The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

The Beatles 1967 album Sgt Pepper is often cited as the most influential and important album of all time. In what I consider to be a reactionary backlash to this praise Sgt Pepper is also often cited as one of the most over rated albums of all time.

This year this monumental album turns 40 years old. So where does it stand now? In 2003 Rolling Stone magazine ranked it as the 1 album of all time. It doesn?t fair quite as well on the popular music rating website Rate Your Music where it ranks 27 of all time which is behind four other Beatles classic albums Revolver (#1), Abbey Road (#2), The White Album (#10), and Rubber Soul (#21).

Personally while it?s not my favorite Beatles album (that honor has to go to The White Album) I do believe it is the most important and most influential album of all time and I do rank it above Revolver, Abbey Road, and Rubber Soul.

I?ve heard some people say it doesn?t hold up well with time but I disagree entirely. I think this album is absolutely timeless. I don?t think the songs sound like they are from the 1960s necessarily. They sound like they are from the future and the past simultaneously.

I believe all 13 songs from this album to be absolutely essential to the album and this is a very rare thing. What set this album apart from most of the albums that came before it is that it truly plays like an album. While definitely somewhat in debt to The Beach Boys classic Pet Sounds, Sgt Pepper takes things a big leap forward. In many ways I still feel that Sgt Pepper is the perfect cohesive album. It doesn?t take the ?concept? and wear it thin but it also holds together as one work very well despite, and maybe because, the fact that the songs are of such varying styles.

Song by Song Breakdown:

1 Sgt Pepper

The album starts off with the crowd noise which goes into the first song which shares the same name as the album: ?Sgt Pepper?s Lonely Hearts Club Band.? This is a great song and also sets up the rest of the album as part of this loose concept of watching a band perform. This is all made to come together even more by the later inclusion of the Reprise of this song! Paul McCartney came up with the idea of the Beatles pretending to be this different band. The idea being that they could really branch out into all sorts of different styles with no limitations. They could also break free of their image. There?s quite a few layers to the idea but it?s also a very simple idea that isn?t overbearing unlike some later prog rock attempts at ?concept albums.?

2 With A Little Help From My Friends

This track was written by lead songwriters and singers Paul McCartney and John Lennon specifically for the drummer Ringo Starr to sing. This adds another layer to the lyric ?I get by with a little help from my friends.? This song was a hit for Joe Cocker (his cover version was used on television program The Wonder Years.) It also contains a reference to marijuana with the line ?I get high with a little help from my friends.?

3 Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

This song is inspired by LSD in my opinion although Lennon denied this and said it was merely inspired by his son?s painting. Many years later McCartney admitted the influence of LSD on this track. This song is often cited as a prime example of 1960s psychedelic music. Besides the other worldly fantastical lyrics the song has a dreamy quality to both the music and the vocals. This song uses a flange effect on the drums and the bass is very prominent in the mix.

4 Getting Better

There?s so many great things about this track I have a hard time deciding what to talk about first. One thing that really does stand out for me though is use of sitar in this track. It?s subtle and yet very effective. A great example of the sort of unique tracks on this album that don?t really have any direct comparison to anything else in rock music, even to this day. I think the sharp down stroke style used on the guitars in this track has been extremely influential in rock to this day.

5 Fixing A Hole

This is another amazingly unique song that has so many layers and so much to discover. I?m still hearing new things in it now and I must have listened to it over 1000 times. The harmony vocals are absolutely incredible (listen to the right side)

6 She?s Leaving Home

This song features McCartney and Lennon on vocals but no Beatles play in the instrumentation. The song was scored for classical musicians. The twists and turns in this album are startling but they somehow all make sense. So much variety. All beautifully and masterly done.

7 Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite

Lennon got all of the lyrics off of an old circus poster he had. A great example of the avante garde attitude of the Beatles at the time. I like to picture this as the wild place she goes after she leaves home. I don?t hear 60s when I listen to this track. I hear another time, another place. A warped distorted but still very relevant version of our own reality. This song is absolute psychedelic weirdness. It?s overflowing with ideas and imagination. The instrumental breakdown after ?Henry the Horse Dances the Waltz? and at the end of the track includes bits of real circus sounds which were all cut up and taped back together randomly. This type of thing you could do quite easily today with Pro Tools but in 1967 it was a very inventive and creative technique. The way it was done also lends to it a timeless quality that isn?t connected to any particular recording technique or trick. This sort of experimentation has been very influential on countless artists.

