Friday, December 20, 2013

On Warmer Music's 10 Favorite Concerts Of 2013

So I might have mentioned in a previous post how this year I started getting more than a little overwhelmed by the whole treadmill aspect of music writing. Though it can be hard to maintain that childlike joy at music when you're constantly having mp3s and deadlines dumped down your throat, the good news is that the same is harder to say about live performance. Sure, I don't get the same giddy feeling the whole day of a concert the way I did when I was in high school and, sure, it's a little easier to dismiss the mediocre opening bands that are sure to come your way without a second thought. 

But for me going to concerts has become like attending church or baseball games. You do it so often in your life that some of new apple shininess will inevitably wear off. But the deeper rituals make it even more rewarding to come back to. Being surrounded by people looking to lose themselves in sound and emotion is, when done properly, an act of communion with ourselves and each other. And, like baseball or even mass, there's always the possibility of something truly spectacular happening that will never happen again. No matter how many shows you've seen that week or how many times you've seen a great band, there's always the possibility that you'll find a few moments where everyone in a room transcends the everyday and loses themselves in something communal and life-affirming.

Fortunately for me, 2013 had more than a few of those moments and, if you'll permit me, I'd like to ramble off a few of the better ones for you.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

To Heck With Ole Santa Claus - The On Warmer Music 2013 Christmas Mix

Well it's been quite the year here at OWM and though I have (more or less) retained my health, hearth and loved ones, it's still been somewhat of a let down. A year of wheels spinning and frustration. And, perhaps not surprisingly, those feelings are leaking their way into this mix.

It's a more downbeat collection of Christmas songs, which is fortunate because Christmas is a holiday that can actually take some sadness and melancholy and downright knife-twisting heartbreak (just wait till your hear the end of "Rudy"). To achieve that, I've gone with a lot of early country tunes which manage to combine sweet and sad in perfect proportion.

The man in the beard plays a big role in this year's mix and things don't always go well for him. People want to hit him with snowballs, shoot him with water guns, pull the beards off his mall-bound helpers and blackmail him for plutonium. Perhaps it's that broke, late twentysomething realization that, as a grownup, Santa is gone forever but so it goes.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

"Nelson Mandela" - The Specials

Music can be dangerous for an overly-idealistic, bookwormy teenager. There's something about the adolescent swirl of hormones that makes one painfully (or is it wonderfully) susceptible that all the answers to life can be found in a truly great song.

Before I ever touched a beer or knew what weed smelled like, I would spend many a long high school evening getting absolutely blitzed on music.

Punk was the most effective delivery vehicle for the combination of righteously angry idea and amphetaminic effective music that would flood my body with the rage, indignation and misguided zeal of a teenage radical.