Monday, August 31, 2009

Food: Grilled chicken and veggies with red leaf salad

I used some lump hardwood for my coals this time, instead of briquettes. They take a bit longer to get hot, but they stay quite hot for a long time.

Fennel, white onion and russet potato were all drizzled and rubbed with canola oil and grilled for about six minutes on either side. After the potatoes were done, I opted to throw some Sriracha on the side and some freshly cut chives on top. I overcooked the veggies the other night (hence, no photo) so I was careful to keep turning and make sure everything was getting done, but not too done.

The chicken was just a couple of organic free range breasts, rubbed with Spice Hunter's Seafood Grill Shaker and a bit of extra salt. About five minutes on either side and done.

Red leaf salad with chopped hothouse tomatoes and mozzarella cheese chunks.

And when I went out to scrape the grill and wrap things up, I saw this nice view of the moon through the neighbor's tree...

Oh my, am I ever full and happy.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

I Had No Idea: 10,000 Maniacs' Hope Chest (1982-1983)

I guess consider this an 'old music' style post but, keep in mind that I literally just picked up this album this past week, so where I know all those other albums front to back, this one is extremely fresh to me in comparison.

As a kid who came of age as a music fan in the early 90's, all I knew of 10,000 Maniacs was their hit cover of 'Because the Night' and it wasn't my cup of tea. A few years later, I recognized that voice on another modern rock radio staple and while it was a nice little melodic ditty, I still wasn't sold.

So, when I really dove into rock music and my preferred sound of the late 1970's and 1980's new wave era, I kind of skipped over 10,000 Maniacs because I figured they were not of the style that I knew I liked. I can honestly say that I don't know what prompted me to re-investigate them. I have been on somewhat of a jangle kick recently so, in my constant search for whatever I'm liking, I did a random search about the Maniacs on AMG, previewed some tracks on Amazon and decided I had unfairly passed them over.

So, I thought, start at the beginning...

I picked up the Hope Chest album because it compiles the band's first EP (Human Conflict Number 5) and full length (Secrets of the I Ching) onto one disc and is much more easily available than finding the originals.

Imagine Johnny Marr playing guitar on the first Throwing Muses album and throw a sort of sporadic reggae slant into the mix and you have the first recordings of 10,000 Maniacs. It's your basic new wave formula for something that, by all reasonable logic, shouldn't work, but does because of the simplicity of the arrangements and tunes.

Unfortunately, it is one of those albums where the first song is so outstanding and unique and what follows is just not as good. But what a track that first one is. 'Planned Obsolescence' is standard new wave bassline and simple drumbeat dominated greatness. Robert Buck's strangely effected guitar warbles and squabbles its way through the song, acting as little more than a confusion while Natalie Merchant's dominating voice takes the lead melody. She sings in these strange sentence fragments and never seems content to stay on one note for more than two words. The entire thing comes to a brilliant head when she finally blurts out in the second half of the tune that 'Any modern man can see that religion is obsolete' and the tune's true melody comes out from behind the shadows. A wonderful slice of seemingly subtle atheist rock.

The rest of the album is much more along the lines of what the Maniacs would end up sounding like. They were still a little faster and a bit more freewheeling at this point, but, for the most part, there's a little bit of softly strummed guitars and a whole lot of Natalie Merchant's captivating voice. She's clearly the star of the show, but she's never overbearing or intrusive to the rest of the band. Instead, they both compliment each other exceptionally well.

Take a song like 'Poor De Chirico' where the band goes back and forth between a lovely jangle and an organ-laced roots reggae groove, but atop it all is Natalie's swooping vocals. When the thing explodes into an honest-to-goodness guitar solo, you'd be hard pressed to to call the band middle of the road or unwilling to take chances.

Other highlights for me are the wonderful jangle of 'Grey Victory,' the original less-floaty version of 'Tension' (which would be revived later on as 'Tension Makes A Tangle'), the great rant on 'Daktari' and pseudo-funk of 'Pit Viper.'

Overall, this material has a genuine charm to it because it has shades of where the band would go afterwords, but there is something entirely unique about them. Kind of like the same vibe I get from R.E.M.'s Chronic Town EP, as it's clear that the band is not really a new wave group. But they came about in the period that punk and new wave was the dominant cutting edge rock movement and their primary influences all came from those kinds of bands. So, even though the urge to play something else was there, they still couldn't push past that new wave influence quite yet and subsequently made something completely remarkable.