8 Within You Without You

This is probably the least popular song on the album amongst your average rock fan because unfortunately too many people have a hard time opening their minds towards other types of music. This song, just like ?She?s Leaving Home?, features no Beatles on the instrumentation. The music is all recorded by Indian musicians under the direction of George Harrison. Harrison sings and wrote the music. This song to me is absolute essential to the album. ?Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite? should have opened your mind a little bit but this one should really blow your mind right out of your head. You are now in a completely different world. This is an album that deftly takes you all over the world with an incredible journey through the middle of your mind. I really don?t think I?m overstating this or exaggerating. I simply feel if you don?t hear this, then you haven?t really listened to this album and fully experienced it. I think in some ways this is the most psychedelic song on the album. It?s a true journey and it?s very beautiful. I believe the laughing at the end of the album symbolizes your average person who laughs at things that are different or thoughtful.

9 When I?m 64

As of this writing Paul McCartney is actually 64. As far as out as the last track takes you, this one places you right back somewhere else entirely. Such a strange trip, isn?t it? This is another song of many on this album that is not guitar based. The Beatles really were experimenting with instrumentation a lot on this album. This instrumental experimentation has been extremely influential on many bands

10 Lovely Rita

This is just an excellent fun song. The lyrics are fantastic. There are so many just out of this world sounds going on, really listen to everything going on in the mix. And for God?s sake, listen to the reverb on those backing vocals. Awesome. I also just absolutely love the way this song ends with all of the weird vocalizations with the delay. They?re just having a great time making this track that enjoyment directly leads right into my ears.

11 Good Morning Good Morning

This is probably my least favorite track on the album if I have to choose one. That being said it?s still a great song. I?m a big fan of the time changes and of Paul McCartney?s searing Hendrix like guitar solo.

12 Sgt Pepper (Reprise)

The sound of a rooster leads directly into a guitar squeal. One of the coolest segues ever. This version of Sgt Pepper is like the first except it rocks a lot harder. This is a great way to tie together the album and lead into the grand finale.

13 A Day In The Life

This may be the greatest song ever written. In my opinion it is just that. Certainly a fantastic way to end an album. The orchestral buildups are genius and perfectly capture the feelings that could never be put into words. The song itself is can sometimes sound deceptively simple but there?s so much nuance. So much you can hear even on the 1000th listen.

The Top 10 Rock Albums Of All Time According To Rateyourmusic.com

I?m a big fan of the site RateYourMusic.com (I?m also a huge fan of the site http://www.MusicByDay.com by the way!) and one thing I really like to look at is the overall charts to see which albums have been the top rated of all time. If you don?t know what RateYourMusic.com is, it?s a site where music lovers (like myself) rate all of the albums they?ve listened to. Some raters also write their own reviews which can be very interesting to read.

This article is a review of the top 10 rock albums listed (removing the jazz albums that are listed in the top 10 because while I do enjoy jazz I don?t feel I know enough about it to really review it.)

1 The Beatles ? Revolver

As a huge Beatles fan I?m definitely glad they have the 1 spot although personally I feel that Revolver has become a bit overrated in the backlash to Sgt Pepper?s supposed overrated-ness! As great as Revolver is (and it is really great) I don?t feel it should rank above either Sgt Pepper or The White Album. That being said the songs on Revolver are truly timeless and beautiful. The album was also extremely groundbreaking and has been almost incalculable in it?s influence.

2 The Beatles ? Abbey Road

I?d personally probably rank Abbey Road as the fourth best Beatles album so I think it?s slightly overrated as well here. It?s still a great album but for my tastes it?s not quite ?far out? enough in comparison to some of the other great Beatles albums. The second side is quite glorious though.

3 Bob Dylan ? Highway 61 Revisited

I?m not sure you could go wrong with about 5 different Dylan albums here. ?Ballad of a Thin Man? is my personal favorite track on this album.

4 Bob Dylan ? Blood on the Tracks

I don?t quite enjoy this Dylan period as much as his 60s stuff. I think I may even prefer his recent trilogy (at least Time Out of Mind & Modern Times) over Blood on the Tracks, not sure why. This is still a great album, don?t get me wrong.

5 The Velvet Underground ? The Velvet Underground & Nico

I?m a fan of The Velvet Underground yet I do think this album is probably a little overrated here.

6 Radiohead ? OK Computer
This album is now nearly 10 years old and it is the most recent album on the list. I certainly believe it belongs on the list, although I think Kid A should be ranked just as high, if not higher!

7 The Beatles ? The Beatles (The White Album)

This is my 1! I would rank this as the greatest album of all time because of it?s expansiveness and how many times I can replay it without ever getting tired of it. It?s not as cohesive as most (any?) of the albums on the top 10 and it has a few tracks that aren?t that great by Beatles standards yet somehow it all just works perfectly together for me.

8 Bob Dylan ? Blonde on Blonde

I?d rank this one over Blood on the Tracks for sure. Not sure vs. Highway 61 Revisited.

9 Bob Dylan ? Bringing it all Back Home

This is the fourth Dylan album on the top 10 to go along with the 3 Beatles albums. It?s no surprise really. There?s really no competition when it comes to who are the two most important acts in rock music history. It?s Dylan and the Beatles.

