Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The 12 Days of Gheorghemas: Day 12

On the twelfth day of Gheorghemas, Big Gheorghe gave to me...


Twelve Appreciations
Eleven Months of Awesome
Ten Reasons Being
Late Gifts Still Worth Giving
Eight Chapters on Music in a Post 
Seven Books For Reading (Seriously) 
Six Beers Worth Drinking 
A fiiiiifth Golden Ring..... (please?) 
Four Years of Marcus
Three Scummers Picking
Two albums to look forward to 

A fat guy in a jersey 

It's that time of year again.  Yes, that special part of the calendar when you come to G:TB and ask, "It's still Gheorghemas??"

I'm drawing the curtains on another fine Gmas season, this time before Chinese New Year.  Cue the fireworks and dim sum.

As always, I intend to pair a dozen of the many things for which I am grateful with my favorite songs released in 2014.  Mainly I'm lucky to still be alive, employed, and with children at age 44, but as I was compiling this year's list of aspects of my life that make me particularly appreciative, I noticed something. They were the same things as I write every year. Friends, family, music, beach trips, Dale's Pale Ale, etc.  Kind of boring, even for me.

So here it is: I'm really very thankful for you clowns.  All of yous.  Don't let it go to your heads.

I listened to enough good new music this year that my end-of-year compilation stretched to two discs, the Upside faster stuff and the Downside mellow stuff.  Available upon request and via Spotify playlists below, but here's how I map them to my friends in the microblogosphere known as Gheorghe.  Come with me now and hear some of it.

Kongos, "Come With Me Now"

Cracker, "March of the Billionaires"

Dreamers, "Wolves"

Marls is a good egg.  He's a generous sort with whom I have had some fairly indulgent fun lately (Springsteen Row 1, Mets 15th row, Hamptons rollicking, New Orleans debauching).  Makes me feel like the billionaire I won't ever be, and I appreciate it.  Also, every 5th word out of Marls' Long Island mouth is the F-word, and the Dreamers song is blatantly NSFW.

Modest Mouse, "Lampshades on Fire"

At the 2004 DC Santa Stumble, Jerry called me a music snob.  I protested and asked for evidence to support his claim. Without hesitation, he replied, "Okay, I bet you liked Modest Mouse way before they got popular."  I laughed really hard.  But dammit, their 1996 song "Talking Shit About a Pretty Sunset" is six minutes of slow-moving indie melody not to be missed. Jerry, thanks for always calling me on my bullshit in a way that makes me laugh.

By the way, "Lampshades on Fire" was released in December and may be my favorite of the year.

Drive-By Truckers, "Made Up English Oceans"
The Black Keys, "Fever"

Z, thanks for keeping me up to date on the bands I like and the shoes I don't.  Better reviews of music than in any publication people pay for, and a willingness to open your doors and couch and Tonka trucks and mustard for a great show.  Many thanks.

alt-J, "Left Hand Free"
Painted Palms, "Spinning Signs"

The title of one of these and the band name of the other seem vaguely to be onanistic references.  For some reason, that makes me think of TR -- especially the mustachioed version.  TR, thanks for eagerly lampooning yourself for a good GTB laugh.  It underscores the premise of why we congregate here.

The New Basement Tapes, "Kansas City"
Tove Lo, "Habits (Stay High)"

Here's why I like Mark: usually you have two friends, one who has the storytelling skill, penchant for poignancy, and depth to share personal stories like the one about his dad playing soccer at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, another who breaks bad here and there and can serve as an audience so Clarence can relate bawdy tales of pale ales and large rails off medium bosoms.  Mark has broad enough shoulders to be both of those guys when he wants.  Quality.

Mike Doughty, "Light Will Keep Your Heart Beating in the Future"
Ray LaMontagne, "Supernova"

I am usually appreciative for the diverse array of Greasetruck music Dave, Mr. Truck, and the Almighty Yojo release. 2014 was a lean year for that.  But in his stead, I submit the Mike Doughty tune as the best banjo rock song since "The Bear" in 2009, and the Ray LaMontagne song as the best song to use that word since "Anna Kournikova Supernova" in the early aughts.  I thank Dave for serving as the foil of mine like no other for over 25 years.  May the Idiots record something in 2015.  Or release a dance remix.

Hozier, "Take Me to Church"
Stereo Explosion, "Now or Forever"

Rootsy met me out in a Roanoke bar this year and had his drinkin' shoes firmly afoot. The night was blurry, but one thing is clear: I gotta get me back to the Star City for more fun with my little little little little brother -- and return to his recording studio which resembles a church music room.  2015, the year Clarence and I record a Duets album.  I need to do it now or forever hold my piece. Stay tuned. Cheers, Rootsy.

Future Islands, "Seasons (BADBADNOTGOOD Remix)"

While this version of the song sounds très Zman, the chorus is all Dennis, as we await his return from an anarcho-syndicalist commune.

