Sunday, June 20, 2010

A to Z: AA Bondy

I am without music because the headphones on my iPod broke. And I dislike listening to music on my laptop with its rinky dink bass-less sound. As far as I can tell, there are no stereos in this house. (I'm at my parents'). There are speakers connected to the desktop that I'm using now, but they appear to be from the early 1990s, so you can imagine the level of their sonic fidelity. So ... that gives me nothing but silence. I listen to music a significant portion of my waking time, mostly through my iPod, so being away from it is an anomaly. Not of epic proportions, but an anomaly nevertheless.

My current iPod has a 160 Gb drive which is quite a lot I think. I've loaded up about 2/3 of my CD collection into it so far, which -- checking right now -- gives it 11, 117 songs. So, by rough calculations, I would guess that I can max out around 17,000 songs. Now, again, by rough calculations, if I assume that each song is roughly about 4 minutes long (conceding of course that I have songs as long as a few seconds and some as long as 45 minutes), I have about 50 days of music on the iPod. That's 50 days of straight listening without stopping for anything. That's actually not that long, considering.

If I listen to my iPod about 2 hours per day, then it would take me about 566 days to listen to my whole collection, which we can round off to about 2 years. Not bad. I think back in the 1990s I tried something like this, to listen to my entire music collection in alphabetical order. I got to G or H and gave up. I get caught up in the details. What should you do if you have to stop a song in the middle, do you start from the beginning the next time? What about albums? Do you break them up? What if you're in the middle of side of Yes' Tales from the Topographic Oceans (or whatever it was called) and need to stop? Do you start from the beginning again?

Anyway, once I get my headphones worked out, I'm going to start listening to everything in alphabetical order. This means that I will listen to entire albums. Sometimes if it's a good album, I may repeat it. And since my blog (let's face it) sucks, I'm going to try and inject some life into it by saying something (anything) about every artist that I listen to, even if the most I can muster up is an inane, this song is from that album by that artist.

Right now the first artist on my iPod is A. A. Bondy, he of Verbena fame who mysteriously remarkably has transformed himself from a second level grunge artifact of the 1990s to folk-ish troubadour of the 2000s. Despite what hipsters think or say, Verbena was a kickass band. Sure, they sounded eerily like Nirvana and had some tenuous connections with them (Dave Grohl produced one of Verbena's albums) but, look, they were a good competent band. They put on a good show. In any case, Bondy, the lead singer broke up the band, disappeared for a few years and then emerged with an entirely different persona, with some weird mix of the Band, Gram Parsons, and Bob Dylan. Here's a pretty good interview at Aquarium Drunkard along with a couple of mp3s. A couple of videos here. My favorite song, "When the Devil's Loose," is below. It's deceptively simple, but it winds your way into your soul. Give it a couple of listens: