2023: Broken Turntable Blues

In 2023, I pinned pieces of paper to a wall in my room so I can easily write down new things that I had watched and listened to that year. I also created the rule that I could only listen to new music through physical media with a few exceptions being any foreign acts since I most likely would have trouble finding any of their work in my country and any small bands that really do not have any physical releases and are confined to digital files hosted on Bandcamp. Unfortunately, I did break this rule a few times, but it did not happen often. Most of that were friends recommending albums I should listen to so I had to listen to them immediately to share with them my opinion.

With everything tallied up on my paper, I found that I listened to 83 new albums this year with 3 new artists. The artist category was for the times where I would listen to the entire discography of an artist in one day. I did not want to separate all of the albums of those artists so I just put them together. Those three artists were Lust$ickPuppy, Ashton Freeman, and Naeemah Maddox. In regards to the albums listened to, I also tallied up how many were listened to within each decade. This is what I found:

1950s – 1

1960s – 10

1970s – 26

1980s – 13

1990s – 12

2000s – 9

2010s – 5

2020s – 6

Within the film category, the 1970s also had the most. I obtained a turntable this year for my room so I ended up purchasing so many records (a Goodwill near me gained what seemed like someone's personal collection so I ended up with a lot for cheap) and did end up going to three record stores which really increased my collection. However, later on I realized that one of the RCA cables on my turntable only works for a brief amount of time so for now my turntable is out of commission until I can get it fixed or until I get a new one altogether. Do not let me forget to look for one. I also did purchase a lot of CDs and gave away old ones to friends. For 2024 I should mark beside my entries what format I listened to these albums on so I do not forget.

So let us get into some of the new things that I listened to for the first time this year and really enjoyed. I want to start off with the new Talking Heads and David Byrne albums that I listened to. We should do Talking Heads first. I got More Songs About Buildings and Food (1978), Fear of Music (1979), Little Creatures (1985), and Naked (1988). I don't have the 2005 remaster of Naked that is linked above so the last song is new to me. The one that I gravitated to the most was Naked. I found it to feel the most like Byrne and his solo work. I was surprised by the horns on it since the albums that I have listened to so far really lacked that. I think when Remain in Light is the first album you hear by them you assume their other albums would be similar to that, but they are not. They are one of those bands where people often call them weird and unusual, but once you listen to their music it is just new wave. I do not want to dumb them down to a simple label like that and ignore the influences that they have from other genres, but sometimes "normal" people make you think that something is truly out of this world when it really is not. We will see how I feel once I listen to the other albums that I am missing. I did enjoy all of these albums, I do not want you to think that I did not. I like new wave. Currently my favorite to least favorite would be: Naked, Fear of Music, Remain in Light, More Songs About Buildings and Food, Little Creatures.

I did go see Stop Making Sense (1984) three times at the cinema. That was my first time seeing it and I absolutely loved it. All of those songs sounded so much better in that live setting. The percussion is absolutely killer! I got Fear of Music whilst in the middle of those three viewings (I got the rest of them before the film came out) so I learned what some of the songs from the set list were from and heard their studio versions for the first time. It truly is something that I would watch over and over again if I ever had a DVD copy of it. I need to learn the choreography!

For David I obtained Rei Momo (1989), Grown Backwards (2004), Everything That Happens Will Happen Today (2008), and Ride, Rise, Roar (2010). I obtained Ride, Rise, Roar before I got everything else so I did not know most of the songs that were performed. I really enjoyed the performance, I absolutely loved the choreography in it. I also loved all three of the albums that I got. I listen to Rei Momo the least out of those three. It is not my least favorite, I just got it at the same time as Grown Backwards and I ended up gravitating towards that album more so Rei Momo did not get enough time to really shine. What I absolutely loved on Grown Backwards was the song "Pirates" which made me think about how Byrne should dip his toe into kids' music. My favorite off of Everything That Happens Will Happen Today is "The River." I love the lyric "one sad day I will fly away and one sad day I will tiptoe away." I am not sure what my favorite off of Rei Momo would be, but I do enjoy the music video for "Make Believe Mambo."

I also purchased the soundtrack to True Stories, the 2018 reissue that has John Goodman's face on it. Unfortunately, I only listened to that once so I must listen to it again soon. I really enjoyed that film. I hope for 2024 that I can finish off the studio albums for both Talking Heads and David Byrne. I prefer to find them in the wild, but it is okay if I have to purchase them online. I did purchase a few of them online.

