We made the move back on July 6th and Erin and I have been here over a month now. The whole process has felt like falling into a black hole and now we have emerged on the other side, dropped off in generic, white-bread suburbia. All in all though, aside from the unrelenting glut of corporate chain stores and restaurants and the clusterfuck that is the South Wadsworth and Bowles area in Littleton, which we avoid as much as possible, I like where we are now as it seems to be a kind of “no man’s land” that the greedy developers haven’t discovered yet. That of course, will change, but hopefully by then, we should be moving again. We went from Golden Ridge to Dakota Ridge, traded in a view of the dilapidated trailer park to watch the goings on at the dog park, which is infinitely much better, and we’re still about 15 minutes away from Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison.
The energy has shifted in a big way over the last month… so much that is new and all for the better, but I underestimated my down time in the studio; I am only now getting back to work and it’s August. The addition and incorporation of new gear in a new recording space always slows things down a little and some of that had been anticipated – the purchase of my first completely analog synthesizer since 1986 – but replacing a computer, operating system, and installing a new version of the music software I’ve been using was not expected but became necessary. A certain learning curve is involved. As a result, the full album, Outlier, will be coming out sometime in the first few months of 2019. I’m already hearing that this is a going to be a very different sounding album from what I first envisioned. A sea change. So now a 2-3 song single release is planned for October, early November as I finish up with what has already been recorded and mixed and only needs to be mastered at this point.
The dust continues to settle and new routines become established… In the meantime, we took a short weekend trip down to Santa Fe last week for the opera and to do all the usual Santa Fe things we do. And it became a kind of nothing-goes-as-planned weekend (brought to you by… Mercury retrograde, of course)… from almost getting fried in the Waterfall pool at Ten Thousand Waves when a lightning storm moved overhead to power outages in town and technical difficulties at the opera the next day. We ate enough excellent New Mexican food at Maria’s and the Shed with coin margaritas to make up for it. A much-needed road trip in the midst of all the recent changes. A brief pictorial here:
‘Til next time, when we’ve gone hiking for the first time this summer, just as it’s coming to an end (thankfully as always).
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.
This week’s post comes from an article that appeared in the New York Times a few weeks ago. “The Songs That Bind“… I found it via the Digital Music News and here’s their article on it.
That’s an interesting question and premise and of course, one that I would be very interested in as both a musician and a listener/consumer as music has pretty much defined my entire life (growing up in a musical household will do that).
The basic premise of the study, with data culled from Spotify, is that our lifelong musical tastes are formed in early adolescence – for men, between the ages of 13-16; for women, slightly earlier, between the ages of 11-14. In his study, Seth focuses solely on the songs that were popular for people of those age ranges throughout the years of popular music, for each generation.
I would tend to agree with his findings, for the most part, and I think the article and study is fascinating and a good one albeit incomplete as it covers only the data on songs – the “chart-topping songs” – and does not include genres, specific albums, or the conditioning aspects of hearing those songs repeatedly on the radio, or the additional conditioning influence of peer influence/acceptance which can be such a determining factor in those early adolescent years, or even, and perhaps more importantly, what a young listener might have heard in their home or on the radio before those early adolescent years.
I thought back to my own listening experiences, what influenced me the most during those years from 13 to 16 which corresponds to the years from 1969 to 1972. A visual list…
I focus mostly on albums here rather than the chart-topping songs because even back then I listened more to albums than songs on the various radio stations although I might have first become acquainted with a band’s music via radio whether AM or FM (e.g., Three Dog Night). I can certainly remember the first time I heard Led Zeppelin’s debut album in 1969 – in full in Mr. Kyzer’s art class at St. Mark’s School (Dallas, TX) in the first quarter of 7th grade. That definitely had an impact, particularly the song “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You“… but I remember the song from that day in art class, not the radio. Eventually the song became an FM radio staple as did most of Led Zep’s songs.
As far as specific songs that hit the sweet spot of peak influence at age 14, I can think of several right offhand: “Layla” from Derek & the Dominos, Three Dog Night’s “Mama Told Me Not to Come“, “One Man Band” and “Never Been to Spain” (and pretty much every song off the Naturally and Harmony albums), from the Jackson 5 with a young Michael Jackson, “ABC” and “I’ll Be There“, and from the heavier side of things, Alice Cooper’s “I’m Eighteen” and “The Song Is Over” by The Who. That covers a lot of musical ground in just one year.
I can remember thinking, after the first few times I heard “Layla”, that it was the greatest rock song ever recorded. The Who’s “The Song Is Over” after all these years is still my favorite song of all time and probably will remain so (unless “Purple Rain” or “Take Me With U” eventually overtake it).
