Nov 17 2014

Quarterly Review – July – September 2014

spoon-2014

Once every three months I list the best of what I heard in albums/songs/remixes for the quarter. I do this to personally keep up with all the awesome music I hear, as it ultimately helps me at the end of the year when I do my overall listing for the previous twelve months. I also do it to introduce you cool cats to tunes you may have missed independently.

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Jul 8 2014

Quarterly Review – April-June 2014

tweens

Once every three months I list the best of what I heard in albums/songs/remixes for the quarter. I do this to personally keep up with all the awesome music I hear, as it ultimately helps me at the end of the year when I do my overall listing for the previous twelve months. I also do it to introduce you cool cats to tunes you may have missed independently.

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Jul 6 2014

MY Texas

So back in 2011, a couple of fellow Red Raiders of mine, who also happen to be Texas country musicians, Josh Abbott and Pat Green, released a hit single called “My Texas.” I first became aware of the song walking out of a Texas Rangers game, probably last summer. As is the case with most Texas country songs, the music is unremarkable in terms of strong hooks or memorable melody, while the lyrics are generally the focus. From the beginning, the song’s intention is clear; this is designed to be a crowd-pleaser at Red Dirt concerts and fests. Abbott and Green take turns naming parts and activities associated with our large, glorious state. Take a listen for yourself. You’ll get the idea pretty quickly.

As you can ascertain, the lyrical structure is the same throughout the entire song, even the chorus. Three things are named recognized as Texas activities, with the final repeated coda that, if you haven’t done these things, then “you ain’t met my Texas yet.” Pretty straightforward, immediately familiar, and, especially if you’re a Texan, ultimately very fun to hear for the first time.

The chorus changes every time, but with a basic structure repeated – rodeos, fellow Texas country artists, and random Texas cities and areas are name-dropped. Some of the recommendations make sense (eating Cooper’s in Llano, hiking through Big Bend) and some feel like they were fishing for ideas (an Abilene sunset? Having your hair blown back by Lubbock winds? Really?)

Overall, this song has an ideaology built into it that makes it such a hit for the Texas country crowd – it’s a celebration of our state’s diversity in geography, it hearkens back to that timeless Texas pride and feeling of exclusivity, and it recalls things most of its listeners have actually done.

As a whole, I LOVE the idea of this song. As a born-and-raised Texan, in theory the premise is novel. In practice, however, there was very little of the song I related to, which was a disappointment, though not a surprising one. I’m not, I suppose, what one would describe as a typical Texan, and definitely not a Texas country music fan. These guys know their audience, and I’m not a member of that club.

I suppose, when I first heard the song, it irked me there was absolutely no mention of Austin whatsoever. Again, this wasn’t surprising, as Austin isn’t really a hotspot for Texas country fandom or the cliche good ol’ boy culture surrounding it. But there are so many iconic things about this city that are overlooked by this culture. And in reality, it’s very arguable Austin is the city Texans should be MOST proud of.

So I immediately wanted to write my own version. A parody, if you will. And initially, I wanted it to be all about Austin. And it turned out that way, mostly. But while working on it, I started to realize there were parts of my life that weren’t about Austin at all, but were absolutely about Texas. I’ve traveled all across this state, and lived in three different areas of it, and I have no intention of ever leaving it. I firmly believe this state should be celebrated. And I admire that celebration in this Josh Abbott/Pat Green song, even if I don’t necessarily identify with 100% of it.

So eventually my version evolved into a song about my personal experience with Texas, Austin and beyond. There are references to Amarillo, Lubbock, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, Marfa, even my hometown of Gruver. I strongly encourage other proud Texans to take this song and make it their own; what started as a fun little activity on a day off from work morphed into a personal, nostalgic, proud experience. And it ultimately made me like the song more, even if I’m still not in love with the melody.

Below are my lyrics to my personal version of the song “My Texas.” Compare them to the original ones, if you’re so inclined. Why I decided to spend an afternoon and do this, I don’t really know. It’s 100 degrees outside, and this seemed more exciting than going out and sweating at a bar or a pool or whatever. People who have known me for an extended amount of time might enjoy some references, while others might not recognize those references at all, and vice versa. Such is the celebration of a diverse life lived in many places, but all in one wonderful state. Enjoy, and thanks for humoring me.

