Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Unwell, unproductive

Greetings, all you fantastic blog readers and friends o' mine.

For the life of me, I just haven't been able to get back into a regular groove here. I'm sure you all can understand how it is, though ... I'm sure doctors don't want to be diagnosing patients on days off. Police don't want to handle disturbances on their days off. And me? Well, my job keeps me in front of computers for 10-12 hour bursts each day, so it is sometimes just difficult to get the energy to sit down during my free time to write.

But I love writing. And I love writing about music. And I appreciate each and every read and comment that my stuff gets. I don't take that lightly. Thanks to all of you who stop in, and those of you who share thoughts are doubly appreciated.

Let's see, let's take a moment to do an update here.

I've been sick the last couple of days. It started with a really queasy stomach and some headaches, then morphed into explosive emissions from both ends. Now it's a fever and really devastating headache. My wife has been really awesome ... Forcing me to stay in bed, get rest, staying hydrated. She rocks.

You'd think that sick time would be a good time to catch up on music. I picked up the newest Bob Dylan album, "Tempest," on release day last week ... and haven't had a chance to listen to it yet. I wanted to save it  for a time when I'd be able to pay attention to it, savor it and really let it sink in. I didn't want to play it while I was working and lose out on the first listening experience. But when you're sick, especially with horrible headaches, you don't really concentrate well and trying to listen to ANYTHING for an extended period is really rough. Heck, it took me about 5 minutes to write this paragraph alone, because I kept stopping from the aches.

When it comes to the Dylan album, I really liked the tracks that had been previewed before its official release. While I haven't had a chance to give it a listen in its entirety, I'm hopeful that the whole album is as consistent. I admit, though, that I fear the track about the Titanic (which features a few lyrical nods to the Leonardo DiCaprio film) might wear on me. It's quite lengthy, and I fear it might mirror my reaction to the film: I know what's going to happen, so let's get to it. (Though if there's a lyrical wonder that mirrors Kate Winslet, I'll take that happily.)

I've been waiting for the Freddie Mercury "Barcelona" anniversary release package to come out in the U.S. Using real orchestra, friends and producers have taken the materials from Mercury's second (and final) solo album and stripped it of the synthesizers, giving it real strings and horns. I thought it was due out a few weeks ago, and apparently it was released in the UK at that point. But its release in the U.S. keeps getting pushed back. I've heard a few of the pieces on YouTube, and it sounds like a very worthy addition to the collection.

Also coming out later this year are stereo and mono remasters of The Beach Boys' albums. This will be a goldmine for a lot of hardcore fans, giving us mono releases that haven't been on CD properly, or stereo releases that have NEVER been released, and giving the albums a consistency that the most ardent fans have been pushing for since the 1990 two-fer releases. It doesn't look like these albums will have bonus tracks ... That's a pity. But I'm hopeful there'll be more archival releases coming soon.

With a new 2-disc greatest hits set on the horizon ("50 Big Ones," a title that gives a nod to the 1976 album "15 Big Ones," which celebrated their 15th anniversary back then ... and this set will contain the "single" version of the new Beach Boys song "Isn't It Time") and a box set that is supposed to be coming before the end of the year, it'll be a very Beach Boysy year! From The SMiLE Sessions release in November of 2011, to the new album that came out this spring, to these releases ... Yay, it's a great time to be a Beach Boys fan.

My Chemical Romance will also be putting out 10 new songs, using the vinyl single format. They'll release 5 45s over the span of a few months (with digital downloads also available), putting 10 previously unreleased songs out. I love the band, I love vinyl, this sounds like a really cool project. Look for the "Conventional Weapons" releases starting in October. Visit THIS LINK (click here) to learn more.

Led Zeppelin is releasing the O2 concert performance from 2007, too. It was a one-off performance, and Zep fans have been hoping for some commercial release of this material for quite a while. I'm definitely curious about it, but I have my doubts. When the band performed in 1988 for an Atlantic Records shindig, well ... The footage that remains from that left me a bit unimpressed. I dunno. I'm sure the 2007 show will sound great and that it'll be a real treat for fans, but I'm not sure I'll dole out the cash for it with all the other goodies coming. I love me some Led Zep, but give me stuff from their prime. Live stuff from the 1970s? Definitely interested. Stuff from 2007? Eh, maybe not so much.

All righty, well, I need to get some rest. This entry has taken me an hour, and it's about 15 minutes worth of typing when all is said and done. Whew. Headaches suck.

I hope you're all doing well. Summer is basically over, the leaves are falling from the trees in my backyard and night temperatures are definitely dropping. I love this time of year, and I hope to rebound soon so I can enjoy it ... between the lengthy periods of work, of course.

Talk with you all again (soon, I hope!).

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