Bits and Pieces

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Just wanted to write something to keep the ol' posting muscles in shape. No big theme, just some odds and ends. 

First of all, I finally got my new prescriptions today! Yea!

For some reason, there was a disconnect over getting the new prescriptions called in to my pharmacy. However, in spite of the holidays, several missed phone calls, partially-heard conversations, and what seemed like every possible variation of dosages, amounts, and refills, I finally picked up the correct prescriptions today. (With one exception: if there's a Lidocaine shortage in your part of the world, I apologize; I seem to have inadvertently cornered the market!) Essentially, my spiro prescription doubled, followed, in one month, by the Estradiol. My New Year, finally, is off to the right start. :c)


For the next item on the agenda, some news for those of you for whom January isn't sufficiently depressing. Yes, that's right, there are new wrist-slashers on the way. No need for applause, please!

Once again, oddly enough, it turns out that the two topics I was wrestling with are related. Thanks to a comment from Jessica Lyn (thanks girl!) and to my most recent therapy session, I now know why.

So stock up on the anti-depressants, kids; more misery is en route. (Oh, and one semi-related, sort-of-funny one too. At least I hope it turns out semi-funny.Your mileage may, of course, vary.) :c)


And last but not least, in the interest of housekeeping at the dawn of a new year, I thought I'd mention a few of my favorite albums from last year. All of these are well worth a listen.

Real Estate - Days
Although this album only came out in October (before which Id never heard of this young New Jersey-based band), my iPod indicates that I played this, their sophomore album, more than any other album this year. (Their self-titled debut was in the Top Five.)

They remind me a lot of fellow New Jersey denizens The Feelies (who also released a stellar album, Here Again, their first in twenty years, this year) and the more contemplative side of The Velvet Underground. That's good company in my book.

Fountains of Wayne - Sky Full of Holes
Here's another New Jersey-based band, although they've been around since the mid-Nineties. Their 2003 Welcome Interstate Managers is a power-pop favorite of mine, and Sky Full of Holes is nearly as good - no mean trick for a veteran band. I'm a sucker for a good hook, and this album is packed with 'em. Here's the album opener:

Paul Simon - So Beautiful or So What
How many other 70-year-old artists can say that they’ve released one of the finest albums of their career? While his most recent albums have been solid (especially 2000’s You’re The One), SBOSW is easily his best since Hearts and Bones (1983) and Graceland (1986). Remarkable.

Gillian Welch & Dave Rawlings - The Harrow and The Harvest
It’s been eight long years since their last album, but TH&TH more than justifies the wait. Stripped down their already minimalist sound puts the focus on Welch’s lyrics and Rawlings’ jaw-dropping guitar skills. He’s the best guitar player I’ve ever seen. (And I saw Stevie Ray Vaughan four times. Yes, he’s that good.)

Tom Waits - Bad As Me
Another artist for whom the wait was worth it. (His last proper album, Real Gone, came out in 2004.) Not as groundbreaking as his landmark 80s albums – how could it be? – but a consolidation of his considerable strengths.

Amanda Shires - CarryingLightning
I wasn’t familiar with her until this, her third solo album, but it turns out her entire catalogue is worth a listen. “When You Need A Train It Never Comes” is a hit country single waiting to happen. (No doubt Nashville will ruin it, but hey, we’ll always have the original, I suppose…) Oh, and I love her freckles too. :c)

Noel Gallagher & HisHigh-Flying Birds - S/T
I’ve always had a soft spot for Oasis, though Lord knows they made it difficult.

The first time I saw them, on the “Morning Glory” tour, lead singer Liam, Noel’s temperamental younger brother, stomped off stage three songs into their set when he didn’t care for how Noel was looking at him. (Forthe record, Noel had on sunglasses, so how Liam determined this is unclear.)

The most memorable part of the evening? My friend, who’d been waiting in line for a beer, returned to her seat, noticed the empty stage and exclaimed, “Oh for God’s sake, did Liam quit again?” Apparently their reputation as a volatile bunch preceded them, even at this early juncture.

Noel came back out to apologize, saying he would carry on as lead vocalist for the evening. He also offered to refund the ticket price foranyone who asked, but there were few takers – a wise choice, as it turns out.

With Oasis seemingly broken up for good after one last epic fight in 2009 (Liam threw a guitar at Noel backstage), Noel released his first solo album. The change seems to have done him good creatively, as his songwriting sounds reinvigorated. And while he lacks Liam’s magnetism as a front man, he compensates with a more than adequate voice and a warmth that his brother, for all of his undeniable swagger and vocal chops, lacks. He promises a second album in 2012; I’m already looking forward to it.

PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
One of my favorite artists, for both her fearlessness and her uncompromising vision. Like her previous album, 2007’s spare, haunting “White Chalk,” “Let England Shake” features a quieter sound whose intimacy only serves to increase the unsettling intensity behind its songs. A meditation on war and its cost – physical, emotional, and moral – on those who wage it and those who livein its midst, Let England Shake will linger long after the final notes fade.

2011 offered an embarrassment of riches beyond the albums citedabove: Lucinda Williams, Wilco, Jason Isbell, Steve Earle, and Allison Krauss,to name a few. Here’s hoping 2012 continues the trend!


Jessica Lyn on January 16, 2012 at 1:12 AM said...

You're Welcome!!

I didn't know Noel Gallagher was on his own.. nor did I know about Liam in Beady Eye.. just found that out searching about Noel.

I think I need to post.. your post made me realize that I haven't posted in a while. But I do have something to get off my chest... which may hit home since you just starting HRT.

Kelly on January 16, 2012 at 11:20 AM said...

Hi Jess!

Please do post - your public awaits your latest missive, so hurry! ;c)

Seriously, I hope it's good news. I'll be waiting.

Yup, the Gallagher brothers finally reached the point of no return. Or, more accurately, Noel finally got sick of Liam's nonsense! Beady Eye's album is pretty good, but it's clear that Noel made the band what it was. His album is definitely worth picking up if you liked Oasis.

Oh, and I can't say enough good things about the albums from Amanda Shires and Real Estate either. I've played both nearly every day since I picked them up.


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