Saturday, December 7, 2013

Grammy Nominations of Note, 2014 Edition

First I loved seeing the headline "Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Dominate at 2014 Grammy Nominations" followed by a call out that seems to undermine that very headline: "Jay-Z leads with nine nominations." I suppose if you think that a General Field nomination is worth more than a genre category nomination you might think that. But you'd be wrong. Every Grammy category has at least one really shitty winner in its history to undermine any respect you'd gave that particular award (Phil Collins won Album of the Year for No Jacket Required, no Grammy is better than any other Grammy. except possibly Best Remixed Non-classical Recording and that's only because there's not a Best Remixed Classical Recording so clearly this category is racist [or something]).

The Best New Artist category is filled with critically acclaimed artists, 4 of whom have been featured as Song of the Day at least once here (thanks to a recent inclusion of Kacey Musgraves; granted Ed Sheeran only got an SotD slot for his random single Grammy nomination last year for Song of the Year) and the Album of the Year nominees are predictable in a general sense (Sarah Bareilles picks up the "palatable mainstream album one would never expect to get nominated primarily because one forgets it exists" slot [Metacritic score of 68 while Musgraves earned a score of 88, so that makes sense, right?]; Taylor Swift picks up the "recent winner ergo is re-nominated because that's how the Grammys work" slot; Kendrick Lamar is possibly the beneficiary of the Grammy shortlist [think of it like the bumpers they use when little kids go bowling, to guide the ball in] or possibly one of the best reviewed albums of the eligibility period [Metacritic score of 91]). Random Access Memory and The Heist seem reasonable (and I'm sure that makes me a total cliche for some reason).

2014 Grammy nominee
(Jonathon Barnbrook)
My favorite nomination this year is for Jonathon Barnbrook for the package design for David Bowie's The Next Day (seriously, Sara Bareilles picked up an Album of the Year nomination and Bowie, once again, did not [Metacritic score 81]). The art work is the cover from Bowie's Heroes album updated with a white square bearing the album title in a sans serif font (maybe Arial, maybe not). I am not sure if I find the cover inspired or brilliantly half-assed or both. Regardless, viva Team Bowie!

Seriously Liza, it is easier than this.
It's nice to see Neko Case and The National among the Best Alternative Recording and it's nice to see Fantasia, well, anywhere. Seriously, I worry about her a little. Fanta, as everyone should always call her from now on,  picked up 3 Grammy nominations just by showing up and submitting in the right category so would it kill you to put in a little effort Liza?!!! You are thisclose to full EGOT, step it up (did you see that fucking album cover? you know girls win that category). Babs and Sir Julie Andrews would each need to make an effort to pick up a Tony, but there's no excuse for not winning an Emmy or a Grammy. Fuck, just go for a Latin Grammy, I'm sure we'll pretend it's just as good (SEE ALSO: the Daytime Emmy).

Alicia Keys faces off again John (the male Alicia Keys) Legend for R&B Album of the Year. Have they gone head to head for a Grammy before? 20 years ago I would have known the answer right away (since neither of them had a recording career 20 years ago the answer would have been easy: no). Also I remembered lots of things then. My early onset Alzheimer's (and I may not even be kidding) is hysterical. (Update: Legend beat Keys in 2006 although it was her Unplugged album so I don't think it's a real challenge... also, fuck, I hate the whole Unplugged thing [Tony Bennett Unplugged is just... Tony Bennett, fuck]. Anyone remember how Unplugged actually began?)

Who the fuck is Tartar-Control Tamar Braxton? Did Toni have gender reassignment surgery? No, she didn't, I saw her with Babyface the other night, keep up.

I was giddy to see a duet by Kenny and Dolly nominated but then I listened to the song and I was sad.

Steve Martin & Edie Brickell face off against Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell and Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale (and 2 non-ampersand nominees) in the Americana category. Stephen Colbert, David Sedaris and Carol Burnett vie for Best Spoken Word Album (but no Jenny Lawson, ergo FAIL! [she may have been eligible last year, not this year, whatever]).

The Comedy field includes Kathy Griffin and Craig Ferguson, and someone I've never heard of, Tig Notaro. So I checked him out (turns out he is a female) and I laughed an amused NPR-type laugh (the kind of chuckle that comes with a tote bag [if you contribute at least $40]).

While she will undoubtedly lose to Adele, Diane Warren could pick up her second Grammy for a song I don't remember from a movie I ultimately hated. She could if Adele like kills a bunch of kittens on live TV or something similar. Since that's unlikely I'm guessing she won't win.