10 Pink Floyd ? The Dark Side of the Moon

I actually feel this album should probably rank even higher. It?s a timeless psychedelic classic. This album is just about as close to perfection as you can find.

The Police Are Back On The Road

The Police are back on the road this year for the first time in two decades, in one of the most eagerly anticipated tours of recent years.

As one of the most definitive post-punk/early new-wave bands, The Police made their name in the late seventies with their distinctive punk-meets-pop-meets-reggae sound, while showing off a carefully contrived peroxide blonde look. The mix served them well as they produced a series of five successful albums before breaking up in 1984.

Comprising Sting (a.k.a. Gordon Sumner) on lead vocals and bass guitar, drummer Stewart Copeland, and lead guitarist Andy Summers, the trio took advantage of the growing medium of new musical videos and a general public weariness with punk and pop music. They began with a raw, punk-inspired power-pop sound, but evolved quickly into producing much more complex material, both musically and lyrically, allowing reggae and jazz influences to become increasingly apparent in their music.

In their seven years, they amassed five U.K. number 1 singles, four U.K. number 1 albums, with sales of Synchronicity going platinum eight times in the U.S., as well as hitting number 1 on both sides of the Atlantic. They are the recipients of two Brit awards and six Grammy?s.

Discography (original studio albums only):

Outlandos d’Amour – Nov 1978, UK 6
Reggatta de Blanc – Oct 1979, UK 1
Zenyatta Mondatta – Oct 1980, UK 1
Ghost in the Machine – Oct 1981, UK 1
Synchronicity – Jun 1983, UK 1

While the band enjoyed both critical and commercial success, they fought incessantly and often violently (to the point that Stewart Copeland reportedly broke one of Sting?s ribs during a scuffle). The tumultuous relationship among band members was documented by Copeland who recently compiled personal archived footage and released it as a film. Everyone Stares: The Police Inside and Out premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2006, an event that many credit as the being the main spur behind the band deciding on a come-back tour.

Sting?s son Joe Sumner and his band, Fiction Plane, are currently supporting The Police on the North American leg of their world tour, which is continuing through the summer and then again in November. In October the band are set to come to the UK for several dates in England, Wales and Ireland.

Fans can expect a straightforward set with a black amphitheater design and several video screens suspended discretely overhead to show close-ups of the band members. They are touring with no back-up singers or accompanying musicians, special effects or gimmicks, which is bound to keep the purists happy.

The set list is a straight-up, no apologies ?best of?, but most people attending these gigs will be wanting precisely that; a trip down memory lane and to hear some of the best musical tracks ever written and performed.

Forthcoming UK Dates:

6 October – Croke Park, Dublin, Eire
15 October – M.E.N. Arena Manchester
16 October – M.E.N. Arena Manchester
19 October – Cardiff Millennium Stadium, Wales
20 October – Wembley Arena, London

Certainly, one of the most eagerly anticipated tours of recent years.

Seven Reason I’m Addicted To Last.fm

I believe that Last.FM is the music site we’ve all been waiting for. It’s the site that all of the previous music related sites have been building up to. There are sites like garageband.com and there was the old mp3.com that were/are decent places for new artists to be heard but let’s be honest, the average music listener doesn’t want to hear a barrage of new stuff they’ve never heard before by unsigned artists. That’s why I think Last.FM is a much better avenue for new artists. It plays their music alongside better known established artists so you get to really hear it in context. It’s also much better for music listeners in helping them to discover great new music. Now that I’ve set things up a bit let me get along to the 7 reasons why I’m addicted to Last.FM

1 My Personal Listening Stats

I’ve always been a bit of a stat geek and I’ve also been a long time music geek and last.fm combines these passions! I can keep track of all the music I listen to, what music I’ve listened to the most and what music I’ve listened to the least. Sometimes I’ll look at my charts and it’ll give me a cool idea of something to listen to I haven’t listened to in awhile. It’s also cool that you can easily put your “top 10 list” on other sites like MySpace.

2 The Overall Last.FM Charts

Although I feel bad for caring about stuff like this. I can’t help it. I’m curious to see what the most popular music (atleast among internet music geeks) is. I’m also pleased that the music charts here are usually substantially less disgusting than the Billboard charts. For example this is this weeks top 10:

1. The Beatles – Yes. Now this is a beautiful thing, to think of all the people still getting enjoyment from the Beatles music. Their music is truly art and it truly lasts the test of time. It makes me feel all warm inside to see this.

2. The Red Hot Chili Peppers – I’m personally not much of a fan, but things could be much worse (check the Billboard charts.)

3. Radiohead – Yes, I definitly approve.

4. Coldplay
5. Muse
6. The Killers
7. Death Cab For Cutie
8. Metallica
9. Nirvana

10. Pink Floyd – Again like the Beatles it’s nice to see this sort of timeless music still being listened to today by new listeners.

