Thursday, October 27, 2016

Describing "The Perfect Girl" (a new LP from Liz Painter)

What makes you take a chance on new music? On the choice of a new musician? The artist takes out something deeply personal and finds a way to willingly share that with total strangers. If a relationship doesn’t come about at first blush, an avid music listener might never re-connect. In the space of a few minutes, at best- less, among the more omnivorous listeners-you have to relate a story, a state of mind, a feeling.

Fortunately for Liz Painter, she knows how to write a song, and make those few minutes count.

Asking for a whole album is another matter. In this day of singles, the album format is either a commercial relic, or, more generously, an embodiment of the artist as she presents herself in the space of a show. Heck, kids listen to pieces of songs, these days. But let’s say, ‘album’ is your chosen conveyance of yourself as an artist. How many styles do you need to pursue as an artist? How many will hang together for a listener?

No comments: Links to this post

Friday, October 21, 2016

Bridgit Mendler, Atlantis, and Owlcat!

When Integr8d Soul opened for Benjamin K last year, we got a great taste of danceable tunes. We'd love to try some things in that direction, ourselves! Yours truly- Cecil- put together songs like Bejamin K's "Welcome To Atlanta" to create a presentation for the thirty attendees of the Rome Art Coterie, Making Comics. That spring and summer found Ben K as our popular "go-to" music (along with Flux Oersted and many popular Anime themes).

Before we completed the full documentary "Making Comics," we got sucked back into the comics industry in a new, elevated fashion, as we developed Hero Duty for IDW Publishing alongside HD's creator, the diversely-talented Joe Phillips! So, when we finish Making Comics, we will have made comics again on a whole new level.

But the point of this post is Ben K's afterlife as Owl Cat. He's been jamming out at festivals across Northwest Georgia and Chattanooga, Tennessee.
This song's one of his latest this year. Dance and hip hop meet in a lush Owl Cat setting- and why put it into words, when you can click for yourself?

Best of luck!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Phil Collins: Not Dead Yet! Genesis reunites

What do you know?
Phil Collins is coming back.
Detailed here at length on this blog in 2010, the Genesis drummer, vocalist, and 80's super star solo artist
retired in great pain, unable to sing or to drum anymore.

(Update, 11/10: Genesis is now back together to tour, too. Gubriel's working on his own thing at the moment, but hasn't ruled out working with Banks, Rutherford, and Collins again.

There was a time in the Deep South when Phil was one of the few rock artists with music "soft" enough, pop enough,
for me to openly listen to him in my home, where Mom and Dad took the church's staunch anti-rock music stance. I slipped him in along with some saxophone jazz like Dave Sanborn (and ha, Kenny G, my hair twin) and probably let my folks hear him cover "You CAn't Hurry Love," as Motown was maybe a bit less "evil."

I stuck with his tunes through my teens; his Ubiquitous Tour was my first ever rock concert. When I was 15, 16, Phil was high on my listening list. I particularly liked the first solo album. Reflections of my own luck in love, I think.

"One More Night" was my sophomore saxophone solo act in the talent show. Next year, we came back with "I Wish It Would Rain Down," this time with Matti Muench and Willis Woods as my rhythm section. I already had performing in my blood. Model Revue was a personal slice of the Divine for a formerly-painfully shy nerd. (Think I'm getting the years right.)

And now, he's let YOU know...he can really shake'em down.
Honestly, as much as it looks like it may've kicked his bum, Phil sold "In The Air Tonight" like a case of Girl Scout Cookies. He commits. He simply blows it away. Questlove grins his cheeks off, playing the most famous drum roll in rock.

Phil's got an autobiography coming out, too. Here: It's called Not Dead Yet.

“Do you like Phil Collins? I’ve been a big Genesis fan ever since the release of their 1980 album, Duke. Before that, I really didn’t understand any of their work. Too artsy, too intellectual. It was on Duke where Phil Collins’ presence became more apparent. I think Invisible Touch is the group’s undisputed masterpiece. It’s an epic meditation on intangibility. At the same time, it deepens and enriches the meaning of the preceding three albums. Christy, take off your robe.” - Patrick Bateman, "American Psycho"

So, hey: Phil's schtick was, he never was all that cool (though R&B artists like Phil Bailey just might disagree, and possibly some of the people who snapped up a whopping 100Million-Plus record sales), an artist for your folks who don't dance well, a comedian in his videos. It was very popular to hate on Phil Collins by the time he retired, but his career gave me nothing but happiness. Well, maybe not the Adult Contemporary-oriented phase...and I was too old and too young to get hooked on his Tarzan soundtrack stuff, but...why wouldn't I wish him the best?

