Tag Archives: music

Last Christmas: Farewell George Michael

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I absolutely cannot believe it.  I have to say goodbye to yet another favorite artist in 2016: George Michael passed away on Christmas Day.  I truly thought we could escape another passing in 2016, but alas, it was not to be.  I was looking at pictures of the record collections of some people who I follow on Instagram, when one of them mentioned that he was sad that George Michael had passed away.  In disbelief, I exclaimed what I just heard to my husband and rushed to the computer.  Instantly, my fears were realized and George Michael was gone.  At that time, information was scarce, but it soon came to light that he passed in his sleep due to heart failure.

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I came to know about George Michael when he was in what I first heard about Wham! UK.  I remember going to The Warehouse at Plaza Bonita (a former chain record store), asking for the newest Wham! UK song.  The person behind the counter answered, “We don’t have Wham! UK, but we have Wham!  Is that the same?”  He handed me the seven-inch single, which was Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go (pictured above).  I was 14 at the time, so I just smiled and paid for the single.  My mom bought me and my sister the Make It Big album, and soon Wham! was everywhere.  I never saw Wham! in concert because I don’t recall them ever touring in San Diego.  I also don’t recall the exact moment when I heard that Wham! dissolved, but I did purchase their last musical effort in the US called Music From the Edge of Heaven.  I’m Your Man is one of my all-time favorite songs, and the album itself is quite wonderful.  I still listen to it to this day over both Fantastic or Make It Big.  In my senior year in high school, I distinctly remember missing out on seeing George Michael live because the concert sold out very quickly.  One of my classmates said that he had concert tickets and went to retrieve them from his jean jacket pocket, only to see that his mom washed his jacket and with that, his tickets.  I’m happy to report, that has never happened to me.

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I finally saw George Michael in 2008 with my sister, Rholnna, and best friend, Janice.  It was a fun night filled with hits from his days in Wham! to his own amazing music.  I remember thinking, “I just want to hear I’m Your Man, Father Figure, Hard Day, A Different Corner and Careless Whisper and my life will be complete…”  My wish was granted and I got to hear all those songs live, including so much more.  Prior to the show, a band of friends dressed in 80’s gear roamed around the arena and asked random people to “Pose With George”.  Silly me obliged and here is my only picture with George Michael from his concert (and the set list below).

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It was also memorable because not only because of Mr. Michael himself, but because it was a day after the announcement of same-sex marriage being legal in the state of California.  During the show, he said something to the effect of “I heard a lot of you ladies were able to get married yesterday!”  My mind instantly traveled back in time, and I recalled my friends and I having discussions about George’s sexual preference due to the Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go video because although we all had his pictures up on our walls, there was always a question about his sexuality  in the back of our minds.  It got even more confusing when the I Want Your Sex video came out, hearing that he was dating the girl who was staring in the video with him (Kathy Jeung).  No matter what the circumstances are or what swirls around the gossip columns, I always want my idols to be happy because in the end, they will continue to do what they love, which means I get to enjoy a wealth of their artistry.  I mean, David Bowie released an album right before his untimely death at the beginning of this year.  I worry about my idols and I think that’s why this year has been difficult.  I care about the music so much, but I never forget that there are people behind the hits with emotions and lives to live.

I have read a couple of things that give me such mixed emotions about George Michael: how he was recently afraid to face the public due to his weight gain and then news about his quiet generosity.  I’m saddened by the fact that George became recluse in his last days because he was nervous about how he would be perceived by the public.  I know we all have an image of him, but it was his voice and musical talents that have endured over the years, and that’s what I will remember about him most.  I also find it heart achingly lovely that he gave so much to so many charities and people over the years.  I read recently about how he gave a large tip to a waitress who was upset about her debt and that he donated a generous sum of money to a charity at the same time annually.  One charity even stated that they would not have been able to stay afloat had it not been for George Michael’s financial backing.  These are the instances that make the images in those posters on my walls when I was a teen come to life.  This is what makes me ache and cry over their passing.  Last Christmas will be a bittersweet testament to the sadness of lost love during an otherwise joyful holiday season, as well the loss of a beloved artist.