I mentioned earlier about how the band, at this point seemed anything but middle of the road or unwilling to take chances, but it seems like the more records they made, the more they became of both of those things. Not that that's a bad thing. If you find something that works, why change it?

I went back a few days later and picked up The Wishing Chair, the band's second full length and first album on a major label. There is definitely a more pronounced slant towards the folk rock and jangle pop that they would become known for. The reggae influence is gone and there are plenty of interweaving riffs; so it's basically the album where they became an alt-rock band. Fine and good for that sound, but simply nowhere near as engaging as the earlier material.

Maybe I will delve further into the band's catalogue after a full digestion of Hope Chest and The Wishing Chair, but right now, I'm basking in a really great (re?)discovery.

Seal of approval? Why not! It's certainly a great album!


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Moon blends with clouds.

From the back yard about half after six this evening. I nearly missed it because the moon was camouflaged among the clouds so well.

Subtle beauty. Awesome.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Old Music: Modern English's After the Snow (1982)

In a strange paradox, I feel like, most of the time, this album is underrated or forgotten about because of its one huge song. Forgotten because of popularity and perhaps a bit of over saturation. Of course, 'I Melt With You' is the definition of classic. One of those perfect pop singles that defined an era and, through its universally articulate lyrics, simultaneously transcended that era for generations to come. Wonderful stuff. And one of those rare moments where a song is so good it feels, in retrospect, like a poetic victory for truly creative and genuine music.

But what about the album that that fantastic slice of pure pop magic came from?

Well, my friend, I'm glad you asked.

Originally released in 1982 on the British 4AD label, it must have sounded like an epic masterpiece at that point. Foreshadowing where fellow post-punkers-turned-pop bands like the Cure and New Order would go in the near future, it can now be asserted as the most perfect mashup of arty post-punk dissonances and pop catchiness. Its closest contemporaries were probably similarly minded albums like the Sound's All Fall Down or Echo and the Bunnymen's Heaven Up Here (and this one makes the most sense because it was magnificently produced by Hugh Jones, who handles production duties on After the Snow just a year after his work with the Bunnymen).

But we're a bit ahead of ourselves.

Allow me to indulge the Bunnymen comparison for just a bit more...

It's fitting that Hugh Jones worked with Echo on Heaven Up Here —perhaps the darkest and artiest album of their catalogue— in the same year that Modern English made their first album; itself a strange and drugged out affair that was certainly more goth than anyone would have guessed if they were working backwards through the band's discography.

I mean, just have a look at the cover.

The music isn't excessively weird, it's just much more psychedelic and downright trippy than most people would imagine for what is essentially a new wave album. A single (which can now be appropriately viewed as somewhat of a proto-shoegaze tune) was released and promptly ignored. After the band released Mesh and Lace, they were dubbed competent Joy Division knockoffs and nothing more was thought of the issue.

A year or so later, in a turn of events nobody in the most astute of logic would have foreseen, they re-emerged with 'I Melt With You' and had a minor British hit.

Its accompanying album was a fantastic mish mash of uber-pop, lushly layered arrangements, reflective melancholy and a toned-down but still present experimental edge.

Seriously, as rock albums go, this one is as about as diverse as they come.

The albums starts off with the wonderful second single 'Someone's Calling' and its excellent opening simile: 'Turning round as if in flight.' That's a descriptive lyric for this album, as well. The whole thing has the feeling of changing direction, slowly and methodically, as to not miss anything in the process.

From there, the rest of side one presents the band at their boundary-pushing best. If you just hear the songs on the surface, there will be plenty to latch onto: hooky vocals, catchy riffs, a dynamite rhythm section. But if you really sit down with these songs, there are layers upon layers of things about them that will reward repeated diligent listens. The best argument for that is that one-two punch of the stuttery and poignant 'Life in the Gladhouse' which is followed by the big epic and album spiritual centerpiece 'Face of Wood.' Sounding like the Cure before they even managed to get there, it's an absolutely beautiful song that finds a balance between the first album's artsy ambiance and the band's newly discovered sense of melody and songcraft.

(Check out an early run-through of the tune the band did for John Peel — definitely leaning more towards the artsy side here)

Side two kicks off with 'I Melt With You' and, I'll just say it right now: it's the poppiest thing on the album, by far. Anyone who bought After the Snow anticipating another seven or eight songs like 'I Melt With You' got ripped off, plain and simple.

