Music Monday – Retro Edition

Let’s roll things back this week for some “blast from the past” videos of yesteryear. Or more, yester-decade.

The Crystal Method – Born Too Slow

A song that I started listening to thanks to Need for Speed Underground, a racing game from EA. I liked that game a lot until I didn’t because it got super cheap on it’s AI at a certain point. At least I think it was NFW UG, i was also playing a lot of Midnight Club around that time, so they kind of blend together.

While the track itself, “Born to Slow” actually fits a racing game in name, it doesn’t really fit it in pacing. This really doesn’t feel like a very racing track. Kind of the opposite actually, The funky guitar sound almost feels just a little “too slow”, and kind of gives this slightly eerie feeling. Which does fit the video with it’s creepy glitchy gray man.

The Refreshments – Banditos

I remember seeing this video at like 2 AM on MTV in the 90s and loving that it referenced Captain Picard but I missed the credit tag. Like a year later I caught it again in the middle of the night and bought the CD like the very next day. Fun fact! The Refreshments did the theme song from King of the Hill, it’s called Yahoo and Triangles. Also this dude kind of looks like Joseph Gordon Levitt as a cowboy and i can’t not see it.

Flip – Possibilities (feat Elou Elan)

This video is weird, I have to say I have not watched it a lot. I used to really dig this track though. I am pretty sure it was on the Muzak system back when I worked at KB Toys, and it became ingrained into my brain after listening to it a thousand times. So maybe I don’t actually like it, I just have been tortured into thinking I like it.

Sigrid – Sucker Punch

It’s possible, that at some point, I am legally required to talk about this album (not really). I don’t listen to a ton of Sigrid currently, though I have not moved on or anything, there is just so much other I want to listen to. I also probably burned myself out on Sigrid listening to her TOO MUCH. Her album, Sucker Punch still has a special place. I’ve always been into music, but I’ve never really been, ACTIVELY into music. I’m not any level of “hardcore” or anything, but there was kind of a perfect storm moment around me discovering Sigrid that lead to me being more active in music communities and actually caring about music on a slightly higher level than I had previously.

There probably isn’t anything particularly special about this album, like I said, it just got caught up in the perfect storm moment. That isn’t to say it isn’t a good album, I actually really really like this album. Checking my YouTube History, it looks like I first listened to Sigrid, and the song Sucker Punch on November 18th, 2018, though I didn’t listen to it again until February of the next year. Something inspired that though because my YouTube history says I specifically searched for it. Anyway, the history shows I watched some Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, and Kiesza videos, then right before Sucker Punch, 5 Seconds of Summer – Youngblood (Alt Version), for some reason, and then Sucker Punch, which was likely a recommended video.

Sometimes through 2019, I started listening to Sigrid a lot. Also through YouTube, there was one of those banners, “Tickets in your area.” I didn’t really do a lot of concerts then but clicked through on a whim. The tickets were cheap, super cheap. I bought some, immediately. At some point, I also joined the fan Discord server. There was a fun active community there, most of whom migrated to the new official Discord earlier this year. This was also the start of actively seeking out Discord servers for communities of artists I like, though the only others I ever really participated in actively were CHVRCHES and Aurora’s servers.

I think what drew me in was how, weirdly simple the video was, and how slightly weird it was. It’s just Sigrid dancing around in a kind of cocky way, despite not really looking like someone who would BE cocky. Then there’s that fun montage of clips at the end, with some anime clips and like, she’s in a grocery store throwing food on the floor. WHY DOES SHE HATE THOSE TACOS??? Why is that marching band so sinister???

It also has some really slick editing on some of its transitions, which is really appealing to me.

And that point at the end where the music drops out. Excellent.

But there’s a whole album of songs here, just because the album and the first song I listened to from Sigrid bear the same name.

Mine Right Now is the second track of the album. I really love the running retro-sounding underlaying track on this one. It’s also a fun song suggesting that even if a relationship doesn’t work out, at least it’s good “now”. It also has an incredibly amusing video.