Initially, Seth’s findings would appear to hold true even if that list wasn’t all chart-topping songs. I asked Erin if she remembered what she was listening to and what her favorite songs were between the ages of 11 and 14, which for her would correspond to the years 1972-1975. She said she remembered listening to a lot of Chicago… like around the time of “Wishing You Were Here” (released in October, 1974) and a couple of others from the album Chicago 7 – “(I’ve Been) Searching So Long” and “Call on Me“. The latter I’ll include here because it comes with some vintage footage from The Caribou Ranch Recording Studio in nearby Nederland (CO).
She said she also listened to the Doobie Brothers, a lot of Aerosmith (covers everything from “Dream On” to “Walk This Way“) and the Stones during that time – think “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll“, also released in October, 1974. From that same time period, “Do It Again” from 1972 is her favorite Steely Dan song.
So far so good, the study looks to be fairly accurate and you can try this out at home… Your results may vary. Having said that, there are songs, albums, and bands I can think of that I love just as much that fall outside of those peak years of influence and Seth acknowledges that as well. I know I love “Saturday Night” by Suede (a.k.a. The London Suede) from 1997 or most of Guided by Voices’ work all the way into the 2000s, up through their most recent releases in 2017, “August by Cake” and “How Do You Spell Heaven”, as much as anything from the early 1970s and the same could be said of a lot of Buddy Holly songs from the 1950s when I was too young to remember anything I would have heard then.
It would be interesting to expand this kind of study into other areas of how our musical tastes are formed. This study found the age range of peak influence for people’s musical tastes based only on songs but certainly musical tastes are formed much earlier in a person’s life. It would be interesting for instance, to do a similar study based on genres, particular types of music. If someone grows up hearing a certain genre or genres when they’re young, such as rock or country, jazz or pop or rhythm & blues, are they more predisposed to mostly listen to that genre to the exclusion of other genres after the age of peak influence? That might seem like an obvious thing but nothing’s set in stone.
The study showed people’s preferences for particular songs, songs they liked at a certain age, but then would the songs, genres, or bands they had an aversion to during the ages of peak influence preclude them from ever listening to that song or artist? To this day I still can’t stomach “Brandy” (Looking Glass, 1972) or bubble-gum pop.
Within a band or artist’s overall work, it would be interesting to see if a person had favorite songs or a favorite album that falls within the early adolescent period and then gradually doesn’t listen to much of the artist’s later music but still loves those 1 or more albums and songs from the peak influence years. Or maybe they come across an artist’s work much later, an artist who might not have existed when they were 13 or 14, but sounds familiar to what they listened to back then.
And finally, another thing I’d also be very curious to see in a study like this is what effect a major life event or otherwise intense experience (usually an emotional one) has as far as forming a bond with certain songs outside of those peak influence years. From my own experience, I know this does happen and is probably one of the factors that accounts for the author’s liking songs from artists that came out well before he was born.
Anyway, a lot of avenues for exploration here and some further food for thought.
Nights on Venus News:
After an uncharacteristic one-month long break where I didn’t do anything after the release of “Snow Day” in December, which I’d never done before since NoV began, I’m back in the studio recording new songs while we’ve been skiing on alternating weekends up at A-Basin. The calendar says it’s about to be spring in a couple of weeks (the scourge of Daylight Savings Time is upon us again this weekend and you can read up on how I feel about that), but hopefully there should a few more good snows up in the high country and we can get another 2-3 ski days in before we call it a winter. New music will be coming soon – currently finishing up on three new songs, “The Wheels Are Coming Off”, “Outlier”, and “Our Alternate Lives” and will put a preview up here in the weeks ahead. ‘Til next time…
The most recent releases from NoV are the 3-song single/EP “Snow Day” and the full-length album, “We Are All Haunted by Something“, both from 2017. “We Are All Haunted…” includes the 2-song single “Speed of Life” and “Confirm Humanity (I’m Not a Robot)”. All are available on iTunes, Bandcamp, CD Baby, and Amazon MP3.
‘Tis the day before Christmas and all through the house
All the shoppin’s been done so we don’t have to go out…
It’s a balmy 19° F (-7.2° C) here in Golden today with the sun shining brightly and snow on the ground. It feels like Christmas.
The 3-song EP, Snow Day, was released yesterday on a day when it was snowing – yes, completely planned of course – and is now available as a free download on Bandcamp. You can listen to it here… just click on the ‘Download’ link in the player below and you’re there. In the ‘Name Your Price’ field, enter ‘0’, and add to Cart, and it’s yours free, through 12/30. Merry Christmas to you and thanks for listening.
