Friday, April 10, 2009

Anniversaries: Now It’s a Year (Going on Six Years)

Invisible Music: Now It‘s a Year (Going on Six Years)

Now It’s a Year (Going on Six Years) starts out sounding like synth pop, with the addition of a piano. Real drums join and then replace the drum machine. The vocal starts out sounding almost folkish, but once the harmony vocals join at the end, the influence of the Beatles is also clear. So, in a mere three and a half minutes, this one covers four or five musical styles that often appear here. And the whole thing hangs together.

All week we have been congratulating ourselves on our first anniversary. But I wanted to take a moment to thank the people who make it all worthwhile: our readers and listeners. We are fortunate to have you as our audience. One of my favorite things about being a part of Star Maker Machine is the times when a reader offers a correction or supplemental information in the comments to one of my posts. This needs to be one of those times.

You see, we have a mystery on our hands. You will notice that I posted this with no purchase link. In seeking that information, I discovered something odd. I can find no evidence on line that Invisible Music ever existed. I know I downloaded the song from somewhere quite some time ago, so I don’t have the album itself. I can tell you that the album was called Invisible, and it came out in 2005. And that’s all I know. So let me thank you now, dear readers for all of your help in the past year, and for any help you can provide here.

Anniversaries: 35th Birthday

Chris Trapper: 35th Birthday


Have you heard of Chris Trapper? He used to be in a band called the Push Stars. Does that help? Trapper deserves to be better known. But he also needs to know that 35 is not old. I’ll be looking at 49 later this year, so I can say that.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Anniversaries: Happy New Year

Todd Snider: Happy New Year


This tune extends a January 1 wish for happiness... in both a birthday (Country Joe McDonald) and a New Year greeting - along the way, Todd Snider's resolutions segue into a shared treatise of his "evangelical agnostic" leanings...

i don't know what we're doing here

you don't "KNOW" what we're doing here

now christians don't walk out on me just yet

you know whose name i'm yelling as i'm clutching my chest

the one my dad told me to and his told him to

and i probably pray as much or more than you do

believe? shit, every word i sing

but believing and knowing, those are two different things

and if you're trying to change the way a stranger's life will have to go

i believe this is where i wanna stick to what i know

which is nothing you know, nothing for sure

P.S. Todd's new CD, The Excitement Plan, is due to be released on June 9 - you can read more about it here and here...

Anniversaries: The Birthday Present

Louden Wainwright III: The Birthday Present


My first guest-post on SMM was a year ago yesterday. I remember at first being reluctant to join as a regular because my collection was too small and too limited, and because I was more of a music fan than a music expert. I didn't even have a music blog elsewhere! Those things are all still true, and I am regularly outclassed here by people who seem to have nearly limitless collections, and plenty of intelligent things to say about them. But, for the record, I want to thank Paul for starting this whole thing and for letting even the common-man have a forum where he can talk about the tunes he loves. I love music, and that's why I love it here, and that's what we all have in common.

The featured song is one of my favorites from Louden Wainwright's Live BBC Sessions. Written just before his 46th birthday he laments, and celebrates, the aging process. I'm not 46 yet, but I'm way too close, and let me tell you: I can relate to nearly every word he sings.

Anniversaries: Happy, Happy Birthday Baby

The Tuneweavers: Happy, Happy Birthday Baby


When I was young, whenever my family would go on a day trip and be driving home in the evening the radio would be tuned to the local station that played oldies in the evenings. My mom and I enjoyed singing along, and our favorites were the ballads sung by the ladies. One favorite was The Tuneweaver's "Happy, Happy Birthday Baby". It was somewhat of a one hit wonder for the group, and maybe only that because of the novelty of it being a birthday related song that made it a perfect addition to a birthday party playlist. But it's still a really beautiful song and one that I got a lot of pleasure singing along to in the back of that old station wagon at night.

Happy Birthday, Starmaker Machine!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Anniversaries: Anniversary

Suzanne Vega: Anniversary


The first song I ever posted on Star Maker Machine was by Suzanne Vega. It was during Songwriting week in June, and I offered The Queen and the Soldier as an example of a song whose multiple potential meanings keep the listener coming back. So, it is only fitting that I observe our first anniversary with this tune. Once again, Vega’s lyric invites multiple interpretations.

Actually, The Queen and the Soldier was technically a “reader submission”, which we now call guest posts, and they often lead to additions to our contributor roster. One of the characteristics of a life form is its ability to grow, and Star Maker Machine is certainly alive and well.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Anniversaries: We're Stronger Than That

Amy Rigby: We're Stronger Than That

[purchase] (scroll down to Diary of a Mod Housewife...)

What can I say? - I'm on an Amy Rigby kick!

I very humbly state that I know a bit about anniversaries - I've celebrated 32 of them, all for the same occasion and all with the same partner. I have joked from the beginning that my husband and I do our marriage like AA: One Day at a Time - that would be 11,860 days at this point... but who's counting?!?

You know the list of wedding anniversary gift ideas? (i.e., first year paper, 25th year silver, 50th year gold) - we make up our own, depending on how the day/week/year is going: dueling pistols, tattoos, handcuffs... :-)

So... Happy Anniversary to Star Maker Machine! - although I've only been around six of the twelve months and therefore still qualify as being in the newlywed stage, I can very much find similarities to my long-term relationship: respect and listen to the other person, while attempting to be true to your best self. Balance and compromise are key... with a strong foundation of multi-genred music (the new in addition to the familiar) as the soundtrack - chipped and cracked indicates a life well-lived... and well-loved...

P.S. I am also a regular reader of Amy's blog, and her last post was devoted to the recent passing of Duane Jarvis, a musician with whom I was not actively familiar but, upon further research, find that I very much knew his work - another lovely tribute can be found here...

Anniversaries: One Year Later

The Get Up Kids: One Year Later


We're starting things off with a bang this week as we celebrate our first year here at Star Maker Machine. This punkish indie tune from seminal nineties second wave emo band The Get Up Kids is just the ticket: high energy, full of indie fuzz, topically relevant, and -- as our first emocore song so far -- still pushing the boundaries after 52 theme-tastic weeks.