If you never took a dip in Barton Springs

Went to Cadillac Ranch and painted things

Watched Tim Duncan get five rings

Then you ain’t met my Texas yet.

 

If you’ve never gotten drunk on Rainey Street

Had a Live Oak Hef, man it tastes so sweet

Stopped at El Vaquero for a bite to eat

Then you ain’t met my Texas yet.

 

If you haven’t crowd surfed down at Emo’s

Sang “Backyard” at a One Wolf show

Kissed a girl at SX you just met

Then you ain’t met my Texas yet.

 

Never been to Hope Gallery and made your mark

Saw the Marfa lights right at dark

Smoked a bowl down at Zilker Park

Then you ain’t met my Texas yet.

 

If you’ve never been to Buddy Holly’s grave

Got Buzzed from 512 IPA

Caught a foul ball at a Rangers game

Then you ain’t met my Texas yet.

 

Never heard Pantera on your radio

Sang “Tyler” at a Toadies show

If you never been to Fun Fun Fun Fest

You ain’t met my Texas yet.

 

Never hung with KTXT folks

Learned to two-step at Broken Spoke

Had a Lonestar Beer and didn’t choke,

Then you ain’t met my Texas yet.

 

Never had a Democrat at Torchy’s Tacos,

Gotten throwed at a Bun B show,

Didn’t know Franklin BBQ’s the best

Then you ain’t met my Texas yet.

No, you ain’t met my Texas yet!

 

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Apr 7 2014

Quarterly Review – January-March 2014

against me

Once every three months I list the best of what I heard in albums/songs/remixes for the quarter. I do this to personally keep up with all the awesome music I hear, as it ultimately helps me at the end of the year when I do my overall listing for the previous twelve months. I also do it to introduce you cool cats to tunes you may have missed independently.

Note: Due to waning interest on my part and lack of decent output in my opinion, the remixes list has been discontinued. However, I have increased the Downloads list from 20 to 40. I will probably regret this from quarter to quarter, but that’s how it stands currently.

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Feb 23 2014

Five Albums That Changed My Life – Pork Soda

primus pork soda

And so continues a series of posts I started back in May, and while the first entry is probably more culturally significant, this addition still has a special place in my heart, if only for its musical impact. Most people know me as an avid appreciator of music of all kinds, but particularly indie and alternative styles. I keep that as general and vague as I can, because honestly that has been the only constant description dealing with my evolution into studying, criticizing, and even enjoying (!) pop culture and its music counterpart. There are bands and artists I’ve remained loyal to, regardless of output, kind of like a sports team fandom, really. Most of these come from my adolescence, and of course Les Claypool and Primus fit that bill. These are bands that are admittedly, just a bit before my time, but I nevertheless identify with what someone my age would deem “older brother” music. I was into the sounds of grunge, 90’s punk, stuff that was wearing off on the masses by the time I became cognizant of what year it was and what was popular. And this is primarily because of my cousin Joe.

Joe is now married and has a kid, which in my mind makes him much older than I am because I don’t have those things, even though he’s my senior by merely six years. So yeah, he essentially served as the older brother I didn’t have. But he was only around at Christmas, so that was when I got a taste of what it was like to be a teenager and like teenager stuff and watch PG-13 movies and hear his stories about going to concerts and kissing girls and seeing Tool like 7 times in Mesa and all that jazz. It was an exciting growth period for me. It probably had already begun to formulate, as I had discovered Z93, the local Top 40 station, the summer before, much to the chagrin of my mother, who always wanted me to like only country music (sorry, Mom). But it reached its apex during December 1996, and eventually progressed into listening to FM90, the college station, and sneaking views of MTV and South Park, and going to loud rock concerts on my own, and becoming the unjustified music snob I am today. It’s all Joe’s, and Les Claypool’s, fault.

Joe would sleep in my room on the top of my blue (or was it red?) bunk bed over the holidays, and one day while playing Super Nintendo I began listening to whatever Joe was blaring from the top bunk through his headphones utilizing a Sony Walkmen that was way more hi-tech than mine. It sounded….well, strange. Joe eagerly let me put the headphones on, started the track over, and this is what I heard.

