Here we go again.
Thanks to my acquisition of Spotify this year, I’ve listened to way more albums than ever before – and subsequently liked way too many of them. So this was really hard for me to narrow down my favorites – so I didn’t, really. They’re all pretty much here, albeit ranked (somewhat arbitrarily). I can say for certain that the Top 30 are definitely my Top 30 favorites. After that, they’re all just albums I enjoyed in some form or fashion.
30. The Magic Place – Julianna Barwick
29. Take Care, Take Care, Take Care – Explosions In The Sky
28. Diamond Mine – King Creosote & Jon Hopkins
27. In Light – Givers
26. Destroyer – Kaputt
I took Holly to a concert at Tulsa’s historic Brady Theater on Tuesday as her Christmas present (it still counts even if I also really wanted to go). The lineup: sunny, Californian rock/folk ensemble Delta Spirit and Southern roots/prog rock group My Morning Jacket. Both excellent in their own ways.
By getting there early enough we were able to snag a couple of standing positions in the second row, giving me some good opportunities to film a couple of songs. There were still one large Andre the Giant and one sexy-dancing, arm-waving girl who would sometimes get in my way, but they’re still pretty decent videos that manage to capture the spectacle that is MMJ.
I can only describe Delta Spirit as a rock group from California – always sunny, always happy. They bang on trashcan lids and huge bass drums. Their guitar crescendoes have you jumping. Their album is called “Ode to Sunshine”, for cryin’ out loud. But my favorite song of theirs is probably their most quiet, yet their most lyrically moving – their version of a protest song. Check it out below, followed by their Take Away Show version. I could listen to/watch that video all day, every day.
My life has been filled with Paul Simon.
As a kid, my parents played me one of two cassettes on car trips: Raffi, and Paul Simon’s Graceland. When we lived in Nebraska and my dad preached at a tiny church an hour and a half away, more often than not our return trips would feature Graceland as their soundtrack (that or “A Prairie Home Companion”).
And while my musical tastes grew and expanded over the years, I always loved Paul – especially that magnificent, beautiful, nostalgic whirlwind of African and pop music that is Graceland. I love that album. If you don’t know its story (how Paul worked with black South African musicians despite anti-apartheid sanctions from the U.S. government), you should. The album is a living history of that era that transcends the actual music.
Every song is a masterpiece, from the lyrically wonderful road-and-God-anthem “Graceland”, to the exquisite African harmonies of the a cappella “Homeless”, to the Tex-Mex, Los Lobos collaboration “All Around The World”. And who could forget the upbeat yet lonely “You Can Call Me Al”? (Click the link to see the hilarious music video featuring Chevy Chase.) There is absolutely nothing wrong with this album (except for, maybe, the slightly annoying “I Know What I Know”…), which is why it won a Grammy. And I have my parents to thank – especially my dad – for making sure I’ve loved this album, and this songwriter, ever since I was a kid.
I realized recently that I neglected one event on my list of my Top 8 OKC Experiences: The Ghouls Gone Wild Halloween Parade.
My Halloween experiences growing up were basically just trick-or-treating in small-town Nebraska. That’s it. No crazy parties, no crazy festivals (unless you count the local church’s “haunted house”, which was always your usual cardboard, grapes-as-eyeballs NonFrightFest). I did my fair share of corn mazes and costume parties in high school and college, but nothing that was really cool. Crazy Halloween festivals happened in New York or Los Angeles – not here, I thought.
Until OKC’s Ghouls Gone Wild parade started.
OKC’s got some cool events, but nothing as subversive or crazy as Ghouls Gone Wild (I guess Opening Night on New Year’s Eve does okay, but it doesn’t really come that close). Anyone and everyone dresses up in costumes of all kinds, descends on Midtown, Downtown and Bricktown and watches the myriad of Halloween floats and ridiculous revelers. It truly is where the freaks come out to play.
A couple of weeks ago I did a post called “My Top 6 Oklahoma Experiences”, relating my favorite places I’ve been to around Oklahoma but not including the Oklahoma City metro. This fills in those gaps.
1. Oklahoma State Fair
It’s impossible to not have fun here, even though most all the attractions are hokey/lame/cringe-inducing. When you’re in that intoxicating atmosphere of neon and grease, you throw inhibitions aside. Deep-fried Oreo? Why not? Creaky version of an only somewhat legitimate ride? Let’s do it! Has-been bands performing? There is no other place I would ever dream of watching Boyz II Men, Hanson, or (this year’s main act) the Village People, and actually love it while it’s happening.
This year’s fair is going on now until September 25, and tickets are cheap. If you haven’t experienced this, um, experience, make sure to do so this year. Also, for a different take on the State Fair, check out this obscure, local social blog.