Podunk Meets Paradise

Musings from Central Idaho

Archive for the category “Music”

Oregon Coast Here We Come — the Unofficial Soundtrack Take 2 w/ Liner Notes

Although I admitted to liking Iron Chef’s style of creating a road trip playlist with the only intention of pleasing his own damned self, I enjoy designing trippin’ music that speaks to the passengers where they are at that moment in time. In this case, that would be within the confines of our trusty Honda Pilot for a 4-state punch card of fun to the Oregon Coast.

Here’s what I was thinking…

  1. Cadillac (Keller Williams featuring Bob Weir) On Cadillac, you can cruise along with Buddha, Allah, Jesus and Hare Krishna. When the kids are arguing over seat positions, the line, “Jesus be riding bitch because he’s good like that,”  focuses everyone on what’s really important.
  2. Shot Reverse Shot (Jack Johnson) Jack is a mellow dude, and at least at the beginning of a trip, we need to exude mellowness. Plus, it’s kind of a hockey song. At least I think so.
  3. Little Games (The Colourist) By now, we’re out of the driveway and the little, nonsensical games have started. Get off my pillow. No, get off my pillow.
  4. Better Than Love  (The Hurts’ Freemasons Pegasus Mix) So this is the easiest 2014 way to introduce the Norwegian electro 1-hit but what a great hit it was (what was it?) band A-ha into your children’s tunes diet. Besides, if it’s the Freemasons Pegasus Radio Edit mix, I’m going for it, every time.A-ha_take_on_me-1stcover
  5. Titanium (David Guetta featuring Sia) As we near the county line, I’m playing this to pump up Odd, who has by now had the crap beaten out of him by Her Royal Highness. And the weird techno beat covers up the whimpering if you turn it up loud enough.
  6. Bulletproof  (La Roux) In that last song, Sia slurred the word bulletproof and that made me think of this.
  7. The Monster (Eminem featuring Rihanna) Maybe this will be the ultra marathon road trip when one of us learns to rap. 


    Rihanna featuring Eminem

  8. Camping, Family Road Trip (Mark Gross) This is a little intermission from comedian Mark Gross, who reminds us that traveling with family is supposed to be painful. And that other people swear too.
  9. Flaws (Bastille) The Podunk family has just reached the interstate, a somewhat exhilarating experience for those of us who perpetually are on the lookout for large mammals crosswalking on our curvy roads. Belting out the words to this anthem just feels right…”You have always worn your flaws upon your sleeve, And I have always buried them deep beneath the ground, Dig them up; let’s finish what we’ve started.”
  10. Who Will Save Your Soul (Jewel) Nothing is more fun than first singing along with Jewel on this tune, and then maintaining that howly, consonant-sliding pattern of speech for at least 100 more miles.
  11. Hard Sun (Eddie Vedder) After the last 100 miles of howling like Jewel, I play this for Iron Chef, so he remembers not to leave me at the Eastern Washington rest area.
  12. Devotion (Hurts featuring Kylie Minogue) Not only did the Hurts on accident bring back A-ha, but now Kylie Minogue AND the accordion? I just missed my turn.
  13. Stereo Love (Edward Maya & Vika Jigulina) They had me at accordion.
  14. You Were Meant For Me (Jewel featuring Pistol Annies) Wait a minute! It’s not 6 a.m. even in this new time zone. Play this first.   
  15. Round and Round (Bob Schneider) There has never been a truly great playlist without Bob. The opera singer is a test to see how cool you are. Oh, you fail, Royal Highness.

    Bob. The End.

    Bob. The End.

  16. Ride Wit Me (Nelly featuring City Spud) I think it’s important for rural white people to drive in to urban areas like Portland with the windows down and Nelly playing. Hey, must be the money!
  17. Cruise (Florida Georgia Line featuring Nelly) See, these guys think that, too.  What up, Nelly?
  18. Ride (Lana Del Rey) It really doesn’t matter how much we love each other, Lana’s right, we’ve been traveling too long. As she goes all Kate Bush on us, we run screaming from the Pilot.

Oregon Coast Here We Come – the Unofficial Soundtrack Take 1

I promised some of you gentle readers that I would not even attempt to describe our Podunk to West Coast road trip without setting the musical stage. Our family members have what could generously be described as a broad range of eclectic tastes in music, none of which are completely compatible. Some of which are offensive.

Road trips — especially 13 hour road trips — beat you down. And this is the only explanation I offer for promoting Iron Chef’s playlist first. But I have to say, his decision to put a playlist together that was the musical equivalent of peeing on all 4 tires, had a certain appeal to me.

janis  I’ll spare you the reaction to each and every song, but if you travel around with kids and get a chance to spin Janis Joplin’s Mercedes Benz, do it. It’s fun.