I have taken my issues with the Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical category  up with The Grammys peeps via Twitter. Perhaps one of their pets will read it and get something done.

Who's missing this year? The Pet Shop Boys and Alison Moyet; neither was a heavy favorite or anything and PSB would have lost to Daft Punk had they picked up a nod for Electric (Metacritic score of 84, Random Access Memory has a score of 87). Moyet picked up a few surprise nominees in the past so just knowing she has a well-regarded album eligible put her in my mind but her absence is no big surprise.

I'm sure there are other huge snubs of people I don't care about. And with that ennui takes over.

Andre Braugher in a Role That Will Surprise You

At the risk of sounding racist... (this is where people with a modicum of self-awareness decide not to finish the blog post); is it just me or does Andre Braugher in Brooklyn 99 look a lot like Eddie Murphy as Grandma Klump in The Nutty Professor?

It might give you additional context into my psyche to find out that while I was at the grocery store today, someone said hello to Clark and that person is a tenant of mine for like 5 years now. But I am fairly confident that I wouldn't have recognized any of my white, Hispanic or Cambodian tenants either. (Oh, and the dude was black, if that wasn't clear.)

Song of the Day: "Come To My Party"

This track from Black Joe Lewis also from Paste's Top 50 Songs of 2013. I don't think it's #48 but it's in the 40s somewhere. I'm that predictable.

Get over yourself, so are you.

I like it, but it doesn't quite reach the bad-assedness that The Heavy did no too long again fishing in the same waters. Your mileage may vary, but it can't vary that much.

Song: "Come To My Party"
Artist: Black Joe Lewis

Friday, December 6, 2013

Song of the Day: "She Will"

Number 49 on Paste's top 50 songs of 2013 is this track from Mercury shortlisters Savages.

There's no telling who I confuse them with but I'm sure it's someone.

Song: "She Will"
Artist: Savages

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Song of the Day: "Daddy Was a Real Good Dancer"

I'm working my way through Paste's Top 50 Songs of 2013. This is #50.

I've seen The Dismemberment Plan on a few year-end album lists and now I'm going to have to listen to more from them. This is fucking awesome. It's 2:20 a.m. and I need to sleep and yet here I am.

Song: "Daddy Was a Real Good Dancer"
Artist: The Dismemberment Plan

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Song of the Day: "Brother Bryan"

Prepare for the confusion train. This is Waxahatchee which sounds like a band name but is actually a moniker used by a solo dude (girl dude, but dude is not gender specific when I use). The confusing part is that the dude's day job (for which this is a side project) is more obscure than this.

Cerulean Salt, their (her) second album, is among Paste's Top 50 Albums of 2013.

For some reason I thought Waxahatchee was also a place.

Song: "Brother Bryan"
Artist: Waxahatchee

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Song of the Day: "Penny (Won't Help Me Now)"

Eric is on a quest to, well, here's the text message:
Let's get this song known in the US of A.
The US of A.

He went to an ivy! (Eric, not this dude [although maybe this dude too, who knows]).

According to dude's Facebook page, Steve Cradock from Ocean Colour Scene has already retweeted a link to this video, so, you know, I'm in.

Song of the Day: "Penny (Won't Help Me Now)"
Artist: Thomas McConnnell

Monday, December 2, 2013

Song of the Day: "Sex, Death and Landscapes"

Thea in Glasgow (we're Twitter friends and she tried to offer options when I was trying to find a reasonably priced camera for the Roddy Frame gig) passed this along. Tom Rosenthal is not this Tom Rosenthal, he's the other one.

It's confusing if you don't know that.

There's enough Damien Rice in here to make me not care enough to figure out who else I'm hearing.


Song: "Sex, Death and Landscapes"
Artist: Tom Rosenthal

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Song of the Day: "Follow Your Arrow"

Stephen Amell is Arrow on the WB CW
I will follow.
This is Kacey Musgraves whose Same Trailer Different Park is making year-end best of lists and, it turns out, is not a Miranda Lambert album title (or Carrie Underwood)... it just seems like it should be. Maybe Gretchen Wilson (but not).

Like one of them, she was also a Nashville Star contestant.

And unlike one of them, she does not currently have a restraining order taken out against her by Chris Kattan.