Album cover for the soundtrack of Il corsaro nero by Guido and Maurizio De AngelisFirst individual record that I want to talk about is the soundtrack to Il corsaro nero (1977) by Guido e Maurizio De Angelis. I did purchase this record before I saw the film. This year I was trying to purchase any fratelli De Angelis record that I could find on eBay that had a seller in the United States. This is one of the records that came from that. I would revisit this a lot when I already had the cover off of my turntable before I figured out my turntable was messed up. "Hombres del mar" really pulls me in. The percussion is so good and I love focusing my ears on the different voices within the chorus. There was a reissue of this soundtrack released in 2005 (linked above) that has a few bonus tracks on it. The bonus tracks start after the tenth song. I was supposed to listen to it before the year ended, but I did not do that. I will keep it in the back of my mind to do that before 2024 ends.

In regards to the film itself, it's alright. Kabir Bedi looks absolutely gorgeous in this film and I did enjoy some parts of the story and some of the visual aspects of it, but it has the white person from the late 1800s understanding of racism so the message within the film is quite basic. The books were written during that time by Emilio Salgari so of course it ended up like that and I'm sure the script added a 1970s understanding of racism to it, but I have never read the books so I would not exactly know. What I took from it is the overall message being that revenge is bittersweet and that message is conveyed in different ways between the characters. Like with the main character, Emilio di Roccabruna, in his quest to avenge the death of his brothers done by Wan Guld and when he finally tries to kill Wan Guld, the ghosts of his brothers stop him. With the indigenous woman whose people were slaughtered by Wan Guld, Yara, they make her buddy up with José even though she is wary of him for being a Spaniard and ends up being killed in the fight against Wan Guld. I forgot most of the plot. Anyways, watch it if you want.

Album cover of Atlantico by Tall JuanThe next one that I want to get into is Atlantico (2020) by Tall Juan. This was one of the artists that I was just completeing the discography of. I got into Tall Juan years ago when I was in high school since he worked with Mac Demarco (I do not listen to Demarco anymore at all) and he had some free stuff on Bandcamp so I downloaded all that and listened to it. I thought his voice was interesting, it reminded me a lot of the Ramones. This album really stuck out to me, I really enjoyed the blend of genres and the use of both Spanish and English. I think the mixing on it is very good and it does not have the problem that I find in a lot of music where the vocals are just too high up. It sounds very full and it is a nice thing to have blasting in your car with your windows down. I am very interested in seeing what he will be putting out in the future.

Album cover of Vile Tyrant and the Middle Men by Naeemah MaddoxThe last new album that I want to talk about is Vile Tyrant and the Middle Men (2017) by Naeemah Maddox. My great friend OK Glass recommended this wonderful artist named Naeemah Maddox on one random day, I believe it was a Bandcamp Friday, and I was INSTANTLY hooked. At this time I thought I was completely over guitars and just preferred a well crafted horn section, but Maddox's guitar work is the best I have ever heard in my entire life. I first heard the song "The Boy" which blew me away!

Of course, whenever I get into a new artist, I tend to go in chronological order since I find that easiest to do. Once I got to this album, the opening song, "Apple," knocked me out. Who knew an album could be that good?!? There is just so much happening in each song and you can really tell how much love and skill has been put into it. This album is fucking insane and you must listen to it. This is the album that you have to listen to the most out of all the ones mentioned here. Stop whatever you are doing right now and listen to it right away!

Album cover of Dead Man's Bones by Dead Man's BonesThere are some albums that I did revisit in 2023 that I hadn't heard in a few years. With the release of the Barbie film and being forced to see Ryan Gosling's face way too much, I was reminded of Dead Man's Bones (2009) and how much I really enjoyed that album when I was in high school. I would listen to it a lot when I played MySims. It is a very good album to listen to during Halloween since it has an overall macabre theme to it. My favorite part of the album is the children's choir. More albums need a children's choir in it. I do have a major complaint about the record being a double album. There is absolutely no reason for that. The album is average length and there is only three songs on each side so why was it made that way?

Album cover of Novum Ovum by Saba LouThe next album that I want to talk about is Novum Ovum (2019) by Saba Lou. I learnt about Saba Lou through her song "Good Habits (and Bad)" being the outro for the show Clarence. At that time she did not have anything out yet besides the songs she made as a child so I kept her in the back of my mind, but did eventually forget about her. I can not remember what year I came back to her was, but eventually I did and saw she had two albums that were really good. Novum Ovum stuck with me more than Planet Enigma. This is another album that has a great opening song with cool guitar work in it. I really enjoy her voice and am very glad that she continued making music.

I went to three concerts in 2023. The first one I went to was a small metal show which was my very first metal show! The lineup was Blaakhol, Degradations, HolyRoller, and Abyssal Frost. All of them were pretty epic! I went with my metalhead friend and his metalhead younger sister. I did NOT go into the pit, but I stood slightly around the perimeter of it so I got knocked into a few times and I really loved seeing them thrashing around and hitting each other. I felt quite out of place there because I do not listen to much metal and was not dressing the part at all. I either need straight long black hair dressed in all black or bald with a long beard also dressed in all black, but I would be wearing shorts with my crew socks up all the way. I would love to go to more small shows, but I would have to know about them well in advance because I work very early in the morning and have to take the day of and the day after off or else I will be so incredibly tired. Yes, I can take a nap between work and the show the day of, but my ass can not fall asleep. Anyways, great show. I got a CD from Abyssal Frost because I told my friend to get me a CD and did not specify from who so he got me that one.

