year in review

#964.0: The Year in Review – Part One

RECORD STORE TALES #964.0: The Year in Review – Part One

Today, some reflection.  Tomorrow, the lists!

While certainly not the worst year of my life so far (2018 takes the crown there), the latter half of 2021 was pretty poopy here at LeBrain HQ.  There was plenty of new music, which we will discuss in greater detail tomorrow when we run down the Top 11 Albums of the Year.  Great music in fact; some deeply impactful albums and important reissues.  I also didn’t think that 2021 would be the year for new Guns N’ Roses music, or for me to get a 42 CD Judas Priest box set.  But here they are!

2021 started off strong.  We have Superdekes to thank for a series of great interviews on the LeBrain Train.  More on those for tomorrow’s list.  Not to be outdone, John T. Snow hooked us up with one of the best interviews I’ve ever been involved with, which was Paul Laine.  But for me, by summertime burnout had set in.  I’d been doing the LeBrain Train without missing a single week since lockdown began in March 2020.  Sometimes doing two interviews in a single weekend.  Sometimes I got stood up by a rock star, sometimes I got stood up by the same rock star twice.  By the end of the summer, I needed a break.  Badly.  It was harder and harder coming up with guests, as we slowly emerged from our Covid cocoons and resumed life.  I had to pull the brakes.

Then I had a flood in the house.  I had to cancel an interview with with Jack Frost and take a more extensive break from everything.  Trying not to snap, I bought a Metallica box set to cheer myself up.  Great way to boost myself while crippling my bank account at the same time, but I won’t complain.

Personal highlights of the year:

  • A fantastic summer at the lake
  • Meeting and interviewing some true rock greats
  • Collaborating with creative friends like Meat, Harrison, Deke, Tee-Bone, Rob, Kevin and John Snow
  • Getting back into the movie theater
  • Record-high hits and views

Personal lowlights of the year:

  • Then the hits and views took a nosedive
  • Burned out
  • Grandma in the hospital, flood, mental breakdowns
  • Lost people
  • Moved offices, twice
  • Omicron

Other interesting happenings included making an enemy out of John “J.D.” Roberts, an aborted attempt at doing re-runs on the LeBrain Train, and Harrison’s baffling stance on Queensryche.

This isn’t much of a “year in review” post.  Nothing commemorating the many musicians and celebrities we lost this year.  Nothing talking about all the great tunes we discovered.  This is not the way the year was supposed to end!  It remains to be seen how this plays out next year, but at least we still have our Friday nights together.  The LeBrain Train will roll into January, because it looks like we need the LeBrain Train once again!  When I “pulled the plug” back in August, I did it with the George W. Bush “Mission Accomplished” meme.  Because I knew Covid wasn’t really over.  I knew the mission wasn’t really accomplished.  What I didn’t know was just how badly things would get by the end of the year!  I really didn’t think we’d be isolating again this New Year, but that’s exactly what many of us are doing.  For the second time.

Big day tomorrow:  The end of year lists, and the LeBrain Train New Year’s Eve special.  Because Covid needs its ass kicked once and for all, and since we’re all doing the best we can under difficult circumstances, we deserve a night to party.  See you tomorrow.

 

 

 

Part 157: The Year in Review / Top 5

RECORD STORE TALES Part 157:   The Year in Review

So here we are, the tail end of 2012.  While I’m sure you’re just starting to get your drink on, we here at LeBrain’s Blog are tirelessly bringing you the rock even into the wee final hours.  This is the time, traditionally, when we look at the past year!

We used to do Top Five of the Year lists at the record store, when we used to have our newsletter.  Unfortunately I don’t have copies of any of those newsletters, not a one, which is a real shame since I poured my heart and soul into them as much as anybody else at the store.  It would have been fun to look back 15 years and see what my top five of 1997 was.  I do know for certain two albums that were on it:  Accident of Birth by Bruce Dickinson, and The Colour and the Shape by Foo Fighters!  The rest have been lost to the dusts of time.

Hey, if any of you guys are still speaking to me and have copies of the newsletter, lemme know eh? ;)

Back to the present for a moment:

What can I say about 2012?  Before I even thought about doing my own blog, events were in motion that pushed me in that direction.   My good buddy Craig Fee invited me down to 107.5 Dave FM for an entire week — Stump LeBrain Week!  I spent a week on the air, with listeners trying to stump me.  There were even a couple LeBrain Weeks and an entire month of LeBrainuary, where every single day’s 4 O’clock 4 Play quizzes were mined from my own brain’s knowledge.  It was a blast, and left me hungry for more.

I’d always been writing Record Store Tales.  The oldest ones were at least a decade old on my hard drive, but I had no idea what to do with them.  I’d also been writing reviews — well over 800 of them on file before I launched — that very few people had seen.  Craig said to me, “LeBrain, you need to get blogging this stuff.  Write something every day.  If you build it, they will come.”

So that’s what I did, and I thank you for reading.

Back to the Record Store Tales:

I published Part 1 on March 9 2012, the beginning of the story, called Run to the Hills.  It was about the very first time I heard Iron Maiden, a date I’ll never forget.  And thus LeBrain’s Blog and Record Store Tales were launched.

Some highlights from the early months that you may have missed if you’re fairly new here:

So, if you have nothing better to do on this New Year’s Eve, there’s a good waste of time for ya.

And now that we’re done with the preamble…let’s get down to business.

LeBRAIN’S TOP FIVE OF 2012

5. TENACIOUS D – Rize of the Fenix

KG and JB cannot be stopped.  This album is the “Deth Starr” of rock, The D aim “To Be The Best”!   Read LeBrain’s review of Rize of the Fenix here, including all bonus tracks.

4. THE DARKNESS – Hot Cakes

I will never stop loving this band.  Welcome back.  Read LeBrain’s review of Hot Cakes here.

3.  RUSH – Clockwork Angels

My favourite Rush album since Counterparts, at least. Read LeBrain’s review of Clockwork Angels here.

2. VAN HALEN – A Different Kind of Truth

I’d never been more worried that a band would fuck up their big comeback.  Thankfully, Van Halen did not.  Read LeBrain’s review of A Different Kind of Truth here.

And finally…

1. KISS – Monster

You know this was gonna happen.  Aside from the fact that I’m the biggest Kiss fan around, it’s a fucking great record.  Read LeBrain’s review of Monster here.

Runner up:  Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson – TAAB2 Thick As A Brick 2.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!