Archive | January, 2015

Weekly Vinyl – Dance Party

30 Jan

Dance Party
L’Amour Orchestra
I put this album on and was listening to this mellow, horn based, “party music and wondered to myself why I have this album. The album cover is signed by my departed uncle, si I conclude I must have inherited his stash of records. Furthur examination of the album cover lead to another discovery.
This album was produced by the Ukrainian record company Arka Records out of New York City. Lower East Side no doubt.
There is accordion, horns, mild drumming. You have Rumbas, Fox Trots, Waltzes and a bunch of “Slow” songs. (They are listed as “Slow”.)
I can see this album being popular now with the hipster scene in Brooklyn – it is a home grown album after all. The music is competent. It is a trifle uninspiring – a tad more interesting than Muzak.
I’ll put this on the next time I have guests over and want to get the party started.

Weekly Wine – Vila Regia

28 Jan

SONY DSCSogrape Vila Regia, Douro
13% ABV
$8.00 (LCBO)

Eight bucks.
Eight bucks does not buy much these days.
But at the LCBO, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, for eight measly bucks you can get this wine. It is a hearty wine. Earthy, like many Portuguese wines. But not too much. I think the word is balanced. Yes, this wine is well balanced. It is an amazing wine for the price.
We had this wines with friends and I did not reveal the priced until everybody had their comments in. No one believed that it was eight bucks, except the one that saw the price that I had lightly inscribed on the back of the label. She loved the wine and was amazed that this was available.
Will this wine rival one that costs about ten times as much? No.
But it will put some that cost four to five times as much to shame.
This wine is proof positive that you do not have to spend a great deal of cash to drink quality wine.

Vegas from the air

25 Jan

The nice thing about Las Vegas is the crisp and dry atmosphere. It is great for taking pictures.
As we were leaving, I took this and you can see the whole strip fairly clearly. This is low resolution (for the web) but the original is quite good.

Weekly Vinyl – Dylan

23 Jan

The Times They are a-Changin’
Bob Dylan
As I’m listening to this album, the only thing that is going through my head is that they would never be able to make this album in 2015.
By they, I mean record industry. I’m sure there are many DIY folkies out there churning out Dylanesque tunes by the bucketful.
But this is the original. This was (is) the epitome of the 1960s folk scene. This is the final moment of the beat generation. This is what it is.
By “this,” I am generalizing the early Bob Dylan music. These album, the recordings he released in the early 60’s were inspiring to that generation. I was too young to heart them. My parents did not have these albums and so I heard this much later in my life.
But this is historical context. What does it sound like now?
Much the same – this is not casual listening music. There area lot of lyrics here – meaningful words that should be pondered. The lyrics are printed out – the full back cover is taken up by the words as is a double sided insert.
Lots of words.
Lots of thinkin’.
No – “Baby. Baby. Baby. I love you. Yeah…”
A shame.

Weekly Wine – Bodacious

21 Jan

SONY DSCBodacious Smooth White
11.5% ABV
$9.95 (LCBO)

As I picked this bottle up off the shelf of the LCBO, I knew exactly what I was getting into – a semi-drinkable wine beverage with a trendy name and a cool label.
That it is.
However I did not expect it to be so sweet. It is sweet because of the sugar content and the riesling and moscato grapes that are blended in with the pinot grigio ones.
It is really a pigs breakfast here.
I did something that I rarely do and searched this wine on the Internet. I was shocked that there was a positive review. But It was very formulaic and I doubt that person had tried this wine. Another liked it because it was sweet. Another hated it because it was sweet.
If you like repulsively sweet wine, this is for you. Otherwise avoid this.

Iron Hedgehog

18 Jan

I saw this in front of a restaurant/banquet hall in Lviv, Ukraine. (Is there any other Lviv?)
It is a wonderful piece of metalwork but I pity the poor drunk who stumbles upon it in a stupor.

Weekly Vinyl – Jarrett

16 Jan

The Survivor’s Suite
Keith Jarrett
Yea… I find it is so hard to write about Keith Jarrett. I’d rather sit and drift than really think about what to write about this album.
This was, no doubt, acquired in the glory days for vinyl collectors – the time when CDs were coming in and there was a massive deluge of vinyl being disposed of at miniscule prices. This album came by way of the discard bin at the local library. It was well used but not scratched.
This is a jazz album. My first impressions were that it was something a bit more than jazz. It was more an experimental composition, using jazz as a base and then really exploring musical boundaries. But by my third listen I realized that this was just an excellent jazz recording
that is solid and well composed. There are no extraneous noodling solos performed by any member of the quartet. It is a tight composition where moods shift effortlessly and with meaning. There is no meandering here. This composition is solid and a pleasure to aurally enjoy.

Weekly Wine – Quartetto

14 Jan

SONY DSCMonte Da Cal Quartetto
13% ABV
$10.00 (LCBO)

This wine was just laying there in my wine rack for a few weeks before I tried it. Not paying attention to the bottle as I opened it, I was assuming it was an Italian red.
I liked the heavy body. The bold flavour. The rich colour also impressed me. I thought that the earthy taste reminded me of some Portuguese wines I had tasted, but this one was better.
I then looked at the label and realised that this was a Portuguese wine.
Wow! They have really started to make excellent inexpensive wines I said to myself. I looked around and was thankful no one was there to listen to me speak to myself. I took another sip. It is a very nice wine, worth well more than I paid for it. This wine has gone up in price – I bought it for nine dollars and change and then a month later is was up to 10 bucks.
This is a good hearty wine – perfect for a cool afternoon or evening. The weight and earthy tone of this wine suggest that it be had with food – but that is entirely to your discretion.


11 Jan

Just off Fremont street in Las Vegas there is this place called downtown.
It is downtown Vegas, not The Strip.
It is not too inviting though … this downtown.

Weekly Vinyl – David Bowie

9 Jan

David Bowie

I’m not sure if I mentioned it before, but I was in a phase, back in my formative years, where I loved live albums. This was purchased in the midst of this phase.
I like the fact that this album, which is a double album – two vinyl disk, is quite raw. Recorded over two nights on July 14 and 15, 1974 at the Tower Theatre in Philadelphia, PA, it claims that, “No studio overdubs or re-recording of voices, instruments or audience have been added with the exception of several backing vocals due to loss of theatre mike contact.”
It does sound a bit muddied and you can hear that the band is not always together. It is pretty close to what you would hear at many live shows – the bass and drums not syncing in rhythm, guitarists and singers missing their cues, flubbed notes… It’s a great feeling. The sound is quite balanced, unlike a life show, so to fix that I put the sound onto one speaker and fiddled with the equalization until it became more “live” like.
Musically, this album features Bowie more “bluesy” than I remember him. The two disks feature a bevy of his more known songs, “Rebel Rebel, Changes, Suffragette City, Alladin Sane, Jean Genie and others.