the new album has been released…

The new album, “Late Night Meditations in Suburbia” has now officially been released on Bandcamp where you can download it for free, both the entire album and individual tracks. Of course, if you want to throw something in the tipjar, that’s fine too and greatly appreciated (if you do, you also get streaming, on the Bandcamp app, with the download). You can find it here: www.nightsonvenus.bandcamp.com

From my album description, this one is more electronic, more eclectic, experimental and edgier… all of which I feel is true. It’s also more textural and was the toughest album I’ve worked on so far and far different from the first few songs I recorded for the album I thought I was going to make, which didn’t even make it on here. Work proceeded in fits and starts – some periods were creative, but most were not and the album took what felt like an eternity to complete. Then finishing up, Erin had her leg injury back in March, only a couple of months ago as the pandemic was ramping up here, and I’m happy to say we’ve got her back on her feet now, on her way toward full recovery – yay!

I decided to release this in its current form – most of it I’ve posted previously on Facebook and SoundCloud – and did the final mastering on the album here in the studio. Your own music should always surprise you in some way and this album certainly did. I hope you enjoy the music on here.. and it’s time to move forward. I mean that in both the personal and the societal sense.

April 10th…

Perfect spring day and tomorrow… then snow all day Sunday and most of Monday. Springtime in the Rockies!

West Colfax Ave. in Lakewood, completely empty on a Saturday morning, on my way into Golden…

Day 12 (Erin post-surgery)… Much later at night, I’m listening to Three Dog Night’s “Golden Bisquits” album, a staple from the early 1970s in Dallas, in junior high school – St. Mark’s, bowling leagues at Preston Forest Lanes, when I started getting rides back home after church, eschewing Sunday school indoctrination (cleverly packaged as Christian “education”, even in the Episcopal church – the most liberal of sects!) to go home and listen to and commune with “my” music… and Evergreen Conference in the summers.

1970… “Mama Told Me (Not to Come)”. Remember this from going down to Lakeway Inn on Lake Travis just outside of Austin, Texas, for a weekend. That was our vacation in 1970 – we didn’t go to Evergreen that summer. Katie and her husband, friends of the family, came down with us for whatever reason, or maybe they invited us, I don’t know… this was pre-Kent (her 2nd husband). The swingin’ 70s. Is that place still there? Yes… and it’s called Lakeway Resort and Spa now (thank you Google Maps). The area around it has developed significantly of course since then. This is 50 fucking years ago… half a century! I would’ve rather been in Evergreen that summer at the conference and every summer for that matter, but hey, that wasn’t my decision. I was thirteen.

So I’m listening to “Out In the Country” now – here in 2020…

“Whenever I need to leave it all behind
Or feel the need to get away
I find a quiet place, far from the human race
Out in the country…

Before the breathin’ air is gone
Before the sun is just a bright spot in the night-time
Out where the rivers like to run
I stand alone and take back somethin’ worth rememberin’…”

Shmoopy and I saw Three Dog Night in 2013 at Belly Up in Aspen with Claire and jeez, even that’s 7 years ago now. Cory [Wells] was still with them. That was the second of two shows we saw at Belly Up that year – the first was the Todd Rundgren’s State Tour in July.

Speaking of travel, Shmoopy (Erin) and I had a talk about that tonight, ’cause we do have a trip coming up to Santa Fe in August, and we decided that this year we cancel all travel plans. Meaning Santa Fe, which was the only thing we had scheduled anyway. At Ten Thousand Waves. In August. She’ll still most likely be re-learning how to walk on a reconstructed, refurbished right hamstring and we’re not going to the opera and be sitting next to people even in August. I cancelled my travel plans last month to go to Dallas for my dad’s 91st birthday as the outbreak was ramping up in the U.S. It seemed irresponsible to travel and then the assisted living facility he’s in went on lockdown a couple of days before his birthday. Couldn’t have seen him anyway.

This, the coronavirus, won’t be over by August. No National Football League either this year (sorry, people). So I called up Ten Thousand Waves earlier. They’re closed right now, through May 31st… they’ll be missing the Memorial Day weekend. But I need to call them and cancel our reservation for August 20th. Hate to do that, but 2020’s cancelled. Shut it all down, 2020… So says Neil Young.