3 The Top Tracks By Artist Charts

It’s always interesting (and usually a bit dissapointing) to see what the top tracks for any particular artist are. Looking at a “one hit wonder” is always quite telling as you’ll see 95% of their listeners all for one song.

4 Using the Last.FM Radio Player to listen to “Similar Artists Radio”

Using the Last.FM Radio Player you can listen to “similar artists” of any band or artist you like. This can be an absolutely awesome way to find new music you haven’t heard before. In fact I’m doing it right now and I’m listening to a band I have heard a bit about before but hadn’t heard previously called Architecture In Helsinki. The song is called “Fumble” and I am really enjoying it. Last.FM has a feature where you can press a heart icon which means you love that track. This is a great way of keeping track of new music that you like and you heard for the first time.

5 Using the Last.FM Radio Player to listen to “Artist Fan Radio”

This is similar to the above reason except with this setting you get a bit more varied results. This is really great for really expanding your horizons but still upping the chances that you’re actually going to like what you hear. I can’t even imagine why anyone would listen to the real radio when Last.FM is around. The real radio is predicable and boring and almost always plays the same old songs over and over again. Last.FM is a way to hear great music that you may not have heard before but that also fits in well with your tastes (and if you don’t like the song you can always just skip to the next one!)

6 Using the Last.FM Radio Player to listen to “Tagged Radio”/Tag Charts

Using this you get to hear all the tracks/albums/artists that were “tagged” a certain term by other Last.FM listeners. This is truly awesome! It’s really cool to go through and tag different artists and songs with different terms. I’m a huge lover of psychedelic music so I spend some time tagging psychedelic music as such. It’s great because I can listen the Last.FM Radio Player for music tagged as “psychedelic” and I get to hear a bunch of cool psychedelic music I haven’t heard before (usually mixed in with some that I have heard before which makes it less overwhelming!) Also really cool are the tagged charts. For example the top 5 artists tagged for “Psychedelic” are 1 Pink Floyd, 2 The Doors, 3 The Beatles, 4 Jimi Hendrix, and 5 The Velvet Underground.

7 Discovering new bands/artists!

There’s a great number of bands/solo artists I’ve discovered via Last.FM that I don’t think I would have ever heard otherwise. The best example of this is the indie psychedelic rock band Scumbo.

These are just 7 of the many reasons why I’m addicted to Last.FM and why I highly recommend it to any music lovers out there who haven’t discovered it yet. It’s the best music site on the internet and a great place to find new music that you’ll really be interested in.

The Police Are Back On The Road

The Police are back on the road this year for the first time in two decades, in one of the most eagerly anticipated tours of recent years.

As one of the most definitive post-punk/early new-wave bands, The Police made their name in the late seventies with their distinctive punk-meets-pop-meets-reggae sound, while showing off a carefully contrived peroxide blonde look. The mix served them well as they produced a series of five successful albums before breaking up in 1984.

Comprising Sting (a.k.a. Gordon Sumner) on lead vocals and bass guitar, drummer Stewart Copeland, and lead guitarist Andy Summers, the trio took advantage of the growing medium of new musical videos and a general public weariness with punk and pop music. They began with a raw, punk-inspired power-pop sound, but evolved quickly into producing much more complex material, both musically and lyrically, allowing reggae and jazz influences to become increasingly apparent in their music.

In their seven years, they amassed five U.K. number 1 singles, four U.K. number 1 albums, with sales of Synchronicity going platinum eight times in the U.S., as well as hitting number 1 on both sides of the Atlantic. They are the recipients of two Brit awards and six Grammy?s.

Discography (original studio albums only):

Outlandos d’Amour – Nov 1978, UK 6
Reggatta de Blanc – Oct 1979, UK 1
Zenyatta Mondatta – Oct 1980, UK 1
Ghost in the Machine – Oct 1981, UK 1
Synchronicity – Jun 1983, UK 1

While the band enjoyed both critical and commercial success, they fought incessantly and often violently (to the point that Stewart Copeland reportedly broke one of Sting?s ribs during a scuffle). The tumultuous relationship among band members was documented by Copeland who recently compiled personal archived footage and released it as a film. Everyone Stares: The Police Inside and Out premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2006, an event that many credit as the being the main spur behind the band deciding on a come-back tour.

Sting?s son Joe Sumner and his band, Fiction Plane, are currently supporting The Police on the North American leg of their world tour, which is continuing through the summer and then again in November. In October the band are set to come to the UK for several dates in England, Wales and Ireland.

Fans can expect a straightforward set with a black amphitheater design and several video screens suspended discretely overhead to show close-ups of the band members. They are touring with no back-up singers or accompanying musicians, special effects or gimmicks, which is bound to keep the purists happy.

The set list is a straight-up, no apologies ?best of?, but most people attending these gigs will be wanting precisely that; a trip down memory lane and to hear some of the best musical tracks ever written and performed.

