2/12 – 2/18/17
I’m going back for this first one, to an album that I not only still love, but one that also led me to artists like Gaslight Anthem and Chuck Ragan:
“Resolutions” – by Dave Hause, 2013, Rise Records
There are three key songs I want to call out: “Prague (Revive Me)” and “Meet Me At The Lanes”, but especially “C’mon Kid”.
When I was still trying to define the characters that became Connor & Oz, “C’mon Kid” helped lead me to the right perspective…and especially to admit just how much of me existed in those two boys.
02/19 – 02/25/17
I wrestled with the music for this week. There are a lot ways I could go… What really decided me was the album I was actively listening to at the time I sat down to write this:
“Covering Ground” – Chuck Ragan, 2011, SideOneDummy Records
Now, just like last week’s album, this one goes back to the origins of Wrath & Tears. It has had a significant impact on me and my writing. Crap, I’ve quoted songs from it in a number of past posts! Keeping with what I wrote last week, I am going to call out 3 songs: “Nothing Left to Prove” and “Nomad by Fate” are just plain good. Very good. But…but… If you want to understand Connor (and, by extension, me) you absolutely have to listen to “You Get What You Give”.
Yep, my man-crush on Chuck Ragan actually outshines my man-crush on the other Chuck (Palahniuk).
02/26 – 03/04/17
Let’s go old-school, shall we?
Yes. Yes, we shall.
“Grave Dancers Union” – Soul Asylum, 1992, Columbia Records
Yes, I AM that old. Get over it…I did.
I have loved this album since, well, it came out. It is a pretty significant departure from their previous album (“And The Horse They Rode In On”, also very good), but to me it represents a process of evolution and maturation rather than a cash-grab. They had, if I recall correctly, all of one hit off this album (“Somebody to Shove”), but there are some damn good songs throughout.
I’m gonna go off the beaten track for the 3 songs I want to call out: “April Fool”, “Get On Out”, and definitely…oh, most definitely…”Without A Trace”.
By the way: sad moment of the day? When you realize there are no more “up” notches on your phone’s volume… =(
03/05 – 03/12/17
“In Moderation” – 8stops7, 1999, Reprise Records
Hey, sometimes ads and product-placement work…
Way back when, a year or so after this album was officially released, I bought a Mac Cube (oh, how I loved that computer!). The MP3 for “Question Everything” was preloaded on the system to show off its speakers and audio system.
I fell in love with the song, and very quickly bought the CD. It’s been in and out of my regular musical rotation ever since.
Calling out 3 songs…hmm… I definitely have to have “Question Everything” on the list, along with “Uninspired” and “Satisfied”.
03/13 – 03/19/17
Alright, I’ve gone into some background stuff for the first few albums, so it’s time for something new. Something that has really influenced stuff happening now(ish).
“Babel” by Mumford & Sons, Universal Records, 2012.
I know these guys are big time, but I actually stumbled across this album completely by accident…which is, by the way, the BEST way to discover music!
The reason I mention its personal importance is because this album was a key part of my “surroundings” as I drew together all of the characters and ideas that became Wrath & Tears. A great deal of how I closed out that story drew inspiration and strength from this album.
Calling out 3 songs is easy…LIMITING myself to 3 songs? That’s harder, but here we go: “Lover’s Eyes”, “Below My Feet”, but most of all…oh, very much most of all…the song that helped inspire the end of Wrath more than any other: “Ghosts That We Knew”. If you listen to no other song, listen to that one.
03/20 – 03/26/17
Gotta go with a long-time favorite. Long-time favorite album, and even longer-time favorite band:
“Social Distortion” by, err, Social Distortion, Epic Records, 1990.
I went to college in southern California…these guys played on and near that campus more than once. Many times more than once. I have been a massive fan since I was old enough to drink…err, drink illegally.
This album is just completely full of energy and life. Play it when you’re outside on a nice spring or summer day, drinking a good gose or pilsner…pure freaking heaven. God, I love these guys. And, yes, I very quickly run out of “up” notches on the volume when I play this album.
The last punk/rock concert I went to was Social Distortion. Not all that long ago, actually, it was at a small venture an hour or so from where I live. That was when I decided, with a tear and a glass of scotch, that I was getting too damned old for the mosh pit…
Songs to call out: well, shit, I HAVE to start with “Ring of Fire” – c’mon, its a rockabilly-punk band covering Johnny Cash, for the love of God! Add to that “Story of My Life” and my personal favorite, “Ball and Chain”.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and piss my neighbors off with some Social D.
Okay – I’ve talked about these guys more than once, so I figure I should add them to the Music section:
“The ’59 Sound” by The Gaslight Anthem, Side One Dummy Records, 2008.