I particularly like "Follow You, Follow Me," "ABACAB" "Turn It ON Again" and various other Genesis performances, often with him drumming behind Peter Gabriel- their approach took me a while to warm up to, but the time came! "Driving The Last Spike" and "Dreaming While You Sleep" were my last favorites from them. There was once a time when Invisible Touch was as good as it got for me. What can I say?

I am all about "Easy Lover" (with Phillip Bailey of EArth, Wind and Fire), "In The Air Tonight," and that whole first solo record, but I learned to play and sing quite a few of Phil's tunes- ironically, about the time he announced his retirement, I picked up his stuff on guitar. As I said to my new pal Peter Colp of "Air": Yep, the original pop music crime thriller! (And definitely all the better for originating as a true piece of rock music art that just happened to become an immortal single.)

And it's sorta funny, from the outside, if he had a fourteen-year feud with Sir Paul McCartney. Not really a "feud" I'd say- that's more like Roger Waters Vs. the rest of Pink Floyd sort of territory- just a meeting that went funky.
Too bad, but sometimes things happen and it's easier to not quite let it go and keep making zingers at the other person's expense. I know someone doing that right now.

My life's been plenty cool enough for me not to fear being found out as a Phil Collins fan.

So, as they'll see live in Europe next June...He's Not Dead Yet. :-D

Go PHil.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Jolie lover crashes plane into Depp home out of jealousy

One thing! Branjelina broke up recently, and Anj just read the account of some fight between a drunken Pitt and the boys on a plane. Ouch. 52, world’s his oyster, something’s not quite right though.

Maybe some nihilsm lurking beneath all this activity in which we seek meaning.

But we got a laugh away in the end; she’d been talking about why Depp’s last two loves didn’t work out. I said, “what if you woke up in the morning and found out I was living with Angelina Jolie?”
She said “well bring me aboard as the Nanny!”
I said, “naw, after I swooped in like that, you moved in with Johnny Depp!"
I have her laughing good now, but I'm on a roll so:

"And I go insane with jealousy, so I paint ‘rage’ onto a private plane "--
"Flying in a rage, are you?"

"...and fly it into his mansion! And when I flew “in a rage” the propeller beheaded Alice Cooper, but for real this time. What a tragedy. After all this time pretending to be decapitated on stage."

It's not that these terrible things people go through aren't sad.
It's that, the world asks us to remember its inherent absurdity.

You can't really envy anyone.

You can only enjoy what you have. And laugh some, be alive.

Be Chill,

Cease ill

Monday, July 18, 2016

Let love win : keeping quarrels from running the show in your relationship

Mama Vick would come home tired from work. Pops would be grousing about some general flaw of society or some specific pissy detail, and she would light into him, and sometimes, away they'd go. But you know what? They made it forty five and a half years, and filled far more of those moments with love and companionship. Heck, even ill companionship is company, when you get down to it. And when people get hungry AND sore, all bets are off!

I might've thought of trying to referee a couple of times, but wisdom suggested (let's face it, my wife) that they had been at this since they were teenagers. It was unpleasant...but things never failed to blow over. Before long, her laughter would come sailing down the hallway. I miss that laugh. It was a good belly laugh that told you she, for the moment, had not a care in the world. He used to enjoy riling her up in their younger days: it was his sense of humor. But he made her smile for a lifetime, and she, him.

Relationships. People spend so much time building them, but they can tear one apart, so quickly, it seems.
Yet...stormy pronouncements and terse words are only a stress reaction. Where do they fit in the greater context? That's the contingency against which all good times are had, the storehouse in which all survival and sanity build the attractions that make our trust worthy relationships last.