Farewell George…

(Top image is the “Cowboys & Angels” 12-inch single.  All pictured items are from my personal collection.)

Absolutely Last Minute Holiday Gift Guide 2016: The Carlsbad Edition!

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For the third year running, I humbly present again my last-minute holiday gift guide!  I am notorious for waiting until the last-minute, so for those of you who suffer from the same affliction, this is the guide for you.  For this year’s gift guide, I thought I would put a local spin on things and give those of you in the San Diego area places to actually go and grab some great last-minute holiday presents from some of my favorite shops in the Carlsbad area.

Happy Shopping!


Wysh Boutique

Wysh Boutique is one of my favorite boutiques in Carlsbad.   Located in the Village Faire at Carlsbad, they not only have fashionable clothing and accessories, but great gift ideas and gift certificates!

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Gaia Gelato

Also located at the Village Faire, Gaia Gelato has gift cards, but I wouldn’t mind getting gifted a box of their yummy French macarons!

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Sock District

Sock District is new to the Village Faire, so I welcomed them by immediately purchasing a couple of pairs to gift to my sister.  If you visit their site (link above), you can purchase electronic gift cards for your friends and family to shop in their store or online!

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The Beat Clothing

Another one of my Carlsbad favorites, The Beat Clothing has everything you could want for your edgy fashionista friends.  Astrid Montalvo is their on-site stylist and she can help you find the perfect outfit for that concert-goer in your life, or give the gift of rock inspired clothing, shoes and accessories through a gift certificate!

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Spin Records

Of course I need to include a place where you can give the gift of music, and my favorite place to do some digging in Carlsbad is at Spin Records.  I was just there and purchased a white vinyl 7-inch single of Johnny Cash’s The Man Comes Around with his cover of Personal Jesus (pictured below).  They also have t-shirts, buttons, patches and gift certificates for that crate digger in your life!

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Note:  This is not a sponsored post.  Although I mention specific shops, all suggestions are strictly my own. 

I’ve Got The (Global) Spirit!

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Oh yes, Depeche Mode have announced the title of their new album AND tour!  Last week, they held a press conference in Milan, Italy and announced that the new album will be entitled Spirit to be released in 2017followed by the Global Spirit Tour next summer.  Currently, only the European dates are available, which I’ve listed below.  I seriously considered going to the London show (tickets are still available for the pitch/general admission), but that would be too difficult to pull off with Dominic still in school.  I’ll just have to wait until the US dates are announced to have my shot at seeing my all-time favorite band live.  Most dates for the European leg have already gone on sale, so cheers to the lot of you who already have tickets!

May 5 – Stockholm, Sweden – Friends Arena
May 7 – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Ziggo Dome
May 9 – Antwerp, Belgium – Sportpaleis
May 12 – Nice, France – Stade Charles-Ehrmann
May 14- Ljubljana, Slovenia – Dvorana Stožice
May 17 – Athens, Greece – Terra Vibe Park
May 20 – Bratislava, Slovakia – Štadión Pasienky
May 22 – Budapest, Hungary – Groupama Aréna
May 24  – Prague, Czech Republic – Eden Aréna
May 27 – Leipzig, Germany – Festwiese
May 29 – Lille, France – Stade Pierre-Mauroy
May 31 – Copenhagen, Denmark – Telia Parken
June 3 – London, United Kingdom – London Stadium
June 5 – Cologne, Germany  – RheinEnergieStadion
June 9 – Munich, Germany – Olympiastadion
June 11 – Hannover, Germany – HDI Arena
June 18 – Zurich, Switzerland – Letzigrund Stadion
June 20 – Frankfurt, Germany – Commerzbank-Arena
June 22 – Berlin, Germany – Olympiastadion
June 25 – Rome, Italy – Stadio Olimpico
June 27 – Milan, Italy – Stadio San Siro
June 29 – Bologna, Italy – Stadio Rentao Dall’Ara
July 1 – Paris, France – Stade de France
July 4 – Gelsenkirchen, Germany – Veltins-Arena
July 6 – Bilbao, Spain – BBK Live Festival
July 8 – Lisbon, Portugal – NOS Alive Festival
July 13 – St. Petersburg, Russia – SKK
July 15 – Moscow, Russia – Otkritie Arena
July 17 – Minsk, Belarus – Minsk-Arena
July 19 – Kiev, Ukraine – Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex
July 21 – Warsaw, Poland – PGE Narodowy
July 23 – Cluj-Napoca, Romania  – Cluj Arena
(Photo courtesy of Depechemode.com)