It's funny that they chose to start side two off with the most accessible thing on the album because the rest of the songs are much more subdued and meditative. The title track and 'Carry Me Down' seem to mirror the initial sentiment of change that started with 'Someone's Calling.' Even the more paranoid and darker 'Tables Turning' that closes the album retains a specific vibe started by the title track. It's amazing how much ground this album covers in just eight songs and that it does that so convincingly is even more impressive.

It took about a year for the album to be picked up for North American release on the Sire label. It was the band's first American release. Here's the original vinyl issue on Sire/4AD:

And the back cover, which some otherwise loving previous collector neglected in the bottom left corner (which is strange because my copy of the band's follow-up Ricochet Days has a similar tear in the same spot, but on the front cover; must've been a spill that wasn't discovered right away):

The front of the inner sleeve:

The back of the inner sleeve:

And the labels:

When the album was reissued on CD by 4AD in the early 90's, they changed the cover:
But the great thing about the reissue is the bonus tracks that were added. Despite somewhat superfluous single edits of 'I Melt With You' and 'Someone's Calling', the rest of the bonus tracks are great and well worthwhile. Besides the longer (and superior) version of 'Life in the Gladhouse,' you get the two b-sides from the After the Snow sessions: the amazing should've been a-side 'The Prize' and the atmospheric eleven minute epic 'The Choicest View' which is just about as weird and willfully inaccessible as the band ever got.

It was a grassroots hit in the US until 'I Melt With You' was included on the soundtrack for Valley Girl. At which point, the popularity became too much for the young band and they inevitably pulled in different directions.

The follow-up to After the Snow was the also not to be missed, but not quite as great Ricochet Days (which may receive its own highlight in this column at some point in the future). The album had nothing as distinguishable and uniquely appealing as 'I Melt With You' and subsequent albums found frontman Robbie Grey trying to carry on the band himself and recapture the popularity that 'I Melt With You' brought him earlier on. He never was able to.

After the Snow is one of the best albums in the entire post-punk cannon. Easily one of my favorite albums ever, I still get a little annoyed when I bring up Modern English and all most people know is 'I Melt With You.'

Any self-respecting new wave fan should know this album front to back.

It should go without saying that it gets the seal of approval:


Friday, August 21, 2009

Sunset over Peavine.

The haze in the high desert air created a nice ambiance for this evening's sunset. Here's a shot from up the street about a half block:

And here's the artsy, post-modern, urban chaos revision of the same shot:Hot as all heck today though. Not sure of the official recorded high temp, but it felt like one of the hottest days of the year to me.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Food: Tofu and green veggie stir fry with rice noodles

This one was entirely [EDIT]'s creation. All I did was request the inclusion of fennel.

[EDIT] says (and I'm paraphrasing avoiding a fight here):

'Celery, cabbage and fennel stalks and greens were lightly sauteed in a small amount of canola oil and Bragg's Liquid Aminos. Sprinkled that with cayenne pepper and freshly cut chives. The tofu was fried in sesame oil and sprinkled with powered ginger and then tossed on top of the previous veggies. Using the same frying pan that was used for the tofu, more sesame oil was added and lightly blanched green beans were fried with sugar and rice vinegar. The beans were added to the veggie and tofu mix and then served aside quick fried rice noodles, sprinkled with salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and a pinch of Chinese five spice.'

I have to say, the mixture of fresh chives and fennel was a very herby treat.

And again, this was total improvisation; just using whatever was in the kitchen trying to appease someone.  But still tasty.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Food: Grilled salmon with grilled veggies and spring rolls

Oh man, this was tasty.

The salmon was handled the same way as the tuna from the other night in regards to pre-grill prep. Used up the leftover fennel from the other night and we just had half a yellow onion that needed to be used. Those were just brushed with canola oil and salt; the onion was rubbed with powdered ginger. The broccoli was drizzled with sesame oil, Bragg's liquid aminos, black and cayenne peppers and wrapped in foil. All of that, once again, atop Trader Joe's all hardwood coals.

The spring rolls were wonderfully assembled by [EDIT] from what we had leftover in the fridge of the grilled tofu from the other night, rice noodles, some red leaf lettuce and cilantro. Here's what it looked like before assembling:

Good stuff all around, for what essentially was an improvised meal.

