind of song that you could use to start some real drama. Put it on a CD and mail it to the house that your ex-girlfriend shares with some faceless rando. I’m going to get right on that. As soon as I find a place that still sells blank CDs.

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Imaginary Cities

No reason not to take a quick break from weightier matters to discuss something more pleasant. Chris Potter is part of Pat Metheny’s Unity Band. Imaginary Cities is a personal project of his. It’s recorded on ECM and if you are a fan of the label’s predisposition towards airy, abstract jazz recordings then you won’t be disappointed. It’s a great album to listen to when you’re trying to get some (mental) work done. More information here.

“I’ll Keep My Word And My Seat”

John Mayer’s four-song EP is out now. One of the songs is brilliant, two are forgettable, and one is a mashup of other great songs, consciously and ironically performed. I think this is the brilliant one. If you can’t think of at least one woman when you hear this song, you’re dead inside. Lyrics after the jump.

A great big bang and dinosaurs
Fiery rain and meteors
It all ends unfortunately
But you’re gonna live forever in me, I guarantee
Just wait and see

Parts of me were made by you
And planets keep their distance too
The moon’s got a grip on the sea
And you’re gonna live forever in me, I guarantee
It’s your destiny

Life is full of sweet mistakes
And love’s an honest one to make
Time leaves no fruit on the tree
But you’re gonna live forever in me, I guarantee
It’s just meant to be

And when the pastor asks the pews
For reasons he can’t marry you
I’ll keep my word and my seat
But you’re gonna live forever in me, I guarantee
Just wait and see

In Which A Food Safety Issue Leads To A Tasty Deal On An Old Guitar

“The Subway that way,” Danger Girl said, pointing north from the entrance to our neighborhood, “is closed. I guess that means…”

“…we can go to the dirty Subway,” I replied. “Sure, what the hell.” Until recently, and from the time it had opened a decade or so ago, the Subway a mile or so south from our house had been owned by an old-school Columbus family. My mother used to babysit one of the children. The father was this tall, aristocratic type. He had a black 928GT five-speed twenty-five years ago, back when those cars cost twice what a 911 did. I don’t know how they fell into the Subway business but they did it as you’d expect; the owner’s name was on a plaque next to the cash register and at any time day or night you could have performed an open-heart surgery in the dining area without worrying about contamination.

I don’t know who bought it from them but about two weeks after the plaque with the owner’s name went down, the employee rotation underwent a complete change. The staff of sometimes dim-witted but always conscientious high-school students gave way to a group of short, sullen South Indians. Their English is, to be fair, better than my Telugu, but it rarely verges on the comprehensible. They’re all very nice people, and they are clearly trying very hard, but they don’t observe the same standards of hygiene that the old owners did. The tables are fuzzy, the floor is sticky. I stopped by over the summer and saw a small colony of ants working their way through the cookie rack. That was the end of my Subway cookie habit.

It’s the dirty Subway. But I still patronize the place, mostly out of stubbornness and a determination not to be all white-privilege about whether floors should be mopped. And now that the Subway to the north of us is closed, it’s the only one within a mile or so. So Danger Girl and I took a deep breath and she pulled out onto the main road, headed south for lunch.

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Wednesday Night Video RETURNS!

It’s been fourteen months since Patrick and I cranked out a video for our, um, fans. I want to very clearly put the blame on him; although I’ve been fairly busy with racing and writing and whatnot, Patrick has been in a stage production and like three different bands during that time. But we will let bygones be bygones. Tonight’s tune is off the first Izzy Stradlin record: “Shuffle It All”. As is always the case, we meet up around 9PM and do the video at 10PM and then we have a few drinks. Or vice versa. Anyway, here you go. My brother, were he to watch this, which he will not, would castigate me for having the lyrics on my Kindle Fire. What can I say. I could not remember them.

Happy Wednesday, everybody!