Sharon Van Etten, "Taking Chances"
Milky Chance, "Stolen Dance"

Though several dabble, Danimal seems to be the resident bookmaker at G:TB. Perhaps his old pal Jean Pierre factors into that. But thank you, Danny Boy, for showing me how someone very much in the know can get consistently burned by the outcome of games so I don't add this vice to an already long list.  (He's also the resident bartender.  Those recommendations I dive into willingly.)

Mr. KQ
St. Paul and the Broken Bones, "Call Me"

"Core principles" is a term coined a decade or so ago by a wise person among our circle of friends to describe the notion that if you happen upon one of our gang's hometowns, you call them up and go have a beer.  While newer to our group, Señor KQ seems to have mastered core principles since well before we were even born.  And although his favorite activities include crouching, touching, and engaging, we will still take his calls and drink his booze every time out.

Death from Above 1979, "Trainwreck 1979"

Greg's about the youngest among us. If he was born in 1979, this song title is perfect.  Either way, it's good rock.  And Greg is, too.

Cheap Girls, "Knock Me Over"

I don't know anybody in my town who's a boxing fan.  If the sport is ever mentioned, everyone bemoans its deep decline and irrelevance in the modern sporting world.  I'm able to contribute some counter-evidence in the argument thanks to Mayhugh (and Mark) as the champion of a not dead yet sport.

Catfish and the Bottlemen, "Kathleen"
Interpol, "All the Rage Back Home"

The Squeaker keeps me up to speed on new music.  Catfish and the Bottlemen is a little known Welsh alt-rock band, just the type of thing Squeaky would unearth for me.  And if he'd sent it my way, Squeaker would be sure to note that the song is all the rage back where they're from.  Keep 'em coming, little buddy.

Gheorghe's Ladies
Ingrid Michaelson, "Girls Chase Boys"
Jenny Lewis, "Just One of the Guys"
Meg Myers, "Desire"
Alvvays, "Archie, Marry Me"

Ladies love cool James.  Whitney loves cool ladies.  We have more than a few of them in our midst, which we would have figured impossible when we were in college.  They lend credibility and context to our boys' locker room, even as we (really I) bug Shlara with dick jokes and dipshittery.  God bless you, fair ladies, and here's to the lot of you.  The hole really is greater than the sum of your lady parts.

Sun Kil Moon, "Ben's My Friend"

Ben "Boots" Brubeck is his friend.  And we all remember the Boots blogpost.

First Aid Kit, "Silver Lining"
Lykke Li, "No Rest for the Wicked"
Beck, "Blue Moon"

Not one but two Swedish indie pop acts make the 2014 list.  Pretty rare.  As were Teej blog appearances in 2014.  He checks in only once in a blue moon, but (a) he's earned a reprieve after shouldering the load (ngs) for the early era of Gheorghe, and (b) we appreciate him getting schooled now so he can get a cushy job that will allow him to blog at will.

Old 97's, "Longer Than You've Been Alive"
Counting Crows, "Scarecrow"
J. Mascis, "Every Morning"

Plenty to thank Rob for, as has been the case since 1988.  Performing more heavy lifting 'round these parts than any of us -- truly one of the best bloggers ever, pound for pound.  His core principles are in the 95th percentile, and he keeps Clarence humble while absorbing every last stupid, trite short joke. Not bad for a wee one.  Just as deep down "Cheers" was really about Norm Peterson, as evidenced by the theme song and the fact that he was the only character to appear in every episode, this place is mostly about Rob. With some Teej, Dave, and other goofy characters thrown in for comedic effect.  And we like it that way.  Every morning I check gheorghe77.blogspot.com to see if Rob's posted, and more often than not he has answered the bell.  Cheers, my friend.

Sleater-Kinney, "Bury Our Friends"

I am grateful for having Clarence on the blog, if only because he says the things I really shouldn't.  Here's hoping he sticks around and we don't have to bury this friend like we have had to bury too many already, including one whose Gheorghie self-proclamations were appended by multiple exclamation points. 

Strand of Oaks, "Goshen '97"
Cold War Kids, "All This Could Be Yours"
Aer, "Says She Loves Me"
Ex-Cops, "Black Soap"
The Asteroids Galaxy Tour, "My Club"

Gheorghe Muresan
Aloe Blacc, "The Man"

Of course.  And we are doing this in 2015.  (The second item on the menu.)

Say goodbye to Gheorghemas.  Say goodbye, my baby.


Mark said...

I'm younger than Greg.

Nice job on the wrap up, Whit.

T.J. said...


rob said...

some surprisingly poppy tunes in the mix this year. nice. as always, appreciate the effort, whit. and you, i guess.

Danimal said...

Thanks for the hair.

mr kq said...

I'm somebody now! Millions of people look at this blog every day! This is the kind of spontaneous publicity - your name in print - that makes people. I'm in print! Things are going to start happening to me now.

TR said...

Goshen '97 is a fucking rad tune.

Well done post.

rob said...

someone get me a tribe/hofstra line. itching to make a bad prediction.

zman said...

Nicely done as usual. Lots of bad facial hair around here.

Marls said...

Tribe -4

Pick away

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Squeaky said...

There some really good tunes on this list. Whit, I may have to bring you some music next week when I'm in town.