I’ll call them whenever they do re-open. June?… July?

 

Day 9…

4/7

I didn’t write the last couple of days. Just too busy. It’s 10:20 Tuesday morning… I’m packing boxes – books, CDs, records; I’ve been doing this since Saturday afternoon. Getting the bookcases cleared out. I bought 20 boxes on Saturday and I just packed my 16th. Obviously, I will have to go back and buy more.

…Guitars are in their cases now and I’m finally throwing away the old laptop that died the first month we moved in here. I’ve put my e-signature on the lease for the new apartment and Shmoopy got the movers booked – they finally called back. They were the movers who moved us into and out of the townhome, Fastwind, and I’m glad she got them again. They send three people on their moves so it gets done quicker. $150/hour… flat rate. No hidden bullshit.

Eating soup for lunch now at 1:45 and I’m going to place an order at King Soopers online. Need to get a delivery scheduled for the weekend – it’s only Tuesday… they book up quick.

Shmoopy’s taking a nap now; Maxx and Cosmo are being pretty mellow. I’ve only been outside once today and that was to take out the trash. The craziest thing in all of this is that I’ve lost 7.6 lbs. since I last went to the gym on March 8, a month ago; I’m now at 184.3 lbs. as of this morning.

“Untitled No. 3″ (1989) – Craig C. Thomas, Oil and wax on canvas; 72″ x 81”, Private collection.

I’m looking at my large painting on the wall, “Untitled No. 3″ from 1989, and I’m realizing I’m gonna have to walk this thing, all 6′ x 6’9” of it, up the hill to the new apartment. Hope it’s not windy. As the randomness of everything right now would have it, we move into the new apartment on the 25th, we pick up the keys, which is also the day transiting Pluto goes stationary retrograde. Great. Fastwind is scheduled for Monday, the 27th at 9:00, and they will be starting by moving the bed because Shmoopy has to get into the new place and stay there on the bed. Basically, I will have the night of the 25th and all day Sunday to scope out where I think everything should go. I can do that.

Also in effect astrologically that weekend, I have transiting Neptune conjuncting the Moon, opposite Jupiter, sextile the Ascendant; transiting Uranus square its own natal position within 15 minutes of arc of exact. Nothing going on with transiting Saturn or Jupiter – that’s good; transiting Moon is moving through Gemini obviously stirring up my Pisces-Virgo stuff in a T-square. Watch emotional volatility. Like every day now.

…My studio has been filling up with boxes. Cosmo has been wanting to come in here but I haven’t been letting him in because the boxes are just too upsetting for kitties to see; I know Maxx knows what this means, so I’m keeping a tight lid on it. We have a full Moon tonight, Sun in Aries, Moon in Libra, 12th house-6th house… health concerns and work. No kidding. Shmoopy went to bed about half-an-hour ago; I’m alone with my thoughts. I need to be reflective here; this is a need that I have. When I don’t have time to think leisurely by myself I start getting weird and I’m “weird” already. News comes today that John Prine, the singer/songwriter (“Angel from Montgomery”) died today from complications due to the coronavirus, Covid-19. This is very sad news, and many are dying needlessly because of goddamn motherfucking Trump and his spineless, reprehensible enablers.

It’s been kind of a depressing day, but then most days now have a depressing quality built into them. But just could not shake it. That’s what is different now – usually I can shake it at some point during any given day, but not now. I asked Shmoopy last night if some people she sees feel this stressed out every day and she said they did. I said, “then I feel really badly for them.” OK, that’s empathy, that’s being an empath. I’m not used to feeling this stressed and it’s not a good feeling. Right now though, I feel as calm as I have all day.

I’m getting stuff done, handling things, Shmoopy will heal completely and the move will get done – we’ll get out in front of it and even though it will be somewhat stressful, it will get done with the least amount of stress possible. This is Day 9, post-surgery btw.

It’s Been a While…

Fast-forward, and it’s now April, 2020. Yes, I’m still here; Nights on Venus is still here. And the world has changed. The album I had meant to release – “Late Night Meditations in Suburbia” – actually at the end of this month, is in limbo. I’m not quite sure what to do with it.

