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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  Apologies for the quiet holiday season in blog-land, sometimes life throws a couple curve balls at you.  All at once. 😛 But I’m happy to be back!

The new year is a time to both look forward and reflect back and I’ve been inspired musically this weekend to do both.  I figured we would go chronologically here:

Looking Back (Way Back):

I was watching Metal Mania on VH1 Classic yesterday morning (an excellent way to start the day) and for once they were on a roll – Scorpions, Dio, Skid Row, Bon Jovi, and the subject of this throw back: The Cult.  I have always had a soft spot for Ian, Billy, and the boys.  Their mélange of rock, goth, dark new wave, and psychedelia a la The Doors (who Ian would later sing for), combined with a lot of Native American symbolism for a British band resulted in some brilliant music.  The video they showed was for “She Sells Sanctuary” (great song) but when I went back to listen to them, I had to point out a few others.  I’m generally a Sonic Temple girl, but this weekend is apparently an Electric weekend:

Ok, a few from Sonic Temple.  Trust me, it’s worth the extra time:

And my favorite song of theirs (that “Oh Baby” in the middle? Let’s just say that it had a huge impact on my teenage psyche, shall we?):

And then, later, I was watching last season’s Downton Abbey finale (prepping for the new season premiere tonight, of course) and was struck by hearing the ‘20s Jazz music “live” instead of in tinny old recordings.  And I started thinking about how much music reflects and simultaneously influences the world it is created in.  Coming on the heels of World War I, everyone wanted to shake it off and the jazz of the era seems perfectly suited to the task.  Rising up from earlier forms such as ragtime and Dixieland, the jazz of the 1920’s was perfectly suited for the era.  Or was the era perfectly suited for Jazz?

This actually also tied into a thought I had while working out to Ace of Base last week (don’t judge – I’m allowed my nostalgia): how dance pop nearly 20 years ago was so much slower than it is now.  Does this reflect our faster pace of life?  Before we get way too existential for a Sunday evening, I will give you some examples (tinny recordings, yes.  In my head, the 20’s sounds like this, just run with it.  Also, take a moment to be grateful for modern recording technology…):

You can hear the exceptionally talented Wynton Marsalis perform this song here, for a break from the tinny.  😀

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Fantastic Sheet Music Cover (click to hear the song!)

And now to look forward to 2015:

Apocalyptica has a new album coming out in April!!!  I can’t wait! We already have tickets for their tour opening for labelmates Sixx:AM, I have downloaded the single, and am counting down to April 15th!

The first single, “Shadowmaker”, threw me off at first listen.  It starts as a standard rock song, and because I hadn’t noticed the length, I figured it would play out formulaically. But formulaic is not usually Apo’s way, so I should have known better!  For the Apo purist, the extended instrumental section in the middle puts our minds at ease.  As always, they are not afraid to do whatever the hell they want and it is one of the many reasons I love them. (And does anyone else get a King Diamond vibe around 5:23, with the “spooky” vocals in the background?)

While I have some reservations about vocalist Franky Perez (who I like much much more here than I did with prior band Scars On Broadway) and there is a general fan concern that because they seem to have hired Franky–instead of just using him as a guest artist–that the album could be mostly vocal songs instead of instrumentals, I do have faith that the new album will be another welcome and worthy addition to the Apocalyptica catalog.  Without further ado, check out “Shadowmaker”:

Lastly, I saw this blog post about New Year’s in France (yes, I’m a Franco-Finno-Anglo-phile. Why stop at loving only one other culture?) and felt it was a great way to welcome the new year:

Dear Readers, my best wishes for this new year, and beg you to believe in the assurance of my very affectionate sentiments.  I send kisses with all my heart.  🙂