The third track, Basic, is my favorite released track and second favorite track of Sigrid’s overall. It’s even better in the live version (almost all music in general is). A lot of Sigrid’s tracks have to do with relationships, either friendships or possibly romantic, and Basic is one of those. The idea is that you just want something authentic and basic, without drama, with its simple wailing vocals. Like Sucker Punch, it features a fun interlude moment as well, on the album version it basically becomes acoustic, on the live version it becomes a cappella.

(Side note, my favorite Sigrid song is Go To War, but I’ll probably bring that one up in a future post).

Another really good one (aren’t they all?) is Strangers, at slot number 4. This was also the second single released from the album. It also has an amusing and surreal video to go along with it, where Sigrid gets to dance around in her own sort of special way in a sort of open movie set. It’s kind of reminiscent of the idea of the song, which is almost the opposite of Basic, … Strangers, perfect pretenders, falling head over heels…. That sort of thing.

The first single for the album was track 9, and I believe it was her first “big hit” track in general, with Don’t Kill My Vibe. A fast-paced, pump-you-up anthem about keeping others from bringing you down.

In the interest of a bit of brevity, I wanted to sort of group the other tracks together a bit. They are all good, some I didn’t like as much initially, but they have grown on me over time, like Level Up, In Vain, and Business Dinners.

It’s probably also worth bringing up Dynamite. Sigrid has several “low-key” sort of songs, and Dynamite is one of those. It’s a good track, I just have never super been able to get into it. I think part of what I like about Sigrid is how carefree and upbeat most of her music is, and Dynamite, while a good song, is just such a different tone, I can never feel the vibe.

Anyway, this is one I’ve been meaning to write up on for a while. And so it’s done. I’m sure at some point I’ll get to Sigrid’s second album How to Let Go, and I’ll probably do a combined write-up on her two previous EP releases. I also want to do a write-up for the “missing album”. Sigrid has a large number of unreleased older tracks. They don’t exist anywhere except live show performances. Enough to fill a whole album. It would be worth doing a write-up of these I think, as it it were an album. (Go to War is one of these tracks.)

Music Monday – Science-ish Edition

Let’s see how long I can manage to keep up a vague theme for these posts. This week I wanted to throw out some videos with some fancy “science-y” themes. I use that in the vaguest since, because at least one is kind of a stretch but it’s certainly nice to look at.

Also, it’s a bit “Music Monday-ish” as well, since it’s Tuesday, because yesterday I posted about the Alanis Morrisette Concert. (Unless for some reason I didn’t go and forgot to remove that line, wait, now I need to remove this line if it does happen….)

Lusine – Just a Cloud (feat Vilja Larjosto)

I am completely fascinated by this video every time it comes up on y playlist. I really like the sort of layering of patterns that is present across the entire length of the track. It does a nice soft build as the song goes along. What I really like though in this video is the use of light.

I mentioned those patterns, and they essentially each also have their own light effect in the video. It’s about as close as you can get to “seeing music” without, I dunno, dropping acid or something, I’ve never tried that I can’t really say.

Wintergaten – Marble Machine

This guy has essentially made a career out of this crazy marble machine. He’s got a whole series of videos about the process he is doing to continually update and upgrade and basically build a more perfect device. I still really love this version though, with all the shaky jank going on. It’s a nice pleasant little song too.

The Engineer part of my brain loves all the technical planning and design that had to have gone into making this all work as well as it does, and the work being put in on the updated device.

Nigel Standford – Cymatics: Science vs Music

I mentioned about about being the “best way to see sound” and I guess I was wrong, because this video is the best way to see sound. Quite literally. Most of the experiments featured in this video are sound based experiments. The vibrations in the water pans, the way the water curls with the base, the funny patterns made by the graphite on the trays, the way the flames pop up and down in patterns. It’s all matter reacting to sound in a clean enough way that we can see it.