And today, I made a decision on it: it’s postponed indefinitely. Two weeks ago, my wife, Erin (Shmoopy), slipped and fell on a sheet of ice in the parking lot here at home and tore all three tendons in her right hamstring. Within 10 days she had surgery on it and is currently in recovery, and given the severity of the injury, it’s a long road…

4/3  (journal entry… more to follow)

Friday, a.k.a. Day 5, Shmoopy post-surgery… it’s a little after 9:30 in the morning and she’s taking a nap. She had a better night last night and her left leg wasn’t hurting her as much. That’s the leg that didn’t get operated on but getting her up the stairs back on Monday is probably the biggest thing that caused it to be hurting. We put a new dressing on tomorrow and the groceries are being delivered tomorrow between 1-2 pm again. Will have to review the order in a little bit. Shmoopy mentioned bacon for a quiche and that actually sounded like a good idea. We haven’t had bacon in a while and as far as I know there hasn’t been a run on it like toilet paper and paper towels. It’s somewhat ironic that even when I’m staying home taking care of her, there don’t seem to be enough hours in the day now. I want to get some reading done today and I’m gonna start putting the rest of the songs from the new album “as is” up on SoundCloud. I’m just gonna postpone it indefinitely. My mind’s just not there.

It did snow last night, not much but enough for it to be icy out there so right now there’s no reason for me to go out there just taking out the trash when I can do it when it’s above freezing. We don’t need me getting injured as well. It’s now two weeks since Shmoopy took the spill on the ice and tore all three tendons in her right hamstring. In that time we first tried ultrasound on the leg, continually icing it, then getting her in to see the doctor at Kaiser Lone Tree, then Dr. Kang, the surgeon over at Kaiser Franklin, then scheduling her surgery and the pre-op appointment back at Lone Tree, and finally the actual surgery at Franklin this past Monday. It’s been kind of a whirlwind. We had to do it as quickly as possible, not just because of the severity of the injury but also because of the continuing spread of the coronavirus and the possibility of not being able to get in to have the surgery done in the timely manner this required.

We’re running the ice machine on her right now so Cosmo’s in my room, sitting on the ottoman. Of our two cats, he’s more freaked out than Maxx because he’s the more sensitive one. I’m making some modifications to the King Soopers’ order that’s coming tomorrow, switching out the chorizo sausage for bacon and I’ll make another quiche next week. Also I’ll make some more chili and ordered all the ingredients. I’m down to about 4 more of my blood pressure meds but I checked to see whether the charge came through or not and it has, on Monday this week so I should be getting them today or tomorrow.

…It’s almost 4:00 now – I’ll detail the BP meds ’cause that’s the easier one. When I got back from the office there was a knock on our door and it was this guy I hadn’t ever seen before and he got my package from Kaiser in his mailbox and walked it over. Yes, we were 6 feet apart and I thanked him for bringing it over. The package is in the front closet where it will remain for at least a couple of days.

The guidelines:
Coronavirus can stay in the air for 3 hours
On copper surfaces for 4 hours
On cardboard for 24 hours
On plastic and stainless steel for up to 3 days…

Did the guy at the door exhale? Well, we spoke. We were approx. 6 feet apart. The package is plastic, so it stays there ’til Monday.

But the big news and why I went up to the office in the first place: on top of everything else, we are now moving in 3 1/2 weeks. The apartment complex offered us the 3-bedroom on the 1st floor in building 1, at the SAME PRICE we’re paying now. Despite the timeframe and the monumental hassle/labor involved, we had to take it. This is a no-brainer. Shmoopy has to be on the first floor during her recovery and physical rehab. So now, starting this weekend, I have to go buy boxes. Yes, seriously. I have to start packing us up. I’m used to packing my stuff – you start with the non-essentials which in this context, ironically, means books, CDs, DVDs, records. Guitars can go in their cases; guitar effects go back in their boxes of which I have saved all of those. I can’t even wrap my mind around this still after the last 3 hours. I’m looking at my keyboards… obviously I bring over all our music gear and electronics – computers, electronics, etc. in my car. That, I’m used to. And it’s only 400 yards away. [end]

I will be adding the rest of the songs from the album to SoundCloud and elsewhere over the coming days, weeks…

Currently… thanks for listening,
Craig

goodbye 2018… hello, 2019!