  1. Voodoo Child (Slight Return)                     The Jimi Hendrix Experience
  2. Lover You Should’ve Come Over      Natalie Maines
  3. Fever (Live)     Bob Weir & Rob Wasserman
  4. Fire    Langhorne Slim & The Law
  5. Black Is the Color              The Dry Spells
  6. Sao Paulo         Deadstring Brothers
  7. Tip of My Tongue (Live)     The Civil Wars
  8. Golden State (Live)               Eddie Vedder & Natalie Maines
  9. Walkin’        I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House
  10. Down In the Flood        The Derek Trucks Band
  11. I Had Me a Girl               The Civil Wars
  12. Supersoaker      Kings of Leon
  13. Slow It Down (Live)       The Lumineers
  14. Twenty Miles      Deer Tick
  15. Mercedes Benz         Janis Joplin
  16. Never Had Nobody Like You      M. Ward (feat. Zooey Deschanel)
  17. Foxey Lady        The Jimi Hendrix Experience
  18. Raining in Paris           The Maine
  19. River Water (Live & Unplugged)        Moon Taxi
  20. Beer    HighFive

Next stop: Oregon Coast Here We Come — the Unofficial Soundtrack Take 2 w/ Liner Notes

Genius? I don’t think so.

iTunes claims to have a genius feature where they tune into the kind of music you like before you know you like it.
Now truly, Apple, etc. has their work cut out for them since the whole Podunk family shares one iTunes account. Odd Number is a metal head with Eminem tendencies, HRH likes Booty Call, Iron Chef is cool to cook with a 4-hr Grateful Dead drum solo in the background.
So Apple spits out this kind of psychotic mess:


{In case you were wondering, Ain’t No Fun (If the Homies Can’t Have None) by Kurupt is not that great of a song.}

I think pure Genius would be noticing that I have every Bob Schneider song ever recorded — even The Sons of Ralph on the otherwise good Californian album — and maybe alert me to the fact that Bob released a new album on June 11.

I had to stumble across this using my own resources:

Burden of Proof

Burden of Proof

Not cool iTunes! Now Bob’s new song John Lennon, that really is genius. Check it out.

4 States in 8 Hours …. At This Rate….

After a 1-day layover in the Spring Break locale that threatens to overtake Fort Lauderdale — Mountain Home, Idaho — we hit Interstate 84 bright and early. I -84 between Mountain Home and Boise is a stretch of road that I convinced myself as a child would soon be replaced my bullet trains and other lightning fast and futuristic modes of travel. Instead, decades later, we drive the same old-fashioned kind of cars, just with worse gas mileage.
But that didn’t erase the fact that we had a beautiful sunny day and everyone had gotten in the Pilot at the pre-assigned take-off time. When we got off 84 and started driving through Snake River Valley wine country, my mood soared, despite the fact that I knew an early Tuesday morning tasting an hour into our trip was most likely out of the question.
By the time we hit eastern Oregon, the Pilot was filled with an incredible harmony, underlined by the fact that Iron Chef slipped in a Grateful Dead playlist. As Jerry Garcia advised “Bertha, don’t you come around here anymore,” Her Royal Highness and Odd Number appeared not to take notice. When the Dead broke into a long, “I forgot the lyrics” jam, nobody cried out in protest. As we crossed the Owyhee River, visions of Iron Chef’s pre-kid VW microbus with the paisley curtains came to mind. This is the little family I always thought we’d have — going down the road feelin’ bad. When we reached a sort of podunk mecca — Jordan Valley, Oregon — we stopped at the Rockhouse and bought Odd a chocolate milkshake despite the early hour.

Jordan Valley's Rockhouse.

Jordan Valley’s Rockhouse.

We were a road trip family now, adhering to no rules but our own (and the drastically slow Oregon speed limit).
We ate lunch at Ormachea’s basque eatery in Winnemucca and marked Nevada off our list.
It wasn’t until we had California in our sites that road trip nirvana started to break down. A scuffle in the backseat prompted me to ask, “Did you just call your brother a demon sloth?”
“No, mom, she thought the monkey was a demon sloth!” Hmmm.
Then, after 6 hours in the car, and 4.5 hours after the chocolate milkshake wore off, Odd queried, “Are we staying at a nice hotel tonight, or a Holiday Inn?” (As incredibly loyal Holiday Inn priority club members, Holiday staff rush to the door when we come in, rewarding us with a bottle of water and occasionally an extra room key).
Thinking back on some of the MOTELS I’ve stayed in over the years, Holiday Inn ranks pretty damn high.
“What do you consider to be a NICE hotel, Odd?”
Odd thinks about it. “5-star.”
Interestingly enough, our hotel in Truckee, California, was located conveniently next to Donner State Park, in memory of the California Trail pioneers who ate their children when they complained about 3-star accommodations.
Statue at Donner State Park. Families who survive road trips deserve to be bronzed.

Statue at Donner State Park. Families who survive road trips deserve to be bronzed.

As a topper to the day, we dined at the FiftyFifty Brewery, perhaps the finest place on Earth to take your mind off 8 hours of forced family fun in a confined space.
FiftyFifty deserves its own post, but for now, I’ll say that the Donner Party Porter kept our family together and on to Day 3 of our Insane Hockey Road Trip.