Be careful of that Sriracha hot sauce though. I dipped my spring rolls in it and was like this for a half hour afterwords:

I'm thinking fennel and fish is pretty much my new favorite thing.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Old music: Aztec Camera's Knife (1984)

Whoo boy, talk about misunderstood.

Well, Roddy Frame has to be given some slack because he was only twenty years young when he was reacting to a wealth of buzz and popularity in the aftermath of his band's Britain-captivating debut album.

And who wouldn't freak out and just make one of the most personal and fun albums of their career — especially when you were thrown into the studio with ridiculous expectations, a nearly bottomless budget and an established, certified 'rock and roll god' completely out of touch with where you were coming from (hi, Mark Knopfler) acting as producer?

Well, let's just get this out of the way right now: unlike my previous highlights in this context, this album is not an amazing five star-worthy affair that will please all audiences across the board.

Nope. That's just not this album.

But is it an irreproachably strong record that received an unfair critical beat down at the time of its release and has yet to receive a true reassessment that removes the hype?

Yes. Wholeheartedly.

If I were to grade the album on my usual scale of one to five stars, it would probably receive an incredibly strong:
...or a solid:
But, leaving grades aside, this album is just downright enjoyable. It's pure pop. Produced, overwrought, slickly played and cooked to perfection with one or two too many chefs in the kitchen. But the songs are absolutely stunning, despite presentation.

So, what really matters here is the presentation.

And it is flawed.

Bottom line.

It just is.

It certainly wouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that — HEY, WAIT A SECOND, MARK KNOPFLER IS A TERRIBLE CHOICE AS A PRODUCER FOR AN AZTEC CAMERA RECORD!

But, despite that completely mismatched big overproduced slickness and high profile reputation that Knopfler brought to the studio with him, Roddy Frame plays these songs like he's absolutely sure they're the best he's ever written — and, indeed, some of them really are.

'Still on Fire' kicks things off and with it's pseudo-funky rhythm guitar and accentuated percussion, it's obviously an attempt to rewrite 'Oblivious' but that doesn't matter because it's easily one of the great lost classics of the new wave singles. Moving into an obtuse simile, 'Just Like the USA' is one point where I think the Roddy/Elvis Costello comparisons are valid. But even that seems unfair because the song tackles something so personal and so universal and is ultimately all heart, even though it puts up the façade of being the opposite. And that is a strangely foreshadowing dynamic that is explored in great detail with 'Head is Happy (Heart's Insane).' A horn-accented strummer explores the extremely human struggle between the mind's message and the heart's wants. Really fantastic stuff.

Side two kicks off with 'All I Need is Everything' (video edit, album version)and the song itself is practically a microcosm of the overproduction of the album trying to drown out the eccentricities of the band's songs. Starting with an admittedly cheesy synth buildup, when the song actually gets going, it's extremely hard to dislike. The perfectly descriptive lyrics unfold into the incredible (and nearly anthemic) chorus. While the keyboards could have been left out and the song's effect would have been equal, the last two minutes is a showcase for the band to expose the musical qualities that are lurking beneath the tunes. All mood and ambience, it's a moment for Roddy to take a rare solo that is equal parts expressive and complimentary and the thing that sticks out the most about it is how well it balances with the rest of the song. It almost feels like the band was saying, 'Hey this was a great pop song, but how about we end it sounding like the Durutti Column?' Wondrous.

'Backwards and Forwards' and 'The Birth of the True' are the two songs most like any previous Aztec Camera material. And they are appropriately excellent. The album closes with the nine-minute title track that streches itself out into a meditative epic. It's gotten a bad rap over the years, but if you remove the expectation of Aztec Camera as a three or four minute pop song band, it's surpsringly effecting and well-done. Imagine the same song on a Modern English album and you might start to see my point.

It had pretty standard cartoony new wave era cover art (this is the American issue on Sire):

And the back:

The inner sleeve was well done, with full photos of the band and complete reprinted lyrics (which, with this album, you'll want to follow along with; it's worth it):

And the back of the inner sleeve:

And finally, the labels. Notice the guitar sketch thing on side one; a larger scale version of that same sketch appears on top of a white background for the 'Oblivious' 12" single:

The British papers tore it to shreds. Roddy Frame was supposed to use keyboards sparingly, if at all. He was not supposed to have any songs that were longer than four-and-a-half minutes (at the absolute most) and his arrangements were supposed to be cutting edge DIY spareness, not this moody MOR crap.

