Sunday, October 14, 2012

Varnaline: A Series of Songs instead of just one

You can thank Columbia House Music Club's Editorial staff for getting me into the music of Varnaline, and ultimately Anders Parker, it's singer, guitarist, and songwriter.  They were the band that opened the doors of perception that allowed me to get into other "Alt-Country" labeled bands and artists.  It wasn't my particular cup of tea in the 90s, with me having only liked a song here or there by Uncle Tupelo & Wilco, but largely ignoring everything else.  There was one Whiskeytown song I adored: Turn Around but by and large the closest I came to Alt-Country was Nirvana: Unplugged in New York.  Enter: Neil Young. Enter: Alvin Youngblood Hart. Simply put: Everything changed.  It was a Neil Young comparison led me to Varnaline. I scooped up their Zero Hours records, starting with the early demo Man Of Sin EP, followed by the self-titled full length, followed by the Shot and a Beer EP, then Sweet Life LP and their swan song via E-Squared/ Artemis Records: Songs In A Northern Key.  After that point future releases were credited to Anders Parker.

I've had the pleasure of meeting Anders Parker as a part of my on again-off again journalism, and it's only made me a greater fan of his work.  He also, like many musicians, has a keen ear for great music.  This also applies to his own, and as a fan, I just want to tout the fact that he had a streaming music player on his site (that was previously linked in the title of this blog post) and the Varnaline albums were each represented by 1 song, and in each case he picked the song that initially snatched my attention away from wherever my mind goes when I'm zoning out to music, and made me focus in on what he'd created.  The player started with full album streams of his most recent work, which includes an EP of ambient instrumental guitar, Cross Latitudes. It was followed by Skyscraper Crow, a double album, one disc composed of synthesizer based recordings (Skyscraper) , and another of acoustic songs (Crow). Then there were selections from his albums baring his name as the artist, which in a surprising turn, omit what I consider the signature songs of said albums, but are still very representative.  Lastly came what for me is an undeniable hit parade of Varnaline tunes.  Since that stream is gone, I have linked to the Youtube generated playlist of Varnaline songs in the title and here is a link to the Anders Parker playlist.  Meanwhile I'll tune in to WILL-FM broadcasting on where what I love lives live over the air.

This still isn't a music blog, it's my blog, and music is a big part of who I am. Thanks to Anders Parker for continually sharing what I consider greatness.

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