Tag Archives: xanadu

Musical Interludes for the Weekend

As usual on a late Friday night, I start to browse through the web for new and old tunes to add to playlists for the 2 bars I work at.  One bar where I work, Trax (Haight St, SF, CA) is what you might expect from a dive bar on Haight (yes, that Haight St, yes those hippies back in the 60’s) is a very laid back dive.  The regulars are musically savvy ranging from jazz to current music and everything in-between.

The bar I work in
Trax: Where Destinies Collide

I love playing a song and seeing that misty look in their eyes as memories drift back to them.  Playing a tune they haven’t heard of in a long time or thought of for that matter.  I love playing for all ages, it’s a challenge that I look forward to fulfilling weekly.  I try to stay within certain parameters for a bar crowd: ie: nothing too depressing, nothing really slow and something that makes people generally happy and in a good mood.  Sometimes I strike out, but I think every DJ/bartender who brings their IPODS strike out at some point or another.  Music is a journey and sometimes, you step in shit just like in real life!!

So some music I stumbled on for this weekend:

Peter Bjorn and John“Second Chance”: They were the guys behind the mega hipster hit “Young Folks” in 2007.  That nice little whistling tune you would have stuck in your head for days on end.  Well now they are back with something a little more grittier and a departure from the whistling.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the tune “Young Folks” but this track kicks some serious ass for 3 guys that are listed in Rhapsody under the category “Dream Pop” (how the hell they come up with these genres are beyond me..?) And it seems they replaced the whistling with a cow bell! Gotta love the cow bell!  Check it out:

Now I’m a sucker for a rap song that loops a song in a decent manner.  I admit, I’m picky about my rap.  I can’t do gang bangin’ rap, I’m a 38 year old white gay male…I just don’t get the gang bangin’ rap.  Now if that is what you like: cool. To each his own.  I mostly favor women rappers vs male rappers ie: Missy Elliot, Lil’ Kim, etc. But I found this nice little rap jam via Gorilla Warfare Tactic with a tune called “Temptations” which I’m thinking is a double meaning: one being they sample a Temptations song (“Ain’t Too Proud To Beg”) and from what I can gather lyrically, maybe temptation is a theme as well..? Anyway, I think it’s a cool song so take a listen:

Another element in a song that will probably catch my attention is when a song starts out one way, then changes into something else in the middle and then go back to its beginning.  A good example is from way back in the day (well at least for me anyway) is Billy Joel’s “Scenes From An Italian Restaurant”, its 3 songs in one! Starts out slow, then gets mid tempo on your ass and then goes into full kick ass mode by 2:54!

So the song that I’m currently referring to with this element is Memory Tapes “Today Is Our Life”: it starts out slow and moody then it bursts into bright pop sweetness! Then by the end of the song you just have quiet synthesizer playing to fade. Below I have posted Billy Joel’s way of using the element of a song within a song and Memory Tapes after that:

Billy Joel – Scenes From An Italian Restaurant

Memory Tapes – Today Is Our Life

So that concludes another post here in Xanadu! Have a great weekend everyone!

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All the photography you see on here (unless otherwise noted) is by me and if you are in the Bay Area and would like to have portraits done, or a headshot or some other kind of photography gig, let me know! Thanks!!!

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Music, Photography and Me

For my first blog on We are in Xanadu, I just wanted to give insight into the who, what and why of this blog.

Music and photography are two of my passions and I decided to bring them together to create what I hope to be a successful blog.  I have a photography blog but have basically abandoned it at this point.  I am beginning a career as a photographer currently under the business name “Shandopics”.  To the side of this blog, you will see the Flickr links, etc.

I became bored with the photography blog but also, the thought of being technical, explaining how I take photos, etc really was a boring concept to me.  There are soooo many photography blogs (well ok, there are so many music blogs as well) but I thought by combining my two loves that I would be more invested in keeping the blog up to date.

The main purpose of the blog will center on music reviews, some music news and hopefully introducing people to new music as well as older music that you may have never heard of or forgot about.  The photography is more of a showcasing of my work along with the blog.  That way I will give more exposure to my photography while at the same time commenting on music.

When it comes to music, I pretty much like every genre except for polka, opera and other not so popular genres.  Well, who am I to say that polka isn’t popular, it just isn’t in my world.  If one listens to my Sansa Fuze + (that’s right, I do not own an IPOD currently and am trying not to, I will talk more about that in other posts), I am all over the place musically.  From dance/club music to classic rock, to vocal/pop standards to country.  And when I speak of country on this blog, I will mainly be referring to country music I grew up with that came from the 50’s through the mid 80’s and maybe some 90’s.  Current country is really just plain boring to me and most of country today seems to have lost its roots with the past.  Most country to me sounds like a pop song with a “twang” here and a “twang” there for country flavor.  I like my country with ALOT of twang and for the most part, alot of depression! But more on country and depression in another post.

In each post after this one, I will attempt a review of some kind whether it is of a current song/album or past one.  I will try and list some songs I am currently listening to at that moment and links to where you can find the music.  Of course my concept of what goes into each post could change at any given time but that is the basic idea at this time.

As for the name of the blog, We are in Xanadu, it harks back to the awful but wonderfully awful movie “Xanadu” starring Olivia Newton-John and what unfortunately was Gene Kelly‘s last movie.  The song “Xanadu” holds a very special place in my heart.  It is in my top 3 of all time favorite songs and no matter what, always makes me smile and almost everytime, dance in some form or fashion like I’m on roller skates! “Xanadu” was also one of those roller skating movies of the late 70’s and early 80’s. The soundtrack is amazing with the combination of ELO‘s production and lyrics added with the delivery of Olivia’s vocal talent!

I was 8 years old when this movie came out (August 8, 1980) and I did not see it in the movie theater unfortunately (that would happen upon moving to San Francisco in 2005 and seeing it on the widescreen at the beloved Castro Theater!).  When it began to be played on regular television randomly is when I began to view the movie and growing up, it would be on mostly late at night.  If it was on, I pretty much stopped whatever I was doing and watch with content as the amazing sounds of ELO and Olivia Newton-John come together for a pop/rock roller skating extravaganza! Also music and photography take me to xanadu, they bring me peace, happiness and with photography, I find a very quiet, serene place in my soul as I take photos.

I hope to make people smile, think and follow their passions through this blog as well as introduce you to new music of all kinds from current to the past.  I feel that knowing the history of music and how it connects to today’s artists is very important.  Like anything else, knowing the history of a subject just makes it that much more richer of an experience.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog and go on this journey I call “Xanadu”..go download the song now, I promise you won’t be disappointed!

 

 

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