Maybe if I were there at the time and had considered him to be one of the saviours of pop music, I'd have been upset as well. But that seems unlikely because the songs are just that good. Sure, High Land Hard Rain is (deservedly) everyone's favorite Aztec Camera album and it (again, deservedly) gets five stars across the board.

But I've seen way too many recommendations for just the first album and nothing else. And furthermore, way too many collections that have the first album and nothing else.

Is Knife better than High Land Hard Rain? No.

Is it Aztec Camera's second best album? Without question.

I've always been of the opinion that, while Knife isn't Roddy Frame's best work, it is his most representative. When you consider the MOR, white boy lite soul that would dominate their secondary post-High Land catalogue (a/k/a the rest of Roddy Frame's career), Knife seems to be the best album Aztec Camera made in that mode. And I would definitely say you'd like it if you liked High Land Hard Rain.

It definitely deserves a reassessment, because even though I haven't been listening to it since 1984, in the relatively short time that I've been familiar with it, it just seems to get better with each listen.

And that easily earns it a seal of approval:

Good stuff. And a perfect example of how something can sound totally of its time, but its content and subject matter can push it outside of those limitations.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Food: Grilled Ahi tuna steaks with grilled fennel and red leaf salad (again)

I'm actually surprised at how well this one turned out.

For the tuna, we I just covered each side in salt and pepper and a nice slathering layer of canola oil. The fennel was given an equally liberal brushing of the same oil and a pinch of salt. About three-to-five minutes on each side of the tuna and about eight-to-ten on each side of the fennel stalks; and all of that atop Trader Joe's all hardwood briquettes.

Also did some grilled tofu (marinated in sesame oil) and beets (drizzled with olive oil and wrapped in foil) for a later date — grilled veggies keep surprisingly well.

A little more of a breeze tonight, but another Old Rasputin kept me company.

Overall, [EDIT] and I both agreed that this is the best meal we've conjured up in some time.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Food: Tomato bisque and cheese bread with salad.

I love tomatoes.

Sometimes I just eat them raw with a bit of salt.

Tonight, [EDIT] made some tomato bisque (of [EDIT]'s own improvised variation that originated with a simple roux of butter, salt and yellow onion) with some stewed tomatoes from a can. Can't say that's the freshest way of doing things, but it was delicious regardless. I bought some smoked Gouda and [EDIT] put it on top of some Truckee Sourdough kalamata ciabatta bread. Some red leaf lettuce topped with fresh tomatoes, avocado, olive oil, a bit of rice vinegar and man... tasty.

Throw in some Old Rasputin Stout on the side with an outside seat amidst a soothing summer breeze and that's a fine meal.


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Old music: OMD's Dazzle Ships (1983)

I've been a rather big fan of this album since I initially heard it a little over a year ago. I was just discovering Orchestral Manouevres in the Dark's early work and I recall being somewhat annoyed at this album because it was the only one of the band's first five that I couldn't get out of the dollar bin. I had to pay full price ($5) for a pristine vinyl, worn cover copy. And I was genuinely miffed.

That was before I had heard it.

Had I known what I was actually getting, there is now way that I would've had anything resembling apprehension or annoyance about the whole deal. I should have been smiling uncontrollably.

It's cool to now remark about how Dazzle Ships was poorly received after the band's big breakthrough with their previous album, Architecture and Morality and its classic new wave-era defining love song 'Souvenir', but I would instead like to look in retrospect at what came before the album and declare everyone who proposed to not 'get it' or pretended they didn't see it coming in 1983 to be a complete fucking moron.

The album that Dazzle Ships most closely resembles musically in the OMD catalogue is 1980's Oragnisation. If you go back and play these two records one after the other, they will practically be musically synced. At the time cutting edge keyboards, synthesizers and drum machines bump heads with traditional rock band live instruments like live drums, electric bass and electric guitar. It all combines for a sound that must've been like music from outer space at the time and now sounds like the vintage sound of a classic era in rock music that will never be recreated (no matter how hard some folks may try). This musical territory was unique, even at this point, with only fellow northerners New Order being the closest musical relation.

But that's all well and good, you say. What about those weird 'musique concrete' seemingly free form sound collage tracks that took up nearly half the album, you ask?

To which I say that high concepts like this had always been a staple of OMD's material. From the early tracks like 'Electricity' and 'Enola Gay,' which were based on themes, to Architecture and Morality's loose running-theme based around the life of Joan of Arc; these boys always had something that was on their mind and that would want to put into the context of a wonderful pop song.