Song: "Follow Your Arrow"
Artist: Kasey Musgraves

Happy Birthday Melanie

Neither of these is Melanie,
but she took the picture
Once upon a time there was a temp. Actually she wasn't a temp, she was a contractor referred to the profitable Seattle dot com start-up that couldn't get funding to grow in 2000 (seriously, WTF?!) by the first Darrin. I don't even remember why we interviewed the first Darrin but that's possibly because Melanie got full custody of me in the divorce and I'm just relegating him to trivia better forgotten.

Where was I?

Oh, right, there was a temp who helped make the somewhat fun start-up much more fun. I mean, once I left I'm sure it was non-stop mourning, but that's just me.

At some point after my return to Portland I made her my emergency contact. I'm such a Miranda.

A few years later we worked together in LA. She was enjoying West Hollywood and show biz (we were about 2 degrees of separation from people who could reasonably be called "in the business") even if I did not. I stayed a full 6 months to get her the employee referral bonus. I may have stayed another week because Robin came for a business trip. That was 9 years and a few weeks ago.

Since then she's done some really cool stuff including a great recasting of Darrin, blogging with zeal, started working on her own doing stuff she loves, writing with courage and even adding cousin Oliver without the show jumping the shark.

Also she loves shows on The CW which, I'm sorry, deserves to be called The WB. It just does. The trip to LA where I first met Big Gay John I brought her a swizzle stick from the bar set of Jack & Jill. BGJohn admonished me for my theft. I think the notable absence of the swizzle stick led to J&J's cancellation a year and a half later.

Does she love No Doubt? No doubt. Well, not much doubt. At the very least I figure she's a fan through osmosis from Divad. Unless he thinks they're TIRED and is all Katy Perry all the time now. Exhausting.

Melanie lives in Seattle (for now) with husband Drew and son Nathaniel (I call him N8). I probably should see them more often.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Happy Birthday Laura

Mid-November 2013, Malta NY
Laura took this picture a couple weeks ago out her front door. I know Laura from Dallas but we'd see each other in Florida when I would go for family visits. Since she, David and the kids lived near Orlando they made for a convenient stopping point on my way out of town (for those times I fly in and out of Orlando, which is most times since Daytona requires 2 stops and usually a lot more $).

The change from the impossibly mild weather of central Florida to the... bitter cold of the icy upstate tundra... yikes. At least Portland remains fairly mild all year round (I mean it's always raining and you won't like it, don't visit [not Laura specifically, just all y'all]).

Now that the kids are a little older she's returned to the working world (sucker) as a realtor with Keller Williams (contact her if you're in the market for a home in the greater Albany area).

I'm learning all kinds of fun facts about NY real estate law from her, although more interesting are the yard sale finds she shares on Facebook. Actually Laura's always a great source for new and often interesting facts.

Turns out it's convenient having friends who read.

I don't know that this Siouxsie and the Banshees song was one that she really liked, but I'm playing the odds. Siouxsie provides a strong female presence and the music is solid 90s alternative stuff.

Laura lives in the frozen tundra of upstate New York with David (whom I am not allowed to call Malcolm), Henry and Charlotte. When she was pregnant with Charlotte and talked about that as a possible name I thought she was telling me they were moving to North Carolina. I'm always hysterical.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Happy Birthday Lisa

Dallas 1992 Back L-R: Hillery, Lisa; Fr L-R: Sean, Michael
If you look at the picture above, that quite possibly I took, and you see similarities between Lisa's decor style, the bold wall colors and the crisp white trim, and my decor style, the bold wall colors and crisp white trim, you might see similarities. As if. The minute I figure out how they differ (aside from specific color) I will let you know.

That picture is from Hillery & Sean's going away fete, probably late summer 1992, a few months after I'd moved there (apparently Hillery & Sean won't live in the same city as me; once I settled in Dallas they returned to my recently-vacated Atlanta). Lisa was the best host. She was possibly the only host but frankly I think we all took a turn and the conclusion was obvious, let's hang out at Lisa's. So we did.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Pasta, red wine, music.

Good times.

I haven't seen her since NYC, probably early 2004. Hmm, is that right? It runs together. I think it was a Dr. Botox junket. My inability to remember shit is awesome.

I used to make Lisa mix tapes. She had 1 rule: you must label the tapes. There existed, in her possession, a frustrating unlabeled mix tape and tried to identify the songs. I think I helped with 4. This was not one I helped with, but it was the first song of the tape (and the only one I recall).

Lisa lives a subdued life in Salt Lake City with her husband Brad and dog Ajax (Ajax?) or so Facebook leads me to believe. It's entirely possible that's just a cover for her work as an international covert operative. That would explain Salt Lake City.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!