Friday Music

Welcome to the long-await return of Friday Music!

You can read about the roots of this series, and my current plans, here. I’m just going to jump in and get started — with this single caveat: mp3 files were the most popular presentation option on the poll that I ran, so that’s what I’m going with here. Some of them are files that are hosted elsewhere, some are hosted here. The files that I’m hosting will only be active for about a month, though — so if you’re reading this more than a month after the original posting, don’t bother clicking.

And now, with no further ado…

Muse are working on their still-untitled eighth album. In the middle of last year, they released a single from it (“Dig Down”), and now, 9 months later and with no release date (or title) yet announced, they’ve gone ahead and released another single (with an 80s-riffic video over on Youtube, with lightning-shooting vampires & neon). Here’s the single — Muse – “Thought Contagion.”

Nabihah Iqbal is a Pakistani British artist, who previously produced electronic music singles under the stage name Throwing Shade. For her debut full-length album, she decided to move away from electronica, and into what she calls “guitar music” — specifically influenced by the genres of Post-punk and Britpop — and release it under her own name. The album, “Weighing of the Heart,” is amazing — I love it. This is the lead single, which is a good representation of the overall sound: Nabihah Iqbal – “Something More.”

With the sorry state of radio in this country, I tend to get most of my musical discoveries from television or films (although I’ve recently dipped into Spotify as a discovery tool. We’ll see if it bears fruit). This is the theme song to the Netflix series Narcos, about the Colombian cocaine cartels. Laura and I both fell a little bit in love with the smoldering romantic vibe of the track. Rodrigo Amarante – “Tuyo.”

Another television discovery, in a musical genre that I generally don’t care for too much: modern country. But the song fits the series (Syfy’s Wynonna Earp), and it has just enough of the sort of blues-y roadhouse sound to it that I don’t mind the country-ness of it, either.Jill Andrews – “Tell That Devil.”

Flashing back now — I had totally forgotten this single when I stumbled across it last month, and upon hearing it, it all came flooding back. Phantom, Rocker & Slick was formed by Stray Cats drummer Slim Jim Phantom & bassist Lee Rocker, when the Cats broke up at the height of their popularity. They joined with guitarist Earl Slick (David Bowie’s guitarist, post-Mick-Ronson), and released a couple of albums in the mid-80s. This was the first (and only charting) single: Phantom, Rocker & Slick – “Men Without Shame.”

Continuing on the flashback, this is a 22-year-old (JESUS FUCKING CHRIST) single from the Britpop group Space, which I absolutely loved at the time. While I sit here and contemplate the fact that music that I considered cutting edge and forward-sounding is now old enough to legally drink, you should give it a listen. “Shock, shock, horror,” as the song says. Space – “The Female of the Species.”

And we’ll close out this week with a genuinely old flashback — a track from 1972 by the English rock band Argent. It popped up randomly in an iTunes shuffle as I was working earlier this week, and I hadn’t heard it in ages– it’s long been one of my “get motivated” tracks. Argent – “Hold Your Head Up.”

So there we go, kids. Your weekly Mixtape of Teh Intarwebz. Feel free to leave thoughts and comments, and I’ll see ya in seven.

Star Trek: Vanguard

A Wallpaper Image of the Star Trek Vanguard cover art.

A Wallpaper Image of the Star Trek Vanguard cover art.Hey there, fellow Trek fans!

I stumbled across this today, and I’m sure some of you will be interested. If you haven’t had a chance to read the 9-book Star Trek: Vanguard novel series (published from 2005-2012), now’s your chance! The entire series is currently for sale in Kindle format for 99 cents each!

If you’re not familiar, Star Trek: Vanguard could basically be elevator-pitched as “Deep Space Nine, but during the Original Series era” — but it was way more than that. It centers around Federation Starbase 47, known as “Vanguard”, which serves as the sector support facility for an area of space known as the Taurus Reach, as well as the center of operations for a secret scientific mission surrounding the discovery of the “Taurus Meta-Genome”, genetically engineered DNA discovered recently within the Reach.

The novels center on the command staff of Vanguard, the three starships permanently assigned to the station, as well as civilians and non-Federation personnel. It’s a large cast, with a ton of character-driven storylines, and frankly is one of the best iterations of Trek out there, in my opinion.

Click on the covers below to be taken to the individual books’ product pages on Amazon, and grab these while the deal is available!

30 Day Book Challenge – Finale

OK, so technically it’s going to be a 28-day book challenge.

I used this as a way to train myself to post something here daily, and I feel that it’s served it’s purpose, so I don’t feel the need to continue past the end of the month. I’m going to switch over to actual, y’know, CONTENT, starting tomorrow.

So for my final challenge, I’m taking the least-worst of the (frankly weak) final questions, and going with: Favorite book of all time.

And, fair warning: I’m cheating a little bit. I’m treating Stephen King’s Dark Tower series as a single book.

I figure that’s allowed, because it’s a complete epic narrative, although it wasn’t split into multiple books from a longer work (like Lord of the Rings), it was built one installment at a time, over decades.

More importantly, I absolutely love it.

Which is the point, after all.