It’s that time of year again, when one year passes into the next, and depending on what has transpired in the year that’s coming to an end, we’re either glad to see it go or remembering it at least somewhat fondly… or both, but we’re always hopeful for what the new year will bring. It’s like there’s this totally clean slate, if only for a few brief hours (or minutes) before we do something stupid.

So, on this last day of the year, buh-bye, 2018… and welcome 2019!

For Erin and me, 2018 has been a year of massive change (one big move).

I expect that for us, 2019 will be another year of massive change (another big move, probably to most likely).

I suspect (and predict) that for everyone, all of us, 2019 and every year from here on out, will be years of massive change.

I am told that if you start the movie Forrest Gump at exactly 10:38 pm, when you reach 12 midnight at the start of the new year, you will be celebrating with Forrest and Lieutenant Dan… wherever you are! This scene…

Well, some smart person just figured out that this scene occurs 1 hour and 22 minutes into the movie.

And hey, didn’t the Poseidon Adventure take place on New Year’s Eve?

Why yes it did. But you know, there’s got to be a morning after…

And then, who can forget the New Year’s Eve party scene from Boogie Nights? I know I certainly can’t… I lived it!

So now you know what we’ll be doing, what movies we’ll be watching tonight as it has been snowing all day here and it’s now 9 degrees in Littleton. We are, as they say, “In 4 the Evening

Very white and snowy today…

And does it seem odd to anyone else that we have arrived at 2019? Let that sink in for a moment… twenty nineteen. Could we see that far from say, 1980? One year away now from 2020…

Work progresses slowly and steadily on the new full-length album “Late Night Meditations in Suburbia“, slated for release in 2019. I should have some new previews of songs from the album up on SoundCloud in February.

I hope 2018 was kind and good to you and that the coming year will be even better. Here’s to a happy, healthy and prosperous new year in 2019. Cheers!… Happy New Year everyone!

Cover artwork for the 3-song single/EP “Snow Day”, which was released on December 23rd, 2017. Available on all digital media outlets…

Cover artwork for the “The Wheels Are Coming Off” single, released on June 12, 2018. Click for the larger image…

The most recent releases from Nights on Venus are the 2-song single, “The Wheels Are Coming Off“, released in the summer of 2018, and the 3-song single/EP, “Snow Day“, from December, 2017.

The most recent full-length release “We Are All Haunted by Something” was released in the summer of 2017 and includes the 2-song single “Speed of Life” and “Confirm Humanity (I’m Not a Robot)”. All albums/singles/EPs from Nights on Venus are available on iTunes, Bandcamp, CD Baby, Amazon MP3. and the NoV website.

Follow Craig and Nights on Venus on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

the end of… the album (as we know it)? three articles on the demise of the download…

Cosmo, on a lazy Sunday afternoon… awakened by… opera!

This is a trend I’ve posted and commented on here on the blog a few times in the past but now it appears we are rapidly approaching the end of the download on some of the largest online music outlets, specifically, Apple iTunes. The music download, which had appeared to be so strong even only just a few short years ago, is going the way of the CD… and vinyl before it. Downloads are now becoming a niche market, just like CD and vinyl, and will soon be found only on music outlets such as CD Baby and Bandcamp. First quarter of 2019, as Apple outlined, is looking like the timeframe for this to occur. In part, this is due to the success of their streaming service Apple Music, which now is generating more revenue than Spotify.

Check out the three articles below, first from Digital Music News on the impending demise of the music download:
https://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2018/07/10/music-downloads-extinct/ 

The second, from Forbes, taken from the RIAA’s (Recording Industry Association of America) annual year-end report:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/hughmcintyre/2018/03/28/physical-albums-sell-significantly-better-than-digital-ones-even-today/#388b6051b538

And the third, from Billboard on CD sales:  https://www.billboard.com/articles/business/8477070/cd-sales-not-dying-but-heading-towards-niche-status-vinyl-analysis 

Granted, a couple of these articles appeared much earlier in the year but one can assume that for CDs and downloads, and specifically album downloads, the trends haven’t reversed themselves since then.