Snow Day will be released on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon MP3 and the streaming services this next week, by New Year’s 2018.
The release of this EP finishes up the release of songs – at least for the time being – recorded during the “We Are All Haunted…” sessions from April, 2016 through early 2017. It was actually one of the most prolific creative periods of my life. 32 songs were recorded during that time for the album; at least 10 more of those songs will be released at a later date, probably in a boxed CD set (yes, really… there will be one) when the budget allows.
For now, it’s Christmas, it’s the holidays and we celebrate and enjoy chilling out for a few days. Ski season is upon us now in Colorado and Erin and I will be going up to A-Basin in a couple of weeks. It will be a very busy ski season for us the next 3 months and I’m looking forward to it. For the first time in my long skiing life I will be wearing a helmet.
Today/tomorrow, I’ll be listening to Marshall Crenshaw’s first album from 1982 (which I’m doing right now because it is a classic and this album means a great deal to me, for 35 years now… see my post from Dec. 16, 2011), and drinking some Harvey’s Bristol Cream sherry, this peculiar tradition courtesy of dad from Christmases past all those years at the house on Northwood Rd. back in Dallas. He’d break it out in the morning and we’d partake into the afternoon until he and mom drifted off into sleep. I raise a glass and toast to you…
And then there’s 24 hours of Ralphie coming up… A Christmas Story. I didn’t even know about this movie, which was originally released in 1984, and had never seen it until my girlfriend/fiancé at the time introduced me to it in 2001. Now it’s a yearly thing. Funny how that works. Nostalgia can be a dangerous drug (or a random wave)…
…Much later in the day now. WordPress will show this as posted on December 25th but it’s still Christmas Eve here. We’ve watched the Cowboy game – a very lackluster effort in which they lost 21-12 to Seattle and was a complete waste of about 3 hours – and then It’s a Wonderful Life interspersed with the first installment of A Christmas Story on TBS which was considerably more satisfying. The latter will be on tomorrow most of the day, in the background, in an ambient sort of way. And there will be the traditional grilling of the ribeye steaks – no turkey or Chinese for us. It’s supposed to warm up into the 30s tomorrow.
And Santa is on his way in, now that I-70 is open again in the high country after last night’s storm…
So from Erin and I, we wish you a Merry Christmas and the very best during this holiday season wherever you are and whatever you may celebrate.
“Be sure to drink your Ovaltine…
and Peace on Earth, goodwill towards men…”
The most recent full-length album, “We Are All Haunted by Something” was released in July, 2017. Includes the 2-song single “Speed of Life” and “Confirm Humanity (I’m Not a Robot)”. Now available on iTunes, Bandcamp, CD Baby, and Amazon MP3.
October, my favorite month… always. Also Erin’s (Shmoopy).
Nights on Venus celebrated its 7th year in existence on October 8th.
This past week, I celebrated my 61st birthday on the 16th.
This week, we celebrate Erin’s birthday tomorrow, the 25th. Happy Birthday, Shmoopy!
…And congratulations to the Houston Astros on making the World Series for the first time since 2005 and congratulations to the Los Angeles Dodgers for making it to the WS for the first time in 29 years. We look forward to watching this series and it should be a good one. As my wife is a lifelong Dodgers’ fan – and rooted for my Texas Rangers in their two World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011 – that pretty much makes me a Dodgers’ fan. So… Go Dodgers! That all gets started tonight and did I read it right that the temperature is 101 °F. in LA today? Holy cow.
Coming up in another couple of weeks, on November 5th, Erin and I will celebrate our 1-year anniversary as a married couple. As I always tell her, “Hey, this is the longest I’ve ever been married,” which always elicits a sarcastic chuckle of the “hardy-har-har” variety ’cause this is my first time on the whole marriage thing (first and will be my only time I might add).
After that, the holidays will be upon us…
As mentioned earlier, Nights on Venus will be releasing a 3-song single just before Christmas, now entitled “Snow Day”.
The three songs on it are:
“(You Deserve A) Snow Day”
“Algorithm 12” and
“A Random Wave of Unrelieved Nostalgia”…
because during the sessions I was overwhelmed by… a random wave of unrelieved nostalgia, several of them in fact this year since we went to Dallas and as we prepare to go down there again. I’ll talk about that more next time…
The new album, “We Are All Haunted by Something” has now been released. Includes the 2-song single “Speed of Life” and “Confirm Humanity (I’m Not a Robot)”. Now available on iTunes, Bandcamp, CD Baby, and Amazon MP3.