Forthcoming UK Dates:

6 October – Croke Park, Dublin, Eire
15 October – M.E.N. Arena Manchester
16 October – M.E.N. Arena Manchester
19 October – Cardiff Millennium Stadium, Wales
20 October – Wembley Arena, London

Certainly, one of the most eagerly anticipated tours of recent years.

Dungen’s Tio Bitar – Album Review

The latest album from Swedish psychedelic rockers Dungen is Tio Bitar which is set to be officially released in May of this year, 2007. This is their first album since 2004?s Ta Det Lugnt.

When I first heard the name Dungen I was a bit put off thinking that these guys would be some sort of silly death metal band but it turns out Dungen is actually Swedish for ?the Grove.?

Dungen is mostly the work of vocalist and multi instrumentalist Gustav Ejstes who writes all of Dungen?s music and records most instrumental parts himself.

Dungen?s recordings have an analog sound to them. Very warm and inviting. Their music sounds very alive is very refreshing in the digital age. That being said I don?t think it?s fair to just classify Dungen as ?retro psychedelic rock sung in Swedish? because there?s a real feeling of originality and invention to their music as well.

As a huge fan of Dungen?s last album I was very excited to hear this new release upon it?s early leak.

Tio Bitar starts off with a track that is titled simply ?Intro? and this song hits like an absolute ton of bricks with a searing guitar solo that comes close to melting time itself. One of the coolest album openers I?ve heard in quite some time. If you are in any kind of daze it forces you to attention. The flute with loads of delay is a great touch to drop into the track when there?s nothing left to melt. A beautiful example of psychedelic rock. This is an instrumental track as there?s really no room left for vocals because of all of the rock that takes up all of the available space.

The album has no weak tracks in my opinion but among the stand outs are track 3 ?Gor Det Nu? which goes back and forth from full on rock to a sort of half time sounding chorus. There?s a great combination of intense guitar rock with very subtle keyboard sounds in this track (and in many of the others on the album.) I haven?t spoken much of the vocals yet and I would say in comparison to the incredible music that the vocals do seem to get lost a bit in the mix but there are some beautiful harmonies and it doesn?t really bother me that the vocals are all in Swedish. Not being able to understand the lyrics adds to the otherworldly feel of the music.

Dungen also has a softer side as shown in track 4, the instrumental ?C Visar Vagen,? which is a very lovely piece with beautiful acoustic guitar, strings, organ, and flutes. This track has a bit of an Indian vibe to it although it?s subtle. To me it really sounds like an original melding together of many different influences.

Track 6 ?Mon Amour? may be the standout track on the album. At almost 9 minutes it?s an epic in length but more importantly it?s an epic in arrangement as it goes to different interesting places musically. It starts off with a very catchy section. Possibly the most catchy Dungen vocal part yet. At about 2 and a half minutes in the tempo starts to increase and a blinding guitar solo comes in for some brain melting action. I think Dungen may have the most exciting guitar solos being recorded today. They are both musically and sonically very interesting. These aren?t guitar solos for the guitar nerd types who buy Joe Satriani records. This is an adventure for those that like music that actually takes them somewhere. This is music that is extremely psychedelic.

To make the very lazy comparison the guitar work and sound is very Hendrix-esque and you don?t get many people that can pull this sort of guitar exploration without it just sounding ridiculous or retro. To me this music comes alive. It?s a journey and you can take the ride if you?d like. Absolutely mesmerizing.

As much as I liked Dungen?s last album, I think this new album blows it out of the water. This is my early favorite for album of the year.

The Blonde Joke’s On Us: The Dumbest Woman On Earth Was Not A Blonde

I’ve lived my entire adult life with “dumb blonde” jokes. Whoever started them, probably spawned by pornographers allured by Marylyn Monroe types (probably with dyed hair), should be locked up in a room with a hundred blonde professional women on a month-long sabbatical from bad bosses. Think he’d make it out alive? I think he (or she) definitely be a changed creature after that month. He’d gain a new understanding of blondes, that’s for sure.

If you really want to know the truth of it, the dumbest woman to ever walk the face of earth had dark hair (likely, though we may never know for sure.) She was, without a doubt, the dumbest woman to ever live. Her name? Eve. Very unlikely blonde, seeing as how her issue to this very day is mostly brunette or have black or dark hair. So get the blonde thing out of your head for just a moment. You see, she and Adam were originally created equal (many women today have a big problem with that “man having dominion over women” thing), otherwise, as I see it, God would have taken a bone out of Adams foot to create Eve. He didn’t. (Now, wait, all you Bible believers- you have to read the rest of this before you’ll understand just when Eve lost her “equal” status.) The bone came from his side, his rib. To me, this signifies equality. Well, then what does this dark-haired woman do but sashay up to a serpent and strike up a conversation with him (precursor to flirting, I suppose?). Didn’t she think it unusual that a serpent could talk? Guess not.