I’ll throw in an additional article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette which asks the musical question “should you hang on to your CDs”:
http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/music/2018/02/21/CD-compact-disc-sales-decline-Juke-Records-Billboard-Best-Buy-Target/stories/201802210158

  • The takeaways from all these developments would appear to be obvious:
    Streaming has now become the de facto medium for recorded music and appears to be the endgame… for now. I had mentioned this in a post from 6 years ago, although it didn’t really occur to me at the time that the download would go away (and it won’t, completely).
    As far as streaming being the endgame, it has been the self-perpetuating nature of the music industry to come up with new delivery formats along the way as technology evolved, so I suppose eventually, something may come along to replace streaming. Except that the streaming platform really didn’t come from the music industry, did it? That came from the tech industry. What new medium could replace streaming? Right now, I think most people don’t know.
  • Albums sell more on the physical format – CD – than on downloads and are most effective sales-wise, but only when the CD is released on the album’s street date. If artists don’t release a CD on the street date, they’re leaving money on the table… And then retail outlets like Best Buy pull their CD stock off the shelves.
    There is this, however, from the Forbes article: “People have been saying for a long time that the physical album is done, but the category is responsible for more money coming into the music industry than digital album and song sales combined.”
    And this from Billboard: ““If we had CDs on those albums, the [format’s] sales numbers would tell a different story,” Newbury Comics head of purchasing Carl Mello tells Billboard. “When 90 percent of the most popular music [hip-hop] in America doesn’t show up on CD, of course sales will be down. Duh.”
  • There is no music industry “recovery”. The tech industry has effectively hijacked the music industry. Or, maybe as one label executive has said, “[the labels] are reacting to what’s happening in the marketplace, not causing it.”
    I tend to think that’s the case.
    Until some new/revamped format replaces streaming, any recovery has been put on hold. Indefinitely.
  • If there’s any music or any albums you need to download, you should probably do it by the end of the year, and also back up downloads you have purchased in the past (blank CDs are good for this… you can still get them at Office Depot/Office Max and online). Just sayin’…
    After that it appears that CD Baby, Bandcamp, and eMusic will be the last refuge for digital downloads (and most of their inventory is independent or emerging artists… hey, like me!).
  • And to answer the question of whether you should hang on to those CDs (or vinyl, cassettes, or anything else other than 8-tracks)… well, do you listen to CDs? Keep ’em. Did you have vinyl, sell or get rid of it in favor of CDs, only to regret it later? Do you have downloads? Back ’em up. Streaming is hot now… but for how long?… ‘Til the next “hot” format comes along?
    Remember that the music industry has historically made and continues to make a significant chunk of their money from selling the music consumer the same music over and over again, just in different formats.
    And please, continue to purchase music… rather than or in addition to streaming. Thanks!
    I’ll leave you with this from musician Danny Michel to illustrate what streaming has actually done within the music biz: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10160771798630467&set=a.10150674561930467&type=3&theater

Nights on Venus news:
Currently, I am continuing work in the new studio, recording and mixing songs for Nights on Venus’ next full-length album which will be my 6th full-length album… entitled “Late Night Meditations in/on Suburbia” (yeah, it keeps morphing a bit), set for release in 2019. It has taken a while to get back in a groove after the move, almost 5 months ago, much longer than expected, but I think I’m there now… only to be interrupted by the holidays of course, but I’m taking everything right now as a work in progress in this, a transitional year, year-and-a-half, or for however long our interim residence in the suburban hinterlands will be and it’s all coming together. There is new music posted on SoundCloud – excerpts from the forthcoming album and you can find it here: https://soundcloud.com/nights-on-venus/sets/excerpts-from-late-night

Includes the already-released single “The Wheels Are Coming Off” from this past June, 2018. I will be adding to the playlist over the coming months.

Cover artwork for the 3-song single/EP “Snow Day”, which was released on December 23rd, 2017. Available on all digital media outlets…

Cover artwork for the “The Wheels Are Coming Off” single, released on June 12, 2018. Click for the larger image…

The most recent releases from Nights on Venus are the 2-song single, “The Wheels Are Coming Off“, released this past summer, and the 3-song single/EP, “Snow Day“, from December, 2017.

