Solo Albums #10

27 07 2009


 I first heard Cameron McGill when I traveled to Chicago to see Butch Walker at the Abbey Pub.  One of the opening acts was a local (Chicago) artist named Cameron McGill who performed with an acoustic guitar and two other musicians who played strings.  I was quite impressed so I went down to the merch table and bought his first solo album Stories of the Knife and the Back.  It wasn’t the acoustic & cello/viola/violin type album that I was hoping for, but I really enjoyed the pop and acoustic tracks contained within.

The next time I saw him, he performed at a really small bar in Milwaukee for what I recall to be a battle of the bands.  I was in Milwaukee on business and took a really expensive cab ride there to see him.  I got to chat with him for a little bit and at one point I was a little bit embarassed to realize he looked at my jacket lapel….because I unintentionally and unknowingly had a small button with his face on it and the words “Who the Hell Is Cameron McGill?”  I purchased it at his show a few years prior in Chicago.  It had become so much a part of my jacket that I had forgotten it was there…….yet, I’m sure I looked like Mr. Superfan-Fanboy.  I digress.  After his performance I spoke to him some more and purchased a copy of his (then new) album Street Ballads & Murderesques, based on that nights performance of the gorgeous “When It Could Hurry.”  Street Ballads & Murderesques is an extremely stripped down affair that calls to mind Bob Dylan.

Which finally brings me to the new album, Warm Songs For Cold Shoulders.  2009’s most beautiful album you’ve never heard of.  I don’t really have words to describe this album.  It’s more of the same as we heard from Street Ballads.  I usually roll my eyes when I hear songs that protest the Iraq war, or George Bush or what have you…. inspiration likely strikes the songwriter, but the songs always seem to sound uninspired and contrived.  The exception to this rule is Cameron McGill’s “Lose Americans.”  “They’re kinda like a phantom limb on your family tree today/Hey America/How does it feel to lose Americans that way?”

Sigur Rós // Twins

23 09 2008


I watched the Minnesota Twins play the first place Chicago White Sox tonight.  The Twins are 2 ½ games out of first place, so this is the biggest series of the year.  White Sox were in first place for nearly the entire year.  Then the Twins came back in August and the two teams have traded off first-place leads pretty much ever since then.

The game started off with two half innings of three up, three down baseball.  But the White Sox drew first blood in the 2nd inning, taking the lead 1-0.  At the bottom of the 2nd inning, that’s when I decided to turn the sound all the way down and watch the game with only the sound of Sigur Rós playing.

It’s the damnedest thing.  That’s when it started…the Twins put on a clinic.  Starting with a lead off walk by Justin Morneau, followed by a two-run home run by Jason Kubel (who ended up hitting 2 homeruns and a triple in the game), followed by a single by Delmon Young (who hit a homerun on the very next pitch after Kubel’s second homer of the game and was a triple shy of the cycle).

Am I on to something?  Watching the Twins with the bleating commentary of Bremer & Blyleven being substituted by the ethereal sounds of Sigur Rós?

Since this is such an important series (actually, all of the remaining 5 games are critical), I will definitely try this again tomorrow during game two.  If the Twins sweep the Sox, while I’m at home watching the game with the sound off and listening to Sigur Rós, then on Friday when I’m at the Dome for the Twins v. Royals game, you can rest assured (if you’re a Twins fan) I’ll have my ipod with me.

If you wish to try it out with me, this is the formula I followed. Listen to these albums, in this order:
1. Ágætis byrjun
2. Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
3. ( )
Of course, no genre of music from anywhere in the world can help Guerrier who gave up a two out, two-run homer to Griffey in the 9th.
Twins win 9-3
Sigur Rós as a soundtrack to Twins baseball. What an interesting concept.