Festival of my Dreams!

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Coachella marks the beginning of “Festival Season”, and I know I’ve seen the fashion inspiration pretty much everywhere!  I’ve thought about this for quite sometime: what would my dream festival be?  Who would be in my line-up?  I actually have made several lists in my head before, and they almost always turn out to be some kind of Rewind Festival, to which I’ve already gone to (my first post about it here, and my actual experience here).  But I know my tastes go beyond the 80s, and with some inspiration from TickPick, I thought about how much fun would it be to include not just my favorites, but those of my husband and son, plus make it fun for all of my friends and family to attend.  Honestly, my list ended up being 30 artists long, but I’ve narrowed it down to what I think became an eclectic mix of 10 artists, which is a combination of favorite acts, spanning several genres.  My top three are intentional, based on my all time favorite band, a band my husband is just chomping at the bit to see, and our son’s favorite band.  The rest is in no particular order, but includes some wants.  If I could turn back time, my list would have included David Bowie and Prince, but alas, that is not to be.  But how simply awesome is the graphic created by TickPick (who, by the way, is a great resource if you’re interested in finding Concert tickets, NFL tickets and more)?!  It almost makes me want to contact someone, anyone, to actually make my Fauxchella happen!

Who would you pick for your ultimate festival?  Let me know in the comments, and here’s why I chose my top 10.  Cheers!

Depeche Mode:  That was a given (too many posts about them on this blog, but see my review of their Delta Machine Tour here).  If their line up could include Dave, Martin, Andy along with Alan and Vince, I think I would just have to drop the mic.

Red Hot Chili Peppers:  A band that my husband absolutely wants to see, sometime in this lifetime.

Imagine Dragons:  Our son’s favorite band.  He knows their lyrics better than we do, and don’t even question him about which song is on which album.  He schooled me once, and it was embarrasing…did I mention he’s seven?  We took him to see them last year, and it solidified his fandom.

Metallica:  Another of my hubby’s favorite. He’s seen them live previously, but would not mind seeing them again.

Duran Duran:  They were my first favorite British band, until Depeche Mode stole that title from them.  But I still adore them and they produce great music to this day, and are fantastic live (post here).

Bruno Mars:  He is a spectacular entertainer and musician.  My husband and I saw him two years ago (review here), and it was so good.

Snoop Dogg:  Because I just want to see him. Do I need a reason?

Q-Tip:  I cannot believe I’ve never seen A Tribe Called Quest in concert (but I did a post about them here).  Now that Phife Dog has passed, I know I will never have that chance.  But Q-Tip has done some solo work, so I hope I get to see him someday.

Maroon 5:  I have been watching Maroon 5 for years because they opened for Guster and John Mayer before heading out on their own.  I then went to see a headlining tour with my best friend once a few years ago, and I think she would enjoy meeting them, especially Adam.  I have met them before (picture here), this was ages ago.

Chromeo:  I thought about a DJ to round out my line-up, and then I realized that Chormeo both DJ as well as perform their own songs!  My husband and I have seen them before (post here), and we would see them again in a heartbeat.