Sound travels in waves, most of these are just the sound waves visualized.

Except the Tesla coil at the end, that’s just, “cool science” that doesn’t really have much to do with sound.

Alanis Morissette @ IL State Fair Grandstand feat Tenille Townes

Alanis Morrissette, singing Ironic, the first song she has actually heavily encouraged audience participation in, and her mic goes out. The audience had already been doing like 50-75% of the song without her so the band just continued and no one noticed until it came back a few seconds later.

It’s it Ironic?

Don’t cha think?

Last night, I went and saw Alanis Morrissette perform at the Illinois State Fair. In traditional fashion, I’m going to ramble on a bit about the whole night’s experience. For the sake of simplicity, you can get a bit more highlights about my love of Alanis in my recent post about Jagged Little Pill.

A couple of years ago, I almost went to see Alanis and Garbage during their tour together, She was going to be in Indianapolis, and I have family over there I could see, I checked into tickets and they were, a bit more than I cared to spend, for where they were located. Plus it was still kind of “The middle of COVID” so it seems like maybe it was best to just not. Then a few months ago, she was announced as coming to the Illinois State Fair this year. Each year the fair has a large show, I think every night, maybe races a few nights. I hopped on over and signed up for her mailing list to get in the early sales window. My wife wasn’t interested and my brother was interested but that fell through. Since it was just me, I bought tickets for the standing area on the track. Later I learned the fair offers a “Pre Show Party” for pretty cheap, which includes early entry and a parking pass. That seemed like a good deal, so I spring for that.

I’m glad I did.

I opted to go right to the “wait in line” part of the Pre Show Party after buying a bottle of water (which cost me more than an entire case of water normally, but hey, it was some charity group running it). I was like, 25 in line I think, and people kept wandering out and back for more drinks. The only other time I’ve been to a show was like ten years ago for Toby Keith, my wife and daughter wanted to go. This was my view.

When we went in, I had a notion that most people would pile in on the right side of the stage since we were let in on the right, so I shuffled around past to the left side of the stage and ended up pretty much right in the center, I was next to the dude who had been at the front of the line. So this was my view.


Around an hour later, and some light rain, which threatened to become worse, the opening act started. I actually didn’t realize there was an opening act, nothing really mentioned it.

Tenille Townes

I don’t know what it is about opening acts, but it’s like they are required to do SOME cover songs. I don’t mind covers, but her set included I think 3 covers. Oddly enough, I could see the setlist taped to the floor and the second song listed, “Come as You Are”, was NOT a cover of Nirvana. It’s was a Tenille Townes track. She did do covers of U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For and The Beatle’s Come Together.

I am not familiar enough with her song’s to remember what most of them were called and isn’t helping me here. Funny enough, I am pretty sure I have heard her music before because Somebody’s Daughter was very familiar when they played it.

For the most part, I enjoyed her set. They work the crowd well and she was pretty chatty the whole time. The whole band really seemed to be enjoying themselves. Based on her style and twangyness, she is a country singer, but it’s a very “Rock and roll” kind of country.

Alanis Morrisette

After the usual “tear down and swap over” it was time for the main event.

Pretty much as expected, most of the setlist consisted of songs from Jagged Little Pill. The recent tour was for the 25th anniversary of the album, and most of her well known songs are from that album. In face, the setlist included ALL of Jagged Little Pill, including the hidden track, Your House. It also included several of her other more well known singles as well as some of the less known tracks, though many of those were simply, brief interlude moments, and not the whole songs. I’ve embedded a neat little Setlist from, but it’s deceiving because 7 of the tracks (Hands Clean, Diagnosis, So Unsexy, Nemesis, Losing the Plot, Sympathetic Character, I Remain) were not full songs.

