More to See, More on the Horizon

MONDAY, 24 JUNE 2013

Now that the academic year has ended and most of my lingering work has been dispatched, I can finally turn my attention back to posting some of the materials I’ve been holding in reserve. Appearing with embarrassingly long-ago-promised posts, there’ll be some additions to the Perfect Pop Songs series and more of my musings alongside tidbits from around the web that you’ve seen more of here lately. So keep your browsers trained on this space, and if you still have a feed reader of some sort, subscribe to this site’s feeds so that you’ll know when new content appears. Finally, if you own a high-resolution mobile or desktop device (like the latest iPhones, iPads, Android phones and some Macintosh computers), you’ll enjoy looking at these pages even more now. All of the images have been updated to look wonderful on those so-called “retina” devices as well as their predecessors. As always, enjoy…

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Elsewhere Is Here


After promising late last year that there’d be a mechanism for my posting material that neither necessitated a full Musing nor was specific enough to this site for a News item, I’ve finally put that mechanism in place. You might see it over there in the navigation section, nestled between Musings and Faves. As the name indicates, Elsewhere strictly comprises links to material on other sites. For each link, there’s a small blurb, and when useful, supplementary links to provide broader context. The first three—on Vini Reilly, Johnny Marr, and the history of hip-hop—are an indication of what you might expect down the line, and I’ll do my best to ensure they’re always worth your time. Finally, as is true for Musings and News, there’s a feed for Elsewhere, which you can access by clicking the RSS icon on any page in the category or on the Feeds page. Enjoy…

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The Odd Return of Shuggie Otis


It’ll still be a few days before I post the two lists from 2012, but I’ve just come across an interesting tidbit that may make 2013 musically a lot more interesting, even if D’Angelo’s James River doesn’t make a long-awaited appearance.

While scanning my shelves earlier for things I hadn’t heard in a long time, I spied the 2001 Luaka Bop reissue of the Shuggie Otis album Inspiration Information. So, naturally, I put it on. As it played, I started wondering, as I occasionally do, what Mr. Otis might be doing and specifically whether he has any plans to record or perform. After the briefest of searches, I came across the Web site of Shugiterius Enterprises, LLC, where I found information about how to interview Mr. Otis, notice of the Shuggie Otis Rite’s availability for engagements, a warning that all requests for permission to sample or cover Otis’s music will be denied, and the announcement of a 16 April 2013 reissue of Inspiration Information by Sony with four previously unreleased songs plus a “companion,” unreleased album called Wings of Love. There’s no indication (on that page) whether the latter is newly recorded material, but other sources say the material was recorded at different points between 1975 and 2000. The very prospect of hearing unheard Shuggie Otis makes me smile. I hope the reality’s even better. (And in case you’re wondering whether this is a hoax, click here to pre-order the album and here to find out whether he’s coming to your town soon).

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Migration Complete; Lists (Partially) Posted


After a few minor hiccups with setup, I’ve completed the process of migrating this site from an another hosting service and updating its design to what you see here. Over the last 18 months or so, the old design has made me cringe, mostly because during that time this newer version was how the site really looked to me. To understand just how stark the contrast between the two versions is, at least on some counts, compare the previous incarnation of a post on Felt with its current counterpart. I won’t describe every change in detail, but note how much more the layout “breathes” (larger text, shorter lines, more white space) and how much less clunky the player interface is. There are still a few more things to do, but since they are so subtle, there was no reason to delay making this update any longer.

Again, stay tuned. The 2010 and 2011 almost-best lists have been posted, and the best-of lists for those years will likely be posted tomorrow. The two lists for 2012 will likely appear in early January.

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Rumpelstiltskin’s Back … with Items to Post and Clips to Share


So, here I am again, trying to account for another unconscionably long gap between postings and standing on the verge of promising again to share thoughts about the Cure, the Pharcyde and Talk Talk among other possibilities in the near future. Alongside those items, there’s the until-now-unbroached subject of the best-of lists for 2010 and 2011, not to mention the current year.

What can I say? I’ve been very busy … with all manner of things—especially salutary lifestyle changes, travel, work, etc.—including having taken the (proverbial and occasionally nerve-wracking but) joyous final steps into adulthood. The result of all those changes is that I’m in a great place (literally and figuratively), and the present and the future have never been brighter. That long-delayed album is even back on the docket, now that many of the work-related distractions (er, albatrosses) of previous years are no longer occupying psychic space and energy.

In the interval, though, I haven’t completely neglected this site. In stolen moments over the last eighteen months, I’ve been redoing almost every aspect of it, and the new version will debut before the beginning of 2013. Although the changes in the visual presentation are slight, the backend has received a serious overhaul as a result of my learning the difference between solutions that work and those that, from a programming and usability standpoint, work well. Some of the most urgent changes have already silently been incorporated into the version of this site current as of today, but when the whole, much leaner collection goes online (on or before 27 December), you’ll notice one thing in particular: pages will load much faster than before—near instantaneously for those using computers and significantly faster for those using so-called smartphones. In addition, both reading and navigation will be smoother, and there’ll be room for me to share things I find online without my having to create a new post or news item (or for you to create yet another social network entanglement for yourself).

So check back here in the near future, especially if you’re not subscribed to the feeds. The lists of also-rans for 2010, 2011 and 2012 will appear over the next several days. And the best-of lists for all three will follow in short order. Then, that backlog of posts will start seeing the light of day. It’ll be good to get back to where I was in 2007 and 2008, when there were over ten posts each in the News and Musings categories.

Until then, here’s another little something to occupy your time. When I wrote my 25th anniversary Purple Rain post and the hastily penned follow-up on Michael Jackson later that same day in 2009, there was one remembered item I was dying to discuss, but couldn’t because the evidence wasn’t at hand. Now it is, though probably only for a short time. Without speculating much on circumstances or motivations on anyone’s part, I can say that all indications were that whatever love musicians might have had for Michael Jackson in 1985, Prince had their respect. On the American Music Awards show that winter, he and the Revolution performed a stirring version of “Purple Rain” and were allowed nearly seven minutes of air time (an amount that would be a luxury even today). Parenthetically, I remember being unsure how to interpret what he did with the microphone near the end, and I still am, but no matter. The group was rewarded at the end with a standing ovation. The whole clip is an amazing thing to watch, so check it out while you can.

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