Dear Prince: Nothing Compares 2 U

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How can this be?  How can another musical icon’s time end so soon?  I feel like I just got over David Bowie’s untimely passing, and now Prince.  The sting of someone so influential and so unique is definitely something I’m feeling on a level I never thought I’d feel.  Is it because this is yet another missed opportunity to see a musical great live?  Is it because Prince was merely 57 years old and performed a show just last week?  It’s all so overwhelming and confusing, and scary at the same time.  There is a growing list of icons leaving Planet Earth in 2016, and it’s only April.

Prince was like Bowie: A controversial musical genius and fashion icon.  He did what he wanted (including changing his name to a symbol), and fans loved every minute of it.  Prince’s music crossed genres in so many ways from R&B to pop to rock.  All in all, most will agree: his music was just plain good.  An early Prince memory was a bus ride home from Disneyland when I was in the 8th grade, singing songs from the radio.  One song we went back to over and over was “Little Red Corvette”.  I wasn’t truly aware of what it all meant, I just knew it was a great song.

Since I’m still trying to process the news, I’ll just post about how Prince influenced my fledgling dreams of being a rock star when I was a teen:

I wrote a couple of songs when I was in junior high and high school.  I fancied myself to be like Depeche Mode, making the keyboard my instrument of choice. My first one was a Casio, which I chose as a Christmas present.  I would set up a mock recording studio in the privacy of my bedroom with a tape deck and a microphone.  I finished my first recorded song and presented it live in one of my English classes my senior year.  I recall being scared out of my wits because I was not only performing live in front of my friends, but I was putting my creative soul out there for judgement.  It went very well, and my friends were so supportive.

In my first few years of college, I wrote many songs, but recorded only one demo.  I wrote a song called “Destiny’s Arms”, which was a duet ballad.  It was inspired by “The Arms of Orion” by Prince from the 1989 Batman soundtrack, also a duet with Sheena Easton.  I love the idea love prevailing above all, no matter where, when, time or space.  I recorded “Destiny’s Arms” with one of my former teachers in his mini-home studio over the period of about a month.  I even sent the demo tape and lyrics to be copyrighted at the Library of Congress.  I never sent my demo anywhere, but in hindsight, I wish I had sent it to Prince.  I don’t know if he would have ever responded, since it was a basic little love song.  But I wish I had sent it just so he knew that a 19-year-old kid in San Diego found inspiration from one of his works of art.

Farewell dear Prince, rest in peace.

In the heart of a sleepless moon
I’ll be with you forever
This is my destiny
‘Till my life is through

The Arms of Orion by Prince

(Top image from my personal collection)

Record Store Day 2016 Is This Weekend!

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Can you believe it’s that time of year again?  Record Store Day is upon us on April 16th, and I’ve made my choices for what I want (see below from The List).  I’m still thinking about whether or not to go to more than one location, but I guess I’ll decide when the day comes.

Let me know if you’re doing Record Store Day and what you’re looking forward to in the comments below!


RSD EXCLUSIVE RELEASE

 

A-Ha

Hits South America

Format: 12″ Vinyl

David Bowie

I Dig Everything – The Pye Singles 1966

Format: 12″ Vinyl

The Man Who Sold The World

Format: 12″ Picture Disc

TVC15

Format: 7″ Picture Disc

Buzzcocks

More Product in a Different Compilation: Best of the United Artists Recordings

Format: 2 x LP

Death Cab For Cutie

“Tractor Rape Chain”/”Black Sun”

Format: 7″ Vinyl

Deftones

B-Sides & Rarities

Format: 2 x LP

Carl Douglas

“Kung Fu Fighting”

Format: 7″ Vinyl

Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Rage Hard

Format: 12″ Colored Vinyl

Madonna

Like A Virgin & Other Hits

Format: 12″ Colored Vinyl

The Monkees

“Saturday’s Child”/”You Just May Be The One”

