Goshen News, Goshen, IN

TGN Bloggers

April 6, 2014

When the weather gets you down, turn to music

On a cold January day, staff writer John Kline and I were the only two people in the Editorial Department at The Goshen News.

A countywide snow emergency had been declared, and absenteeism was rampant. My colleague and I busied ourselves with Web updates about the weather situation. Then came the call.

It arrived courtesy of a senior News staffer who suggested that John and I venture outside to take pictures of the snow-hobbled downtown. This we did, like good soldiers.

Seven minutes later we were back inside. My fingers were frozen stiff and ineffective. Pain drove the statement I unleashed in the newsroom.

“John,” I said. “We are never doing that again.” Or words to that effect.

This episode helped renew my zest for The Great Indoors, at least over the winter. A dour, dull way to live? Hardly.

Not when you consider all the fine music in the world.

I spent many hours listening to albums, in my heated living room, during this year’s first quarter. Consider the following a sampling, and perhaps a recommendation. Winter 2014 has come and gone. But there’s always next year.

Queens of the Stone Age, “...Like Clockwork” — My enthusiasm for QOTSA had been lukewarm at best. “Clockwork” changed that. Imagine the last David Bowie record repurposed for listeners who 1.) own more than one Black Sabbath album, and 2.) are perhaps lined up at a keg. “Clockwork” is its own niche — heavy, inventive, unique. “Keep Your Eyes Peeled,” “If I Had a Tail” and “My God is the Sun” demand volume. The title track gives Dylan’s “Blood on the Tracks” a run for its money in terms of sad. Yes, the entire “Blood on the Tracks” album.

Janelle Monae, “The Electric Lady” — Fun, funky and ‘70s soulful, with occasional bursts of slick, fast guitar. “Lady” is both retro and forward-thinking; it can sit comfortably on the same shelf with Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories.” Thematically, “Lady” has something to do with androids. I’m OK with that.

Joy Division, “Closer” — Get your groove on to “The Electric Lady.” Get your gloom on to “Closer,” the ideal selection if you want to stop a party, fast. And if you’re indifferent to the notion of ever being invited to a party again.

Genesis, “Duke” — “Misunderstanding” and “Turn It On Again” are the hits, but “Duke” warrants start-to-finish play. It splits the difference between the group’s Peter Gabriel-era prog rockishness and the Top 40 pop machine Genesis became later on. I suggest turning it on — again, or for the first time. The drummer’s pretty good.

Big Star, “No. 1 Record” — I bought this one after the snow and ice had started to melt, but conditions in Goshen were still gunky. Close enough to count.

Big Star is a perennial front-runner of cult band should-a been, could-a beens, and this album is reason enough. “No. 1 Record” sounds like Jimmy Page joined The Byrds instead of The Yardbirds, and then The Byrds raided a Badfinger rehearsal. Find it, buy it.

Frank Zappa, “Shut Up ‘n Play Yer Guitar” — Three discs’ worth of band-backed Frank Zappa playing guitar solos in concert. That’s a lot of guitar solos. Too many? We’re talking about Frank here. So “no.”

Happy listening.

To read this blog and others from Goshen News staffers, go to www.goshennews.com and scroll down to TGN bloggers.


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Daniel Riordan has been writing for newspapers since he was 16. Previous newspaper stops include Warsaw and Plymouth. He joined The Goshen News in March 2013 and is enjoying getting to know the city. He has up to this point been able to resist any urge to watch cat videos on YouTube.

I am a journalist for The Goshen News in Goshen, Ind. I handle regional news and am the digital content editor.

Shelly Wilfong is the director of the International Baccalaureat Degree program at Goshen High School in Goshen, Ind.

David Vantress is sports editor at The Goshen News. He is a 1994 journalism graduate of San Diego State University. David has opinions and isn't afraid to share them.

Sam Householder is the chief photographer at The Goshen News. He is a 2010 graduate of Ball State University, with a bachelor's degree in photojournalism. He lives in Goshen with his fiancee, Ashley, and their cat, Rascal.

Roger Schneider is city editor for The Goshen News. He enjoys bicycling, fishing and photography.

Scott Weisser is entertainment and emergency services editor for The Goshen News.