Ryan’s Weekend Soundtrack (July 14-15): BLOXX, Spencer Lee Band, Elvis Costello

It’s clear that 2018 is a year of transition. I’m finishing up my first year back in a newsroom, and that feels great. I’m gradually going through the process of moving to northwest Oklahoma City, and of course, my brothers and I are working to sell Mom’s house after her passing June 5.

Transition isn’t all bad; it’s a precursor to new beginnings. For me, this weekend, however, it just meant work — a lot of it. I have a high tolerance for a big to-do list, and this weekend it meant three lawns and more house organization, specifically getting my new (er, our new) office put together.

And did I mention I was by myself for the weekend as Kristi and her daughter were at Disney World.

That meant a lot of Ryan-ing.

And that birthed a new idea for a regular blog post: Ryan’s weekend soundtrack. I hear lots of different music, both old and new, and I like to share my treasures. Depending on your taste, these may also fall into the category of musical trash.

The inspiration for this weekend’s songs was listening to BBC Radio London (formerly BBC 94.9) Saturday afternoon with the great Gary Crowley, this after an out-of-this-world lunch at The Garage on Rockwell, which is turning out to be my go-to spot in the new neighborhood. Saturday’s special was Banh Mi tacos for $6.99, and I paired it with a New Belgium Fat Tire (amber). The food was great; the beer was only so-so. Should have had an IPA or a Mexican beer with the tacos.

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Then I got to work on the house with BBC Radio London on. The theme for the show was flying, and I’ve forgotten why it was the theme. It just was. First tune was Jigsaw’s “Sky High,” a delightful tune from the mid-70s. And check out the drummer singing lead. How he’s able to do that with that lick is beyond me:

The next song is just awesomely bizarre. One part ABBA, one part pure-Brit pop, and check out the Jeff Daniels look-a-like on bass! This is my new jam anytime I’m going to Will Rogers World Airport. It’s The Motors with “Airport” from 1978:

One part of the Gary Crowley evening show on BBC Radio London (afternoon in the States) is about older music, but then he does this show called “Introducing,” where new music gets the spotlight. First tune that caught my ear is Stereo Honey’s “Don’t Speak,” although I think it was more of an acoustic version, maybe?

The next song that caught my ear ended up being my favorite new find of the weekend. Group called Bloxx and a song called “Novocain.” This is terrific. I cranked it several times on the way to Henryetta Sunday.

Of course, this is how the rabbit hole goes. That song reminded me of a group called Metric and a song called “Help I’m Alive.” This tune is very Liz Phair.

At this point I’m into early Saturday evening. The office is in shape, and I’ve got the front room and kitchen put together. I’m so domestic, folks. Truly. But now I needed to mow the yard, and I’ve abandoned the Texas-Baltimore game for more BBC Radio London, which played Roxy Music’s 1979 hit “Dance Away.”

BTW, speaking of Texas-Baltimore, what is up with the Orioles’ unis Saturday night? They were celebrating Maryland, so they incorporated the state’s already loud flag into their beautiful uni. Gross.

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So, we get to Sunday, and my rambling continues. That’s all this new blog feature will be: quick impressions of the weekend gone by and the music that influenced it. The early part of my Sunday was spent fighting with Public Service of Oklahoma’s parent company AEP for trying to auto-debit from Mom’s bank account after I had told them she had died – and they had the nerve to charge us an extra $22. I think they’re going to waive it; it’s the right thing to do. However, I’ve got all sorts of thoughts on how empathy could transform every call center in the country.

The problem is that business call centers have no vested interest in *more* phone time between employees and customers. Most call centers are trying to reduce their total help hours, forcing the end user to help themselves. That’s an actual metric goal for most call centers. It’s highly shiteous.

My jam for the ride to Henryetta was Courtney Barnett’s “Avant Gardener.” She just sounds so weary in this one.

Don’t think for a second that all my music selections are all cool-kid hipster tunes. Hell, no. Peter Allen and Waylon Jennings were part of the playlist as was this tune, which I think is the best thing Taylor Swift has ever done. This is her “Borderline,” if you will.

Oh, I did stumble upon a new guy I really like: Spencer Lee. Dude sounds like Bill Withers and Justin Timberlake had a baby with Robin Thicke. Seriously polished. The song I heard while driving was called “Kissing Tree.” I’m just hoping he didn’t borrow too much from Bill Withers’ “Use Me.” Just don’t steal from Marvin Gaye, dude. His estate goes hard.

Great voice. He actually sounds like a young Withers in the first verse. Here’s another one from Lee’s band called Spencer Lee Band. The Wolf. He’s far too good to not be very, very famous soon enough.

By this time, I’m in Henryetta mowing yard No. 3, and the whole weekend was a giant sweat bath. I think I’m burned also despite the fact that I put on sunscreen. I’m definitely zapped.

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The road home was Elvis Costello central — “Everyday I Write The Book” and “What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love & Understanding.” Costello was recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. I’m a huge fan of his; hope the surgery got it all and that Mr. Diana Krall keeps making music.

As for me, I’m enjoying a cold Yuengling and preparing for the week, a short one. I’m headed for a quick vacation across the deep South, including Atlanta, Myrtle Beach, Asheville and Nashville. But soon enough, I’ll be recording new videos for YouTube on Dad’s piano, which is now my piano – set up at home and tuned thanks to the folks at Bruce Music in Edmond!

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Cheers for now! Have a great week.

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