Friday, June 10, 2022

Rockin' It!

From the idea-well all but running dry, things seem to have gone full flood again, which is how it usually goes. Another insight to remember for Blaugust. (We are doing Blaugust again this year, right?). 

I've had a post about the Tinkerfest solo dungeon in EverQuest II mentally queued up for days but other things keep bumping it down the line. This morning I have at least three new ideas - things I've done, things I've read or seen that I'd like to bounce off ...

I'll get to them all, eventually. Probably. Maybe. In the meantime, I thought I'd share this article from PC Gamer that I originally saw linked in a news item at NME. Both pieces have the video nicely queued up at the relevant part but I'll embed it here for convenience anyway.

I particularly love the way Winona Ryder not only doesn't know what World of Warcraft is but obviously doesn't even recognize the name. That either puts our hobby into perspective or tells you a lot about Winona. Or both. It's probably both.

I just finished watching Season Four of Stranger Things. It's really excellent. The show has a hyper-reality about it now, or maybe that should be a meta-reality, that makes it very different from the show it was when it began. It's something that happens to many, maybe all, long-running, non-realist shows but it's better managed in this one than in most. Very much looking forward to the Season finale in July and even happier there's another season and several spin-off shows coming along behind.

Just to round this short clip-post out, here's another video I watched for the first time this morning. It's not new and I came across it in a somewhat roundabout way, in a throwaway link in a review of the new μ-Ziq album on Pitchfork.

I don't have any great interest in μ-Ziq although I believe there's at least one CD by him (It's one guy, real name Mike Paradinas, as I learned only today.) somewhere in the house. It'll be Mrs Bhagpuss's, though.

The only reason I clicked through the link was because of the title of the album: Magic Pony Ride. I have a long-standing theory, borne out by much testing, that any band, artist, song, track or album that incorporates the word "pony" is likely to be worth a listen. 

Whether it applies in this case I still don't know because I haven't listened to any of it. Let's do that now... yep, sounds pretty much exactly as I expected. It is, as the Pitchfork review so pithily put it, "dad rock for lapsed ravers".

Which is all very well but I wouldn't have bothered mentioning it if it hadn't been for the link to the webzine's own animated definition of the term "Dad Rock." I felt it was worth featuring here, if only as a warning. This is what complacency can look like, but also comfort. Telling those two apart is a vital life skill.

I'm not even sure if "Dad Rock" gets the job done as a descriptor any more, anyway. Some of the acts in the video would have been at their peak when today's dads were in short pants, if they'd even been born at all. Springsteen, McCartney, Knopfler? They're Grandad Rock by now, aren't they? Is that a thing yet? If not, it needs to be.

And what about Mom Rock? I can't say I've ever heard anyone mention it. The Urban Dictionary claims it's a thing but they claim a lot of things are things, even though no-one else seems to know about them. Do moms get a pass on growing out of being cool or, more likely, do the cultural gatekeepers, whoever they are, just assume moms never were cool to begin with?

Bowling For Soup painted around the lines of the meme with the seminal 1985, a song I dearly love. I respect its musical and lyrical merits, as well as the pitch-perfect video, but mostly I revere it for the way it became weirdly instrumental in shaking me out of my own musical lethargy. 

When I happened across it on Mitch Benn's radio show, I went on to YouTube to see the video he talked about and that, in part, was what jump-started my deep dive into the lost-to-me music of the past and re-instilled my desire to seek out the music of the future.

Kinda ironic, given the lyric, although possibly not as ironic as the other great rekindler of my musical energies, Lana del Rey's Video Games, given it was my then decade-long obsession with mmorpgs that estranged me from music in the first place. Hey, David Harbour! You got off lightly!

Bringing this whole thing full circle and tying it up with a neat little bow, Kate Bush, surely an icon of both Dad and Mom Rock if ever there was one, is currently enjoying her own moment of inter-generational magic, thanks to the inspired use of her timeless classic, Running Up That Hill in Stranger Things. 

Just in case anyone hasn't seen it yet I won't say any more about it, other than it's frickin' epic and that I was surprised to learn La Bush had never had an American Top 10 hit before. Well, she has now. And about time, too.

That's it for now. Not the post I expected to write but the one I wanted to. Another tip for advice week. I should write these down. And I'll get to that EQII Tinkerfest instance post one day, see if I don't. 

Of course, by then I'll have built it up so much everyone's going to be all "is that it?"

Ah, well.


  1. I came around to Kate Bush the hard way, via Peter Gabriel's Don't Give Up. While I'm glad I (eventually) found her, the fact that I didn't know who she was is a bit of myopia on my part.

    I'm still amused by that Bowling for Soup video, even after all these years later, just because it hit on so many touchstones of that era of MTV. I honestly prefer their take on Robert Palmer's Addicted to Love than Shania Twain's gender bender version in Man! I Feel Like a Woman. To be fair, her version is really good too, but that's about as close as I tend to get to Country music these days.

    1. It's a great video in many ways. BFS are way more nuanced than they have any right to be.

      There's a cetain style of alt-country that I really like but I know next to nothing about the wider genre. I hadn't seen that Shania Twain video before, or heard the song. Is that even any kind of country? It starts out as 50s rock and roll and then turns into 60s pop before the 70s rock solo comes in. There's a pedal steel guitar in there somewhere and her vocals have a country inflection but I don't think I'd have known she was a "country" artist from this track.

    2. The irony is that Shania's music is a lot closer to "modern" Country these days. Apparently Country was more influenced by arena rock than people realize, because there are plenty of songs out there --such as Rascal Flatts' remake of Life is a Highway-- that are basically rock songs but with a slight Country twang. Who knew that all that's needed to make a song "Country" is to sing with a southern accent and wear a cowboy hat?

  2. Mom Rock is stuff like Elton John, Wings, Paul Simon. Source: what my wife listens to.

    It is sad that Pink Floyd and Supertramp are probably Dad Rock.

    1. I guess it should be Parent Rock, really. Or 'Rent Rock. Do the kids still say "'rent"? I like all of those acts, by the way. It's curious how two of them still seek to be "modern" by working with much younger performers but only Elton really pulls it off. Macca tries too hard.

  3. I am definitely part of the "lapsed raver dad" demographic. A big hunk of my CD collection is all the IDM influences that the article lists (Aphex Twin, Autechre, Venetian Snares, ect).

    Also, Hounds of Love (especially that long soundscape B side) and the Dreaming are some of my all time favorite albums. I am really glad to see some of her work being rediscovered.

    1. Hounds of Love is a great album. I was never really all that much of a Kate Bush fan before then, although I liked most of the singles well enough, but after Hounds I started paying her a lot more attention.

  4. In our household, Mom Rock would be The Eagles as my wife's go to on long car journeys is Hotel California - and nothing wrong with that in my book.

    And I'm going to bitterly contest classing Mark Knopfler as "grandad rock" - I was in my teens when Dire Straits were at their peak and I have two school age children. Elvis is definitely grandad music, the Beatles probably are, but 80's music belongs to Gen X and we're not a grandad generation yet, damnit!


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