Listen, your body may not yield you a greater bounty of patience to fill your cohort of wisdom, even if you
try your best to take care of your self. Sometimes, the overload on the next available nervous system will
cause a circuit of irritation. When people feel tired and sick, they will use a fight to stimulate energy.

The reactions people make out of compounded ill feelings and resentment can expand the space between two people. Let me say from experience, I've never stormed out for a walk where I didn't end up missing my wife, no matter how wronged I felt. Maybe you go home and pick up the fight, maybe the need for the last word vanishes. But if you want things to last, never go out on an extended tour of duty, reacting to your frustrations. Someone has to say no to that.

Someone has to give up on the chance for mutual happiness to ever wear the other one out. A show of mutual respect and good humor- not overloading on snark, here, I mean, laughs you can both have, even over each one's silly foibles- is a daily investment towards building the reservoir of good will on both sides.

Extended grudges and a lack of affection every time you meet up erode any relationship. So here's my take
on what actually happens every time the ill meets the grill!

Honestly, two people can put an end to almost any blow-up in under 20 minutes, 95% of the time, I'd say from experience. You don't really want to put the other person through that- empathy can be a powder keg, but the whole time, the sane part of both people is saying "we don't really want to do this..." and you just try to get the nerves to stop reacting, you know?

Mama Vick came up with this saying she passed to her children. "I'd rather be with your daddy in bad times than with anyone else in good times." She was known for her truthfulnesss.

No one wants memories like sweet every day, y'all.

Friday, June 24, 2016

A Day Fit For A Queen (for Momma Vick)

In honor of our great friend today, let her name be Victoria. She told several of us, she always wished she had been named Victoria; it was her mother’s original intention! It was her helpful big sis, Debra, who supplied the name “Vickie Jane,” as humble as could be imagined. But she would tell you, she was no plain ol’ Jane. In glory, she radiates like the queen she is. “Victoria” if you please.
That spry little tom boy of old still lived on in her eyes, to the summer solstice day she peacefully closed them last. She told me stories of Raiford, Mildred, Debra, Randy, Barry, Ronald and all the grandparents and all the brothers and sisters, that made me her family, too. But her heart, full of all those beautiful ideals that seem so unpopular to the cynics of late, made many, many people part of her family, and if you were really her friend, too, you know they were her diverse and moving work of art.

As we drove home under the first full moon without her tied to this plane alone, we reflected how,
in our loss, we are not so alone. Somewhere, others were asked to give to Time and Death the dearest sacrifice that had come to fruition. To lose a life long companion, to lose a wife, to lose a mother, to lose a family member-this is the lot of humanity.

But never say Victoria wasn’t unique! Her cheery way of singing jingles about whatever she was doing at the moment, unabashed around her house-her bluntness, her utter authenticity and disregard for airs or pretense, her desire to make everyone in her family’s life better any way she could, in prayer or deed, and her invaluable discernment of people’s character- all these I will miss, but am so much the better for having known such a beautiful, true person.

She never took back her unconditionally given love. She was quick to share her candy and loved a hearty laugh. She loved babies. She even correctly dreamed predictions of their genders. She loved sleep, where much more gets done that you might realize, for there, you dream. The true motives of people fascinated her; she loved an honest question as much as an honest answer, and had an unlimited supply of both. She spent much of her final years enjoying the memories she’d piled up so vigorously, comfort to pains that piled up equally so. She was forgetful. She was a voice of Reason.

She loved a good vampire story, a true ghost story, a love story of any kind, and Dark Shadows for being all three! -the brutal and macabre, game shows, her kitty Cap; she loved Loretta, real country music, and trips to different places. When she didn’t feel like she was on the spot, she could break out a gospel harmony that could melt your heart. She was a smash to party with. She stood up for herself, without ever taking herself disproportionately serious. She wore herself out, cheer leading.

She adored singing any of her favorite songs with Poppa, as if they’d just come on the radio. She laughed with Chris and hung out after work on the bed with Dixie and talked to Angie in the mornings, she helped raise three beautiful grand children with Anna, and she learned the undying nature of love with precious Joy. She worried sometimes til it hurt, found contentedness in a frosty Coke or little piece of candy, shared a lot of delicious home cooked meals, and dreamed of a lot of fun things that stayed dreams. She hated cleaning the house and waiting on her husband in the car. If you washed her dishes without asking, her love and respect were yours. That’s how I earned my invitation here today, I guess. They took in a LOT of strays, so long as their kids loved them. She lived until she could simply hug and kiss no more. But if you look in your heart, her words will leave you never.