The most recent full-length release “We Are All Haunted by Something” was released in the summer of 2017 and includes the 2-song single “Speed of Life” and “Confirm Humanity (I’m Not a Robot)”. All albums/singles/EPs from Nights on Venus are available on iTunes, Bandcamp, CD Baby, Amazon MP3. and the NoV website.

Follow Craig and Nights on Venus on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

 

 

 

annual fall foliage tour, pts. 1 & 2, works in progress…

Happy fall, y’all! Best time of the year. The autumnal equinox occurred yesterday evening at 7:54 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time…

When this time of year rolls around, it’s time to get on the road and get to the high country for the annual fall foliage tour of the aspen leaves turning bright yellow, because that’s what we do here in Colorado. Usually we go to Squaw Pass, right up the road from Evergreen on the way to Echo Lake and Mt. Evans, and we did that yesterday, combining it with a hike up Chief Mountain, a trail we hike every year. A very windy hike I might add. This is fall foliage, part 1… there wasn’t a whole lot of fall color except for a few areas. The peak color should be this week, and we’re going to Vail for a few days later this week. That’s part 2, and will be an update next Sunday. A few pics from yesterday:

Looking toward the Mt. Evans massif from the Juniper overlook on Squaw Pass Rd. (Hwy. 103)… (sized just right for a screensaver)

Early start on the trail as always…

Looking west toward Mt. Evans…

Onward and upward… into the wind

At the summit

Erin and me… the Shmoopies, windblown on Chief Mtn.

And of course, every completed hike ends with beer… good beer. This is from El Rancho Brewing Co., Evergreen… a Peach IPA on the left and a Hatched Milk Stout on the right, infused with Hatch green chiles…

And just because this song is lodged in my head right now, I remember that I was listening to this 39 years ago when I was living in Midland, Texas…
Hold on, hold on, hold on, to what you got…

Nights on Venus News:
Well, when you make one major change in your recording setup, you should expect systemic changes all the way down the line and that’s what has happened. Major studio upgrades which I’ve been incorporating over the last month-and-a-half. Everything right now is kind of a work in progress (and ironically, the street we now live on is named Progress Circle). I’ve renamed the studio – for the length of time that we’re here in the ‘no man’s land’ of west Littleton – to Confluence Music Studio, and I’m pushing everything out into 2019. So, there will be no release of a new single next month. There may be one in December and then the full album will come out in the first half of 2019. And, oh yeah, the title has changed… the album title will be “Late Night Meditations in Suburbia“. We’ve jumped tracks… expect maybe one or two surprises.

‘Til the update next Sunday…

And Part 2 of this year’s Leaf Extravaganza… 9/30
The pictorial continues… we are true fall leaf/color junkies.

On the Meadow Creek Trail, just north of Frisco…

More from the Meadow Creek Trail…

Looking southeast back toward Lake Dillon…

The Vail Valley… early morning on the Booth Falls Trail…

Hiking up the Booth Falls Trail…


On the Eagle Bahn gondola above Vail…

Hello, October!

Looking south from the top of Eagle Bahn… Mt. of the Holy Cross is the high peak in the center…

Riding up on the Eagle Bahn gondola right before sunset…

Looking north toward part of the Gore Range, Vail…

As dusk approaches…

Last light, Lionshead Village…

Heading home…

Although we missed peak color by about a week going further up into the high country – it’s always a bit of a crap shoot – there was still more than enough spectacular color and scenery, and it was good to get away and relax for a few days during the low season. We’ll do it again next year.

Cover artwork for the 3-song single/EP “Snow Day”, which was released on December 23rd, 2017. Available on all digital media outlets…

Cover artwork for the “The Wheels Are Coming Off” single, released on June 12, 2018. Click for the larger image…

The most recent releases from Nights on Venus are the 2-song single, “The Wheels Are Coming Off“, released this summer, and the 3-song single/EP, “Snow Day“, from December, 2017.

The most recent full-length release “We Are All Haunted by Something” was released in the summer of 2017 and includes the 2-song single “Speed of Life” and “Confirm Humanity (I’m Not a Robot)”. All albums/singles/EPs from Nights on Venus are available on iTunes, Bandcamp, CD Baby, Amazon MP3. and the NoV website.

Follow Craig and Nights on Venus on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.