That was Dumb act 1.

Now for dumb act 2:

After a little chit chat, (Gen. 3:1…”Really?” he asked the woman. “Did God really say you must not eat any of the fruit in the garden?” Gen. 3:2″Of course we may eat it,” the woman told him. 3:3 “It’s only the fruit from the tree at the center of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God says we must not eat it or even touch it, or we will die.”) she believes this creature (remember a serpent that can talk) when he calls God a liar, basically (3:4 “You won’t die!” the serpent hissed. 3:5 “God knows that your eyes will be opened when you eat it. You will become just like God, knowing everything, both good and evil.” 3:6 The woman was convinced.) Now, it doesn’t look like it took much convincing, does it? How dumb is that, after the head honcho of the place, the owner, the boss (the best boss ever, one who actually loves his workers) says don’t eat fruit from that tree, and a snake or serpent (that’s not supposed to be able to talk) can ‘talk you into it’?

Dumb act 3:

The dark-haired woman proceeds to eat the fruit (Adam, by the way, was right there with her- why didn’t he pipe up and say “uh, hon, I don’t think this is a good idea…I don’t trust that serpent (that can talk, remember?). He was most likely dark-haired as well, remember.

Dumb act 4:

She turns and offers it to her husband. All the while the serpent is watching. I never saw a serpent grin, but I’ll bet he did.

Dumb act 5:

They hid from God. Whose idea was that, I wonder?

Dumb act 6:

They look for someone to blame it on (3:12 “Yes,” Adam admitted, “but it was the woman you gave me who brought me the fruit, and I ate it.” 3:13 Then the LORD God asked the woman, “How could you do such a thing?” “The serpent tricked me,” she replied. “That’s why I ate it.”) Now I don’t know about you, but that conversation was a blatant manipulation, i.e. a lie, by the serpent, but not a trick. Eve believed a lie, just believed what the serpent said. (Remember this the next time a snake or lizard comes up to you and strikes up a conversation). Genesis Chapter 3:16 is where Eve, (a dark-haired woman? Again, we’ll never know for sure), sold out her equality, not only for herself, but for all women from then on (3:16 Then he said to the woman, “You will bear children with intense pain and suffering. And though your desire will be for your husband, he will be your master.”)

They were both dumb, at that time. God didn’t make them stupid, but they sure had an Adam and Eve moment. I don’t think you have to have any particular hair color to be dumb. You could even be bald. So dumb-blonde-joke-tellers, get over it already. If you don’t like who you are, at least quit putting others down to make yourself feel better.

Interesting, that when I used to work for a company which employed mostly people of another nationality (including the boss), they could make “dumb blonde” jokes all day, which is a reference to my racial heritage, but if I said just one slanderous joke referring to their race (which I wouldn’t have, even if it was legal), then that would be considered by the law to be a form of assault, among other things.)

Maybe blonde jokes should be outlawed. You think?

? 2005 Dianne James

Seven Reason I’m Addicted To Last.fm

I believe that Last.FM is the music site we’ve all been waiting for. It’s the site that all of the previous music related sites have been building up to. There are sites like garageband.com and there was the old mp3.com that were/are decent places for new artists to be heard but let’s be honest, the average music listener doesn’t want to hear a barrage of new stuff they’ve never heard before by unsigned artists. That’s why I think Last.FM is a much better avenue for new artists. It plays their music alongside better known established artists so you get to really hear it in context. It’s also much better for music listeners in helping them to discover great new music. Now that I’ve set things up a bit let me get along to the 7 reasons why I’m addicted to Last.FM

1 My Personal Listening Stats

I’ve always been a bit of a stat geek and I’ve also been a long time music geek and last.fm combines these passions! I can keep track of all the music I listen to, what music I’ve listened to the most and what music I’ve listened to the least. Sometimes I’ll look at my charts and it’ll give me a cool idea of something to listen to I haven’t listened to in awhile. It’s also cool that you can easily put your “top 10 list” on other sites like MySpace.

2 The Overall Last.FM Charts

Although I feel bad for caring about stuff like this. I can’t help it. I’m curious to see what the most popular music (atleast among internet music geeks) is. I’m also pleased that the music charts here are usually substantially less disgusting than the Billboard charts. For example this is this weeks top 10:

1. The Beatles – Yes. Now this is a beautiful thing, to think of all the people still getting enjoyment from the Beatles music. Their music is truly art and it truly lasts the test of time. It makes me feel all warm inside to see this.

2. The Red Hot Chili Peppers – I’m personally not much of a fan, but things could be much worse (check the Billboard charts.)

3. Radiohead – Yes, I definitly approve.

4. Coldplay
5. Muse
6. The Killers
7. Death Cab For Cutie
8. Metallica
9. Nirvana

10. Pink Floyd – Again like the Beatles it’s nice to see this sort of timeless music still being listened to today by new listeners.

