Category Archives: Music

Erik Satie’s Trois Gymnopedies

This is a beautiful piece of music. I post it for no other reason. Do enjoy, and click here if the embedded video doesn’t work.


CEI Podcast for July 21, 2011: Stopping the Music


Have a listen here.

Tough economic times are forcing symphony orchestras across the country to cut budgets and lay off staff, and in some cases shut down entirely. Labor Policy Counsel Vinnie Vernuccio, who coauthored a recent op-ed in the New York Daily News, finds that labor unions, by resisting necessary changes and limiting organizations’ ability to adapt to hard times, are doing more harm than good for the arts.

International Day of Slayer

Today is the International Day of Slayer.  I’ve been a fan for almost twenty years now — but not quite on the level of this guy.

To celebrate, here is the video for 1990’s “Seasons in the Abyss.” This is the song that introduced me to Slayer, and remains one of my favorites. Unlike much of the music I listened to back then, it has aged quite well. See for yourself:

And just for fun, here is a gospel version of 1986’s “Angel of Death.”

If you like the heavy stuff, and haven’t gotten into Slayer, they have a rich and rewarding catalogue. Everything from 1986’s “Reign in Blood” up to 2006’s “Christ Illusion” ranks with the best of the genre.

And just to tie this in to the immigration issue, drummer Dave Lombardo is Cuban, and singer/bassist Tom Araya is Chilean. Both moved to the Los Angeles area at a young age. If the U.S. had a closed border policy as some conservatives now favor, an entire genre of music might never have been born.

If you like the heavy stuff, and haven’t gotten into Slayer, they have a rich and rewarding catalogue.

New J. Robbins Song

J. Robbins has played in some of my favorite bands over the years (Jawbox, Burning Airlines, Channels), and worked with still more as a producer (Braid, Shiner, The Dismemberment Plan, et al).

NPR recently stuck Robbins in the same room as Chris Walla from Death Cab for Cutie, and gave them two days to write and record a song. The result is worth hearing. You can listen for yourself here.

Robbins should have sung lead. His voice is easier on the ear, and at the same time far more expressive than Walla’s nondescript tenor. But the music is good. The main riff is catchy. The rhythm section is sparse yet tight, and provides the perfect staccato contrast to Walla’s legato, almost trance-like guitar lines.  Robbins and Walla combine for some lush vocal harmonies where appropriate. And drummer Darren Zentek (Robbins’ Channels bandmate) shows once again that he is master of the 16th note — just listen to the ghost notes he lays into his snare drum.

And for someone like me who used to put quite a bit of time into writing music and playing in bands, it brings back some good memories of what practice was like.