She knew some of the saddest, and happiest days, any person could know, but kept faith in the way of her heart without surrender. In that way, she achieved a victory that Death can never take away, for she lives still in you and me, and in places yet unimagined. Cheer up!
Today is Queen Victoria's Day. 6/24/16

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Just Give Me Some Truth

The abstract is called
Misperceiving Bullshit as Profound Is Associated with Favorable Views of Cruz, Rubio, Trump and Conservatism

The writing in question can be found here:
I am not actually here to make a partisan point. The abstract, in fact, finds an attraction
to pseudo-profundity in people identifying with any of the candidates for President of the United States
at the time. I try to get to an honest bit of truth in each and every one of these posts, and in all good
conscience, could never sully one with outright factual untruths. Granted, there are short stories along
the way- many were collected in Be Chill, Cease ill Vol. 1 for anyone interested in a copy- but even
those are either outright factual accounts at their core, or symbols and metaphors for true events.

As for the abstract: it's fairly intensive and takes a few minutes of clarity to read.
Yet, while a lot of people will go to the provocative title alone for their reaction,
the writers do attempt to delineate how a standard for objective detection of any sort of logic
does not exist strongly for many individuals- and tries to be a little scientific, if inconclusively,
about the underlying logic with which people of different political stripes examine the principle soundness
of the ideas presented, in pragmatic terms. That's really too bad- one would fervently hope
pragmatic measures would be the only sort about which we would debate, politically- the only ends
we'd attempt to seek in our laws. But we must remain discerning, for they are not-
and this is the cause of unjust laws.

There are numerous positions where the most humane approach can be figured out with facts.
A set of facts can be configured to buttress most any position's logical argument,
but those facts themselves deserve examination. Strong opinions deserve an examination of both
conscience and existing examples. Most bigotry- and inhumane points of view -relies on a perception
where emotions overrule empathy as well as demonstrable proof- sometimes substituting isolated events as
evidence, sometimes manufacturing said events for the sake of propaganda. It is my opinion that respectable critical
thinking skills are desperately needed to form and support humane individual, group, corporate or governmental policies.

I find much less evidence of this than I had hoped to discover upon reaching adulthood. But I can at least stand for this
principle, and I appeal to you to do so, too.

Feel free to leave a well-reasoned comment. Such thought is really good for the soul!

Monday, February 8, 2016

From a place of peace and radiance

Of all the things I felt compelled to take up in my day, the hour I gave to simply enjoy my darling's company and then, the hour I gave to a full routine of yoga, were sustenance to me. My order happens to change as I go by feel: what part of me needs a life-giving stretch?

Inspiration often comes when you truly relax; the value of the inspiration relates to what you value most about your life. For example, when you are being hard on yourself, who's the "you"? Think about it! Take it apart. We take on an imaginary guise of being "Other" to ourselves. Help yourself like a friend when you think of yourself, at all.

Why assail myself with thoughts? There is a very basic level at which we all exist, and within that existence, if you go into the silence, you'll find a self stretching from before you came here, to which you'll return one day afterwards. You'll discover the love that went into the life you've had, if you seek it. There may be someone who acts as if they are your opponent, but when they seem to tear away your inner peace, it's nothing personal. They aren't in touch with peace of their own. If you acknowledge the peace that belongs to you, you see the story in progress with a clear head. Don't congest your emotional self with anger, bitterness, over shadowing sadness; meditate regularly until you are again able to "hear" or "see" a thought...then let it go. If you want to accomplish anything methodically, you have to move on to the next step, and know when it's time to move on. You wouldn't eat spoiled food if you had a choice, would you? When you have a vision something's good for you, and you feel the goodness, accept it! You have an entire collection of thoughts that make up a great life; you just have to go through it.

What you actually achieve will remain a testament to yourself: you had these doubts, these problems, and in resolution, this is what you now have to share.