Anyway, the show, was awesome. I can’t say it was the best show I’ve been to, but it was damn good. The music was of course, all very very familiar, but at the same time, as is usually the case, the live versions are different and just generally better. There was so much going on at times too, it was kind of hard to know what to choose to focus on, there was a large screen that was showing some interesting videos to go along with each song. Alanis herself, dancing around stage quite a bit, including that sort of, long stride walk she does (I’ve seen it in some other videos).

Then also the band. Man, the band was amazing, especially the bass player, Cedric LeMoyne, but I’ll say also especially the lead guitarist, Jason Orme. I am assuming lead, there was also a second guitarist, Julian Coryell, playing on several interesting looking small guitars, but he seemed, I dunno, less active in general, not just in stage presence, but also in his playing. I may be totally wrong though. The drums, Victor Indrizzo, and keyboard, Michael Farrell, were also very good, though of course, the nature of both of those means they are quite a bit less showy.

I do want to throw out my one complaint, since it’s related, the rest of the band was very often, in the dark. I couldn’t remember their names, though they were introduced, and finding them was actually kind of difficult. Or at least, it took a lot more work than expected. Like, I love you Alanis, but the these guys were amazing, maybe give them a little bit of that spotlight. Looking at a few other videos this doesn’t always seem to be the case so I almost wonder if there was something going on with the venue’s lighting, though this wasn’t an issue in the Tenille Townes set and if they needed more lights, they could have dropped the weird back of the stage spotlight that basically just, were blinding.

Back to the show though, and the band, that bass player, Cedric, dude was absolutely amazing. He had several moments where he did little solo parts and his playing was great, his stage presence, what you could see, was great as well. I am going to have to check out his previous/other band Remy Zero a bit to see if any of what he was doing here shines through there. The band name actually sounds familiar, so maybe I’ve heard of them at some point.

Alanis herself was amazing as well. There is a phrase “Eat the Mic”, which is to say, hold the mic so close you’re lips are touching it, because you’re too quite. I see this literally quite a bit on some of the videos I’ve seen of artists. Alanis, does the opposite, by a long shot. I mean, it’s kind of her entire style, the very loud screaming sort of singing, but she often had that mic feet away and she still came through fine. I do wonder a bit why she uses a corded mic though, as much as she is back and forth across the stage, it seems like the cord is kind of a hazard, plus cords are prone to failure with that much moving around (they actually swapped out her mic about 3 songs in, and it completely cut out during Ironic briefly).

I appreciate the use of some of the lesser known tracks as interludes. Understandably, she would go get a big drink between almost every song, and often would do a sort of, subdued little bit from a song, just standing in place near the back. I don’t know a ton of her feeling on it all, but i suspect that after 25 years, it gets a bit old singing the same album constantly, especially because she has had several albums since. There wasn’t any of the latest album at all, though that’s kind of understandable since The Storm Before the Calm is an electronic music based meditation album. It’s decent, but you don’t really want to put your crowd to sleep with calming meditative music.

Some highlights, Wake Up where they break out ALL THE GUITARS was pretty good. I do wonder a bit just how many guitars it takes to be “too many” sometimes.

Forgiven is already a pretty intense song, made way more so with the live performance, with all the drama of the song brought out for the stage.

Uninvited and Smiling both start out light-ish but build into an intensely chaotic but well done ball of energy and sound and guitars. Smiling may have been my favorite of the night.

As mentioned above, she really encouraged the audience to sing along to probably her most iconic song, Ironic, I think the audience would doing at least 50% of it with her holding the mic out to the crowd to sing.

The encore performance of Your House was so hilariously good. She kept stopping the band in feign disgust and they would start again doing a different style of music as the backdrop, all not anything like her normal style, like funky or jazzy riffs.

I will throw out there, I kind of wish there was a bit more audience interaction. I guess I’m used to some really talky artists, but I am also a bit more used to smaller venues, so maybe that’s just, not a thing at this level?