3 The Top Tracks By Artist Charts

It’s always interesting (and usually a bit dissapointing) to see what the top tracks for any particular artist are. Looking at a “one hit wonder” is always quite telling as you’ll see 95% of their listeners all for one song.

4 Using the Last.FM Radio Player to listen to “Similar Artists Radio”

Using the Last.FM Radio Player you can listen to “similar artists” of any band or artist you like. This can be an absolutely awesome way to find new music you haven’t heard before. In fact I’m doing it right now and I’m listening to a band I have heard a bit about before but hadn’t heard previously called Architecture In Helsinki. The song is called “Fumble” and I am really enjoying it. Last.FM has a feature where you can press a heart icon which means you love that track. This is a great way of keeping track of new music that you like and you heard for the first time.

5 Using the Last.FM Radio Player to listen to “Artist Fan Radio”

This is similar to the above reason except with this setting you get a bit more varied results. This is really great for really expanding your horizons but still upping the chances that you’re actually going to like what you hear. I can’t even imagine why anyone would listen to the real radio when Last.FM is around. The real radio is predicable and boring and almost always plays the same old songs over and over again. Last.FM is a way to hear great music that you may not have heard before but that also fits in well with your tastes (and if you don’t like the song you can always just skip to the next one!)

6 Using the Last.FM Radio Player to listen to “Tagged Radio”/Tag Charts

Using this you get to hear all the tracks/albums/artists that were “tagged” a certain term by other Last.FM listeners. This is truly awesome! It’s really cool to go through and tag different artists and songs with different terms. I’m a huge lover of psychedelic music so I spend some time tagging psychedelic music as such. It’s great because I can listen the Last.FM Radio Player for music tagged as “psychedelic” and I get to hear a bunch of cool psychedelic music I haven’t heard before (usually mixed in with some that I have heard before which makes it less overwhelming!) Also really cool are the tagged charts. For example the top 5 artists tagged for “Psychedelic” are 1 Pink Floyd, 2 The Doors, 3 The Beatles, 4 Jimi Hendrix, and 5 The Velvet Underground.

7 Discovering new bands/artists!

There’s a great number of bands/solo artists I’ve discovered via Last.FM that I don’t think I would have ever heard otherwise. The best example of this is the indie psychedelic rock band Scumbo.

These are just 7 of the many reasons why I’m addicted to Last.FM and why I highly recommend it to any music lovers out there who haven’t discovered it yet. It’s the best music site on the internet and a great place to find new music that you’ll really be interested in.

6 Tips To Select Home Theatre Seating

With the help of latest technology, so many things have been made to come true which were not even dreamt earlier. In the similar manner, earlier we used to go to the theatres to watch movies, but now the time has come to bring theaters to your home and enjoy the real and original fun of theatres at home.

There are many factors that influence the designing of the home theatres. The most important one is its seating because the spurious and authentic fun of home theater can be felt only if there is full comfort and easiness.

Tips To Select Home Theatre Seating

It is really good to have a surround-sound home theatre system, but it will be of no use if there is no comfortable seating in order to enjoy and relax after having a hectic daily schedule. There are so many things to be kept in mind before going to select home theatre seating. For example, it should suit your decor, should be fully comfortable, etc.

There is a wide range of home theatre seating from the movie theatre seats to the home theatre couches with footrests. The numerous designs and varieties of home theatre seating are offered by different companies that generally make the customers perplexed. The following tips can assist you in choosing the perfect home theater seating.

Home Theatre Seating Tip 1
The first thing to be considered while choosing the home theater seating is the number of persons to be seated in the room possessing home theater as the arrangement of seating will be done accordingly.

Home Theatre Seating Tip 2
It is always recommended to have a spacious room for your home theatre. In as spacious room, the seating plan can be done properly avoiding congestion and preventing overcrowdedness.

Home Theatre Seating Tip 3
The most important feature of the seating is the comfortability and the easiness as one has to sit for approximately 2 hours to watch the full length movie. The seats should possess wide armrests to maintain the right balance and the sliding footrest should extend before as the backrest reclines. This will help in giving the support to the body.

There should be a proper stability and flexibility at the seat and back, and the seat should possess high density foam cushions in order to offer extreme comfort and back support. The seats should be capable of providing support from head to toe. Therefore, only those seats should be selected that are fully comfortable in each and every manner so that it should become relaxing and entertaining to watching film.

Home Theatre Seating Tip 4
You should always opt for that type of home theatre seating which suits your decor and should embellish your home theatre. There are different types of seating like upholstered home theater seating, the timber’s natural woodgrain brightened with an oil finish, etc. with a wide range of colors like pinks, browns, etc.

Home Theatre Seating Tip 5
The home theatre seating should consist of strong and durable couches and seats.

