This is Your Parents’ Music

Our house when I was growing up wasn’t always filled with music. But the music that was played when it was has stuck with me. There weren’t a lot of artists and so maybe because of that I really got to know the music. When I was very young my mom was listening to country music, my dad did his best not to, my sister was into heavy metal and I just didn’t care. Although sometimes my dad would play classical music. I remember one Schumann cassette (pretty sure it was Schumann, the only part of the cover I can picture was a photo of a piano and a yellow spine) in particular that I used to stage action figure adventures to.

There was however at that time a milk crate in the basement full of records from the 60s and 70s. I used to often look through them just to take in the album art, not really knowing the contents within.  I remember seeing The Doors, Fleetwood Mac (and Steve Nicks), The Beatles, Cream, The Moody Blues, Supertramp and Deep Purple among others.

Thankfully the 80s country phase started to die out when I was about 10 or 11 and there was some better music being played around the house. It’s this stuff that struck a chord. A particular breakthrough moment was when Loreena McKennit’s The Visit was played for the first time. This was incredible. It was like music form a movie. Of course being an 11 year old I didn’t want to fully admit how much I enjoyed this ‘odd’ music that my parents were playing. But I loved it, and still do to this day (listening to her Live in Toronto and Paris album for last few days in fact).


Loreena McKennit – Between the Shadows. It was tough choosing one song from The Visit. I could have gone with The Lady Of Shalott, but figured it was a bit long. I was so taken with a 19th century poem about a Aruthurian legend put to music. So much so that my dad made me a poster with the poem written out in calligraphy with illustrated decorations along the edges on paper that looked like parchment. Unfortunately it has since gone missing. At any rate, this is a top notch instrumental track.

More music came in dribs and drabs, mainly in the form of greatest hits CDs that got acquired. I had the responsibility of hooking up my Sanyo CD player to the home stereo so they could be played, so I stuck around and listened.  And so enter Fleetwood Mac, The Moody Blues and ABBA. I would often steal them away during the week when they weren’t being played to listen to them myself. Such incredible pop tunes…


Fleetwood Mac – Rhiannon, so popular it is with the Vails that it was going to be my newphew’s name had he been my niece instead.


The Moody Blues – The Voice, I still enjoy air-instrumenting along to this.


ABBA – SOS, that chorus hooks me in.

Later on I would check out on my own what was on those records I saw in the basement. Some of it hit a chord with me more than others. To this day I still go through a Doors phase every now and then.

Wonderful Electric – Goldfrapp Comes to Cambridge

Last Thursday I had the pleasure of seeing Goldfrapp at the Corn Exchange in Cambridge.  I didn’t hear about a month ago and jumped at a ticket.  I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see them just a 15 minute walk from my flat.

I had a floor ticket (the seats were all sold out) and got there early enough to be second row.  I was glad I wasn’t in a seat, as all the seats were up in the balcony and it seemed miles away from the front.  The stage set up was pretty impressive.  Several keyboards, a MacBook Pro, racks of sequencers and what nots, two harps, three basses, a couple of guitars (with more off stage), drum kit, and lots of mics and foot pedals strewn about.

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iTunes iLive iLondon

Last Thursday I got an email saying that I won a spot at the iTunes Live London Festival to see Annie and Sam Sparro on the 21st of July. Woo! I didn’t even recall entering a contest, but apparently I did. The iTunes Live hoo-ha is a month long music festival of sorts put on by Apple. A different act (or acts) every night at KOKO in Camden which are all recorded and available on the iTunes Music Store at a later date. It’s a pretty neat idea. Plus, all the tickets are free… you just need to be picked.

I headed into Liverpool Street Station right after work last night and then high tailed it to Koko. The doors opened at 7:30pm and I got there just a few minutes after that. The queue wrapped around to the back of the building but it moved impressively fast.

Sam SparroOnce inside, ticket scanned, iTunes Live passcard/lanyard in hand er around neck, it was time to stake out a place on the floor. I had never been to KOKO before and it lives up to it’s reputations of being one of London’s nicest music venues.

The show was brilliant! It was great to hear some of Annie’s new tracks in full and Sam was so incredibly energetic and had a red key-tar which was used during mash up of Sick and Daft Punk’s Around The World. I was pretty close to the front, but as my luck always goes three tall chaps ended up in front of me for Annie’s set. Thankfully everyone moved around a bit during the intermission and I had a better view for Mr. Sparro. A highlight from the intermission – a big screeen appeared that was showing a promo clip for iTunes Live material on the iTunes Music Store. One of the clips showed Amy Winehouse from last year and someone tossed a drink at the screen. No love for the Winehouse in Camden Town. Sadly I had to leave during Sam’s encore which started off with a cover of Blackbox’s Ride on Time. Alas, I had a train to catch. Hey I can always download it using the voucher code that was on the back of the pass card. What an age to live in.

I had an enjoyable sit down outside Liverpool Street and munched on some chips. I took a few snaps of the street before getting the 23:28 train to Cambridge. Cracking good night all around. Some photos are up on Flickr and I have video clips to upload as well.