I finally got to see THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS! I got into them late 2018 and I do not live in New York so of course it was going to take awhile until I got to see them. I went to the two shows that were in my state. The first show I went to, I went with my brother and his friend. My brother did not get the day off like he was supposed to so we got there about thirty minutes before showtime and the place was already packed! With the help of two strangers, I was able to weasel my way up to the front so I could see better. Thank you so much to those two people, I wish I had gotten your names. I was right underneath Flansburgh which is exactly where I wanted to be! I had watched some other shows from this tour to know that being on the left side was the best, that is where Linnell goes to play his accordion and where the horns will go whenever they walk to the front of the stage.

At this show they opened with "Fingertips" which blew my tits clean off! What an opener! I love that that ended up being the first song I see them play live. The horns were amazing and I just love how much Harrison, Levine, and Pender like to play around with each other. Apparently "Memo to Human Resources" was written on the set list, but they did not end up playing it. I will never forgive Flansburgh for doing that. That is my favorite song off of The Spine. I did not take any pictures from this show. My phone camera is not very good and I am not one to whip out my phone to quickly take a photo anyways. I feel incredibly weird doing that.

John Flansburgh on stage with his guitar. There are speakers behind him. Danny Weinkauf is off on the right. John Flansburgh on stage with his guitar. Dan Miller is on the left. A blurry photo of John Linnell and Marty Beller on stage at their instruments. The entirety of They Might Be Giants on stage playing their instruments. The entirety of They Might Be Giants on stage playing their instruments. More of the horn section is shown. A written setlist of the They Might Be Giants show in Asheville.

With the second show, we actually arrived early and got in line about an hour before doors opened. I went with my best friend who I also went to the metal show with. We ended up at the barricade on Flansburgh's side. Like I said before, that was the best side to be at. John Flansburgh is so much more beautiful in person. I could go on for days about how gorgeous he is, but this is not the time for that. I remember once they got on stage Weinkauf was having some issues with not hearing Linnell so there was a TON of great banter right before they could even start. I really thought that the non-Flood songs were going to be different at this show because I thought they would assume some people would be going to both shows, but they played the same songs as the last show except with the addition of "Asheville" since they were at the Orange Peel. At least all the songs were in a different order. All pictures shown above were taken by my friend except for the setlist which was taken by me.

One great thing from this show is that I obtained a set list from Weinkauf! My friend who was standing next to me actually got it, but he gave it to me since I am the super mega fan. The woman standing next to me got the copy of Book that Flansburgh was holding on stage and showing off to the audience. All she did was ask, "can I have that?" and he gave it to her. Also the man who was standing next to my friend caught one of Beller's drum sticks so we were truly a very lucky row of people. I can not wait to see them again!

My goals for 2023 was to purchase more CDs in the wild, go to the record store more, delve into Ween's unreleased works, listen to more of Paolo Conte, and to listen to more of Guido e Maurizio De Angelis. I did purchase a lot of CDs in the wild and did go to the record store three times, but I need to be taking my ass over there more often. I listened to some of Ween's unreleased works, but I still have a few more things that I downloaded that I still need to touch. Unfortunately, I did not listen to any more albums by Paolo Conte. I still have only heard maybe five albums by him and completely forgot that I wanted to hear more from him. I did listen to a few more albums by Guido e Maurizio De Angelis and did listen to Guido's solo album Le mie emozioni. He did a cover of "What a Wonderful World" on there which was … something.

My goals for 2024 is to get my turntable fixed or get a new one altogether, complete my Talking Heads and David Byrne collections (and listen to the deluxe versions of those albums at some point), go to record stores more often, and get into at least five new artists. Feel free to recommend me any smaller artists that you think are amazing and has their music for sale on Bandcamp. I have my email listed in my About Me page linked on the left that you can send recommendations to or you could place them in my guestbook which is also linked on the left. They can be any genre, but I would like to get more into punk and metal and would also like to get into artists that sing in any language besides English especially Spanish and Italian. I am constantly forgetting that I am trying to learn Italian and every single day I question myself on why I am learning Italian instead of Spanish. I might continue my rule of only listening to new music through physical media like I did last year, but I will just make it the priority instead of having it be the only thing that I can do. I do find that I will most likely listen to or watch something new if I do have a physical copy of it, it's just easier that way for me.