Since the total eclipse on 8/21 this much and more has happened… wildfires in the west (pretty much unreported by mainstream media), catastrophic floods in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal (same there as well), hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and the continuing nightmare of Maria… in Texas, the South, East, Cuba and the Caribbean; the earthquakes in Mexico.
Though the mainstream media has moved on (shamelessly) and continues to cover Trump 24/7 (again, shamelessly), people are struggling and just trying to survive. Here are some ways to help:
In all instances, please help where you can. In a few years we will look back on 2017 as the last “normal” year climate-wise, and this year, this last month has been anything but normal. Climate change, and specifically, abrupt climate change is real – all too real. It is happening, happening now, and it is accelerating. I have added a couple more websites on climate change in the blogroll and suggest you check them out. The Robert Scribbler website in particular was extremely accurate in predicting that both hurricanes Harvey and Irma would intensify (dramatically) before making landfall. Hurricane Maria has been off the charts. Climate-deniers are just simply wrong – dead wrong. And they have been all along. Don’t listen to them. If you still have financial interests in fossil fuels at this late date, it is time to divest from those now. If anything is to be done or can be done at this point, carbon emissions must be cut drastically each year moving forward and that is only a beginning.
The second part of today’s blog: a look back at this summer, now that it’s officially gone, and some of the hikes we’ve taken recently, Erin and me. After June it has been mostly a dry, hot summer but not as bad as summers where there have been major wildfires here, like the summers of 2002 and 2012. There have been a couple of wildfires recently (one near Steamboat Springs), but for the most part we’ve been fortunate this year. If you live here in the West, you know that can change quickly – wildfires one year, followed by flash floods the next.
Right now in Golden, we’ve been in a foggy raincloud all day and we’re getting some much-needed light rain, thankfully, and it’s about 48 degrees F. (9 degrees C.). Actually it’s wonderful, and this morning we fired up the fireplace for the first time in the fall/winter season. It’s snowing up at A-Basin Ski Area this morning. Here are some pics from our late summer’s hiking and though the snow is falling now in the high country and more of it soon, hiking isn’t over yet, at least until the end of October… And then there will be skiing/snowshoeing.
In early September the skies were smoky here, so we didn’t hike for a couple of weekends. Here are a few shots up at Blue Lakes near Breckenridge and the previous week up on the West Ridge Trail from Loveland Pass.
I will mention – if you’re heading up that way – that the Monte Cristo Gulch trail is actually closed. We got about a half-mile in and there’s a rockslide which has completely covered the trail. Yes, it can be navigated but we chose not to that morning. It should be noted that while you can traverse to the trail on the other side, you could also trigger another rockslide so it’s not recommended. The Monte Cristo trail is probably closed for good. I can’t imagine that any agency is going to clear that rockslide. Just sayin’…
From yesterday’s hike up the 730 Mine Trail/Griffin Memorial trail:
Nights on Venus News:
I had mentioned in an earlier post that there would be a 4-song EP by the end of this year to complete the material from the “We Are All Haunted by Something” sessions (of which there is quite a bit)… which then soon expanded into a 6-song EP… but now those plans have been scrapped. In favor of…
Releasing the remaining songs as singles and B-sides over a period of months beginning this coming December with a 2-song single… until the next full-length Nights on Venus album which is slated for December, 2018. I am planning for and anticipate a few surprises, so stay tuned. And I thank you for your continuing support…
The new album, “We Are All Haunted by Something” has now been released. Includes the 2-song single “Speed of Life” and “Confirm Humanity (I’m Not a Robot)”. Now available on iTunes, Bandcamp, CD Baby, and Amazon MP3.
The new album, “We Are All Haunted by Something“, has now been released officially as of 7/23/2017, on the night of the New Moon in Leo. In a few weeks, the next New Moon… is also in Leo, which is something of a rarity, astrologically speaking, though it does happen every few years, and this is also the Total Solar Eclipse which will be occurring across the U.S. on August 21st.
I’ll be talking about that – what it might possibly signify for the next six months, astrologically – in the next blog post here in a couple of weeks, and yes, it IS a big deal. View responsibly, wherever you are. [Solar eclipses typically suggest the tone of events – in whatever house they occur on a chart for individuals or countries – for the next 6 months or until the next solar eclipse, which in this case, will be February 15, 2018.]
Erin and I will be here in the Denver metro area viewing the partial eclipse which will be fine. We’ll both be at work that day and it will get all dark and eerie for about half-an-hour. I had made reservations in Ogallala, Nebraska a while back (only because Wyoming was already booked up), then watched as the hotel jacked up the prices every few weeks, saw what we would be paying, until I finally cancelled, and now I see that Nebraska is sold out as well. I have no idea what the going rate is now other than exorbitant (also in typically American fashion, i.e., greed).