A few last wrap ups, the rain tried to come, and it sprinkled a bit before the show, during Tenille Townes, and between sets, but it managed to hold off despite the ominous overcast. The early access pre show ticket was 1000% worth it for a good spot. Bring right up front is so amazing, I strongly recommend some good concert earplugs though. For Alanis, the Encore was especially loud.

Alanis Morissette – Jagged Little Pill

Here’s another album for the “This is already so popular” list of albums, Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill. Per Wikipedia, it’s the 13th biggest-selling album, ever, and the 3rd biggest put out by a woman. There is a good chance that you’ve at least heard a song from this album, somewhere. It’s an album that really sort of embodied a lot of the 90s feel at the time. It’s an album that I listened to a lot in High School and beyond, and it’s a strong strong contender for “Most listened to album”. I like to track music as much as possible these days with, but there are a lot of gaps in that record, from the before times, and this is one of them. Others include Pink Floyd’s The Wall, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Greatest Hits, and probably a few Aerosmith albums.

Why cover this album now? Because in a few days, I’m going to see Alanis in concert at the Illinois State Fair. I don’t really have a “bucket list”, but if I did, going to an Alanis Morissette concert is one of them, even if it’s 25 years late. I have not really picked up on a lot of Alanis’ later music, though I want to. Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie is the only other album I have really listened to by her and it’s ok, but not quite as good as Jagged Little Pill. Something I wasn’t aware of until recently after watching the documentary Jagged, is that Alanis actually had a few albums before Jagged Little Pill that were essentially just regular boring pop music.

Which was part of what made this album blow up and become a huge hit. There was plenty of angry rock alternative music by dudes out there, but not a lot by women at the time. The whole album is this crazy ball of angry rage for a lot of its tracks. The first single from the album You Oughta Know has long been rumored to be about her former boyfriend Dave Coulier (Joey from Full House, the goofy guy) but it’s never been confirmed. With such lovely lyrics as

Cause the joke that you laid in the bed that was me
And I’m not gonna fade as soon as you close your eyes
And you know it
And every time I scratch my nails
Down someone else’s back
I hope you feel it
Well, can you feel it?

– You Oughta Know – Alanis Morissette

The lyrics in general are part of what really makes the album appealing. It’s all so poetically blunt at times, full of anger and trauma. It also becomes self-reflective and vulnerable in other places. It starts out very in your face with All I Really Want, You Oughta Know, and Right Through You. Even the slightly more subdued of the early tracks Perfect has a built to how it’s all just too much trying to be perfect. As the album goes on it becomes a lot more subdued, but still tells a string of stories about broken history and broken relationships.

Probably the most well-known track on the album is Ironic, which is an extremely popular and enjoyable song, but it’s also the subject of ridicule and jokes as most of the scenarios in the song are more straight tragic than actually ironic. Rain on your wedding day, ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife, that sort of thing. The real Irony I suppose is a song called Ironic without any irony in it. I doubt it runs that deep though.

Probably my favorite tracks on the album are Hand in My Pocket and Mary Jane. I really like the whole building optimism of the former, and how it almost feels like it travels through stages of a life with it’s slightly evolving Chorus lyrics. Mary Jane is a nice slow ballad where Alanis really throws out those vocals.

This is also the other reason this album became so popular I think. It’s not just the lyrics, but the way they are delivered. No one thinks twice about scream-singing with male bands, but Alanis helped bring this concept to her music. She has a very distinctive almost yodeling screech at times in her voice which feels like it should be off-putting but instead, it just drives the whole energy of the album. It pushes the rage when needed. It pushes the 90s alternative “who gives a shit really?” vibe when needed. There is also a lot fo interesting almost folksy feeling to her tracks

There’s probably a reason Alanis Morissette never really ended up with a ton of staying power on her future works, because Jagged Little Pill just really embodied the times, and left an influential legacy on music, but released any other time, probably wouldn’t have even taken off at all. I definitely am not saying it’s a bad album, I am just saying that it probably just doesn’t resonate with people who weren’t there, so to speak.