I put this specific album up because it is their first album to get significant attention (their second album overall). It is also the one that drew me to this band. The sound is clean and nostalgic as all get-out. They did an incredible job of paying their respects to the older sounds of the titular year.
Don’t think the album is just that, however: it very, very much is an homage, not a throwback. The energy and pacing of the music also makes it, on a personal level, something perfect for me to write to.
To call out three songs? Err, since I can’t just say, “The whole damn thing!” (although I want to) let’s go with: “The Patient Ferris Wheel”, “High Lonesome” and “Once Upon A Time”…and a definite Honorable Mention for “Miles Davis & The Cool”.
Holy crap! I switched the drink over to monthly, but forgot the music. My first of these in a while, and I’m going WAY off the board for this one:
“Free” by Libera, 2004, Warner Brothers Records
Some explanation is necessary…very, very necessary. I love choral music. I have a pretty decent selection of choirs doing old-school hymns and church music. Whether you are a believer or not is immaterial, the music is absolutely gorgeous. One of my all-time favorite songs is a choir doing Faure’s In Paradisum (Op. 48-7).
This group is in that same choral vein, with one exception: it’s a boys’ choir. Now, we don’t really have these in the US, but in Europe kids’ choirs are huge. We’ve all heard of the Vienna Boys Choir…well, this is the British version of that. I happened to know a lady who had a relative involved in this group, and she started me listening. You have to be in the right mood…but when you are? These kids are pretty close to perfect.
Time to return to something more, err, normal. I’ll save the Chopin and Bach and Mozart for another time…
“Scars & Stories” by The Fray, 2012, Epic Records
I’m a big fan of these guys. “How To Save A Life” is one of my favorite songs…and is a song (and album) that tugs at me. But this particular album rises above for a few reasons: I think it is more balanced and complete, I think the production is outstanding, and it has some songs that…well…hit me. Hard.
I’ll explain that in a moment…but first, calling out three songs. This one is easy(ish) for me: “The Fighter” has strength and meaning, and is a song that can be in the background, or can be your whole focus. “The Wind” is just plain good to listen to. It is also a song that comes into play when I think of the opening of Silence (while Connor is prison).
And now for the kicker…for what, to me, is EVERYTHING on this album: “Be Still”. “Be Still” is the song I hear in my head when I envision the final scene of Wrath & Tears. “Be Still” is Oz’s final wish to Connor as he slides into death…
June – September, 2017
Let’s just call it the interregnum, shall we? I love my iPad, but WordPress and a tablet are not the best match in the world. I gave up on trying to keep up with these subpages really, really goddamned fast.
I’m not gonna go with albums for this update…even if I do own all (err, most) of the albums involved. Nope, I’m going to talk about (some of) the songs a friend of mine came up with to define her perception of Connor & Oz.
And, yes, I am always looking for new music – this friend massively helped with that quest…almost as much as her input & advice helped with my writing.
“King for a Day” by Pierce The Veil – it takes something special to get right a song defining “angry Connor”…this does that. Shit yeah, does it do that.
“The Mystic” by Adam Jensen (no Deus Ex jokes, thank you very much!) – Connor is, beneath the cocky surface, a guilt- and shame-ridden drug addict. Yup, nailed it.
“Monkey Tree” by Mother Mother – more refined, more intelligent and more lyrical than Connor…yep, that’s Oz in a nutshell. And this song does a hell of a job nailing that.
“Something’s Gotta Give” by All Time Low – Oz in one song. No, really…Oz (pre-story) in one song. Just listen.
“L.G. FUAD” by Motion City Soundtrack – do your own homework on what the initials mean: they, as much as the song, define the life Connor & Oz lived before Wrath…
November – December, 2017
Okay, so I’ve been slacking on these little “side” areas. It’s definitely time to get back to them:
Music for this month? A band (and an album) I’ve mentioned before:
“Future Hearts” by All Time Low, 2015, Hopeless Records
A friend turned me on to this album over the summer. Brought it to me, in fact, specifically in relation to my writing. A couple of the songs, she thought, were good fits for the characters and moods I was trying to create in both Wrath and Silence.
She was right. Very, very right.
One of those songs I’ve mentioned before is “Something’s Gotta Give”. This song is, well, it’s Oz. It nails certain things about his personality and outlook that are best communicated through music.
“Bail Me Out” is another one that deserves mention. It has become part of my personal “soundtrack” for Wrath, and plays (in my head) during one scene in particular.
But the champion? The song that won’t let you go without wringing out some emotion? “Missing You”. Now, look…I write about the hopeless and the despairing. About the broken and the hurting. I’ve lost close friends to suicide. I’ve tried myself. This song nails it. Plain and simple, it nails it. And it still can make me cry…err, make me get something in my eye. That’s it, something in my eye…