Home Theatre Seating Tip 6
The most important thing to be kept in mind is the budget. You should first set your budget as there is a wide range of prices. For example, a three-seater Rodeo Leather Lounge with built in wireless bass shaker, recliner, footrest, and wide armrest rolls that costs around $4700 is the best.

Therefore, the most important thing to be considered before planning to have a home theatre is its seating.

Rush The Snakes And Arrows Tour

One of Canada’s most successful musical exports, Rush, are currently touring to support the release of their latest Snakes and Arrows album. Having amassed hugely impressive sales over four successive decades, earning nearly 40 Gold and Platinum records while shifting an estimated 35 million albums worldwide, this progressive rock trio is showing no signs of giving any of it up.

With Geddy Lee (lead vocals, bass and keyboards), Alex Lifeson (lead guitar), and Neal Peart (drums), Rush have been as constant a success in the worldwide record industry as they have been a solid rock band since the release of their debut album in 1974.

With a lengthy discography behind them, Rush have always been about the album, not the single. An emphasis on instrumental skills combined with chief lyricist Neal Peart?s fondness for science fiction and fantasy-inspired lyrics, hasn?t always been especially pop or radio friendly.

Despite this, they have managed to score a number of hit singles through the years, including Limelight, Fly By Night, Tom Sawyer, Closer To The Heart, Spirit of Radio, New World Man, and Subdivisions.

Their music has proved popular as cover material for bands as diverse as Catherine Wheel and Audioslave, and Rush are frequently listed on other artist?s lists of musical influences. If you want a good introduction to the band and some of their more accessible material, their 1990 double-CD best-of release, Chronicles, is a very worthwhile purchase.

Discography (original studio albums only):

Rush – Mar 1974, 105 (US only) Gold
Fly by Night – Feb 1975, 148 (US only) Platinum
Caress Of Steel – Sep 1975, 113 (US only) Gold
2112 – Apr 1976, 61 (US), 1 (Canada) 3x Platinum
A Farewell To Kings – Sep 1977, 33 (US), 2 (Canada), 22 (UK) Platinum
Hemispheres – Oct 1978, 47 (US), 4 (Canada), 14 (UK) Platinum
Permanent Waves – Jan 1980, 4 (US), 1 (Canada), 3 (UK) Platinum
Moving Pictures – Jan 1981, 3 (US), 1 (Canada), 3 (UK) 4x Platinum
Signals – Sep 1982, 10 (US), 3 (Canada), 3 (UK) Platinum
Grace Under Pressure – Apr 1984, 10 (US), 1 (Canada), 5 (UK) Platinum
Power Windows – Oct 1985, 10 (US), 2 (Canada), 9 (UK) Platinum
Hold Your Fire – Sep 1987, 13 (US), 9 (Canada), 10 (UK) Platinum
Presto – Nov 1989, 16 (US), 11 (Canada), 27 (UK) Gold
Roll The Bones – Sep 1991, 3 (US), 1 (Canada), 10 (UK) Platinum
Counterparts – Oct 1993, 2 (US), 1 (Canada), 14 (UK) Platinum
Test For Echo – Sep 1996, 5 (US), 1 (Canada), 25 (UK) Gold
Vapor Trails – May 2002, 6 (US), 3 (Canada), 38 (UK)
Feedback – Jun 2004, 19 (US), 5 (Canada)
Snakes & Arrows – May 2007, 3 (US), 3 (Canada), 13 (UK)

Over the years Rush have become Canadian cultural icons, even crossing boundaries to become involved in the most unlikely of mediums for a serious band, such as spoofs and TV comedy.

Geddy Lee with Bob & Doug McKenzie (the infamous Canadian SCTV brothers), scored a 1982 hit with their anthem Take Off, and the Canadian comedy series Trailer Park Boys features a character with a Rush fixation. A 2004 episode of the show was based around an appearance by Alex Lifeson, who was kidnapped from his hotel prior to a concert and forced to perform a private concert in the trailer park.

Rush have built a solid reputation for incredible live performances and the band have released half a dozen live album recordings to support this. Currently on tour throughout Canada, this October sees the band injecting their special brand of rock to a European audience, kicking off with several dates around the UK.

3 Oct – Glasgow, Scotland – SECC
5 Oct – Newcastle, England – Metro Radio Arena
6 Oct – Sheffield, England – Hallam FM Arena
9 Oct – London, England – Wembley Arena
10 Oct – London, England – Wembley Arena
12 Oct – Birmingham, England – NEC Arena
14 Oct – Manchester, England – MEN Arena
16 Oct – Rotterdam, Netherlands – Ahoy
17 Oct – Rotterdam, Netherlands – Ahoy
19 Oct – Oberhausen, Germany – Arena
21 Oct – Mannheim, Germany – SAP Arena
23rd – Milan, Italy – Forum Arena
26th – Oslo, Norway – Spektrum
27th – Stockholm, Sweden – Globe Arena
29th – Helsinki, Finland – Hartwell Arena