Mugged by a Magazine Salesman

Iron Chef was apparently mugged by a magazine salesman because now our family is subscribed to Entertainment Weekly, Atlantic Monthly and Rolling Stone. Which means I find myself in the awkward position of a) knowing more than I should about American pop culture, b) attempting to engage in unwanted conversation about bank regulation, or de-regulation as the case may be, and c) (and most importantly) wondering if Rolling Stone once featured stories about music.
I used to spring for a Rolling Stone magazine when it was big and impressive and almost everything, including the ads, could be used as a makeshift poster for your room. This thing that comes in the mail now is full of politics and football, neither of which are inherently bad in podunk’s opinion, but both of which are not at all music.
Rolling Stone, by my recollection, used to be a terrific place to find out things like what else Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo were up to aside from Crimes of Passion and whether or not Loverboy was made up of true Canadians. Now, I read about Obama’s battle with fugitive methane, the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy’s opinion of football, and breath-taling sentences like this about the New York Jets (presumably),

“Watching a chastened, slimmed-down, prediction-abstaining Rex Ryan forced from above to find snaps for the Tim Tebow circus while Mark Sanchez’s fragile pysche shivered under a blanket of yay-team cliches was crazy theater that ultimately exploded in the comic orgasm of the Thanksgiving-night Sanchez ass fumble, a play destined to become the top NFL blooper of all time…”

BREATH. before finally stumbling across a diminutive story about David Bowie’s latest recording. This reminds me of a few months ago when our son, the Odd Number, found a retro sweatshirt at Aeropostale, the hub of the junior high fashion universe (if you are not in junior high BUT are wearing Aeropostale fashions, stop, drop and roll), and said, out loud, “Oh. MTV. Music Television. I get it now.”
Cultural erosion, pure and simple. I’ve no doubt that writing fresh things about music is tough work, much like finding new language to describe red, red wine. So, we’ll give a nod to the kibbles of music writing Rolling Stone has strewn across its monthly garage floor. I’m quoting from author Jon Dolan’s review of Free Energy’s Love Sign, otherwise described as “A young band’s hair-feathering Seventies-rock fantasy.” freeenergy

Dolan writes:

“The follow-up moves the nostalgia dial to that hair-feathering, creepy tank-top-wearing end-of-the-Seventies moment when AOR rock, Cali soft rock, disco and New Wave melted into the same pot of fool’s gold.” Songs like “Dance All Night” and “Girls Want Rock” could get wink-wink annoying if they weren’t so crisp and catchy, or if singer Paul Sprangers didn’t convincingly sound like a neon-sweatband stud who has no idea that he’s soon to be ground into cocaine traces by his rock & roll fantasy.”

Bank deregulation, anyone?

Hell’s Bells

Like Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan, my 13-year-old son — the Odd Number — is an AC/DC fan. While his older sister, Her Royal Highness, typically dominates the car stereo with techno-teeny-pop, occasionally Odd gets to run the dials. With a few notable exceptions, I try to stay neutral and allow the kids the appearance of expressing their own style, even if it is a really old style even by my standards, and questionable as to whether it should be expressed.
I forget that the creative adolescent expression is taking place until I’m at places like one of Podunk’s two stoplights, window rolled down, with AC/DC clanging Hell’s Bells.
There’s not much one can do at that point, as the mini-van moms stare at our commotion, but make hair-band rockin’ gestures like these (thank you gentle reader for the illustration):

Thank you gentle reader for this important demonstration of hair band gesture.

This is what a playlist that starts with AC/DC and ends with Zeppelin will lead to. It always has. So I ask myself, Can this be right for our young American boys or our country?
Hell’s Bells.

A visit from the Good Lovelies

When you live in the deep interior West, sometimes you have to pay people to come visit. Fortunately, the Salmon Arts Council paid the folk/roots trio The Good Lovelies to visit Salmon last night. Arts venues are in short supply in Salmon so in winter months, the Elks Lodge is known to double as concert hall. These Canadian girls were fabulous and seemed to find the appropriate amount of humor in the stuffed trophy elk staring at them from every possible wall surface. Even though they had just days before been notified they’d been nominated for a Juno (that is Canadian for “award”) for best Roots and Traditional Album of the Year, they were incredibly good sports about playing at the Elks, visiting our schools, and maneuvering the tour bus around wildlife.

I like it when Canadians joke around and are pleasant and don’t complain about Americans who don’t know anything about Canada. Just in case, I was prepared to shout out “Stephen Harper is the prime minister!” after an impromptu quiz in British Columbia where I guessed the Queen of England was the president of Canada and nearly got my ass kicked. Then why is she on all your money? We were in Costa Rica several years ago and found out the reason Canada has such a low density population is because they were all hanging out in Costa Rica. We struck up friendships with a few couples that always ended up with the Canadians trying to get us to admit that our imperial American scheme was to get our grubby hands on their Canadian wheat fields. Clearly, if we wanted the damned wheat fields we could have  seized them while their citizens were loafing around Central America.

The Good Lovelies should be credited with not only sweet harmony, but elegant diplomatic relations. Long live the Queen!

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