Format: 7″ Picture Disc

Sex Pistols

Never Mind The Bollocks Here’s The Sex Pistols

Format: 12″ Picture Disc

Simple Minds

Big Music Tour 2015

Format: 2 x LP

Soundtrack

Star Wars: The Force Awakens “March of the Resistance b/w Rey’s Theme” (Millennium Falcon)

Format: 10″ Picture Disc

Joe Strummer

Gangsterville: IMPORT

Format: 12″ Vinyl

Talking Heads/Echosmith

“This Must Be The Place”

Format: 7″ Vinyl

Various Artists

Disney Favorite Songs

Format: LP

Various Artists

Judgment Night (Soundtrack)

Format: LP

 


RSD LIMITED RUN / REGIONAL FOCUS RELEASE

 

Hello Kitty

Hello World

Format: 12″ Picture Disc


‘RSD FIRST’ RELEASE

 

Ramones

“Judy Is A Punk”

Format: 7″ Vinyl

Ashes To Ashes: Remembering David Bowie

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As I write this, I’m still in shock over the untimely death of David Bowie.  I’m not going to get too much into his history because you can look that up anywhere, and at press time, he is definitely trending all over.  But what I will do is just touch on what he meant to me, especially since he was such a major influence on the bands I adore.

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I’ve possibly been exposed to David Bowie as early as four years old because my parents used to watch The Dinah Shore show and Dick Cavett back in the 70’s.  My parents were also very big fans of Bing Crosby, so I completely remember the Bowie and Crosby version of Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth, although it may have been a memory from repeated Christmas specials because I was only seven when they performed that together in 1977.  But I definitely remember the first song I heard by David Bowie, which was Ashes To Ashes from his Scary Monsters album.  I was a mere 11 or 12 years old at the time, but I distinctly recall seeing the video on MTV, thinking how odd it was to see nuns and clowns on a beach.  I also remember the song Fashion because then MTV VJ Alan Hunter proudly declared time and again that he was in the video.

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The album that made the most impact on me was the Let’s Dance album because that was when I was in my self discovery phase, which included the importance of music in my life.  In 1983, local radio station 91X introduced me to the kind of music that would stay with me with bands like Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Joy Division, New Order and of course, Depeche Mode.  My favorite bands all site David Bowie and Bryan Ferry as true inspiration when they were youngsters looking for their identity, and I recall how dapper and suave David Bowie looked in videos like Modern Love and China Girl.  The fashion influence was obvious on Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran, but I swear Simon Le Bon is vocally channeling Mr. Bowie in New Moon on Monday from the Seven and the Ragged Tiger album.

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I think David Bowie’s death has impacted me so much because he’s always been present.  I can’t remember a time when I was listening to music without him being artistically somewhere close by.  He was an innovator, he was soulful, and he was creative.  He gave people like myself, self-proclaimed “weirdos” or “outcasts”, license to be yourself.  He was a fashion and musical genius.

I recall a discussion my husband and I had about an impeding Bowie tour about two years ago, vowing that we would see him here or Los Angeles, or even San Francisco or Las Vegas if we needed to travel, just to ensure we would see him in our lifetime.  When that tour never materialized and there was no word, I even hinted that something else may be wrong, like some kind of health problem because there was suddenly radio silence about his tour or a new album.  So when I heard about Blackstar being released, I was optimistic about seeing more from David Bowie in the near future, even a possible tour.  I listened to the whole album on Spotify, telling my friends and family how much it harkened back to his earlier days.  Instead of hearing about a new tour and more new music, my best friend alerted me to the news of his death, which was confirmed on all news channels within about 15 minutes of her text.  Now, we sadly bid adieu to Ziggy Stardust, aka The Goblin King, aka The Thin White Duke, aka a beloved music legend.

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(All pictured vinyl and CDs are from my personal music collection.)

(Edited to add my David Bowie playlist from Spotify)

My Favorite Bowie