Been awhile since I've done one of these random, multi-subject missives (blame Twitbook and a severe lack of personal downtime), but there are a handful things worth mentioning here in a proper post. A couple are entirely self-serving, others are far from it, but all have been on my mind lately to varying degrees...
With little fanfare, save for some kind Twitter responses and a bunch of Facebook 'likes', the 'Nac passed its official 10-year anniversary exactly a week ago. Yes, on the 15th of February, in the year 2000, I registered the domain name bradleysalmanac.com while sitting in my old office at Mass Pike exit 17 (TPS represent!). A decade in and it is, of course, a very different beast from when it began... took me awhile to find my footing and my focus (well, that's assuming you believe I've found either). In the alternate universe where I have no day job, no family, a clone, and a staff of filthy assistants, I threw a big honkin' party with some of my favorite bands, a whole lot of friends, and a bunch of free stuff. In this one, I stopped at Deep Ellum on the way home for work and had a raised a pint to myself. In other words, it was a Monday. Huzzah!
In case you weren't aware, or hadn't taken notice of the little blue square in the upper right over there, for some inexplicable reason the Almanac has been nominated in the "Best Boston Blog" category of the 2010 Boston Phoenix Readers Poll. Which resulted in equal parts total flattery and complete confusion. Y'see, not only is this the first year, I believe, that the category has been changed from "Best Boston Blog/Podcast" to simply "Best Boston Blog", but it may be the first time a music-related site has been among the nominees. And not just one, but three of them. How cool is that?
If you are so inclined (if you're reading this, I'm hoping you're doing so because you enjoy it, not out of some strange masochistic compulsion), go vote for me (and make sure you click 'submit vote' then 'skip to finish'). According to the fine print, you can vote once a day, so do with that info what you will. No, I have no idea when the polls close, but I'm assuming that'll happen about 30 seconds before I click 'publish' on this post.
And here's some wishful thinking, directed at the Phoenix folks: Given that three music blogs ended up in this year's Reader's Poll, how about a new category in the 2010 Phoenix Best Music Poll for "Best Boston Music Blog"? Spread the love around a bit more, y'know? I'm obviously biased, but with the number of fine music-related websites we've got around this town, maybe it's time.
Speaking of the Phoenix, their On The Download blog asked me to comment on the recent so-called #musicblogicide2010 (for the layperson: Google/Blogger deleted the entirety of a few music blogs due to some questionable copyright complaints). So, I commented. Go ahead and read my rambling, as if you don't get enough of that here already.
And now, on to a couple of causes that actually deserve your time and attention...
It warmed my heart last month when I learned that Al Crisafulli had decided to restart his wonderful Jersey-based label Dromedary Records (the original run was from 1993 to 2000), and it warmed my heart even further when I saw one of the first new releases would be "Make the Load Lighter: Indie Rock for Haiti". The 16-track, digital-only release includes old and new contributions from Dromedary artists like the Mommyheads, Cuppa Joe, + Footstone, as well as Moviola and Jennifer Convertible. Well worth a purchase, moreso because all of the proceeds will go to Vwa Ayiti ("Voice of Haiti"), which is "an all-volunteer organization that has been doing environmentally-conscious community development projects in Haiti since 2005. Right now all donations are going directly to providing medical care to the quake victims." So get over to the Dromedary site and order up, or look it up at Amazon, eMusic, or iTunes.
A cause that is far, far closer to my heart and home (and those who know me well know why) is the fight against cancer. Since late last year, I've been following the creation and launch of TargetCancer and their new Right Track Tunes website. And I quote...
"TargetCancer promotes the development of lifesaving treatment protocols for rare cancers. Through fundraising, outreach, and advocacy, TargetCancer supports those living with rare cancers and funds research initiatives at the forefront of cancer treatment — efforts that treat the individual as well as the disease."
It's the rare forms of cancer that, by definition, get short shrift in the donation and attention game. But there are so many so called "rare" forms that they become a larger sample when combined, and they need the research and support that all other cancer fighters (I refuse to use the word 'victims') need.
The spark for TargetCancer's formation came from the fight that Bostonian Paul Poth put up, and regrettably lost, with his own rare form of cancer. I highly encourage you to set aside a few minutes and read about Paul in his touching Boston Globe obituary right here. It'll make you wish, at the least, that you'd met the guy, and will certainly make you wish he was still around. But he is, really, though the work of those close to him and TargetCancer.
It is absolutely ridiculous that there are still tickets available for the Clientele / Field Music show at Great Scott next month. Are you people not paying attention or something? The Clientele set will make you swoon, and while I've yet to see Field Music, their just-released album "Measure" is pretty much blowing me away (stream it here). Either of these bands could pack larger places on their own, so when it does sell out, don't say I didn't warn ya.
And lastly, I implore you to go see the final night of John Shade's very special February residency at the Armory in Somerville this Thursday. I caught the first one, and left in a string-induced stupor. As excellent as the songs from his debut album ("All You Love Is Need") are, they go to another place entirely when accompanied by the Neave String Quartet. The arrangements that Zack Hickman (who joins in on stand-up bass) pulled together are nothing short of magical, and witnessing them in such a small space (the Armory's cozy front room) felt like a gift. Rounding out the lineup all month has been Leo Blais and different guests each week, and this final night brings Bo Barringer (from MEandJOANCOLLINS and Mascara) and Adena Atkins. Some strong advice, though: Buy advance tickets. Word has been spreading about the wonderfulness, and last week was a solid sell-out.
Alright, that's it from me. The workweek is already well underway...