And this was my first taste of alternative rock. Ever. Before that, I was all about Dwight Yoakam and Coolio. This opened a whole new dimension of music I only vaguely knew about, and I wanted more. Now, admittedly, Primus is a weird, weird band, so my first exposure to modern rock was probably outside the box (I remember watching an awards show a few months later and witnessing Live and Collective Soul win awards and wondering why they sounded so….safe). So Joe let me listen to Rage Against the Machine, and Weezer, and Tool, and the Deftones, and Toadies, and all these bands I still love today because they have a special place in my heart and were honestly bands that changed my life. And they’re all pretty different in their own way, but they all had something I had never experienced before. We spent hours in my bedroom that Christmas playing video games and listening to rock music, and it was glorious. And then I went out and bought Pork Soda, and Evil Empire, and Adrenaline, and Undertow, and Rubberneck, and the Blue Album, with my Christmas money. Within two years, I had every album from all those bands, and a whole lot more. By next Christmas, I was talking Primus trivia with Joe like I was a veteran who had seen them at Lollapalooza in ’94.

The albums I’ve named are mainly time capsules now, including Pork Soda; some have claimed their place in Important 90’s Albums lists, some are merely footnotes in a memorable rock band’s catalogue. But these albums, and this time period, are timeless to me. Nowadays, we see a sweeping abundance of love for the 90’s, everything adoring the decade I already knew was cool. Culture has a tendency to love things that turn twenty years old, but by the time they’re thirty, they might as well be forgotten. And some of these acts are going strong after hiatuses, some are doing one-off reunions, some are long gone, never to return. But I still love them all, whether inactive or a different incarnation or producing comparable mediocrity. Because of Christmas 1996 and my cousin Joe. Because that time was a huge musical transformation for me, which in my world means a huge transformation in general. And it all began sitting on a bunk bed in my childhood bedroom, wearing oversized headphones and hearing a bass guitar make sounds I’d never heard before from any contraption, musical or otherwise. And even today, when my taste has progressed, along with most people’s, into heavy electronics and hip-hop, this music from a decade I’m blissfully stuck in still sounds new.  Music I still adore, and blare just as loudly.

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Jan 10 2014

Top 50 Albums of 2013

50. Party Supplies – Tough Love

Party-Supplies-Tough-Love-Fools-Gold

Turns out this NYC duo doesn’t just make beats for Action Bronson. No one can argue that electro-pop is all the rage nowadays, so for Party Supplies to step in and join the fray might seem risky at first. But the glorious discovery of Tough Love is these guys might be competent and capable of almost anything. One listen to “Beautiful Girl” and you’ll be converted to Party Supplies’ new sound fairly easily.

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Jan 9 2014

Top 200 Tracks of 2013

Below you will find my favorite 200 tracks of the past year, with a nifty Spotify playlist for your listening pleasure. There seems to be an unusually large amount of songs still not available on the service, however, and those tracks have Soundcloud/Youtube embeds after the jump within the complete list. Enjoy!

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Jan 8 2014

Top 20 Remixes of 2013

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Jan 7 2014

Quarterly Review – October-December 2013

Once every three months I list the best of what I heard in albums/songs/remixes for the quarter. I do this to personally keep up with all the awesome music I hear, as it ultimately helps me at the end of the year when I do my overall listing for the previous twelve months. I also do it to introduce you cool cats to tunes you may have missed independently.

HAIM

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Jan 6 2014

Year In Review: 2013

Who says 13 is unlucky?

This year, culturally speaking, was a major improvement upon the last year overall. This usually happens after a year containing a dearth of quality music, television, and movies. Not that 2012 was abysmal, by all means, but let’s just say this year’s lists were A LOT harder to make. As a whole, a large bulk of content you’ll find on this year’s best-of will likely stand the test of time a bit better than the material we were fed last year.

Also, I graduated from grad school, got a job at Facebook, made new friends, and things are swell more or less. There were ups and downs, and there is a long list of resolutions, and you know, things happened. 2013 was a moderate success. If it was a failure, I’d probably have more to write about, frankly.

So, without further ado, I welcome you to Culture Greyhound’s Year in Review for 2013, a year of very high highs and very low lows, a year of mediocrity and boring disappointment, a year of mind-blowing excellence. You know, a year.

Schedule:

Tuesday: Quarterly Review
Wednesday: Top 20 Remixes
Thursday: Top 200 Tracks
Friday: Top 50 Albums

On a final note, I would like to remind everyone about my always-streaming Internet radio station, Culture Greyhound Radio, which I add music to every week, new and old. Tune in!

That’s it. Happy New Year, everyone!

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