So for now here’s the album… available on iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon MP3, and Bandcamp; you can listen to the full album here…
Or SoundCloud, full album here as well…
It is a Sunday afternoon right now and we are having a thunderstorm here in Golden – a good soaking rain which is always welcome in what is usually a dry summer, now as we head into August. Everything still looks green. Almost done with summer… thankfully.
The last couple of weekends we’ve gone up to Central City in the mountains… to see the opera. The Central City Opera is now in its 85th season at the opera house, a national historic landmark that was built in 1878. We saw “Carmen” by Georges Bizet, then Mozart’s “Cosi Fan Tutte” yesterday… both excellent productions. If you’re here in the Denver area during July and August, I highly recommend going up there to take in a performance. Year in, year out, they are at the very top of summer opera companies in the U.S. so go see them.
I am taking something of a break for the time being, but usually that never lasts long. Originally, “We Are All Haunted by Something” was to be a double album and there are 9 songs in various stages of completion that didn’t make it onto the album as released. I will be working on those, finishing them up over the next couple of months and hope to have 4-5 completed by mid-November to release as a follow-up EP sometime in December, possibly also as a 2-disc CD offering.
The new album, “We Are All Haunted by Something” has now been released. Includes the 2-song single “Speed of Life” and “Confirm Humanity (I’m Not a Robot)”.
“Time isn’t holding up, time isn’t after us…” – Talking Heads, “Once In a Lifetime”
Funny… All these years (since 1980) I thought that lyric – written by David Byrne – was “time is an asterisk“. Or, put another way: “time is an *…” where the ‘*’ was some kind of x factor or unknown variable. That was always kind of intriguing and carried a certain mystery about it. What would that phrase mean?
Maybe that time is extremely fluid and entirely personal.
Time is an asterisk could have been a song title on the soon-to-be-released new album in a couple of weeks since so many of the songs on there deal with the subject of time. “We Are All Haunted by Something” has gone to mastering in the time since I last posted and I apologize to readers for not posting during the month of June and being away for so long. It also kind of freaks me out a little that we are now past the midway point in 2017, that we’re 9 days into July, as this seems (to me) to be the fastest-moving year I can ever remember. Maybe other people have been and are feeling this too. This year just seems very accelerated, way too much. Erin and I have been hiking most weekends, working the rest of the time. Hiking and working, but now – for the most part – I can slow down a little. Only time won’t let me.
“But I tell you now… time is an illusion
Time… is not real
Time… is an illusion
Time… is the dividing line
Between what is true and what is not true
Between what is real and what is not real
Between what is so and what is not so
But who, I said who, who stands for time?
Who stands at the threshold of time?
Who decides what is true and what is not true?
We do, you and I…” – Todd Rundgren, “I Love My Life”
I think what we are most haunted by – even more so than our eventual demise in the physical – is time. Our perceptions of it, through the passage of time and we speak of its ravages (on the physical form), or when we feel like there’s never enough of it or alternately when we have too much of it on our hands.
“There Is Only Now” was the first song I recorded for what would become this album. Shortly after that, Prince died on April 21st. I had no idea then that his death would have such an effect on me. It literally threw me, my thoughts, back in time to the summer of 1984 and a very intense experience which his classic album “Purple Rain” was the soundtrack for. That was completely unexpected. Much of the new album was written and recorded during the time last year when I was revisiting a lot of memories and specific events from that summer 33 years ago now (e.g., “Ghost Towns of the 1980s”).
The final set list and sequencing:
Book of Detours
There Is Only Now
Speed of Life
The Indelible Imprint of Place
In Wilderness [Is the Only Sanity in the World]
I Just Wanna Fly Off to Iceland With U
Confirm Humanity (I’m Not a Robot)
Glamour: A World Problem
Relive Tomorrow… Today!
Ghost Towns of the 1980s
Hours Turn Into Years
Unusually Vivid Experience (UVE)
New Dark Age
14 songs, for now… 14 months of work coming to completion. There are 4 more songs which didn’t make it onto the album but may be released as a sort of epilogue and EP by the end of this year. I took my time with this album; there’s more of a looser feel to it. And it comes out on July 23 – first available on Bandcamp and free for the first week (through July 29). A few more pictures from the recent hikes…
Until next time…
The new album, “We Are All Haunted by Something” is coming soon. Release date is set for July 23rd. 14 songs… including the 2-song single “Speed of Life” and “Confirm Humanity (I’m Not a Robot)”.