Now, as for the concept of Dazzle Ships itself, it seems to be based on post-war Britain, the rise of technology in the Cold War and how that same technology that is supposedly advancing the society in social terms is actually making the world a more desolate and isolated place to be. But that is entirely unclear and blurred when you consider that the album was named after something whose purpose was 'confusion rather than concealment.'


And the music fits. It's appropriately 80's sounding. It's new wave. It's of its time. Synth pop. Fantastically played and perfected by a band that was perhaps getting a little smug and sprawling in their enormous success; but through it all, they were always just as concerned with the art side as they were with the pop side.

And Dazzle Ships is one of the finest examples of that, perhaps ever.

The five sound collages scattered amongst the seven actual songs are actually not as confrontational as some reviews may suggest. For the most part, they are like between song interludes or skits; and, in the case of something like 'This is Helena,' it could be argued that it is an actual song. The genuinely weirdest of the bunch is 'Dazzle Ships (Parts II, III & VII).' It is just a mish mash of random blurts and shouts if noise. But as the introduction to the second half of the album, and that forthcoming material's emotional weight, it is a good preview of the depths to which this album wishes to plunge. Call these interludes obnoxious, in the way or dull indulgence, but whatever you do, don't call them unnecessary.

As for the actual songs on the album, they are all among OMD's best. Starting off with the brilliantly bouncy 'Genetic Engineering' all the way through the mournfully profound closer 'Of All the Things We've Made,' there isn't one song here that isn't top notch. I've always had a soft spot for 'Telegraph,' which bounces along at 'Enola Gay' levels of dancibility and condemns mass communication simultaneously ('We've got telegraphs all over this land. It doesn't mean a damn thing,' sings McClusky atop an irresistibly catchy synth line). Wonderful. Also of note is the song 'Silent Running,' whose seemingly carefree musical mood is betrayed by the unsure lyrics ('We're walking on air, we're taking our time. But god only knows, this isn't reason or rhyme.'). It's unclear whether this song is inspired by the 1970's Douglas Trumbull movie, but it would make sense if it were. Lastly, the album's final moment of brilliance is also its last song; the aforementioned 'Of All the Things We've Made.' The song is fine and stands incredibly well on its own, but at the end of this heavily conceptual dystopianism, it comes alight and breathes a previously unheard resonance into the material. Absolutely stunning.

Of course, no one at the time paid any attention to the two top flight singles, 'Genetic Engineering' and 'Telegraph', they all focused on the between song bits and the album was a notorious flop for years to come. Shame, that.

When it was first released, it was one of the first albums to have different cover art across different formats. Peter Saville designed both, of course. Here's the CD cover; gotta love that electric blue:

And the vinyl cover:

I've never seen a cassette copy, but I would imagine it's just a scaled down version of the LP cover.

Well, I guess a good way to wrap this up is to point out that a kid who got into new wave in his early 20's, twenty years after the fact, still had a tough time getting hipped to anything by this band. Maybe it was because all I knew was that 'If You Leave' was their biggest hit and just (foolishly) assumed that that was the kind of music they played. Or maybe it was because of my opinion that, outside of Britain, they are completely and utterly underrated; perhaps to the point of being relegated to second or third tier status. But that's just not the case.

And all of that applies to this album especially.

And it definitely gets my seal of approval:

Check it out. Even if it's not in the dollar bin.


Man, spinning records at weddings is fun.

Had a good experience tonight.

I don't really DJ out anymore but an old friend asked if I would DJ his wedding reception and I accepted on the condition that I would only play what he and his bride wanted to hear.

Thankfully, this meant no 'Good Times,' no 'Ain't No Stoppin Us Now,' no 'We Are Family' and no fucking 'Celebrate.'

Got to play stuff like 'I Can't Next to You' (Temps version), 'Blue Monday,' 'I Want You,' 'Tired of Being Alone,' TWO T-Rex songs (*ahem*fuckyeah!*ahem*), Kinks' 'Picture Book,' 'Just Like Heaven' and a ton of big band stuff (filled the dance floor with those joints).

Granted, it was mostly folks like me (uhhmm.... *cough*white*cough*), but it was just a good vibe. Despite the early evening rain (and yes, it was an outside reception).

I don't care what any DJ says, weddings are fun events to play at.